Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A riddle for you, dear reader

I must give credit to my awesome friend Laura, this is her favorite riddle ;-)


Any ideas??


THESE GUYS!!!!!!!!
A few days ago, we all went to our local Wal-Mart to pick up a few things for our upcoming trip to the BEACH! We figured that we could get some cool stuff to take with us, and it would be a lot cheaper than buying it at the beach. We got kick boards and beach balls and sand pails and shovels and lots of sunscreen and snacks and juice.
And what else?
Hmmm, wait, I can't think of the other things that we picked up.
Oh, this is embarrassing, it is right on the tip of my tongue. . .
Oh yeah, that's right!
Goggles and snorkels!
We have never had a proper beach vacation as a family. When we were at Ft. Stewart, we spent lots of afternoons at the beach. But we never spent the night - much less a few. And my babies think that a trip to any hotel is a vacation. Now they get to sleep in a hotel AND go to the beach. Oh my! And we are headed to Jekyll Island - my most favorite beach in the whole entire world! It was our favorite vacation spot when I was small. It is not very commercial because it is a State Park, and it is so dog friendly that if they see a dog in your car as go through the gates, they give you a treat for your furry friend. That is my kinda place! And I love the Atlantic Coast - especially my beloved Georgia Golden Isles. (In case you did not know already, I love love love Georgia. As far as I am concerned, we have it all. Mountains, beaches, Coca-Cola!)
We are all getting so excited.
We're almost on our way!!!
Stay tuned for MORE beach themed posts!

Monday, June 28, 2010

You better work

The only thing that would have made this day funnier would have been a little RuPaul playing in the background. Y'all. Oh my word. Allow me to explain. . .

So one of the fun days we had planned for our time in GA was a trip to the outlet mall. We are all about shopping, peeps. And we had gift cards for Osh Kosh from Christmas. Those babies have been burning a hole in my wallet for 6 whole months. I know, I am a monument to willpower. (It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there is not a convenient Osh Kosh in Illinois, you know that, right??)
It was cool because we all went to Denny's for lunch first. It was me, Jessa, Spencer, May, Mimi, Poppy, and Lucas. We also had bonus lunch guests! A great friend from childhood and her son met us for lunch, too. Have I ever mentioned how much I heart facebook?? Cause I do! Lunch was so fun and a great way to start our shopping fun.

Now I am not sure if I have mentioned this before or not, but the weather lately has been a tad bit on the warm side. Maybe mall shopping would have been a better idea - you know, indoors, A/C. But we are bargain hunters! So we bravely headed out into the heat to shop. We are nothing if not devoted to our cause. . . (we may be a little nuts, too, but who knows?!)

We went lots of places. We had great luck. Good prices. Good sales. Great finds. We were starting to glisten, but we kept at it. We finally got to the main objective our shopping trip: OSH KOSH. Obviously, this is not for me, right? Once I had the babies, I have about 1000 times more fun shopping for them than I ever had shopping for me!

The kids were having fun looking in the mirrors and checking out the cool Melissa and Doug toys. May sat with them at a little table while Nikki and I were looking at the precious clothes. We were showing the kids things that we picked out. They were letting us know what they liked and didn't like. And then they realized that there were 2 dressing rooms there. This is like their dream. They are always wanting to try things on. Normally, I tell them that they don't need to, but there are not always dressing rooms just for kids. So I said, why not!? And boy am I glad that I did!

They were so funny!
They tried on tons of clothes.
There was modeling.
There was posing.
There was happiness.
We all had the best time. AND I'd like to point out that we were all able to sit in the cool store and watch them. Happy babies, much laughter, AND no sweat! Win/Win/Win! It rocked.
Oh and the dressing rooms looked like rock stars had been there.
Don't worry, we cleaned up before we left.
We aren't actual Rock Stars, after all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond

Today, for our summer fun, we went to see Toy Story 3.

We were planning to go to the movie at 4:25.

We got the the theater about 3:50 (with my babies, EVERYTHING takes longer than it should, so I always try to be extra early when possible).

