Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Big 1-0

Things the 22 year old bride couldn't have imagined ten years into the future (including, but not limited to):

Driving around with our kids, singing "Let it Go" louder than them.

That my husband would be more organized than me.

Getting irrationally irritated when he starts cleaning closets and cars, or vacuuming the living room furniture at 10pm after a date.

Looking so forward to quiet dinner dates at small plate restauarants.

Loving how he asks if we should go get Caribou with a guilty look on his face, like we'd be getting away with something if we did.'

Going to a restaurant called "The Pig Ate My Pizza" to celebrate (and furthermore, consuming unidentifiable meat).

Watching our kids as extensions of our love and personhood.

That I would understand his love of Harry Potter books.

That he would understand my love of endorphins.

That marriage would be so fun.

That marriage would be so much hard and refining and illuminating and rewarding work.

That we wouldn't always sleep in the same bed . . . because he'd be on our daughter's floor (careful, this could happen to you, ha!)

That we'd seemingly meet in the middle and influence each other. For example, at restaurants I am now more likely to order a steak and Trevor a salad . . . and Trevor is more disciplined in working out now than I've ever seen him.

That I'd send him a 10th anniversary gift via email. That it would take me ten years to replace the ill-fitting-returned-to-the-store cowboy boots I gave him as a wedding gift.

To mark the celebration (in true gotta extend the party as long as possible), we've enjoyed a series of little things to make the week special and memorable:

- The kids and I ventured downtown to see Trev at his work/meet his coworkers, then went to Rustica bakery for special bread and treats to last a couple dinners

- During bathtime one night I played all the different songs from our ceremony while Karis asked questions about our wedding: There is Love. Threads of Love. Come Thou Fount. How Beautiful. We had a lot of music, goodness.

- We had a great little date to downtown Robbinsdale where we visited Wuollet bakery, had dinner at The Pig Ate My Pizza, and a stop by Caribou on the way home (the kids loved their time with neighbor Chelsea and they were all eager to show us how Judah was chasing the ducks and "quacking). We also watched a favorite "Office" episode after bedtime, and remembered just how great that show is for our marriage.

- There was a "tenth anniversary of your bachelor party" gathering for Trev, including the brothers and Pizza Luce delivered to Dangerous Man Brewery

- I dug out a box of wedding "stuff" that we sorted through after dinner (which was leftovers, in case you're wondering what kind of special meal we had)

- We met my parents in Alexandria and while the kids entertained them, we had a 7 hour date (perhaps the longest time we've been alone together since Karis was born). We canvased the town, covered so much ground in that time: lunch at Broadway Bistro, meandering through a used book store and antique store, a stop at County Market for movie snacks and a text mishap, went to see Maleficent, went to Carlos Creek Winery for short stroll and a tasting, to Zorbaz for guacamole, to Dunn Bros for "bogo" Father's Day coffee. Whew! As it turns out, spending time alone together is really good for your marriage, and it also turns out that we still enjoy each other's company and doing the same things together. What a treat.

- Uncle D & Aunt M came over to do dinner and bedtime while we stole away to Nonna Rosa to squeeze one last toast in. This relaxing time on the restaurant patio included (and was funded by) Trevor's bean bag toss championship status (a work competition)

- "Oh, do they take the wind away?" (she was going through our DVD's and found Gone With the Wind)
- (looking at our wedding picture), "It doesn't look like a wedding dress. It looks like just a plain old dress"
- "Mommy, I'm like Sacagawea!" (while dragging Judah around on a blanket . . . and yes, she looked like a picture from one of our books)
- "And I pray that me and Marissa would get along, and I thank you that me and Everett are getting along"
- "Oh, we're so blessed they had donuts left!" (after a trip to a shop that we had heard sells out early)
- "My marker didn't listen to me, so that's its consequence"
- "I better not eat too much fruit so I don't smell like eggs"

Judah updates:
- The boy loves to be outside and will go cry by the back door almost first thing in the morning
- He loves to be wearing something around his shoulders (such as a sleep sack or sweatshirt)
- He insists on wearing his sleep sack on his shoulders (unzipped, like a robe) when he wakes up. Sometimes "needs" to wear it until we go somewhere for the day
- He was hilarious when he put on a lifejacket this weekend, he loved it and danced around like crazy
- He dances like a crazy man to any music, lately Okee Dokee Brothers is a fave
- He is quite wary of new situations, likes to stand by and scope things out before diving in
- He has the roundest, most adorable belly. I carry him around and rub his squishy little tummy
- He carries around the book Snuggle Puppy
- His main mode of communication is grunting
- His sign of choice right now is to raise his arms and wave his wrists. While this is "supposed" to mean "all done", for Judah it means everything ("more", "all done", "get me my milk", get me whatever that is on the table that you're eating", "get me my pootsie" . . . )

Wary little man, scoping out a park before jumping in to explore

Karis at a really cheesy outdoor puppet show that she absolutely loved

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Best of TImes, the Stressed of Times

In the usual post-along-the weeks way, I'm starting these thoughts on Thursday, June 5. The kids are sleeping later than usual, which is a mercy because they're recovering from croup and an ear infection (Judah, his first). I'm listening to my morning show on KTIS am 900, which is always a treat. I'm continuing to think about the grand start to our summer with a wonderful wedding followed by a reunion (in which over 30 people crashed the honeymooners, yes really!). It helps that, as we resurface, friends are asking about it all, and so we get to re-live in the re-telling. I tried to include some videos here, hopefully they work . . .

