Monday, February 23, 2015

A Renaissance Fair Birthday

Sunday was my birthday and highland games weekend at the Renaissance Fair in Tampa. We went four years ago with Zane's parents, and this year we thought it'd be fun to do it again. I thought it was much more fun with kids! 



We had a GRAND welcome to the festival. First there were a bunch of fairies, so we encouraged Daisy to say hi. Daisy was kind of overwhelmed by all of it, but it didn't take too long for her to adjust and start interacting with the actors.


Next up, we saw the queen. One of her ladies in waiting brought Daisy over and introduced her to the queen. The queen knelt down, spoke to Daisy, and gave her a little ring. Then she called over "the Merry's" who were a group of girls dressed in different colors.

The girls asked if Daisy knew a song, so I suggested that Daisy sing "BaBa Black Sheep." Daisy sang it very quietly, so the queen sang it with her. They girls clapped and praised her afterwards. Each of them were named whatever flower was on their heads: Rose, Morning Glory, Sunflower, etc. Daisy kind of fit right in. They had Daisy sing her song to the sheep herder later.

Apparently every hour on the hour, the girls do a maypole dance, but we didn't get to participate this year. Maybe next time.



Somewhere between the ring-giving and the song-singing, the queen met Amy, who was riding in the Ergo baby enjoying the sights. The queen asked if she could give a special blessing to Amy, so I said yes. She said the sweetest blessing while holding Amy's head, and it seriously almost started crying. It was really sweet, but I can't remember everything she said. Something like, "I pray you have a long life. I pray you have a healthy life....(more of this)...but most of all I pray you have a happy life." 


That was the closest I came to getting lost in the magic of it all. Usually as an adult, I just see people in costumes, but when the queen was blessing Amy, I was so honored by her words that I didn't wonder whether or not her blessing was part of her queen act or if she was speaking from her heart. It doesn't really matter, because it was very sweet. 


I brought these flower crowns for Daisy and her cousin that I had made years ago, but never sold on Etsy. They were perfect. Actually, this festival would be a great venue for selling floral headbands. I didn't see any vendors with crowns like mine, but there are vendors for just about everything medieval and/or mythological that you would want. It's possible we didn't walk past the floral crown booth if there was one. 


They also have man-powered rides for kiddies. The girls wanted to ride this seahorse swing, so I went with them. You can kind of see the guy pushing us. He reminded me of Rollo from Vikings. The ride went on for a long time, much longer than any Disney ride. I'd say we got our money's worth. 

I did have a "bad parent" moment and let Daisy ride when she was already wiggling from having to go potty. By the time the ride was over, it was too late for a successful potty trip. Potty first next time. No renaissance fair trip with kids is complete without a potty fiasco, right? 


Possibly my favorite part was the elephant ride. I think I might have ridden an elephant in childhood, but I don't remember it at all (I just have a vague memory of seeing a photo), so as far as I'm concerned, this was a first for me! It was a really short lap, but it was fun, especially with Daisy. 

My parents were laughing about the lack of historical continuity of a man in a kilt leading an elephant at a medieval times festival. The other girl helping with the elephant rides was dressed like a gypsy. I say just go with it. 

You can kind of see from that picture that I'm wearing my little crown that we got last time we were here. 


As usual, Amy was the best behaved baby ever. She ate right before we got there, so was happy and sleepy the entire time. 


This is princess Cinderella fawning over Amy. Amy even giggled at her, which she has only done about three times in her life. 

We had a great day. It would be fun to dress up a little more in the future, but it's so hot and dusty, that I'd have to really think through my costume. Light and airy is the way to go, even in February! Saturday was a nice, cool day, but Sunday was already hot again. Oh, Florida. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby Shower Prayer Verse




One wonderful baby shower tradition from our church in Orlando is to pray over the new baby by name and with Bible verses. I don't know who started this, but it's excellent. It was my favorite part of Daisy's shower, and I've made them for other friends since then too. 

In typical baby #2 fashion, we didn't have a baby shower for Amy, which is totally okay, because we have a ton of baby stuff already. The only thing I was sad about was the lack of opportunity for a group of people to pray over Amy like we did for Daisy. 

I decided to go ahead and make some verse cards for Amy before she was born. We finally prayed over Amy at a little Valentine's Day party for her when she was about four months old. 

This is a great tradition to start with your expecting mommy friends! But it doesn't just have to be used for baby showers. One friend at Amy's party mentioned wanting to make them for her grandkids just to have guided prayer times for them. God has already written the scripture, so we don't really have to think of great things to say while praying. Using these cards provides a great way to pray His truths for others. 