Wait, let me back up a bit. We did get there at 3:50, but there was nothing quick or early about it. First, it took about 12 minutes for each child to hook their seatbelts. We are transitioning to different boosters, and I want them to get used to hooking them by themselves. It was 97 degrees outside. And I am no meteorologist, but I am pretty sure the humidity was about 200%. Jessa was ill with me because I would not let her swing 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave, in a dirty swing, in the backyard, in 97 degree weather, when we were about to leave. When she is ill, she moves even slower - and I did not think that was possible. So by the time we all get in the car, we are all sweating profusely. And I was not in a great mood. You know how the heat makes everyone so quick to fuss?? Well, we were all hot. There was fussing. There was even a few seat adjustments. "I want to sit by May!" "I can't sit back there." Oh, and you know how we have a DVD player in the car? Well, who knew that two children could actually have an argument about what movie they wanted to watch in the car, on the way to the. . . what? Oh, yeah, that's right: the MOVIES.

At this point, I turned off the DVD player, and we rode in silence.

We got to the movie theatre parking lot about 3:45. We stood on the hot black asphalt parking lot by the car. We were sweating with the hot sun beating down us. And instead of hurrying into the cool, air conditioned theater, we were all standing there. In the HOT. Arguing. What were we arguing about, you may ask? Well, we were discussing who would bring what toys into the movie with us. Really? We are not going into the theater never to return. The bunnies and dogs and books that are in the van will most likely still be in the van, IN THE SAME SPOT, as when we go into the theater. You do not take something to entertain yourself when you go to entertainment. I finally tell them to put their things away or miss the movie. They reluctantly and grudgingly comply.

I head up to the box office. This is where we discovered that the 4:25 movie was not in 3-D. Secretly, it pleased me no end. 3-D gives me a headache, and it costs WAY more. But the sweet cherub children that I call my own had their sweet little hearts set on 3-D, AND I had promised them. So we discussed it and bought tickets for the next 3-D one. It was at 5:35. At that moment it was 3:52. It was 97 degrees. We are hot, ill, sweaty, and not in good moods. At all. So, what should we do??

We all piled back in the car and went to Barnes and Noble, right next to the theater. We got out and walked all the way back to the kids section. The three of us (me, Jess, Spence) sat on the floor in a corner and had a serious heart to heart talk. I quietly explained that they have it pretty darn good. I am trying hard to make their summer awesome and fun. And while I do enjoy a good kids movie, especially a Toy Story one, spending a freaking fortune (of May's money :-) to see a movie in IMAX 3-D that will make me sick and give me a headache is not my idea of a good time. I gave them a good hard talking to. And I think it worked!

Oh, and Nikki and I both took a Dramamine while we were at B&N so that we could avoid puking during the IMAX movie.

When we were leaving Barnes and Noble, we were all feeling a little better. We got in the car and headed to back to the theater. We all went inside to the awesomely AIR CONDITIONED building. We carefully chose our snacks. We got cokes and Icees and popcorn and nachos and candy. A movie FEAST! We got our fancy 3-D glasses and headed into the theater.

We ate our snacks. We got excited about all the previews. And we settled in to enjoy Toy Story 3. We laughed. We cried. We cheered. We all LOVED the movie SO much. It was awesome.

The movie was over. We gathered up our trash. We were all chattering about how much we loved it. We were sharing our favorite parts. We were reliving the funniest jokes. We all very animated as we shared our experience with each other. The moment was wonderful. We were so happy with our afternoon at the movies. All the hot, fussing, fighting, sweating, arguing, stressing - it was ALL worth it. The giggles and the smiles erased all the trouble. Even the slight nausea I experienced was not a thought as we left the theater, hand in hand.

We walked out into the hot 97 degree, 200% humidity weather. We started walking across the black asphalt parking lot. We all started to climb into the hot van. And before we could all get in, Jess and Spence were fighting over who was going to sit where.

May looked at me and said, "Why can't the moment last just a little longer??" I agree. Maybe a LOT longer, like to infinity and beyond. . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The best restaurant in the whole entire world.

