Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Life has felt extra busy lately.  With summer coming to a close, county fairs, vacations, church and community activities – we’ve all been on the run!  When Sawyer said all she wanted for her birthday was to do Legos with her friends,  I was sold!

She’s really gotten into building Lego sets in the past year (and even worked through a chore chart to purchase a Lego house!  It was huge and she has had a lot of fun putting it together and playing with it).

We kept things pretty simple and played a little Lego Friends bingo, painted boxes to store our Legos in and then built a Lego set.  She hand-picked a set for each of her friends and she did a great job – no one had any of the ones she picked for them!

We all had a really good time!  It was a nice, fun birthday party with some nice, fun girls!

Of course, I had to make her a Lego girl shirt for the occasion.  She looked precious!



The Lego bunting made the whole party! It was a cheap, easy wow factor!


We used all of Sawyer’s Lego sets for decor.


We got Sawyer this little set for her birthday – the classic Lego man in a birthday cake! She loved it!



Bingo was a way bigger hit than we imagined! These girls were Bingo queens!

The winners got edible Legos - what could be better?

The winners got edible Legos – what could be better?

After bingo, it was time to paint!


Painting their boxes

Painting their boxes

There was only one paint spill and it was just the birthday girl's brush water...I'd call that a success!

There was only one paint spill and it was just the birthday girl’s brush water…I’d call that a success!

Next, it was time for Lego building!

DSC_0123DSC_0121Then, it was time for cake and presents!  She had such generous friends and got some really fun things!


Lego cake from mom's kitchen...  Sweet girl thought it was wonderful and that's all that matters!

Lego cake from mom’s kitchen… Sweet girl thought it was wonderful and that’s all that matters!

Her smile in this picture melts me.  She's not my most expressive kid (read: dramatic) so a genuine smile like this is the best!

Her smile in this picture melts me. She’s not my most expressive kid (read: dramatic) so a genuine smile like this is the best!

May all your dreams come true, sweet one!

May all your dreams come true, sweet one!

I bought a silicone Lego mold and we froze pink and purple Kool-Aid to make ice cubes that we put in our Sprite!  The girls had more fun mixing up their drinks and making them change colors.

Pretty in pink with her pink and purple drink!

Pretty in pink with her pink and purple drink!

We sent this girls home with Lego necklaces and rings made by Sawyer and a Lego cup, like the Lego characters hold in all of the sets – super cute!

DSC_0120And then?  They each got a kitten!

DSC_0131 HA!  We tried to find them all a home, but only one got to become a house cat.  ;)

We are so proud of our sweet Sawyer girl and would do just about anything for that little sweetie!  She felt so loved this weekend.  She is such a great friend and we pray she always has a good group of friends around her that point her to the Lord.

Happy birthday, sweet Sawyer!  You are so loved!

Mother’s Day 2017

I’ve had some really good Mother’s Day celebrations…like last year, celebrating a less than week old Sayble.

I’ve had some not-so-great Mother’s Day celebrations…like the year Wryder was born and I was sicker than a dog.  I mean, SICK.

This year?  This year was one for the record books – it was just a really, really good day.

The kids had me stay in bed until they said I could come out.  Well, if you insist!

Wrex had breakfast cooked and they had some really fun gifts and cards and pictures for me – melt my heart!

Happy Mother's Day, mom!

Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

A Lego Mother's Day wish!

A Lego Mother’s Day wish!

My card from Wryder.  Just WOW.

My card from Wryder. Just WOW.

We spent some time outside and then I got to spend the majority of the day with the girl who made me a momma as she performed in her last dance recital of the season.

When she was all done, we came home and hung out with the rest of the family outside because it was beautiful!  We took a little golf cart tour into the neighboring pastures and Wryder got to show me the dead cow he’d seen – a real treat!  Ha!

I remember going through a season where being called “mom” (by a friend, out of sarcasm and a nod to my mature, responsible nature) felt like an insult.  I was young!  I was fun!  I wasn’t a mom!  I don’t quite know what was going on in my heart…but just let me say oh, how the tides have turned.  There’s not much sweeter to my ears than hearing, “Mom/Momma.”  (I mean, the 580th time on a Friday, I might not enjoy it as much as the first time I hear it on a random Tuesday, but still…)

Being “momma” is a badge I wear with pride! So thankful for these sweet little cubs – some of my favorite people/best friends/the most wonderful little humans on the planet!  They are the product of our love, our reward, our heritage.

My babies

My babies

It’s an amazing thing to have the opportunity to shape the future by what you spend your time on and pour into today.  Nothing is wasted in the Kingdom of heaven and nothing is wasted in motherhood – no hug is addled, no words will return void, no teaching or training or correcting will turn up empty.  It ALL matters.  I am thankful I get to be the full time shoe tier, hands washer, book reader, swing pusher, hair brusher, nap time tucker in-er, school teacher, morning pray-er, owie kisser…

I’m thankful for their daddy, too – for lots of reasons – but especially for the fact that he works so diligently so that I can be at home during the week to actually BE momma.

Good gosh, I love this man

Good gosh, I love this man

Some days in mommyland are just plain hard.  Some days are just plain cake.  But all of them?  All of them are worth it.

Cheers, mommas!

Random Rambles

We officially started school today!

What a sweet student I have!

What a sweet student I have!

Sandhills Sonrise Christian School had it’s inaugural day and it was a success!  Sawyer is such a good student and loves to learn, so teaching her is quite fun.  I’m sure there will be harder days down the road but today?  Today was a good day.

