Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank you for the facelift

Thanks for letting me in on the secret--I can see I'm going to have a lot of fun with this! Who knew I was only two clicks a copy and a paste away from my own fancy-shmance blog!!!

Hope you all enjoyed Christmas! I know I have not left my house or changed out of my PJs since the festivities started (OK, today it's because of a cold, but yesterday it was 100% the fact that I just could stay in my jammies. We all did. It was heaven.)

Today is Cairo's birthday, and Staten had his a week before Christmas so next I will blog about my birthday boys. For now I have cupcakes to frost so I can add another pound or two to those already acquired during the past few holiday weeks. Go sugar!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas to me from you

What I want for Christmas is a fancy shmancy blog. How am I the last person on the planet to figure out how to do it? Where do I go? What do I do? I am not technologically illiterate, well, not in all ways, but I don't even know where to start my hunt for this. One by one, all the blogs I read have been transforming into works of art and even my newest blogging friends have these beautiful backdrops.

When I was recently married my husband flew me to the other side of the world to accompany him on a business trip. We ended up at a very fancy dinner party in Lebanon (of all places) with all these young beautiful lebanese girls dressed all sleek and stylish for the bash. Of course my traveling wardrobe was limited, and there we were in what Brian and I called our middle east "uniforms" of khakis and whites. For me that night, it was a khaki jumper with a white t-shirt underneath. I felt SO NOT CUTE that when I think of that night I feel like a fish out of water all over again.

Now that you know that story, perhaps you will take compassion on me and share your tricks of the trade. I'm feeling not cute. Won't you help a blogging soul in need this Christmas season?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The haircut joke

It's an overused joke, and not very funny:

Person A: I'm getting a haircut today.
Person B: Oh really? Why don't you get them all cut while you're at it.

But Cayman actually needs a. hair. cut.

There is just this one hair that has been growing since he was a baby. The others have all fallen out or been replaced and are mostly uniform in their length. But this one stubborn hair held on. It is just above his ear, and it is going on 4 inches long. Even though it looks odd if you get a glimpse of it, and more than one person has pointed out "the piece of hair that needs to be cut", I can't bring myself to cut it. It tells the story of his whole short life up to this point. Starts out dark (he was born a clone of Cairo--same hairline and haircolor) then all of a sudden the hair goes very blonde. This is when Cayman's look pulled a fast one on us and changed from looking like a stamp of the boys to looking like a stamp of Windsyr. Next the hair settles in on a sort of light golden color, the way it currently looks. See? A story. And I just can't bring myself to end it.

So Cayman remains one small snip away from a balanced do, I remain ridiculously sentimental, and the haircut joke remains kind of dumb, though I can't help but laugh at the fact that my baby needs "a" hair cut.

Any other dumb jokes my kids can bring to life for you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Ah, Thanksgiving. One of the few holidays that hasn't been commandeered by retailers and commercialized to the extreme. It's not about decorations, gifts, or even activities--other than the eating, of course--so the few things we are expected to purchase for the holiday are ingredients for that one delicious meal.

Though I'll admit I find it amusing at times that a holiday can revolve so much around certain foods, I also find it rather wonderful that Thanksgiving is really about that: Giving thanks. Acknowledging blessings. Gathering with family to appreciate the good in your life and in the world.

My family has the typical tradition of discussing what we are grateful for during our Thanksgiving meal. We also keep a "thankful chain" that we add to each year, documenting what we are grateful for in links on a paper chain. We try to show gratitude to friends, family, and so many others in various ways, and we pray as a family regularly, which is one of our consistent outlets for expressing our thankfulness. But no matter how much I try to say or do to convey my gratitude in life, I feel I come up short. It's like being in a foreign country and having so much you want to say, but lacking the language to say it. I feel like there is simply no adequate way to express my gratitude.

Which makes this post very frustrating. So much to be thankful for, so impossible to name it all...

Fortunately we saw BOLT today, and Rhino the hamster taught me a new word. A word that will empower me when I feel unable to express myself in situations like these.

