A Charlie Brown Christmas Fourth Birthday For Emmalee

This is a great post to change the mood around here a little. First I would like to let you know that I am doing much, much better. Part of my uncontrollable sadness was due to menopause. Now that I am being treated for it, I am feeling much better, better perspective, more energetic, and seeking the Lord with more motivation and joy.

Boy! Did I enjoy making this birthday!
A Charlie Brown Christmas has a very special place in my heart. 
We made a Christmas play out of it for school when I was in high school. I am still a little sore I didn't get to play Lucy as EVERYONE agreed I was a perfect Lucy. Nonetheless, it was a great time with my friends and my favorite teacher ever, Mr. Jaime Greene. 
I wish I had pictures of our play to show you. 
I also had a remake of the play with my own students back in 2008. That was 9 years ago! What??!!

When my girls fell in love with the new Peanuts movie, I knew I had to make a Snoopy birthday, and since Emmalee's birthday is in December we went for the Charlie Brown Christmas. I wanted the birthday to feel like a cozy Christmas dinner with friends, so we did it in my in-laws' living room. I loved making every detail of this birthday and reminiscing on my childhood days watching Peanuts.
These pictures are from Emmalee's fourth birthday December 17, 2016.
Hope you enjoy it.

Isn't that a cute dessert table?
How perfect is that tree from the movie? It even has the Linus blanket around.

Most people had a hard time reading Emmalee's name because of the peculiar "a", but I love it. 

This is one of the only pictures where you can appreciate the handmade Snoopy beside the cake. He was my favorite of the Snoopies I made and was glad my dad took it home with him. 

The happy birthday banner was simple and Peanuts-y.
Let me break down the dessert table for you.

This was meant to be Christmas tree brownies, but I overcooked it and they were a little hard. It didn't matter because people actually thought they were cookies.  

These were meant to be small Christmas trees, but the little fondant star that went on the top never hardened. They would have made all the difference, but no one cared because these where carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on top.  

These snowman cake pops were a catastrophe. I took them out too early, set them near a window, and it was a very hot day. They fell out of their sticks. I wanted to throw them away, but my mom told me to just serve them like that. Poeple actually like the "melted" snowman look.

These where supposed to be frosted with white frosting. Silly me painted all the cream cheese frosting with light green. I added blue food coloring and just went with it. 

Whimsical krispy treats. 

The cake is red velvet with cream cheese frosting. It was cream cheese frosting galore. It bugs me to no end that Charlie Brown's ear broke when I was placing him. Sigh. 

But that snoopy is my crowning jewel. How adorable is he? And the little Woodstock? Perfection!

Here is another angle of the Emmalee banner (aren't those Peanuts characters gorgeous?) and of the cake. You can appreciate Sally and Peppermint Patty.

Side view of the dessert table. 

I didn't want that Lucy from the McDonald's kids meal toys. Then I saw a picture of her in an adorable Psychiatric booth and searched everywhere for her. A mom on Facebook was kind enough to bring it over. People loved my Snoopy jars. It took me forever to fold the green napkins into Christmas trees. 

I went a little overboard and had a little more time with being at home recovering, so I made the ornaments for the tiny Christmas tree. 

How cute are the favor bags? Plus, they were super easy to do.

I always make felt characters for the girls birthdays. They play with them until they fall apart. I was appalled when someone just took them without asking, all four of them and Woodstock. 

The paper comics cones were later filled with popcorn. Loved the idea.

Cozy up to watch the Peanuts movie with one of these.

More characters on the piano. A cute manger on the back.

These were the centerpieces homemade Snoopies. You can find many plushy templates on Pinterest. 

They each got a different colored scarf.

As always, this were gifted to guests.

Love those expressive eyes.

Some hanging balloons changed the feel of the dining room.

Completely in love with the Snoopy house. The girls still play in it. We recently used it during home school to reenact the Three Little Pigs story.  

My favorite photo booth to date. Andres, the cutest model, showing how it's done. It may have been a little to high. 

It was awesome to share this birthday with everyone who has been there for me during the hard season we've had. 
I was especially grateful and happy that my mom could be here in Honduras and be a part of the festivities. 

Here are some pictures of the party. 

My piƱata got wet, but it was still very cute.

Mommy and the birthday girl.

Kaylee finally agreed to a picture on the photo booth. Daddy is good convincing her, but he wasn't in front of the camera to make her smile.  

I love my gorgeous, smiling mom!


How are you doing?

I apologize for my last post. It was so grim and uninspiring.
The thing is, I write my heart.
I try to have my heart in the right place, but sometimes I don't, just everyone else.
But we cover those times, hide them, keep them away from the public.
I don't like that. I like sharing my whole self.
Ever since I was a twelve year old writing my journals that go all the way back to 1998 to 2010 in journals and then on this blog, I always thought I was writing them so my kids could get to know the real me at that specific time.
Being honest and true and remembered is more important now than ever.
These are the words by which my daughters could know me if my nightmares come to life.

