Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Whirlwind Birthday Season

Since late May, it's been Birthday Central around here - 7 birthdays in less than 5 weeks, in our immediate family.

To start things off, Esther decided she'd like to make some fancy soaps to send to her sister-in-law for her birthday in late May. She chose a rose mold, and added scent and color to melted glycerine soap base, creating these fragrant blossoms:

We had lots of fun, and they turned out really nice. I think Esther surprised herself at how pretty they were, and Melissa really appreciated them. We also made 'Confetti' soaps, by stacking chunks of colored soap base into a cylinder, pouring in white soap base to fill, and then slicing into half circles (oh why did I not get a picture of these?)

Of course, the boys were not too excited about the whole flower thing, so they opted to make bug soap and turtles and frogs. Who knew creepy, crawly things could make such good, clean fun? These cute little soaps have made great gifts for some friends. This project is definitely on our 'Do It Again!' list.

Just a few days after Melissa's birthday, Brent celebrated his 24th. My, how the years have flown by! Having grown children, living away from home, FAR away from home, makes their birthdays tough on this old mom. I tend to reminisce and think on happy memories, and work at fighting away my melancholy. I miss the joy of baking Brent's strawberry/rhubarb pie, and decorating with streamers and a homemade birthday sign sporting his name. Ah, well -- life goes on! But I'm thankful for the luxury of telephones, as I was able to hear his voice from across the miles and a postal service that delivers my cards and packages.

And so, we move on. Look who comes next - me! Twenty-four years ago, we brought our firstborn home from the hospital on MY birthday. He was 2 days old, what a wonderful birthday present! How young and scared I was! How thrilled we were! Seems like yesterday.

Eight children later, they all join in with their dad, and make my birthday special. Once again, Caitlin surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries. She always finds a way to get them done without me knowing it. She is a wonder! She also whipped up a delicious Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake for me. Can you tell chocolate makes Mama happy? A gift card to my favorite restaurant, flowers wired from overseas, and my very own pocket-sized digital camera, along with special handmade pictures. They sure know how to spoil their mother!

A week later, it's Noah's turn! He is now 6 years old, will be starting first grade this year, and was very excited to have lost his 2 front teeth just in time for his birthday. You can do such cool things when you are missing so many teeth at once. The bottom 2 have not completely grown in yet, so there is quite a gap.

He especially wanted a baseball birthday this year, so Caitlin helped me make his dreams come true with the BallPark Cake. He loved it! Only trouble was, when it came time to blow out the candles, he needed plenty of help. What with that gaping hole in the front of his mouth, the wind went every which way, but straight out, and he missed EVERY SINGLE CANDLE! We told him this must be an extra special birthday, because this had never happened before. He was happy to have brothers and sisters around to help him out.

And so a few more days pass, and we are on the phone, making a call overseas to wish Alyssa happy birthday. My Flag Day Baby. 23 years old. All grown up, married with a baby of her own. I won't get into how emotional it is for me, but she's happy and doing what she loves. We all miss celebrating this special day with her, but sending cards and care packages makes it fun for us and for her. One of these years, I'm hoping God will bring all my children home for a visit during this birthday season, and we'll have One Big Birthday Bash - won't that be fun?

And 3 days later . . .

. . . Wee Bekah turns 4 - now, THIS birthday was a bit tough on Mom. On everyone, actually, because it means our baby really is growing up. I'm so glad she is generous with her hugs and snuggles and kisses.

Now, any of you that know this girl know that she's all about pink. And that includes birthdays. Especially Pink Poodle Birthdays! And so, Mama says, "My wish is your command" or something to that effect, and with some input from Esther and Caitlin, I whipped up this very cute cake for my baby girl.

Okay, it's Caitlin's turn. She definitely hides from the spotlight, but I caught her on film (so it was a digital camera, but you know what I mean). She's generally busy taking care of things in the wings, quietly helping out in the background, or behind the camera. On Sunday I had her front and center and wouldn't let her escape!

It is so nice to have Grandma near by. She is able to pop in to enjoy our little birthday celebrations.

For a change of pace, Esther and I made an Angel Food cake, covered with whipped topping and fresh strawberries and raspberries. Caitlin enjoyed it, and so did the rest of us! It was light and fresh tasting after all the heavier sweet treats we've been having lately.

19 years old now, and all grown up. But she still was very excited to receive another Nancy Drew Mystery computer game. How long will it take her to 'crack the case'?

Whew! If you have made it all the way to the end of this post, I applaud you and I thank you. This is a chaotic time each year, but a joyous time, filled with love and memories. Here's wishing each of you a Happy Day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Have A Happy Day!

Cheerfulness and contentment are
great beautifiers
and are famous preservers
of youthful looks.

Charles Dickens

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives
health to the bones.

Proverbs 15:30 NIV

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