going to a hukilau

It’s amazing what our brains are capable of remembering…

This weekend, I began singing a song I heard on our honeymoon- nearly five years ago.  Back then, we were in Maui and having dinner on a tour cruise.  I think I had the steak?  It was good.  And, we had a great view of the ocean over the bow.  Hmmm… the bow is the front of the boat, right?  Anyway, during the evening, one of the tour guides began playing songs and singing.  In one song, he sang, “Oh, we’re going to a hukilau [hook-ee-la-oww].  A hookie- a hookie- a hukilau…”  That was essentially the chorus.  (Oh, what is a hukilau, you ask?  Kind of an old school way of fishing, with a very large net.  A group of people would cast the net out and drag it back to shore.  Then, likely, cook up the fish and enjoy on the beach.) 

This weekend, things were crazy.  Crazy, like, I cried for half of it, we had to get a hotel room while our poor house had some much needed emergency work, adoption longings, and hormonal moments.  As the weekend drew to a close, I found my tears dried up.  I often wanted to cry due to being overwhelmed.  Yet, laughter came instead.  When Joseph and I got on the hotel elevator one morning, I found myself doing the hula to that song we heard on our honeymoon.  “Oh, we’re going to a hukilau,” I smiled at my husband, “a huki- a huki- a hukilau.  Everybody loves a hukilau.  A huki- a huki- a hukilau.”  I flirted with him and smiled.  Maui is a long ways away.  Our next vacation is too far for me to bear.  The adoption thing is draining me, and we really haven’t even started.  Our home repairs are not covered by insurance, oh joy (and why do we have insurance then???).  And, it may take a little bit to get the house to code.  Oh, yes, the joys.  And, oh, yes, a hukilau is far away… but, a girl can dream.

I think we need to dream of far off lands or even quiet moments to restore.  I have mentioned our love of Disney before, and I have the Disney World app on my phone.  I occasionally like to view wait times and hours of operation.  You know, when you want to be “anywhere else but here.”  So, whether you can hop on the next flight out or need to work on saving up for your next getaway, find the mental one you can take to give you a sweet break from the usual- and sometimes overwhelming!- day to day.  I highly recommend a hukilau!

Good night, L

makes me laugh

I have just a couple of cute nephew stories tonight.  Sweet laughs and dreams, good night, L

My almost-three-year-old nephew has started early preschool. 

Over a snack of milk and cheesy bread, he said (while pushing it away), “I don’t eat this- this is food for dinosaurs!”  I’d like to think another little kid will go home and exclaim that he enjoyed dinosaur food at school.

When the other kids were excited to see his baby sister (about 8 months old), he became very possessive and didn’t want to share her.  “Mom, take the baby away!” he commanded.  “Mom, take the baby away.”  I get such a kick that he didn’t call C by her name, only, “the baby.”  

FaceTiming with my sister, she turned the phone on my nephew, in the tub bathing.  He was not thrilled at his decreased privacy and poured water over his head.  A shield, maybe?  His hair smoothed out in a 50’s hair fashion, and I told him, “L!  You look just like your Grandpa when he was a little boy!”  Truly, the image was uncanny.  And, that made him beam.  He loves my dad and the two of them are close.

Sure, the last story isn’t too funny, but it touches my heart.  Kids say the darnest things.  Right?  Cliche but true.  Take note of the heartfelt moments you share with the little ones in your life.  They will always make your day. 

money matters

Growing up in the church, I remember the gospel verse, “For where your treasure [money] is, your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  As a sweet little blonde daydreamer, I had no clue what it meant.  It just didn’t make sense at all.  It continued to not fully make sense to me even growing up until recently when it fully clicked.  The light bulb went on, and I felt I had a true understanding. 

I love my Quicken software.  I updated it a couple times a week to make sure the bank’s numbers and my numbers jive.  I am able to quickly fix any error whether on their end or mine.  And, I started truly studying the “home page” of their information.  My total amount spent appears on the right of the screen, and a pie chart showing my expense categories in the second.  I noticed though that our top four categories are “mortgage/property taxes/home insurance, charity, travel, and education.”  I pondered the four things and concluded it all seemed right.  We do value our home (and making its mortgage payments timely!), our church and other charities, travel, and my husband’s masters degree.  Where our money is, our heart will be also.  Who knew our bank book and Quicken ledger would be such an insight into what matters most to us?

