Monday, February 28, 2011

honor


This weekend, we had the honor of being the witnesses and photographers at our dear little friend's Baptism. "T" was baptized on Saturday at our local Catholic church, and it was really neat for my kids to be able to witness this Catholic mass. As boring old protestants, we don't get to see the beauty of a cathedral very often. I love the liturgy and the ritual... it was such an honor to be there! we love you "O" family!







Friday, February 25, 2011

brown


someone once told me that brown wouldn't look good on Sammy because of his brown skin. But every time I dress him in brown, his skin glows!
Also, he's obsessed with wheels. So he's caught in this adorable position all the time, watching his wheels. Cute cute cute.
He is my sunshine.... my beautiful son.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

rainy day thoughts

*It's overcast today, sort of rainy.
*Sammy is having fun playing by himself and being creative.... which warms my heart, because I just wrote an article and submitted it to our local mag... it's about Raising Creative Children. So I should practice what I preach :).
*My butt hurts from the new seats on the bikes in the spin class room. Youch.
*I'm eager to hear when the buyers of our house want to close the deal... should be sometime in March. Very hard to move, but it will be a sweet time.
*Zach and I are excited about a road trip we plan to take with the kids before he starts school. Details TBA.
*We have good friends. Good, amazing, deep-thinking, caring friends. From so many walks of life and so many areas of our life. I really don't know what we'd do without them. Thanks friends!
*We are moving to the country. Say it with me with the southern accent... country. In a turn of events that could only be orchestrated by God, or by my friend Taryn (whomever thought of the idea first), we are moving to a beautiful patch of land with a beautiful little house with amazing windows. I can't wait to show you pictures. It will be a lovely place to raise our kids for these Dental School years. Zach will have more of a commute to get to school, but the trade-off is worth it. A sweet little community of people who will support us... we are beyond excited. It's a more affordable, comfortable place for us to live, with clean air and space to roam. My kids will love it!
*Soon I will drive there and look at the schools for our kids... getting excited about the prospects there :). Country livin' will be a fun experience for all of us!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the anatomy of a tantrum


He wants the scooter, but it's not his turn...
Mommy tells him to wait for his turn, and he sticks his tongue out at me and crosses his arms...
Mommy says "No sir, you are not allowed to disrespect mommy"... and the tears begin...
Sobbing at this injustice, he dramatically throws himself onto the steps...
And then slowly crawls his way up to the front door...
Life is so unfair when you're three...
:)

(and mommy is thrilled to have had the camera out during this typical, daily, three-year-old event :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

in the blink...

...of an eye.
it's true, what they say. it goes by, in the blink of an eye.
i'm begging for wisdom... don't wish this away... soak it in... be present in this time... know her and love her well... raise her with all your heart, soul, mind and strength...
She's seven now. My baby, my first... is seven years old. We celebrated with classmates, with family, with friends... i took many pictures. but the ones i will share? they capture her essence... her being. she is all girly girl, all brainy smart, all nature-loving-strong, all creative grace. We are so blessed to call her ours. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!











Thursday, February 17, 2011

15 years of...





togetherness.
warning, long post. grab some tea if you feel like reading. Or a beer. Wine's good too.
on february 16, Zach and I celebrated being together for 15 years. We're only 30/31, so that's half of our lives.
A few people asked us to share our story... I tried to get Zach to write it but apparently he has no time with this whole "job and school" thing he does. whatever... he already gets 4 hours of sleep a night so I don't know what his problem is. Anyway, I'll write it for you, dear (from my perspective of course, with probably more information than you ever wanted... but it's relevant, I swear!).

I was 16 and in high school at a private school. I had dated a few boys... nothing too out-of-the-ordinary there. I liked having a boyfriend but wasn't too owned by the idea. A boy had just broken up with me... he was older and mean kids had been spreading yucky rumors about me, so it was good that we weren't dating anymore. I was in this phase of life of wanting to be swallowed up by a giant hole in the earth. I was struggling with the girls in my school... lots of petty, mean behavior going on, and I bore the brunt of a lot of gossip and mistreatment. I absolutely hated going to school every day. I was sort of brainy and worldly... in the summers I had been going to Romania and serving in orphanages there. When I attempted to share my experiences I got eye-rolls and "she's so self-righteous and annoying" comments. I was heartbroken... I never wanted to make people be like me or even force them to understand the conditions of the world outside our posh little school... I just wanted to be heard. I just wanted people to know me, to know what I liked to do in the summers, and how that impacted me. I had a couple of friends who were brainy and saw the bigger world like I did, so I stuck with them during the day. I started to just not really talk to other people and keep my mouth shut.

