Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Noah's Ark Party

Today we celebrated Noah’s 1st birthday. **Tears**. I can’t believe my baby is ONE!
On top of all the typical party hosting craziness, we’ve been dealing with the home sale/pending move all week (more on that later!) Needless to say, this party was a little bit more stressful than most & there were a few things that fell through the cracks. I have decided not to dwell on those things and instead to just focus on how much fun we had!

I think the d├ęcor turned out precious, although I was still putting stuff up as people were walking in.

The Noah’s Ark cake and snack table, complete with rain clouds!
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I tried to carry the theme to the food. We had hot dogs, zebra cakes, goldfish…
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cheetos, bananas…
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rainbow fruit kabobs… pretty & delicious!
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Noah’s Ark cake & rainbow cupcakes!
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A display for Noah’s monthly photos
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A balloon rainbow! I loved it, but it was a major pain in the booty to make!
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Our birthday boy had a little bit of a cranky morning and didn’t want to nap, but he cheered up as the party started. Being outside helped – it was a beautiful day!
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Being on daddy’s shoulders guarantees giggles and big smiles!
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He can pass for the old man from “Up” with his bald head and helium balloons!
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I had animal coloring sheets set up for the bigger kids when they first arrived. Sydney, Emily & Avery went right to work!
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Tanner & Ben both chose Tigers. Big surprise!
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When they were all done I had some beautiful art!
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Hi Luke! Glad you’re here!
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Grace & Grant weren’t as interested in coloring and did some sliding instead.
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Grace stopped to smell the Mountain Laurels.
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Noah chased balloons around most of the morning.
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Soon it was lunch time!
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Noah enjoyed his bottle outside on the deck.
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Cake time was next! Ben & Grace were coaching Noah on blowing out his candle.
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What is this business all about? Can I touch the fire?
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Crying because I wouldn’t let him touch the fire.

Noah was such a trooper, though. Here he is powering through and eating cake despite the tears.
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Getting the hang of it.
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Eating a little more.
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Action shot – cake smashing!
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Commencing sugar coma.
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Consider it smashed.
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It was finally time to cut into the ark! I did NOT think this cake was going to come together, but I loved the way it turned out!
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We had another activity planned after cake. I emptied out these little water bottles and put stickers on them.
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Then the kids used skittles to make rainbows in their bottles.
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Hard at work.
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The kids did great with their bottles and were so cute showing them off!
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The birthday brother & sister!
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We had so much fun and are so grateful for all of the friends that celebrated with us!
Noah’s best friend came all the way from Corpus!
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Lucky for me, Rylan can’t drive yet. That means that my best friend gets to come, too! 
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Lauren & Kelli were here to represent the YL girlies! The kids were so excited to see them!
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Noah loves his Lauren!
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Practicing walking!
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Lots of family came, too! Grammy, Great Grandma Evelyn, Sweetie, Paw Paw & Cousin Niki all traveled far to be with us. We love ya’ll!
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We had such a great time. Here is the final proof that the party was a success… naps all around!
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

God is in the details…

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I so love that he is. Why? Because if you’ve known me for 5 seconds or more, you know that I am a detail oriented person. TO. A. FAULT. I keep lists. Sometimes I keep lists of my lists. It’s a sickness, and I LOVE it. Brian would probably share a different perspective, which is why he is not allowed to write on the blog. :)

As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve been delighted to witness how God shows up in my life and in the lives of others. Sometimes He shows up in big ways. Like “mountain moving” big. It’s so fun when He does that… it always catches me off guard. I don’t know why I’m still surprised; He is the creator of the Universe, after all. As great as that is though, I get even more tickled when He shows up in the little things. You know, when you’re praying and as your praying you feel silly even asking for what you’re going to ask for. As if God would take time out from His hectic commanding the heavens and the earth schedule to address the teeny little thing that is troubling your heart. Well, I can say that He DOES have time and He DOES care and He DOES show up. He has for our family time and time and time again. There are a few instances in particular that I just had to write down.

The first example took place about 1 year after Ben was born. I had left SeaWorld and was working for a small financial valuation firm for almost a year. I LOVED the people that I worked for and the flexibility that the position afforded me, but I just didn't love the work. I felt bad that I didn’t like the work, and I felt bad for praying about that because the job was perfect in every other way. I decided that I just needed to be grateful for my situation, and if God wanted me to do something else, then He was just going to have to show me exactly what that was.

