The Last Trimester
Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've decided this whole long-distance, home-building process is like having a baby.

(Now, before I start receiving hate mail from my dear friends suffering through an actual third trimester of pregnancy [Sara, I can feel your eyes burning a virtual hate stare through my body at this very moment], I must preface this entire post by saying there is really no true comparison to growing a baby in your belly. I can say with absolute certainty that I would gladly pack up and move across the country ten times in a single year than to endure another wretched last trimester of pregnancy. Seriously, Michelin Man had nothin' on me. Nothin'.)

But really, now that we've entered into the final stretch...the last 11 weeks...I'm experiencing symptoms familiar only to those in the last trimester of pregnancy: the almost pathologic need to organize, the endless days and restless nights, the moodiness, and the ceaseless anticipation of our upcoming, life-changing event. I've concluded these last couple of months in Portland, like pregnancy, will require me to work through a lot of aches and pains before unwrapping the greatly anticipated gift at the very end. I feel the need to pop a few Tums just thinking about it.

In the beginning, when we found out we were "expecting", it all seemed a little too surreal. Other than a few butterflies in the tummy, life didn't really change all that much. The land was just starting to take shape.

Constructing the retaining wall

Life went on as usual in Portland, but not without a few hiccups. We quickly realized that building a house was not as easy as a buyer and seller agreeing on a price. We had the issue of an appraisal to contend with, which felt a lot like morning sickness, but we eventually got through it and gave an exasperated sigh of relief. Meanwhile, development was still underway.

Still in the little "blob" phase, but the foundation and plumbing are perfectly intact.
Things are looking good.

Then this happened:

Then this:

Holy cow! Getting excited now. Finally starting to look like a house. We have a skeleton, folks. Nice lookin' set of bones, don't you think?

View from downstairs Living Room

View from upstairs Family Room

Cutest little backside on the block. Blush...

We can't see or touch it, but we know it's there, growing at a rapid pace. We're thankful for all of the pictures being sent to us by family and friends (and friends of friends).

Boxes are getting packed, McDonald's toys are being purged, and plans are underway for our two-week family road trip back to the Sooner State. Two weeks in the car with two kids. We have a lot of fun things planned, but if you know us, you know things can go Griswold very quickly. But don't worry, we have AAA.

It's Halloween every day at our house.
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trust me, I know it's April.

But, unfortunately, my kids don't.

I'm pretty sure our new neighbors from Georgia are thinking very strange thoughts about us. It's Portland. They better get used to it.

Little Women
Thursday, April 8, 2010

I wish I could say my love affair with reading began many years ago, with my parents unable to peel away the latest Beverly Cleary novel clutched tightly within my youthful grasp. But honestly, I've never had much of an interest in reading, following story lines, or visualizing characters. It all seemed like too much of an investment of my time to "waste" on...well...fictitious stories.

About two years ago, I joined a book club just to get out of the house and the rest is history. I started reading a book a month and then found myself finishing books withing three days. Before I knew it I had a "to-read" list of about 40 books, including some great American classics that were supposed to have been read in high school. But c'mon. Not too many kids can get through those dozers without the help of trusty ol' cliff notes.

One such novel is Little Women. Apparently, I wrote a report on Louisa May Alcott in high school and thought for sure I must have read Little Women in order to write such a report, but I couldn't recall too many details of the story. So, in order to get my own personal credit for reading it, I decided to give it another go. About 30 pages into the story, I realized not a smidgen of it sounded the least bit familiar and that I had, embarrassingly, written my high school report based solely on cliff notes. Shame. On. Me. For Little Women is indeed a timeless classic that can (and should) be appreciated no matter the age or gender of the reader (well, the latter is a bit of an exaggeration, for I couldn't imagine too many men getting warm fuzzies over teenage girls realizing and learning to overcome their character flaws).

But anyway. The story is simple. It's long. No edge-of-your-seat moments or unexpected twists. It's just a story. A very well-told story about a family of four girls (and their saint of a mother...oh, how I long to be like Marmee) struggling with the absence of their father, serving in the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on the life of the author, Louisa May Alcott, who literally pours her true self (in all of its awkwardness) into the story's chief protagonist, Josephine (Jo) March. Each chapter contains valuable life lessons, written with poise, and directly from the heart.

But what I found most fascinating was just how progressive Alcott was in her writing. She wrote the story in the 1800's, during an era in which sexuality was greatly repressed. Yet she had the courage to write about herself (through Jo) and her own awkwardness with members of the opposite sex. She was a feminist and portrayed it boldly through her character. Considering how much we've evolved as a society since that time period, I came to my own conclusions rather quickly regarding Louisa May Alcott's true sexual orientation. Some will wholeheartedly disagree, and that is their right, but the realization that Alcott could've likely been gay became quite obvious to me early on in my reading. Writing was most likely the most effective outlet in helping her sort through her feelings of isolation. How fascinating. How bold.

Alcott herself never married. Some say she wanted her character in Little Women, Jo, to remain an old maid as well, but married her off only to appease her fans. Regardless, I adore the tenderness of this story and appreciate how applicable it is to my own life, 140 years later.

