Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Welcome to MAL Airlines!

Saturday was a very busy day around here, we had a big Birthday Bash for April and June babies.  Well, OK, I realize they are not exactly babies anymore...but they'll always be MY babies!  The kids decided to combine birthdays and have one party to spare our friends from having to come to yet another LaJoy party, and to share in the fun of a theme they both wanted.  Angela was particularly excited, because we didn't do much to celebrate her birthday last year because of the death of our nephew and the timing of everything.  Since this was really only her second ever birthday to be celebrated, it was still quite a big deal for her.  That is not to say that Matt was any less excited.

After much discussion, we hit on the idea of creating a flight themed party.  Angela is still into Amelia Earhart and Matt is (and always will be) still into planes obviously, so we decided to turn the house into a pretend airport and invite our guests to take a flight with us!  After we came up with the theme, it was hilarious ( or Hil-OR-ious, as Angela says) to sit back and watch the kids take off and run with the whole idea.  Down to the tiniest detail, they created the whole thing and it was clear as they were planning that these kids have all had some serious flying experiences...they totally know the ropes!

So, through photos, let me invite you to pack your bags and visit the MAL Airlines terminal (Matthew Angela LaJoy)!

Be sure and grab your ticket at the front desk!  We found a place online to print real replicas of tickets which could be personalized, so we made one for all our guests and printed it on card stock.

Dominick made our Arrival and Departure sign, and I made Employee Badges with a generic logo I found online.  We all had different jobs.  Olesya was Head Stewardess, Matthew was the Pilot, Angela was the Co-Pilot, I was Director of Hospitality, Dominick was Director of Operations, Kenny was Director of Ticketing, and Josh was Director of Security.

Matthew created a Pilot Training Center, complete with an authentic Colorado Aeronautical Map which I have no idea why we found we had one of those laying around!  He set up the computer with his Microsoft Flight Simulator game.

Our "Baggage Claim" area was where the gifts were placed.  There is a big version of the logo I used on everything for the party.

Angela created a poster with pictures and quotes from Amelia Earhart.

All the kids were so excited, but it was Kenny who got into his role the most.  Here is Olesya helping him look sharp before our "passengers" arrive.

So DON'T LAUGH...but I made a runway cake for the occasion.  I know it is not the most professional looking, but we had fun thinking about what sort of cake to create, and I lucked out that they didn't force the issue of wanting a cake in the shape of an airplane!  And, since I am going to begin cake decorating classes with Olesya starting tomorrow evening (Again, DON'T LAUGH...especially YOU,  Jill!) so future cakes might look a little better.  Well, not if I do them but if Olesya decorates them...hahaha!

Throughout the day, I couldn't help but think about Kenny's buddy in Kyrgyzstan, Amir, (whose new name will be Isaac if he so chooses).  His parents were on a plane to meet him, and our hearts were with them.

Our Director of Security takes his job very, very seriously.

Our passengers were greeted by our Director of Ticketing, who was quite prepared and professional.  He checked tickets with a flashlight to determine if they were forged or not, the stamped them, and he cleared them to head into Security, where...

They were scanned and approved for boarding.

Ahhh...we have created a moster!  Joshie figured out that the man who has the wand has the power!

Some of our passengers came toting their luggage!  I think ultimately they might have been disappointed to discover this was a trial run, and they were not exactly headed to Astana, Kazakhstan.

One of our passengers came suited up and ready to fly in case of an emergency!  Here they stand at attention....

And here they show their true colors! No one can stay too serious for very long at the LaJoy House of Fun!

Angela had fun practicing at the Pilot Training Center

Instead of a standard table cloth, we created our own using various maps...see...those 50 years of National Geographic magazines paid off in multiple ways!

Then it was outside for games.  We played very simple things that didn't cost hardly anything, and the kids all had fun.  We bought a handful of styrofoam and balsa wood airplanes and let the kids fly them.

Then it was on to our Stewardess Water Glass Run...

