Monday, December 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces - "Hilarious Outtakes"

I ♥ Faces contest this week is about funny outtakes and, boy, do have a BUNCH of those!! This one immediately came to mind, though. This was taken this summer after my daughter, Perri, had gotten an extra long ride on the "Crab" ride in Sea World. She found out all too soon (in her opinion) that all good things must come to an end.

Head on over to I ♥ Faces for a belly laugh and to enter your own image!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Annual Christmas Pictures - Balentine Style

Alas, 'tis the season of Christmas carols and hot cocoa, evergreen trees and tinsel, stockings hung with care and ......the annual Balentine Christmas picture in front of the tree. We have done this year after year and then take the picture and put it in a frame ornament to hang on the tree to commemorate the year. It's always the same procedure: we come home from church, everyone is in a great mood and excited to get their picture taken! We set up the tripod, do a couple of adjustments to the camera and Viola!...A lovely picture...Oh, if it were only that easy.

Me: "OK, guys! Are we set?"

Them: "We are ready. "

Me: "OK. Now remember to sit still and put your best smile on when you see the red light start blinking. Ready?"

Them: "Yes, Mama. Is this gonna take long?"

Me: "Only as long as YOU make it take. Here we go! Smile!!!" (click)

Me: "OK! Not bad. Duglin - maybe sit up a bit and smile a little more!"

Them: sigh.....

ME: "One more time! Smile, everyone!" (click)

Me: "Well, we are getting there. Honey (Duglin)- I still think you have a better smile in there. Can you show it to the camera next time?"

Duglin: "I guess."

Perri: "How is my smile, Mommy? Is it a princess type smile or should I show more teeth?"

Me: "Whatever you were doing before looks fine, sweetie. OK. Now let's try this again. SMILE!!!!!" (click)

Me: "Umm, Duglin. That maybe too much of a smile, honey."

Duglin: "But you SAID to smile bigger. I smiled bigger."

Me: "Yes, you did, but it looks, well, like you are in pain, not smiling. Let's try this ONE MORE TIME! Everybody set? SMIIIIIILE!!"

Me: "Duglin."

Duglin: "Yes, Mommy."

Me: "You look like you are are gritting your teeth, not smiling."

Duglin: "Mommy, I'm trying really hard!"

Me: "I know you are, but I think that might be the problem. Ahhh! I have an idea. Think of how you might look if Santa Claus were here and how happy you would be! OK?"

Duglin: "OK."

Me: "OK! ONE MORE TIME!!! Everybody say, "Look! There's Santa!"

Everyone: "Look! There's Santa!!!!"

Me: "Wow. Umm (trying not to die laughing). That's an interesting face there, Duglin. OK. I can see this is not working. Let's do this one more time." So I devise a plan to say something funny right before the camera shoots. "Everyone ready?"

Them: "yes.....(moans, rolling eyes, whimpers)"

Me: "OK, camera's counting down. What's something that's funny?"

Daylor: "You mean like Daddy tooting?" (click)

So can you tell by the flare of my nostrils I knew it was over? As the famously, overly used cliche saying goes:
"If you can't beat 'em....."

OK - So, we did finally get a decent one. So what if Duglin looks a little constipated? Life imitating art...or is it art imitating life? Hmmmmm, I need to think about that one!

Merry Christmas!!
The Balentines

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Boy That Touched EVERYTHING

It had already started out a bad day. I had been awake most of the night with a migraine and after 14 hours had finally begun to get some relief. We had places to go and people to see, so the kids and I were scurrying around looking for lost coats, getting hair brushed, and, in my case, just starting to get dressed. I was standing in our master closet staring at the minimal amount of clothes that were clean when I heard loud crash in the den. I tugged on the semi-presentable jeans and ran to check out the latest broken item in the Balentine household. Before I had a chance make it to the doorknob, my youngest beloved son gently taps on the door.

I opened the door. There he was. Eyes wide open. Blink. Blink.


"Yes, Duglin."

"I accidentally put a marble in my stocking. When I accidentally tried to get it out, I accidentally pulled everything off the mantle and accidentally broke some stuff. Accidentally. Yes, absolutely, accidentally."

(Anger and blood pressure rising.) "Duglin, did I not tell you guys last night as I was putting the garland and the stockings on the mantle that you CAN NOT TOUCH IT?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

The previous night I spent an hour putting together the garland on the mantle. The hearth on the floor was now covered with a million pieces of Frasier fir clippings, lights, broken ornaments, broken stocking holders, and a pile of dirty stockings.