Also, just so we get it out there, Wrex totally laughed at me for getting her a first day of school outfit but I couldn’t resist!


After Sawyer’s baptism last week, Wrex’s Grandma (and the kids’ GooGoo) stayed with us for a whole week!  She hasn’t gotten to do that in more than a year so it was such a special treat for us!

I love this pic!

I love this pic!

I know I’ve talked about her several times before, but she really is a magnificent lady.  She is leaving a legacy of the fear of the Lord and a legacy of familial love with all of us, and we can’t thank her enough for that.

The kids adore her and she spent more time playing with them than anyone I know!  She even got in and out of Wryder’s little playroom multiple times a day, despite her being “not as spry as she once was!”

Snuggling GooGoo

Snuggling GooGoo

They read every book on the bookshelf and watched a few fun cartoons and ate snacks and did hair and played farm and sale barn and Paw Patrol and Barbies and Uno until she was just plain tuckered out!  She even slept with one of the kids almost every night, which they loved.

Lots of time in her lap...

Lots of time in her lap…

My favorite moments where some of the quiet ones where I could hear her talking to them about being kind or using manners or how to show respect to someone or how to include someone that was lonely.  Wrex has always attributed a lot of his kindness and manners to her and I love seeing her pass a piece of that on to the next generation.

We took her to North Platte on Saturday so she could start her journey home and when it was time to say goodbye, there wasn’t a dry eye in the car…except for Wryder because he had just gotten a toy train from RaRa and that seemed to assuage his heartache.  *ahem*

We sure love our GooGoo and all that she does to pour into our lives and our kids’ lives…  Come back soon, Grandma!


While we were in North Platte, we had to make a stop at Cody Park!  The kids rode rides with RaRa AND GooGoo!



So. Much. FUN!

So. Much. FUN!

I’m telling you, she’s the coolest!

We also checked out the Fort…

Love these people...

Love these people…

Here comes Sayble, riding on a pony...

Here comes Sayble, riding on a pony…

and the kids loved the wooden display in the back.

Sawyer was so inspired, that she came home and made a paper version!

Cowgirl, cowboy and horse

Cowgirl, cowboy and horse

Calf by a pond with water, complete with a boat and a DUCK!

Calf by a pond with water, complete with a boat and a DUCK!

I love that girl’s creativity and drive!


Wryder got a special gift on Saturday, too!  The grands were going to wait until Christmas but decided he was gonna be too big if they waited any longer and let him have them now.

What is it?

What is it?

He got PaPa’s chaps from when HE was a little boy!  His mom had them custom made and he wore them and then Wrex wore them and now Wryder will wear them.

Pure joy!

Pure joy!

In case you can’t tell, he was FIRED. UP.

Is that cute or what?!

Is that cute or what?!

He’ll wear them proud, PaPa!


While I bought groceries, the kids played at the park with daddy.  Sayble had a BALL!

One of my new favorite pictures of her!

One of my new favorite pictures of her!

That smile!

That smile!

Seriously, she's darn cute!

Seriously, she’s darn cute!

Wrex and I were talking the other day about how her adventures and discoveries and her new tasks and words are still just as exciting as they were with the other two.  It never gets old…

I’ve said it a million times – and I’ll say it again – these ARE the best years of our life!


This week marks the beginning of the busy fall season for us.  Sawyer starts dance next week, Awana starts this week (Cubbies next), Wrexy’s sales start getting longer and of course, school.  All of these are such good and fun and wonderful things but they can leave us scrambling to get from one place or event or thing to the next.  I’m such a lover of peace…I’m trying not to spread myself too thin.  I want my the Lord and family to come first and to truly come first…not just get lip action.

As I was shutting off the lights in the school room last night, I was uttering little thoughts to the Lord about our school adventure and my heart shouted, “Lord, I just want to be pleasing to you.”  It caught me off guard, yet settled my soul.  Though I care about what she learns this year, more than that, I just want us to be a family that pleases Him.  Let it be so, Lord…


Updates and Upstairs

Oh, sweet friends!  Were you wondering if I’d ever return?!  Life has been crazy and GOOD – crazy good!

To catch you up in one, simple run-on sentence, we had the opportunity to sell our house, rent an upgraded (read: bigger, newer, central air having, more-than-one-bathroom-and-an-actual-dining-room) home that answered all of our prayers…so we packed our things and cleaned out barns and buildings and took way longer than we ever imagined to move in because apparently we have a lot of stuff and like things just so…BUT we are in and feeling settled and LOVING. IT. HERE.  The Lord blessed our socks off and we feel this is exactly where we are supposed to be for the here and now – not much better than that!

And?  Apparently, I have some of the sweetest, most encouraging friends on the planet who want to see pictures of the place so what better day than today to get me back in the saddle of blogging.  I’ve missed it so!

Moving had been on our minds for a while for lots of reasons, one being that we had bought our home on what we had called a five-year plan.  It suited us well and we loved that sweet, little 100 year old farm house but with the addition of two other children, things started to feel a little tight.  (And, I know, that is definitely a first world problem.  We have never felt anything but blessed to live there - remember that awesome story!? – but we felt the Lord prompting us towards something different and we were ready to go!)

We had heard about the house from friends from church.  They told us where it was so we drove by just to see if it was even something was an option for us.  Whoa. Nelly.  It was like dream-home material!

Yes.  Just YES.

Yes. Just YES.

A month or so later, we took a tour, prayed our faces off, sold our home and moved in here!  We LOVE IT.  I’m afraid, no other home will ever compare – truly!  Obviously, there are things we might change if we owned the place but for now?  It’s perfect for us!  The Lord answered all of our requests and desires and then some!