You see, I am afraid of spiders.
Most that know me know this, but most don't know why.
It all goes back to my parents divorce when I was 7.
I had a recurring dream about a black dragon. The dragon first appeared the day my mom told me my dad would no longer be her husband. She was taking a shower and I was sitting on the toilet cover when she told me. She was so nonchalant about it. " He is divorcing me, but not divorcing you."
The dragon would follow me through a poorly lit street where I would fall after running vigorously away from it and be devoured as I woke up.
Recurring means I dreamt it many times.
When I was in fourth grade I saw some classmates secretly passing a playboy magazine among them. I told the teacher.
The class bully was among them. In retaliation, during lunch time, he tied me to a chair in the back of the school with other boys and placed a spider on my face as I cried and screamed for help.
And people wonder why I don't want my girls going to elementary school. This was FOURTH grade!
My fear of spiders, which is substantial and conspicuous, was a forever trait my friends knew of me.
But it is a lot more deeper than you think.
My dragon dreams where replaced with spider dreams.

I don't know at what point I started viewing my spider dreams as prophetic.
I started seeing a pattern with them. When something bad was going to happen, I would dream with my black spider a few days before.

The day before I got the lab results from my tumor biopsy, I had a dream visit from the spider.
I was almost certain when I went to the lab that the result would be cancer. My spider had told me.
Any psychology doctor would tell me the dreams are not prophetic; they are a manifestation of my stress for a specific situation. I believe this is true.

I try not to think of it as having any meaning, but alas I am only human.
Last week my eight legged friend visited me in my dreams.
I woke up crying and scared to my core.
I wanted to wake up my husband and have him console me and tell me everything was ok, it was just a dream. He was so tired I didn't. It took all my strength to go back to sleep.
Right now I am writing this post to avoid continuing to read on recurrent breast cancer.
I can't shake the feeling the spider dream means cancer is returning.

People have been asking how am I doing?
I usually answer that I have a hard time answering that question.
I know they want to hear I am ok, fine... cured?
But I am none of those or one of those.

I am not ok.
The plethora of symptoms from chemo, radio, surgery, early menopause plague my every moment so strongly I don't know how I keep it together in front of people.
Today I was feeling fine and then, for a moment, I wasn't.
I called my husband crying. "What is wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing. Everything. I don't know. I just felt like crying." I replied.
And then I kept on with my day as nothing happened.
I don't understand this.
I don't understand myself, my thoughts, my emotions.
My girls giggling brings me so much joy and the next second I am back to feeling empty.

I've been talking to a fellow PTSD friend on what are our life-lines.
He shared his was holding fast to God's promises. I told him mine was intentional aggressive gratefulness. I told him I was having trouble being grateful, and he told me he was having trouble having quiet time with God seeking those promises. We agreed on exchanging life lines.
For the first time in a very long time, I read my Bible diligently.

I've been feeling a lot better since grabbing hold of a promise in Romans.

Romans 5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I wrote in my journal that I might feel this love poured into my heart as I wasn't.
I have. 
I like how it says hope won't be ashamed. 
I feel that is one of the main reasons I try not to hope. 
What if I hope I am cured and it turns I am not?
What if I tell everyone God made the miracle with me, and then I find myself battling recurrent metastasic stage IV breast cancer? 
I would give it a good spin and say the miracle was within not in healing my cancer, but deep inside my hope for a cure would be ashamed.
The hope this chapter is talking about it the hope of heaven, life after this broken world. 
That hope won't be ashamed. 
But I want to hope for healing. 
I want to hope for watching my girls grown up into beautiful ladies. 
I want to hope for growing old with my husband. 

People ask how I am doing from a true place of concern and also of hope I am doing ok. 
But I can tell they want me to tell them I am ok. When I don't, they reassure me I am ok. 
That hurts a little bit. 
I am not ok, and I don't know when I'll be ok again. 
And I can't rush it. I am trying to. Trust me, I would rather skip forward and get to the ok part. 
People want to rush it for their own well being as well. The sooner I am ok, the sooner they feel better about my situation. But the rushing makes me feel unacknowledged and an inconvenience. 
And that just makes me feel guilty. 
But what else is people suppose to do? Not ask how I am doing? 

This falls into the zone where only God can provide any comfort. 
Oh, how I must hold tight to Him. 
I need to let go of my anger with Him. 
I need to thank Him for Kinsley and for her death. 
As oxymoron as that sounds, it is what my soul needs: to thank Him for her death. 
Thank Him for my sufferings. Hold to the promise that my sufferings are a partake of Christ's sufferings to perfect my faith. 
My faith is far from perfect. I am not even able to hold my tongue from using bad words when hitting my pinkie toe with the edge of some furniture. It is far from having the fruits of the Spirit present to have one day of homeschooling where I do not raise my voice to my girls. 
But I am still here. I am persevering... ? 
Will I finally get some Christ-like character next to reach that desired hope?

So my answer to how am I doing?
I am done with treatments. 
I am recovering from my surgeries. The hysterectomy cut still hurts. The mastectomy cut has opened in one place, but after a week of oozing, it's finally... normalizing? 
Neuropathy is ever present. 
My most-hated lymphedema worsens and improves intermittently. 
Menopause has yet to hit me full force. 
Trying to eat ketogenic.
I am trying to battle with all my strength my stress from my fear of cancer coming back. Learning to navigate the turbulent waters of hormonal mood swings. Trying not to care so much for my physical appearance, even though it does bring me down.
I am trying to thank God for a most-hurtful "no" to a prayer. 
I am having a blast with homeschool, learning to keep my cool, learning from the girls, and loving being with them. Admiring my husband more each day, learning not to snap at him, learning to be more present and not drift to my hideaways. 

I'm a wreck, people. 
That is the honest truth. 
But I will hold unto one more promise, which I hold to very tightly:

2 Corinthians 12
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.