Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Little Golden Nugget

We sold our Mazda. This in and of itself isn't really post worthy, but I have a tendency of landmark-ing my life with the things I own. So it wasn't just a car to me, it was a time-line that starts the day after I broke up with Lance Barker. I got a new car (and a sweet sense of freedom). It was two days before I graduated from college. I was so excited to finally have a car- I had gone two years at college without one and I was pretty stoked to finally be able to go where I wanted to, when I wanted to without walking! I was so excited, my roommates and I drove up to campus, blasted our music and danced around (this memory isn't embarrassing, because there is a certain kind of pure excitement you feel as a college student that is not restricted by notions of dignity, and that is what makes it so much fun).

I drove this car everyday to my first job after college, as a high school teacher, teaching random subjects, like Work Skills, and Drama. I met, was courted by, and wedded Cody while I had this car. We brought Claire home from the hospital in my little Mazda; we brought Morgan home in my little Mazda. We drove across the country in my little Mazda. And it eventually brought us to our home here in Virginia. But that is where the story ends with my little Mazda. We sold it to another woman, expecting her first child, ready to start her own timeline with that trusty little golden nugget.

It was a good car, having the decency to never break down on us. I would have liked to keep it for another 100,000 miles, but it just won't fit our growing family. We purchased a mini-van, which I wasn't terribly excited about in the first place, but after driving it around for a while, I am really likin' it. It is a good purchase though, because we need enough room to fit both our little girls and our little boy.

November will be the first major notch in our timeline with our new mini-van.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lieutenant Saxy Man

I know exactly the kind of kid Cody was when he was in high school (second post in a row that started, "I know". Either I am really smart or I am full of it). He still has some of the traits from back in those days; he loves the outdoors; he is fascinated with history, and he still thinks the ICUP joke is funny. He was a bit of a jock, most likely cocky, as all high school jocks tend to be. He didn't take school very seriously. He never did homework, he didn't care about his grades, and his dad was worried that Cody was even going to graduate from high school. And judging by the longer hair he had, which required him to swish his head to the side, while combing his fingers through his bangs, he must have been quite the ladies man.

I think you get the picture. Flash forward over a dozen years later and you will find a different kid, who no longer swishes his hair, and now takes school a little more seriously. In May, Cody graduated from dental school, after years and years and years of working hard, studying, and sacrificing to get to this point. Cody's parents were able to come to Pittsburgh for the graduation ceremony and for me, and hopefully for Cody, it was really great to see him graduate.

[sidenote: we got stuck in an elevator from the eighteenth century right before the ceremony. It was hot, small, crowded, and I was convinced it was going to snap and plummet eight floors to our death. I really did. I was a little panicky in my head, trying to hold back tears and remain calm in front of my in-laws (I am real smooth in emergencies)].

[Second side note: (this is for Rachel W.) The dental school shared its graduation ceremony with the dental hygiene program. Most of these girls are two years out of high school and have a slightly different perspective on life. One of the girls who spoke at the ceremony actually commented on the different hairstyles the girls have had over the last two years, dating and breaking up, and my personal favorite, their hormones cycles becoming in sync.]

[Third side note: Upon graduation from dental school, Cody became Dr. Cody Nelson, DMD. I, of course, must reference the scene from Spies Like Us ("Doctor." "Doctor." "Doctor." "Doctor." "Doctor." "Doctor.") and he was also commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. You know what quote I am going to use here . . .("Lieutenant saxy man.")]

I am so proud of Cody. I have watched for eight years as he worked hard, struggled through late nights of homework, taking tests, getting up early to study-- all this from a kid who still does not like school. But he was determined to make it through, and he did. Well done, Cody. Well done.

(Fourth side note: If you are wondering what changed the slacker known as Cody in high school, he attributes it to serving his mission. He says it taught him how to study and it helped him believe in his potential).

And let's face it, not everything has changed. He still is a ladies man- he is surrounded by three girls that love him to pieces.

(Photography by Elisabeth)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Answers to Deep Questions

I know that most of you read my blog in order to be intellectually stimulated and uplifted. You turn to Brooklet to find out the truths about life, about the intangible, about humanity.

And so, with the heavy weight of that responsibility, I bring you answers to deep questions, that I am sure have been keeping you up at nights, curbing your appetite, and ulcering up your stomachs.

While we were driving in the car, Claire asked if we could talk to Jesus on the phone and before I had a chance to answer, she giggled and said, in her best primary teacher voice, "Nooooo. I can talk to him if I pray. I want to talk to Jesus right now." Touched by this simple, sweet moment, my eyes began to brim with tears as I began to hear my little girl start her prayer in the back of car.

"Dear Heavenly Father. . . what's your favorite song? In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

It is not the question that is so revealing about Claire; it is the answer that she gave me that is revealing. And it is the deep truth that I share with you now.

The answer is, There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.

Now you know.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The State that will Win Ya

Well, we are here, in Virginia, in our new home, enjoying the company of our air conditioner. We are finally all moved in and getting use to the layout, and getting use to the fact that it isn't Pittsburgh. You would think that would be fairly obvious, but there are little things that I didn't realize I would be missing about Pittsburgh, like their fabulous library system, and the rolling hills everywhere. And then there are the big things I knew I would miss, like my friends and my ward. I have yet to make friends here, though I know that takes time. Claire is amazing at making friends. I dropped her off at primary for the first time in our new ward, and she leaned over and tapped the girl on the shoulder who was sitting by her and said, "My name is Claire. What's yours?" Why can't I do that?

But being friendless has its perks. I am super on top of my laundry.

I notice that Virginia drivers have an exorbitant amount of personalized license plates, with little messages you have to decode. HMB4ME, GR8 KSR (with either means great kisser or great kaiser, i just don't know which). And I can't just look at a puzzle and not try to figure it out. I bet it causes a lot of accidents here.

I also keep seeing this bumper sticker that says, "Virginia is for lovers." How rude. How exclusionary. Does that mean there is no room for haters? Or what about me, I am a lover and a hater. For instance, I love air conditioning, but I hate bumper stickers. Where do I belong?

I like the feeling of just moving to a new place (though I hate the physical act of moving all our stuff, pughkk) because I like that everything is new to me. I like trying to find new routes, new locations, new people. And then in a year, when it all is familiar to me, it will be time to move again (okay, so maybe this whole moving thing is going to get old.) But for the time being, I will just adopt the Virginia state motto, "Sic Semper Tyrannis"- Thus always to tyrants (I don't quite know what it means either).

and this is Morgan, helping me stay on top of the laundry.