Monday, December 29, 2008

End-of-Year Observations

I always like to reflect at this time of the year. It helps me get ready for a new year and appreciate what I've experienced in the last 52 weeks or so. I won't go into everything we've experienced in that time--that's what the blog archives are for. But here's eight things I'm grateful for at the end of 2008.

Getting to see Noelle in the airport 4 hours away. So totally worth it!! She did try to ditch us (blame it on the ants in her pants or the horrific weather/traffic we dealt with), but we caught up with her...thank heavens for collect calls and cell phones!

Isaac needed to "talk to Grandma" on the payphone.
Noah meets Aunt Noelle for the first time!
At-home, paid orientation. We are SO excited to have real jobs! There's nothing like hanging out in the living room, the boys playing with their new toys and BOTH of us getting paid to watch home health refresher videos. Woohoo!
Isaac is the shrewdest bargainer on the island. If you say "one more time on the slide," then he will demand "three more times." If you then offer "two more times," he will insist on three. There is much that could be said about his sneakiness in getting his way (with words)...let's just say we're onto him. Most of the time.
Noah's little hands. I love all the things Noah does with his hands now. His favorite thing lately is "peek-a-boo"-- anyone who sits behind us in church knows that. When he reaches out to me at random times to open and close his hands in a "hi," it just melts my heart. And the dancing and clapping does, too. Pretty much my heart is a mess these days. He can do a few signs now as well as give you five and attempt to steal his brother's food. He also thinks he can type on the computer, wash his hands in the toilet, and rearrange your face with those hands....

Holiday smells. This has a lot to do with Jared's frequent making of goodies as well as the oils and wallflowers we frequently receive from our supplier, Traci. Now, not everybody has such a luxury in their living quarters. Take our neighbors down the hall...every holiday they have the ghastliest odor seeping into the hall (filet of turd, anyone?). It's just sad. And they wonder why the leftovers last for days afterward....

We LIVE the book "Mom Says I Can." I love it. We are so lucky to have Isaac and his imagination.

Our awesome ward. We thought we'd have a quiet Christmas since we have no family nearby. Instead, what ended up happening was something that could never happen if we were anywhere close to family: we partied with our new friends! Christmas Eve here and Christmas Night there-- no rules! Just hanging out, getting to know each other, watching our kids learn from their kids. It was surprisingly fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, we really made out like bandits this year for Christmas. We're still feeling bad that we couldn't give more...but MAN, our family members must've felt sorry for us because we were spoiled this year! In fact, most of the pictures on this post are from one particular gift we received...I know, we totally didn't deserve (or expect) that. Thanks, guys! Now we get to see things like:
Isaac's "pluuuuah" regarding mouse dropping under the sink
and documentation of his helping with the dishes
(as well as my silky pj bottoms). Hurrah!
Have a good and safe New Year's!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Have you ever pondered how, as a child, time would go by incredibly slowly and Christmas was almost always unpardonably distant...and then you grew up. Now, when December hits, you're wondering where the year went.

Lately, I've been reflecting on the power of perspective. I think of my sister, Noelle, who is just days away from coming home from her mission in Armenia. She probably feels like it has flown by, and yet, on those difficult days when the hoodlums throw trash at them and it's a holiday where she would normally be with family (and nephews, of course), and she comes home to no heat in the middle of winter with icicles hanging from the ceiling due to a pipe get the idea...I'm sure she was thinking, "another YEAR of this?!"

It's kind of like when you have a long, hard semester, your first semester of grad school. And it's not just hard because you're expected to learn and apply a lot of information that will affect people's lives, but it's also a matter of pleasing picky professors who sometimes contradict each other (or themselves). Finals are a-coming, but you know you have a lot more baloney ahead of you before graduation. When that time comes, though, you'll look back at all the hoops you jumped through and maybe say, "That's okay, it was worth it." Maybe?

Or have you ever considered that what you always thought was the "daily grind" may actually be a brief phase of your life at which you look back and treasure as a time when you had it all?

Perhaps it's temporarily living in a less-than-desireable place? Every time your arm-and-leg rent is due you think of all the annoyances: the inconvience of the layout, the neighbor's smoke creeping in under your door and through the vents and pipes, the outdated design, the cheap appliances, the expensive-yet-ineffective heating. But you know it's important not to grumble too much and that two years will pass quickly (if you let them).

There are countless ways my perspective continues to change my attitude (for good or ill) and I could go on and on, but I don't want to lose you (this isn't a journal entry). So, here's what is on my mind: Noah has been showing signs of readiness to walk for a few weeks now. He walks with his walker and forces me to walk him around during Sunday school and such. With Isaac, I was like, "Do it! You're almost there! When will he walk already?" With Noah, I'm like, "Oh, that's cute, but let's not." I know progression is part of the plan, that development is divine, but it's just hard for me to let go of that baby phase. Then, last night, Noah took his first steps without holding on! Now I'm excited again, but still in no hurry.