Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday Ainsley

I need to put together a photo montage for Ainsley for two reasons. 1: She is so darn adorable it'd be a crime not to and 2: Her birthday is in December so she always gets the shaft in some ways that are just unavoidable.

But in the meantime I've decided to put together a little list of some of my favorite Ainsley moments from this past year.

1- Ainsley coming in BUCK naked from the backyard where she was playing with Jake. Despite the 40 degree weather. I asked Jake why Ainsley took her clothes off and he explained it was because she was trying to go swimming. Oh, and he clarified that it was also because she was having fun.
2 - During her school program in May Ainsley tried to crawl underneath the communion table up on stage. Her teacher pulled her back to say no and Ainsley slapped her across the face. Then she gave her a kiss. All within a 5 second timespan and all DURING the show.
3 - Ainsley was running around after her bath up in Ohio and cousin Reese said "Nonny, Ainsley is SO rowdy". He doesn't know the half of it.
4- Ainsley asking herself if she is ok whenever she falls down.
5 - Ainsley answering us as a baby jaguar (rrrreearhhh, rrreearhhh) whenever we ask if she is okay when she falls down (its a Diego thing).
6 - Ainsley asking me if "Ms. Chrichy (Chrissie) is coming today?" everytime I hang up from a call on my cell phone. I guess I talked to Chrissie once on my cell phone so now every call is her.
7 - Ainsley as Jake's personal parrot.
8 - Ainsley crying for Jake to sit in the wagon with her, or go to sleep with her or do whatever it is that she needs his comfort and protection.
9 - Ainsley being the most theatrical little pixie fairy I could ever have imagined!
10 - Ainsley covering herself head to toe in peanut butter after her tubes were put in.
11 - Singing, singing always singing.
12- Ainsley wandering around in her snow boots with her panties and tights around her knees - for at least an hour - before she would let me pull them up.

You are TRULY one in a million little girl!

Goodbye to 2008

Leave it to me to send out my Christmas cards with our blog address printed on the back so everyone could "keep up" with our goings-on . . . and then fail to post anything new for over 2 weeks. I'm sure any momentary surge I had in readership is now gone but I just figure that is the Lord keeping my ego in check. I've had lots of that lately so I think I'm appropriately humble as I begin the new year.

Its been a whirlwind few weeks. The week of the 7th of December I hosted three parties HERE at my house (yes, I'm serious) and we also trekked up to Kentucky for our Polar Express adventure. But wait, did I mention that Ryan was receiving and IV in our bedroom during party #3 for dehydration resulting from a day of combatives that sounds more like a day of pure hell? Then my parents arrived 24 hours before Ryan and I flew out for our respite in Tampa. We had to leave directly from Jake and Ainsley's school Christmas program which was priceless (seriously, those kids rocked the house - out of all the kids in there you could here J and A singing out at the top of their lungs . . . I was SO proud). Anyway, Tampa was awesome, relaxing, fun, shopping expedition all rolled in to one. We had a wonderful time in the sun while my parents suffered through an ice storm and illness here in TN.

We arrived back in Tennessee on Thursday evening, I spent all day Friday doing laundry and packing (oh and fitting in a dinner and fun with the Remick family which is always a priority) and then Saturday morning we were off to Columbus, Ohio. We had a truly fantastic week with Ryan's family up there, so much so that we kept extending our visit and ended up staying until the 28th instead of the 26th. The end was bittersweet as we said goodbye to Jared and his family. We probably won't see them again for about 2 more years and many tears flowed as this realization hit me. I just have to trust the Lord's plan and that He works all for good. Even when I'm not happy about it.

So we pulled back into TN on Sunday night, I ran around like crazy on Monday planning Ainsley's third birthday party, ran around crazy on Tuesday throwing Ainsley's third birthday party and now I'm just trying to catch a breath.
Stay tuned. More to come. I've got bloggin' just itchin' to come out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Big 3-0

Yes, today is my 30th birthday. And its been a wonderful day. There has been no hair pulling or crying or tearing my clothing in mourning. I think that is probably because I couldn't feel more blessed by where my life is at the ripe old age of 30. I have a wonderful marriage built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, I have three fantastic kids and I have the best job in the world. I truly can't imagine doing anything that would leave me more fulfilled and happy than running my home, caring for my husband and raising my children. I'm blessed, blessed, blessed and I don't deserve a drippity-drop of it but God has chosen to so richly bless me nonetheless. So where else could I possibly be on my 30th birthday but joyful and content.
I think my 30th birthday is an appropriate time also to recognize the love of a mother. My mother to be exact. I remember having a conversation with my mother-in-law once where she was relating in the months after Ryan was first born being hit with the realization that her own mother had done all of the same things for her. And as I'm in the throes of motherhood and all the fatigue, worry, joy and stress that goes along with it I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have had a mother who did all these same things for me. Who cared for me when, by all accounts, I was an incredibly fussy and unhappy baby. But who soothed and loved me anyway. Who raised me up to be who I am today. Who instilled in me the love of Christ by always sharing openly with us the transformation that occured in her life the day she received Him as her Savior. And who is know caring for my brood so that Ryan and I can get away for a much needed bit of R&R to take care of our marriage and ourselves for just a few days. I know we'll feed off this rest for quite some time to come.
So hopefully you've enjoyed my time to reflect on where I am today and the woman who helped me get here. And hopefully she'll be encouraged enough to not be so discouraged by Jake's pee that manages to wind up just about everywhere but IN the potty.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top 10 Reasons To Have A Tonsillectomy

As I improve my sense of humor is coming back as well. So I've decided to put together a little list of the top 10 reasons to have your tonsils out:

1- All the JELLO you can eat . . . yumm-o!
2 - Find out how you would talk if you were deaf (if you haven't heard me talk in the past couple weeks you just have to trust me on this one)
3 - Give your underutilized liver a workout as you overdose on controlled substances - PAIN management.
4 - Holiday weight gain? Nope, not here.
5 - Get on a first name basis with the guy who dishes out the egg drop soup at China King.
6 - Make extra Christmas cash selling your left over Oxycontin to the kids at the local high school.
7 - Relive the pain of childbirth. But worse.
8 - Make a top ten list with only eight things on it but nobody can say anything because you are so pitiful.

Lacey's Favorite #4

Another one for my fav's file. This is too funny. It takes a couple minutes to watch so grab a cookie and sit back to enjoy.

http://bewareofthedoghouse.com/videoPage.aspx

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HOW Many Kids?

OK, time for another post straight from my brain. Lately I've been thinking a lot about kids. How many kids will we have? What is God's plan for procreation? How many kids is too many kids? I don't know. But its been on my mind a lot.
I guess I'm just trying to work through the preconceived notion we seem to have about family size and where does that come from. Is it from God? Lots of families have their two kids and then they are done. Some get a little more out there and have three (I'd be interested to know what corelation there is between religous beliefs and family size - but that is way to much to get into here) and some CRAZY families (sarcasm intended) go nuts and have four children. Since I've already had plenty of comments about teaching me how to use birth control or "better you than me" when I mention that we might have more I know what the world's perspective on having so many children is. But why? What is really so nuts about four, five or six kids even. If you enjoy your family why is that so nuts. Sure there are financial ramifications to be considered but as Ryan and I were discussing the other day even this is miscontrued in today's culture. I mean, I would be careful to not have more kids than you can afford but what do we mean by afford. As long as you can dress them in Baby Gap and Stride Rite? Or as long as you can send them to private school? Or is there more to it . . . should it be as long as you can take care of them and provide for their basic needs. I grew up feeling sorry sometimes for kids who had to wear hand-me-downs or whose parents couldn't afford gymnastics lessons for them (and I don't think there was anything wrong with my sympathy - I was incredibly blessed in having a father who provided for our family and a mother who took care of us all) but I wonder if maybe they had joy and love that I didn't recognize for what it was worth. Now when I look back on those families I see how their big families probably had much to admire that was in no way material (and again, we also had a very happy family too I'm just saying . . . ) . I hope this is all making sense!
Anyway, I also wonder about God's perspective on this. I've had a hard time finding in Scripture where it commands us to have "two to three children and then quit"! It seems to only tell us to be fruitful and multiply.
Those are my thoughts. I'm sitting here at the computer questioning if I should publish this because I'm not so sure it makes sense but hopefully you'll get to see my heart!
And a final note, don't worry. This isn't a precursor to telling you we are going to be the next family featured on TLC's 17 and Counting show!