Of course, any one could then see I value Amazon in the day to day (ha) along with which gas station we most frequent and the last time we caught a movie.  They could find which grocery store I favor and how often we go.  Do you know where your heart is?  Do you know what you value?  Do you say you value something, but you don’t back it up?  If I said I valued my church, and I didn’t give to them, I would be bummed.  If I say I value health and my money is spent on drive thru’s, medications, and time off, I would start to adjust that I could spend more on exercise equipment, healthy foods, and maybe appliances to help me in the kitchen.

I love introspection.  I love learning more about me and the world around me.  How do I value it?  What do I value in it?  Take a look at my finances, and it will tell you a lot.  Look at your finances… what do they say about you???

Good night, L

sad

I had another entry I was going to post tonight, but it will wait. 

My husband found out today that dear friends of ours are separated.  I am so sad.  My heart just breaks for them.  And, yeah, I am a bit bummed for my husband and myself- we loved doubling with them!  I feel so confused since we saw them just weeks ago.

Okay, weeks may have been months, but it was just before our June trip.  Did the wife say something I missed?  Did I misread something she said?  Maybe there were signs?  But, they laughed together and seemed so happy together.  I remember thinking it was nice to see another couple interact with such love.  Was it an act? 

I feel bad for their kids.  Oh, and what a pain dealing with the house could be.  And their finances.  Oh, how sad to start over with someone else when they have built a beautiful life together. 

I pause.

They are only separated, I remind myself.  There is still hope!  Or, may still be hope.  Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder.  Cliche?  Yes.  Our hope for them?  Totally. 

So, tonight I ask you keep our friends and their marriage in your marriages.  Pray the Lord’s goodness will prevail, and they will quickly reconcile.  And, pray for your marriage.  May you focus on strengthening it.  Pray for your spouse and that your bond would continue to grow.  Pray that you can be the lucky half whose marriage survives.  Pray you are even more blessed and that your marriage will thrive.

Sweet dreams and thanks, Laura

My husband noticed a while ago that we tend to fight more when we don’t spend much time together.  Last week was no exception, as he tried to balance work and a massive course load and I was working on getting ahead on fall promotions for work.  We were just “off” all week, which often led to harsh tones and bad attitudes with each other.  Sure, we apologized soon after, but we tend to have a lovey dovey, happy marriage more often.  I didn’t like the shift.  I took it head on this morning.  Although, not with my usual force, but with a gentle ease.  Let’s fix this.  Quick. 

My husband was not in the mood to discuss things this morning, and he was quick to point out my faults in our fights.  Oh, this was not going well.  My words were not being well received.  *sigh*  I told him I was going to stay  home today.  Our original plans were to have me hang out at his school while his team met up this morning then head to a friend’s party in the afternoon.  I decided to bow out of both.  I didn’t want to hang out with a grumpy, unappreciative husband today. 

As I changed back into my bed shirt and pants, I had one of those “feelings.”  Have you ever had one of those feelings?  You know, like something bad was going to happen?  One of those feelings that, whatever you call it: sixth sense, Holy Spirit, gut instinct… crept over me.  Did I think my husband would be in a car accident?  No.  Did I worry he would leave the house, we’d still be irritated at each other?  Maybe.  (When we were first married, I would pray nothing bad would happen to him if we were separated, like, due to work, if we were fighting.  I didn’t want our last words to each other to be said in anger.  I have wised up since then and am hasty to kiss and make up without the guilt of my conscience!)

I am going after all, I told him.  And, I started to get ready again.  I mulled over my changed heart.  What if me not going could have been the start of something?  Would it harden my heart toward my husband?  Would it harden his heart toward me?  We have seen some of the most ridiculous fights between couples, which makes you wonder what happened to them?  If I had stepped back, would that start to pave the way for someone else to step in?  A woman who would prey on my husband should he look for an understandable partner?  Or open me up to looking for a man who made me a priority at the expense of all other things?

