A Tinkerbell Birthday

I recently posted about how Rory could hardly handle the anticipation of her impending third birthday. What we didn’t tell her was that her birthday party was happening about 2 1/2 weeks before her birthday.

IMG_5262She decided quickly that the only kind of party she wanted was a Tinkerbell party.  Last year’s party was a loud, busy, and crazy book swap party which was a blast.  This year, I wanted to have a smaller party for two reasons: First, Faith and Favor do much better in calmer, more controlled environments and second, I wanted to put a lot more detail and thought into this year’s party so I knew it would be easier with fewer kids.  We ended up going with a cousins only party.  It was still plenty crowded and lots of fun!

When Rory decided on Tinkerbell, the first thing we did was put the invitation together.  Jonathan wrote a great limerick (another one of his superpowers that nobody knows about) and I designed the card using my Silhouette software (best Christmas present ever!!!).

IMG_3484All of the guests were given fairy costumes when they arrived.

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The birthday girl, of course, was given an extra special fairy dress.

I sewed circle skirts for the girls following this tutorial, and I made a fairy “cloak” for our lone gentleman guest.  I made the wings from kids’ wire hangers and white tulle.



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IMG_5284IMG_5256IMG_5341 IMG_5365I made Rory’s dress pattern from tracing a tank top…and just kind of guessed along the way.  The scariest part was that I surprised her with the dress, so I couldn’t try it on her as I went.  Thankfully, it fit just as I had hoped.



The day was full of fairy activities.  We made fairy wands and fairy houses.  The houses were definitely a hit and took a lot more time than I anticipated.  I was amazed that all of the kids were really into it.


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I initially planned to make a fairy house as an example for the kids.  I never got around to it, and I am SO GLAD I didn’t do it.  The creativity that comes out of kids is outstanding and I would have squelched it with my realistic and organized fairy house.

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And then the food.  I love themed party food!!!!!


The “cookie cake”was a hit. It was definitely a time intensive process, but totally worth it.  I made vanilla French macaroons with a chocolate ganache filling.

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We also made “toadstool mushrooms” (marshmallows dipped in colored white chocolate), Jonathan carved Rory’s name in a watermelon (yet another superpower), and no fairy party is complete without ants on a log.

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We sang happy birthday, Rory was thrilled, the kids were entertained for the entire party, and nobody cried (that I can recall).  It was a birthday miracle.



Happy 3rd Birthday little Rory!




Friday evening, after three long months of waiting for parking clearance for the coffee shop we’re opening, we were given approval to move toward the next step of permitting.  This process should have taken 1-2 weeks rather than 12, and both Jonathan and I have faced an incredible amount of anger, frustration, sleepless nights, and downright fury over the situation.  But, when Jonathan got the approval email, rather than feeling flooded with relief, I immediately heard a very clear voice in my heart saying, “This time was a gift to you.  Do not be filled with relief that this season is over, but be filled with thanks for all I’ve given you through it.

The past five months have not gone as planned.  We would not have sat down and decided that I (our only source of income) would become unemployed 2 weeks before having a our fourth child.  We wouldn’t have decided to spend almost a year paying rent on a commercial location before opening, taking a paycheck, or earning any money.  We didn’t plan them, but they happened.

But the truth of the matter is that these past few months, though painful and challenging, have been so very good.  I came across this verse the other day and it stopped me dead in my tracks, taking my breath away.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7

You see, these last few months filled with challenges and unknowns have been a gift.  We have been sanctified, purified, strengthened, and made genuine in ways we never would have been had our life gone as we had planned and expected.  The sweetness of trusting God, the freedom found in that trusting, and the excitement of experiencing His faithfulness  over and over again is so worth it.

Perhaps there is still more fire to come.  I don’t know what it looks like, but I do know where my heart’s desire is and where my joy is found.

I am thankful.

Hello, Goodbye

I know it’s been awhile since we’ve posted.  Now that we’re not taking monthly pictures of Rory anymore, it’s hard to make the time to post much of anything.

Here are a few of the happenings going on in our lives right now.

