About El Momma

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Eve Carriage Ride

After the Christmas Eve service and Christmas Eve dinner we headed home. On our way there, we decided to take the children to look at Christmas lights a few blocks from our home. We had made our way all the way down one boulevard and back down the other, when we saw 2 Clydesdale horses pulling a carriage covered in Christmas decorations and lights. We were amused and pointed it out to the els. Next thing we knew, a woman was approaching the car asking us if we would like to ride. She said they would wait for us. We hurriedly put on the kids jackets (it was really cold) and climbed aboard.

Here are some of the family members we met. The mom's name is Mary. She has 6 children: 4 boys (the oldest) and 2 girls. They had just returned from church and were going out for a ride while dinner was warming up.

Moustapha and Baby Trinity

Bakri, Rebekah & Maddux having so much fun!

Here is our whole family! What a blessing this was. And such a fun way to end our Christmas Eve. Mary (the woman who invited us to ride) was truly an example of God's love. She wanted to share her experience and family with us and she did. His love isn't just for some...it is for all. Thank you, Mary, for your generosity and loving heart.

And, Bakri was so cute on the ride. He asked her if she was an elf. Then he asked if we were on our way to the North Pole. She told him that only reindeer went there and we were being pulled by horses. Later he asked the entire carriage "Are you guys ALL ELVES?" It was so cute!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Where the Wild Things Are" Birthday Party

Would you believe that a "Where the Wild Things Are" birthday party would be so much fun for adults and children? Well, it's true AND it was so fun to plan. My almost 5 year old is already asking for his "wolf suit." Although, we may think of another theme by March. If you are interested in "how to," here are the details:

I drew the invitation with mappencils and based it on the book illustrations. I just changed the words to read:

"The day Maddux wore his wolf suit
and played one game and another
his mother called him "WILD THING"
and said "Let's have a party!"

"And now," cried Maddux, "let the wild rumpus start!"

The king of all wild things- Maddux is turning three!
Where the wild things are- (our address here)
Wild rumpus- 11am-12:30pm, Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hope you can celebrate with us...
we'll eat you up, we love you so!

I'm going to get the invitation scanned in at some point and I'll add it here.

I made a "Where the Wild Things Are" costume for the birthday boy. I watched the following video and with the exception of a few things that didn't work- followed the directions to make the suit. I even used my Nannie's very handy sewing machine!

Next up, the cakes. This was really really fun to do.
I found this website and loved the "wild thing" cake. Our invitation had the boat on it, so I decided to make both! I used homemade almond flavored fondant to make all of the flat decorations and to cover both of the cakes. The fondant is easiest to work with when it is cold. For the "wild thing" hair, I used a buttercream icing. That was my favorite tasting cake, because it had two kinds of icing. Gotta love a girl with a sweet tooth!

Maddux's costume- included a homemade fleece wolf suit with claws, an attached hoodie with ears and whiskers, a fur tail, a ruling stick and a furry gold crown. Our son happily wore his costume for the entire party and beyond.

This was a wonderful party for all of our children and guests. Outside, we had a bouncy castle and a cotton candy machine. All of the guests decorated and made their own crowns. And, I found "where the wild things are" rings on ebay that we gave everyone in their gift bag. Also, one of my best friends from LA sent us hats from the movie for the gifts bags as well.  Those were a big hit- especially with the parents.

Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed doing it. This is a really fun party!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How do Children Cope when a loved one is hospitalized?

Last week my dad, known as "grandfather" to the little Els, returned home after 6 days in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery. He did amazingly well and is still getting stronger every day.

One of the most surprising and interesting parts of this process was the reaction of the little Els. Bakri, our four year old, in particular, was deeply troubled and concerned the entire time my father was in the hospital. He constantly asked about him and acted out in school and at home. I was suspicious that his ill behavior was related to grandfather's heart surgery, but I couldn't be sure...until....we finally were able to visit Grandfather the day after he returned home. Yes, grandfather was weaker than usual. We had to be careful around him and not hug him too tight. But, that little visit made all the difference in the world to our Bakri. The next day he returned to school and had an amazing day and every day since has been wonderful.

I think it is pretty spectacular that our children are so close with their grandparents and love them so much. I don't know how we can do a better job of keeping the grandchildren in the loop when these things happen. I don't want them to know too much, but they are so clued in to what is going on. It's definitely a challenge. Thankfully, my dad wasn't in the hospital very long. Perhaps we can try skype next time we are desperate for a visit! :-)

As an added bonus, we had amazing support from some of our favorite family members from Louisiana- Uncle Dale and Aunt Reba. Here are some pictures of their visit at our house.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

X-Treme Adventure Day at the Health Museum

We spent last Sunday at the Houston Health Museum X-Treme Adventure Party. The little Els had a blast. Here are some pictures of our adventure!

Bakri flying and climbing!

