Babies Under The Weather

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My son may not be to too happy with me for posting this picture someday. And I am sure I will have some embarrassing pictures of me placed for all to see. I’ll take it like a big girl because it will be worth it! I am not putting this picture out to irritate my little man, but because it tells a story and sparks a memory.

You see, while it sounds exhausting and overwhelming, this day is a day I will cherish, vomit and all.

The plans for the day were to take my daughter to the hospital to have her tonsils removed because she kept getting strep throat, among other illnesses. This did happen. It was gory and gruesome and broke my heart to see her in so much pain. Then we were told she we was at an elevated risk because her tonsils were so large and damaged from the repeated episodes of infection.

After we were able to visit her in the recovery room, my husband returned to work and I was to check her out of the hospital and then take her home to sleep. But shortly after he leaves, I get notification from the school that my son is throwing up in the classroom trashcan! So, now I have one in the hospital, one puking at school,another one that has to be picked up, dogs that needed to go out, a husband that needs to return to work, and a partridge in a pear tree!

It was amazing how the story went from there. I called my husband who had to check out my son on his way back to work. He called MiMi (his mom) to wait with my son briefly, until I got home. As the day progressed, I had a post op little girl on part of the couch and a feverish vomiting little boy sitting on the other part cuddling with his trashcan. We ended up with her sleeping on the short part of the couch, the little dude on his mattress that we pulled to the living room floor and me on the longer part of the couch for the next couple nights. This let us have plenty of room to stretch out and rest, and allowed me to be present for my son’s high  fever hallucinating ninja kicks in the middle of the night!

Aside from that craziness, these days were filled with cuddles, nurturing, preparing special food, and simply taking care of my little ones. It seems so strange, but I had permission from my busy life to concentrate on their well-being. Everything else was able to be put on hold as I simply loved them. It seems so strange that I look back at this time with fond memories. Even if they were sick, we I got to camp out in the living room and just be together. I look past the gross stuff and the pain of seeing my babies suffer to bask in the idea of being able (for a short time) to let them rely on me for all the little things we have taught them to do themselves. My arms and hands can still feel me cradling them as their long extremities dangle freely because they can’t fit in the nook of my arm anymore. I took delight in giving them “custom” meals when, in healthy times, they can make their own. Being certain they would heal soon, I loved the warmth in my soul from being blessed by  knowing that they are capable of so much, but in their time of pain from injured bodies, they drew close to me and let me show my love for them.

It is amazing what all you can get from a picture of a little boy hugging a trashcan full of bodily fluids.  And it never ceases to amaze me that, even in rough times, the little tidbits of fondness shown in the moment can be how we remember the entire event.

Springs Smiles Post it

Check out these links for more stories on hidden blessings and simply loving your kids for who they are!

To Read or Not to Read?

Sports in our House

Ba- Humbug!

Muddy Memories

Sports Fun Birthday Ideas

Birthdays are a big deal in our house! I love celebrating people that I love for all they are! I love making them feel special and loved, and I love any excuse to do crafts, decorate and host a party! From finding just the right gift, to making a cake and decorations, to seeing the happy smiles on people’s faces, I love birthdays! It’s not hard for kids to like their birthdays, but I’d be lying if I said I am not thrilled that my sweeties love the process of planning their own birthdays as well as surprising others as much as I do!

I love that they think of each other and what they can make or give to each other.  Not just the gift, but the selfless thought that they put into bringing joy to others and their pure happiness from putting a smile on someone else’s face (not to mention the smile they put on my face as we enjoy spoiling each other together).

This year my 12 year old athlete realized she had never had any kind of a sport birthday!  She decided that she wanted to celebrate all of her favorites at once: volleyball, soccer, softball, and basketball with a little football and baseball added in! She designed her cake and spent hours upon hours on Pinterest and in my craft room working on ideas and making decorations. Here is what she pulled together!


Sports Birthday

The cake was designed to be a quarter of each of her favorite sports and has a frosting grass boarder around the bottom.

Mini bags of chips were displayed on a fun tray.






We created a popcorn bar with candy corn, M&M’s, and flavored seasonings.  Paper cones were created with 8×10 sheets of paper to hold each person’s popcorn creation.  An upside down wire basket is a unique way to display the cones. Similar ones can usually be found on the cheap at dollar stores.




For beverages, we served sports drinks in a bucket of ice.



We served the cake shown above to all of our extended family on Sunday, but served these super easy and fun cupcakes to her friends Friday night.  We iced the cupcakes with a grass tip and topped  with edible sport decor.



This is how my daughter decorated her snack table!  She made the confetti by using a round paper punch.  She printed the soccer balls and volleyballs from a simple image she found and then paper punched the images out.  The basketballs and softballs were free hand.


We always open presents by the fireplace, so she had to make sure it was decked out!  The sport balls on the sides of the fireplace and  chains on the mantle are all freehand, with the chains being decorated like basketballs, softballs, and volleyballs. There are free printables for football, base/softball, and basketball chains at this link.