Duglin is my touchy feely kind of boy. He learns everything he knows by touching it, taking it apart, seeing what happens when you break, throw, rip, cut, roll on, glue, drench, or mash it. Some people might say he's destructive. We choose to use the word "deconstructer." His purpose is not destroy, but to learn how to create by taking apart.

So back to our scene at hand.

"Duglin. How does one accidentally drop a marble in a stocking that is hanging two feet above one's head?"

"I don't know, mom. I just happened. Accidentally."

So here's the part that I could leave out and not tell you. How I would love to say that I handled the whole incident with grace and patience. It would be lovely to make you think that I am the perfect epitome of the maternal unit but in the spirit of transparency, I will tell you I totally blew my top. I became so angry that I had to leave the room. And not only leave the room, but slam my bedroom door behind me to bring home the point. The point being I. WAS. LIVID.

Now, before you say, "Why, Sonya, it was only decorations," you have to understand that this was about the 8th thing in a week that my precious son had gotten his hands on and had ..........."disassembled." And yes, I did use a thesaurus to come up that word.

I went back to my bathroom and slapped on make-up as I prayed and asked God to help me decide how this issue should be handled. God somehow gave me the control and calmness I needed to discipline my sweet boy firmly, but gently.

Afterwards, I still was so angry looking at the mess I had to clean up, but decided to let it go until after we ran our errands. Again, I confess, I was mad that I can't have anything nice because I have a child that struggles with his impulse to touch everything. I was mad that I had so much to do and now I had more to do because I had to clean a mess when I got home. I was mad because I had to spend more money to replace the broken stocking holders and ornaments. I was just mad. Mad. MAD.

Then it came on the radio while we were in the car. A song that I have heard and even sung a thousand times.

"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord!
Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"

I began to think of that tiny Baby that was born this time a couple thousand years ago. I began to think that He was a deconstructer, too. Not a destroyer, but a deconstructer. He took apart the shame, sadness, and filth in our hearts, and began to create something beautiful that only the Designer of a the universe could. He came, not to destroy, but to repurpose and redesign for a better life. Not because He had to, but because He wanted to.

Maybe, that's God gave me my own little 'redesigner." To remind me that sometimes things have to be taken apart, pulled down, and redone in order to be built back up again, better and stronger, wiser and more effective. And in order for the perfect reconstruction to happen, things must be touched. Deeply touched.

Jesus was a baby, a boy, a man, THE God who touched, is touching, and will touch everything. The question is are we willing to be redesigned?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disney Vacation 2009 - Day 3 - Epcot

So, I feel a little bad. Here's why. I am finding such little time to blog right now. I have a ton to catch up on, but I don't feel like I can post anything until I finish my Disney pictures. Why?Because I am obsessive.

I have this thing that I do to myself. I call it discipline. Others might call it looney. But, whatever. Anyway, I don't allow myself to do things I really want to do until the one thing I really need to do gets done. Even if the thing that I think really "needs" to be done, really doesn't need to be done. For example, I won't eat anything in the morning until all my lamps are turned on and my blinds are open. If I don't do those things I don't allow myself to eat. Or, I don't allow myself to craft in the evenings (unless my crafting circle ladies are at my house) or blog unless all of my 3 clothes hampers are at least half empty and the kitchen is clean. OR, I don't allow myself to sit down during the day unless I am teaching a lesson or until the kids go to bed. Just keepin' it real! At least things get done! I may not have breakfast in the morning, but at least I have a super-duper bright and shining living room to pass out in, doggone it!!

So, I have not allowed myself to blog because I have yet to have time to post all of my pictures from the trip. IT'S SO GOOFY!!!!!!!! But I seriously can't do it because I have ingrained upon myself that it has to get done! I'm the only person I know that grounds herself! So, maybe after I get all my pictures edited and posted I might blog be able to more! But until then. Sigh... Being grounded sucks. :)

Anywho, now that I have shared that little tidbit of info about myself, here is day 3of our trip at Epcot.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Number 10

This is always such a busy time of year for our family as it is the season of vacations, holidays, and birthdays. Daylor's 10th birthday is at the end of September. It gets harder as the kids grow older trying to pick out themes that are age appropriate and still fun. Daylor has been playing the piano for a couple of years and absolutely has a gift for it. He's written multiple songs and insists on practicing at least an hour a day. So, in light of his enjoyment of it he chose to have a piano/keyboard theme.

Now, we are not the type folks that go all out for parties. I have some friends who throw their kids AMAZING parties for their children. They make extraordinary invitations and party favors and games and decorations - every detail is thought of and it is so beautiful! Me, well, I have learned to accept that I might be in the minority of my buddies who throw birthday parties. Pretty much my kids are lucky if they get birthday hats! That doesn't mean we don't plan and put an emphasize on their birthday's because we do! Our parties are just a bit more (OK, a lot more) understated, but we still have a blast!! At our house, the party is ALL about the cake!