Maddux and Trinity watching "balloon man"

Maddux playing and winning a game of "hot potato"

Masked Els!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Delinquent Blogger.....again

Just when I think I am on a roll. Possibly posting everyday or maybe even three to four times a week, I let a month go by with nothing. Oops. I do have a million great excuses. Here are a few:

1. I have 3 children age 4 and under
2. I am NEVER alone
3. My computer and I have an on again- off again relationship
4. Because of #3, I'm unable to download pictures currently and I love to put pictures up on the blog
5. I have a job other than mommy, wife, homemaker, etc.
6. There are not enough hours in the day
7. I am learning to sew
8. My day starts early and by the time it ends, I can barely make it to the pillow before passing out!

So, there you have it. Just 8 of the million I could list. This is an attempt to get back on track with the blog. I know I don't have many "followers"- there are six of you presently, however, I've always looked at this as a way for me to keep up with friends and also "remember when" from our lives. If I don't write it, blog it, text it, facebook it, twitter it, etc. I'll forget it! 

See you soon,

El Momma

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Working with a Spirited Child and trying to be a better mom

I don't know which is worse: the fact that my child throws himself on the ground and spits at me because I refused to carry him in the sprinkling rain or the fact that I completely lost my patience with him when he did it?

Clearly, it's my response. I am the adult here. Yes, my child seems to have issues adjusting to change at times. He doesn't like getting wet in the rain or getting his feet dirty in the mud or fire alarms. These are just a few of the things that seem to really bother him. He's only four. So, my fear is there is more to come. But, I digress. At the end of the day, I am the one that needs to change. I am the one that needs to have better responses, better interactions and better direction for him. He is just a little boy. But, as a parent I can learn better ways to deal with him and help him to be a better boy.

There is no manual that comes with parenting. We just have to figure it out. Thank God we have some tools and resources to make our jobs a little easier along the way. Have you read "The New Strong-Willed Child" by James Dobson? I haven't. And, I'm not sure I will. I've heard some positive and some very negative things about his philosophy on raising children.

I also saw a book in the church library today with the title "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Kurcinka. Do you have any experiences with this book? I read a little in the library and liked what I saw. First, the term "spirited" which seems to conjure up better thoughts about your child than the term "strong-willed" or even "difficult." And the brief descriptions I read about the "spirited child" seemed to perfectly describe mine. Here is what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's website says we can expect from her book.

Raising Your Spirited Child can help you:
  • plan for success with a simple, four-step program;
  • discover the power of positive, rather than negative, labels;
  • understand your child's and your own temperamental traits;
  • cope with tantrums and blowups when they do occur;
  • develop strategies for handling mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, school, and many other situations.
    Do you have any suggestions for something else we should be focusing on or reading. I believe what God's word says in psalm 139:14. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
    I know my child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise God for his wonderful work in our son.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What a crick in the neck!

Well, good morning, crick in the neck. You surprised me with your 5am wakeup call. And your pain that has gotten increasingly worse since then. Why have you come back? I did not invite you and have no time for you today.

Why do I have a crick in the neck this morning? I have no idea. I slept fine. Although, I would suppose that is in question now. Can you get a crick in the neck from sleeping too still? It's possible that I did not move from 10pm until 5am. Would that do it?

As a mom of 3 pre-schoolers, going through the day without reaching down to pick someone, something, or a million things off the floor, is an impossible goal. Unfortunately, there is no comfortable position for this crick in the neck. It's all pain.

Oh well. And so it goes. And I'm off. To start the day with the three els, a crick in the neck, and a smile in my heart. xoxo

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Before the Throne

When I Think About the Lord
Your Grace is Enough

How Great is Our God
Before the Throne of God Above
Take My Life

Here are the songs we did this morning during praise and worship at St. Andrew's. I had to take care of Trinity during the sermon and missed the entire thing. I did receive the Word from the songs this morning though. Especially- Before the Throne- "Hallelujah. Hallelujah. praise the One, risen Son of God." It is such a beautiful and thought-provoking song. To really come before the throne of God with all that we are. That is something that I am striving to do. Come as I am, as imperfect as that is. He still loves me and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in Him. praise God for that! Amen? :-)

Hope you are having a great Sunday and know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trips to the ER with boys

Our little primate with his buddy the orangutan!

What a day. What a week. What a life!

Is this what I am to "expect" with boys?

That is what I keep hearing. Everytime I tell someone about our 2 year old's experiences with falling and needing stitches over the last 3 weeks- someone tells me their horror story. I've heard numerous stories of 12 ER visits or 15 ER visits or stitches every year. All of these stories were boys, by the way. But, none of them were comforting or encouraging in the least.

I guess I should be comforted to know that it all works out ok in the end. But, that's hard. When you are going through it, it is traumatic. Our sweet little boy was screaming, crying and foaming at the mouth when the doctor failed at her attempt to glue him back together with dermabond. It was one of the most awful experiences we've had as parents.

