Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Well, kind of. The first day of traveling was really rough. The boys were already tired when we left, and they didn't really sleep that well in the car. I should clarify, Gina and the boys were in the car, and I was in a Penske truck with Sydney. The plan was for Gina to let me know when we needed to stop for the boys. I was in the lead with a GPS keeping us on track. A little after noon, Gina called and said the boys were having double meltdown, so I needed to exit ASAP. I don't think I could have chosen a worse place to exit. The off ramp led us to a isolated country road with no town in sight. We literally pulled off the road and into what looked like the remains of a gas station or something. This small "parking" area was also used as a local dump for old car parts, large appliances and other trash. Ah, rural livin'! We tried to make the best of the situation and fed the boys some lunch, then let them walk around a little while.
The rest of the day was not much better in terms of sleeping or the boys' moods. Many meltdowns, multiple stops, a late arrival to the hotel and a grand finale temper tantrum (by Nathaniel) right before bed that will likely go down in the books as his "best one yet." To top it off, the "suite" we reserved was not what we expected, so we were all crammed into one room. This makes it really hard to put the boys to bed because they won't relax if they can see us in the room. "Hey, Dad's here! It's time to party!" I eventually just left the room with Sydney and sat outside to check my e-mail. They finally fell asleep, so I went to Steak-n-Shake to get some dinner ... at 10:30 p.m. Not exactly the time to be downing a double steak burger and fries with a strawberry shake. By the time I got to bed, it was well past midnight and I knew there would not be much sleep that night. I fell asleep dreading the 300+ miles we had to cover the next day.
After a huge breakfast at the hotel, we got back on the road by about 9:30. The second day of travel turned out to be much better. The boys had no meltdowns, took decent naps and basically looked at books the whole way. We arrived at the hotel in Springfield, went swimming and made it to bed at the regular time. This suite also had two rooms so we could put the boys to bed and do our own thing (specifically, check e-mail and watch TV) in the other room.
On Wednesday, we finally got the keys to our house and started moving in. I moved most of the boxes and other stuff from the truck, and we left some of the heavier items for the movers coming the next day. Thursday, the movers put all of our belongings in the house or garage, and then came the huge task of unpacking everything, putting items in their appropriate place and trying to figure out where to hide things we don't think we'll use right away. Fortunately, this house has a huge unfinished basement where we can store just about everything we own. As of this writing (a little more than a week after we got the key to the house), our house actually looks like a home. We still have a few things to put up on the walls, but that's it. Gina has done a great job of organizing and decorating. The neighborhood is very peaceful, and the neighbors we've met seem very friendly and welcoming. They even brought us an angel food cake! Go neighbors!
One thing we have noticed about Springfield is that we (the boys, specifically) get a lot more attention wherever we go. And I'm not talking about the negative, "Waiter, could we please get a table as far from this family as possible," kind of attention. Whether it's the mall, the grocery store, church or anywhere else, people stop to make comments about the twins. Maybe Charlottesville was not that enamored with babies, or maybe doting on toddlers wasn't considered "academic," but people in Springfield don't seem to hold back. "Are they twins? Who's older? How old are they?" We had been told twins attract a lot of attention from people, but until now we really hadn't experienced it. I don't know if this will persist for much longer, but it was something both Gina and I noticed independently.
I guess that's it for our 4-year adventure in Virginia. Time always seems compressed when looking back on an event or experience. Was it really 4 years ago we moved to Charlottesville? So much happened in that short period of time. We bought a clunker house that we turned into a comfortable and welcoming home. We learned more about Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison and the Civil War than I thought we ever would. We got to see my sister and her family on a semi-regular basis, which was both fun and comforting. We welcomed twin boys into the world and experienced the wonder and joy of watching them grow, learn and add blessing to everything around them. Sydney learned how to be a vicious watchdog, even though the college students in the neighboring apartment complex walking by our fence were in no way a threat to our security. We got to meet Mrs. Brown and witness the outcome of years of faith, prayer and steadfast service to the Lord. We got to know our twin brother neighbors and watch them transform a beat up old house into a lovely and charming home (and a pretty good investment, to boot). We met and embraced friends from all over the world, and learned that amidst all the differences we may have we are inherently similar. We completed what we came there to do when we Walked the Lawn together on a drizzly, humid Sunday morning to be conferred as Doctor and Doctor Alexander. We left Charlottesville tired, a little confused about the next step in our lives and excited for what the future might hold. We left as parents, better friends and professors. More than that, we had the opportunity to jump into the deep end of the pool and fully experience faith, hope, grief, struggle and perseverance, while all the time being totally immersed in God's love and provision.
In the last line of Return of the King, Sam tells his wife, "Well, I'm back." I think that is an appropriate conclusion to this book as well. We are back at a new beginning. Shaped by the past, committed to the present and eager for the future. If you are interested in following our adventures in Springfield, you can do so at our new blog.
