Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekly update

So much for clever blogpost titles. Let's be realistic here - all you'll get from me are rare, and probably rambling, updates on the life and times of seven crazy Fishers.

Since my last post we have had some great times. We were able to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with Ben and Megan. On Saturday, the 23rd, we took them to see our new house in Canton (we closed on the house in April, but we are renting it back to the prior owners until June 1st so that their kids can finish out the school year before their move to California). We just saw the outside of it, but we did get to take them inside the library, which is very close and provided a good bathroom break and a chance for the kids to get super-excited about moving. It has one of the best children's libraries that I have ever seen and we plan to use it very very often! We went from there to Ypsilanti to drive around the Eastern Michigan campus, which is one place that Ben is considering going to grad school (obviously we think that would be great). We also went to Ann Arbor to see the football stadium at Michigan University (the largest college football stadium) and to see what a great town it is and grab some Panera lunch.

Somehow we did all that, made it back in time for soccer (and naps for the littles and Aunt Megan), and then still had plenty of time to take them shopping at our favorite mall - up in Troy, and go have dinner at Cosi and walk around in our favorite town in Michigan - Birmingham. It was a fun really packed day. The weather was beautiful and while the kids weren't perfect during all of the driving it was actually cool to be all smooshed together in the van.

Easter Sunday was pretty low-key and relaxing. We had some little baskets for the kids, but didn't do an egg hunt or anything this year (we miss the Hansens in New Hampshire! We have LOVED having Easter with them the past few years.) We had Ruth and Andrew and their family, Ben and Megan, Martha, and the missionaries over for a nice Easter dinner.

On Monday Nate and Ben were able to help Ruth and Andrew move most of their large furniture to their new home in Livonia. Then they went into Nate’s office in Detroit for Ben to meet with someone there about a possible job after he graduates. That went well – it looks like he has lots of great options. We know that Detroit isn’t their top choice destination, but we would love them to live closer! They flew out late that afternoon, and after coaching soccer that evening Nate flew out as well.

For most of that week we just focused on helping the Goughs get moved into their new house. Martha and I traded off helping move loads of stuff to their new place and staying at my place with the 9 kiddos.

By the end of the week we were able to get the Trenton house totally cleaned out and the Livonia house settled enough for them to stay there, and Nate had a meeting in Chicago on Friday so the big boys and I decided to go with him. Martha was willing to stay at our place and take care of the younger three. It was just a quick trip but we had lots of fun. We drove over Friday morning (Nate was supposed to get home Thursday night but his flight was cancelled, so we picked him up at the Detroit airport on Friday morning and hit the road). It is only about a 4-hour drive, and the weather was beautiful. We parked right under his building downtown and had lunch at a Chinese place there, and then the boys and I went out for a walk while he went to his meetings. We had spent lots of time at Millenium Park just a month before, so this time we hit their favorite spots on the Magnificent Mile (Lego store, Disney store, etc.) and then headed to the Navy Pier. We were able to catch some great sun for tree-climbing, see a fun marionette show at the free family stage, buy some cute souvenirs for the little ones who got left at home, and take some silly pictures by the Pirate ships. Nate joined us after his meetings and we rode the big swings and the ferris wheel (the picture is of Me, Isaac and Sam on the ferris wheel).

Then we took a quick cab ride back to Nate’s office (we were cutting it a bit close on time for our dinner reservation, and the boys had never ridden in a cab so they were very excited). We took the car up to Lincoln park to go to a fun restaurant up there called “RJ Grunts.” It was Nathan’s parents’ favorite place when they lived in Chicago just after they got married. We had a fun dinner there and then headed to our hotel where I relaxed and the 3 boys went swimming.

We had to get back for soccer on Saturday, so after breakfast at the hotel we hit the road. We had seen a large Bass Pro Shops on the way the day before, and we told the boys that we could stop for a bit, but unfortunately they weren’t open yet, and we didn’t want to wait, so we just played on the stuff outside and then headed home.
After soccer Nate and Andrew offered to stay home with kids while Ruth and I took Martha out for a girl’s night. We wanted to thank her for helping them move and watching our kids while we went to Chicago. We went to a fun Indian place near Ruth’s new house. They had heard good things about it and it was really good. We will have to go again soon.

