Avalon's Army of Angels
August 10, 2008
Picnic with friends
Boy do I like "normal" family-type days.  Tis the busy season for Nick, so we don't see him
very often.  Not that I don't understand, and I certainly don't mind having work for him - but,
criminy, it makes it hard to get anything done around here!  Today was his only day home in
over a week!  So, I spent the morning working on the website and working on cards.  I should
have spent more of it cleaning - we have company coming on Wednesday.  Alas, I know they
love us and won't really care, so the website and cards took precedence.

In the afternoon, we went to a picnic.  Did we have
time to go to a picnic?  NOPE!  Ask me if I
care.  Remember that life-changing thing I mentioned several weeks ago?  I'm acutely aware
that every
minute I get with the children is precious.  I refuse  to ever burden my heart with a
notion of "I wish I had taken the time to do that."  I will have plenty of years when my children
are gone to have a pristine house and organized photo albums.  For now,
foo to anyone who
judges my clutter and
fie on those in the world who want me to be completely organized.  I
have kids, and I'm
Grateful!  And kids go to picnics, so there.

This particular picnic was sponsored by ICC (Information Control Corporation), a company in
Columbus, OH.  It was given for the pediatric cancer families involved with local charity, Kids N
Kamp.  Some of you may recall, it was the KNK fundraiser that I dressed up like a bird for.  
This was the same group of people.   

We were so unbelievably grateful that we took the time and made the effort to go.  We had a
glorious time!  ICC rented two entire picnic shelters/areas and brought enough volunteers to
nearly staff the picnic one for one with KNK family members!  ICC provided drinks and
burgers and hot dogs, and everyone who came brought something to share.  It was a large
woman's dream come true - miles upon miles of tasty treats.  Yummmmmmmm......

We started off the evening by registering.  The little ones were given name tags that also had
their parents' cell phone numbers on them.  What a great idea!   At the time, I thought it
seemed a bit silly, I was sure Avalon wouldn't be more than 2 feet away from me.  Good golly
Miss Molly was I mistaken.  

As we were registering (and doing a fair amount of chatting....), the girls were scoping the
territory.  They couldn't shut me up fast enough - there was a face painter!  What is it about
face paint?  Our kids never get tired of it.  We have it at home, and I do them up on a pretty
regular basis - but they will stand in line forever, for a chance to have something drawn on
their arms or sketched on their cheeks.  There is no end to the fascination with the stuff.  I
figure its a pretty benign obsession, it comes off with a good scrub or twelve.  

Ambrosia and Avalon were first up.  The painters had a great idea of having a large board
with pictures of possibilities.  One side was more girly, rainbows, unicorns, teddy bears, etc.  
The other side had pirates, skulls, lizards and snakes.  I officially, do NOT know my children.  I
figured rainbows and unicorns all the way.  Avalon wanted a giant blue and black snake, and
Ambrosia went for Godzilla.  Who on earth are these kids?!  Even my rainbow-lovin' 13 yo
eschewed the 'bow, in favor of a skull and swords number.  (OK, I
might have been able to
call that one).  Anam was sleepy and crabby-pants, so we picked for him.  He got an Elmo.

The best part of the painting was the conversation while it happened.  The "painters" were a
joy.  We had met one of them before, at a previous ICC event.  I admit to being brain dead
and not remembering her, but boy-oh-boy did she know Ambrosia.  Its a problem when you
give your children odd names, people remember them.  Now, on the rare occasion that your
progeny has decided to be sweet, cute, respectful, or funny - that "stick-out-from-the-crowd"
name isn't so bad.  Its the other 90% of childhood that I worry about.  I've come to realize that
my kids had better mind their P's and Q's, the people they meet will certainly remember who
to run away from if they don't.

In this case, the memory was a positive one (Whew!). Ambrosia had been the very first child
this woman (criminy, I wish I could remember her name!) had ever painted.  She said
Ambrosia had encouraged her with every brush stroke, and constantly assured her she was
doing a remarkable job.  She said that the first event had been a trial for her, deciding if it
was something she wanted to do in the future.  I'm happy to report that she gave Ambrosia
full credit for giving her the interest to keep going.  How lovely is that?  A "name" memory a
mom can be proud of.  ;-)

As you can see in the pictures, all of the girls loved their body art.  Anam was non-plussed by
the entire event.  He just gave everyone dirty looks and sour puss faces.  Crabby appleton
didn't really come around until half way through a hot dog.  

The girls played a few games, until they decided starvation had set in.  When we made it to
the "food" shelter, they nearly popped when they saw all the desserts.  Although, funny
enough - none of them ate very much.  They all had the staple burger or hot dog, and all
crunched their way through a bag of potato chips, but Aurora was "too cool" to eat much
more, and Ambrosia and Avalon had the call of the swings to deal with.  It wasn't very long
before the swinging siren song won - and they were off to kick a cloud.  

In fact, that was pretty much the last we saw of them, until we dragged them off to the car for
the trip home.  On their first trip to the swings, Ambrosia and Avalon met a lovely young
woman from ICC.  She was happy to be their lackey, and lovingly pushed them on the swings,
tried to fly a kite with them, and watched Avalon like a hawk as they cheered for the volleyball
players.  It was like finding Mary Poppins in the park!  I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed
watching the girls giggle and frolic with Ms. Poppins, while I got to giggle and chat with some
of my friends.  I ADORE my kiddos, but sometimes even Super Mom can use a brief respite.  

Eventually, we managed to cajole Aurora into trying volleyball.  She was having one of those
think I'm shy
moments, when really - she's about as outgoing as they come.  Ahh....teen
hormones.  You have got to love them....NOT.  Some days, I want to rip her head off and feed
it to her, others - I feel sorry for the torment her own body and mind put her through.  She's
never had a bashful bone in her body, and yet - here she sat, terrified of introducing herself
to people, or joining in a game.  What a nightmare.

You'll notice I've only accounted for 3 of the munchkins.  Number 4 was being a bit of a turd.  
First he was cranky, then loud, then decided he needed to run like a monkey all over hither
and yon.  I let Nick chase the yon and hither.  Am I the mom?  Yes.  However, this mom had
been on full-time Mom-duty a bit too much this week.  I actually had very little guilt sitting and
chatting while Daddy chased the fly-by-night bugger.  I figured it was payback for the
working-all-day-then-going-to-play-cards Saturday Daddy had.  Nick is wonderful enough he
figured all of that out too.  Besides, he knows I'm a way nicer mom/wife/human when I get the
occasional mental break of talking to a big person.  I love my hubby to the moon for that!

When all was said and done, we had an amazing day.  Aurora played volleyball and had lots
of fun, even if she's not so good at hitting the ball.  Ambrosia and Avalon enjoyed their time
with their personal Mary Poppins, and Avalon stayed covered and clean the entire time.  
Anam had fun chasing around a ball, and smearing cupcake icing everywhere.  Dad had fun
playing with his kids, instead of simply tucking them in at night.  And mom...well I ate fun food,
and laughed like a school girl with women I love.  I chalk it up as a perfect day.  Its a shame
more people can't figure out that perfection is right there, under their noses...just waiting to
be appreciated.  I'm glad we finally found it.  
Ambrosia and Godzilla
Anam is just cute, even
if he's being a
Works in progress...
Avalon the Snake Charmer
Aurora's way cool skull and swords
Oops, never took a picture of the
finished Elmo