Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our Story: Marriage- The first six months

If you aren't married, you might feel like this post is a bit of a downer.  If you are married you'll understand the honesty of this post.

The first six months were NOT fun people.  Let me clarify, it was really the first four months that just plain stunk.  We had a lot of stuff against us, but thankfully we have our faith and moral commitments on our side. I'm not saying it was all bad.  But there were definitely more bad days than good days.  

Let me list the challenges of these first six months:

Challenge #1- Introvert vs. Extrovert
I (Jen) was working.  So I was gone all day long.
Conversely, Chile was not allowed to work.  So he was home all day long.  
Combine those two with our personalities- I'm an introvert (I promise I really am).  I have to leave the house all day.  So I get home and just want to stay, have some alone time, and then spend the rest of the evening with my husband in my house.  Chile is an extrovert.  But he couldn't leave the house because of challenge #2 (he didn't know how to drive and didn't have a license), and challenge #3 (he wasn't allowed to work). So when I got home he wanted to express all his extrovert-ness on me and he NEEDED to get out of the house and be social.  This caused many an argument.

Challenge #2: Driving
Chile had driven minimally in Cuba (think: less than 5 times).  And then imagine that your WIFE is the one who's teaching you how to drive.  And then remember the stress you caused your parents and the strain on the relationship as they taught you how to drive as a teenager.  And then seriously picture me teaching Chile how to drive in the fourth largest city in the U.S.  With lots of traffic.  And crazy drivers.   Y'ALL.  SO. MANY. STRESSFUL. TIMES. AND. ARGUMENTS.  Oh yeah, he also didn't know the city so I was the navigator.  But English is not his first language.  So there was confusion there with the verbal directions as well.  

I very vividly remember one Sunday when we were driving to church.  This was probably somewhere in month 3.  He misunderstood my directions and went the wrong way.  He almost got in an accident because of this.  He blamed me.  I blamed him.  We were both stressed and angry.  There were lots of tears.  I told him I didn't want to go to church.  He turned around and went back to the apartment.  I got out of the car.  He pulled out to drive to church on his own.  I was sobbing.  He wouldn't answer the phone.  It was a mess.  He came back.  We went to church.  I cried through the whole service.  I think I cried actually the whole rest of the day.  Words were said.  Words that involved how much easier it was to be single and how marriage wasn't any fun.  This was a real low.  

Thankfully, This was all part of the healing and growing together.  Chile likes to tell people about the Hebrew definition of the word "day".  In ancient Hebrew culture, the new day starts with the sun setting.  This means that the cycle of a day begins with the night.  After the night, the sun rises and you have your daytime.  He talks about how the Hebrew people used this as a comparison for life, and how God intended the cycle of our lives to be.  You see- the "day" begins with the "night"- AND it's all part of the process.  You have to go through the night to get to the day.  This was certainly what was going on in our household.  We were learning about ourselves and one another.  The other side of this is that it provides optimism because the day always comes.  And when the day comes you can see what you were unable to see during the night.  This is one explanation of Psalm 30:5b: Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. The thought is that the cycle is the revelation of the will of God- the day is when God shows what had been "hidden" before (the night)- what you were unable to see in the struggle.  

Y'all- it WAS (in those days) easier to be single.  That's because ALL those things you avoid when you're single and ignore- the problems you are totally aware that you have but also completely pretend you don't have- those problems suddenly come to light.  Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's just because you have another person living in such close positioning to yourself.  But you can no longer ignore those things.  You have to accept them or fix them.  You have to bring them to light.  You have to see yourself for who you truly are-- and it's all the fault of that other person in your marriage.  Without them you could go back to your happy, deceptive oblivion.  So it's HARD.  It's hard not to blame them, because let's face it- IT'S THEIR FAULT YOU'RE DEALING WITH ALL THIS.  

Now we're a whole year removed from all of this.  And I'm SO grateful for the night that led to the day.  It was so necessary.  But going through it was hard.  

Challenge #3: The need to provide
I'm sure you are all aware of that innate thing in a man that drives him to provide for his family.  It's such a good quality from the Lord, but such a challenge when you have no choice but to reverse the roles.  For them (or at least Chile), it doesn't matter if the wife is working and providing plenty.  It matters if he is capable and accomplishing the task of providing for his wife (and children if there are any).  But until March, Chile was not allowed to work.  We had to do the change of status with immigration and wait for them to approve his work permit.  So he had to sit at home and wait.  I don't need to detail this struggle, but it was just an added challenge in the first six months of our marriage.  