From the moment I walked in, I could SEE us making memories here.  I could see myself in the kitchen, cooking with Sayble while looking out the window at the other 2 playing outside.  I could see Bible studies and card parties in the big ole family room and loud family dinners in the dining room.  I could see kids playing for hours in their big kid rooms and looking out over the pastures from their windows – I could just see us here!

Some people probably think we’re crazy for renting but for us, this was the best option for now, for several reasons. (And just so you know, I don’t feel the NEED to explain myself, but if you don’t know that I’m an open book by now…)

1) We had reached a point with our old home that we felt we had maxed out or profit potential without doing something drastic…and we weren’t up for drastic.  2) Moving is always on the table when you work for a company 3 states away.  While we love this area and home we never have to, it’s always an option.  3) Building costs mega $$ these days!  I don’t know if we built what we’d like and then had to move, if we’d ever get our money out of the place. 4) There aren’t very many farmsteads in the area that AREN’T either a modular or a 100 year old farmhouse and we’ve been there done that.  5)  It was the Lord.  All Him.  I won’t argue.

So, to recap…moving with 3 small children is hard.  Moving with livestock is harder.  Moving 112 chickens is hardest.  We love our new home and can’t imagine life anywhere else!

Here are some pics of the new digs!

We’ll start upstairs.  The stairs come up out of the dining room, up to the kids’ floor.  All three of their bedrooms and their bathroom is up here, which is so nice!  They’re all together and it’s REALLY quiet for them…which means good sleep for them, so good sleep for mom and dad!

Don’t knock the paneling – ha!  We weren’t gonna mess with that!

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Top of the stairs

Upstairs after; top of the stairs

Now, why did I start with that picture?!  The bookshelf.  Sigh.  I have visions of it being artfully arranged…but then I remember that I have 3 small children who I want to LOVE to read so I’ve given up the fight on the perfect bookshelf and have gone with the “we use it all the dang time so it’s always disheveled look.”  You should try it, too!

Upstairs after

Upstairs after; truly a happy place!

My brother-in-law got me that dreamy pew last year and I was so happy to have a place for it in our new home!  I started out like this:

Pew before

Pew before

and after a good sanding and a fun color, it’s one of my favorite things in the house!

Pew after

Pew after

The kids’ bathroom isn’t huge but I think it’s perfect for them!  I’ve been so impressed with how clean they have kept it!

Kids' bathroom before

Kids’ bathroom before

Kids bathroom after!

Kids bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Since then, they’ve gotten a new faucet, as this one bit the dust about 2 weeks in, but it’s just a fun, sweet little bathroom – I love it!  (It was the first room that was completely finished in the whole house!  Gotta love small rooms that didn’t need paint – ha!)

Wryder’s room DEFINITELY needed paint.  It’s hard to see in the pictures but the walls were in pretty bad shape as far as scratches and dings.

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

We painted it a pretty, neutral grey and I love how it turned out!

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's big closet!

Wryder’s big closet!

Sayble’s room is the smallest, but it suits her needs just fine for now!  I love how it turned out…so sweet and cute – like her!

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sawyer got the biggest room.  It was an easy choice for us as far as layout goes…and?  The girl’s got a lot of stuff.  There’s a hoarder gene on the Phipps side and by golly, the girl’s got it!

Part of why she needed the big room was for this:



There’s just something about a cute farm house with two twin beds in a room!  I bought those headboards at an auction one day for $5 each.  They are vintage 20’s and just cute as a button and I’ve been storing them for this room!

Headboard before

Headboard before

Headboard after paint - Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Headboard after paint – Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Her room is so sweet and so totally her.  She loves her double beds; she loves the little table for tea parties and such and she loves using the toybox as her desk/office.  And?  She has a huge closet – a must for a girl with a penchant for cute things!

Sawyer's room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer’s room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's closet

Sawyer’s closet

And, yes…that is exactly what you think it is!  She has a “secret room” behind the bookshelf in her closet!  We turned it into a toy room for her and all of us love spending time in there.

I wish I had taken before and after pictures of it because we did the works in there!  New carpet, new lighting, boarded the walls…

Sawyer's toy room after

Sawyer’s toy room after

It is so fun and the perfect place to store all of her Barbies and babies and doll house things.  And?  Wryder has one, too.  How did we luck out like that?!

Wryder's playroom before

Wryder’s playroom before

Wryder's playroom after

Wryder’s toy room after

We put in new carpet, painted everything and put in new lighting.  I LOVE this space and he does, too!  I love having the toys out of sight, too, I won’t lie!

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

And?  Sayble has a little crawl space in her room that we can turn into a playroom for her one day.  But we’re tired.  And she’s still a baby.  So we’ll wait.

Thank you for humoring my little house tour with my awful iPhone pictures.  ;)  We’ll hit downstairs tomorrow.  Maybe, all of my pictures will have uploaded by then.  Oh, how we miss our good internet service!

Birthday Questionnaire

So, the bestie and her family are some of the best birthday do-ers I’ve ever met!  Their family has taught us so much about honor and they always do unique and meaningful things for each others’ birthdays.

Here lately, they’ve been putting the birthday person in the center of the room and letting each person ask them a thought provoking (usually) question.  On my birthday, I got an e-mail doing just that so I’m going to take the time to attempt to answer them here!

1.) If you could give yourself a birthday gift, something you could have forever that would enable you to fulfill your greatest potential, what would it be?