Finally, we had a relay with loading and unloading suitcases...

Clothes were flying everywhere!  Kids were running everywhere!  Suitcases were carried everywhere!

Then it was inside to Baggage Claim to open gifts, and our children were once again blessed so much by the generosity of our dear friends.

So many people put so much into our family, we have the very best "village" anyone could ever ask for supporting, nurturing and caring about our family.

My two twins, depending upon the month, or one part of my triplets, depending upon the month, or ...oh...just forget it ;-)  We can't keep track either!

Miss Lael, honoring Angela's Elvis obsession!  

And Miss Jill honoring the Amelia Earhart obsession!

The biggest surprise of the day was one we totally didn't expect but were thrilled about!  Angela's gift from us was a BB Pistol, something she had been wishing for since Josh got his rifle.  With our kids, it is kind of hard to pull out of them what they want for Christmas or birthdays, they don't keep a running list in their head and are always so happy with anything they get that they don't really care to ask for anything specific.  But as you all know, Matthew has been working to save money for a compound bow, which for those who have no clue about such things is not an inexpensive item.  He can not use a junior bow as he has grown too much this year, so he needed a standard adult size...average price...$380-$450 brand new.  Even on Ebay used ones are not cheap, so he was continuing to save, in fact having worked for Dominick 3 days last week  putting in long hard days detailing cars.  Since taking his class on archery he was even more motivated to earn one.  

Not having $375 to drop on a compound bow, we decided that for his birthday we would get him a package of arrows.  I know, not exactly a thrill, but he had been talking about even when he earned the bow he would still have to buy arrows and a couple of other things to get started, and the arrows alone were $30 for 3.  So we wrapped them up in a camouflage shirt, got him a little something extra, and that was his gift.  Or so we thought.

The morning of the party I left to go get a couple of items at the store, and stopped by a new little gun and archery store here in town, thinking maybe I could find him the wrist-thingy he needed (I, obviously, did NOT take the archery class and do not know the correct terminology.)  While there I talked to the store owner about bows and asked what the cheapest one was that they had, hoping to pass the information on to Matt for future reference.  No surprises there, they were all close to $400 or more.  I visited a bit more with the salesman, sharing how Matthew was trying so hard to earn enough money for one, and that he didn't even care if it was new or not but couldn't even find a used one that he could afford more easily...and I asked what would be the best place to find a decent used bow.

He cocked his head, and thought for a moment, then a smile spread over his face.  "Come back here for a minute, let me show you something." and I followed him into the back of the shop.  There he placed a large case up on the workbench and popped it open.  Inside was a beautiful camouflage bow, just the right size, with 8 arrows and some other tool thingy (again, I have no clue what it is called), a soft carrying case was tucked inside this larger hard sided case.  He said to me "This is an 18 year old bow, and it appears to almost never have been used.  There is probably about $600 worth here between the bow, the case, and the arrows.  It is a perfect starter bow for a young man wanting to try out the sport, and it is also good enough that he would not have to replace it for an upgrade later on."

Well, with it being $600 worth of archery gear I already knew it was way out of range to even consider.  I hardly dared ask him what the cost was for it.


"I'll take it." I said without a moment's hesitation.  "Right now?" he asked.  "Yes, right now." I replied.  There was no way I could possibly pass it up, and if it had hit the sales floor, it would be gone in a heartbeat.  I could scarcely believe our good fortune!  $125 was more than we have to spend on a birthday gift for any of the kids, so even though it might seem tacky to some folks, we told Matthew that our gift to him was finding the great deal and paying half of the cost of the bow, and he would have to come up with the other half.  Considering the incredible amount it saved him, he was ecstatic and eagerly paid half the cost.  Now he has the real deal, and it did far less than break the bank to get it.

