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Friday, April 1, 2011

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago today it was a Sunday.

I taught Sunday School that morning.

I visited my, then, 14 year old friend Nicole for her birthday.  She french braided my hair, which she loved to do.

I went out with my roommate that night.  Every bar was closing early because it was a Sunday.

Our third try we hit the jackpot.  A little dive bar on the Eastside.  We didn't care.  It was somewhere to hang out for a few hours before heading back to River Falls. 

I pulled in and we got out of my car.  We were talking about something - probably "Wow, we sure are desperate for something to do tonight if we're going in here." ;)

Before I got to the door I saw a guy sitting at the bar.  I stopped, literally stopped, and looked at him.
I said, "Look at him.  I'm going to marry him."  Sara laughed and we went in.

This guy was so cute I was nervous to talk to him.  He eventually started talking to me and ultimately asked for my phone number.  I seriously thought, "Is he joking?  Did Sara tell him to ask me or something?"

One thing led to another and we've been together ever since that day.

Ten years ago, today, I met my husband.

Mark knew me before I was a mommy and wife and even a teacher. 

He knew me as a college student, a Sportsman's Guide employee, and a girl who loved to have a good time.

We fell in love very fast.

It was love at first sight. 

In ten years we've grown so much as individuals and as a couple. 

We moved in together while I was still in college.  He held me when I received my first and only D and bawled my eyes out realizing I would be retaking Teaching Diversity that summer.  He moved with me to Therese and Terry's basement so I could help watch Jonnie while Therese traveled for work.  He fixed my old car when it broke.  He smiled at me at my graduation.  He hugged and cheered for me when my dream came true: my first real teaching job.  He kneeled down and asked me to marry him at Minnehaha Falls.  He helped me plan our gorgeous wedding.

Then he and I became WE. 

We bought our first home together. 

We had our baby girl just over a year later. 

He proudly watched me receive my Master's the same day we found out we were expecting again. 

He held my hand and cheered me on through the very quick natural delivery of our son. 

We have held hands while walking down beaches in Mexico. 

We have had extrememly long conversations about how much we love our family and our hopes and dreams for our futures. 

We pray with our children every night.

No matter what, we are a team. 

So much has happened in the last ten years.  So much has changed in the last ten years.  Somehow, it keeps getting better.  Even if we're just watching a movie.  Even if we're out and I'm dancing and he's hanging back talking, we're a team. 

Mark, I can't imagine my life without you.  I don't know who I'd be without you.  I'm thankful for you everyday.  I can recall that night ten years ago so clearly.  It seems so recent.  But it also seems like a lifetime ago. 

I wonder what the next ten years has in store for us.  No matter what, I'm lucky to have you by my side through it all.

Happy "anniversary."


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quotes from the Kids

All these are from the last few weeks.  And this is just what I can remember off the top of my head!

V: Mom, you know when I was only this big (pointer and thumb less than an inch apart) in your belly.
M: Yes.
V: Did I pop out of your mouth... or something like that?
M: Something like that.
Conversation quickly switched.

C: Why you put broccoli on the windows?
M: What?
C: (pointing to the window clings on the kitchen windows) See right there! Broccoli!
M: Those are shamrocks honey.

I just walked in from getting my hair cut and colored.
C: Mommy, you soooo pretty!
M: Sigh - That's my boy!

Christian had only been awake for about five minutes when he comes to me holding a Bam Bam costume.
C: Mommy, put his on me.
M: You need to take off your jammies, throw away your diaper and go potty, then I will help you put that on.
He took off his jammies, threw away his diaper, went potty and returned.
C: What gonna hold my penis now?!?
M: How about some underwear!?!
C: OH!  with a huge smile

M: What did you learn about in chapel today? (at preschool)
V: The same old thing.
M: What does that mean? 
V: Jesus fed 5,000 men AGAIN!  Just like he did on Sunday. (from Sunday School)
M: Did you say you already knew that lesson? (hoping she is the kind of polite child who just sat there and listened anyway)
V: Oh yeah I told him!  He said since I am so smart I got to eat snack all by myself while the other kids listened to the story.
M: Really?!  How did that make you feel?

Christian has recently gotten some new fireman galloshes.  He was running around the living room with them and a fireman helmet in his jammies.

