Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Michael James – you are up to something, and I’m so on to you!! Ten years ago right now I was going through one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Planning a wedding with the big day looming only a couple weeks away? Stressful enough. Planning a wedding while realizing that your soon-to-be spouse is very seriously ill? Beyond stressful. Anyway, I’m not going to focus on the rough part of our wedding prep and wedding day, as I’ve already thrown enough pity parties about that.

I married Mike for many, many reasons, but there’s one reason that is ever so selfish on my part, and I’m REAPING the rewards. He takes good care of me – nay, he spoils me. This comes in especially handy as my “Love Language” (according to author Gary Chapman) is GIFTS. I like ‘em. I like ‘em a lot.

When Mike proposed, on my twentieth birthday, he incorporated many of our friends in his intricate plan. In the afternoon, friends began showing up to my dorm room with long stem red roses. Some had notes tied around their stem, some did not. I knew that a proposal would be coming at some point (as I’d helped pick out the engagement ring), but I didn’t expect it so soon. And the notes strung me along for a bit as they primarily had to do with my birthday: “Wishing you a happy birthday!” “I hope you’re having a happy birthday!” and so on. I’d been an R.A. in the dorm that year and it had been, shall we say, a most trying experience. So, I figured, towards the end of a rough year, Mike just wanted me to feel the love. And boy, did I! As it turned out, the first letter of each note was spelling out “Will you marry me?” Well, I’d unfortunately thrown the first note away with a snotty Kleenex (as I had a cold), so when I read down, all I saw was “ill you mar...” I didn’t get it until my roommate Liane arrived with the “Y” (“You are more precious than fine jewelry. Happy Birthday!”) That’s when I finally got it. She had the biggest grin on her face and tears in her eyes. (And of the two of us, I was – and am – the cryer, not her). At last, Mike entered with another dozen roses and the “ME” – “Marry me and we can spend Eternity together!!! I love you! Happy Birthday!”

Yes, the man is smooth.

Now, as we near our tenth wedding anniversary, he’s doing it again. I’d always thought that for our Tenth, we’d do a big “wedding do-over,” a renewal of vows and party to make up (somewhat) for the stress of our wedding, spending our wedding night in the ER and shortly thereafter finding out that Mike had Cancer (for the 2nd time) and going through Chemo, etc. Well, unfortunately/fortunately, we can’t afford to do that this year (but because of one of the best reasons EVER – adopting Kayliana took up quite a chunk ‘o funds – so money is too tight for a big hoop-la). Plus, in the months nearing our anniversary, I’ve begun to feel strangely about having a “Wedding Do-Over.” While, yes, our married life didn’t start out ideally; we never got to experience the ‘joy’ of being newlyweds; we’ve kind of made up for it in the years since! We have three healthy beautiful children, a home, and lots of love and all we could ask for, so a “Wedding Do-Over” just felt ridiculously self-involved and narcisissitic. (Then again, I do write a Blog that is entirely about ME so it’s not beyond the realm of reason that I tend towards these egocentric-ways, BUT dragging Mike into it just didn’t seem right).

Alas, I’ve accepted that there will be no Wedding Do-Over (at least not any time soon,) and we can’t afford a romantic get-away or second honeymoon or what-have-you, but the thing that I still REALLY clung to was the desire (since ten years ago) for an anniversary band to wear under my engagement ring/wedding ring. Basically, I just want the bling that I earned throughout the last ten years!  And as often goes, I did get my way on that one. We found an affordable but very pretty band that has eleven bling-orific (wee little) diamonds (I figure I get an extra one for that first rough year…plus, that’s just how it came). View the before and after photos. (I don’t know why they didn’t rotate for me. And I won’t ACTUALLY get to wear the band until August 11th – the big day).

I thought we were good with the ring, but no, there’s more. As I said at the beginning, Mikey is up to something. On Saturday, he handed me a bottle of my favorite (under $10) Pinot Noir (not that I’ve ever had an over $10 Pinot Noir). There was a note attached to it: “Your favorite wine to share or not.” On Sunday, I found a note stuck to my Kindle “Relax and enjoy a book today,” and Mike had bought a new book for me. At this point, I realized that maybe I should actually keep track of these notes. I’ve been glueing them on to a piece of paper (as I eventually did with the proposal ones). Mike did mock me a bit, “Oh, you’re pretty confidant are you?” I’m pretty sure he’s spelling out “Happy Anniversary” backwards. On Monday morning I found a wrapped fancy bar of dark chocolate with note saying “Antioxidents in chocolate form.” Today’s note read: “Something of your own choosing” with the explination that I get to do a little clothes shopping. However, the numbers don’t add up if the gifts continue until the big day…Maybe he’s spelling out “Happy TENTH Anniversary” or maybe he’ll just throw in random letters to really confuse me. Whatever! He can confuse me all he wants if it means little notes and gifts for the next couple of weeks! (But he really is creating a monster as I now EXPECT a ‘lil somethin’ somethin’ everyday from now on…for like…ever).

