The Brown Mr. Right

Nick and I started dating officially in March of 2001.  A few months later, I moved to Glorieta, New Mexico to work for the summer as a Day Camp Counselor at the Lifeway Conference Center.  Our relationship was still new and fresh, but I knew Nick was something special.  We wrote a lot of letters back and forth that summer.  Those letters are a keepsake I will treasure forever.

Anyway, as a Day Camp Counselor, we were always making crafts.  One particular day, I decided to use some craft supplies to make a 3D model of this boyfriend I had been describing to everyone.  This is what I came up with…brown skin, dashing smile, spiky hair, a beautiful flower in one hand, and a ping pong paddle in the other (in Trinidadian colors, of course).  Looks just like Nick, doesn’t it??  We referred to the little guy as “The Brown Mr. Right.”  He hung on the wall in my dorm room the whole summer and I’ve kept him ever since.  Now he hangs on the wall in my craft corner of the office.

ANYWAY…five years later, I married The Brown Mr. Right and today is his birthday!!  I’m so thankful for the man I married and this whole day that is set aside to celebrate his birth.  He is Godly, steady, supportive, loving, funny, caring, easy going, anointed, and so darn HANDSOME.  He’s the best husband and daddy.  He has taken each new season/challenge/opportunity on with passion and excellence.  I feel 100% confident in him leading our family (if you know how much of a control freak I tend to be, you realize how big of a deal this is). I’m proud of the daddy he is to our kids and the husband he is to me.

He is absolutely The Brown Mr. Right.

Happy birthday, Nick!!!  I love you!!!


Gabriella’s 1st Birthday Party

I planned and prepared for Gabriella’s 1st birthday party for a couple of months.  I always want to make sure that my kids feel celebrated on their special day, but I was extra invested in making Gabriella’s day special as I viewed it as not only a celebration of her first year, but also a day to thank God for the miracle of her life.

The theme of Gabriella’s party transformed as I worked on it.  Originally, I planned to do a polka dot party, but as I searched for the perfect fabric, I stumbled across the “Ruby” line by Bonnie and Camille and fell in love.  I used that fabric as the inspiration for color and then used ideas off Pinterest as the inspiration for the specific details.  The theme ended up as vintage, girly, burlap and lace…if you can call that a theme 😉

My sister hosted my niece’s 1st birthday at my mom’s house and the space worked out really well.  After Brynlee’s party, I asked my mom if I could have Gabriella’s party there, too.  I’m so glad we did!  I love my parents’ house and my mom had lots of decor that we could pull in that was just perfect for the theme.

And now for some details on the decor…

I received my inspiration for Gabriella’s invitation HERE and used my Cameo to make it happen.

I used THIS tutorial to make the brown paper bag stars and the ever faithful tissue paper pom poms are from none other than Martha. (I cut the tissue paper in half to make the smaller pom poms.)

The drink dispensers and metal bucket are both gifts I received from the annual Christmas Gathering at The Church at Battle Creek.

I used THIS tutorial to help me make Gabriella’s party hat.

I got the idea for the high chair mat HERE and used THIS tutorial to ruffle the crepe paper.

My mom found the shutters from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Tulsa, and while I was laying in bed one night, I had the idea to use them as a display for some favorite pictures from her first year.  I love the way it turned out!

The paper plates and white serving trays are from Hobby Lobby, the buckets are from the dollar spot at Target, and I just used a couple yards of muslin to make the table runner.

A closer view of the shutters.  I got some of the mini clothespins from the dollar spot at Target and some at Hobby Lobby.  I printed the Instagram pictures using the PostalPix app on my phone.

I made the birthday banner using my Cameo and hung it with baker’s twine.

I found this picture frame at a craft show and added chicken wire to the back using a staple gun and used it to display a picture from Gabriella’s 1st year photo shoot.  A little tip regarding chicken wire…it is pretty cheap, but comes in a large roll (for about $9).  I would recommend going in with some friends to buy some.  I have TONS left after this little project.

I used the Ruby fabric to make a pennant banner for the staircase railing.  I didn’t really follow a tutorial, but there are TONS on Pinterest.