  • We finalized our adoption at the end of July.  This means our twins are now officially Pascuals and American citizens.  Of course, when having to answer questions in front of the judge, I cried my eyes out because it was such a special moment.  Here they are after court.
  • Baby #4 is coming!  ETA 3/26/13.  This means we will have 4 under 5.  (Well, the twins will be about 5 and 2 weeks…but their emotional maturity will still qualify them for being under 5.)  This is also our last child…at least we’re pretty sure.  It’ll be our last biological child at least.  This pregnancy has been so different compared with my first.  Those who knew me while we were in Turkey can attest to the fact that I was terribly sick. I could hardly walk, couldn’t see straight, and I was throwing up 3-5 times a day.  I’ve definitely been sick this time, but haven’t thrown up at all.  We’re hoping this means it’s a boy.  (Actually, don’t tell Jonathan, but I’d be just as happy with a girl.)
  • The twins started preschool.  They’re in the 3 year old class since that’s more along the lines of where they are as far as language development and emotional maturity.  Here they are on their first day of school.  They really enjoy it, though Favor always has a hard time leaving Jonathan to go inside.  It also gives Jonathan a break from such intense parenting.

  • We went on a super last-minute vacation to the beach.  A week opened up at the house we rented last year and we couldn’t pass up the deal.  It was fantastic in every way.  They played hard all day (with very few timeouts) and slept hard at night.  It was awesome having something to entertain them that is also enjoyable and relaxing for us.  

  • Resonate, the fantastic church we’re a part of has finally launched and we’re loving everything they’re doing in the city and in the community.
  • We’ve also got a lot going on behind the scenes.  I’m still working, Jonathan is staying home with the girls, but also starting to make some big moves on the coffee shop we’re going to open.  So, though we’re not ending the blog, you may see a long-term dramatic drop in the amount of posting we do.  We’ll jump back on here every once in awhile to give updates, post pictures, etc. but no promises of anything consistent, and probably no project postings because, if I even get around to making something, there’s no way I’ll get around to taking pics of it.

Don’t forget to follow us on instagram at pascualsarah and coffeejonathan.  You can also follow Jonathan on Twitter at @coffeejonathan too.

2 Years of Rory!!!!

We’ve finally arrived.  I’ve chronicled Rory’s growth for the last 24 months and she officially turned 2 on Thursday.

Isn’t she adorable?  She’s lost a lot of her stranger anxiety, but definitely wasn’t pleased with a room full of people singing Happy Birthday to her either.  She’s all giggles and smiles at home with family, but comes across as serious to people who aren’t immediate family.

This month, Rory has especially enjoyed:

  • dancing (though that’s nothing new)
  • reading (nothing new again)
  • doing puzzles…for hours
  • asking mommy and daddy, “What happened?” with palms up and shrugging shoulders
  • wearing anyone’s shoes but hers
  • baking with mommy
  • getting her toenails painted
  • singing at the top of her lungs first thing in the morning

We adore her with all our hearts.  Check out her growth over the past 24 months.  Amazing.

That Time I Broke My Arm

Well, it’s take a good seven and a half months for me to feel like this incident is far enough behind me to write about.  Or, it was the accidental reaggrivation of the injury that led me to spend 3 hours at the doctor today that refreshed the memory in my mind. Either way, here you go.

I was less than a month into my new position as Central Regional Manager of Workforce Development (awesome title, eh?) and it was a couple of minutes before my second managers’ meeting.  Around 60ish people were in the large conference room.  I remember that I was wearing my dress that is too short for work, but I had tights on, so I justified its appropriateness along with my boots I bought in Istanbul.

After a quick chat with some co-workers in the women’s restroom, I headed to the meeting.  I opened the door, stepped out onto the tile floor, and the next thing I knew was that my head had slammed into the ground.  Yes, the nasty, tiled floor in front of a thrift store bathroom.  I jumped up as fast as I could to avoid more embarassment and went back into the bathroom to calm myself down.  I mostly felt embarrassed, and didn’t feel much physically.  A couple of co-workers were in the bathroom and here’s how our conversation went:
Me:  Hey guys, I just–
Co-worker 1: Oh my gosh!  You hit your head!
Me: How did you know?
C1:  You have blood running down your face!
Me: [Totally starting to panic wondering what’s actually wrong with me.] Oh, I’m sure I’m fine.  Does it look okay?
C2: Uhhhh, here’s a paper towel. I’m going to get a first aid kit.
Me: [Panicking even more and afraid to look in the mirror in case something is really, really wrong with me.] Well, I fell in the hallway.
C1:  Does it hurt?
Me:  Not so much…ummmm…I need to sit down.  Oh sick, this floor is gross.  Can I have a paper towel to sit on?
C3, C4, C5: [Enter restroom].  Oh no!  What happened?
Me:  I hit my head…and my arm really hurts.  I’m not sure I can bend it.  And, whoa, don’t freak out, but I might pass out.  I feel okay, but I just need to…

