Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving was different for us this year. In the 5 1/2 years we have been married and lived here we have always traveled to see family for Thanksgiving. This year we decided that we would only travel for Christmas. It was a difficult decision because my family was all getting together, and I don't like to miss out on any fun! Boyd's family also was having a huge feast.

We wanted to take advantage of our Thanksgiving here in New York. One thing I have always wanted to do in New York was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so WE Went! We had a blast thanks to some generous friends who were willing to get up at 5:00 AM and save us a space. They have been going for years and have the system down! We fought huge crowds to join them at 7:30 and waited 2 more hours. The kids all sat on the curb and the adults sat behind them in lawn chairs. There was a large group of us, so there was a large pocket that attracted several of the clowns and parade participants to us! Here are some pictures!








Gavin loved it. Eli probably didn't get much out of it. He spent a good portion of the time picking up confetti off the ground. He did pretty well and since they saved a lot of space and there was a tarp down he had plenty of space to move about.

I had a rare celebrity sighting at the parade. Antonio Banderas was watching the parade from a window across the street!


Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous. I am glad that we could have our Thanksgiving feast with good friends who are our New York family. It was Wonderful.


Of course I had to make pie! I made my typical apple strudel pie, a new traditional apple pie, and a chocolate cream pie. Melissa also brought 3 pies, so we had plenty to share amongst us.
I have been blessed with so much this year. I am glad we set a side a special day to give thanks for the blessing we take for granted most of the time. (and a day set aside to stuff our faces)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rewards

Gavin has been developing so much in the last few months. I need to write down some of the things he is doing and saying, because it really is a fun stage. Gavin has always loved the alphabet and learned it at an early age. He has known all the sounds for sometime as well, but a month or so ago he finally made the connection that letters make words. He started shouting out B is for Ball or T is for tiger. He would do this all day every day. It has been fun to seem him taking that next step closer to reading.

He loves pretending. Lately, he has liked pretending he is some type of animal or bird. Usually, it is a tiger. When he is in character he talks about himself in 3rd person,such as "Gavin the tiger is eating." In music class the other day, he was Gavin the Parrot and he squawked through most of class. He is using his toys to create new places and worlds. Eli is in the destroying phase, so Gavin creates, and Eli destroys. There is a lot of fighting.

He also has "favorites" now. Ever since Halloween his favorite color is orange.

Gavin struggles with some things as well. He doesn't like to do things for himself. He wants mommy to do tasks for him when he is perfectly capable. So, we decided to do his first rewards chart. He helped to create it himself. It was very simple. It had a start and a finish with a "sidewalk" made of big dots in between. He got a star whenever he got dressed or undressed by himself, cleaned up his toys, put the silverware away, and whatever else he did by himself.
Our other incentive to doing the rewards chart is that we wanted to give him his own guitar since he has been wanting one. We didn't want to wait until Christmas, but we also didn't want to just give it to him. He worked really hard and after about 3 weeks, he earned is surprise. He was so excited. He didn't want to put it down for several days. When Jane came over he sat up on the ottoman taking request. It has been fun for all of us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coincidence?

I finally coerced Boyd into making a contribution to the blog! Thanks Boyd!

Sometimes little serendipitous things happen that make you pause and consider how life is made of more than chance and circumstance. At crucial points in my life, the veil that hides the heavens has parted just slightly to reveal that not everything in life is random - that we are connected to something or someone greater than us who is aware of us and interested in helping us along.

These vistas of clarity are often small, and though they may seem silly or meaningless to others, they are of great significance to us. My first few weeks of falling in love with Emily were filled with little "coincidences" that somehow added up to more than chance. We had lived in the same little corner of Idaho at the same time early in childhood and remembered that old steel bridge along the road and the playground near the penny water. I sang that beloved song that Emily's father sang to her when she was little, though she had scarcely heard it since. We had very similar reactions to nearly identical experiences from our missions though we both previously felt quite sure that these experiences were unique. Both of similar upbringing, with older sibling of the opposite sex and a younger sibling of the same sex, of the same age differences, and we were the unmarried middle children. As our list of coincidences lengthened, it felt magical and almost uncanny how things matched up.

Sometimes these moments come as deja vu, and they guide us. I wonder whether I would have bought the airplane tickets to Denver for an early Thanksgiving holiday if I hadn't had an unsettling dream about losing someone close to me. I felt the need to spend extra time with family, and so Emily and I arrived in Denver in time to see dad one last time that weekend before Thanksgiving. We had called from the airport to ask him the score of the Harvard-Yale football game, and the results were still there on his computer a week later. We were in the house that Monday morning when my mom nearly collapsed under the weight of that tragic call and had to go to school to inform the children. It wasn't until Christmas in Emily's parents' house that I had the deja vu moment, sitting at the kitchen table with little Gavin in my arms feeling the pain of losing someone close, that I realized I was living the exact scene from my dream of several months before. I told Emily, who remembered me awaking her to tell her the dream, and we cried silently and thoughtfully together.

I remember reading an autobiographical account of my Dad's good friend, Timber Dick, who is now also in heaven with my Dad, where he described the little "signs" that he received on his personal search to find God. A significant part of Timber's conversion to faith was the realization that not all in life is chance. There is something larger than us just beyond our field of view, except that from time to time we are afforded a glimpse if we are quick enough to see.

