Tuesday, December 28, 2010

where does the time go?

it has been a literal age since i've posted. and, as usual, so much has happened that it will take a lot of writing to convey it all. so, i thought i might use this as our new year's/valentine's day letter. normal people like to write christmas letters. but, let's be honest, we heaners are not normal people.

i know it's not going to be surprising when i say that this past year has been one of both joy and sadness, gain and loss, triumph and... well... not-so-triumphant. because that's life. it's a mingle, a divine mish-mash. a glorious, terrifying mess and all the more beautiful for it.

we spent a good portion of this year just settling into marriage. we figured out that it takes a lot of work to maintain a healthy, loving spousal relationship -- it's even more work than long-distance dating. but even the hardest of the hard stuff in our life together has been full of beauty, joy and reward beyond measure. we laugh together. we trust each other. we forgive one another. we never run out of things to talk about. we like each other. a lot. it's easily been the best year of either of our lives. as cliche as that might sound, it's the gulldurned truth. yeah... being married is good business.

i started school in september. i was a little bit rusty and rather full of trepidation, but i made the dean's list in that first semester back. and that while working 30-35 hours a week and taking 12 credits. i'm bragging a little, but mostly i feel relieved. i also feel really grateful for a kind, generous husband. tim helped so much around the house and gave me space to study and freak out and study some more. next semester, for various reasons, i've decided to only take one 5-credit course. striking a balance has never been one of my strong suits. it always takes a while for me to get comfortable...

speaking of which, tim changed jobs twice this year. he was working at engen power products, managing the shop for the industrial battery supplier. when he finally landed a construction job in july, they were sad to see him go. but go he did, to a company called solid construction. the long-awaited construction job was less than ideal, though. it required a lot of traveling. and entry-level pay is... well... entry level. tim gave it a good go, but after three months, we decided that the impact the job was having on our little family was just too much. so, after a lot of deliberation, he decided he wanted to make a proposal to his previous employer, EPP. he met with the owner and explained what he wanted to do. the owner was more than agreeable, gave tim a raise and welcomed him back quite happily. tim's now the shop manager and in charge of increasing communication and efficiency in the company (so up his alley!). i couldn't be prouder of him.

now we're both back in school, though each of us is only taking one class. i'm taking spanish (still working, albeit slowly, on finishing that B.A.) and tim is taking psychology (working on a business degree).

we spent our one-year anniversary in myrtle beach, south carolina. the word lovely doesn't cover it. we spent nearly every day either at the beach or one of the many resort pools. we visited georgetown and walked the spanish-moss-draped historic streets.
(in georgetown, sc)
a really big (and apparently scary) gator

we saw too many alligators and crocodiles to make a girl comfortable. we ate great seafood and went to a really fancy restaurant called the library (it smelled like old books and creaky leather mingled with fresh rosemary and garlic -- perfect for this girl). we walked on boardwalks. we watched sunrises. we saw pods of dolphins. we read and played games and watched cable tv. we talked a lot and made some big decisions:

1) tim was going to quit his construction job (see above)
2) we were going to start trying to have a baby (yes. a baby.)
3) we were going to start looking for a house (yes. a house.)

we're still looking for a house. the baby's due august 18th, 2011. we are so excited. and blessed. and the teensiest bit nervous. i feel great. i haven't had any morning sickness so far, and though i'm often tired, i feel so happy that the exhaustion doesn't totally register. tim's reading a ton of fathering books, and i'm reading just as many birthing books. it's fun to research things together. also, we have incredibly generous friends. as soon as they found out we were pregnant, they started loading us up with lovely baby items. the news hasn't even been out that long.

what gains we've experienced this year have been tempered by loss. we lost two grandfathers this year. tim's maternal grandpa, lawrence joyce, passed away just before mother's day. we miss his singing, his laughter and his storytelling. his passing is a loss to those of us who remain behind. we are comforted by the knowledge that it was his time. and he went so peacefully home to Jesus. my paternal grandpa, clyde kieffer, passed away just before thanksgiving. he had five sons and each was able to spend time with him in the hospital before he passed away. much healing came from those final days together. i miss him in unexpected moments. now that he's passed on, i find that he occupied a large space in my heart. i know i'll see him again, but that now-empty space does ache sometimes.

grandma ruth and grandpa lawrence joyce

grandpa clyde kieffer

i think that's enough news for now. i promise to be better about posting this year. there will be so much to tell.

much love from the heaners.