We are so very grateful to the Lord for providing the work permit and a job that allows Chile to provide for our family.  Even that was a difficult thing as Chile's degree is worthless in America.  But instead of just accepting that and working as a cashier or dishwasher, Chile worked hard.  He learned a new career.  He learned how to sell cars, IN ENGLISH, with technology he had no idea existed.  And y'all, he's good at it.  I'm so proud of him.  

I'm not going to say that after six months our challenges just melted away.  But I will say, there was a moment somewhere in month 4, that we looked at each other and realized we'd gone a whole week without fighting.  And then the space gradually widened and we learned that we were both growing and changing.  We were figuring each other out, and we were figuring out who we were now as married people.  We learned how to balance our personalities, Chile became a (pretty) good driver, and was able to get a job.  Life got a whole lot better slowly, gradually, and almost without notice.  We still have our days, our moments.  But I'm so grateful for the first six months, because they've made this next year so much better.  For our six month anniversary Chile took me to a super nice restaurant in Houston.  It was not only our 6 month anniversary, but the next day was also my birthday.  We celebrated being together, all the good things God had done for us, and SURVIVING.  And we were happy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Story: The wedding

So I've brought you right up to the month before the wedding.  FINALLY Cuba released Chile and let him come to America.  I am so grateful for all those who prayed on our behalf because I was just really, really angry.  His birthday was October 11th.  I had dinner with the Kisers and the Stearns.  Karis and I sung him a happy birthday and made a wish that he would get to the U.S. SOON! My dad prayed specifically that he would receive his exit visa as a birthday gift.
Guess what?  He DID!  The very next day he received the exit visa. I immediately bought his ticket, and he made plans to move from his current apartment back home and spend that last week with his family. On October 18th he was on his way to Miami.  We won't discuss the fact that he didn't call when he landed in Miami so I had NO IDEA if he'd made it to America (flight to Houston wasn't till the next day so that he could spend time with old friends) or the fact that he realized I was panicky and then called me at 2:30 in the morning.  We won't talk about how happy that made (or didn't make) me.  

So exactly one month before our wedding I took a half day off of work and headed to the airport to meet him.  What a crazy feeling, finally seeing him in the U.S.!  But we didn't have much time to think about it.  This was the ONLY weekend my whole family could meet up in Arkansas so that he could meet my parents before the wedding.  Therefore we got in the car, went to have a yummy first meal in America together at The Cheesecake Factory, stopped very quickly at what would become our apartment after we got married, and then got back in the car and drove 7.5 hours to Little Rock.  We arrived late that night and he briefly met my parents.  We spent that weekend together, introducing him to American football, football food, and family.  He even tried to teach the family how to salsa.  

Sunday we went to my dad's old (mega)church.  Poor guy.  As if America wasn't already overwhelming enough, this church is HUGE.  Chile was fascinated by everything.  Maybe one day I'll see if he'll write a blog entry on the culture shock (shopping, driving, cities, grocery stores, restaurants... the list goes on).  But no time to be fascinated, I had to work on Monday!  So we got back in the car Sunday afternoon and headed back to Houston.  That night I dropped him off at our new apartment, told him I loved him and would see him after work, and drove to Sugar Land to the house I would live in until the wedding.  

This was pretty much a pattern for the next month.  See each other after school, I would leave and go to the other house, then work, then start again.  Since Chile a) didn't have a driver's license b) didn't know how to drive c) didn't have a car and d) didn't have a work permit (he couldn't get one till after we were married) he pretty much just had to stay at the house all day long while I worked.  So that was no bueno for him.  

It was really hard to just sit around in a new country feeling slightly purposeless.  Add his feelings to my feelings of craziness (if you've ever planned a wedding you understand this one) and you have a volatile situation.  Oh, and add to the fact that you've never lived in the same country before so you have to have all your typical dating fights say, now, a month before your wedding, and you've got a situation friends. That month was HARD.  We had so many, ehm, "discussions" about whether this was America Jen or Crazy-Wedding-Planning-Mode Jen.  There were lots of tears.  Lots of growing pains.  In fact, we got into a HUGE blow out on the way to get our marriage license.  Then we got the license, got back in the car and resumed the battle on the way to print the wedding bulletins.  I remember pulling into the parking lot of Office Max and just sobbing.  And him being unsure he actually wanted to marry me because I wasn't the same person he had met in Cuba.  People, this was a HARD month.  

This was a good month too though.  We were finally in the same place.  Yes, it was hard, but we were starting to work through important things.  And we were together!  So we did enjoy that too.  And I knew that a lot of my crazy was about to end with the wedding, and he was patient enough to believe me when I told him it really would all be different.  

So that brings us to November 18th.  Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  My family had arrived.  His friends from Miami had arrived (just in the nick of time if I recall).  The pastor had arrived.  We were ready to go.  Things were finally falling into place.  And I finally got to the place of, "What ever happens I just don't care anymore."  So then I was able to enjoy myself.  We had a great rehearsal (poor Chile was so super nervous about all the repeat after me's in English!) and a wonderful dinner at Pappasitos.  The happy was setting in.

The next day was hands down one of the best days of my life.  I had a great night before sleepover with my girls.  God graciously helped a very pregnant Becky not to snore, so we all got a good nights sleep.  We went down in the morning to have breakfast at the hotel and then went to get our nails done.  I have no idea what the guys did all day, but they all made it to the wedding and ON TIME (impressive for a group of Cubans).  We went to get our hair done and before I knew it, it was time to take photos.  We had agreed to do a "first look" since photos on the beach were important to me and our wedding was in the evening.  I absolutely love the first look photos though.  It was such a precious moment and helped both of us not to be so nervous for the ceremony.  


The ceremony was wonderful.  Again, I could not have better memories of the day.  In between the ceremony and reception Chile and I watched a video his friends in Cuba had made him, congratulating him on the day.  It was pretty emotional.  But then we went back upstairs, ate BBQ, and had a party!  It had been a long journey, but we had done it- we were married! 

 Friends praying for us and our marriage.

 I LOVE this one!  All of our sweet little flower girls and ring bearers.  Some of my favorite memories are from those two little guys, just 6 and 8 at the time.  Just before I walked down the aisle Jay, then 6, looked at me and said, "This sure is a special day for you, isn't it Ms. Jen?"  It was too sweet.  And then I found out later that when Gabe, 8, sat down next to his mom he teared up.  She asked him what was wrong and he told her he was just so happy for us.  I love those precious memories of those tough but sweet little boys.

Throwing the bouquet- check out the 2 girls in the back.  I LOVE THIS PICTURE SO MUCH.

 Chile was so happy because I trusted him (after practicing less than a month) to drive us the few blocks to the hotel.  I'm not gonna lie, it was a little scary.  And never teach your husband how to drive.  
Oh the arguments that ensued the next several months...

We stayed in Galveston the next week for our honeymoon.  My family stayed too, so we went over to their house on Thanksgiving and had the traditional meal with them.  Then my dad took the family to Pleasure Pier, a small amusement park.  Have I mentioned how much Chile does not enjoy heights?  These, along with a FEW others ;), are some of my favorite memories of our honeymoon.
 Chile on his first "roller coaster".  That's my four year old niece in the cowgirl boots and jeans.  
She's pretty relaxed.  He is too, before the ride starts.  

 Mind you, this thing just goes up and down and is not all that high.  It's a child's ride after all.  

I NEVER buy roller coaster photos, but we had to get this one.  This is me, my sister, and dad all screaming in delight.  And poor Chile holding his breath.  Now, to give him some credit, this IS a real roller coaster and it has a pretty much straight down drop.  So props for riding it at all.  However, the face, OOOH the face- it's a priceless memory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kids are funny

I'm sad to see this label go from my blog, however, I suppose it will just transition from being my school kids to being my own kids.  This is definitely the best paper I've seen all year!  We've been studying insects and the kids had to write what bugs them.
Let me translate for you:
"It really bugs me when my sisters when they talk a lot.  
My dad bugs me because he gets mad.
My mom bugs me because she hits me."
<no freaking out, I know this family.  It's just a spanking people.>
And the BEST line:
"My granny poops a lot."

