Monday, February 16, 2015


Somehow it seems like I am always "surviving"...never getting ahead, just making it day at a time.  I like my life and I like my days (mostly), I just can never get ahead.  I always feel like I am in a war with Time and I am losing.

Sam and I are sort of surviving right now.  He has been the recipient of some of the worst of my parenting this year.  Somehow, he is resilient, and he still loves me.  He is full of life:  he wants to do everything, see everything, taste everything, touch everything, talk about everything and all of it now. (Except for when he wants to to do nothing but walk around moaning and kicking furniture or flopping on the couch because I won't let him play electronics). I love him and he loves me and we are a lot alike, that Samuel and I...but still, we feel like we are barely surviving some days.  And then some days I feel like he is my closest ally and I feel a big bubble of pride come up and get stuck in my throat.

Sam turned 10 right at Christmas time.  Who's crazy idea was that, having a baby at Christmas?  Every December, by the time Sam's birthday arrives, I am ready for the whole month to be over.  I love planning parties with him...he is so creative and enthusiastic...and he is gracious to me, listening to my ideas and then completely doing his own :)  This year, he wanted a Nerfday Birfday party (well, he wanted the BMX track again but we decided to enjoy a party at our home since we are blessed with a fun house right now).  

I told Sam he could invite all the boys in his class, betting on the fact that many of them would be out of town since it was just a few days before Christmas.  I almost croaked when he told me he would need 22 invitations (plus the a neighborhood kid he had already invited).

Jeremy took the lead, thankfully, and got the boys geared up and organized for their Nerf gun battles.  Sam was clear that he didn't want anything cutesy..."no target practice or twinkies made into Nerf bullets or anything, Mom, okay?  No offense."  None taken, Sam.  You actually relieved a lot of stress from me in that statement.
The boys were like seriously ready to take on the world.  There was a swagger to them when they were armed and dangerous.  The dad in the background was from a family where they were all like "We're peaceful, we won't  have guns in our house" and then he came home from Sam's party and was like "We're getting Nerf guns for the kids for Christmas."  His wife said the kids got over the guns after a few weeks but the dad is still ambushing them and they just play along.  Glad to know we helped bring someone else over to the dark side :)

We let the kids spray paint smack talk on their barricades.  They came up with evil slogans like "You are fat donald ducks."

Connor was the last man standing and was totally reminding me of Robocop.

We had Sam run the gauntlet at the end of the free-for-all. I love torture as part of birthday festivities.


The funny thing was, after the official Nerf games ended, the boys just silently started smacking cardboard boxes with PVC pipe. This went on for a surprisingly long it was cathartic for them. If you need your boy to burn some energy, apparently give him a box and a stick and he'll be good to go.

Sam had fun and was a great host.  We were proud of him. 

Two days later, I hosted a Christmas party and felt like the craziest woman on the planet for having so many parties right in a row.  It was wonderful and chaotic and perfect and I loved it!  Here are some of the people from around the world that stayed for an evening of FOOD, white elephant gifting (which I didn't really explain and the sheer shock on the face of the German girls when Evan unwrapped a severed hand was priceless), a haphazard christmas pageant and performances of "Let it Go, and sweet Christmas carol-ing.  It was awesome.  I wish I had more photos but apparently I don't know how to use WhatsApp.
Then, the next day, we hosted Jeremy's brother, sister, and brother-in-law for Christmas.  We had a sweet time together (and thankfully they are understanding guests who aren't offended when the house isn't ready for their arrival upon their arrival).  I managed to handle everything, as long as I didn't look at how many stockings were hanging on the fireplace (12, yikes!) or go on pinterest and see that other people had stayed up late putting reindeer droppings out and other such special and thoughtful things.  My kids were satisfied and spoiled and our stomachs were appropriately stuffed.

And we survived.  And even enjoyed ourselves :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


We had a sweet and wonderful Thanksgiving/Kendra's birthday.  Our students dressed in their nicest clothes and were so...thankful.  It was fun to share the traditions and history of thanksgiving with them (though it made us a little embarrassed to realize how little we really remembered as we were looking up dates and facts on our cell phones before the meal started).  Jeremy read Lincoln's proclamation about the first Thanksgiving and my goodness, have we become stupider.  I am a native English speaker and I had a hard time understanding all of the vocabulary and eloquence of that speech!

The day after Thanksgiving, we took 3 of our students and a girl from Germany to Flagstaff to see the Grand Canyon.  We paired up with our friends Jason and Mariah and their iHouse students.  It was really special to spend time together and share the fun of showing the students a little bit of the wild west.  We really need to stop showing Flagstaff off to everyone because then it'll become really crowded :)  Aw, it's too good not to share!