Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh no, You never let go...

video

The video uploaded here is Nathaniel singing one of the songs from last summer's VBS c.d. He loves to listen to his "Power" music (the theme was Power Lab) and for some reason this song sticks in his head. (Notice how Aaron barely pays attention to me because the more interesting person is right next to him. I swear, the only time Aaron pays attention to me is when Nathaniel is in the other room or napping! I don't mind playing second fiddle to the brother though).

I am glad that this is the song that he sings all day long. It's kind of like my own personal reminder during the day that no matter how hard things get, God has got me and my family safely tucked in His hand. So, whether things are going well, or things aren't, I don't need to worry because God has it all under control.

I know it sounds trite. I know it sounds crazy to some people. But, I can have peace knowing that God is unchanging despite my ever changing circumstances. Whether I'm dealing with something as little as potty training or something as huge as the stress of Sam being gone and trying to raise two little boys practically by myself, I know that God has it all under control.

And, while my son sings this song, I get to use it as a reminder for him as well. That no matter how hard things are for us. No matter how much we miss daddy or if he has a rough day, God is taking care of him and God will always take care of him.

Here is the full song. I found this on youtube and am not a big fan of all of the images posted, but I love the song so...



Monday, April 20, 2009

Responsibility.

I just think that this picture is adorable. No other reason to post it. Gosh, he is so cute!
The time has come to start teaching Nathaniel responsibilities. I figure that while he is young enough to find chores fun I better teach him as much as I can. He decided on his own that feeding the cats would be his job (and heaven help me if I feed the cats in front of him without offering to let him do it). He's pretty good at that job except that I have to get the food in the cup for him. But, he hardly spills any and he makes sure that each cat has the same amount in his bowl. The other day I decided to teach him how to make his bed too. Of course, the blankets and sheets are never lying flat, but he's doing it himself and he is so proud of it. Now, if I could only get him to scoop the cat box I would be one happy mom...
He actually looks happy to be doing chores!

His bed is so high that he has to stand on it to make it.

On another note: I restarted potty training today. We have been hanging out in the kitchen and dining room (read: carpet-less places) and he is only in his underwear (less mess for me to clean up). It is just after noon and so far we have success. Of course, I have been the one to suggest potty trips, but he's gone in the toilet when I've brought him into the bathroom so...we'll see.

Also, lately I have found that people have funnier life stories to share than I do. Perhaps I have just have a boring life or am not a good story teller, but seriously, in the past week I have heard a story about a man using the ladies' bathroom on accident (not realizing it until he was mid-poo and he heard high heels walking in and then he noticed the female-ness of the bathroom) and I have heard a story about an adult male peeing his pants on accident and then, figuring that it was a lost cause, peeing his pants the rest of the way.

Maybe I just need to have more adventures (or make more dumb mistakes!).

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Truthier Truth

Okay, maybe that wasn't quite what happened. Let me only focus on a few parts of the story.

Old Capitol Museum: First, I had no idea she worked there. Yes, I thought she was the coolest thing since sliced bread. But I seriously was not stalking her. I was just chillaxing on the steps of the Old Cap. I think it was some Sunday near the end of Semester. But it was a great time. It was amazing how similar we were. Similar experiences, and similar struggles. In fact, what was most impressive was how easily we could really share. I don't remember all we talked about, or even most of it. But I remember how freely we could talk to each other.

Fast forward to class lunch. Here I was on this high, and then it came crashing down. Here was this young woman who I could connect with on a level I never felt before, and she has a boyfriend. Of course, I can say "HA HA," she dumped the zero and went out with the hero.

So, fast forward again. I had just gotten out of a 'relationship,' and somehow I wound up in email contact with Carrie shortly after. I can't remember how it was initiated. But I do remember at some point she said she would like to meet for coffee. I am currently disappointed with myself, because I forgot the exact phrasing of the email. Because it clearly said (at least to me) that she liked me. That was crystal clear in my mind. I think she said she 'would really like to meet for coffee sometime with you.' Clearly, as you read it, it means 'I really really like you and want to date.' That's how I took it.