Locker room signs were made to go on every bathroom door!


She created her own birthday banner!

She created about 10 of these signs with sport balls and famous sport quotes.

Party Fun

hayleigh-bday-photo-booth-picsIn addition to hiding in my daughter’s room, like tweenie boppers do, the kids played volleyball, chattered and were full of shenanigans. Everyone’s favorite activity though was the selfie station!  We have hundreds of pictures of my daughter, her besties and our family acting like complete goofballs together!!  It served as entertainment and documented the whole birthday!  Some of these pictures may come in handy at future fun events!!

Sport Birthday Scrapbook pageTo keep as a reminder of each of my kids birthdays we create a scrapbook page that all of the guests sign. It helps us remember who celebrated with us and it has been fun to watch the kid’s handwriting change throughout the years!


Happy Planning!

Smiles Halloween





P.S. Click on the images below to check out these other fun birthday posts!

Alice Cake editedScan0021



Sports in our House

I often reflect on the busyness of my family’s schedule…this is the life we have chosen. Do I like being at home? Absolutely! And we do Sports Momthis, but I am an extremely social being, as are my kids; especially the younger two. My husband and I feel very strongly about teaching our children to have a healthy lifestyle: eat healthy, exercise, sleep, etc. We are both have a passion for watching and playing sports.  I love volleyball, basketball, and getting a good workout in the gym. He loves volleyball and baseball. We enjoy the feeling of stress being released as we strengthen our bodies and build relationships with teammates and friends. These are lessons I want my kids to learn. I want them to learn to take care of themselves; to work hard, to work as a team, to be dedicated, and find a passion that gives them confidence and joy.

My babies all do different activities based on their own unique personalities. So this mama does a lot of running. To us, it is worth it. We coach whatever we can and spend time practicing with them when we are at home. I have even tried to do some of the fancy dance twirls with my younger daughter. She gets a good laugh since I was clearly always a little bit more of a jock. Are there days I think we need to pare back on our constant schedule?Without a doubt. I am mindful and we step back as needed, but are certainly not perfect. Is this for every family?


But, I am beyond thankful for the opportunities for our kids to find something that drives them and this is just our thing. As long as they love it, I will love it with them because this time of having them with me every day will be gone before I know it. They will be leaving our house in the blink of an eye and I pray that they will have many fond memories, learned life lessons, and passions that drive them along the way.


Super Mom: When Mom is Down

This summer was full of all sorts of fun!  Lots of time with my family (especially my little munchkins) and friends!  There was one small hiccup though. We barely got to go anywhere. That summer vacation that we were looking forward to, not to mention how many friends shared their amazing adventures with us….well, this was our vacation.

When Mom is Down

Where is the beach, the amusement park, the lake, heck…where’s the park?! Well, when mom is down for the count, vacation is surgery and a boot.

I was exercising at the gym when I heard 4 loud pops. Did I go to the doctor?  Of course not!  I’m Mom!  I can’t be down. After hobbling around for about a month and listening to the consistent popping in my ankle with each step, I was walking into church and I stepped in a hole and you know the rest of the story. I am Mom and I don’t have time for such nonsense! This time, no popping. It just felt like a very stretchy rubber band as it twisted oh so much farther than it was ever intended to go! OUCH! Luckily, my daughters were walking in front of me and I was able to catch myself on their shoulders. That kept me from falling in the middle of the parking lot as everyone was trying to leave from one service and park for the next. I managed to limp my way into church in quite extreme pain and grab a chair.

As Monday rolled around, did I seek medical assistance? Absolutely not! I am Mom and I have too many responsibilities to do such things! I am the one who takes everyone else to the doctor! I am the one who nurses my husband, kids, and plethora of pets.  What did I do? I continued to hobble (not even stopping my gym routine- but to my credit I did slow down the intensity of my workouts…at least a tiny bit). About two weeks after the second injury I was going full steam trying to get decorations up and sets made for Bible School at our church, which is quite large.  Holding true to form, I was the director over the decor, not only putting in tons of work, but guiding about 20 different people to lift, paint, tape, glue, build, etc. The whole while, my ankle is giving a loud crack with every step and I felt as if the pain was going to make me sick. With begging from my friends, co-workers, and boss, I finally did it!  I made the appointment and had it checked out.

Our doctor knows me quite well and is very much aware that I have a tendency to wait too long to take care of myself (e.g. two other sprained ankles, an infection from a hot glue wound on my hand, and a cut on my foot that was infected with staph and strep that nearly put me in the hospital). By this point, you may wonder how I have not learned my lesson already. Stubbornness or the expectation I put on myself to be Supermom. Probably a little of both. After reviewing my X-Rays and giving me a quick exam the doctor winced at the loud ankle pop, shook his head, and said I am so sorry but that is going to require surgery. He pulled out an anatomy book (because he is awesome like that) and showed me what he believed my injury to be, and then sent me on my way with the instruction to put zero weight on it, sit my butt down, put my leg up and to ice it, and go see a surgeon. ASAP. I don’t think he cared that I didn’t have time for such things or that  I thought I was Supermom at that point.

