Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Hot Blooded Brood

The weather has been simply outstanding all month. Temperatures have been in the 60's lately, and I can't even remember the last time we saw snow. We have been loving this. And the kids have been begging to play in the water. They have been begging me for days now. Since the thermostat hit 58 degrees a few days ago. They now think it is perfectly fine to take a dip in the pool. After all, in Minnesota, 58 degrees in March is HOT.

I have been putting it off for awhile, much to the disappointment of all of them. But I did promise them that they could wash the cars on Wednesday when it would be reaching about 70 degrees.
Well, those little kids didn't miss a beat. They ran home from the bus Wednesday afternoon, did their homework in record time, and were out the door in swim suits before one could barely utter "Hello." Working together, they hooked up the hose, found buckets, cloths, sponges, soap, and were off to work, using lots of relatively cold water on this supposedly hot day.
They were in bliss. Seriously happy. All of them just giddy to be playing in the water.

The other neighborhood kids looked on sadly, unable to play. Because all the other respectable neighborhood moms are intelligent enough to recognize that it was not, in fact, warm enough to be running around in swim suits until sunset, soaked from head to toe. And for their kids, I would agree.
But my kids seem to have inherited my broken internal thermostat that puts 73 degrees right up there with the world's hottest survivable temps on record. No kidding. A day like today may be breezy and cool to the rest of the world. But to my kids and I, if it gets any warmer, we will have to lock ourselves into our air conditioned home and see you all again in October when the weather becomes more reasonable again.

So play today, we must do. As our summer season is naturally short in this part of our country. But for us hot blooded folk, the number of comfortable, playable days is significantly shorter.

(Still pining for Alaska......perhaps someday........)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting to Know Alex

Alex is such an independent type. Perhaps it is his personality. Perhaps it is because he is a bona fide genius. Perhaps it is necessary when you are part of such a large family. Perhaps it is due to a combination of all these things. Or maybe due to none of them. Or maybe there is no connection with his independence to anything other than God's own purposes. Who knows. I guess it doesn't really matter. I just needed a segway into this blog post, I suppose.

Alex has been heavily involved in his youth group for a few years now. However, it is a youth group at a different church....not our "home" church. Up until recently, Alex has been attending "our" church in the mornings with the kids and I over at Westwood, and then going to youth group at "his" church in the evenings. But this fall, he joined a Bible Quizzing team at Parkside, "his" church, and has been attending there full-time, without us, ever since. Completely understanding and supporting his decision to do as such (and believing it to be the right decision for him as well!), I do miss him greatly on Sunday mornings.

Bible Quizzing is difficult to explain. Teams are developed, and one or two whole books of the Bible are memorized and studied by the participants throughout the Quizzing season. Quiz meets are held in a variety of different churches throughout the world. Questions are asked, and participants must "jump" to be the first to answer. This is accomplished by using pressure sensitive seating that electronically indicates who has left their seat first. Points are accrued by correct answers. But everyone is cheered on. Even those with the wrong answers. It is the most supportive competitive event I have ever witnessed.
One of the biggest meets in Minnesota was an invitational held at Crown College last month. Parents and family are apparently welcome to attend these meets, but that was news to us. We were "uninvited" until a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a woman in Alex's group who personally invited us to attend the next meet to be held at Parkside. I guess Alex has shown up as the only family-less participant a few times....not by our neglect, but because our son never invited us. *sniff*

Both Bob and I were able to escape the house to watch Alex for a little while. (thank you, Jonny for babysitting everyone!) It was quite interesting. It was fast paced, enlightening, and actually, kind of stressful. Bob said it was totally something he could have seen himself doing when he was a teen. Me? No way.....there was far too much stress and pressure up there for me, even with all the supportive high fives and hugs flying all over the stage. It was really great to see Alex in action. And to see him answer the questions correctly and so quickly!

On Sunday morning, I made the snap decision to attend Alex's church with the middle kids for the Palm Sunday service. Being a small church, it was lacking the full choir, palm procession involving hundreds of children, and heightened energy that goes along with being at Westwood. But this church had what mattered: a congregation filled with Bible believing, loving, Christian families, with a convicting sermon from a God-fearing pastor who has been called to share his wisdom in truth in very compelling and thought provoking words: To live completely and thoroughly following Jesus as KING of our entire life. His message was deep. Mind bending. Convicting. Essential. Thought provoking. Hearty. Real. Live. Truth.

Wow. Well, I am so happy to know that Alex is being well fed there at Parkside. There was enough in today's sermon to digest all week long.

After the service, we met several people who gushed about Alex and what an attribute he is to youth group and as a leader in ministry. God has big plans for Alex...for sure. People there LOVE him, and know him by name (unlike at our huge church). People socialize in the entry after services. Kids run around. Everyone is quick to share smiles and stories. I can see why Alex likes it there. And I am so thankful that they all have taken such good care of him over the years.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

See You Later Alligator

Little Laura had her dancing debut today! Though not quite ready at full recital standards, her little dance class was invited to perform at the Ridgeview Health Fair held at our community center today. They took this opportunity as a dress rehearsal of sorts. What a great idea to get the stage fright out before the actual show.

