Friday, August 31, 2012

up. and up.

it's been a good week! which is a relief, because those have been a little sparse around here lately.

it's been the perfect end-of-summer weather: not too hot, not too humid, not too cold. all you need is a light jacket. {get it?} the perfect weather, in fact, to wear my new polka dot bermuda shorts and stroll through downtown with dana on our way to dinner {here} and a movie {this}. all things i highly recommend.

we've also been grilling, making more of gram's ginger snaps, planning planning planning for china, cuddling babies {welcome to the world, ethan!} and watching our relatives rock it on national television.

and, as if there was any more room for awesomeness, today we are headed to the beach with a good long weekend with good good friends.

we're on the up and up, my babies. and it feels so good.

Monday, August 27, 2012

birthday boy

this guy had a birthday on saturday.

last year poor AWD's birthday got lost in the manic mess of the few weeks before the wedding. so this year i wanted to do it up right.

my biggest project was making his favorite donut-- the elusive maple bar-- from scratch. this was a mixed success. the final product tasted delicious, but the dough never rose, so the final product was also remarkably dense. we decided to call them maple bricks.

after a post-mortem with my parents it was concluded that i "killed" the yeast. turns out my definition of "very warm water" and the generally accepted definition of such are two rather different things. now i know.

we spent a lazy saturday doing exactly what we wanted to do (which was not much) and finished up with korean chicken wings from bonchon. there was also the requested angel food cake, some ginger snaps made from great-grandma frances' recipe, and i even put up some decorations.

yes, i am accepting nominations for wife of the year.

for his favorite memory of the past year, AWD picked our wedding. (naturally.) and for his goal for the next year, AWD picked getting back into some good habits he had when he was single that seem to have fallen by the wayside since we got married. (my bad.)

and, even though it wasn't my birthday, i am going to add that being married to AWD has been the best thing to happen to me in the past year, too. i am super glad he was born, and super super glad i get to be with him all the time forever.

last week our friend rachel asked us to be "expert" guest speakers in a marriage preparation class she was teaching for church. the topic was how the atonement of jesus christ can help you in a marriage relationship, and we had a really great time thinking and talking about it. we came up with a lot of ideas, but here is the one that stuck out most to me.

the atonement has helped me love and forgive myself even under the laboratory microscope of marriage, which seems to magnify every fault i have, including the ones i didn't even know i had. but, even more miraculously, it has increased my capacity to love AWD in a way that i never imagined.

this is barfy mushiness, but i really do love him more every day. he gets more hilarious, more kind, more handsome, more loving, more lovable and more a necessary part of my life. the atonement lets me see AWD as heavenly father sees him, and to love him the way heavenly father loves him. which is far more than my limited mortal capacity would ever allow. it is completely amazing to me, and i feel so thankful for it.

and, so thankful for AWD. now there's someone i'd be happy to celebrate every single day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

paperback writer

today at book club (for which i did not read the book. i'm nothing if not consistent) i learned that the hardy boys and nancy drew books were written not by one author, but by an assembly line of many authors who were fulfilling the vision of one young adult novel mastermind.

and they had to follow all kinds of rules, such as 50 required jokes per every 25 chapters and only one "said" per every 10 statements, with the rest using gems like "exclaimed," "gasped" and, a personal favorite, "chortled."

not having read the book club books (one hardy boys, one nancy drew) i can't state this from experience, but i understand that this does something to explain the quality ("quality") of the books. i am also told that the moral of said books is to be slender, with nice legs and things will work out just fine.

precisely what our young people need to hear, no?

and, while we are on the topic of factory writing, i just read this headline:

prince harry's nude photos endear him, royal expert says

factory or not, coming up with headlines like that seems like the perfect writing job to me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

root (root root) for the home team

it's been a big baseball season for our household.

first, i finally saw nationals wunderkind pitcher stephen strasburg in action. and, as baseball luck would have it, the game was against the atlanta braves and my first baseball love, chipper jones. chipper jones who is retiring this season. so it didn't actually bother me that the nats blew a 9-0 lead to lose 10-11 in extra innings. because a win for chipper is a win for all of us.

then AWD's beloved mariners had a red letter night, with a perfect game pitched by felix hernandez, aka: the king. that's 27 outs. up and down. even i could tell it was a beautiful thing.

