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 free...so 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.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A blogging believer

I came home from our two weeks in Utah feeling more inspired to blog. Seems like everywhere I went, everyone I saw was up to date on our family...thanks to the blog. And since it is keeping us in better touch with people than I even thought, I'm going to be a better blogger and post more often. Starting now.

First a story.

The scene:
Putting my children to bed at grandma's house
The background:
I had just finished telling my kids a bedtime story and was still lounging on the bed
The conversation:
Windsyr: Mom, are you going to fall asleep in our bed?
Me: No, I'm just resting for a minute.
Windsyr: Good. Because then you'd just be a big lump in the bed that steals covers.

Now some pictures.


On the trail up. Very scenic and more of a workout than I bargained for...I forgot how steep that trail is, and only 2 weeks post surgery. Duh!
Exploring through the caveWindsyr got to hold the flashlight for the guide to point out a ladder. She took full credit after the fact telling us: "I saw the ladder and told the guide about it, so she told everyone else about it." Alarmingly, that is how my daughter's mind works.


You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to see the balloons launch. In fact, 5am didn't quite cut it for us because we missed our favorite part which is watching the balloons be filled.
My Engine and my Caboose. Aren't they cute?
Cairo liked the hot air balloons, of course. He likes any kind of balloon, really, and all balloons to him mean happy birthday.
Special shout out to grandma Kippy who staked out at 3am to get us prime seating at the parade.

This is the center divider on Center street (just before the roundabout. ) The kids watched the parade coming toward them head on, then it would divide and go to either their right or left to get to the roundabout. Quite the way to watch a parade!
Nice group shot...and notice the Red, White, and GREEN! My husband adds some Italian flare to the traditional 4th of July color scheme.
The grandmas took the girls to Stadium of Fire, which for many young girls in the audience translated into one thing: Miley Cyrus. The Blue Man group performed too which I have heard was fantastic. And of course the fireworks are unsurpassed. Go Utah!
Our version of Iwo Jima

Bri took the kids up this very familiar lift. It's the first time they've seen it without snow on the ground and skis on their feet.

Uncle Myron took us hiking through here. It was beautiful.
What we didn't know is that poor Cairo was getting sick. We thought it was unusual that he wanted to be held instead of running on his own, but by that night he had a fever of 102.6--which explained why the little trooper wasn't himself.
Me and my petite bundle.

Cousin sleepover+late night+early morning+hiking= THIS!
...As we like to call our little trips out to Tami's place. She lives in a small town where getting around is as simple as throwing all four kids on the mommy quad. Ahhh, the simple life!

We are big enough fans that we stayed a whole extra week in order to attend. Funny us. But we loved it, so stay tuned for footage. (I'm going to make a separate post for the concert, or I will never finish the current one...)

Of course we don't have pictures of all the great times on our trip. Visiting friends and family made the trip especially worth it...so thanks to everyone who made time for us and to Grandma and Papa Maughan for putting us up, and putting up with us. We'll be back.