Sunday, February 26, 2012

time flies

yesterday marked our six month move-i-versary to orange county.

is that possible?
six months!

i remember before we left, 
several wise people told me it would take at least six months,
if not a year,
for our new life to feel like home.

at the time, that overwhelmed me.
six months. a year.
that seemed like such a long time!

but how quickly those six months have gone.
and it is incredible that after six months, this is home.

god has poured out his mercies upon us.
wonderful new friends.
a thriving church.
an awesome life group.
play dates for our children.  

that doesn't mean i do not miss fresno.
miss my family.
miss my friends there.
miss my house.
(i'm just being honest.  i loved that house)

but there is no place i'd rather be than right in the center of god's will.
and time & time again, 
he shows us that this is right for us.
we are where he wants us to be.

it takes time for a new life to become regular life.
and there are still things that just need more time.

but i think we're off to a pretty amazing start.

we thought it would be fun to celebrate with a family day.
it had been SO beautiful here lately-
weather in the 70s!-
that the beach seemed like a perfect idea.
(although it was definitely NOT 70 yesterday... a bit colder & windier than we hoped!  
but that didn't stop these little ones!)
this sassy little girl was excited to rock her new bathing suit and play in the water.

charlotte loved playing in sand with daddy

our little dreamer was happy to explore the shore...

and then chase some birds

daddy dug a big hole- 

perfect to sit in!

bella discovered the fun of collecting shells.

and jackson wrote his name in the sand
(along with his coming-up-soon birthday)

cheesy smiles abounded

bella discovered some ladybugs that had obviously gotten lost

jackson napped in the sun

and daddy (once again) proved to be the best daddy ever

life is good.
and we love our home.

and i had to share this one...
when did my 4-year-old turn 16?
this makes me a little nervous for our future... ;)

Friday, February 24, 2012

100th day

today was jackson's 100th day of school.

each child had to come up with a project of 100 of something to share with the class.
100 buttons sewn on a shirt.
100 goldfish glued onto blue paper.
100 stickers on posterboard.

the 100 things were supposed to represent something about the child.
something they love.
we bachmans never like to do things the normal way.
so we thought and thought about what jackson loves.

he thought it was a great idea.

he counted out 100 mini pancakes.
we cooked them and then set them on the counter to harden up.

after that, he & i glued them onto a plate.
he made a little '100 pancakes' sign that we put on top.
voila!  a project perfect for our little boy.

he has to present his project to the class, so here is a little video of him practicing this morning:

100 days of kindergarten is a big accomplishment.

jackson has worked so hard this year.
and it has not been easy.

kindergarten has been a gigantic adjustment,
both for him & us.

he is learning to write sentences.
he is learning to add numbers.
he is learning how to make friends and be successful in school.

we are learning what it means to be parents of a school-aged child,
particularly one with special needs.
we are learning how to balance the needs of our child 
with trying to maintain healthy relationships with school staff.
we are learning how to advocate for our child when no one else will.

we have all learned a lot these past 100 days of school.
and i have no doubt there are many more lessons ahead for our family.

but the one thing i already know:
jackson is amazing, hard-working, and brilliant.
and we couldn't be prouder of him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


i really love my husband.
there are a lot of days i wake up and can't believe this awesome guy married me.
almost 11 years of marriage, and he just keeps getting better.

with three littles running around,
it can be hard to get good time together,
and even harder to do ministry alongside each other.

a few weekends back,
jeff was invited to hume lake to speak at their junior high winter retreat.
in the almost-six-years since we've been parents, 
i have been unable to just be a wife when he is speaking at a camp.
i always have the kiddos, which means they are in bed while he is speaking
(and i'm sitting in a dark room with a flashlight trying not to wake anyone!)

since it was supposed to be snowing and we'd be in a one bedroom,
we decided it would be best to not bring the kids for the short weekend.
so we dropped them off in fresno
(thanks jr & mom!)
and headed up the hill. 
just us!
i cannot tell you how wonderful this weekend was.
obviously, just being with jeff was wonderful.
real conversation!
hand holding!
no forcing vegetables on anyone during a meal!