Last weekend, I was cleaning out the van and getting organized to pack for our big trip to GA. We live in the van, so it is always a disaster. BUT we usually have everything we need at any given time.

Water? check. Bandaid? check. Snacks? check. 27 stuffed animals? check. Trash? check.

I digress. I was vacuuming and using very liberal amounts of Febreeze (the van also smells like we live in it. . .) The kids were playing in the front yard. Of course, as usual, we have several kiddos from the street come on down to hang out. I am busy, but I can hear snippits of conversations. My ears perked up when I heard Jessa start talking about our trip. I LOVE to hear them talk when they have no idea I am listening.

Jess: Yeah, my mom's getting the car ready to go to GA.
Friend: Oh really.
Jess: My grandma, May, she lives in GA and we are going to see her. I was also born in GA.
Friend: Yeah, my brother was, too.
Jess: While we are at my Grandma's house, we get to go out to eat at the best restaurant in the whole entire world.
Friend: Oh yeah, where?
Jess: The Varsity.
Friend: I have been there. Did you know that Coca Cola was invented in Georgia?
Jess: Yes! And we love Coke!
I got so tickled. We do love The Varsity in Atlanta. And we do eat there every time we come to visit. I am glad that she loves it, and I am sure that many would argue it is the best fast food restaurant in the world. And when you are 6, I guess fast food is the best type of food, so I see her point!!

So last night, we made her dream a reality and went to The Varsity!
Nikki always likes to eat there when she visits, too, so we were all happy. We always sit in the same place, so Mimi and Poppy know where to meet us. And last night was no different. Usually the "guys" go and get the food and the ladies say with the kids to save our table. But last night, the only "guys" were Poppy and Spencer, so I went with them. I smiled when I heard a man behind us in line say, "I have never even heard of this place. I was in town on business and someone at the hotel said I had to try it." Yep. It is sort of a must when you travel to Atlanta!

We had a wonderful time. We laughed. We ate lots of greasy food.
And Jessa was beaming to be in "the best restaurant in the whole entire world!"

We even took a ton of pictures. I laughed because I am sure that people thought we were tourists taking 1,000 pictures!!

If you have never been to this wonderful place, we think that you MUST eat onion rings and drink a P.C. (that is a Plain Chocolate milk poured over ice). AND if you want to impress them, I can help you with some lingo. Don't be shocked if they start yelling at you "What'll ya have!?" And if you want a plain hot dog, that is a "naked dog." AND going with Poppy is always fun - he has stories! When he was a student at GA Tech in Atlanta, The Varsity closed at 1 AM. Which meant that students, like Poppy went to the back door at 2 AM to get free food that they would be throwing away.

And we saw this in the parking lot:

Poppy said it must have come from the Athens Varsity because it looked like it came from the UGA library! Gotta love an in-state rivalry!! (No offense, Lucas and Bay!!)
We all got so tickled.

See, I told you Poppy was fun to bring along!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pinch me

Y'all it's summer. It really is. Now, I have not been able to tell it for the first few weeks because we were pretty darn busy. We had dress rehearsals and dance recitals and soccer camp and VBS. All of these things were SUPER fun, but we never had the chance to really relax, you know?

Well, that is all about to change because we are in GA! Yep. I packed up my van with 2 precious angle babies and my 2 sweet and patient Westies and we headed SOUTH! I must pause her for a moment to tell you that I have been blessed with the BEST traveling family in the world. Now, I think a part if it is that I have never much given anyone a choice. Being the military family that we are, many hours of travel sort of come with the territory. But, y'all, for real. We had the best trip! Now, I am not going to tell you we did not have a few sibling moments. Or that Jessa was not supremely unhappy because I did not pack one drink that she wanted AND I did not pack her dry erase markers the right way. Heaven forbid! (Silly child, at least I packed fun things for you to do and things for you to drink!) Both babies stayed awake the whole trip for the first time EVER. We left our house in Illinois at 10 AM CDT (11 AM EDT) and arrived at May's house at 8:30 EDT (7:30 CDT). AND we only stopped 3 times! Yep, they rock.

