Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Farewell, Friend

Here's a video of Brooklyn's "Bye Bye Binky" party. While edited, it's still quite lengthy. If you end up watching the whole thing, you may need to rethink the sources of excitement in your life. :)

Now let the countdown begin!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Graduation Pics

Our camera wandered its way safely home, so I thought I'd post some of our favorite pictures from graduation weekend.

Here's Jason, making his way across the stage of Foellinger Auditorium.

The handsome grad, searching for his family.

A proud hug from Mom.

We tried so hard to get a decent picture of us as a family, but without great success. Still, we thought you might be entertained by watching us try.

When juggling the realities of life, sometimes it's all you can do to laugh and hope you don't drop the baby.

Grandma Susie certainly found our antics to be entertaining. :)

Five years ago we swapped the beautiful mountains of Utah for the prairies of Illinois.

We were such babies!

(Even with a babe of our own in our arms.)

Well, the tiny pink girl has certainly grown.

But at least we still have a blue-eyed babe to don the mortarboard cap.

Now if only we could preview a photo shoot five years from now. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cum Laude Magnum

Hooray! Jason graduated!

While commencement ceremonies may have been a week ago, official grades were posted today, so we can announce with full certainty that Jason has officially earned his Masters of Architecture. He entered and left the University of Illinois cum laude magnum--with great praise. Congratulations, honey.

In searching for an appropriate title for this blogpost, I immediately turned to Latin. (After all, what says pomp and circumstance more than trivialized ditties from a dead language?) I originally considered Veni, vidi, vici--I came, I saw, I conquered. The verb vici tripped me up, however. Veni, vidi, vivi would be much more appropriate--I came, I saw, I survived. The final weeks preceding graduation were so horrifically grueling that endurance seemed victory enough. In the end, Jason pulled it all together at the very last moment, just as we knew he would. Needless to say, he's been sleeping much better (and longer) since.

We were extremely fortunate to have Jason's entire family come to celebrate his graduation with us. When his moment to cross the stage arrived, he was applauded by loved ones hailing from the Rocky Mountains to New York City. Unfortunately, we're temporarily short on photos documenting the ritual (our camera decided to elope to DC.) And so for laughs, I thought I'd include a few favorite quotes from the weekend instead.

Brooklyn and Jason are deep in conversation about his great-grandmother's immigration to the United States from Switzerland.
Jason: Grandma Heaps didn't come to America until she was a little girl.
Brooklyn: So she was a boy earlier?
Grandpa Charles stops midsentence while offering a grandchild some much needed correction.
Charles: You've stopped listening to me!
Susie: Did she ever start?
Custodian from Architecture Hall stops Jason in the hallway.
Custodian: Hey, you're the student with all the kids. You've been here forever! Aren't you ever going to graduate?
Yes, Mr. Custodian, yes. Miracles do happen. We graduated.

Sunday, May 09, 2010



The number of years that Jason and I have been married as of today.

In that same period of time, we've also lived in six homes, held sixteen jobs, had three kids, earned five university degrees, and composed 337 blogposts.

Our lives have been so eventful that the past seven years already seem to represent an eternity. Happy anniversary, honey. I'd marry you seven times over again and still wish for seventy times more.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


This spring has brought a bumper-crop of babies to our neck of the woods. In honor of Mother's Day and all these new moms, I thought I'd share a favorite story about parenthood:

When Eli was less than two weeks old, we ventured out as a family to get a treat at the girls' all-time favorite joint--Micky D's. A McDonald's employee, standing outside for a coffee break, smiled at us as we made our way across the parking lot as a cute little family. Jason and I each had a girl by the hand, and we grinned at each other as we reflected on how much our family had grown. All of a sudden, our silly smiles transformed into shocked expressions of horror, and we both sprinted back to the car.

We felt extremely sheepish as we made our way past the same McDonald's employee again, this time with two girls and a baby carrier in hand. Not even two weeks old, and poor Eli had already been forgotten. So much for perfect parenting!


Mother's Day can be rough. I imagine it's roughest for those who wish to be Moms but, for one reason or another, aren't. It's rough, too, for those of us who are Moms, but who occasionally, for one reason or another, wish that we weren't. I dread the lengthy recollections about someone's perfect mother who kept a perfect house and baked perfect chocolate chip cookies. It's hard when motherhood is placed on such a high pedestal that my 4'11" self feels like it can barely see it, let alone hoist myself up to this lofty ideal.

