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Thursday, July 28, 2011

the story of us

“Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

As I sit down to put this all into writing, I find myself struggling to remember all the details of exactly how “we” came to be. I don’t know if I’ll ever again see God working so clearly to piece together the steps of my path. Don’t get me wrong, He’s always working…it’s just not always so easy to map it out.

I can remember the first time I ever “laid eyes on him”, as they say. He was doing a half-time performance as the drum major of the Hawkeye Marching Band, so I was seeing him from halfway up Kinnick Stadium. But still he caught my eye J He was wearing a white shirt, black pants and a fedora. Pretty cute! In the coming months, I would be introduced to him on two different occasions. If I’m being honest, I really didn’t care for him much! Seems funny to think about now. The second interaction was definitely more positive than the first, though, so when I got my first teaching job and made the decision to move to Williamsburg, I asked a friend for Dameon’s phone number because I was hoping he could give me some leads on apartment potentials.

It was a hot summer day in early August of 2006, when I gave him a call and left a vague message on his voicemail. Something along the lines of, “I don’t know if you remember me, but we’ve met before. I’m moving to Williamsburg and I know you teach there. I’m hoping you can give me some input or information on some apartments. Please call me back.” The next day he did call me back. We spoke briefly and he told me why the apartments I had looked at would not be good choices. One option because it was a bad location and the other option, according to him, would be much too noisy. He then told me that he lived in the top half of a house that had been converted into two apartments, and that he was pretty sure the people who lived on the main floor were going to be evicted. We left it that he would look into it and get back to me. I waited a couple more days before hearing from him again. He gave me the phone number of his landlord and told me my best bet was to give the guy a call. Within a week, I had secured the downstairs apartment, which would be available as soon as the landlord was finished cleaning it out. In the meantime, I started really thinking about this Dameon guy. Partially because I was excited to actually have some sort of a friend in my new town, and partially because I had this very strange, very surprising, very good feeling about him. But this feeling was accompanied by a little bit of concern. What if I really ended up liking this guy and then he had a girlfriend and I would either hang out alone all the time or be the third wheel? That would be a real bummer. I remember mentioning this to my friend, Brooke. Was it weird that I felt like I already liked him? Yeah, a little bit. J

Moving day happened the Friday before school started. Dameon was unable to help because he was struggling with a neck injury, but he stopped down the next day to say “hello”. I remember trying to quickly primp in front of the mirror when I heard him coming down the stairs because I didn’t want to look like I had been unpacking all day! We talked for awhile, and before he left he invited me to go to church with him the next morning. Hmmmmm…major plus! I can’t remember how I found out that he was single…but I did.

After that, we spent most of our free time together. He was very busy with marching band and directing the fall musical, so I would wait up each night until I heard him pull into the garage and walk to my front door to chat for a little bit. It took us about a month to officially start dating, and another month after that to start talking about marriage. It’s hard to believe that nobody told us we were crazy!! I had a 15 minute commute to my school at that time and I can remember spending lots of time thinking about Dameon. It was such a giddy and exciting time. Everything in my life just seemed so incredibly clear. I even remember often looking at my left hand on the steering wheel and imagining a sparkly ring on it. Such a girly thing to do!!

Toward the end of October, I brought Dameon to Boone to introduce him to my family. He fit right in, just like I knew he would! On December 2, I traveled home to go to a friend’s wedding. I was planning to spend the night at Mom and Dad’s and go back to Williamsburg the next day. When I left the wedding reception, I called Dameon to tell him about the wedding and let him know I was on my way to Boone. He interrupted me a few minutes in, and told me his Dad was calling him and he would need to take the call and call me back later. When I got to Boone, I arrived to an empty house. That was strange, since it was about 9:00 p.m. I changed into pajamas…which happened to be about the ugliest ones you could imagine, and waited for Dameon to call me back. I called Mom to find out where everyone was at. She told me she and Dad had gone to Des Moines to do some Christmas shopping and were on their way home. That seemed legit. After about 30 minutes of waiting, I finally called Dameon back. “Did you forget to call me?” I asked. “Oh…yeah….well, I don’t like talking on the phone in front of people,” he said. “You’re with people?” I asked. And then he made up some story about how he was at a friend’s apartment waiting for other friends to arrive. But then I heard the “ding ding ding” that a car makes when you open the door with the keys in the ignition. I was flooded with dread because I knew he was lying to me and I didn’t know why. And then the doorbell rang.