C: If there's a fire you can call 119 for me. Ok mommy?
M: Sounds like a plan buddy.

While bathing together last night:
M: It's a double wash night because tomorrow is Victoria's picture day.
Wash those wrists. Wash those ankles.  Scrub those toes.  etc.
C: I wash my penis.  (standing up - all smiles)
He's slapping soap all around it.
M:  Ok buddy it's clean.
V: No it's not!  He forgot to wash his acorn!

V: Do you know what will be the best part about going to kindergarten?
M: There's so many good things.  What will be the best?
V: Being with you all day.

Poopy on the Potty!! - Life's Small Miracle

The day after Christian turned three, January 29, 2011, I took away his diapers.  He only got to wear a diaper for nap and at nighttime.  This didn't go as easy as I expected.  Day one he had several accidents.  Day two he cried about wanting to wear his diaper.  Begging and prmoising not to 'use' it.  I wasn't budging.

He'd go every time I'd put him on the toilet, but constantly putting him on there is quite exhausting throughout a day.  Which explains the 2-4 accidents a day he had at daycare that first week.  I received a bag full of wet underwear, pants and socks everyday when I arrived.   Just what I wanted when I got done with work.

I knew this would pass. 

Every week there were fewer and fewer accidents.

Days without an accident became so routine that a day with an accident was news.

However, he would still hide and poop in his underwear or wait until nap and go in his diaper. 

Until yesterday.  In true depserate parent fashion I purchased some really cool toys as bribery right when all this began.  Finally, yesterday the boy pooped on the toilet!!  He's tried many many times but he's never actually accomplished it.  When he realized it was really going to happen (while sitting on the toilet with his big sister standing in front of him cheering him on - weird but true) he said, "Mommy, go get my present!"  Before I came back - Mission Accomplished!

He was so proud of himself!!  Victoria was jumping up and down.  He immediately fell in love with his Mickey Mouse train even before the batteries were put in.  He said, "I tell Kris when I go to her house!"

He tried several more times throughout the evening in hopes of unveiling more gifts, I'm sure.

Hopefully, we're on to a whole new phase here!

Odd Sleeping Habits

Isn't that odd!  They are totally asleep in the hallway, with apparently all that they own.
They organized this in silence because Mark and I were shocked when we walked by.

Sometimes it's just him.
He says he likes to hear my voice while he trying to sleep:)

Just him and Teddy the Bear.
This is quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Last night he wanted to sleep on the floor by the door,
but inside his room.
He went right to sleep.
I don't know what the issue is with his bed these days.

Liv's Birthday

My wonderful friend,Liv, turned 32 over spring break.
She hosted an extremely fun Poker Party.
Here she is with her birthday banner. 
I used a picture from her 30th bday for it.
This way that year is frozen in time.
I bet she'll still hang that banner up when she's 50 and think,
Damn, 30 was a good year!

One of Livi's friends I just met that night.
I don't remember her name, but I know she's a wedding planner and she's a riot.

Who uses a straw to drink a beer?!
Livi does when the straw sings Happy Birthday when liquid goes through it.
Very cool, if I do say so myself.

The Birthday Girl and her BFF

The Birthday Girl and her BFF's husband.
Yes, yes I know, you two claim to be 'real' friends.
But I am the glue that holds you together. :)

The crew at the beginning.

Later into the night. . .

It was a very fun night that didn't get us home until 8am!

Happy Birthday Liv.
You're the best friend a girl could ever ask for.
And I've been lucky enough to have you for
69% of my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Victoria the Artist

This is Victoria's self portrait she made at school. 

She loves art.  She wants to keep every single piece of it.  I've started taking pictures of her with each (pretty much each piece) piece so then I can toss it and not feel guilty.

Dot to dots she completed, with no problem.  She was quite proud of herself.

Highs and Lows in One Day

Last week one of my students from last year was pulled out of school in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday.  This was his last day his teacher was informed.  He's leaving. . .NOW.  He was one of those kids who needed a lot of extra attention.  Extra listening.  Extra hugs.  Extra love.  I poured it all over him.  It made a difference.  It took several months but I cracked through his shell.  By the last day of school I had shattered that shell.  This year his new room was right across the hall.  I kept my eye on him. I still gave him plenty of hugs and always wanted to listen. 

