Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Boo-Man!

My little man is now a medium size man. Every eve on the birthday of one of our kids I put them to bed and "re-live" the night each of them were born. I love those memories of when the nurses handed me tightly burrito wrapped tiny-nesses. I remember exploring their hands and toes. I remember what each of their cries sounded like. I remember nursing them and being so overwhelmingly happy and terrified at the same time.

The next morning, I get up and they are magically a year older. Duglin is 7 today. Seven! How fast the time has flown! He is growing up to be such a great and personality filled boy! He definitely gets his wild and crazy personality from his daddy. The boy makes us laugh until we cry. Sometimes he makes us cry until we laugh! Every day with him is a blessing and we are so grateful to have such a unique kid!

Happy birthday, sweet boy! We love you so much!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Duglin's 7th Birthday
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night Videos

It's no secret that I love music of all kinds! I also really enjoy listening to and am fascinated by kids who have an amazing talent, so this week I have a 10 year old little girl who has an REMARKABLE gift. Hope you enjoy!

Side note - If you are a "RUSH" fan check out her rendition of "YYX" here. Keep in mind, chicky is 10 years old!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Heart Faces Contest

I found this really kewl blog that has a weekly contest for anyone who is interested in portrait photography. I love perusing the posts for helpful hints to feed my obsession with my camera! :) Such a neat resource for all levels of photographers! If you want to be amazed at some of the talent out there stop by the site and check out some of the others entries. Breathtaking, to say the least!

This week's contest theme is B&W. I though it would be fun to enter! The blogs IP is

Here is an entry of my birthday boy, Duglin. I love this shot as it shows the "point" on the top of his left ear. He is truly a little man with a 1000 faces!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship

I don't know why I do it to myself. About 3 times a year I do something that I am so conflicted over, so stressed out about, and SO completely obsessed with. I have practiced, failed, retried, "stayed the course", trained, and nope, we're not talking about a marathon here. I'm talking about baking and decorating my kids birthday cakes.

This is a major source of stress in my life and Duglin's birthday is coming up next weekend so the strategic planning has begun. This all started back on Daylor's 1st birthday. I REALLY wanted to make his first birthday cake. I had in mind this "simple" & cute hedgehog cake. (I know, a hedgehog cake for a first birthday? What was I thinking? Apparently, I wasn't. All that nursing I did must have sucked the brains cells dry.) There was just one itsy-bitsy problem. I couldn't cook.

Like the good mommy I was, I ventured out into the uncharted territories of baking and attempted to make this joker. Umm, attempted. This was my fourth try. The first I burnt. The second I drop on the floor. The third fell into a bazillion pieces when I dumped it out of the pan. Finally, after calling my best friend and cousin and sobbing to her on the phone for an hour, I tried, yet again, and came up with this. (Kinda creepy looking, huh?)

I am not one to ignore challenges. I forced myself after his birthday to commit to making the cakes every year. "WHY!??!?!?," myself screamed to myself! Because it was and still is hard for me. Sure, I could just order one, but because this is such a challenge I make myself do it every birthday. The first 5 years I HATED it. I whined and I complained. I continually burnt and broke most of those cakes, and I had to control myself as to not cuss at every Duncan Hines cake mix I saw. I even begrudgingly took some cake decorating classes. I kept trying and still do.

But now, even though I couldn't say it's something I would enjoy doing everyday, I have learned to like it when those birthdays come around. I enjoy the creativity behind coordinating the cake with the birthday themes the kids pick out.

I have done LOTS of car themes:

I also like the cakes below because they are what I call "interactive cakes." The first pictures are of Daylor's last year's cake. He had a Hot Wheels theme and so I found the rad car launcher that we let him and a couple of the other kids launch Hot Wheels cars into before we served it up. (This the only time of year we let the kids play with their food.)

Then, there was this cake which is probably one of my favorites. We found this cute remote control Caterpillar bulldozer. We made it look like the bulldozer had plowed through the cake and then let Duglin, push the cake around and off on to our guests plates. THAT was a most excellent cake, especially with a kid whose is a hands on kind of guy! It was a blast!

I LOVE to use props with my cakes, and at Daylor's 4th birthday he was really into dump trucks. Target had this huge dump truck in it's summer stuff for $5.00 and I made this AWESOME recipe that included crumbled chocolate cake, (I used Devil's food and milk chocolate for two different colors to have a more realistic "dirt" look.), Cool Whip, a little bit of strong brewed coffee, chocolate pudding, and Heath bits. I poured it into the truck's bed and popped in a few candles. Looks like dirt, but tastes sooooooo good! Fast and EASY!

I have made a few dinosaur themes including a Dinosaur Park cake complete with a picture of Duglin walking his T-Rex.

