Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Heart Matter

I admit that when I first started this post, I googled "funny quotes" because I wanted to begin this in a different way...and as I was looking at these not really funny but stupid quotes such as:

-Ladies first; Pretty ladies sooner
-There is only one perfect child in the world and every mother has it 
or, my favorite
-Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she will take it away

Clearly these were not written by a comedian. 

Then, as I started to google more funny quotes thinking I would come up with the BEST one, I saw my bible and my devotional and it was like a light bulb moment and I visioned God looking at me laughing and going "Duh" about some REAL quotes! 

The devo was from Matthew 15: 1-14 and several things stuck out to me. This is from the message version (by the way, I would love to hear your thoughts on The Message translation. As of now, I am reading that AND the English Standard Version because from what I understand, The Message is a that right? Either way, it makes it REALLY understandable for me!-Sorry for the long sidebar...just how my brain works!):

"Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, 'Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?.' But Jesus put it right back on them. 'Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God's commands? God clearly says, 'Respect your father and mother,' and 'Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.' But you weasel around that by saying, 'Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I've given to God.' That can hardly be respecting a parent. You cancel God's command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah's prophecy of you hit the bull's-eye: 'These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn't in it. They act like they're worshiping me, but they don't mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy'....Listen, and take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up." 

My first reaction is the think, "Those dumb Pharisees! Jesus is there with them and they are still acting like that?!!!" and then the devotional says that sometimes we often resemble the Pharisees more than we'd like to admit. Wham! Bam! Talk about conviction! Way to humble a girl! The devo tells us to pray and ask for Jesus-like hearts, one that is humble, transparent, and genuine. 

Speaking of being transparent and genuine...

I was talking to a friend the other day about how, as Christians, I think that we need to be sooooo transparent, especially to other believers! How many of us struggled with depression, loneliness, being affected by HUGE things like possibly a husband who struggles with pornography, or a wife who struggles with fantasizing about a life with another man, or an affair that has affected you indirectly or directly... I mean, we would be LYING to say that we didn't struggle with things. The tough thing is that I feel like as believers we are tricked into thinking that we have to show this almost perfect facade or people won't come to church or if someone knows of our "secret struggles" they might think less of you. And, truth is, they might, but if they are a true believer and friend, and start thinking with a biblical mindset then the BEST thing you can do is to open up to other believers and let them tell you what they've been through or maybe they know someone who can help. 

Now, I am not saying that with this "day and age" of Facebook to change your Facebook status to say everything that comes to your mind or to tell ALL million of your Facebook or Twitter friends that you just found out your spouse was cheating on you or you are so sad you might cut yourself. That's not what I mean. I just mean, be more open to the struggles of others and be more willing to share what you've been through...why else would God have allowed you to go through it?

I realized that that might have sounded like I was a know-it-all and we know we all LOVE it when people tell them what to do, but I am truly preaching to the choir. 

And, to think...I started this blog wanting to just show pictures from my cousin's baby's 1st birthday and my good friend, Lauren's wedding! So, I will leave you with these things! 

Me & The Lovely (now) Mrs. O'Neill!
Sidebar (again!): Most amazing dress! It was her Mom's that they reconstructed for Lauren. Talk about sentimental. It was her "Something Borrowed"
 Lovely Bridesmaids! Her Sister-in-law and Matron of Honor on left, Whitney, then her Maid of Honor and cousin, Erin, then Lauren and I! Loved her color scheme! 
Interior Designers aren't just good for home design! We have an eye for color, too!

 Me & my Hubby! Love him more every day! 
Only took 2 shots to get a good one of him not acting crazy :)
 Lauren and her Momma!
 L and her Mother-in-law (now)

Now on to Karly's party!
I always get these kind of things wrong, but I believe they are 2nd cousins! Grant, Brad, and Holly are cousins and these are their kids. 
Maks and Karly are only about 2 weeks apart!
 And, ALL of the 2nd cousins! Maks, Barrett, Luke, Kylie, Karly, and Bailey!
 The Birthday Babies and then a picture of Karly devouring her cake! So cute! 
She smiled honestly the whole time I saw her!

 MaMaw and her crew of great grandkids!

And, selfishly, two more from Maksim's 1st birthday. I love that someone got this picture of me and Maks smiling at each other and the other is a picture of his bday outfit since we didn't get a good enough shot of it! 
The outfit is from MadiBella. Check it out: 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Maksim's 1st Birthday Party!!!

That is an understatement. 

Here are some pictures of the event!
The theme was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and in the children's story, the caterpillar is hungry and eats ALL this food on different days...then gets stuffed...and then turns into a butterfly! So, I thought
1. It's a party and we need food
2. This book has tons of food ideas in it
Why not combine the need for food and the story!!!

Here is a picture of the spread. We had ALL sorts of goodies for the Little Caterpillars and their Big Butterflies (adults)

The AMAZING cake that my sister, Kristina, and my Mom had made for Maks

The cake pops that I made! Notice the cake pops are arranged in the shape of a caterpillar on the styrofoam. I made them with chocolate cake mix (chocolate cake was one of the things the Very Hungry Caterpillar ate and so was a lollipop...cake pop was close enough!)

The invitation is also showcased below as well. A good friend from church made all of those for us!

