Saturday, March 22, 2008

And the Tide RUSHES in... the three most stressful things in my life have resolved!

1. Brian Matched at Duke for his Intern Year next year!

This is sort of bitter-sweet...we did rank it first, so we can't be too upset about it...but Brian is a little anxious as Duke's internal medicine is known for being very rigorous and demanding. I'm so lucky to have a husband who is willing to sacrifice for me to be able to stick around in this place that love.

2. We are now under contract on a great home!

This is also a little bitter-sweet, because we will dearly miss living a few doors down from many friends - and I'll also dearly miss the maintenance guys who come at the drop of a hat to change a lightbulb. But we're extremely excited to take on the challenge of being home-owners! My favorite features of this home are the kitchen, and the 'play room' - of which I've shared pictures.

3. I have FINALLY finished staining my table!

One of my best friends, Katie, laughs at me because I lump this in as a major stress along with finding out whether or not we're living in Hawaii for a year, and finding a house to spend many thousands of dollars on...but, well, it's been stressful! Many things went wrong, and I just let it get to me. But after working around nap times, rainy days, and mosquito-filled evenings, 20 days without a kitchen table has finally paid off. :)

I can now swim in my happiness for a while!

Monday, March 17, 2008

North Carolina Zoo

I usually don't love going to the zoo...I guess the caged animals get to me. But, even so, I had a great time the other week on our spur-of-the-moment zoo excursion. We went with the Christians, and took Anja Black along with us as well. The kids loved almost everything - Here are a few highlights:

The Park in the Middle of the Zoo - why not?
How fun to stop and play for a little while!

The Sweet Relationship Between Snakes and Rats
How fortunate that our innocent children arrived just in time to see a gigantic snake devour a rat for lunch.

The Sad Realization that 'Ignorance is Bliss'
McKenzie's favorite animal is the when we turned the corner and saw the funny-looking pink animals, she literally squealed with delight and took off, full speed, to greet her feathered friends. Little did any of us know that flamingos STINK more than any other animal we saw that day. The smell honestly made my eyes water...and it broke McKenzie's heart to see such beauty ruined by odor. She refused to take a picture with them...she just plugged her nose and walked away. Sadly, it ruined her mood for the next full hour.

Suffering From Exhaustion
After walking 8 full miles on hilly terrain, the kids were pooped. We all slept really well that night!

18 More Pictures

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ebb and Flow

I can't quite put my finger on it, but sometimes I feel like the tides of the oceans...always changing, yet unmistakably patterned. The beautiful things in my life are added upon layer by layer until, when I feel like my heart is so full of happiness and joy, negativity starts creeping in and eating away at the happiness. I sink slowly, sometimes quickly, into lethargy and easily provoked tears.

I don't remember being like this always. Of course, I've always had good and bad days...but it seems that for the past 3 years or so, the extremes are more extreme as I've been feeling the weight of adulthood more strongly. And, it's kind of making me tired. The decisions I have to make now seem to always be extremely significant not only to me, but my entire family. How I parent will largely affect my children's lives; if, where and for how much I buy a home will largely affect my future emotional and financial security over the next few years; where Brian does his residency years will largely affect our quality of life; when we choose to have another baby will largely change all of our lives forever...

So, I'll admit that I'm 'ebbing' right now. One of my faults is that I can only feel comfortable if I feel in control - and I seem to be going through many circumstances where the control is far from my reach. The sad truth is that life is not always beautiful. Businessmen can be shady; friendships are not always what they seem to be; children go through tough phases; skill does not come without learning. The silver lining, however, is in the fact that the opposite of each of these statements is also true: businessmen can be wonderfully helpful, friendships can (and do) keep me happy and stable; children go through wonderful phases; and sometimes, you can accomplish a skill without learning much about it (these, I believe, are called talents - and let it be known that I do not have one in the area of 'staining wood').

In this stressful thing called adulthood (most specifically motherhood), I have reached new heights of happiness and joy - so I suppose, if indeed there must be opposition in all things, it would make sense that I would reach new depths of sorrow as well. Now, let's not be confused about this here, I am definitely not in a state of sorrow! Just frustration at the fact that everything I seem to put my hand into right now turns sour.

So, I guess I'll just plow through it, and wait for the new tide to come in.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kiddie Cuteness

Cute little things stack up so fast - I can't keep up with it all! Here are some 'kid highlights' of the past couple weeks.

