Monday, December 27, 2010

365 Days of Blogging, Day 1

Okay-So I thought I would start tonight with a picture of my favorite piece of furniture we have in the house--one that I am not sure how long we will have out, but I will hold onto for as long as I can. It is Nathanael's Car couch. The first time I brought it home, Nathanael knew it was his special couch. He was so young, around a year, and knew how to lay the couch down, sit it back up, and would sit in that couch for so long just looking around observing the world around it.

Nathanael has grown so much even in the short time we have had the couch, and it is hard to believe he is almost too big to use it anymore as a cough--but on rare occasions when he is tired and wants to rest and watch a movie, he will still go over to that couch and cuddle up with his airplane blanket.

I don't think I am ready for him to outgrow the couch yet. He is at that sweet stage where cuddling up is still and option and he gets excited over the possibility of seeing his friends. I don't want time to go by as fast as it is going, yet am so excited to continue to watch him grow, learn, and turn more into the person God has intended him to be.

365 Days of blogging, can I commit to that?

I saw, on facebook, a friend was taking a picture everyday of something that caught her eye and then writing a brief description about what the picture was about. It became an interesting photo representation of her year, her thoughts, her family,etc. I was struck by how amazing this exercise could be and also how difficult of a discipline it is.

It is something that I would like to attempt, but not sure if I want the accountability of blogging this year in pictures. Yet, I understand what a motivation that accountability could be.

I am the last person to encourage New Years resolutions because, as my chiropractor in IL would often say, most find themselves participating in the second biggest New Years Resolution holiday--January 14th, Break Your New Years Resolution Day! But-I think there may be value in starting a disciple such as this around New Years.

Since I can not quite come to grips with actually starting this on Jan 1, I think I may even start this tonight--no time better than the present right? I am sure some might be short entries and other might be more lengthy--but I am doing this more for the end result. The ability to look back and see a year of updates on my family, my thoughts, the experiences we were going through, etc.

Well--here is to one year of pictures and blogging--

Friday, December 24, 2010

Niska's 2010 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas!

As you can tell, this blog had good intentions, but we haven't updated it since September of last year. Please feel free to look around, there are some links to photo albums and some other random information, but know that our hope is to actually update this more in the future.

To catch you up to speed in a few short bullet points (read posts below for more detail):

April 2009: Harry began a job with Ross & Orenstein, a firm in Minneapolis, working by home office from Illinois
June 2009: We moved from Aurora, IL to Ramsey, MN
August 2009: Harry was appointed to Ramsey City Charter Commission
September 5, 2009: Nathanael turned 3!
September 2009: Jen joined the staff of the Tom Emmer for Governor campaign.

Since September of 2009, we have proven to be very busy. Beginning in 2009, we have had the chance to meet a number of people through local politics and were elected delegates to the 2010 Republican State Convention. Some community members encouraged Harry to run for Ramsey City Council, and after some consideration, in May of this year he decided to file for office, spending countless evenings knocking on doors, introducing himself to voters, listening to their concerns and explaining his views.

Meanwhile, Jen was extremely busy on the Emmer campaign, first serving as the office director and then the scheduler. It was an incredible experience as the campaign evolved from a long-shot grass-roots effort for the Republican endorsement into a full state-wide general election campaign.

In the end, we experienced two tough losses at the ballot box. Harry ended up with 48.94% of the votes in his city council race, but his opponent (a two-term incumbent) ended up with 44 more votes. Meanwhile, the Emmer campaign, after a statewide recount, lost by less than half of a percent of all votes statewide. Obviously, neither of these results are as we had hoped, but like all disappointments in life, we learn and move on to fight another day.

In November, Jen's job with the campaign came to and end, and she recently accepted a job with the Minnesota House of Representatives as a Committee Legislative Assistant. She begins on January 3rd and is quite excited about this new career adventure.

We have the joy, daily, to watch Nathanael grow and learn. He is a constant source of entertainment and loves telling jokes and making people laugh. His newest discoveries include learning his right from left, and mastering many of the games on our phones.

We are so grateful for all the opportunities we have been blessed with over the past year and a half to two years.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Harry and Jen (with Nathanael).

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Day I Will Never Forget

I never understood when my Grandpa Lattimer would get frustrated with me because I could not remember the exact date of the Pearl Harbor attack or keep all of the WWII battles, days, etc. straight. He would ask me how I could possibly have such a hard time remembering these things. I think that in 5-6 years when Nathanael is in school and is studying September 11, 2001, I may have problems understanding why he can't keep the information straight. How many planes? Where they landed? Who all was involved? Where was Osama Bin Laden again? All these questions we all have not only answers to, but memories as to where we were and what we were doing when we got the answers.
I remember waking up to my radio alarm clock hearing about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. I went to the living room, turned on the tv, and was watching the news when the Second World Trade Center was attacked. I sat there for a very long time before I changed, pulled my hair back, and walked quickly to class (that I was already late for). I walked into the class room and realized that another class had come in to join us and the tv was going with news reports. I went and sat down next to my Government professor and she leaned over and told me that it was only a matter of time before the Pentagon was hit. There was a Pentagon employee on the news (via phone) who shortly after said that he didn't want to alarm anyone, but that he was pretty sure his office just shook. My professor had been right.
I was attending a Christian University at the time and as soon as class was over, we all walked to the quad in time for Chapel to start. What a moving day.
I will never forget. I will forever have the images of people jumping for their lives out of the top of the World Trade Centers. I will never forget the picture attached. I will never forget the American Pride people shared. I will never forget what it felt like to live in a nonpartisan land.