I got the inspiration for this wreath that hung on the front door HERE; however, I didn’t use a wreath form, I used foam tubing to make my own.  I saw my friend Joleen do this one time at a craft night and it worked great so I decided to give it a try.  The tutorial is HERE.  Joleen had the idea to stuff it with newspaper to make it more sturdy.  I think I overstuffed mine so the shape was a little wonky, but it did the job.

I ordered iced sugar cookies from Barbee Cookies to give away as the party favor.  In our family, no celebration is really complete without some Barbee cookies.  They are DELICOUS.  I got the chalkboard from THIS shop on Etsy.

Our lunch menu included:  Ham and Swiss sliders (these were a huge hit), potato chips, carrots/dip, and grapes & strawberries with toffee dip (I use powdered sugar instead of granulated).

For drinks, I served juice boxes for the kids, strawberry lemon water, and punch.  Our punch is always a crowd pleaser.  I’m not sure where we got the recipe, but it is:

  • 1 frozen can of apple juice, lemonade, orange juice, and white grape juice
  • 1 large can of pineapple juice
  • Combine all juices and add a generous portion of ice (we prefer Sonic ice).
  • Pour ginger ale over the top (I usually use about 1 liter)

For dessert, I ordered cupcakes from Sams (30 cupcakes for $13 and they are AWESOME) and served ice cream using THIS idea.  I made cupcake toppers using my Cameo.

And now for some pictures from the actual party:

Getting the birthday girl all dressed and ready.  I think she’s excited!!

I have the most amazing family.  We really make a great team when it comes to hosting events.  We spent a couple hours Friday night decorating the house and when I arrived at my mom’s house at 8:00 Saturday morning, everyone was awake, half of them were already showered and ready, and my dad was out front planting flowers.  My family went non-stop until late Saturday afternoon to help me set up, prepare, host, and clean up Gabriella’s party.  I am TRULY blessed.

The sweetest big brother around.

Gabriella sat in her “throne” eating lunch and chatting with all her guests while they were getting food.

The present opening basically consisted of me opening everything and Gabriella being totally overwhelmed.  She was blessed with some wonderful gifts and she’s enjoying them very much.

Our family of four 🙂

Reuben found him a great spot hanging out with PaPa and Grandpa.

Some of our amazing guests.

A little cupcake eating action.  Gabriella really enjoyed her *almost* first taste of sugar.

Dad and his girls.  I’m so sad my mom isn’t in this picture!  I’m sure she was busy serving!!

And, finally, I edited this picture on PicMonkey and used it as her thank you cards.

*A special thanks to Uncle Chad and Kara for taking so many of these pictures!!*

I Heart Nap Time


Reuben’s Birthday Celebrations

We had a full week of celebrating Reuben’s 3rd birthday!  I think it is safe to say that Reuben had a great time and feels very loved.

(Be warned:  This post has approximately 1,382 pictures)

Reuben goes to Mother’s Day Out on Tuesdays so he had school on his actual birthday.  I ordered some cookies from Barbee’s and took them up to share with his friends at the end of the day.  Reuben felt pretty special being the birthday boy for the day 🙂  Reuben was so excited to see me when I arrived that he hit his friend in the face.  We’re working on properly channeling our emotions.

On Tuesday night, we celebrated by having Reuben’s all time favorite meal…chicken and rice.  Grandma Z dropped by with a gift, balloons, and some cupcakes.  So, he got to enjoy a special dessert after he ate up all his dinner.

Nick and I decided that after the 1st and 2nd birthday parties, we would start doing parties every other year.  We still wanted Reuben to be able to celebrate with his friends so we asked him what he would like to do.  He promptly requested a play date at the park.  Besides the crazy wind, we had a nice little get together at the park.  Nick was able to take the day off from work and it was really nice to have his help.  We played, ate a picnic lunch, opened presents, and enjoyed the cupcakes that Reuben specifically requested (chocolate and vanilla with blue and green icing).  Reuben had so much fun that he took a 4 hour nap when we got home!  Score!

On Friday night, we hosted our immediate family for dinner and our final birthday celebration.  We are so blessed to have our families nearby (Neal and Shannon graciously drove in from Edmond).  My children are both very loved and I am so thankful.

