Up early…

Up early this morning to get Ian up early (never an easy feat, and sometimes not all that pleasant) to get him to the airport. He’s headed back to Norman and school today, leaving a noticeable hole here at home. It has been wonderful having him home for the break between semesters and for the Christmas holidays.

We’re definitely seeing that as Li gets older, she misses him more each time he leaves, which makes these transition days as and after he departs even harder for all of us.

Happy Birthday, Li!

Li's first outing on skis (Jan 2011)
Li's first outing on skis... just ahead of her 4th birthday (Jan 2011)

Today marks birthday #4 for Li, and we’re coming up on three full years with our little girl… who’s not so little these days! This has been a pretty amazing year, marked with changes galore in her life, including

  • she kicked of this year by gaining a new big brother in Mathias, our exchange student from Denmark
  • she started preschool right after Ian left for OU for college — and while she loves preschool, she’s not crazy about losing her brother (and she’s going to miss him terribly when he leaves for school in ten days)
  • she’s finally figuring out the sleep thing — early November she must have finally decided it was OK to sleep through the night in her bed in her room… and she has since ditched the crib/day bed for a “real” bed (all of which brought much rejoicing for all of us!)
  • she got out on skis for the first time in her life — just squeaked under the wire on that one, as Li and I got our for a bit of skiing in the tracks set around Tautphaus Park just yesterday

My Dad

It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own homeā€”it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.” — Margaret Truman

I am blessed with, and proud of, a truly great father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Long Weekend

Long weekend at the end of a long week…

I’m headed to Chicago later today with several members of my team from work for an annual federal conference. We’ve got several sessions we are presenting and/or participating in, including one where we are demonstrating a new tool we are building. I commented to a friend Friday evening that if this — the upcoming demo — were a home show, we were still at the stage where we were pouring footings for a couple of the new rooms. I’ve spent most of the past couple days framing in the walls, hanging sheetrock (and in some cases, hanging siding directly on the studs), etc. There are a couple of places where we’ve just hung posters over holes in walls, and some of the electrical outlets and light switches don’t actually have wiring running to them. But having said that, we’ve gotten quite a bit done.

I can’t say I’m really all that excited about going to Chicago, particularly at this time of year. I spent a week there several years ago for a soccer coaching license course and it was miserably hot and humid. I’ve also gotten stuck in the airport and/or missed connections there most of the times we’ve been force to fly through O’Hare… we’ll see.

Some random bits from life:

  • Deb, Ian, and Li drove over to Boise to see Deb’s family for a couple days, which made for a (wierdly) quiet weekend. I gotten lots done, but miss them desperately and having them gone for the past couple of days will make the trip to Chicago seem even longer.
  • Li is going through one of those huge leaps on the language front. Just within the past couple weeks, her language patterns are changing: stringing more and more words together, and everything is so much clearer. Counting to 20, naming body parts (“arm pits”, “eye brows”, “forehead”), helping with everything (“Li help Daddy make coffee?” — I think if she could reach stuff, she’d probably do it herself although she still a little leery of the coffee grinder at first).
  • Earlier this week, Ian and I went to Pocatello for a concert. The headliner was Kutless. Incredible show; we’ve long been fans of their music and their ministry and to see them live was very cool. It was a welcome change of pace from lots of work. If you get a chance to see them, by all means do. At the concert, one of the promoters mentioned that another band we love — the David Crowder Band — is coming to this area later this year; that will be another show we definitely want to hit.
  • I’ve been working on Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” these past couple of weeks (I gave up on his “Baroque Cycle” after a couple hundred pages of the first volume of three; just couldn’t get in to it) when I have the odd minute or two to read. 900+ pages that wander between thriller, math and theory of crypto, comedy, sarcasm, and weird/silly. The shifts in tone are almost schizo at times, but I’ll probably try to finish it. Parts of it have been laugh-out-loud funny… and I need that.
  • Summer is getting close to the point where it will start winding down for us; soccer tryouts at the high school level for Ian (his senior year!) and at the junior high where I will be coaching at least one more season begin just ahead of the middle of August.

Much to be Thankful For

Li enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving meal of... noodles, of course.
Li enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving meal of... noodles, of course.

It’s now almost two weeks since Thanksgiving, and I know I’m late in writing this but I’ve thought about it quite a bit of late… we have so much to be thankful for:

  • Dominating our thoughts and lives this year is the arrival of our daughter Li and the changes she has brought to almost every aspect of our lives. After nearly three years of waiting, her arrival in March of this year made all of the waiting worth it. We are so thankful that she is part of our family, that she arrived healthy and obviously loved and well cared for, and that she has begun adjusting to life with us.
  • We’re grateful for the love and support of friends and family as we have gone through major changes in our lives as her addition ripples in ever-widening circles. That love and support has shown in many ways including prayers for us while we were in China to get Li; getting to spend Thanksgiving with our friends Nick and Karie and their family where Li enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of… noodles, of course; the seemingly never-ending bags of pink clothes from friends Chuck and Heather, knowing how much I like pink; watching Li with her grandparents.
  • We’re thankful that — not coincidentally, I am certain — she has started spending all night in her own bed beginning on the night before Thanksgiving. She’s still not sleeping all the way through the night (she’s only done it a couple of times, and it’s weird when she does) but having her sleep in her own bed means better rest for all of us.
  • We’re thankful for our church family and the support that we’ve received from so many people there as we’ve gone through this major adjustment, particularly from Mike.
  • We’re thankful for the opportunity to see the young man and big brother that Ian is growing into.
  • We’re thankful for having had the opportunity to travel together as a family to China, to spend almost three weeks there getting to see just a tiny bit of the culture and the people from where Li came, for having seen and heard and experienced just enough there to know that we will go back with Li someday when she is a little older and can understand better the path by which God brought us to her and vice versa.
  • We’re thankful and excited for our friend Cynthia and her husband Temo and their new life together and for finally getting to meet Temo on my last trip to DC in November.
Swim goggles are now mandatory attire for yogurt smoothies... who knew?
Swim goggles are now mandatory attire for consuming yogurt smoothies... who knew?

And the list goes on and on… we are truly blessed in so many ways. This year has been dominated by this little girl, this huge gift, and by the opportunity to welcome her into our family and to watch her grow and to realize how much we are growing, too. I don’t have any doubts that Christmas is going to be very special this year, too, as this little girl whose sense of humor is showing up more and more and whose sense of wonder at what goes on around her life each day grows gets to experience a very special time.

And, yes, those are swim goggles — deemed necessary attire by Li for consuming her pre-bedtime yogurt smoothie this evening… go figure.