Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2013 - Comments Off on Merry Christmas!

seattle

Merry Christmas, everyone! I’ve been looking at the stack of Christmas cards, and I think looking at them and reading the letters is one of my favorite parts of this time of year. I haven’t given up on doing a New Year’s card from the Knights, but in the meantime, I just wanted to revive this sadly dormant blog for a bit to share a thought or two from us this year.

Our year has been full of crazy ups and downs. And maybe I’ll get around to telling some life stories here–and maybe not. Either way, we’ve had some experiences this year that knock the wind out of you. That toss you into a “refiner’s fire”. But also experiences that lift you up. Make you realize that things have been put into place to take care of you, even when you didn’t notice it. Make you trust your instincts. And trust others. And Heavenly Father.

And at this time of year, one lesson we’ve just started to learn seems particularly appropriate. You know that quote about treating people with kindness because everyone has a struggle they’re dealing with that you can’t see? Well, I can’t say it any better than that. Life, for everyone, is a crazy journey. Everyone has weaknesses and pitfalls, and things they deal with that are difficult. Everyone has strengths. Everyone has really crappy days. Weeks. Years. But I believe people are capable of goodness–even in a world where we seem to be spiraling into downright craziness. And we need to be good to each other. And teach our children, who have such innate goodness (really, it brings me to tears to see how simply young children just love each other – when do we lose that and have to relearn it?), to always be good to others. We are none of us perfect, and we’re going to fail. Often. But that’s why the Savior was born, lived, and died for us.

We love you. We’re learning to be better people. Better friends. Better neighbors. Sometimes I’m guilty of retreating and hiding. But I am so grateful for people who understand, who love us, and lift us up by your words, actions, and examples. Have a fantastic, peaceful, and happy Christmas!

Gratitude (or Early-Morning Musings)

November 30th, 2012 - 6 Responses

I know I promised to blog every week about our whole foods adventure, but if you know me at all, it’s probably not that surprising that I didn’t hold up that promise. But if you just don’t mention it to me, we can stay friends, ok?

It’s about 5:00 am as I write this, the time that I generally whine and complain and want to write to vent about my life. But I just spent an hour on the couch, cuddling all three of my kids while we watched cartoons, and instead of feeling frustrated as I normally would, I suddenly felt very, very grateful.

I’ve enjoyed this Thanksgiving month, and have appreciated seeing people post about how thankful they are for their blessings. As my writing ambitions are always greater than the effort I’m willing to give them (or have the energy or time to), I had a series of gratitude posts planned out in my head. But as many of my writing projects go, they sit, half finished, waiting for me to have the motivation to pick them up again.

So I’ll keep this simple. I’m grateful for my life and everything in it.

I’m a grouchy person when I don’t get enough sleep (and really, my sleep requirements aren’t THAT high!), and sleep has been eluding us a little at my house for awhile. Whether it was nightmares from all the Halloween stuff, or the delayed trauma of no longer being the baby, Westen fell into a bad pattern of sleep, and then Lucas followed. There was a night not too long ago when all three kids tag-teamed me all night, and I sat in the rocking chair with the baby, right about this time in the morning, and sobbed. Feeling sorry for myself. Feeling like I couldn’t handle everything. Feeling like I’ll never live up to the expectations I have for myself of being a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a daughter, a writer, etc. (Don’t feel sorry for me – you’ve all had those moments. Admit it.) I know you’re all thinking it, so I’ll say it…yes, I was mostly feeling sorry for myself that I wasn’t, at that moment, sleeping.

I’m not saying that moment won’t come again, because it probably will. But this morning I’m grateful for my life. Grateful for my little ones and my husband. Grateful that my endless petitions to Heavenly Father for patience are answered in subtle ways. Grateful that, at a time when I really don’t feel like myself, or even recognize myself most of the time, I have these little people who need me and love me, and don’t look at me any differently, even though I frequently wear sweats all day, haven’t done my hair in ages, and am carrying around (too much) extra weight. Those things don’t matter to them at all. They just love and need me, and like most important lessons in my life, it takes about 50 times of being banged on the head with it before I get it.

