Wednesday, January 29, 2014

this is us

My friend, Jenn, shared this Huff Post article about what marriage is really like after 23 years. Well, we've only got 6 years under our belt but that article pretty much summed it up. We aren't the most romantic couple. We barely celebrate anniversaries, and holidays aren't the gift giving occasions that I was used to from previous relationships. One year, Gus may or may not have shoved my Christmas present under a chair in lieu of wrapping it, and I don't even remember the last time I got a birthday card from him.

But he is everything that I am not. He has patience when mine is lost. He holds on to me as I teeter on the edge. He can manage (or tune out) the constant chatter of a three year old, when I am silently (or not so silently) pleading serenity now. He has an answer when I only have questions. He is the person that will talk to me at 1:00 a.m. when I am worried about work even though we should be taking advantage of the fact that our four month old is actually sleeping five hour stretches these days. Last week was overwhelmingly soul crushing from a work perspective - work piled on top of more work and the panic of the thought of having less time with my little ones reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. Over the weekend, Gus kept suggesting things for us to do and he finally just said something to the effect that I seemed really sad and he thought we should do something to cheer me up. (Perhaps that is why he was letting me entertain the thought of taking Little Miss J to Disneyland with Rachael ... hmmm.) But seriously, he is the person I trust most in the world and the person with whom I am my most honest self without ever worrying that it will change how he feels about me. We are truly better together, and the simple fact that he always just wants to make happy is worth more than any gift wrapped or not.

I believe our strength is measured not by how we act during the good times but how we react to the difficult. We've been through job loss, cross-country moves, PPD, miscarriage, sleepless nights, and yet we've managed to escape relatively unscathed and with two of the most beautiful children in the history of ever. We may celebrate President's Day rather than Valentine's Day, and we may even do that a bit mundanely, but there is no one in the world better suited for us than each other. I am proud of what we have accomplished and built together. I am proud of our family and of our relationship.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

there's something about sara

Sara is the kind of person who stays with you forever. I don't even recall exactly how I met Sara, and even when we lived in close geographic proximity (in comparison to how far away we are now), I don't know how often we actually saw each other. We probably met at a swim meet and really only saw each other at other swim meets or the track meet. And yes, I meant singular on the track meet - I was considerably less talented at track than I was at swimming (and by considerably less I mean I sucked pretty miserably) so my career as a runner/jumper/thrower of things lasted for only a few weeks during which I probably had to show off my less than mediocre skills in a competition of some fashion. That, however, is neither here nor there and if I was Sara's husband would have probably put that in a footnote.

My point is that Sara has made a lasting impression on me even though we never got to spend that much time together. A little over a year ago, we found our way back to each other through Facebook - which is probably surprising to no one since Facebook is good way to stalk ex-boyfriends find old friends. Prior to that, I couldn't tell you when I saw her or spoke to her last. Despite not communicating with her for so many years, I remember her bubbly personality and her infectious grin. I remember her being a little bit hyper and talking a little too fast - but what I remember most is that Sara was a genuinely positive and down to earth person. Someone who was always fun to be around. I looked forward to every opportunity I had to see her.

Flashforward to now and I am slowly but surely catching up with Sara and her family on Facebook. She still likes to ham it up for the camera and is now a supermom to four beautiful children. Our interaction on Facebook is still limited - a quick message here or a "like" of a photo or status update - but in spite of its limits I can still tell she is the same girl I remember. She is still a person that I would look forward to spending time with.

The impetus behind this post was this - a guest him (in a strictly platonic not creepy adulterous kind of way). I have my own husband, who probably wouldn't write like this, but would actually do the same things if we were in a similar situation. Hell, Gus does many of those things for me now and I'm perfectly healthy ... at least physically. Again, this would probably be a footnote. But it isn't. Deal with it. All those years ago, I fell in love with Sara's personality so it shouldn't suprise me that she has found an amazing person with whom to share her life. There's just something about Sara.

