Thursday, April 30, 2015

On This Date....

IN honor of Spence's 20th birthday today, here's a glimpse of his birthday through the years!  

20-years ago today (1995):    
I was in the middle of suffering through what would prove to be 36-hours of labor.  Finally at 8:53pm, after over 1/2 hour of pushing, our little Spencer  David was born and I became a mother.   He weighed in at 8-lb. 6-oz. and, although the doctors made fun of his cone-shaped head, we were enraptured  from day one.   We would do practically anything to elicit one of his light-up-the-room smiles and I did my best to never set him down.    

19-years-ago (1996):
We were THOSE parents.  You know the annoying ones that invite 20 people over and force everyone to watch your precious one-year-old baby eat a cake and open a gazillion presents that he couldn't have cared less about.      Spence was as good a sport as a one-year-old could be, but it wasn't long before  the hordes of relatives cheering every time he ripped the wrapping paper got to him and he was in tears.   On the other hand though, the cute Winnie-the-Pooh cake my Aunt Zina made for him was adorable and did make for some cute pictures!         

18-years-ago (1997):
I was 32-weeks pregnant with Cami and we had barely made an across the country move from BYU to our apartment just outside Baltimore for Glen's first job.  He had only graduated a couple of days before, but since the health insurance started on the first day of the month after he started working, we were bound and determined that he start working in April, so our insurance would start on May 1st.   It was a whirlwind move and Spencer's 2nd birthday got lost in the shuffle, but I do remember that the apartment manager gave him a balloon since it was his birthday, so at least there's that.   

17-years-ago (1998):
We were living in Baltimore.  Spence had just had strep throat and was taking antibiotics for it.   On the morning of his third birthday, he woke up covered head to toe in hives.   He was allergic to penicillin....the first of many medications he'd later prove to be allergic to.  I remember that we went on some kind of field trip with friends that day, who all asked worriedly why he was so puffy and red.   We reassured them that he was not contagious and  felt fine.  In fact, he was more than happy to have the double attention of it being his birthday and being rashy!
16-years-ago (1999):
What more can you ask for a  boy's fourth birthday party, than to have a bush across the street start on fire and have the firetrucks come to put it out?   It was the best birthday party entertainment ever and I have a vivid memory of all his friends leaving the games we'd planned and lining up at our front window to watch all the action.   Since no further damage to property happened, in the end we were kind of grateful to the schmuck who threw his cigarette into the bush and created a dream party for a our four-year-old!

15-years-ago (2000): 
We were living in Virginia now and I was just finishing the first trimester of my pregnancy with Emma.    I have no specific memory of a party, but I'm sure that he invited the friends from his co-op preschool.   

14-years-ago (2001):
With three kids now, my memory starts getting a little fuzzy.  We were house hunting at the time and  I don't specifically remember celebrating his 6th birthday, but his friends James and John Lee most likely were a part of it.   They were three peas in a pod and I'm pretty sure that Spence would have happily volunteered to be their triplet if given the chance.    We put an offer in on  the house we currently live in just a couple weeks later.  

13-years-ago (2002):
Now I was pregnant with Adam and have almost no memories of this time.  He was at a new school, but still good friends with James and John.   
12-years-ago (2003):
His 8th birthday was a shared birthday party with his friend John Joseph, who was in his church and school classes.  Their birthdays are only a couple days apart and it worked well to combine them.   We went to Eakin Park and sailed boats in the little stream there.  It was low stress and very fun to have someone to share the work with.  A couple weeks later they were baptized on the same day!  

11-years-ago (2004):
This was a time of transition for Spencer.   His third grade year had been pretty hard because of a horrible teacher and all of his friends had moved away.   Eventually his friend Danny moved in, but it was a hard time for him and I don't remember much about his 9th birthday at all.  

10-years-ago (2005):
I had just had Ellie a couple weeks before and probably threw a very low-key family party for Spence's 10th birthday.  I think his best friend was still Danny, but he was moving away soon, so once again he was in-between friends for a while.  

9-years-ago (2006):
This is when everything becomes a total blur.   At some point in here birthday celebrations all got super low-key.   Annual birthday parties with friends were long gone by then and the kids were lucky to get a couple of presents and a cake sometime during the week of their birthday!   I'm sure he hung out with Ryan, his best bud all the way through high school.    