I opened the door to find him standing there with a dozen roses. And I still didn’t know what was happening! I was glad to see him, but very confused at the same time. He proposed to me in the entryway of my parents’ house and I about fell over in shock. In fact, I think I did fall over a little. It was the best moment of my whole life, up to that point! As it turned out, my parents were in on the whole thing and were meeting with Dameon in Johnston while I was at the wedding! They even went with him to pick out the roses J The next hour was spent celebrating with my family, calling other family members and friends, and watching my dad bust out and single-handedly drink most of the cheap champagne!!! (Love ya, Dad)

We were married 8 months later on July 28, 2007…less than a year after I moved into that apartment.

My friend recently told me that she has heard it said that your wedding day is the best day of your life, but the day you give birth to a child is the most romantic. So true!! There was something transformational that happened in my heart as we took our vows four years ago. And being side by side with Dameon as our baby was born formed a bond between us like no other experience ever will.

Thank you, Dameon, for marrying me and accepting all the good and not-so-good that makes me who I am. Thank you for breathing confidence into me and for loving me through the highs and the lows. I love you most.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

carry-out boys say the darndest things

When you live in a town the size of Winterset and you're the band director's wife, it's a basic requirement that you have to maintain a certain level of...shall we say...sophistication at the local grocery store. Lots of high school kids work there, lots of parents shop there, and lots of them know who I am even if I don't know them. I've had a few Fareway moments that have made my head spin. The one that used to take the cake happened when I was about 35 weeks pregnant and feeling, well, 35 weeks pregnant. Dameon was with me and witnessed the whole thing. It started with the checkout girl giving me the once over with a look of total disgust and then asking me if I was feeling okay. "Yes, I feel great!" I replied. She then proceeded to tell me that I looked like I felt awful and then took it a step further by confirming with Dameon that I was indeed "doing okay." She then made some comment about how pale I was, to which I responded with "Nope, that's just my skin." Moving on.

A few weeks ago I was doing my weekly shopping. I had reached the point in the trip where it was time to walk out to the car with the carry-out boy following behind with my groceries. Back when I was a Fareway worker, I always tried hard to lead a conversation with the customer and be extra polite in the process. So I always kinda hate it when we walk to the car in silence and it's up to me as the customer to do the talking. At least that's how I used to feel. I wasn't sure if this particular kid was a band kid or not, but regardless, I attempted to make some small talk. "How are you today?" I say. "Good, how are you?" he replies. "Great." We reached my vehicle and as I was opening the truck I realized I was still hauling around the kennel and the stroller.

Me: "Uh oh. Sorry I forgot to clear out some space in my trunk."

Kid: Looks into the trunk and says, "Have you ever considered...."TIME OUT. At this point I think his sentence is going to go something like, "Have you ever considered cleaning out your trunk before you come to the store?" And I'm prepared to get pretty annoyed. But no. What he actually says is, "Have you ever considered the brain?"

Me: "What?"

Kid: "I was just thinking about how many songs I know. I mean, I know the words to a lot of songs. And then I was thinking about how much other stuff I know. And how much stuff I, like, remember."

And now I'm soooooo glad I'm wearing sunglasses so that the look of pure bewilderment in my eyes is somewhat hidden.

Me: "Yes. It's amazing."

Kid: "I know! And then I was thinking that if my brain can remember that much, then I wonder how much a dog can remember!!"