On Sunday we had Grandpa Kirk’s yummy grilled chicken, and then Martha went home with Ruth and Andrew to spend the week there helping Ruth get more settled, as Andrew had to go back to work on Monday (he had the previous 11 days off for the move). Nate flew out Monday and the kids and I got back to the normal school grind, and got the house all put back together. On Thursday we had gorgeous weather so Martha and I took all of the kids to Greenfield Village. Other than that it was a pretty normal week. The boys each played 2 soccer games (and I think that we won all 4 games), Grace had soccer on Friday, the boys had Choi Kwang Do twice (and got two stripes, which is good), Sam had a cub scout cookout, Nate and I had a date, and we started on getting the garage ready to move. We are trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible, and get all organized for this move. I have the schedule planned out with a project or two each day from now until the 6th of June, when we officially hand over the keys to this house. If I stay on track it should be a pretty smooth process. Fortunately we got rid of quite a bit when we moved from New Hampshire.

We are hoping that this next week we will know for sure if we are going to Hong Kong or not, and whether or not Nate is going to take an offer with a different consulting firm. We also may have our tenants moving out of our house in New Hampshire, and we’ll find that out this week as well. Fortunately we have a great property manager there. All in all it should be a great week (except that Nate is spending tomorrow in North Carolina – where I have wanted to visit – and I’m not going! I could have, but it just didn’t seem worth it for a day, and we had too many commitments this weekend for us to go earlier. Oh well, another time.)

On a much sadder note, we got some horrible news this week about some of our dear friends from New Hampshire. Their oldest daughter, who is now 11, had a brain tumor when she was 2. She has been in remission for several years, but the tumor is back and the prognosis isn’t looking great. It has been hard to hear bits and pieces of what is going on and to be too far away to be much help. We are praying for a miracle, and sending our love. It is every mother’s fear, and to feel it so close is so hard. Sam and Isaac are both worried about their friends who are her little sisters. I’m so grateful for the gospel. It not only gives us perspective and peace, but it gives us a way to communicate about these things, and to help each other.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Today is our twelfth anniversary. It is also my baby brother’s birthday (he turned 8 on our wedding day), Earth Day, and the second anniversary of Sam’s first lost tooth. Big day. We had a great, albeit a bit cold and rainy, day. Nate’s brother Ben and his wife Megan are here for a visit. Our kids absolutely adore Ben. He lived with us for a fun summer a couple of years ago, and he is their “Bennybuddy.” They have been counting down the days until this visit for weeks.

Today we took them to the Henry Ford Museum, and historic Greenfield Village. Then we went to the church for cub scouts, then my sweet sister Martha watched all of the kids so that the four of us could go out on a double date to our favorite restaurant in Mexicantown. (I know, a double date on your anniversary is a bit odd, but they are only here for one quick weekend!)

It was a really fun day, and though it wasn’t spent in a traditionally “anniversary-esque” manner, it was certainly a day in which I have been grateful beyond measure for my good fortune in having met and married such a wonderful man. He is such a great husband and father, and being loved by him has changed me in so many ways, all of them good.

While we were at the village today, he took Eli back to the car for an hour for a nap and so that he could take a conference call (Nate on the call, Eli on the nap, if that wasn’t clear). While he was gone we rode the train, walked through Thomas Edison’s laboratory, and rode the carousel. After we had been riding the carousel for about a minute I heard one of the kids yell “Daddy!” and I looked over and there he was. Standing on the side helping Eli wave to us as we went past. I hadn’t expected him to rejoin us so quickly (I’m not sure how he found us!) and so the sight was totally unexpected. I had seen him just an hour before, but my heart started beating faster and I wanted to jump off the carousel and join him so that we could talk. It’s always been that way. That is actually one of our favorite definitions of love – that no matter how much time you have together you always want more. I had wondered if it would fade, or change, over time. But, it hasn’t. There is nobody else I would rather spend time with. Everything is better when he is with me.

He works so hard to support our family, in so many ways. He is great at balancing all of the important roles in his life and never letting any of us feel neglected. He is completely loyal and trustworthy. He knows everything about me – I have never been able to be so open with someone – and I never have to worry about him saying or doing anything that would betray my trust. He would never belittle or criticize me to anyone. It is a feeling of true freedom, to know that I have nothing at all to hide from him, and that no matter what he loves me unconditionally.

