Sunday, January 29, 2012

For Caroline

Dear friends,
My sweet baby niece, Caroline, is facing a medical crisis. She is a beautiful soul, and her parents (my brother and sister-in-law) are the picture of grace and strength while facing a scary time. Will you hold them all in prayer as they face this situation? I'd be so grateful.

Tyler, Ginna, and Caroline- we love you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

visitors

We have some new neighbors...
honk honk 

they flew off for awhile...

The kids love them of course... they are fun to watch, and blue heron has been hanging out lately too. Our landlord isn't so fond of them due to their messy poo, but hey, we're in the country! we'll see how long these guys can hang around :).

This winter has been strangely mild. Warm some days. And we usually get ice storms at least a couple of times... and a good dusting of snow. Not this year :(. And I really don't think we'll get any if the temperatures hold steady at 60. So weird!

But this doesn't ever get old:
backyard at sunset

at least the winter skies decided to make an appearance this year :). 
We're having a good week... just lots of tests and keeping our heads above water, so to speak. I definitely catch myself thinking "I could do better" at just about every area of my life. Sure I could... If I was ONLY a mom or ONLY a wife or ONLY a social worker or ONLY a student. Combine them? Not so simple and sometimes overwhelming. But HELLO! The combo makes life interesting, and I don't have time to self-loathe or feel inadequate or have a pity party. Being busy has its psychological perks... I'm too busy to think too much about it :). I'm most proud of the "down time" I have built in for the kids. They really just need to chill and play outside after a long day at school, so that's what we do. I even cheat and let them watch cartoons sometimes before homework (hey, if I want to have time to blog, why shouldn't hey have some time to rest their brains too?). In 1/2 Marathon news, I feel stronger and stronger. I'm getting faster and running further (did 9 miles this past saturday, and increasing the lengths of the during-the-week runs). I'm tired but it's still a nice challenge. Running is fun and I hate it all wrapped into one emotion. Not sure what the verdict is yet... I'll keep you posted.

Okay. off to do laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
Then, off to study. So. Much. Bacteria.

Friday, January 20, 2012

whataweek.

So you know, it's busy up in here... that's been established. This week I had a lot of work and a lot of school and a lot of work. Yes I said that twice. But I really loooove being busy. I didn't get as many runs in, because Leah had be picked up early on Tuesday and skipped part of Wednesday due to a migraine. My poor girl gets migraines! I've never dealt with these beastly headaches, and I feel so terrible for her when she goes through it, because I truly don't understand the pain. So I help make her comfortable as best I can. My poor sweet girl :(.

In other news, preschool registration happened and my awesome friend April (who is taking care of Sam while I go to school in the morning) got her ass up earrrrly to register Sammy for next year... she got him into the pre-k program! He'll go 5 days a week (just 9-12) which he's been BEGGING to do for a while now. He absolutely loves school and is jealous of his sibs who get to go every day, so I'm VERY grateful for my friend and her efforts to (a) watch my baby/drop him off at school while I expand my brain, and (b)  sacrifice her time to register him. I'm a LUCKY lady!

Also, do you buy expensive toys for your kids? sometimes I do (translation: sometimes the grandparents do), and then I regret it immediately upon watching my kids play outside. Because what do they really do? Play with sticks. And old Christmas trees. And pee on rocks. That's free, folks.
note Pete back there. With our old Christmas tree. Also note: no coats. Winter skipped us this year, apparently!?!?!

endless fun, that old tree... 
Here I sit, at the end of a very busy week. Hopefully Zach is on his way home. The kids are drawing and playing with trains. It's raining outside. I'm thinking about my 9-mile run tomorrow. I'm trying my best to understand cell metabolism, keep the house clean, and cook something other than pasta at least a couple days a week. Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn't... but there's always a good cake to bake and a nice bottle of wine to open, so life is grand, regardless of the details. And sometimes it's hard, too, knowing that friends are having a rough go of it, here and there. One at at a time... it's a good rule to go by.

