With Jonny's last game yesterday morning, the longer than usual, sad and soggy soccer season of 2008 came to an end. Yes, the kids (Jonny, Melissa, and Crispy) loved it, even in the rain (and snow!). But 3 games each Saturday, and 3 games during the week, added to all of the regular activities made much too much "busy" for this Mommy. Take away the Sunday hockey games and play rehearsals at church that both ended 2 weeks ago, and all of a sudden, we can see our weekends again! Incredible!
So what did we do with all that extra time? Filled every moment of it with being busy, of course! Only this time, the kids' activities (besides the one early morning game) did not have anything to do with all of our plans. It almost felt reminiscent of some sort of life I use to have long before 'activities' got in the way.
On Saturday, with thanks to my mom and dad who came out to be with the kids, Bob and I spent an ENTIRE day golfing with our neighbors at a charity fundraiser in Glencoe. This was especially sweet as our neighbors seem to be even busier than we are, even though they only have 3 kids. But they are the type of athletic family in which their kids are in tons of sports, at high levels, meaning tons of practices and games. They are so committed to their kids' activities, that both of them usually always go to all practices and games. I can't even imagine that kind of time....I am always grateful when I can send the kids off to some practice with them , so that I can try to catch my breath before tackling the next item of business with whomever is next in line for attention.
I am not sure that any of my golfing lessons took hold of any intelligent cells in my brain. It was quite frustrating to miss so many shots (like literally not even hit the ball), when last year (after NO lessons) I had hit everything....not far, mind you, but at least I hit everything. We were able to use a few of my shots anyhow, and the main point of the day was to have fun.......we certainly managed that! It was great to spend adult time, being able to laugh at ourselves, enjoy an absolutely gorgeous day outside, and end the day with a fantastic pork chop BBQ. We may all be a little crippled for the next few days, but hey, it really was worth it.
Sunday was another magnificently beautiful day. It was fitting to be Celebration Sunday at church this morning......celebrating God, all He has done for us and given us, and all that we get to give back, because WE GET TO BE THE CHURCH. The kids were blessed with a visit from one of our missionaries from Africa....we have a partnership in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, and wonderful things are happening through ministeries that the kids have been able to be involved in over the past few years. In the Christmas Eve collection alone, $100,000 was collected for our adopted mission. It is always so moving to hear the stories of lives literally being changed around the globe by offering things that seem so small to us (spare change, shoes, prayers, etc). It has an even more personal place in my heart as it is the country where my brother had spent a year of his time directly helping the same people that my family may be indirectly helping now!
In addition to great messages and motivation, the kids made African drums, the younger kids took home balloon animals, and everyone was handed a bag of State Fair mini-donuts on their way to the parking lot. Walking to our truck in the gorgeous sunshine, our ears tickled with the music of the live worship band under the big top tent in the parking lot....it was truly a celebratory day....God is good and great indeed!
We spent the rest of the day in the cities at a brunch gathering to celebrate some family events. My wonderful Aunt Betty was in town from Oregon, so this was our chance to see her and visit with other cousins I have not seen since last year when my aunt was in town. Bob and the sick baby beat us there. Lots of food, desserts, punch, conversation with adults as the kids gathered in the basement....it was great. The highlight for the kids (besides playing drums on some video game) was making ice cream in the ice cream ball. Not only did it keep the kids busy rolling the ball for 30 minutes, but they had a delicious reward to show for it. Can't beat homemade ice cream!YUM! Though sunny, today was quite chilly. Thinking it would be like yesterday, none of us had jackets or appropriate clothing, so we spent most of the day freezing outside, but happy to be there nonetheless.
Upon leaving the party, I took the baby and the girls to the nearby mall on a quest for jackets, but to no avail. We did come out of there with 6 bags of summer clothes for Melissa. Being the first girl, she does not have hand me downs to wear and must get a new wardrobe each season. Lucky kid. We met my aunt, parents, and Jonny & Crispy for a scrumptious dinner at Don Pablos where the kids were entertained by a waiter-magician. Crispy was super impressed when the guy pulled his magic ring from behind Crispy's ear. A very cold 30 minutes at a park by my parents' house, a baby choking on his own lungs, a few potty breaks at Grandma's house, then back on the road leading to home in the driveway at 10pm. Back to reality early tomorrow morning........*Sigh*