His line, something to this effect: "I am awesome. I am soooo awesome, I am beyond awesome. I am BEAWESOME!"

My adaption: "I am Grateful. I am soooo grateful, I am beyond grateful. I am BEGRATEFUL!"

So happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family. I am begrateful for you all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two smart for me.

I walked into the empty kitchen a bit ago (having been upstairs curling my hair) and thought: "Oh, my mom must be here." My sister in law's blog was opened on the computer screen, and "Skid Row" was playing festively on iTunes.

But several minutes passed, and no mom in sight. Then my kiddo came in. "Mommy, I want to see that picture." He was referring to one of the pictures on the blog, and that's when I realized HE was the iTune listening blogger, not my mom. When I left to curl my hair, he'd been on a stool at the counter watching a cartoon on the computer. Now the computer was turned the other direction, focused on other business. Though Cairo is two years old, I hardly batted an eye-- I did roll them, I'll admit-- since it meant he'd climbed on the counter and toyed with the computer AGAIN. But that's Cairo. He knows more about navigating that computer than anyone. He knows the laptop too. It was a rough beginning, of course, three times tearing off the keys on the keyboard (for a total of $600 in damage) in his young and wild days. Now that he is two years and ten months, he has shown true maturity in his choices, preferring iTunes and Photobooth to keyboard carnage. I'd buy a bumpersticker if they sold one for such occasions.

This is the same kid, of course, who sends text messages to friends and family on my iPhone that say glsdkfalsddsfp kl jklsjdr rrrsoooooosls,s, and other such enlightening things. He can easily navigate through my 68 applications on the phone, including the camera, iTunes (see a pattern here?) and YouTube, which is the one that alarms me most. He found a talking corndog on YouTube that I thought was clever until it started cursing. I yanked the phone from him aghast and alarmed that my two year old had been exposed to swearing corndogs at the tender age of two when in 36 years, I have yet to meet one. Oh, technology.

Well I just switched computers so I could post pictures from Cairo's photobooth shoots, and found him upstairs in my room (because I'd gone downstairs, of course...maybe we'd do better in a single level home) and this time it was the printer he was playing with. Photocopies, another favorite past time. Honestly, I can't keep up with this kid. But I sure like him.












Monday, November 03, 2008

The Election Baby

My brother celebrates his birthday on this historical election eve. Lest Darron feel lost or forgotten in the last minute flurry of political shuffle before this year's highly charged election, let us pause to remember this outstandingly great human being. In the maiden voyage of my blog's first year, (a fancy way of saying last year) one of my goals was to pay tribute to my parents, siblings, and in laws through posts on each of their birthdays. I stayed fully committed right up until my sickness, which wiped me off the map for three months. Darron's birthday hit during that black hole in my life, and therefore he is the only brother I have never had the chance to blog brag about. I only have six minutes to write this so I'll speed brag.

Darron was...(and is)
1. So adventurous, always exploring and absolutely in love with all things outdoors.
2. When happy, he's HAPPY. If sad, he is SAD. And he's never excited, only EXCITED.
3. He's musical in many ways but when I think Darron, I think of him on the guitar singing: "I know a boy/(girl) and his/(her) name is_____" (fill in the blank. The song is adaptable to everyone and many of my blog readers have probably had their own verse.)
4. He is a true entrepreneur and has excelled in creating and running some very cool businesses. He has always had the goal of owning a ski resort, and he will someday.
5. Three letters. R.E.R.
6. He loves toys. Snowboard, skate board, bike, quadrunner, landcruiser, rock wall, river raft, kayak...You name it, he loves it.
7. He is capable of balance in life. Plays hard. Works hard. Incredible father. He is not, however, capable of being serious when answering the phone. I have never heard more funny voices come out of one person.
8. He is as kind as they come. You will never hear Darron put anyone down, and he can be trusted with any confidence.
9. He has a heart of gold, and a character of steel. He is greatness personified.
10. He looks great in a kilt on stage singing an octave too high.

