Each One Is My Favorite

I don’t have much time to spend on my blog today, but nevertheless, I still have a few thoughts to jot down.  Through all the hustle and bustle and the busy, busy, business of everything I’ve got going on this week, I must not forget the things that really matter…the small things, the seemingly insignificant things, the everyday things, the ordinary things.  Now it might seem that my cousin’s wedding that’s taking place on Saturday (in just 3 days) - the one I’m in charge of making look spectacular – would be the top priority on my agenda, but it, in fact, is not.  My most urgent task, the one of utmost importance, is to spend every moment I can with my children, and to not let them slip away without me relishing the joys of mommyhood.  My goal is to convince each one of my children that they are my favorite…because they are…each one of them is my favorite.

This is a short little video that is well worth your time if you are a mommy.


Minnie’s First Week Home

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a week now, a long with several others, but it has just been one of those weeks.  Bringing a puppy home is a lot like bringing a newborn baby home – they need constant care and supervision and lots of love and affection.  And while they don’t eat as often as a baby, they do need to be taken out just as often as diapers need to be changed.  But it’s been a good week for all of that.  Allergies and strep throat have visited our house as well, and while in some ways made it a little more difficult, it also gave us plenty of laying around time to bond with our new family member.

So…Minnie is home!  We got to bring her home last Saturday and she is everything that we wanted in a puppy.  She is the typical miniature schnauzer – happy, peppy, friendly, super smart, a quick learner, obedient and eager to please, and a natural with family connections.  She is also affectionate, playful, and a very good cuddler.  She has brought us all the joys that a new puppy does, but for us, even more so.

So without further adieu, here are some snapshots of our first week with Minnie Mia Lulu

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The Newest Addition to the Graham Fam

It’s exciting times for us these days.  We are getting a puppy!  It’s true, and we are bringing her home this Sunday.  Now, this might not seem like that big of a deal to some, but to a mom with 3 small kids, who has listened to her children ask Jesus for a puppy night after night for far too long, it’s an answered prayer – a miracle, even. 


So this is her at 4 weeks.  She was our Valentine gift.  I say “our” because I’ve wanted her just as much as the kids.  With all that we’ve had to let go of recently, a puppy could be just what we need.  I need to see my kids happy and excited again, and I’ve needed to be able to provide that for them.  So much of my heartache hasn’t just been from the loss of my baby, but from the loss of my children’s baby sister.  It’s hard enough to suffer the grief that it brings, but to have to endure your children’s sorrow too, well, it’s just unbearable at times.  So this puppy is a Godsend in more ways than one.

Her name is Minnie…Minnie Mia Lulu, and she is a Miniature Schnauzer, just like the dog I grew up with.  And I am so happy that my kids will get to have all the fun I had making all  the same memories with a dog of their very own.     


This is her at 6 weeks.

Spiderman Birthday Party

Our Amazing Judah turned 5 this year and we just had  to celebrate Spidey style.  Judah has been in love with Spiderman since some time around last summer-fall, but not because he had seen any of the movies or comics or cartoons; Judah fell in love with Spiderman when he saw a costume in the store.  So for 9 months, he had been asking for a Spiderman birthday party.

Now that he’s 5, and has a much stronger opinion about everything, I wanted to throw Judah a “super cool” party – one that he would say was cool.  In May we gave Justice an Elmo party that involved turning our entire dining room into Elmo’s World using butcher paper and crayons.  It was a huge hit with the kids, so I wanted to do something just as big and special for Judah’s party.

Of course, my first and foremost goal is to make my child’s day special without blowing our budget, so I try to make most of the decorations…this is where it takes a lot of creativity, and it helps that my mother-in-law has the Cricut and is a really good sport for all my ideas.  I also found a couple of blogs out there that had some cool ideas that I incorporated into our party.  I just searched “spiderman birthday party.”  So here are all of my ideas, almost all homemade:

For the invitations I got this idea from a blog I found.  I printed a free online coloring page of spiderman’s head on red cardstock and cut it out.  Then I cut a slightly smaller shape from spiderman comic books and glued on the back side.  I got some used, inexpensive comics from a local comic store for this.  Then I printed the party info on vellum and stuck on top of the comics.  I had to use special vellum tape  = $6.

  My first idea for decorating was to make a giant web and have it suspended in the air…some black yarn and time was all I needed for this…a big impression for cheap = huge success.  I then added to my original thought by connecting the web to a spiderman cut-out to make it look like Spiderman was shooting the web.  I accomplished this in two ways.  The first was made with a spiderman poster and some foam board = $7.  The second was made from a spiderman gift bag I had leftover from another birthday party.  I simply cut the spiderman figure out and glued it to a poster board I already had = free!  Here’s how they turned out

As far as other decorations go, I made pom-poms out of tissue paper, as well as bought a couple of lanterns. My mother-in-law made webs and call-out sign with her Cricut. She also had a cartridge that made cityscapes that I used. And I did buy a banner and spiderman cups (they held candy) that was on clearance at our local party store.

