Monday, February 28, 2011

Living with Loss

     February has come and gone with no major illnesses in our household! Well, almost anyway.  Our "baby monster" as Parker calls him has come down with a fever & cough these last 24 hours.  All in all this month can be marked as a win, since in the past it has always been our sickest month.  It has been a very busy month of family stuff so I really feel like today I finally got to take a breath.  As this year started I had big plans to organize more, read more, write more, etc.  Let's just say life got in the way.  Is that a valid reason?  Well, it's mine and I'm using it, so there you go.
     My resolution to read more this year was one that I knew was really just a whimsical notion.  It's kind of like saying, "I think I'll learn to speak French this year and take a trip to Paris".  As for that actually happening?  By the time we get 4 kids in bed after long days I would rather spend the few moments left catching up with my husband.  If I do find I might can squeeze in a couple of chapters I inevitably curl up in bed, read about 4 pages, and realize I'm already half asleep.  I know this season of my life will pass and I do not want to wish it away, but as a person who used to pour through books I look forward to the day I can do that again.
     The point of my rambling this evening is that I have finished a book!  I picked it up Friday and couldn't put it down.  I actually had heard of the author through the blog grapevine and you can find her blog here.  Her name is Angie Smith and she lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 

     This book is her journey through the loss of a child.  It was a wonderful refreshment to my soul about how loss effects a Christan.  During my own loss I had so many of the same feelings she did.  I felt very guilty about being sorrowful for the child I never got to hold since I already had a tangible family right in front of me.  People close to me, unknowingly, put off that same vibe when they were around me.  Like I should be grateful for what I do have (which I always have been) and not so sad about what I had lost.  I felt like I immediately should be "back to normal" for the sake of my family, and I shouldn't struggle so much, especially being a Christian and especially since I really had only just found out about the little soul I was carrying.  But it did hurt, and it still does, and that's ok. 
     Well, that's a lot more transparent than I had intended to be, but this book has really put loss and grief in perspective for me.  I wanted to get it all down before my mind is drawn back to bake sales and Dr. Seuss books.  My new mantra for literature is "quality over quantity".  I hope this is just the first of many books I will get the chance to read this year. 

Jackson's Life So Far

     Today's the day.  Jackson Graham Robison made his debut on this day 9, YES 9, whole years ago.  I was 22 and scared to death.  I don't think I even changed a diaper until we came home from the hospital in fear that I would break him!  I will not regale the entire saga for you because Jackson wanted to do something a little different.  I have prepared questions for him to answer about his life thus far on this Earth, so here we go:

Q: How old are you today?
A: 9

Q: What do you look like at 9 years old?
A: blond hair, blueish/greenish eyes, that's it

Q: Friends?
A: Max, Dawson, Jacob

Q: Grade in school?
A: 3rd

Q: Favorite subject in 3rd grade?
A: science

Q: Favorite pastime?
A: reading & riding bikes

Q: Favorite movie(s)?
A: Sherlock Holmes

Q: Favorite TV show(s)?
A: Spongebob & Good Luck Charlie

Q: Favorite sport & team?
A: Basketball & Alabama

Q: Ten years from now, what will you be doing?
A: In college at Yale, driving a brand new car

Q: Twenty years?
A: Maybe married, maybe have some kids, working as a detective in New York or Washington

Q: What do you hope you get for your birthday?
A: Recon CSG

Q: Where would you like to visit?
A: Hawaii

Q: What's an important truth you've learned from God's word?
A: Obey your parents

Q: Who is one person you'd like to meet?
A: The President

    Well, there you have it.  My oldest son's favorites and aspirations in life at the ripe old age of 9.  God truly blessed us when he allowed Jackson to be a part of our family.  I hope he will strive to seek the Lord in the years to come in all his endeavors.  God has gifted him with an incredible amount of smarts and a sympathetic heart toward others and I hope to see him use these gifts to bring glory to Him.  Happy Birthday Jackson!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ice, Blood, & Ghost Stories

     We have survived a houseful of nine year olds!  Alright, so there were only 5 of them, but that's pretty good right?  Especially since only one ended up covered in blood (story to follow).  Jackson invited a few friends over for his birthday this weekend to go ice skating and spend the night, so Friday after school they all got dropped off here.  We had pizza, cake, and presents around 4:30 so we could get to Huntsville in time to go ice skating.  Most of the boys had never been before, and no one in our family had been except Jeremy, so everyone was excited to get there.  If you know my husband then you know how fond he is of a car full of loudness (insert sarcasm), so he drove Mia and Parker and I took the boys with me.  Oh how lovely my van smells after it's been filled with 3rd grade boys!  Luckily Grandma offered to keep Everett for the night, so she picked him up around 5:30 and we were off!

     We were going to the Benton H. Wilcoxson Ice Complex in Huntsville, Alabama, so we had about an hour drive.  Now when I was a kid and we went somewhere we could either: 1. Play a game of who can find the farthest license plate, 2. Listen to whatever my dad had on the radio, 3. Cross our fingers that mom brought colors, books, toys, ANYTHING to play with, or 4. fight with each other until my parents threatened to tan our backsides.  For this trip we got in the van with an Ipod, a PSP, and some other movie watching device that I don't remember the name of.  I did try to entertain them with my vocal stylings, but it did not go over well.  I asked them what kind of music they liked, to which they replied "Rock and Roll", to which I replied, "so y'all like the Beatles?", to which they replied, "not really".  So I of course played some Beatles for them and they indeed didn't like it (except for Jackson who has listened to it since birth!) so back to the electronics they went.
     We finally arrived at the ice rink and it looked very crowded from the parking lot.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that there were actually 2 rinks and that on one of them the high school teams were playing hockey, so that's why the parking lot was so crowded.  Parker was enamored with these "hockey" boys and declared he was going to be a hockey player when he got big.  I finally explained to him that he would have to learn to skate first, so we pried him from the glass and got everyones skates on. I decided to forgo the skates in case some of the kids didn't like it and wanted to go back to the snack bar or watch the hockey game.  This is where our night took an ugly turn.  WARNING: This is the bloody party.
     No sooner had everyone gotten on the ice than one of Jackson's friends fell and busted his nose and mouth.  I literally turned around and he was there behind me, bleeding profusely.  If you have ever had experience with a busted nose, you know that it seems like this must be the plug for the body's entire blood supply, because it will bleed for what seems like forever.  It really wasn't too bad, but I know it hurt him, bless his heart.  We decided to call his parents who just happened to be in Huntsville, and they came to check on him.  By the time they got there he was back on the ice and had decided to continue his night with us.  All the boys were so glad he stayed. 
     They skated their little hearts out until it was time to go.  Parker now dearly loves ice skating and asked this morning if we could go back.  He still insists he's going to be a hockey player when he gets big, which is fine with me because I love it too.  Mia fell down a lot, but she really liked it.  All the boys did great for their first time.  Maybe next time I'll get out there with them. 
     On the way home they scared each other to death with ghost stories.  They all took turns telling the same old stories that we used to tell as kids.  I can remember being terrified of some of these tales as a kid, and I guess they were to because when Jeremy checked on them in the early hours of this morning they were all (yes all 4) in Jackson's bed asleep.  I wish I had had the energy to find my camera and take their picture, but good grief, it was 4 a.m.!  They finally got up for breakfast, then played until it was time to go home.
     It's hard to believe Jackson doesn't want me to plan him an elaborate "themed" birthday party anymore, but he really just wanted to have his close friends over to spend time together.  It's even harder to believe that he will be 9 years old on Monday.  He is a lot like me in his personality and mannerisms, which is a bit frightening, but I hope he gets over the bad ones and learns to embrace the good ones!  It was a great weekend with all his friends.  I hope he looks back on these times with his friends and remembers them fondly.  I know in my own experience that most "good" friends are indeed fair weather friends, but Jackson has picked some good ones, and I hope they remain close as they get older.