A few weeks later, there was an advertisement in the bulletin of our church for a position in the finance office. The pay was significantly less than what I was currently making, but it was more of an accounting/bookkeeping position instead of the finance position that I currently held. It was also much closer to home. I figured I would apply and see what happened. I submitted my application and got a call pretty soon after to come in for an interview. The topic of pay didn’t come up in the interview, and I still was unsure if it was even feasible for me to make this move. Still, I asked God, “if you want me to take this job… please make it CLEAR!” While I waited to hear back, I did a little math. I was making “x” amount working 16 hours a week at my current job. The new job would require 20 hours a week. In order to bring the same salary home each month, I would have to make “y” amount at the new job. That number was a little encouraging, but it was still two or three dollars more per hour than the advertisement said the job was paying. The only person I told the number to was Brian. A few days later, I received a phone call that I was being offered the position. Before I could even broach the subject of pay, the lady on the phone said, “We are going to start you at this amount.” It was the EXACT number that I had told Brian we needed. To the penny. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. But that’s how God works. He’s in the details.

Fast forward a couple years and we were expecting our second little bundle of joy. The time had come to think about selling our trusty Corolla and moving into something a little bigger. Easy enough... lots of people deal with buying and selling cars on a daily basis. The thing about the Barricks, though, is that we don’t do debt. So we saved as much as we could and trusted that God would work it out. I really wanted a mini van, but we were having a hard time finding something that we liked in our price range. We told our financial counselor about our plans, and even he said, “You’ll never find a van for that amount.” Oh ye of little faith. :)

Grace was due in May, so when March came around I suggested to Brian that we should probably start trying to sell the Corolla in case it took a while. We washed it and waxed it one afternoon, took a couple pictures, and listed it on Craig’s List. Within 2 hours of posting the listing, the car was sold. The best part – we sold it for the same price that we had bought it for three years before. The buyer drove away and we were struck with the reality that I had no way to get to work the next morning. We opened up Ebay and did a quick search and found a van that was being sold in Austin. It had EVERYTHING that was on my wish list, down to the color that I had been hoping for. It was being auctioned and the bidding was closing the next day at lunchtime. The following 24 hours were absolutely crazy. We spent the night in Waco and drove to Austin first thing in the morning. We arranged to meet the seller at a mechanic to get the van checked out. We then drove to a Starbucks and sat there on a laptop waiting for the auction to close. We were in a bidding war down to the last second… I almost had a heart attack. If the bidding had gone any higher, we wouldn’t have been able to pay cash for it, but it ended up costing just what we had to spend! Once again, it was so amazing to see how God provided exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. Details, details.

This past week I’ve been reflecting on the Lord’s attention to detail and acknowledging the ways he’s acted on my behalf before, because it has gotten CAH-RAZY up in the Barrick house. We met with a realtor last Thursday to discuss the possibility of selling and moving into a bigger home. The day after our meeting I was really struggling with our decision to list the house.. I had just settled in at my desk at work when one of my sweet co-workers came in. She wasn’t looking for me, but she stopped to talk and I ended up spilling my guts about the anxiety and guilt that I was feeling. The things that she shared with me (and prayed over me) were exactly what I needed to hear at that moment and for the first time since the previous evening my heart was at peace. After she left, I remembered that I was going to check our work room to see if there were any extra boxes that I could use to start packing things and preparing the house to sell. I walked down the hall and jokingly said out loud, “Well, Lord, I still don’t know if you’re going to sell our house, but I can’t even get this process started until I get my hands on some boxes.” I turned the corner towards the work room and there were boxes stacked up on a counter almost to the CEILING! It was the most boxes that I’d ever seen there. Come to find out, another co-worker was stock piling them for a family who was moving, but they had decided that they didn’t need them anymore. She said, “If you want them, take them, because I really want to get them out of here today.” I had goose bumps. I was almost crying. To someone else it may have been just some boxes, but to me, it was another whisper from my God. Another reminder that he cares about the big stuff AND the little stuff.

Today (one week later) there is a “for sale” sign in our front yard. People have asked me where we are moving. I have no idea, because THIS house has to sell first. They’ve worried on our behalf, "What if your house sells and you can’t find something else to move in to?” Um... I don't know that either. I may spend the next six months keeping the house spotless for showings (at the expense of my sanity) and it may not sell at all. These are all very real possibilities. However, I know that my God is in the details. I know it because He's proven it to me before. I know it because in the 12th chapter of Luke His word says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

So, whatever happens, I know that my mountain moving, sparrow counting, box hoarding God is on top of it. Thankfully all I should be worrying about is keeping the toilets presentable. (And believe me, that is PLENTY enough!)

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