Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Tomorrow, on July 1, 2009, Rich and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. Such an occasion causes me to become reflective of the blessings and challenges we've undergone as a couple since that wonderful day nine years ago.

We met at Corban College (then Western Baptist College) in Salem probably the first or second day of our freshman year. We quickly formed a little clan, which consisted of one of my roommates, Jenny, and two other guys, Aaron and Geoff. The five of us were inseparable that first year of college. I think this picture was taken at Christmas-time when we all exchanged gifts .

Over the summer after freshman year, Rich and I talked weekly over the phone, since he had gone back to San Diego. We were still just friends, but I admit I was developing a crush! Sophomore year, we became a little more exclusive with our friendship, but still weren't dating. I dated another "fella" and am convinced that's how I won Rich over! He was so jealous!!! Ladies, if you are trying to snag a man and you think he likes you, but just isn't sure, I highly recommend a meaningless relationship to make him green with envy! Just kidding about the meaningless part. Anyway, this wasn't my purpose for dating the other guy, but the attraction with Rich was there, so the other relationship didn't last too long. Soon after that, Rich and I went to coffee and decided to date. We discussed that evening that we didn't want to get together unless we were serious about staying together, and as a result, we were engaged 5 months later! I was able to date my best friend! It was a very natural transition. He proposed on Coronado Island in August of '99. This picture was taken at his parents' house that night.

We got married on July 1, 2000 at 7:30 in the evening. Rich was 20 years-old and I was 21. Thus the baby-face! Didn't I marry a handsome hunk? One of my favorite things about my wedding was the flowers in my hair. I just loved them! Rich graduated from Western Baptist in 2001. I graduated the next year in 2002, as I had another semester to complete from having changed my major. I'd be lying if I said marriage has been blissful and perfect. Honestly, we have so different personalities that it is a regular struggle to understand the other partner! Rich likes to get a point across in as little words as possible, sometimes he hopes to not speak at all. I, on the other hand, well... um... I think it's obvious why we might have some trouble communicating!
Having children has been a great challenge in our marriage. With only 5 years of parenting under our belt so far, we are still in the young children stage. When we are actually able to walk hand-in-hand, I notice it. I think, "this is nice, I'm actually holding my husband's hand!" Having a conversation together with the kids in the room is almost impossible - especially since we have two of the most verbal, expressive girls I've ever known! Thus, I'm constantly missing my husband and wishing for more time with him. Those of you who are not in this stage of parenting, whether you're past it or not there yet, please hear me - PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN NEED YOUR HELP! Consider it a ministry to strengthen the marriage of someone you know. Even if you think a couple is doing great and doesn't seem to be struggling, if they have young children, they probably need you! Just because I had a date with my husband 3 weeks ago, doesn't mean I couldn't REALLY use a date tonight! Did I get my point across? Call someone today and offer to babysit (you could also throw in 20 bucks - diapers are expensive!).

Nine years has brought Rich and I through some very rough patches; ones which I wasn't sure how to plow through. Praise God for His Word; for his compassion; for His forgiveness; for His healing hand; for His great mercies that are new EVERY morning!!!!

Richie, I love you so much. I know I will have so much more to say in the years to come (Lord willing). I realize that love really is much more about the almost-by-moment decision to love another rather than self, than it is about any kind of feeling. You are truly an amazing husband. You are so self-sacrificing and so kind and gentle. Your gentle spirit was the very first thing that drew me to you, probably because I feel lacking in that area at times. You are so smart and capable and God has allowed you to provide for our family so wonderfully. You encourage me to stay home with our daughters, which I know I will always be grateful for. You are an amazing father and so sweet with Avery and Allie. Avery was hugging a picture of you just this afternoon, telling "it" how much she loves you! Thank you for marrying me and for striving daily to cherish me as your wife!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My First 5K

Almost 2 years ago, I got a treadmill and started running almost every morning before my family got up. I started by running one mile and slowly worked up to 1 1/2 miles. I didn't have time in the morning to run much more than that, as my children are very early risers. Months later, I remember calling Rich at work and telling him I had run 2 miles that morning. I was so proud! He said he was going to look online for a 5K for me to run in and I said, "no way!" He was sure I could do it, but I didn't have nearly as much confidence in myself. My good friend, Connie, and I decided together that it should be a goal for us to do that someday. That was last summer. A few months ago I decided to give up my regular running time to God, as my time with Him had been squeezed in at other times of the day and not been nearly as profitable as it needed to be. I was scared, since I thought I might be giving up running altogether, but I prayed that He would help me still make time for it. It's all worked out great! Anna and I began running together and have really pushed each other to better fitness. So, we decided to run a 5K on June 19th.

