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


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


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? 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.