The kids were just content and awesome. We looked at rivers and bridges and signs and "nature," as Jessa called it. They watched several movies that they actually agreed on!
Jessa choosing movies during one stop

Spencer: "No flash photography!"
And the dogs, well, just look at them:
Who wouldn't love those faces??
Now we are here and we are so happy. Well, the kids have driven us partly nuts because they want to do everything RIGHT NOW. We are working on our patience, but we are still loving being at May's!

The most exciting part for my kiddos is that our awesome cousin from Hawaii is visiting. Our sweet Nikki comes to May's house almost every summer. She loves hanging with May and my babies love hanging with their Nikki. When I told Jessa how long she would get to spend with Nik, she grinned and said, "Pinch me, I'm dreaming!" I love how much they love family time.

AND it gets better. Yes, I said EVEN better!
Next week, my David will take leave.
This concept is foreign to him in his current job. Since it has been so long, I did some research.
According to Wikipedia,
"In the United States Military, leave is permission to be away from one's unit for a specific period of time."
Good to know.
He will get to see if he still remembers how to do it. Because he is coming to May's, too, then we are headed to the beach! Yay! AND then, Bay is coming to May's house for the 4th of July weekend. He's gotta run the Peachtree, dontchaknow? IF he can find another number, David wants to run it, too. (Anyone out there have an extra one?? Just checking. . .
On the way to May's, I asked Spencer and Jessa is we should bring supper to May and Nikki. My sweet Jessa said, "Nah, let's just wait and see what May is fixing." Love it!
(May fixed her favorite chicken and rice and green beans, thank you very much.)
And on our second night here, we met Mimi and Poppy and Roy and Peggy at their favorite restaurant for Mexican food and Mariachi music. The babies LOVE the band and call it "The Band Restaurant." They each gave them a tip and requested a song. Nikki: Devil Went Down to Georgia. Spencer: Old McDonald Had a Farm. Jessa: Feliz Navidad. Cracked us AND them up! But they sang it. AND even though they played lots of songs more than once, I am pretty sure that in JUNE Jessa's was the only request for Feliz Navidad!!
Stay tuned for more fun summer vacation posts!
Yay, GA!
Yay, Family!
Yay, good travelers!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day

Today, we celebrate Flag Day AND the birthday of the Army!
To celebrate, I want to post an awesome poem that one of my fellow Army wives shared with me. (Thanks, Tiffany!) It gave me chills, and it is perfect to commemorate this day.

I hope you enjoy it, too.

Old Glory
Adapted from a Poem
by Howard Schnauber
World War II veteran

I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutions of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.

Look up!
And see me!
I stand for peace - honor - truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident - I am not arrogant, but I am proud!
When I am flown with my fellow banners my head is a little higher.
My colors a little truer.

I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshiped - I am saluted - I am respected.
I am revered - I am loved, and I am feared.
I have fought in every battle of America's wars for more than 200 years:
Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.

And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.

I was there.

I led soldiers - I followed them.
I watched over them.
They loved me.

I was on a small hill on Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me, and I was proud.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my own country.
And when it is by those with whom I have served in battle, it hurts.

But I shall overcome - for I am strong!
I have slipped the bonds of earth and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.

I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.

But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle, when I fly at half mast to honor my soldiers, and when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.

I am proud.

My name is Old Glory.
Dear God, long may I wave.
God Bless the Army!
God Bless America!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Soccer Camper(s)

So we all know that Miss Jessa loves being active and wants to do it all. This past week, she was fired up to play soccer again. She got her first taste in the spring and it tasted good. Or she enjoyed it, you know, you get it, right?

The group that we tried in the Spring was awesome. The Director rocked. He has been working with kids in soccer for 23 years, and you can tell because he is so good with the kids. They all worship him and want to please him and think that he is hilarious. So I signed Jessa up for a summer camp and the fall league. She was pumped to continue her soccer playing career. I say career because she is already planning to be playing soccer when she is 26, so maybe it will be a career. . . Please enjoy this incredibly long winded account of this chapter of Crazy Key Soccer.

