Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

A Letter to My Future Son-in-Law

14 Mar

woman_writingSo, this is apparently making the rounds.  I decided to write a response, in case my future son-in-law is out there writing letters (and in need of a good dose of reality).

I don’t know who you are yet. I don’t really care about the color of your eyes or skin. Maybe my daughter does, I don’t know. Maybe she’s like Marie Miller and has a specific set of physical characteristics already picked out for her future spouse. If she does, don’t be surprised or concerned if you don’t fit any of them.

There are a lot of things I don’t know about you, but there are a couple of things that I want you to know about her.

I quite agree with you that my daughter is beautiful. I have no doubt that you will notice it when you meet her. But she is so much more than that; a pretty face is the tip of the iceberg. She is also sharp, creative, gifted, and competent. She is determined, knows what she wants, and has more critical reasoning skills than a lot of adults I know. She will challenge your opinions and assumptions, and if you give her the choice between two options, she will immediately come up with a third. She will not be content to hang passively on your arm like a decoration; she will take her life by the horns, and at times you may feel like you’re along for the ride.

I sincerely hope that by the time we meet, you have developed enough maturity to talk about the female body without using words like “goodies.” Consider it a personal request from your future mother-in-law. Because, seriously…. Her body is not a package of Hostess cupcakes that she carries around in a basket, waiting to hand out to that one special guy.

As her mother, my hope is that she retains an appreciation for modesty. However, I want her to do so from within – out of the confidence that comes from being comfortable in herself and knowing that she doesn’t NEED to show off for attention or approval of someone else. Modesty born out of some quest to make her beau feel like a “lucky ducky” doesn’t seem all that different to me than immodesty born out of desire for attention.

Just like her mind, heart and soul cannot be acquired, neither can her body. You will not understand intimacy until you can fully come to terms with this. Since your instructions to her seem only to revolve around what she does with her body, I suspect you’re not there yet.

It’s not a dowry that you get for making a marriage vow, so don’t start worrying about her spending your money before you get it. It is part of her. And when she shares herself with you, she is not giving you an object to possess and feel ownership over, as though it can be separated from any other part of her. She is sharing her SELF, just as you are sharing your SELF, and together you will create something more than either of you can strive to be on your own. This is a holistic relationship, and the physical part of it cannot be carved out  and treated differently. (As a side note… the inherent value of a Lamborghini has very little to do with how often you see them. It has to do with where it comes from, how it’s built, and what’s running on the inside.)

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but my daughter is not a princess. This is a lesson she learns daily, because I will not do her the disservice of letting her believe otherwise. She has to work for what she gets and take responsibility for her own actions, just like everybody else. In fact, if you call her “princess,” she will probably just stare at you.

So, I guess we can throw out the “act like a princess” bit – which is good, because if you’re expecting her to wait around in some imaginary tower for you to come whisk her away, I think you’ve got another thing coming. She’s too smart and too headstrong for that kind of crap. I have no doubt that she will have a world of possibilities open to her when she leaves this house. If you would like to take her hand and join her on this journey, by all means do so – but know that it will be as a partner, not a savior. I don’t know who you imagine that you’ll be fighting in all these grandiose displays of valor, but know this:

She doesn’t need Prince Charming. She doesn’t need to be rescued, taken care of, or sheltered.

She needs love. She needs loyalty. She needs someone who keeps her mind and curiosity stimulated. She needs someone to make her laugh, and who isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. She needs someone who’s attentive enough to know when she needs a little extra help – and is willing to give it without expecting anything in return. She needs someone who can put his own ego away and apologize, or even admit defeat during a “discussion” from time to time. She needs someone who she can trust with her insecurities in a way she has never been able to trust another human being. She needs someone who will (lovingly) call her out when she’s being absurd. She needs someone who understands that true leadership doesn’t require being the boss. She needs someone she can admire. And she needs someone who brings her closer to God, as the secure and unbreakable relationship she shares with her spouse cultivates her desire for holiness.

As for your last point, I agree – she is beautifully and wonderfully made by the hands of a perfect Creator. He gave her attributes that she will be learning to develop (and in some cases, tame) over the next many years. Being her parent is not for the faint of heart, and I have no doubt that the same can be said about being her spouse.

I sincerely hope that you’re up for the challenge though, because I can tell you that she is so, so worth it.

~Your Future Mother-in-Law~


Kaelinisms: Crush Edition

26 Oct

“Kaelin, what was your favorite part of school today?”
“Playing with Diego.”
“Are you friends with Diego?”
“Yes.  When Hope and I were playing ‘puppy’ he said hi to me.  He’s my best boy friend.”

(At bed time…)

“What are you looking forward to the most at school tomorrow?”
“Seeing Diego again.  He’s my best boy friend.  Mama?”
“I can marry Diego, right?  He’s not in my family.”