Oh, geez.  This one is hard for me…maybe because I have to be a bit vulnerable to answer it.  I guess I would have to say a spirit of confidence.  I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m a bit fearful and that rears it’s head into lots of areas of my life.  I fear failure.  I fear coming off as a know-it-all (because those people drive me bananas).   I fear looking silly or missing the mark…so a spirit of confidence – an honest assessment and belief in what I was putting my mind to, would be a good start for me.

2.) What’s your favorite family tradition?

Growing up, I always loved everything about Christmas.  My parents and grandparents always made it fun and exciting.  We would make homemade decorations and put the tree up together…my mom always recruited me to wrap gifts and there was always a viewing of Christmas Vacation.  :)   While I still LOVE Christmas and love the things we’re doing with our kids (Jesse Tree, Christmas pajamas, The First Noel movie, etc.) I love our little tradition of camping out in the living room on Halloween night.  That started by accident when we first moved to Holyoke.  We had no furniture, as we hadn’t gotten it from Denver yet and so that first Halloween here, we all slept in the living room…which was where we were sleeping while we worked on the bedrooms.  The next year, we did the same thing – but for fun – and have yet to stop!

3.) What book has influenced you most (besides the Bible)?

Hands down, “Walking With God” by John Eldredge.  I’m sure it was a combination of where I was in life and who was leading the study and what the Lord had for me at that specific time in my life, but I learned so much from this book that I still recall and recant to this day!  The title seems to leave a lot to be desired but TRUST ME when I say IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE!

4.) If you could pick up and move your family somewhere for a year, and then come back (and not have to worry about work the entire time) where would it be?

The selfish side of me would say Alaska.  I have dreams of visiting there one day…  Seeing it on television or in photos it is just breathtakingly gorgeous and I’d love to just camp around and explore all it has to offer!  The missions-minded side of me would say our church’s care point for orphans in Kayango, Uganda.  The trip I took to Venezuela shaped me and molded me and changed me in a way few other things ever have and I’d love to have the opportunity to dote on and serve the least of these again…

5.) What is one thing you will never do again?

Drink until I get drunk.  Not worth it.  Not appealing.  Not wise.  Not an option.

6.) If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A really good cheeseburger with lots of extras (read – jalapenos!) and some good, salty fries!

7.) How would your best friends describe you?

Probably like this:

What I’ve come to understand about you in the 7-8 years that we’ve been friends is that you are a wise woman beyond your years, loyal to the end, passionate about those you love. You are creative, resourceful, an excellent gift-giver and a skilled event planner. Generous to the bone and loving beyond measure. You’re an incredible mother and a deeply devoted and encouraging wife. You have always been the very definition of a hospitable and wonderful/competent homemaker. You are a chef and an artist. You are beautiful and always fashionable. You are organized and thoughtful. When you set your mind to something, you carry it through all the way, in excellence. We, your friends and family, are so very lucky to have you!

(That was written by the bestie and posted on my Facebook wall for my birthday).  That may or may not be cheating to answer that question.  ;)

8.) What’s the most interesting thing you see out your kitchen window?

Currently, a little red wagon that Sawyer planted wheat and marigolds in all by herself.  How cute is that?!

9.) If you had the ability to time travel, would you travel to the past or to the future and why?

Definitely the past.  Mainly, I would talk to the old me and tell me that I’m not fat or as fat as I thought I was…I would tell myself that I was worthy of love…I would tell myself that I didn’t have to vie for the attention of certain people…I would tell myself to prepare for the attacks of satan that I knew would be coming and I would bolster myself with the truth to combat those…I would redo my wedding and make it as magical as I always hoped it would be – I got my prince so that’s really all that matters…

10.) Three sentences looking ahead to when you’re twice the age you’re turning now, describing who you are as a woman and what you’ve accomplished by then so far…

I would be 66…  I see myself still as bat-crazy in love with my handsome husband as I am today if not more so.  I’m assuming I’ll be a grandma – hopefully to lots of little grandcuties that I can spoil rotten!  I’m hoping that all of my mothering and parenting and falling on my knees begging for wisdom will result in children who are all walking closely with the Lord and teaching their families to follow Him, all while living within 15 miles of me. That’d be a pretty great life…

Birthday Bonanza 2015 – Part 2

In case you ddin’t see that late post yesterday, here’s the link to Part 1 of the Birthday Bonanza post.

We made sure and had an actual birthday party during the birthday weekend…

IMG_6918IMG_6910IMG_6908We found the majority of the fabric for $1/yard and scooped it up immediately!  We just made some simple bunting and table runners and Wrexy sewed the backdrop.  God bless him…

IMG_6905Grandma LOVES her family and LOVES pictures, so I made bingo cards with family faces and we played that during her party.

IMG_6906That project, honestly, was one of the more time consuming.  Each card had to be different and random…glad that one’s over.  :)

IMG_6913I covered some tin cans with cute paper and scrap fabric,  attached a few horses and filled them with flowers for centerpieces…

Wrex made a barnwood plaque and we shaped an M out of a rope (for Maxine) and hung it on the backdrop…this was probably my favorite part of the whole thing.


Seeing it all for the first time...

Seeing it all for the first time…

My fabulous friend Stephanie (who also made Wryder’s tractor cake) made me some flower cupcakes and they turned out sooooooooo cute!



IMG_6921Since we couldn’t fit 80 candles on a cupcake (or even a larger cake) we made a cake plate full of candles for her to blow out.  Apparently, the fire/smoke detector is INCREDIBLY sensitive at this place and before we even had them lit, the fire alarm went off!  THAT was something we’d never forget!  Thankfully they got it shut off, the building was still standing and she got them blown out in 3 tries!