Images that flash to my mind:

The bridal party girls watching (through the windows at the golf course reception site) K & T steal their first look. Karis walking so seriously and beautifully down the aisle. The processional music that was beyond moving. The parents praying for their children at the altar while this song played. The pastor (friend of all the Pope boys) sermonize with grace and passion, telling a story about ducks and to "not be that duck" (you maybe had to be there). The look on Tay's face as Kate walked down the aisle, the vows they confidently affirmed, the Spirit moving in powerful ways as they entered the covenant He created. The joyous reception, the songs to get the couple to kiss (Trevor sang a rendition of brother Tay's "Congratulations to You", Karis sang "Jesus Loves Me"), the speeches, the words of thanksgiving and prayer that T offered to all those there to celebrate with them. Watching Karis see the bride for the first time, her look of enamor.

Standing across from Trevor at the altar of our church, glimpsing up at the stained glass picture of Jesus and the etching "Come to Me". Being in the very place that we receive the body and blood every week. Watching a marriage of loved ones begin.

We are beyond thrilled for T & K, and selfishly thrilled for us too. It's a joy to share the journey of life, to be able to understand each other, support each other, encourage. My brother reminded me that years ago I bugged the brothers, saying, "Come on guys, I'm ready for some sisters!". My heart is full to now have three amazing sisters, each of them radiant with love and grace and faith-filled beauty.

Now how about some cousins? Ha!

(continuing on June 6)

So many things about these weddings ring eternal: "the brothers" have all been in each other's weddings, starting with our's ten years ago. It's been ten years of watching our brothers find their loves, which has been such a joy. And that they all are such an integral part of each other's lives (meaning, my brother, Trev, Trev's brothers) - how unique and amazing. The bachelor party weekend tradition has been a hoot to witness (they have plans to retroactively do bachelor parties for cousins and friends). The speeches they've given to each other, the gifts, the memories. Quite a heritage.

Then all the traditions, I've been pondering the importance of them all - and for me, so much of the meaning of those traditions is the memories they bring up, of when Trevor and I went through those same motions. To be a part of all the showers, parties, ceremonies, dinners, dances - not only are these bonding times, but to reminisce about our own such times is always strengthening.

And then there's the children element, that Karis got to be in each wedding is beyond special, and to watch the progression across three years of how she's grown in independence and inner beauty - well, it takes my breath away to think about it all. Not to mention that the next time she walks down the aisle could very well be her own wedding (God only knows). At J's wedding at just under 3 years old she needed to walk down and stand with me, at D's at just over 4 years old she walked down with the other little flower girls and stood quietly at the front. And this time, she walked down by herself (choked up momma!) all serious and confident and radiant, a beautiful symbol of purity to precede the bride's grand entrance. She sat quietly with gma and gpa Pope the whole time, and then recessed behind the bride and partied the rest of the evening.

A Karis quote that continues to come up is, "Everyone just wants me to be their flower girl! It was a really special day for me. It was a special day for Kate, too". HA!

I will always remember Karis first seeing the bride - completely enamored. Which reminded me of the presence of the Spirit in the covenant celebration. We've been calling her "Aunt" since they got engaged, but something truly changes on the wedding day when the promises of marriage are sealed with a ceremony full of loving witnesses.

(June 7)

Apparently we're still crashing, kids continue to sleep late and my throat is tickling with whatever they must be recovering from. Which brings me to the title of this post: the best and stressed. Based on how relaxed I feel now, I realize how much we all gear up for weddings in our own ways. I think anyone who has any part in such occasions experience this as we're all concerned with our own part in making the day beautiful and as special as possible. The joy is huge, and so is the preparation and so is the unknown: will be healthy, will Karis put on the dress and walk down the aisle and not have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the ceremony (ahem, which she did during the rehearsal). Anyway, the variables with children continue to confound me and be a means of growth to "Let it Go" (thanks, Elsa), trust, execute plans with as much calm and grace as possible. And then to be in the middle of everyone's detailed preparation in their part, to watch the plans unfold so well, to watch everyone relax into the day . . . well, I suppose those relaxed and joyful feelings are pronounced from feeling any amount of stress in the process. The dance of life, always.

