Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another new friend...

Yesterday was the birthday of our newest friend, A.G.W. The boys and I went to see her at the hospital last night and she is so sweet! And she looks just a little like her big brother. The boys are just infatuated with babies right now but when I asked burrito to hold her, he was a little hesistant.

The baby started crying, burrito got a little nervous and noodle was telling her to "shhhh..." in this picture:

I once again had the good pleasure of answering 101 questions about having babies on our way to visit, though I did notice burrito explaining to noodle quite knowingly that "you have to go to the hospital to have a baby."

Thank you Lord for healthy babies and good friends!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cougar Pride and Football Fun

This weekend was full of Cougar Pride! The boys and I met John up at the main campus for our first ever pep rally on Friday. The boys loved it....all the screaming and energy and the football players and the cheerleaders and the cougar mascot....it was a little piece of heaven for them. It was great for mom to see a little of Dad in the middle of a school day.

Here's John and the boys wearing their Cougar orange

Burrito and his friends from school with the Cougar mascot

Then the big football game was on Saturday. This was the first home game of the season and so a big picnic preceeded the game with food, bounce houses, and lots of things to see. We invited our friend from church to come along and the 3 boys had so much fun. They were mesmerized watching the football players warm up for the game. Notice burrito's and noodle's Romo football jerseys. My mom bought these for them this past week and I don't think they have taken them off since. John really appreciates this gift, as he is not a Cowboys fan.

The boys walking from the picnic to the football game

John and the two older boys
Burrito and our friend from church...these two have zero self control when together :)

John's Birthday Celebration

Some fun pictures from John's birthday. We went to Cheddars for the birthday dinner with Uncle Daniel. And then back home for the birthday cake.

A coffee flavored football cake made by me with love

Opening presents from mom and the boys

A present with legs

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Post for My Husband

September 18 is a good day. 34 years ago the best husband ever was born. Yes, I know this is super syrupy but it's the truth (and this is my blog so I am allowed). Happy Birthday baby! We are so thankful to our God for you.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to post "our story" for those of you that do not know it. I think it is a great story and I love telling it.

I met John through my college roommate Julie. John and Julie grew up together in their youth group. When we (Julie and I) would come home for a weekend, Julie would gather all of her friends from home too. So inevitably, I came to know several people that belonged to Julie's circle, John included. So we would see each other periodically, maybe 2-3 times a year for a couple of years, even when Julie moved to Tyler to attend a college there.

I remember the first time I met John. He was teaching at a Christian school where Julie's mom worked and so we went to see him in his classroom on a visit to Julie's mom. I found it quite comical. There were 3 girls in his room and he seemed totally uncomfortable and maybe intimidated by all of these women. I knew a little about John at this point. Julie valued his friendship and theology. He seemed very internal, maybe a little quiet, and definitely a thinker. I love boys like that. And he played guitar, a huge plus in my book.

I remember on another visit, we went to a baseball game and my other roommate Kendra made the comment that she could see John and I getting married. A totally off the cuff comment, especially since Kendra didn't really know John enough to make such a prediction. Nonetheless, I will admit it made John all the more attractive and mysterious to me.

One weekend, Heather C and I went to visit Julie in Tyler, along with Julie's friends Daniel, Heather and of course, John. We all crashed in Julie's one bedroom apartment and had a great time. Julie told me later that Heather told her on the way back home that John kept talking about me. Hmmmmm....

My dad and Julie had a funny relationship. They were bound to one another by their love for cut-off shorts and Dad sort of adopted Julie as his 3rd daughter. So when it came time for Julie to graduate college, my dad and I traveled to Tyler to see Julie graduate and attend a little celebration back at her apartment. This visit to Tyler confirmed my suspicions that John was interested in me. He had traveled there too and back at Julie's apartment, he would not leave me alone, totally giving me a hard time about everything, a true sign of love. Right in front of my dad!

So things went along like this for awhile. Julie moved back to the area and the 3 of us would meet at a coffee shop once a month maybe for a deep theological discussion (or should I say argument?) and some coffee. It was great! Oh, how I miss those days. Well, Julie had the nerve to go off and get engaged to a guy in Boston (Julie if you are reading this, I am just kidding!) so she quickly ditched us and it became just a John/Jennifer theological debate. Basically, John would beat me up with the Bible and I would take it! :) These were the best of times and the worst of times because John was leaving in January to attend Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and I knew our days were numbered.

Now, let me take a break and make mention of this. I was a fiercely independent single girl and was content, for the most part, with that role in life. I was working full time, going to Seminary full time and leading worship for the youth group at my church. I lived out of my car. I had bags packed for each thing I did. I was super busy and loved every second of it. I had been wounded by a previous relationship and in many ways, was damaged goods. I had been so hurt emotionally (and this was 4 years prior) that I really struggled with trusting another person with my heart. John and I talked about this even in our coffee meetings.