I know I am a priority for my husband, and he is a priority for me.  However, there are times when we can’t come first.  During date night, I had to deal with some work stuff.  That paused our date night until I took care of it.  My husband is important, but work became urgent.  Sure, I matter more to my dear Bear than his team meeting, but it takes priority as I type this blog hanging out in a cold hallway.  Wishing a jacket had been a priority to grab this morning!  ha

Our priorities were back in order as we talked more this morning.  We spent the thirty minute drive to campus discussing life and just talking.  We could see life pulling us in two different directions, and we discussed how to bring those paths back together.  That is what life does- it gets in the way.  I’m not trying to be cliche or funny, but sometimes things that don’t really matter start to crowd out the things that do.  You have to find balance for the important and the necessary and order your life as needed.  We let the unimportant crowd out the important last semester.  Our relationship seemed to be last on the list, and we cracked.  Instead of walking away from each other, we walked away from everything else and took an impulsive and impromptu, yet important trip together.  Made plans on a Monday to be out of town on Tuesday. 

Talking today got us back on talk.  It’s amazing how much communication can bless a marriage!  ha  We are going to bow out of the party today.  Our marriage is more important.  We’ll have lunch together then likely focus on the tasks at hand this afternoon to make more time all day tomorrow. 

So I encourage you to focus on your spouse.  Find time to adore each other and love each other.  Love was effortless before it got crowded out by life, right?  Babies, bills, and work?  Is watching the latest episode of anything more important than turning it off and spending an hour and enjoying time with your spouse?  Find what can be cut from your schedule to make more time for the one you love.  Appreciate the one you will grow old with and value your time together.

Have a great week!  L

 

exhausted

I joked recently that grocery shopping exhausts me.  I buy all these healthy ingredients, yet I want to order pizza by the time I pay the cashier.  I rarely clean my home since we hired a maid to fill in while I recover from knee surgery.  I feel like a prissy little princess, as my inner self whines about not wanting to make dinner.  I find myself exhausted, yet my sleep and eat are amazingly healthy.  What is wrong with me?!  I don’t even have an excuse of kids yet- how did my mom do it thirty years ago??? 

I talked with my mom about it over the last holiday weekend, and we discussed how life in my thirties is different than life in her thirties.  I am being pulled in numerous directions and my life is bombarded with distractions.  She didn’t have to check e-mail back in the day.  Now, I wake up to dozens of e-mails in my inbox.  Some are legit and need addressed, but others are spam and sales.  Didn’t I unsubscribe from you already?  Oh, good, a list of questions to answer as I go through the process of unsubscribing.  Great- it isn’t processing.  Or, it will take two to three weeks.  Sarcastic yay.

I have a cell phone that rarely leaves my side, too.  I don’t have just interrupting calls though; I also have interrupting texts.  Hi, hello, and FYI.  There are pictures that are cute that demand a reply of “how cute” or “how sweet.”  Precious fills the inbox.  Beyond that are the group text responses.  Oh, goody, so glad I am in on it.  My witty response is no longer the only one at the party ’cause more keep coming!  Heaven for bid I turn off my phone, right?  I mean, the whole reason we sign up for cell phones, as a whole, was “in case of emergency.”  Texting me at midnight to see what ingredients were in our famed Bauer waffles is not an emergency.  Yes, true story.  (Thankfully, my ringer was off, yet I felt a twinge of guilt that we weren’t to the rescue in the middle of the night.)

Have you been on Facebook lately?  I think I have too many friends.  I love my friends, I do.  Of course, I do.  I want to keep up on their lives and their children.  I love photos of puppies, babies, and vacation.  I love giving them my validation of “Likes” and comments- uplifting, loving, or charmingly witty.  But not everyone went to etiquette class for social media.  The hundreds of vacation photos and beyond detailed child sickness posts.  I want the highlights from your trip, not your five hour slideshow.  Please, don’t tell us the size, consistency, color, or frequency of your child’s bowel movements.  Get a doctor… and some boundaries.  Please, don’t make me sad for you for the dozens of selfies you post weekly.  Focus on your home, marriage, and children.  I love the cute comments your kid says and the precious moments you share.  Is it necessary to post them every hour on the hour though?