8-years-ago (2007):
In a familiar vein, I don't actually remember his 12th birthday, but according to the blog it was a good day!   I made him Cafe Rio taco salad and he got a bike and an iPod.  Thank you blog for helping me out here!  

7-years-ago (2008):
Spence is a teenager! 

6-years-ago (2009):
I was homeschooling Spencer when he turned 14-years-old.  It was his 8th grade year and I'm thinking that I took him rock climbing for this birthday, since that was his big obsession that year!

5-years-ago (2010):
He was in high school now and probably had Ryan over.   

4-years-ago (2011):
Glen took Spence and a couple of friends (Nick and James) to a college lacrosse tournament at the Baltimore Ravens stadium for his 16th birthday. 

3-years-ago (2012):
We had put out the call for people to flood Spencer with greetings for his 17th birthday and flood us they did!  Our mailbox was full every day leading up to his birthday and we were completely humbled at the kindness that people poured out upon him while he was sick!   The timing ended up perfect and he was actually home from the hospital on his birthday!  He had a ton of visitors that day and when he went back to the hospital for his last round of chemo the next morning, it was with a sense of hope and excitement that cancer would soon all be a distant memory. 

2-years-ago (2013):
This was a hard time for us.   Spence had senioritis in a bad way, was in the process of making some big decisions,  and we were all very stressed.  I remember taking him somewhere nice to celebrate his birthday, but I don't have good memories of this time period in the slightest.  

1-year-ago (2014): 
Since he was still in Harrisonburg getting ready for finals, his 19th birthday was pretty anticlimactic.   We celebrated when he got home in a week-and-a-half or so.  

Once again he is getting ready for finals!  We are going to try and visit him this weekend to replenish his fridge and take him out.   It's hard to believe my baby is no longer a teenager!  

 Happy 20th birthday Spence! 

And for you viewing enjoyment, here are some pics of Spencer from over the years:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Perfect Date

Here's a little recap of the "perfect date" (aka my birthday):     

1.   I had meetings last night and first thing this morning.
2.  Emma woke up at 4:30am to start making my birthday breakfast.
3.   She made a pancake "cake" with my favorite whole grain cheddar cheese pancake recipe.
4.  We woke everyone else up at 7:30am, so we could eat together before I left for my meeting.
5.   This was hours before certain members of my family would have preferred to be up
6.  The pancake creation was absolutely delicious
7.  No one at my meeting today had a clue that it was my birthday
8.  I came home to a clean house
9.   They cleaned it, not so much as a birthday surprise, but so that Glen's cousin who lives in Pennsylvania could come by and visit
10.   It was my first time meeting Glen's cousin and her two kids
11.   They are adorable, amazing, and totally with-it people
12. I drove with Glen's cousin to two old houses in the area  that Glen's mom and her dad lived in when they were young
13.  Glen had to go to work and Cami had babysitting jobs all day long!  Emma's babysitting job got cancelled, or she would have been gone all day too.    
14.  Adam and Ellie made me Trader Joes potstickers with spinach for my lunch
15.  Glen came home from work and brought me to Founding Farmers for dinner
16.  I got the butternut squash ravioli, their homemade grapefruit soda,  and a Jefferson doughnut for dessert.
17.   It was all absolutely delicious!  
18.  After dinner we swung back home to pick up Ellie, Adam, and Emma. 
19.   We went downtown to the Ford Theatre (where Abraham Lincoln was shot). 
20.   We watched an absolutely amazing musical called "Freedom's Song".
21.  The music was outstanding and the message powerful.   
22.   It was a perfect wrap-up to our study of the Civil War in our homeschool. 
23.  Ellie and Emma, in particular, were enraptured by the performance.  
24.  I have received three birthday bouquets of flowers today.  :) 
25.  I have one bouquet on the mantel, one on the piano, and one on our table. 
26.  Each bouquet is totally different and each one makes me smile! 
27.  I've had a cold the last couple of days, so I've been sneezing and sniffling all day long.
28.  The weather wasn't as perfect as the "perfect date" usually is.  
29.  It was a tad chilly (in the 40's and 50's)  and it started raining this afternoon.
30.  Emma, Adam, and Glen wore short sleeves and  refused to wear jackets. 
31.   Ellie and I were the only warm ones of the bunch. 
32.  I thought I looked super cute when I got dressed today. 
33.  I was severely disappointed when I saw a picture of myself this evening.   
34.  My grown-out hair and pudgy middle need to be addressed.  
35.  I had a surprise from my visiting teachers waiting for me when I got home. 
36.  I probably ate a few too many mini cupcakes today.  
37.  I haven't been eating sweets at all lately, but since it was my birthday and Cami had some leftover from an order just sitting there on the counter....I indulged.  
38.   The only things I wanted for my birthday was to get the van detailed (and to go on a long hike).   
39. It's never been done before and I am excited to have a sparkly vehicle to drive around. 
40.    I hope that tomorrow will be more of a family togetherness day than today and maybe we'll get in my hike too.  
41. I am ready for bed, but excited to remember the details from my birthday.  
 42. Thanks for all of you who helped make my 42nd birthday awesome!      

