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Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:16

Because We WERE Children...

This week's Toddle Along Tuesday is on 'How You Met Your Significant Other'.  

 I have an old post that tells this story, but I came across this old photo to add just for fun.

Please don't laugh or make fun of me, or mock... when we say it feels as though we were children when we met (and dated and got married,etc.), it's because we WERE children. At least at the beginning. 

The story began here...

We both look exceptionally dorky, too. I'm in purple, he's in green, that's all I'm going to say...

If you're at all interested in the WHOLE story of 'Our Beginning' in summer this year. No mocking! 

Published in Blog
Friday, 17 August 2012 12:44

The Story of 'Us' - The Beginning

The Summer Blog Challenge Prompt for today is on 'How you met your significant other.'

I grew up in a small-ish town where you pretty much knew who everyone was.  There were two elementary schools, and my husband and I 'met' for the first time when we were in the same class in 1st Grade.

Cheese-ball story alert...

And this is all sort of embarrassing, so please don't judge me...

I recall having some sort of childish 'crush' on him - he was taller than average, and quiet.  We were also both in the small group of kids who could already read easily, so we ended up sitting near each other quite often.  One time in particular, the desks of four of us 'readers' were moved in a square together - probably so the teacher could pay more or less attention to us as a whole - and Brian and I were at opposite corners of this square.  I remember one day, when the bell rang to dismiss us for recess, I cornered him as he was walking to get his jacket and said 'You're my boyfriend' (I was 6, remember...) and he responded by saying 'You're my girlfriend'. 

I don't have any other memories of speaking to him at all that year, or in the years following. 

When I was in 4th Grade, I developed a crush on the 'new kid' in town, and since Brian and I had never officially ended our relationship status - he likes to say I was cheating on him. 

I 'dated' this 'new kid' (as much as you can when you're in Elementary School) at least until 7th Grade. Our families were close, and my Mom babysat him and his siblings, so we naturally spent a lot of time together. 

The funny thing is, Brian was a close friend of this 'new kid', and was also a close friend of the boyfriend I had afterward.  I remember him clearly in certain contexts, and as we got older we began to see more of each other as we hung out in the same social group, but I never thought twice about our little 'thing' in 1st Grade. 

The year before Brian and I started dating, we had become extremely close friends.  Best friends, really, and we spent every possible moment together.  In hindsight, it was one of those situations where everyone knew about 'us' before we did.  We sat together in class, went to the same church and youth group - and when he drove I always got 'shot gun'.  We even took piano from the same teacher, who's 9 and 10 year old daughters caught on long before we did...

In December of 2001, I approached Brian with the realization that I was interested in him... as 'more than a friend' (I was 15... just saying) and also not 'as a brother', as we had been saying to ourselves.  I knew I was risking our friendship, but it was driving me crazy and I had started believing he liked me to.

He said nothing.  For two weeks.

Luckily, he also didn't change how he treated me.  I took this to mean that although he wasn't interested like I was, he also still valued our friendship and would not let my confession affect it.  I got to the point where I was just glad I hadn't lost his friendship and decided to simply 'move on.'

On December 31, 2001, Brian and I were sitting next to each other on a bus heading back from a church youth trip in Minneapolis.  Out of the blue, he kissed me.  We were 15 at the time, and we have now been together for almost 12 years.

Our relationship experienced a lot of bumps in the road - some of which I am amazed we survived together.  I can't imagine my life without him, though.  So much of who I have become as an adult has been shaped by who he is.  He has patiently endured all of my teenaged issues, and I have seen him at his emotional worst.  He was there when I graduated high school, got my driver's license and supported me (emotionally and financially) when I went to college.  He was there for me when my Great Grandma died - the first death I had ever experienced.  He was there for me the first time my Dad was sick with cancer, and this summer when my Dad died.  He was there when I got fired from my job and when I lost a best friend.  I know that there is nothing he wants more for me in our lives than for me to be happy - and he has spent a lot of time and energy and money proving that to me.

His birthday was last week, and I wanted to do a post for him then - I guess I've kind of done it now. 

He is my best friend and 'soul mate' (although I don't really believe in such a thing :) ), and I hope that there never comes a time when we can no longer be there for each other.

Published in Blog
Friday, 06 April 2012 11:54

Pre-Parenting Exercise

Recently I was browsing through some old documents on my computer, and I came across an exercise that Brian and I did together when I was pregnant with Celia.  I'm sure I found it on the internet, and I didn't keep the 'instructions', but I think the basic idea was for each parent to rank the following parenting areas from most important (10) to least important (1) individually, and then to come back and compare each other's lists and discuss any discrepancies.

I don't remember how our discussion went here either, but here is the list, and our ranking.

