Thursday, October 30, 2014

#TBT: Hand-Me-Down Halloween

Our family is trick-or-treating this year as a Wizard of Oz ensemble. We got to try the costumes out at Claire's 3rd birthday party—a Halloween party!—on Sunday. (I can't wait to share it with you; it's been a very busy week!)
BGC's role in the ensemble was inspired by her spica cast. We'll cover it in tin foil tomorrow night to complete the look! (Oil can, please!) But the overall plan was prompted by the happenstance of a couple hand-me-down costumes.

 Kate was a witch three years ago (the night before Claire was born, in fact!) so Claire might have been a witch this year regardless of our family ensemble! (She was a monkey her first Halloween, like Kate, but was a ladybug last year, instead of a kittycat!) Both girls made darling little witches, don't you think?

And after seeing "Wizard of Oz" earlier this year, Kate got very excited about donning my mother-made Dorothy jumper from 1988! They didn't sell glitter-coated mary janes back then, so my mom had to spray-paint an old pair and attach crinkly red bows! I got Kate's ruby slippers on clearance at Target months ago, and had to hide them with the fall decor, lest she wear them out long before October!

Thriftiness and nostalgia make a great team when combined for some special hand-me-down costumes. Now which of my "pretties" wore it best?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Creepy Crawly Party

Well, we've not only had BGC with us for more than a year, we've had her with us for two birthdays now! Last year, she had only been with us about six weeks when she turned one, so we did a little Sesame Street mini-party at church after our casual evening service.

This year, we gave her the full Kelley-family birthday treatment with a "Creepy Crawly" themed party in honor of her (pre-spica-cast) creeping and crawling and all her other progress in the last year. I can't show you how big and robust she's getting these days, how much more interactive and verbal (her few babbly sounds are big steps, with hearing loss as profound as hers!), but I can show you her sweet 2nd birthday party, at which friends and family celebrated her growth.

I found the invite on Etsy, and personalized the text.

For the centerpiece, I just used flowers, flanked by a light-up ladybug toy we have and a caterpillar I made from styrofoam balls that will do double-duty in a game at Claire's Halloween birthday party in two weeks.

Since it was a morning party, a "buggy brunch," the cake was a tower of doughnuts, being climbed by an orange doughnut-hole caterpillar (stuck in with toothpicks). I love the little name banner I made to hang over the doughnut "cake" (letters obscured for blog-sharing, of course).
Bloody Marys and mimosas for the grownups, plus juice boxes for the kids (BGC learned how to drink through a straw via said juice boxes today, actually!)

 Kate and Claire helped me with much of the food, like putting grapes on skewers for our "grape-a-pillars."

Cinnamon rolls became "cinnamon roll-y polys."

I used crescent roll dough with bacon and American cheese to make these little pastry "snails." I read online that broccoli slaw makes good antennae (and felt gratified that I was not the only person out there looking to create edible bug anatomy).

 I also made a bunch of quiche muffins, no cutesy name required.

For an activity to keep kiddos occupied, I put out supplies for crafting little bugs out of mini styrofoam balls, pipe cleaners, toothpicks, and pony beads.

These were the products left at the end of the party!

Happy birthday, BGC. This is going to be a big year for you!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Taking My Kids Off the Pedestal

I'm honored to be a contributor this year to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital's Children's Wishing Well blog. We've spent a lot of time at VCH this year with "Baby Girl Chandler" (AKA "BGC" on this blog), and though that isn't a prerequisite for contributing to Wishing Well, it has increased my knowledge of and appreciation for children's health care.

My first post is up on Wishing Well today, and in it, I share some thoughts about foster care that have been swimming around my heart and mind for quite a while. It felt really good to let it out. Though I didn't emphasize the religious basis of these thoughts in the published post, I'll say here that it all began with a book that I actually didn't even read.

I used to get a lot of review copies in my old job as editor of Circuit Rider and Ministry Matters, and (shocker) I didn’t have time to read them all, but I tried to give the appealing ones at least a little peek. That’s where I saw the line in Jennie Allen’s Anything that advocated praying a crazy prayer, that of offering God “anything.” Anything God wanted or needed from you, you offer that up. That is definitely a frightening thought, especially since my first thought was “my kids.” If I offer God anything, God might take my kids. That’s not a theologically sound thought, and I definitely don’t think God kills kids, takes anybody because he “needs another angel” or whatnot. That’s crazy. But as I weighed that crazy thought with the calling to foster care that I was already pondering—had been pondering for a while—I realized that, yes, in a way, answering God’s call would mean offering something of my kids.

The idea that opening our home to other children might mean my own children having less—less space, less attention, less of our disposable income, anything less than our undivided focus—I would be sacrificing something that my own privileged kids may take for granted. Not so much space and time and stuff, but their place on the pedestal of our family’s life.

This pedestal, all shiny white with Corinthian detail, has a plaque on it that says:

These children are special.

These children deserve the best of everything.

These children, by virtue of being born into a comparatively well-off family in a safe suburb, should be shielded from people not like us.

These children should not have to share the good things they have with those who have not.

To read the rest, go visit Children's Wishing Well.


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