Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One year later

It's been one year since the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  It's been quite a year.  We were so blessed that day to be kept out of harm's way when we were literally sitting across the street from bomb #2.

My life has never been the same.  Mark has never quite been able to wrap his brain around what happened.  I have never been able to understand how evil could exist to such a degree that a man could walk up, set a bomb down next to a small child, and walk away.  My children who were with me that day were greatly affected.  Joel has a hard time being in crowds now without panicking.

In the months after the bombs, Mark had "bomb dreams."  He had (and still does have) survivor's guilt, and what I have coined as "Finisher's Guilt."  I was more of the mindset, "Well, that happened and we are fine now, so let's move on."  But Mark has struggled with that moment for a year now.

I thought I was OK.  I was looking forward to this upcoming trip to Boston.  And then when I started to pack  my suitcase yesterday, the emotions just started flowing.  It had never occurred to me that sometimes a vacation doesn't have a happy ending.  I started to remember the sounds and smells of that day last year.  I thought about waiting in our hotel room with everyone I loved safe and sound, while others were out on the streets searching for their family and friends who had not been able to finish the race.

I can still hear the bombs.  I can still hear the sirens.

But one thing I can also hear is my cell phone.  I have a new phone now, but I haven't been able to part with my old phone.   Whenever I see its sparkly blue case, I think about that day in Boston.  I think about my Dad being the first one to try to call and see if we were OK.  I think of the hundreds of alert tones I heard as close friends and distant acquaintances all were eager to hear that we were OK.  I think of typing as fast as I could on that little screen trying to reply to everyone, and having 5 more texts come through in the meantime.  I love that old phone.  It reminds me that I am loved.

A lot has happened in the last year.  Right after Boston, my son left on a mission for 2 years.  The next month, my Dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  My daughter moved away to go to college.  My neighbor died in a tragic motorcycle accident.  I have cried more in the last year than all of my life together.

But I know I am loved.  I know things will work out.  Bad stuff happens and we keep going forward because we are strong.  The struggle is the part of life that makes us strong.

I am excited to be there right at the finish line again this year to see Mark and his brother finish the race safely.  I hope that they can put their demons behind them.  I can't wait to see Boston stand strong and together once again.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mean mom

We had the funniest thing happen at our house last week. Mark installed a pull-up bar in our exercise room and the kids were taking turns on it using a band to assist them. Zachary had freaked out on his first turn because he felt like he was 100 feet in the air. He was actually only about 4 inches off of the stool. So savvy got my iPad to film Zack and show him that he was being a big chicken.

Well, his dismount went terribly wrong, and Savvy got it all on film.

I was laughing so hard that I honestly could not help Zack get out of his situation!  Mean mom.

Aubrey wasn't here but she laughed so hard about the video that she made a page on her blog post about it. It is one of my favorite cartoons she has ever drawn.

My missionary

When Abram left on his mission last May, I thought letting him go was the hardest thing I had ever done.  I learned throughout last year that there are some things much more gut-wrenching.

His weekly emails make my life. I can't function on Mondays until I hear from him, and I love to catch him online and go back and forth with emails for a few minutes. Mexico is the best place I can image him spending 2 years, and I am so grateful that he had the desire to serve a mission, and that I had the courage to let him go.

He has been gone nearly 9 months, and I have a whole bunch of Mexican Facebook friends now. I know he is well loved and being taken care of. Missions are awesome.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Je parle français

One thing I am so grateful for is that my dad taught me to love languages. He always had cassette tapes of languages in the car and at our house. He learned German on his mission and for the rest of his life he would light up whenever found someone to speak German with. And then he tried to learn a little of every other language he could.

Although my German never progressed beyond singing Stille Nacht and O Tannenbaum, I did learn French. For 5 years in school I took French. It is still in my brain, and I love to use it, although I am afraid to speak it.

My senior year I switched to Spanish and I ate it up. I love Spanish. I don't know much, but I am working on it.

I really love to sub for French and Spanish classes at the high school.  It's something that makes me happy.

Paper projects

I would like to think my kitchen is always clean.  It's not.  I really have this thing about being able to see the entire counter in order to be OK.  But I have two crafters who live here who keep the counters very, very....crafty.

Zack and Savanna have two kitchen cupboards full of paper, scissors, buttons, glue, popsicle sticks, pompoms, etc.  They are always making stuff.  So I just sort of get used to seeing the counters with a pile of craft materials on them.

Someday that won't happen any more and I know I will miss it.  So I am trying to appreciate the "craftiness" while it still lives in my house.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mon beau sapin

Roi des forêts, que j'aime ta verdure.

I have some pictures from our Christmas tree adventure this year.  It was 19 feet tall, and yes, we brought it home on top of the minivan again.

Lots of fun, but a little more difficult missing our two oldest children to help lift it onto the car, drag it into the house and then get it upright.  Good thing Mark is so handy on ladders, because he is very good at lighting up a tree.

HAPPY New Year

Let's just say that 2013 was difficult. Too many sad things and way too many goodbyes.  I have been in a sort of funk recently. Things seem tough right now. And today I decided I need to start focusing on things that are awesome and fun, and hopefully the things that are worrying me right now will seem less ominous and impossible in the process.

So here we go.

Jacob has a new banjo and I love hearing him figure out a new instrument. It has a happy sound and Jacob is super talented.  

Savanna dressed up like a granny on Saturday night and did a very entertaining impromptu skit. 
Noah is my shooting buddy. I am so thankful to live on our property where we have a shooting range in the back. Noah is so cute. 
It's pretty fun and therapeutic to shoot.  We used the 22s this day and shot up the gingerbread house, and all the aging produce I could find in the fridge.  It was a spectacular mess.

I got to talk to Abram on Christmas. It had been almost 8 months since I had seen his cute face and heard his nerdy laugh. I love my missionary!

Zachary is an angel. Everything he does is cute and very artistic. He loves to have me read him Spanish children's books. 

Aubrey was home for 3 weeks, and we had so much fun with her.  I loved hearing Jacob and Aubrey playing the piano and singing together.

Joel makes everything interesting.  He was such a helper cutting down our big Christmas tree and getting it into the house.
 Aubrey learned how to make meringue mushrooms for our Buche de Noel.  She also became a wild and crazy knitter over her time at home with us.  It was pretty much a 3 week long party.
Savanna helped me roll up and decorate the Buche de Noel.
Lots of happy things to think about and remember.  My kids are pretty dang cool, and I love each of them forever.