     Samantha's Ranking                        Parenting Area                           Brian's Ranking         
10 Moral Values 8
9 Religion 9
8 Education 10
7 Nutrition 2
6 Activities 4
5 Manners 6
4 Grooming 3
3 Friends 1
2 Chores 5
1 Money 7

I think I want a re-do, because I'm not sure this is how I would rank all of these things now, and I think Brian might want a second crack at this also. 

There were some notes in the document about our discussion surrounding some of these items - where I had ranked 'money' low, and Brian had ranked it relatively high, our discussion indicated that we were translating 'money' to meaning very different things.  It is not important to me that my child is wealthy someday, and I hope they choose a life path that is more in line with their beliefs and happiness than with what will profit them financially.  Brian was viewing this as being related to 'self-sufficiency', and so I had to agree that although I don't want my children's lives to be 'ruled by' money, I will certainly expect that they are able to be self-sufficient as adults. 

The discrepancy on nutrition is still a point of some contention... Since I struggle with PCOS and how that effects my body image, it's important to me to try to eat healthy and give my children the best chance in that way as I can.  Also, Diabetes is rampant in our family, so I want to avoid excess sugar to try to ward off this illness as much as I can with myself and my children, but my husband seems to feel as though it's really 'no big deal'. Sigh.

This was a fun exercise though - if you're like me and enjoy this sort of thing.  How would you rank these areas? Does your spouse agree or disagree?

Published in Blog
Sunday, 04 March 2012 22:29

Since Our Wedding...

Seven years ago today, I was sitting in class at Bible school scribbling the date repeatedly in my notebook.  Although I was not yet 'officially' engaged, Brian and I had already discussed potential dates for a wedding, and March 4 had been the last lingering thought.  

The professor walked into the room and wished his students a 'Happy Army Day' before beginning the day's lecture.  Really? Army Day? Wha...? 

Oooooh..... groan.

It's ok if it takes you a minute, everyone in class was in stunned silence for a minute too before the groans of acknowledgement sounded. 

Oh well.

I had initially wanted a November or December (Christmas) wedding, and our family had been encouraging us to wait until the following summer so we compromised and chose a day later than Christmas, but still potentially 'wintery' to indulge me.

Six years ago today, there was a wicked blizzard in our city and as a result, many people ended up leaving early and our wedding reception ended with very few people remaining much earlier in the evening than planned.

The snow was exactly what we needed to have the beautiful winter wedding photos that I wanted.

 

 

 

 

Since that day, we have moved from a smelly apartment building to a rental house to our very own house!  We had a pet lizard (who died) and then a pet cat.  I have gone to business school and we have both attended university.  We have cumulatively worked at over ten jobs, and often we each worked two or three jobs at once.  Four years ago we found our current church family - which is as much like family as any of our 'real' families.  We have been to China.  In 2010 our family grew with our daughter Clara, and this fall we are expecting baby #2! There have been rough times and great times, and I can honestly say that as long as we are solid in our relationship with each other and with God, everything else can come as it may.

I feel so blessed to be with Brian, and to have been able to spend the last six years with him by my side at every step.

So, (because I know he will read this)...

Happy Anniversary, Brian! I love you!

Published in Blog
Monday, 13 February 2012 12:25

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

I love having my birthday near Valentine's Day.  I know that a lot of people hate the holiday, and I agree that it's really just a marketing gimmick created by greeting card companies, but hey.  I love that I know my birthday is coming by the decorations in stores.  It's as though everyone is announcing with their big pink and red hearts how much they love ME! 

Not to sound egocentric or anything...

Anyway, my husband and I are a bit low on cash this year, but for my birthday he decided to make me a fancy French dinner at home.

The picture is not overly clear, but this was lamb chops with braised leeks on an almond coulis, dates and a chocolate infused tangerine reduction. He also made french-fried baby potatoes and chanterelles with shallots as sides and a thin apple tart (with homemade pastry) for dessert.  

My husband is incredible!

This morning my parents showed up at my door with a mocha and scone from Starbucks.  I'm procrastinating because I really need to get some house cleaning done because I teach piano at 6 today and I'm the only one here to do it, but it's just not an exciting thing to do on your birthday, so I'm putting it off.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 14:05

Baby Names

So I've always thought that naming babies is the easiest and most fun part of the whole 'planning for baby' process.  I've jokingly said that I would have two dozen kids just so I could name them!

Somehow my husband and I started talking about this - it had something to do with a Dr. Seuss book where a woman had a bunch of sons and named them all Dave, but she could have named them other things like Marvin O'Gravel Balloonface, and my husband said 'It would be really hard to name so many kids - maybe it would be good to name them all the same thing!'.  And I said 'No, it would be fun to name so many kids!' So he said - 'I bet you couldn't come up with 25 names that you like!' - challenge accepted.