Much love, and God's blessings on you ... Curby, Gina, Sam, Nate and Sydney
P.S. I think it's fitting that Springfield's most famous residents lead us out in style.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
If you aren't familiar with PODS, they are large containers that get dropped off at your house, you load them yourself (or hire movers), then their truck will come pick it up and deliver it wherever you want. This is a nice option for people who want to take their time loading their stuff, or for folks like us who need some time between when the house is cleared out and when we actually move. Anyway, this is not a PODS commercial. We are just very impressed with how this service works. The only furniture left in our house is our bed and two cribs. We still have several boxes that I will transport in a large truck in a couple of weeks, but for the most part the house is empty.
Sam and Nate handled the moving day like champs. They stayed in their room playing most of the time, and they even managed to squeeze in a nap in the midst of all the chaos. Their favorite part of the day was when they finally got to come downstairs and play in the empty rooms. The house now has this beautiful echo that is perfect for yelling, squealing, clapping hands and stomping feet.
The rest of this week and the next will be spent cleaning, packing more boxes and getting the house ready for our renters. We are by no means done with our move, but yesterday saw a major piece get checked off the list.
In case you are wondering about this post's title ...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Later that night, Katie and I got to see the Red Sox play the Nationals at Nationals Park. I became a Red Sox fan when they played the Mets in the World Series in 1986, mainly because of a young, tough-as-nails Texan on the team named Roger Clemens. I followed the Red Sox off and on for the next several years, but my good friend Mike Palaza got me hooked for good. I have never met someone so passionate about a team, and I soon discovered there are thousands ... maybe millions ... more just like him. This has never been so true as it was in Nationals Park on Tuesday. Not only did the Red Sox fans outnumber the Nationals fans about 5-1 (or more), but they helped set an attendance record for the new ballpark. The game was filled with chants of "Let's go Red Sox!" and the place would erupt anytime there was a hit, score or nice play in the field. This was one of the most fun games I have ever been to! And of couse I got to hang out with my sister for the evening, which made it even better. I've been to 2 Red Sox games in my life, and Katie has taken me to both of them.
It's one thing to attend a game at Fenway and see how fired up the fans get over baseball. You would expect that from a home game, though not all teams enjoy such loyal fans (the Nationals have a way to go in that category), but Tuesday night was all the proof I needed to confirm that Red Sox Nation is indeed alive and well.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Gina, Sam, Nate and I just returned from a week in Florida with my parents. This was a great way to relax and celebrate our graduation from UVA. The week started out very rainy, but soon enough the sun came out and we were able to get out and see some of the sights. Sam and Nate got to swim in their very first wading pool, and I'm pretty sure this will be something they want to do again.
Friday, May 22, 2009
On May 16 and 17, Gina and I walked through the Final Exercises at the University of Virginia. In all, we attended 5 different graduation ceremonies (my hooding, my graduation, Gina's hooding, her graduation, and Walking the Lawn) and 3 parties! Gina's parents got in Thursday evening and my parents came in Friday afternoon. My sister and her family came in on Saturday, and we had a lot of friends share the special day(s) with us as well. The weekend was hectic, exciting, relieving and a little sad. Personally, I have loved living in Charlottesville and attending the university. I can't say it was always fun or immediately rewarding, but we stuck to our program and finished what we came to accomplish. I'm sure someday all of this will sink in and I will think to myself, "How did we do that?" For now, we are happy to be done and have loved looking through all the pictures and reflecting on the moment. I have included some images from graduation weekend, but there are many, many more you can see here:
Nathaniel does NOT want the party to end!
Monday, May 11, 2009
After church we came home, ate lunch, then took long naps. I slept about 40 minutes, but Gina and the boys slept for almost 3 hours. I was able to get all of the laundry folded in that time, as well as make a few phone calls and watch most of the Lakers/Rockets game. Once everyone was up, we went to the park to play for about an hour. The weather was really nice, and everyone had a great time.
The boys and I got Gina some new beach clothes to take to Orlando in a couple of weeks. She has been wanting some new things, and Sam and Nate sure know how to get their mom what she likes. I also made her one my famous fruit smoothies, which Gina is convinced caused the boys to be so big when they were born.
The day was very special and filled with lots of laughs and relaxation. More than anything, we wanted Gina to know how much she is loved and cherished by the three guys in the house. She fits into motherhood like it was tailor-made for her, which we know it was because it was God who made it all possible. Gina pours herself into Samuel and Nathaniel, not only providing for their physical needs, but nurturing their spiritual growth as well. Every night before we put the boys in their cribs for the night, we spend a few minutes praying together as a family. We can't always predict what will happen during the day, especially with twin 15-month old boys, but we can take time at the end of the day to thank the Lord for His blessings and protection over us. After the boys are in their cribs, I usually speed downstairs to get dinner and watch Jeopardy, but Gina will stay with them for a few more minutes and gently sing hymns and praises to the boys as they fall asleep. In the same way, my prayer for Gina is that, at the end of the day when she puts her head down and reflects on all the day's events, the Lord would gently sing over her and affirm His provision for the role he has given her. For while a mother's work is never done, the source that fuels that work is eternal and never runs dry.