I'm scared for what my own children will say/do/draw for their future teachers! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The names

Tonight, though I've talked about the names plenty, I posted them on Facebook for the first time. I thought I'd come here and give the explanation behind the names. 

Joseph was easy. The month before we got pregnant, Chile dreamed that we would have a son and were to name him Joseph. Chile doesn't like me to tell this to people because he thinks it makes him sound crazy. Let's face it though, I already told you all about my dream/vision or whatever that was. So if you're going to think we're crazy you probably already do. And you're still reading so it's really a moot point.  Anyway, like I said that was easy. But the rest was a hard fought battle. You see, my dear precious husband speaks Hebrew. And Hebrew is much more meaningful and layered and beautiful and blah blah blah than English or Spanish. So he wanted to use Hebrew words for our children's names. Not names friends, WORDS. Early on we discussed that unusual was ok, but unheard of was not ok (at least in my book. I'm a teacher, I know how these things work.).  However, Ejad (pronounced e-had) was his #1. Now, I rejected it for a first name long ago, but when it was just one boy I graciously told him we could use it for a middle name. Ejad has a beautiful meaning of 'unique, there is no other'... But it's just weird. And as a middle name it seems like it would be torture enough. THANKFULLY it also means 'there is no second'. And well, it's twins y'all. So there sorta is a second. Ya know? So that made Chile feel bad enough to go for our other choice, Nathaniel. Nathaniel was my paternal grandfather's name. It's a name my parents were going to use had they not been 0 for 3 on boys. And Chile thought my dad would really like it if we used it, especially since we aren't guaranteed another boy. I loved it, so I jumped right on that one. And just like that, we had settled upon Joseph Nathaniel. 

Now, you may have thought that was a battle, but the real battle was for our sweet girl's name. We had a second boys name, but could not agree at all upon a girl name. Seriously people- suggested names: Atigbah, Aleph, Alpha, Hessed.... These were 100% for serious from my husband. Meanwhile he was rejecting my cute names like Ava, Isabella, and Carolina. A long while before we had talked about Kenzie. When I was in Egypt we used to play the game of, "If you had to give your kid a middle eastern name what would you pick?"  I always liked Nour, Maya, and Kenzi (serious hats off to one of my former student's family- 3/3 for names I'd use including Maya and Kenzi. The third is Adam.). So he had said he liked Kenzi. On the way to the ultrasound I politely asked if we could revisit the name Kenzi. He again said he liked it. I, attempting to seal the deal, suggested we do Kenzi Rebekah. He LOVED Rebekah. I always thought it was nice, but a little traditional. But my admittedly manipulative self knew I could get Kenzi if I put it with Rebekah. He of course agreed to those terms. So we added an e to the end of Kenzie just cause we liked it better, and that was that!

Now for the meanings:
Joseph: God will add
Nathaniel: God has given

Kenzie: Arabic for my treasure
Rebekah: Captivating 

And we won't go into the fact that Chile wanted to spell Joseph Yosef instead because that's the Hebrew spelling and with his Spanish accent he can't hear a difference between the j and y sounds.  That was soooo never happening. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Story- Dating

What a crazy story we have!  Since it's listed on the side, I want to get our whole story down.  You can click on the link on the right to see the proposal.  The wedding will be forthcoming.  And warning, this sucker is LONG.

So in January of 2006 I walked into Sunday School and my teacher said, "You're going to Cuba with me."  I asked him when the trip was and he told me it was in March, during Spring Break.  I agreed to go.  So trip #1 we went to a camp.  Little did I know that this spoiled little American girl (ugh.  I despise my attitude on that trip now that I know better.) would encounter her future husband for the first time.  As a CAMPER, y'all.  Since the men in Cuba do military service time, Chile, though 7 months older than me, was still in college.  So he was at the camp.  He remembers meeting me then.  I don't.

Here's our group of rookies from that first trip.

I fell head over heels in love with Cuba.  I had to go back.  My desire to live there was strong.  And my pull to the people and the island was nearly insatiable.  I went back just a few months later, in late May/early June 2006.  This time we worked with only students from Havana.  I do remember Chile from this trip, but he was far too busy with other, ehm, American interests.  He was a naive college boy, "in love" with an American girl he just met.  I was a naive second year teacher, in love with an island, a people group, and all things ideal.
There's me way over in the far right in my A&M grey elephant walk shirt. 
Chile is that skinny brown face peeking up in the back left.  