(Can we all pause for a moment of silence in appreciation of the beautiful cake I made for Reuben)

Happy 3rd Birthday, Reuben!!!

What an honor it is to spend today (and the rest of this week) celebrating the 3rd birthday of my son, Reuben Mac.  It has been an absolute joy and honor (and the most humbling experience ever) to meet, take care of, and cherish Reuben the past 3 years.  From the moment he entered our lives, Reuben has taught us to trust God with both his present everyday life and his bright and promising future.  Reuben is compassionate, caring, curious, joyful, sensitive, respectful, cautious, and loving.  His love languages are clearly physical touch and quality time.  Reuben brings a smile to our face several times each day.  Most nights, Nick and I will lay in bed and talk about the funny or cute things Reuben did and said that day.  Reuben loves his family and friends.  He talks about them and prays for them by name.  He loves to read.  He wants to talk about everything that happens in the book and discuss why it’s happening that way.  Reuben is very observant of everything that is happening around him and gives us a full report of what he sees and his opinion of what he sees.  Reuben is honest.  If he makes a mistake, he will admit to it and sincerely apologize for what he’s done.  He is full of life, energy, and JOY.

Reuben, I’m so blessed to be your mommy.  I thank God that He entrusted you to me for this short time on earth.  I commit to love you in the best way that I know how and nurture you in a way that allows you to become everything that He has created and purposed you to be.  I love you with all my heart!  Happy birthday, son 🙂

A walk down memory lane…our sweet boy as a newborn, 1 year old, 2 year old, and 3 year old.

 We interviewed Reuben last night and recorded his answers.  I’m looking forward to doing this each year on his birthday and seeing how his answers change 🙂

  1. What is your favorite animal? Bear
  2. What is your favorite sport to play?  Soccer
  3. What is your favorite TV show?  Go Diego Go
  4. What is your favorite color?  Red
  5. What is your favorite song?  Jesus Loves Me
  6. What is your favorite snack?  Animal crackers
  7. What is your favorite drink?  Apple juice
  8. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Yogurt
  9. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Cheese, Crackers, Ham, Carrots/Ranch
  10. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Chicken and Rice
  11. What is your favorite book?  Scary Book (aka “Boo” by Robert Munsch)
  12. What is your favorite toy?  Car
  13. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play at the park
  14. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Woody doll, 2 nigh-nighs (blankets)
  15. What did you used to do when you were little?  Cry a lot
  16. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Doctor
  17. Who is your best friend?  Troyer and Diego
  18. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Sonic
  19. If you had one wish, what would it be?  Lots of apple juice
  20. What is your best memory?  Wrestling Daddy

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is a very special day because it is my mom’s 61st birthday.  My mom is a treasure.  She is a friend, confidant, supporter, and an encourager.  She is honest, trustworthy, giving, loving, funny, full of life, fashionable, hip, gifted, genuine, and caring.  She is my number one fan.  She loves me unconditionally.  She understands me and my complex character.  She loves my husband and my children with passion.

Mom, I love you.  I’m so thankful for you.  I’m honored that God chose me to be your daughter.  I celebrate you today, and everyday, for who God created you to be and the gift you are to me and so many others.  Happy birthday!

I love this picture of my mom (and dad, too).  I love the way she loves my kids.  I love how young at heart she is.  And, I just love the way she has maintained her fashion sense!

Since Shannon and Neal were already in town for Brynlee’s party this weekend, we decided to celebrate my mom’s birthday on Sunday after church.  I had everyone over to my house for lunch.  I asked Shannon and Neal to come over a little early to help me keep the kids entertained while I cooked.  Well, I don’t know who had more fun…Shannon or Reuben 😉

We had Pioneer Woman’s lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, salad, and a delicious apple crumb dessert.

After lunch we headed into the living room to open presents.

Neal kept Reuben (and himself) entertained with a little Netflix on the iPad 🙂

My mom wasn’t surprised by any of her gifts, but I’m thankful we were able to get her exactly what she asked for.  I also love that a sweater from Loft was top on her list.  My mother is so fashionable!

