Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two Too Old

My Dear Daughter,

I absolutely cannot believe that today you are two years old. People constantly tell me not to blink while reminding me how quickly you will grow. Unfortunately, I don't need a reminder; I see it daily in your changing face, your new words, and your piles of too-small clothes. Today is bittersweet, as I'm sure all of your birthdays will be. I am so proud of you as you grow, and yet I want to keep you my baby forever.

This year has seen you acquire so many new skills! We are often left breathless keeping up with your quest for knowledge. The minute you feel confident in one skill, you are ready to learn something new and are not content to review old things. You have mastered the art of puzzles, you know all of your letters and their sounds, and you can name all of the numbers on sight. You frequently point them out as we stand waiting to check out at the local grocery store. Counting to 11 is a piece of cake for you and you know all of your colors too...even the hard ones like gray. You have also started picking out simple sight words like "is" and "the" in your books, much to our astonishment. You frequently string together thoughts that surprise us, and although we still can't understand everything you say, I know that someday you will hold us captive with your stories and observations.

We see your personality developing each day, but in many ways, you are still very similar to the baby I held just one year ago. You still love to dance with abandon, although now you don't hesitate to scream a song at the top of your lungs while doing it. Currently you especially like "Let it Go" and "Shake It Off," and you will ask us to play the songs over and over while you try to learn all of the words. You are still so very head-strong; you keep us on our toes as you change your mind often, but emphatically. You ALWAYS have an opinion on what you want to eat, what we'll watch on television, and even what you'll wear out of the house. You are so, so tough. You rarely show pain, and after falling you will dust your hands off and say, "I'm okay Mama!" no matter how scary the tumble seems to me. We call you our little "Warrior Princess."  Even though you are very independent, much like your mama, you still have a sweet streak a mile wide. Your hugs and kisses make our day, and we know the dogs secretly love them too. You make sure to say a sweet goodbye to each child by name at your daycare, and "Min-Min" frequently tells us how precious you are. You have made an impression on so many hearts, my child!

We still love trying to predict what you will become someday. We haven't ruled out anything involving books, as you can spend literally hours reading to yourself. Us getting to read to you is a luxury rarely allowed. Your obsession with the nightly appearance of the moon has prompted us to throw astronomer or astronaut into the mix, while your love of all things furry still has me proclaiming you to be a future vet. We know that God has given you the gifts and tools to be absolutely anything.

We are so looking forward to this coming year with our sassy, spunky "Miss Independent," and all of the new things it will hold for us all. From tackling potty-training to our first hotel stay as a family, there are sure to be many fun memories made and stories to tell. You enrich every aspect of our lives, my child, and we love you more than you could ever imagine. Happy Birthday My Sunshine!

All my love,


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Restoration Project...Part 5

#5 The Commonality Conundrum 

Things have been absolutely nonstop for months and months, but tonight I actually have some time to myself. I'm supposed to be grading on this quiet evening. Hence the reason for starting this series back up after a considerable absence. Procrastination is one of my favorite pastimes, and I've always been quite adept at it. Hey, speaking of pastimes...

Erik and I have just about nothing in common. He likes to work out and run; I don't even like to THINK about exercising. He enjoys Star Trek; I prefer just about anything else (I draw the line at a dentist visit). He could care less about football; I grew up singing Boomer Sooner before I even knew the alphabet. I am a fairly voracious reader (when I can make the time), preferring well-written novels and only picking up a non-fiction book if it guarantees to "read like fiction." Erik likes his books true and even then only sparingly. On a vacation, I want to go places I've never gone and see things I teach about but have only seen in textbooks. He likes his vacations beach-side with as little "going" as possible. These things may sound trivial, but our lack of similarities has been one of the biggest obstacles to us feeling fulfilled in our marriage.

There are moments when I can't help but wonder sometimes if we are the ONLY couple on the planet that seems so polar opposite. I know couples who take lake trips every weekend, go to football games in matching shirts, or even *shudder* RUN MARATHONS together, and I can't help but feel a little despondent. We have tried to chase away the voices in our heads in many ways. We have gone ahead and begrudgingly done something we hate doing under the guise of compromise, all the while quietly making it known that we are NOT enjoying the sacrifice. We have tried doing our OWN things and just leaving it at that. We have talked about it until we are blue in the face and even tried to change each other, thinking the other person wouldn't notice our incredibly subtle nudges. Instead, our counselor suggested we try something new and innovative...

We have begun trying to embrace the differences! Revolutionary, I know. Seriously though, when you begin to think of your partner's differences as strengths instead of annoyances, it makes you see your partner in a new light. I think the reason I have resented Erik's running is because it makes me, by comparison, feel like a lazy bum. On the upside, it does sort of inspire me to get off the couch. So our compromise is walking/jogging the dogs and baby together most evenings after dinner (when this crazy Oklahoma weather cooperates) of my new favorite family traditions. Also, we've started watching a sci-fi show occasionally together followed by a show of my choosing. Instead of playing with my phone all throughout "his" show and feeling like a closet nerd, I've started asking questions and trying to be present. He has agreed to letting me choose our next vacation spot (however far off that trip may be) and not just go, but put all of his effort into enjoying whatever we're doing! Our counselor also recommended trying to find a few NEW things we BOTH might like, and even gave us a list of unusual hobbies couples can do together. It sounds kind of silly, but it has helped us think outside the box. Now if we could just find the time to join a bowling league and restore a vehicle...