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Posted in Kaelin, Kid Quotes, Marriage


Kaelin: 5 Years

17 Oct

Dear Baby Girl,

You are no longer anything resembling a baby, but when I complain about that, you still reassure me that you will always be my little girl no matter how big you get.

Today, you are five years old.  FIVE.  I do not know how this happened.

I mean, I get how this:

Kaelin Baby

turned into this:

Kaelin Sailor Dress

But how this:

Kaelin Shoes

turned into this:

Kaelin Beachis a complete and total mystery to me.

(Insert the obligatory “WaaaaahMyBAAAAAYYYYYBEEEEEisGrowingUpTOOOOOFAAAAAST” mommyhood rantings)

You are active and friendly, setting up play dates with the kids at the library behind my back, and inviting the grocery store cashier to your birthday party (which, um, is going to be in Texas, so I hope you didn’t offer to pay her airfare).

Your main love at the moment is bugs and all things creepy-crawly.  In Texas, bugs are scary because of the huge variety of stinging, blood-sucking, biting ones.  But here?  You are thrilled beyond belief with the moths and other little winged creatures that make their way onto our porch and into our house.  Your teacher caught a butterfly for you and let you bring it home one day, and you would have thought he’d given you the moon.  We have to have daily conversations about how bugs aren’t pets and that you can’t bring them into the house, EVEN if they’re in a container.  I know that sounds cruel, but the container is inconsequential because of the fact that the bugs never stay IN IT.

You don’t know this yet, but you’re getting an earthworm farm for your birthday.  Because worms?  I can handle worms.  They’re still creepy-crawly and icky but they’re not bugs.  So when you’re talking to your therapist in a few years about how your mother restricted your childhood experience because I wouldn’t let you keep bugs, JUST REMEMBER THE WORMS.  I GAVE YOU THE WORMS.

(Please, please, please, please don’t let them loose in the house.)

You’re learning to read and write and do some math.  I have no doubt that you’re behind many of your Texas friends in these areas because your preschool seems to place little to no emphasis whatsoever on academics.  So the only academic environment you have is, well, me.  And the measly little homeschooling lessons we do at the kitchen table.  Which I will go ahead and apologize to you for because your Mama?  Was not meant to be a homeschool teacher.

You enjoy reading and your own progress as you begin to recognize and sound out more and more words.  You have begun to try sounding out words you see on cereal boxes and in magazines.  Also, you pick words and try to spell them in your head.  I often get random questions like, “Mama, what letter do you put in a word to make the ‘a’ say its name?”

Your writing needs some work because it bores you and I have to heavily reward you to keep you focused for 15 minutes a day.  Also, the concept of telling time is challenging and can be frustrating for us both.  You do enjoy math, because we use chocolate chips to demonstrate addition and subtraction. You’re pretty good at our little addition flash cards and can occasionally do the math in your head without the use of the chocolate chips.

You are becoming more and more independent and can play on the porch (catching bugs, of course) or in your room for long periods of time.  You have also developed the occasional ‘tude, which gets you sent to your room.

You are developing an interest in jokes, but don’t quite get the concept of a punchline.

“Why did the crayons color by themselves? Because they wanted to draw their owner!”

You have started a movement/dance class and are loving it.  I look forward to letting you try all kinds of extra-curricular activities this next year.  You have informed me that you wish to do ice skating and gymnastics when we move back to Texas.  Oddly, they don’t have any figure skating lessons available in this part of Alaska.

You have started thinking about the concept of marriage and are concerned about your lack of candidates.  You told me the other day that you couldn’t decide whether you wanted to be a boy or a girl (the concept of whether or not you actually get to MAKE that choice didn’t appear to be relevant).  It was good to be a girl because girls are better and more fun, but it would be a nice to be a boy because boys get to marry girls.  And it would be better to marry a girl than a boy because boys are mean and throw things.  And if you have to marry a boy, then you should be allowed to marry your Daddo.  Mama can just go marry someone else.

You are tenacious and think you can debate your way around any answer.  You are your father’s daughter.

You have a really selective memory.  You can remember a promise we made to you three months ago, but forget that I gave you a set of instructions within 15 seconds.  You are your mother’s daughter.

Little girl, you’re getting less and less “little” every day.  You’re tall and lean and love to run and jump and climb.  Your hair is getting long and we’re going to have to take care of that soon because you have inherited your mother’s tender head and brushing your hair in the morning is akin to ripping your fingernails off with a pair of pliers.

“Mama, which laugh did Tinkerbell come from?”
“I’m not sure, hon.  The movie doesn’t say and I don’t know very much about fairies.”
“Maybe she came from one of my laughs.  Because I laugh a LOT.”
“Yes you do.  Maybe she did.”
“I think you’re beautiful.”

You are precious.  And charming.  And sweet (when you want to be).  You have my heart.