Thank goodness I am not on Twitter.  I have a handle, sure, but I don’t know how to be a twit that tweets.  Let me figure out how to use my steam cleaner first.  I cannot forget when I try to check the weather or current events quickly.  My pop-up blocker is annoyed and overwhelmed.  I wanted relevant and important news, not Jennifer Aniston’s new haircut pics (sorry, Jen).  Or to see ten things that are trending and decide I MUST read about five of them immediately.

Off.

That’s what I have done the last couple of weeks.  I have closed my Netflix mid-show after breakfast- I can finish up over lunch.  I have signed into FB to only briefly see the news.  So-and-so is having a girl.  Yay!  Another kid is turning five.  And, a couple celebrated their seven anniversary.  Sweet.  My nephew learned to climb out of his crib.  Mercy.  And prayers.  Log out.

Quick ruthless check of e-mail and delete as much as possible.  Turn off the computer and clean house.  Oh, I enjoy taking pride in my wiped down counters and vacuumed family room.  (My husband called yesterday afternoon and asked, “What are you doing?”  “Vacuuming,” I answered.  LONG PAUSE.  Stunned, he questioned again, “What are you doing???”  Our house is looking darn good since I stepped away from the laptop more!)  I find myself in balance more.  I check off more of my business to-do’s.  I enjoy a morning Bible reading and a mid-afternoon catch up with a favorite book.  I find myself enjoying days more than dreading them.  Dinner becomes desirable again.  Chores aren’t chores anymore.  I have energy again by finding my priorities. 

It’s funny how the act of subtraction has actually helped my find more balance.  Hoping I can keep it up- being a housewife hasn’t before felt so good! 

Happy Wednesday, Laura

 

history lesson

My husband and I went to the movies this weekend.  We are big fans of the superhero, blow-things-up, and action packed movies that litter the summer silver screen.  We enjoy an occasional chick flick or romantic comedy, of course, too.  This weekend, though, we saw a documentary- America: Imagine a World without Her.  We heard about it on the radio before the 4th of July weekend, and my mom saw it and highly recommended yet.  But, we kept putting it off; it wasn’t high on our priorities.  However, when I heard it had scenes illustrating early America, ideal to watch in theaters, I encouraged my husband that we should see it.

I am glad we did.  Although, I admit going into it that I didn’t know what we were getting into!  Early in the movie, there is a scene where George Washington is shot down in battle.  Say what???  I paused for a moment: I don’t remember that in my history books.  Oh…  It must be what would happen if America had given up.

Beyond that, as I watched the movie, I debated blogging about it.  There were moments when I thought: yes, I am blogging immediately!  And, other moments that I thought: hmmm… I don’t know how this movie will be taken.  However, I decided to blog anyway, and here’s why…

Does it bug anyone else that our country is so divided?  Our world is filled with so much hate and venom, that we truly need to band together and be proud of what unifies us.  Our diversity is seen as such a divisive and bad thing, but what if we appreciate it for a beautiful thing?  What if we realize how blessed we are to live in a country that we can make our own opportunities?  It’s rarely easy, but it is worth it to find success through hard work. 

I have had people in my life criticize my husband, for example, because of his “success.”  They don’t care that he grew up in a family that struggled deeply financially.  They don’t know that he worked full time to pay his way to go to college.  He took twenty-two to twenty-four credit hours a semester to avoid taking out school loans to live off for four years.  He finished his four year degree in less than three.  He worked hard.  And. Cranked. It. Out.  He was never spoiled and never lived an indulgent life.  He knew he wanted more than he had and chose to get out of it.

We have friends whose parents created their own companies.  Ground up.  They worked hard, and they were not overnight success stories.  However, their hard work (along with the Lord’s blessing) has increased their businesses over thirty years.  It is something they are proud of and are passing on to their children and their children’s children.  A friend of mine from college started a little photography business that has grown to be one of the top photographers in his city.  One of my closest friends, too, moved around a lot growing up in a broken home, yet she went to on to get her bachelors then masters degree and is changing her family. 

Part of the idea of the movie, “America” is that we live in this amazing country.  It is equal to none.  We owe it to ourselves to embrace the chance of a new day and the chance of rewriting our story.  We stand before the unknown, but we have the ability to make it what we want.  We can dream, pray, plan, build, grow, succeed, and bless. 

See the movie.  And, see the opportunities that await you in this grand country, America.  It was built on the desire to see everyone succeed and with each an equal chance.