Friday, August 27, 2010

back to school and other miscellany

time is a precious commodity these days. so i'll try to keep this post short and to the point.

i started school this week. i'm taking 16 credits, which works out to be about 35 hours of actual study/prep/in-class time. i'm working full time, too. so that means there isn't much free time. i know i'll eventually figure out how to balance everything + make the most of every moment of the day. but this first week has been hectic, to say the least.

tim's been in illinois for work for the past three weeks. not sure whether we posted anything about this or not, but he got a job with a company called "solid construction." he likes being able to actually use his construction skills, but he's not overly fond of the traveling portion of the job. it's not like they go to exotic locations. for the job he's currently on "traveling" essentially means working 10-12 hour days + spending the rest of his time trying to figure out something to do in the teensy town he's working in, aside from watching cable at the super 8 motel.

we're homesick for each other + trying to make the best of things. thank God for cell phones.

in other news, my sister, kim, has moved into the upstairs portion of our duplex. she + her roommate are excellent neighbors + i've enjoyed having girly movie nights with them.

tim's mom just got back from a trip to kenya. we haven't had a chance to hear the stories yet, but we're looking forward to hearing them + seeing all the pictures of her adventures there.

we're quickly nearing the one-year marker. we'll be taking a weeklong trip to myrtle beach, sc to celebrate. actually, the way things worked out, the trip will be really economical. a few years back, tim won first prize at a church event -- a week at an oceanside condo in myrtle beach. we weren't even engaged at that point, so he never used the condo. we contacted the people who had donated the prize + they were thrilled that we were still interested in using it (seriously? how awesome are they?). so... essentially free place to stay in this goregous little town. also, on our honeymoon, our flights were overbooked + we chose to take a "bump" in exchange for a direct flight to hawaii + $300 flight vouchers each. so our flights to myrtle beach only cost us $145 total. heck to the yes! i can't wait to get out of town. a solid week together seems like an extravagance beyond imagining.

oh! and as an added bonus, one of my favorite high school teachers just moved to myrtle beach, so we're going to take her out to dinner some night. how fun is that?

we'll post lots of pictures when we get back.

Monday, August 2, 2010

appleton trip - pt. 2

after our brief stop in appleton proper, we headed back west to aunt linda + jeff's place. we always enjoy spending time with them in their beautiful home.

as additional incentive, the adam kieffer family was hanging out. we had a great brunch together + much fun playing with winter + river.

here are some pictures so that you can share in the general adoration of the next generation of kieffers:

this is river's "i'm so cute you can't even handle it" face

and this is me proving that he's so cute i can't even handle it.

winter + tim hanging out in uncle jeff's workshop

we had to take 6 pictures in a row to get one where we were both smiling.
gosh, she's a cutie!
big sister pushing little brother in the swing
sibling love!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a little catching up to do

sooo much has been happening. too much to blog about in the moment. as a result, we will subject you to a series of flashback-style posts to get you all up to date on the heaner family happenings.

we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to appleton, which is where lisa spent many of the happiest moments of her childhood, and (perhaps not coincidentally) the majority of the kieffer cousins live(d). adam + sarah + family were also in appleton at the time. so we had a truncated version of a kieffer cousins reunion at uncle john + aunt colette's place. the kieffer bros were in attendance, along with the always lovely abby. and we played some of the most hilarious rounds of "he said, she said" that have ever been played.

evidence of the somewhat twisted hilarity:

this is adam's "i can't believe you just said that!" face
and how cute is abby in her hat?
table-pounding funniness.

cousin adam vs. the unstoppable uncle joe
(joe, joe, supercool joe)

tim inhaling his watermelon
next to grandpa kieffer carefully cutting his pizza

Thursday, May 20, 2010

giving up. or, love is risky.

what if we stop having a ball?
what if the paint chips from the wall?
what if there's always cups in the sink?
and what if i'm not what you think i am?

what if i fall further than you?
what if you dream of somebody new?
what if i never let you win and chase you with the rolling pin?
well, what if i do?

cause i am giving up on making passes
and i am giving up on half-empty glasses
and i am giving up on greener grasses
i am giving up

what if our baby comes in after nine?
what if your eyes close before mine?
what if you lose yourself sometimes?
then i'll be the one to find you safe in my heart.