Anna, Connie, Anna's sister Melinda, and I ran together. We were all a little apprehensive, but it was awesome! Melinda and I eventually pulled ahead and evidently wanted to run a little faster. I was really glad she was there - I think it was good for both us. Connie and Anna stuck together just a little ways behind us. We did the whole way without stopping to walk and I even sprinted at the end (Rich said I had to). I admit that in that last mile, I was totally wiped and felt that I was running pretty fast. I thought I must be shaving quite a bit off my regular time, which is about 10 minutes a mile. I even pictured myself placing in my age group! Ha... I ended up coming in 60th, which was probably about half-way. Looking back, I do remember seeing quite a few really booking it at the beginning - they must have finished way ahead of me! I knew my competitive nature would show itself, even though I had told myself I just wanted to say I had done it. Reality came back and reminded me of how far I had come and all that I had to be proud of. My time was 30 min, 32 seconds. Rich says I can take a little more off that since I started far back behind the start line in the large crowd that took a while to get going. Also, at the one mile marker, I high-fived Avery and Allie and then Allie decided she wanted to follow me. I slowed down quite a bit there, trying to get her to go back to Daddy!

Overall, I had a great time with my friends and I'm really proud of all of us. I'm definitely going to keep pushing myself and maybe someday run a 10K or maybe even a half-marathon! A girl can dream...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sleep Study

I thought I would sit down and document my recent sleep study experience. I admit that I went into it hoping to get some sleep and maybe some answers to some of my sleep issues. I asked for prayer and prayed myself quite a bit, wanting this to be successful and an accurate test of my normal sleep patterns.

Well, as soon as I showed up, I began to wonder... I knew I would have wires on me, but had no idea of the extent. I wish I could have taken a picture! It took about half an hour to wire me up. In the end, I had five electrodes pasted and taped to my face (2 on my chin, one next to each eye, one on my forehead). Four were pasted into my hair, onto my scalp. I had one electrode pasted and taped under each ear. Then there were several on my body, including my tummy, chest, and both legs. I also had a belt around my waist and one around my chest to help check my breathing. To top it all off, I had a tube poking into both nostrils of my nose and a clip on my finger. I was on video with the room microphoned from 8:00 pm to 3:00 the next afternoon. Just the ticket for a restful night of sleep, don't you think?

Needless to say, being a person who often does not sleep well even under the best of circumstances, I didn't sleep! On top of it all, the room was hot and I learned in the morning how to keep the fan running all night. As I lay there hour after hour, completely aware that I was being watched and monitored, I prayed and wondered why God wasn't helping me sleep better. Hadn't I prayed so hard? First lesson in faith, Erin: God does what HE wants and it's your job to trust and follow. Prayer isn't about getting desired results; it's about casting your cares on Him and seeing what He wants to accomplish.

I finally fell asleep around 3:30-4:00 and woke up at 6 am. Then began my daytime sleep study. Thankfully, they removed much of the body electrodes and the lovely nose tube and finger clip. All of the ones on my head remained. Beginning at 8 and continuing at 10, 12, and 2, I took 20-30 minute naps. The nap at 12 was the most successful, probably because that's close to when I nap regularly. I was able to nap a little during the others, though - no doubt due to the fact that I had only had 2 hours of sleep the night before. At 2:30 I was done! I got to shower and vigorously scrub the paste out of my hair, hallelujah!

That's about it! I came home completely exhausted from my sleep study and couldn't wait to get into my own bed with no wires stuck to me. I'm so thankful for modern science and for the chance to improve my health. I had a different idea of how this would go, but I'm encouraged by the knowledge that God had this planned all along. He will accomplish His purpose and I might as well praise Him through it all. I was not given any indication of the results, as the people were just sleep technicians and it will take several weeks for the study to be evaluated. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks and will hopefully get some answers then. I will certainly post the result when I know something! Praise God for His goodness and faithfulness!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have you read my blog lately?