If you will remember this post from earlier this year about my relationship with the confection, I challenge myself each time to make something creative and beyond what I think I can do. This year I made my largest cake yet! A 3 foot 3 inch keyboard cake. Probably one of the most fun I've ever done!

I found a picture on line where someone had used Kit-Kat's as the black keys on a regular 13x9 sized piano cake, but it looked funky and off-balanced. So, I borrowed their idea and put 3 sheet pans together to make it life sized. This made the Kit-Kat keys look much more realistic. I iced the chocolate first after I marked on the cake how far to come down, then followed with the white icing. After waiting about 20 minutes for the icing to harden up some, I took a kabob skewer and using a ruler, I measured the keys one inch apart. I used the edge of the skewer to make the impressions of the spaces between the keys on top and in the front of the cake. Then, I placed my Kit-Kats down. For the decorations, I used several flavors of Tic- Tacs, upside down Hershey's Kisses, and white Mentos for blinky lights and the knobs. The volume had to be ten, of course for Daylor's age, but it took some serious self control not to bump it up one more to eleven (for those of you who have no clue what I talking about, you would have to see the movie Spinal Tap to understand. And yes, I am THAT old.).

Because we had just come home from vacation we decided to have a family only small party where Daylor got all kinds of great stuff he loved!

The cake is always a surprise for them and Daylor seemed to get a kick out of seeing his keyboard in edible form.

After gift opening and cake and ice cream, Daylor gave us a concert of some of the music he has been writing and Perri did a little interpretive dancing for the family.

Then the kids got thier worship team together and sang a few tunes to end the night out.

We had a wonderful time and Daylor had a great birthday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

DisneyWorld - Finally!

Yay, me! Two posts in a week! Trying to get back into the swing of things! So, today's pictures are of the Magic Kingdom. This was the day I was most looking forward to! I wanted to see the kids eyes as we first saw the castle and watch them be bewildered by the front gates and beyond of Main Street. I have to say, my little fairy tale of what it would be like never happened.

We woke up that morning in plenty of time to get ready and get to the MK. I had envisioned Perri all dressed up in her Cinderella gown that her grandmother had made her with her hair swept-up and encased in her tiny tiara. After all, we had reservations to have breakfast with the princess herself at 9:40. I thought we would have loads of time getting pictures of the kids as they walked through the gates all wide-eyed and innocent. Blah, blah, blah.

Instead, that morning when we put on Perri's gown and she informs me (after wearing it for almost the entire week before we left) that it was now "itchy" and she really would "prefer for it to stay home this time." Her exact words. Alrighty, then. Let's just put your hair up and wear your crown. "Ummm. I think I just would prefer for Cinderella to see how long it is, so I would like to wear it down." Translation - "Mommy, it hurts like h. e. double hockey sticks when you put my hair up so I will officially throw a fit if you so as much show me a hairpin." (Deep sigh of surrender. ) So, not wanting to upset the morning, I decided that it could be her choice and went with just the crown. Whatever.

Well, the little altercation cost us about 30 minutes, so we had to book it to the park. Our reservations were at 9:40. We walked, umm, ran through Main Street pushing photographers and tourists out of the way to get to the castle on time. Fortunately, we made it just in time. Not exactly how I pictured it, but that's OK. It was still wonderful.

It was such a great day. The kids were so well behaved and precious to watch. So, here are a few shots of our first day in the Magic Kingdom. Day three will be coming soon!

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Friday, October 23, 2009


Wowsers! It's been awhile, hasn't it? It's not that I don't love you anymore, it's just I have been sooo busy! I have so much I need to catch up on with you, birthdays, pumpkin patch stories, tons-o-stuff, but it's probably going to take some time!

First, I know I still owe you some Disney World pictures. I have SO MANY, so it's been a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to show them to you without boring you to death and also trying to get the time to edit all of them. I think since I know some of you will not want to scroll throw a ton of images on my blog I am going to show them in a slide show format. And don't worry I just picked out my favorites. I won't make you suffer through all of them!

Doing a slide show kinda sucks though because the slide shows sometimes boogers up the pictures and distorts them, but what can you do? So, I am going to divide our vacation days up and do a show for each. Please feel free to skip them if you get tired of hearing about Mickey Mouse!

The first set of photos is of Sea World. Again, sorry the some of the photos of fuzzy - it makes me vomit in my mouth a bit, because I am a perfectionist when it come to my pictures and they don't really look like that, but again, trying to get over it.