Gotta love you Darron. Impossible not to. And by the way Nilsson family (and us Maughans), we owe this guy a "group" novel...let's get cracking!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Fit.

By now you’ve heard it all in regards to Prop 8. You’ve heard every argument for and every argument against, seen the commercials and youTube clips, read articles, emails, editorials, opinions, and blogs. It’s on the radio, on TV and can be found anywhere and everywhere in cyberspace. Perhaps you are an activist in California, displaying your sign and bumper sticker (until they get stolen), making phone calls, pounding the pavement, waving signs, and working tirelessly to support the issue. Or maybe you are No on 8, for all of your own reasons, and will stop reading this blog entry because of it.

But I hope you’re still reading, and because I feel like it’s all been said (most of it far better than I could ever say it), I’m taking a slightly different approach in explaining my stance.

While eating out with my family tonight, I overheard a conversation between two women comparing the reasons they were “good” growing up. One of the two said she had no choice but to be good, or dad’s whip came out. She then laughed about how that could never happen today without her dad being hauled off to jail, and went on to say that for better or for worse, parents today are afraid to discipline.

Somehow that thought turned my mind to Proposition 8. For better or for worse, we are afraid to bring out the whip, so to speak, to draw a line in the sand. By we, I mean society as a whole, as it has become mainstream to accept alternative lifestyles, and ANY lifestyle, for that matter, really, with one important exception (an exception that goes back to the aforementioned whip). By law, we must not harm our children. Thank goodness for that, and yet…how to define HARM?

There is obvious harm to children who are physical or emotionally abused. But how many other ways can we hurt children quite lawfully, including through divorce, infidelity, and any sort of neglect, to name a few, all of which can happen within a “traditional marriage.” So traditional marriage itself is not always the safe haven we envision when touting the preservation of the family.

In fact, the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) that I belonged to for many years as a part of my major (Family Science/ Marriage Family and Human Development) is probably the foremost leader in its efforts to redefine family to include just about any group of people. I never saw more transvestites and cross dressers in one place before attending conferences that focused on the “family.” It was a real eye opener for me to realize the majority of people academically studying ‘family’ used the term very liberally, despite volumes of research evidencing the healthy aspects of a two-parent, two-gender family.

So if traditional families aren’t always ideal, and the fight for alternative families has become the quest for countless Americans who truly feel that a Yes on 8 means intolerance, bigotry, and inequality, then why oh why do I still plan to check yes in the little box on the ballot? I have no beef with the “other side.” I have no reason to squelch the marital bliss that I myself feel entitled to for friends, family and plenty of really nice strangers whose sexual orientation differs from my own. I’m not trying to be mean, self-righteous, un-accepting, or ignorant.
I just…(forgive me for this, Postal Service, but I have to!)

“I have to speculate, that God Himself did make us into corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay.”

For all I know the Postal Service is No on 8 (???), but their lyrics nail my thoughts on this nonetheless. It’s not rocket science, it’s my gut that tells me: A man and a woman were made to fit together, with the result of procreation, for a reason. Think Adam and Eve here. Two people. Two genders. One mission. Of course it gets complicated and messy with any number of variables such as hermaphrodites (intersexes), abortion, infertility, adoption, all things that can be used to dilute gender and child-bearing arguments. But my analysis persists: Men and women are most complete in their union.

And that’s the extent of my argument for tonight. We fit.

Do I believe homosexual tendencies exist? Absolutely. Do I have and love gay friends? Of course. Am I relieved to be attracted to the man in my life rather than a woman? Infinitely. Do I believe it can be a huge burden to be attracted to the same sex (yes) and do I know why it happens and how it is fair (not at all).

And yet: However real to me same sex persuasion, it is also real to me that God drew a line in the sand when he created us, by nature of HOW he created us--and it makes a whole lot of sense to me to back Him on this one. He taught us to “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But I don’t believe the translation of that is to “Live and let live” or “Anything goes”. If that were how He felt about things, He never would have given us a bold set of commandments to live by. He draws the line. He makes rules. He expects us to live them. And He did not mince words in saying: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Father. Mother. Man. Woman. Two people. Two genders. The reason we ourselves exist.