Jeremy & Parker

The whole gang

Parker contemplating his hockey career

Sweet Brothers

Mia working hard on pancakes for the boys' breakfast

Jackson and friends

Field Trip #2

     What's a girl to do on field trip Friday?  Well, if you're a zebra, you get your field trip duds on and get to class!  Our wonderful 70ish weather has turned colder, so everyone was bundled in long sleeves and jackets.  Now, anytime a 6 year old gets to ride a bus it's a very big deal, so that in itself was enough excitement for the day.  The parents met the kids at The Children's Museum in Florence at 9:30 and we toured the museum for the next couple of hours.  They started out learning all about the digestive tract (which was interesting to say the least) from a huge doll named Stuffy.  Stuffy has all the "stuff" inside his body that we do, only it's huge.  Yeah, interesting.  They also got to go to a science center where they had to identify different things by smell only.  It was funny because they thought most of the smells were bad, but they were actually things like lemon, cocoa, and vanilla. 

     The museum has a pioneer room where everything is like it would be in a pioneer home.  The lady teaching in this room talked about different kinds of arrowheads and how people used to use every part of the animal they killed to live. 

     There is a construction area where the kids can actually pound nails with hammers while dressed in hard hats and goggles, which everybody loved. 
     And we also visited the music room, which had every kind of instrument you can think of.  It even has a piano like the one in the movie Big, even though it never seems to work when we are there.  This could also be called The Deafening Room.  Picture 10 kindergartners playing instruments as loudly as possible, all at the same time.  Yeah, good times.  Finally a lady came in to tell them about some of the instruments that were from different countries.  Of course by this time we couldn't hear a word she was saying, but I'm sure it was informative. 

     The kids also got to make an art project before they left.  I would not, repeat NOT want the job of cleaning this room after a field trip.  They glued little squares of tissue paper on a picture.  We were the last class to do this, so needless to say everything was covered in tiny pieces of tissue. 

     They ended the day with a picture on the front steps of the museum and shuffled back to the bus to finish the day at school.  It was a fun, quick trip.  Glad we have something like that close that the kids visit!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

50th Wedding Anniversary

     On Saturday we celebrated Earl and Arnelle Green's (Jeremy grandparents) 50th wedding anniversary.  Their actual anniversary is the 28th, which is the same day as Jackson's birthday.  They have 5 children, 7 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren, all of whom were there to help them celebrate!  The party took place at Plainview Church of Christ in Killen, Alabama and we all got together to help decorate on Friday night. It already looked great by the time I got there, so we made some flower arrangements and put gold bows on everything that would stand still.  They brought a huge collage frame that had "Family" written on it and it had pictures of everyone in it.  Jeremy's grandfather is a poet and a song writer and they brought his framed award for his most famous song "Six Days on the Road". 

    The party began at 2 p.m. and we got there a little early to help with last minute arrangements.  Jeremy and I drove separately because he had a stop to make first, so I took the kids and we headed to the church.  I had just started thinking about all that 50 years together means when "Don't Blink" comes on the radio.  Needless to say I did not want to be a complete blubbering mess by the time I got there, so I put The Beatles on for Parker & we sang "Yellow Submarine" the rest of the way.  Jeremy had made a CD to play in the background during the party.  It had 2 versions of "Six Days on the Road", one by Dave Dudley and the more recent version by Sawyer Brown.  It also had lots of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, the Everly Brothers, and the Andrews Sisters.

     They had a catered buffet with all kinds of goodies, but the favorite, of course, was the chocolate fountain.  All the kids were drooling over it by the time we were ready to eat.  Guests poured through the doors with cards and congratulations for Earl and Arnelle.  Most of the people I had never met, but it was such a good time to see everyone catch up with each other.  People that knew them "way back when".  When most everyone was there, Angela (Jeremy's mom) thanked everyone for coming and they presented their parents with a framed copy of the poem Kristi (their youngest daughter) had written.  Earl is a very talented writer and always writes a poem to send out for their Christmas card.  Kristi did an amazing job of working all the births of the kids into this poem and even including all the grandkids and great grandkids.  I got a little teary eyed at thinking of all the time that has passed and all they have been through together in this life.  What a blessing to have a best friend for this long!  Next they gave them a scrapbook of photographs that began with their childhoods and ended at the great grandkids.  This is what I have had the pleasure of working on for the past few weeks.  I have had so much fun looking back at all these pictures.  Seeing your grandparents as kids with their parents gives you such an interesting glimpse into their lives.  Now, don't get me wrong, Arnelle is a beautiful woman, but she used to be a  knock out!  My favorite picture was one of her standing by a fireplace in one of those dresses like they wore in the 50's to a dance.  Think Lorraine in Back to the Future.  I'm talking drop dead gorgeous! 
     There was a wedding cake and punch of course, so Earl and Arnelle made the first cut and toasted to the next 50 years.  We tried to keep a head count on guests, so I think it was around 60 by the time it was all said and done.  I don't think they could have had a better time.  Everything was just perfect.
     Now I know everybody loves their Pawpaw, but this man has had a profound influence on Jeremy's life.  They talk as often as they can and we stop by regularly.  When the kids ask us about dates we use to go on, I always tell them we would go to Meme and Pawpaw's house so their dad could get a Yoo-Hoo, and it's true!  Many nights in high school we would venture out and end up there just to talk.  This is unbelievable to our kids who think the Yoo-Hoo's in Meme's fridge are only for them.  Jeremy and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary in September.  It is hard to imagine, in the midst of homework, toys, and tantrums, that we could one day be celebrating the 50th year of our marriage.  I hope that God will give us that joy.  What a sweet, sweet gift in this life that would be!

Meme and PawPaw with our gang (pre chocolate fountain)

Typical family photo

Earl and Arnelle cutting the cake

Yes, that's right.  My kid licking the chocolate fountain.  He gets it honest!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Field Trip #1

     I have entitled this entry Field Trip #1 because I know we will have a few more before the school year is over.  On this one Jackson's 3rd grade class went to the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was actually the entire 3rd grade from McBride so there were a ton of kids there.  There are 4 floors of exhibits and hands-on displays for the kids to go through.  This trip was especially fun since Jeremy took off work to go with us.  Jackson rode the bus with his class, so Jeremy and I got to spend the ride down together & we ate breakfast at Niki's West in Birmingham, which he loves. It's not often we time like that to just be with one another without little voices joining in, so it was a great morning.
     Not long after we got there Jackson's teacher from the first of the year showed up.  She is carrying twins and moved to Birmingham around Christmas.  I know all the kids have really missed her, so they were thrilled to see her there.  Jackson is not one to show joy very well, but I knew he was excited to see her.  He came running up to me saying, "Mrs. Guthrie's here, did you see her?" with a big grin on his face. 

     We spent the first couple of hours roaming around through all the things to see and do.  I think Jeremy had just as much fun as the kids did.  Of course Jeremy's favorite was the fish on the bottom floor, so he found out when they could pet sting rays and took Jackson and a friend down to see them.  There were a lot of science related exhibits that were really neat.  Jackson rode in the fighter plane simulator which spun in circles and upside down.  I would have totally lost it, but he loved it.  They had an Alabama dinosaur display with skeletons and pieces of bones that have been found all over Alabama, which was my favorite.  We had to meet his class for lunch at noon, so we headed down to the lunch room.

     They were supposed to see a movie after lunch, but we talked Jackson into leaving to spend the rest of the afternoon in Birmingham with us.  It didn't take much to convince him.  He said the movie was going to be "something boring about water", so off we went.  It isn't often it's just the three of us so we were all glad to have the time together.  We went to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Jeremy got dessert here and we got a piece for Nana (for keeping the rest of our crazy kids that day), but Jackson and I wanted to go to Yogurt Mountain so we waited.
     Next was Jackson's favorite part of the day.  He and Jeremy have struck up a deal for having all A's on report cards this year, so he has been saving his money for an Ipod.  We went to the Apple store and he picked one out, along with a new case.  One quick note about Apple stores.  You have to have an appointment to even BUY anything? Really?  You may work in an Apple store, and you may be smarter than me, but you did not invent the computer, so treat me like a human being, OK?  I would like to see one of these 9 to 5'ers tackle 4 kids, a husband, and a household for 24 hours.  Anyway, we "dealt" with Apple and made our way to Yogurt Mountain.  Jackson and I have the same philosophy about ice cream.  The more stuff you can put in it the better! So, we filled our cups with as much junk as we could.  Jeremy turned his nose up at it and made fun of our mixtures, but didn't hesitate to ask if I could find him and "clean" bite from the bottom!