At a recent story time, the librarians helped the kids make Mother's Day crafts while the moms perused the library's selections on motherhood. My choices? "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" and "I was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids."

So, the last couple of days have not demonstrated much stellar parenting. I'm stressed out, worn out, and extremely low in patience. Years down the line, when my children have to give talks on Mother's Day, I hope they'll forgive and forget the past 48 hours.

But hey, at least I haven't left them (permanently) at McDonald's.

Friday, May 07, 2010


This picture cracks me up! Any good ideas as to what Eli is thinking? (I thought about having a giveaway contest for the best caption, but I'm just not organized enough to follow through...)

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Fabulous Finish

What an incredible weekend!

After countless hours of researching, conceptualizing, sketching, modeling, and overall creating, Jason presented his Master's thesis project at his final design review on Friday.

It was fabulous. I know, because I had the privilege of being there, along with my Dad, Brooklyn, and our good friend Bruce. (Thanks, NomiAnn, for babysitting, especially on your birthday.) Here's my Dad, studying the boards.

In general, design reviews are notorious for their harsh criticism. Jason, however, diligently worked and reworked his project all year. This consistent effort, combined with his artistic touch, resulted in some very positive feedback. Way to go, honey. You deserve all that praise--and more.

As much as we wanted to celebrate Friday evening, we forced ourselves to bed early in preparation for the next day's race. (Well, Jason didn't complain too much about going to bed, especially considering the two hours of sleep he got the night previously. Believe it or not, two hours is actually much more sleep than he usually gets the night before a review. Three cheers for graduation--I just may get my husband back!)

With loving parents around to play with the grandkids, the race was almost like a date (except for the sweat and pain and crowds and Gatorade and Gu). Here are Jason and I waiting for the Illinois Marathon to officially begin.

And here I am again, 13.1 miles (and some cool-down time) later. Oh, it felt so wonderful to be finished!

Jason, meanwhile, was still pounding the pavement. We ran the first mile of the race together before he took off with his running partner. Around mile ten we joined up again briefly for a chat and a running smooch (not recommended--it's awkward and you might chip a tooth). Then it was time to separate, and I finished my race alone. As happy as I was to be done, I remember feeling slightly empty. For the next two hours I was distracted, wondering where my honey was and how he was doing. What a THRILL it was, however, to see him stride out into the stadium. I felt so overcome with love and joy. Truly, it was an emotional experience.

I wish I had a picture of his stadium finish, but unfortunately I don't. In some ways, it might be better to keep the picture safe in my memory. I don't know if any lens could do the moment justice. Envision all the pride that comes from having the stamina and drive to accomplish something so impossibly difficult, and mix it with the strength of character that comes from achieving this goal with a friend. Seven and a half years ago, I watched Jason finish his first marathon just as we started dating. He blew me a kiss as he crossed the finish line, and I suspected I might really be in love. Well, I know I am now.

While I may have been waiting on pins and needles for Jason to finish running, the girls were too busy having the time of their lives to notice that he was gone. Grandparents have the privilege of unabashedly spoiling their grandkids with such treats as unlimited rides on the inflatables. I thought I was going to have a heart attack just watching their antics, but they had a riot. Luckily, no one was injured (although you can hear me panic in this clip).

As if bouncing yourself silly isn't enough fun, Talia found my camera and started shooting random videos while we were waiting for Jason to finish. Here's her debut in film-making: (BTW, the kid shrieking "Mom" in the background isn't ours.)

To top off the adventure, the girls ran the youth race in the afternoon. Brooklyn likes to make silly faces by sticking her tongue through the gap in her mouth that is now two teeth wide. Yup, the tooth fairy has visited again.

Talia, on the other hand, prefers sticking her tongue on the metal fence. Yuck! (And what kind of mother would grab a camera instead of telling her to stop.)

Race bibs and T-shirts--how official!

And here's stiff-legged Jason, slowly working his way across the stadium to be reunited with his family.

Eli was certainly happy to see him.

Of course, Eli is usually happy to see just about anybody.

On your marks, get set, run!

A family of champions. :)

Add a trip to The Beef House in Indiana for a fantastic dinner with some take-home rolls, and you have a fabulous finish to an amazing day.