I lay my head back and prepare to pass out while C2 puts a band-aid on my bleeding head.  I open my eyes and there are like 12 people surrounding me, all trained in First Aid and CPR.  Everyone is talking and one lady is in the back of the bathroom, frozen, just staring at me:

C6: Sarah, I’m going to go ahead and call 911.
Me: [Considering how the humiliation will be multiplied by 1000 if an ambulance comes to get me.] I think I’m fine.  I just need a minute to get myself together and see how I actually feel.
C7:  We need to do a critical incident report for the company!
C6:  No, we always call 911 when it’s a head trama.
Me: [Head trauma?  I have a head trauma?  What do I look like?] Ummm, let’s just wait a minute.  I think I’m okay, but I can’t really move my arm.

In walks Mike, the guy who has been my supervisor for about 3 weeks now. He’s got my purse and computer and says to me, “Get up.  We’re going to the doctor.”  Awesome.

So, Mike is driving me to urgent care and trying to lighten the mood by telling me injury stories of the girls he used to coach basketball for, and I’m trying to play it cool like I’m not totally humiliated and kind of freaked out that I’m kind of in pain but I don’t know where or what’s wrong.  We get to urgent care and sit down in the waiting room.  Mike is busy emailing all of the co-workers who are asking about me while I’m trying to ignore the TV show playing in the waiting room that is talking about better sex.

They take me back into the urgent care room and take me into the X-ray room.  They keep telling me to relax my right arm and flatten it so they can get an x-ray, but I couldn’t bend it.  This went back and forth for about 5 minutes until they gave up on me straightening it.  After the x-ray they took me to an examination room and waited for my x-rays to develop.  At this point, I start to shake – no convulse – uncontrollably.  I’m not sure if I truly was cold, or I was in shock, or if I was just so embarrassed I needed to shake it out.  Either way, everyone kept coming in and checking on me.  When the doctor came in and looked at my x-ray, all he said was, “Hmmm, there’s something funny about that.  I mean, not funny actually, but kind of strange.  I think you may need surgery.  But I can’t tell you that.  You need to see an orthopedist, STAT.”  (For real, he said STAT.)

So, off Mike and I go to the Orthopedist, but first, we need to figure out how to get my car home.  So, another co-worker ducks out of the meeting and follows us to my house.  Only, we had moved into our house 2 days before.  And oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Jonathan was in Guatemala and my mom was watching Rory.  This is the conversation Mike overheard between my mom and me in his car: “Hi mom, well, don’t worry or anything, but I fell at work and cut my head open and may have broken my arm…yes, I’m okay…I’m going to an orthopedist later…no mom, I don’t need a plastic surgeon…NO MOM, I DO NOT NEED PLASTIC SURGERY…Anyway, I’m on the way home to drop off the car and change.  Mike, my boss, and one of my co-workers are with me driving my car.  Yes, I’ll see you soon.”

We go home, Mike and Carolyn try to find seats amidst our messy box-filled house while my mom and I go upstairs and try to figure out how to get my dress off when I can’t bend my arm.  And, oh yeah, Rory is screaming the entire time because I can’t pick her up.  Awesome again.

So, after the doctor at the Orthopedist confirmed that my arm was, in fact, broken and I would, in fact, need surgery, I headed home for the evening.  I was in terrible pain, and even more terrible humiliation.  The only time I cried was that evening when Rory fell off a toy and I couldn’t pick her up.  The best part was sitting down in front of Jonathan over Skype and trying to explain to him why I was pale, had suture tape over my right eye, and I was in a sling.  He changed his plane ticket to come home a day early so he could go to surgery with me.