Monday, December 1, 2008

And now a plea from Baby Reid

Dear Readers of my Mommy's Blog -

If I am lost please know that I won't be found. Because my mommy has eaten me up. She says I'm too delicous to resist. And she is always nibbling on me.

Please. Help.


Oh, and did she mention I'm WALKING!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Cheer . . . sort of.

First off, let me assure you all that I am alive. Having your tonsils out sucks. It hurts a lot. You feel like crap. I don't like it. But I'm alive. Anyway.
Today as I teetered on a rickety ladder in my dansko clogs (praying that I wouldn't fall) hanging garland around my front door I heard wailing emanating from my living room. Jake's wailing to be precise. You see we got our Christmas tree and as we decorated it we also set up the train we got at Disney World to go around the tree. Jake has been asking about this train since we got home from our trip and today was the day of its debut. Well, when I climbed down from my precarious position to find out what Jake was yelling about I found my three boys in the living room. Ryan was consoling Jake while Reid did what little brothers do best . . . mess stuff up. See, my inclination would have been to scold Jake for having such a fit but that's probably because I was never the bigger sibling. Ryan was. I don't know what its like for a little brother (or sister) to mess up my stuff. Ryan does. So Jake had the right parent in there with him when Reid messed with his newest most prized possession. On a side note: I DO know what its like to have someone twice your size sit on your face and fart on it (or toot, as I'm trying to get my kids to say so people won't think I'm a horrible Christian mother - ha!).
So our festivities hit a bit of a bump today with the whole Reid messing with the train debacle but other than that it was a good day. I love this time of year. My house has never looked more festive. I even got a fresh white pine garland for my banister - LOVE it! And of course doing the whole tree thing WITH Ryan this year was so great.
Sweet mercy I just sneezed and now I'm going to cry. OK, I think its time for another round of Codeine. G'night!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tis the Season

How is it that the Christmas season hasn't even technically started yet and already I feel a bit frazzled and overwhelmed by it all? On one hand I feel very on top of things but then I remember I'm working on a shorter time frame than usual and I start to panic.
In case you've been living in a cave the past few weeks and somehow managed to avoid the news that I'm having my tonsils out tomorrow, let me fill you in.

I AM HAVING MY TONSILS OUT TOMORROW.

And from what I hear its going to hurt. BAD. So that is going to take a chunk of time out of my festivity preperations. And then Ryan and I are supposed to be (wonderfully, gloriously) taking a trip to Tampa for a conference. I don't really know (or care) what the conference is about just that its far away. And I won't have to cook. (Thank you, thank you in advance Honey and Ozzie). And two days after we arrive home from the respite we need to be packed and ready to head to Columbus for a OUR FAMILY Christmas. So in essence I only have until December 14th to get myself ready for the holidays.

But wait, there is more. While I'm happy at the chunk of Christmas shopping I've already managed and that I've gotten my Christmas cards ordered there is still SO much to do. Like plan my 30th birthday party. That's right. You heard me, I'm throwing myself a 30th birthday party. Its on December 12th. And YOU should come. And my dear Troy is having a baby and I haven't done nearly enough for her yet. But I shall. And I need to start thinking on Ainsley's 3rd birthday. Oh, and I'm hosting a cookie exchange here for my fellow MOMS.

So, I need to get off my rump and get busy. But I'll leave you with a smile from my Christmas card photo reject pile:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Magical World

Well, we are back from our Disney vacation and I can't really find the words to express what a wonderful week it was. I'm trying to figure out if they actually put something in the water that just makes everything seem better at Disney or if its just the fabulous service, wonderful accomodations and friendly people . . . not to mention the true magic of seeing the wonderment and delight of Disney World through the eyes of children.

Anyway, the trip could not have been better. The car trip was totally tolerable thanks to the incredible hospitality of my dear, dear Redonna. I really need to take a lesson from her on how to be a wonderful hostess. She had tents set up in her 2nd guest room for the kids - a CARS one for Jake and Disney Princess for Ainsley. The were so thrilled and slept like logs. She had a pack and play for Reid ready to go complete with appropriate white noise mechanisms for each kid. The next morning the apple juice was ready and then she spoiled us with a breakfast of waffles and bacon which she KNOWS my kids love. We then set out to see my dear Grandma who is an amazing lady at 90 years of age! I know the craziness of my kids probably took years off her life but since I know she seems to have an unlimited supply she'll forgive us ;) We also were spoiled at her house with one of my favorites of all time - Sonny's Barbecue for dinner. YUMMO!

But I digress.

I won't go into too many details here and bore you all to tears but I will say that Jake had a better time and was better behaved than I could have imagined. Ainsley was in love with every charachter we met and was voted "most likely to run away with the circus" by the adults, and Reid was dreamy as always and did so great for a baby who was on the bataan death march for babies (i.e. - no naps, feedings in weird places, forced rides on odd contraptions).

If you have kids and you've not yet been to Disney all I can say is GO! I don't care what you have to do to get there just go. Start skipping meals, stop using diapers, turn off the heat and bundle up - whatever it takes to save those dollars. Its so worth it.

I'm going to post all my pics on Snapfish and just put a couple here. If you want to see them all let me know and I'll send you the link.




Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Fall







Holy moley I am still loving the fall around here. The other day I was inspired to stick my camera in the car and shoot some of the trees that surround us here in Clarksville. These are just a few of the beautiful sites I see while driving the kids to preschool or going out for a job.
Tomorrow we are heading out for a wonderful week at Disney World . . . stay tuned for stories of our adventures when I return!





Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sheesh

When I am nowhere near a computer there is no end to the blog ideas I can come up with. As I'm out on a run or driving in the car I come up with some great stuff. Then a couple minutes come for me to sit down at the computer and its like "chirp chirp, chirp chirp" . . . nada. So that brings me to my title of Sheesh!
Anyway, last week I read an article in our local paper about how lifestyle choices are costing the U.S. big dollars in that health care costs comprise $2 trillion of our national debt. Most of these costs are spent on preventable conditions such as Diabetes. This $2 trillion works out to $7000 per capita and the writer of the article (side note here- her name is Diane Welker and I had the privilege of meeting her at a baby shower for a mutual friend and she is really lovely and very knowledgeable about nutrition) says "If you are shoveling microwave and fast food dinners into your children's mouths, you owe me $7,000."
Now, I make a pretty concerted effort to make well-rounded, healthful meals that we sit down to eat as a family. But I always feel like there is more I could be doing. I know that promoting healthy eating now will stay with my kids through their whole lives. So, I want to just put it out there for all you moms who read to share just one idea of tip that you use to help your family eat more healthfully. Please - do share!
One more thing - I had a request from my friend Tricia to share my whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes recipe - and I'm delighted to do so.

1 large egg
1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup all-purpose)
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
3 tsps baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is totally a guess - I just dump in until I'm satisfied)
Note: I also add flax seed and wheat germ to give these an extra healthy boost - the more of this stuff I add the more chocolate chips I feel entitled to dump in@

DIRECTIONS - Note: I use my KitchenAid mixer to make these - SO fluffy!
Beat egg in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in milk and oil.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add all at once to mixer and mix at low speed until combined. Add chocolate chips.
Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 375 degrees. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter hot griddle.
Cook pancake until puffed and dry around edges.
Turn and cook other side until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Birthday Party To End All Parties

Yesterday the kids and I met up with Ryan at Outlaw Field here in Clarksville for the birthday party of the century. I knew going into it that chances were good this party would be amazing but I think I can now safely say this party would kick the ass of any party I could even attempt to throw in order to outdo it. So what was this party? What woman was capable of throwing such a fete? What children were deserving enough to deserve the ultimate party ever?