He has a bit of a temper, he is a redhead after all, but he has never spoken to me in anger. Sometimes the debater in me wishes that he would! He certainly gets frustrated with me sometimes, but would never fight with me. He very calmly waits and organizes his thoughts and is always eager to hear “my side of the story.”

He is very smart, and knows so many things about an unending number of subjects, but can rarely remember how old he is or what day of the week it is. I think it is pretty cute. It makes me feel needed (somebody has to fill out all those forms!).

I think that the very best thing about him, and I guess about our relationship, is gratitude. He always acknowledges the things that I do, and thanks me, and I try to do the same. Even when I feel like I haven’t done much he will thank me for keeping the kids alive! He makes me feel like the things that I do are important, and noticed, and that I have talents. He loves to compliment me and is helping me learn how to accept compliments  I never feel like anything is more important to him than my happiness, and the well-being of our children.

I wish that I was a better writer and could really express the way that he makes me feel, but I do want him to know how very much I love him, and always will. Forever just isn’t nearly long enough.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mom, you have to come see our "Callous"

It's a cross between a castle and a palace. If you were wondering.

Time for lessons

Grace is taking care of Eli while I do the breakfast dishes. When I went to check on them they both had tutus on and she was teaching him Ballet. "Now class, please watch while I show you how to twirl." Poor baby. He just wants to play with his cars.

Samuel and Isaac have wriggled out of late-morning schoolwork by promising to keep Jack occupied for a while. (He already opened three cake mixes and unloaded the basement freezer this morning, so I fell for it. I had to post his angelic face today to remind me that he really is too adorable to sell.) They have all donned "ninja" outfits and are practicing their moves. Apparently all you need to be a ninja is a large black shirt with something red tied around your waist.

For part of his English assignment this morning Isaac had to write what he would ask his favorite character if he could interview him. Of course, he chose Batman. (I should interject to mention that he has NEVER seen a Batman movie, or even a cartoon, he just likes to check out the comic books from the library and we printed out the wikipedia on Batman for him and he studies it every day). He likes the idea that he actually COULD grow up to be like Batman - as opposed to a super-hero with special powers. To be Batman you just have to be smart, strong and rich! Sounds good to me.

Here is an excerpt from his interview: "You have the bravest job in the world. How are you so quick? How do you save so greatly?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yes, I'm still here!

Yes, it has officially been well over 2 years since I posted on this blog. So much has happened since then. I’m not sure if I will ever be a faithful blogger, but I do want to post something of an update for our friends (as if anyone still checks here!) and also something to record our most recent wanderings.

Right around when I stopped posting we were getting into full-swing trek mode, and also making the decision to begin homeschooling our children. Needless to say those were both pretty consuming events. Trek was amazing, and almost two years later I still can’t believe it is over. It was the first time that our stake in New Hampshire had done a trek in over 13 years, and I got to help plan the whole thing. It was great to be a part of it. The people I served with were amazing and taught me so much. I hope that someday we will get to do another one.

Homeschooling has also been amazing for our family. We loved the school that Samuel attended for K-2, but these last 2 years at home have been really great – and really the right choice for us. We are so grateful to all of our home-schooling friends back in New England for answering our never-ending questions and letting us see how they do things. We are still figuring it all out, but we sure love it.

Almost a year ago we decided to move from New Hampshire to Michigan. It was something that we had been contemplating for some time – primarily just as a way to get closer to family. My sister Ruth and her family had been here for 2 years during her husband’s medical rotations, and were signing on for an additional 4 years here for residency. We were pretty flexible with where we could live for Nate’s job, and after 6 years in New England we were both feeling a little restless. Once we realized that we could rent out our house (instead of taking a huge loss on it), it was clear to both of us that it would be a good move.

It has been good for us in many ways, and there hasn’t been a single day that we doubted that we made the right choice, but we really miss New Hampshire. I can’t express how much I miss our friends there, and all of the wonderful youth that I love so much. I honestly haven’t been good about communicating with anyone there, mostly because it is just too hard for me. I miss them too much.

But, life here is great. We have really loved living so close to my sister Ruth, and now my sister Martha is staying with us for a while so it is doubly great. We just bought a new house here and are excited to move into it and settle into our new ward. The ward we have been in for the last year has been interesting – it is fairly transient because of all of the medical students and residents – but we have made some good friends here. Our new ward is in the same stake, but looks to be more traditional and stable.