Okay. So just because I loved it doesn't mean I'll be reading it again any time soon. It was a long book that took me nearly a month to get through. But I look forward to reading and discussing this with my own daughter (I can tell you right now, Wyatt will take one look at the cover and roll his eyes at it) several years from now.

Of course, after reading the book, I had to rent the movie. For Eric, watching it was just short of torture. I tried so hard to weep silently at certain parts, but he never failed to catch me mid-sniffle. Finally, he sighed, rolled his eyes and said, "Oh my gosh. Watching movies with you is like watching The Biggest Loser." (For those who don't watch, there is an overwhelming amount of crying that goes on in that show. Eric can hardly "stomach" it [sorry, that's so, so bad of me]).

Anyway, if you've never read Little Women, and you don't have a Y chromosome, then you must read this novel. If you've read it, but it's been a while, I hope you'll consider reading it again, for you'll gain so much more perspective than you did the first time around.

The. End.

Keeping things in perspective
Monday, April 5, 2010

As a girl, Easter was the holiday I looked forward to most. I understood the reason for which we celebrated, but was too young to wrap my youthful mind around the enormity of its significance on my entire existence. Mostly, it was a day to relish in the frills of pastel dresses, the snug fit of brand new tights, and shoes with heels that tapped louder than crashing cymbals as I pranced around on hardwood floors.

Yours Truly
(Many, many--too many to count--many Easters ago)

I must confess, a hint of jealously came over me yesterday when I thought of all of our friends and family enjoying such beautiful springlike weather in Oklahoma while we endured our fifth consecutive rain-soaked Easter. There are really only so many ways to dress up rubber, and I believe I've tried them all.

For girls, the secret (no big surprise) is in the accessories

For boys....well, there is no secret.
They just don't dress up--something for which this boy
in particular is especially grateful.

Needless to say, our Easter celebrations in Oregon are far from what I had grown accustomed to as a child, but I have to remind myself that a little gloom and doom doesn't detract from the true reason we celebrate, for the sacrifice Jesus made for us means eternally more than skies void of sun or shoes noisy enough to send a mother running for the Excedrin. I only hope I can adequately help my kids grow deeper in their understanding of the magnitude of such a sacrifice and the impact it will have on their own lives, both on earth and the hereafter.

We did manage to have a great time dyeing eggs though. The vast majority of them had been dropped or cracked by the time they passed through toddler hands (or clumsy mommies), but a good time was had by all. And as a result, our eggs had a lot of...umm...personality.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Grandparents, this one's for you!
Friday, April 2, 2010

I fear that if I don't get pegging away on the keyboard soon, the subtle hints regarding lack of blog activity may soon evolve into death threats by grandparents eager to stay abreast of the most recent shenanigans of certain little people occupying our house . Since it's never a good idea to upset the people you plan on hitting up for a boatload of babysitting in the foreseeable future (ah...the benefits of moving back home), I figured it would be worthwhile to post a few pictures to add to the office brag book.

Pretty in Pigtails

Aside from wearing clothes which are clearly outdated (we abide by the if it fits you wear it philosophy), Avery has fallen head over heels for Dora and her monkey sidekick, Boots. She has memorized every word (no exaggeration) in Dora Saves the Mermaids as well as Dora Saves the Snow Princess. She quotes lines from Dora like Eric quotes lines from Tombstone. Must be a genetic thing.

She's also learning to read right along with her bro. Well, she only knows one word, but hey, it's a start. Ask her how to spell STOP, and with her sweet, two-year-old voice, she'll confidently recite, "S-T-O-P!" I see spelling bees in this girl's future. Hopefully she won't falter on the word MOUNTAIN like her mom did. Stop laughing, Eric.


I mean it.

Since when did they put a "U" in MOUNTAIN, anyway?

Strangely enough, Avery is also fascinated right now with toe lint. Oh yes. She is. And she loves to broadcast her findings to anyone who might listen (usually Wyatt). Apparently, I need to make a better effort in getting her in the bathtub more frequently. I'll admit though, as a mom to two really young kids, I have bigger fish to fry. I mean, if it keeps her occupied long enough for me to make dinner, then so be it. We'll conquer personal hygiene at age three.

As for this guy, he's making all of his daddy's dreams come true in becoming quite the little outdoorsman. The boys went camping last weekend, and it was so cold one morning (14 degrees to be exact) that Eric just scooped him up out of tent--all cozy in his cocoon--and straight into his car seat. And there was nary a protest. I'm thrilled he has such a great time sleeping on the cold hard ground with his dad. It takes some of the pressure off of me! I'll take my fluffy pillow-top mattress, please.

Wyatt may be dabbling a bit in this new hobby, but don't worry, he has no plans to quit his day job. He's still very much active in his role as the friendly neighborhood Spiderman and shows no signs of hanging up his boots.

That's about it, in a nutshell. There will likely be more exciting posts in the near future, as our schedule is jam-packed with activities that we need to get in before we move. Just three more months!



My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771