I’m grateful for my mom and dad. And my siblings. Wouldn’t trade any of them. (I really wouldn’t!) I’m grateful for my cousins and aunts and uncles. I’m grateful for my in-laws, who are pretty much the best in-laws I could ask for. I’m grateful for Jesse, who is my other half, and my best and favorite friend, and who quietly and patiently picks up the slack where I fail. I’m grateful for the friends and wonderful people we’re surrounded with. I’m grateful for experiences in my life, like my mission, that keep me grounded in my faith. And I’m thankful for a patient Heavenly Father, who lets me learn lessons in ways that I’ll understand, and who trusts me enough to give me the blessings that He does. Who listens to me plead for the things I want and then blesses me the things that I need. It amazes me.

This morning I held Addie a little tighter – my little 4-year-old angel who constantly amazes me with her understanding, sweetness, and enthusiasm for life – as I carried her back to bed.

I happily rocked Westen in the rocking chair, because he loves that and craves being my baby still (turns out I do too), until he fell asleep. And I shed a couple of tears over him and the struggles he faces (which, in perspective, aren’t huge), and had that feeling that he’s going to be okay.

And Lucas? Well that jolly baby wouldn’t stop smiling and cooing at me, so I finally just kissed him all over his chubby face and let him get himself to sleep.  Which he did.

And let’s be honest, I’m also grateful that I’m at a point where six hours of sleep is enough to keep me functioning during the day. And that I was smart enough to go to bed on time last night.

Whole Foods: Week 1

August 13th, 2012 - 2 Responses

Okay, so I’m a little late with this. Why? Well, I have a baby.

And two other kids.

One of whom desperately wishes he was still a baby.

And, uploading pictures from my phone was giving me grief, so I abandoned this post three or four times. Like I need any more stress in my life right now. Moving on.

Our first week on the whole foods menu planner was several weeks ago. I won’t detail what we ate or anything, but I’ll highlight some things I learned:

1. I now believe that a lot of us eat as badly as we do because it’s easier. And as humans we like the path of least resistance. Shopping for the week was somewhat difficult and time-consuming (two things I’m not really capable of coping with well at this point). I had to go to a few different stores and look for things I’ve never purchased before (sprouts, anyone?). So I had to cut a few corners for my own sanity. (For example, by buying the crazy expensive organic granola at the store instead of tracking down all the ingredients to make my own.)  But by the next week I knew what I was looking for, and it was a little easier. And it’ll just get easier as time goes on–or at least I’ll get used to it.

2. Eating a diet of whole foods is not a “diet.” Mostly ’cause “diet” to me means something like counting calories, HCG, Atkins, South Beach, etc. And those things are for a specific time to meet a goal. Whole foods is an eating philosophy, not just for weight management but for long-term health. Every time Jesse would ask, “Can I eat XXX on this diet?” My response was always, “It’s not a diet!” Seriously, with a lunch like a green smoothie, whole wheat bagel with almond butter, and a banana…does that sound like you’re suffering? ‘Cause you’re not.

3. I learned that it’s a myth that healthy food is not yummy food. We were actually quite shocked that the foods we were eating were not that different, taste-wise, than what we were used to. A lot of the recipes in my book are just whole-food substitutions for the foods we eat anyway.

4. Green smoothies are AWESOME. I’ve been a green smoothie convert for a couple of years now, but we now drink them almost every day, as opposed to just randomly. And what’s even better? Addie likes them. (And no, I don’t add sugar.) I gotta admit, hearing, “Are you making a smoothie? Can I have some?” is pretty darn awesome.

5. I had an epiphany about me and sugar. I have a neighbor that lives behind us that I hear outside in the middle of the night. (Because, you know, I’m frequently up at night.) He’s out in his yard, coughing up his lungs with such a horrible, wracking cough, that I kept thinking he was out there dying of lung cancer in his yard. But no, he’s out there smoking. I always ask myself, “How can you possibly continue with a habit that is so obviously killing you physically? How dumb are you?” Well, about as dumb as me, I suppose. Me and sugar have that kind of relationship. I know it’s doing all sorts of harm, and yet I can’t let it go. And for once, I had some sympathy for my neighbor. Basically, eating more whole foods is one hurdle, and eliminating sugar is another one entirely.

I could go on and on, but I’ll let it rest for now.

An Adventure in Whole Foods

July 15th, 2012 - One Response

I’m gonna start with a bit of honesty. I’m a mess these days. Some days I feel like I can handle everything, and then some days (happening more frequently, recently) I’m in tears by the time Jesse gets home from work. The other night, Addie said our family prayer, and one of her very few innocent requests was, “Please bless mama to be nice.” Yep, pretty sure everyone around me suffers on my bad days.

Anyhow, this isn’t meant to be a pity-me-party. The point is, Addie’s little prayer reminded me (again) that I’m not in a phase of life where I can just shut down and wallow until I feel better (whenever that may be). I have to take charge of my well-being. Sleep may not be an option at this point (*sigh*), but nutrition, among other things, is.

Several years ago, I started working with a woman named Robyn (she ran a documentation/translation agency that we used at my job). One day as we met up for lunch, she told me a story about her son and how he had severe asthma as a baby. The doctor kept ordering steroid shots to help him, and Robyn asked the doctor if she could help control the asthma by eliminating dairy from her son’s diet. The doctor brushed her off, telling her you can’t control a serious condition just with diet. She walked out of the doctor’s office that day, and never went back. She did her research, adjusted her family’s diet, and her son has never had a steroid shot again.

That story always impressed me. I started following Robyn’s website, www.greensmoothiegirl.com, and one day I jumped into the green smoothie thing after she sent me her “Green Smoothies Diet” book.

Earlier this year, I started her “12 steps to whole foods” program, but not very strictly. She recently came out with an 8-week planner, complete with daily menu plans, shopping lists, and recipes.

I seriously felt like the timing of this book was providencial for me. I really do believe that what we eat is slowly killing us these days, as opposed to nourishing us. We eat so many processed, synthetic, modified, and sugar-filled things. Well, I know I do! And especially at a point where I so desperately need to feel better (not to mention lose, ahem, 40 – 60 pounds again) so I can fill all the daily roles I’m supposed to, I think seriously adopting a whole foods lifestyle will be the biggest first step.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I’m committed to following the program for 8 weeks. And I’m gonna blog about it every week for those 8 weeks. (If you only visit for pictures of my adorable kids, don’t worry, I’ll still try to do that, too.) And why am I blogging about it? Well, as my sister Kate and I used to do years ago when we needed help committing to a diet, we’d report our efforts to each other. (Turns out we weren’t very motivating for each other, but that’s an entirely different issue, right Kate?) Anyhow, this’ll be my report. Not about weight, necessarily (no, I won’t report that – I’m not THAT committed), but about any changes we experience as a result.

Because I really do want to be nice. And live a long time. And be healthy enough to snowboard with my kids when they’re older.

 

Lucas James Knight

July 13th, 2012 - 3 Responses

Last year, Jesse and I started talking about when we’d like to have a third kid. When people asked if we were having any more, or how many we wanted, our answer was always “We get what we get.” For anyone who has had to deal with fertility issues, that question is always a little double-edged, since having kids has to be completely deliberate, but is also not guaranteed.

Anyhow, we decided to visit our fertility specialist in December or January to start our particular process, but we got a little surprise in October. I was so shocked, I didn’t even come up with a cute way to tell Jesse. I simply texted him a photo of the test stick. And I cried a little (’cause I wasn’t ready). And then I didn’t tell anyone but Jesse for a long time. Not because we weren’t happy or excited (I did get there, eventually), but because there’s something about pregnancy that I find completely personal. And I don’t love attention over my personal, physical condition. Needless to say, unless you interacted with me personally during those 9 months, you wouldn’t have known I was expecting baby #3.

Fast forward to June. Hugely pregnant and miserable, the morning of June 8, my water broke. (For the third time. Apparently that’s beyond rare.) Because we’re kind of laid back about the whole getting to the hospital thing, I didn’t call Jesse until noon to tell him we’d be going to the hospital that day. He didn’t come home until 4. My mom was headed over just to hang out anyways, and I didn’t even tell her until she got there that I’d need her to stay with the kids while I went to have a baby. Jesse and I didn’t get to the hospital until 5.

