Should we name new kitty Jax or Fivel?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Home Improvement

Paint in the kitchen and a new light in the dining room.










(the lighting is a little funky in this one)


Thanks for all your help, mom. Yay us!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things We Done Did (and have pictures of)

Non cat/home improvement/family visit related

Went to a GW basketball game


Joe and friends with "Little George"


"Big George" just chillin in the crowd

Entertained NY friends


Natalie and Michael came to town. We offered a bed and a ride to dinner. YUM.

Had a Last Chance study session at our house (any excuse to make crabcakes and steaks)


Master of the cast-iron skillet


Joe's posture + awkward camera angle = awesome photo

Enjoyed Anniversary dinner and present giving


Founding Farmers = yummy goodness

Went Embassy hopping


Joe's friend Junaid introduced us to the ambassador to Pakistan


Ethiopia with JJ & Marika


Joe got a huge kick out of this poster

Went to Ben's Chili Bowl


Joe is pretty excited


We were being sooo touristy :)

Ate at Taste of Arlington


Road blockers = tables


Yummy Melting Pot!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

he can be taught!

At least one student has learned something in his four years of college. I overheard one graduating student say as he was leaving our office, "Well the university is screwing me, but one thing I've learned in my four years here, the people in student accounts are trying to help us out. It's not their fault."

UDPATE: that stock photo of the lightbulb isn't me, but it totally looks like it could be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mudder's Day!

Around this time last year, I had an essay published in the book "Mother's Wisdom". This is what I wrote about Berta:

"An Eternal Perspective"

I can honestly say that in all my 25 years on this earth, I can't remember ever hearing my mom complain. It's not because she's never had a reason to; far from it, I think she could justify many days' worth of complaining…it just isn't worth her time. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she takes life's hardships and figures out what to do with them. Without ever telling me so, she has taught me to look at life with an Eternal perspective.

My mom learned this lesson early in her own life. Her father died when she was a baby, and her mother was left to raise three daughters on her own. Years later, my grandmother moved across the country and married a man she didn't know so that her girls could have a chance at a better life. My mom watched her own mother sacrifice for her, and in turn she would be doing this for her own children.

When my sister Melanie was a toddler, my parents found out that she had severe brain damage due to a doctor's error during delivery. At the time, my mom was in her early twenties with two young children. She and my dad were both working hard to provide for their little family, and were told by specialists that it was not reasonable for them to keep my sister in their home. They were advised to put her in an institution and move on with their lives. Later, my dad would tell me that he was so proud of my mom when she stood up to a room of doctors and specialists and told them that no one was going to take her daughter away from her.

Melanie's disability has never been given a name. She is severely mentally and physically handicapped; requiring continual care. Melanie cannot communicate with us, and needs help with the most basic things like eating, bathing, dressing, and walking.

Growing up, I never felt like Melanie was a burden in our lives. Instead, my parents made every accommodation possible to make our lives comfortable. They bought a small motel that they could run from home, and moved us to the Oregon coast. We lived across the street from the motel so my mom could run to the office if a customer needed help. The motel phone line rang to our house so my mom could take reservations while feeding us dinner. My dad was also helping at the motel, but still had contracting responsibilities two hours away, so my mom was left with many of the day-to-day tasks of running a business and raising her kids.

Activities that most other families enjoyed were a little bit harder for my family, but I never knew this as a child. My parents bought a motorhome so Melanie could rest on long trips. They called ahead to restaurants to get a special seating area for dinner. They carried her when we went to places without a wheelchair ramp. They just seemed to look at every situation and say "Well, this is a little inconvenient…but what can we do to fix it?"

And that attitude has persisted throughout the years. It never got easier working at the motel or taking care of Melanie, but my mom has always been upbeat. She just keeps moving ahead; looking at life with an Eternal perspective. She knows that Heavenly Father has given her the capabilities to deal with her trials, so instead of complaining about them, she figures out what she can do to make them better.

As I look forward to starting my own family, I pray that I can be as strong as my mom in my own trials. I want to be the person who comes up with a solution instead of worrying about my problem. With my mom's enduring example, I think I'm headed in the right direction.


I've been so blessed to learn from many different mothers...especially the Welch Women in Utah. Joe's mom, sisters, aunts and cousins are all amazing at what they do. The things I could not learn from my own mom, (mainly cooking!) come second-nature to these ladies. They are not content with "just" being mothers...they all go above and beyond at home, church, and the community.

Thanks to all the amazing mothers in my life!

Friday, May 8, 2009

This pretty much sums up my childhood