I can honestly say the last 7 years have been work.
4 moves, 3 children (2 miscarriages), 1 more college degree.
We could have done things a little differently – I could have put off having babies till I was closer to the age of 40 – I mean, it would have been a lot easier to get my husband through school without kids.
We could have stayed in Texas.
Dan could have avoided extra school all together and just started a career…
Hahaha, we would have taken way more vacations.
More time on the beach, just the two of us.
No diapers, no night time feedings or arguing over who was more tired (Mom or Dad) and which deserved the nap or night away with friends.
It seems we choose to follow Robert Frost and that darned road less taken.
In place of warm naps on a sandy beach, we get warm baby snuggles.
In place of extra vacations, we are saving for a debt-free house.
In place of the Texas economy, we are enjoying lovely Missouri summer evenings and country life.
I remember the first birthday we celebrated together was your 24th! We went shopping together because you did not own a suit and I told you that you needed to start wearing one to church on Sundays.
We had only been dating 1 month and 1 day, but you went along with my preference.
Most of the birthday’s between then and now have been really stressful. Birthdays are just different when your (frequently pregnant) wife/children’s needs come before your wants.
Today, you woke up early with the kids because you agreed to let me shoot an early morning photography session.
Two hours of taking care of the children’s needs while mom was away, was followed by preparing yourself for your senior engineering group project (capstone). You could have met up with your group on Sunday, but your wife said that Sunday was not a good day to spend hours away from home and it was right in the middle of church. Again, you went along with my preference.
I’m so proud of all you have accomplished in the years since that first birthday we celebrated together.
Thank you for being such a great dad.
Thank you for agreeing to make your own birthday dinner – because I’m tired from all that I do.
Journal entry (back when I kept a daily journal…) December 11, 2010:
“I’m grateful for the many prayers that have been and are said on my behalf. About 6pm tonight, I felt this incredible peace fill my soul and happiness commenced. This week has been an emotional epoch. I had trouble eating (stress), random heartaches mingled with tears. I fasted and prayed all week long – on Friday I was offered a long term substitute teaching job for 9th grade biology for the school down the street from my house.”
That fall I began substitute teaching, all grades, trying to find my niche in education. That summer I had been rejected by the two medical schools I applied to (I know, looking back I want to shout, “you only applied to TWO schools Katie!!”) and felt like teaching was a good alternative to being a doctor.
The 9th grade biology classes I was asked to teach were alternately full of smart-A high achievers (Tuesday/Thursday) and Monday/Wednesdays I was left with children who are mostly likely in jail today; sad, but the reality of life for some people.
That particular job was scaring me straight out of teaching. I would sit in my car after work and ask myself if I could come back the next day, my life felt like a nightmare.
The week of December 11th, 2010 – I left that high school and told them I would not be taking that job. (turns out the teacher I was taking over for had hypertension…I can’t imagine why…).
Saturday evening, December 11, I took a friend with me to a birthday party. My expectations for anything were zero, I was obligatorily socializing and not staying home to map out my “okay, what’s next plan” for life.
Instantly, as I pulled up to the house, I spotted a white Honda Ridgeline plastered with surf stickers. A small voice whispered in my mind, “you know the driver of that vehicle.”
As I’ve told the story before, I was technically in a relationship and not on the prowl but, I did look pretty cute. I still remember what I had on: yellow flats, black skinny jeans and a white Ocean Pacific sweater with colored stripes across the chest (a great thrift store find).
I went straight out to the pool where most of the people were gathering.
It was totally like a scene from a movie: steam rising off the hot tub, people trickling into the party, mood lighting, I spot him twenty feet away, tanned, hunky blonde dude sitting at a table next to a laughing beautiful brunette acquaintance; except that I was totally thrilled for my beautiful brunette friend who obviously scored big. My second thought, “that’s the driver of the white truck.”
As of this day, I still can’t get my husband to tell me what he was really thinking. The tanned, hunky blonde followed me the rest of the night.
And, well, he convinced me to marry him.
So now, I’m still wondering where life will take me. I still have nightmare moments where I ask myself if I can do this another day (hello, I have a 2, 3 and 5 year old and a husband who is in school, at work or doing homework). What I don’t have is a feeling like I missed an opportunity to be a teacher, or a doctor, or a whatever else I was planning for my life before a husband and children came along.
I’ll be honest, I never thought I was mean’t for motherhood or even marriage. It was the one thing I really had a hard time seeing myself being successful in doing. There was clarity in all my other dreams. Now, I get to experience things I didn’t know I could do.
I didn’t know I’d be any good at taking photos. I didn’t know my five year old would randomly come up and give me hugs to tell me I was the best mom in the world on days I felt like a failure in life. I didn’t know my three year old would cuddle me every night and ask me to sing him 20+ songs before bed. I had no idea having a baby girl would turn me into complete goo. I had no idea that the man I married, who was a surf bum when we met (with his only goal in life: surf) would end up working and going to school for six years to support a growing family. I didn’t know we’d spend Saturday afternoons at the skatepark as a family. I didn’t know my husband would pray with me and our children every night.
I didn’t know.
Yet, somehow on a really emotionally draining week – seven years ago today – something told me that everything would be okay and I had reason to be happy.
After my husband’s LDS mission, he left college (unfinished) to work, then quit in his search for life’s meaning (while riding a surf board)…unsure of what he was going to do with his life.
so, he wasn’t an obvious choice – on paper – to marry four years ago. But, I knew from my first conversation with him that he was pretty special.
He had one quality that stood out to me – when he made up his mind to do something, he not only did it, but he did it really well.
Since I married him, he has stepped up to every challenge that life has thrown at him and continues to make me proud.
My husband is currently a full-time student in engineering, the Scoutmaster of our Ward, the second counselor in the Young Men’s presidency (teaching the 12 year old boys every Sunday), father to two little boys and husband to me.