One night I drove out to my school to watch a basketball game. I had some friends playing on the girls team and the boys team, so I went to watch both games. As usual I felt pretty lonely, but I spotted my friend John and went to sit with him. John and a kid named Keith were always nice to me, and never made me feel out-of-place. Another kid came and sat with us... named Jon- another Jon. I don't remember how he knew the others but he was nice. Then Zach came in. He knew John and Keith, and some of the girls that went to my school. He was dating a girl on the basketball game. He was cute and nice, like John and Keith, and we all had a good time laughing and watching the game. I didn't feel lonely for the first time in a long time.

The girls' game ended, and Zach went to congratulate his girlfriend even though she had lost. We all watched her brush him off and refuse to talk to him, and cracked up at the site. He came back all sad, and we laughed and said "whoa! she denied you!" ... Good old high school banter.

The next day I got a call from the kid I barely knew (Jon) saying that Zach wanted to go out to a concert with me because he thought I was really cute. I was like "uuh, he has a girlfriend, bye." Apparently he (Jon) also called Zach to tell him that I liked him and wanted to "go out" with him. So this Jon kid was a little matchmaker, apparently. Zach called me to see if I wanted to go to this concert, and I once again said "uuuh, you have a girlfriend"... Zach hung up, broke up with that girl, and called me back. Hmmm. So anyway we did end up going out to dinner and this little concert with a big group of kids (Vertical Horizon and Ziggy's for any of you who may understand the high school coolness-level here).


I'm not kidding you... That night we fell in love. We became best friends. We immediately understood each other and became each other's number one cheerleader and life supporter. Zach loved me just the way I was, period. We weren't exactly alike. We weren't raised in the same kind of families. We went to different schools, and we had different interests. But, on a soul-level, as dumb as that may sound, we connected like puzzle pieces, and there was nothing we could do about it.

I say that because I knew what was coming. I knew that I would be made fun of. Zach had far nicer friends at his school so we hung out with them a lot. The people (for the most part) at my school were not so kind. It was hard dating someone and knowing that a lot was being said behind my back. Zach was my best friend though... he was everything to me, on a very real level. I knew that we would be together forever. How do you explain that to other teenagers? How do you explain that to siblings, cousins, etc, who you feel tons of judgment from? But none of that outweighed my love for Zach and his love for me, so we just kept on going.


Then came college. I wanted to go to Duke. I was a "shoe-in" on many levels. But I didn't get in. I had been accepted at UNC (big school... I had always wanted smaller) and Wake Forest, a school I secretly adored. It was in my hometown though. In no way did I want to go to Wake just because it was close to my parents. I absolutely hated that people thought that about me. But oh well... once again, the opportunity of going to Wake outweighed the scorn I felt. Zach wanted to go to Virginia, but his dad told him to go to Wake b/c it was free for him (Zach's dad was a professor of surgery for WFU). So there we sat, telling each other our college decisions... we were both going to Wake. This killed me on so many levels... we were opening ourselves up to so much more scrutiny. But we went to Wake, vowing to not act "married" and to have fun.


We really did have fun! Some of our friends were the same, some were different. We mostly spent time with our friends, and occasionally with each other. We were in different academic departments. We were committed to each other but also had very separate lives. I LOVED the way college worked out for us. We were able to be college students, act like college students, and relish that fun time in our lives. We both really valued our relationship AND our independence, and just soaked in life. I continued to travel to Romania and the Republic of Georgia and hang out with friends in the summers, and Zach worked at camp a lot. We were usually apart during the summer months, and it was always fun to come home and catch up on our adventures. We didn't have much email access and no phones while I was in eastern Europe, so that was sort of romantic, wondering what adventures my best friend was having and getting to hear the stories all at once upon our returns. Our college friends, both our mutual friends and otherwise, were awesome. They were all so very cool about our relationship and respected us and loved us well, both together and apart. I seriously loved every second of college and the people we were with. Dear old Wake Forest. LOVED it.

