Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One / Thirty-...Five?

A few weeks ago our Smoochface reached that big first birthday.  At her checkup this week she was looking great, measuring leaner and taller than average as per usual, but (to us at least) in the highest possible percentile for adorableness.  She didn't much care for her shot at the moment, but a few snuggles from Mommy and she was her usual happy self again.  She's overall such a pleasant and sweet girl, so cuddly these days and usually pretty sweet to new people.  She is absolutely walking and starting to talk just a bit and make animal sounds, which we can hardly stand how cute it is.  She has her way when it comes to meal time, hungry for what she's eating but only in just the moment she wants to eat it, and her naps are kind of hit-and-miss but her nighttime sleeping is great.  We love her ombre hair and her close-to-double-digits teeth and her scrunchy smile and her bright blue eyes.  She definitely has a nice loud wail that she uses to great effect when she feels it necessary, but overall she is a delight to one and all.

The Wife's great twelve-month update is just here, but here are some of my pictures:
Helping herself to one of Mommy's Valentine's Day gifts
Throwback to visiting the Puppy Barn
At the Provo City Center Temple open house.  She at least was very well-behaved there.
Enjoying a tea party hosted by Big Brother.
Helping with some home improvements
New favorite game!
The weather was finally getting nice enough to go out.
I love being home on the weekends and able to fetch this face after naps!
On her actual day of we just opened some presents (BB was happy to help her out with the wrapping paper/playing) and she tentatively tried out the strawberry shortcake provided by Mommy, and a few days later we had her birthday party playdate at the park, which was fun and with lots of cousins, and Mommy's amazing butterbeer cupcakes.  Kind of the opposite of The Boy's first birthday party, it was beautiful all morning long and then turned windy and cold by afternoon party time rolled around, but we bundled her up and she enjoyed her treat and some cozy snuggles while the kids played on the fun playground (and big bro took a tumble into the dry creek bed... watch your step there, Boy... more to come on that later).
Every little girl's birthday dream come true:  Costco.
Oh all right, and the mall.
Hee hee, Baby Yoda!
New book!
Ummmmm yes.
3 Cs: Cute, cold, cupcake. 

As usual, it's hard to forget our tiny baby but it's also hard to imagine her any other way than she is right now!  She has the sweetest disposition and I am always so so glad to see her clutching to the baby gate at the top of the stairs waiting to see me when I come home.  It's all I can do to not smother her with kisses at every moment.

Oh!  And then I had a birthday too.  Is it so weird that it's just hard to remember exactly how old you are when you get to a certain age?  I say it is so weird.  But I never mind a birthday (even if I am about halfway through the decade to 40...), and The Wife always makes it such a special occasion.  I went in to work a little late so I could enjoy my special birthday cereal with my three favorite people, and then was treated to lunch by my coworkers, and then had a special delicious dinner of my childhood pick spaghetti followed by presents, and THEN we had friends and family come over to enjoy another of The Wife's confectionary masterpieces.  She always does, but she really outdid herself this time.  It was great to have so many fun people come over, but we admit that we were sorry not to have leftovers...  Next time we'll make a bonus and hide it away.
Yes, Boy, you can have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Aww, thanks, work.
The best pants ever.  I have worn them every day since then.
So much for good luck -- St. Patrick was not with me when I somehow or other shattered my poor iPod screen.  At least it still plays just fine.  Back in the day I would have done a whole blogpost about this, but eh.
Happy birthdays to us!  We both had good ones.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Decade of Hmoob

Ten years ago...

... I entered this place (and didn't leave for almost three months) and met this guy (and became BFFs) and took a good long look at the Hmong language and thought, well, I'll never be able to understand any of this. Xav tsis thoob.
Saying goodbye to hearth and home.
L-R: Wiest, Lo, Cox, Vang, S. Wilson, kuv, A. Wilson, Johns
Tsob ntoo Hmoob, our beloved Hmong Tree
Hmoob hwjchim.  Sure, it's not the most Hmong pose, but what did I know?
The first of many Elder Potter photo shoots (with a sad sorry makeshift wand).
Sometimes you get kind of kooky after all those weeks inside a fence and need to do something rebellious... like pose for a picture in this security golf cart.
There comes a time when you feel like you just need to make a break for it.
Best surprise possible when my parents and sister showed up after being invited to a devotional!  Just the thing to give me that boost before heading out to the field.
I thought I knew a lot (and sure, why not, I did), but I definitely had a lot to learn, and even though I was in my mid-20s and a good half-decade-plus older than most of the other missionaries around me, I still had a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of good friends and great experiences on the way.
Finally WI bound.  I tell you, the bus ride to the airport and the flight were like going to Disneyland.
SO much has happened in the last decade it's crazy to look back and think about it all.  But then I also remember that at this time I had already interacted with my beloved, and then she took it upon herself to continue to write to me via the old school method once I entered the MTC, and I'm ever so glad she did.  (And I confess it was nice to finally see a picture of her.)

A lot of things have changed, but some things never will.  Faith, family, friends, Hmoob, and that rad picture of me in a golf cart...  It was a long stay in a small area, but it led to a whole lot of good.