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 . 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.

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.