Our last "real" summer, before entering the real world, was between Junior and Senior year. Zach and I had traveled to Ireland with a church during spring break of our Freshman year. We fell in love with the country, so it was the best thing ever when Zach WON two plane tickets to Ireland at a big Irish Festival that Wake hosts every year (did you know WFU publishes Irish poetry? it does). He called to tell me he was taking ME! So we went to Ireland that summer for three weeks, after I worked for the first half of the summer. We rented a car and drove around that gorgeous place. It was incredible. I sort of thought he might propose to me, but also sort of pushed it out of my mind. He had been playing around with the idea of being in the ministry, and I, like a wonderfully supportive girlfriend, said "no way. you want to be a pastor? cool, but I won't be your wife." church work did not jive with my definition of married life... judge if you will, but remember I was young.... but knew enough to know what I could and couldn't handle). So anyway, I really had no clue.

But alas, it was meant to be. After lugging a ring around in his backpack for two weeks straight, he got down on one knee as we hiked on the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. I was pretty shocked and excited and forgot to say yes, so he had to remind me. It was full of rainbows and sunshine :).

We got married 5 days after graduating from college. Honestly, I know some of our family members were totally supportive, and some maybe weren't so excited about "us". Lots of concerns about being too young, etc, etc. Valid concerns. But once again, we couldn't deny our hearts, and we had a blessed ceremony with lots of fun and laughter and friends and family surrounding us. We were passionate about each other and the life possibilities before us, and, most importantly, we were/are in love and committed to being each other's support for the rest of our earthly days.

I had no reservations about marrying a man like Zach. He was, and is, a good, peaceful, fun person. Sure we have our difficulties, we're not perfect. But we have the same vision for what our life should be like. We have the same deep concern for the poor and for orphans. We love music and playing/singing everything we can. We are both spiritual and love God, and realize enough about the world to know that our lives are but a vapor. We want to make our time count. Not for any specific reason... we're not trying to prove anything to anyone, or earn grace that we know we are freely given regardless of our acts in this world. But we do know that with hard work and lots of love for our fellow human beings, we can make a difference, a positive impact for the world, and that's what drives us.


We love our kids more than anything, and have common goals as we raise them. We always knew we wanted lots of kids and a loud, fun house. We both have a huge heart for adoption. We've had to "circle the wagons" in recent years as our lives have been crazy busy as Zach changed careers, so we haven't been able to be as open to tons and tons of friends or involvement in every community aspect of life, but we know it's a season. We like partnering together and navigating the ups and downs of life, and I feel like I have the best teammate ever for this journey. YES he drives me nuts sometimes, and even though I'm perfect I'm sure I annoy the crap out of him sometimes too. But ultimately we are partners... we love our kids... we want to raise them well, to be kind and goodhearted, service-oriented people who love God with all their hearts and love their neighbors as they love themselves. Having that common foundation is what I love about us and our family.


So that's our oooh lala love story :). It's still being written, obviously! We love each other and we love our simple life. I really like that love conquered all, and continues to conquer all, and that every day we have a deeper understanding of each other and what love really means. There you go, friends... as I said, maybe more than you ever wanted to know, but you asked, so... :)

(also, I have no pictures in this here computer of us dating or our wedding or anything... soon I'll scan a bunch of pictures in, if you want to see... these are all post-digital-camera era of life)

Monday, February 14, 2011

quick post...

*hope your day is full of love...
*my dear friend Robyn died many years ago today... 15 I think? we were 16... rest in peace Robyn... your influence and grace are still felt these many years later... amazing short life!
*our house was inspected yesterday... waiting to hear and hoping that it went well!!!
*if all went well we can talk about a closing date...
*then we'll start packing up and move in with my parents! so grateful that we can crash there for a few months before moving to our new place...
*researching some living options for the next four years... a few promising leads... one is our favorite... hoping and praying that can work out! it would be a very sweet place to raise our kids for four years... pray/hope with us! thanks :)
*loving the warmer weather, and being outside!

love love love to you today...

Friday, February 11, 2011

friday:

Pete would like to say:

Happy Friday! Don't take life too seriously... :-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

it's weird...

*it's weird that it's thursday night already.
*it's weird that i don't have the slightest clue where we're going to live next year (we have general ideas but nothing solid yet).
*it's weird that we have and inspector coming to our house soon (hoping that goes well).
*it's weird that we will move from this beloved home.
*it's weird that i'm not asleep yet.

just in one of those moods... everything seems weird and cloudy right now. i'm neither here nor there... we're in a strange time of transition without quite knowing where we're going. Like driving through a thick fog, knowing that the light will shine through eventually, and trying to enjoy the thickness around us, trusting that it will all work out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

change


I remember this moving thing well... I moved across the country when I was a few years older than leah is now. It's stressful! my poor babies are having a hard time with the reality of leaving our dear home soon. I'm doing my best to convince leah that all will be well, that we'll make our little temporary home grand, and this summer the best stuff will happen, when we move to our new place for daddy to start school. But for now, she's in the "resist change" phase... she is grieving. Lots of tears and anxiety, but also lots of cuddles and knowing that we, as a family, will remain the same no matter where we go.

Today is not yesterday: we ourselves change; how can our works and thoughts, if they are always to be the fittest, continue always the same? Change, indeed is painful; yet ever needful; and if memory have its force and worth, so also has hope.- Thomas Carlyle

We've had a crappy experience this weekend that tried to mute our good house news. It was a really hard thing that we had to unexpectedly go through, that made us question our decision in terms of where to move. After exploring more options, we feel much better about some little towns outside of the college town we were planning on moving to. College towns just aren't the best places for kids sometimes, so we're doing something else and Zach will drive a bit more, but we'll be happier and healthier as a whole family. We're settled and at peace with our decision and feeling much better about everything.

Of course we have the house inspection coming up before we can close. All of these changes, plus moving, then moving again, have me feeling like this (photo by Pete):
I make the strangest faces. It's a miracle I even have friends. Speaking of which, that's another point of anxiety for leah... and I remember feeling that way, too. What if all the kids at my new school hate me? What if I don't make new friends?

Sigh. Part of me feels extremely guilty that we're moving away from our wonderful community. But most of me realizes this is for the best... for the future... for the fulfillment of our dreams. Onward we go...

Friday, February 4, 2011

I take that "dumb" thing back...

ummmmm.
so.
that cleaning thing actually paid off, so I'd like to apologize to cleaning for calling it dumb. It's not. It actually makes people like your house so much that two couples want it and there is a fun little bidding war.
Less than a week after putting it on the market.
Which is insane.
Realtor on her way. Offer accepted. Signing papers. Closing soon.
I'm in SHOCK.
Humbled,
Blessed,
Amazed.
OF course I won't completely breath until we actually close, because I'm not completely naive.
While I usually shy away from "religious speak" because it annoys me and seems so cliche half the time, I'm going to tell you what my best friend's mom said.
So I called my friend, and her mom answered. I love her mom. This family has taken us in as there "own"... so now we have lots of families who love us, which is so incredible.
Anyway, her mom answered and I told her about all the showings.
And she said,
"but Becca! Don't you realize? The Good Lord has been watching over you this entire time! Of course people love your house!"
and she said it in the most pure, non-religiousy way you could possibly imagine.
It made me cry, of course.
Because she is completely right.
I take no credit for this.
And I humbly bow
In thanks and gratitude,
for the mercy we've been shown
once again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

cleaning is dumb

so the house has been "official" for few days now. Within 24 hours of our internet link going up, we've had two showings, and the first people want to see it again! Possibly today, but I haven't gotten the call yet (from the weird centralized agency that handles all the showings... what happened to the good ol' days when the realtor called you? sigh...).

A few observations here... having to wake up and immediately tidy up and CLEAN is weird. You have to be ready at all times for someone to walk in and look at your house. Does anyone see where the word "dumb" comes in here??? I have THREE KIDS! I've only had one day of showings and I can already see where this is going...

it's gonna suck a lot.

Last night I couldn't even make my family a meal because one showing was between 5:30 and 6:30. DUH I'm so grateful that people want to see it and PSYCHED that they loved it! But this could be hard on the bank account and the belly... having to eat out... hmmm.... I thought I'd love it, but I don't.

Hats off to all of you who regularly keep your house this clean. Also, you might need to go to the psychologist and make sure you're not insane.

Off to hide my laundry...
and my children....