We've done Blues Clues and frog ponds. One of Duglin's nicknames is "Frogga."

I am even venturing out a bit and doing a few cakes for close friends and relatives.

But my absolute favorite cakes to do are my girlie-girl's cakes.

My favorite and best cake by far was for Perri's Cinderella themed birthday last year. It took three hours to complete, but I did it!

So there ya have it. My love/hate relationship. With cake. And this Friday night I will once again trash the kitchen, dye my fingernails green with food gels, and wonder what is wrong is with me as I make another culinary birthday surprise for my precious Duglin's birthday party. I have a LONG way to go and someday I might even be brave enough to try to use fondant, but for now it's just me, my lazy Susan, and my Wilton tips. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Night Videos

This week's pick involves two of my most favorite things, babies and dogs. Say it with me..AAAAWWWWWWW! Enjoy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Videos

Time for a little "Mystery Science Theater." I had to watch this video literally about 25 times to decide if it were real or not. Several places I checked into say it is, but I still am not sure! So, I think I will let you decide for yourself what you think. Comment and let me know. Is it for real?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh, Me!

Wouldn't it be great if we could go back and educate our younger selves on what to do and be just so we would be better prepared as to what was coming. Beth at Not a Bow in Sight had this brilliant idea to write a letter to our 20 year old self. At first, I thought this would be a fun thing to do, but I have to say it has been a very thought provoking and somewhat painful letter to write. In fact, I only am going to post about half of what I wrote because, as much as I love you all, somethings are just between me, myself, and God. If you blog, I encourage you to try this yourself and link up to Beth's site. Here is my letter...

Dear Me,

Hey, chick! It's you writing, just 15 years older and 15 pounds heavier. Things have changed quite a bit. You have have to dye your hair blond now. It's not naturally that color anymore and it's even getting a little grey. Your eyes are starting to show a few lines and well, enjoy these days while you can eat anything and not gain a pound. That's going to change, too.

I thought I might write and give you few pointers for the next few years. I know you are planning a wedding and will marry in the spring, but if you could put down the planning book and lend me your ear for a moment, there is much we need to discuss.

First, you are way to concerned about how you look and how the opposite sex sees you. You are not defined as to how much attention you receive (or in our case) don't receive from men. God has given you an amazing man that you will be marrying soon. HE thinks and will continue to think you are the most beautiful woman who walks the face of the earth. Start believing him now. Let that be enough.

Secondly, stop trying to be other people. Stop copying others and be who God made and wants you to be. He wants us to be unique and different for a reason or we would have all be created to look and think the same. Celebrate your different-ness. Thrive in your own gifts and ideas and don't worry about whether or not you fit in. All that matters is that you live a genuine and transparent life that glorifies God. THAT is what draws people to you.

Third, it's OK to be emotional. It does not mean you are weak. It does not make you fragile. It means you are human. Go with it.

Let's talk about singing for a minute. When you are standing in front of a microphone, get over yourself. I don't say that to be harsh, but you are truly wasting time trying to entertain. Not that there is anything wrong with entertaining, but you will soon find it to be unfulfilling. Remember who gave you this talent and spend your time learning how to give it back. Granted, the compliments given to an entertainer are nice, but at best, short-lived. The blessings given to a worshipper, however, are eternal.

Speaking of worshipping, live and breathe every moment for Jesus. Talk to Him constantly. He is your Best Friend, your Love, your Hope. Don't wait until you are in your 30's to read His Love Letter to you. You will miss out on so much. Start now and commit to doing it everyday.

Your doctor will be right when she told you that you would have problems getting pregnant. Don't freak out over this. You will be frustrated and will be become more familiar with a basal body temperature chart than you ever would have imagined. You will take fertility drugs and you will have a two precious boys (and praise God, not at the same time). Then God will intervene and there will be a nuclear-surprise, natural pregnancy in which will result in a angelic little girl.

Let me stop here and say your pregnancies are going to be VERY hard on your body and your body will in turn try to "expel" your babies way before their due dates. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. DON'T be up and about when you are supposed to be on bed rest. Don't feel guilty, pre-term labor is not your fault. DON'T let inexperienced nurses give you catheters.

That being said, do adore the miracle tininess of your preemies. They grow so quickly. Do enjoy the bumps and thumps they give you while in your belly. Every time you get a stomach gurgle for the rest of your life, for a split second, you will put your hand to your belly and think there is a baby still there. Just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Your kids will be the light of your life.

Just a couple more things, then you can get back to your wedding planning.

Love and appreciate your friends. They will be vessels from God in your times of need and rejoicing. Return the favor to them.

Get a good camera and learn how to take good pictures BEFORE the kids come. (Ya know those three years we talked about you trying to get pregnant - That's a great time!)