Happy Monday, L

extravagant love

My husband and I are adamant that we attend a marriage conference every year.  Healthy, happy marriages rarely just “happen”: you need to be intent.  While doing homework at last year’s marriage conference, we came across an exercise talking about extravagant love and what that looks like in your marriage.  Hmphf.  Well, let’s see, when was the last time my dear Joseph packed my bags and flew me to Paris for a lovely, romantic dinner in front of the Eiffel Tower???  Oh, yes, I forgot.  It has never happened.  Bummer.  Have we failed at this extravagant love thing?! 

No, we hadn’t failed at the extravagant love, but I needed to rewire my brain to realize he loves me extravagantly more often than I realize.  Like, my husband would do just about anything to get out of grocery shopping.  He is not a fan.  He finds it mind numbing, pointless, and a rather torturous.  However, I love when he goes to the grocery store with me.  I enjoy that extra time with him, he helps me figure out which items are better cost, and he helps me stay on budget!  So, when he comes with me to the grocery store, I know it’s not for his benefit but for mine and our marriage.  And, I am always grateful.

Last week, he showed me extravagant love again when he made me his sweet potato fries.  No one makes sweet potato fries like my Bear!  Which is why I know he loves me after he made them three times last week.  Yeah, they are that good! 

He knows of my extravagant love, too.  He gets his feet rubbed almost every night.  Yep, lucky man. I usually do it without being asked while we watch a show together or sit and talk.  When he does ask, I often cheerfully answer: “I would love to!”  I admit that it occasionally has a zip of sarcasm to it (I mean, can I finish eating my dinner first???).  But, I would rather me rub his feet than someone else!  It makes him happy, too.  I want to be a loving wife.  And, our house really has looked amazing this past week.  Like, model home clean.  Oh, yeah!  He knows it’s not my strength to pick up after myself and keep things immaculate, but I really am trying! 
 

This morning, I think he reciprocated my clean house gesture, as I noticed his love has gone further.  We have screen doors in addition to our regular doors.  He hates the second door.  I love that extra layer of security.  It may be a false sense of security, but I have it.  Anyway, he has grumbled about these doors since we moved in.  He, apparently, cannot be bothered with the additional locks.  Grrr- for both of us.  I have told him that as long I as live here, I will lock the additional locks and to not bother trying to change my mind.  I have also stopped asking him to lock the additional locks and have gotten into the habit of locking them myself every morning before breakfast.  To my surprise, he has locked them every day this week! 

 
I know he wants to show me his love in ways besides roses, diamond bracelets, and trips to Paris.  I would love those things, too, of course, but the every day extravagant love is pretty awesome, too!  He is romantic in ways I don’t always expect but really appreciate (like, he just sent me a text offering to go to our second dinner date restaurant- the same place he fell in love with me…. awww). 

So, I encourage you to extravagantly love your significant other this week.  I think it’s better to love each other truly and deeply in the day to day as that adds up more often than the big gifts and big surprises.  You have a chance to love on the cheap and send a quick e-mail or text right now.  And, you can empty the dishwasher or make dinner later.  Redefine your extravagant love gestures, and you will likely express them more! 

Happy Wednesday, love, L

remember when friend

I have been on quite the clean household kick this past week or two.  Sure, I strive to maintain a clean and orderly home, but it’s not second nature to me.  It keeps the hubbie happy though and a bit less stressed.  I do enjoy a clean household, too, of course.  But, today: I wanted to wreck it.  In a bout of feeling oppressed and constrained, I wanted to destroy something.  Mess up the sheets, pile up dirty dishes, rearrange the bookshelf.  Oh, how futile. 

I decided to do something more worthwhile.  I thought of my friend T.  She was my go-to girl my senior year in high school and most of college.  Oh, the stories we could tell!  And, that was all the remedy I needed.  I needed to think of my “remember when” friend and contact her.  She would remember the crazy blonde that never kept a clean room.  She’d appreciate and think fondly of the wild laughs and late nights out.  I love being Mrs. Bauer, but she’d remember me before I was a Mrs.  She’d simply remember me as her best friend, Laura.  Or, Flirt, my nickname in high school- oh, yes, a lot has changed! 