So, the big day was over, birthday celebration had come and gone, and the flight landed safely :-)

All of our children are people we truly enjoy being with, and the older they become the more interesting they are!  Angela and Matthew are amazing in many ways, but the one way which has spoken oodles about their character is how they each accepted one another as siblings, without a single incident.  Angela immediately deferred to Matthew as the honorary eldest, despite the fact that he is over a year younger than she is and actually the 3rd oldest in the family.  She likely would not have done that so easily if it were not for Matthew never trying to assert his place or trying to bully his way into maintaining a role.  They each have mutual respect and admiration for one another, and considering the circumstances both showed an incredible level of maturity and offered a great deal of grace to one another as we settled in to being a family of 5 children, 4 of whom are a year and four months apart.  The experts would be shaking their head in dismay at what we did, we shake our heads in awe at how it worked.

But then, we didn't "pick" our family, God did, and that's really why it worked.

Happy almost 13th birthday, Matthew!  Happy just passed 14th birthday, Angela!  

I don't normally comment on our kids' looks, but as I look at this photo above I just have to say:

Beautiful...handsome...inside and out!


Anonymous said...

Dear MAL Airlines and TSA Security,

I recently had the privilege of flying MAL Airlines on a flight to Astana, Kazakstan. I want to commend the airlines on the professional service and courtesy I received. Your flight attendant Olesya LaJoy met me at the door and escorted me to the ticket desk where a smartly dressed man at the service counter, Kenny LaJoy, gave me my ticket and made sure it was authentic. He also took my luggage and made sure it was securely in the baggage area.

Then TSA security officer Joshua LaJoy let me through security, politely requested that I raise my arms and carefully wanded me.

I was then led to the first class lounge where pilots Matthew and Angela LaJoy met me, assured me of the safety of the flight and the competancy of the pilots. I flew MAL Airlines with complete confidence and with great joy.

The rest of the passengers were delightful. Behind the scenes airline officials had arranged for food, drink, and diversions throughout the flight. I recommend MAL for all future flights.

Satisfied customer,
Lael Van Riper

P.S. I was deeply saddened to find out that MAL Airlines has gone out of business. I understand that the pilots have found other diversions, the flight attendant is planning a cake decorating service, the TSA man is now in charge of dog sitting, and the service desk attendant is studying theology and philosophy. I also have been told that the management of the airlines keeps in close touch with former employees and may come up with new endeavors where all can come together and cooperate. I wish you success in all future endeavors and will be keeping watch on your future ventures.

Anonymous said...

We agree totally with Miss Lael! We found the crew to be exceptional, and professional! Other commercial airlines would be wise to take notes from MAL. Maj Steve soon took off his flight suit to join the other passengers, confident that Pilot and Co Pilot had the flight under control.

I never cease to be amazed at the joy this crew finds in working together! While Cindy will deny it, the abundant creativity will only serve to make these wonderful kids happier as they mature. There's always room for fun but as Angela confided, with them working together it didn't take them long to clean up after the party.

We would say, Mission Accomplished, in many ways!

Ms Jane and Maj Steve

Tammy said...

What an awesome birthday party! It looks like so much fun! Love the Kaz pic with the hands for a heart around the sun.

Happy adoption day to Matthew. I can see the beauty - inside and out - of all your kids from all the way in Wisconsin!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea that your kids still know how to "play".
And the creativity surely will serve them well in their futures. I feel bad for kids/young adults who feel the need to grow up so quickly, as is promoted in our culture.

Our 2nd son (a freshman) is taking a building class for his May term option (2wks of fun, optional classes). Our older son loves carpentry and has been in this teacher's voc ag classes and taken this May term class. Though son #2 says he knows more about building than most of the other kids in the class, the teacher has asked him a number of times, "Didn't your dad or brother teach you that?" We all agreed that son #2 was too busy "defending the manor", fighting off imaginary foe with homemade swords and weaponry. He still loves to play, for which I'm glad. We don't announce to his friends that he still plays Legos or has imaginary adventures in the grove, but we think it's great to have such an imagination. He is, by the way, learning to work. It's just sometimes easier for Dad to get the boy who really likes to farm to help! #2 helps load hogs at 4am, runs the skid loader to clean out the barn, helps bale hay, etc. But it makes me happy that he still loves to play. He still can be found playing with his Matchbox cars on occasion, without any embarrassment around here.

