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Kind & Nice

Oh man, it happened. Ryder had his first day of his first year of preschool last week. Although it may not be too exciting for most, it was for me.

When I was younger, going back to school was a big deal. Which perhaps explains why my heart gets all a flutter when I start seeing the leaves falling and yellow school buses driving by.  So now that I have a child to live vicariously through, it can be a big deal again! ...sigh...:) I can't even imagine how exciting it will be when he actually starts attending kindergarten!

I think it's hilarious this was the shirt he picked for the first day...
just so there's no confusion, people.

One reason it was a big deal in our home was because the night before school started we'd have a special family home evening lesson and my dad would give us blessings. So great. And as I'm sure many of you have seen NieNie's take on the whole back to school dinner, I couldn't help Nienie-fy ours a little as well. 

Phil and I wanted to pick a theme for the year that was simple and applicable. So we chose "Kind & Nice". It was originally "Kindness" but I quickly knew it had to be changed to "Kind and Nice". If I had a dime for everytime I've heard this phrase from my mom growing up ("you'll never regret being kind and nice") and how many times I've used it as a mom ("Are you two being kind and nice!!!"), I'd have like hundreds of dollars. Truly though, it is, I'd say, one of the biggest things I've learned from my mom (and that's saying something). I think it's because for as many times she told me to be kind and nice (especially in the difficult--I feel like being not nice moments) she showed me even more times through her example. 

SO--that's where our theme this year is based. Thank you, mom for your inspiration.  

 If you think these two are cute separately, they're even cuter when they're together. Not to mention I love a man willing to wear a paper crown.


Ya know, I know it's only because...
 ...I've spent months growing them...

 ...and several hours giving birth to them...

 ....and nursing them, feeding them, staying up with them...

...not to mention changing them, potty-training them...

 ....holding them while walking up hill in the snow--both ways...

...but I just can't help thinking my children are the cutest things on the planet.


Just like everyone else, I'm sure, I have been pondering the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I remember getting ready for school that morning and hearing something on the radio about a plane flying into a building in New York City, not sure if I had heard correctly, I went and got my mom. We turned on the TV to see the horrific image of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. The two freeze frames that remain crystal clear in my mind were 1) standing with my mom in her bedroom watching the news--both of us beside ourselves and 2) my friend Carli. Obviously, the first one makes sense, but I think the second one remains engrained in my mind because I remember arriving at school a few minutes later expecting all my peers to look the same way I felt and wanting so badly to shout to everyone, Did you hear about what happened? Can you believe it? I was disappointed to see everyone looked pretty much the same, going about their business as usual. Once I got to my locker, I even started prodding people about what I just witnessed on the news. I was suprised to find out some of my friends didn't even know about it yet. I would then try to explain what had happened, but I think my attempt to convey such...well, unbelievable news didn't come across as I'd hoped. Thankfully, seconds later my good friend, Carli, came up to me with an expression to mirror my own exclaiming, Did you hear about what happened? Can you believe it? I wanted to hug her. Maybe I did, I can't remember. But I do remember exactly what she looked like that day down to her silver beaded earrings (which Carli, if you're reading this, I never told you how cute they were). I was so grateful to have had a friend to digest the horrific events of that morning and what it could possibly mean for our future. Sadly, it wasn't much longer until the rest of my peers felt the gravity of the situation as well. I remember going to cheer class (I'm sorry to say that's true) and hearing all my friends talk about how all their guy friends and boyfriends might have to enlist in the army. It might seem foolish, but the truth is we didn't know. It was a scary and daunting thing and I'm grateful my experience with 9/11 was only that.  I was grateful that all New York City was to me was a charged, unrelatable, far away place that I'd only ever seen in the movies as were, ironically, much of the events that happened that day.

Fast forward one decade later and not only am I much more familiar with NYC, but I have a husband who has an office view of Ground Zero and we live in the city that after NewYork, has the second highest number of fatalities from that awful day. I remember last summer walking past the Ground Zero construction site and couldn't stop the tears. I was overwhelmed with these sad feelings came on so strongly and so suddenly. If anything, I'm grateful that I could eventually relate if only by the tiniest bit to all that went on that infamous day.

Phil and I took a look at Life Magazine's "9/11: 25 Most Powerful Photos" (and explains the first two photos I posted) together the other night and although sad, it's a great way to remember all the things that you feel are important to pay tribute to for what happened.

There is something about this little blog that makes me feel sometimes that my thoughts are bigger than myself and sharing this makes me feel as I'm able to send out to the world all my gratitude and sympathies all those people who made sacrifices ten years ago. And that I haven't forgotten.


 On that note, I thought I'd quickly mention the hurricane for record purposes. Ya know, get out all the downer dolly stuff in one post. Actually, we faired really well in Hurricane Irene. Going off of our ward, we ranged from people who didn't have any problems to people who were dealing with power losses days later and some people still dealing with flooding.  I'd say we were on the more favorable end. We lost power for 18 hours and water for 24 hours. After our water came back on we were on a boil water advisory for approximately 3 days. However, it was when our water came back that I decided as long as I could flush my toilet--I was a happy camper.

What I learned:

  • Get your food storage people! Phil and I have been slackers in this as we've been hopping from one small place to another the last few years. We've been talking about being better now that we're getting (well, kind of) more settled, but you never know what or when something is going to hit.
  • Now when I say food storage, I'm not just talking about food. Because I know that's what I think of when daydream of my awesome food storage supply. However, none of that means anything without water or power. The day before, when I, with the rest of NJ, was scrambling to get water and batteries was the first time I felt real, legitimate panic. It feels like a big pit in your stomach. I located jugs to fill with water--check. But it took me awhile to find batteries for our flashlights (thanks to Ryder all of our flashlights' current batteries were dead). So the water and batteries (heck, go get yourself a generator!) are very important.
  • Did I mention the water is important? It takes 3-7 gallons of water to flush your toilet. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it...no not really. One little handy tip I didn't know until it was to late was to fill your bathtub with water. Some friends also gave me the idea to fill empty rubbermaid storage bins with water as well.
  • A lot more things need power than you would think. I kept humiliating myself with thoughts like,  we may not have A/C, but at least we'll have fans. Or, we might not have the televison but at least we'll have the Internet. Oh, we might not have enough water, it's okay we can drink milk too. Milk doesn't taste good warm, Jasmine! Shockingly, we were smart enough to get our laundry done and charge everything right before the pending impact of the storm. 

What I want to remember:
  • Our wonderful friends. Both nights we were without water, or both power and water we had friends who invited us to dinner. I can't tell you how nice it was to get out of our lame house, laugh, visit, have friends to play with our kids, charge our electronics, have them store our food ....soooo nice. Now, I can say it wasn't that big of a deal, but when you're in it, you don't know for how long and there were some points it was really wearing on us and what can I say? I'm a babyhead. But these dear friends of ours truly lifted my heart and made me feel hopeful. They are/were such a huge blessing.
  • Oh to note: we also felt a tremor or two from the VA earthquake earlier that week. I believe the  destruction tally resulted in one crooked cross-stitch :)