Seven is the Perfect Party

Well, last Friday Jackson turned seven. It is somewhat hard to believe but not really because he has been reminding me of it for a few weeks now. Jimmy and I decided, for a few reasons, to try and NOT have a party this year. Jackson has come to expect it and we just wanted to do something different to celebrate. We decided a camping trip would be fun. My parents had said they wanted to come visit on his birthday weekend, so I figured maybe my Mom could watch my little ones and Jimmy, myself, and my Dad could take Jackson and Libby camping for one night. In my mind, leave at like five o'clock, drive no more than 30 minutes, set up a tent, make a fire, roast a marshmallow, go to sleep, wake up at seven and drive home. This seemed like as much as I or I thought, my kids, could handle. I knew they would think that was great and they would get plenty tired and have fun.

I ran this idea by Jimmy and he looked at me as though I was a total camping party pooper. He stated that he wanted to stay at least two nights and that one night was NOT enough. And he indicated he wanted to go farther away. So I said I was out. (This did not sound fun to me at all. I have a motherly instinct that said "RUN! Run far away from a two night camping exposition with two kids with no camping experience!") I told Jimmy that he could take them. But we got to a week before Jackson's birthday and nothing had been planned.

SO. Trying to compromise, I decided we could invite a few of Jackson's friends over, pitch a tent in the backyard, and pseudo-camp for three or four hours. Make a fire, roast hot dogs, make s'mores, and send everyone home tired. Jimmy said that was a good plan but, "I'll camp out with Jackson in the backyard and if anyone wants to stay, they can." Seems simple enough. I wrote an e mail to Jackson's friend's mommies, and said presents were not expected, just come and have fun. If you want to stay and camp out, bring a parent and a tent.

Well, what we ended up with was quite a celebration that seemed to evolve into absolutely everything associated with a party (even though this was supposed to be the un-party) and VERY LITTLE camping. Ninja swords, a fire, a gun (a b-b gun as a gift), fire works, legos, games, movie watching, and a sleepover. The whole ordeal lasted 16 hours, involved 27 people, and aside from the hot dogs, involved a menu of two things: carbs and sugar. I kept wondering, "If this is what Jackson's seventh birthday has become, what is it going to be like when he turns 17?" Some of my favorite moments were when Jackson ran inside, mid-party, to retrieve his CD player and Newsboys CD which he cranked up in the backyard while everyone ran around. Seeing him read his new Bible with a flashlight inside the tent. Also, when he stood beside my bed at 2:45 a.m. and told me he was ready for everyone to wake up. He ended up abandoning his friends, Libby (they shared a tent) and Jimmy and ended up sleeping next to me in my bed. I awoke at 6:45 a.m. to find Libby and Jimmy inside as well, asleep in the living room. What kind of people invite their friends over for a camp out and then just leave their guests in the backyard?! I was sort of embarrassed!

What have I learned from this? That I married a party animal, I'm raising a party animal, and I might as well accept it. Seven is the perfect number. I'm pretty sure Jackson had the perfect party. It was quite an event. Oh, and on the morning of his birthday he lost his first tooth. Like, really lost it. It fell out and he had no idea where it was. This proves once again that Jackson takes after Jimmy in MANY ways. Partying, camping, and losing things. So my job is to plan and host the parties, refuse to go camping, and find stuff. I love my job.


Fun Friday

When Jimmy and I first got married he was teaching second grade. He instituted something called "Fun Friday" which just meant that the students got to play board games and such at the end of the school day on Fridays. He would come home from school and announce, "It's Fun Friday! Let's call someone to hang out!" As a newlywed, I often got my feelings hurt. I would say, "Why can't you just hang out with me?" To which he would respond, "It's my Fun Friday, I get to decide what we do!" (Now, he just likes to say, "I do what I want when I want!") This is the Jimmy I get frustrated with and love all in one moment.

Often we would call our friends the Mitchells and for some reason, though we often called other people, they are the only ones whom we shared the joke with and always said (and still do), "It's Fun Friday!" which is code for, "What are you doing tonight, do you want to hang out?"

WELL, this past Friday was the best Fun Friday we've had in a long time because Carey, mommy of the Mitchells, had her twin boys. I'm sure Carey didn't really feel like partying since she was recovering from a C-section, BUT I still thought it was cool that the boys came on a Friday. Owen Benjamin and Wyatt Jude were 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 6 lbs. 12 oz. respectively, and do not seem to be identical. (There was a chance.) I have always said I wanted twins, although after I had a couple kids I was over it. But I have still lived vicariously through Carey and feel blessed to know someone who had twins since I wasn't blessed with them myself.
I was riding in the car with Jackson and Libby and said, "Maybe we can go to the hospital today and see the babies!" And then I yelled, "The babies! The babies! The babies!" Because there is a Dora the Explorer episode where her mom has twins and she jumps around the screen yelling that. After I yelled that Libby yells from the back seat, "Los Bebes!" (Dora often repeats things in Spanish.) I love it when my kids make a joke, it is fun to have a look into their sense of humor. We went to see the babies and they were cute and fun and I couldn't resist holding them both at the same time.