So with that said, I didn't know what to think about John or about him leaving. I remember him calling on Christmas Day to see if I wanted to go see Lord of the Rings at the movies with him that night. Umm, duh, yes I wanted to go. We went to the 10pm show and I remember making my hand easily available to him in the movies so that if he wanted to hold my hand, he could do so. He didn't take the bait. We laugh about this now.

So, the time came for him to leave. 3 days before he was set to drive to Philly, we had a coffee date. After much consternation, I had written him a letter describing to the best of my ability how I felt about him. I also bought him a phone card so that if he wanted to call me, he could. But I was a chicken and only gave it to him at the end of our time together that night, with the explicit instructions to not open it until he got home. I was scared.

Well, the next day goes by and I don't hear from him. Not a good sign. The Lord was good to me though. He protected my heart. I was not in despair.

The next night, the night before he leaves town, my phone rings. It's him. Lord, help me. After some small talk, he gets right to the point. He drops the bomb. We are too much alike. It would never work. What??? In the same sentence he would say "I think about you all the time and want to call you" and "We are too much alike and it would never work." What was a girl to say? He just stomped my heart, my vulnerable heart into the ground, but I liked him too much to get mad. I don't remember how the conversation ended, but it did and I wondered if our friendship would ever be the same.

Well, I went on with life. I thought about him a lot, but I was so busy (the Lord's providence) that I just didn't have time to throw a pity party. 2 weeks go by and on a Sunday afternoon, the phone rings and it's him. We talked about Seminary and Philly and what life was like there. We talked for over an hour. He accused me of avoiding him and I explained that I was just extremely busy, in fact, I really needed to let him go so that I could finish reading for school before church that night. But he wouldn't get off the phone. And then finally, he worked up enough nerve....he was wrong. What!?!? He had dinner with a buddy there who was engaged and he was telling John how much he and this girl were alike and how things were great, etc. and suddenly John realized his "theology" was wrong. It was good to be alike, not bad.

So, he wanted to date.
From Philly.
Could this work?

That was in February 2002. Well, there were a few bumps along the road. He foolishly thought we should just talk 2 times a week on the phone. Silly boy! And then when I suggested he fly home for a weekend to see me, this was such a revelation to him. He had a lot to learn! This was actually the first time he had ever met my parents. Though by this point, unbeknownst to our parents, we had already talked marriage and when and what then.

So he met my parents in March and I scheduled a flight to Philly in April. Unbeknownst to me, John called and spoke with my dad while I was in class at Seminary one night to ask his permission to ask me to marry him. My dad's response: "Are you sure you want her?"

So in April, I flew to Philly, my first visit there. It was beautiful. My flight, of course, was delayed and I got in very late that Friday night. John came and picked me up the next morning and took me to this arboretum nearby. I didn't know it, but this was a planned visit. He was going to propose. He had his roommates, David and Tom, plant this little bag with the ring at the base of this huge tree and then from a distance watch to make sure no one came along to take it. As we walked up to this tree, they were instructed to leave so that we would have our private moment. Well, just getting into Philly the night before, I had no idea that John was about to propose. I knew he was going to propose (or at least I was pretty sure) that weekend but not so quickly. So as we come up on this little gift bag, the conversation went like this:

John: "Oh, look. I wonder what is in that bag?"
Jennifer: "John, that is not our bag, do not mess with it!"
John: "I just want to see what is inside." And as he opens it, he rips the little sticker that was holding it closed.
Jennifer: "Well, great! Now they (the rightful owner) will know you messed with it."

So CLUELESS!!! Well, once I see him pull out a ring box, John says my eyes got really big and sparkly and he asked me to marry him. It was magical.

Oh and I forgot to mention that it had been raining all morning and stopped just as we pulled up to park. It was April 18, a Saturday. Then, we did what most people do who just became engaged. We went to eat a philly cheese steak sandwich! Ha! And the funny thing....the guy sitting next to us at the bar of the deli turned to us and said, "I can tell you two are really in love." Isn't that crazy!?!?! We confessed that we had just gotten engaged. We did go out for a romantic dinner that night and then to NYC the next day. We met Julie (of all people!) at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. It was a great time there, mixed with some sadness, as we knew we would spend the majority of our engagement in different time zones.

But God was faithful and upheld us until our wedding day, January 11, 2003, just eleven months after John made that phone call to me from Philly.

John, you are the greatest gift outside of Jesus that the Lord has given me. And through you, the gift of our two sons. Thank you for changing your mind and calling me and loving me from that moment on.

I love you baby!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ummm...what did you say?

So the other night I was putting burrito to bed. It had been a long day of school for him and in his own words, "he was beat."

