Photos from the party

As promised -here are photos of Ginny’s Birthday Party.

And for those who don’t do the youtube thing.  Here are a few single pictures from the event.

We played this fun game where one person has to guard the treasure chest full of party favors and other people have to try to steal them…without getting caught.  The catch of course is that the guard is blindfolded and only has two pillows as ammunition to throw at the interlopers.

Stephen guarding the "treasure"

Stephen guarding the "treasure"

Ginny...approaching the treasure

Ginny...approaching the treasure

Everyone played.  If you tried to grab treasure and got caught, it became your turn to guard.  Loads of fun and works well even in a confined space.  What makes this game non-dangerous even for little kids is that the squishy pillows we used were thrown at the interlopers.  Never used to HIT.  so no one gets hurt.

Then we brought out the cake.  The full video of that is on my previous post, but there are also slides in the slide show (above) that weren’t in the video that you need to see.  I think this is my favorite.

sharing the cake

sharing the cake

Or maybe this one where she is offering cake to anyone else who might want some.

cake anyone?

cake anyone?

Ginny voluntarily fed me, my mom and Martin handfulls of her cake.  And then started offering cake to anyone end everyone.  Oddly enough there were no takers.  I just don’t understand why!

After cake, Ginny was taken away to be bathed.

Proud Papa & sugar-stuffed baby

Proud Papa & sugar-stuffed baby

While Ginny was being bathed, the rest of the party goers helped themselves to cake and we played pictionary.  then Ginny returned, cleaned and with a bow on.  Ready to demolish wrapping paper.

clean Ginny. complete with bow.

clean Ginny. complete with bow.

Before you see a photo of all the presents I have to say something.  Most of you know that my husband lost his job. Actually his entire department at our university was cut.  So we are currently on a very tight budget.  Knowing that, the following pictures may seem somewhat shocking in their…um…excess.  The truth of the matter is that we bought most of this stuff spread out over the last 12 months.  As we saw stuff on sale that would fit Ginny later in life…we bought it.  Then about a week ago I started pulling it all out of the various hiding places and wrapping it…and oh wow had it added up to a mound of  STUFF!  then you add the gifts that our guests brought and the whole pile just looks positively obscene.

Honestly, she is not as spoiled as this.  I promise.

Now swear to respect me in the morning and I’ll show you the photo.

are you ready?

okay.

here goes.

Ginny's pile of loot

Ginny's pile of loot

Like I said, obscene isn’t it?

She spent a long time opening presents (including stuff from her birth-family whom we love!!!!), playing with stuff, reading cards, and giving hugs.

Eventually the last guest was gone and it was time for the bedtime ritual with daddy…..

brush teeth and say "good night!"

brush teeth and say "good night!"

Good night my sweet baby girl.

May God bless you, all your days.

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heading back

okay, actually I’m already back.

The event was good.  Nothing earth shatteringly great or disastrously dangerous …or frankly anything easy to write about.

and there is something else on my mind anyway

I’m currently working on a memory verse

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing”
I Peter 3:9

Now read the following excerpt from Beth Moore about this very verse

Here’s part of what makes this special. The New Testament translates two primary Greek words as forms of “bless” or “blessed.” One of them (lexical “makarios”) describes a state of being. A resultant condition, so to speak, like those described in the Beatitudes and in many other parts of the NT in reference to those who belong to God through Christ. It basically means to live in the face (coram Deo) and favor of God. The second one (lexical “eulogia”/”eulogeo”) is the conferring or speaking of blessing. As my NT Lexical Aids say, it means “to confer blessing upon, call down divine favor…” The former is a state of being. A beautiful thing indeed. The latter is blessing spoken. Also a beautiful thing, especially for those of us to whom words are a primary love language. It is this latter word for blessing – the one that involves something spoken – that is used in 1 Peter 3:9. The gist of the exhortation, restated from God’s point of view, is this:

“When you use your mouth to bless those who have insulted you or spoken evil to you, I, Myself, will speak blessing over you that you will receive as part of your inheritance.”

When we speak blessings over others who were HARD to bless, He speaks blessing over us. And, let’s admit it, sometimes we’re hard to bless, too.

We’re going to get plenty of opportunities to practice this spiritual discipline because, as the verse clearly states, TO THIS WE WERE CALLED. We were called to manifest the Spirit of Christ through our words when someone insults us. It’s a hard part of the high calling of God but to this we were called SO THAT we may inherit a blessing.

What hit me this morning was not just that we need to bless everyone all the time and pay special attention to making sure to grit our teeth and bless those who make our lives rough, but that we should be thankful for the very people who are driving us nuts.

I actually hit myself a little too fast with this this morning, so I’ll slow it down.

When someone insults me, or tries to be evil to me it is a God given investment opportunity.  If I bless them….. out loud.    If I pray down genuine blessings on them, I will not only be heaping up rewards in heaven, but I will be heaping kindnesses on them.  Ever tried to bless someone and be nasty to them at the same time?  nope.  Can’t be done.