Laura stated that she was a little nervous, but she was excited too. Never having actually performed in a dance setting before, she did remarkably well! They were all so cute in their fancy costumes, and all those little girls appeared to enjoy feeling so special in their sparkly get-ups.

We all watched enthusiastically as each group performed. From the tiniest little 4 year olds, to the award winning teens. Laura was placed in a position opposite her usual spot in the routine, and did her best to find the right places to be when necessary. She did not appear to be flustered or shy....she just did what she could in the situation dealt her. Being typically a shy girl in unfamiliar settings such as this, she did fabulously. I was quite proud of her! I think it also helped that she had quite a cheering section filled with a few siblings, as well as Grandma ? and Lyle. Looking forward to the official recital in May!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Monthly Poker Party

I honestly do not know how it began, but begin it did somehow. What went from a fun little way to pass the time while up in Duluth, has grown 5 heads and 10 feet, taking on a life of it's own in the Zajac family world. Poker at home. Poker away. Poker online. Poker all night. Poker all day. The scary thing is, some of them have gotten quite good at it. So good, that talks have ensued about entering those poker tournaments you see on cable channels. And I think there exists a real possibility that a few of them could actually make it into one.
But for now, they will just have to settle for the monthly Poker Family Gatherings. Once a month, since the beginning of the year, we have gotten together for dinner, treats, and poker. Though not a die hard fan of it myself (it really takes too long, and goes on and on....I imagine all the other productive things I could be getting done in those 4-8 hour spans of time), it has been very nice to have the family connections and time together.

This month, we were also celebrating Grandpa Z's birthday. He came all the way down from Duluth to participate. That is so nice of him to do. We have such few opportunities to head up there unlike when the boys were little and we visited 4-6 times per year. Last year, we almost didn't make it up at all! So sad that time gets so busy and almost "stolen" from us these days. Something needs to change, and change very soon....before our big boys are gone for good. These monthly gatherings are one step in the right direction. Oh wait, scratch that. The big boys hate poker and don't even come to these things. *sigh*
So, after making an extremely brief showing at Crispy's end-of-year hockey party, we grabbed his trophy, and met up with the rest of the family and Uncle Billy's house. We ate good food, had some good laughs, and played some good poker. I find it so humorous that on nights that I really don't feel like playing (like tonight), I end up playing til the bitter taking second this evening. 4 hours of playing...yeesh. The little kids are always so bored and I feel bad for them. If we continue to keep this up, we need to develop a plan for them so that they are having fun too.

Jonny had fun...he narrowly beat out Grandma ? towards the end, and ended up taking first place! Hooray for him! The birthday boy was not quite so lucky.....he was one of the first ones out and had to spend the night watching everyone else play. Poor guy. Happy Birthday, Gramps!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That's a Wrap!

As exciting as it is to us, I will spare you the same hockey drivel I continue to speak of over and over again(how much more redundant can I get in one sentence??). Instead, I will simply leave a smattering of pictures from Michael's final hockey banquet. This year's event was held at Dahlgren's Golf Course in Chaska. We had the best tomato bisque ever with a fancy candied pecan salad, followed by some marvelous Italian pasta dishes. The hockey boys had plenty of laughs and good natured humor at directed at themselves and the coaches throughout the evening. It was a really, really, nice time.

Cute kids:
Cute husband:

Good-looking bunch of hockey dudes, too cool to smile:

A group of best friends and their favorite coach:
Awesome trophies:
But, it wasn't all fun and games.....
....somebody cute was working hard at practicing her crawling!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beginning to Look Like Spring

As much as I love Winter, and was a bit sad to see it leave so abnormally quickly this year, It's beginning to look a lot like Spring around here:
And for eveyone else, that's a very good thing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Miami Cousins

We really had such a fun week with our Floridian relatives. Though we may be recovering for yet a few more days from all the bustle and activity, we are already anticipating their return at Christmas.

Laura and Abi get along so well. They are almost like two peas in a pod. They loved every moment together, both of them chatting it up constantly. Ever since they were babies, they seem to go through similar stages almost identically. Perhaps it is because Abi was born on Laura's due date........(Laura was 8 weeks early).......but they have been deemed "twin cousins" since the beginning. Abi is also the only family member that Laura resembles. Otherwise, she hardly looks like she belongs to us at all!

Lucas, my sweet little Godson, is a little bundle of life's happiness rolled into a little boy's frame. His smile is contagious, his energy invigorating, and his heart just so sweet. He took a severe liking to Crispy, and the other big boys as well. I think it is simply adorable how he looked up to those boys with such wide eyes of admiration. And my oh my, does he give the best hugs!

The youngest, Matthew, is another sweetheart. Quite sick while he was here, his smiles were still plentiful. The quiet, silent type, so calm, and thoughtful. He took a liking to Bethany right away, and was so helpful with her each day we were together. Bethany was enamored with him as well.....and that is quite a compliment, coming from such an unfriendly little baby that she is.

Our time was so short, and we miss them already. Though separated by so many miles and months, all that distance seems to instantly disappear when we are together again.

Thank you so much for visiting, you guys! We love you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mission Accomplished