I haven't really been taking photos with my camera lately and I think it's because of my love affair with instagram. The good thing about that is that I feel like I might actually have a chance at catching up on all of the stuff that I STILL have yet to blog about from months ago. I was going to start with posting about our Beach trip, but I keep having these thoughts that I need to just write down some other stuff first.
(All of the photos in this post are from a day last summer where we were out working on the chicken coop. The light was good so I got the camera out. I love these little faces and never posted them, so here they are now, completely irrelevant, but included nonetheless.)
My children are at such easy ages. Pearl will be two next month and I can't believe how easy it is to have two children that you can reason with and explain things to. If she cries in the middle of the night I can have a conversation with her about how it's still night time and that I'll come back and get her when it's light outside and she'll stop crying and sweetly say, "Okay Mama," and roll over and go back to sleep. George went through a little bit of a phase when he first turned 4 where he was pushing limits and testing boundaries much more than he ever had. I felt challenged as his mother to find a healthy balance between giving him some autonomy and expecting obedience. In the last few months he seems to have settled into himself more. I don't feel him pushing against me, testing my patience the way he was before. I have just had the thought over and over again lately that both kids are in places where my job feels pretty darn easy and smooth right now. I know this won't last forever and there will be hurdles for us all to get through together in the future, but sometimes right now I feel like I want 14 more kids just like them.
Speaking of which, I can't believe how much I'd love to have another baby come to our family soon. I've actually wanted another baby since Pearl was 4 months old (craziness that I cannot explain), but recently the feelings of desire for that are so intense that my heart feels a little smothered. Hopefully the time for our family will be right soon.
Also sort of speaking of which, we are moving. Probably to Oregon, but possibly to New Zealand. John was accepted to PhD programs in both places (among others, but those were our top 2 choices), and now is the time where we are really buckling down to try and make the decision that is best for our family. There are so many things to consider in this. Oregon State makes the very most sense-- it is the number one place to be in the nation for what John is studying (as in, the advisor that has accepted him is the only Endowed Chair at his position in all of the world, which brings with it a host of perks and benefits), it is in a super cool town (Corvallis) with excellent schools and safe neighborhoods, it is within driving distance to come home and visit our families which is a huge thing, and we've felt really good about Oregon since John was first thinking about PhD programs 2 years ago. The opportunity in New Zealand was a more recent development and John actually was not expecting to get the offer to come there. When it came we were totally shocked and I spent an entire afternoon, my heart excitedly pounding, searching for reasonable rentals in Auckland. The program in NZ is very good, the advisor is a well-respected and known scientist, and the adventure of it all, oh the adventure of it all. That is the main thing that pulls us in that direction. How can we turn down that opportunity?! It would be so hard for us to be that far away for that long (3 or 4 years), but it also would be a once in a lifetime experience for our family that I know we would end up loving. So we weigh the pros and the cons. Oregon State wins that battle, but it still is tough to let go of the idea of NZ. We kind of keep coming back to this though: academically, graduating from Oregon State would make John competitive to get any job he wanted at the end of all of this. And that is what we are doing it for-- the future. The opportunities and training and technology available at OSU are superior. And we will get to see our families more. But what would you do? Are we crazy to not take the opportunity in NZ? We are hopeful that if we decide to go to OSU, we will still have options to live abroad at another point during John's schooling (either during his PhD for a few months at a time doing research somewhere or while he does a post doc). John and I spend most of our free time going back and forth about this; I asked him the other day what we would talk about once we had made the decision. I'm sure we'll find something :).
Pearl just woke up. I brought her out by me where she saw a mini flag and started reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I had no clue she knew that. We recite it at school each morning, but I had no clue she was catching on to all of those words. Sort of entertaining to hear this tiny person squeaking out, "to the 'public, which it stands, wif liberty, justice for all!"
I guess that's it for now.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
We had Christmas. And it was lovely and happy and fun. We had church at 9:00 that morning so I worried that we would be rushed to get through all of the traditional Christmas morning stuff (and we needed to go up to my parents' house right after church), but it actually wasn't that way at all. The kids woke up early and snuggled in Pearl's rocking chair while Daddy got the video camera out and ready.
Our babies opened some presents.
George's favorite thing was probably his Ninjago Lego set, and Pearl's was her stroller. It was so much fun to watch her toddle in and out of the room pushing it.
A close second for George was his robe; he had been asking for one like his dad's for months. I love that you can see Pearl cuddling her new baby doll in this photo as well.
The kids finished opening their presents and then I realized we had forgotten to do stockings- a true tradition travesty as those are always first. We emptied them anyway, and it was actually sort of fun for George to think he was done opening presents and then have a few more in his stocking.
Christmas morning faces.
I was pretty excited about the present that I got for John. It was a box full of books about insects. A couple of them were more fieldwork reference books, but a couple of them were these beautiful insects as artwork books that I knew he would love. The beetles were important because that is the insect he is hoping to study for much of his PhD. He was totally surprised (I had given him some wacky, misleading clues :)) and happy.
We got ready and went to church, which I think should be an annual part of Christmas. It was so lovely to spend a portion of our morning thinking so purposefully about why we celebrate Christmas. John was one of the speakers in our meeting, and I loved his words so much. My family came to church with us so they could hear John (and also so we could all have our Christmas morning stuff together-- their church would've been at 11:00 right in the middle of our festivities). Here are Madeline, Rachel, and George outside of our chapel after the meeting, and then a picture of our little family as well. I knew I wanted a picture of us in front of our church-- this building (and all of the people associated with it) has been such an enormous part of the happiness and love we've found in our neighborhood here. I've had the blessing of serving in the Relief Society presidency here for 3 1/2 years now, and John has been in the bishopric for 2 years and the experiences and opportunities that we've had (individually and as a family) because of our callings are things that I hope I'll always remember.
After church we got our jammies back on (really) and went up to my parents' house for a second "Christmas Morning."
Pearl immediately found her shopping cart from the night before, slapped a purse around her shoulder, and was off. This was the year of grown-up gifts in little people sizes so she could do it "all by self", which is of extreme importance to that independent little friend.
Another highlight for Pearl was the box of giant bugs that she received. Heaven. I cannot believe how much she loves bugs. She goes through them labeling and categorizing, "Praying Mantis. Beetle. Lady Bug. Scorpion. Spider."
Oooo, a Rhinoceros Beetle! Thrilling! Look at her face :).
Here's a good look at her with some of her creatures. I seriously love this about her.
George got an Angry Bird and Pearl sobbed when he wouldn't give it to her. So unfair.
She also sobbed (SOBBED) when she discovered that the doll that my mom gave her made actual crying sounds when she squeezed it. The first two sounds are happy-- laughing and then saying, "Mama." She was okay with those-- excited even.
But the next two sounds were traumatic. The baby whimpers and then full-on cries. She could not handle it.
Oh, she looks so heartbroken in that last picture! She hastily handed the baby to me and cried, "Take it away! Take it away!" So sad. And a tiny bit funny :).
The remainder of the day consisted of playing games,
trying out new sleeping bags,
wearing matching pajamas,
and driving new cars.
(Pearl started out interested in a ride, but quickly discovered that she was not a fan of her brother's crazy driving.)
I love this grin. He was having so much fun.
See ya later!
We didn't spend time on Christmas Day with John's family because we all left to spend the week together at the beach that night. Those posts are coming next. Probably.