It does look like quite the blaze...

It does look like quite the blaze…

Big breath!

Big breath!

Got 'em!

Got ‘em!

We ate and drank and played games and then watched the video I talked about yesterday.  I didn’t intend to make everyone cry but there were a few wet faces in the crowd…it’s been a life well-lived for sure…

The other thing Grandma really wanted to do was to have a talent show.  She thinks she has one of the grandest, most impressive families on the planet and she wanted to see us do our thang!

There was ribbon dancing…

IMG_6928IMG_6923Vocal performances…


IMG_6941IMG_6942Bedtime stories…

IMG_6938and a lot of smiles and laughter!

IMG_6944IMG_6936We played a little more pitch and then went to bed far too late, yet again.  :)

We worshiped together on Sunday morning and Clint shared a message with us about family…a good word!  We took communion together and remembered what the Lord has done for us….oh. so. much…

IMG_6961We ate one last meal together, packed up, cleaned up and went our separate ways…  We sent the troops off with some trail mix and a hand stamped keychain.

IMG_4683IMG_4640I found all of these vintage boots and guns on Etsy…

IMG_4641and then we bought some metal blanks and memorialized them.  I LOVED how these turned out!

Our prayer has been for Granny to feel so loved…to honor her…for her ideas and imaginations about her birthday weekend to be met or exceeded…and for this to be a catalyst for future and more frequent get togethers.

We pray we have countless more years together with our sweet Granny but none of us are guaranteed our next breath.  We get ONE family; one crazy, imperfect family that most likely loves the stuffing out of us.  Carve some time out of your schedule for them.  We all make time for what’s important to us – it can’t be disproved – what does your schedule say is important to you?

All-in-all, it was a magnificent weekend!  We had so much fun with the family and we had so much fun working together.  There is no one I’d rather do all these crazy projects with than this handsome man of mine…  There’s been lots of talk of doing this whole reunion thing again and these Phipps are on board!  :)

Grandma, we love you.  This was just one tiny little way we could bless you back for all of the countless ways you’ve poured out your love for us.  Happiest of birthdays, sweet lady!

IMG_6917Oh!  And one other memorable moment from the weekend (besides the fire alarm scaring the heck out of everyone in a 100 yard radius?!)…Sawyer lost her first tooth!  She was so excited and the tooth fairy found her even though she wasn’t in her normal bed!

IMG_6914Pardon her poor eyes – it was early!  There’s one more that is just hanging on by a thread!  I better get to the ATM….

Birthday Bonanza 2015 – Part 1

So, I’ve had just a few things on my plate here lately, the biggest of which (so far) culminated this weekend in Kansas.  Wrex’s Grandma Rusk turned 80 years old on Sunday and her only request was to have all of her family in one place…to spend time with them and make new memories and to share with them her love for the Lord and her desire for them to know and love Him, too.  Why in the world would ya not show up for that?!

Granny is a ranchy thing, but you’d never know it just by looking at her.  She’s always put together – never a hair out of place – yet tough as boot leather.  I went with a vintage cowgirl/shabby chic theme for her invitations and party decor.  Maybe I say this every time, but HONESTLY, this was my favorite party that I have thrown.  It’s probably because the woman for whom I threw it is just out of this world lovely…  I can’t say enough good things about her here, so you’ll just have to watch the video I made regarding her life.  It sums it up to the best of my abilities.  (It’s not perfect but after 36 attempts – not even kidding – to read it without crying, that was the best I could do).

Birthday Bonanza Invitation

Birthday Bonanza Invitation



I found the kids some little plastic spurs from Party City that they wore the first night.  They. were. ADORABLE!  Wryder had already lost his rowel at this point but still cute!

IMG_6885Leading up to the event, our family committed to covering it and everyone invited (Grandma, her 5 kids and spouses, grandkids and great-grandkids) in prayer.  It’s hard to get 30+ people in one place at one time and we know that satan hates family and does everything in his power to attempt to divide them and we refused to let him.

Prayer calendar

Prayer calendar

That alone was such a rewarding time for our little family…something we plan to continue.

Grandma was so excited the day of the event, she woke up at 5:30am, got around and left even sooner than she needed to – she just couldn’t contain herself!

Getting welcome hugs from Sayble

Getting welcome hugs from Sayble

We gave her the grand tour, as we had all kinds of little surprises planned for her.

Checking out the entry way

Checking out the entry way

IMG_6652The only thing missing was the guest book because a certain 2 year old decided to sign the cover himself.  *ahem*  Thank goodness Granny thought that made it even cuter…

We bought a bundle of cheap cedar shingles and I painted them all to use as signage as the weekend.  We had each person’s name on their respective doors and used them for directions and welcomes, etc.

We wanted to make the birthday girl’s room a little extra special so we had a few little things up our sleeve to do so.

IMG_6643When we sent out the invitations, we also included cards for each family member to fill out regarding their favorite thing about and favorite memory with Granny and asked them to send them back with their RSVP cards.  We collected all of those and then tied them to the ends of balloons so when she walked in, she had a room full of love waiting to greet her!

Favorite things...

Favorite things…

Tis true...

Tis true…

Checking out her room....

Checking out her room….

IMG_6647IMG_6651In everyone’s room, we left them a little goodie bag with fresh fruit, water, an itinerary of weekend events, the jelly belly bean-boozled game for late night fun and a name collage of our entire family.  The family hadn’t been all together in a quite some time and we just wanted to make everyone feel as welcome as possible – we were so excited to be together again!


