Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Honor Flight

This week we have gotten up and out the door early 2 different days, which is surely a record for us!  Saturday we were out in Purcellville at 8:00 AM for a 5K supporting the pHC alumni and IJM, an organization that works to stop human trafficking and slavery.  (The head of it was Nathan's 8th grade football coach, so we feel a particular tie to IJM!)  Anyhow, Nathan and Luke ran the 5K, and the rest of us walked/jogged/rode in a 1 mile "Fun Run".  It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time! 

So when a few days later one of Nathan's CAP leaders sent out an email stating they needed people to volunteer to meet an Honor Flight Wednesday morning that was arriving at 8:50, I was flush with early-morning success and said we'd go.  This meant we had to be at Dulles at 7:50, which was a stretch, but we did it!  And it was worth it. 

Honor Flight is an organization that is working to get as many WWII veterans to DC to visit the WWII memorial.  The organization has a fascinating history, which you can read about in the link.  They started in Dayton, with the Wright-Pat aero club!  I didn't know that before!  World War II vets are dying at an average of 800 a day, so time is running out, but by the end of 2012, more than 98,500 vets had made the trip.

There is a group of people who work to make sure that each one of these flights are greeted by cheering people, showing these vets how much we appreciate their sacrifice and service.  They have the routine down, with the gate decorated with bunting, patriotic music playing, flags to hand out to people like us, and so on.  As the plane rolled up to the gate, 2 firetrucks saluted by spraying water over the plane in 2 arcs.  You totally can't see it in this picture, but it was really neat. 

When we first got there, there were not too many people, but more and more showed up, so by the end it was a good show.  My friend Lynnea and her girls were there too.
I would say there were about 70 vets, and maybe 30 "guardians" who travel with them.  I have to say those vets were in great shape!  Most of them walked off the plane--there were only a few in wheelchairs!  The plane was from St. Cloud, MN. 

The vets were moved when they came off the plane and saw all the people and heard all the applause and cheering.  I definitely saw some tears!  It was really special.  They liked seeing the kids, especially Micah and Drew.  Micah was a pro hand-shaker, which was good, since I wasn't sure how he would react.  We followed the vets out to the baggage claim.  They were waiting for tour buses to take them downtown, and we could have stayed and cheered them off, but the buses weren't actually there yet.  As the little people were starting to break down, I thought it was best to leave on a high note and make a clean getaway, LOL.  But we are planning to come back and do it again.  The CAP guy emailed us the year's schedule, and there are a lot of flights coming in.  It was a great way to show honor and gratitude to an inspiring group of men. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Micah!

Micah turned 2 on Tuesday, and we celebrated with a little party after lunch at Rivendell!  As you can see by his somewhat overwhelmed and confused look, this party was a complete surprise, LOL.  I had made the cake Monday, frosting it after he went to bed, and I stored it on top of the washer in the laundry room.  I have to drop the middle kids off at TNT on Tuesday mornings, and I've just been leaving Faith, Micah and Drew here with Nathan and Luke, who are doing literature.  Our lit teacher brings her young kdis as well, so they all play together, but I figured the less they knew about a cake, the less trouble they would get into while I was gone. 
So after the middle kids all arrived back at our house after TNT, I called everyone in from playing on the trampoline (because wouldn't you know it, as they were walking in, I had just started nursing Drew, so they all escaped outside to play).  Micah was none to happy about having to come inside, and he was definitely taken aback when I put him in a chair, plopped a giant Bob and Larry VeggieTale cake in front of him, lit 2 candles, and then we all started singing, LOL.
Once Micah got a slice a slice of cake, he cheered up, however.  We've been working on holding up 2 fingers, but he still hasn't quite gotten it by himself.  My friend Kimberly's daughter holds up the first finger on each hand, which I think is brilliant, but Micah hasn't picked up on that either, LOL.

After Rivendell was done, and we got Nathan off to CAP (Luke decided to skip), we had ice cream, and Micah opened his presents.  Fortunately my mom and dad got him a cute plate set and a new Cars towel, along with some little toy cars, because I had a really hard time thinking of anything at all to give him.  I did pick up this little twirly thing that lights up, and he loves that, but I knew he would--a year or 2 ago, Jane and Terry bought the girls similar things at Idlewild, and they just loved them.  So when I saw one at Walmart, I just grabbed it.  Otherwise, what do you really get the 5th boy?!  I am not too ashamed to admit I went "shopping" in our basement, and I pulled out a huge Little People road/town thing where the road spins around in a circle.  I think we bought it for either Nathan and Luke, but I put it away awhile ago because it takes up so much room.  I can safely say Micah has never seen this thing before in his life!  Hopefully "gifts" will not be Micah's love language . . .

So Micah is now 2, but he has thought of himself as at least 2 since Drew was born.  He has given up his afternoon nap, except for the odd day where he falls asleep on the floor before I can get dinner on the table.  He can get in and out of his crib by himself, so I put one of those doorknob covers on so he couldn't get out of his room.  He got that off and hid the 2 pieces, but I put another one on, and he's not been so successful at removing that.  But that was when I decided to give up on naps and go with earlier bedtimes, and it's been awhile now.  He no longer sits in the high chair, and he drinks from a regular kids cup.  He jumps on the trampoline like a pro, and he just generally acts like he is much older than he is!  His new favorite thing is his pair of crocs, which I bought for him a week or 2 ago.  He loves those things and calls them his "bye-byes".  And since being outside ("bye-bye") is his most favorite thing, it makes sense he would always want them on! 