Then he grumbled something about being kidding and that it was midnight and I should just go to sleep, but now I was on a mission... so here goes.  Since I have an easier time with girls names than boys, I decided to come up with 10 boys names and 15 girls. 

Boys.

1. Elliot Nathaniel

2. Alexander Glenn

3. Oliver Bennett

4. Simon Daniel

5. Charles Dorian

6. Caleb Aaron

7. Colin David

8. Jack William

9. Nicholas Brian

10. Noah Theodore

Girls.

1. Ava Gwendolyn

2. Sophia Scarlett

3. Rachelle Elena

4. Lauren Piper

5. Ingrid Anika

6. Miriam Hope

7. Heidi Catherine

8. Hannah Naomi

9. Norah Brielle

10. Amelia Joy

11. Clara Faith

12. Lily Marie

13. Natalie Charlotte

14. Olivia Helen

15. Gillian Grace

I had to admit at the end of this, that it was MUCH harder, having already named a child - to come up with names for potential future children.  It hadn't occurred to me before, but now that I'd named one child, there were certain 'rules' I now had to follow - such as, does the name mean something - like my daughter's does, do I consider the name a similar 'style' to my daughter's name and should I use names that are already in the family since I chose not to with my first?

Anyway, it was a fun little exercise - I enjoy doing this every once in awhile to see how things have changed.  When I was a teenager, I thought I would have four kids - two boys and two girls - and their names would have been - Alexander, Norah, Zachary and Anaya (either spelled that way or the traditional 'Anaisa').  I guess things change.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 23 October 2011 22:20

A Night Out!

Sometimes I feel like I'm married to a woman... Brian can be SOOO complicated :)

On Thursday night, Brian and I made a 'date' for Friday evening to do some updates on this blog.  Since he is the one who built the template, and everything, any changes I want to make I have to tell him about... the plus side here is that I have unlimited options, but that's not what I was going to get at here...

Anyway, we made this date and when I was talking to a friend of mine she offered to come in and babysit Celia while we went out to do this.  I hadn't really thought about the logistics of this - I figured we could take our laptops to a nearby coffee shop and make changes as we discussed and had coffee! Any excuse for coffee...

Sooo... on Friday I mentioned to Brian that my friend was going to come and watch Celia so we could go out.  This is kind of how the conversation went:

Me: K* is going to come watch Celia tonight so we can go for coffee and have our blog meeting.

Brian: Oh. (sounding disappointed)

Me: What?

Brian: I can't really work on your blog on my laptop... my desk at home has three monitors, and I can't really work with only one... (have I mentioned he's a computer geek?)

Me: Oh. Ok.

Brian: No, it's ok - we can just go out for coffee. (Not sounding overly excited)

Me: Don't sound so excited...

Brian: I was sort of looking forward to doing this blog thing.  I was geared up for it.  But we can go for coffee anyway...

Anyway, I ended up texting my friend and telling her she didn't need to babysit after all because Brian just wanted to stay home.  She said she would see me the next day, and that she was tired anyway.  I should probably mention that this friend lives an hour and a half away, but comes often on weekends and stays at her parents home which is only about fifteen minutes away.  She often comes out right after work on Fridays but doesn't get in until kind of late.  So, after cancelling our babysitter, I had this conversation with Brian later in the day after he got home from work:

Me: So K* isn't coming tonight after all, so we can just stay here to do blog stuff.

Brian: Oh (sounding disappointed)

Me: What???

Brian: Well, I had sort of gotten used to the idea of going out for coffee with you so I was really looking forward to that...

Me: Seriously? I'm so glad you 'got used' to the idea...

Brian: I had to switch gears! But I was excited about coffee... I thought we'd find some cool place we've never been to before.

Nerd.

Anyway, so I (this is kind of embarrassing) texted my friend again and said something to the effect of 'So Brian was apparently now looking forward to coffee, so for future reference, we will take you up on that babysitting offer'.  I realize this probably wasn't as subtle as I wanted it to be, but the point was to hint that I would really like for her to come and babysit after all, but to not ACTUALLY ask... because I felt dumb about changing our minds all the time...

K*: I'll be there in an hour.

Winner of the 2011 Most Awesome Friend Award.

And as if she wasn't awesome enough, when Brian and I got home that evening (after an awesome date during which we didn't mention blogs once), K* had cleaned up our kitchen and done our dishes. 

I was so humbled, I almost cried.  It's so incredible to have such great friends.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 16 October 2011 19:10

Life can be stressful...

This past month has been undoubtedly the most stressful period of time that my husband and I have experienced to date in our five and a half year marriage. 

After being led on by his past employers, his job term ended and they chose not to continue his position after all.  Ack!  So he was left jobless with no notice, and spent the next month job hunting with our mortgage, car payments and all of our other bills and debt payments hovering in his consciousness.  I tried to be supportive, but I felt the need to give him advice and pointers on job hunting at every step of the way, and probably drove him completely crazy.  Every time he took a few moments to relax, I felt the need to kick him in the butt, but (usually) I suppressed this urge. 