Well, I did see that surgeon and after my exam and an MRI revealed that I had torn a tendon and it would not heal on its own. So a week later I had surgery and spent two weeks breaking in our new couch, watching tons of Netflix and being more or less glued to my laptop.

You  would think this would drive this ultra “Type A” momma batty. I did make lots of plans for things I could do while being down. For example, I started crocheting again since I don’t have to stand at my craft table to do it! But, I still thought I would lose my mind and get completely out of shape without being able to be in constant motion and not having my daily dose of tension zapping exercise. In reality, it wasn’t too bad, and if I’m being honest, it was relaxing, refreshing, and a bit of a blessing. The “time off” helped me gain perspective about what life really is, what is important and where my priorities were vs. where they should be.

I do have this little agreement with God that if I get out of whack and my life gets too full of “busy” and I am neglecting my first priorities, that he has my permission to let the natural consequences of my spinning in circles smack me down a peg or two (I did just say give God permission didn’t I….Wow!  What a control freak!)  This is not the first consequence I have suffered and I am sure will not be the last, but this unexpected hiatus did its job. I actually slept 8 hours a few nights. I hung out with my kids the last couple weeks of summer. They had friends over to have a free for all at our house and I didn’t care. The house was a mess (I cared a little), but I was much more concerned that they were enjoying themselves, their siblings, their friends, and time with me. It really made me focus on how much I love them and for how many things I have to be grateful. I also was reminded that I am not invincible. My husband and kids picked up the slack at home. Dishes and laundry were done. No one starved. Animals were tended to. And everyone survived! Was it all exactly the way I would do it? Probably not, but does it really matter now? Apparently not, because I can’t even remember the differences.

As for my job at the church and Bible School, everyone pitched in. Decorations were put up and all of the children and volunteers had an amazing week! My kids, especially my daughters, learned that they don’t have to do it all. Life will go on if the towels are not all folded the exact same way or the dishes get loaded a little haphazardly. They saw how important having good work ethic, helping others, and contribute to those things you hold dear, such as family, community, and church are. They also learned it is okay not to be able to do it ALL.

It is okay to ask for help.

It is okay, NO – It is crucial to take care of yourself, to slow down and get perspective, to simply love life and do what brings you joy. They learned what it means to be grateful for what they do have and not to wallow in self-pity for what they don’t have.

While this injury may have messed up the plans I made for myself, what I learned and experienced was more refreshing for my soul than anything I would have learned sitting at the beach or riding a roller coaster. Maybe that kind of vacation will be in the cards for next year!

The best part of this whole experience is the realization that this Mom may not be able to do it all, all of the time, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t be pretty SUPER.


Have a SUPER day!

Smiles generic

What To Wear and Ideas on Hair

School has been in session for a couple of weeks now and school pictures are coming up soon! Here are a few quick tips on how to dress and style your hair for this special day.


  1. Wear a solid color shirt other than white or green. Whites and prints do not photograph well, and green can make it difficult for our photo editors to perfect your image, but layering 2 different solid colors is okay.
  2. A small, simple necklace and/or earrings are just fine. Make sure to be careful not to go too large.
  3. Consider a light application of hairspray or gel, etc. to hold hair in place as best possible. Check out this video on Facebook for some tips!
  4. When making clothing and jewelry selections, as well as when fixing hair, make sure to lean more towards more classic, not super trendy 01-240x300styles.
  5. Help your child practice smiling and sitting up straight, no slouching!
  6. Let your children know that school pictures are not scary. We are there to take a great picture of them to share with everyone that loves them!


Happy Picture Day!!!

Smiles Back to School

Picture Perfect Tips For Picture Day

Some kids are naturals in front of a camera and love taking school pictures, but others, especially the younger set, may have a few reservations. To help calm your child’s nerves so that they can take their best school picture, here is a run down of what they can expect.

  1. Their teacher will line up the class and bring them to the Picture Day set up area, usually a gym or unused hallway.Steve Lata taking a picture of his granddaughter
  2. There will be large backgrounds (they look like big sheets hanging on poles), big bright lights and cameras sitting on tripods.
  3. Also, there will be photographers waiting there with a smile to greet them.
  4. The photographer will seat them on a stool  or have them stand facing the camera, and help guide them to get into the proper position.
  5. Tell your child to remember to sit or stand up straight and smile naturally, as if they were happy to see you!
  6. The photographer will take the picture, and the bright lights will flash.
  7. After reviewing the picture on their laptop, the photographer will excuse the child to their teacher.

If you would like to know a few more details click here to view a video featuring our Photography and Video Coordinator, Joey Beaher, as he discusses Picture Day! Hopefully, this will answer any questions you may have and relieve a few fears about picture day to make it an enjoyable event for your child!


Happy Picture Day!

Smiles Back to School