Enjoy every minute of fun, family time that you can, LaJoys! And especially those of us who have kids who came home nearing double digits. I figure those kids deserve as much time to catch up on "family time" as possible. They don't deserve to be hurried through what remains of their childhood.

(Oh yes. My best friend and I played with Little Kiddles well into jr high. We used a lot of creativity and a lot of masking tape, creating furniture and homes for them. We never told other friends, as we knew they just would not understand how much fun it was to delay some of those "childish" things. We figured they were the ones missing out...not us! Many of them didn't even seem to know what it meant ot have a good, loyal friend. I always thought that was very sad, anxious as so many girls were to find a boyfriend to give them confidence and self-worth.)

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

I should add that I love that last photo of Mattew and Angela. Handsome and Beautiful, indeed... and so happy to be a LaJoy! What a blessing your kids are all so supportive of each other. I do think it's great for kids who come older to come to a larger family, rather than being one of one or two. The support they get is multiplied (hopefully, and in our younger kids' case by four older siblings who love them dearly). Since they've missed out on so much of "family", having family multiplied must surely speed up that "catching up" with it, I think.

Something else about our son #2...he loves wrestling. He was the lone freshman on the varsity team this year (120lb muscle-bound spit fire!). He is an extremely hard worker...when things interest him. I was told his work ethic was tremendous in the wrestling room. (Not so much in his messy bedroom.) He and only one senior won the Champion Board award for completing a certain workout through the season, going into school early each day to get his points. He was blessed to have some great senior leaders on his team, hard workers he really looked up to and who took him under their "wing". He had a slow start to his season, needing to learn more moves than he had successfully used in middle school, now wrestling older guys. He had a "Rudy" moment at one meet, where his teammates and our fans were all on their feet cheering "Go M! Go M!". Hubby and I had tears in our eyes for this, our son, who some teachers might have labled "trouble" in elementary school. He beat the guy in the last seconds, to the roar of our crowd and the lump in our throats. We just felt so thankful that he was so supported. He qualified for districts and wrestled well against an eventual state medal winner, who told him he was the toughest kid he'd wrestled. All this to say, I'm not worried that "playing" is keeping him from other valuable life lessons. In fact, allowing him to be a kid, as well as expecting him to work (when we can locate him somewhere on the property)seems to also be allowing him to choose to work hard in areas of interest.

Sorry to steal your comment section to "brag" on my own son. Your kids enjoying their creative birthday party, feeling free to play in front of people who love them, reminded me of our "playful", creative son.

Nancy in the Midwest

The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

Once again you've brought me to tears! I LOVE your thinking, passion and creativity! :)
... and the cake LOOKED great! I just decorated my first couple of cakes ever as well... (Faith and Grace turned 5!) :) Your words ALWAYS encourage me to focus of the simpler things and remember material possessions DO NOT matter! I LOVE reading your posts... they so confirm my heart! Happy birthday to your sweet kiddos... I wish we lived closer.. that was our kind of party! :) Blessings sweet Cindy... blessing! Praying for you and your sweet family!

Anonymous said...

It's late but wanted to catch up on what the fabulous LaJoys have been up to and I have to say I LOVE THIS POST!! What a creative idea for a party -- you guys have such imaginations!! Like you, I don't think the focus should ever be on our kids' looks but that is a beautiful picture of Matthew and Angela. I love the story of the good deal on the bow, too. I have a book recommendation for you --- it's the Hyman Kaplan books by Leo Rosten. It is about a teacher of international students --- hilarious!! All the miscommunications, etc. I think you would really enjoy these books. Love to all the LaJoys, Lindsey