There’s also the immediate result of a lowering of my blood pressure,  my temper and a savings of tooth enamel as well.  All of which are, let’s face it, instant blessings.

Okay, now that that’s done, I can give you a run down on Gulf Wars 18.

We drove all night Thursday, arrived Friday morning, set up a shade tent, rolled out a carpet, surrounded the carpet with tubs and placed Ginny and her toys in the middle of it.  I swear this was the most fun she had all week.  She loved it.  It was basically a huge baby-safe play-pen just for her.  Total delight.

2009-gulf-wars-18-004Unfortunately we had to use that particular tent later as a dining room so Ginny didn’t get to keep her makeshift play-yard for more than a day.  But I am going to have to consider something like that for any future camping trips.  …….

Knowing my luck though, by the time we take her camping again she will be old enough to escape from that and I’ll have to try harder to make it work.

The big headache for me about Gulf, that I simply did not foresee, is that the ground is mostly dirt – not grass – so I didn’t feel safe setting Ginny down in dirt.  Actually it was mud as after the first day of sunshine it decided to rain non-stop for three days.  But even once the sun came out and I went looking for a patch of grass to go play with her in it became abundantly clear to me just how many fire ant mounds there were.  There was simply not a square foot of space that I felt safe about letter her down.

This did not sit well with Ginny who REALLY wanted to get down a play.

Especially when the other folks arrived in camp.  One of those other folks is Solvi, the baby from last year’s camp.  Solvi is 11 months older than Ginny and they cottoned to each other immediately.  I could count on Solvi bringing out the sun for Ginny if she was upset.  My child turned into an instant giggle box every single time she glimpsed Solvi toddling around camp.

Fortunately Solvi was very interested in Ginny too, so they played together pretty well.  Ginny occasionally grabbed handfulls of Solvi’s hair, but she does that to everyone right now.  We managed to keep things from getting out of control.  The girls even danced together.  Okay, they held hands, standing up and bounced.  Someone in camp got pictures of it and as soon as they send them to me I’ll post them.

The big achievement of Ginny’s was that she got snuffled by a horse.  She loved it and giggled the whole time.  Actually it was kind of an achievement for me too, as I previously would not have thought that I would let a strange horse sniff my baby girl’s head!  But, encouraged by Solveig and Solvi, I did it.  Unfortunately no one got a photo, but I will always remember it.

Ginny looked very cute in her medieval clothing, but we learned a valuable lesson: don’t pack for a major event during severe weather.  We had done most of our packing during the freak snow storm that Atlanta got a few weeks ago and it ……influenced our packing.  We discovered that we had brought almost no clothing suitable for warm weather, only lots of thick stuff suitable for cold weather wear.

Consequently Ginny only had fleece outfits that were in a medieval style, so we don’t have many photos of her in garb.  But what we have I shall now post for your enjoyment.

a viking apron and hat

a viking apron and hat

despite the look in the previous shot, she really did enjoy the outfit

despite the look in the previous shot, she really did enjoy the outfit

it was even comfy enough to nap in

it was even comfy enough to nap in

I love this shot.  It looks like she is asking for someone to re-fill a glass or something.

normal baby outfit...and pose

normal baby outfit...and pose

This is actually how Ginny spend most of the war.  In a onesie and asleep.  What with the heat, and teething and growing and such she ate more than ever and slept a whole lot.

We are very blessed.  We are also happy to be back home.  Ginny’s face lit up when she looked around her nursery at home.  I could look into her face and actually watch her recognize objects.  Her smile grew and grew as she realized the concept of HOME.

I think she thought we had left it forever.

update on Ginny’s RSV

okay, we saw the doctor Wednesday and she said that Ginny was very very much improved and that she is gonna be fine.

the big thing now is to keep from re-infecting her, or adding any new infection on top of the one she has just fought off.

So Martin and I are sort of in a limited version of quarantine.  There is a certain amount of danger in that we are both still in work environments where we can’t control the state of the people we interact with all day.  But we try to mitigate that by hand washing and such.  the radical change in our lives is that we aren’t allowed to take Ginny to any of our usual places.  We can’t take her grocery shopping, or go out to eat with her (restaurants ARE her favorite place to sleep you will recall), or bring her to choir, or even church. Our friends are all convinced that we have dropped off the face of the earth.

But really, we are still here.  We are just living in a “very quiet style”

Continued prayers are appreciated.  My mom also got RSV because she is older and has already weakened lungs.  So it hit her kinda hard.   The timing was such that we don’t know if she gave it to Ginny, or if Ginny gave it to Grammy.  It really doesn’t matter.  But she too is feeling much better now.

rats

with all apologies to Remy (of Ratatouille) and Karen’s daughter over at “surviving motherhood”

I Don’t Like Rats

And now, through no fault of my own I have an attic full of them.

But before you judge me or my housekeeping skills, let me assure you that the professionals said this is NOT an issue of how clean we keep our house. Unlike bugs, rats (apparently) do NOT eat the food in your house. They do their shopping out of doors, at night. They just use your attic (and all that fluffy insulation) for a nice secure nest.

