Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Best Two Years

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary to us! Our last anniversary we spent in Hong Kong--and in utter contrast, this year we kept things pretty low key. It felt fitting; we needed some down time. We have enjoyed spending time together this weekend doing things that needed to be done. Yesterday morning I helped sweet Husby teach the primary kids at a church activity. Then we cleaned the church because it was our assignment this week on the ward schedule (every family in the congregation takes turns). Next we got our car repaired...and while we were waiting for the car to get fixed, we spontaneously decided to use a coupon I scrounged up in my purse for a free 10x13 wall portrait at Sears, as the department store was located on the same block of our car repair garage. After driving home in our newly fixed car (yay, it still keeps getting us where we need to go!), we exercised on the treadmill and finished preparing our talks for today's sacrament meeting. Though from a worldly perspective it may seem like this anniversary weekend was rather unromantic, we feel happy to note that the parts of married life we most enjoy are these simple day-to-day times spent together. When we reflect on our activities, themes of our marriage emerge--faith, service, provident living, and personal improvement, to name a few. These are the parts of our marriage that bring us happiness.

After walking in a drizzling rain to our impromptu Sears photo shoot, I felt less than picture-worthy and thus liked this hands shot the best because it showed less of me, and more of "the baby." Cute Little got featured in more than a few photos, of course.
And here we have it: the 31 week belly shot.

We discussed this morning how that phrase, "the best two years" usually refers to how an LDS mission is the best time of a young person's life up to that point--but we agreed these two years of marriage have continued to build on the joys we experienced as full-time missionaries. Part of the reason we are so happy as married people is because of who we became during our missions--the choices and habits we made during our respective times of service have forever changed us for the better.

My little brother Brandon is just hitting his one year mark for time spent in the mission field, and I get a deep satisfaction out of noticing his growth already. The tone that comes through in his letters and emails shows he is becoming a generous, kind, patient young man. These same qualities Jerry refined on his mission, and they continue to grace his everyday actions even now. He is wonderful and I feel blessed to have him. Sorry for waxing mushy, for any of you people out there who roll your eyes at this sort of blog entry--I figure I'm allowed to do it once or twice a year. =)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Roadtrip, Falls, 30 week belly

We love living just hours away from some of the world's most famous sites. Last week my younger brothers flew out to upstate New York with our dad, and Jerry and I drove to meet up with them there for part of their trip. The highlight of our few days with them was a visit to Niagara Falls.

I had never seen a rainbow from beginning to end before (the ends are cut off in the photo, because the bow was too big to capture from our close viewpoint...but trust me--the ends are there and it was breathtaking).

Another favorite part of the falls was an underground "cave" tour to see the water up close. Justin has grown taller since I last saw him--6'4" now, and just sixteen years old. David is doing the "Brandon Smile," to honor our family missionary.
Jerry snapped this belly shot of me (30 weeks) as I tried to face the wall of wind and mist at the base of the falls. So much power in that volume of water--I had no idea it would give me such a thrill to experience it. Afterall, I'd seen other waterfalls before and thought, "what could possibly be that great about Niagara...just a little bigger, that's all." Well, you would have to experience it to understand how fun this site can be.

We also took a few minutes to watch a glassblower make a vase. Jerry and I had never seen it done before, so we felt a good measure of fascination.

Here at the Canadian/United States bridge someone suggested I have the baby right on the border line, so Little Tam would get dual citizenship. Hmmm...maybe we'll stick with our hospital birth center location instead. That concrete's just not as comfortable as it looks.

And I should mention, it was Jerry's first time to visit Canada! I had fun reminiscing about my mission days in that country as we ate ketchup chips and Tim Horton's, got Canadian coins for change from our purchases, and heard a few cute Canadian accents.

The drive there and back was enjoyable for the hours of talking. Jerry was sweet and took the wheel the whole time, so I became officially in charge of doling out snacks. I handed him a tupperware bowl full of chips, and he found it convenient that he could see through the transparent bottom of the bowl to watch the road as he ate. lol.
This roadtrip to NY was a good little vacation, especially as we are always grateful to spend time with family.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Birthday Boy

Jerry had a birthday this month. Can you guess how old?

We had a group of friends from church come over to help us celebrate.
I baked the famous Hong Kong style birthday cake (and this time it even looks a little like the HK flag). It has become our birthday tradition.

We also ate some other good food.

The Amazon card didn't come in time for me to wrap any gifts from it, but luckily Jerry's work boots had arrived the day before (we're calling it his birthday gift from his employer) so we wrapped those up for him to open with surprise.

After food, presents, and visiting, we played a couple games--even indulging in Jerry's favorite, Chinese Checkers.

Lots of fun, and we are grateful to have so many friends already in our new area who could help make the party a success. Thanks for coming everybody, and Happy Birthday to Jerry!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Crane Beach

The pictures are all out of order, so I'll just tell the story like a puzzle and trust everybody to make sense of it.
Beautiful sands, beautiful day.

Still have not splurged on a maternity bathing suit. Week 29 belly, and it felt heavenly to let my cumbersome body waft on top of the waves. I had serious thoughts along the lines of, "why don't I just have the baby in the ocean?" The water was absolutely relaxing, gorgeous, and...

Crowded. So crowded, in fact, that we had to hike three miles in because that's as far away as the police squad would let us do drop-offs. Parking was even farther away than that, so our good friend Roger (who drove us there) parked the car and then caught up to us.
No matter. The "hiking" made the water feel that much more refreshing, and I'd been needing to exercise that day anyway.
This tide pool was as warm as a bathtub.

