Tuesday, May 8, 2018

40

 This week, I'll be turning 40. 40 years old. Four decades on this earth. I'm not worried about the number, but I have been feeling reflective. My thirties have been good to me. I've learned who I am, what I will and won't stand for, where my boundary lines are, which things are most meaningful to me, where my priorities stand. I've never stood high in my own esteem, but here, at the end of my thirties, knocking on forty's door, I can look myself in the eye without wincing. That's something. As I head into this new decade, the image that keeps coming to mind is a hand opening up to let go. I want to let go of all the things I cling to so tightly, hoping to hold them to me and make them stay. The truth is, the people and things that need and want to be with me in my life don't need me to hold them here with my grasping hands. I'm going to try to open them up and breathe and see what happens. Maybe there will be pain. Maybe not. I love ferociously, and with love comes fear of loss, but loss never negates the benefit of love, I think, whether that love is for people or places or art or any other pursuit.

So.

James already had his birthday, and since ours are so close together, we had a big party together this year at a place we love here in town. So many friends joined us, and it was sweet and lovely and fun. My friend, Traci and I baked a ton of desserts, and there was food and beer and laughing and conversation and reunions with friends we hadn't seen in a while and friends we'd just seen the day before. It was perfect.














We had a small celebration on James's actual day as well, of course. He chose Top Golf, which was super fun. The two of us also had a nice evening out, just us.









We're just about to the end of Birthday Season now, and it's been a doozy. It's almost time for school to be over and the long, beautiful summer to begin. I'm ready. I'm ready for all of it.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weeeeird Science

 Miss V is turning 8 this week, and she very sweetly requested a Mad Science party. It was meant to be a small party, but, as usually happens with this child, it accidentally ended up huge. Even at 17 children, we were not able to invite every child she would have liked to, and it hurts her heart to leave ANYONE out, but I can't fit everyone she knows into my house. I tell you, I cannot.

It was a fun party. One and one half hours of very structured science experiments, snacks, a little Bill Nye the Science Guy, and some mass hysteria.

I had two tables set up with a kit for each child. The numbered containers held the various things needed for each experiment. The children were so attentive and did such a great job following directions. James helped me with this party. We did four experiments, and each was a great success.





 For our first experiment, the kids spooned baking soda from Container #1 into the balloon in their kit. Then, they stretched the balloon over the neck of the bottle they were given, which contained vinegar. When we said, "Go!", they tipped the baking soda into the vinegar and watched the chemical reaction blow up their balloons.



For our second experiment, we poured milk onto plates, and James and I dropped food coloring on. The kids dipped cotton swabs from their kits into dish washing liquid (container #2) and touched the milk to see a hydrophobic reaction.


We microwaved some Ivory soap for experiment 3 to see it expand exponentially after being heated.


Experiment 4 was Elephant Toothpaste. I went around with a funnel to help them tip the peroxide in Container #3 into their (rinsed out) bottles. They added their leftover dish soap and a drop or two of food color and swirled. In Container #4 was some yeast. I went around with warm water, which we added, and they dutifully stirred. Once that yeast and water was combined, they poured that container into the bottle, and we watched the reaction!






Science completed, it was time to eat. We had pre-scooped and frozen ice cream with Magic Shell


Make a Molecule fruit


Too much candy


And chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream frosting and pop rocks.



My girl had a very big, special day with her sweet, lovely friends.

We sent them all home with their safety glasses, whatever candy they were willing to take, and a test tube of bubbles.


My precious, precious baby is turning 8, and it blows my mind. Seeing her surrounded by this loving community of amazing kids is a really beautiful thing. I'm so happy for her that she has that. She draws it to her. After the party, the friend she has known the very longest - since she was born - stayed for a while, and they went upstairs and just had some quiet time together. I think they were ready for it after all that hubbub.

I love you, Miss V. You are confident and strong and brave and kind. You are thoughtful, creative, smart, and funny. I like you. I respect you. I'm looking forward to seeing who you are as an 8 year old.







Sunday, April 1, 2018

It's Been A Big Day

Today, we celebrated Easter. That's a big deal every year, but it was particularly meaningful this time around, because our Miss V asked recently if she could be baptized, and, after meeting with our pastor and talking it through, they set the date for Easter. That's pretty neat, because the J-bird chose to be baptized on Easter two years ago.

First things, first: the kids (and James) woke up to Easter baskets from me and a fun surprise scavenger hunt from the Easter Bunny.








Once they'd found their treats (one big egg apiece from the Bunny), we all got ready for church. Miss V received a Bible from her dad and I - in pink, natch.




This is our pastor, Jennifer. She is moving on from our church at the end of May, and we are going to miss her so much. She has baptized both of our children now, and she's been such a wonderful friend and light.



Our Beckers came to stand up with us as V was baptized. Kristy stood with us as well. I do not have any photos of the actual baptism, because I was participating.





 The J-bird did the Easter reading. He loves reading in church.



On Easter, we do something called Flower Communion, where we add flowers to this cross. It's a lovely thing I've never seen done at any other church I've attended. I love it.









After church, there's an egg hunt - about 15 minutes of total mayhem.


And then there's this:
2018

2012


Inevitable outtake:



Lunch was necessary after all of that. Luckily, I had thought ahead and made a reservation.



It was a wonderful, wonderful, meaningful day.




(Inevitable outtake)


Happy Easter!