The kids are all growing like weeds. I’ll give some quick updates:

Samuel is 9, and still playing the violin and piano, doing soccer and karate (actually “Choi Kwang Do”), and loves cub scouts. He is a voracious reader, and knows more about American History than I do (he likes to correct me when I mess up facts about the early Presidents). He doesn’t love spelling, and complains about chores, but I suppose that is to be expected at this age. He is a huge help with the little kids, and is Isaac’s best buddy. He loves to ride his ripstick and his bike, and hates to get his hair cut. He still has a great memory, and recently learned the First Article of Faith in Spanish. He is becoming a great cook, and is really good at following a recipe.

Isaac is 7, and he does all the same activities as Samuel, except for playing the cello instead of the violin. He has always loved school, but lately he feels that it gets in the way of the more important things he would like to do (this week that includes reading about Batman). He loves Math and would do it all day if I let him. He has the most infectious giggle, especially when he is reading Calvin and Hobbes. He wants to build robots when he grows up and every day he thinks of a new kind of robot that I need, which he will build me someday (these include cleaning and shopping and driving robots, as well as robots that will suck mascara out of my eye). He recently announced that he will be so busy building robots that he will not have time to get married or have kids – we are hoping that he changes his mind about that.

Grace is 5, and already has a husband picked out for herself and names for her kids, so a whole different set of worries there! She recently lost her two front bottom teeth and has a really adorable lisp right now. She is the queen of one-liners at our house (Nate started a twitter account to capture them). It is hard to remember that she is only 5 because she is really tall and has a more extensive vocabulary than most 5-year-olds. She loves to ask questions and to help with everything. She is a great balance of tough and feminine.

Jack is 3, which is a hard age for me. He is sweet but is also hard to occupy with things that don’t cause huge messes. He is also my only “mama’s boy” and doesn’t like me to leave. I usually let him sleep with me when Nate is out of town, which has only been making this worse. He is clever and very independent – like Sam – and is better at dressing himself than Isaac is. He doesn’t like toys very much, and usually just wants to be doing whatever I am doing. He loves nursery, especially singing time, and loves to lead the music at FHE.

Eli is 1, and is the perfect baby. He has a very sweet disposition and loves everyone. He is a great eater, a great sleeper, and always has a big smile on his face. He usually refuses to say Mama, but other than that I can’t complain. I’m so glad that we have him.

Nate is still working with KPMG, but we never know for sure what is on the horizon. He gets frequent calls from head-hunters, so we are constantly wondering when is the right time for a career shift. He is also being considered for an overseas position (with KPMG), so there is a chance that we will be moving to China (Hong Kong) for 18-24 months. We won’t know anything for sure for about another month, but it could be very exciting! Never a dull moment around here!

I just keep things running. A mother’s life is all about the moments. The majority of my time is spent doing things that will have to be done again tomorrow – laundry, cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, grocery shopping, bathing kids, teaching kids, etc. But, it is never the same. The moments are not all sweet, but they are all so important, and they just fly by. I can’t believe that Samuel’s childhood is half over. How can that be when I still haven’t figured out how to be his Mom correctly!? The days fly by, and I don’t do a good job of recording them, but we try to do a good job of living them.

It is all about balance – isn’t it! How and where to spend our time, our money, our thoughts. Good, better, best. I’ve never been really great with consistency and/or rituals, but I find that it is truly the key to good parenting. Kids need to know what they can expect from you, and what you expect from them.

If anyone does read this, I hope that you all know that we are here and that we love you. We have an amazing family of loved ones and friends all over the country, and we are grateful for all of you.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the way it permeates my life and gives me direction and purpose. I am grateful that even when my path is unclear, and I am nervous about the future, I can have faith that “all these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

I've been tagged!

Here are the rules:

1. Go to your documents/pictures.
2. Go to your 6th file.
3. Go to your 6th picture.
4. Blog about it.
5. Tag 6 people to do the same.
6. So here we go...

This was taken in Orlando in February of 2007. I love this picture because it is a good representation of one of the differences between Samuel and Isaac. Samuel is a daredevil - no fear - will try anything - just swinging along having a great time - posing for the camera - come what may (and love it!). Isaac is looking ahead - thinking about his arms getting tired - calculating the distance to the ground - checking for sharp objects below - planning his "soft landing" - deciding not to play on the high rings again anytime soon.
Thanks for the tag, Mary! Most people I know have already done this or been tagged for this, so I tag anyone who wants to do it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Where did January go?

