Thursday, December 29, 2011

Take a little piece of my heart....

I should probably be sleeping... or cleaning off the pile of clothes on our bed... or unpacking the suitcases and putting away all of our things. But my brain is turning quickly and so much has changed in such a small amount of time that I am okay with spending some time sorting through it all on here, dumping the clothes on the top of the dresser and trying again in the morning.

Christmas break was lovely (I promise I will post more later), the only thing I could ask for was more time with those we love and less time driving.

On the way out to Kansas we stopped for some food, where we were reminded that there are some very ignorant people in the world. Sometimes, I forget that people still have unprecedented prejudices against Mormons, that someone can hate me without even bothering to understand my beliefs, that I can be made to feel so little in such a small amount of time. I know that not everyone believes what I do but this was beyond that, this was cruelty and hatred. This was a harsh reminder of the impact of words, more importantly my words. I have stuck my foot in my mouth more than once, but I hope I never do so on purpose, out of malice or ignorance.

Due to copious amounts of driving there was plenty of opportunity for discussion and deep thought throughout the trip. I realized that I am still a doormat sometimes, but it has nothing to do with my ability to stand up for myself. I let people walk all over me because I ache for them. I see a need and I have the desire to fill it. Sometimes, that is perfectly okay and I am able to give without becoming a place for shoes. I love being able to serve others and wish I could do more. However, sometimes people take advantage of it. Thankfully, Gabe usually catches it early on and lets me know when lines have been crossed. However, it isn't like these people charged across the lines, swords ablaze. I let them cross, I enable them and say "Hey, take a piece of me, no big deal." I don't value my time or efforts enough. I want to change that, and I am working on it. I get better with each year I suppose.

I am spent... More will come later. For now, sleep has my time.

Christmas time was here...

We started our vacation in Kansas. I loved being at my in-laws, being able to read something besides textbooks every night and getting to know everyone a little bit more. It is funny how the mind (and heart) works sometimes. I am not sure when it happened, but these people have transitioned from Gabe's family to our family. They are no longer his nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters and parents but mine as well. I feel so loved. We devoured food and watched nostalgic movies, you know the kind where everyone is quoting almost every line but no one seems to notice. We cut down trees and tried out the new treadmill. We ate at our beloved Braum's and drove around exchanging stories about Salina. It probably sounds a little boring to you but after this semester it was exactly what we needed.

We left midday on Christmas Eve to drive down to my grandparent's for a Christmas Eve dinner (which consisted of delicious barbecue, I love the South sometimes) and then on to my mom and stepdad's new home in Clinton, OK. I love watching my family interact with one another, my grandpa telling stories of the day he met Dolly Parton (another post, another day) and being able to see everyone. It was odd visiting a place where my mom lived that I didn't call home. It wasn't that it was not welcoming, or that my family was there, but more that I have my own place with my little family now. While we missed the rest of my siblings we had a lot of fun with my little brothers. I love each one of my family members, a lot and the holidays usually remind me of that. Adam and Gabe are pretty much besties these days, and when John and Benji's friend came over to compare Christmas presents they said that their brother Gabe was here. I love those boys, they are so sweet and yet so full of energy. Energizer might want to consider replacing their bunny with my two youngest brothers.

We made a quick stop to pick up a few dear friends and try to fit all of us and their stuff into our little Lancer... It was a really long 15 hours home. But we made it, and here we are getting ready for a new year and a new semester.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 in a Nutshell

2011 was full of car wrecks and surgeries, heartbreaks and love. Here are some of the highlights:

11. We survived another few semesters of school. Gabe has been working extra hard and hasn't taken a break since last summer but it has all paid off and this time next year we will be job searching or applying for grad school... or living in a van down by the river.

10. We passed Bessie the Beast down to Emily and said hello to a new (to us) car. This is notable because Bessie has become like a member of the family going from my parents, to Gabe and me, and now on to Em. Goodbye Bessie, you have served us well.

 9. Gabe had a song dedicated to him at a live concert. It was his birthday and we know the lead singer of the band, definitely a night for the books.

 8. We started and ended our own company all in one year: Eaton Organizing. While it was moderately successful, we decided that we have no interest in running a company, working for BYU and going to school simultaneously. Who knew we would be retiring before age 25? Man are we talented.

 7. Most people get a pet before they have children, Gabe and I inherited a teenager for a few months. Heather's younger brother Adam (we can't really call him little when he is over 6 feet tall) came to live with us while her mother continued to recover from her wreck. We had a lot of fun with him and he impressed quite a few people while he was here, they still ask how he is doing and what he is up to.

 6. Gabe was promoted to administrative assistant at work, he equivocates it to being the Dwight (The Office reference) of Heritage Halls. Somehow Heather thinks he is more like Jim. 

 5. Still not having children anytime soon, but thanks for asking.

 4. Heather organized a benefit concert (with lots of help) for a dear family of friends who suffered through  a car wreck that came with many expesnes and the loss of a child/sister. Gabe was definitely her right hand man throughout the whole ordeal and while it was rewarding we were grateful for a moment of breath when it was over.

 3. is the number of places we have lived this year. We are currently residing in the basement of a wonderful woman and hope to stay here until life takes us out of Happy Valley Utah.