Oh, and so is this... a great article about us moms - let's stop the judgement, ladies!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

perspective

MLK day is important for our family. If Dr. Martin Luther King had not possessed vision and perspective on what life should be like, for all people, my family would not exist. One member of my little family would not be allowed  to be a part of us. We have extended family members via marriage and adoption... all of different nationalities, religions, etc... and we can live in peace and harmony... or at least strive for that... because of Dr. King and his tireless efforts. There are no adequate words to express the depth of thanks we have for his work. As I reflect on his work, I think of my immigrant friends and my gay friends, all facing terrible injustices in this country... and I think of the ongoing racism that still has a foothold, and that WILL affect my child throughout his life, and that DOES affect so many of my dear friends. I pray that we can all continue to hold tight to his vision, and always strive for equality, mercy, and justice for all.

To celebrate our time together and the gifts given to us by Dr. King, we did what we usually do when seeking a view... and perspective... we hiked a mountain!
Sliding on an icing rock! Chilly start to our hike... 

Layers came off as we climbed higher... working up a sweat! 

Almost to the top

Here we are... 




don't worry :). 

oookay. Enough of that game! Sammy didn't want to participate... he's our smartest... :)
It was a gorgeous day. We found our view, and prayed that the wisdom of Dr. King could help our present civil rights leaders, and all of us, to seek out a better view when we feel there's no hope. There's always a better way!

**speaking of a long-view and hope... I LOVE microbiology. Love it. Haven't taken a test yet, so that view could change, but I'm so glad I took the leap to go ahead and start these science classes (being a grown-up with some PERSPECTIVE is quite helpful). Also? Training for the 1/2 marathon is going well. I ran the 8 mile run (this past Saturday) in 77 minutes. It certainly wasn't my favorite run ever, but I got through it. I'm liking these little life challenges :).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

it's the 12th.

Thoughts with no particular importance or meaning:

*January is flying by... as usual. This is good though, because January usually sucks the happy right out of me... NOT this year! This year it's been sunny and warm and gorgeous. I DO love snow, but if it's not gonna be cold enough to snow... then bring on the awesome warm weather!

*I read in the news that the governor of... Mississippi maybe?... pardoned a bunch of murderers (but a judge ultimately blocked the pardons). My first thought was WHAT????!!. I totally get letting someone go who hasn't committed a violent crime, or who is somehow proven innocent/wasn't given a fair trial. But convicted murderers? And the victim's families still alive and completely FREAKED OUT that the murderer will now come kill them? I don't know the whole story, but thank goodness for that judge and his/her blocking power... because ONE person shouldn't have that kind of pardoning power, in my extremely naive opinion.

*I played with E. Coli today. A mutant form of it (so as not to hurt the humans dealing with it), but still, I'm back in class and looooving it! (well, maybe I won't love it after the first test, but so far it's fun). So, on behalf of my brain: Microbiology, please be kind. Thank you for eternity.

*My schedule is a bit crazier for a few months (meaning: semester) than it has been for the first few months of living here, so I'm juggling a bit more (see above). Still working at the kids' school, still taking cases from the social work agency, still doing laundry, still attempting to cook, still trying to get the kids to all their places on time. Totally insane but totally worth it, and so invigorating! I'm suuuuch a  geek.

*Trying not to wish this time away. I would love to jump ahead a couple of years, have Zach graduate, him get a real job, not be on student loans, etc, etc... but HELLO! We'd miss so much juicy good stuff. Like meeting new friends. Craziest thing ever= Leah's bff at her new school, "S", has a brother in Pete's class, "C." Well, I finally meet S & C's mamma a few weeks ago, only to find out that she, too, has a psych degree, has three kids, has worked in a different field for 10 years, and is now going back to school. Bombshell- she's IN my microbiology class!!! and we're in the same lab! and she was a pharmaceutical rep who sold antibiotics to my dad and knows him from 10 years ago in an entirely different city!!! AND her mother-in-law will teach my husband next year in dental school! I mean come on, we are ALL SO CONNECTED. it freaks me outtttt!!!! in a good way! NONE of this would ever have happened (we never would have met?) without biting the bullet, moving away, and starting school for Zach. I mean you can't make this stuff up people!

Time to wrap this up. tata for now. I'm off to volunteer in the library at the kids' school (Sammy and I LOVE going to help in the library!). This weekend I'll be running my longest mileage yet... 8 miles. What the heck.

wishing you all good happy dreams and nice dry merlot...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

the new year...

Here I sit, a little over a week into this new year... with high hopes and realistic, yet content, expectations. Zach sits in the next room, studying full-steam ahead. Somehow the powers-that-be have created and even harder semester than last, which is difficult to believe. Yet, as we remind ourselves, this is an extreme privilege, to have been selected to study in this profession, at this school. An absolute (nevertheless hard-won) privilege.