I think we all need “remember when” friends.  Having them know us personally is a more productive way of breaking the cycle of bored and boring.  She can laugh with me over dumb ex-boyfriends and late night gossip sessions.  She can appreciate that I am not with any of those losers I loved in my late teens and early twenties.  There were dozens of ‘em!  ha  She will remember when with me and yet still let me love the now moments in my life: a house cleaning, husband loving housewife who has a spark that’s yet to be put out entirely.  *smile*

Hope you have a remember when friend or can start a new friendship that will be a great reminder in your life for years to come.

lots of love, Laura

the Rolling Stones were right

It’s a boy!  My brother and his wife announced the exciting news of their baby number two.  Baby number one?  Already a boy.  I am thrilled at the idea of a third nephew.  Although, I think I’d be delighted either way… being the spoiling, fun aunt is a pretty cool job no matter what.  I am a bit of a traditionalist, too: carrying down the family name and whatnot.  I like knowing my maiden name will live on and didn’t stop with my dad’s traditional girls (we both gladly took the name of our grooms).  I think everyone was delighted this new baby was a boy except for my sister-in-law and her mother.

I don’t blame them.  Well, not anymore.  I felt the cart was ahead of the horse when they’d occasionally refer to the baby as “she” in the weeks leading up to the news.  Or, “her.”  Irritated me.  What does it matter?  I mean, my brother’s wife has always let it be known she wanted a girl.  I’d go as far as to guess she might have had a bit of ill-will toward my sister when she was pregnant with my niece.  Que sera sera.  Right?  Whatever will be, will be…  Yes, I did blame them a little at first.  Babies are gifts from G-d.  Who cares of the gender if the child is healthy?  Then I thought of our situation.

I have a large box of baby clothes sitting in the closet of our (future) baby room upstairs.  Clothes for boys and clothes for girls.  I have been collecting them through the years.  I never thought I jinxed myself in buying them too soon or too early.  If there was an item I truly adored, I bought it.  So, it sits, untouched, in a far away bedroom (feels far away, not physically far away, ha!).  I think of the items that sit in it, and I think about our desire to adopt, and I realize we will likely be blessed with baby girls.  Hmmm…  I have longed for a baby boy for years.  I would be thrilled to be a mother of boys.  One, two, five- I would be perfectly content having no daughters.  I blame my DNA; my mother likely cursed me with a mini-me once my little angel becomes a teen.  I have seen the wild and defiant streak from my mother’s side.  You’d want to skip having girls, too.

If we adopt from overseas, the majority of babies available are girls.  I feel a small pain in my heart.  What if I never have a son?  Even if we had biological kids, it’s flipping a quarter, right?  No guarantees.  Not unless you get science involved.  I think it makes me sadder than my husband.  What if we don’t have a son to pass on the Bauer name?  Will my husband not have a son to teach how to play baseball?  Will we not get a “pass” in paying for a wedding?  ha  I think I am more bummed about the boy thing than my husband.

I stop the endless unravel of my thoughts and remember: G-d is in control.  That makes me breathe easier.  After all, our eldest nephew adores Joseph.  At fifteen months old, he could say “Unkell Joe-SEPH!”  It was precious.  It helped that my sister read him the Christmas story often.  Joseph can still play ball with him.  He has nephews, too, that carry on the Bauer name.  Who knows- our girls might keep it, too?  My sister in law has my niece to spoil.  Taking little Miss C to get manicures and buy dolls and dresses.  She’ll appreciate not having “the talk,” the hormonal fits, and the bride’s cost of a wedding! 

I think my brother’s wife may mourn the “loss” of a daughter a little longer.  Maybe a while.  She generously gave my sister a mound of her baby girl clothes today.  Sure, they may try for a third.  Sure, they may have a girl… or another boy.  I think we all go through states of mourning.  Mourning the loss of something that we wished for or wanted.  Something that was intended or planned and didn’t happen.  I think the Rolling Stones may have been right.  You know, we can’t always get what we want, but, like the song says, sometimes we get what we need.

To baby boy nephew #2, I love you and look forward to meeting you shortly.  You are G-d’s perfect gift and planned.  And, I cannot wait to buy you a lot of blue and spoil you :-)  Aunt Laura