     We headed home to pick up the rest of the crew from Nana and spent the next few hours outside riding bikes and playing basketball.  The weather this past week has been amazing, hitting almost 70 degrees everyday.  I hope it will stay this way, especially since the kids are out of school for a three day weekend starting tomorrow.  I think we have skipped right over Spring fever and have our sights set on summer!  We had a wonderful day and I thank God for every experience with this family He has given me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

52 Home

Week 7 - Flowers from my love

♫ Happy Birthday to Everett ♫

       Everett Harold Earl Robison was born on this day, one year ago, at 8:04 p.m. at ECM hospital in Florence, Alabama.  He weighed 7 lbs. and was 21 3/4" long.  He had dark brown hair and blue eyes. Yes, he is a man of MANY names.  I have always liked the name Everett and his middle names are given to him by his great grandfathers.

     Jeremy and I were not planning on having any more children.  We were very shocked to find out in February of 2009 that we were expecting again.  And when I say shocked I mean fall on the floor flabbergasted.  Jeremy was away on a work conference the day I took the home pregnancy test so I didn't know if I should wait to tell him or not.  Being the person that can never wait for anything, I decided he had to know immediately!  We had planned a trip to Disney World that summer, so I sent him the following text: "I wonder if pregnant girls can ride anything at Disney."  I got the following text back: "It doesn't matter.  I don't know any pregnant girls."  My text: "You do now!"  Then I took a picture of the test and sent it to him.  He called me, and I told him, and he was silent.  We both already knew that God foreknew this little soul he had created, so quickly we were over the surprise and got excited.  I had never had any problems with any other pregnancy, so we told everyone right away, even our children.  It was just a few weeks later that I realized I had not been sick at all.  I was always very sick when I was pregnant so this concerned me a little.  That very same night I began to miscarry this child.  It was a very emotional time.  Even with God's comfort and peace there were many times that human emotion and thought took me over.  Why would God give me this blessing only to take it away before I could fully embrace it?  Why, when we weren't even looking for this would it be given and taken away?  The answer was always with me.  Just when I would start to let these feelings take me over, God's peace would overtake them and remind me that He is sovereign.  He was in charge of my life and had a perfect plan already in place for me, even if it wasn't my plan (and it's usually not).  Most things an Almighty God has in store for my life I can't even begin to understand within my human mind.  God got us through the difficult task of telling our children that we would not be bringing another life into our home.  It allowed us to explain to them that God gives and takes away according to His purpose, not ours.

     The next few months things got back to normal.  Jackson finished 1st grade and Mia finished her last year of preschool and we were out for the summer!  We also got busy planning our very 1st Disney trip!  And then it happened.  The week before we left for vacation I was once again pregnant.  I was again surprised and overjoyed that God may bring another little one into our family.  We kept it to ourselves at first, at least until we could get to the doctor and see if everything was alright.  We left for our trip very excited.  I prayed for God to take care of me and this baby. 

     And He did.  We had a wonderful vacation despite the heat of mid June in Florida. I only felt queasy once when we were on a boat ride back to our resort.  I got to ride every ride with my husband and kids and it's a trip we will never forget.  We got home and made our first doctor's appointment.  And there it was, a tiny heartbeat on the screen.  A healthy little twitching life.  We were extremely happy that the baby was healthy.  We then told our families who were joyous as well.

     I had a difficult pregnancy this time around.  Extreme nausea and blood pressure trouble were my main complications.  After talking with my doctor, he decided to induce me on February 15.  I went in at 7 that morning.  After my longest labor so far, we finally got to meet our little Everett a few minutes after 8 that night.  We were so grateful to God for this blessing.

     Everett has been a very mild tempered baby.  He kind of just goes with the flow of our everyday lives.  Recently he has turned mischievous.  He is definitely a little monkey, climbing everything that he doesn't knock over.  He loves to hide and play chase with his brothers and sister.  Mia thinks she is a little mom, always on top of him, most of the time to his disapproval.  He is the very definition of a "daddy's boy" and Jeremy loves every minute of it!  He is happy and healthy and loved very much.

