Formerly the Birchfield family blog, this space has been taken over by Sydney B., hip-hop dancer, softball player, fashion designer and youngest of the Birchfield clan.

There will be an occasional note from mom when something of interest pops up, but most of the commentary/photos/drawings will be from the young mind of Sydneyboo, diva in training.

No spelling or grammar critiques, please!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Birthday News

Well, the girls had their family birthday party last night (Remember, no friend parties this year because we are on the 30-year repayment plan for the Hannah Montana tix!).

The girls and I decorated the dining room yesterday in Hannah purple and puppy blue. Half the dining room table was Hannah Montana and half was puppies. Hannah banners were strewn across the opening to the dining room and puppy mobiles were hanging from the chandelier. Everything equal. We blew up balloons, laid out color-coordinated candles, picked up the cake and the cookie, straightened the house and got everything all ready for our guests. At 7:00, the girls were standing at the front door, noses pressed into the glass, waiting for someone -- anyone -- to arrive. Every set of headlights that turned toward the cul-de-sac caused squeals throughout the house!

Finally, after 10 minutes of waiting, the family started arriving, pretty packages all in hand. Bags, bags and more bags stuffed with tissue paper. The girls didn't give anybody time for a hello or a "Do you want a drink?" before the loot was divvied up and the festivities began. As they were both throwing tissue at their dad (The party garbage man) after tearing into their gifts one-by-one, I was thinking how far we had come from where we were nine and seven years ago. What we were doing that night versus what we were doing right then.

Nine years ago, I was in a nice, big suite at St. Mary's, family all around, everybody oohing and aahing over Kelsey and her pink chubby cheeks, big blue eyes and blonde, blonde hair. All was right with my world that day.

Seven years ago, I was alone at St. Mary's, no baby in the room, family gone home. Sydney was sleeping in the NICU one floor beneath me. I was crying, calling Joe at home because I was so filled with worry for Sydney. I hadn't seen her since they had taken her right after she was born. All was wrong with my world that day.

Last night, as they sat in the living room floor opening presents, I was thinking how different things are today. We live in a different place, have different pets, different cars, different jobs. Some of the guests at the party were there so many years ago the nights they were born. And some of the people who were part of our lives then aren't anymore, either by God's design or by their own choice.

I know sometimes coming to these little birthday parties is an irritation, an obligation that is inconvenient sometimes. Another present to buy. Plus, if it's not your kids, it's boring. I totally get that.

But last night it was my kids and I just kept thinking how I hope and pray I am here long enough to see every boring kiddie party they have. I hope I'm here until they're so old they don't want a party anymore -- "Just give me the cash." I hope I'm here until I'm going to kiddie parties again for my grandbabies.

For every day they have caused frustration, irritation, extreme patience-testing, worry, fear and outright anger, they have blessed me 100 times over. They've blessed me with kisses and hugs and love every day of their lives, even when I didn't deserve it. They have made me a better person than I ever was (at least in my own mind!).

I'm going to add some pictures to the top of this post. One is Kelsey with her prized Reindeer Webkinz and one is Sydney opening her video camera, the "best gift she EVER got." Their faces say it all!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween, Etc

Has it really been two weeks since I've blogged? Geez, time flies and flies. Well, the kids have just returned to school after a week and a half fall break. Okay, *Home Study Week*, as it's referred to at school. We took a trip to Ohio to visit Joe's parents over the first weekend of break. It was a short trip, but a nice one. The girls spent a lot of time with their grandparents, asking questions for their school projects and just hanging out with them. It was a happy time.

Joe's mom has COPD and isn't in the best health, but she looked better than the last time we had seen her (December of '06) and she was thrilled to see her granddaughters. She wore the gold and red and blue necklace Sydney had made her (okay, so she hasn't completely gotten the concept of consistency yet!) the whole time we were there and she cried and hugged them until they couldn't breathe the day we left.

So after spending the next week recovering from the drive and getting school projects together, we are now all back on our routine. Sometimes I think it's better when we're just doing the day-to-day stuff. I love vacation, and I crave that time without structure, but life just seems to run a little more smoothly when we're all going where we need to go, school, work, etc.

Okay, our first day back was Halloween. The girls were stoked for days before. After school let out, they both ran in the door and started asking, "When can we get dressed?" about 100 times. Finally, about 4:30, I started getting them ready. I always underestimate how long it's going to take. We had planned to head over to my grandmother's around 5:30, visit a while and then come back to our neighborhood and hit the ground running. Well, we didn't get out the door until 5:45, but we were back to the subdivision by 6:45, ready to loot.

It was weird this year because the time change hadn't occurred yet and a lot of people were out while it was still daylight. When we got back to the subdivision, the goblins were already crawling through the yards, bags open, elbowing for position on the front porches. I love Halloween.

When I was a little girl, my dad and my uncle used to take me, my brother and my cousins trick-or-treating every year. My aunt and uncle lived in a subdivision and we didn't, so we loved to go to their neighborhood on Halloween. I remember Dad would always load us up on all kinds of scary Headless Horseman stories and Goblins-In-The-Leaves stories before we'd head out, so I'd be paranoid all night long. He and my uncle would creep in the car house to house while we walked in the yards. They would occasionally yell directions from the vehicle and even gave us a ride on the hood of the car when we got tired (Yeah, real safe, I know!).

I remember hearing my dad say so often how much he loved and hated Halloween at the same time. His little brother was killed on Halloween, so I think somewhere in his mind he always felt guilty for enjoying it. But he never let it stop him from taking us out until our pillowcases full of candy were so heavy we had to drag them. Good times.

A lot of people at the girls' school are anti-Halloween, anti-Santa, etc. It's all evil and *against God*. I don't buy it. Something is only evil if you make it evil. How can my little Sydney dressed as Dorothy in her red ruby slippers be evil? Even Kelsey, dressed as Hermione from Harry Potter, never thought her costume was representative of witchcraft, only that Hermione was the smartest girl in her class and Kelsey identified with that part of her.

And how can Halloween be a bad thing now when the memory of that holiday brings such comfort and joy to my heart? Denying me those Halloween memories and denying my kids the opportunity to have those memories for themselves, to me, that's much more *against God* than letting them be someone else for one night and collecting a bag full of candy!

So I guess that's it, people. I'm going to put a couple of pictures of Halloween night up at the top of this blog. The scary creature with the girls is my cousin, Tami. She went as a naughty angel this Halloween and her costume was fantabulous! Tami is a good egg. She's a grown-up now, but she'll always be a kid at heart. That's what makes her so special!

Be sure to check back next week sometime. The girls have a birthday on November 6 and I'm sure I'll have some good pics to share!