I had surgery two days after my injury.  About four hours of surgery and two metal screws later, I was on the road to recovery.  This surgery video can speak for itself.  It was pretty awesome.

The next 2 weeks were spent like this:

Then I went back to the surgeon for my two week follow-up.  The nurse quickly and casually unwrapped my soft cast, and the second I saw my shriveled, bloody, stitched arm, I started to feel ill.

They sent me for another x-ray and as I sat there, I began to feel more and more light-headed. I told the x-ray tech I might pass out, but he said I wouldn’t.  I continued to insist, and the last thing I remembered was him saying, “How can you pass out when you’re talking to me?”  Then, I lifted up my head and there were like 5 people in the room looking at me, including my doctor who said, “Are you okay?”  I had no idea what happened and they had to tell me I passed out.  Awesome.

Anyway, after that lovely experience, I began my Physical Therapy.  Three times a week for 2 months straight, I spent an hour with a bunch of sports guys who always tried to include me in their football conversations, even though I never knew what they were talking about.  I went from being able to bend my elbow about an inch to an almost full range of motion.  It was a LONG 2 months though, especially for Jonathan.  He couldn’t leave me alone with Rory for weeks and weeks because I couldn’t pick her up and put her down, change diapers, or prepare her food.  I was a hot mess.  Finally, I was able to bend my arm a bit more and put more weight on it.

Twelve weeks after my injury, I was released to normal duty.  Here is the before and after picture of my x-rayed arm.

So, aside from the regular snap/crackle/pop when I bend my elbow, the $45k workers comp hit it took to my company budget, and the gnarly scar, I’m back to normal.  I still meet people at work who say, “I know you! You’re the girl who broke her arm!”  I’m so glad I’m going down in Goodwill history as the employee who broke her arm in the bathroom.

Grown Up

It’s Sunday morning and Jonathan is at the bowling alley taking his weekly “break” from life with 3 little ones.  God has graced me with a quiet moment where all 3 girls are playing by themselves…with cloth diaper wipes.  Faith is cleaning a book, Favor is changing a doll’s diaper, and Rory is laying the wipes out in nice, orderly piles.  Less than 15 minutes ago, all three girls were crying and asking to be held when all I wanted to do was finished getting dressed.  I was frustrated and spoke shortly with them when all they wanted was attention and love from their mommy.

I’m thirty now.  I know it’s still relatively young, but the years that thirty seemed so far away seem like they were so recent.  I joke about how I blinked and suddenly I was thirty, married, with a house, three kids, a grown up job, and a minivan. 

When I was in my early twenties, I imagined over and over again the kind of woman I would be when I was an “adult.”  Reflecting on that this morning, I realize that that time is now.  The time has arrived for me to be the woman I wanted to be eight short years ago.  This is the future me.  Am I there?

When you look at me from the outside, I look like I’m there.  I work for a non-profit, we’ve helped two little girls be orphans no longer, we’re helping plant a church in the city, I read my Bible regularly, our family prays together every night, we tithe more than we “should”, and the list goes on.  So, from the outside, we’re good to go. 

But what about my heart?

Ahhhh, my heart.  I have so much further to go.  I am so quick to become frustrated, so easily distracted, and so incredibly vain.  I still have so far to go.  I want to be one of those people who pray automatically instead of intentionally.  I want to find Christ and love lessons in the mundane day-to-day life activities.  I want to see a person’s soul and heart before I see her face or hear her voice.  I want to pray with bold, fearless faith and see people healed, delivered, and restored.  I want to not grow weary because my strength is in the Most High.  I want to overflow love and tenderness, because, in the words of Amy Carmichael, “If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of water, however suddenly jolted.”

Thank God that the One I seek makes all things new and He never gives up.

Strawberry Fields

We’ve found that the twins do better when we do one structured and active thing a day. Many times this involves the zoo or the playground, but last weekend we went strawberry picking. Washington Farms in Loganville was only about 1/2 hour away and it was perfect!

And then we took the strawberries home and did everything we could think of with them, including our first ever experience with canning.  Mmmmmm.


We can’t wait for blackberry season!