We were checked in and had me hooked up to the monitors and everything by 5:45. At 6, they asked me if I wanted an epidural, because the anesthesiologist had to go into a surgery. I thought I’d be ok waiting the 30 – 40 minutes until he got back. But that 40 minutes was pretty insane. Everything’s pretty much a blur from then on. They called the doctor to hurry in, the anesthesiologist did his best to get me hooked up in time, but in the end, Lucas James Knight decided he was on his way, and he wasn’t waiting for anything. He was born at 7:28. And that epidural kicked in, oh, a few minutes after he was born. Not only did I technically have him naturally, but I still had to recover from an epidural, too. Lovely.

But this beautiful boy was worth it. 8 lbs, 6oz, and 20 inches. Lots of hair. Looking nothing like his siblings. So far he’s been a good, mellow baby. Yes, the newborn thing is still a lot of work, but I think we’re doing okay with this 3-kid thing so far.

 

Only a couple of days after this picture was taken, he pretty much looked nothing like this! Crazy how fast babies change. The outfit is something I bought in Paris when I was pregnant with Addie, and we save it for our kids’ “going home” outfit every time. It’s a nice tradition.

We only hung out at the hospital for about 24 hours after he was born. I know I should’ve stayed an extra day to enjoy the experience, and a lot of people have given me crap about it since, but I don’t really enjoy the hospital. The bed hurts my behind, nurses are constantly checking on you and charting when your baby eats, etc, and (even though I LOVED one of my nurses) it all just seemed so unnecessary. And being the low-maintenance and trouble-free patient I am (that’s why my doctor loves me), I told them I was leaving Saturday night, and my doctor was not surprised.

Now at home, we’re adjusting. Some days it feels like we’ve always had him, and it’s all easy. Some days I’m in survival mode and I feel like I can’t handle it. But I tried not to wallow for very long and just get back into life. Partially to prove I could handle it, and partially for my own survival.

Addie loves her baby brother. Westen still wonders what the deal is, and really misses getting my attention when he wants it, but even he is showing some interest in this tiny being that has joined our home. Overall, we’re happy, tired, overwhelmed, and completely and utterly grateful for the blessing of our three children.

2011 Year in Review: Holidays

July 12th, 2012 - Comments Off on 2011 Year in Review: Holidays

This is one of those “hasty” posts I mentioned. We had an awesome fall/holiday season, so I’m just gonna post a gazillion photos and let them tell their own story. (With some caption-help from me, I guess.)

Halloween

Probably my most favorite time of year! We made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch for the obligatory photo-op.

Okay, I think I have cute kids. Seriously.

Addie was Tinker Bell, and Westen was…

Darth Vader. Yeah, I was a teensy bit excited to dress a boy up like Vader. Awesome.

One of our favorite Halloween traditions is Mel’s office party. Mel has to do a ton of work for it, but it’s awesome!

Addie had a little costume parade at preschool. Love those girls!

Our pumpkin creations for the year: yeah, we’re kind of Phineas and Ferb fans.

Thanksgiving

We went to California for Thanksgiving, and were able to spend it with most of Jesse’s family. All the grandkids were together – that doesn’t happen often.

This little boy loves to be outside. California weather suited him just fine.

Love these kids! Wish we saw them more often!

Christmas

We holidayed ourselves out this year. Pictures with Santa, family parties, Candlelight Christmas (This Is the Place Heritage Park), Zoo Lights, Temple Square, etc.  

Try walking around crowded Temple Square with this group of Beared-Beanie-Men. Yes, we sorta attracted a lot of attention.

We hosted Christmas Eve at our house. Addie asked Santa for a very special doll–and I couldn’t talk her out of it. It was one of those mechanical dolls that talks, hugs, eats, etc. She insisted that Santa was going to bring it for her. So he did. (And yes, that doll goes un-played with, as I expected, but the delight at seeing the doll Christmas morning was worth it.)

We went to church first thing, then spent the rest of the morning opening presents. It was a lovely holiday at home!

2011 Year in Review: The Haircut

July 11th, 2012 - Comments Off on 2011 Year in Review: The Haircut

Ok, so I took a “baby break” for several weeks, but I’m committed, so I’m gonna finish this. Even if it’s in a hasty manner. (By the way, did you know you can type with a baby on your chest, while constantly fending off the ‘helpful’ typing assistance of an almost-2-year-old? That’s how much I’m committed to getting this done. I also promise not to wait a year to blog about our new addition.)