Here's the tutorial: 

1. Choose five coordinating 12''x12'' scrapbook sheets from your craft store. I did sports-themed ones for a friend of mine, who had a sports-themed shower. I did ladybug ones for my sister's ladybug shower. For Amy, I just chose pretty greens and pinks, because I liked them! They ended up being perfect for her Valentine's day party. 

2. Cut them in four equal squares, 6''x6'' each. This will make 19 verse cards and one title page. 


3. Find 19 verses and insert the baby's and parent's names where appropriate. I've included my two documents at the bottom of this post as a template. Please feel free to download and alter as needed! There's one document for girls and one for boys. The only difference is the pronoun use and fonts. Double-check your work to make sure each verse reads correctly!

4. Cut the verses out. I made mine 5'' wide and didn't worry about the height too much.


5. Hole punch the tops of each card. I punch two holes at the top and bind them all together with a ribbon. It's good to hole punch at this stage, before you start gluing, so you can center the verse the way you want under the holes. 


6. Glue stick your verses onto the cards. 


7. Sort the cards in whatever order you like for the different scrapbook patterns. You'll most likely have to do this again, because at the shower, the cards will be passed out so everyone can have a card to pray aloud during the prayer time. I usually just re-sort them after the prayer time before giving the pack to the momma. 


8. Thread a ribbon through the holes and tie a bow! That's it!



When I have led this prayer time in the past, I just pass the stack around (minus the title page) and ask each participant to take one or two verses. Then I ask someone to open in prayer and close, and everyone else to pray their prayer cards and whatever else they feel led to pray. Personally, I like to pray in a circle, because then you just know who's going next, but that's my organized personality coming out.

For me, it's a super emotional experience to have people pray over your child and family by name with verses. I was very weepy during Daisy's shower and during my neice's shower when we prayed over her. The Word of God, people!! It's powerful!

Thanks for reading!

Baby Verse Templates:

Baby Girl
Baby Boy

Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn't support multiple columns, so I suggest copying the file content and formatting it in your own word processor.

  1. Use landscape orientation. 
  2. Set your margins at .5'' all around
  3. Split the document into two columns. Set the space between columns at 1'' for easier cutting. 
  4. Find and replace the names of the baby, mom, and dad for customized verse cards! 
Also, if you have trouble downloading and editing these, you can email me, and I'd be glad to send you the Word Document files in an attachment: deb.kenn22 [at] gmail [dot] com

You can also use the "contact me" link on my blog.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mom of Two: Four Months In

This month was once again a little easier than last month. I've got the whole "leave the house with two kids and no husband" thing down. I even drove to Orlando for one night just me and the kids.


I finally ventured on a walk with both kids and Rufio sans Zane. I had Amy in the Ergo carrier (my best friend). Up to this point, I haven't gone on a walk without Zane because I didn't want to have to talk to anyone in my neighborhood. This is also my biggest reason for wanting my own yard for the kids to play in - so that I can be a hermit, but my kids can still get outdoor time.

Well, guess what happened on our walk? I talked to people! I knew it would happen.

Daisy wanted to play on the playground, so we loitered for just enough time for neighborhood kids to come by and pet Rufio, which led to a little toddler coming to pet Rufio, which led to me talking to toddler's mom for an HOUR! I came home very happy about my accomplishment that was forced upon me. I thought, "I'd like to do that again tomorrow, but I don't want to ever do that again." I have all these ideas of amazing friendships in the neighborhood, but I don't want to leave my house. Oh, the internal conflict!



Amy's accomplishments this month included chuckling, holding her feet, pulling off her socks, putting the pacifier in her mouth (by accident), and rolling over once (possibly by accident).

I'm constantly torn between wanting her to grow up and be more independent (finding her pacifier on her own) and staying a baby. She's so adorable and squishy. She's also VERY snuggly. We have been much less strict on her about scheduling. She's pretty scheduled on her own, but there's lots more rocking and less crying with Amy. NOT that she doesn't cry, because she does. We just don't have her cry it out yet. Not sure what our plan is there.


I tend to put aside my to-do list to play with or hold Amy when she's awake. I put aside my to-do list a lot for Daisy too - playing trains and blocks and princesses, building forts, reading books, helping after potty. Somehow I have managed these things, kept the house relatively cleanish, fed everything, and continued to meet my Etsy orders.

