Thursday, January 31, 2008

Since I don't have enough blogging friends of my own to do a swap (nor do I really have the time/energy/motivation), but I do enjoy a swap every now and then, I thought I would post about one a fellow blogger, Erica Grover, is putting on (to see her blog, click here. If you have never heard of a swap, it's basically a bunch of people swapping names (the "hostess" if you will assigns the partners and coordinates it all) and then sending one another little packages. Just a fun way for us adults to get some of our own holiday cheer since we're usually the ones GIVING (I know, I know, "tis better to give than to receive...", but you have to admit, it IS still fun to receive!) I don't participate in swaps very often but what I love about this swap is that she says "focus more on the simple and creative than on monetary value." Being the wife of a med student, that, to me, is key! :) So, I thought I'd spread the word in case anyone out there is interested. Click here for more details and to sign up. Happy Swapping!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tribute to a Wonderful Man

Today, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, peacefully returned to the presence of our Father in Heaven. I am sure he was warmly greeted by his wife Marjorie and countless others whose lives he touched while on this earth.

I have never been at such a loss for words as when I try to describe what this man has meant to me over the past 12 years since he was named Prophet. He was a man of such incredible faith, integrity, compassion, energy, and strength. He shared his faith freely, his love unconditionally, and his every energy serving others. He was powerful yet humble, firm yet loving, strong yet gentle. And, though serving as prophet to the some 13 million LDS people, he was also revered and respected by many others not of our faith.

His words of wisdom and love offered me untold strength, encouragement and hope during my somewhat tumultuous adolescent years. I loved the way he made me want to be better, just by being himself. The first time I was in his actual presence was as a Sophomore at BYU-Hawaii, when he came to a conference in Oct 1999. Though I was more than a stone's-throw from him, the feeling I felt when he entered the room was undeniable, and one I will not forget. It amazed me that one man could fill an entire auditorium with his spirit, without even saying a word.

Not much more can be said by someone so weak in writing as I, but this I do know; that Gordon B. Hinckley was/is a man of immeasurable strength, virtue and integrity. A man whose single life was one of the greatest forces for good this world has ever known. A man who has touched more hearts and lives than sands upon the shore. A man who was and will remain a Prophet of God. Thank you, President Hinckley, for your years of service, your love, your optimism, your strength. You will be deeply missed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Makea Rose!

To my sweet and darling Makea,

A most heartfelt "Happy Birthday!" to you, my love! I can't believe that you are 3 years old. Can it really be 3 years since first we met, face to face? I simply cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know you and love you with all my heart and soul. It doesn't seem possible that 3 short years ago we had not yet met. Today you are three and your father and I are amazed at how you have transformed from a small baby into such a big girl! Your personality is in full force now. You are very confident and sure of yourself, but careful and cautious when in a large group or around strangers (something for which I am very grateful!). You are incredibly sensitive to how others are feeling and extremely compassionate when they are sad. You will try anything in an effort to cheer someone up or alleviate someone’s pain. You relate very well with others and make friends easily. You are highly curious about the world around you, and want to learn as much as you can, particularly about the human body, the geography, and how to speak Sign Language, German and Spanish. You are really enjoying preschool with your friends Nina, Emily, Kalli and Meg. You know all of your letters by sight and sound and have just surprised me by writing some: A, H, M and I, completely on your own! You are toilet-trained (hooray!) and sleeping through the night, for the most part (double hooray!!) I love everything about you, but probably my favorite characteristic of yours is how sweet and sensitive you are. If Kai, Papi or I ever get hurt, frustrated, or even look the least bit sad, you are the first one to jump up and give comfort, usually in the way of kisses and reassuring words.

I love you, my sweet girl!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Two Little Miracles...

As you may know, our family has had the wonderful opportunity of being involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the past 6 years. Briefly, the Ronald McDonald House Charity is an organization offering a "home away from home" for the families of sick children. It is an AMAZING organization which helps SO many people...please check out their website and think of a way you can pitch in this year! (OK, done with my little plug...)

