Friday, October 26, 2012

Balcony Nights (sounds so dreamy...)

So yes, I'll just come out and say it.  Lincoln is the boss, applesauce-style (it rhymes...stay with me here).  When he goes down for a nap, not only do we have a white noise machine running, but we also have a fan, black out curtains, and a video monitor displaying his room temperature.  Since the sun hits Lincoln's room in the afternoon, we actually turn on our air conditioner (it's 34 degrees outside, to further my point of lunacy) in order to keep his room at a comfortable temperature.  Does this leave the rest of the apartment sweater-required freezing?  Possibly.  Okay, yes.

We don't talk while Lincoln slumbers; we don't do dishes or close the microwave (if we have the courage to open it at all), and I have asked noisy neighbors to "shut it or so help me!" (which I do by universal signing "baby" and "sleep," since no one in our complex speaks fluent English).

Have I exploited our extreme, keep-Lincoln-asleep anxiety yet?  It's ridiculous, yet every time Lincoln goes to sleep (especially after his bedtime), both Tyce and I continually shush the other until we end up outside, on the balcony, where it is literally freezing, just so we don't have to whisper.

Which brings me to my point: sometimes, when we're feeling especially enthusiastic about our self-eviction into the frigid, cold night, we plan ahead and make a sort of "date" out of the situation.  We buy sparkling cran-apple cider and break out the fancy wine glasses.  Tyson surprises me with a ring pop (my very favorite of favorites), we light candles, pull on two layers of sweatpants over our jeans, and say a prayer for our noses (they're always the first to go painfully numb).  And yes, I end up bearing a striking resemblance to the Michelin Man.  Sexy, I know.

These "balcony nights" (although we have to do frostbite checks afterward) have provided a somewhat worry-free, relaxed atmosphere for us, where many of our best conversations and (loud!) laughs have taken place lately.  It's a fun little ritual we've created, almost like a bi-weekly "date night."

Yes, we live in fear of waking our light-sleeping one year old, but it's produced a unique experience and a time we get to spend together without interruptions (except to maybe check Lincoln's monitor every so often)!  Now let's just get it out there - do we know how to party, or what?  Raise the roof!!!

  (and don't even pretend you're not busting that move after this!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Snowed In

One aspect of toddlerhood I'm especially loving is Lincoln's ability to turn any ordinary object into something more exciting and completely different.  Even snowed in, Lincoln still found wooden spoons to drum, new books he hadn't looked through, dance moves to try while balancing on a trike, a dryer to climb into and use as a voice amplifier while he sung songs, and finding the right materials to create a fort.  You know what they say: one mom's throw pillows are another toddler's fort (with the help of an enthusiastic dad)!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last geese of the summer

I love feeding the geese with Lincoln...until they get snippy, or until the bottom of my sandals turn sticky from mass amounts of white, feathery poop.  Then it's not as fun, but I digress.  On Labor Day Weekend (yep - almost a month ago), my sister, Rachel, visited us for a few days while Tyce's parents also drove down for an evening of food, Lincoln loves, and geese feeding.

Last week, Lincoln and I sat on the balcony and watched several groups of geese begin their winter migration.  Their huge "V" formation made it easy for Lincoln to spot and keep his attention (for the entire 30 seconds they were visible).  Although the geese were fun to feed (and chase) during the summer, they really are the most beautiful when they're flying away!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One of the perks of the third floor the view on the way up!

Luckily, Lincoln makes our (sometimes) long haul up a lot more fun - he thinks peeking through the stair's gaps, down at me, is hilarious.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

and while we're on the subject...

I'm going to throw a few of our attempted "family pictures" at you.  I claim Amy was worked by Lincoln, but by the amount of pictures Tyson had to take while I held him, versus when Amy held him...well, perhaps I should take another look at my theory.

While I was in charge of Lincoln...

...versus Amy.  Hmm.

It seems like a lot of people, but we're missing two siblings!  My parents won't know what to do with themselves in three years when their youngest goes on a mission.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pictures from that one time...

my family was in Utah (yep, that time like two months ago) and decided to join us on our summer tradition: to walk to Iceberg for a late dessert, and only return home when it's dark or when Lincoln's trying to karate chop my knees.  Oh yeah, we're still that serious about our ice cream (specifically Iceberg's, since there nowhere else can you order a small and end up with a shake so colossal).
That week, Lincoln realized if he pulled someone's hand, they'd go wherever he wanted...and so, these pictures are the living proof that he truly is the master manipulator (they loved it though, but it made me laugh seeing them get worked by a one year old).  

Because he is the first grandchild/nephew, Lincoln gets everyone's undivided attention.  Like...all of it, all of the time.  And I'm happy with that (at least until we have an "attention crisis" when we have another baby)!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

year number two

Although our first year of marriage was one of excitement, clarity, and beautiful life-changing events, it was also a year we look back on thinking, "wow...that was crazy!"  Not because we didn't adore every moment of it, but with clarity also came abrupt and major lifestyle adjustments.  It was a beautiful time that united and bonded us because we choose to lean on one another for reinforcement.  But we did it!

Now, here we are on our second wedding anniversary, realizing how difficult that first year really was because of how quickly we decided to become individually better, to recognize a value system, and to (quickly) prepare for parenthood.  We've made it to a more enjoyable place in life and as I'm sure each year does, this second year of marriage has added fortification and an emotional collaboration which far surpasses that of the first.

So tonight we'll be raising our [sparkling cider] glasses to a wonderful year of marriage, parenthood, late night homework sessions, insane work schedules, oh-so-beautiful sleep, and the best friend we've been able to share these moments with...and to the many more to come!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


                      it does a body good.
Real good.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

rainbows and bubbles

If only every day could be warm enough for naked babies, bubbles and rainbow blow-up pools, the world would be a better place (I may still have emotional issues with the summer season skipping town so quickly - and without even a breakup text)!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The efforts (and rewards) to making marriage work.

I grew up with parents that were (and are) completely, insanely infatuated with one another.  I could provide endless stories which would leave you shaking your head in disbelief, but I'll save the novel for another time and begin here: when I asked my Dad which marriage literature he recommended, he responded, "...I don't know, your mom and I have always just gotten along."  Like, ya know, no biggie.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Then he added, "but when it comes to you kids...we have lots of parenting books to recommend!"  Awesome.  Thanks for that, Dad (and you're welcome for the parental education I cultivated). 

Needless to say, I had somewhat unrealistic expectations of marriage.  In all my relationships I expected fluidity; when anything became messy I'd throw in my "emotional towel," believing the relationship was obviously not working since it required so much effort...whereas my parents never had a problem with that.  Even now, I catch myself becoming frustrated with marital "situations" because I play the comparison game with my parent's marriage.  

But here's the thing...

I've realized my parent's marriage isn't "effortless," or seemingly "ideal" naturally.  My parents would do anything for one another because they love the other more than themselves.  How many of us can honestly say we are that selfless with our spouse?  That the love for them trumps all - even our desires?  

It only works with balance - equally, each in their own unique way, caring and loving the other more than themselves.  My parents respect one another, refuse negativity or criticism, maintain an intimate love life (a dramatic understatement), and individually value undeviating, consistant spiritual beliefs, enabling a family founded on a stable religion and positive culture.

I'm sure there were the typical newlywed struggles to understand personality differences, but for my parents, it wasn't just about becoming acclimated to the post-marriage life.  They wanted to learn to respect, embrace, and cherish their spouse continuously.  They filtered out worldly, cultural and societal norms so their loyalty is never , even subconsciously, questioned.  While they do get along better than the majority of couples, they also put a great amount of effort into maintaining sentimental romance, and rejecting the discolored distractions and seemingly harmless suggestions our society openly endorses.

Although being married has been the best experience in my life, it does require effort to keep unity through harmonious strength.  And luckily, I am learning my parent's marriage is an example, rather than an expectation, of marriage quality.  Who knows, maybe we won't need as many books on parenting as they did (ha)!  Every relationship has strengths and weaknesses, but comparison only robs you of the happiness to enjoy your own relationship's unique, exceptional features.

A few articles I've found helpful, entertaining and supportive to marriage improvement are:  Twenty Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great,
15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years (and hopefully more), and my favorite is
What Happily Married Couples Do (the author, Douglas Brinley, is a marriage counseling rockstar who has written many equally amazing books, as well).  If anything in life is worth the effort, marriage tops the list.  The payoff is more than marital satisfaction: it permeates so many other portions of life, from better parenting, increased confidence and self worth, to a balanced, stable connection with your best friend.

And that makes it worth the effort.