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.”


Jill said...

What a great update on your family! I was glad to see you with a new post in my google reader. You are wonder woman! Your kids are adorable, and I'm glad you're all well.

Cristall Harper said...

Awesome update. Glad to see the post. We love you.

Jenn Hansen said...

I was so happy to see a post from you! I'm glad that everything is going so well for your family.

The Bischoff's said...

perfect update! Glad all is well with you guys!

Elaine said...

Yay! So happy to see an update from you! We love you all and wish we could see you more! Keep the posts coming! Are you going to be in Utah or Idaho at all this summer? We'ld love to cross paths!

Britney said...

Rachel! It was so exciting to see your blog at the top of my reel telling me you had a new post! I enjoyed reading what you and your family have been up to and about your cute kids who are all growing like weeds! I can't believe Grace is 5! Seems like just yesterday that we were in Idaho staying with you guys for Mary's wedding and Grace was barely toddling around! We love you guys and miss you, but are glad to hear all is well with your family. Lots of love, Greg & Britney.

becky ward said...

your life sounds exciting! so glad to see the update. wish there was more pictures. hope to see more posts soon! take care.

Emily J. said...

What a fun family. It was fun to read about all of your kids. Glad you are closer to family I miss mine here in Texas and wish some of them would move closer to me :)

Becca said...

I love the update! I love to see what our niece and nephew are up to. Good luck with Jack! I'm in the same stage as Timmy, and I can definitely say I don't like this stage either. Tell everyone hi for us and that we love them! That would be fun for you to go overseas. Jake wants to go to Germany.

Kim Fisher said...

Great to see that you're back! I enjoyed the update and your thoughts on balance and consistency. After a day full of focusing on less important things (paint colors and landscaping) this was an excellent reminder for me of what matters and what brings satisfaction. I'm looking forward to future posts and seeing you next month.