Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pssssst... It's Kev's Birthday Today!!!

So, he never wants the waiter or waitress to know that it's his birthday when we take him out for that special dinner of his choice. But I figured that there was no harm in telling the world through our blog! :) Love you, Sweetie!!!!

Yes, Kevin is now once again the same age as me. At least for the next 10 months or so. We're going to try to catch a matinee movie of some sort and lunch, just the TWO of us this afternoon (Thanks for babysitting, Bren!). The birthday cake will come a week from tomorrow when Noah will celebrate HIS birthday. Kev heard that I was going to attempt to make an Elmo cake for our little dude and he was jealous and wanted to be in on that action. Can't say that I blame him! OR... Maybe that just would have been too much cake in a week's time. It's like Dad and Britt... Their birthdays are just about a week apart and instead of two cakes, they have pie for one and cake for the other. Brilliant! All bases covered.

But I digress! I want to wish my Kevin the HAPPIEST Birthday ever. If you want, I can put ____?____ candles on the cake for you next week. I'm sure Noah will be preoccupied with how Elmo can be in so many places at once!

Here's a picture of when Noah didn't take a nap one day... until he settled on his daddy's lap at the computer. He was out COLD.... sweetie-pie.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia is so beautiful...

Kevin and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary in December, which means that we're going to celebrate the big number 10 this year! I've been really reflective for some reason lately, especially when it comes to everything that we've been through together over the last decade of marriage and friendship. It's been such a good journey so far, full of dirt poor undergrad days to full-time jobs... then to graduate school days... then to dirt poor looking for jobs days. Good times, good times...

But I think the biggest journey that we've been through together (that we're still on) has been our struggle to have children. There have been so very many lows, and then almost two years ago we started to experience the joys of this journey (finally!) when Noah came to us. As many of you know, Kevin and I have decided to start the re-approval process for adoption and we're only a few steps away from being finished and ready for the next little (BIG) miracle to come our way. Maybe that's why I've been reflecting on the past so much lately! Probably... So much of the paperwork and interviews really makes me relive the rollercoaster and pain of infertility. I'll admit that during the seven years that we were hoping for a baby, I found myself putting my arm around the woman next to me at adoption training meetings as she quietly cried, because I was feeling okay about things that day. And then at the next meeting I was the one who needed to be hugged! It's all part of the journey.

Going through it the second time is different... Kevin and I are much more relaxed and not so obsessed with it. At the end of the day, if nothing happens for us, we still have the most beautiful little boy in the whole world and he calls me "Mah-Mah." And that makes me whole again. :)

Our cousin Terra sent me this poem awhile ago and it really hits home. I've been thinking about it a lot during the last few months and I wanted to post it. You may have seen it in an email, but sometimes it's comforting to see in writing what you're feeling inside, knowing that it's from someone you've never met before. Kind of reminds us that we're never alone.

Having Babies... By Boat.

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guide-books and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you. You'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait -- and wait -- and wait. Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax. You'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's NOT fair!" After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By Boat?!?" you say. "Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than by air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat. It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends and family have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air. People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible. Traveling by sea is so easy." You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know that God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia...

And the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

I'll end with a picture of when I first stepped off the boat into Australia. One of my favorites. I don't really know who took this picture (probably my mom or dad), but I don't think I even noticed! I was busy...


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Beast

As some of you may know, I (Kevin) took on a little project after Christmas. Our old Dell desktop has served us well but is getting up there in age a little bit (going on 6 years now). We decided we wanted a new computer, and I decided I wanted to put it together myself. It's something I've always been curious about doing, and now seemed like as good a time as any. It actually was pretty easy and I would definitely do it this way again. For those who have been asking about the components I used, here you go. I thought about putting some nerdy comments about each component and any problems/solutions, but decided against it. I don't want to bore you too much!

This first group of stuff all came in the barebones kit I bought. Sometimes you can get stuck with stuff you don't like in a kit, but this had stuff I was already looking at and it saved me like $120 by buying it together (It was $499 with the $30 rebate for the RAM):
These are the other things I bought to finish it up:
We had already owned a Logitech MX1000 mouse and Logitech z-2300 speakers for a few years and a Samsung 24" widescreen monitor, so I didn't have to worry about those things. In the end, everything works fabulously and I only had a few minor hiccups along the way (had to manually install the ethernet driver and I had to take it all apart once in order to reseat the cpu fan when the cpu temp shot up to 60 degrees celsius while messing with the BIOS).

Here are a few pictures:

Just getting started...
Motherboard is in, but no video card, hard drive, or cables yet.

All done!

Side by side with the old Dell:

And now a little bonus for indulging me this long. Noah's favorite hiding place: the ottoman!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

"I want it to be Christmas!!!"

In the usual fashion, I'm just NOW posting Christmas pictures! But hey... It could be worse. It could be Easter. We had the most amazing "just our family" Christmas this year in Nebraska and I loved every minute of it. On Christmas Eve we ate dinner with some of our new friends and their little ones. Noah found himself surrounded by girls once again! It was great though because the kids entertained themselves watching "A Muppet Christmas Carol" while the adults played a rousing game of Settlers of Catan. Man, we love that game. :) Kevin won, of course. This is the usual outcome, although my sister Erin swears that it's been HER turn to win for about the last five years (Dont' worry... I'm still keeping track, Boo!). The evening ended by Noah going to bed, and Kevin and I watched a few hours of the show Jericho on dvd. My friend Caroline got us hooked by lending us the first and only complete season. Somebody... ANYBODY... PLeeeeease pick that show up and bring it BACK!!! Sci-Fi channel? No? Okay. Moving on... :)

Christmas morning we woke up around 7 or 8 and brought Noah downstairs to see what Santa had brought. In his case, Santa brought a Kawasaki little trike (what we knew as a Big Wheel when we were kids) and it had red bows all over it. He promptly removed these.

But actually, it was funny the way he entered the room. Kevin and I didn't expect this. He saw the furniture moved around and the Christmas tree that had been on the kitchen island was now on the floor and there were strange things everywhere. So he got scared and clung to Kevin's leg, refusing to go any further! Kev finally picked him up and put him on his bike. Everything was just fine after that, except that he wanted to open all his presents while sitting ON the bike.

It was a challenge, but he was up for it. We tore into presents for about an hour and then it was play time. I don't think Noah knew what to do first. I remember that feeling. :)

Our little Santa:

Our tree!

More Christmas morning fun:

Noah immediately put Grandpa and Grandma's gift to good use!

The rest of the day was SO relaxed and before we knew it Noah was headed to bed once more. BUT not without all his new things! Yeah, fortunately his bike does not fit in his crib with him or he would have considered it...

Here are just a few pictures of one of our family traditions. Actually, my dad started this one. He served a mission in Germany and came back with the most amazing little wooden carousel with the manger scene in the middle and a golden star at the top. The base has four small candles on it and when you light the candles, it turns the wooden fan at the top and the little figures spin. We would light this every Christmas Eve and LOVED it. I remember one year Sean and Erin wore their little sunglasses while the candles were burning. Yeah... I have pictures! So when Kevin and I got married, we bought our family a Christmas carousel (seriously, I can't think of what it's really called). It's not as authentic as my dad's, but we still light it on Christmas Eve. This year, Noah decided to wear my hat and scarf while we did it. :) Check out his silly expression... funny boy!

Hope you all had an amazing Christmas, wherever it took place. And here's to a brand new year!!! I'll end this blog with just three little words that mean oh so much: