And We're Back

We had such a wonderful summer.
Great trips, great friends, great fun. 
It was just delightful.
Until the last couple weeks...
when it quickly dissolved into a state of utter unbearableness.
I think my kids have been trying to set some sort of record for non-stop arguing.
(Is it that way for everyone by the end of the summer? Please tell me it's that way for everyone.)
There were days I was quite certain that World War III would begin in the Meeker home.
Specifically between Wess and Till (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).

we made it.
And just look how cute the kiddos are on their first day of 6th/2nd grade x 3...

Perhaps they're just happy that they are off to 4 separate classrooms...far, FAR away from each other.

Tess spent all morning curling her hair to perfection and finding just the right accessories.
She's so beautiful.
And growing up way too fast that one.
She's started asking me if her clothes make her look fat.
I can't believe we're to this stage already.
It's downright terrifying.

I think we've all been experiencing some anxiety as this school year begins.
The girls have had trouble sleeping.
They're up worrying about problems that they had with friends at recess 5 months ago.
Will is worried about feeling shy.
David was up with an upset stomach last night.
Even I woke well before my alarm this morning.
I guess first-day-of-school jitters happen to Moms too.

The kids get home in a few minutes. 
I can't wait to hear how it went.
I'm going to feed them ice cream and take them to the pool for a relaxing afternoon.
Because strangely enough the house has been a little too quiet this morning.
I hate to say it but I think I just might be missing all the shouting.

Posted with Tess' permission.


The stories I don't want to pass over.

It's not my strong suit.
As clearly evidenced by this blog.
Well, I take that back.
I'm consistent in the areas that really matter.
I pray and read scriptures with my kids (almost) every day.
I make my bed and brush my teeth.
I constantly harp on the kids about vegetables, sunscreen and 
'for heaven's sake let's be kind to one another.'
I get the things done that have to be done.
I just rarely get to the projects on my to-do list. (Where is that list?)
Like blogging for example.
If only there were 100 hours in each day.

I recently had over 6000 miles in the car to organize the thousands of photos 
on my computer.
It was glorious. (Organization makes me happy!)
In doing so, I realized all the stories I have yet to tell.
So many missed opportunities to share the cute things my kids have said and done, 
and the fun experiences we have had together.
It makes me sad.
And makes me want to try harder to record those memories for my family.

There is no way to catch up on everything.
But here are the 2012 highlights that I must share....

"To: Tess
From: Nora
I am sorry. I want you to be happy. 
I am so sorry for breaking your necklace.
Will you forgive me ________?
And I know it is special."


David quickly learned that leaving teeth for the tooth fairy is a much faster/easier way to make money than doing those stinkin' chores. 
His philosophy: If it's at all wiggly, it's coming out. 
Sometimes he recruits his dad to help:

This is the 2nd Annual Art Night that I have chaired at the school. It's pretty exhausting but I love it! And it's so worth the effort when you see all the students proudly displaying their art. This year was especially fun because I was hobbling around on an undiagnosed torn ACL (with extensive bone bruising), climbing ladders and bending in all directions to get the displays up. By Friday night I could barely stand on my feet.
Good times.

My view overlooking BSU stadium while rehabbing my torn ACL. It's quite motivating. 
I just know I'll be back to dancing at half-time in no time. (haha.)


David broke his wrist at school while doing the monkey bars with gloves on. His hands slipped, he landed wrong and chipped off part of the growth plate... which meant 2 trips to the ER... one to get x-rays and then one later that evening to have it re-set once they realized how serious it was. They had to bring in a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon.
(He turned out to be an LDS guy that had lived in the same ward boundaries that we did in Philadelphia just a couple years after we left. We sat excitedly chatting while David lay in agony. Poor Davey. At the end I told the doc to thank his wife- a mother of 5- profusely for letting him get away on a Fri night. I understand her position perfectly.)
Then a week later David pulled his cast off 'because it was bothering him' and had to have it re-cast (but only after he hid under the bed for a while so as not to be discovered). Again, this all took place after business hours. 

Silly Davey. Way to make this as expensive as possible.

We live on a ridge at the edge of Boise. It's beautiful but it means that we get a LOT of animals around these parts. Last year we had 2 bunnies that lived under the shed. We affectionately named them 'Bob' and 'Bob's brother.' Well, ahem, they had a busy year. Now we have 10 bunnies and also an adorable family of quail that live in our yard. During the winter we get up to 8 deer at a time. They enjoy eating away at our plants/bushes. The worst for sure are the snakes and mice. (Shouldn't the snakes eat the mice??) Many people on our street get cats to kill the mice, but then the coyotes eat the cats. It's kind of a problem. 

Here is what a mouse nest looks like inside a piano (in case you were wondering):

Ahh, that's why the dog's food has been disappearing.


 If you ever have the choice to live anywhere in the country, choose BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI. And then invite me to come visit you...because it's the loveliest place I've ever been.
Thanks Wyatt and Chelsea for a delightful stay!
Chelsea- you are so fun to be with!... and my style guru.

Wy- you may just be the most selfless man I know. 
God only had to give me one brother because he got it exactly right the first time.

This darling Tudor is the home that my family lived in 35 years ago while Dad was a derm resident in Grosse Pointe, MI. Yes Mom, it's still sooooo charming.

Oh Michigan (the place of my birth)- I love you. Hopefully I'll be back soon. Next time I'd like you to introduce me to your Great Lakes. I've probably seen them but I was too young to remember.

Nate will never toot his own horn, so I have taken it upon myself to do so.

Keynote speaker at the Red Cross Appreciation Dinner. 
He had the entire room sniffling as only Nate can do.
Afterward there was a line of people just waiting to shake his hand.
And a line of people waiting to congratulate me for being married to such a man.
Don't worry- I know how lucky I am.

Receiving grant money for pediatric cancer research.

An article appeared in the Idaho Statesman:

Thanks babe for working so hard and providing so well for our family.
You make me proud!

I was busy snapping away on the camera when I noticed David's shoes. 
Man, that kid is quirky.
(And for the record, I adore quirky.)

P.S. This post took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to put together, but man-oh-man that ipiccy can do some fun things with pictures. I was having a grand old time playing around. I'm loving the 'Orton Effect' as you can probably tell.


The thing about infertility

I have wanted another baby for many years now.
How old are the twins?
Almost seven? (Good grief.)
That's about right.
I have wanted another baby for almost 7 years now.

Infertility is both my biggest hardship and my greatest blessing thus far in life. 

Were I not infertile, I would have had a 5th, and then probably a 6th, years ago.
I would have done this without even thinking about it.
I'd be surrounded by a gaggle of thin-haired, scrawny children with the varicose veins to prove it.
I'd feel complete. And incandescently happy.

Sometimes I like to imagine a world in which this is my reality.
Where I'm in control and get to plan things my way.
Where I could choose not only the year, but maybe even the month in which my kids were born.
Oh, the delight.
(For the record I would choose April and October because those are my fave.)

But that is not my reality.

And for that I am eternally grateful.
Really and truly I am.
Because it means that I've had to learn to rely on the Lord a bit more.
To put my faith and trust in Him.
It means that I have gotten to experience things I never could have dreamed of.
And learn things I couldn't have learned any other way.
The good Lord has blessed me immeasurably.

I am a mother.
I'm a mother of boys and a mother of girls.
I am a mother of a singleton and a mother of multiples.
I am an adoptive mother. And a biological one.
The Lord has blessed me with many different "mothering" experiences.
Oh, the joy.

Each of my children is so different.
I know all mothers say that.
But I think it's safe to argue that different genetic make-ups create truly unique children.
It's delightful to get to know each one...to figure out how each mind works and what makes them tick.
To discover their personalities and talents.
It's challenging.
And rewarding.
The joy that Nathan and I feel from this experience is beyond my ability to put into words.