So, enjoy! I will post day 2 of of vacation soon! Miss you guys and hope to get caught up soon!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Orlando Vacation 2009
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday 6th birthday to our precious princess. You are a joy and are ever so loved!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Double Digits

September 29th, 1999 at 3:26 in the morning my life changed forever. I went from being a daughter, wife, and sister to a daughter, wife, sister, and now, mother. Four weeks early, the tiniest baby I had ever seen, much less held, was placed in my arms and forever the make-up of the Balentine household was repurposed. I remember packing up the 4lb. 10 oz. sleeping bundle and putting him in his carseat thinking what do I do now? He's so tiny. He's so fragile. He's so perfect.

The days following were exhausting and scary, but amazing and wonderful.

Now here we are entering the double digits in age, an official "tween", and how the time has flown. He's no longer that tiny little bundle as he stands taller than my shoulders. He no longer is fragile as he can "throw down" with the best of 'em. And although he isn't perfect in character, he strives everyday to please his Maker and that makes him perfected in Christ. I adore this boy and the past 10 years has been the best of my life.

I am grateful for the gift of you, Daylor. We are so glad God chose us to be your parents. We look forward to what God has planned for your life. Happy birthday, D! We love you so much!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Heart Disney World!

It's great to be home!!! I'm having a hard time believing we have been back almost a week. We had such an amazing time and it flew by in a blink of an eye. In fact, I have been feeling a bit off kilter because we have been planning and saving and planning and saving for almost two years and now that it's over, I am not sure what to do with myself. But with two birthdays in the next two weeks, Trick-or-Treat, Thanksgiving, and Christmas around the corner, I am sure that feeling won't last long!

I REALLY love Disney World! Everything about it is completely over the top and fabulous. The kids had such a great time, but I think it's the most exhausted they have ever been in their lives.

We were also able to visit Sea World and head to Sarasota to spend some time with some precious friends of ours. It was a wonderful, amazing, and busy trip! I ready to go back!

I took TONS of pictures. As in 1000's. I will try not to bore you with all of them, but I will be posting several as the weeks go by so you can get a taste of all we were able to do and see! It's going to take me awhile to get them up, so I am just going to spread them out over several posts.

So, until I get caught up here are just a few pictures!

I look forward to sharing more with you in the next couple of weeks!

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Lack of Planning..."

"...on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine." One of my favorite sayings. And truly, lack of planning, for the most part, is not something I struggle with. You are talking to one serious control freak here. Planning is an essential part of my life. I am learning that if planning ahead is not done I go completely nuts and have nervous breakdowns with temper tantrums following to cope with the fact that others are not nearly as obsessive compulsive organized as I am and that is really OK. But for me, I am built to plan. I think that's why I was a wedding planner for 20 years and I had my entire wedding planned by the time I was 13. It's in my bloooood.

There are 3 general rules for the subject of planning.
  1. Planning must begin several weeks if not months, even better years, prior to an event. Don't even try to come to me the day prior to an event. I can do it, but you're going hear about it.
  2. There MUST be lists. Lots and lots of them.
  3. Everything must be entered into a Excel spreadsheet.

See? TOTAL control freak.

And our vacation to Disney this year has been no exception. We booked and started saving for this trip in February of 2008. That's almost two years ago. I had the tickets a year in advance and our reservations for meals 3 months in advance (only because they wouldn't let me do it any sooner.) I had a house sitter booked (my sweet brother), my dog sitters booked (my parents) and had a the "Big Reveal" for the kids planned by last Christmas. I've gathered books, bought a Disney planner folder and typed out itineraries. (Do let me interject and say I have not planned out our days minute by minute for this trip - just what parks we will be at on each day and where our reservations are. We are on vacation, ya know!)

AND I started packing two weeks ago. I absolutely LOVE packing! I know. I need therapy.

Here's just some of the stuff we are taking. Oh - and see that white tee with the red polka dots in the middle of the pic and the Children's Place bag in the photo below? That's what I can't wait to show you. It's my latest "craft crush!!" Can't show you yet, because I am not finished with them, but I can tell you I am absolutely addicted!! You'll have to wait!

See that cute little smocked Cinderella dress? Love it!! Picked it up at a sweet consignment sale here in town, another obsession of mine. Perfect for breakfast with Cindy!

Here's an image of just a few of my brochures, books that I am borrowing, maps, and my cutie- patootie folder where I keep the most important thing -MY LISTS! Oh, and other minor things like reservation confirmations and tickets and stuff. Just minor things.

So there you have it. I hope you still love me despite the fact you have just found out that I am a planning maniac! We are just about ready to hit the road.

We leave in just a few days, so I may be offline for awhile, but I will try to post when I can. I'll miss you guys and will be back soon! Mickey Mouse, here we come!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where in the world is Sonya Balentine?

I know I have a practically fallen off the face of the earth, but things are sooooo incredibly busy right now. Disney is less than two weeks away. I have had two sick boys this week. I am currently participating in 3 children's clothing consignment sales and school is chugging along. I honestly haven't had time to sit much less get a little blogging in.

So, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here. Life is wonderful and busy. I have created some really cute things in my crafting circle that I hope to show you soon. I am not sure how much I will be able to blog in the next few weeks though, but as soon as we get back from Disney World you can expect some serious blogging catch up. Hope you all are well and happy. Peace and joy to all of you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just Like Chocolate Bunnies, Life is Sometimes Bittersweet

Perri has always been a picky eater. She has a hard time with certain textures and textiles, and therefore her diet has consisted of just a very few items that she will eat. Occasionally, we will playfully give her a hard time about her eating habits. One of these times was while Da Hubby was fixing dinner. He jokingly made the comment that she didn't like to eat ANYTHING. Perri made a very defiant objection to that comment to which my husband challenged her to name 5 favorite things she would eat. Her exact list:

1. Captain Crunch
2. "Peanut Jelly Samiches"
3. Tacos
4. McNuggets
5. Chocolate Bunnies

Two weeks ago my little picky eater started Kindergarten. Granted she is homeschooled so we didn't have to go through the drama of sending her to a school, but there is a still a bit of melancholy involved in thinking that the baby of our family is now considered school aged.

I have always enjoyed documenting all of my kids firsts (as well as the seconds, thirds, fourths, and everything in between) in photos. I remember taking this picture like it was yesterday. It was the first time I caught her smiling on camera. I remember I had been trying to snap a shot of this for two weeks but it never failed, as soon I as pulled the camera out she would put her smile away. She was almost 10 weeks before I finally caught that sweet little grin.

I caught the first time she lifted her head.

And when she started pulling up and "cruising the house."

We made sure we got her first expression of when she tasted solid food and veggies. As you can tell she didn't like them back then either.

We most certainly had to get a shot of her (and this is a big one) in her first smocked dress!

We covered the first time we took her to the zoo...

Her first swim. She loved and still loves the water!...

Her first birthday...

And when she began to walk.

School seem like such a long time away. We loved having her as the baby and she was so tiny and petite and so very, very loved. Still is!

We caught several others firsts as she continued to grow.

Her first fishing trip...

Here's her first jump off a diving board. She has always been such a brave little thing. I think having two older brothers has really helped her here!

Her first swim in the ocean...

Her first night in a "big girl" bed...

And her first haircut...

School still felt so far away and she still in many ways felt like a baby. Next thing I know, time sneaked up on us and it's her first day in kindergarten. Wow! Time has flown and she and my sweet boys are growing up so very and way too fast!

Pretty much my entire life I have been a milk chocolate kind of girl. I love the stuff. Could possibly eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner everyday. Lately, however, a good piece of quality dark chocolate has been such a treat and change from the norm. It's sweet bitterness has such a full and substantial flavor. I am really coming to enjoy it!

I suppose now that my kids are getting bigger I am realizing that even though a wonderful part of my life is over, (the diapers, kids having a nap time, baby food jars, and Binky nursing babies part - the sweet, milk chocolate part of my life), a whole new wonderful part of my life is just beginning. Its certainly not what I am used to. I have had, after all, a baby/toddler in my home for the past decade. This new part of having all elementary aged kids is a bit unusual, but not in a bad way. It's just different.

Sometimes I long for those precious baby days. I guess that's why experiencing this new part of life is somewhat bitter. Do I mourn for those days? Honestly, I would say yes. Sometimes. But it is overwhelming laced with the sweetness of joy for the present and days to come. Just like dark chocolate.

So MY lists of 5 favorites over the years have changed.

My list ten years ago would have been:

1. Rocking babies in the middle of the night.
2. The tiny clothes, diapers, and itty-bitty shoes.
3. All the firsts of the first year.
4. Watching Da hubby read the Bible over sleeping babies.
5. Milk Chocolate Bunnies.

My 5 favorites list now:

1. Hearing my kids sing praises to their Maker without being prompted to do so.
2. Watching my kids conquer fears and putting their trust in their Savior.
3. Walking hand in hand with Da Hubby behind our kids who are walking hand in hand.
4. Having the privilege of being able to teach my kids at home.
5. Dark Chocolate Bunnies.