Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer BBQ

So I visit this forum online for military wives.
It's set up for all branches and also broken up into groups according to location.
Before we moved from Rhode Island, I started reading and posting just a little on the group for the northwest. It was a great way to learn about what life was like in this part of the country.
I've been off the board for a while during our settling in time, but last week I logged back on.
The first thread I opened was an invitation to a BBQ for military wives and significant others in the northwest area.
Thinking this would be just what I needed to feel like I had more connections here, I RSVP'd that we'd be coming.
And I'm glad I did.

It is typical of me to meet online friends in person.
I did it in California when I met the mom's from my April 2003 mommies online group and I still have a couple of great friend from those meet ups.
I also did it when we went to the Summer in the City BBQ in New York City where I met ladies that I have been interacting with online for three years. That was particularly fun because I already felt like I knew the ladies that I was meeting for the first time in person.
And I did it again when we went to a birthday party for a designer friend's daughter on the second week we moved here to Washington. I really enjoyed that day and meeting Shelia was so wonderful.

This meeting was a bit different in that I really did not have a feel for what these women were like before I met them. I had not spent enough time online with them to have any sort of connection.
But, I'm glad I put myself out there and can now put faces to names when I go online.

Madison, Zach and Bren went with me.
Madison and Zach were so good to endure what they viewed as painful boredom. They were the oldest kids there by far and just sat and listened to us adults for about 3 hours and only begged me to go home about 15 times. I think they ended up enjoying themselves despite what they thought.
It was neat for them to see all the young moms and little ones. It gave them a feel of what it must have been like for David and I when we first started our family.
The highlight of the day was the recently discovered birds nest in the hanging flower basket complete with hungry baby birds! The mother flew around scolding us all afternoon for being too close to her little ones.
The food was great and the conversation was interesting. It is always fun to meet new people and this was no exception.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Red, White and Bren.........

In anticipation of my favorite holiday,
I thought I'd post a few photos from a patriotic themed set Bren modeled this week.

The set is from Lisa of e-bay ID little*bits*by*lisa. If you haven't stopped by her e-bay store in a while, she has some adorable sets up!!

The adorable headband was done by Melanie of e-bay ID lil*miss*priss*bowtique.
Check her creative designs out too, she does fabulous work!

I'm getting excited about the 4th of July this year!
I hear there are great fireworks over Elliott Bay, so we are planning to pack a cooler and bring a big blanket to enjoy them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hello, My name is Nerb!

So Bren got some alphabet stickers in the mail today and was so excited to spell out some words that she knows.

We've just gotten her to successfully spell her own name and include the "e" which she so often leaves out.

For the longest time she'd spell her name "Brn".

Knowing what she was up to, I expected to see her name proudly spelled out on her bedroom door as I climbed the stairs in answer to her excited squeals.

Once I got to the top of the stairs and saw her door, I cracked up laughing.

There in little colorful squares, Bren had created her masterpiece.


Well at least she included the "E"!!

I wish I had thought to take a photo of it before we fixed it!

We are working hard on our alphabet which is presenting a surprising struggle for such a smart, quick-witted girl.
She's still having the hardest time recognizing 4 or 5 letters and then has an even harder time writing left to right.
She's much stronger at math and would rather spend all her time counting, adding and subtracting.

Or drawing on her hand.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jumping for Joy!

Yipppeee for Madison (AKA whirled girl)!!!
She's been saving up for a few months and finally has enough money to pay her share of an airplane ticket to Rhode Island!
I booked her flight this morning
and she'll get to spend 2 weeks with her friends in New England!

Here are some other shots from this week of the girls enjoying the blue skies that we are SO thankful for!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love's first sparks

I remember the first time I had my heart broken.
I was about 16 and had a mad crush on a boy named Dyric.
The crush was totally unreciprocated, but he was in my circle of friends so we were in each other's company alot.
I remember being encouraged by my friends and a little misled by his close friends to ask him to the valentine's banquet at school.

Everyone told me that he would say yes and would go with me as friends if I would just ask him.

So, I did and was totally heartbroken when he said no.
I shook it off though because his reason was that he wanted to go with his basketball buddies who had all vowed to sit at the same table together without dates.