     It is hard to believe it's been a whole year since we were blessed with our little Everett.  He was definitely an unexpected blessing!  He has brought so much fun and excitement to our family.  Personally, his life has helped me to be more patient with all my children and to let go of the unimportant daily tasks that I once thought so important.  My prayer for him is that he will grow to love God.  I pray he will one day know the peace of salvation through repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray that when trials come his way in this life, that he will know that his Gracious Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for him.  Happy birthday my sweet Everett!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I ♥ You!

     Jeremy and I were talking last night about our Valentine's day last year, which led to a discussion of all our previous Valentine's days together.  We were surprised that we couldn't remember most of them!  Of course he remembered more than me, which I blame on loss of brain cell activity through pregnancy.  If you haven't experienced this phenomenon yet let me tell you, it is incredible.  Just sucks the memory power right out of you.  So, I thought I had better get down the memories we do have before they are also gone!  We have pretty much grown out of all the mushy, sappy stuff.  Don't get me wrong, we are still madly in love, we just don't have the time to spend all day sitting, staring wistfully out the window, thinking of new ways to express our feelings for each other, like we did in high school.  Alright, here we go.  I am starting as far back as either of us remember.
     In high school Jeremy bought me flowers and left them outside my house with a mushy card.  Even then he would tell me that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  Guess he is always right (ha)!  That same year, I skipped 4th block at school to break into his house and leave a trail of peppermint patties up the stairs to his room where I left an equally mushy card and more candy.  He had also skipped out early and caught me as I was leaving.  Oh well, I tried for the surprise!
     Our first Valentine's day as a married couple we don't really remember much of.  I was very pregnant with Jackson and working at a local bank 40 + hours a week and Jeremy was in college full time.  When I came home from work that night I found a Victoria's Secret bag and flowers on our coffee table.  My first thought, honestly, "How in the world does he think I am going to fit into whatever is in that bag!".  But I was pleasantly surprised to find a new pair of pj's and a robe.  I had told him a few weeks before that I really wished I had something decent to take to the hospital instead of my sweatpants and tshirts!  He then proceeded to regale the story of his shopping trip, and how all the women in VS had thought he was the sweetest husband in the world.  I'm sure we went out to eat or something that night as well, but we can't remember.
    The next one we remember is when we were living in Clanton, Alabama.  Jeremy's mom and stepfather had come to stay with us for the weekend.  We had just found out we were pregnant with Mia and Jackson was about to turn 2.  The Cheesecake Factory had just opened close to us, so we headed out alone (and early) thinking we could beat the crowds.  Little did we know that it was also opening weekend, so even at 5 p.m. it was a 4 hour wait!  We knew we were really only in it for the cheesecake, so we stood in line for an hour at the sweets counter to get a couple slices.  We were starving now, so we found the closest Krystal's and hit the drive through.  We had a fun night, even though it didn't go as planned.
     The next few years are the foggy ones.  We were lucky enough to move back home and have Nana and Grandma close by to babysit.  I know there were dinners out, flowers, chocolates, etc., but can't remember an especially great Valentine's day.  As the kids started school it became more of a family holiday.  Buying valentine cards and making mailboxes for parties is the new normal at our house.
     I should probably mention here that February is notorious around our house as "The Month Of Sickness".  Almost every year we have at least one round of the stomach bug, and at least 2 of us get the full blown flu.  After Parker was born I began having a Valentine's breakfast for our family.  The first one was when Mia had just gotten done with round 1 of sickness.  It was a Saturday, so everyone slept late while I made red heart biscuits, chocolate gravy, eggs, and bacon.  I set the table with Valentine decorations & they each had a little prize.
     Last year on this day we were preparing for the birth of Everett.  I was being induced the next day, so we went to Outback for dinner.  It was packed of course and being huge I was not looking forward to waiting.  A sweet couple from church happened to have just been seated and asked us to join them.  It was wonderful having such a sweet fellowship with "veteran" parents the night before we added to our family.  They have 2 grown boys, so we loved hearing all the stories.  We got our checks, which they paid for against our will, and they wished us luck for the next day.  They saved me from standing for hours that night, and I was indeed VERY grateful the next day!
     We have continued the breakfasts as a tradition, but on days like today, when it falls on a Monday and everyone has work and school, we scale it down a bit.  Today we had cinnamon rolls and everyone ate in shifts as they woke up.  I always try to get a picture, but Jeremy ate fast and took his coffee to go before I could find my camera.  I did manage to get everyone else at the table, some more awake than others.