Did I just say "failed at her attempt to glue him back together with dermabond?" Yes, I did. After having the glue on the skin for a few days, it begins to flake off and then you can actually see the success or unsuccess of the glue. In this case, it was unsuccessful. His laceration is just as open as it was when we arrived to the ER Saturday night. And what do we have to show for it? Well, we've tortured him by strapping his arms down, caused him extreme pain while attempting to apply dermabond while he was crying and sweating profusely with no numbing medication and we still have to get stitches tomorrow.

Oh, I am not looking forward to this. please pray for our Maddux. May he be brave and strong and trust in the Lord. 



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Happiest Day of My Life

Miss Trinity on her birthday in a sombrero!

Miss Trinity at her first birthday family dinner.

Our daughter turned one yesterday and I wrote on my facebook page that the day she was born was one of the "happiest days of my life." And it was. That got me thinking,"what are the happiest days of my life?"

1. the day I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life

2. the day Moustapha asked me to marry him

3. our wedding day

4. the birth of each of our children

I remember thinking how important each day was when I was growing up and throughout high school. I worried about so many things and struggled with dealing with the heartache of having people not like me. As a teenager, I felt like that was always going to be life. It's strange how quickly the present becomes a distant memory in the past. I can barely remember the insecurities of the past and I am very thankful for that.

The day I decided to give my life to the Lord set my life on a path that I am very thankful for. No, life is not perfect. I still have struggles with insecurities and bad decisions. But, when I lean on the Lord, He gives me strength and guides my life.

Every other day that qualifies as a "best day of my life," occurred in adulthood. What does that say about me? I think it gives me some insight to pass along to my children. Although my best days include days with my husband and my children, the best days of my childrens' lives are yet to come. My job is to prepare them for their best days. I get to be a part of all of the days in between now and then. What a responsibility and a blessing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trinity Turns One!

It's official! It's Trinity's first birthday today! Yeah! Happy Birthday, Trinity! We are so blessed to have you as our daughter. You are healthy, beautiful, kind spirited, loving, funny, peaceful, easy-going, happy, silly, girly, lovely. It is hard to believe you are one today. We were so excited to meet you one year ago. And you are more than we ever dreamed and prayed you would be. God protected you during a storm and brought you to us safely. You have been the calm in the wild storm of our lives ever since. We love you so so much, ladybug!
On Saturday we had a party for our little bug. She had an amazing time celebrating and LOVED all of the attention. She lit up when the room began to sing "happy birthday." It was so precious.
Me and T with some sweet friends.
Bakri having a ladybug cupcake.

Grandmother and Ashley.

The buggy food table.

Trinity enjoying the food at the party.

Standing on the table....eating a cupcake.

With Amira and Steve.

It's my party!

Making her way around the room.

Here she comes!

I painted this for her room. It is "almost" finished. I found some paintings I liked online and used several of them for inspiration. I like the result so far. And I really enjoyed the response from the boys. They were so excited to see me paint this. It was really fun!

I want more food!

With her guests
More party guests.
I took several more pictures, but haven't been able to download them yet. As soon as I do, I will add them here. xoxo, me

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ladybug cake with homemade fondant icing

"Our little ladybug is turning one. Flutter on by to have some fun." That is how the invitation began. And so, we had a bug party to celebrate T's first birthday. What's a bug party without a ladybug cake AND ladybug cupcakes??? Well, we're not going to find out this year, because we had both. And the boys were very helpful in all of our preparations. Luckily, they took shifts. One would be napping and the other would be busily helping me in the kitchen. Or, one would be at school and the other would be assisting me and licking the bowl.

Our "egg" pan. This is what we used to make the body of the ladybug. We used one half of the pan from the baseball cake (which I made for the boys' first birthdays) for the ladybug head.
Mixing the buttercream icing to put on the cake before the fondant.

Making fondant. This was a little tricky, but it tasted 100 times better than the store bought kind. The key to making it smooth for me was refrigerating it. Some internet sites recommended putting it in the microwave to make it more pliable, but mine worked much better when it was cold and less sticky.

Stirring the powdered sugar into the fondant.

powdered sugar on the working surface to add to the fondant.

Cake is done! Now, we are going to put it together and ice it.

I tried to work with the fondant immediately when I made it. This was mainly because the birthday girl started crying in her crib. I didn't go get her instantly, with the hope that she would settle herself down. She did not. So, here is the result. But, the great thing is- the spots on the ladybug will cover the imperfections. Gotta love that!

Yeah! The ladybug with spots. She just needs legs (pipe cleaner,) two antennae (pipe cleaner and two painted styrofoam balls,) and two eyes.

Our big ladybug cake and mini-ladybug cupcakes!