But, on the night of the banquet, he showed up with Missy, a cute Senior who was definitely not a basketball buddy.
Months went by and Missy didn't last long, but my crush remained.
The whole school knew that I liked him and that's why I got lots of sad looks and unexpected hugs on the morning that the news broke about Dyric's family moving away.
On the day of his move, a good friend of ours brought Dyric by my house to say goodbye.
Even though Dyric didn't like me "that way", he was still a good friend and we'd miss each other's friendship.
My mom gave Dyric a some sweet tea in a blue tupperware cup while we sat in the living room talking about old times and how much we'd miss being able to hang out.
I cried as they drove off and my mom comforted me as best as she could.
The cup that held his tea became my cup from then on until it cracked in the dishwasher about 6 months later.
I had it bad.
Now looking back, I'm thankful for that first heart break because I've got the story to tell.
I'm thankful that I have the memory to draw on of that silly crush so that I can bring it up when one of my kids feels that same kind of hurt.
I'm glad that Dyric didn't like me "that way" because years later I found my true love....and he does likes me "that way" far better than anyone else ever could.

I brought this story up just recently when comforting Zach.
He met Sierra quickly after we moved here and the two of them became close pretty quick.

She's his "type" and likes all the same things he does.
She plays fantasy football and can intelligently hold a conversation with him about sports.

They like the same music, movies and foods.

She's a smart girl with a good head on her shoulders.

Her father is in the National Guard and is in Iraq right now, so she "gets" being a military kid and understands Zach.

She's the president of her class and an A student.

And she likes my Zach.
And he likes her.

But, Sunday morning she moved to Vancouver, WA about 4 hours from here.
For weeks, Zach knew this was coming, and I watched him get sadder and sadder.

My adult mind wants to tell him that knowing someone for just two months is not enough time for it to rock your world when they move, but who am I to judge his heart.

If he's hurting, he's hurting.
They asked me to do a photoshoot for them before she moved.
Here are some photos from that shoot.

Don't these photos remind you of love's first spark in your life,

when holding hands with that special someone sent the butterflies tumbling in your stomach,
when you could listen to "your song" over and over again.

When you could talk on the phone until 2 am and fall asleep wearing his jacket.

Isn't love great?
So intense, stomach twisting, and pure in it's beginning, and then long suffering, self sacrificing and life sustaining in it's maturity.
It starts with an optimism and promise as bright as the sun, so that when the dark days come, light can be borrowed from it's core.
Love in our lives is a gift from God intended to let us see a glimpse of Him and his passionate perfect love for us.

If we as humans can love each other so deeply
can you imagine how deep God's love for us is?

All Hail the Big Red Berry!

Welcome to the Marysville Strawberry Festival 2008!
Now, I love Strawberries and I'll celebrate fruit just as joyfully as the next girl, but this town goes all out for their strawberries!

We went to the carnival on Friday and the kids rode lots of fun rides.

Bummed that she was not yet tall enough for the big kid rides, Bren really enjoyed herself on the roller coaster and various airplane/helicopter ride rip offs.

There were plenty of thrills and chills for the big kids too!

See that blue cage facing down up there in the sky?
My babies are in there!

The Zipper was by far the favorite ride of the day.
At first I kept telling Zach that I was too old to ride this ride and I had kids to raise, couldn't risk dying while Dad is deployed...blah, blah, blah.
But, when you are challenged by your persistant 16 year old son,
you gotta rise to the occassion or lose your standing as "cool mom who jumped out of an airplane on her 30th birthday".
So, in an effort to not lose my standing, I risked losing my dignity and allowed myself to be locked into this crazy ride.
Do you know how creaky the bolts are on these things?
One little loose screw and our cage would be coming to a crash landing a few blocks away.
I'm proud to say though that Zach and I did a record nine flips in a row.
I know this because Zach counted them loudy as they happened while I closed my eyes tightly, held my breath and tried to find my happy place.
Mission accomplished.
Cool mom standing in tact.
The following may be offensive, surprising, shocking, foretelling, cause for concern, or hilarious depending on where you are in your life.
Please close your eyes if you do not yet have teenage boys....... or if you think they'd never do something like this...... or if you think you'd never photograph it.

He's 16.
Don't judge me.
On Saturday we went to the carnival again and then put our chairs out on the street to watch an hour and a half long parade and a fireworks show.
The parade was pretty good...lots of floats and fun acts for the kids.