Same sex couples can be couples. They have rights. They have privileges. They do not need to be married to have them. Marriage is an institution, a sacred union that should exist for those who choose to follow the natural course of a man, a woman, and all the necessary equipment for propagating a species.

Marriages won’t be perfect. Families will be broken, and children will continue to be hurt in a multitude of ways. I wish it weren’t so, but it is the nature of an imperfect world. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fight for the ideal. We should preserve the framework that is most likely to offer kids a fighting chance in a very challenging world. It is not our place to redefine things that God has already made clear. He can love with a perfect love and still have expectations, still draw a line in the sand. We can emulate this love and acceptance without compromising our stand on this moral issue.

It’s one check in a box, but it’s a mark that can alter the natural course of a planet and a people, and I am not prepared to play God when there already is one.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I know everyone thinks they have beautiful children. In fact, it is probably one of the many faults of nearly all dads, or at least it should be. But I think I am one of the worst offenders in the world! I think my kids are eye candy.

I am not sure there is anything really wrong with thinking your kids are beautiful. I mean, can it really hurt them to have adoring parents who on countless occasions stand speechless as they hover over digital cameras, or computers looking at images of their little creations, wondering how the good graces of nature could have pulled off something so down right amazing. Nah, I don't think so.

I obviously attribute all the "beautiful-ness" bestowed on my children to my wife. Surely it is not hard to see that the apple most certainly did not fall far from HER tree. In fact, truth be said, our little apples appear to have been tenderly plucked and gently placed right next their delicious mother.

So it is with pride, and with very little hesitation (however, I am sure my hesitation is bound to increase as she moves into older years, when mine are not the only adoring eyes) that I share my beautiful little girl with the world.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six Days to Six

Windsyr celebrated her 6th birthday two months ago, and the fact that I'm only now blogging about it should surprise no one. Hey, I take my time, but I usually get there. Here's a shout out to my friend Bobbie whose cake pictures on her blog reminded me that I had never posted this here Barbie cake that was way too much fun to make. (2am fun, to be accurate.)

Windsyr opted for no party this year so instead we did a "Six Days to Six" countdown to her birthday.
Each day for six days she got to pop a balloon inside of which she found a piece of paper explaining that day's birthday activity. The activities were all things she had been hoping to do for a long time, and each day she got to spend time with a different person (we were fortunate to have both sets of grandparents in town for the weekend). It went something like this:

Day One: Pedicure and shoe shopping with Grandma Kippy

Day Two: Ice Skating with Mom

Day Three: Ears Pierced with Dad
Days Four and Five: Dinners with grandparents, Great Park Balloon ride

Day Six (Day of birthday): Birthday lunch of her choice (crepes), cake and presents

I'm sure I enjoyed the week as much as she did, if not more, because I love an excuse to celebrate someone--and six days of celebrating is six times better.

Now, I know I am a proud, biased mother but she was unbelievable on the ice. This was her first time ever in skates, and I assumed we would spend the evening slowly circling the rink a few times, with Windsyr on her bottom more than her feet, wanting to rest with a nice grilled cheese sandwich half way through the session. But that was not the scene at all. The whole "getting used to the ice" thing only took about twice around the rink. Then she was suddenly this little ice princess who could skate quickly, confidently, and couldn't wait to get going on her tricks. We spent the bulk of the time in the center of the rink where she worked intently on spinning around and doing fancy tricks, completely undaunted by the spills. She stuck with it until she was able to spin full circles without falling and she looked like she had been skating for a lot longer than 60 minutes. I was seriously so proud of her. Her attention span for soccer last year was about two minutes total. But put this girl on the ice, and there is a grit and determination in her that I could only stand back and respect. And take pictures of, which of course I did.
Here she is gaining confidence in her tricks.
And here is perhaps my favorite picture. A perfectly captured spill.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hiding Outside

My baby is happiest outside, so in the evenings when the sun is setting we love to hang out back on our patio. The night we spontaneously splurged on Pottery Barn patio furniture a few years ago turned out to be a really expensive date with my man...(we are lousy window shoppers) but we get a lot of mileage out of it and have never looked back.

