Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Today it is back to work after a great Memorial Day weekend. If you are from Mt. Carroll, this weekend is synonymous with Mayfest. I love Mayfest. Always have. My hubby isn't that into it, but I am trying to make Mayfest an exciting, highly anticipated event for J as well. 

I talked up Mayfest for the whole week before it so that J would be into going and festing with me. I kicked off my Mayfest with the walk/run on Saturday morning. Afterwards, J and I headed over to check things out. J was bubbling with excitement. This year, one of the featured kids activities was a Big Machine section complete with a fire truck, ambulance, tractors, backhoes and mowers.  There was also a dune buggy. Luckily, we were the only people there for the first hour or so and J got to have his run of the place. He fell in love with the dune buggy and told me at one point "get in mommy, I am driving this home."  I was able to bribe J to leave the dune buggy with the promise of a train ride and lunch.

The train was a rickety, three car train that was driven by a young man with no concept of the fact that he shouldn't drive over curbs or bumps at high rates of speed. I was terrified. J loved it.  We then ventured to the food tent where I was faced with the impossible task of deciding with traditional Mayfest food to enjoy: A pork chop sandwich from the pork producers? Corn on the cob from the Lions? Or a Baptist Men's funnel cake? Tough call. J opted for a hot dog and the corn (which he refused to share with me) and I took a pork chop sandwich. It was a great choice. 

Once our bellies were full we continued our circuit of the Campbell Center grounds. One booth offered face painting and temporary tattoos. J would never go for a painted face, but a tattoo sounded good to him. The board outside the booth displayed the design options. I suggested a green frog or Batman emblem. J requested a red devil tattoo that would only have fit across his chest or back. We passed on the tattoo as I figured 3 was a little too young for him to have satan emblazoned on his body. Maybe next year though ;)

We returned later that evening for music and dancing. J cut a rug with his buddies and my dad played with the band. After sending J home with grandma, I got to have some time to catch up with old friends. This is hands down the best part of Mayfest to me. I love how we can all come together each year and easily fall back into conversation with one another as though we never left off. Many laughs were had and my stomach muscles hurt the next day from all of the riotous laughter we shared.  It was also fun to see every one's growing families.  I really can't believe we all have kids! I remember being a kid and going to Mayfest myself.  Wandering around the campus, going to the teen dance,  working in the booths for various clubs and school groups, doing the Maypole dance.  Now, we all have little ones to bring along and share the fun with. 

This Mayfest was one of the best ones I can recall. We had very un-Mayfest like weather. Hot, sunny and NO RAIN! The weekend was capped by celebrating Memorial Day and the folks that guaranteed our freedom to be here today to enjoy ourselves.  363 days until next year!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Anni

Today (May 10, 2012) is my ninth wedding anniversary. Wow. 9 years. That seems like an eternity! What is even crazier is that my hubby and I have been together for 13 years (our first date was also this week in 1999).

I texted my husband earlier this week to point out that we had been together for 13 wonderful (mostly) years. He responded that first date anniversaries were not recognized as actual anniversaries and therefore he was not obliged to provide any sort of gift or card. I told him I wasn't expecting anything for the first date anni, just that I wanted to point it out that we have been madly in love for 13 years now.  To which he replied, "13? I am now weeping." Hands off ladies, he's all mine.

Thirteen years ago I was working part time at a local grocery store while I attended college. My future hubby frequented that store and despite my grubby work clothes and pulled back, messy pony tail, he asked me out. Or more accurately, asked me out after he had sought the advice of one of my co workers as to whether or not I would go on a date with one of HIS friends. My co worker asked why he didn't just ask me out.  She must have assured him that on a "regular" day I wore clean clothes and actually brushed my hair, so he took a leap and asked.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Our first date was a romantic dinner for two at a local bistro called....Sievert's. That's right, Sievert's.  Maybe he didn't want to drive out of town in case dinner bombed and he had to rush me home. But, dinner went well and I was invited back to his house to watch a movie. We arrived at his house and after I was attacked by his cat, we put a movie in, but got distracted by an intense game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. (Yes, I see now why he may have still been single.) I still say that the game was a test and that my knowledge of Star Wars must have been impressive enough to warrant a second date because couple days later, he asked me out again and he have been together ever since.

At that time, I had two years of college to finish and lived between the dorms at NIU and home with my p's and made lots of weekend trips home to see Ryan and to work. After college graduation in May 2001, I got my own cute little apartment and lived there while construction of our dream home started that fall. Our engagement came that Christmas and we moved into our new home in March 2002 . Our wedding followed in May 2003.  The four years leading up to our wedding seem like a blur now (although back that I never thought the big day would arrive!).

Ryan and I lived as a family of two (well, 3 if you count our rotten cat, Max) for the next five plus years. We adjusted to each other's habits and settled into a good groove as a married couple.  Our lives were again changed by welcoming Jackson in August 2008.  Hard to believe we have been a family of three for nearly four years.

As I look back over 13 years, so much has happened! College, marriage, starting my career, Ryan starting his dream business, having a child, building a home. It is really a bit overwhelming. We have both changed so much in that time. I barely recognize the kids that went on a first date 13 years ago! I have seen Ryan turn into a wonderful father and seen him achieve so much over the years. And I know I am much diffrent now too. But, even though we have changed, we are lucky that we have changed together. That the people we have become are as compatible as the two dorks who both loved playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.

As any married couple, have had our ups and downs. But, I think we have a good thing going.  No one knows me better than Ryan and there is no one I have ever known better than him. When I have news to share, he is the first person I want to tell. I know he will support anything I do and will be honest with me no matter what. He is, at times, my voice of reason (whether I want to hear it or not), but he is also always my ally.  And most importantly, he can put up with me.  That in itself makes him a keeper.  We may drive each other mad from time to time, but each day there is no one I want to be with more.

Happy 9th to my hubby!