Side note: I'm not sure where I am going with this post.
It certainly isn't meant to be any sort of big announcement.
I guess I just need to talk through my thoughts and feelings... mostly for myself.

I have prayed about whether or not to add to our family for years.
The last 7 years to be exact.
There have been times that I have felt very strongly that it was not the right time.
And then there have been times, like now, that I'm just confused and unsure.
You see, when you're infertile you can't go with the "let's just stop all preventative measures and see what happens" approach.
It has to be deliberate.
There are lots of options...artificial insemination, in-vitro, adoption...and with that there's foreign or domestic, black or white, baby or older...
It's downright dizzying to consider all the possibilities.
And they all take time and MONEY...so you dang well better be committed.

And then there's the fact that when you are infertile, you're conflicted with questions and emotions that fertile women have never even had to think about:
Am I infertile because I'm unworthy in some way?
Is God punishing me for something?
Is there something I need to learn before God will bless me with another child?
Maybe I shouldn't seek to have more children because it's clearly not God's will that I have them.
Did God know that I would be a bad mother and that's why he's made it so hard for me?
(This is especially easy to think on your less-than-stellar mothering days, which for me, happen all the time.)

I doubt and second-guess myself every day.

But then I go to my husband so that he can tell me how ridiculous it all is.
And that in fact, I'm a pretty good mother (which I need to hear).
And then I try to remember and focus on all the many ways in which the Lord has blessed me and my family.
And I normally end up on my knees in gratitude.

Alright, it's getting late.
Let me end with one final list to put my mind at ease so that I can get some sleep.
(And because I love lists!)
Things I know to be true:
a) The Lord loves all His children.
b) The Lord is mindful of our families and they are important to Him!
c) The Lord knows the righteous desires of our hearts and holds them sacred.
d) Sometimes the Lord makes a couple infertile because He knows that they will be willing to adopt and He wants good homes for all His children.
e) Adoption is sacred and pleasing in the sight of God.
f) I want another child.
g) I have no idea what's going to happen, but I am going to spend each day loving and feeling immense joy in the family I already have. Because dang it, I have some amazing kiddos. 


16 and How I Ruined My Knee Just Standing There

Today my love and I have been married for 16 years.
That seems ridiculous to me.
I feel old just saying it.
Not as old as yesterday when David asked me if there was electricity when I was born.
But still.

We've had our share of ups and downs over the years.
The highest highs and lowest lows.
I thank the Lord everyday that I've had Nathan by my side through those experiences.
He makes me laugh.
And he's my rock.
The man is tough- there's no doubt about it.
I think I'll keep him around.

Every so often Nate looks at me and says, "I never expected to marry a pretty girl."
I l-o-v-e it when he says this.
Because I think he's trying to say that he thinks I'm one of those pretty girls.
And who doesn't like to hear that?
Plus, it means that I exceeded his expectations.
And that's an awesome feeling.

According to Nate, he was a "total geek" growing up.
This is absurd to me.
Apparently, he grew up in a town of completely stupid women.
That or the fact that he wrestled in the 98 lb weight division in jr high.
When he was close to 5'10" mind you.
I've always tried to imagine what that must have looked like.
But now I have a daughter to show me:

This picture of Nora cracks me up.
She did not get that lean, mean body from me.
No siree. 
That's gotta be from her 5'10", 98-pound father.
Bless his heart.

Anywho- it doesn't matter because he blossomed into the total hotness that he is now, and I found him first.
So take that stupid women of England and Delaware.
(That's where Nate did his high school years for those that I may have lost. Stay with me people.)

