Monday, February 2, 2015

6 years of marital bliss...

We celebrated the year at a cabin in Wisconsin's majestic North Woods

We set yearly goals for Katie, hot-tubbed in -10F for Fabio, ate frozen pizza, drank sparkling apple juice, and mostly talked about how much we loved our boys.

We are both so imperfect, and we've definitely "had our first fight;" but there is no one in the world I'd rather wake up at 3am with a sick baby with, no one's underwear I'd rather wash, no one I'd rather have tell me an idea is bad. We are perfect for each other and I simply adore my handsome, funny, generous sweetheart.

Time sure flies when you're having fun!


Christmas 2014 was such a sweet holiday full of fun memories, cute boys, and a whole lot of love.

It was a Christmas miracle that Christmas was fun at all, since Jon came down with the flu right before (not the stomach flu, the flu-flu, which is infinitely more awful; and I know that is really saying something). The doctor said that maybe, if he was really lucky, he would start to feel better Christmas Day. I was prepared for a Christmas of cartoons and popsicles, and present opening postponed until everyone was better; since the six days before had looked like this:

But Christmas Eve at around 4:30, Jon got off the couch and started playing with his toys... when he hadn't done either in days! By bedtime he fell asleep in his own bed and was actually asking about Christmas. So Christmas was saved, and it was a really beautiful day.

Nay Nay provided the matching Christmas jammies. Daddy read the Christmas story while we acted out the nativity with our nativity set (still no costumes in this house, unless Joseph and Mary were firefighters).

In the morning, we had french toast for breakfast. And in keeping with my great Christmas culinary tradition, I burned  something (this year the Pannetone bread that takes twenty. four. hours. to rise).

Jonathan handmade his gifts for everyone, and his little giving heart was so full of excitement that he forgot he also got presents on Christmas... well, until he opened the first one and then he was pretty sure every present that wasn't from him was for him. He wore his fighter-pilot helmet and carried around his nerf gun (he doesn't know they have darts, just enjoys the satisfying "click") around for days. I absolutely love three-year-olds.

Jon played airplane with the cockpit panel 
Dap and I made him, and read all of his books with Nay Nay.

Jon had made a serving spoon for Vovo (hot glued purple beads on the handle),
freezer cookie dough for Dap,
a clay handprint bowl for Nay Nay,
thumbprint cufflinks for Daddy,
an orange clay "snowplow with a jet engine" for Danelle, who he is pretty sure is his big sister,
a rice hot pad (airplane fabric, of course) for Mommy,
and a taggie for Ben (more airplane fabric and super colorful tags)

And while most of these were my ideas (except Danelle's snowplow), he did a lot of the work. I would even say most of it. He loved the idea of giving so much that he made clay things for all of his friends in his church class--which were random and hilarious. A train for Ca, a "curling machine to curl things on the tracks" for Cl, a "June holding a toy" for Ju, and a "bulldozer" for T.

Ben had a perfectly sweet first Christmas. His favorite gift by far was his taggie from Jon, followed by his awesome Hankie Frankie (moms of babies, this toy is amazing--look it up on Amazon). He is so smiley and sweet, and Christmas Day was no exception. He is simply a joy.

The boys continue to teach me to focus on what is most important about Christmas. It really makes no difference that I forgot to take any "present opening" pictures or that I burned the Pannetone. What matters most is honoring Christ by doing what he did and continues to do: give.

Oh yeah--and Christmas afternoon naps. They matter a lot, too.

Raffles Day

On December 19, 2011 I walked out of Raffles Hospital in Singapore completely against the odds. It was a turning point in our family's gratitude for life. The hospital happened to have a little coffee shop with pretty good hot chocolate. A year later we decided to go back to the hospital as a symbolic gesture and found ourselves at the coffee shop drinking hot chocolate and talking about all the amazing experiences and memories we were able to share and remember briefly just how close I came to missing it all: Jon's first words, his first steps, sleeping on the beach in Thailand, petting a koala.

So we declared December 19 Raffles Day, and made it a family tradition. We go to a coffee shop for hot cocoa and talk about all the things in the last year we loved, enjoyed, or were glad to be around for. I write them down. And then that night in family prayer we give thanks that our family has been able to spend a little more time on earth together. When the boys are bigger, I hope to tell them how Raffles Day came about, and all the tiny miracles that summed up to me walking out those hospital doors; but this year Jon ate a cake pop at Starbucks and kept insisting we add "fighting bad guys" to the list--again. And that was perfectly alright.

And so without further ado, the Raffles Day 2014 List:

Ben being born!
Visiting the Stices
Christmas trees telling Jon to think about Jesus
Custard at Culver's 
Getting a paper published
Getting first paper into print
Fighting the bad guys
Chyz family visited
Speaking at primary children's baptisms
Swinging in the backyard
Naynay playing
Fighting bad guys
Mommy's roomba
Peppermint cake pop
Katie catching a goat
Family racing at Boondocks
Ben's belly laugh--and his smiles
Ben's kisses
Family workouts
Jon learning how to read
Family scripture study
Fighting bad guys
Driving to see the tractors
Eating at Villa dolce
Morning snuggles
Planes 2
Walks in Pheasant Branch
Jet room breakfasts
Buying a bed
Fighting bad guys 
Paying off the Amex 
Selling our newly wed stock
Sports class withJonathan 
Discovering Peg+Cat
Jon yelling in sacrament about Jesus being resurrected
Fighting so many bad guys
NayNay getting out of her wheelchair and walking again!
Watching the World Cup as a family and Jon knowing who Neymar is
Katie discovering Instagram and deleting Facebook from her phone
Leaves in Wisconsin in the Fall

Happy Belated Raffles Day to one and all! We are so grateful for the grace of God that has given us a little more time in this sweet, rich, amazing life!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vovo and "B'Donalds"

After Thanksgiving, Jonathan decided he needed to go to "B'Donalds with Vovo for ice-cream and french fries." He asked again, and again.

Of course, as soon as Vovo heard about this urgent need she booked a ticket to come and do just that. And why wouldn't she? Just look at that face of complete satisfaction.

Ahh, the McDonalds's fudge sundae

And because she's amazing, she also filled our home with delicious Brazilian goodness. There was the night of pasteis, kibi, and rice...

the stroganoff, the crema de milio,

the Brazilian savory "pancake"...

And then the "brigaderos," which are little Brazilian chocolates, brownies, and Brazilian frosting.

I even got to help watch and taste a little while Fabio rolled the boys around on the floor. I quickly learned one of her secret ingredients: a stick of butter!

What? You packed on the pounds during Thanksgiving? Oh, no--we gained our holiday weight the next week. And it was so worth it.

These four funsters can't hold still... 
I don't have a single picture with all four of them in focus!

We're always so happy when this beautiful woman comes to feed us, cuddle us, tell us stories about Fabio, shower us with noisy toys, and buy us ice cream sundaes at B'Donalds!