Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The days in between.

Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice. - Fawn Weaver

Eight years ago, I stood in front of a green-eyed boy and promised to love, honor, and cherish him. During the good, during the bad, and during all the days in between.

There have been so many good days these last eight years. And there have been a couple of pretty bad ones. But, mostly, there have been all the days in between. The days when nothing remarkable happens. Days when we just go through the motions of life, bogged down by the monotony of working and parenting and doing dishes.

Why are there always so many dishes?

Today, on our anniversary, we are having grilled cheese for dinner. A repairman is coming to fix our dryer, and one of us will take Calvin to swimming lessons. If ever there was a day in between, today would be it.

But that's life. And marriage. Some beautiful highs, some terrible lows, and a lot of days in between.

There are days when I stand in awe of my husband and my children and the beauty of my life. When every touch and laugh and snuggle feels darned near magical and I sit there and breathe it in and wonder how in heaven's name I got so lucky. And there are days when I suck at my job and yell at my kids and snap at my husband and just want to go to bed. Alone.

When I married Nate, I didn't think much about the days in between. I knew what I was signing up for, sort of. A lifetime of loving and cherishing someone whom I already loved and cherished. How hard could that be? But I didn't yet realize that there would be seasons of life when, despite abundant blessings, it would be a struggle just to do what needs to be done in a day — nevermind all the loving and cherishing.

A few months ago, I had a bit of a psychotic break. I was on my hands and knees plucking random toys out from wads of dog hair under the couch, and I collapsed in hysterical laughter. Nate, who had been doing the dishes for what I'm sure felt like the 800th time that day, came in to see what was so funny and I just started yelling "I am done. I am just so done! THIS IS SO BORING! All I do is pick up toys and get kids ready for school and go to work and pick kids up and feed them and bathe them and put them to bed and I AM SO BORED." And then Nate started laughing and pulled me up off the floor and we stood there and laughed and hugged and then laughed some more because it's true and there's nothing we can do about it.

Except choose to love and cherish each other anyway.

Even in the midst of boredom, of chaos, of dust bunnies and anniversaries celebrated with swimming lessons and grilled cheese. 

Even when we don't really feel like it.

We can choose to keep the promise we made to each other and to God on that beautiful spring day eight years ago. To love, to honor, to cherish. In good times and in bad.

And especially on those days in between.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Like any well-dressed woman, Audra knows the secret to looking good is accessorizing.

Eh, we'll keep working on it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Little fish.

My intention was to sign Calvin up for swimming lessons as soon as possible, which I think is around six months. Three years later I finally got around to doing it. And once he finished that class, I did it again. Go me. Always so on top of things.

Last night was the first time I got to take him to swim, and it was so much fun to watch him. Such a brave kiddo when it comes to the water — he was the first to volunteer for every activity, and kept looking over to make sure I was watching. I even got a thumbs-up mid-dog paddle, because that's safe.

Side note: There was a kid named Calvin in the other swim class. You know how many times we've run into another Calvin in the past four years? Once, at the Minnesota Zoo. Of course this one will probably go to school with him since we were at our neighborhood Y.

Anyway, here are my attempts at capturing his adorableness while sitting on a hard concrete bench alongside a bunch of moms who were not watching much less taking pictures of their kids. I tried to be discreet, but I'm pretty sure it didn't work. Hey, at least I talked myself out of bringing the Nikon.


This morning Audie walked from room to room, pointing at everything and babbling excitedly. Every time she saw one of us she would say "hiiiii!" happily, then turn and walk back out, babbling all the way down the hallway and into the next room.

Pretty sure I don't need to tell you how much I adore this baby girl. Or her bow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Unfiltered Friday.

Apparently this will be more of an as-needed/remembered feature.

Only the best plate of food on earth.
Went to a planting class with my mother- and sister-in-law.
I have no idea what I put in here. Will be a fun surprise come May!
Wary of the Easter Bunny making rounds at brunch.
Keep it classy, Easter princess.
Oh yeah. She's still got it, 25 years later.
Reading with G-Pop.
Girls can be construction workers, too.
Love them.
Coconut cake is perfectly acceptable morning fare when you're at Nana's.
No caption necessary.


Yesterday I dropped a big packet of paperwork in the mail.