Cards are a cherished part of any holiday in the McNamara family.  It’s so fun to give and to receive the perfect card.

My dad got my mom an iPad!  She gonna be so techno savvy!  We also got her a super cute cover and an App Store gift card to go with.  She’s all set!

Brynlee’s 1st Birthday

We had so much fun celebrating my niece Brynlee’s 1st birthday this weekend!  Rachel and Chad put together a wonderful celebration at my parents’ house that was very well attended and enjoyed by all.

Rachel’s friend designed this super cute invitation that did a great job setting the theme of the party.

The Cameo came in handy when it came to cutting out this super cute banner that displays a picture from the first 12 months of Brynlee’s life!  I just downloaded the film strip shape and adjusted the size so that the inner slot was big enough for a 4×6 print.  Rach made it even cuter by tying them together and adding the pictures and numbers.  I think it turned out great!

A closer look…

Rachel ordered Barbee’s sugar cookies in the shape of a 1 to hand out as favors for the guests.  She also included a photo prop (mustaches and lips) glued on a popsicle stick.

The tag says, “Thank you for making my 1st birthday a picture perfect day.”

The beautifully decorated food table.

A delicious cake from Merrit’s Bakery!

Rachel served ham and swiss sliders, veggies and dip, and grapes.  How adorable are the Brynlee sandwich toppers?!?

A seat fit for a princess!

When I arrived, Rachel and Shannon were getting the princess all ready for her big day.  Her outfit was our big find at the OKC craft show last weekend.

SO precious!

Rachel even decorated Brynlee’s bedroom door for her!

My loves arrived to the party dressed like twinkies 🙂

Speaking of loves, here’s my sweet girl all dressed for her cousin’s party.

Brynlee took the present opening very seriously.  She was blessed with many wonderful gifts and more adorable clothes to add to her wardrobe.

I love this picture because it looks like she’s getting the biggest kick out of what was written in her card.

Singing happy birthday and getting ready for a sugar rush!

Her first taste of sugar did not disappoint!

Rachel set up a photo booth in the office for guests to take pictures with props.  Once again, the Cameo was a champ when it came to cutting out all the lips and mustaches.  I love this one of my parents…

What a fun day!  Rach and Chad made a great team and pulled off a wonderfully memorable day for their sweet little girl.

Shannon’s 25th Birthday Celebration

My gorgeous little sister, Shannon, turned 25 on Sunday!  We took a mini road trip to Edmond on Friday night to celebrate.  We had a great time eating dinner at Kaiser’s in downtown OKC and afterwards went back to Neal and Shannon’s house for dessert and opening presents.  We had a wonderful time!  It’s always a really nice reminder to see how easily we can drive there and back in one night so it makes Edmond not feel so far away.

Happy birthday, Shannon!  I love you very much and I’m very proud of the beautiful woman you have become.  I’m thankful that you are my sister and one of my very best friends!  I love our phone conversations, crafting dates, and hanging out at family events.  I’m also thankful for the auntie you are to my babies.  We all LOVE YOU!

The newlyweds at Kaiser’s.

Having some fun while waiting on our food.

Getting her first taste of sweet potato fry…and being pretty gangsta about it.

After SEVERAL attempts, this was the best we could do.

Nick’s HILARIOUS attempt at taking a picture while driving.  What a responsible driver…keeping his eyes on the road at all times.

Shannon’s dessert request…Barbee’s iced sugar cookies and Oreo Dirt.

Just a little excited about the Oreo Dirt 🙂

Brynlee loves to attack Reuben while he’s on the floor.  She thinks it’s hysterical.

Auntie Shan and her niece that’s asleep and nephew that’s unamused.

A Reuben sandwich…HA!

Opening presents!  I got Shannon a sewing basket with a few necessities inside.  Love having crafty sisters!

Brynlee entertained herself with some tissue paper.

Apparently Gabriella though something was FUNNY.

Reuben needed to make sure he hadn’t been forgotten as a part of our family.

Uncle Chad and Reuben got a little tied up after a wrestling session…

Reuben’s all tucked in, got his movie on, and ready for the ride home.  What a fun night!