Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finding Joy in the Moment

This morning, Angel was crying as she crawled into bed with me. "What's wrong, Sweetheart?" I asked. "There's nothing fun to look forward to, now that Christmas is over!" She then went on to express the sadness she feels at the 'post-holiday slump' and how she wants more presents to open, more parties to attend, and more fun things to do. I told her that I understood her feelings, and that many adults often have similar sentiments.

And then we started discussing Gratitude - for the beautiful Christmas we had, the bounty we're blessed with all year long, and the blessing we have of a new year, and new things to which we may look forward (such as her upcoming birthday in just 3 weeks!). Overall, though, we spoke of finding joy right now, recognizing all we've been blessed with, and that it is enough. We spoke of people who have "everything" and yet remain miserable, and others who have little but find joy in what they have.

As we spoke, I realized that I was speaking more to myself than to her! How often do I find myself looking forward to graduation, telling myself how much easier life will be when we have a steady income, a home, and are able to live in one place for more than 10 months? How often am I caught up in wanting this great toy for my children or that fancy computer; this nice kitchen gadget or that pretty home decoration, when really, I am SO blessed. I have the love of an amazing husband and incredible children, a home that keeps me warm, more food than I need, my health, my freedom, and my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I pondered these things, I held my eldest daughter close and, with tears in my eyes, realized she teaches me more than I could ever teach her.

I was touched further when, this afternoon during my personal spiritual study my thoughts were fed through my readings...first, when I read "Some of us look forward to a time in the future...but today is part of eternity."(The Influence of Righteous Women by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, September 2009)

This story also really hit home for me:

One year while trying to make it home from a business trip in time for Christmas, the author says, "...[I] hailed a taxi. As we pulled out on the Capital Beltway, the traffic was awful. Everyone was trying to get home for Christmas. I started to lose patience and began fuming and fidgeting...and making suggestions to the driver. Suddenly he turned around, looked me in the eye, and said in a tone of mild rebuke, 'Sir, there is no reason to be upset about a traffic jam.' Then he turned back around. Sensing perhaps that I was a bit miffed, he looked at me again and said, 'Pardon me. But you see, I am from another planet.' 'Very well,' I replied, 'just what planet do you come from?' I will never forget his reply. He turned around again and said in a calm voice, 'I am from Afghanistan, a country devastated by war, and if you had seen the things I have seen - villages bombed, people starving, men and women and children fleeing for their lives, and war and destruction and chaos on every side - you would not worry so much about a mere traffic jam.' " (The Prince of Glory, Elder Bruce D. Porter, Ensign December 2009)

I am so grateful for my children and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, both of which teach me far more than I could ever hope to learn on my own! Although I try to set goals throughout the year, New Year's Day always affords me a 'fresh start,' for which I am grateful. I've been pondering on what resolutions I plan to make for 2010, and "Finding Joy in the Moment" is certainly on the list!

May you have a prosperous new year, full of joy, hope, and peace! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

I'm obviously behind on my game this year....I normally have my Christmas Cards sent out on the day after Thanksgiving (or nearly, at least), but Christmas is tomorrow and I'm just sitting down to write our now! Yikes!

Of course it's due to procastination on my part, but I'm blaming it primarily upon the inability to come up with a good idea. You see, I loathe the typical "look at how wonderfully perfect our family is and read about all the many amazing things we've accomplished this year" letters that seem to go around.**(please see end note) Not that I'm not excited for everyone's prosperity, it just gets a little old after awhile, and I start feeling more like a dean on an admissions committee than a friend interested in how her long-distance friends are faring. So, when the Mr. and I were married, we decided to send out creative, (somewhat) unique letters, to get our point across without bragging all about our wonderful selves (even though we know we're wonderful, of course.) :)

So far, we have tried the following:

2001 - Wrote our own lyrics to the tune of "Good King Wenceslas"
2002 - Listed tidbits starting with the letters in MERRY CHRISTMAS
2003 - Crossword puzzle
2004 - "Quickie" Letter about how not much had changed.....except our impending parenthood!
2005 - A letter in Angel's words
2006 - Calendar of Important Dates that year
2007 - "MasterCard Commercial" style letter; all about our 'numbers' that year (how many miles the Mr. ran, how many diapers I'd changed, etc.)
2008 - A plain-old-boring letter {Sigh.} Bear in mind, though, that my baby was only 1 month old at Christmas, so I was slightly preoccupied.

Unfortunately, this year, thanks to residency essays, primary sharing times and preschool lessons, my creative juices are currently spent. So, without further adieu, here's our Family's 2009 version:

This year we're "Going Green" and sending out e-cards to preserve our environment!


Dear Friends and Family,

This year has been INCREDIBLE!

Investing lots of time and effort in learning the practice of medicine. (The Mr.)
Never wanting to miss a moment with our kids!
Counting our blessings: each other, beautiful children, wonderful family and friends, a great place to live, our health, our educational opportunities....and too many more to list!
Recognizing the Lord's hand in our lives every day!
Enjoying preschool, learning to read, write, and developing a love for learning! (Angel and Grins)
Developing her own little personality while she RUNS around exploring (translation: gets into everything)!!! (Wiggles)
Interviewing for Internal Medicine Residency (The Mr.)
Blogging about our adventures as often as we can. (The Mrs.)
Loving everything about our life!
anticipating what lies ahead (moving, beginning residency, starting a "new chapter" in our lives....)

