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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

My joy for today is birthday parties.

This past Saturday, we attended two children’s birthday parties.  We have been invited to at least one party every weekend this month.  For those of you that don’t have kids, do not be under the false assumption that we are very popular.  When you are a parent of school-age children, it is just part of the job description.  Sometimes these parties are great, sometimes they are not.  But they are always thrilling for our kids and we are always honored to celebrate a special moment in a friend’s life.

So far, we have only hosted one birthday party that included more than family for any of our four kids.  We are attempting to institute a 5, 10, 16 year old plan for big birthday parties.  Time will tell if we stick to that proposal.

In the meantime, we will enjoy entertaining our kids by celebrating other kid’s birthdays.  The cake, the presents, the games, the entertaining locations; free food, fun, entertainment, and time with friends, for both the kids and for us; it all makes for a pleasant way to spend some weekend time.

All of these parties also allows my kids the opportunity to do a lot of things that they do not normally get to experience.  At birthday parties, we have been to several farms, where we held chickens, rode horses, and got to take home freshly laid eggs, played laser tag, had gymnastics lessons, karate lessons, enjoyed bounce houses, many different pools, parks, and friend’s backyards, just to name a few.

Having kids can help you and hurt you when making friends.  At birthday parties, you have as many new friends as you choose to talk to, at least for the several hours of the engagement.  You are in it together, to have fun, to eat, to help your children with the new activities, to socialize, and to survive.  It can be overwhelming and exhausting, but as with so many aspects of having children, it is a simple, short-lived joy.  Twenty years from now, I might not miss navigating the crowds at Chuck E. Cheese, but I will miss seeing the overwhelming joy on my child’s face from a simple cupcake and goodie bag.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is my first baby turning five.

In some ways, it is hard for me to type those words.  My baby turning five means that five years have already passed that we have had the joy of hosting him in our home, being entrusted with his daily growth and development.  Henri Nouwen wrote, “Our children are but our must precious guests, only with us for a short time.”  He uses the word guest to help us understand that people in our lives, no matter how close, are only guests in our soul; they are not our possessions.  Our job is to love them unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.  Thinking of parenting in that way reminds me with force how precious the time with each of our children is in our home.  They are not our possessions, they are cherished gifts to love and guide in the time with which we are entrusted.

Noah turns five tomorrow and we had a big birthday party for him over the weekend.  It was the first birthday party with friends that we have ever had and it was exhausting, but fun.  I had so much help from all of my family members; my mom, dad and Granny made and brought lots of food, the balloons, and cake, and my sister helped sweep the porches, put up decorations, clean outdoor furniture, and care for Molly and Tucker.  It was definitely a group effort and I am so grateful for their help.  It was also touching to see so many of Noah’s friends, there to share his special day and celebrate his life thus far.  It was really a blessing to look out in the backyard and feel loved by so many.

Five years ago, my life changed in ways I could never have imagined even the day before it happened.  Noah, and his siblings, have taught me so many things about life and about myself.  I learned that life is certainly not all about me.  Having children makes it almost impossible to be selfish and to be a good parent simultaneously.  What is best for your children is what it is best for you.  If that means being on vacation in a beautiful, exotic, brand new destination, and having to return to a small hotel room so babies can nap, that is what is happening.  Reading the same book four or five times in a row is common.  Sleeping through the night is a privilege, not an inalienable right.  The day Noah was born is his birthday, but it is also the anniversary of Chad and me becoming parents.  What a joyous day!

Noah is such a joy to mother.  He is sweet and loving, concerned about others and an amazing, loving older brother.  He is astoundingly athletic and agile, full of energy and zest for life.  He wears his emotions on his sleeve and is inquisitive and curious about the world around him.  Every single day, he touches my heart with something kind that he does or says.  He often turns to me and says out of nowhere, “Mommy, you know what?  I love you so much.”

I love you more than words could ever express Noah.  I am proud of you and am overwhelmingly grateful to be your guide through childhood.

You are my joy for today, and many, many days to come.

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Scootie-Poopin

My joy for today is scootie-poopin with Granny.

For those of you not in the know, “scootie-poopin” means running errands, going out to eat, generally being out and about the town.  I’m not sure where this phrase originated, but I know my mom, as well as my Granny, uses it in this way.  So Granny and I have continued the scootie poopin tradition that began long ago.  Often on Thursdays, when Noah is at school and I don’t have any other standing plans, Granny and I run errands and go out to eat.  We do very simple things like going to Target, Wal-Mart, picking up odds and ends, and in today’s journey, eating at Perkins.

Granny and I are the perfect team.  She adores my kids, they adore her, and she is one of my best friends.  It is an impossible task to attempt to summarize our relationship in this one blog post, but my baby blog would be lacking a huge part of the joy of my life without mentioning Granny early in its existence.  We have always been very close, and one of the first prayers I ever recorded was in regards to Granny living a very long life when I was about 7 or 8.  Growing up, one of my favorite activities was spending the night at her house.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding because she belonged standing next to me along with my other dear friends.  Today, at lunch, as I held Tucker and Granny fed Molly bites of broccoli and urged her to finish lines of nursery rhymes, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by what  a charmed life I live with her.

Granny moved to our neighborhood almost a year ago and our lives have been immeasurably more joyous since.  She cooks dinner for us almost every night, hosts a Penn State tailgate at her house every football Saturday, accompanies us to each and every one of Noah’s soccer games and practices, and comes over every morning and afternoon when I take or pick-up Noah from school so that I don’t have to put the little ones in the car.  She plays Memory, Chutes and Ladders, Old Maid, and any other game Noah can think of whenever he asks; she picks acorns with Molly and Noah almost every afternoon after school, she is an expert at feeding Tucker solids, and irons Chad’s shirts when needed.  She beats Chad and me at Quiddler or Racko with ease and babysits on demand.  My life is so much more rich and full with her in it, not to mention easier!  Although she is in her 80’s, she is on Facebook, e-mails her friends, and will be reading this blog.  If I become half the woman she is, I will be proud.  I love you and thank you Granny.

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Alec and Ellen

My joy for today is a discussion about Alec Baldwin.

Yesterday, my very dear friend Ellen and I had a heated debate over Alec Baldwin.  We were watching “30 Rock” and I mentioned something about what I thought was a mismatch of attractiveness between Baldwin’s character, Jack, and another character on the show that he was dating.  This spurred an entire discussion over whether Alec Baldwin was considered attractive or not.  I said that the general population considered him very attractive for his age, Ellen insisted otherwise.  I took an informal poll on facebook and the early numbers are not in Alec’s favor, but I will defer an official verdict for a later date.

However, my joy has very little to do with Alec.  It has everything to do with Ellen.  She is a loving, generous, hysterically funny, wise woman of the Lord.  Although her life has not been easy thus far, she is strong, fearless, and happy.  I am blessed beyond belief that she and her daughter are able to visit us often.  Their friendship and presence in our lives brings so much exuberance, laughter, and intellectual stimulation.  A disagreement over Alec Baldwin can prompt hours of laughter and internet polls only between the best of friends.  For that, and so much more, I thank you Ellen.

Unbelievably, I have many people in my life that I consider to be pure joy.  If this blog lasts long enough, I hope to write about others in the future.  So if you are one of those people and you are reading this, please persevere.  Or you could call me and refresh my memory about how important you are in my life.  🙂 May we all have friends like this, who are truly a gift.

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