Now, you may be thinking, "Wait a minute, crazy lady, don't you have 2 children?"

And I would reply, "Why yes. Yes, I do."

And then I would show you a visual aid to remind you of exactly what my 2nd born child did at his soccer practices in the Spring:

Based on this photo, you can see why I was not inclined to pay money to watch Spencer play with his backpack while the other kids played soccer. I mean, I can watch him put inappropriate items on his head at home. For free. But just in case, I did ask my sweet boy, "Spencer, do you want to attend soccer camp with your sister in June?" To which he replied, "NO!" And then he mumbled something about never playing again and not wanting anyone to watch him or something. FYI: his sincerest wish is to play a sport by himself with no spectators. If anyone can think of a sport that fills this requirement, please let me know. Also, if the sport encourages unorthodox uses of backpacks, that would be a plus.

So soccer camp starts on Monday. Jessa was PUMPED. She has a great time. She dribbles and runs and scores and giggled her way through the drill that requires them to put their bellybuttons and ears and noses on their soccer balls. And while May and I sat on the sideline, my sweet boy started complaining. He said, "Ma-uhm! Why didn't you bring a soccer ball for me to play with!?" And I explained that when a child says to me, "NO! I'm never playing again," that I assume that said child does not need a soccer ball with him at all times. My bad.

Day 2 of camp, Tuesday. Jessa is putting on her shorts and shin guards. Spencer says, "Mom. I think I want to play soccer today." Uh, WHAT!? And he proceeds to put on shorts and a t-shirt and shin guards. He gets his cleats, and he finds his ball. He is ready to roll. "Never again" has turned into, "Yes, please!" Luckily, the Director is so awesome and agreed that we did not want to pass up this opportunity since Spencer was excited about playing. And he welcomed him to camp with open arms (and a discounted tuition).

We were in HEAVEN watching BOTH kiddos play soccer: Mimi, Poppy, May, and I. And Spencer is pretty good, too. He dribbles and has good ball control. And the coaches were so encouraging. They all knew his name. I just hate it that he is so reluctant! Jessa still loved it, of course. She was scoring goals and even passed a time or two to a teammate, whether the pass was on purpose or not is not the point. And she was thrilled to have Spencer with her.

The only problem was that Spencer started to cry as he left the field at the end. I asked him what was wrong. Through tears, he told me, "Well, I didn't score a goal!" And I started telling him that lots of people did not score. THEN he got more upset and told me, "Coach M made me drop the flowers that I picked for May and Mimi!" Oh my! How dare that coach think that soccer was more important than flowers for your grandmother and great grandmother!

Day 3. Both kids get all dressed and bound out of the car dribbling their balls to the field. Life is good because Jessa has given him a pep talk all the way to the field repeating to him several times, "Now, Spencer. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" He was properly encouraged and played the whole practice on Wednesday, too. We even added Bay to the cheering section.

Oh! AND they got their camp shirts at the end of Day 3. Wow! Official camp shirts! I was so excited and proud.

Day 4. They are dressed. They have their brand new camp t-shirts on. They are ready. Well, Jessa is ready. Spencer was showing signs of not being terribly excited. He wanted me to walk him all the way out to the middle of the field. They divided up to scrimmage, and Spencer got upset because a bug flew in his eye. The coach sent him to me and just like that, his soccer career was over. He was DONE. Beckham out. And this is how he spent the rest of his evening.

Hey, this is an improvement. Note the lack of backpack on his head. Progress?

I was so torn. I wanted to explain to him that he had to stick it out and make him get back out there. But I also did not want to turn him off to sports altogether. So I made him keep his cleats and shin guards on and sit nicely until the night was over. Jessa AND all the coaches tried to get him out there. But he had said his piece and counted to three. And in the end, it was all his doing to get himself into camp at the 11th hour, so I guess it was OK that he decided to get out of it, too.

Day 5. He did not even bother. Jessa was out there in her shirt, sweating up a storm, having the time of her sweet life.