*On a rainy day last week, we were getting ready to go out shopping when McKenzie said, "Hey mom, look!" I turned around and saw her standing under this umbrella with a cheesy smile.
"You're so cute!" I said.
"I thought you might say that," she replied.

*After eating a string cheese, she ran into the family room holding the wrapper. She stopped cold in front of one of our chairs, turned her head to me sitting on the couch, and said, "Mom, close your eyes for a second." I suspiciously closed my eyes halfway and saw her launch the wrapper behind the chair.
"McKenzie..." I said in a warning tone. Angrily, she replied, "MOM! THAT'S WHY I TOLD YOU TO CLOSE YOUR EYES!"

*Thanks to our friends, Eric and Katie, McKenzie is no longer terrified of dogs. Now she's terrified of ghosteses (ghosts). It's so bad that her eyes will well up with tears if I pretend to be a ghost when the lights are off - even when she knows it's just me. Oh dear...what next?

*She is aspiring to be a photographer. There are countless pictures on our camera of undecipherable things. Weird zoom shots...funny exposures...'creative' angles... I was surprised to come across this picture as I was deleting all the rest - she actually got a pretty good picture of us at a fun moment! :) I have no idea what we're smiling about...but we're probably searching for a little humble abode to buy (ie. house hunting).

Kenzie's 'Little Bo-Bo'

*What a sweet little guy! After his first day in nursery, he came to me and proudly displayed a piece of paper on which he had stuck a bunch of stickers. It was so cute to see those two little pudgy hands clinging onto each edge of the paper, arms extended, and face turned upward with a smile to receive his praise! I wonder if he's seen McKenzie show me so many things from preschool that he finally felt part of the group. :)

*There is no rhyme or reason to the way Carson eats an apple. He just devours the whole thing...core and all.

*He has a deep love for the outdoors. "Tide, TIDE" is a common phrase we hear as he points to the door, asking to go 'outside'. It's pretty cute to see him playing in the mud and drawing with sidewalk chalk (although, the sidewalk chalk somehow made it inside today...he drew a very pretty picture on my kitchen floor.)

*Every time I look into his little eyes, my heart just melts.

Nothing makes me happier than being a mom - what could be better?!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Atonement 101

I've been thinking a lot about the Savior's Atonement this past week - and if anything, I've realized how much there is to it that I don't understand. I really want to understand it (and I desperately wanted to understand it this week because I had to teach it in Gospel Doctrine!), but it seems so deep and mysterious to me.

As I was listening to a friend bare her testimony today, I recognized a tiny, almost unnoticeable, light appear in my mind that made the reality and importance of the Atonement a tiny bit more visible to me. And I started to think.

I think the awesomeness, and mysteriousness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is much like the awesomeness and mysteriousness that I feel about the human body (I know - it sounds like a stretch, but just bare with me!). When I was a child I knew that if I wanted to run, my legs would move; if I wanted to touch something, my arm would reach out; if I wanted to look at something, my eyeballs would shift; if I got a cut, it would disappear in a few days. I knew it would happen because that's just the way things were. It wasn't until high school, when I took my first physiology class, that I was slowly introduced to a whole new world of how our bodies work. All the sudden something so normal became awesome and fascinating to me. I found it so awesome and fascinating that I went on to get a bachelors degree in Biology...and I still have so much to learn.

Similarly, when I was a child I knew that Christ went through the Atonement for me. I knew I would be resurrected and that I could live with God again. I didn't really think about it much...I knew it would happen because that's just the way things were. But after studying the Atonement this past week, I kind of feel like I've taken my first course in Atonement, and that I've been slowly introduced into a whole new world of what that really means, and why it is so important. It is becoming awesome, fascinating and mysterious to me.

Anyway - just a random thought.

Come again?

One of the questions I asked to my Gospel Doctrine class today was, "What are some of the 'things that will perisheth not'?" (Referring to the 9th chapter in 2 Nephi) Some wonderful answers were: the sealing bonds of the temple, our knowledge, our testimonies... and then one of our favorite people in the ward, a very vocal autistic 18 year old boy, raised his hand and said, "Malted Milk. That lasts forever if you just make sure the lid is screwed on tight. I'm serious - it has no expiration date."

So. If you like malted milk, this is good news for you. Stock up now so you won't be missing out in the eternities! (But just make sure the lid is screwed on tightly...)