We really were!

Friday night, Grandma wanted to have a pitch tourney and we couldn’t say no to that!  This is quite the competitive group and there was quite a bit of whooping and hollering!  :)

We had the idea to make Grandma the star of the show for this event and we made her the queen of the cards.  I printed some pictures of her and photoshopped some crowns on her head and then mounted them on foam board.  We loved the way they turned out!


Isn't she a beauty?!

Isn’t she a beauty?!

The queen in the flesh...

The queen in the flesh…

Waiting to move to the head table

Waiting to move to the head table

Some serious card playing - see the shuffler?!

Some serious card playing – see the shuffler?!

Wrex’s sister gathered prizes for the top two highest scores, one of which was Wrexy – no surprise there – and we used some old acrylic plates we had from a display case that we took apart and made plaques to go with them…

IMG_6982The losers got a little something, too.  When we hosted pitch parties in Denver, we always tried to make the loser trophy completely ridiculous.  I was at the dollar store before our trip and set out to find the most ridiculous looking thing I could find and I happened upon a glittery pirate owl.  What the heck?!    So I consulted the bestie on what to call the trophy and she came up with “Aye didn’t play my carrrrrds right!”  Yes, she’s a genius. 

Ashley took home one and Waco the other…he with a little less excitement than she.  ;)

IMG_6899IMG_6900Saturday morning, we took professional family photos and then we all gathered to sit at the feet of 80 years of love and wisdom.  Grandma shared her heart and her deep and abiding love with us and we got to tell stories and laugh and cry and reflect upon 80 incredible years…  It was a really, really good time.

We had some lunch and then we reconvened for a little Minute to Win It showdown.  This was so much more fun than I even hoped it would be!

Stacking sugar cubes

Stacking sugar cubes

Keeping balloons in the air

Keeping balloons in the air

Putting pasta on pasta

Putting pasta on pasta

Stacking blocks

Stacking blocks

M&M Elevator - good watchin'!

M&M Elevator – good watchin’!

Tossing marshmallows

Tossing marshmallows

Oh yes she did!

Oh yes she did!

The elephant march

The elephant march

The big winners!

The big winners!

Seriously, that was SO much fun!  The Phipps’ are hosting a Minute to Win It night SOON – get ready!

That afternoon, we had an official birthday party for the birthday girl…but I’ll save those for tomorrow…  You’re not gonna wanna miss it – trust me!

Phipps County Fair

Sawyer turned FIVE a few weeks ago and she wanted to have a county fair birthday party…so we did!  :)

She’s not very big into sweets but she really wanted to try cotton candy at the rodeo on July 4th.  Turns out, she’s a fan!  She REALLY wanted cotton candy at the party so that was the theme of our invitation.

Come one, come all...

Come one, come all…

When I think of the county fair, I immediately think of show animals and I knew Wrex had a few boxes of rosettes in the garage from his show days that I wanted to use.  When I decorate for parties, I’m all about using and re-purposing things we already have so this was an easy way to add some purple pizzazz without spending any money.

IMG_20150822_173455667_HDRFor the backdrop, I had the idea to make paper rosettes with Sawyer’s name on them.  I just happened to find the purple and white paper fans at Oriental Trading for $0.50 a piece and then cut scrapbook paper to make the ribbon tails.  We printed letters for her name and added them to sparkly foam and voila!  My favorite part of the party…

11898681_10155907181220335_6818905411667055591_nWrex and his dad made these ‘lemonade stands” for me out of old pallets we had in the shop.  We added a little paint and our rosette bunting and I absolutely loved how they looked…

Crazy can!

Crazy can!


Ring toss!

Ring toss!

IMG_5777We had a glitter tattoo booth, too!  I made livestock and ribbon templates, bought some glitter tattoo glue and some glitter and fancied the kids up…I just didn’t get any pictures of any of that.  Boo.


We HAD to have a cake walk – Sawyer’s favorite part of the party (besides her uncles, friends and cotton candy).

Walk it out...

Walk it out…

Wrex found some scrap carpet at Menards and I painted the numbers and made some tiny cakes and the cake walk was born.


IMG_20150822_171141007Sawyer’s other favorite birthday game is pin the tail on the donkey.  We decided to pin the ribbon on the pig – totally fun to watch the kids fumble through this one!   I found some farm animal clip art I liked and had them blown up and printed at Staples as an engineer print ($3!!) and we used the pig for the game and the other animals as decor…


The kids got prizes at every game station, so we made little bags so they could keep up with their treasures…


I got lucky and found a roll of purple and white gingham table covering that totally jazzed up our tablescapes.  For centerpieces, I bought some purple buckets at the dollar store and planted some wheat seed the neighbors gave us.  We watered and waited and two weeks later we plopped some purple animals in them and called it cute!

IMG_5764IMG_20150822_172907257Uncle Waco ran the cotton candy machine, automatically making him the most popular guy at the party…but he probably would’ve been anyways…

IMG_20150822_172408807_HDRIMG_20150822_172652310_HDRBesides cotton candy, we had BBQ sandwiches, corn dogs, curly fries, corn on the cob, popcorn and pickles!



We opened some presents and just had an all around good time!

IMG_20150822_174007403_HDRIMG_20150822_174217934_HDRIMG_5769The birthday girl got sang to but opted out of eating her cupcake.  ;)


At the end of the day, we thanked our guests with goldfish!  Wrex thought real ones would be a cool, affordable parting gift but we opted for making goldfish soap so we didn’t upset any parents.  ;)

We bought some plastic goldfish and some clear, glycerin soap.  We melted the soap down, poured it into bags, added a cute little fishy and tied it up with a ribbon.  These little guys were adorable, if I do say so myself.