Anyhow, last December, we had a rite-of-passage, of sorts. The self-haircut.

Let me back up for a minute. I am not a great mom. Now, I know that sounds like a desperate plea for validation (“Yes, you are, Marianne! You’re an awesome mom!” etc.), but let me clarify. I’m a good mom. My kids are healthy, happy, and know they are loved and cared for. I figure that’s the important stuff. But in my book, great moms can do more than that. They can entertain and engage their children, and I feel like I suffer there. I’m aware that my kids get too much screen time, and I’m also aware that my attention span for pretend and interactive play is not as great as it should be. I’m also not great at coming up with fun, crafty things for us to do. (Oh, and no leprachauns visit our house on St. Patrick’s day, I don’t make pink, heart-shaped pancakes for Valentine’s Day, etc.)  Basically, I’m not a fun (aka, great) mom. Not saying it’ll always be that way – I am still learning, after all.

Anyhow, that detour had a point. One day in December I decided that Addie and I should make paper snowflakes. You know, an attempt to be fun. I also thought it might be a good way to start teaching Addie how to use scissors. We had fun doing it, but I didn’t think Addie really grasped how to use the scissors very well.

Two days later, on a Sunday afternoon, Westen and I were napping, and Jesse was hanging out with Addie (who had decided she didn’t want a nap). Jesse fell asleep on the couch, which, usually, would be fine. Addie is such a good kid, you don’t usually have to worry about anything with her. But this time, she shook Jesse awake, complaining of hair in her mouth. So Jesse, only half awake, helped her pull the hair out of her mouth. And as he pulled, he got a handful. Then he looked closer.

Apparently our snowflake-making adventure the other day had piqued her interest in scissors. And what is it about scissors and cutting your own hair? (Can someone explain that impulse to me?) Anyhow, I was pretty devastated. We’d just spent the previous year and a half trying to grow her hair out, and were finally able to do some fun things with it. It was also just before her dance recital and the holidays. (Not that I’m much of a stickler for looking perfect in photos – remember how much of a NOT-cute mom I am? And this experience didn’t motivate me to want to become more of a fun mom, either…after all, look where it got me??)

I was also pretty upset at Jesse for falling asleep and leaving her alone. But, to be honest, I probably would’ve done the same. (Fall asleep, I mean. You really don’t usually have to worry about Addie!) I was also pretty upset at myself, since I’m usually very careful about keeping the scissors out of sight (this being one of my nightmares, and all).

A good neighbor offered to fix Addie’s hair first thing the next morning.

She did an awesome job, but you could still see the hack marks. And she would keep those hack marks for another seven months. (We just barely chopped her hair off again. And it’s pretty adorable. Or maybe she’s just adorable.)

Now I can check that one off the list of parenting experiences I’m afraid of. If it happens again (and I’m sure it will), I think I’ll handle it better. Maybe.

2011 Year in Review: Me

May 29th, 2012 - 2 Responses

I only have a few more of these, I promise.

Here are a few things I managed to do in 2011:

I worked.

After Westen was born, we made the decision for me to leave my full-time employment and be more of a stay-at-home mom. While that was always kind of the plan, sometimes you make decisions you have to live with (such as buying a house at the peak of the housing boom…not that I’m complaining, since we love our home and our neighborhood, but it is what it is). So while we decided that our kids were more important than anything, and sending Addie to daycare was probably one of the hardest things I ever did (but having done so, I will NEVER judge parents who decide to use childcare), I also knew that spending 10+ years developing a career wasn’t going to be something I could easily walk away from. Also, turns out I hadn’t been working for the same company most of that time for nothing: they were happy to let me not only go part-time, but do part of that at home. And let me tell you, it’s been nothing short of my saving grace. I know, I know…raising children is reward in and of itself. But the few hours I get to spend at my office every week, and the time I spend performing tasks and writing at home, have helped me stay mentally awake in the middle of poopy diapers, endless Mickey Mouse and princess shows, tea parties, and rounds of peek-a-boo. And the fact that I get that time makes me so much more patient with those adorable little people in my charge. (Just ask Jesse – he can always tell when I’ve been able to go to work for a few hours. I’m calmer, more patient, and less frazzled at the end of the day. Who knew?) I know working moms vs. stay-at-home moms both think they have it the hardest, or the best, but I kinda think my in-between world is awesome. And it works for me.