With Cayman's new found mobility, his "hanging" is better described as rolling, so I sit beside him to keep him from turbo-ing right off the cushions. That's where I am now, and that's why I have time to post a blog entry. It's always nice when motherhood duties (keep child alive) collide with personal indulgences (blogging about it) to create the kind of multitasking that is enjoyable and inspiring rather than the usual feats of multitasking madness (applying mascara with one hand, clipping child's fingernails with the other, all while driving with the knee). You think I'm joking.

My older kids went shoe shopping with dad and my two year old is out here taking pictures with my phone--now that he has finished playing drums on the metal mesh laundry hamper he insisted I wear upside down on my head for him to pound on. Yeah, I'm a sucker for agreeing to it, but had you seen that look in his eyes you would have done the same.

It is cool enough outside to wear my traveling SIB sweatshirt (more on that later) and nobody expects dinner on soccer practice nights, sooooo, it's just me, a cool breeze, a laptop, and two of the world's finest creations--if I do say so myself--with nothing but time to enjoy the moment.

Now here's my dirty little secret: When I walk back inside this post will become null and void as I am hit with a wall of awaiting responsibility. I'm not even half way through my stack of Propostion 8 phone calls. I haven't finished (or started) a teacher letter due tomorrow. I have laundry accumulating in the garage, and my daughter's thank you letters are in the same 'waiting for stamps' pile they've been in for a week. Not to mention my house could double as an obstacle course for all the random things that need picking up.

So if you should peek over my back fence tonight and find a sleeping mound of mama glued to the patio furniture, you'll know I wasn't woman enough to face the inside duties just yet. But maybe you'll be kind enough to praise my economical tactics (getting my money's worth out of this patio furniture), and I will be respectable once again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


"Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it."
--Marshall McLuhan

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I lived in VA for 18 months. It was not long enough for my liking--I loved the east coast. I loved the fireflies, the country roads, the lush vegetation, antique shops everywhere, state hopping, battlefields, monuments, quaint towns, fall festivals, heavy rainstorms, loud thunder, a 2o minute drive to Washington D.C...and the list goes on and on.

I also liked the people. Of course, I haven't lived anywhere that I didn't like the people: People are likable. But I was fortunate to get to know a lot of cool people in our very short time. One friend-- Heather--introduced me to a group of women friends that I hung out with for several book clubs and a few memorable mom's night outs. That is how I met Paige, and that gets me to the point of this post.

I really liked Paige. Of course, if you read the last paragraph that shouldn't be shocking...remember, I like people. But Paige had an immediate stand out personality--being personable, witty, and one of those tell-all kind of people that made being human (and imperfect) seem like so much fun. I can remember coming home and specifically telling my husband about the funny, likable Paige.

As it turns out, I was not alone. There are now hundreds of thousands who tune in to a Podcast called Mommycast that Paige began hosting with her friend Gretchen several years after my VA stint. I found out about the Podcast through Heather a few years ago, and it has been fun to listen in, and watch it grow and progress over the years. It was the first Podcast to be officially sponsored (by Dixie cups) and was voted #1 Podcast of 2007 by Apple iTunes. (If I am getting any of my facts wrong, you can clarify them at the website.)

They have since expanded to include video, and have received all kinds of acclaim and publicity (again, see the website.) Although it's been years since I knew Paige and we don't stay in personal contact, I can't help but feel proud. Partly because someone I knew went on to gain success through something so worthwhile. Partly because she represents stay at home moms like myself, and partly because I feel like I scouted her out those many years ago, having recognized her sparkly, likeable self as a fellow mom I could connect with (and now have the opportunity to do just that in a crazy sky's-the-limit-when-it-comes-to-technology kind of way.) And yes, I also take credit for Johnny Depp. Right, Marianne? We found him first.

So in honor of Paige, who probably wouldn't remember me, and in promotion of a worthwhile podcast for a worthwhile cause ("Holding the world together, one child at a time",) I'm adding a Mommycast link to my blog, and I might even buy a t-shirt or two. I hope you will introduce yourself to the show.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Yes, it's true...

My husband's more savvy than me (as witnessed below.) But I am a way better clogger.

My Version of the American Idol Concert Recap

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Belated American Idol Report

Why did I like American Idol more this past year than any year before? (And yes, I have watched all the years.) My theory (actually it is my husband's, but I have adopted it) is that this is the first year they allowed instruments--which drew in not just singers, but musicians. Most of my favorites this year played guitar, and/or piano. And best of all, there were very few "boy band" singers. WHEW.

It was also the first year my husband watched along with me...not half heartedly, but religiously, a fun twice weekly date. Then my mom came home from her mission in March and it wasn't long before she too was hooked. We texted our votes in week to week, Grandma Kippy taking the cake with her 100 votes in the finals, which I thought was a lot until I learned about the 1000 votes a friend had cast that night, putting my mom's measly hundred to shame.

So having been such loyal fans this year, and having enjoyed most of the top ten performers, it only made sense to hit the concert and oh what a party it was. Attending in Utah was especially insane due to an arena full of the loudest and most intense David Archuleta fans you can imagine--something akin to Beatle Mania. I liked him too, Hershey's kiss that he is (little boy, BIG voice,) but I also loved Brooke White, Jason Castro, the Australian (vindicating Brian's fashion sense one scarf at a time) and David -You had me at Lionel Richie's Hello- Cook, redefining American Idol every time he opened his mouth.

Grandma Kippy
And the rest of the gang
Go Brooke!

Me loving Jason Castro

Grandma Kippy loving David A.

David A. was also Staten's favorite

Utah hearts David Archuleta

Back to Jason...sigh. Brian thinks I forgot I was 35.

David Cook. Second to none. Except when you're in Utah.

The man of the hour in all his rockstar glory.

Daddy Daughter moment
Finale with all the performers

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake Shake

We just felt the SoCal 5.4 earthquake and it shook our house longer and harder than any I have felt before. I was sitting on my bed nursing the baby...reading Maggie's blog, incidentally. Cairo was with us too. The house started to shake--nothing new--I have felt two other earthquakes while in that very spot. But this shaking wasn't quick and then over...instead it got more intense as it went. It gave me enough time to go through an entire process and here it is.

My first thought was funny: I was annoyed! Annoyed that I had to worry about an earthquake that was not stopping.

Second thought: Fear. Not stopping? That's not good. How bad would it get?

Third thought: Cayman was attached, and he was not going to be happy about the interruption. Solution? I kept him attached as I cranked into action.

Then I had to make a decision. Was it safe to take my two younger children downstairs to the playroom to join my two older children, or did we need to crouch in a doorway upstairs to keep them from flying objects. Not that there were flying objects, but who knew what could happen?

After pausing in the doorway just long enough to make sure the wrought iron decor above the stairway wouldn't crash down on us as we passed, I grabbed Cairo's hand with my right hand, held nursing Cayman in my left, and dragged everyone downstairs.

I found my daughter scared and in tears. Staten was consoling her by saying: "Don't worry Windsyr, it's just an earthquake. No big deal." Which is the kind of numbed mentality you develop by living here.

The shaking stopped just as I got to Windsyr to comfort her. I still had Cayman attached and Cairo in tow, so we were a lot of human in a small amount of space. I was of course relieved it hadn't gotten any worse, but we still hung out in a doorway for a few minutes to safeguard from aftershocks.

Then to make it an "adventure" for my kids instead of something scary, I headed upstairs to retrieve my computer, thinking I would bring it back down and we could look it up online, learn the magnitude, report the shaking, etc. (our usual earthquake routine.) But instead, three little kids followed my every step, practically attached to my pant legs.