Now, I do have to confess. Contrary to all popular beliefs, I am not always the smoothest one with the ladies. I know, I know. Everyone knows me as Mr. Cool, always with a 'how you doin', always having to disappoint them now by saying 'you can look, but you can't touch.' But I haven't always been this suave. So yes, I freaked out and darted afterwards. So bite me; now I got a smokin' hot wife. Thank you Baby Jesus!

Skip a little bit into the future. Easter weekend always holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because Good Friday was GOOD! I got to make out with Carrie! Oh Yeah! I couldn't believe it! Things this good don't happen to me. I don't get to be with the girl of my dreams. Funny story, though. She asked me why I liked her. I said it was because she was beautiful. Now, she TOTALLY MISINTERPRETED that. She thought I was some superficial typical guy (the kinds of zeroes she was used to dealing with) and just talking about her looks. Well, I was talking about more (but it included that). She had (and has) a phenomenal heart. I see her beauty in her love for me, her love for her children, her love for her students, her love for this world. I see it in her strength and even in her times of weakness. Having her in my life is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Carrie, the last 8 years with you have been the best years of my life. It is because of you. You are the love of my life. Thank you so much for all you have been to me.

The Truth

So it's my turn. The story Carrie told is about right, but it had some inaccuracies.

Yes, we met in Propaganda, I mean Rhetoric, class. I couldn't help noticing that this one chick would just keep staring at me. I don't know if it was my stunning good looks, brilliant wit, or general suaveness with the ladies. So I went up to her and said "How you doin'". Then I gave her two tickets to the gun show (visualize me flexing), and the rest is history... Oh, and that gay comment, that's a negative ghostrider, I am one hundred percent for the ladies. Oh, right.

At least that's how I remember it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Story of Us.

Tomorrow it will be 8 years since Sam and I first started this crazy roller coaster of our lives together. I thought that since we are so well established now as a couple it would be fun to share with people how we ended up as 'Sam and Carrie' rather than simply two people wandering around this world. I will have Sam post his side of the story tomorrow (or when he has time), but here is my version of the story.

I met Sam in January of 2000 when we were in class together at the University of Iowa. It was a class called Rhetoric, where we learned how to give speeches and read a lot of articles/watched a lot of videos that were pretty much liberal propaganda--seriously, I'm not being some right wing conservative here (hence the name of the class: Rhetoric). It was a crazy time to be in the class because it was during the caucuses for the November election so both parties were pushing their candidates like crazy. This was a main point for our class so we spent a lot of time talking politics.

Somehow Sam and I got acquainted in the class. I remember thinking that he was pretty obnoxious because he was always talking and always telling people how wrong they were. I knew that he was a Christian and it frustrated me because he was so vocal about his views that I was sure he was going to offend someone and put me in a category that I wasn't ready to be put into (I was trying to get to know people in the class before talking religion with anyone).

As the semester passed Sam and I had a couple of conversations. One day, while I was working at my job at the Old Capital Museum I saw Sam walking by and I ran outside to say hello. I was really really bored at work and just wanted someone to talk to to pass the time. So, we sat for awhile and chatted. It was nice, I really got to know a lot about Sam that day and learned that we had quite a bit in common from our past.

At the end of the school year our class met for a group lunch and Sam and I sat with each other. He asked me what I was doing the rest of the day and I told him that my boyfriend was picking me up from the dorms and helping me move out. After lunch we said good-bye and went on our separate ways.

Fast forward to the next school year. I kept running into Sam in the music building because he was a music major and I still took lessons and played in the University Orchestra. We didn't see each other very often, but when we did we chatted pleasantly and then moved on. One day, however, during second semester, Sam asked me if I was going to take philosophy of religion. He knew that I was a religion major and he was a philosophy major so he thought it would be fun if we took the class together. I told him that it sounded fun and gave him my email address so he could keep in contact with me.

About a month later I got an email from Sam asking me a question about faith and salvation. This began a long dialogue between the two of us via email about faith and Scripture. Finally, I asked him if he wanted to meet for coffee to discuss it because our emails just weren't communicating as well as face to face conversation would. So, we decided to meet at the Java House for coffee one evening.

I must point out at this point that I was very much not interested in dating Sam. I had recently ended a three year relationship which wasn't very healthy and I had no desire to enter into another relationship. I had sworn off of dating for awhile just to keep me from getting into any bad relationship. Besides that, I had a HUGE crush on a guy in my campus fellowship and was sure that if I was ever going to date in the future, that Sam would be the one I would date, not this Sam (yeah, my journal entries are confusing from that time period).