Early morning breakfast before my meeting
From the other angle

The cake was made with large whole-grain cheddar cheese pancakes, whipping cream, fresh fruit, and homemade jam.

Emma is a master chef

The home (within our ward boundaries) that Glen's mom's family lived in back when the house was new.   

The home on Lawrence Drive that Glen's mom lived in when she was young.   It's only about 5-miles from our house.

I strongly dislike this picture, but since it's the only one from our night on the town, it is making an appearance here on the blog! 

Excuse the horrible picture quality, this was dessert at Founding Farmers (a Jefferson doughnut [for me]  and raspberry sorbet [for Glen])

I have no idea why these pictures are so horrible, but here's a glimpse at the delicious butternut squash ravioli I ordered at Founding Farmers tonight.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

catch-up part 2 (arranged marriages, temple, etc.)

Not allowing myself to blog about anything else until I finished writing up the details of our trip to NZ has felt weird.        Blogging's been such a big part of my life for so long (8-years now!),  that I had started to feel a little overwhelmed / disconcerted about all the things in our day-to-day that we were missing out on capturing for the blog.  {Yes, I know I'm a little weird that way!}  So now I am really enjoying typing up these two catch-up posts and hoping that they will help me to feel like I can get back to my  normal blogging again.   Here are a few more things that have occupied our time the last few weeks!  

Cami's {potential} future husband came to town--  Over six years ago, I wrote about how we had arranged for  Cami and JT to get married someday.  They haven't seen each other at all in over eight years, but when JT came to town with his high school student government last week, we (especially his dad) connived a way for them to reconnect.   They seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time together and I think things are looking good for a post-mission reconnect  in a few years.   ;) 

Paying taxes--Being married to an accountant, you would think that our taxes would be done in January every year.   Not so.  Tax season is busy and Glen was ahead of the game when he sent them done on  April 13th this year.   And for only the second or third year we actually owed taxes, which is an unpleasantry that I'm still trying to adjust to!   

Youth temple trip (4/15)--One of my favorite parts about serving with the youth, is the opportunity I have to go to the temple with them a couple of times a year.   I love seeing their excitement at being there and it was extra cool this time doing some family names that my Nana had sent for us.   

Cami had a lacrosse game and couldn't be there, but it was great to have Adam, Emma, and Glen there as well! 

Spending time with my Young Women:  It was one of my Laurel's birthdays, so we gathered for an impromptu ice cream party!    These girls are 100,000% awesome and I love teaching and spending time with them.

Anna B., Katy, Alexia, Cami, Rachel, Kelly
Lacrosse dinner at our house (4/16)--When Cami originally told me that she'd invited her whole lacrosse team over for dinner at our house, I was a little hesitant.   I don't mind hosting {occasionally}, but I felt a little sheepish at us {still} not having any living room furniture for anyone to sit on.   With Cami's encouragement though, I got over the hesitancy and planned on making a delicious pasta dinner for them.     Then the night before, Cami sprung on me that because it was an early release day at school, that they were not coming over at normal dinner time that I expected, but at 2:00pm.    Not only was it 4 fewer hours to get ready than I expected, but it was also at the exact same time as a doctor's appointment and right after a dentist appointment.   Suddenly I went from being able to spend the morning cleaning, then cooking a home cooked meal in the evening,  to providing a fine meal of Domino's pizza and Oreos...on the living room floor.     I guess in the end, the change in timing made my day far less stressful, but I think Cami's learned her lesson not to spring those kind of things on me at the last minute anymore.    