Not too surprising, under the circumstances. So we did the research upstairs, then went back down to watch the breaking news. In all that time I couldn't contact Brian (all circuits busy) but it was anti-climatic when I finally did. He had been driving and didn't even feel it!

These are the days every Californian decides we are insane for living here. But then we chalk it up to business as usual and go about enjoying our perfect weather.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Birthday Sermon

I love this picture of my birthday boy (the bigger one in the picture.) It's the eyes. Look at those beauties and tell me I am not lucky to gaze into them. They are 36 year old eyes now...which makes them older and wiser and full of experience. They would reflect a life well lived, but they are currently too busy reflecting a crazed wife doing the "hand off" at the end of a chaotic day, four energetic children vying for his attention, laundry overflowing from every hamper, and a house that isn't fully put together in spite of aforementioned crazed wife's best efforts. This four children thing is getting the best of her, but he takes it all in stride. No, MORE than that. He jumps in and saves the day-- whisking the kids away, making dinner, cleaning up, rubbing her feet. I'm not even kidding. He's amazing.

This entry is a year overdue. Last year on his birthday I was so overwhelmed at the thought of a birthday tribute to him that I decided to break it into 3 parts. So I posted part one and part two. They were the easy parts because they mostly related the recent trips we had taken together. The third part never got posted because it never got written because it was the hard one. It was supposed to be my attempt at putting into words my love and gratitude for him, and like I said before...I get overwhelmed by that.

So this is a second stab at telling him that he is all that and a bag of chips. See? I'm already flopping! What I really feel brewing inside of me is a sermon about marriage. I promise to keep it short (ish) and the beauty of blogs is you don't even have to stick around if you don't want to. But here is my sermon for the persistent and dedicated readers.

I studied marriage and family in school. It was my intent to be a marriage and family therapist and therefore I had to become an expert on the matter. Of course I wasn't married then, and just like I was a perfect parent BEFORE I had kids, I was a perfect wife in college. It was kind of disappointing to find out once I actually married that I wasn't the perfect wife after all. Even though I theoretically knew the right things to say and do, it didn't mean I said or did them. And to top it off: A marriage between any two people is unlikely to be conflict pair two stubborn people with strong wills and strong opinions, and, well, you're asking for a lot. My vision of the "perfect marriage" I expected to have (being the expert and all) crumbled in the face of reality and it was devastating at first.

But I learned something really important really fast. It is a lesson we are taught over and over in life, I just didn't realize how directly it could relate to marriage. There are many ways to say it, so here are a just a few:

The more you have to work for something, the more you appreciate it. OR,
You get out of it what you put into it. OR,
To whom much is given, much is required. OR,
The greater the effort, the greater the reward.

All stuff I knew, I just didn't relate it to a good and successful union. But now I do.

Author Po Bronson said: "I used to treasure the innocence of first love, now I treasure the hard fought." No words describe our marriage better. I guess I feel OK with bragging a little about our marriage, because WE HAVE EARNED IT! It is strong because we fight for it, and work really hard to make it what it is. It wasn't (and isn't) handed to us on a silver platter...we earn it one spoonful at a time. But man do we reap the benefits when we are willing to pay the price. I think that's why I get all speechless when I try to put my emotions into words. So much has gone into the last nine years with this man of mine that I can't even express my feelings for him. Doesn't mean it's all roses, and it's certainly no piece of cake. But that's exactly why I love him so much. Kind of Adam and Eve-ish I guess. When you know opposition, you can truly cherish the joy.

I just really love my husband. And I feel really, really fortunate to have been led (it wasn't coincidence) to the perfect fit for me.

I treasure it all. Every part of our life together. Every moment. Every memory. Every experience. Every conversation. Everything. And wishing him a happy birthday just can't do my feelings justice.

But I will praise him for driving his car to work this way when he really would have preferred washing it off first.

And that pretty much sums it up.