I'll tell you who. The same mom who dropped Saint Patrick's Day goody bags into Ainsley's cubby at school last year (and every other holiday too). Who never failed to look chic despite having twin (boy!) two year olds. Who also managed to juggle working part time and supporting her husband in a very successful Army career. That's who.

So when the twins mom ran up to me at school pickup on Monday to tell me she was throwing together a last minute birthday party for the boys I knew something great was in store. Ainsley was specially requested by the boys (along with just a couple other friends) as a guest. They've had a special relationship ever since last year in the 1's class when those little guys became quite adept at helping Ainsley locate lovie whenever it was misplaced. She always rewarded them with a big hug and a kiss - so the story goes.

We met up at 3pm yesterday afternoon at Outlaw Field where our pilot, Mr Chuck Twomey, had his 1954 Bell 47-G helicopter ready to go. Each kid and parent where taken on a 5 - 10 minute jaunt around the area and it was amazing. Ryan took Jake who held his hands over his ears the whole time but still enjoyed it. I took Ainsley who, for once, was so in awe she sat stock still with a big goofy grin on her face. She absolutely loved it and wanted to go up again for another ride in the "heli-opter". This was my first time on a helicopter and it was very nerve racking but also very cool. In true "awesome mom" fashion the birthday boys mom had a goody bag for each family with snacks, drinks, bubbles and chalk to amuse the kids while they waited their turn. Then each kid was presented with wings when the ride was over by the boys pilot dad.

We then proceeded over to the boys house for pizza, cake, libation and a big ol' jumper in the backyard to help the kids where off the sugar rush. Oh, did I mention the libation included plenty o' beer for the parents? At that point I threw my white flag of surrender up and swore to the twin's mom that I would never even attempt to outdo her. This was the party to end all parties and we are so glad we were invited!

Ry and Jake after their flight:


Ainsley and I in the helicopter:

Ainsley and one of the bday boys :

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And what a Fall Break it was

I think this week we experienced the whole gamut of things a break can contain. We started off our week o' fall fun with some serious virus going through our house. That was, needless to say, awesome. Vomiting, diarrhea, high fevers . . . oh my! Thankfully the momma was the only one to escape unscathed and I don't think anyone needs me to tell you that is the best case scenario. If one of us had to come out whole it needed to be me. I am a fantastic nurse and everyone got plenty of hugs, kisses, back scratches and juice until they felt better again.
The week certainly looked up from there though! We had dinner with the Remick family on Tuesday night and its ALWAYS a great time and this time did not disappoint. I'm so grateful to be able to walk through this deployment with them and do whatever we can to love and support Troy on this journey. It gives me an excuse to have them over for dinner lots which my kids get so excited about, then play like animals, then sleep like rocks. Its totally a win-win situation. She is doing a fantastic job handling it all . . . I just want to go on the record there!
Wednesday I dragged my still-not-quite-totally-well kids to Honeysuckle Hill Farm for fun despite the 85 degree day! It was a MOMS Club event so we got to see lots of friends and have lots of fun. Ainsley was definitely done by the time we dragged our sorry bums home but I still think it was worth the effort (and heat).
Thursday dawned rainy and cold and I could not have been more excited! The only bummer was the birthday party we were supposed to attend at Fairgrounds Park was moved to Chuck E. Cheese . . .but my kids still had a blast. And I got to eat my weight in birthday cake (and bring some home with me) which gives this party my ultimate two thumbs up!
That evening the other rolled into town and we've had a blast during this short visit. The kids have played so hard with their cousins and they parents have had a great time too. Our hearts are heavy as we know J&C will be moving soon and it'll be quite a long time until we see them again but we are just trying to make the most of the time we do have together. We've packed in plenty of fun to enjoy this gorgeous weather including a makeup trip to Fairgrounds and yet another journey out to HH Farm. It did not disappoint.
So that is my Fall Break roundup! Hope yours was as great as ours.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I don't just love my husband, I really, really like him too.

So more along the lines of what I posted previously about the process I feel like I'm undergoing in changing the way I see some things and deciding what I want my viewpoint as a Christian, wife and mother to be.
I'm now reading a book called Feminine Appeal written by Carolyn Mahaney whose blog I linked on my previous post. Her husband is the pastor of the Covenant Life Church in DC where Ryan and I were so struck by the positive family vibes that the whole church gave off and modeled. My friend Donna, who is a relatively new friend but a wife and mother who I have a great deal of respect for, brought this book over after I mentioned my current journey of thought. I am SO excited to read this book. I feel like its so affirming of the direction I want to go in but I also like it because I can just imagine what the National Organization of Women would do with this book. Burning it would probably be too tame for them. And that alone is a big stamp of approval on this book :)
Anyway, the 2nd chapter is entitled The Delight of Loving My Husband and there are too many good things in this chapter to touch on (but I highly recommend reading it for yourself) but one thing has really stuck with me. Its a quote from Elisabeth Elliot (an amazing woman) that goes like this: "A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps 80% of her expectations. There is always the other 20% that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the 80%, and both of them will be happy."
For me this quote was just a big WOW moment! I don't even know if there is 20% that I would change about Ryan but that isn't even the point. So lately I've been focusing on the 80 (plus) percent and its made me fall in love all over again. My husband is a truly wonderful man. The other morning he stopped me in the midst of running around doing some house cleaning to ask me if I'd had a chance to eat breakfast. Such a small thing but it meant more to me than I think he could possibly realize. I love my life. I love being married to this guy. I love the family we are creating. And it doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shame On Me

There is something wrong in America today. Something very, very wrong. Its been a problem for longer than I've even been alive and there was a time when I was sickened and angry about it. And I couldn't imagine voting for a politician who stood on the other side of the line from me on this issue. And then I felt like I "grew up" politically and that as I became more evolved I felt like this issue was a lost cause and so I shouldn't vote singularly on this issue. And while that might be true I let myself become more callous then I'm prepared to admit. I was no longer outraged. I started to accept it.
On Sunday Ryan was teaching Sunday School in the adult class he is team teaching at our church. The issue up for discussion was human rights and we batted around theories on atrocities happening around the globe such as forced prostitution, slavery, torture for religous beliefs and we all felt sick discussing these things. And then it hit me that the single greatest human rights violation ever is happening each and every day (legally) right here in our very own country. Abortion. Let me say it again (to use a Biden-ism) ABORTION. The very tiniest and most helpless of human beings are being murdered in the safest place there should be - their mothers' wombs.
So shame on me for letting myself become complacent about this issue. For thinking there is nothing I can do. For being remiss in my prayers asking our Father in heaven to help us defeat the legal practice of abortions.
If you disagree with me about this issue then I want to ask one thing of you. Please watch this video http://www.silentscream.org/video1.htm . If you are a believer then please pray about this video. And then I would welcome any comments, discussion or fair arguments on this issue.

And if you want to know a bit more about Obama's stand on some past abortion bills I was fascinated to read this article from the National Right to Life website. Even if you can make peace with abortion I can't undertand how anyone can stand behind a decision that would stop a bill to keep doctors from killing infants who are born alive after failed abortion attempts. http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/WhitePaperAugust282008.html

Monday, October 6, 2008

Halloween Fun

Tonight my family took a trip to Wal-mart to do something I never in a million years thought I would . . . we went to buy Halloween decorations to put up outside of our house. Bright glowing orange lights on the crepe myrtle tree, pumpkin lanterns to brighten the front doorway and a couple of cute signs in the natural areas. You have to understand the rather ambivalent feelings I've always had towards Halloween to know why this trip to Wal-mart was something I never saw coming. I mean, as we were hanging the lights tonight I was telling my kids about how when I was their age we went to Reformation Day parties at church and played "harvest games" instead of trick-or-treating (all my reformed friends know what I'm talking about, the rest of you will just have to ask me about it later). I went to a private Christian school where Halloween was not honored with decoration, celebration or costumes. So for me Halloween has always been the somewhat forbidden fruit of holidays.
But in recent years I've lightened up about Halloween. My kids have so much fun going to costume parties and trick-or-treating. And so when neighbors began breaking out the decorations and Jake went wild with excitement I knew it was time to really step up to the plate and come out of the Halloween loving closet. There is no hiding it anymore. The orange glow emanating from my house shouts it loud and proud. And Jake is thrilled.