Someday when Nathanael asks me those questions about 9/11, it will be hard to realize that he doesn't have the images and memories that changed me forever embedded into him. I pray that he never has to experience what we all experienced on that day, but I also pray that he never experiences the complacency that we all falling into.

Let's never forget. For our own freedom and the freedom of our children.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Silaja from India

The newest member of the Niska "family!" Harry and I attended a Casting Crowns concert last night and both felt convicted when Casting Crowns shared about what sponsoring a young child from overseas can do to change a life. They had the idea of finding a child with the exact same birthday as one of your children. So, that is what we did. This beautiful young girl, from India, was born on the same day as Nathanael. She lives in a village where she is surrounded by HIV and AIDS...and my heart breaks for her.

She already has a lot in common with Nathanael: her favorite thing to play is ball games--and if any of you have spent two minutes with Nathanael, you will know that is his favorite thing too!

I think this is the perfect birthday gift for her and Nathanael. She will receive the sponsorship she needs to protect her from getting this horrible disease and Nathanael will know that for his second birthday, he did something to change the life of another child. Please join us in praying for this little girl as she turns 2 tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Congratulations Harry!!!

So I wrote earlier that Harry was going to be going to Boca for an arbitration, but that changed today when his case settled! They got what they wanted for their clients and are quite happy with the results. I am extremely proud of him!

It is time to try this again!!!!

Okay, so I thought blogging would be easy--but I realize that I have not been doing a good job of updating it, so I am going to try again...and be committed!

Our last two years in a nutshell!
Harry and Jen: We moved to Aurora, IL June 2007. Nathanael was born Sept 2007. We lived there happily and made lots of great friends. At the end of Jan-early Feb Harry accepted a position with a new Law Firm in Minneapolis, MN. We put our house on the market on Feb. 24th (with the world's greatest Realtor) and it sold exactly one month later! We bought a house in Ramsey, MN and moved into the house on June 5th! We are finally feeling settled and working on making our house a "home." We have met many of our neighbors and are enjoying getting to know them! There are 21 kids under the age of 12 in just our street alone! It is a good feeling thinking about Nathanael being able to grow up with these kids!

Harry started with the firm Ross & Orenstein and he loves it. The firm specializes in Securities Litigation. He has been working hard, but not as many hours so we are really feeling how wonderful it is to be a family! He is doing really well at his job and heads to an arbitration in the beautiful city of Boca, Florida in mid September. Have I mentioned how difficult his job is :) I am only mildly jealous that he gets to go!

I have just accepted a full-time position with the Tom Emmer for Governor campaign and will be starting soon. Nathanael will go with Harry's second cousin Abby and we could not be more excited about this arrangement. Abby is a wonderful mom and is ready to welcome Nathanael into their family!

Nathanael turns two on Sept 5 (time go by fast) and I think that he hit his "terrible twos" about 6 months ago! He is growing into such a wonderful little boy and we could not be more proud of out little guy. This does not mean that he doesn't show his little monster within him and that we have not had our daily challenges, but we would not have it any other way! He is ALL-boy and we love him for it!
About 8 months ago we went through a very rough time with Nathanael. He started throwing up daily (sometimes multiple times a day), waking up a few nights a week, he had meltdown after meltdown, lost 4 pounds, he was behind in speech, and we never saw him smile. After a month and a half of this, we talked the doctors into seeing him. They had told us for a month and a half that he had a tummy virus and to take him off of food and put him on pedialite. Nathanael only had a handful of days in all that time that he was not put on pedialite. We had a great visit with a very observant and intelligent doctor who, with a blood test confirmation, diagnosed Nathanael with severe peanut and mold allergies and mild soy and dairy allergies. While this has posed a challenge for us feeding him, it was so wonderful to see our boy smile and laugh after only a week of being off of these foods.
We are now learning how to deal with the allergies, educate friends and family about his allergies and find many recipes that we can all eat! What a blessing! Nathanael has caught up with his speech is saying all sorts of things! He has learned his colors (although he can not say the word Orange yet!) and loves to count! His counting consists of "two, five, two five!" He loves playing any game that contains a ball and has recently discovered how much fun watching football with daddy can be! He enjoyed yelling "yay!" with daddy and throwing his arms up in the air yelling TOUCHDOWN as loud as he can!

There is the update!!! I promise to keep you all posted regularly!!!!

Harry, Jen, and Nathanael