IMG_4253IMG_4254All-in-all, it was my favorite party I’ve thrown.  Maybe it was because I know the birthday girl had such a good time and felt so loved…that’s the point, right?


with her (our) sweet friend, Andrea...

with her (our) sweet friend, Andrea…

Next up is Grandma Rusk’s 80th.  It’s gonna be a ball!

Five in a Flash

Sweet Sawyer…

We call you that all the time and that little name was dubbed you before you were even born.  “Sweet Sawyer” was plastered all over your baby shower along with lots of real sweets, to boot.  :)  It was if we already knew…  May I just say you have fully lived up to and embraced that name.

Sweet Sawyer

Sweet Sawyer getting a pre-birthday pedicure

There is so much I could write about you on your birthday…  I love your beautiful face and your keen eye for fashion…  I love how girly you are and how you love to create outfits and change clothes, shoes and hair accessories 14 times a day…  I love how you love being outside and coming in filthy after a hard day of building and digging and wrangling goats…  I love how you plan parties and feasts and parades…  I love how much you love people, even those that have done nothing to deserve the unconditional love you so freely share…

IMG_3763I have so many favorites about you but my favorite thing about you is your heart…

You have a heart for your siblings.  The Lord chose you to be the first born; the big sister of the Phipps family.  Daddy and I know it’s a hard job sometimes (we were firstborns, too!) but you do it oh-so well.  The way you care for and protect and mother (and attempt to discipline) Wryder and Sayble is so sweet.  They adore you and we couldn’t ask for a better role model and example for them to look up to.


You have a heart for obedience.  Ever since you were just a tiny thing, daddy and I would set one rule and we never had to worry about you even testing that boundary.  You spoiled us, kiddo. And tricked us into believing all children were that way.  Not so.  *ahem*  You choose obedience daily and are quick to ask the Lord and us for forgiveness when you feel as if you’ve fallen short.


You have the heart of servant.  This is one of my favorite things about you because it’s somewhat of a lost trait in today’s society.  You are the first one to rush over and pick something up if it gets dropped or the first to rush in with a towel to clean up a spill (and we have a few of those around here).  You never tire of helping with chores or cleaning your room or helping mom plan a party.

IMG_3809Monday night, we came home WAY past bedtime and Sayble was tired and hungry and my foot was killing me and you guys needed a snack and dad needed to run to the barn to put the cat away so you enthusiastically jumped right in and got fruit, cheese and milk for you and Bubba. That blessed me so much and you do that kind of stuff every. day.

You have the heart of a worshiper.  The Lord showed me that before you were even a year old and boy is it true.  There are no better days than when we just spend some time worshiping through song together.  I love when you want to sing when I do your hair or when we all (attempt) to play instruments or when I hear you singing in the spirit in your room or in the car.  It’s a joyful noise to His ears, no doubt.

IMG_5291You have a heart of generosity.  You so freely share your things.  I can’t count how many times you find out someone is coming over or it’s someone’s birthday and you rush up stairs and rifle through your trinket drawers and come down with something wrapped up to give them.  You shower me with flowers (and a few weeds) and little notes and pictures all the time.  I wouldn’t trade those for the world, you know…



And, fellow readers?  If Sawyer ever bestows upon you a half-used chapstick or a too small bracelet or a chicken feather or a few coins…receive them and receive them with gusto!  These are some of her most treasured possessions and she’s chosen to share them with YOU.

You have a heart that seeks Jesus.  Daddy and I have been amazed at the spiritual maturity you possess for being so young.  (We might be a wee bit jealous, too).  You are constantly asking questions about how to hear from the Lord and how NOT to hear from satan and how to tell the difference.  You are quick to share the gospel even when you get rejected.  You love to “read” your Bible and you love our family devotion and prayer time.  The zeal in which you seek Him is inspiring.

I think that’s what it boils down to, sweet Sawyer…you inspire me.  You make me want to be a better mom and sister and friend…… make me want to be more like you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that these five years have gone fast.  Too fast.  In a flash you’re five and my heart is bursting with pride regarding you.  I’m so excited about these new stages and adventures we’re encountering…but I can’t help but think of all the ways I’ve failed you as a momma.  I’m so far from perfect it’s revolting….but I sure do love you.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I knew every kid we’d have would be just like you, I’d have 10 more in a heartbeat.  Sure would.  Until then, I’ll continue to bless you and bless the day you were born!

I bless you with a continued life of obedience.  It will serve you well in all walks of life but I pray that that obedience is always born out of a love for the Lord, not because of a set of rules.  I pray that because you love Him you so much, your heart can’t bear to bend any other way than towards righteousness.

I bless you with Godly friends and relationships.  You are so kind and so giving and so merciful and so forgiving and so loving and I pray all of that is given right back to you ten-fold.  I pray that as you get older that the Lord would deliver you a good friend to walk this life with who will be just as invested in the relationship as you are.

I bless you with lots of opportunities to hear from the Lord.  I pray that He would continually be in your ear and in your heart and that you would be attuned to listen and obey.

I bless you with a family who models what it means to love the Lord.  We fall short so often, sweet girl, but you inspire us to constantly strive to do better and strengthen our relationships with Him as well.

I bless you with the calling of the Lord on your life…that you would hear it and know it from an early age and that you would stop at nothing to a live a life that is pleasing to him.