Monday, July 18, 2011

My parents gave me a beautiful locket for my birthday. I just got around to putting photos in it. I’d been stuck in an internal debate. The locket came with four photo slots – two larger, two smaller. Are my parents subtly trying to hint at a fourth grandchild? One spot could go to Mike, but I felt there would not be a fair way to divvy up the locket locales as then two kiddos would get a bigger spot while the third child would get a smaller one or two kids get smaller spots and one gets the bigger….I decided (upon the realization that this was not, in fact, an issue for the UN to debate but just about my own silly – yet beautiful and special – locket) to let the kids pick their own spots. Both boys agreed that they wanted a bigger place but Kayliana should get two photos of herself since her spots were smaller. (Sorry, Mike.) Phew! World disaster averted!

And as Matthew put it, “Kayli is way cuter than me and Zach, so she should have two pictures. She’s a baby and cuter than humans.” Um….OK. .

Unfortunately, Kayliana is not currently happy with humanity in general. We’re in a bit of a transition stage and it’s gotten a tad ugly at times. Kayli has learned to pull herself up to standing. She is starting to hold on to furniture and take a few steps (“cruising”). She is only eight months old. Now, I’m not really ready to have a WALKING baby, but then again I wasn’t really ready to have a crawling six-month old either. So, at this point, since she’s already mobile, I’d rather have her walking and off the floor which is the perfect level for head-bonking all low items. With her new found standing-talent, Kayli finds herself constantly in a bit of a pickle. She’d rather be standing than sitting (yet she can’t do this on her own and sometimes plops down in a violent fashion if not monitored), and she’d rather be walking (holding on to someone’s fingers) than pretty much any other activity in the universe. Kayliana – walking and holding on to someone’s fingers – elicits the happiest squeals and shrieks of baby delight. We all enjoy it. We all wish we could do this activity all the time. However, this is tricky as I currently have a cold and occasionally have to leave her (SITTING on the floor) to go participate in the completely self-absorbed act of blowing my nose. Kayli takes my departure as a personal attack. The crib has also become a place of baby jail where the novelty of standing has given way to the torture of standing-and-not-being-able-to-sit-back-down-gracefully. So, basically, life as a baby just all around sucks right now.

It’s not always torture though. We had some sunny hot days last week (or maybe it was the week before). The boys did the slip’n slide while Kayliana and I basked in…the shade on a blanket. One of our neighbors came over to say hello (a 20-something guy who is awesome and, sadly, just put his house on the market). He looked at Kayli (clad in warm-outfit appropriate tank top-romper outfit-thing) and said, “Wow! Looks like someone’s gotten a really good tan.” Now, Mitch knows that Kayli is adopted but this comment kind of just cracked me up. Yes, I take my baby tanning. She wears a bikini and little goggle-glasses and goes weekly to a tanning salon for her fix of spray-tan or tanning-bed goodness (see, I don’t even know how these things work).

“No,” I responded, “She hasn’t had any sun. That’s just her beautiful natural tan. She’s got a better perma-tan than I will ever have on my very best day.” (Seeing as my tan comes in two hues: less-blinding white/cream or lobster red).

Kayli got to work her tan when all of us attended a wedding last weekend! My high school classmate, Anne, married a college friend of ours, Kyle. Small world! I was friends with both of them on facebook and all of a sudden they were engaged. I sent them both a message saying, “So, uh, I take it you two know each other?!” They did. They do. And they said, “I do!” on Saturday!

Anne and Kyle have lots of nieces and nephews and had graciously encouraged us to bring our kiddos as it would be a family-friendly affair. We were very excited about the boys (and Kayliana, obviously) attending their first wedding. We may have gotten everyone a little too pumped. It’s likely all that Engaged Encounter influence, but we probably went on a bit too much about how it was a very exciting, special day and ‘how thrilling’ that the kids got to come, etc. I’m pretty sure after setting the expectations so high the kids were expecting the wedding to be something kind of close to the joy of Disneyland. I shouldn’t have been that surprised when one of the couples at our reception table commented on how well-behaved the boys were. I looked over at them and they were both slumped in their chairs, paralyzed by a boredom coma. The boys later agreed their favorite part of the whole event was the cake. I don’t think that Matthew and Zachary will be clearing their agendas for weddings any time soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks since the race doing the following: cooking deliciousness, eating, drinking, watching the boys do the slip ‘n slide, eating and drinking, attempting to do a mass declutter/organizing of the house, keeping Kayliana from getting stuck into too many tight spots, eating and drinking, and watching and cursing the growing weeds in the flowerbeds (tackled them a bit this weekend, but really, what’s the point?! They just grow back!).

The boys had a brief break from one another last week. Matthew got to do an overnight with my parents and then help them on their Friends of the Needy (delivering food to homeless shelters…that’s right, just an another day for St. Matthew). Meanwhile, Zach attended day one of our neighbor’s “Backyard Bible Club” (which Matthew joined for the last two days). When the boys reuinited my dad overheard the following conversation:

Zachary: It was nice not to have you here, Matthew. We needed a break ‘cuz we sometimes argue a lot.
Matthew: Yeah, well, it was nice not being here. You bug me sometimes.
Zachary: Well, well, you bug me too!!

We’re working on teaching them healthy communication (using “their words”) and this seems a step in the right direction (better than the elbow that Zach let fly “by accident” into Matthew’s side the other day).

Enjoy pictures of children looking (for the most part) patriotic and angelic.