DISCLAIMER: Before this gets too out of hand and I piss off everyone I want to say that the forbidden fruit element of this holiday was an influence of church/school and not my parental unit. They happily allowed us to trick-or-treat.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall

Oh MY Gracious, Goodness me. Its fall and there are no words to describe my joy over this fact. I love, love, love, love, love, love FALL!!!!!!!!!!! Its just by far the very best time of the whole year. The weather is so beautiful. Those chilly mornings and evenings that just make the bed even more wonderful and inviting. The smell of burning leaves, the drop dead gorgeous trees here in this part of Tennessee as they explode in color. The excitement of Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. Pumpkin spice lattes that just make you feel so good from head to toe. Pulling out jeans and sweaters and my wonderful Dansko clogs that I do love so very much.



Sunday afternoon we went to a birthday party at Honeysuckle Hill Farm. It was such a fantastic place to have a party and it just celebrated everything that is so wonderful about this season. And to my incredibly delight they had the most gorgeous selections of heirloom pumpkins. I toted this poor 14 year old kid around with me forever as I hemmed and hawed over choosing which ones for him to load into his wheelbarrow. This one! No! That one! Wait, over there is another one! Oh me, oh my. And when I got home I created a tower of my pumpkins that makes me grin each time I see it. Isn't it so very Martha Stewart?


We were out enjoying the beautiful weather on Tuesday with a stroll around the little lake in our neighborhood. I looked down into a drainage ditch and saw a snake skin. Well, motherhood has clearly changed me because instead of running home screaming I climbed down into the ditch (with Reid strapped to me I might add) and retrieved the skin. I carried it home (in my BARE hands) and we carefully pulled it on and laid it to dry. Jake is going to take it to school tomorrow to show to his class.

Where Have I Been?

If you see me let me know because lately I feel like I can't find me. My thoughts are all over the place, I'm desiring to really set out some new goals and plans for myself and I just can't seem to get focused. And that is partly what has kept me from blogging lately because I feel like I don't even know where to begin. But I'm just going to jump off the ledge and ramble for a bit. If I seem to be drowning and you can't bear to watch feel free to come back another day and maybe I'll be more coherent.
A few years ago we went to a church in DC called Covenant Life. There were so many things about this body of believers that really inspired me but the most profound was their stance on family and the role of women in the home. It was so encouraging and affirming of exactly what I feel like I'm called to and I met many women there who I would desire to emulate both as a wife and a mom. I had dinner with some girlfriends recently and this church came up and as I talked about it I felt transported back to those feelings of inspiration and hope that I got whenever I walked through those doors. I came home and pulled out the folder I kept during my time there and I look forward to reading back through those notes and rediscovering some of those truths again.
While Ryan was gone on his latest adventure I was surfing the Internet one night and stumbled upon a story that continues to hold my attention weeks later. A young, beautiful woman who is deeply in love with her husband and with being mother to her four children was in a serious plane crash on August 16th. She received burns over 83% of her body and her husband was also badly burned. Her sisters, who are caring for her children while she remains in a medically induced coma in Arizona, are keeping her blog going as a means of fundraising, information sharing and to continue the inspiration that this woman, Stephanie Nielson, gave to so many. Whenever I have a few minutes to myself that I can indulge I slip into the world of Nie and let her love of her family and her domestic life sweep over me. She is a woman of deep faith and although our beliefs are not the same I know that she trusts Jesus Christ as her Savior and I pray for her deliverance.
All these things at a time when I was already feeling called to introspection and examining my motives and actions and wanting to sit down and figure out what is the legacy I want to leave. What do I want this family to stand for? What will be the memories my children have of this sweet time in our lives?
So, stay tuned if you care to. I'm sure this will be a slow and evolutionary process but its one I'm excited about. My start has been to drastically reduce TV time and the reward has been sweet. Even times like this morning which started at 5:30 I was able to withstand the temptation of flipping on the tube and was rewarded with a rousing game of hide and seek as I gulped my coffee. Also whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes are becoming a new speciality. I'm not sure how exactly they fit into the master plan, but I'm sure somehow they do.
http://girltalk.blogs.com/
http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/
http://blog.cjanerun.com/

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time with my boy

Last Sunday I got some really special one on one time with Jake. It was so fun to just spend some time focusing on him and enjoying the little boy that he is. I took him to see Disney on Ice and it was really magical. When the charachters from the movie CARS sped out onto the ice his face lit up in excitement and disbelief. I don't think he blinked once while watching that portion of the show. They did lose his attention a little bit during the extended Tinkerbell portion of the show (to which a friend commented "I wish the CARS would come back out and run over tinkerbell) but all in all it was a fantastic afternoon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Power

Let me set the scene. A few weeks ago my friend Nicki informed me that when she had googled Jump Zone Clarksville that my blog was the very first hit returned. I was a little in awe of myself and the number of people who I potentially reached with my message about our less than pleasant experience at JZ. Also a little scared lest the big bad JZ giant come after me . . .
Well, yesterday I received a hand addressed envelope in my mailbox with a Jump Zone return stamp. I opened it to find three passes for a free open play session - with our last name written very small in the corner of each pass. And that was the only thing in the envelope - no letter, no promotion, no catch.
What freaked me out a bit was when I looked even more closely at the envelope and realized it didn't have any postage on it. Which means either the post office just sent this letter along for free (not likely) or someone hand delivered it into my mailbox.
The only thing that makes sense to me is that someone from JZ found my blog, used the scant information about us on the blog to locate the release form I filled out on our first visit and so was able to determine who was woman behind Maybe Tomorrow. Maybe JZ hand delivers free passes to everyone in Clarksville and my imagination is just running away with me but I doubt it.
Oh the power of a blog!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Rambling

I am totally stealing the word rambling from my fav roommate of all time's blog. She'll forgive me because she loves me like that. She also forgives when in my comments on her blog I correct her grammar. Why on earth would I be jackass enough to do that I don't know but I do. And she loves me anyway. Heaven help me if someone were to whip out English 101 on this bad boy. I never proofread and that always gets me in trouble. Amber - I love you! I read a piece of flair the other day that said "God made us friends because no parents could handle us as sisters" or something along those lines and I thought of you. I thought of a few of you other girls too so nobody go get your panties in a wad but Amber has not so subtly hinted that my blog should have more to do with her and so this was it.

Randomness #1 - Hot and Ready Pizza from Little Caesars.
Never something that has played a big role in my life until today . . . and it was a lifesaver. I seriously wanted to hug the girl at the drive thru. I'm chugging home from a late appointment stressed about feeding the kids dinner and getting bedtimes moving when I drive past a crazy guy waving a sign in front of Little Caesars. In about 2 seconds I made the decision to whip into the parking lot. I drive up (no line) ask for my pepperoni pizza, for over $5.48 and the pizza is immediately handed out to me and off I go. Seriously from the time I saw the sign until I was on the road again was less than 2 minutes. Throw some applesauce into bowls once we get home and voila - dinner is served. It was fantastic. It was cheap. It was EASY.

Randomness #2 - Snow Cream "Frozen Dairy Dessert" from Purity.
Yum. Let me say it again, YUM. Its supposed to be reminiscent of when you'd take freshly fallen snow as a good and add vanilla and sugar and milk . . . and it is every bit as yummy as you could imagine. I can't stop eating it. Even though the scale says I should I still don't care. A couple pounds is totally worth the yummy goodness of this delectable dessert. Its icier than real ice cream but it also has a LOT less fat and calories. But mostly its just fun and yummy and a nice change of pace. I love it.

I know I had another one but that is just how random I am - I can't remember. Well, 3 minutes until Project Runway starts and that is a priority so off I go! Toodles.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fun, More Fun, BAM!

