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.”