I wrote.

I have delusions of grandeur. We all do. I know a lot of people have half-finished novel ideas in their heads, and as a writer, I have several. I like to bag on poorly written books, or be overly critical of certain genres of so-called literature, but I always have to remind myself that, no matter the quality of a certain book, at least that book is finished. Which is more than I can say for anything I’ve done. Yet. But I did spend some time working on my writing in 2011.

I lost weight.

You know those people who complain about being so sick during pregnancy that they lose weight rather than gain it at first? Or who, near the end, look like they have a basketball shoved up their shirt? Or, within a few days to a few weeks after giving birth, look fairly normal again? Yeah, I’m NONE of those. I neither wear pregnancy well, nor do I recover from it well. (Granted, I don’t really get sick, either, and my doctor calls me low-maintenance, so I suppose it’s a trade-off.) But after giving birth, I tend to fall into a hole, and my coping mechanisms are not healthy. And after Westen, it took me more than six months to claw out of that hole, given how hard of a baby he was. I didn’t take many pictures from that time, but this is basically what I looked at the beginning of 2011:

(This was our Christmas picture/card – if you didn’t get one, and you usually do, please don’t be offended. I didn’t send many.)

I needed to lose 60 pounds. So I didn’t lose all 60, but I managed to lose 40 by the time we got to our annual camping-at-the-beach trip. I dunno, but I think the difference was pretty obvious.

On a side-note, does anyone else feel like there has to be a better way to live than to always be on a diet? A better way than being obsessed with calories and carbs? Than using diet pills, hormone injections, or the latest diet concept? (Yes, I did the HCG diet twice during the year – but only successfully completed it once. I HATE that diet. It’s effective, but I HATE it.) I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about the link between what we eat and our health, and not just in terms of weight. Someday I’ll blog about it, especially if I’m successful at making some of the principles stick.

I ran.

There’s something about running that makes me feel like me. I can’t really define why, but anyone who runs knows what I mean. I’ll never be great at it, and I may never run a marathon, but I love hitting the pavement in my running shoes. Last summer, Jesse signed up to run the 24th of July 10k. He pulled a muscle a few weeks before the race, so I took his spot. I trained to run the 10k in just a few weeks, but it was kind of like riding a bike: my muscles remembered what they could do. It was awesome.

I traveled.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Traveling nourishes my soul. It wakes me up. It makes me feel alive to the world around me. In 2011 I not only got to do some shorter trips with my little family, but I did the Florida trip with Jesse, traveled to Yorkshire, England, on a free trip (that I won – more on that later!) with Jesse, and spent a few days exploring historic Virginia with my sister Kate.

All in all, it was a good year!

2011 Year in Review: Jesse

May 20th, 2012 - One Response

I realize I post a lot about the kids (“a lot” being a relative term), and that’s because our lives revolve around them. (And I’m learning more and more how that’s just how it goes.) But I’d be remiss in summarizing last year if I didn’t spend a little time on our personal superhero: Jesse.

I think Jesse was always ready to be a dad. And he’s such an amazing one, too. (Whereas some days I wonder who on earth decided to let ME be a mom, I’ve never doubted Jesse’s ability to be a good dad.) He works really hard, often putting in long hours at work, and never complains about coming home to help me with the kids. Having only recently pulled back from working full time, I’m aware of how beat you can feel by the end of the day, and how all you want to do sometimes is sit and relax. But he’s excited to see us, and is always ready to play (and be a jungle gym). No wonder these guys get so excited when he gets home. 

I don’t think Jesse or I really knew going into this whole parenthood thing how much of your soul it required. We both have things that we do or like that we feel make us who we are, and although we still maintain those things as best as we can, there’s still that inevitable sacrifice. For Jesse, that means he can’t do things like mountain bike in the spring/summer/fall as often as he would like or used to, because he trades that personal time sometimes for family time. We are so glad he does, but I was also excited for him to get something last year that he spent a lot of time dreaming about, researching, and piecing together.