And lastly, God is going to ask you to homeschool your kids. No seriously, He is. Stop laughing. I mean it. Save yourself a week of sleep and don't fight it. It's useless. You're going to do it and you will even like it (sometimes).

So that's about it. I could say more, but you need to go through some stuff to get to where I am now. It's going to be OK. You will come out for the better, I promise.

Your loving self,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Baby Cora

If you would, pray for this family as they grieve the loss of their precious baby, Cora. You can read their story here as well as leave them a note of encouragement.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him..."
Psalm 103:11

Great Attitude Award

Yay! I received my first blog award from Jennifer from Love, Laughter, and Lyrics:

The Great Attitude/Spirit of Gratitude Award

Now I get to pass it on!

Here are the guidelines...

Put the logo on your blog or post. Nominate at least 10 blogs (sorry, I only have 8) which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE! Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Jennie at Loving Life at Home

Kelly at Emma & Ava Moments

Barbee at Wookies and Tu-Tus

Kris at The Johnsons (Yes, I know you have a website not a blog, but that still counts in my book. :)

Sparrow at Birdman 1

Amber at (aefilkins)

Michelle at Circle of Life

Sarah at ThriftyDecorChick

Love to all of you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Videos

I don't know about you but it has been a rough week at the Balentine Castle! Lots of school and attitude issues with the kidos. What's up with that?

Then Da Hubby and I redid our budget because we are taking Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" class and well it just needed to be done. Budgets TOTALLY suck. As my friend Kris told me, it's much more fun just living in denial. I agree. But, we have some BIG TIME cash-ola things coming up, so that means no mo' Target trips. :( Well, except for this: my dogs chewed up officially EVERY pair of underwear that I own, so I was FORCED to go to Target, spend $18.00 of our newly saved "emergency" fund (sad isn't it?) to get new ones, and be tempted by all the cute spring stuff coming out. In the words of Simon Cowell, "It was Dreadful." I behaved, though. Sniff, Sniff.

And have you watched the news lately? Bad economy, loss of savings, loss of jobs, not to mention murders and crime on the rise. Hmm. It's a good thing God is still the same and there is always joy in Him no matter what the circumstances are!

So, this week I decided everyone could use a little laughter in their lives, hence my choice(s) for Friday Night Videos. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I am posting them both this week. Meet Christian comedian, Tim Hawkins. If you get the opportunity, go search a few of his other videos on YouTube.

This dude will make you pee in your pants, so go get your Depends on and enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh, Shoot!

A pattern has begun. As I have mentioned in previous posts I am a total shutterbug. I literally take pictures daily mostly of my kids, occasionally of other things. This week we had "snow" here where we are. It wasn't much, but it was enough to make the ground turn white (sorta of.) I went out and shot a few pictures that I will spare you the time of viewing.

It's been VERY cold the past few weeks and so the kids have been couped up inside. We went through all that crud at Christmas with ear infections and flu, and I am adamant that we WILL NOT go through that again, so like the mean mommy that I am, I have insisted that everyone stay inside.

This weekend, however, we received a reprieve in the weather. The sun was out and it was actually 65 degrees. I decided to release the monkeys and let them go outside to play for a few hours and soak up some Vitamin K. We had a great time visiting with our AWESOME neighbors and snapping a few shots of the kids. Well, OK, kid.

So, back to my first comment about a pattern developing. I am beginning to realize that as my boys are growing they are beginning to get a little tired of mom's constant begging to get "just one more picture." I mean, I really don't ask that much. Is it really that bad that I constantly have a camera in their faces, and maybe that I have to adjust my white balance and Aperture settings one or two (dozen) times a shot, and that I make them repeat a "spontaneous" moment three or four times with the same enthusiasm as the original moment so I can capture the event from all angles? And so what that I sometimes forget to set my flash or take the lens cap off. They should be used to this by now, it's only been going on SINCE THEY WERE BORN! But NOOOOOOO! "We are getting "too old" for this, Mom. You're embarrassing us!" (blah, blah, blah.) Well...(sniff)so what...(breaking into sobbing mess......NOT!) GET OVER IT and GET USED TO IT!

I will have to say, however, when they get in these moods the pictures turn mostly out like this and, well, that's when mommy gets vindictive and threatens to put them on her blog.

Ahh, that felt good.

Then, there is my Perri. Breathe of fresh air, Perri. (Well, maybe with the exception of when she eats baked beans or biscuits.) She (for the moment) loves to have her picture taken. While we were out she was once again my little model and we got several of these beauties. (Thanks Jason for the shooting tips!)

Now, don't get me wrong I still love to get pictures of my sweet boys too, but it's just easier to work with a subject that WANTS to get their picture taken. I vow to keep trying, though, and maybe, just maybe I can catch the other two when they aren't looking! (Or not!) :)