cause i am giving up on making passes
and i am giving up on half-empty glasses
and i am giving up on greener grasses
i am giving .... i'm giving up on greener grasses
i am giving up .... for YOU.... i am giving up

lately, i've been thinking about love. and marriage. and what it takes to really "make it." to have a love -- and a marriage -- that stands the tests of time, cultural influences, familial and scheduling pressures, raising children (or not), career choices, the loss of friends and kindred, the change of seasons, and myriad other things.

i've been realizing that i have all these little buried fears and insecurities that have to do with spending myself so completely on one thing... on one PERSON. it's a fearful act of trust and faith to be married. and i am such a flawed, frail individual.

i suppose that's the part of the question that only has one Answer. that somehow, i must reach out to the One who is Love incarnate... to give me strength to be more honest, more sincere, more trusting, more hopeful, more faithful, more sacrificially giving than i have the heart to be in my own power. and i must choose to do this day in and day out. to give myself up to the questions, to defy my own fears and just keep walking.

i look around and see examples of incredible longevity and joy. and i also see deep brokenness. i want my life, and our life together, to be the former.

i'm desperately hopeful. and, once again, i'm giving up.

Friday, April 16, 2010

six days + counting...

i love traveling by myself. there's just something so completely wonderful about setting off on one's own, carry-on in hand, seeking adventure + good food.

the thing i love most about traveling by myself is the people watching. you can people watch when you're with someone, but it's just not the same. there are certain social requirements that come with traveling as part of a group. but when you're by yourself, you can just allow yourself to get swept up into the mob. you can stop + smell the roses without worrying about inconveniencing or annoying your traveling companion. in short, you don't have to be polite if you don't want to. you're free to explore + experience at your own pace.

in six days, i leave our lovelygreenspringtime twin cities for the east coast. mel + cody moved to ivycoveredhistoricbuildings princeton, nj last june. this will be my first visit to them. i'm totally geeking out about getting to see the princeton library. and take walks around the quaint little college town. and make food with mel in their little kitchen. and have long talks with the two oaks family members over a fantastic bottle of wine.

i'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable itch to move to a new city that always creeps up when i travel anywhere. i love hearing new accents. i love finding new cafes and coffee shops. i love that eye-popping feeling when everything around you is fresh + unique + altogether different from your everyday life.

mel + i have planned a quick jaunt to NYC while i'm there. thanks to our sisterwiththekillerhookups, kim, we've got a sweet room at a posh hotel that's really close to the brooklyn bridge. we'll take the train from princeton into penn station early on sunday morning + do the manhattan/village/ellis island thing while the city is quiet(er). then on monday we'll do the brooklyn heights thing, walk the bridge over to manhattan + do the central park/met museum thing. depending on how tired our poor little feet are, we'll take the train back to princeton either at 4pm or 4am tuesday. we're playing it by ear (or foot, as the case may be).

speaking of playing it by foot... i bought some new walking shoes in preparation for the many miles i plan to walk across the great island of manhattan. friendly blog reader, meet my new shoes. shoes, be polite. say hello.

they look pretty ugly in the pic, but they're actually danged adorable for walking shoes. so flippin' comfortable + lightweight. i'm in danger of writing haiku in their praise. i'll try to keep that ill-conceived urge to myself, though.

so, i have the shoes. i have the plane ticket. i have the hotel reservation. i have the PTO. (i am grateful to you, oh thankless, mindless desk job. i love you for your benefits. we can still be friends once i've used you for them, right?)

the thing i'm most looking forward to? being silly + enjoying warmbowlofhonestysistertime with mel. yes. it will be good for the soul.

new jersey, here i come!

(mel, i promise not to embarrass you -- or myself... or the rest of the sophisticated population -- with the dressflyingintheupdraft thing. not this time, anyhow.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

oops! i did it again...

or, more precisely, i didn't do it... again.
it's been months since my last post. i always have the best of intentions. then i get busy, or what have you... weeks pass. then i have this sense that my next post had better be something really special to make up for the weeks + weeks of not writing anything at all. it's a defeatist cycle, really.
so, here i am, with nothing cool to say. no cool pictures. nada.

i have some fun birthday stuff to share (tim was 28 on the 28th of february - i turned 32 yesterday). but i have actual pictures to add to those, so i'll hold off.

mostly, i want to note a few small things:

1) i've discovered a new artist: lenka. love. her.
2) i also love the advent of 40 degree temperatures in minnesota. people (including me) pull out their toeless shoes, ditch the parkas + drive with the windows down. it's pure bliss.
3) went out for sushi + local funk music the other night with a girlfriend. i think that might be one of the best (and least expected) awesome combos ever. i'm just sayin'.