of course we were surrounded by junior high students,
which meant eating meals surrounded by boys
playing jeff's favorite camp game, "apple fork"
(you'll have to ask him.  i'm always afraid of losing an eye)

also a fun surprise,
one of our high school students from davis was there!
she is all grown up, graduated from college, 
and working with junior high students in slo.
it was so sweet to get to catch up with emily.
we are so incredibly proud of her!
(hello bad lighting! but emily is still the cutest!)

but the most wonderful part of the weekend 
was the opportunity to really do some business with the lord.
'quiet' times for me are rarely quiet with kids everywhere.
 i rarely get a good chunk of time to just really focus on what it is he has for me.
i am grateful to be at a church that is really challenging me 
and pushing me in my faith.
i have been learning a lot about myself recently,
and i think god is really working on me.
not always easy, but good.

the theme of the weekend was
'living an awe-ful life'...
a life in awe of the lord.
the verse they studied was romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

over the course of four sermons,
jeff focused on being in awe of god, the need for obedience, god's mercy for us, and living a life of worship.
it always amazes me that god uses my husband to challenge my socks off.
during every session,
i was convicted, encouraged, and motivated in my faith.
(you can listen to all jeff's talks here.  and you should.  they are that good.)
go down to week 5 and then download all the 'jeff bachman' amazingness.
god really did a work on my heart at hume.
january had been rough, and my attitude was bad.
i needed that refreshing reminder of who GOD is, and in that- who i am.
am i living my life as a sacrifice to god?
do i consider how to worship god in my everyday life?
am i acting out of obedience to god- sacrificing my desires to him?
do i remember the mercy he showed me on the cross?

too often,
the answer to those questions are 'no'.  
i am thinking about ME far more than i am thinking about god.
i loved when jeff said,
'having a right view of who god is allows us to have a correct view of the rest of our lives.'
i hate that so often i allow my circumstances to shape my view of god,
rather than the other way around.

the worship over the weekend was incredible,
and so many of the songs spoke directly to my heart.
one song in particular stayed with me throughout the weekend and beyond,
echoing what god had been speaking to my heart.
how i want it to be the lyrics of my life.

i'll stand with arms high & heart abandoned,
in awe of the one who gave it all.
i'll stand, my soul, lord, to you surrendered.
all i have is yours.

being a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, a customer, a driver, a co-worker...
every bit of my life is called to be a gift back to my creator.
we are called to life an awe-ful life.
a life of sacrifice.
a life of service.
a life of worship.

i am so grateful for the weekend with my husband at hume lake.
so thankful to be reminded of what is truly important.
and so ready to live an awe-ful life.

hume lake photos when there is no one around to take a picture of you together ;)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

charlotte's 2nd little mermaid party

i'm pretty sure by now you know how much charlotte adores the little mermaid.
her days are filled with shouts of 'mermaid!!!' and a desire to own every mermaid-themed-object disney has every created.

i'm going to be honest. 
if i was going to pick a disney princess for my child to be obsessed with, it probably wouldn't be ariel.
i mean really... she's a spoiled girl who disobeys her father & still gets what she wants.
not exactly my favorite role model.
but what can you do?
i have no idea how it happened, but that girl loves her.
so we're going with it.
and working on making sure she doesn't act just like ariel ;)

knowing how much she loves mermaid,
i decided several months ago to throw her a mermaid-themed bash for her 2nd birthday.

i heart parties.
i love every little detail, dreaming up how to make it special & perfect for my kiddo.
i've said before that i see it as a love letter to my child.
i hope she felt loved after this ;)

we had the party on our back patio.
it was raining in the morning, so i almost had a panic attack.
but it cleared up and was a beautiful day.
we had so much fun celebrating our sweet girl!

since i didn't want people coming into the house, 
i made a sign for the fence directing them into the backyard.

our backyard has a small, fenced-in area before you enter the actual yard.
i wanted to do something fun, but nothing that kids would want to stay in since it isn't super visible.
i decided to make a table with all of charlotte's favorite things- her 'treasure trove'.
("look at this stuff, isn't it neat?  wouldn't you think my collection's complete?....")
i loved the personal element as you walked in.
i made tags for each item, many with what she called it.
(for example, ketchup is 'bip' and her backpack is her 'pack-pack')

i also had a photo timeline around the area.
i painted clothespins and attached photos from her two precious years.

here is the view walking in from the fenced-in area....

