Tuesday, September 15, 2009

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, we sealed our bond and plan for our journey in life together when you proposed to me atop the bell tower at the National Shrine. I love you so much and appreciate you more and more each and every day. You do so much for me and our family. You truly are a servant, and I love you dearly. Thank you for all of your love. Most of all, thank you for taking me into your life and making me your wife. I will be forever grateful to God. We have beautiful memories from that day of our engagement, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and Grandpa Young's death anniversary. I know Our Lady and Grandpa were very much with us that day.

I love you, Sweets.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grateful for the Best Teammate

Humbly, I have to admit that over the last week and a half, Mares and I have kicked some major bootie in our packing. Over the past ten days, we have packed up everything in our apartment. I have to praise Mares for her flexibility. We knew that sooner or later we would be moving. However, a confluence of events has precipitated our move. Sooner, rather than later, we began our packing and she jumped right into it. I am grateful to God for my partner, my teammate in life. It could've been hellish, but it wasn't. It could've been fraught with frustrations and flaring tempers, but it wasn't. It could've taken forever, but it didn't. Yes, there were a couple times where we got frustrated (always that darn communication--isn't it overrated!). However, the moments were few and far between and always brought us closer together.

Thanks, Mares, for being my better half. You've been the best in this process. I thank God for you, and for 3M, too. (Where would be without awesome boxes, bubble wrap, masking tape and packing tape?) I am glad that we get to spend the rest of our lives together as a team. Though small in size, you certainly pull more than your fair share.

The Why's of Life

Yesterday, Madge and I went out on a little date. On the way to the car, I was carrying some trash to the dumpster. As we were walking down the stairs, Madge asked me, "Dad, why are you so strong?" Talk about a little ego-booster. I told her that I was strong because I love her. That seemed to settle well.

Later on our date, we were picking up some photos. The lady at the photo shop told us that we would have to wait for a few minutes since the machine was going slow after it broke down. I relayed this message to Madge. She replied, "Dad, do you know why the machine is going slow?" I responded, "Because it was broken." She stated rather factually, I might add, "No, Dad. It's going slow because that's the way God made it." Oh, yeah. That too.

Dog Days for Guadalupe

The poor little thing! She has had a rough weekend. The imminent arrival of new molars have transformed her into a drooling machine. The front of her tops have been soaked. The inside of her lips are swollen. She leaves her sweet, little mouth open since the air flow must provide some relief.

Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, she dropped a jar on her big toe!. The nail has gone black and will probably fall out in the next couple days. I hope that she gets better soon.

I Love Every Little Thing

As we went packing-crazy over the weekend, I had a lot of time to think about the little things. 900+ square feet of bubble wrap now covers our prize possessions. Throughout this wrapping frenzy, I was reminiscing on the simplicity of being single. I could fit my entire life into 2 (maybe 3) suitcases. Wow. Wouldn't that make for easy packing! Five years later I am married with two children. The baggage grows exponentially by the day. However, after wrapping a few dozen little objects, I soon realized that each thing we have tells a story. The tacky hot stone from celebrating Mother's Day at a Pizza Hut in Beijing. The gorgeous art work from Maddy. The cute, crystal cherry glasses. Every little thing holds some emotional meaning and, in a way, tethers us together as a family. While it's always great to downsize and simplify, there is something beautiful about objects serving as memories of times together and joys we have shared. I found myself thanking God for the little things. There is not a single thing that I want to get rid of, since they all bring me closer to my family, which brings me closer to God. Now, if only we can finish with the last 100 square feet of bubble wrap....


Saturday, September 5, 2009

A New Word for Webster's Dictionary

Monkey see, monkey do is the key. The other day Madge told me, "I'm not feeling very well," as she held a tissue up to her little nose. I asked, "Why? What happened? Do you have bloody nose or are you just 'tending?" She continued to hold the tissue up and told me she had a bloody nose. (She was imitating Caleb who easily gets them after having broken his nose twice.) Anyway, I said, "Oh, ok. Well, Madge, please don't take anymore tissues." All of the sudden she got another one, and she said, "Mom, I have a 'bluggy' nose." "What's that?" I asked. She quickly responded, "It's a 'boogie kind of blood.'" Webster's, here we come with a new definition.

Bluggy: adj. a boogie kind of blood

Some photos of our new house

My Favorite Part of the Day...

Every night at dinner we have a family tradition of each person mentioning in one or two sentences his or her favorite part of the day. It tends to end on a silly note as Madge acts as an interpreter of what Guadalupe's favorite part of the day is. Here is a clip from last night. What funny girls! How we love you two!

Visiting Arlington Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial

This past Monday, August 31, we joined our friends Tom and Rebekah and their kids at the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Arlington Cemetery. We had a lovely picnic dinner near the Iwo Jima Memorial. We then went for an evening walk through the Arlington Cemetery. The weather was clement and the walk cheery. The girls would weave through the tombstones and stop and pray at random graves. We made our way over the graves of the three Kennedy brothers. My lack of esteem for them drove us to intensify our prayers for them. Good article here on the topic.

While at the grave of the late Sen. Kennedy, a random lady told Madge and her friends, "He would have loved you children." With his abortion background in mind it's a wonder whether or not he and other like-minded politicians would prefer those same children dead or alive. Maybe it all depends on whether they're "wanted" or not. Lots to think about and lots of souls to pray for, including our own.

Waking Up with a Tootsie Roll

What can I possibly add?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quick Recap (with hopefully more to follow!)

Life is slipping by. Sometimes in an effort to seize the day, I have forgotten to document the day. Oh, well. I now see that we haven't posted anything for well over a month. Hopefully we will be able to post some photos soon of our balmy August.

We spent the first week or so of August vacationing with my family on the shores of Lake Michigan in Holland, MI. I have three favorite memories from the week together:
  1. Playing board games and chatting with my family in the evenings
  2. Taking family walks to the beach...somehow we would juggle pushing the double running stroller (loaded to the brim with towels and beach paraphernalia), sipping a cup of coffee, applying sun tan lotion , entertaining the kiddies with snacks, holding down hats from gusts of wind, and holding a somewhat intelligible/sane conversation
  3. Sitting back and enjoying the family interactions: little cousins playing together, aunts and uncles and grandparents and nephews and nieces, and great grandma and great uncles and aunts
Towards the end of August, we found a house that we liked and were pleased to have our offer accepted. Everything has gone smoothly enough and we hope to settle and move in a few weeks. In the meanwhile, we have been feverishly packing for the move. We hope to move everything into storage next week. While not yet confirmed, it is looking hopeful that my dad and brother Joe will be coming to Virginia to help out with the move. It will be great to see them again. Next Saturday, Sept. 12, our family will be flying out to Seattle. While it's a work trip for me, Mares and the girls will be staying her parents. I look forward to joining them in Part Archard for a week once my business trip is completed. (As we were driving home yesterday, I told Madge how excited I was to go and visit the fam in Seattle. Madge replied "I'm 'cited, too, Dad." Pretty darn cute.) When we return from the trip, life will continue with its break-neck pace as we settle and move. I hope we'll have some respite in the month of October. We'll see. My mom constantly reassures me that the pace of life will only get faster. Uh oh!

P.S. the new photo above in our title is from our recent visit to the grave of the late Sen. Kennedy. More to follow on that visit...