16 Jun

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary.  All this time and 2 kids later, Jens can still crack me up better than anyone.  He’s a terrific husband, father, and life partner.  He has a heart of gold and it still amazes me that after all this time he continues to love me the way he did when we were newlyweds.  (Obviously I managed to hoodwink him somehow.)

I love you Babe, and I look forward to the next 9 years and beyond!


Kaelinisms: Wrapped Around Her Finger Edition

12 May

Mama: What is this?  A Barbie fishing rod?
Kaelin: Yes!
Mama: Did you sweet talk Daddo into getting you a Barbie fishing rod?
Kaelin: Yes!
Mama: Do you have Daddo wrapped around your little finger, or what?
Kaelin: Yep.  I’m definitely gonna marry someone like him.


Filling Space

05 Mar

I know it’s been a little quiet around here lately.  I don’t like that.  Because as much as I love and adore you beautiful people and it warms my heart to read your caring and funny comments, the truth is that I do this blogging thing for me. 

For my own ridiculously deficient memory so that later I can look back and relive all those moments I would otherwise have forgotten.

For all those nostalgic moments when I see my kids growing up entirely too fast and wish I could hold onto those pieces of their youth just a little tighter, for just a little longer.

And for my children, so that when they’re older they can look back and see what it was like to be their mother – the milestones, the incredible highs, and yes, even the lows.

So when I don’t get around to posting frequently, it amounts to lost time.  A wider gap that will probably never be filled in. 

It’s not that every moment needs to be chronicled – I’m not under the illusion that our lives are that important or interesting.  But I find that a lot of the moments I treasure in retrospect are not necessarily things I think are that momentous at the time.

[insert subject change]

I took Koren to the ENT today, and it looks as though our dear little boy will be getting tubes.  This has been a long time coming and can’t happen soon enough, IMHO.  He’s been on a steady stream of antibiotics since January, which bothers me on a couple of levels – not the least of which being that they haven’t actually helped.  He STILL has ear infections.  Because antibiotics just keep bacteria at bay, but they don’t help the root of the problem, which is the mass of fluid buildup that he just can’t get rid of.

He has made some improvement over the last week after a particularly strong dose of antibiotics (the shots, I don’t recall what they’re called), and he is no longer doing the incessant Nazgul shriek that had me clawing at my own ears.  And despite the still-infected ears, he’s a generally happy little guy, which tells you that they must have been REALLY painful before (“puss” is not a term you want to hear when the doctor is describing your child’s inner ear).

So on that front, it looks like we’re heading toward the light at the end of the tunnel.  And not a moment too soon.

All in all, the timing of the ear infections was pretty rotten because we had JUST gotten him to start sleeping through the night.  But with ear infections and illness, teething, crawling and the general 8-Month Sleep Regression upon us, it pretty much created the perfect storm of CRAP NIGHTS.  As in, Child Can’t Sleep AT ALL Unless Mom is Holding Him in the Rocking Chair nights.

There is nothing that throws my own frailty in my face like losing sleep.  I mean seriously, I know people who are dealing with cancer, ailing parents, financial horrors, and children diagnosed with debilitating diseases.  And here I am, crippled into a sobbing nervous wreck because ONE of my otherwise healthy children has an ear infection and I’ve lost some sleep.

Thankfully, I have a pretty stellar husband who, when I finally asked for some help because I could not handle another night of it without throwing myself down the stairs, took over and let me get a full night in peace.  I woke up a new person, with a clear head and a greater appreciation for this partnership called marriage.

The sleeping thing?  It’s still not great, but it’s getting better.  As I type this, Koren has been asleep in his own bed without assistance for almost 3 hours.  And now I’m going to shut up about it before I jinx it and mess up a possible night’s sleep.  Ciao!


Sick of the Sick

17 Feb

Oh look!  A Blog!

Yeah, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately.  I’ve been rather busy, a little from travel, but mostly busy with sick kids.  They’re going to have to give me a “frequent customer discount” at the pediatrician’s office.

Koren has been battling the same ear infections for 3+ weeks.  It started directly after a weekend of sick, feverish baby (and subsequently, sick, feverish 3-year-old), and led to grumpy recovering baby until the antibiotic took effect.  We thought the antibiotic took care of the problem, but then we spilled it half way through and didn’t refill or finish the full 10-day run (I know, Mother of the Year Award, here I come).  So a week later we found ourselves back at the doctor and starting a second round of medication.

With Koren on the mend once again, we left the kids with my parents and went out of town for Jens’ cousin’s wedding in Denver, Colorado.  It was some much needed time away and a very enjoyable trip.

More pictures of that are below if you log in.

We returned to a rather grumpy baby and the realization that the second round of ear medication hadn’t done a blessed thing.  The next day, our little guy declined further and developed a bad case of croup that made both him and me miserable throughout the night and next day, as he was unable to sleep.  Steamy showers only seemed to help mildly, but since croup is viral that was the only solution available.

