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Meet the Raskals, 7 Years In

YOU GUYS! GUESSWHATGUESSWHATGUESSWHAT!?!?!?!?

It’s our 7 YEAR  WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

(Woot Woooooooooot!!!)

And since I’ve been blogging here for almost a year (OK, on and off for almost a year) and haven’t really formally introduced Jeff and the kids to you, it seems like today is the perfect day to give an introduction- and also use it as a bit of a tribute to this dude I’m married to, the life we are building, and the God who has just so totally heaped the blessings on me and on us with so much boundless love and unearned grace that I swear it oozes out the doors and windows of our house sometimes.  So here goes:

13912802_10208923448822000_6029081899118018346_nJeff and I were married on August 1, 2009.  I was 31 and he was 29.   I had spent my 20’s I was waiting and wishing and hoping and praying and not really getting past a second date- nobody came even close to seeming right. There was one point at about 29 when I actually turned my heart over to the idea that maybe marriage and a family weren’t for me, maybe my charge was to go forward and love on the children of the world as if they were my own.  But late in the summer of 2007, I turned my heart back over to God and said, “I want this and I will wait for it.”  About six weeks later, I met Jeffrey Daniel Rask.  Y’all, this life with him is so much more than ever could have prayed for. HE is so much more than I ever could have even known to pray for. Let me tell you about us.

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Jeff works in footwear development at a rather large footwear and sportswear company that is located here where we live in Beaverton.  I’m not gonna name any names, but if you want to “Just Do It,” I’ll bet you can figure it out yourself.  He loves ALLTHESPORTS, in particular basketball and golf, although he watches and keeps track of LITERALLY ALLTHESPORTS.  This is especially apparent during the Olympics when he actually knows the names of the curlers, the archers, the ping pong dudes- I haven’t met a sport yet that he doesn’t know something about.

He also greatly enjoys all forms of science nerdery and we both have rather large pockets of geeky fandom:  Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Superheroes, and of course the sacred and holy volumes penned by JRR Tolkien, may we sing praises to his name.  The man has also done about 90% of the work we have done remodeling our house.  He can do pretty much anything, I think.

You know the song, “Crash my Party” by Luke Bryan? Every time I hear that song I get misty and think of Jeff.  That’s how he is about me, about the kids, about anyone he loves- it is a drop everything kind of thing when anyone he cares about needs something- especially me.

There is truly nothing more I could ask for from this guy and it still takes my breath away. We laugh, we love, we laugh some more, we dream, we bing-watch on Netflix, we laugh some more, we have so many things we enjoy doing together, we wrestle with the big questions of both this world and the next together, we know each other’s hearts and what to bring home to make the other one smile (hint: his is steak and beer, mine is ALLTHECHOCOLATE and tea)- it’s good, y’all. God is good and this dude is good.  And then there’s the babies…

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Mister Cameron was born on March 12, 2012.

He made us parents.
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This little dude was the dream come true of both of our hearts.  When he was born, the doctor placed him on my chest and there he lay, his eyes wide and curious, leaning up against me and just taking in the world around him.  As soon as he could use his hands, he has had a compulsive need to to touch ALLTHETHINGS and learn every single thing about what they can do- both what they are supposed to do and what unintended purposes he can find for them  This means that constant vigilance (and sometimes physical restraint) is required in stores, museums, and the dentist’s office, but it also means that I haven’t had to operate any electronics for him in months, he has them all figured out. His strength and determination have meant that parenting him is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, you’ll read plenty about that in this here blog. But it also means that when I send him out into the world, I can trust in his strength of conviction and inherent sense of justice to protect both himself and others.

What REALLY sets Cam apart from the pack, though, is his heart. It is deep and tender, he loves HARD and FULLY and that heart of his is wrapped TIGHT around those he loves and it won’t let go.  He loves his family and aaaaaaall babies. He just loves to gaze adoringly at them and stroke their heads. This has especially applied to his sister. Oh, how he loves her. He also chases her around the house and basically bugs her for fun.  But if she doesn’t feel good or if she’s scared or if the blessed event occurs that she would deign to ask him to rock and read to her, he will come running at full speed, all thoughts of himself completely cast aside. God gave this little man the vision, the strength, and the heart to tenderly but firmly lead those who need him in future years.  In the meantime, our job is to help him learn to harness his powers for good- and also to steal all the snuggles he still so readily gives at ever chance we get!

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Miss Kendall was born on July 20, 2014.

She made us a family.

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This little lady is the light and the life that we didn’t even know was missing.  We hadn’t yet completely decided whether or not a second kid was even the right choice for us when we found out she was coming, yet the minute she was born it was like there had been this Kenzie-shaped hole in our lives that was finally filled.  She came into the world voicing her opinion and has not stopped.  She figured out early that language was how she could let the world know about her thoughts, feelings, needs, and ideas and she has run relentlessly in the direction of mastering it ever since.  At her two year checkup, her doctor told us that he COULD see her again at 30 months for another checkup, but that is usually just to check on language and so we could skip that appointment if we wanted to, he’d seen all he needed to see there.

As challenging as it is to parent an opinionated and determined two-year-old with ALLTHEWORDS at her disposal, the struggles pale in comparison to the relief Jeff and I feel in knowing we have an inherently strong woman on our hands. In a world where docile, compliant women seem to be magnets for the wrong sorts of people, we are raising daughter who will be a living breathing repellant to anyone who would seek to dominate or control.  She seems to have confidence in how worthy, loved and deserving she is woven into the very depths of her soul- undoubtedly by the God to whom she is every one of those things.  As we raise her, our job is to help her hold fast to those beliefs in a world that will try to take them from her- but also teach her that perhaps we should take down the volume every once in awhile.  Because, #ouchmyearshurt.

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So, that’s us.  Seven years in since we married, almost nine since we met.  Thank you for joining me on this part of our journey as a family.  Time to step away from the computer and go buy some steak and beer (or maybe not…he just had his birthday and we did steak and beer then…so maybe salmon…wait, our grill is broken. Take-out Buffalo Wild Wings it is.)

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Wife and mom in the Pacific Northwest, dreaming of a world with no mom left behind.

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