4) NYC guidebooks make for fun reading. it's like diving into the oxford english dictionary... way more information than a single brain could ever hope to hold, but lovely for that same reason.

okay... more soon. i promise!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

the first christmas

here we are. the year 2010. tim + i made it past the buffeting of the holidays, our hair + emotional capacity a little worse for the wear, but otherwise breathlessly grateful. contented, even.

we didn't mean to, but ended up doing four christmases. five, if you include the one that we celebrated "just for us." mel + cody were home from princeton. rachel was home from montana. we just really didn't want to miss anything. i will say, though, that this year was quite a bit less hectic than the previous one.

the tuesday before christmas, we went to a singalong that grandma joyce led at the pines (their senior living community). it was awesome. i mean it. then we went back to mom heaner's place to exchange gifts + consume mass quantities of christmas cookies baked by rachel + linda. uncle peter was there, too. we missed having jonathan in the mix, though... dang, we miss that guy!

we celebrated christmas eve with mark + kathy. just us + them in burnsville. we ate the best beef stew i've ever had, exchanged gifts, laughed a lot. then we went to the christmas eve service at their church + afterward drove around to look at christmas lights.

it was snowing like crazy when tim + i left for north minneapolis. in fact, i can't remember a whiter christmas than 2009's.

christmas eve night we spent at home, lights low, christmas tree + candles glowing. we read the christmas story out loud to one another. i cried at the part where john leapt in elizabeth's womb when she heard mary's voice. that part makes me cry every single time. i don't know why, exactly. but i love it.

christmas morning, we woke up + sang happy birthday to jesus (just like we always did when i was growing up) + had birthday cake for breakfast. we opened our stockings + our gifts to each other. we laid on the couch + just enjoyed being with one another. it was lovely.

then around noon, we left for momma k's house. kim + mitch, mel + cody, mom + the heaners. it was quite a crowd. we ate a feast fit for kings, drank lots of wine, played board games, took lots of pictures + talked our heads off. a very kieffer christmas.

we got to spend a night on the town with melody to celebrate her birthday (ON her actual birthday, no less!). matt's bar for juicy lucy's -- tim's first ever -- then to psycho suzie's for tots + some very strong tropical drinks.

on sunday following melody's birthday, we went to tom + elle's to celebrate with mel + cody, kelly + art + maddy + adam. good food, adorable kids, fun gift swap/steal.

for new year's eve, we had our friends bud + rachel cushing + kim kieffer over. we played board games, watched monty python, drank lots, ate even more + had a generally rowdy + amazing time. the perfect way to ring in the new decade.

this past weekend, after celebrating the first decade of the new millennium, we spent some lovely time with the adam + sarah kieffer clan, went to a housewarming party for our dear friend, rachel, and finally made a stop at our neighborhood library.

we've been meaning to visit the library for months now. tim needed a library card. and i needed the comfort of being surrounded by shelves and shelves of nothing but books. (i could never, ever switch to kindle. sorry amazon.) our library is in an abandoned brewery. i know... right? how much happier a place could there possibly be?

sunday, we stayed at home the whole day. we read our new library books, watched a kung fu movie (i heart donnie yen) + ate leftovers. it was lovely. i felt completely relaxed + so connected to tim.

today is the coldest day of the winter so far + i've a flat tire to show for it. i made it to work just fine. but was alerted to the deflation by a concerned co-worker. i'm glad it didn't pop on the highway. i'm endlessly glad for a husband kind enough to offer to drive to plymouth from fridley + change it for me in the subzero temperatures. stinkin' cars. stinkin' tires. gracious God. loving husband.

i've been thinking all day about how much things have changed for us since we got married. in some ways (all the best ways), nothing at all has changed. we still like each other. i mean, really, genuinely like each other. we still laugh at all the same ridiculous jokes we laughed at before. we still like to hold hands. kissing hasn't lost any of its appeal.

really, though, our love for each other HAS changed. i remember thinking on our wedding day that i couldn't imagine loving tim any more than i did at that moment in time. but i DO love him more. i loved him then with every part of my heart + mind. but now that love is a part of my very body. i love him in my bones if that makes any sense. i'm doing a terrible job of describing it. mostly, i think, because it's a mystery to me. but i like it. i like our love. and i think that's a good thing.