I should have height/weight stats, but alas, I haven't scheduled a 2 year well-baby appointment for him (or a 4 month well-baby for Drew, which should have happened around March 30.  Oops!).  At least he is finally talking  lot more.  I think that helps with his frustration levels, althoughhe can still pitch a mean temper tantrum!  Unfortunately for him, I have been around this bend before, so his tactics are not very effective, LOL.  He's a lot of fun to have around, and he gives really sweet kisses and snuggles.  Who can resist a little boy with a fuzzy blue blanket, sucking his thumb?  It's still so cute at 2!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Bye-Bye, Spring Break!

We had an absolutely wonderful spring break this year. It was refreshing AND I felt like we got some things accomplished.

I already talked about the cleaning I did in the study.  I also did manage to get that crazy kitchen desk and counter clean as well.  One reason I was able to get so much cleaning done was because kids were elsewhere several days.

On Monday, Bob took Nathan, Jonathan, and Anna skiing in PA.  Hidden Valley had tons of fresh powder, and best of all, the usual great deal of lift ticket, ski rental, and lesson was even cheaper--only $25!  They had a grand time.  This was Anna's first time skiing, and she really enjoyed it!  She is looking forward to next season already!

Monday I was able to have a massage, which was the most wonderful thing ever.  My shoulders get so tense with nursing!  My chiropractic office hired a new massage therapist, so they were offering $20 off specials, and I grabbed one of those.  If I am ever independently wealthy, I plan on having weekly massages!  I just felt like I was floating around the rest of the day.  Ahhh . . .  When I made the appointment, I thought all 4 boys were going, so I arranged to have the younger kids go to Christine's during the appointment.  But then Luke and Caleb stayed home, so I left Micah and Drew at home, but still dropped Grace and Faith over there to play.  We brought their snow stuff, since it finally even snowed here in DC, and they had a ball.  In fact, they stayed over there all day long, which was sooo nice for me, as far as getting stuff done!  No wonder I was so productive Monday!

Tuesday we rejoiced that we didn't have Rivendell and TNT, but Nathan, Luke, and Caleb were still up and going early.  Each boy has to plan a field trip relating to history this year, and Caleb McC arranged a tour of Lincoln's Cottage downtown.  The 3 older boys were picked up and whisked away at 9:00.  The tour was really good, everyone agreed.  The lady was knowledgeable and engaging, and they even had some role-playing, where each boy was assigned to be a member of Lincoln's cabinet.  It really fit right in with everything they have been learning this year.  Then they ate a picnic lunch and headed to the Mall for the rest of the day.  They visited the Museum of Natural History, as well as the National Gallery of Art.  Then they finished up with dinner in the food court at Union Station, including gelato!  Emily, the sole girl who is actually *here* (as opposed to in Hawaii!), was celebrating her 15th birthday that day, so it was a fun time!  The boys came home tired, but happy.

Wednesday morning, Nathan and I went out to Chik-Fil-A for breakfast, and then we did some driving around the Sams parking lot.  That was really fun!  Nathan even parked at Walmart, since we had to run in and return some shorts that were too big.  He did great!  Now we just need to fit driving into our schedule on a regular basis!

Thursday we had a playdate at Lynnea's, and of course we celebrated Anna's birthday.  Friday we started getting back in the routine of school, unfortunately.  I finally got all the testing stuff together so Bob could take the order in and mail it.  Glad to get that done!  Luke and I stopped by the library to pick up a book, and I asked at the front desk if anyone had turned in a cell phone.  Bob actually lost his cell phone in the library parking lot Sunday evening, right around closing.  This was the 3rd of the cell phones we got one year ago on St. Patrick's Day.  The other 2 were fried, and we were definitely thinking that our Costco phones were jinxed or something, LOL.  I had stopped in earlier in the week and also called a few times, but no one had turned in a phone.  But amazingly, when I asked on Friday, the lady came back out with Bob's phone!  We were so surprised!  Thank you, Lord!

Saturday was a beautiful day, weather-wise.  Bob and I went for a walk after breakfast, and he said he thought he would assemble the new trampoline!  Our old one we got from our German neighbors 3 years ago when they were moving.  It has been used very faithfully since then, and it was very, very saggy.  So after Thanksgiving we bought a new one during a great sale, but the 2 huge, heavy boxes just sat in our garage, since the weather was not conducive to trampoline-assembling, plus we had no free weekends with basketball.  We knew we needed to get the old one down and the new one up quickly, so our neighbors (who gave us so much grief when we got the old one) would not think we were actually just getting rid of the old one! So we got that old one down in record time, and built the new one!  It is soooo nice.  Bob got it all anchored in, and then last night he put the net from the old trampoline around the bottom of the new trampoline, so that Micah can't walk under it.  The kids are all having a ball bouncing around on the new one.  It is so bouncy!

Now we're back into the routine.  I'm actually just getting ready to teach biology in a few minutes!  But we can do this--only 6 more weeks of Rivendell after this week!!  I can't wait for summer break!