Monday, August 18, 2014

Abby's Sweet 16 Outdoor Movie Party

So this is the week that our red-headed, Disney-loving, piano-playing, smile-sharing, kind-hearted Abby turns 16.  And if you read my last post, you know I'm in the mood to make the most of every moment I have with my kids and do life big. Not to mention, I live for throwing parties.  So, that's what we did this weekend.

It was Abby's dream to have a big backyard party with friends and family and watch "Tangled" on a big screen under the stars.  And since she doesn't really ask for much, how could I say "no"?

Besides, I'm a pretty fond of glowing lanterns and Flynn Rider myself.  (Love these posters?  Print them here.)

So, Abby and I pinned all kinds of inspiration for weeks. And then, with lots of amazing help from my husband, we pulled out chairs and blankets and furniture from all around the house to transform the yard into a backyard theater. 

For days I had prayed for good weather, and (thank the Lord) He gave us a great night that was just the right temperature and not a drop of rain.

We kept it simple with the food.  A nacho bar, drinks and cupcakes made up the menu, which all seemed to be hit with the guests.  

(I think the lighted 16 was my favorite part--I'll tell you more about it later.)

And although I drew the line at Abby's request for everyone to release glowing lanterns into the sky just like they do in the movie, I did come up with some colorful paper lanterns, which I'll show you how to make later as well.

The biggest hit with the kids was probably the popcorn bar and soda cart. SO much fun to put together!

Do you recognize this furniture from around my house?

I totally enjoyed putting everything together to give Abby a special night, and I can't say enough how great my husband was in making all my ideas come to life.  And a big thanks to Denise for all her help on party day.  She loves planning parties as much as I do, so I'm so glad she was well enough to be there.  And we definitely had the best guests ever, who all chipped in after the movie and had the whole yard cleared in no time!

There were just enough friends, and just enough laughs, and just enough magical moments to make it a very sweet 16th birthday party.  

Sources, how-to's and details coming soon!  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Panic-Stricken Peace

And now it's time for my annual back-to-school post.  I'm late with it this year because my kids went back on Tuesday, and I'm just sitting down to type.  That might be because I've been busy working on a few projects this week, but more likely it's because it's hard to draw solid words from a trembling hand.  

My son is a senior.  And though the little rips on my heart are still kinda tender from when I left him at the door of Kindergarten, I've dropped him off 12 more times since then and now I have to face facts.  The soundtrack to my life has now become the ticking of the clock.

I'm up, down, and all-around on this parenting roller coaster and, frankly, it's giving me a headache.  There are days when I talk my head off and not one child listens to anything I say.  There are days of fighting, fussing, and kids sent to their rooms while I stand in the kitchen and wonder where I went wrong along the way.   

And then there are days I feel great.  "Look how sweet these kids are," I tell myself. "Maybe I've gotten the hang of this parenting thing after all."  And the next thing you know your name is being announced over the loud speaker at Hobby Lobby because you forgot your 7-year-old in the fabric department while you were busy being distracted by party supplies.  (I'm not saying this actually happened--this is just a theoretical example, of course.)

The point is I'm terrified.  My time with my kids at home is flying by.  What if I've not emphasized enough of this, or what if I haven't taught enough of that?  

I hear myself asking, "Have I really done enough?"

And then I hear the Holy Spirit answering,"No."  But before I panic, I realize that what He means is that it's not all up to me.  I don't have the power to control their thoughts and actions.  But, I can show them Jesus, and live the fact that He is the One we look to for everything we need.

I remind myself:  these kids aren't really mine anyway.  They're His.  He has loaned them to to me for a while to teach them a few things about what this life is really about. (Or is it so that He can teach me a few things?)

And so I will try to be okay with the imperfection.  I will release the pressure I put on myself to control it all.

I will do what I know to do with them.  I will teach the necessity of speaking love and showing forgiveness.  I will be patient when I have to say one more time to pick up the dirty socks from the living room floor.  I will hug them tightly while they are within my reach, and I will pray every day for them to make the right decisions when when they're out of my reach.

And I will live in the peace of knowing that the God who lent them to me for this short period of time will always be the One watching over them.  I will focus my attention on teaching them to keep their eyes on Jesus.  Not just on their father and mother and the endless ranting about what not to do, but on the Heavenly Father and the endless pursuit of following Him.  And on Jesus, whom I want them to know more than anything else.

Who will do this with me?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Poolside Movie Party Inspiration

Hi, friends!  Just a little announcement that I'm guest posting over at 11 Magnolia Lane today!  Be sure to click on over to say "hi!" and catch up with their Back-to-School Edition of their Operation Organization Series.  Fun stuff!

Operation Organization BTS 


If you're a regular around here, you know my best friend, Denise, is famous for her parties.  And even though it's been a summer like no other for her with chemo treatments and lots of down time in between, she has still found time to host a few fabulous gatherings.  (Kinda does away with all those excuses for not wanting to host a party, huh?)

Well, her latest poolside bash was a simple, but fun movie night with a few friends to close out summer, and I snapped a few pics to pass along some inspiration...

As always, a great time was had by all.  Click here for more party inspiration that Denise has put together in the past.  

And for all of you who have asked about and prayed for her during her treatments, thank you!  It means a lot to her and it means a lot to me.  We're looking forward to it all being behind her and life getting back to normal, however crazy and abnormal that may be!