The main reason for crowds was the sand sculpture contest taking place that afternoon. This particular sculpture was "interactive," in that it had a walk-through maze/path of sorts so people could get really close to the sculptures.

I loved the little drippy trees on this castle. And the wooden texture of the docking posts was incredibly realistic.

The only picture of the day featuring Jerry. I really need to start taking the camera for a few minutes so we have more photos of him, instead of all me and the baby. =)

We passed these amazing meadows/grasslands (?) on our trek to the beach. I think the black boxes are for nesting birds.

Trying out my hitchhiker's thumb with friend Neica while her husband Roger drove a bit farther down the road to park the car. Again, I really didn't much mind the walk. The day was beautiful, and my body felt grateful to stretch and get a workout. The main downfall of the walking was clouds of mosquitos that accompanied us. I used my self-hypnosis to make the bites stop itching.
Overall a really fun outing! This beach is about a half hour north of Boston, so we would probably only go if we had a whole day to spend there, but we highly recommend it for anybody who is in the area (though probably best to go when the sand sculpture crowds would be gone).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meet the newest...

Our congregation here is flourishing. We have a lot of recent converts, and the newest one got confirmed a member of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this past Sunday. Jerry got to stand in the circle at her confirmation to lay hands on her head while she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I loved seeing the glow on this newest member's face as she accepted God's help in her life.

Susan's story is perfect: searching for decades, prepared by God in every way imaginable, and humbly accepting of truth when she found it. We introduced ourselves to her the first Sunday she came to church, just a few weeks ago, and felt instantly how special she was. What an honor to fellowship her--and how amazing to see her progress to baptism so promptly! Many people get distracted at some point during the initial learning process, or they experience difficulty keeping commitments that will lead to baptism and membership in the church. But Susan has a way of jumping in with both feet and giving her whole heart to God. As we see her joy, our own gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ grows. Thanks for letting us learn with you, Susan! We love you!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Boston Temple

Last weekend we did a session at the LDS Boston Temple. Due to a missed exit and several wrong turns (I was driving), we ended up missing the session we were aiming for and instead had a good half hour to enjoy the grounds before going inside to the last session of the day.

The floral scent felt terrifically heavy in the humid air, and I found it interesting how tropical many of the flowers seemed--different than the "usual" varieties I am used to back West.

Is this enough profile to call it a belly shot here sitting by the flowers? I think I was at 27 weeks when the picture was taken, maybe 28?

Jerry always takes such nice pictures. I'm grateful he doesn't mind being our family's designated "camera man," because if it was left up to me we'd never take time to get photos of anything.

We got chills as we came around the corner and caught sight of this spire for the first time.

We love the New England trees. Autumn will be gorgeous, so we'll have to do more temple pics around that time.

I got a new calling in church--Young Women's secretary--which means I get to go with the youth tomorrow morning to the temple, to do baptisms for the dead. I am excited to go again and wish we could make it there more often. When I was listening to General Conference last April, I sought specific counsel from God regarding our move this summer. I asked Him, "What can I do to make the transition a positive, happy experience?" The answer I received, from both speakers' words and the impressions of the Holy Spirit, is this: "Make the temple a priority."

The peace and eternal perspective I gain inside those holy walls is exactly what I need at this time in my life. I love the temple!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Berry Bugs

Another bug story. Sorry for making this my apparent theme for Massachusetts life. I should change the name of the blog, maybe from "Tam Fam" to "Bug Adventures."

Anyway, yesterday a few women from our congregation invited me to pick berries with them. The raspberry patch we found held end-o-season, smallish and hard to obtain fruits, but they tasted delicious enough that I felt pleased with our bounty. The blueberries also have had a hard season, with all the extra rain they've endured, but again, I felt pleased as I brought home a pound of them to freeze and munch later. As I carefully washed each individual berry, I inspected them for signs of insect life. Raspberries especially make me suspicious, because they have crevices and creases galore in which to hide microscopic critters. Sure enough, I found a wriggling worm in one of the raspberries. I am proud to say I tossed that worm out and kept right on washing berries. This morning Sweet Husby and I ate raspberry smoothies, and while I thought of the worm episode off and on, I enjoyed my beverage with nary a gag. Progress. Bugs and I might learn to get along afterall. (that is, if one can make "happy to eat bugs" synonymous with "getting along with bugs.")

Monday, August 3, 2009

My computer is stuck in a time warp

It feels like I am living in the movie Groundhog Day. Every time I go to to view "Now in the News," it shows anchor Virginia Cha last Wednesday, July 29th at 1:30 pm, wearing the same hot pink blazer, saying the same old news stories about terrorist groups, etc. Every time I check my favorite blogs, they are stuck on whatever entry was posted by last Wednesday, July 29th at 1:30 pm. And I KNOW the world has had updates since last Wednesday...because this weekend I used Jerry's laptop to double-check and felt illuminated to learn all that had gone on in the world since my computer got stuck in a time warp.

We have a solution for all our laptop's problems. Maybe it is a bit neanderthal-esque, but we just move anything important onto an external hard drive, then wipe the computer clean, followed by a reinstallation of all programs and such. So I'm not too worried, but haven't gotten around to doing the "computer clean up" yet, so if anybody has better ideas for fixing the problem, please let me know. I am also interested to know what causes this sort of problem, if anybody else out there has experienced it.