Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

Pinakbets: (From left to right) my cousin Karl (holding a purse!), me, my cousin Erik, Anthony, Greg, and Mario (bottom)... at my dad's house, where he still lives today

As most sibling relationships go, I didn't truly appreciate my three brothers until after I left home and transitioned into adulthood. Of course I have countless memories with each of my brothers that I hold dear to my heart. We've shared laughter, pain, and of course... mischief.

One of my favorite childhood memories of my oldest brother Anthony is when he taught me to draw a star when I was very very little. I remember him wrapping his hand around my right hand as it gripped a pencil, and showing me how to draw those five little lines over and over again until I was able to do it by myself. I can't remember if I had asked him to teach me, but I have a feeling that he just decided to do it on a whim. What I love about this memory is that it is simple, sweet, and most of all, holds such weight since the star is a symbol that I have come to cherish for many reasons.

My absolute favorite memory of my older brother Greg is one that I don't think I've ever told anyone. We were on the phone, and I had recently moved to Phoenix. He would have been 20 and I would have been 18. He himself had just come to appreciate the value of family after having spent some difficult time living in the Midwest. As a youth, all I could think about was getting away from my family, and he likely sensed that I was now missing them all. At the end of our conversation, he told me he loved me right before hanging up. We weren't an affectionate family when I was a child, so the love I felt in his words gave me an especially significant jolt of happiness. I always remember that conversation, and still feel it when he says it today - at the end of almost every one of our phone conversations.

One of my favorite memories of my younger brother Mario is also a sad one that I don't often share. I'm not sure how old we were, but I would guess that I was fourteen and he was twelve (or maybe it was thirteen and eleven... either way I'm sure he was already taller than me by then). No one could find him anywhere, so I left the house to look for him. I discovered his hiding place just a few blocks away from home. He had run away for reasons that I remember with frightening clarity, but won't detail here. I looked into his eyes, and felt an overwhelming need to take care of him; I could see that he needed me, and was desperate. We ran off together, walking many, many miles to the place that I thought would be an appropriate haven. Despite our pleas, we were eventually sent back home. I will always remember the closeness I felt to him that day. Though he's less than two years younger than me (and now more than a foot taller), I felt like a big sister that day, and will never forget the way that experience bonded us together.

All that leads me to what I suppose was the intent of this post. I always wanted a sister. Of course I have a wonderful bond with my brothers individually and as a collective family... but I always wanted someone to giggle with. I wanted someone to play dress-up with, swoon over boys with, and tell girly secrets to. (I suppose that was why I was so close to my twin cousins, but that is a story for another time.) Almost three years ago, I finally got my wish when I married Jeff... thus gaining four sisters. I love spending time with them. They've already shown me how great "sister time" is. I'm not very girly, but our sister time lets me lose myself in a way that you only can with sisters. There is a special, unique bond that sisters have, and I'm so glad to finally be able to experience a piece of it. I sure lucked out in the in-law department. My parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews -in-law are good to their cores.

So I wanted to share these memories of my brothers as to not slight them when I express how grateful I am of my sister-in-laws, and how much I love them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Move Along, Little Doggies

Oh, the joys of moving. Packing has been coming along nicely. We have mounds of boxes and the to-do list is getting shorter. With a little more than a week before our move date, we're feeling much more prepared than last time. I hold onto the excuse that our last move was such a mess because it was out of state and we were juggling our first baby at the same time.

Harper has been "helping" by taking things in and out of boxes. I probably don't have to specify that most of our productive time comes during Harper's nap. We're all becoming more excited as the day approaches. We were worried that my sister-in-law's oldest would be upset about our moving out... but he seems more concerned about which toys we plan to take with us... as any almost-4-year-old should.

Dottie and Dexter seem to notice that a change is coming, too. Though we'll never be able to give them their royal days between racing retirement and Harper's birth, I can't wait to give them the space that they deserve. On the subject of the dogs... we recently learned that Noodle has finally found a new home. I think of her often, and even worry at times. I hope that the long wait was due to the rescue group finding the perfect home (without small children and with a big, fenced backyard). More than anything, I hope she found a home that loves her as much as we did, do, and always will. My heart still aches deeply when I think about how we gave her up, but I just have to remind myself of the reasons that we did. (Miss you so much, my Schnoodelie Boodelie Boo...)

Friday, July 9, 2010


I won't go into lengthy detail about our trials and tribulations in our rental home search, but I am excited to say that after a year of searching, we finally found one! We couldn't be more thrilled. Of course, now we will actually have to move. You'd think Jeff and I would be expert movers at this point, sheesh. It's a good thing that due to space constraints, we never fully unpacked from our last move.

It's only a few miles away from my sister-in-law and her family, who have graciously rented their basement to us for the last year and a half. It's hard to think about how much we'll miss her kids, and how sad it will be that Harper won't be playing with them every day anymore. They have so much fun together, so I'm sure we'll all visit often.

We'll take some pictures once we get settled. It's an older house (read: dated appliances and interior... but nothing beats the oven/stove we had in Seattle) with three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms and a fenced yard for Dottie and Dexter. It's not exactly something that we would purchase, but it meets our needs for the next couple of years until we are ready to buy again. We move at the end of the month, and I'm thrilled!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The 5th Beatle

We've had one heck of a holiday filled with family, fun, sand & waves (unfortunately not of the oceanic variety), video games (shout out to Lego Harry Potter!!) and lots of yummy food. Yesterday, Harper tried to prove that he is the true fifth Beatle. For a toddler, he sure knows how to rock the drum pads!

Amigurumi Banana

Harper loves bananas. Lately, he's less interested in eating bananas and more interested in opening it, taking a few bites, peeling it a bit more, and saying "na-na" over and over again. I thought it'd be fun if I knit a banana for him. I was so excited to use up a little of my acrylic yarn stash, so whipped up an amigurumi banana in no time.

It even comes completely out of the peel. Jeff and I were excited to give it to him the morning after it came off my size 3 double pointed needles. I wish I had taken a video of it. After breakfast, I told him, "Harper, I have a suprise for you!" I brought the amigurumi banana out from behind my back. He shouted "Na-na!!!!!" with his usual banana-induced excitement. He ran towards me, eyes fixed on the banana. He opened his mouth to take in about a quarter of the banana, biting down hard. He paused, looking down with confusion. Unsure of what to do, he finally spit it out and pushed the toy away. He threw a complete fit. Perhaps he thought we tricked him on purpose, or maybe he was just disappointed. Next time I'll put a squeaker in it. Maybe I'll embroider a happy face on it so he better understands that it's supposed to be a toy. Even now, a week later, he still wants nothing to do with the fraud of a banana.
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