Over the years, we have grown close to many of the families that have come and gone and our hearts have truly been touched by their spirits. Makea has grown quite fond of a few of them, and still asks about them from time to time. Today, in fact, I asked who she would like to invite over for a birthday party, and she named two girls (unrelated) she met here, both of whom moved back home several months ago when, tragically, their baby brothers died. But they continue to hold special places in her young little heart. Because of our involvement in the house, we experience tragedy on a somewhat regular basis. If my memory is correct, we had 5 deaths last year alone. Keep in mind, these are all YOUNG CHILDREN. Simply devastating to watch what they and their families go through! Because we see it so often, I sometimes find myself 'dulled' to the challenges these families are facing. Sometimes my role here seems more of a 'job' and less of a service. I complain that people are too messy (one of my roles is housekeeping), too demanding, too time-consuming, etc. But then I am reminded of what these families are facing, and I stop in my tracks and realize how blessed I am to be on the GIVING end, rather than the receiving in this case!

This evening, I met a sweet young woman carrying a 2 week old baby. As we spoke, I learned that she has several other children, one of whom has leukemia which has recently relapsed. As a result she spends all day at the hospital, trying to care for both her newborn baby AND her sick child. Her remaining children are missing her at their home hundreds of miles away and will only see her periodically during her 7-12 month (or longer) stay here. As I spoke with this woman, my heart began breaking for her and her sweet family. It was all I could do to hold back the tears until she left. I immediately fell to my knees and thanked the Lord for the health of my children, my husband, and myself. Then I ran to my children and smothered them with loved. What a miracle the gift of HEALTH truly is!

And so I ask of you, dear reader; please pray for this family, and the many others in similar situations. May we each pause to take a moment to be grateful for the many things we may so easily take for granted, and live to make each day count!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oh, what a Beautiful Morning, Oh, what a Beautiful Day!

Today marked our first day of MORNING church and what a MARVELOUS sabbath it was! In 2007, this is how my typical Sunday went:

6:00 am - kids wake up, Jon takes them on a morning walk for an hour or two (depending on the weather) while I catch a few extra zzzzzs.
8:30 am - eat breakfast as a family.
9:00 - shower, dress.
9:30 - lounge around, listening to MoTab and Music and the Spoken Word.
10:30 - Jon leaves for meetings (he is the 1st Counselor in our Ward's Bishopric), and thus begins my day as a "single parent".
11:00 - Try to coax the kids into eating something for lunch, though they are usually not yet hungry enough.
11:15 - begin dressing for church (and then try to keep myself and the children somewhat presentable ie - clothes are pressed (?) and food-free, Makea's hair is still done and not yet pulled out as somehow always seems to manage to happen as we are out the door)
12:10 - make sure the diaper bag is packed with plenty of things to eat and do (and a few thing for the kids too, haha).
12:15 - walk to church.
12:30 - arrive at church, secure the back row and set out the programs.
1:00 - sit in sacrament meeting ALONE with a 1 and 2 year old who have not eaten lunch and for whom it is undoubtedly naptime, and attempt to keep both kids in the pew, somewhat quiet and prevent tantrums/outbursts/fights, while Jon looks helplessly on from the stand. Oh, and amidst all that I am supposed to try to LISTEN to the talks. (and feel the Spirit? huh?)
4:00 - return home with 2 VERY tired children, try to get something on the table for dinner while trying NOT to let them nap as it would push back their bedtime.
5:00 - Dinner.
5:30 - baths.
6:00 - bedtime (one good thing about no naps is the EARLY bedtime!).
If we are lucky, Jon will get home in time to say goodnight, but usually he is stuck at the church until later.

So, 2008 is definitely looking up! This was our day today:
6:00 am - kids up, Jon and I try to coax them into snuggling with us since they were both up half the night screaming...but they insist on getting UP!
6:30 - breakfast.
7:00 - Jon leaves for meetings.
7:15 - I shower and dress 2 happy, energetic children.
We are out the door by 8:15 and at church in time to set out the programs and get a seat.
9-12 - Church with 2 HAPPY, RESTED children is SO much better than church during naptime! (Granted, sacrament meeting is now at the end of the block, much to my chagrin, so the kids are getting sleepy, but the right snacks can keep them going until noon!)
12:30 - Home, Lunch, Naps.
1:30 - Jon comes home and we try to sneak in a nap before the kids wake up.
2:00 - Kids wake up, and we have ALL KINDS OF FAMILY TIME - listen to music, snuggle, watch a church movie, build a snowman (not an every-Sunday occurrence, but this is the first time all season we had snowman-feasible snow, so we HAD to take advantage), hot cocoa, more snuggles, card games.