School nights are always interesting around here. At first, burrito is like an explosion of energy, I think a result of being confined to a structured environment all day at school. Then he is ravenous, eating anything in sight, and he is usually not a very good eater. Then comes the meltdown....total exhaustion causes zero self control, which materializes as mean behavior towards A, talking back to us, and just general total meltdowns. Bedtime cannot come soon enough.

And on school days, burrito always surprises me with something new that he says that I have never heard him say before. There are usually two or three new phrases each day he goes to school that I notice that evening when he is home.

Well, on Monday the Bible story at school was about Adam and Eve and their sin in the garden. Burrito and noodle both know this story very well and when asked why Jesus had to die on the cross they will respond, "because they (Adam and Eve) ate the bad tree (fruit)." We have spoken of the snake and maybe we have even mentioned that this was the devil but for whatever reason, we have never spoken of the snake as "Satan." Well, that is the one detail burrito picked up from the story that day. He proudly told me that the snake was Satan.

So, he is climbing up into bed that night and I am closing the curtains and getting everything set for bed. He is trying to lug this huge bear that used to be mine up in bed with him. I named the bear "Brown Sugar" as a child but burrito and I have many times argued over whether his name is Brown or Black Sugar. Burrito just doesn't get that there is no such thing as black sugar!

So with my back turned to him, I hear him say, "Come on Satan. It's time for bed." I spin around and ask him to repeat what he just said. Again, he says, "Come on Satan. It's time for bed."

Okay, I can live with the name Black Sugar, but Satan?!??! No way! I tell him that he cannot name the bear Satan and he just smirks and says, "Yes, his name is Satan."

No, I will not have my son going to bed with Satan! I haven't heard him say it again.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Gators

For Burrito's 3rd birthday we (collectively as an extended family as this thing is not cheap) purchased the BEST present ever....

a John Deere Gator.

Seriously, if you are looking for a toy that will provide hours (and I mean hours!) of enjoyment, can stand up to rough and tumble preschool boys, and also comes in quite handy for hauling mom and dad's stuff too, then this is the toy for you. John and I both agree on this. Out of all the things we have bought for our two boys (and we've had it all thanks to garage sales), this is by far the best thing ever!

We liked this Gator first because it is made by Peg Perego and they have a great line of baby/toddler products. Now, I am one of those moms that obsesses (yes, I can admit that) over buying the best for my kids, of course within a reasonable price limit. The product must have great reviews, be reasonable in price and must last a long time or I just won't buy it. I guess that's my business background coming through. I appreciate a good investment. Or maybe it's just the fact that we're income challenged (that sounds better than poor, doesn't it?). So, we knew we wanted a ride-on that met those qualifications at the minimum. We liked the Gator because it has 2 seats, so both boys could enjoy it at the same time (minimizing the squabbles is a good thing). We liked the idea of Burrito being able to haul his "stuff" in the back. And we've hauled sod, dirt, and other yardly items back there too!

So we were so excited to give this to Burrito on his 3rd birthday. And wouldn't you know, it just had to snow outside....in April....on his birthday. Nevertheless, I think it was a hit. At least it was with Burrito. Noodle was a little nervous about Burrito's driving skills, can you tell???

So, a year and a half later, it is still so popular that when John and I saw the John Deere tractor for sale nearby (thanks craigslist!), we had to get it for Noodle (well actually my mom did, thanks Mimi!). It has been so fun to watch the two of them riding around together and they just love it!

And after having the tractor for several months now, Noodle realized last week that he has the skills to drive the big gator as well.

And then check out what the two of them discovered they can do....

Riding halfway on the curb the stretch of our yard. They were laughing hysterically and my "don't do anything to get hurt" mommy instinct wanted to tell them to stop, but I just couldn't. And honestly, they weren't doing anything that was going to harm them or the gator....they are both too tough for that!
So if you have a preschool boy you need to go buy a Peg Perego John Deere Gator now!!! And no, I have not been paid to say that!

Our visit to Baby E....

Well the boys and I made it out to see our new friend baby E. She was very sweet and the boys loved her. Congratulations M and K!

I had the distinct privilege of answering 101 questions about babies, how babies are born, how babies get in your belly and why are they at the hospital on the 45 minute trip over. While I appreciate my 4 year old's inquisitiveness, whew, I had to drink in an extra dose of patience (that translates to more coffee!).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome Baby E!

Our wonderful friends M and K are at the hospital waiting to deliver their sweet baby girl! M called this morning to say that K was in labor and should be delivering by lunch today! Yeah! We can't wait to meet her!
When Burrito heard John talking to M this morning on the phone, he excitedly told us that he wanted to see the baby "pop" out of her belly. Then, quizically, he looked at me and asked "How does a baby pop out of your belly?"

No comment....