The following summer I went back, this time leading a trip to the summer version of the camp we had done the first time.  It was an insane trip where pretty much everything went wrong.  But here was this guy again and this time met his little sister, who was now of university age.  He had graduated and was helping run the camp.  And this time I was pretty preoccupied with my own Cuban "love".  Ha.  We were so ridiculous.

Chile and his sister Cuqui 
(pronounced similar to Cookie.  
Not her real name, but for some reason his family names everyone after snack foods).
He still loves that shirt, though he has a "newer" version of it.  Friends, he has it in the US.  It's banned.

Summer of 2008 I returned to Cuba, this time working with a new group focused on high school.  This time Chile & I became good friends.  This trip was entitled "God Humbles Jen".  Here's the link to the itinerary for the trip.  I actually blogged the whole thing, but it's on a private and locked blog.  If you'd like to see it let me know.  In summary, I was there nearly a month, but my bag never got there.  I wore the same clothes the whole time.  Pretty much everyone washed and/or saw my underwear hanging to dry.  The taller guy in the picture below walked in on me in the bathroom.  Oh, he also washed my underwear.  And he had to go to his in-laws house to get me unmentionables because it was THAT time of the month and my bag (with supplies) never made it to Cuba.  Humbling with a capital H.  But Chile I and got close on that trip.  Elmer suggested he become my "African prince".  But he was like my brother.  Ew!  

Being dropped off at the airport

Seriously people, just friends.  Apparently foreshadowing.  And look how skinny we both were!!

After that I went to Cuba two more times.  To prove that I didn't think about him that way and he didn't think of me that way, I have zero pictures of the two of us on either of my 2009 trips.  We stayed in touch via email, and remained good friends.  But that was it.  

Fall of 2009 found me in Egypt.  Lots of things happened.  I met new people, fell in love with travel and the world, and my relationship with God really changed.  I was getting to know myself and who I really was outside of an evangelical, Bible-belt setting.  It was destructive.  It was beautiful.  And I don't regret it for one minute.  

Fast forward to the summer of 2010.  Let's call this the summer of rebellion.  I had some worldly fun (not too much, those Bible belt roots still had some hold on me).  And I traveled a lot.  After Italy, Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, I found myself sitting in Kenya with Trena working in the baby house.  I was detoxing from my summer behavior and finding the real me again.  One day I was sitting on the couch at her house.  It's one of the moments in life where I literally cannot explain, but it's like I audibly heard the voice of God.  What I heard was, "You need to stop worrying about your husband.  He's in Cuba."  And then Chile's face flashed through my mind.  I was stunned.  I didn't know what to do with that.  I told Trena and one other person in bafflement.  I mean, he was just my friend.  And this was a weird thing that just happened.  And he was just my friend.  But then again, he was a seriously good guy.  I'd be lucky to marry someone like that.  But, weird!  He was just my friend!  So I did what any logical person would do.  I went back to Egypt, brushed it off as me making things up in my head, and started dating another guy.  

This other guy went to my church in Egypt, but it turns out that not all guys who go to church are good guys.  Or have good morals.  Or share your important beliefs.  So that was not really a good thing for me.  And I knew it.  But I was making excuses.  So one day I emailed my good friend Chile.  Why?  I needed advice.  From a godly guy, who wouldn't judge me, would answer me honestly, and would support whatever he said biblically.   I told him all about this relationship.  I asked for help and advice.  He answered.  It was everything I expected from him.  Direct, honest, and biblically sound without being judgmental.  And there was this one little line: "You're so special to me, sometimes I wonder if you're not the woman God has for me."  People, I read this little line IN THE MIDDLE OF TWO PARENT CONFERENCES.  I was floored.  And hopeful.  Cause I remembered Kenya.  So I emailed him back and mustered up all the courage I possibly had and told him about my "vision" in Kenya.  And sent it and freaked out and trusted God all at the same time.  

