Sunday, May 30, 2010

My New Favorite Holiday

Memorial Day.
When the boys were little, it was a day of marching as young Cub Scouts in the Memorial Day parade, through the calm streets of New Brighton to the cemetery just blocks from our home where a touching prayer service was held. For the first time, the day held real meaning for me as we took part in these events, and in our hearts, honored those who have sacrificed themselves all for us to enjoy the freedoms we do so today.

Memorial Day continues to hold meaning for our family as we continue to participate in our present city's Memorial Day events. A smaller parade perhaps, but the messages and service held in the city park are moving, thoughtful, reflective, and prayerful. Veterans stand at attention. Flags wave gently in the soft breeze. As we listen in the shade of the trees, my little ones snuggled safely in the laps of their Grandparents, I am struck with pride as the band strikes up for the 4th time this morning.....holding their heads high, every member at perfect attention, and with all the precision of a group of well trained soldiers. They play another beautiful tune, oozing with patriotism. Music so perfectly matched to the occasion. The morning sunshine dances across the brass bells. I wish I had a tissue, for the tears that appear to be welling up......

It is the Waconia Marching Band. Quite possibly the most well-respected marching band in the state. My oldest son Alex, has been a part of this fine organization for 4 years. This year, our second son, Michael has joined the regal ranks. And as always, the group is once again amazing.

After the service, the band files in line to take their first march down the street, playing the music revolving around the new season. As spectators and fans, it is our first glimpse at what our summer season will look like. At the beginning of each season, it seems as though to top the previous season's unparalleled success would be an impossibility. Yet year after year, the music changes, the theme entirely new, and the show goes through the roof. We simply can not help ourselves but to follow them from parade to parade, all over the state of Minnesota, cheering them on, and watching them bring such joy to onlookers all over. The multiple awards that our band brings home time and again are nice, but nothing compares to experiencing the show in a slightly different way each and every time they perform. Just can't quite explain've got to experience it to understand. Or maybe we are just crazy. Well, us, and a whole bunch of other parents and fans who follow these guys all over tarnation just as we do. I tell you, this marching band thing is a whole 'nother wonderful world. And we are hooked.

So, while I still appreciate Memorial Day for it's rightful reasons, I have a heightened excitement for it these days as well. It is the official start of Marching Band Stalking Season.....the BEST season in Minnesota!

(.......and the BBQ is pretty good, too!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

18 Years and Counting

In the beginning, there was just Bob and I. We met on a "blind date" back when I was only 14 years old. A "date" describes it very loosely, as it comprised of merely watching the movie "Footloose" with a group of us in the living room of my dear friend Tracey's house during a regular family get-together. Bob knew immediately that I was "the one". For me, it took another 4 years for me to come around to an idea like that.
Twenty-six years and 8 kids later, we find ourselves back at "Footloose" again. This time at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater, celebrating our 18th Wedding Anniversary. Only having been out a handful of times to celebrate over the years, this one was about as good as can be. The show was fantastic.....I'd recommend anyone to see it if you get the chance. The kids had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa at home, and we enjoyed a very VERY rare evening away with no chldren at all to accompany us.

18 The things we have been through, the moments we have shared, the memories made, the life lessons learned, and the journey God has laid before us is exciting, to say the least. Whatever could be in store for the next 18 years? We shall see!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wait for It.......

After 6 years of crying,


and begging some more,

our wait is finally over.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Absolutely Lovely

.........need I say more?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baby's 1st Birthday

My baby turned One.

turned ONE.

Bethany got to celebrate her birthday by going to dance class....

and spending the beautiful morning at a soccer game......

and of course, riding in her car seat....
....quite a bit.
After a good nap, she awoke to a party!
A party in her honor.Because, afterall, you only turn one once.
That's pretty special.

She's pretty special.

And to quote my dad, "For the first time in a long time, there is no news of a new baby replacing the old baby." Yep. And for the first time in forever, I am very OK with that.
We were blessed to have family and friends come to celebrate this fine occasion with us.
It was a perfect day.
A perfect day to celebrate the blessings God has bestowed upon us.

The unique (and challenging) child He has entrusted to us.

And the people He has placed in our lives who we are so thankful for who support us along life's wonderous journey.

Bethany seemed to undergo an amazing transformation upon her birthday moment. Her demeanor seemed to change from the moment we sang "Happy Birthday" to her at precisely 2:53pm. It was like she finally realized that she was OK, and didn't have to take life so seriously anymore. For the rest of the party, she was cheerful. Silly. And engaged in the attention given her. Still not quite friendly enough to go to anyone besides Mommy, but at least willing to smile at people. And batt at them with her pretty, blue eyes.
It's been such a tough year.....the toughest I have been through so far. Even tougher than the daily therapies gone through with Melissa, or the daily respiratory crisis overcome with Laura. I feel exhausted, and quite drained. Mentally beaten by this tiny little girl. So it was nice to enjoy this perfect day, celebrating all the positives of Bethany. Because, God DID make her perfectly, you know! And if we have learned anything from parenting over the last 17 years, it is always best to just let God do His thing!
Happy 1st Birthday, Bethany!