 2. is the number of surgeries Heather had within two months of each other.  Thank you for the love and support through it all. We plan on next year being much less eventful in the medical arena.

1. We rediscovered what it means to be young, after all we are only 23 and barely 24. There is so much life left for us to live and so much left for us to learn. We look forward to spending each moment growing and staying young all at the same time

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

ps- Heather's brother Kris was a little upset he didn't get mentioned in last year's newsletter so here it goes: Congratulations to Matt and Brianne on yet another adorable little boy: Michael Danger and Congratulations to Kris and Jen on another little one on the way!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

there are worse things...

I had a hectic morning. This is how it was supposed to go:
7a - Dr's appointment (follow up from surgery)
8a- group presentation
9:30 nap until review
11- review

It seems simple enough... right?

Well... this is how my morning went:
wake up at 6:30 (late) because I was up until 2:30
get to the dr at 7:04, only to learn he is delivering a baby and I will have to wait
7:20 make a plan for the husband (who is oh so wonderful) to take the things I need for the presentation to a girl in my group
7:36 get into the actual appointment room
7:38 call from the husband saying the car is dead, can I come get him
7:39 tell the nurses I am leaving but will be back (I think they would have preferred I stay gone but I've waited months to get a dr's release to work out... not happening)
7:51 drop the husband off at school
7:52 drive back to the dr's office giving silent prayers the entire way for a wonderful husband and a group who is so understanding and a professor who let our group go later
8:15 see the dr... for less than 10 minutes
8:22 leave the dr's office while frantically texting my group
8:42 finally present with my group
9:20 try to take a nap but my phone disagreed and wouldn't stay quiet so instead I read a textbook
10:55 find out another class has the room where the review is supposed to be held
11:05 after the snooty girl said we couldn't use the room and have them move their pizza party ran I with a classmate and found another room

well that was fun... oh finals I really am grateful for you. it means I am one step closer to graduation and earning an education

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

don't go changin'

another semester is wrapping up. this is the last week of classes and we are using every bit of our will power to get up and attend our 8am classes in the increasingly cold weather.

I shouldn't complain, we have a great car and having class at 8am means I am finished with my day at 4:30, which leaves an evening full of possibilities. Still... my first class next semester will not start until 9:30 and I will get home around 7 most nights. Worth it.

Gabe made these delicious twice baked red potatoes on Sunday night that we have slowly been devouring. He and I have drastically different approaches to the kitchen and cooking.I never really measure things out. I know what a teaspoon looks like and hey maybe I want a bit more tomato in my salsa. Most of the time this works, other times we go out to eat. Gabe however is meticulous with each measurement, making sure each one is just right, setting timers for everything, and cringing at the thought of looking up substitutions for ingredients. Maybe his track record is a little better than mine (mostly due to the fact that I burn things)

You would think that Gabe would clean as he goes, making sure that everything was in its proper place and that I am a whirlwind of mess leaving a tornado of flour in my wake. Well... to be honest it is quite the opposite (unless I am making food with "help" of siblings or nieces and nephews). Oh the joys of cooking... with finals coming up we always buy frozen dinners (not the TV kind... gross) and call it good. One day I will be the best wife/mother ever and make homemade delicious and nutritious meals every day.

ok.... you can stop laughing now.....

And on a completely random note: Can I tell you how adorable it is when the guys at work pull out their smart phones and show me video of their grandchildren? I love it. Every time. Even if one of the guys forgot that he already showed me that video... twice.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Memories have a funny way of doing things...

I want a good rainy day... one where it pours down with thunder in my ears and lightening in the sky.

but since as I type this there is snow falling outside I don't see that happening any time soon. this time of year is always interesting for me. I don't remember hardly anything from my childhood. seriously, there are blurbs here and there but mostly I hear stories and I remember emotions. but for some reason this time of year brings about an array of memories, all flooding into my head.

I remember my dad left when it was cold outside, we lived in this tiny house next to an Asian family who had chickens in their backyard. strange huh? I remember my grandmother's death, sitting in the den of my grandparents house with the multi-color Christmas tree lights blurred by my tears. I remember the time I went to the store with my mom to buy our Christmas dinner and presents and having to walk away from our full shopping basket because someone had stolen my mom's wallet with the Christmas cash she had skimped and saved for.

I remember staring at this nativity scene we had for years. It was nothing fancy, little ceramic figurines placed inside a wooden patio with little ugly moss glued to the top.Thinking back it had definitely seen better days but I thought it was the most beautiful thing, I would sit there and replay the Christmas story in my head imagining each piece coming to life.

Out of all my childhood memories, this is one of the most prominent in my mind, a little junky looking nativity scene that had no real significance except for the story behind it.

I know it is supposed to be embarrassing for my generation to have grown up poor. I tried my best to hide or forget it for a long time.But, as I start establishing my own family and traditions there are several things I can glean on from the experiences I had as a child. Presents were never the focus of Christmas in my home. I can't remember ever writing a letter to Santa Claus listing out items that I wanted. It was a foreign concept to me.

As the years go on I am learning to be more and more grateful for my personal life experiences. And while some of these consisted of living nightmares that I would wish upon no one, there is choice I have to make in remembering. I can focus on the horrid, the unimaginable, the loss and suffering, or I can remember the beauty of the nativity scene moments and the priceless lessons I learned from them.