(I like how, in this picture, his shiny, new bike is propped up against boxes of new little-kid car seats. Kinda says it all, I think.)

So we obviously didn’t grudge him any time he got to spend out doing what he loves. Because it made him that much more content for moments like this:

Personally, I love that Jesse keeps his passions alive. Because that means he shares them with us, and our kids are going to grow up wanting to do things like their dad. Like surfing, for instance. Jesse shares his love of the beach and the ocean with his kids, and I know one little girl who believes her daddy can do anything, and that he is a superhero.

When we went to the beach last year, Addie was finally brave enough to get in the ocean and let her dad help her do some boogie boarding. And in her mind, she was “surfing like daddy!” (One evening a few months back, I took Addie to Costa Vida with my sisters for dinner. They were showing a surf documentary about big-wave surfing called Step into Liquid. Addie watched it and said, “Oooh…that’s just like daddy!” Yeah, I knew Jesse would love that.)

See, one thing that became clear to me last year is that, although we feel like we’ve lost a little of who we are, we haven’t really. Because who we are is reflected in these small human beings – and they don’t miss anything. And I feel pretty lucky that who Jesse is and what he loves and how he lives is going to be reflected in our kids. 

Seriously, doesn’t this photo just sum it all up? 

Now as I go back and review this post a little, I realize it’s still about the kids, even though it’s supposed to be about Jesse. So I’ll just add that Jesse had a pretty good year, professionally, and that we got to go on a couple of trips just the two of us that helped us remember how much fun we have together. And seeing as our kids are only around for so long, I’m very grateful I’m married to my best friend whom I love spending time with. We certainly love our superhero buddy, husband, and dad!

2011 Year in Review: Addie & Westen (A&W)

May 11th, 2012 - One Response

The other morning, close to 8:00, I was curious as to why I hadn’t heard from the kids yet. Westen has recently switched to sharing a bunk bed with his sister, and he’s quite fond of the fact that he can get himself up at will (yes, it was quite the fun transition, given his night-time habits). So I poked my head in their room, and found them cuddled together on Westen’s bed, petting the Snoopy stuffed animal (which is what Westen does when he’s trying to go to sleep or wake up). It was the sweetest thing. And reminded me that I had a post sitting here with some of my favorite Addie-and-Westen photos from the last year.

I grew up in a family of 8 kids, and now that I have a couple of my own kids, I’m in awe of my mother. I will not be having 8 kids, but I am grateful to my mother for being brave (I didn’t inherit that level of bravery) because as crazy as our childhood was, there’s something awesome about having a ton of siblings. For one, there was almost always someone to play with, and as we got older, there was always someone (or many someones) to talk to, hang out with, and be silly with. People you were yourself with.

When I was pregnant with Westen, I had a hard time imagining loving another kid as much as we adored Addie. But even while I wasn’t sure how I would handle a second kid, I was more than excited for Addie to have a sibling. I looked forward to them being buddies and playing together. And over the last year, I have absolutely loved watching them start to do things together. Addie is protective of her brother, and Westen just adores his sister and wants to follow her around and do anything she does. Although a lot of these photos are from 2011, it’s probably been in the last few months that they’ve really started to play together, with Addie finally learning to play at Westen’s speed (instead of being frustrated with him for not being able to do what she wants him to). They are so fun to watch. And they really love each other. Addie likes to proudly announce, “We’re playing together!” You think she knows how much I love that?

Anyhow, without further ado, here’s a bunch of sibling photos from the last year, in no particular order.

I should editorialize about this one a little…Addie is VERY aware that Westen is a boy, and she’s very sensitive to girl stuff versus boy stuff. For instance, when she wants to play make-up or dress-up, it never occurs to her that Westen should wear a dress – that’s for girls! But ever since she saw a Tinker Bell movie, and learned that there were “boy fairies”, she was excited to put wings on her brother so he could play Tinker Bell with her. And, I have to admit, he quite enjoyed it. See the way he’s watching her? Cuties.

Some of those photos are from earlier this year, but I’ve got some more cute ones…assuming I ever get around to, you know, actually documenting 2012.