     So that's it.  We have been in the Valentine's spirit since last Friday when we went to Mia's party at kindergarten.  Jackson's 3rd grade party is today, and I am desperately hoping he remembered to give his teacher the raspberry sherbet for the punch that was in his backpack.  As I was getting kids ready and Jeremy was running out the door we managed to get in a "Happy Valentine's Day".  We don't really do gifts for each other anymore, but I do have a family dinner planned for tonight.  And I will admit, I unlocked the front door this morning just in case there might be an unexpected delivery today!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthday Boys

     Our 2nd weekend in February brought Everett and Jackson's birthday party.  Everett will be 1 on the 15th and Jackson will be 9 on the 28th, so we had one big family party this afternoon.  Since it was Everett's very 1st birthday and ONLY family would be there, Jackson agreed to my suggestion of having a "monkey" party, which is very fitting since Everett has grown into a climber.  The last climber we had (Mia) ended up with a concussion a week before her 2nd birthday, so I hope he will be a little less adventurous in his endeavors.

     Since I am writing this blog mainly for my own benefit, please bear with me while I make a list of guests from today: Nana, Pop, Carley, Anne Kennedy (Carley's friend), Grandmommy, Granddaddy, Uncle Matt, Kenzie, Isaac, Ezra, Grandma, Grandpa Jerry, Debbie, Aunt Tamela, and Dylan.  We missed those that weren't with us, but everyone had a good time.
     We decided to open presents first so Everett wouldn't be covered in cake for the remainder of the party.  Parker was so excited when we said open presents.  He ran over and sat by me with a huge grin on his face.  At 3 years old he still doesn't grasp the idea that every party is not his party, but he settled for helping Everett open gifts.  Everett had just woken up from a much needed nap, so he proceeded to lay down in front of us through the first few presents.  Once he saw the tissue paper flying, he was up and ready to help.  He got lots of clothes, toys, and his first pair of new balance tennis shoes! 
     Jackson opened clothes, games, a journal, an odometer (for his favorite present), a mentos geyser, and lots of other things, but his favorite present was the one he got last night.  He spent the evening with Nana and Pop shopping for a new bike.  It has hand brakes, gears, the works.  Then they went out for shrimp (Jackson's favorite) at Red Lobster.  With 8 grandkids, just getting Nana and Pop to himself was gift enough.  He woke up around 7 this morning and immediately got on his new bike to tour the neighborhood.

     After the den was covered in wrapping paper it was time for food!  Jackson planned the menu (since we had a "baby party" theme).  We had fruit and dip, chocolate covered strawberries (courtesy of Nana), chips and dip, peanut butter chocolate bugles, ice cream, and cake.  We lit the candles and sang to the boys.  We even managed to get Everett to keep his hat on, but Jackson is not a hat man. 
     We all waited for Everett to dig into his cake.  I think all the smiling faces and flash bulbs intimidated him a little, but he eventually got the hang of it.  He never would get a handful, but he loved picking off the icing polk-a-dots.  He proceeded to try to share his bites with Jackson and Mia, which they refused by saying, "Eww, gross".  Fortunately most of what he grabbed made it to his mouth.  He is by far the cleanest 1 year old birthday boy I have ever had to clean up after!
     It always amazes me that God has given Jeremy and I the blessing and responsibility of being parents to 4 of His children.  I pray everyday that God would lead them closer to Him through us.  We are not perfect parents, but I hope they will see us striving to imitate Christ's love and be impacted by it.  I look at my children and am overjoyed to be their mother.  Happy birthday to 2 of my favorite boys!