AH, I LOVE family time! Thank you, 9am church!!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008


Can I just express how MUCH I love my cute little babes?! They are just TOO sweet, TOO adorable, TOO lovable. I ask myself daily what I did to deserve such wonderful children. The past week has been a dream. Sometimes, being home with them full time can be draining, tedious and frustrating. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have occasionally found myself reminiscing on the 'good ole days' when I could sleep for 8 hours uninterrupted, actually KEEP the house clean, and I didn't spend half of my day cleaning up bodily excrement (too much detail?) or breaking up fights. The past week or so, though, has seriously been amazing. My children have been SHARING and PLAYING TOGETHER and GETTING ALONG, with almost no intervention from me. They have been eating what I put in front of them (even the healthy things!) They have been HAPPY and SNUGGLY without being overly clingy. I have been enjoying my time with them IMMENSELY, even more than usual (which is hard to beat!) Why the sudden change? I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that they have their own rooms and are sleeping better. Maybe it's all the new Christmas toys. Maybe it's just the New Year bringing me a fresh, new perspective. But whatever the reason, I am just so grateful for such a wonderful family. My heart has never been so full. I love being a mom!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Very Happy Un-Birthday to You!

In anticipation of her upcoming birthday (just a couple of weeks away!), Makea was contemplating gifts she would like - it was difficult for her to come up with many ideas since she was so abundantly showered with them at Christmas - but she managed to name one or two. As we sat and discussed it, she decided to think of gifts she'd like to give OTHERS for THEIR birthdays (ever the sweetheart that she is!). This is what she came up with:

Let me first preface this by saying that Jon and I have recently given up our bedroom in order to get a better night's sleep. Sound confusing? Let me elaborate. What it comes down to is this: we have a 2 bedroom apt and 2 children who were consistently waking one another up at night. We tried many different 'solutions', none of which seemed to work. One day we realized it has been about 3 years since we have actually had a good night's sleep, uninterupted, so a lightbulb came on and we decided to separate them at night. Initially, we put a toddler bed in our room for Makea - but that didn't seem to help her sleep better, and it meant there was no room left to walk, so that didn't last long. We finally resigned ourselves to getting rid of our bed and getting a futon in the living room for us. Now, each child has their own room = both are sleeping through the night (knock on wood!) = our backs are slightly sore but = happy, well-rested parents (so to speak). Are we crazy? Maybe. But sleep deprivation can certainly do that to you!

Anyhow, bearing that in mind, we will now return to Makea's Birthday Gift List:

For Kainoa's birthday, he needs his OWN play kitchen because he really likes playing with mine. For Papi we will get a new gate for the office (we put a child gate up so the kids can't get into the computer room and wreak havoc on the electronics - but Jon hates stepping over it so she wants to get him one that opens and shuts). I finally asked, "What does Mommy need for her birthday?" to which she replied "A bedroom!" Wow! Is this kid perceptive or what?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

No, I didn't sneeze. What I meant was HAPPY NEW YEAR (Hawaiian Style)! Or if you'd rather, ¡Prospero Aňo Felicidad! (Spanish), freues neu Jahr (German), Xin nian kuai le (Chinese) or שנה טובה (Hebrew).

Anyway you say it, I hope 2008 will be all you are hoping for.

2007 was a year our family - and in particular, our children - grew closer. Kai began walking and talking, and, as a result, became Makea's little protege/pet/plaything. It has been precious, amusing, and occasionally frightening but we have loved witnessing the evolution of their "siblinghood"/alliance. We don't pretend to know all of what 2008 will hold for our family, but we anticipate at least the following highlights:

~ Makea finally sleeping through the night (any time now!)
~ Makea turning 3! (Jan)
~ Jon passing his boards (June)
~ Jon beginning Clinical Rotations (July)
~ Kai turning 2! (Aug)
~ Our family continuing in love, health and happiness

We wouldn't mind if any of the following events were to occur:

~ Kai potty-training himself before the age of 2
~ A comfortably spacious home falling into our laps (so to speak)
~ Becoming independently wealthy (we would even settle for a lump sum to finance med school)
~ Jon miraculously completing medical school early (actually, I am, for the most part, 'enjoying the journey' of med school - but this is Jon's "wish")

May 2008 be more prosperous, more peaceful, and more joy-filled for you and your family than ever before is our sincere wish for you!

With love, The Buchanans