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

P.S. Since our family has moved, we wanted to be sure you had our new contact information....but write it in pencil since we'll be moving again in May (when the Mr. Graduates and we move anywhere from Hawaii to Maine to anywhere in between.) We'll send an update in March when we learn where that will be, but until then, we wish you PEACE, JOY and the reminder of our Savior and His love for us all....this holiday season and always!

All our love,
The Buchanan Family

**I am in no way implying that "regular" Christmas letters are bad/boring/unappreciated/etc!!! I LOVE hearing from friends and I don't think many of my own personal friends - such as readers of my blog - have bad letters at all! I am just afraid my own Christmas letters would turn into a little brag session if I didn't try to do something different, since I'm so proud of my kids (of course.) So, pardon my annoyance at some Christmas letters - it was certainly not directed at, nor does it apply to - anyone reading this!!! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blogging from Oregon

So, we made it to Oregon, safely, earlier this week. The 12 hour drive was brutal for the last 8 hours or so - partially due to inclement weather, but mostly due to 3 small children that refuse to sleep in the car, even if it's pitch black and midnight. Strange, because I LOVE sleeping in the car. I was begging to sleep in the car. I was so exhausted I could hardly stay awake in the car. Yet, they were pinching, pulling, scratching, spitting, screaming, peeing (in their seats - yes, that actually happened when Grins fell asleep for 3 minutes he woke up crying that he was wetting himself. sigh.) crying, Every time we make the trip we swear it will be the last time...but unfortunately we still have to get back to Utah so we have at least one more drive ahead of us. Fortunately my brother was with us, so technically it was 1 on 1 (1 adult to 1 kid), (although the driver didn't really count) which helped a LOT - thanks Daniel! We will definitely miss his help on the way home!

But, we made it, and since we've been here, we've been having a grand old time. Angel tells me about 5 times each day "I want to move here!" and today she said "Isn't Grandma's house just SO fun?" Selfishly, I admit I love having so many baby sitters at my beck and call....the Mr. and I have gone out almost every night! :) And the kids of course adore their aunts and uncles....last night, Angel woke up in the middle of the night, looked at my sister and said "I love you, Abbie", kissed her, and went back to sleep! Wow!

The Mr. has really been enjoying his interviews, and I've loved being able to attend the dinners with him! I've learned a lot and gained some great advice from some of the residents' spouses!

....well, the babysitters are all gone tonight and the Mr. and I are left to our own devices tonight (scary!) so I'd better wrap this up. Not the most exciting post I know, but you can't win 'em all, right? Pictures to follow when we get home since we forgot our camera cord.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poppysnaps Giveaway

There are SO many great giveaways going on right now! Check out this cute one by Poppysnaps at Savvy Moms Save!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Portrait of "The Mr.": My Husband and Provider

Though I hardly ever watched TV as a child, when I did, one show I enjoyed was "Boy Meets World." In the final season, Cory and Topanga, young newlyweds, move into their first apartment (student housing) which is dirty, bug-infested, with peeling wallpaper and plumbing issues. With trepidation, they try to make the best of their situation, and at one point, when it's dinner time and they realize they have no food, Topanga asks Cory, "Well, what now, my husband and provider?"

I often ask the same thing of the Mr. - jokingly - when we find ourselves stumped about what to do. I still remember when, while engaged to be married, the Mr. and I took our first trip together - riding the Greyhound bus from Portland, OR to SLC, UT. We walked up to the terminal, the Mr. carrying our luggage, me carrying my purse, when I suddenly realized I had NO idea where our bus tickets were! I immediately began panicking when the Mr. calmly pulled them from his pocket. My dad laughed and said "This is him taking care of you - and this is only the beginning." Those words have stuck with me since that moment, and I have never been disappointed at the care my husband has shown me these past 9 years;

When, while running together, I had a sudden pain and could not move another inch, the Mr. (my boyfriend at the time) ran to get someone to help him give me a blessing. The moment I saw his car drive up, the pain began to fade.

When, as a newlywed, I struggled with wondering what my 'purpose' in life was, the Mr. urged me in the direction of PA school, an experience which has blessed my life in many ways.

When, as newlyweds trying to finish school, the Mr. worked day and night - 3 jobs in all - so I could finish my education as quickly as possible.

When, in my first trimester of pregnancy, I had horrible morning sickness, he would hold back my hair and clean up all my messes.

When, throughout my entire pregnancy (and the two that followed!), he gently and lovingly attended to my every need.

When, in the midst of PA school, I had a baby (Angel), he postponed his education to stay home with her to allow me to finish.

When, in the midst of moving, I don't want to lift another box, he lovingly takes care of everything, despite his many other responsibilities.

When, after a long day, I am tired and want some "me" time, he sets aside his studies and plays with the kids so I can shower, nap, or have some free time.

When I'm frustrated, discouraged, disheartened or sad, he gives me a listening ear, offers me a shoulder to cry on, and surrounds me with his loving arms.

These are only a few examples of the many ways in which my husband lovingly cares for me and provides for my every need. I know sometimes we assume that "providing" means earning money and providing shelter, food, clothing....all the things that money can by. But, though my husband is in medical school and temporarily doesn't bring in much income, he provides me, and our family, with SO much more! I honestly could not ask for a better husband and provider!

I love you, Sweetheart! Thanks for all you do!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Savvy Moms Save

If you haven't checked out the "Savvy Moms Save" blog, you should right now! :) They have lots of useful info for moms - great gift ideas, money saving tips, etc....and right now is a great time to visit their site, because they are doing the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Want {Another} One!!!!!!!

**WARNING: This post is of a very personal nature.....proceed with caution!**

Call me biased, but I think my children are ADORABLE! They are SO precious, sweet, loving, smart, innocent, and overall amazing. They bring so much more to my life than I ever could have dreamed. I love them more than anything in this world...or any other world, for that matter. But sometimes I feel I'm not enough. They are such incredible children; they deserve an incredible mother - one who can spend ample one-on-one time with each of them individually, while enriching their lives with educational and recreational activities (ie school, field trips, sports, music lessons, dance lessons, etc.), yet ensuring adequate 'down time', while maintaining an immaculate home, cooking healthy (and, if possible, gourmet) meals from scratch every day, keeping them clean, fed, and dressed, and being unfailingly patient and loving with their every new phase/stage. I fall short in so many ways, every day! I feel so inadequate, and sometimes even feel "over my head", that I can't meet the needs of 3 children.

And yet, I want more! I see expectant women and I long for the flutterings of a tiny baby inside my womb. I see women with tiny newborns, and my arms ache for a sweet, tiny one to hold. I watch mothers carry their tiny bundles around and my arms feel empty. Then I watch Wiggles empty every shelf and cupboard in our house for the bazillionth time that day, hear Grins and Angel yelling at each other, and wonder what I'm thinking.

Where is the line between taking a leap of faith/stretching to become more, and over-extending yourself, or just plain irresponsibility? Or between older siblings learning responsibility through caring for younger children, versus having to sacrifice their own childhood for the sake of the family. And why is it such a fine line? I've heard childbearing compared to having just a few moments in a jewelry store - that, if given 5 minutes, wouldn't you run in and grab as much jewelry as you could possibly carry? But then I think, if you're just grabbing so fast that you aren't stopping to notice which jewelry is most valuable, or if you end up getting more than you could ever wear or use, wouldn't it have been better just to take your time and select a few choice pieces?

I realize there are women who are unable to have as many children as they would like...or even any at all. On the other hand, there are women who have more children than they would have chosen....and isn't that equally difficult?

Anyhow, I'm rambling now. I just have a very difficult time discerning when my desires for children stem from my innate "womanly instincts" to nurture or from something far greater, and are a 'whispering' from the Lord. This is just something I've faced from the moment I was married, and, though it's been more than 8 years, I have yet to make sense of it all. Sigh. I suppose I shall face this same dilemma until mother nature takes its toll and it is no longer up to me to decide. Until then, thoughts, anyone?

***DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to offend; I am a strong believer that the bearing and rearing of children is a very private and personal decision between a husband and wife and God. I don't think anyone should ever judge another for the number of children they have, large or small, whether it is the couples' choice or not.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Captivated Candids Giveaway

If you're into giveaways, you'll definitely want to check out the one going on right now Here! Probably the biggest giveaway I've ever seen! If you don't want to enter, no problem, but if you do, make sure you drop my name too! :) Maybe I'll split my winnings with you! :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

My Current Math Problem

Wiggles cutting molars (and screaming all night) +
Angel's stomach flu +
Grins' pent up energy (due to weather too cold to take sick kids out) MINUS the Mr. for 10 days
A slightly frazzled, sleep-deprived, less-than-patient Mommy who still loves her children more than life but appreciates her husband more than ever!

COME HOME SOON, MY LOVE!!!! I know when you're here, you aren't "here" very much, but we'll take whatever we can get! We love and miss you!

Love, Us

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Our American Express Christmas

Fortunately for us, we budgeted $300 for Christmas this year. Unfortunately for us, that's not really gonna cut it due to several unexpected expenses which just happened to pop up:

$1035 - The kids medical bills (medicine, equipment and visits) over the last month (several trips to the pediatrician, no insurance)
$311 - Jon's Dr. bill
$115 - 2 new tires
$110 - an unexpected cell phone bill
$25 - fee for not having cash at a toll booth in San Francisco
$15 - fee for somehow losing a CD we borrowed from the library
Knowing (hoping!) that this is the LAST year we'll be living on an income of $0.............priceless!

***Please do not take this as a complanatory post...while all the facts are, sadly, true, we find that making light of our destitute situation actually makes us laugh, and offers us hope for a brighter financial future..... :)