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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A "Close Call" for Joshua

The boys and I went to park group today (a group of moms from church and community who get together each week at one of the fabulous parks in the area) and we had to park our car a ways away from the playground. We were walking across the grassy field to get to the play area, and Joshua had gotten ahead of Daniel and me. I noticed that a park maintenance vehicle had been at the playground and was now slowly making its way toward us on the walking path that cut through the grass. Joshua was still on the grass but as the truck got closer to passing him, I called out for him to stay right where he was until the truck passed by. Now, this was by no means a dangerous situation. The truck's driver and I had an understanding that he could see Joshua off to the side (and he wasn't even that close), the driver was going extremely slow, and Joshua was doing a great job of standing still while the truck drove past.

After the truck finally passed, instead of continuing on to the playground like I thought he would, Joshua bounded toward me shouting excitedly, "Mommy, Mommy, I didn't die! I stayed alive!" and he was truly happy about it. Such enthusiasm for life -- in this case, literally! I thought it was funny, and for anyone who knows Joshua well at all, I'm sure you can picture him saying this.

And here's a picture of him from the archives that is a current favorite of mine, just to spice up this post a little!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Children's Fairyland

Jayne and I took the boys to Children's Fairyland in Oakland yesterday and we had a wonderful time! The boys loved it! Anyone who grew up anywhere near Oakland probably remembers Children's Fairyland, and indeed, both Jake and I have very fond memories of the place. Joshua is about the same age I was when I went with my preschool class at age 4, so I'm sure he'll have fond memories of his own. What a special day for the boys with Grandma!

Sad news though: Children's Fairyland is looking kind of, well, shabby. The place is such a treasure I wish I could just give them a huge grant to update and maintain it (Mary Mary Quite Contrary had cobwebs all over her). Fortunately young children don't notice that type of thing (only their uptight mothers) and it didn't phase the boys. Well, Joshua did wonder why half of the magic boxes said "out of order" and why there was no water in many of the displays where water was obviously intended, but I think it still held the same magic for them that is has for children over all these years.

Daniel exiting the brick house from the "Three Little Pigs"

Joshua in the Crooked Man's House

Joshua takes a turn at the wheel of Captain Hook's pirate ship! I think this was his favorite place -- we stayed here the longest and came back at the end.

Daniel wrestles Captain Hook's crocodile

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4 Year Old Mechanic

Sometimes when I'm looking for something to do with Joshua and Daniel we search through YouTube for interesting videos. Past videos have included funny cartoons (Gopher Broke and Exercise Machine) and robots in action. I was surprised last weekend when, instead of entertaining videos, Joshua wanted to see pictures of engines.

We checked out the Wikipedia entry for internal combustion engines, and from there found some good animated engine diagrams and a couple of really good YouTube videos of engines (here and here). Both Joshua and Daniel liked watching them -- I'm suspicious that they'll be engineer types. Maybe when they're older we can build model engines and maybe even a go-kart!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Beautiful Seven

Jake and I have been married for seven years now and I thought it would be fun to do a little time line of our relationship. We have such a history together, much of which is meaningful only to us, but here are some basic highlights:

January 14 or 15, 1995:
Met at a youth regional dance in Walnut Creek, CA. Leslie thinks Jake is cute. Jake gets her name wrong.

May 12, 1995:
The relationship becomes "official."

August 1995-April 1996:
Freshman year at BYU. Fell in love.

July 1996-June 1998:
Jake serves a mission. Leslie realizes no one else remotely comes close to Jake or what they had together.

July or August 1998:
Colossal break-up at the Manti Pageant. Jake tells Leslie he isn't ready to resume their relationship the way it left off before his mission. Jake dates other girls; Leslie is jealous.

Sometime in between:
Jake comes to realize, as did Leslie, that nothing else even comes close to what they had together.

August 1999:
Jake proposes at the end of a pier at the Berkeley Marina. So romantic!

May 12, 2000:
Perfect day of wedded bliss at the Oakland Temple. Jake and Leslie discover that kisses are sweeter once you're married.

May 12, 2001:
1st anniversary in Sydney, Australia. Harbour Cruise, dinner at The Rocks (most delicious seafood salad ever!).

August 2002:
Move to San Diego

March 18, 2003:
Joshua Callen is born; gives Jake and Leslie the precious gift of parenthood. A new chapter begins.

July 4th, 2005:
Daniel Ryan joins the family; the legacy continues.

I will be forever grateful that Heavenly Father brought Jake and I together all those years ago. I would not have guessed that I was meeting my future husband at that dance at the tender age of 17. I was just coming out of a badly-ended relationship with a guy at KVHS (the student-run radio station I had been a DJ at) and I had decided that I was done with boys and all of my prior boy-crazy ways. I seriously recommitted myself to Heavenly Father was trying my hardest to put Him first in my life.

So when I met Jake, I was quite torn. Here was this handsome, kind, clean-cut, smart, charming, in-every-way-a-gentleman LDS boy who was the type of guy I'd always dreamed of dating, so vastly different from the gangstas at my high school and the grungies at KVHS. I had just sworn off boys though, and I think I was planning on becoming the first LDS nun, or something. I just didn't feel that I could maintain a relationship with a boy and keep my commitment to God at the same time.

And yet I felt then what I feel now, only I didn't quite realize what it was at the time; that Heavenly Father intended us for each other. He knew we would be so good together and arranged for us to meet. Tears spring to my eyes when I look back and realize that He granted me the most sacred gift at a time when I had sincerely committed myself to Him. In my seventeen-year-old mind, I thought that Jake may have been a distraction thrown in my path to test my commitment. I have come to realize that I was probably being blessed for my efforts.

That time we had together pre-mission, back when we were so young, really felt like it would last forever. Time somehow worked differently back then. Those 8 months of our freshman year at BYU truly were magical. A whole new world opened up as I finally began to know for myself what all those love songs were always going on about (thank you Chicago and Peter Cetera!).

I remember when it was all coming to an end , Jake had helped me gather my last things as I was moving out of my freshman dorm. We were the last ones to leave and as we looked back into the empty room I remember thinking, "I wish I could just freeze time and we could stay like this forever. We could stay together, he wouldn't have to leave on his mission." But then, like Eve, I recognized that if we remained that way we would never be able to progress, to get married or have a family of our own. We would just have to continue on as two young kids in love yet never realizing our full potential.

And so here we are, over 12 years later, and what we have together is amazing in the way it can be for two best friends who are blessed to journey through mortality together. Our beloved children are the next chapter in the story of us. They have added such richness and depth to our relationship. Just as when we first fell in love, now a whole new world has opened up to us and we get to know for ourselves the joys of fatherhood and motherhood. Our relationship has a whole new dimension and it is amazing how much our children have enriched our love and our lives.

Thank you Jacob for all that you are to me. You already see me as the person that I can become, at my best self. Your unending patience and love and kindness and support will help me to realize that potential and together we can "(find) in marriage the richest fulfillment of human experience" (President James E. Faust, Ensign, April 2007, 6).