Our first day of 2012 looked like beautiful hikes and gorgeous sunsets to entertain us during our drive home to enter back into reality:
These hills and forest found on the Outer Banks look more like the mountains than the coast!



This is what we were treated to as we drove back to the mainland

Just a gorgeous day all around! 

(these sunset photos are completely unedited and taken thru the windshield... it was breathtaking)
We had to leave the OBX paradise behind, but I have to admit, routine has been my friend. Just settling back into a "working" state is strangely comforting to me... I like being in charge of my brood and find great satisfaction in getting them all where they need to be, prepared, on time, well fed, and somewhat clean. The laundry is finished, report cards have been signed, dishes are done, and the floor is clean enough (sort of. Okay, that one's a lie). Toys are EVERYWHERE and tape and wrapping paper continue to appear from under the couch, reminders of many celebrations this weekend surrounding my now SIX year old son! A new year under way, a big birthday for my Pete, and a great new adventure for me, about to begin (more on that later). As anxiety begins to creep in, I can't help but push it back and replace it, quickly and confidently, with thanksgiving.
Happy Birthday to my sweet, wild, passionate, brilliant, crazy, loving boy. Life would be flat out boring without you here! We love you Pete! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

THE last day of 2011...

This is mostly for documentation purposes... travel along in my brain with me... as I tell you about our last day and share pictures of somewhere you will WANT to visit someday if you haven't already!

The very last day of 2011 started off with an EPIC run. Well, epic in my mind... very very short for some of you, but 7 miles is the longest I've ever run, so for me it was huge! We (Becca, Taryn, Brian... Zach was kind enough to watch the kids and did his run later) had some sips of water and ate a few bites of bread, and off we went on our longest run of the training regimen to date. Being on the coast, it was FLAT and gorgeous. The weather was perfect- sunny and about 55-60 degrees F when we set out. We did it in 70 minutes, and I was proud of maintaining my 10-min-mile pace throughout! I only had a few twinges in my knee, but pressed through and changed my stride a bit, which fixed the issue. I should've taken a picture of us after the run... I'm sure we looked miserable yet happy!

We laid around while Zach went to run, and ate/hydrated. It felt SO good to have pushed my body past its limits. Then we set out to enjoy and hike the dunes! and to fly kites, of course...
hiking to a good spot

kites! 




check out the people behind Leah and Zach... they are running and boogy-boarding down that huge dune... SO MUCH FUN! 




Edge of the world... love this pic

After we spent a couple of blissful hours at the dunes, we took the kids to the Pier so that T and B could get groceries to make dinner. The new Pier in Nags Head is spectacular. While we were there, a school of about 200 dolphins swam around the pier and gave us a show. It was magical!




stunning sunset

watching dolphins!

adorable

as we ate, the kids danced and partied to ring in the new year (at 8:00 :). 
So that was how we spend our New Year's Eve. It was my favorite so far! The first day of 2012 got the year kicked off to a good start- and we are grateful. More pics soon! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last days of 2011...

I don't know about you, but spending the second-to-last, and last days of an entire year with good friends, good food, and gorgeous scenery seems like a great idea. So that's what we did! Nags Head, on the outer banks of NC, is one of the most spectacular places I've ever been. We all just love it there, and our dear friends have made it their second home of sorts, so we were blessed to visit there with them this past weekend. Here are some pics from hanging out at Pea Island... 

It wouldn't be a normal trip for us without doing something sort of dumb, so we started off our tradition in style... getting stuck in sand on the side of the road (much deeper than last time we'd visited, due to the hurricane). Before we could even ask for help, these kind (and far more prepared) locals stopped to pull us out. Within 2 minutes, all was well. Thank you kind strangers! 

with that drama behind us, off to the beach we hiked to fly kites and look for shells! 

Happy (squinty) boy! 

and another one! 

and a squinty girl! 

great friends flying a kite :). 

hiking in shells

Brian and Leah searching... 

joy

Becca and Taryn... Becca not so good at the covering-braces smile :)

Hanging out at the lighthouse! 


our cutie kids, minus the baby... baby was with her aunt for the weekend :)

heading home to hang out. 
The weekend started off wonderfully and only got better.... more soon...