During coffee I realized that Sam had a different question than the one he was asking over the email. So, we talked for awhile and then left the coffee shop. Before meeting him for coffee I asked a friend how I could make sure that Sam didn't think this was a date (she suggested flinging boogers at him-ha!), but as I watched Sam hightail it from the coffee house back to his dorm I figured I was safe that he was not interested in me. I mean, he didn't linger or anything. He didn't even offer to walk me back to my dorm (it was dark and cold out), he just speed walked right away from there.

We met up a couple more times just to talk. We always had super serious conversations that ended up leaving me feel pretty heavy internally. At one point I even thought Sam was gay because of an offhand comment he made. Which made me feel even safer hanging out with him. I thought, "Well, if he's gay he is definitely not interested in dating so I don't have to worry about leading him on!"

During this time my father had just relapsed with cancer and was trying different treatments. The week before Easter his doctor told him that there really wasn't any more treatments left and could only do maintenance at this point. They gave him 2 years to live. It was a terrible week for me. I was so angry and hurt. Especially because my dad and I hadn't had a great relationship and had just reconnected and started to build that relationship earlier that year. I went for a walk one night and ended up outside of one of the churches near my dorm which had a cross with a purple sash on it. I just sat there for awhile staring at the cross and questioning God.

I decided that I really wanted to just relax and not think and not worry about anything anymore. All of my friends left on Friday to go home for Easter, and I wasn't going to leave until Saturday morning (getting a ride with boy I was interested in). So, I emailed Sam to see if he was going to be around on Friday night and wondered if he wanted to watch a movie and relax. He decided to come over after he played at the Good Friday service at one of the churches nearby.

I picked out some fun movies. In fact, I picked out "So I Married an Axe Murderer" and "Tommy Boy". Sam came over around 8:30-9:00 with a movie he rented: 'Sleepy Hollow'. I have to say for the record that I wanted to laugh and Sam brought over a scary movie (I hate scary movies). But, since he spent money on the movie and I only borrowed the movies we watched his movie.

After the movie was over we just sat and talked for awhile. At one point I looked at the clock and saw that it was past 1am. That's when I decided that I was going to test the waters...

One of my ways of coping with stress and a way that I would feel better about myself was to always have a boyfriend. If a guy liked me or found me attractive then I felt like I was worth something (hence the no dating rule I gave myself. I needed to find my own self worth without a guy attached). But, I really liked being with a guy. I figured that I would flirt with Sam and see what happened. I wasn't really interested, but I thought I could have some fun.

I flirted with Sam big time. I teased him and threw my slipper at him playfully. At one point I did the stupid, "I'm so much stronger than you" ploy and we wrestled a little bit (yeah, he's stronger than me...).

It worked. Around 4 in the morning (I think we decided we were going to see how long we could stay up) Sam moved in to kiss me, stopped and asked permission, and then kissed me after I gave him permission.

Then Sam said words that made me feel like crap, "I have liked you for so long."

Oh. Crap.

We kissed for quite awhile and the entire time I was thinking, "How am I going to deal with this? I do not want to date him, I just wanted an ego boost!"

I took the weenie way out. I told him that I needed the weekend to pray about it, when really I just needed the weekend to figure out how to let him down easy.

To make a long story a little less long...after telling him I couldn't date him we stayed friends and that didn't work out so well. I realized that Sam actually was the guy for me (which cracks me up for all of the times I prayed that the other Sam would be the guy--God has a sense of humor, I definitely got a Sam out of the deal!). We started dating in May and ended up married the next August.

I am so happy that we ended up together. I'm glad that God took my bad motives and brought me an amazing guy. 8 years later and two beautiful children, I would definitely do it all again.

Now, I just need Sam to tell his version!

click here to see Sam's version.

click here to see the truthier version of Sam's version.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter--He has risen!

Well, for some reason my pics have uploaded in backwards order, but at least I have some posted.

It has been a busy week here. I love Easter week though, even in all of it's busyness. I think it is just a good reminder for me to remember Jesus' sacrifice for us, especially when I reflect on how much I don't deserve his grace and mercy.