I also incorporated a large cityscape painted on a poster board. I just used a small cityscape that was cut out with the Cricut, and a projector, and traced and painted. I put the large cityscape on the party favor table.

As far as party favors, I try to keep them simple and not spend too much money on them because, as a mom of 3 little kids, I know where they end up…lost or in the trash. So, I got the idea to make these fry boxes from a blog I found, also made with the Cricut, so all we had to do was fold and glue them. I decorated them with a tiny cityscape, a call-out, and a sticker. I made the boy and girl boxes a little different, but that was mostly because I could only find 1 pack of spiderman masks. So I gave those to the boys, and made girl masks from a foam kit I found at Walmart. Then I threw in some spidey tattoos, spiderman pinata candy, and a spiderman coloring page.

For food we had Doc Ock hot dogs, with chili to go along with it. Bugles in honor of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper that Peter Parker photographs for. My husband made our own copy of the newspaper for this special occasion. As far as the cake goes, I just have to say I have an amazing cake lady. She gets all the credit for her work.

Here are just a few extra photos to complete the picture

All in all, everything turned out very nice. I think all the kids had fun, and Judah was very happy with everything. All the hard work paid off with another successful party.

A Walk Down Memory Lane Part

Although, I can’t recall the exact moment when I actually met Jason for the first time, I also can’t remember when I didn’t know him.  We grew up going to the same summer church camp, so as far back as I can remember I’ve always known who he and his family were.  But I do remember when and where our story begins.

I was 15 when we had our meet-cute.  13 years ago at Camp Nikao, we started “hanging out” together…or at least within the same circle of friends.  To be a little more specific, my best friend Julia, with whom I went to camp with every year, met a boy–enough said.  But to further elaborate, Julia met Danny, who is now her husband, which is how most love stories that happen at camp end–happily ever after in marriage.

But back to my original thought, I, being 15, younger than most everyone else at camp that year, was kinda left lonely and wondering what to do when Julia started spending most of her time with Danny.  I was happy for her, but at the same time was feeling very much left out.  I wasn’t outgoing enough to make new friends on my own, and had it not been for Grace and Julie, I probably would have spent the entire week in solitude.  But Grace and Julie, who were older, felt sorry for me and started pulling me in with them their friends.  That was when I first met Jason for myself, I guess you could say.  Jason was a long-time friend of Grace.

I remember one morning in particular, we were hanging around one of the picnic tables in the shade just talking and laughing.  And for some reason I decided to share the experience I had in the shower that morning — I was washing my face and had somehow managed to get the facial cleanser up my nose.  This of course made me sneeze, and when I sneezed, I sneezed out bubbles.  It’s a rather silly story, but it made everyone laugh, and it made Jason laugh.  And it was just one of those moments that I can never forget.  At that point, I hadn’t been the outgoing, fun, funny type person.  I had pretty much been a quiet, quite shy girl, only socializing with my few closest friends.  But there I was in a circle of older people, and I actually said something that made everyone laugh.  It was a small joy, but a joy nonetheless that I experienced, and Jason played a significant role in it. And now that I think about it, this is a HUGE part of our story because laughing together, and making each laugh has become a very important staple of our marriage.

So at that time I was 15 and Jason was either 20 0r 21, depending on what week of June it was.  Obviously, nothing came out of that week of camp except for getting acquainted with one another, and perhaps a little harmless flirting…He told me, and I quote, “I wish I was 15 [...] So I could ask you to the Banquet.”  The Banquet was a big fancy dinner on the last night of camp that was notoriously known as the date night.  I’m not even sure how it all began, but every year they would do a nice dinner for the last night of camp, and somewhere along the way boys and girls starting asking each other to go to the Banquet.  Much like a school dance I guess, except this was church camp.  And when Jason made that statement to me, I do believe he was asking me if I would go to the Banquet with a guy in his cabin who was to shy to ask for himself.  I, not knowing this guy beyond seeing him across a crowded room, asked Jason’s advice, “Do you think I should?”  And he assured me that he was a really nice guy, so I agreed.  Of course, the whole thing is just ridiculous to me now, the epitome of teenage silliness.  But I sat next to and ate the Banquet dinner with this guy, whom I didn’t know and didn’t even speak to I think.  Luckily, Grace and Julie and Jason were sitting with us too, so it wasn’t too awkward.  True Story.

So I walked away from that week of camp thinking that Grace and Julie and Jason were all very nice and so sweet for letting me hang out with them.  To me, it was an act of sympathy on their part to boost the self-esteem of a 15-year-old girl.  Which, for the most part, I think it was…but, there was definitely an impression made.

To be continued…