Cami's prom (4/17)--I know I did a whole blogpost about prom, but it's worth mentioning here that this day was far more than just about hair curling and dressing up in a fancy dress.  In fact, it was absolutely insane-o from beginning to end .  Rather than recount the day in its entirety, let's just say that it involved a rushed run to the fabric store, a missed orthodontist appointment, a big make up history assignment being  due at noon, at least 75 miles of driving around town and at one point Cami  sprinting on foot down Lee Highway through heavy traffic to pick up the boutonniere (and she still beat me there).   Somehow it all came together though and Cami not only looked beautiful, but she also got 98% on her history assignment, AND had a boutonniere for her date! that you know far more about the last month than you ever wanted,  I think that I'm finally all caught up.   

Stay tuned for my regular (non-travelogue / super boring) programming...


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Catch-Up Part 1

 Based on what you've seen here on the blog, you'd think that all we've done is travel lately, but in reality we've been home from New Zealand for an entire crazy, busy month now!   I was so determined that I not miss any memory of New Zealand (or Emma's trip to Turkey), that blogging about an "every day" thing just became extraneous to my brain.  

So now our travelogues are finally done...probably for a very long time...and I'm back to writing about life, the universe, and everything else!  

 Here's a glimpse of some of the other things we've done in the last month!  

Virginia Homeschool Conference (3/20-3/21)--We were still super jet-lagged, so we were grateful that my friend Rachel allowed Emma and I to tagalong with them to the Virginia homeschool conference in Richmond.  I had been feeling a little discouraged about homeschooling, so this conference provided a good dose of inspiration for moving forward!  
Pump up the iron--Shortly before leaving for NZ I started feeling a little under the weather, so I went to the doctor the day we got back and in addition to getting chastised for not having set foot in a doctors' office for over three years, I found out that I am extremely iron deficient.   I was so iron deficient that it was causing unpleasant (and kind of scary) symptoms.   I don't like red meat and don't enjoy what iron pills do to my digestive system, but I've learned my lesson and will find a way to keep both in my diet for the foreseeable future.    The doctor also sent me for a whole array of routine testing....thankfully it all came back totally normal!  

Ellie's birthday (3/23)--My baby turned 10 and as per usual Ellie style, she had planned out the details of her birthday months in advance!  Cami made her a caramel cake, she opened presents in the evening, had a crepe breakfast that weekend,  then had a very small birthday party (a couple of weeks late).   It was fun to see how exciting a birthday still can be, even if it is hard for me to accept that all my kids are in the double digits now!         

Teacher appreciation dinner (3/25)--Right after getting back from New Zealand, I dove headfirst into helping pull together a "Teacher Appreciation Dinner" that the youth in our church were hosting.  About 20 teachers from the community came, including Adam's wonderful 2nd grade teacher and Cami's AP Lang teacher from last year.   We served creamy lemon chicken, pasta salad, green salad, rolls, brownies, and ice cream.    We had lots of people helping, but it was still a lot of work and I was more than a  little relieved when it was over (and a success to boot)! 
Adam and Ms. Payack, his beloved 2nd grade teacher!
Teacher appreciation dinner--youth and teachers together!
Teacher appreciation dinner--the guests of honor!
Make-a-Wish walk (3/26)--After having just enjoyed the fruits of a very generous Make-a-Wish trip to NZ, it was the least we could do to participate in this fundraising walk that was a mere two miles from home.   I was too jet-lagged and timid to put on a hard court press for fundraising, but we did raise over $300.  I figure I'll only have to do that about 30 more times and we might have begun to repay the generosity that was so kindly bestowed upon our family.  

Family comes to visit (3/28-4/9)--My mom, Heather, and Tim arrived on March 28th.  Tim and Heather stayed for about a day then took off with Emma and  they were off to Turkey!   Luckily my mom stayed and then Kristina and her family arrived a couple days later.  It was crazy busy, but super fun to have them in town.  My mom helped a ton around the house and my sister, K, got us outside the house and onto some adventures.  The kids absolutely loved all the cousin time and  I loved my sister/mom bonding time.   We are all still in withdrawal with them gone.   

Stay tuned for more normal life stuff coming soon...

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