Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ode To My In-Laws!

I've been married to my husband for almost 5 years. Before we started dating, a girl we both knew called Joe "the best kept secret in the ward." She had NO idea how right she was. She'd never met his parents. Honestly, if I'd met thousands of people who could possibly be my future in-law's, I would have chosen Cathy and Larry, hands down.

I often hear horror in-law stories, and sometimes wish I could add my $.02 (just because I like having something juicy to talk about), but I can't think of a single negative thing to say. My contribution to the horrible in-law conversation would be this: "My mother-in-law is awful, because when she watches my kids, she also cleans the stains out of all their clothes. Can you believe that?" Or about my father-in-law: "He provided the best living example to Joe of how to live within your means. I sure wish he'd encouraged debt a little more."

I can honestly attribute every good quality that Joe possesses to his parents--his parents that I am so thankful my kids get to call grandparents.

My father-in-law's birthday is today, and my mother-in-law's tomorrow. All they wanted for their joint birthdays was a day in the temple with the whole family. And while we all should have been responsible to make sure it happened, they were the ones arranging babysitters (or paying the babysitters we'd found), feeding all 18 of their grandchildren, and all 6 of their own children and spouses so that our pre-temple evening wouldn't be hectic. We should have been the ones feeding them!

I don't think a day in my MIL's life goes by that she doesn't happily give multiple acts of service. In addition to caring for her own elderly mother (which should really give her the right to say "no" to anything else requested of her), it's a rare day when she's not also tending multiple grandchildren, sewing blankets for premature babies, making dinner for someone who's sick, inviting someone else to dinner, etc. She's Wonder Woman multiplied by 10 million. She really does it all.

She has the amazing ability to see the good in all people, and all situations. But she's also really good at making those of us who sometimes like to complain--like me--feel validated. If she were normal, as in not-the-model-of-perfection that she is, she'd probably be thinking, "Girl, you have no idea what hard only have two kids...I had six." But she sits and listens, and I guarantee that thought doesn't even cross her mind. Because of her ability to listen with love, my mother-in-law has become one of my closest confidants. I'm a lucky girl.

My father-in-law is just as incredible. He often claims that he's going to make it into heaven hanging on for dear life to his wife. But we all know that they will march together, side by side, equally worthy. I will forever be grateful to Joe's dad for the things he taught his children. He taught them self-reliance. He taught them hard work. He taught them service. He's one of the most talented men you'll ever meet, but unless you see him in action, you'd never know, because he's also one of the most humble. He won't boast of the homes he's built, the websites he's created, the cars he's fixed, the organ he plays, the Monopoly games he's won, or the service he's rendered. You just have to see it. If Joe has a project he's working on, his dad volunteers to help. If Joe needs advice, his dad has the right kind to offer. If we have a new game needing playing, he joins right in. Teenage-me would never have believed that my favorite people to hang out with are...parents!

So for your birthdays, Mom and Dad G, I hope you know how much we love you. I hope you know that I am watching everything you do, praying that just a little smidgen of goodness will rub off! When I married Joe, I had no idea I was landing myself on such an incredible goldmine. You were Joe's best kept secret! I love you! Happy Birthday!

P.S. I know Joe's parents will be horrified when they read this. They hate this kind of attention. But too bad. Some people are just too good to go un-recognized!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cruise Photos

I know I've taken WAY too long to stop already with sharing the details of our Cruise that ended a month ago today, BUT I just have to share a few more things.

We traveled with the travel gurus, Matt and Erin. And let me tell you, traveling with them is THE. WAY. TO. GO.

  1. They research every aspect of every minute of the Cruise, sorting through the necessary information to help you plan the BEST trip ever.
  2. They are easy-going, and not discouraged when their hours of planning are destroyed by a slight itinerary change. Stupid Swine Flu! Your well-planned Western Caribbean Cruise turning into a last minute Eastern Caribbean Cruise doesn't phase them.
  3. They stay up all night researching the new ports!
  4. When your husband would rather eat at the midnight buffet, your SIL Erin will dance with you!
  5. Erin will also sing karaoke with you!
  6. They are the only dinner mates who won't think you're crazy for ordering 5 different entrees. And appetizers. And desserts. Every night.
  7. They will let you use their calling card to check on your babies.
  8. They will make you laugh 'til you cry.
  9. They will make you feel good about your scary Gloria Estefan karaoke performance.
  10. They will bring along a really expensive camera, and send you the eleventy billion pictures!
  11. A few of the pictures will look like this....


Thanks, Matt and Erin! We'll travel with you again anytime (even without the big, expensive camera!)