and this weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to see the southern maryland blue crabs. skill-wise it might not be the best baseball you've ever seen, but ambiance-wise it cannot be beat. and the blue crabs were in rare form, soundly defeating the sugarland skeeters 5-2.

not to mention that the post-game fireworks show is the best you'll see.

america's pastime indeed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

bottom. up.

i am just going to cut to the chase and say that last week was absolutely, hands-down and positively the worst week of my entire life. and this is not a case of "bennett hyperbole," as AWD likes to call it. it really was just that rotten.

the week started out with unexpected and very bad news, it ended with loss and disappointment and in between there was a lot (a lot) of crying and and questioning and wondering.

but, in between there was also so much love and support and kindness and empathy from people we love who love us, too, and somehow we have come out on the other end and it looks like we're going to make it after all.

i have decided a couple things as a result of all this yuck.

1. the lord is in charge and he has a plan and i might as well just believe it even though i will probably never fully understand it. trying too hard to find reason and logic will just make me crazy; faith will bring comfort and peace.

2. one silver lining in the cloud of our worst fears coming to pass is that we learn we can triumph over our worst fears. that's not a bad thing to know.

3. sadness is sadness and loss is loss and it should be mourned for as long as it takes. certainly life must and does go on, but i feel totally fine about allowing myself to feel sad for as long as i want, and i am not going to apologize for that.

4. good things happen even in bad times. here are some of the things that have made me happy in the midst of feeling so very sad.

{flowers, flowers, flowers and flowers}

{ice cream, ice cream and ice cream}

{matinee movie dates}

{friday afternoon lunch and a shopping spree with EH}

{sunday morning feasts. bacon extraextra crispy}

{my sent-from-heaven husband who i wake up loving more every single day even though i can't imagine loving him more than i already do. how much easier it is to do hard things when i have him to do them with!}

and so we survive, and this week is already off to a much better start than the last one and i might even make it to bed tonight without having shed a single tear. but if i don't, that's OK, too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ring cycle

hey, pals! sorry it has been so quiet over here lately. there just hasn't been much to say. the weather has been gray, stifling and oppressive. i got sick. AWD got sick. and then we started doing pretty much nothing but watch the olympics every night.

we don't actually have cable, so it wasn't looking too good for us and london 2012. but then AWD, being the gadget master that he is, found a little digital converter box that pulls TV waves right out of the sky and puts them on our screen. so we get olympics and technology magic!

so, since i don't have anything else going on, here are some of my favorite olympic moments and lessons.

1. it has been so refreshing to see strong, healthy bodies on TV instead of stick skinny ones. and i love that every olympic body is different. divers don't look like gymnasts don't look like weight lifters don't look like runners don't look like equestrians and on and on. no one is trying to meet some impossible uniform ideal. everyone is doing what's best for them, their body and their sport. you would think watching the world's fittest people compete would make me feel even worse about my body, but it's had the opposite effect. i feel refreshed and encouraged.

2. andy murray beating roger federer might have been one of the best moments of my life. it was so sweet.

3. the coverage of michael phelps has been admittedly tiresome (greatest olympian ever. we get it) but i love the story they keep telling about his 100 meter butterfly race in the beijing olympics where his goggles filled up with water and he couldn't see a single thing, but he had swam that race so many times he knew exactly how many strokes it would take him to get to the end of the pool. so, he counted his strokes, did his thing, and won. i have really appreciated this reminder that consistency leads to success and if we are in the habit and pattern of doing good things, adversity cannot deter us. we just need to keep our heads down and count our strokes and we'll come out on top.

4. i would like a job on the today show.

5. oscar pistorius of south africa made history over the weekend by becoming the first amputee to ever compete in olympic track. actually, that moment might edge out the andy murray win as my all-time favorite. to see a double amputee running in the olympics (and qualifying for the 400 meter semifinal!), well, i'm not sure there is anything more amazing. in an interview after the race oscar said, "just because you are disabled doesn't mean you are disadvantaged." let's just think about that for a minute. i know there are definitely times when i feel "disabled" emotionally, spiritually or otherwise. sometimes it just feels like you are losing at life, and it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we can never be as good or as well off as before that particular trouble found us. but, here is what i learned from oscar: problems don't put us behind. and sometimes, they can even move us ahead.

it's obviously been a good olympics for me. how about you?