Pictures to follow soon we hope!
Well, that little stubborn baby E didn't "pop" out until 4:54p this afternoon! We were so glad to get an update tonight from the proud papa and the boys and I plan on heading over in the morning to meet her. Sweet little Noodle, my baby lover, desperately wants to hold her but I have explained the hands off rule for now. He would make a great big brother, *hint, hint.* We'll post pictures tomorrow of our new sweet friend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More fun....

I really would like to hire a lawn service.

It's not that my husband doesn't do a good job, in fact he does a great job, it's just that lawn work takes away from my time with him. I don't expect that to make much sense to you. It's sounds a little obsessive and maybe over the top. I know it sounds that way, but I assure you it's not. I am an independent person. I can do most things all by myself. I am pretty self-sufficient. If I don't know how to do something, I can probably figure it out. I'm okay with being by myself. My melancholy personality demands it at times. So it's not that I need my husband to be around all the time, it's just that I prefer him to be around at all times.

If you don't know our "story" then you might not know that we spent most of our dating/engagement time in different time zones. He was in Philadelphia and I was here. I tell him that this time apart has traumatized my spirit. :)

Anyways, that was a really long story to introduce and explain to you our little "lawn work" tradition. This tradition was created in part due to my disdain for lawn work and the fact it normally means that I am stuck inside with the boys while John mows outside.

Our tradition is this: the boys think it is hysterical when John pretends to chase them with the lawn mower. John will be mowing along minding his own business pretending not to notice the boys, when suddenly he veers from his mowing path and chases the boys with the lawn mower.

Now don't worry, we are responsible. John does not get too close and I am always watching the boys to make sure they don't get hurt. In fact, if you were to witness this event, you would see me running with the boys, away from the lawn mower. This just makes it all the more hysterical to them.

Fun times with a 4 and 2 year old son! And check out that grass! Way to go hunny!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We've been busy...

Okay, so it's been like 5 days since I've posted on my blog. I get so mad when I go to check one of my favorite blogs and the blogger hasn't posted anything new. I mean, come on, your readers are waiting! Well, now I know why you can't blog something everyday. Too much stuff goes on!

But....I have been thinking a lot about my blog these past few days, being more purposeful in remembering things to write about and taking pictures! That's what I love the most about this blogging adventure of mine. It is making me (at least for the time being) enjoy and remember more moments in life.

So what's been going on with the Rutherfords you ask? In no particular order....drum roll please....
First and foremost, finishing our kitchen/dining room disaster. Remember my blog about removing wallpaper. Well, I think we finished with decent results except for one small accident...
Is that premature graying you ask? Well, not exactly....more like Behr "Gobi Desert" paint right in the hair!
Such a good sport about it! I think by this point we were just delirious from lack of sleep and paint fumes! So this is how we spent our Labor Day weekend.....working! But, we are happy with the finished product and as soon as everything is finished, I will post some pics of how it looks.
The boys and I needed a break from all that work yesterday so we headed out to one of my most favorite places on earth....the zoo! Some of my very earliest memories are those of my family at the zoo. We have this great tradition of taking our picture by the "picture tree" every year. The picture tree is this huge cottonwood tree that has been there forever! My parents have pictures of me and my sister by this tree when we were babies through our teenage years.
So, being the traditionalist and sentimentalist that I am, of course, we have continued the tradition with our kids. Here are burrito and noodle as babies in front of the picture tree.

burrito was 6 months old here

Here is noodle, just 2 weeks old, in the carrier and burrito "driving" the old double stroller

Then much to my horror (why didn't they warn me before this happened...I mean...don't they know my tradition?) on a recent visit earlier this year, we expectantly walk up to the picture tree to document one more year of great zoo memories and this is what we find:
They chopped the thing down! I was crushed! I literally had to hold back the tears (I know, I know, it's just a tree). But, ha, we will not just let this tradition end. We will still take pictures, just now the tree is a stump!

So, I searched online and came up empty handed as to why the tree was chopped down. I was thinking maybe it got too big and too old and became a danger or something???? I don't know...does anyone out there know the story? If so, please share with this tradition loving tree mourner! :)
So the boys had a great time at the zoo (and truthfully, so did I!) in part because there was no one there! I think going to the zoo the day after Labor Day was ingenious on my part (yes, let's just pretend I planned it that way!) because I think they all went on Monday and had to go back to work on Tuesday. We had the whole zoo to ourselves and finally got to enjoy the new penguin exhibit that is usually so crowded, we just zip right by. And good timing too, as the zookeeper was feeding them fish for lunch. We ended the day with a trip on the train, and because we were the first in line (and the line only included about 5 people!), burrito's wish finally came true! He always wants to ride at the very end of the train but we have never been able to (I guess that's a popular choice). So yesterday was his day!

Like I said, we've been very busy around here and believe it or not, I have more to share....more stories and more pictures....but I think I will save those for another day.