To celebrate our anniversary I went to the doctor to get a knee injury checked out.
It's been 3 weeks.
I hadn't gone before now because, well, it seems silly to pay another doctor when you're married to one.
And I'm not in much pain.
But Nate had ruled out my need for chemotherapy and it still wasn't getting any better, so I thought I better see a real expert in the area.
The doc examined me for a total of 2 minutes and then said,
"Have you heard of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament?"
Heaven help me, please no.
But yep, worst fears confirmed.
Apparently I have torn my right ACL.

(Before you start judging Nate's skills as a doctor, let me add that the Family Practice doc across the street also examined my leg and didn't catch it. I'm super good at tensing up when someone tries to examine me. They end up saying, "Now try to relax your muscles" about 10 times before giving up.)

How did I tear my ACL?
Well, that's a rather absurd story.
Let me see if I can adequately paint the picture of awkwardness for you...

We were skiing with the kids.
I stood at the top of the hill.
One of the kiddos (who shall remain nameless) lost control and took off down the hill with my leg in tow, pulling it at a not-so-natural angle.
Kiddo was screaming in fear, I was screaming in pain, we were a big tangle of skis.
After 20 seconds of slow excruciating stretch I felt something in my knee give.
If you are thinking Ouch! then you are correct.
I was f-i-n-a-l-l-y able to release my bindings and then I was no longer in pain.
Mostly, I was just glad that the hill was dark and deserted.
That had to have been the most ridiculous looking fiasco in the history of skiing.
Bless my awkward heart.

(And yes- I had to be tobogganed off the mountain.)

Happy Anniversary to my love.
Sorry I'm not much fun lately.
But hey, if we need a pick-me-up, we can always ask Nora to flex her muscles.
That's sure to make us smile.


Tess plays the harp.

It's cool to be able to finally say that.
We've only been talking about it for 2 years now.
But we moved to Idaho as you may recall.
And then we remodeled a house.
And the timing never seemed quite right.
Until a few months ago when we finally got serious about the idea.
And then, bam!
The harp and harp teacher fell right into our laps.
I think this is one idea the Lord is very much on board with.
He certainly made it easy on us.
You see, we've been praying to find something that Tess could call her own.
Something that would help her feel special.
I think this may just be the thing- she was positively floating by the end of the lesson.

And I'm pretty excited too.
Who wouldn't want harp music filling their home everyday?
I think this may be the start of something beautiful.


Week in Review

Last Saturday we took the kids to see Hugo in 3D.
Nate and I agreed it was the most visually stunning movie we had ever seen.
About 40 min into it,Tess leaned over to me and whispered,
"This is the longest preview ever. When is Puss in Boots going to start?"
I giggled for the rest of the movie.

For Sunday dinner I made:
Flank Steak in Ginger Jalapeno Marinade
Cream of Asparagus Soup (which elicited a kiss on the cheek from Tess)
Whole Wheat bread
Apple and Endive Salad
All from the Horsley family cookbook.

It didn't taste near as good as Mom's.
And I was too exhausted to make dessert.
But I'll keep working on it.
Someday, someday...

After dinner, Nate gave Tess, Will and Nora their piano lessons.
And David his electric guitar lesson.

Because David's not really a classical music kind of guy.
Then with his guitar out, Nate serenaded me with an upbeat version of Barry Manilow's Can't Smile Without You.
I love it when he does that.

Monday (MLK Day) was declared a Pajama Day at our house.
My favorite kind of day!
I tried to help David clean his room.
We weren't getting anywhere.
He was determined to hang on to every candy wrapper, broken lego and even the 3 day old milk sitting on his bedside table.
I resorted to showing him pictures of hoarders' houses.
Like this:

After this visual demonstration, we were able to whip David's room into shape.
He started saying things like,"Oh mom, I can breathe so much better in here now."
We even took an hour to organize his legos.

(Now how long do you think that's going to last?)

On Tuesday, the kids spent lots of time playing with the newly organized legos.
Except for Will who did lots of this for a change:

Wednesday: Nate and I (but mostly Nate) taught swing dancing to the youth in our ward.

