Friday, November 22, 2013


The day before graduation, the Sloan School had an MBA convocation. It was at the beautiful Wang Theater. We only had 4 tickets, so Anna came with me and Sam's parents while Joe (Sam's little brother) stayed with Levi.

I'm really glad we had this event before hand because we got to be close and see Sam process in with his class mates and feel the excitement of graduation in a smaller setting. It was exciting and bittersweet and I shed a couple tears thinking about how hard we both worked to get here and about what we'd be leaving behind.

I told Sam to wave when he saw the camera

 Anna saw her friend Karisma there who had come to see her daddy Abishek graduate. Her little brother Ayush was asleep on his mom's shoulder. We lived one building over from their family and were so glad we got to become friends. Before we left we all got together for one last delicious Indian lunch that Deepna prepared for us.

Later that night there was a Sloan School reception at the top of the Prudential Tower.

A view of Fenway and the Citgo sign

Harvard bridge over the Charles and the MIT Dome (to the right of the bridge in the photo). We lived along the river at the far left of this picture.

scooper bowl!

Every year in Boston the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Jimmy Fund hosts the Scooper Bowl. You pay a flat admission fee and eat all the ice cream you want with the money going to support cancer research. It's great fun and I'm sad that we only caught it one year.

In preparation, Anna made some dessert faces with her magnets

Levi was the first to call it quits with the ice cream

I was not able to eat this much ice cream. I have Levi's three cups on there too. I had some really cool flavors but of course now, 5 months later, I can't remember what they were.

Sam was a little disappointed he couldn't comfortably eat more.

After we left, he went to the airport to pick up his parents for graduation!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the storey of the three little pumpkin pigs and the big bad jake-o-lantrn wolf

Written by Anna

Once upon a time there lived three little pigs in their pig city. It was Halloween. The three little pigs had planned a party for all their neighbors in big bad wolf city. One big bad wolf had planned to wear a jack-o-lantern costume. The three little pigs decided to wear pumpkin costumes. At first the wolf didn't know if they were pigs, but once he heard the pigs oink he just ate all those pigs in one bite. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

faith in a box

My faith has been a little fragile for the last 18 months or so. I had some very low months, questioning if God even existed, wondering what I was doing wrong to feel so far away. In the midst of that, I had two distinct and powerful experiences. The first assured me that Jesus Christ was my savior. The second assured me I had a Heavenly Father and Mother who loved me. Those two experiences kept me praying, kept me teaching my children, kept me going to church.

But though I had a teeny tiny glowing ball of hope, I felt like I needed to protect it for a while. I needed to box it up and crawl inside with it and just sit for a while making sure nothing could hurt it. It was fragile and I was fragile and we both needed to gain some of our own strength before we could venture out again. I scaled back my expectations of myself and my expectations of church. I did the bare minimum of activity and instead did a lot of thinking. I had many long talks with trusted friends, family, and of course Sam. I cried. I only said what I was sure of to my children.

 Honestly, I'm not really sure what happened over that time. Maybe nothing did. Maybe it was just time passing. But a couple weeks ago, I gave a talk in church. I only said what I thought was true, and it felt good. Other people told me it felt good to them, too. A new friend at church, who's only been a member for a few years, called me to ask for advice on lesson she was teaching. I heard myself suggesting stories from the scriptures she could share, stories I hadn't thought about since seminary. I read them later and that felt good.

Today, I told myself I was going to open up to the talks and lessons at church. The woman who spoke started her talk by saying, "The most important aspect of the gospel is love. Love like the Savior had for us. The best thing we can do in this life is to love other people." And then she taught how she saw love working through the church. The man who spoke talked about becoming selfless, about opening his eyes and heart to the people around him and finally seeing them. In Sunday School our teacher shared stories of his grandparents and grandchildren. In Relief Society our (clearly nervous) teacher gave a great lesson about being missionaries and sharing what we know to be true.

Now, before today when I decided to open my box a little, those talks on missionary work were so frightening to me. I knew I would not be able to share my faith with someone when it was so fragile. I couldn't invite someone to church when going myself involved adding some extra fortifications to my box, making sure it was nice and tight. But today was different somehow. Today I thought, "I could tell someone about how I felt today and I would be telling the truth. I could tell them God loves us. I could tell them the people here are good and trying to do the right thing. I could tell them that I really do believe there is priesthood authority in our church."

The full-time missionaries, the ones with white shirts and name tags, came over unannounced this week right at bedtime. I was so frustrated. The kids needed to get to bed. I hadn't had the chance to get mentally prepared for being patient with 18 year old boys, or for saying yes to what I knew they would ask us to do. But since they were standing on my doorstep in the dark, I invited them in. We don't have anything to sit on in our living room so we stood around and they asked us to give a Book of Mormon to someone. They used the word awesome way too many times and I found their enthusiasm a little forced, but we said yes anyway. I think I said it just to get them out. Sam probably said yes since he's been in their shoes. We haven't talked about it since they came.

But today at church I thought maybe, just maybe, I could open myself up to that. I could open my box a little a bit more and maybe it will feel good. I hope it does.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

levi report

Levi just cracks me up lately, so I have to record it.

Levi loves to sit on the potty for a long time. He just sits and thinks or sings. He also makes really funny faces just to feel how they make him feel since he can't see his face in a mirror from there. Sometimes I like to sit in there when I'm waiting for him to finish and have little conversations. I ask him his favorites (food, toy, movie, book, game, etc.) and then he asks me mine. Recently I asked him, "What's your favorite thing to do with Mom?" He said, "Mmmmm....hugs. Aaaaand....snuggles." Which is true. He is such an affectionate boy and several times a day just runs to me and wraps his whole body around me. I obviously relish this.

(photo by Anna)

A couple days ago I noticed he was needing some extra attention, so we skipped library story time and I read him books at home, we put some puzzles together, and I played with his cars with him. After all this, I took a shower, got dressed and ready, and got lunch ready which took maybe 30 minutes total. I sat down to eat with him and he said, "So, how was your day?" I said, "It was good. How was yours?" He said, (and he can't say his L's so imagine them all as W's), "Well, I just got a little lonely without you." And since I couldn't let little Levi be lonely, we scrapped all our plans for the afternoon and made granola together, played chasing, and read some more books.


Levi's also been doing some boundary testing lately and seeing how often he can get away with saying no, so it's not all hugs and snuggles, but I'm glad he's willing to make up for his orneriness with cuddles. He's also starting to read. He knows all the letter sounds and likes to sound out words. Of course, his thinking's not quite flexible enough yet to understand why "stuck" doesn't sound like stuh-k-k or why "mini" sounds like min-E and not min-ih, but still, it's pretty impressive to me and he's doing it all himself.

(our little super reader)

So that's our crazy, lovable boy right now. We think he's pretty great.

(photo by Levi)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

newport, ri

One of our last trips before we moved was to visit Newport, RI. We went with our friends the Jensens.

Anna and Skye rode with Shelly and Taylor while Levi and Bennett rode with us. They had some crazy boy fun, swapping cars and making weird sounds.

Sam and Taylor watched the kids at a nearby park while Shelly and I visited the Vanderbilts' mansion, The Breakers. It was AMAZING! It's hard to imagine people really living like that, but I can't say I would mind it. 

the view from the veranda

One of the "smaller" homes on the coastline

This is the side of the house. I thought I'd gotten some photos of the grounds, but I guess not. They had all sorts of exotic trees that had been imported when the house was built so they were all large and beautiful.

Afterwards, we got some lunch and then walked along the cliff walk. The kids enjoyed getting a little wet and the scenery was beautiful. All their little legs were helped along by a pack of fruit snacks I'd brought along for bribery purposes. It was yet another beautiful day in New England.


preschool graduation

Anna had the best preschool group last year. We all lived in the same apartment complex, had girls the same age, and had similar goals for what we wanted. The girls (usually) got along really well and Anna was always excited to go.

At the end of the year we had a very informal little graduation ceremony and we ate cake and the girls played. We really miss these families!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

boston temple

In June our Primary (the childrens program at church) visited the Boston LDS Temple. We each got a family picture outside it, talked about why the temple was important, and then had a delicious picnic dinner down the hill from the temple.

I'm amazed all the photos didn't look like this.

with our friend Lily

It was really hot so previous enthusiasm quickly flagged, but once we were in the shade for the picnic it was absolutely perfect weather.

with Lily's little sister Cali, one of Levi's best buds 

 This was the perfect climbing tree and Anna climbed really high. I couldn't touch her when I put my arm above my head. She loved it.

I'm so grateful for temples and for the peace I feel when I attend. I always leave feeling closer to my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, closer to my husband and more clear on our purpose as husband and wife and as parents, and ready to face the hard things in life.