Monday, August 30, 2010

Her kinda party

Jason's dad (aka Buzz), a fair board director for the Allen County Fair, typically gets a meet and greet pass for performers entertaining at the fair's concerts. Over the years, he has generously given away his rights to meet Martina McBride and Montgomery Gentry, among others.

When I asked for his pass to Saturday night's meet and greet with Jason Aldean, I suspect everyone assumed my request stemmed from a desire to check out Aldean's Wranglers up close.

While there's no doubting Wrangler has a reason for promoting their jeans via the country music star's rear, my days of drooling over stars' behinds are long gone. Perhaps age teaches you to appreciate talent over rear ends.

In actuality, the impetus behind my interest was in giving the pass to the only person I'll ever know who could sing the star's hit "Johnny Cash" before she was two. The toddler who asked "What's a Pall Mall?". The kid who can sing along with any one of his songs that comes on the radio.

And, as a mom, there are some things I just know. Like when your father-in-law bestows said pass upon you, you lay low; stick to your guns; and wait to see a smile on a kid's face bigger than even you can imagine.

Alivia's brush with country music stardom put her in the clouds. Apparently she was not so starstruck as to not be able to answer his questions as to what her name is and how old she is. However, the stickered pass she wore was moved from concert clothes to pajamas, and on and off again several times before being retired to the hat bearing the Jason Aldean autograph she scored. Days later she still grins and giggles when talking about her encounter.

While country music's stars come and go, I'm willing to bet Alivia will stay a Jason Aldean fan for the long haul. He'll always be Johnny Cash to her. And, for the record, a platinum artist willing to squat down to have his picture taken with a four-year-old is far sexier than anything Wrangler can slap on his ass.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First day, first grade

A little over seven hours ... that's how long I was without my baby today. Does first grade need to take so much time?

Time that I pined for her (and made homemade cinnamon bread for her). Time that Alivia longed for an Alena altercation (and ended up napping in said missing sister's bed). Time that we watched the clock chew up and spit out until we could go outside in waiting for that big yellow bus to return with her.

All the while, she was having a fantastic time.

The day was rated "super good" by our novice first grader, and there were reports of art class and playgrounds and stories and cafeterias and friends and student planners and buses and administrators ... even the color of their high heels (details, people - details). Her only complaint: there wasn't enough time to eat all of her lunch.

For all the bickering and headbutting we do, I know it all stems from our similarities. We're two of a kind; though, we'd both deny it. And while I talked it up and fake-smile waved as the bus drove away this morning, my heart ached until she returned.

How many days until summer vacation?

*For all my selfish, pitiful whining, I'm well aware we're blessed with a terrific teacher (who, oddly enough, strikingly reminds me of a certain on hiatus fourth grade teacher I know and love) who will teach, nurture and encourage Alena. In the coming weeks, I'll embrace the absence of my first born and recognize it as a learning experience for us both. Until that time, I reserve the right to boohoo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"T" is for Trace (and tractors)

This kid is something else. There's lots and lots wrapped in this little package. He's a hot head. He's lovable. He's dad's shadow and my best friend. He's as rotten as the day is long. He holds his own, day-in and day-out, surrounded most of the time by only women. He's mine.

He's also tractor-obsessed. As in, he will sit and look at books detailing tractors, trucks and construction equipment for as long as I'm willing to read about engines, scoops and wheels. His latest hobby is riding along a stretch of road that's being widened to take in the backhoe sights and dump truck work (yes, he asks that we take this scenic route despite our destination).

He reached the holiest of grails, however, on Monday during our visit to the Allen County Fair. Farm machinery companies hoping to draw in some business were the ultimate jackpot for my little dude. He found heaven in the newest, shiniest of tractors galore.

Green, red, white or brown ... he doesn't discriminate and was smitten with them all. And, thus, proceeded to climb upon every one in sight (literally, not figuratively). Some were even paid a second visit, holding a special place in his International Harvester-loving heart for being just like Papa's (only newer).

He gladly passed up the fair's petting zoo to climb aboard mowers and Bobcats (which he powered himself with motor noises). After test driving them all, he was ready to put them through a second round ... we were only able to move on with the promise of checking out some chainsaws.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The view from here

Newsflash: We're not dead. I haven't left the blogging world. We haven't packed up and moved away. The sun's been rising in our world (as have the mounds of laundry). We've just been living.

Learning to swim. Loving to read. Living to laugh.

There's been all of summer's best ... and only one day I've wished for school. Now with backpacks and buses getting so close, I'm holding it close. Longing for more of what's been.

No strollers for Kings Island. No diaper bags for the park. No four carseats to fasten and unfasten at each stop. Freedom.

Running, loving, learning. Splashing, dreaming, talking. Playing, planning, wishing.

Babies and toddlers turned kids. Kids who soak it up, live it up and love it up. More questions than there is time to answer them. More fun than ever imagined.

The world through their eyes is a summer vacation.

Trace and Alysse being whipped around - their screams are comedy.

Alivia loves this huge pink duck at Kings Island, and insisted she must be photographed with it.

Trouble and happiness all at once.

Alivia modeling hazmat gloves at Fairfield's "Touch a Truck" event.

Trace tries on a Fairfield Fire Department helmet for size.

The children's librarian we saw weekly this summer. The kids love her, and she's helped nurture a reader in Trace.

Bumping up on the ride scale, Alivia is able to enjoy new "big kid" rides at Kings Island this summer. She's a rider at heart.

Please note: Our children did not inherit this desire for thrill from me.