Spencer was hanging on the sidelines with his Momma and his May. He did not even bother dressing out. The coaches were still encouraging him, even as he sat there in flip flops

Overall, soccer camp was great fun! It was hot. And I do not like sitting in the heat, BUT it was worth it to see my babies. I am still so proud of my confident, willing to try anything, competitive, scrappy little girl. And this week, I was surprised that I got to be proud of my sweet, shy baby boy who gave soccer a chance, even though it was out of his comfort zone. AND I was able to sit there, a beaming soccer mom who loves her 2 sweet babies and celebrate their completely opposite personalities! Who knew soccer camp could be so enlightening!?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Hire

You know how some companies have special categories of employees for certain seasons. Like toy stores need more help at Christmas and pools need lifeguards for the summer and H & R Block need help at tax time?? Our Jessa has become quite the hiring (and firing) queen around here.

I had one of my famous Scavenger Hunts in order to give them some fun summertime play items. It was a grand hunt. Mimi and Poppy were visiting for the week and I even made Mimi a clue! She was sitting on the front porch. I took her picture:

And then when the kids got to a certain clue, they turned it over and knew that Mimi had the next picture! It was pretty fun and I think that Mimi LOVED being such an integral part of the hunt.

The last clue sent them to the backyard to find a cornucopia of fun for the summer. I bought them jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, water guns, new crayons and markers, you know a bunch of cool stuff to play with as we begin this awesome summer break. They were thrilled with the goodies, and I was pretty proud because most of them were not even that expensive!

Anywho, we ended up out in the front yard playing with all their loot. We were outside ALL DAY long. We were all hot and sweaty and we smelled brassy, but I guess that is what outside summer fun about, right?

Jessa's favorite item was the jump rope. She had asked me for one several times, so I knew she would love it. They worked on jumping rope in PE. (I only said "jumping rope" for Momma, I always say "jump roping" and she makes fun of me. . .)

At first she was not real good at it. The rope was a little different, and she was not used to it. And I swear it was at least 200 degrees (or 86, you know, whatever). So she decided that she needed 2 people to (as Mimi calls it) "throw it" for her. So Mimi and I were her first choice. We stand up and start "throwing it," and she gets tripped up. After a few failed attempts, my sweet child looks me right in the eye and says, "Mommy, you're fired." Watch out Donald Trump! This Ice Princess can fire her mother without even flinching. And then she turns to Poppy, who was minding his own business and says, "Poppy, you're hired." So what does her devoted great grandfather do? Yep, he quickly took my place.

Now in the meantime, Spencer is playing with the water guns and blowing bubbles and just doing his own thing. He was not even paying us much attention. So after Jess decided that Poppy was doing an even worse job "throwing" the rope than I did, she promptly fired him and rehired me. Spencer looked up and realized that now Poppy was back on the front porch in the chair. And I got so tickled when I heard Spencer say to Pop so matter-of-factly, "What happened Poppy? She fire you?" And Poppy said, "Yep." Luckily for her, we never take it personally.

Throughout the day, more potential employees stopped by. David was given a trial run as a "rope thrower." Thankfully, he did not quit his day job because his tour of duty was short lived. Bay was deemed a good rope thrower. And at one point, I was jumping and saying a rhyme and silly Bay tried to jump in. We are not quite ready for that, I don't think! But it got a great laugh anyway.

But what a fun day playing outside. May and Bay were there toward the end of the day. Mimi, Poppy, both kiddos, David, and I were all there. We even had a good friend from David's work stop by. There were neighborhood kids who played off and on, too. It was the perfect summer evening. All of us sitting outside, enjoying the weather, having cool drinks and laughing until we cried. I sure do love spending time with all my family and making fun memories. I hope to have countless other evenings just like that as my babies grow up. Well, that is if Jessa does not fire any of us permanently. . .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2 wheels down

And no, I am not referring to the not one but TWO tires on my car that recently had a hole in them. No, I am referring to a different vehicle.