So our past few days have been great. Fun, followed by even more fun and then we hit today like a brick wall. Ryan left today for something that is not going to be fun (understatement of the century) and we'll be out of contact for 3 weeks. It never gets easier and we miss him like crazy . . .
Anyway, back to the good stuff! On Thursday Ryan and Jake went down to Nashville for a Sounds game. They had a blast! Ryan called me mid-game to fill me in on all of Jake's adorable antics. I think they spent about three innings chasing the mascot (ironically called Ozzie) around. As soon as Jake would get close he'd run up to give him a high five and then high tail it out of there. He wanted to be close but not too close. By the time they got home around 10 pm Jake was still a crazy, sweaty mess but they made memories that will last forever!
Then on Saturday we had tickets for the USO tour of Sesame Street Live on post. It was a great experience. Just the right amount of time, a cute show, decent seats - the kids had a blast. The whole shebang was totally free right down to these light-up whirly toys that would have easily cost 15 bucks a pop at a real show. In fact, this event easily would have put our family out over $100 and we were treated to the whole experience as a thank you from the fine folks at Sesame Street. It was very cool.

And now its almost Labor Day which means summer is almost over! I'm ready for fall and all the fun that brings. So if you see me wandering around next week with a sweater and jeans despite the 90 degree heat you'll have to cut me some slack :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That's My Girl


Ainsley's skin is very soft and smooth right now. Why, you may ask. Well because of the peanut butter skin treatment she gave herself of course. Oh, well why did she give herself a peanut butter skin treatment? Because her mother left her unattended with a spoon and an open jar of peanut butter at the table. Oh, and because she was pretty much drunk as a skunk. Ainsley + Drunk + Peanut Butter = New Beauty Treatment. Literally head to the tips of her toes covered in ooey-gooey peanut butter.

Now, before you go thinking that I've been letting Ainsley get sauced with a bottle of whiskey or that I've been cutting her apple juice with vodka let me go on the record that it was medically induced drunkness. This a.m. Ainsley had to have her tubes in her ears put in for the third time. She was a little worked up and so they gave her some Versed to calm her down. And calm her down it did. She went from little ball of fire to helpless limp noodle in no time - complete with head bobbing helplessly around and eyes rolling back in her head. After the procedure was over and the gas wore off she turned into her best impersonation of what she'll be like the night of her 21st birthday (I hope not but just being realistic). She'd wiggle to get down and walk and when I'd put her down (holding on tightly) she'd sway and bob until I'd scoop her back up. As I was carrying her out of the hospital she had her head thrown back looking at the lights on the ceiling going "oh wow" as if she was seeing her own psychadelic light show. She'd mumble something and then start laughing and giggling at her own personal joke.

When we got home I put her on my bed to watch a movie and went to get her some juice. She scrambled down to come after me and fell to a heap on the floor where she stayed until I returned. Later I realized she was getting hungry so I gave her some peanut butter (something I do often) and ran out to get the mail. I got a little distracted and by the time I returned 4 minutes later the spa treatment had happened. I guess drunk Ainsley got confused with putting the peanut butter IN her body instead of ON her body.

Unfortunately all fun things must come to an end and the medicine has worn off enough to make her out of control cranky. Makes me want to mix her up a little cocktail of my own ;)

Monday, August 25, 2008

And now a message from my daddy. . .

editors note: in case you haven't already guessed, in my family sarcasm is a true art form.

Sitting in today as guest blogger is Lacey’s Dad, Ozzie. Would that make me a glogger? I asked Lacey if I could write this so I would have a chance to brag on her. This past Saturday was my 60th birthday, and Lacey was instrumental in arranging my best birthday ever!
You might wonder how it fell to Lacey to arrange my birthday. I couldn’t exactly do it, and her mom / my wife Desire’ was worn out from organizing an extravaganza weekend for her parent’s 60th anniversary at the end of July. She was lamenting to Lacey that she was going to have to put together something for me, too, when Lacey said “Mom, put in my hands.” And she did.
Now, I knew that something was being arranged, but I was kept in the dark about what it was. This past Wednesday, I received by e-mail a packing list and instructions to be ready to be picked up at 9:30 Thursday morning. At the appointed time Desire’s parents Pete and Marge showed up, and we loaded our luggage and golf clubs into their van. I was permitted to drive, but only given directions one waypoint at a time. If you know Lacey, you know that she always has a plan, and she got that gene from me. So, you can imagine how out of sorts I was to be on a need-to-know basis. T o make a long trip short, we arrived in Pigeon Forge TN a little before 3pm. We stopped at a welcome center, and it was suggested that I pick up some info on golf courses, indicating to me that no prior arrangements had been made for golf – what I was anticipating to be a highlight of this trip. Swell!
I found myself sitting in the parking lot at Cabins USA while Desire’ checked in for our accommodations. . If you know Pigeon Forge, it is a sprawl of t-shirt shops, miniature golf courses, fast food and buffet restaurants, go-kart tracks, and other cheesy attractions. It looks like a tornado picked up all the worst of Americana and dumped it in a jumble in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was described at various times on our trip as “Myrtle Beach on Meth in the Mountains”, “Redneck Vegas”, “a Cornucopia of Crapola”, and some unflattering names too. Across the street from where I sat was a flashing sign proclaiming “Memories, presenting Elvis& Friends; the ultimate Legends Show.” I have always wondered about performers for whom impersonating Elvis is the acme of their career. What about those whose claim to fame is impersonating his friends?
In this family we’ve learned about the five stages of grief from our resident psychologist - Ryan. I was going through my own five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, whining, and pouting. My mind raced to all the exciting possibilities: sitting around our room in the heart of Pigeon Forge with my in-laws; cruising the strip; checking out the tattoo parlors; eating at MO’s All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (the initials apparently stand for Morbidly Obese). Maybe if I was lucky we could squeeze in 216 or so holes of golf – the kind with dinosaurs, windmills, pirates, and/or farm animals.
My attitude did a 180 when we arrived at our accommodations; a cabin nestled in the trees high on a ridge overlooking the Smokies. It had 3 levels, each with a living area and two bedrooms with private baths. It had a hot tub, pool table, air hockey, and Foosball. Way to go Lacey!
What made this, in all truth, my best birthday ever was spending it with the people I love most in this world (minus my mom and sister). Lacey and Ryan, Jake, Ainsley, and Reid arrived Thursday evening, and Matt and Allie shortly thereafter. We ate drank and were merry. Jake and Ainsley were in the hot tub 2-3 times each day, butt naked. We played pool with the kids– actually a version without cue sticks which was more like soccer and team handball. We watched the raccoon raid our trashcan each night. Desire’ compressed 60 years of being me into a wonderful video which made me cry tears of joy.
Since I have given Pigeon Forge the worst trashing since Lacey’s went off on Croc’s here in her blog, I need to be fair and mention that we did enjoy some go-karting, golf with the kids at Pigs Can Fly, and a nice hike complete with a snake across our path and a black bear sighting.
A milestone birthday like your 60th can be a catalyst for retrospection and introspection, and is also a good time for looking forward. I have been asking myself what I want my next 10-15-20 years to look like. I don’t want to be presumptuous, since in the next 15 minutes I could become deathly ill or get zapped by a UPS truck on its daily run to Lacey’s house. I put together a bucket list, complete with some of the typical items: travel to the eastern Med, Russia, the Baltic; get a tattoo; get tattoo removed; etc. But, if God does grant me further years, what I really want to accomplish is summed up by a psalm I read recently in my quiet time: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18) The Lord has done so much in my life. I have experienced the joy of seeing my own children walk in the truth. Now it’s time for the grands.
I have to go now so I can start planning my own 80th birthday party. It will probably involve a cruise ship with 6 or so adjoining verandah cabins. Ainsley and Matt & Allie’s daughter will share one with Jake’s fiancĂ©e, with Reid and Jake and little Whit in another. Won’t that be grand?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Big Race

The morning of the race - before the start.



