Wednesday, June 26, 2013


My little brother, Nick got married a couple of weeks ago!  I watched him and only him as his bride came down the aisle.  He was happier than I'd ever seen him.  And it was all I could do not to bawl my eyes out while standing as one of the bridesmaids.  But know this about me: when I'm in a wedding, I am not overly emotional.  Maybe throughout the day I can get all sentimental but the ceremony itself, no mascara runs then. ever! When I'm a guest at a wedding, I totally get those fuzzy feelings during the ceremony and may have to dab at a tear or two while sitting next to my own groom.  But this wedding played on my emotions unlike any other. 

You see, Nick and I go way back.  Like 25 years!  I used to call him 'Nicholas' until he demanded to be called 'Nick' and he has always called me 'Lin'.  Nick and I have been the best of friends and the worst of enemies!  Growing up, one of our favorite things to do together was play legos (yes, I loved playing with Legos equally as much as I loved playing with barbies)  And when he'd let me, once in a while I would make a mean pasture on his farmland.  As we grew, we enjoyed many of the same movies: The Sound of Music (we always dreamed of being the VonTrapp Family!), The Parent Trap, Free Willy, Annie, Sister Act, The National Lampoons....  Nick was good for playing 'house' with my sister and I, too, and I was actually his first 'bride'!  There were also maaannnny times that we did NOT get along.  I could never stand the sound of him breathing (ridiculous, I know), or the way he got sweaty when he was sleeping, and I know that he would use my loofa in the shower even though he always denied it (SICKO!).  But we got along with each other when it really counted.  There was this one time that we were wrestling over something upstairs and I guess he must have stumbled and he knocked out a spindle from under the banister.  We immediately teamed together to put it back in place and colored the scratched wood with a brown marker.  (I wonder if my dad has any knowledge of this?!)   We bickered so much that even when we were 15 and 13, our grandma didn't dare to let us sit next to each other in the backseat of her car while visiting her in Florida.  Which we thought was pretty funny since we probably hadn't physically fought in years.

Twenty five years....  You get to know a person really well in that many years and he knows me back.  And maybe that's a typical brother-sister relationship but ours goes deeper than most.  My sister, brother, and I have been through a lot!  We have had so much laughter but also many tears.  We've clung to each other in times of deep, intense pain.  Something I'll never forget was when my parents told Nick that while away on his mission trip, our grandma had passed away.  Our grandparents would have been SO PROUD of him on his wedding day.  And as my parents went through their messy divorce, Katie, Nick, and I relied on each other and strengthened our bond ever more tightly.  I cannot imagine that there is a sibling force greater than ours.

And as I watched him at this particular moment on his wedding day, I realized that he is a man!  And he's not just this annoying, little brother anymore... he is my friend, too!  And something about my role as a 'big sister' has changed.  He doesn't really need big sisters anymore.  He's got a new girl to boss him around, to listen to him breathe and snore, to get annoyed with his being sweaty and using her loofa.  Not that I want any of these duties... don't get me wrong!  It's just that things will never be the same.  And these things have gradually changed over time.  But as I watched him from the moment he laid eyes on her and throughout their reception (and after some obsessive sortings of my feelings) I was somewhat saddened.  And finally, there was this realization that we're all grown up now.  (Yes, it actually took some deep thinking to come to that conclusion!)  Our sibling childhood is just a memory.

And we close that chapter in our lives.

I know we get to begin to write another chapter, but something inside of me is a little sad that the other had to end.  And a little part of me had to give up a part of him to his new bride.

That all being said,

here's to Nick and his new wife, Rachel, who I know he will honor and respect and cherish and love with all of his heart.  Because he was able to love this bossy, irritable, big sister of his!

Monday, June 3, 2013

the first decade

With very few words, I'm going to try to capture what the last decade has been for me.

First date with the last man I will forever date.

a kiss. an 'i love you'. a promise ring. a dream. an occasional arguement. a house. a proposal. a ring. a wedding.  a honeymoon. a dog. gary. faith and flea markets. a misunderstanding. a new family. a pregnancy test. it's positive. an adjustment. baby natalie jane. stay at home mom. a whole new world. chicago getaways. a new truck. no sleep. music. massage therapy. inside jokes. a second honeymoon. the carribbean. baby ruby louise. diapers. the beach. more dreams. laundry. home improvement. a race. florida. a bike ride. a third honeymoon. vegas. a third baby. miscarriage. early mornings. a new church. birthday parties. great friends. kiddie pools and power wheels. baby charlie tyler. garage sales. tent camping. a scraped knee. a fight. a kiss-and-makeup. guatemala. dirty dishes. photos. a fifth baby. miscarriage. dancing in the kitchen. smiles. a new job. prayers. another positive pregnancy test. a new car. a road trip. kentucky. baby emmy ellamae. holidays. a seventh anniversary. a fourth honeymoon. grand caymen. campfires. deep love. best friend. dreams are the reality.

A decade of dates, routine, bliss, blessings.

Us. in deep forever love.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

memorial weekend

We made our way up to Silver Lake on Saturday for our 10th annual camping trip... although we didn't stay over-night.  The sun shined all day but it was so cold at the campsite.  The kids just wanted to hang out in the van.  We were bundled up in a couple sweatshirts but Ruby refused to wear pants instead of her dress so she had bare legs all day.  But we did manage to climb a dune with the kids, Emmy included, and we watched the trucks while the kids rolled down the dunes.  We were at the camp most of the day chatting and reminiscing good times with our friends. We had dinner and before going home, we had to go race on the go-carts.  It is our tradition.  Although instead of leaving the kiddos behind with some trusted adults, we took them with.  And it was the highlight of their day!  So fun!  We're so grateful for this group of friends.  It's so weird to think that our group has done this for 10 years.  And Jordan has been going for more years than that!  I'm starting to feel pretty old :(

On Sunday, we slept in as long as we could, waking up with ALL FOUR KIDS in our queen-size bed!  And then we took off for the flea market.  It's so fun to see our girls get interested in the flea market, too.  Ruby just loves to shop and I love to hear what she thinks of everything.  They had their money with them and searched for that perfect something that they couldn't live without.  Along the way, Natalie found a bottle with a cork that she thought would be fun to put a letter in and send into the water and a tiny orange lightbulb!  Ruby was so sad that there wasn't another orange lightbulb for her.  She would scurry up to every jewelry display and beg me for the biggest golden ring each time... but she never had enough money for those.  We finally found a sweet little necklace with a butterfly.  And it is so special to her.  Natalie also found some cute turquoise mushroom earrings, and she loves mushrooms so she bought those, too!  Charlie actually fell asleep and Emmy slept for awhile too.  We met up with mom and dad and they were so helpful.  This was Emmy's first flea market and it did make things slightly more complicated than when we'd go with the three kids.  We enjoyed the rest of the day lounging around together at home.  Delightful!!

Monday, Memorial Day, was very low-key.  We got some things done around the house and enjoyed dinner from mom and dad Barkel.  And now as I am writing this, I am cuddled up on the couch next to my man (: