Friday, August 19, 2011

Does it Really Seem Like 11 Years?

Today is Amanda and my 11 year wedding anniversary.  It doesn't seem anywhere near as big or exciting as last year's.  In fact, now that we passed the big 1-0, I'm guessing only every 5 year increment will really seem like a big deal.  Still though, every year is definitely worthy of some celebration.

We bought (somewhat) expensive tickets to a play for tonight, and we'll go out to a decent dinner before that too.  So we're not being completely cheap about it, but we didn't get each other much in the way of gifts this year.  I did try to surprise Amanda with one gift though - getting our wedding videos (VHS and a smaller tape (8mm?)) converted to DVD.  Unfortunately, Lucas blew the surprise part of the gift earlier in the week (I'll be sure to go alone for any attempted surprises next time).  It was fun for us to watch the videos this morning though, even if the kids were completely bored after 5 minutes of it.

My mother-in-law asked me this question on Facebook today
"It doesn't seem like 11 years, does it?"
which is actually what inspired this blog post to begin with.  So to answer her:

One one hand, 11 years sounds much longer than it feels.  This is due to me loving and enjoying being with Amanda even more than the first day of our marriage.  We haven't changed all that much in our appearances either.  I weigh maybe 5 pounds more than our wedding day (I have to eat significantly less than I used to though).  I have all of my hair, even if there is a growing amount of salt mixed in the pepper now.  Amanda is still petite and sexy also.  She keeps herself in shape and ages really well.  So I would answer "no" to that question when thinking of these aspects of the passed years.

On the other hand though, the events that we watched on the video seem like another whole lifetime ago.  Look at those fresh young faces in the video!  They don't have any idea what it will be like to be parents yet..  They are living in an entirely different corner of the country, with no idea of where they're going yet. We point out Aunt Katie and Uncle Steve to our kids, but they look so much younger than they do now too.  I point out my dad whenever he steps into the camera's view, because he died before any of our kids were born.  We see Amanda's grandma in the video too, who just recently passed away..

So it seems like Amanda and I have been through so much together over these last 11 years, and our lives are so different now than what they were on our wedding day.  And there are people who we care about who are no longer with us now too.  So yes, it seems like at least 11 years.

As far as our marriage goes though, it feels like it's been at least 11 wonderful years together.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Best. Birthday. Eva. - Part 2

After our 2-day, 1-night getaway to Nevada City, Amanda and I planned to pick up our kids from the Walker's house (our good friends who were watching them for us).  We stopped at our house first though to drop off the car and check to see if they might be there.  When we walked in the door, we did indeed find our kids there, playing in the backyard.  But with them was someone else, a big surprise for me - MY MOM FROM FLORIDA!  I was a bit stunned at first, what I was seeing took a few seconds to register in my brain (mom, lives in Florida, but yet here, huh? how?).  It was funny and weird how it just didn't compute for a little bit. 

She had put the surprise together and made it happen in two days time.  My brother was a big part of the answer to her prayers (donated frequent flyer miles) for her to be able to come out here.  It was great to see her!

The next day (Sunday), she and I planned a date to get some coffee together at Origin Coffee & Tea, which is a non-profit coffee house that fights against sex trafficking.  It was great to have the quality time together.  I was expecting to have the Walkers over for dinner when I arrived home, but when I walked in the door I found many more familiar faces in front of me.  "SURPRISE!!"  It was the first surprise party that I had ever been the victim, er I mean recipient of :-).  We had pizza, we had conversation, we ate cake.  A good time with great friends!  And a fantastic way to add icing on the cake of what was my best birthday ever.

10 years ago, I had a fun weekend celebration for my 30th birthday.  Unfortunately though, we lost the film from it and so I have no proof or physical media to remember it with.  This way more than surpassed it though.

Now I want to, no I HAVE to give a few thanks.  First to God for giving me so many blessings (health, job, family, and so many great people in my life).  To my brother Steve for helping my mom make it out here to visit.  To my best friend Brian and his family for watching the kids, Saran wrapping my car, picking my mom up from the airport, and keeping the party under wraps.  And to all of the great friends that attended the party.

But first and foremost, above and beyond, I can't believe how awesome Amanda is for pulling this all off.  Not only is it amazing that she thought to do it and put forth the effort, but that is was so successful and such a blessing to me.  Thanks babe, I appreciate it and I love you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Son's Honesty = Dad's Humility (and possible motivation)

Lucas asked Amanda this question the other day:

"Mom, why do some guys have bumps on their arms and stomach?"

He was referring to their muscles of course.  When Amanda relayed this to me I tried flexing to show that I had these "bumps", but it was no use.  I used to have them, damnit!  So now I am motivated to start trying to get these "bumps" back.


Then, today in the car Lucas asked me "Dad, are you the boss of anyone?"  Now, I am currently in various leadership positions at church and in Toastmasters, and in the past I have held leadership positions in almost any club or organization that I have participated in over the years (including the HOA in our Florida neighborhood).  But after thinking for a minute, I realized that I have never actually been the boss of anyone at a professional job (post-college). 

Is this normal, acceptable, humiliating?  Is it due to my profession (there are plenty of engineers who are more experienced and capable than me who still aren't in charge of anyone)?  Whatever the cause, should I care?  And if so then what can I do to change it?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Best. Birthday. Eva. - Part 1

I turned 40 this year.  Feeling middle age seems more like a reason to mourn than to celebrate, so I didn't mind too much that I ended up going in to work on my actual birthday (a Thursday).  When I went out to my car to leave though, I found it covered in saran wrap, courtesy of my best friend Brian.

In honor of my birthday, Amanda was "sweet" enough to make a chocolate version of my sister' rum cake recipe for me.  It was moist, rummy, and oh so yummy.

That night (Thursday), we hired a babysitter (a neighbor from across the street) so we could go out to dinner together at Lucilles Barbeque. We followed it up with a nice walk along a trail, then we rented and started watching The Next Three Days at home. 

Amanda also had the idea for us to get out of town for the Friday night after my birthday.  So we solicited the assistance of our good friends the Walkers to watch our kids for the night, then we commenced to planning our escape.  We had a really difficult time deciding where we wanted to go though.  The requirements were a) I didn't want to drive for more than an hour, b) I wanted to be outdoors a decent amount (hopefully hiking), c) Amanda had been hiking a lot on her recent getaway to North Carolina, so she didn't want it to be only outdoors, and finally d) we didn't have a lot of money to burn, so it couldn't be too expensive either.  We finally decided on staying in Nevada City, at a place called The Outside Inn.  What a perfect decision it was too.
Relaxing out front.

Front of the hotel.

 To begin with, the hotel itself was great.  It had numerous landscaped locations around the building to relax, and the themed rooms were fun.  We took a decently long hike on a trail that was within walking distance from the hotel.  Along it we found a small brook with a pool in the middle of some rocks.  We went down to check it out and jump in for a quick swim too!

In Nevada City
Amanda in front of stream/pool

The city itself (a very small town really) was bustling with people walking around and enjoying all that it had to offer.  We enjoyed dining, shopping, a farmer's market, and just walking around.

We met and talked to numerous friendly people, and for such a short mini-vacation we just felt fully relaxed and immersed in it.
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