Whew, so if you've read my blog for any amount of time (like even two posts) you know that this past weekend I participated in the Tri Fall Creek Falls Race. Its a triathlon at a beautiful state park that consists of a 1500 m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. I was on a relay team so I just did the run (duh . . . like I could actually do that whole thing). Let me just say that the athletes we saw this weekend were amazing. Truly amazing.


Next, let me say that my team was amazing. I'm so proud of each of us for different reasons. We accomplished what we set out to do and we did it with style. It was a really fun time to be with a long time friend and get to make a new one. And it also definitely gave me the bug for future races.
Me coming into the finish line


Our team came in 2nd overall for female relay teams. When I saw the run course I was intimidated. My training route here wasn't completely flat but also didn't have any major hill - this was NOT the case at Fall Creek Falls. The 10K course started out with about 3/4 of a mile down a major hill. Awesome. Except this mean that the course finished out 3/4 of a mile UP a major hill. Not Awesome. When I realized this I thought my goal of a sub 45 minute 10K was shot. Well, when it came time to run I just ran as hard as I could. When I got to the end I told myself to just put my head down and run. And I made it. My time was 44.08 and I was thrilled. If I hadn't gotten confused at the end and had to stop momentarily for directions it couldn've been sub 44 but I'm trying not to focus on that :)
So, the only major bummer for me was when they were doing our body marking the morning of the race. They write your number on each arm and then your age on the back of your right calf (in big numbers, I might add). Only, it isn't your actual current age, its the age you'll be at the end of the year. CURSES. That's right, you guessed it. I'm 29 now but I'll be 30 in December. So I have to walk around for the next week (or until this permanent marker will wear off) with a big 30 on the back of my leg. Nice.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I AM ANGRY

OK, so this is a post for you moms out there. Lately I'm sure you've heard the buzz about Bisphnol A (BPA) and its potentially harmful affects on all people but most potentially babies. If you haven't here is a little info from Wikipedia to get you up to speed.

There are seven classes of plastics used in packaging applications. Type 7 is the catch-all "other" class, and some type 7 plastics, such as polycarbonate (sometimes identified with the letters "PC" near the recycling symbol) and epoxy resins, are made from bisphenol A monomer.[4] When such plastics are exposed to hot liquids, bisphenol A leaches out 55 times faster than it does under normal conditions, at up to 32 ng/hour.[73] Type 3 (PVC) can also contain bisphenol A as antioxidant in plasticizers.[4] Types 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), 5 (polypropylene), and 6 (polystyrene) do not use bisphenol A during polymerization or package forming,[74] and thus will not leach bisphenol A into food or beverages.

So, being the good mom that I am (ha ha) when I did some research on this I felt it was important to switch all of Reid's bottles to glass bottles and get some new sippy cups for Ainsley from Born Free. This is not a health risk I wanted to take with my kids, especially since its fairly easy to avoid. I try not to think about how much Jake and Ainsley were exposed to this before we knew about it but thankfully they were both breastfed so their exposure during their first year of life was limited.

Now that Reid is eating baby food I've been buying Gerber organics for him. Again, I'm not an organic freak but I just wanted to give him the very best food possible. So, I'm sitting here at the computer and there is an empty container from his baby food here and I look down at the bottom and what do I see but the Type 7 sign on it to let me know there is the possibility of BPA in this plastic. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so mad I want to type out what I really mean when I say that but I won't. What is Gerber doing putting its organic BABY food in dangerous containers. Containers that I HEAT which causes even more BPA to potentially leach into his food.

So now, I'm pissed. You really can't trust anyone these days. And its sad. Rant over.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Its soooooo beautiful . . .

Its just so beautiful outside. I can't get over it! These past few days have just been gorgeous. Low, low humidity (UNHEARD of this time of year), mild temps, sunshine and blue skies. I can't even express how much it lifts my heart and my attitude. I feel God's blessing and provision in this beautiful weather - such an unexpected surprise for August and I'm going to love every single minute of it! This morning I strapped Reid in the Baby Bjorn and took the kids out for a ride on their little bikes. We rode down to the lake and walked around it and then around our block and I never broke a sweat. It was so nice to be out enjoying the morning together.
Last night Ryan and I stayed up late watching the Olympics and I'm SO glad we did because we got to see the amazing US men's victory in the 4x100 freestyle relay. In case you missed it they were up against their major French rivalry on this one. The French team had been quoted as saying they were going to "smash" our guys. Well, in the most exciting swimming race I have ever seen our team beat them by just hundredths of a second (I think) and it was awesome. We were jumping up and down (well, bouncing up and down I guess) and cheering and it just made me so proud. These guys won with such grace and class and I loved every minute of it!
So, that's about it for now. This coming Sunday is the big race and I'm feeling ready. I went out on Saturday and ran as close to race pace as I could and I was really happy with my time. If I can run the same on Sunday I'll be thrilled. I'm trying to focus on eating healthy foods this week to give me the fuel I'll need to perform my best. This is a real test for me because I LOVE food and have little self control. But I'm hoping I can stick with it for just one week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yummy

Wow, its hard to follow-up on my last post. My most commented post ever. Before I let it go to my head I'm going to write a totally lame post that will take it back to the uzh around here on my blog :) That's totally ok because this blog for me is mostly a creative outlet. I needed one and it primarily serves that role. That it lets me keep in touch with friends near and far is most just a bonus (albeit an AWESOME one).

Lately there has been a lotta food going on around here. Yesterday when the kids and I got home from Ainsley's speech therapy session we had some time to kill so I thought we'd make cookies. I hesitated for a second because my kitchen was very clean and we had company coming later but quickly decided to plunge ahead. It actually worked out great (she says with surprise in her voice). We had fun, I only yelled a little, the cookies were yummy despite the fact that I have no idea how much oats actually went into the mixer because Ainsley got carried away while Reid needed a reapplication of the pacifier (i.e. he was in his bed and not happy and I needed him to hang on just a couple more minutes).
Wow, that tupperware looks almost empty. How did that happen?

Then today the kids and I went to a farmers market down by the train station here in Clarksville. It was small but very nice and I got some beautiful produce. I was actually pulling away when I decided to go back for the blackberries. I'm going to make gazpacho and BLT sandwiches tonight. The squash is for my man Reid - big boy that he is now!

When we got home there was a package from Nonny on our doorstep. She'd sent some darling shoes for the kids but also two little rolling pins and fun little shapes to cut biscuits (biscuit making is an art form in my mother-in-laws family). Jake was so excited we immediately had to make biscuits. Jake helped me get the dough together and then Jake and Ainsley played away with the rolling pins and cutters for a good 10 minutes! The end result was yummy!


The recipe made more biscuits than this. This is just what was left after the three of us chowed down :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Purposeful Pareting

I'm going to try and dive into a post that has been on my mind for a long time and I'm not sure I have the time to really tackle it this morning, but here it goes. I have the need to get this out whether its entirely coherent or not. A few weeks ago my friend Christin sent me a link to an article in Newsweeek - Does Having Kids Make You Happy? http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792?GT1=43002. This article piggybacks onto recent thoughts I'd been having anyway so it really opened up a line of thinking for me that I've been mulling over. The gist of the article is that martial happiness decreases markedly after the birth of the first child and doesn't increase again until the kids leave home . . . and that parents are happier sleeping or grocery shopping then they are when spending time with their kids.

My first thought is not one of surprise. As with most issues we face in today's culture I think the answer lies much below the surface. Its not a band-aid fix and, unfortunately, I don't think issues like this will ever get better because of the direction our world is headed. Where is that? As far away from God as possible. To find the root to this problem you can't try to find what is wrong with today's culture or what possible cultural influences are causing this or do kids just plain suck. You have to go back to how incredibly far our world has come from God, from His plan in creation, for His reason for giving us life and breathe and allowing us to be on this earth . . . for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever (which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me).

