Friday, March 25, 2011

Passports and Paradigm Shifts

I had a shocking and somewhat disappointing realization this week.  In the process of applying for Victoria's first passport, Patrick and I checked ours and discovered it was time to renew.  Since being issued nearly 10 years ago, Patrick has traveled to Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil and Columbia.  Me?  My passport was empty.  Not one entry.  I realized I haven't been out of the country since our trip to South Africa before Victoria was born.

Patrick and the two oldest kids have had the privilege of serving in those previously mentioned countries.  During those years, the younger girls were small, and it felt completely overwhelming to even consider arranging the schedule for me to leave the country.  It just seemed logical for Patrick to go and for me to stay.

Over the years there would be moments when I'd sulk over feeling like Cinderella while Patrick and the older kids were off having a ball.  But for the most part, I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.  After all these years, it's almost become a given that Patrick will go and I will hold down the fort.  But this week, after mailing off Victoria's passport application, I realized there's been a paradigm shift.  Victoria, my baby, is going overseas.  My big kids are staying home...and they don't need me with them!  I'm free to go.

I'm not sure what this new found freedom means...maybe I SHOULD think about going to Haiti with the team this summer.   Who knows?    In any case, I have realized I've just entered a new stage in in which my kids need my physical presence less, and I'm now free to get that passport stamped.

I'll be sending that old, unused passport in soon. Trading it in for a brand spankin' new one.  My goal for the next ten years is at least two from Haiti.  I want to see this country that has imprinted itself so massively on Kevin's heart.  The second stamp I'm hoping for...England.  I have a dear friend moving there...and she's going to need to show me the lay of the land.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Congrats to the Showmanship Champion

Hannah had her final show in the 4-H Satilla Winter Circuit. Going into this show she was tied for first place in Showmanship.   You'll have to ignore the stinky videography.  I get caught up watching and forget I'm supposed to be paying attention to the Flip screen.

She and Lacey had a great pattern, and she emerged ONE point above her competitor.  Here are the results!

She is also the Halter Reserve Champion (2nd Place) which is terrific considering she only showed one horse.  The Champion actually showed more than one horse, thereby accumulating more points and not necessarily placing higher than Lacey and Hannah in the classes.  At this particular show, Hannah and Lacey did place first under both judges in the Mare Class and in the Championship Class against mares and geldings.  Thank you to Ms. Wendy for letting Hannah show your beautiful mare.  Those two have come a long way together!

 Hannah displaying her winnings with her riding instructors, Ms. Wendy and the amazing Erin.  
Erin is the Showmanship pro, so all kudos go to her.

While winning chairs and cash is nice, an almost sweeter victory came later in the day during the riding classes.  Hannah and Ginger had their best day ever, with Ginger making it through both western classes and both English classes.

Generally it's not a good thing when the judge walks over to talk to you before the results are announced.  It usually means something like this:  You did this and that really well, but because of the other thing, I was left with no choice but to place you last.  And, that would stand true for Hannah's Western Horsemanship ride.  Judge B told her she rode the pattern well, but the rail work killed her - and he placed her dead last.  Apparently the other judge didn't weigh the rail work as heavily since he placed her third..

Historically, Ginger has gotten more nervous and become unrideable (I think I just made up that word) as the shows progress.  To Hannah's credit, she and Ginger made it to the English classes and even placed a respectable 3rd and 4th in the English Equitation class.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Feeling Like Anne

Anne Shirley: Can't you even imagine you're in the depths of despair?  

 It seems only Anne Shirley can appreciate what the Eades family is experiencing right now.  For over fourteen years we have had a Saturday tradition.  Pretty much the entire community knows about our weekly outing; and if anyone ever wants to find us, they know exactly where we can be located: eating muffins, bacon and cheese biscuits and drinking some of the best sweet tea ever to grace our lips. know what I'm talking about...Saturday morning breakfast at Sweet Mama's.

It started off innocently...long before Hannah was born.  Patrick took us one Saturday to give me, probably pregnant and exhausted, a break on Saturday morning.  Back in those days, pork pops (the food of the gods) were a quarter, muffins about a dollar and a five dollar bill nearly covered breakfast for four.  How could we not keep going back?  It gave Mom a day of rest and Patrick some bacon.   

Hannah was born and---I'm not making this up---breakfast at Sweet Mama's was her first outing.  It's true.  My other kids first outing was to church, but Hannah's was our Saturday morning tradition.

Then we started homeschooling the kids, and it seemed even more imperative that Mom get a break on Saturday morning.  Occasionally people would act shocked that we ate out every Saturday, without fail.  I think Patrick has always considered it an investment in our family, knowing life just runs more smoothly when Mom is sane.

Several years went by before I knew this Saturday morning trip to Sweet Mama's was serious business, not to be tampered with.  One week when the kids were quite small and Patrick was out of town, I just couldn't bring myself to drag all four kids (Victoria was probably a baby) out for breakfast by myself.  Just seemed easier to stay at home and feed them cold cereal or something.  But all I heard, all day long was "it just doesn't seem like Saturday.  What day is it?  It doesn't FEEL like a Saturday".  All that whining just because they didn't get their weekly dose of pork pops.

As the kids kids grew up, their palates expanded and bacon and cheese biscuits became the order of the day.  And sticky buns.  And cheese danishes.  But don't forget the honey-nut bran muffin for Mom.  Or a doughnut with sprinkles. Or maybe some sausage gravy over biscuits.  Or a Wainright (a piece of sausage and a pickle between a pork pop that's been cut in half).  Or, our most recent discovery...sausage gravy over pork pops.  Now were talking!

I'm really not kidding about this...Sweet Mama's is ingrained in the Eades' culture, and I'm not sure sure what we're going to do come Saturday morning.   You see...they closed their doors a few days ago.  Suddenly...rudely.  It's just gone.  

Sweet Mama's was the St. Simons version of Cheers, where everybody knows your name.  Not only did they know our name...they knew our order before we even gave it.  They'd start preparing our drinks (decaf with 2% for me) before we even placed our order.  But no more...sadly our tradition has come to an end.  I suppose we'll visit other restaurants and maybe they will let us linger and read the Saturday paper over one more drink refill, but nothing will ever take the place of Sweet Mama's.

So...we're left feeling like Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.   In regard to our Saturday tradition, 
This is the most tragical thing that has ever happened to me.
--Anne of Green Gables