PicMonkey CollageSweet Sawyer, you are so special to us…irreplaceable….one of the biggest blessings we’ve ever been given.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be your momma.  Happy birthday, beautiful!  Let’s party!


Thankful to Tears

Today is one of those days.  My heart is so full and so empty, all at the same time.  We’ve had two of the best days of the summer thanks to some beautiful friends who came to spend a few days with us.  They left today and we’re all feeling so full of heart, yet so emotionally raw.

Sawyer broke down at the lunch table a bit ago crying because she missed them already.  Through her tears, she said, “I just love them so much.”  Well said, sugar.  Well said. 

The Lord has been so gracious to my family and has blessed us with some pretty fantastic people that we get to do this life with…

Our neighbors are special people.  If I have to live in the-middle-of-nowhere Colorado, I am certainly glad they are here with me.

There’s not much that can warm my heart more than when someone dotes on or shows kindness to or gives gifts to my kids.  When someone goes out of their way to compliment them or include them or speak life to them or protect them just as they would their own, that’s a special thing…and Gillian does just that.

This woman has shown me what it’s like to love other people’s kids. 

Sawyer with Gillian (and friends) on her wedding day

Sawyer with Gillian (and friends) on her wedding day

I’ll easily admit, I haven’t been the greatest at that.  Sometimes, other people’s kids are a bit hard to love, ya know what I mean?  You know you do…. I’m getting better, because of people like her.

Any and every time I’ve needed her to watch the kids (or when they’ve just flat begged to go over) she has never made me feel like a burden, has always begged for them to come right back and always has fun things for them to do while they are there.  She’s always got her eye on them and sends me pictures of their day.  She hugs them and loves on them just as she does her own son.  She is a safe (and fun) place for them and that alone is priceless to me.

She is beautiful – seriously beautiful – and kind and gracious and encouraging.  I could talk to her for hours even though we usually only get minutes!  She is one of our biggest treasures and one of my favorite friends.

Gillian, we are so thankful for you.  Thank you for teaching my through your example how to love other people’s kids and to love them well….

This lady…

Momma Jeanie

Momma Jeanie

What in the world would I do without this lady? 

She is a well of wisdom; deep abiding waters drenched in love with a knack for spilling it out at just the right time in just the right way.  ***My phone dinged minutes ago with her checking in, asking me to be kind with myself.

She’s a momma to me.  She’s stood beside me as I birthed all three of my babies and got to bless them in Jesus name as I recovered.  She has listened to my scared and aching heart more times than I care to count.  She has stood in the familial gap when there’s been no one on my side to stand with me.  She is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and she acts and responds and speaks in His power and authority and I am blessed because of it.

She’s the one I get to send all of my silly baby videos to because I know she see’s the beauty I see.  She’s the one I get to bounce ideas off of and get real, honest, loving feedback from.  She’s the one that knows my struggles because it takes one to know one; we are cut from some of the same cloth, she and I.  What an honor…

She has loved me like her own for 6+ years now…given of herself so selflessly…and healed some wounded areas in my heart by doing so.

Mom-a-la, you are a treasure.   Thank the Lord for Wal-Mart and bright blue church t-shirts.  My life wouldn’t be the same without you in it.  Thank you for all you do for me and for being the best spiritual momma (and real momma) a girl could ever ask for.

And finally, my sweet friend, Roisin.  She is breathtakingly beautiful, incredibly organized and efficient, unshakable in any way shape or form and is the most loving, doting, Godly mother I have ever met.  She is the wife and mom I aspire to be. 

Roisin and her beautiful family

Roisin and her beautiful family

She and the kids came and stayed with us for a couple of days (poor Mike had to work – we missed you!) and we had the best time!  Hence my sappy heart today…

She and Mike are the epitome of Godly parents.  They love the Lord and are constantly and consistently taking the pieces of their lives back to Him and His word and strive to live in obedience to Him…and the fruit of their labors is evident.

Her kids are so gentle and loving and encouraging, not only to each other, but to our kids as well.  For the past two days, they have helped Wryder up and down the stairs…helped me change baby Sayble’s diapers…played all kinds of silliness with both kids…blessed Sawyer for her birthday…were so grateful and polite and easily entertained – these are the kinds of kids that are quite easy to love, by the way.  :)

They are all of those things because she is all of those things.  Her oldest daughter told me I needed a cape because I was super mom.  If I need a cape, Roisin needs a cape AND a crown AND a ceptor…

She is a wife who honors her husband; she loves him and loves to spend time with him and takes joy in being his helpmate.  She takes care of her home and always has it in such splendid order, despite the wildly creative fun the kids are always engaged in.  She prays for her family and over her family and is very intentional about teaching them how to love and honor the Lord and each other.  She is a devoted friend – quick to listen, quick to pray and quick to lend hand.  She has loved me and my family from day one without any reservations or hesitations; she was just all in!

Someone once told me that she’s the woman who, if it weren’t for her overwhelmingly kind and gracious self, you’d just want to punch in the face for being so darn near perfect.  It made me laugh because I agreed.  :)

Sweet Roisin, you are such an inspiration to me.  If I could do life half as graciously as you, I would consider myself wildly successful.  Thank you for loving my family so wholly.  We feel quite undeserving of your affection and your time but we are oh-so grateful for it.  You and your family mean more to us than we could ever, ever fully put into words.  Just know you are in our hearts.   And?  I’d never punch you in the face, just so we’re clear. 

So thankful for these wonderful women.  Thankful to tears.  Sappy momma needs a nap…

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