Probably my favorite thing next to the cake was the ice cream cone cupcakes! The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate an ice cream cone, but with the weather being so hot lately, I didn't want to fool with the mess of ice cream cones and young children. I had a blast making them and from what I hear, they were yummy!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar also ate a piece of cherry pie, but we settled for a cherry on top of the ice cream cone cupcakes!

We needed some food options for the adults, so I found this caterpillar layout of sandwiches and we replicated it below. We did some of the sandwiches as peanut butter and jelly and some as ham, cheese and turkey.

My sister, Kristina, wanted to have these CUTE cookies made for Maksim...I wish I took a better picture of them, but these were some of the favors for our guests

The Very Hungry Caterpillar also ate 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries and 5 oranges (I might have the order a little off, but you get the point) so, we wanted to have those out to eat as well! 

The picture also shows a few more favors. Butterfly jars filled with cereal of different colors to stick with the bright theme! We labeled these caterpillar and butterfly foods!

And, we had strawberry lemonade suffice for the strawberries that The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate!
He also ate a kind of caterpillar! Those were surprisingly gone within the first  hour! I bought a HUGE jar of those! 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar also ate swiss cheese, salami and sausage!

And, although the caterpillar didn't technically drink anything...we are human and needed to replenish! So, we got some cokes and Izze's for the adults or Butterflies!

Also, we made biscuit pizzas with caterpillar design on the top made out of pepperoni, green peppers and olives!

Our little family photo for the day! Then, some pictures of Maks and his smash cupcake! We also had insect antennas for a few of the guests...I didn't make enough for the 62 (!!!!!) guests that came! WOW!

I know I am biased, but he is just the CUTEST!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Almost a YEAR!

I can't believe I am typing this but my baby is almost a year old! I just can't believe it! 

As I look back at pictures I can remember the day he was born and had forgotten some of the feelings that came with that, but what a blessing this little guy has been to me and Grant! 

During my pregnancy, I had a few girls that were also pregnant at the same time. One of them had a sweet girl who had her 1st birthday party last weekend that we were lucky to have attended. It's just so amazing to see Maks and her at this age! And, in the other picture to the right (below) is another baby who was born a few months after Addy and Maks! I remember how much I loved having friends to compare notes with on my pregnancy. Truly a blessing! 

So, I hope the time does not continue to fly by...though I am LOVING the age Maks is at now! It might be harder to get him to sleep at night, but he is so fun and loving to his Momma and Dad! 

I will make sure to post pictures from his birthday soon! I might have went a LITTLE overboard with his 1st Birthday. My Mom told me today that I got it from her and that she KNOWS I remember my first birthday party...ha...what we will do for our children! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From March to August

I guess you can say I took a sabbatical from blogging. An unintentional sabbatical, that is.

Life got crazy and blogging was put on the back burner, but boy did I miss it. I missed catching up on others blogs, getting encouraged by what I read and blogging out my thoughts. So, I thought I would come back with a bang! Spruce up the ole' blog and start a-new!

What's new? Apparently a ton!

My Little Man, Maks! Here are a few of my favorite recent pictures!

Grant sent this one to me with the caption: "Time are hard for everyone"

Maks LOVES his baths! Now he's thinking he can walk around our bathtub. Scares me to DEATH!

Maks at friend, Izzy's 1st Birthday!

Maks is now 11 months, no longer 7 months. 15 days and counting and he will be the big O-N-E!!! I am in shock, truly. He is growing like a weed...well, at least to me! He's only in the 3rd percentile for his growth. I say it doesn't bother me, but yet, I keep bringing it up! In the back of my mind I just keep thinking that he's going to grow up and get made fun of at school for being a "little guy", but I know with his Dad's humor, sarcasm, and personality, Maksim will be able to take it with a grain of salt! And, then, probably like his Dad, he will shoot up and be tall and all the girl will want him.

At this point, he is walking, but what I like to call "hold-on-to-me-Mommy" walking! He can move from item to item but he just hasn't figured out how to balance enough to walk from furniture piece to furniture piece.  He is eating table food. I figured this one out a little late, but he's doing fine! He tried eggs with cheese this morning and is LOVING them! I still have this horrible fear of him choking! I think that and drowning are my two biggest fears. Funny how my fears changed from railroad tracks and elevators to having to do with food and water! Oh, how my life has changed! But, wouldn't trade it for the world!

Church is AMAZING and work is as well! I will save those topics for later blogs. I have a tendency to post FOREVER and I wanted to share a little about a devotional Grant just got me called "Solo: An Uncommon Devotional". I am only on Day 2, but I think it's pretty awesome.

Yesterday's devo was what I like to call "Let your "Yes" mean "Yes" and your "No" mean "No". What spoke to me was the passage in Matthew 5: 33-37 (this is from The Message version):

"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying 'I'll pray for you.' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong."

Today's devo had to do with Prayer (what the devo is ultimately about) and The Message stated the Lord's Prayer in a very practical and relevant way that helped me to break it down:

"Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best-as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes"

I won't spoil the devotionals by typing everything because I encourage you to try this one out.

So, I'm back in the swing of things and hope to keep pushing-or writing- on!