With each brother wedding, I can't help but think what a grace it was that Trev and I got married when we did - I really don't remember feeling stressed at that time, and I wonder if we just didn't realize what we were doing?! We've realized that if we got married now, I'd enjoy the day less and Trev would enjoy it more. Anyway, it's fun to think about these things in our little world.

(June 8)

Time to just hit publish post.

In reading and other encouragements . . . :

From Resurrection Year
"Some dreams may not come true, but most of our fears won't either"

From Harry Potter (book 6):
"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."

The words "joy and peace" seem to pop up a lot lately - it's how I pray for the nursery volunteers, and recently a friend told me this is how she was praying during the wedding season, and then that same day these two words were part of Jesus Calling.  A few days later from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Romans 15:13 - "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope . . . " I'm grateful.

This article

And this one

From Loving the Little Years
"Little girls need help sorting out their emotions, not so they can wallow in them but so they can learn to control them. A well controlled passionate personality is a wonderful thing. That is what dangerous women are made of. Don't be discouraged - it's just a lot of raw material"

From Bread & Wine
". . . they are very real, very normal children, not angels or devils, just children - difficult and sweet and exhausting and wonderful all in the same moment, all the time"

"despite my aching, desperate baby-love, it's my job to help into being a big boy. It's my job, my honor, to walk him, quite literally, from baby to toddler to boy to man"


- "It was my day. And it was Aunt Kate's day, too" (said from a true flower girl)
- "Can you check on the monitor for me?"
- "Oh mommy, you just sit and rest. I'll clean up the toy room" (mimic-ing Trevor - oh so thankful for his example)
- "Let's have a doll picnic" (mimic-ing Fancy Nancy)
- "Momma! I'm afraid for when I lose a tooth you might lose them all and I won't have any teeth. Momma, will that happen?"
- "I can almost taste the apples from the apple tree"
- "Coming! Coming slowly so not to upset my books" (which she was carrying)
- "Mommy, isn't it neat, I made them kiss!" (by singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the wedding reception)
- "Good luck! Au Revoir!" (said as she scurries upstairs before bedtime)
- "Oh mom, do they make pasta?!" (said as I explained the plants she was examining were hostas)
- "I wonder why it's number 1 and number 2?"
- "I put Daddy to bed, I tucked him in"
- "Lucy's my best play dater"
- "Can we take our stuff to heaven? Will there be food in heaven? I think heaven has just eggs to eat"
- "Yeah mom, you have to make it fun because we have colds"
- "Daddy, do the neighbors smell like eggs?" (let me know if you want more background on this one)
- "God made even more than the song . . . " (said while watching this song in the mornings. She often looks to me to see if I'm going to cry, which I sometimes do)
- "I'm going to stay here forever and ever. Even when I'm grown up. Maybe when I grow up I'll like eggs"
- "Mommy, I have a great idea. Maybe when I get married I could get my groom to live at our house and live together!"
- "Mommy, I have a great idea. When I'm an adult, I can be a mommy and you can be my children's mommy!"
- "I just keep thinking about shots. What can help me to not think about shots?" (oh these lessons start early and remind me to guard and choose my thoughts as well)
- "Mommy, let's pretend you're a bus driver. Wait, you can't be a bus driver, you're a MOMMY!"
- "You should write down what I just said cuz it's really adorable"
- Latest fave books: Those Summers, The Top Job, We Were Tired of Living in a House, When I Was Young in the Mountains
- "Mommy, is Grandpa Jim lonely" (I am amazed that she "gets this" as great grandpa Jim gets used to his wife, Linnie, now living in a care center)
- "Daddy, can you say 'whaz uuuuuuup'? I like it when you say that"

Judah updates:

- He's so gentle with things he's supposed to be gentle with: people's hair, pets, other kids
- He loves to wave, and does it so well with deliberate wrist movements. He waves to me when I get him out of his car seat, I love that
- He is the happiest when clutching onto one of Karis's toothbrushes (hilarious)
- He weathered a nasty bout with wheezing/labored breathing. I held my breath a lot those days, took him to the doc where they found an ear infection
- He loves to wear this certain yellow hat, which is such a wonderful thing because it keeps the sun from kissing his face too aggressively
- He loves to carry a blanket or a dress around, putting it on his head and walking blindly (I remember Karis doing this)
- He is territorial, when Karis tries to sit on my lap when he's there, he pushes her away
- In church he likes to walk across the aisle and climb up onto an empty pew and just sit there (in the balcony). When I'm working in the nursery, he has a 6th sense for when I step out . . . and then needs to be held the rest of the time.

Flower Girl through and through, having fun with the apple blossoms

Celebrating Eliza's 2nd birthday at Glam Dolls Donuts - too fun!

Judah dancing away at Glam Dolls