And now the groceries are completely loaded, my trunk is standing open, and we're both standing there just staring at each other. Him with a look of amazement on his face and me with a sudden realization that he's actually waiting for some profound insight from me or something. And all I can think to say is, "I'll just get this," as I close my own trunk. I then walked in silence to my door and got inside. I'm pretty sure he was still standing there lost in thought as I pulled away.
As I drove home, I started to wonder if I should call the manager and suggest they get the kid some water or something. It was a super hot day. Maybe he was dehydrated?? I haven't seen him there since, but the next time I do I'll be on the look-out and try to mentally prepare for some sort of conversation about things such as...
"Have you ever thought about how you can buy corn in a cob or in a can??" And my response will be AWESOME.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Seven months and counting

Taking the monthly picture got much more interesting this time around, as you can see :)

  • Henry now weighs in at about 19 pounds
  • Grabs everything he can get his little hands on!
  • Sits in his high chair to eat...banana puree and sweet potato puree are his faves
  • Scoots backward and sometimes lifts his hips off the floor
  • Sleeps pretty well during the night but doesn't love to take naps
  • Sits up for short spurts of time by himself
  • Says "da da da da" all the time
  • Loves "The Wheels on the Bus" song...with actions performed by mom and dad, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

banana love

Avacado? No way! Sweet potato? Just okay. Peas? Meh. Pears and Squash? Not too interested. But banana rice cereal? This boy could eat it all day. As long as it's served with a side of high chair tray...

And, yes, these pictures were taken after Henry's very first sideburn trim. The first of many, I'm sure.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lullaby say what?

The following is a collective summary of a scenario that has played out over the past several weeks and is another one of those things that would have never happened in my pre-parenthood days...

So Henry has this lullaby CD. I started playing it way back when he was brand new, just kindof as background music. Then when we started working really hard on crib-sleeping, I thought it just made sense to incorporate music into the routine. Like, every time you hear this music, it means sleep. The CD is called Jewel's Lullaby, or something like that. It's just a collection of lullabies, mostly old I think, sung by Jewel. It's a pretty good CD. Nice and soothing and mellow. So every night when it's time for bed, I hit "PLAY" and away we go.
Well, a few weeks ago it dawned on me that maybe Henry should be hearing me sing instead. I mean, I want him to be soothed by the sound of my voice. The problem is I don't really know that many lullabies. But I knew the tunes of Jewel's first five or six songs real well. So, I decided to kinda hum along. You know, give him a little combo pack duet thing. It didn't take me long to realize that Jewel and I don't exactly have the same range, so things got a little iffy here and there. Oh well. The next night, I decided I should probably try to pick up some of the lyrics. It was then that things got strange.
At first I thought I must be mistaken, so I listened harder, trying to decipher. Did she just, that doesn't even make sense. So, I googled it. Song #2 is called "All the Animals" and it goes "All the animals agree you and me should be a team. And they walk on parade say that we were made to be a team. And my wings weaken beneath your will. And before you I am trembling and still." HUH??? I just cannot sing that. I don't even get it.
Anyway, not only does Henry fall asleep to this CD, Dameon and I also fall asleep to it playing through the baby monitor. It's really no big deal and we're pretty used to it by now, but the other night I had one of the most seemingly real dreams I've ever had. The kind where you have to be awake for quite awhile to convince yourself it wasn't real. I'm sure you can guess who the dream featured. Yep, Jewel. In my dream I was sleeping and Jewel woke me up by knocking on our bedroom door. She said, "Can I come in?" And I said something non-committal like, "Uh, I guess." Then she came in with a bunch of animals walking two by two, total Noah's Ark style. She was determined to fit all these animals around the edges of our bedroom and she just kept packing 'em in. Like elephants and rhinos and stuff.
The next night we tried to switch out the CD to a classical piano type thing, but Henry wouldn't stand for it. He loves it. So, Jewel it is.
Sometimes my life is weird.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

photo recap

Henry has a lot of new favorite things these days. Here are some of them in no particular order:

Riding around (and falling asleep!) in his new carrier. This picture was taken when we went over to check out the action at the Central Drum Major and Color Guard Camp that Daddy was working at.

Sitting in his new high chair

Rolling all around and playing with toys

Razzing and saying, "Da da da da da"

Grabbing things and trying to get them to his mouth

Pushing up and using his arms to do a little bit of scooting

New perspectives of old toys

New uses for old toys

Getting tuckered out from all that play time!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

for the sake of reminiscing

I came across this video the other day and found myself saying that thing that moms always say. Something like, "I forgot how tiny he was!!" Believe me. I get it now!