Thursday: I had a 2 hour religious discussion with 2 Catholic friends. I found it invigorating. And vowed to do it more often.

It was a post- call Friday for Nate.
Which means that he didn't have to work.
The two of us had eggs benedict at Goldy's and then hit the slopes.
We have exactly one ski resort in Boise- Bogus Basin.
It finally opened for the season on Jan 19th- the latest opening in the history of the resort.
We were anxious to get up there. And it was a beautiful day.
We got in a total of 4 runs before needing to get home to the kids, but we have decided that this is our new winter Post Call Friday tradition.

On Saturday, we went skiing again.
This time with the kids in tow.
It took us 6, yes s-i-x, hours to make sure all the kids had ski gear, buy/rent what we didn't have, get season pass pictures taken, and get everyone dressed and ready.
We made it to the resort just in time for the afternoon blizzard.
And we forgot to feed the kids lunch.
And also, we (and by we I mean Nate) accidentally put Will's ski boots on the wrong feet.
(But it turns out that he is a total animal on the hill regardless.)

Despite the setbacks, we had a pretty great time.
Until we didn't.
And then we went and got 1 lb greasy cheeseburgers.

Which kind of makes me sick just thinking about it.

And that wraps up a week in the life of the Meekers.


Now good people, please take a moment to pray for sweet Jack who will be having heart surgery on Wed.
Jack was born with Down's Syndrome to Chad and Jamie (my step-cousins...or something like that).
Read about their sweet family on Jamie's blog here.
Read this post and you will be crying for days.

And visit Jamie's design blog here.
There is no home improvement project this girl won't tackle.
She's completely fearless.
And...she's hilarious.


The world we've created for our children and Will loses his first tooth.

On Tuesday I helped out in the childrens' classrooms at the school.
Two things to note:

1. They had a "Lock Down Drill."
Not to be confused with your average fire drill.
A lock down drill is when you practice what to do should an armed lunatic come onto school property.
Lock the door from inside the classroom. Turn off the lights. Get under your desks. Make sure you can't be seen from the window in the door.
This is what our world has come to.
I felt a moment of true panic as I crouched underneath the table alongside the students.
What if this were really happening?
I can't believe my 6 year-olds have to practice this.
And yet, I'm grateful that they do.

On a lighter note...
2. Will lost his first tooth.
Up until that point he hadn't let us near it.
I had no idea it was so loose, until I happened to notice it hanging forward in his mouth at a 90 degree angle.
"Will we need to pull that tooth or you might swallow it during lunch."
He reluctantly opened his mouth.
After all, the tooth fairy won't come unless you have an actual tooth to put under your pillow.

Later that night, I asked Nate to get some pictures to record the occasion.
The next day I found these beauties on the camera:

Wow. Thanks babe. Those are...um....really great.
It's a cryin' shame you chose medicine as a profession instead of photography. 



I know...Thanksgiving is so...so... 2011.
But it was a very memorable one and I must document it.

A few things to note about this picture:
1. It is about 2:00 in the afternoon.
2. David is already in his pajamas.
3. David did wear his Thanksgiving outfit for a full hour during the meal thereby honoring our agreement.
4. This was the last time I saw my cute Grandma.

Rhoda Cutler Wiscomb

Much of who I am is shaped by my grandma.
She was the embodiment of grace.
Even on her death bed, she offered ice chips (the one thing she could eat) to all who came to visit.
I'm happy for her to be well again.
And Grandma- I expect a killer Welcome Home Party when I join you.
With fine china, place cards and aspic.
(And yes Grams, I really like the aspic.)

And now, some important Thanksgiving information:

This year I will blog more.

Or at least that's my goal.
Once per week people.
I know, I know- I already missed the first week.
But we were out of town, so that's a pretty good excuse. 
Jan 1st started off here:

And then we went here:

Yep, 2012 is off to a fantastic start.
Happy New Year's everyone!