wordless wednesday

Thursday, January 9, 2014

the list

Circulating through Facebook status updates has been the challenge of listing ten albums that mean something to you. Here's mine in no particular order.
1) Billy Joel - Innocent Man. This was my first album ever - on cassette no less. "Uptown Girl" was my favorite song (until I listened to the entire album and then it became "Tell Her About It") because my godmother's teenage daughter and her friends did a little dance to it and I thought they were sooo cool. I used to listen this on ultra cool pink boombox, which was probably my most prized possession at the time with my lamp that turned on by merely touching it coming in a close second.
2) Phish - Billy Breathes. My senior year in college under the influence of some people I met during a summer internship, I ended up in a Phish phase which culminated in a three concert roadtrip through the Midwest. Favorite track "Waste."
3) Sarah McLachlan - Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff. Reminds me of my sophomore year in college and my study abroad trip to Iceland. Many of the people that were on the trip with me are friends with me on Facebook and I love that an experience we had so long ago still keeps us connected and interested in each other's lives.
4) Stevie Wonder - In Square Circle. This album reminds me of our living room on Ely Lake with the orange shag carpet and the big picture windows that looked out on the lake - but most importantly it reminds me of my mom. After she passed away, I used listen to "Overjoyed" on repeat.
5) Newsies Soundtrack. A long long time ago, five girls watched Newsies regularly like it was their job and made whichever mother had the pleasure of driving them around listen to the Newsies soundtrack over and over. Each girl had their favorite actor - my personal favorite being Christian Bale. Yum. Those five girls loved that movie so much that they are planning a trip to NYC this winter to see the Broadway show before it closes. Oh and last summer two of those five girls tried unsuccessfully to find a copy of that movie in northern Minnesota.
6) Garth Brooks - Double Live. I went through a country phase in high school. I am not ashamed. I outgrew everything about that phase except for Garth. My junior year in college, from a Davis quint, we spent hours trying to get through to Ticketmaster.  We finally got tickets in the nosebleeds, behind the stage. Nevertheless, a great show and a great memory.
7) Indigo Girls - 1200 Curfews. Because the Mississippi's mighty and it starts in Minnesota.
8) Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell. A dance at the Gilbert Community Center was never complete without "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights," and there is some truth in the fact statement (because true facts are redundant) that two out of three ain't bad.

9) Madonna - The Immaculate Collection. Two words. Carleton. swimming. I'm pretty sure some of those swimmin' women still fight the urge to keep their shirts on when "Like A Prayer" comes on.

10) Carole King - Tapestry. I can still see my mom dancing around our kitchen to this record. Yes, I said record. We could feel the earth move under out feet. I was also always secretly pleased that the Gilmore Girls theme song was "Where You Lead."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

one j two j

Pink J
Blue J

Thursday, January 2, 2014

happy new year!

As we said goodbye to 2013, Gus and I reminisced about past NYEs in the pre-Chunglund family era.
There was the time we went to some club in the basement of another club and since it was Minnesota it was crazy ass cold. With no cabs in sight Gus made me walk back to his place, which he claims was only 6 blocks, but let me tell you in a dress and ballet flats (because at least I had the sense to carry those and not try to walk on the icy sidewalks in heels), it was a looooong 6 blocks. During that short  looooong walk, I allegedly managed to make Gus fall down. Of course, I have zero recollection of this, but he says it happened so we'll give him that one. Then there was the time where we ate too much caviar and drank way too much Veuve before we even went to the NYE party and the finale of that evening is probably better left forgotten. In fact, I didn't even remember it in the morning and Gus filled in the details, which I will spare you.
Our little trip down memory lane got me thinking about some of my other favorite NYE moments of which two come to mind. First, the NYE that I spent with one of my besties, Erica, in downtown Cleveland. Again, it was freezing and of course we were not dressed appropriately for the weather. I do recall wearing Chuck Taylors that evening though so I'll again accept points for sensibility. That night involved dancing, bouncers, a short boy that Erica had brought along insisting that he could be my NYE kiss, and if I recall correctly hitchhiking back to the hotel in the back of a hatchback. The second most memorable NYE was the millenium. I spent the evening with my boyfriend at the time and some friends drinking and playing board games until we got bored and the boy and I went ice skating and watched the fireworks at midnight. The NYE was memorable. The boy not so much ...
This NYE, I intended to spend at home with the kiddos -

But Gus wore Little Miss J out at the pool and she crashed at 5 p.m. So instead, Gus and I had a quiet evening at home with champagne, caviar, seared scallops, and asparagus, while J2 dozed peacefully in his swing. I managed to make it to 9:00 p.m. PST and watched the ball drop in NYC with Gus on his phone while we snuggled up in bed. After which, I snuggled into the covers and couldn't think of any place I would have rather been for NYE 2013.

Poor Little Miss J didn't get to eat any of the "New Year's food" she had picked out at the grocery store, which included purple Jell-O, Pringles, cheese, and carrots and celery. She awoke on New Year's Day ready for her New Year's party, asking for New Year's food. So she and I had a little NYE celebration for breakfast!

Little Miss J and I hope 2014 brings you and your family only the best things! Cheers!