We had Grace's family birthday party at a local park this weekend after the 90 degree forecast sent me into a tizzy about fitting all of those people inside the house and hoping the air conditioner didn't explode. First, parties at the park are awesome and I may never have a party at my house again. I don't know what it is that makes the park swing/slide/running space better than the swing/slide/running space at home but it is better nonetheless. Next, Grace had an outrageously good birthday this year - an embarassment of riches actually. It is a good thing that she is a child who will actually enjoy and play with every single thing and wear every single item of clothing (both of which milestones she accomplished before the end of the weekend.) If there is anything I can say definitively about our Gracie, it is that she is a child who really knows how to play.
My brother is moving to Alaska. In almost every regard I think this is awesome news. I am sad that we never made it to New Mexico to visit his earth ship. (That is the kind of house that he lives in, it's a real designation, I swear. http://www.taosearthships.com/. He has lived completely off the grid since he graduated from college.) I hope that if he ends up marrying his long-time girlfriend, they will return to Taos for the wedding and we can go then. As I said, I am mostly thrilled that he is moving to Alaska where he got hired for his dream job thanks to the efforts of one of his best friends. So why is it that I had a nightmare on Saturday about his impending move? I woke absolutely broken hearted that he was moving so far away.
Yesterday we went to Kennywood Park for Justin's company picnic. It is the first time we've gone together as a family. It will be remembered in my scrapbooks as one of the best days ever. Something magical happens to my children when they walk through the gates at an amusement park. They cease whining. They cease bickering. They are filled with wonder and delight and pure happiness. When we tell them at the beginning of the day that they will be able to pick one sweet treat before we go home, they listen and don't nag all day asking for something from every stand we pass. I thought before that this was the Disney effect but it's clearly just the amusement park effect. My favorite memory of the day... Grace picked the Whip It as her favorite ride. She rode it five times, throwing her arms in the air and squealing with glee every single time her car "whipped." Her joy was so infectious that she had the male teenage ride attendant laughing out loud. Bystanders watching their own children on the ride were laughing along with her. It's the kind of memory that deserves one of those "priceless" commercials.
And finally, an update on my endeavor to get in shape. This is week 5 of the effort and I have faithfully made it to the gym about four times every week. I can't say I am seeing a lot of progress on the scale (although that improved a little bit last week) but I am seeing progress in other ways - as in, the size of my tummy is visibly decreasing and a smaller pants size is in the near future. I don't like exercising any more than I did when I started this thing but I am finally in a place where I can start to see it as a permanent lifestyle change.