In a moment of joy this week I experienced another coincidence. I came in from a long day's work and was overwhelmed by the exuberant greeting from my two sons at the door. I was so pleasantly stunned by their cries of joy and welcome that I didn't even take a step beyond the threshold - merely closed the door and sank to the floor against the wall of our entryway. Little Eli tucked his head in against my ribs and held me tight. Gavin gleefully sang my name and climbed up on my knee. As I looked for something joyful to share in return, I remembered two books of folk songs I had discovered that day in a giveaway pile in our apartment building lobby. Two weeks ago, when Grandpa Nolte was here, I had scoured the Internet to find lyrics and music to these songs, and there they were in a pair of little old songbooks in the lobby, as if God had known we were looking for them! I showed Gavin the books, told him what they were, and randomly opened to a song and read:

Climb upon my knee, sonny boy;
You are only three, sonny boy.
You've no way of knowing,
There's no way of showing
What you mean to me, sonny boy.
You're my dearest prize, sonny boy;
Sent from out the skies, sonny boy.
Let me hold you nearer,
One thing makes you dearer:
You've your mother's eyes, sonny boy.

When there are gray skies,
I don't mind the gray skies;
You make them blue, sonny boy.

Friends may forsake me,
Let them all forsake me.
You'll pull me through, sonny boy.
You're sent from heaven and I know your worth.
You've made a heaven for me right here on earth!
When I'm old and gray, dear,
Promise you won't stray, dear,
I love you so, sonny boy.

By Al Jolson, B.G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson, 1928

Yes, as you can imagine, in that beautiful moment the words rang so true and meaningful. There was my sonny boy, having climbed upon my knee, only three. It was a small and simple coincidence how it all fell into place, but it was what I needed that day. I held my family close and felt the love of a God that orchestrates miracles and love in a creation that might otherwise seem empty and random.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rewind to San Diego

There were 3 lines. Slow, Fast, and really Fast. We were hesitant to put Gavin in the fast line because he would be trotting on the horse. It said that you only had to be 3, but Gavin has always been a bit more cautious. We decided to do it anyway. We passed Gavin off to be put on a horse by a complete stranger, and then led off towards the track. We all held our breath as he began his journey. I was shocked that they didn't hold onto the horses, so I was even more nervous now. He began slowly and then next thing we saw was his poor little head bopping up and down. When he came around the track we expected to see tears, but instead we saw a great big smile. It was a very memorable day. It was at Griffith Park, not too far my Aunt Sue's house in Southern California.







A couple of weeks ago Boyd had to go to San Diego for work. San Diego is one of my favorite places. The weather is unbeatable, the beach is there, and of course, family. So, when Boyd had a conference for word there, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to go with him.

We flew into LAX, so we were able spend some time with my Aunt Sue. She took us to Griffith Park and the kids loved the horses and little train.

We were also able to meet up with my cousins, John, Aimee and fam and Adrienne at the beach. Unfortunately the weather was not what we had hoped. Luckily, Chucky Cheese was not too far away.

We spent some great time with Jules and Owen and Katie and Tyler at the Wild Animal Park. The birds made me very nervous!



Great Grandma Nolte's was ,of course,the highlight. Eli even managed not to break anything. I, however, spilled makeup all over the carpet..


We spent the last night at the hotel with Boyd in Downtown San Diego. While Boyd was at his conference we went to aircraft carrier, Midway. It was so awesome. GAvin could have spent the whole day in the airplane cockpits.

Just before we headed back to the airport we couldn't resist making another attempt at the beach. The weather was too beautiful. We drove over to Coronado Island. WE were only there for an hour, but it was worth the time and the mess that Eli created!

While I was away

I am pretty sure that my husband and 2 boys would have traded me in for my parents after spending a week with them. One of the reasons I knew I could leave my boys for 6 days was because they would be with my parents. My boys had it pretty good.. Here are some things they did while I was away.

The guitars were out every night..


video
Gavin and Eli spent many hours at the playground.. Keeping Grandma and Grandpa busy!
They even went to the Central Park Zoo


Gavin learned some of his grandpa's "rooda" language, Grandma kept they yummy food on their plates..Boyd and Gavin made a family tree. Gavin now understands that Grandma and Grandpa are my mom and dad.
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History

I voted today. For the first time in my voting history, I voted knowing I did my civic duty.. I listened, I asked questions, I studied, and I voted. Congratulations to our new President Elect, Barack Obama!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

HALLOWEEN-Suburbia Style

We spent our Halloween this year out on Long Island with the Rich's. So, we got the traditional door to door trick-or-treating. We had a great time! Gavin has been pretending to be a tiger for son long that he loved every minute of being in his tiger costume! Eli's was technically a puppy, but he was called everything but a puppy.. A badger, a bear, a penguin


We also had some fun at our ward carnival the week before!

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

Today, Gavin surprised Boyd and I by saying he wanted to get up in front of everyone at church. He wanted to go on the stand. I don't think he really knew that we would be "bearing his testimony", but Boyd brought him up there and with a little help he told everyone he knew Jesus loves him. It brought tears to my eyes. While Boyd stayed and bore his testimony, Gavin stood next to him looking so proud. When he came and sat down he kept saying, "but I want to sing." "I want to go back up there and sing." I realized why he had this sudden desire to go up to the stand. Last week was our primary program. He really wanted to be up there with them last week. In his mind, he was going to have his opportunity this week. I know he is going to love being a Sunbeam.