So, instead we are living these lives focused entirely on ourselves, desprately trying to find something that will give us meaning and happiness. And when we don't find it in ourselves rather than looking to God and realizing HE is where we should find meaning, we start adding. We add a college degree, a job, a spouse and then children. And these things are all good but we are trying to make them fill a hole they aren't meant or made to fill. And by far children are where we are going to see and feel this the most. Like a big blinking neon sign saying NOT RIGHT because children will suck the very will to live out of you at one point or another and if the whole reason you had them was to complete yourself you are going to feel screwed.

But those who believe in Christ don't have to fall into this trap. Because we can search scripture and know we DO have a higher calling and purpose for having children. I truly believe I am called to train up the next generation to serve and love God and to continue to spread His name on this earth. I do a horrible job of it but when I'm losing my mind at least I know that there is a reason WHY I had kids and it was NOT for me. Bottom line is that I am called to by God and I'm obeying Him and fulfilling His plan for my life in this way. But blessedly I think my kids are the bees knees (and I think this is how God designed it) so even on my most frustrating, pull my hair out day I wouldn't trade them for all the tea in china.

Thanks for indulging me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jake . . . our Boy Wonder Turns 4

It's a couple days late but 4 years ago, on July 29th, our lives changed forever when Jake Allen was pulled (very much against his will) into this world. Two weeks overdue, 19 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, and one vacuum extraction and there he was - our perfectly beautiful firstborn baby boy.

What an incredible joy he is to us. He is so full of life. Ready to take on new adventures and learn new things. So very sweet and tender. Lover of trains. Fan of books. Water slide king. Perfectly grumpy in the mornings and sweetly kissed to bed at night.

As is our family tradition I put together a video of pictures from Jake's life. Its kind of long but (I think) worth it.
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Friday, August 1, 2008

Lacey's Favorite #3

So, its been a long time since I've done one of these. Nothing has really struck me. Until now. And this one is going to get me in trouble, I can guarantee it. But I can't stop myself! This article so perfectly articulates what I've felt deep in my heart for a long time. And to quote the author "I also worry about writing this because some of my best friends—and their sweet, innocent children—wear them." But like I said, I can't stop myself so here it goes:

Make. It. Stop
The case for ending our long national nightmare.
http://www.newsweek.com/id/150240/page/1

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old MacDonald

Greetings from Charlotte! This past week has been totally nuts as I once again had to pack, clean, do laundry and a million other little things to get my family ready for a week back home in Charlotte. I couldn't say anything about it on the blog though because the reason for our visit was to celebrate my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary and the weekend of festivities as well as the guest list was all a big, wonderful surprise for them! It has been a fantastic weekend with family and more events (mostly revolving around food) than I can even remember at this point. What added to the craziness of the preparation was my volunteering to bake and transport all of the desserts for a 30 person dinner on Friday night. So this past week had quite a few late nights and early mornings in the kitchen as I pulled together a trifecta of Barefoot Contessa delicacies. It was worth it in the end . . .
Isn't that amazing to think about being married for 60 years?!?! What is even more amazing is how much they still love and adore one another. I'm incredibly blessed to have this (and other) marriage (s) as an example. Congratulations Granpa and Grandma - I love you!

Ok, but now for the funny part of this post. Lately Jake and Ainsley have reverted to their infanthood and really gotten back into the Baby MacDonald video (from the Baby Einstein collection). They are always singing Old MacDonald or The Farmer in the Dell and Ryan and I join in and sing with them. On Thursday night we drove from Clarksville to Charlotte . . . 8 hours in the car with 3 kids . . . it was a long night. When we stopped for dinner Jake got a Batman toy in his Happy Meal that fit on his hand and had a little red laser light on it. So very fun for Jake, so very annoying for the rest of his family. Somewhere in between Knoxville and Asheville and Jake shone the light into my eyes for the millionth time I told him if he did it one more time I was taking away the toy for the rest of the night. Well, Jake loves nothing more than a challenge so about 10 seconds later the light was in my eyes so I snatched it away and tossed it out of his reach. Jake sat for a second and thought then said "give it back". I said "no". He thought for another second and started to sing. The song went like this "Old MacDonald give it back, e-i-e-i-o, and on this farm he gives it back, e-i-e-i-o". Ok, so Ryan and I are dying laughing and then Jake starts to sing again so we get quiet to listen and hear "the cows gives it back, the cow gives it back, hi-ho-the-dairy-o the cow gives it back". Now we are practically rolling. I still wasn't giving it back though. But I was shocked at how clever and quickly that little mind worked. The end of the story, though, is that when Ainsley threw up all over herself and her car seat with about 2 hours left in the trip Jake did manage to retrieve the toy during the ensuing hullaballoo. I decided to turn a blind eye.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Roundup

Let me start out by saying I'm in a weird place right now - mentally that is. See, its naptime here at our house and that is a sacred time. But the UPS man just pulled up in front of my house and rang the doorbell and now Reid is crying. I'm emotionally flummoxed - one of my favorite people to see (UPS guy) ruins one of my favorite parts of the day (naptime). I think the deciding factor here has to be what it was being delivered . . . and it looks like it was a Creative Memories scrapbook I ordered for MOMS Club. I've deliberated and decided that this delivery was most certainly NOT worth the screw up in naptime. So now I'm angry at UPS man and its not a good feeling.

It was a really fun weekend. Friday we were treated to a fabulous dinner with some really special friends! They made us feel like royalty with steaks and other delicious items. Most importantly the beer was cold and flowing and as long as the right person poured the foam was manageable (wink, wink).

Saturday was mostly spent counting down until our babysitter would arrive. Finally the time came and we gave some hurried instructions (like - don't call us unless there is blood and a tourniquet won't stop the bleeding) and headed out for a real, live, actual, authentic party. There were no children, no bouncy houses, no water play and at the end of the evening no herding exhausted, stained, sobbing kiddos into car seats. We went to a luau and it was just a heavenly evening of good food, a fun theme and great friends.

Last night we wanted to keep the fun alive so we invited some friends over to cookout. What made it a particularly sweet time was that these particular friends are expecting the arrival of their firstborn child in the very near future and this was the last time we'll spend together before their world was rocked by parenthood. And it will be. Rocked that is.

So that is it. Reid seems to have fallen back asleep. When it comes to naps I am THE hammer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Jump Zone - Danadanadadana

That was supposed to be like the music that goes with The Twilight Zone but I have no idea how you would type that. Anyway, this morning I was looking for something to do with the kids and my friend Kristen and I decided to head over and check out the new inflatable jump warehouse here in Clarksville. This thing has been highly anticipated for over a year now and today was opening day so we thought we'd check it out. Now before I get ahead of myself let me talk a bit about Go Jump. Same idea, also located nearby (but not technically in C-ville) great experience every time I've been there. They have great pricing, very friendly and laid back staff, free popcorn for the kids, a variety of jumping levels, etc. I've said that I would probably remain loyal to Go Jump even after Jump Zone opened because we've had such good experiences there.

Well, what do I do on the first day that Jump Zone is open but jump ship from the Go Jump loyalty cruise and drag my brood immediately over to the new guy in town. So, I probably on some level deserved every ounce of badness that happened today. And it was bad. I do not like Jump Zone. I do not like it on a boat, I do not like it with a goat, I will not go there on a train I will not go there in the rain. Am I clear on that?