i wanted to create an 'under the sea' feeling.
we draped blue tulle to be water,
and hung lengths of green crepe paper as kelp.
and of course, bubbles filled the 'air'.

the view of the deck..

i wanted the focus to be the food table.
we hung a variety of tissue poms from the beams above.
(thank you, corrine, for making the poms for me!!!)

one of my favorite things i made
(and by far the hardest project)
was the sandcastle centerpiece.
i got this idea, along with many others, from one charming party
i love, love, love how it turned out.
i don't think pictures do it justice!

i ordered this sweet banner off etsy

 i wanted to do something fun with the cake.
i decided to top it with a mermaid off etsy, along with a fork & pipe
(shout out to the movie!)
once you cut into the cake,
beautiful colors awaited to be eaten!

i made cupcakes for the kiddos.
charlotte's was topped with the little mermaid.
for the others, i made sand dollars with a candy mold,
and added crushed-up graham crackers as sand.
a little turquoise frosting added the finishing touch!

sea animal sugar cookies

i tried to make all my food be ocean-themed
the fish bowls were blue jello with a swedish fish inside.
(note to self... swedish fish dissolve in jello... if i did it again, i'd make the jello cup, chill them,
 and then stick the fish inside! a little whip cream on top would cover the hole)

i had fun with the drink station.
i made labels with charlotte's name for the water bottles,
ordered polka dot straws off etsy,
and made a 'seaweed juice' punch out of grape juice & 7-up.
my mom has an awesome drink dispenser from pottery barn
 that allows you to put decorations at the bottom.... so cute!  
i filled it up with sand & shells
(bella LOVED peeling the labels off the water bottles- a great job for her :)

i love stations at a party.
it allows kids to do what they want,
and you can vary activities depending on the ages of your kiddos.

my first station was clothespin mermaids.
i pre-painted the bodies, traced the fins & then the kids added the details.

the second station was the sand search.
what ocean party is complete without sand?
and with the ocean so close... our sand is free ;)
i placed 10 little mermaid figurines in the sand, and kids got to hunt for them.
this was a big favorite with all ages!

third was paper plate jellyfish.
the kids loved making these!
i pre-cut lots of ribbon so little ones wouldn't have access to scissors ;)

fourth was the paper plate fish.
simple & fun!

every kid loves play-doh, 
so the fifth station had play-doh & various ocean-themed cookie cutters.

i always include a coloring station.
simple & a crowd pleaser!

for those that needed a little quiet time,
i had 'the little mermaid' playing on the tv in the living room.
it came in quite handy at the end when awesome parents helped us clean up!
(and bella made a super-cute garland to put across the tv :)

finally, i had a place for little ones to go.
some soft toys & a book with ocean magnets was a great place to sit.

i think the little details really make things fun.
so i put mermaid duckies in the fountain.
i didn't know that would become an activity too!

the live fish on the tables were a big hit!
the only problem... i now have pet fish in my house.

the kids were showing off their best fish faces :)

i wanted to have a few games for all the kids to do together.
i tried to do things that a variety of ages would be interested in.
we started with pass the mermaid.
like hot potato, but if you had the mermaid when the music stopped,
you got a starfish hand-stamp!
(and of course, they passed it to 'part of your world'!)

next up...
these kiddos didn't quite get the concept, 
but they loved walking under the limbo stick
while dancing to 'under the sea'

after games, it was cake time!
our sweet girl was overjoyed to blow out her candles
and dig into her cupcake.

i went simple with favors...
just little bubble bottles & a note attached with rope

our little family
(the ocean backdrop was a leftover from the church dance the night before.  score!)

we all had a blast celebrating charlotte!

 just had to share her adorable little shoes...

 we finally had a chance to open gifts this afternoon...
i had to laugh at the abundance of mermaid gear she got.
(and this doesn't include some cute jammies she already opened!)
she was in mermaid euphoria & wanted everything opened immediately!

i had so much fun planning & putting this party together.
it is such a privilege to have friends & family come together to celebrate your children.
we are beyond blessed by all the amazing people in our lives.

and charlotte LOVED her party.
she had a blast & is still saying 'i mermaid party!'

we love you precious girl.
happy 2nd birthday, my little mermaid.

see charlotte's 1st birthday party here