Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2,920 Days Ago...

Karl and I made promises to each other that we could never possibly keep, and we did so in front of all of our friends and family. Promises to love each other without condition; to be constantly selfless; to keep our hearts close despite our circumstances and to hold each other up above everyone else in the world. Crazy stuff like that.

Yesterday I had a whole 45 minutes to myself in the car. A thrill rushed over me as I backed out of the parking lot and started on my trip. I could pick whatever music I wanted to listen to and it wouldn't have to compete with conversation. I looked through our old CD case and found a CD that was not labeled and thought it was something else. I put it in the CD player and waited for the music to start, and as soon as I heard the first note I knew that it was not what I thought - it was our wedding music.

I suddenly felt jerked back through 8 years and remembered exactly how it felt to be anticipating marriage. Sweet hopes and dreams for our future without any sense of apprehension about our life-long choice. All we could think about was what it would be like to wake up next to the other person every morning for the rest of our lives. Nothing else mattered quite as much.

The music that we picked for our wedding was not typical, and I grew more and more proud of our music choices as the CD went on. Typical wedding songs like "Ode to Joy" and "The Wedding March" were bumped aside by songs by Ben Harper and "Pure Imagination" by The Smoking Popes. We weren't (and still aren't) fans of doing things out of obligation or because that's how they've always been done. Yes - I'm bragging - because I think we were two pretty cool kids. I still look at pictures of our wedding and can honestly say that I wouldn't change much about our choices. Of course, I would ditch the tuxes and hire a different photographer (remember this was before there were better photographers) but beyond that - I like what we picked.

For some reason, this year almost NO ONE got the number of years we have been married correctly. Everyone guessed that it had been less time that it was and inevitably the phrase, "You were just babies when you got married!" would follow. I have no problem at all with people saying this, because even we say it. I was barely 21 and Karl was 20. (I bought his beer for him for the first year of our marriage.) We were young, insecure, immature and wouldn't have listened to a soul if they told us to wait until we got older. We reasoned that it was pointless to wait around just for the sake of letting time go by when we knew we wanted to be together, so - we jumped in.

Karl and I have grown up together over the past 8 years and it's impossible to tell what kind of people we would have been without each other. We have had many discussions and lots of doubt about our decision to marry so young, and those close to us know that we have had some pretty nasty growing pains over the course of our marriage. Sure, we had our share of unnecessary struggles because we married so young but I believe that we would have just replaced those same struggles with other ones if we would have become more independent before joining our lives.

As I look back on all of the disadvantages we had going into our married life, I am honestly amazed that we have not only made it this far, but that we feel excited to take on another 8, 16, 32, 64+ years of this bound together life. We have shared disappointments, losses, accomplishments, births, apartments, pregnancies, pets, babies, car accidents, homework assignments, goodbyes, broken cars, inexplicable joys, laughter and a bazillion other things. There is no way I can even imagine a life without Karl in it...and I never want to.

"The closer I'm bound in love to you...the closer I am to free."
- from our 'first dance' song by The Indigo Girls

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ani Jane

I've been thinking that I would get a jump start on helping people with our little girl's name, since I'm sure it's bound to cause some confusion.

The name Anika (or Annika) means 'favor', 'grace' or 'sweet-faced'. Jane also means 'grace', which must be a sign that she truly is a undeserved gift to us (and that we'll need a lot of grace to welcome her into our family during this crazy season.)

Now for the most important part - the pronunciation: The most correct way to say it is AH-nee-kah but that's a little too awkward for most Americans to say, so we are going with the AH-ne-kah pronuciation (rhymes with 'Hanukkah'). Make sense? Cool.

Soren can pronounce both of her names perfectly already and whenever I hear him say it it makes my heart melt a little bit. He is very serious about her and makes sure to remind me that she's "still growin." I think they'll be a great pair.

Now here's some older brother preciousness for ya'll...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

As Promised

Delicious Mother's Day breakfast at Honeymoon Cafe

The kids taking a rest

Riding in the "new van for us"

Family time at Shell Beach (I had my pregnant bum firmly planted on a blanket)

Watching the "surfins"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We're Telling

Woah, where have I been??

Well, basically trying to hold on to my sanity while I finish up my last couple months of juggling work, toddler raising, and figuring out what we're going to drive and where we're going to live. It's been crazy - which I always say - but you can probably get used to it for the next 12 months. We're just holding on for the ride, but with the craziness has also come a few new and really sweet friends that I am so grateful for. It makes me actually feel like I can handle whatever life is going to be like, knowing that I will have an amazing support system of other mothers that I admire. So, even in the midst of what is becoming the most stressful season of my life, I am finding so many things to be blessed by.

Now, onto the news...

1.) We bought a new car (OK, OK, it's a minivan) and it has honestly changed our lives. We fit now and will have no problem adding another little car seat when the time comes. Hallelujah! My legs fit and Soren no longer gets minor brain damage every time he gets placed in/out of his car seat. Violet can go places with us along with a big basket of laundry without us looking like a gypsy family. And best of all...it actually runs and I don't have to live in a constant state of worry that I'll be stranded along side the freeway with a child. It's amazing.

2.) We are moving to the country. Yep...gone are our city dwelling days. Hello rolling hills, dirt roads, quiet, cricket chirping and frog croaking nights and 15 minutes to anywhere. Out of urgent financial necessity, we are moving to my parent's property as we finish up Karl's last year in school. I'm excited to have the support of my parents as I juggle life with a newborn and a very independent toddler. Soren will have memories of catching Blue Belly lizards and hatching eggs of various birds and digging in the dirt for fun - just like his mama did.

Of course, this arrangement brings along with it it's own set of stresses, but we are planning lots of date nights and (hopefully) a housing situation that allows us alone time. Although it's not what we would have planned, we are going to make the best of it. This deal goes down the end of June, so this next month will be wild.

3.) We have a girl's name (which is old news) but due to some coaxing and thought on our part, we are now sharing the name. This little one shall be called Anika Jane Lundeen. We have loved this name since before we were married 8 years ago and have never heard another girl's name that has come close in our minds. Karl suggested the name Jane because it was sweet, timeless and simple and it just worked to put them both together. So now we'll have two appropriately named semi-Swedes in our household and it feels perfect. Now, go take a moment to be blown away by our child-naming skills.

*I must apologize for the lack of pictures, they will be coming shortly.*