I was really at peace with what I had sent, which made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.  But I realize that I was because his response to me started with "Sorry it's been so long, I wanted to be sure what I was gonna tell you."  And I looked at the time stamp and realized it had been 8 days.  And I wasn't freaking out! So here's a summary of his email:  I prayed about it and talked to people and do you wanna do this?  
And here's a summary of my response to that:  Yep.  Let's do this.

That was December 15, 2010.  That's how it began.

So that began nearly 2 years of dating ALL THROUGH EMAIL.  People.  EMAIL.  Do you know how hard it is to tell tone from an email when you're talking to someone who shares your first language?  And how hard it is when you don't share the same first language?  It's a miracle we made it to the wedding.  The first 6 weeks were elating and terrifying as they ended with the Egyptian revolution.  We first said I love you in that time through MY MOTHER.  Uh huh.  

That summer, after dating for 7 months, I headed to Cuba.  At this point we aren't spring chickens, and this trip is "Either we are going to get married or we are going to break-up".  This trip had its moments friends.  MO.MENTS.  Good, bad, and in between.  But it ended with a proposal, not a break up.  So then I headed back for my last year in Egypt to work, and also to work on immigration paperwork.  The immigration stuff is tedious and horrid, and takes way more time than it should.  But I ended that last year in Egypt and moved back to Houston (July 2012).  Then I visited Chile, and we eagerly anticipated his interview with the American Interests Section to approve his visa.  We spent the whole last night I was there organizing and gathering paperwork and putting it beautifully into the binder (with tabs and labels) I had brought with me for the task.  And I left to come back to Houston and start my new job.  

He went to the interview (they were amazed at the beautiful binder by the way) and got approved for his fiance visa.  So we thought he'd be in the US about 30 days later after getting his exit visa from Cuba.  Yeah.  No go.  Cuba couldn't (read: wouldn't) let him go.  After many prayers (of others because I was just ANGRY) he finally made it to Houston on October 19, 2012--- one month exactly before our wedding.  

I'll save the month for the wedding post.  That was an interesting one to say the least!  

If you made it here you deserve a cookie.  But I'm 28 weeks pregnant with twins, and the chances I'm going to make you cookies are super duper slim.  So do yourself a favor and make these chocolate chip cookies from the Savory Sweet Life blog.  They are the BEST!  My magic is to lower the heat to 350, only cook each batch for 10 minutes, let sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and then transfer to the cooling rack.  Soooo worth it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why Chile Chocolate and Creamy Jalepeño?

So Chile is a pretty unusual last name. It's pronounced Chee-lay. I taught my students to remember Cheese Lays. However we still get many varieties of pronunciations.  My assistant calls me Mrs. Chili. My British students also, but with cute little British accents. An Australian student's mother calls me Mrs. Chilies. White Americans often say chile (ch-eye-le) as in the slang for child.

Despite the pronunciation corrections, or the fact that I always have to spell my last name for people, it's got great potential for plays on words.

So then there's Chile (yes, he goes by his last name. His first name is Ariolys. You tell me how the average American is going to pronounce that, and what body part it is strikingly similar to). We have some pretty obvious differences going on here. Let's go ahead and get the race card out of the way- he's black. And let's play the culture card too- he's also Latin. Very Latin, people. And there's some really good chocolate that I fell in love with while I was in Egypt. It's chocolate with chili in it. Yummy, delicious, with a subtle spice that tingles on your tongue and leaves you wanting more. And my Chile definitely leaves a tingle on my tongue and l..... No, no, no- I'm just kidding (mostly, but then again I AM pregnant with twins). But he's sweet, chocolaty colored, and full of zingy Latin spice. And I fell in love with HIM while I was in Egypt too.  Thus, Chile Chocolate.

Now for Creamy Jalapeño... First let's state the obvious. I'm white. Like, really really pale white. But my last name is Chile. I love how it throws people off. Because I am oh so not Latin. And my favorite restaurant in the world serves my favorite dip in the world, creamy jalapeño.  The perfect combination of creamy ranch deliciousness and jalapeño spice. Well that is definitely me! Deliciously  spicy and very, very white American.

We're so glad you've found us. We have some catching up to do (like the last 2 years since I left Egypt and stopped being interesting enough to blog). And soon enough we'll have 2 new little peppers to introduce you to. Can't wait to share our crazy life!