We walked in and its VERY impressive. Six enormous inflatables most with different themes (Disney Princess, Pirate ship attacked by Giant Squid, Superman, Train). The kids were dying to get started. I've got all three of them with me and just getting there was QUITE the workout. I had to fill out the release form and then go to pay and the guy says "That'll be $15.33". What? Surely I didn't hear you right. No, I did hear him right - these guys must not know they are located in an Army town with a median income of squat. So I dig through my wallet and pull out my credit card and am informed they only take cash. OK - strike two. I did actually have $15 on me so we were safe. The kids start to play and are having fun when after 10 minutes the little referee comes over to tell me my kids need socks (I had on socks but they didn't - they can't get enough traction to climb with them). Well, I didn't bring socks which I tell him. He tells me they can't jump without them. I tell him that he can go tell his managers and have them come throw me out. Sure enough, two minutes later here comes the manager to tell me my kids have to leave because they don't have socks. Are you kidding me?!?! I start to sweat with anger and frustration. He then makes sure to tell me that he informed me we needed socks as we came in. WHAT?!? No, you did not, DUDE. Do you think I would have ignored that little tidbit of information because I relished the idea of dragging my screaming children out of a inflatable wonderland less than 10 minutes after we arrived? But they sell socks he tells me. Well, too bad because I just forked over my last $15 to get in this place and you don't take credit cards. So, I have to get my kids who are all screaming and crying and drag them out to the car. I'm crying now. And so is Kristen's daughter Avery. I was so angry and I didn't know what to do. Well, I calmed down and as much as it KILLED me asked Kristen to borrow money so I could buy socks. I wanted to give this place more money like I want a whole in my head but I couldn't stand to do this to the kids and so back in we went with my tail firmly tucked between my legs. Thank goodness Kristen went up to the counter and bought the socks for me because I couldn't bear making eye contact let alone speaking with these people any more. The rest of the morning was mostly without incident although it took the kids a good 15 minutes to calm down and enjoy themselves after being dragged in, and out, and back into the Jump Zone.

So, that was my (very long explanation of the) Jump Zone experience. I don't think we'll be returning. Instead I'll be heading down 41-A to good old Go Jump . . . and taking as many Clarksville moms and kids with me as I can!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Awwwwwww man . . .

This phrase has come out of Jake's mouth a lot this past week. Ever since we returned from our trip to Ohio and he discovered a huge Disney Store bag full of presents on the floor in our room while we were unpacking. I hit an amazing sale while we were up there (seriously, great toys for about 5 bucks each) and loaded up for his impending birthday. Ryan discovered him just as he'd peaked in the first bag . . . he was frozen in surprise, anticipation and excitment. Well, that didn't last long as Ryan pried his screaming and writhing body from the bag explaining that these were birthday presents and it wasn't yet his birthday. You can imagine how well that went over. So for the next hour we had a repeating cycle of Jake sobbing and crying on the rug by our front door, then calming down, thinking it through, coming up with a mastermind plan, making his way to the door of our room to carry out his plan (something like: "mommy, do you hear somefing in there? I fink I hear somefing in your room"), me saying "Jake, there is nothing in my room, you can't go in there right now" and Jake re-dissolving into tears and retreating back to his rug by the door.

This was all compounded by total sleep deprivation from our trip and honestly Ryan and I just laughed the whole time. Poor Jake was so distraught and rightly so. He'd had a peak into the promised land of Disney Store goodness and it was like we'd told him he had to wander in the desert for 40 years before he could get in. I know to his little mind 3 weeks sure feels like at least that long.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great Trip


Well, we had a great time in Ohio. I'm sitting here looking through the pics and there are just way too many to pick from to post on here but I'll try.

We left straight from the HHC Company Picnic. The kids had a blast and played their hearts out. We were there for 3 hours of bouncers, playground, water play and the hot sun. I thought for sure everyone would conk out for a nap in the car but no such luck. Jake and Ainsley didn't sleep a wink the whole drive but they were great (LOVE that DVD player) and so that was fine.

We spent the first night at Ryan's brother's house to make our drive an hour shorter. The next morning we headed out to Nonny and Poppy's house. It was so chilly and drizzly it felt nothing like the 4th of July. They live in a beautiful old farmhouse out in the country complete with barn, creeks and ponds. Its just a really fun place for them. Jake particularly liked digging worms so we could fish in the pond. He wasn't so keen when Nonny would put the worms on the hook - he asked the fish to please not eat his worms. Well, they did eat those worms right off our hook so we never actually caught a fish but Jake didn't care because he had his can of worms (which I just realized is somewhere in my minivan - we put soil in and put a lid on and poked holes - and I'm freaking out a little now). The rain cleared on the 4th and after we put the little ones to bed Ryan and I went with Jared and Chyloe, their boys and Poppy to see fireworks. It was Jake's first fireworks and he was in awe. It was precious. Then we did sparklers and I think that was Jake's favorite part of the whole weekend.

The highlight of the weekend for the adults was playing Singstar on PS2. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. I must have this game for myself so now my new hobby is surfing craigslist for it!

Ainsley enjoyed the time to be the princess as she is at any amily function. She had Uncle Chad sufficiently wrapped around her little finger by the time we left. And Reid continued to be the superstar baby that he is. Giggles, laughs and coos. I think he made at least some of his aunts and uncles get that baby itch (again).




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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vacay

OK, so of all the new abbreviations out there lately "vacay" is for sure one of my favorites. It just makes going out of town seem so much more exciting when you can say "I'm taking a little vacay with the fam" . . . rather that "we are driving 8 hours to Ohio to see my in-laws". N'est pas?

So today I am taking the kids to meet Ryan on post for his company picnic and then we are heading out to drive to Columbus. We haven't been to visit his family in well over a year. Are we horrible or what? I keep telling him we need to visit more because I want my boys to grow up with that example (i.e. that you are SUPPOSED to go and visit your mama early and often). And as far as Army posts go we probably won't be moving much closer than we are now so we shouldn't wait too long.

The amount of planning it takes to pack for four people is crazy (yes, just four, Ryan is on his own). I pulled a Troy this time though and got all the clothes washed, laid out, arranged by outfit and put in suitcases two days ago. If you have met my dear friend Troy you'll know this is very much something I stole from her. If you haven't then just you wait, she was recently named Most Likely to Be A Superhero by our local chapter of MOMS Club. . . you can imagine what a superhero packing for a trip would look like.

Well, off to finish it all up . . . wish me luck :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some more pictures

Reid in his new exersaucer. Loving it.


Ainsley pushing Jake in the swing. We left them doing something entirely different and 30 seconds later looked outside and he'd gotten himself up there and she'd taken it upon herself to push.

Ainsley swinging. Just love this pic.

Jake riding his horse at Cowboy Town. This probably was the highlight of the whole trip!



Is it really almost July?

I can't get over that. Ryan has been home almost two months now and it has flown but. Two months when he is gone is agony but its the blink of an eye when he is around. What a stud, he can literally make time fly.

It's been a good weekend. Today is Sunday which means it is my official Triathlon Preparation and Training Day. Ok, it really just means its when I try to run a little over 6.2 miles. My time has been around 46 minutes (give or take 20 seconds) the past couple of times and I'm pleased with that. Its hard to stay motivated sometimes - I'll be glad when the triathlon is done and I can stop caring about my times. I am such a competitive person but lately I'd rather just run for fun. Other than the run the weekend has included a night out for Ryan and I to Blackhorse Pub for a promotion party which was lots of fun (congrats to Lt. Colonel Pallis), a morning of swimming at the Y for the whole family, the spreading of 4 cubic yards of mulch onto all our natural areas and church for the majority of the fam. The majority being Ryan, Jake and Ainsley. Poor Reid woke up with a 102 fever and so I stayed home with him. My poor baby. It doesn't matter how many kiddos I have it still really scares me when they get sick, especially when they are so little. I'm flashing back to Ainsley's horrid kidney infections that resulted in fevers up to 105. So, we are just watching him and hoping its just teeth or something causing this fever.

Tonight we are making baby back ribs. YUMPTIOUS! My dad has a fantastic recipe where you sear them on the grill for 15 minutes and then cook for a couple hours in the oven. They are falling off the bone deliciousness and I can't wait. Add some baked beans and sauteed zuchinni to the mix and its going to be divine.

Please continue to pray for Tyson. He came through surgery ok but his biopsy report is "rare and aggressive". Wow. That is just about as bad as it could have been. So please join us in praying for this precious boy and his family.

And finally, I'm now off to shop at the Boden online sale - an event that is more exciting that I can express! I have poured over the catalog since it arrived in all its glory in my mailbox yesterday. If you've complimented me recently on a piece of my wardrobe there is a good chance its from Boden. So don't just sit there. Get over to http://www.bodenusa.com/ while the gettin' is good!