What has been really challenging is trying to relate the Easter story to Nathaniel without going overboard. It's been good for me to flex my creative contextualization muscles to help him understand. All week we have been talkimg about Jesus and Easter. We decided to do the whole Easter Bunny thing and I told Nathaniel that the Easter Bunny was so happy that Jesus is alive that he leaves treats for little boys and girls. It works. I also thought about a way I could help Nathaniel understand Jesus dying for us. So I told him that Jesus took our punishment like if everytime Nathaniel disobeyed I gave Aaron a timeout or spanking instead of Nathaniel--even if Aaron didn't do anything wrong. I think he got it a little bit.

Tonight we read his preschooler's Bible and while I was cleaning up and setting up the egg dyeing stuff he was looking at the pictures saying, "They spank Jesus and he prayed and he sleep and he alive!" I am happy.

Here are pictures from our egg adventures. I am happy to report that no eggs were harmed in the process.

the finished eggs

mom and nathaniel

n putting stickers on.


Aaron gave up and went to sleep. I guess we aren't exciting enough.



pink hands after sticking his hand in the cup.


mommy and Aaron. He wasn't too happy.


Hanging out.

getting started.








Monday, April 6, 2009

park play, pool fun and poop.

Today has been a pretty good day. The weather is beautiful so we have been taking advantage of it as much as we can (rumor has it that it will be cloudy and cold again tomorrow). I started off the morning reconnecting with an old friend on Facebook. I have to say that I love Facebook much more than I ever liked Myspace. I found a friend who I went to undergrad with and had a lot of my religion classes with (and also our classical Greek class). We chatted a bit this morning and I found out that he graduated from Seminary, got married and already has two kids. All in the past five years. He's also working at a church in Iowa. It was fun to chat with him because I got to remember the good times I had my last year in undergrad in spite of the stress and junk that was going on in my personal life (dad being sick and passing away and friend committing suicide).

We met a friend at the park for a couple of hours which was nice for Nathaniel. He ate his lunch and ran around, burning off some energy (and the cake and ice cream from yesterday's birthday party) and then we went home for "rest" time.

Nathaniel has stopped napping most of the time. I don't mind it too much because he is really very good at staying in his room and in his bed playing quietly for about an hour and a half. I can hear him playing with his stuffed animals, but he isn't crying or whining. Sometimes he falls asleep, but most of the time he doesn't.

After nap I took the boys down to the pool because it's been pretty hot the last few days and I thought it wouldn't be too bad. HOLY CRAP!! It was so cold! I merely sat on the edge with Aaron on in the shade in his car seat while Nathaniel jumped in over and over again (he wears a swim vest so he can go under if he jumps in, but he pops right back up to the surface). After about 20 minutes Nathaniel could hardly form words he was shivering so hard and I still had to drag him inside promising him popcorn as a treat.

We restarted potty training this week. So far, it's going pretty well. Nathaniel really likes peeing in the toilet but I can't get him to poop. He has a terrible rash again because his poops are so gross. He screams and cries when I change those diapers and I feel really bad, but half the time we are out playing when he poops and he just doesn't tell me about it until it starts to bother him (and I can't smell him when we are outside). I am half hoping that the rash will help him start pooping in the toilet more. I don't know. I am just tired of changing two sets of diapers. It's maddening. Add the cat box and I am literally shoveling poop a quarter of the day.

That's about it here. I have been taking pictures and will update with some new ones. Aaron is thriving greatly (I realize I should write about him too!). I had to take him to the dr. last week to fix his belly button because it never fully healed. When they weighed him he weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds 9 ounces. That is nearly five pounds gained in 6 1/2 weeks! I have a Moby wrap that I like to carry him around in and one of the holds is called the "Lotus" hold where the baby sits facing forward with his legs brought up in front of him and held in place by the wrap. I put him in that hold and he really looks like a white Buddha. He is so round and bald. He really is a happy baby though. He adores Nathaniel and will usually stop crying when Nathaniel talks to him. He has started sleeping longer at night too. I can usually go until about 1 or 2 before he wakes up (and that's from about 9pm). I'll take what I can get.

Hope people are doing well!