I pride myself on being a good hostess, but not to rats. ick!

This whole thing has just turned my stomach.

The first clue was a horrid smell when one of the little beasties died in the attic. Martin got rid of it quickly, but in the process we discovered that we needed a professional. Most houses (unless you live in an impregnable castle made of metal) are built with a certain amount of easy access to pests. It’s just the nature of how America builds houses these days. So the professionals have to come and basically armor the house (close all the rat-sized doorways) then make all the others leave (before they expire inside) and to keep them from coming back EVER.

I’m still a bit creeped out by the whole thing.

Anyway, I was debating whether my blog should be a sanitized version of my life, or an accurate reflection of my life and my experiences.   And therefore whether or not to post anything at all about this, cause I know it is going to seriously bring me down in the eyes of some of my readers (all four of you).

But there is a temporal lesson to be learned here: get your house armored against rodent type pests BEFORE you notice any evidence of them. You REALLY don’t want to have to go through what I’ve been through the last few days.  The money is NOTHING compared to the humiliation and stigma attached to having to tell your boss that you need the day off to deal with a rat infestation in your attic.

Then I started thinking about how there is also a spiritual lesson in this. Sometimes, no matter how clean we keep our spirit, rats do enter our lives. We are just built that way. Like our homes, we are not impregnable castles, but GOD can protect us. Ask HIM, everyday to keep the rats out of your life………the four legged fuzzy ones as well as the two legged slimy type.

proud, happy and thrilled

Pride is a sin, naturally. We are not to be proud in ourselves. Our initial situations and physical characteristics are an accident of birth, so nothing to be proud of.

But I do think that when we put in hard work and accomplish a goal, we should be proud of that.

This past weekend, Martin and I conquered something that we’ve been needing to deal with for over three years.

It was a mess. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the mess. Seriously, Trust me, it was a complete disaster area.

Clearing the mess involved setting up FIVE banquet sized tables for help with the sorting. At one point we had to go the store and buy more storage containers. From beginning to end it took from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. !!!! That’s a ELEVEN HOUR DAY….on a Saturday !

We had fun in the process though. A chore that I had been dreading for years became a fun time with my hubby. It helps that he loves to organize things just as much as I do.

This is a photo of him sorting through the final two piles of stuff that came out of the pantry. (btw, I detest that light fixture. Anybody want it?)

martin organizing

But here is the finished product after a hard day’s work on Saturday:

pantry

and yes. Every single container is labeled. Now I can figure out what additional items I need at the store just by looking at the levels in each nice clear container. For instance…..right now we are low on cornflakes.

I’m so proud of us.

zoom zoom zoom

you know the Mazda commercial? the zoomzoomzoom ones? Well I’ve decided to re-name my cat.

or at least to name her “welcome home” personality.

When we get home in the evenings she has a routine.

First Kenya comes tearing down the steps and stops at about eye level and meows till her daddy picks her up.  It must be Daddy. Mommy is not simply good enough.  She will accept me as a decent substitute but if he is anywhere within sight, she wants her Daddy.

Then after about 4 minutes perched on daddy’s chest/shoulder (during which poor Martin can get nothing done….unless it’s one handed) she starts to get squirmy. He lets her down.

Next, she goes exploring through the house. Why? to see if we dropped off any kitty treats? I’m not sure. But this is definitely part of the routine.

After a few minutes of patrolling the house, she comes back to daddy and wants back up. But this time the “request” is made with cute little chirrups and mews. She is REALLY good at the cute little chirrups.

This gets repeated ad naseum as long as we are on the main floor. When we go up to the master bedroom though, things change.

She MUST dash up the steps ahead of us. Then she spends the next 7 minutes running at full tilt from room to room and up furniture and over people……chirruping all the way.

This is the point at which I want to rename her: Mazda Kat

zoomzoom!

very cool valentines present

I just found out what my Valentines present is this year.

It’s really really cool.

It’s a new Fridge ! (ice box, refrigerator, ice cream storage device, or – my mom’s favorite- the piano*)

See? I told you it was cool. I’m so thrilled. Really.

It’s the new French door style with the freezer on the bottom and it’s stainless steel and I got to pick it out myself.

I am, apparently, really really super picky about fridges. I wouldn’t have thought I would be, but I kept looking and looking and looking. I’d open one after another and say “Nope. Nope, not this one, let’s keep looking.”

When I finally opened this one I said “Yes, this is it. I’m home.”

Martin came over and looked at it and immediately got all logical and male on me and wanted to know WHAT it was about this one in particular that felt “right” to me. As opposed to others with “exactly the same features”

Heavens, I DON’T know. All I know is that standing in front of it, with the doors open,………..it feels right.

So. That’s it. It’s been ordered and should arrive tomorrow or Thursday. Yipee!

Now, what should I get for HIM for Valentines? Fridge magnets maybe? Any suggestions?

*Yes, my mom regularly confuses the names of large objects.  Our two family favorites are when she waves at the musical instrument and calls it the fridge and when she asks you to get the Jello out of the piano.  The first time she did it I laughed till I cried.