We had to answer question after question about our child. His health. His verbal skills. His sensory system. His social, self help, gross motor, fine motor, and general development.

His temperament.

444 questions, in total. None of them ours.

So now we wait. Not for answers to our questions, but for a phone call to make an appointment for an evaluation to get us started on a path that we hope will eventually yield answers to our questions and help for our child.

He's healthy, we know that. He's incredibly smart, we know that. He's not showing classic signs of common childhood disorders. We know that.

We also know that he is beautiful and bright and loving and strong and remarkable.

But he's having a really hard time, this precious boy of ours. And so are we.

Your prayers would be appreciated as we wait for answers.

My hope is in you, Lord
All the day long
I won't be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing
My hope is in you, Lord

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I did not love 12-18 months the first time around.

In fact, it was kind of terrible. Cute, but terrible. Lots of biting and insane tantruming and general unpleasantness.

But this time around? Oh heavens.

This little lady is 15 months old. And she has become a total firecracker. Our once reserved, laid back, observant little girl is now an instigator, a tease, a tantrum thrower, and a daredevil.

My kids never cease to surprise me.

I mean, Audra is still Audra. She is still reserved and observant, but she's become a little less laid back. She now has opinions, and she will gladly, and loudly, let you know what they are.

We took her to urgent care for a suspected ear infection two weeks ago, and she gave the doctor a stone-faced stare down that resulted in the physician saying "She looks like she might shiv me!"

We call that her B face. I don't think I need to explain that to anyone. Looks a little something like this:

I hope that face will be used for good and not evil when she's a teenager. Like when a guy who doesn't bathe regularly, isn't on the honor roll, and whose parents we don't like asks her out.

She's a sassy little thing. And she has some serious spunk. She pokes and prods and laughs at Calvin constantly, which I find hilarious. Him, not so much — though he has a lot of patience with her. She's super active, and is never content to sit still. She loves to be flipped around, thrown in the air, and fake dropped. She would jump on our bed for hours if we let her. Her tantrums are hilarious — she folds herself in half and puts her head on the floor and wails. Like a crying teepee.

Babies are her favorite toy right now. She has a few of them, and she likes to give them lots of hugs and kisses while saying "Baby. Baby. Baby." over and over again. She loves puppies and pants with her tongue out every time she sees one. She's a total bookworm just like her mama and brother — her favorites right now are Let's Dance Little Pookie, Counting Kisses, Touch and Feel Baby Animals, Noah's Ark, and Brown Bear Brown Bear — and she loves to pull all of Calvin's books off his shelf.

She also loves to eat. Her favorite food, by far, is cheese. She can down a cheese stick in less than a minute. She generally eats what we eat, but avocado, blueberries, cheetos (no judging), strawberries, hummus on pita chips, scrambled eggs, edemame, raw mushrooms, cottage cheese, applesauce, and yogurt are her favorites. She's not really into meat these days, but she can put the hurt on a hot dog.

Her vocabulary is made up of seven words (mama, dada, uh oh, hi, bye, baby, blankie), a handful of sign language (all done, more, water) and some emphatic head shaking (NO!). She loves to be held (so long as you're moving...sitting still is not okay) and has gotten slightly more comfortable with snuggling, though she is still a very independent sleeper. We read, we sing, I hold her for as long as she'll allow, and then she goes in her bed, where she flips to her stomach, scrunches her butt up in the air, and stares at me until I leave the room. She sleeps from 7-7, and naps for two hours in the afternoon.

The other night before bed I asked her to put her toys away. I don't know why I asked her, because I didn't actually expect her do it, but lo and behold...she walked her two little wooden condiment bottles over to her play kitchen and put them on the shelf. She had to stand on her tiptoes to get them on it, but that's where she'd gotten them and that's where she was returning them. For cute.

I feel like 15 months marks the beginning of the end of her babyhood. She's still so deliciously baby-like in many ways, with that chubby little finger pointing out things that delight her and lots of squeals and grunts and running around naked. But her understanding of the world is getting broader, and her vocabulary and physical abilities are, too. She's growing so fast I can hardly believe it. But instead of the sorrow I expected to feel watching my last baby grow into a little girl, there is only joy.

12-18 months. Who knew.

Audra's 15 months stats:
Weight: 22lbs 1oz (37th)
Height: 31.5in (84th)
Head: 18.24in (67th)
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