It is refreshing to be near a family who did not plan to have two babies, yet welcomed the challenges and strains they are sure to evoke. In light of the times we are living in, I felt privileged to be close to such a celebration of life, even the unexpected event of two babies instead of one. I am scared to think that there are those who believe it is in their best interest to terminate a pregnancy. New life is not a consequence, but a reward. Given freely by a God of grace and mercy. Welcome to the world Owen and Wyatt!


The Nut House

This morning I woke up to confrontation around the coffee table culminating with Libby yelling, "Cash you are the meanest boy I ever knew!!" It may or may not have involved physical contact, but I never would have guessed that I would one day, four kids later, be totally able to just chuckle, roll over, and let it slide. Everyone seems to be getting really frustrated with everyone else these days.

Being the official diagnoser of the house, I have figured out what it is. It is the end of summer. We are all sick of having to be inside so much. It's frustrating and boring at times. And going outside leads to mosquitoes and sticky sweat which are just as bad as frustrating and boring. But hope is around the corner. In just a few short weeks we will be able to go outside and everything will change. I need a new season! Talking about the weather makes me feel old. I'm thirty-one now. Thirty didn't really bother me as much as 29 did. And 31. I have been compiling a list of things that make me feel old.

1. I can't stand to be within earshot of Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers.
2. Even though I own a few, I can't bring myself to use the word "hoodie." I can barely type it.
3. Hoodies are probably out now, but I still wear them all the time.
4. I referenced the Cosby Show when talking to some college students and I don't think they had really ever watched it. Realizing they were probably born in the mid-80's, I cringed.
5. I don't know how to "text" someone.
6. I forgot the rest of my reasons why I feel old, hence the reason I feel old.

Old, crazy, it's all new to me.

Speaking of crazy. I got brave and let the kids paint this morning and just a short while into it I asked Jimmy to take me to the nut house. I'm all for them getting dirty in the name of art but when Cash opens the lid and dumps black paint all over the table and onto the floor I just can't help the nut house comments. I usually try to make these comments just for Jimmy but today we had to explain what the "nut house" was. We said it was where crazy people went. (Which is a totally lame explanation, but when there's paint everywhere...) Libby got all worried that I was going away. Jackson explained that it was way far away, probably in New York City and that "Hey Mom, maybe you can go to Deal or No Deal while you're there! I'm sure it's like, right next door or something!" Meanwhile, Cash is in the timeout chair naked (he's potty training) for dumping the paint (he had already dumped the red and been warned) and I'm cleaning up the mess. Cash then yells "uh-oh" and he pees all over, and Libby says (looking worried) "Mom, I don't want you to go to the nut house!" I can assure you, Libby, I don't have to go to the nut house. I AM ALREADY LIVING THERE!

In an effort to dismantle the atomic bomb of "my house is crazy and I need to be committed" I just laid on you, and to end on a positive note, let me assure you: I would much rather live in this nut house of four kids and a nutty husband than anywhere else on the face of the earth. I love it all, I love them all, and all the insane stuff really only happens a small percentage of the time. The rest of the time is fun, funny, adorable, and full of love and laughter. Unfortunately, even if you're sane 90% of the time, if the other 10% of the time you're hallucinating and clawing your eyeballs out, you still have to be sent to the nut house. Or at least take medication. Can I get a glass of water with that?


Chaos and Wishes

Today the word of the day seems to be chaos. This morning Jackson was reading to Libby and he asked me "Mom what does c-h-a-o-s spell?" and I told him. Later, someone asked me how home school was going. I said, "It's chaos." And it is. Most of the day is pretty chaotic, actually. I don't really know how I get anything done, but somehow I do.

Tonight after dinner they had a blast playing in the Pack-n-Play which was set up in my room. Cash and Penelope were flirting through the mesh side and cracking each other up. They were all more than willing to pose for some pictures. Within a space of five minutes they were all over the place, balancing, jumping, piling on top of me and each other. How do kids spell fun? C-H-A-O-S.

I can't even begin to think of how many times in the day I hear, "Mom, look..." and they want to tell me or show me something they've done. I wish I had the perspective of a few decades so that I could really revel in how amazing it is to observe little minds absorbing the world around them. Tonight Libby told me she wrote a song and I willed myself to sit perfectly still and stare into her little face while she sang it to me. Afterward I wrote it down so I would not forget:

"When I make wishes
I get 'em in my head.
When I don't make wishes
it means I don't have a head.
So, I make a lot of wishes."

I've been making a lot of wishes myself lately. I've been wishing I was a kid. Not only do they have more fun than me, they also seem to get to do all the things we adults aren't allowed to do anymore. Because we know better. But sometimes I wish I didn't know better. I wish I could just lie down in the middle of the parking lot and cry because I'm hot and tired. I wish, if someone asked me to do something I didn't want to do, I could just look them in the face and say, "NO!" I wish, if I did something bad, I could pass the blame by yelling, "Not me!" I wish, when I was full of grumpiness and the blahs that I could forget all my woes just by eating an animal cracker. I wish I could play in the dirt or mud and then have someone else get me undressed, lift me into the bath, and wash my hair. I wish, if I was busy doing something, but I had to go, that I could just pee my pants. Just kidding. I don't wish cleaning up pee on anyone.

Anyway, I think it's good to make a lot of wishes. Because then you have a head. And you can spell words like chaos.