Keeping the ANZAC Spirit Alive In Our Hearts

The ANZAC spirit is something special.

Its similar to the way Americans feel when they see a bald eagle flying across a blue sky. Or the reason Canadians seem to plater their flag on everything from their backpacks to their underwear.

But its more than a symbol.

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

But its more than a history story or a battle.

Its about a spirit.

The ANZACS were known for their ability to keep their sense of humour, even in difficult times, to be resourceful when they had nothing, to give their life for their mates, to be courageous, even when others weren’t, and to respect all.

We celebrated that spirit this week.

We waved our Aussie flags at the town parade.

We cheered for our veterans and our soldiers.

We teared up as we saw the “wounded in the line of fire” soldiers driven by.

And we bowed our heads and hearts (and closed our toddler eyes) as Bishop Putney led thousands of our community in prayers of gratefulness to our God.

But we also celebrated our friends and the ANZAC spirit that lives between us.

Not because we’re soldiers fighting in some far off land, but because we would give our lives for each other.

Because the best birthday parties are the ones made of flowers clipped from your friend’s garden.

Because someone took the time to op-shop for a teaspoon for every single one of her friends. (Even though she was the birthday girl.)

Because laughing together is a lifeline, no matter whose grandparent passed away last week (for the record, there were three.)

Because it takes courage to wear a black hat with a pink and white dress, even if it is the only one you’ve got. (Too much? Definitely! As if I’m that fashion conscious, I’m sorry to say!)

Happy Birthday to the loveliest pregnant birthday girl and ANZAC friend!


Adventures of the Stroller Brigade

I’d been waiting 10 long months for this:

Love Snuggling With Papa

And this:

Wrestling With Uncle Luke

Oh how I love those Brittan men. They didn’t disappoint. Watching my boy snuggle and play with his Papa and Uncle Luke made my heart soar.

Washington, we have arrived.

And how about those Brittan girls? Yes, there was dancing. There was singing. And there was copious amounts of candy. There were memories and laughing and a few tears here and there (mostly from laughing.)

There were two hour sessions at the gym. (And 45 minute ones, thank you very much.)

And there were cousins.

Loving the drama

Oh those cousins. Max learned how to colour, ate all kinds of new foods, got sick from eating said foods, and learned that sometimes if you want to keep a toy you gotta squeal or push a little bit. I know, I know… he’ll learn sharing. But until then, surivival of the fittest kid under 2 is pretty hilarious.

And so are 6 kids in strollers being pushed through crowded holiday sale aisles at Nordstrom rack by 3 skinny model looking girls and their big sister.

The “stroller brigade” we were dubbed. We got smirks and smiles but mostly smiles. I mean, the kids are pretty much the cutest ever… as long as they were fed rapid-fire doses of Cheezits and Kix. With double packed pockets in every mommy’s coat, there were plenty of smiles to make up for the fact that the stroller brigade was not armed with a reverse beep and crashed into a rack or two.

Thank God for the play area at the mall.

And for snow. And sledding… behind the ATV.

Auntie Bek's Got the Giggles

For Christmas parties and Christmas plays and Christmas lights…

I love me a gaudy Christmas Light Show

And date nights.

And mostly for family. And unconditional love. And making memories and cuddling nieces and nephews. And long talks with mom and dad. And pretending like we lived there and never left.

It hurt to leave. But we are cherishing the memories we made and looking forward to the future. Good things are in store. Stay tuned.

My Little Snowman

Until then, stay out of the way of the Stroller Brigade. 😉

Dear Relatives,

Okay. Our relatives are AWESOME. To the Martins, the Wislers, the Kings, the Bears and more… we must say… Facebook did not do you justice. We like you a lot and were so glad to meet you in person.

To Auntie Ann – are you Martha Stewart? Because only she would bake 73 different types of cookies in one day… and then declare a batch of chocolate dipped pretzels not very good because of a misplaced grain of salt and force us to eat them. All of them. Thank you for making us fat and for stuffing Max’s face with sugar while we had our backs turned. You are everything a great aunt should be. Just don’t let Max know we said so.

The Wislers

To Uncle Greg – you are not only our hero for holding the land-speed record (Top Gear has yet to get back to us on that interview)… we also are astonished by the grace you had to drive in a blizzard with a sleepy baby… and get us to the airport in once piece… in body and in heart. You’re awesome.

To the Kings – you remind us of Carolyn so much. From your sweet thoughtful gifts, to the bear hugs… you just make us smile. Thank you for making that long drive so we could meet you. Our hearts are complete.

Because bear hugs are awesome

To the Young Kings – little did we know Jared’s cousin married such a cool, fun girl or that you were expecting what will probably be the cutest baby ever. We like you and decided that if we lived in Indiana, we would want to be friends with you. Please find an excuse to come to Australia. Its not really as far as it looks on the map.

Evidently we didn't make the cut...

To Grandma Charlotte – you rock. You’re every bit as sweet as those cards you faithfully send us. A picture with you and Max is really one of our favourite treasures.

Three generations

To the Bears – you guys are nuts. But you knew that. And you make us want to be nuts too. We’ll never try making candy again. Because we suck at it and were told that to our faces. Okay. WE don’t suck. But I suck and I’m writing this and I’m taking everyone else down with me. We’ll keep blaming the temperature of that stone and call it sabotage and secretly wish we could be there with you next year having another go. And hopefully we won’t ruin a brand new stove that time.

Drool mobile dancing with his second cousins twice removed... or something like that

To Dale & Ruth – thank you for ordering the biggest pizza we’ve ever seen in our entire life. You are our heros. It is bigger than anything we ever dreamed and still wonder whether it was a figment of our imagination. The bed is made and the hammer is ready to kick off your Australian walk-about. What time does your flight get in!? Oh, and your kids rock too.

California. Wisconsin. Indiana. We are three for three… onto Washington we go.

Because When the Music Plays, We Dance

Oh my goodness. Having a 9 month old baby has to be one of the best things in the world. I love how every simple thing is the most exciting thing that could ever happen.

Mom’s pulling out the oatmeal to make me breakfast?! (I AM SQUEALING SO LOUD WIGH EXCITEMENT THAT I’M ALMOST HYPERVENTILATING!)

We just walked through that door and there is a PERSON on the other side!? (OKAY, I’VE TOTALLY STOPPED BREATHING BECAUSE THAT IS JUST THE COOLEST THING EVER!)

Mom was hiding on the other side of the couch and I found her?! (DUDE, THIS DAY JUST NOT GET ANY BETTER!)

And then there’s the dancing.

I never realised how much music was around the place… until the flailing arms started reminding me – with every ring of the telephone, with every accidental “play” of one of those musical toys (which I think are quite creepy how they sometimes go off when the entire family is in another room, by the way), with every elevator-style background song in the camping store.

These are Max’s favourite moment. And he loves them. And to him, the only thing better than dancing… is when mom and dad dance too.

And can I tell you, I LOVE IT! I mean seriously (except when you were on a high school youth group trip and even then it was iffy, you just didn’t realise), when else do you get to dance down the aisles of a store and its not only socially acceptable…people actually think its kind of cute and funny… except when its cracking your 9 month old baby up as he grooves a move on top of his daddy’s shoulders.

Yep, 9 month old babies are pretty much the best thing in the world.