Last week Tuesday he was interviewed by a man who we discovered knew a lot of our friends, so we were hopeful about the outcome.  Much later that evening, as we were sitting in front of the tv, snacking, as we often do in the evening (bad habits that I suppose we should break before our daughter is old enough to realize what we're doing...), he left the room and came back with a bottle of wine.  He had mentioned a couple of weeks earlier that a bottle of champagne would be his first purchase when he finally got a job and (although he decided on a Reisling afterward, since I don't actually like champagne...) here it was in front of me.  My first thought was that he must have gotten it as a gift from someone, because he had been jobless so long I must not have really expected he would get a good job, but Yay!  The guy who had interviewed him that morning had called later that afternoon to offer him the job, and he was to start on Thursday.  This was SO EXCITING!!!

After a month of stress and nervous waiting, why do I not feel happier?  I actually find myself feeling strangely subdued, and maybe even a bit depressed.  I'm the sort of person who thinks - a lot- about what is going on in my head, and I wonder if I was playing the 'supportive wife' for so long that now that he has a job I feel less needed? Or maybe it is just because we have been so tense for the month that all of the emotion has built up and now I am needing to release it.

Anyway, I know I should be completely happy and overjoyed, but I don't honestly feel that way.  Even Brian has been a bit testy, but maybe that is just because I'm acting hormonal and he's just responding to me.  Either way, what should be a great time in our home has been less than enjoyable. 

I feel like I should end this blog with a 'What I have learned from this is...', but I'm not really there yet, so I won't.  Maybe I never will be. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 06 October 2011 10:16

The Future is Uncertain

Brian had a frustrating experience earlier this year when his internship was about to end, and his employer gave him the distinct impression that they were going to be creating a job for him to continue working there.  His direct supervisor even told him not to worry about 'cleaning up' his projects, because she was working under the assumption that he would be there indefinitely. 

So, when his internship ended, he had not lined up another position and it wasn't until he had sat at home for almost two weeks - sending many emails and inquiries - that they informed him that they were not going to be opening this position up after all.   Feeling incredibly stupid and a little bit taken advantage of, Brian was forced to jump back into job hunting, but weeks behind schedule and with no source of income for the upcoming month.

Sigh.

As my maternity leave was coming to an end, and I was deliberating over whether or not to return to the work force - after I had lost my spot at the daycare my daughter was going to be attending, but that's another story - I had decided to risk the loss in income and not return to work.  I had been teaching piano at home for four years, and decided to advertise a bit more and increase my student load to try to make up the difference.  So far God seems to have blessed this decision, because after having 10 students on average each year, I had 15 registered by September, and have had a few more added since and a number of interested emails floating in also. 

As my husband's joblessness continues, however, I have begun to second guess my decision to stay home and wonder if I should, in fact, be job hunting myself. 

I have to trust that God has a plan for us, and maybe there is an even better job waiting for Brian than the one he left over a month ago.   I remember a time when I left a job that I loved for no other reason than because I was certain God was asking me to - I know, it sound's crazy, huh? - but there it is.  I loved my boss, the job was challenging and I was getting raises by leaps and bounds based on the work I was doing.  I had a number of great friends in my department, and I was over all, probably as satisfied as I've ever been in a job.  And then I quit.  I took a job that I hated and ended up dropping shortly afterward also, and eventually landed in a job that was completely not challenging and paid dismally.  I found myself frustratingly asking God 'Why?', until I found out what had happened in the job I left.  My boss ended up leaving, and after a significant amount of unrest, there were firings and layoffs and a lot of management shifts that evidently made the department an extremely stressful place to be.  I could not have known this - but God did.

The one downside of my old job - the job I loved - was that the management was extremely strict about productivity to the point where they didn't really care about your personal life.  As in, leaving the office for a family emergency might just get you fired.  Another thing God knew that I didn't was that I was going to be getting pregnant.  And my Dad was going to be experiencing a number of brain bleeds that would have him in and out of the hospital for months.  My new and dismally paying job was absolutely beautiful to me in this respect.  They were totally wonderful and understanding - they gave me all kinds of paid family time off to be with my Dad in the hospital, and there was no question of letting me go when I was calling in sick from pregnancy issues on more days than I was actually coming in to work.  So although some aspects of this job were less than I would have wanted - it was exactly what I needed.

Now when I casually look at job ads, I still get the distinct impression that God wants me to stay home with my daughter, and I give up the search.  As He has before, I need to trust that God will take care of us, and that He has a plan that is much greater than we could have planned for ourselves.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?        Luke 12:22-26

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