Another trip to the doctor netted us a new round of medication for the double ear infection (that’s #3, for those of you keeping track at home), some steroids for the croup, and the news that it would probably get worse before it got better.

It is now a week later, and a rough week it has been.  He’s still messing with his ears, so if that continues past Friday I’ll have to take him in again to assess the ear infection situation.  But his mood has improved dramatically and it’s actually possible to make him smile again.  I’m so glad to have my happy little guy back to his normal self.  Though I will say, I’d forgotten how difficult this kid is to hold on to when he’s well.

Unfortunately, now Kaelin is sick again.  She’s had a cough on and off for the past week and today had to stay home with a low-grade fever.  Probably my fault for rejoicing yesterday that I would actually get to spend my Mother’s Day Out time NOT taking care of sick kids today… obviously that didn’t work out.  At least taking care of a sick 3-year-old is easier than taking care of a sick 8-month-old.

So that’s what’s been keeping me busy.  Fun times.  One of these days I’ll actually get some time to myself during the day and then maybe I’ll get a load of laundry done or something.

In the meantime, here’s more Colorado pictures:

Me and my unruly hair.

Again, with the unruly hair.

This is where I TOTALLY ATE IT on the ice and ended up with a bruised and sore hip for the rest of the trip. Grace, thou eludes me.

Jens’ uncle (father of the groom) and his wife.

Jens’ cousin (brother of the groom) and his girlfriend.

Jens and his grandma.

Jens’ grandparents.

The Happy Couple.

The Happy Family. This child stayed quiet during the entire ceremony and subsequent Latin Mass. My kids can’t stay quiet through a 5-word sentence. If they could bottle their secret and sell it, they’d make a fortune and put Benadryl out of business.

This picture is begging for a Caption Contest.

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Posted in Family, Marriage, Photos, Travel



10 Oct

Because I know you guys can’t get enough about me and Jens.  Or maybe you’re just dying for a break from all the political blogging.  Got this one from Erin.  Though I’m going to cheat and copy/paste some of our About section…

1. Where did you first meet your husband?
Though growing up in what seems like opposite ends of the world (Jens is from Alaska, while I’m a native Texan) we met at Seattle Pacific University in the Theatre department during my freshman and Jens’ sophomore year.  During the first quarter we were cast in a fellow student’s directing project, “Words, Words, Words”…as monkeys.  I dragged Jens all over Seattle looking for costumes (He had a car.  I didn’t.) and now I have blackmail pictures of him in a beanie.

2. What was the first thing you said to your husband?
Ok honestly, I have no idea.  Probably something totally boring like, “hi.”

3. Where was your first date?
Um… depends on what you would qualify as a date.  We went on a couple of outings, like bowling, that were SUPPOSED to be group events, but somehow nobody else ever showed up.  There was a long period of time during which I was in denial that we were actually dating.

4. Where was your first kiss?
In the common room of our dorm.  I had recently come out of a relationship that left me rather anti-physical-affection (I wouldn’t even let Jens hold my hand) and one day he decided that he had had enough and just kissed me.  And left me standing there in utter shock.  And I suddenly realized that maybe kissing wasn’t so bad …

5. Did you have a long or short engagement/courtship?
It was kinda long.  We had to wait until Jens was out of school, so we dated for about 15 months, then were engaged for another 15 months.

6. Where did you get engaged?
Jens flew down to Houston to surprise me and sent me on a wild goose hunt which ended with a huge bouquet of gorgeous roses and him showing up at my door.  Of course, he was bent down on one knee so I couldn’t see him and thought there was nobody at the door when I looked out the window.  When I finally came back and opened the door, I was so happy to see him that I kept trying to pull him up off the ground for a hug, completely clueless as to what he was doing.  Sometimes I don’t pick up on things too quickly.

7. Where did you get married?
Leavenworth, a Bavarian village in the mountains of Washington.  It was perfect.

8. How did the reception go?
Great.  We had a great turnout, despite the fact that the wedding wasn’t local for ANYBODY.  The weather was beautiful.  Apparently the food was spectacular, though we didn’t get the chance to eat any of it.  But people were still talking about the food at our wedding several years later at other weddings we attended.

9. How was the honeymoon?
Lots of fun.  We went to the Bahamas and relaxed at an all-inclusive resort.  There were giant thunderstorms every night that would circle the island and move inward, so we would watch the lightening from the beach for an hour and then race back to the room before it started to pour.  We tried to get drunk off the free alcohol just for fun, but it was SO BAD that we just couldn’t do it.  By the end of the trip, we were ordering virgin daiquiris.  The only downsides were when we discovered that Jens is allergic to the sun, and a minor case of food poisoning from one of the restaurants.


Posted in Marriage