There is something miraculous in all of that.
My husband is so low key, I ask him what he wanted for his birthday (cake, meals, anything special)?
“I don’t really want a cake or anything like that, maybe just another locking carabiner.”
At 18 I moved in with my mother’s parents. I was offered a place to live, rent free, while I attended college.
When I moved in I didn’t have much skill (or rather, interest) in the way of cooking, house keeping or any other skill beyond the ability to learn. I was good at learning.
I was one of 8 children, so I was quite skilled at disappearing when work needed to be done…until I moved in with the Grandparents, my life was suddenly under the microscope.
You can’t hide when you are the only child!
In the years I lived with them, I learned to appreciate good food, a clean (not just a picked up home – a clean) home, and the quiet.
I also left their home with unrealistic expectations of how I wanted my house to be…with children.
I think 98% of the arguments I’ve ever gotten into with my husband have been over tidiness. Sad and true story.
Now, I still wish for a clean home but, I will admit that my marriage has improved since I let go of some of the house work! I still try to pick up the house after the babies go to bed, but now I let the house go all day being messy without asking my husband to stop studying to help me pick up…because I know the floor will be a mess again in 20 minutes.
I like to remind myself that Grampa bought a boat instead of furniture for the front room when his kids were growing up. Gramma’s house didn’t look like this when her kids were growing up either.
So I was on Pinterest this week and I happened to be looking at a recipe for candy popcorn – the blogger was telling a story about going to the movies – with her husband – and the amazing (shirtless) abs of the actor on screen… how she was so intently watching this movie (and his abs), she ate too much popcorn.
I realize she was being “funny” and I’m sure she loves her husband – but I for one am too uptight for that kind of “funny.”
My husband is my celebrity crush, #MCM (mom, that means “Man Crush Monday” and it’s just something people hash-tag about on social media…please don’t ask me about hash tags…again) and will always be the sexiest man alive – to me.
It really is the small things that keep marriages strong, especially in a world with so much divorce.
Choose your love, love your choice and make it last Forever!
Disclaimer: Does not necessarily apply to the single ladies and gents… Those movies abs are for you!
Last weekend was the Trunk or Treat (why do they call it Trunk or Treat? What does the Trunk option involve?) for the Highlands Ward.
I’m always excited to dress up – and I generally go for the more intellectual costume ideas – I play a generic housewife in every day life with my sweat pants and greasy hair, so a generic costume idea is totally out for me.
remember the year I went as Gold? Like, Au… 79 Protons? YES! From the Periodic Table!!!
So, this year, everyone in my family was a famous artist.
Danny, kinda, started the idea by saying months ago that he wanted to be Bob Ross for Halloween.
Originally I thought, “hey the rest of us can be Happy Little Trees,” but that just didn’t satisfy my hubristic need to be different than the other costumed families on the internet.
So the two and a half year old was Vincent Van Gogh.
I can’t believe we got him to keep a bandage on his head all night! I’m so glad he is still too young to care about what his costume is.
The baby was Picasso. I considered going as a French woman, since I would be holding the baby all night (because Pablo loved the French ladies), but just because history was dicey, doesn’t mean our family costume had to be.
Besides, we all had to be artists.
I went as Frida Kahlo (hence the unibrow) I had smudged a bit of dark eyeshadow on my upper lip, but before we left the house, my husband told me it was weirding him out…what a party pooper.
The uni-brow was weirding him out too.
According to him I was “ruining one of my best features.” So touched, was I, that I removed my fake stache to please him. I couldn’t remove the uni-brow, because then I would just be another pretty face in a Mexican blouse!
I was really impressed how many people recognized my costume!
We had a lot of fun with the Ward that night and when we got home, Danny pulled out his camera to look at the pictures we took.
He looked over at me and said, “our first family photo together has you with a uni-brow in it.”
That’s when I reminded him that our first family photo was taken weeks ago…
My two year old can be so sweet to his dad and I – he loves to give hugs and kisses – he loves high-fives and snuggling.
It is so sweet to see how much Wiley loves his new brother too.
Wiley will hug and kiss that little baby all day long.
But in between all those hugs and kisses, a raging two year old tantrum-bully exists.
When we are with friends, family or around other small children – the bully comes out.
Where do toddlers keep the On and Off switch?
Why he would hit a cute 7 month old baby girl on the head, with a toy plane, is beyond me…
and that 1 year old girl was just standing next to her mommy, when my son ran by and pushed her down…three separate times.
Yesterday he got kicked out of our church nursery, for the third time this year, for trying to scratch another child (previous offenses for biting).
Today the tantrums started – the moment – I went in his room to get him out of bed.
“get OUT! Go away!”
I left his room (obviously he wanted more time to himself…) but, the second I left he screamed and wailed for my return.
REPEAT three or four times.
the fourth time I just sat in his bedroom doorway and listened as he screamed for me to leave. When he stopped screaming, I told him I loved him.
I mean, he is tried me many a time the last few months, but this behavior was totally foreign to me.
When I finally got him out of bed to change his diaper – the tantrum continued – the internal conflict of whether or not he wanted out of the peed diaper from over night.
When the diaper crisis ended, Wiley whined over what he wanted to eat and which toys he wanted me to hand him.
Dad got home from school, to eat lunch, and it was his turn to witness the epic meltdown over what nature video Wiley wanted to watch and whether or not he wanted to eat popcorn with his nature video.
It was during the popcorn meltdown, that I decided, years from now this two year old boy would be a teenaged boy and will probably die with embarrassment over his mother’s behavior in front of his friends (and someday girlfriends…he he he).
I will relish every “embarrassing moment” that teenaged Wiley goes through, because darn it, I earned them.