Last week, after supper, my sweet baby girl child made a big decision. She wanted to go outside and play. (no, that was not the big decision. Sheesh, be patient.) So I was cleaning up the kitchen while David and the kiddos were out front. (Yes, David was actually in town!) So they were all out there playing. Jessa came running inside, and she was all excited. She wanted me to come outside to see what Daddy was doing. I headed out there to find David with some tools working on Jessa's beautiful Barbie bike. Want to know what he was doing?

Well, do ya?







I mean, she is just a baby. She was just born. How in heaven's name can this precious baby be big enough to ride her bike WITHOUT training wheels??

She wanted to try this a while back, but David was not here. I am one heck of an Army wife, and I can and do handle most anything that comes my way (I mean, I just got 2 new tires put on my car ALL BY MYSELF, thankyouverymuch). BUT seeing as how I am balance challenged, and I have trouble simply standing still without falling down. And that is much less difficult than riding a human powered vehicle, so I did not think that I would be able to handle this. I have many scars to prove I can barely ride a bike myself, much less try to teach someone else. And even though I know that Bay would have been more than happy to work with her, I think it was so perfect that her Daddy got to teach her, don't you??
And folks, this was not a long process. So about 3 seconds after she made the decision, she was a riding fool. She was SO ready for this. She has gotten all the balance down from riding her scooter, so once David held her briefly - she was off! I was standing there in awe. David actually had to tell me to go and get the camera; that should tell you how out of it I was - me not thinking of the camera? Me??

I stood there on the sidewalk watching her with tears rolling down my cheeks. I know it is a pretty big deal when any kid learns to ride their bike. Want to know how I know that? Well, I will tell you. This "riding a bike" thing is a skill that never goes away. I mean, how many other things that you learn as a child become a cliche' that means "always remembering how to do something that you learned a very long time ago." Uh, yeah, that's what I thought. No one ever says, "It's just like stacking blocks." Or "It's just like tossing a Frisbee." Or "It's just like playing Barbies." But if I had a nickel for every time someone has said "It's just like riding a bike," well, I'd have a heck of a lot of nickels, that's for sure. This is big, people.

But my Jessa is such a perfectionist. She is so driven and competitive. And she has confidence to spare. When she decides to do something, she does it. Period. Now that is not to say she never stumbles or backtracks at all. But this super competitive child of mine does not handle the little stumbles as well as we would like. She gets MAD when she cannot master something perfectly the first time. (I have decided that she gets the competitiveness from David who can make anything into a contest and the perfectionism from the Parrish side of the family. Thankfully she got everyone else's balance and grace and coordination - NOT mine!)

I am still holding my breath every time she takes the old bike out for a spin. And we have had a few skinned knees when her confidence overshadows her actual ability level. But so far, she gets a band-aid and hops back on. And I told her that they are her "red badges of courage!" (The English Major in me loves hearing my 6 year allude to Stephen Crane.)

Well, without further ado. . .
here she is IN ACTION!

My favorite part, besides Jessa rocking the 2-wheeler, had to be SPENCER's reaction. God Bless Him, he was just as excited and proud as she was!
Check him out running over to congratulate her:

And just like that, my sweet baby girl has been replaced by a two-wheeler riding, Stephen Crane quoting, FIRST GRADER!
Where does the time go?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Big 12

And as you know from my lack of interest in sports, I am not talking about an NCAA conference. Nope. Today is June 7. That marks 12 years since I became Mrs. David Key! (I know that sounds a tad old-fashioned, but I sometimes fancy myself an old school Southern Belle, dahlin'.)

I was trying to come up with this clever little accounting of our years together with something really meaningful to correspond to the number of each year. Honestly, I did not have much luck.

I did enjoy thinking about it, though.
Here is what I came up with:
Our marriage - by the numbers. . .
12 GREAT years
11 different Army jobs for David
8 moves
5 new cars, 5 houses, 5 deployments
4 awesome pets, 4 ranks for David, 4 states we have lived in
3 apartments
2 beautiful babies, 2 Master's Degrees
1 perfect match

12 down, a lifetime to go!