Not that I am complaining - we are that much closer to Spring! We have settled nicely into our new/old routine with Nate leaving every Monday morning and getting home every Thursday night. We LOVE this schedule, and he is working on a project he loves with a great client. So, things are good.

The end of January was a blur with getting ready for the Trek kickoff fireside (which went really well) and then general business last week. We had a great weekend. Having Nate home on Friday was wonderful - I teach a class on Friday afternoons and it was so nice to have him here to manage the kiddos (and he even baked cookies during class so that we ended with a nice warm snack. Mmmm.) Then we enjoyed a great family movie night on Friday night. We watched "The Music Man" - which I hadn't seen for at least 10 years. The kids loved it and were all marching around with the band by the end.

Saturday we got up early for Nate's church basketball game, then went shopping together for new boots for Sam (he lost one in a snowdrift and after much searching we have accepted the fact that we will not see it until Spring!) and for groceries. I'm always amazed how much more expensive a trip to the store is if I take Nate! The kids are pretty good about accepting it when I say "We don't need that this week" but it is harder to say that to the man who is making the money!

I stayed home with the little ones while Nate took Sam to basketball - his game was right at naptime this week so we thought it would be best not to take everyone. While they were gone a friend of ours called to say that they had a pair of tickets to the Boston Symphony that night that they couldn't use and would we like them. Of course I said yes! and quickly found a babysitter! So, Saturday night was our first visit to Boston's Symphony Hall. We had a wonderful evening together and I really enjoyed the performance - honestly, even more than I expected. They were performing a Verdi Opera - "Simone Boccanegra" and were joined by a number of excellent singers and a full choir. It was really neat. I was worried about understanding exactly what was going on (only having read a brief synopsis of the story), but fortunately they had English "supertitles" - projected on a little black screen above the stage (is that normal for operas? if so, I will be much more likely to go).

Sunday was a wonderful Fast Sunday - and the first time this year that I was able to attend all 3 meetings in my own ward, which was lovely! We enjoyed "the big game" on Sunday afternoon - which at our house was a rousing Connect Four tournament (yes there were brackets and playoffs). Samuel was victorious! We did make a football cake for dessert - we had seen one at the bakery at the grocery store the day before and decided that we could recreate it at home. It was really fun to bake with the kids and not be worried about how it turned out because it was just for us! (Although, it turned out really cute so it would have been fine for company too! I should have taken pictures!)

We had a great Family Night (now that Nate is traveling again we do that on Sunday evenings), and a relaxing evening cleaning up together and reading after the kiddos were asleep. Nate's phone alarm didn't go off for some reason on Monday morning, but he was able to catch a flight an hour later so it was fine.

I had a good day yesterday - with a good, deep conversation with a dear friend that now has me examining much of what I am doing with my life (particularly in relation to my mothering and my calling). Nothing major, but I think that it is good to continually examine our lives and where we can improve.

In other news ...

Isaac is really enjoying preschool at the Parker's house. His handwriting is improving immensely.

Grace has become so independent. She is very helpful and sweet. I think that the terrible-twos are over! (She turns three on the 18th!) A good illustration - I often tease the children when they say "I'm thirsty" (or hungry, or tired, or whatever) by saying "Hi Thirsty! I'm Mom!" (or Hi Hungry, or Tired, or Whatever). Sam just rolls his eyes, but Isaac gets mad and stomps his foot and says "Moooooom!" So, I did it to Grace on Saturday as we were getting out of the car and she replied very calmly "Mom, my NAME is not thirsty. My name is Grace. Grace is thirsty." It was so cute and matter-of-fact. She was so filled with patience for this silly Mom who clearly just doesn't get it!

Jonas has more officially become "Jack" at our house. He shows a preference for the name and responds much faster when we call him that. Nate has called him Jack his whole life, but it took me longer to come around (I love both names). The last few days the kids will correct me if I call him Jonas instead of Jack, it is cute. Isaac calls him "Jack, Jack attack!"

Nate brought a big box of toys down from the attic for us to sort through this week - and it has been like Christmas at our house. They have "rediscovered" some old things that they are loving (and I am loving the big basement playroom so that I don't have to see the mess!).