Honestly, we still watch a lot of TV. I have limited our shows. SO many kids' shows are about social interactions, which usually include one character being mean to another. Daisy is absorbing everything, and I don't want her picking up rude habits.

Zane is a HUGE help. He has basically taken over all Rufio-related duties and Daisy's bedtime routine. He also cooks about half the time and does ALL our grocery shopping. Am I blessed or what?!

There are still days where I feel like I could pull my hair out at the end of the day, but I don't even have enough energy for that.

I nostalgically remember the days when I could paint, sew for fun, read novels, play video games, act, and blog about it all. I have lots of ideas for creative projects, but very little time to do anything without toddler interruption. My days often feel like survival mode, but I do NOT want to wish away the little years. Creative endeavors will be there when I'm an empty-nester. I'm doing my best to enjoy the life that God has given me right now and file away my dreams for the future.



I've also been working out more since the beginning of January, which has helped me lose a good chunk of pregnancy weight. I did a Beach Body challenge, which was really fun, and helped me to jumpstart healthier habits this year.

It has been a great month, and we have lots to look forward to next month: my birthday, the Strawberry Festival, Renaissance Faire, and who knows what else. Maybe I'll blog more often too. Soon this baby will be eating solids and sitting up and next thing I know, she won't be a baby anymore. Which is simultaneously a happy and sad thought.

Daisy just winked at me and said, "Cheers." My life is awesome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mom of Two: Three Months In

Last month was the turning point for me in my adjustment to this new normal, praise God. I made it through the "fourth trimester"!

Zane had three weeks off of school in December, and it was just in time. At the beginning of his break, he woke up with Daisy, so I could sleep in a little longer each day. By the end of the break, Amy was sleeping through the night, and I felt like a new woman.


Early in January, we were hanging around the house. Zane was in the kitchen; Daisy was playing; I was rocking Amy. I felt such peace. Everything was right. I realized that I had gotten used to having two kids. 

Further proof of my new-found adjustment is that recently I had a memory of something over the summer and thought, "Wait, what did I do with Amy during that?" Oh yeah, she was in my belly!

Amy is so much fun now. She interacts, smiles, coos, and wants to be part of the action at all times. She's so strong too, trying to sit up and roll over. Neither has happened yet on her own. She's also out of the ballpark in terms of height and weight percentile for her age. She's a good eater!




Along with my feeling of "I got this" with two kids has come a sense of contentment with this stage of life. After many months of disliking life in our new town, I have come to like our little apartment. It's super quick to clean. After getting home from errands, I feel peace walking in the door, shutting out the world to rest and enjoy our little sanctuary. I have explored the area enough that I have a pretty good mental map of where things are located. Our new home has finally become home.

I still have lots of dreams and goals on the horizon. I can't shut off that part of my personality. But, here and now, this is good. Nursing school is good. Tampa is good. Two kids is good.

Whew, it happened. I adjusted. Now, what to change next...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Family Fun


Merry Christmas Eve! This year, we've done Christmas to the max it seems, and I have a feeling we will be doing Christmas even bigger as the girls get older. 

We decorated as a family right before Thanksgiving (we have no qualms about blending the two holidays). Daisy loves to decorate! We had to keep her from taking off the ornaments so she could re-decorate. 


To start December, we made Christmas cookies with friends. Daisy loves to roll out the dough and use cookie cutters. Daisy helped Daddy make "Christmas pretzels," which is Zane's traditional Chex mix/Almond bark candy treat. 



We went to Raglan Road twice this year. The first night, Daisy danced up on stage with the Irish step dancers. She was adorable. The next week when we returned, she danced on stage twice! By the second time (her third time dancing), she basically knew the whole routine. 

It's always fun to walk around Disney at Christmas time and see all the beautiful decorations!


The weekend before Christmas we had an extended-family Christmas celebration with some of my family at my grandparents' house. With just five of my cousins' families, we had eleven great-grandchildren present. This is the best photo we could get of all the kiddos. 



Then we jumped over to Zane's family for the annual cupcake decorating competition. My creativity must have been depleted this year, because I couldn't create anything worthy of winning, but we did get some cute photos of Amy and her cousin Declan.


Christmas Eve was spent at another family party. The girls had super cute Christmas dresses, but we forgot to take a photo of them! We spent Christmas with Zane's family, then did Christmas again on the 26th with my family. This last week has been spent relaxing with family and catching up with a few friends in Orlando.


I hope all of you have had a fun season with family like we have! 2014 was a wonderful year with lots of changes (moving, nursing school, new baby). We look forward to all that 2015 brings!