So, among us bloggers (I'm very new to this arena), I hear a phrase spoken often, "Have you read my blog lately?" I would like to state that, for myself and most of us out there, it does not come out of an expectation that you should be reading our blog every day. I do not pretend to think that my life is so interesting that people out there are just dying to read what happens next! No, instead it usually comes out of a desire to not repeat myself. The anecdotes I share here are also ones I'm likely to share in a conversation. This can easily result in the repetition of a story. I tend to do this anyway, and I'd like to avoid it when I can. What I really hate is when I ask, "Have I already told you this one before?" and the person replies that yes, indeed I had, and then I CONTINUE the story! As Avery told me yesterday, "that is so LAME-O!" So I apologize to any of you (I'm sure it's a majority of you) that I've asked if you've read my blog - putting you in an awkward position in which, if you were honest, you would have to say, "I don't ever read your blog". I simply want to make sure you haven't already heard this one...
And, completely off the subject: do any of you Walmart shoppers find yourselves singing that annoying, whistled tune that is constantly playing over the loud speakers in your head? Just a minute ago I could have sworn I was walking through Walmart right now, so loud was that tune playing in my head!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We love you, Elton!

So, we borrowed a movie from our friends, David and Tyler, of three episodes of the old Muppet Show. I was excited to watch the ones with Gene Kelly and Julie Andrews. My children (especially Allie), however, were much more impressed with another performer - Elton John! Of course, this is old school Elton John with very elaborate, colorful, and feathery costumes and outrageous sunglasses. At first I heard, "I want to watch the funny sunglasses man!" and then it evolved into his proper name. Then "Crocodile Rock" and "Benny and Jets" became one of our regularly sung songs around the house. Especially the "naaaaa....na na na na naaaa, na na na na naaaaa, na na na na naaaaa!" part - do you have any idea what part I mean?? The girls have also taken to searching for radio stations on their cd player and dancing to whatever they find. This is potentially dangerous, luckily they frequent the golden soft rock station. The really funny thing is, Allie can pick out Elton John's songs every time! She recognizes his voice right away and is usually right! She's a pretty big fan of Sir Elton!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sisterly Love

Avery and Allie have been playing so well together lately (knock on wood). We have had quite a few battles in the last year with these two firey girls. And when you throw me into the mix, you have three passionate, verbal, fiesty girls who sometimes have trouble keeping our voices and attitudes calm. I tell Rich all the time, "It's better when you're around - we need a calm male presence." However, we sure do have some sweet times, we three girls! This morning, as I was making some banana bread, the girls were having so much fun together. As they sat together combing each other's hair, Allie said out of the blue, "Avery I wilwy wove you!" Translation: "Avery, I really love you!" My heart just melted! Truly, I've been praying for their unity as sisters and I'm very sure we have many tough roads ahead with two passionate girls so close in age, but God has wonderful things in mind for these two sisters! I'll keep praying, but thank you, Lord, for these blessings along the way!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Little Graduate

Avery graduated preschool yesterday. I've been explaining to her what graduate means and getting a little misty as I tell her preschool is all over. It has been a really great experience for her. When she began her 3 year-old class, she hardly spoke to anyone and was very content to play alone. When the year was more than half-way over, her teacher still did not feel that she was interacting very much and wondered if she had a very broad vocabulary. I was very surprised, since she spoke VERY well for her age and was very conversational at home and with family and friends she was at ease with. This second year, however, she has really blossomed. Probably three months into school, her teacher (a different one from last year - both were good) pulled me aside and very excitedly shared that Avery had run a game of red light, green light. Avery had even yelled out to get everyone organized and her teacher was shocked, since she was still so quiet in class. Mrs. Wood couldn't have been more thrilled with that progress. What a blessing to have a teacher want to see your child succeed as much as you do! Avery is reading short words and sentences and adds and subtracts very well. These academic things are good, but at this age and with this girl, I'm much more pleased with her emotional and social growth. Every morning on the way to school I pray for her obedience, compassion, generosity, and kindness. Icing on the cake - the thing her teacher noticed most was her "continual kindness" in class. Could I be any prouder????