The fact that he was leaving at all is very difficult for so many reasons.  But to be pulle out mid day without any warning is cruel.  It was sad.  I was so choked up I could only whisper the few things I wanted to say.  I hugged and hugged him.  I cried at my desk thinking about his starting all over. 

I had a headache it was so emotional.  He left at 1:15.

Everyday at the end of the day I say good bye to each student as they leave.  Sometimes they hug me sometimes they just say good bye.  When I high fived the last one I turned to go back in the room and there stood one of my all time favorite students and his mom. 

This student joined my class after just arriving to the Us from Mexico.  Nobody in his family spoke any english.  They were all nervous.  I was nervous too.  How am I supposed to teach a student I can't even speak too?  He cried often saying his head hurt.  He went home after just half a day - day after day for about three weeks.  I researched different things to do to be able to teach him well.  He was smart.  Math was no problem.  Numbers are numbers.  By June he made many friends, spoke pretty well, was beginning to read and write in english and was a top student in math. His parents learned english really well from watching closed caption every night after the kids went to bed. 

On the last day of school, June 8, 2007 he gave me a letter. It said is titled: Your Smile

Your smile made all the difference.  There I was sitting in the back of the room a little shy and not knowing what to expect hoping to make new friends and to get through that first day of school without goofing up somehow.  And then you noticed me.  And you smiled.  You even knew my name.  Tha'ts when I said to myself this class is going to be fun.  And sure enough it was.  Not only that, I learned a lot.  One thing I learned is that there are teachers who really do love and care about their students. Even the shy ones who sit near the back. Love, B-----

Our principal asked him to read it aloud at the 5th grade graduation that day.  I thought, "Are you crazy?  This poor kid's going to have a break down!"  Not only did he get right up ther,e he stood tall and read every word and I video taped the whole thing, watching through many many falling tears.

This letter is laminated and hangs behind my desk.  A couple weeks ago it fell down.  I reread it and hung it back up and wrote him a note.  I hope he's doing well.  I think of you often.  Tell your family I say hello was basically it.  No biggie.

So they came up to school to visit me.  The mom and I hugged and she said in my ear, "You'll never know how much you mean to our family."  It was one of those moments that make this the best "job" ever. 

It was a day of highs and lows.  Maybe one day the other boy will come back to visit too.

Last Week of Swimming

As you can see we had major progress over the eight weeks of swim lessons.
We were lucky Victoria liked and trusted her swim teacher, Emily so much.
We're going to take a break, but we'll be back.

Christian continues to be fearless.  He wanted to touch the bottom of the pool.  He had Mark throw him up so high he sunk three feet to the bottom.  That made him happy.  Pretty sure if we'd just let him go he'd just swim. 

St. Patrick's Day

On St. Patrick's Day I took the kids to Como Zoo.  My friend Odelis met us there for a morning of fun.
Victoria's favorite thing to see at the zoo is Sparky.  She talks about him all the time.  We were lucky the zoo wasn't busy at all and we got to see him (& his wife?) up close for as long as we wanted.  Actually,
she would probably be standing there if I didn't insist we move on.

Gotta love the penguins!!

The monkeys are Christian's favorites.  There are many different species. Again, we were right up to the glass so Christian was really into them. 

The tiger was basking in the sun.  I think she's as sick of winter as I am!

This orangutang is huge!  She has an adorable little baby too!

Look at how close they got to this blue tongued skink!
Christian was practically nose to nose with it!
(Mark, you would have totally freaked!)

I didn't notice the sign that says, Please do not ride, until after he was up there.

Odelis and the kids enjoying the conservatory.

She's going to be a great mommy one day!

The conservatory was absolutely beautiful!  I've never seen it so amazing!

Of course they obeyed the No Picking room.
Victoria whispered I really really want to pick one.  Just one!
Like I was going to give in or something.

Instead so got her nose in so deep she had pollen all over her face and eye lashes.
She was really really into it!

It was such a fun morning.

The kids were exhausted when we finally left and I took them to Snuffy's Malt shop for lunch.

Victoria read 11 different words on the menu.
That was the highlight of my day!!