Monday, May 29, 2006

A Marine and a Soldier

Last year my husband had the honor of standing next to his father in uniform. A day neither of them will ever forget.
We suprised my father in law with a visit to help him celebrate the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war on Memorial Day weekend. To make the surprise even bigger, my mother in law met with a marine recruiter who helped her put her husband's old uniform together. The night she surprised him with his uniform was not met with the excitement she was anticipating. Rather a look of, Woman, what are you doing to me?! The shock wore off, however, and how could he say no to standing next to his son proudly showing off their uniforms? It turned into a proud day that father and son shared together. Son watching his father being honored for his service in combat, and father seeing just how much his son loves to be a soldier.

Freedom Is Not Free
By LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG - Copyright 1981
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Service man saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform So young,
so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm My Own Best Friend

Babies are so hysterical when they are playing with a mirror. They meet that new "friend" in mirror world and they can't think of anyone better to play with.
Hunter was being so funny; he kept looking at me, looking at himself, looking at me, looking at himself. Like he couldn't believe we could both be two places at once. He talked to himself like he was his own best friend. He told himself a long story, then laughed and laughed.
Then the kissing started. Hunter just learned how to kiss, well, it's more like a big slob on the cheek, but he thinks it's a kiss. He kissed himself over and over. Then he laughed because apparently is was extremely funny to kiss yourself in a mirror!
I snapped so many pictures. This was priceless and I had to preserve it for all time, or at least to publish on the internet in hopes that he will be truly embarassed in 15 years! But hey, that's a mom's job! Right?!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My Little Piece of Heaven

The kids stand on the balcony totally amazed that the sky can just instantly open up like that and let sheets of rain pound the earth. Their excitement takes me back to one of my favorite childhood memories.
I loved to sit on the front porch with my family and watch a thunderstorm roll in. The air would become stale right before the storm hit. I was never scared. It was exhilerating to sit there and watch the clouds billow up on eachother and get blacker and blacker. We could see the lightning from far away. As the storm got closer the thunder would echo through the town. The town was small, and this was truly fun entertainment.
I always hoped a tornado would hit. Now that would have been real entertainment. Except there was no way I was getting into that basement, if that's what you would call it. I thought that the tornado would pick me up and twirl me around like Dorothy. There were many tornado warnings and watches, and several hit nearby, but none brought their destruction to our town.
It wouldn't be until I was 21 that I would have my first real tornado encounter. Sitting right smack dab in the middle of a forming cyclone, in a car that was rocking back and forth, with baby Louisa sound alseep in the back. She loves to hear that story. She thinks it's so funny that she never woke up.
At the end of our short down pour, the kids yell, "Rainbow, rainbow!" So I grab the baby, and the camera, and run outside. I am pretty sure the baby had no clue what I was pointing at, but as always, he had a smile on his face.
This is my little piece of heaven. The kids have united in one cause; the beauty of nature. The world is still for one moment. And I am reminded that there is more out there besides dirty diapers, housework, and bickering kids.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dinos, Diapers, and Dishes

When evaluating my daily life I came up with three things that stand out the most.
Like most families, we have more toys than Toys R Us. If I could open a toystore, I would never have to worry about money again. We have trucks, trains, Hotwheels, and dinosaurs. I didn't even know there were that many kinds of dinosaurs. If there is a dino toy, we've got it! I step on them constantly, all day. They live in "groups" and some of them even have little trees to eat. And if you mess up a group, or heaven forbid step on one and obliterate it, look out! You'll get the wrath of Drew! Then he will have to spend all his time, like it's a big inconvenience, setting up all his groups of dinosaurs again.
After Drew was out of diapers, my husband was more than relieved that we would not have to put up with that again. The last child out of diapers is a big accomplishment for most families. Not having the added expense, not having to carry a diaper bag, not having to worry about the baby pooping when you forgot to bring the wipes.
When I brought up the idea of a third child, the first thing my husband said to me was, "But we just got Drew out of diapers!" and then "I just threw out the diaper genie!" Of course, having another baby and adding to the family is worth all the diaper changing to us. But at the end of the day when I've changed my 10th diaper, I start thinking, Is 9 months old too early to start potty training?
When I have all the kids in bed and the apartment is quiet, there is one little black cloud that hangs over my head. The pile of dishes I've neglected. Sometimes I judge what kind of day we've had by how many dishes are in the sink. If there are just a few cups and bowls, we had a good day because I didn't cook much! If the sink is full, we probably spent the whole day inside and I probably ate too much. I look at the dishes and decide how important it is to put off hitting my nice comfortable bed to load the dishwasher. More times than not, the bed wins!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I'm Into Girls!

My 5 year old son is girl crazy to say the least. He somehow manages to get a "girlfriend" everywhere we go. And I'm not talking about a nice little girl who he becomes friends with. I mean a girlfriend who he ends up talking about for days afterwards.
In preschool, a girl at the beginning of the year decided she liked my son and told him, "I am your girlfriend now". All year long she is all I've heard him talk about. Now that the end of the year is upon us, he has told me of some sad news. She does not want to be his girlfriend any more. I hug him and tell him there are other girls to be friends with. (I have no doubt that phrase will be repeated many times in the next 20 years!)
He pulls away and looks at me with his big bright blue eyes and says, "But Mom! She is not my friend, she is my girlfriend! I'm into girls, you know!" As I try to put a plug on the laughter that is bubbling inside me I hug him again and let him know that everything will be ok. After all, there are many more fish in the sea!