Thursday, December 9, 2010

We Had a Baby!

Which means that the diapers might put us in the poor house.

So we are reducing ourselves to shameless commercialism for a freebie, and providing free advertising to Shutterfly for 50 free Christmas cards. You just might be one of the lucky folks who gets one of these free cards. Lucky you! If you don't get one, send us your address. We just might be looking for you and can't find you . . .

So the Shutterfly folks want me to promote three of their products. Since I've never actually ordered anything from them before, I can't vouch for anything personally. But I did check out my sister-in-law's photo books of her little family and thought they were pretty awesome. And creating the above Christmas card was pretty painless, once everyone could agree on the photos and text (though if you're decision-challenged like me, you might have trouble choosing from their gazillion different designs). I think I might make a wall calendar next year for my extended family to see family photos all year and remember family birthdays and anniversaries.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Free Advertising

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a freebie and I get $25 for this . . .
O Mod Tannenbaum Christmas
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

So it's been a few years since we did a Christmas letter. Thus far, we have only sent a Christmas letter when we have a new baby to introduce. Christmas is here, but still no babies or Christmas cards in the mail from us. But if we had sent out a Christmas letter, this is what it would have said . . .

2009 was our first complete year living in the United States of America. We've been here so long that my passport expired six months ago and I didn't even notice! Public school and constant running water aren't so bad after all, but we miss our friends in Delhi and hope to get back there for a visit very soon.

We've been to 5 funerals in the past year, for both friends and family. Rich's mother passed away last year on December 14th after a long battle with breast cancer. We miss her more that we can say, but are grateful for the knowledge that we will see her again someday. Rich's grandfather, his mother's father, passed away a few weeks ago on December 9th. We were so blessed to have been able to spend some time with him before his death and connect with all the relatives we did at the funeral.

Rich has become quite the orator this year, with all the heartfelt church and funeral talks he's given. I think if we were members of a church with a paid clergy, he could be making some good money as a preacher. Instead, he has pounded a lot of nails renovating an attic, designing and building a giant deck and a rebuilding a fence. Though he's not quite finished with any of these projects (but almost!), he's let off a lot of steam, and had the lucky chance to work alongside his boys, relatives and willing friends. He flew the coop at Freescale a few months ago, and is now working for a tiny startup with big plans, some of which are top secret. . . .

Our boys showed up in "Friends in the News" in The Friend magazine in December along with other primary children of the New Delhi 1st Branch. Check it out!

Russell (6) lost his two front teeth, but Santa is hard at work growing him some new ones. Nearly all of his six-odd lost teeth have popped out while wrestling with his brothers. He loves to do jobs without Mom even asking, and playing make-believe with his little brother Graham. The magical world of reading has opened up for him this year, and it's so fun to see him delight in his new-found abilities. Lately he begs to jog to school over riding his bike. When I consent, I end up huffing and puffing alongside him because he's so fast!

Graham (4) enjoys ordering his mother around and waiting until the last minute to run to the potty. He's been going to Boy School (a co-op preschool) this year with four other wild and crazy boys, and has learned much. Our boy who used to insist his name was Graham Masala has now morphed into Super G, thanks to an awesome cape Aunt Nelee made for him. He's started riding his bike alongside his jogging family to school. His bike-riding pace just about exactly matches my slow jogging/walking pace. He has a twinkly grin and a happy giggle that can melt even the coldest heart.

Isaac (9) got glasses this year, which seems to be cool these days. He has built several things with a micro-controller, including some lights on a submarine model for school and an RFID device to make our Christmas tree light up when you walk by. He loves helping Daddy with all things technical, helping me cook things, and is a master at cheering me up when I need it. He loves the new deck and spends hours swinging on the swing, often with his nose in a Hardy Boys or Magic Treehouse book.

I have spent the year dabbling in food storage, music teaching, gardening, PTA, family history, sewing, Gospel Doctrine, blogging and exercising. I'm sporadic and unfinished with most projects, but they give me an excuse to avoid dishes and laundry. I've decided my approach to life makes me a Renaissance woman, which sounds much more romantic than a domestic engineer.

We celebrated our tenth anniversary last week. It's been a great ten years, full of all sorts of surprises, tragedies and delights. Yet all of these things—the good, the bad, and the ugly—have somehow worked together for our good. We are thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows our every need and leads us every day. May your year be filled with hope, family and good, growing things. We love and miss ya'll.

The Cutlers

Friday, November 6, 2009

Split Personality

I have a confession. I've been blogging somewhere else.

I'm Mindy and Merinda. Part of me wishes I still lived in India, but now I live in America. And I blog here and here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goodbye Corporate America

Some things just don't make sense . . .
  1. Quitting a high-paying (albeit boring) corporate job you are good at, before they get a chance to lay you off and give you a severance package.
  2. Buying a new iPhone and a new (used) car just before leaving said high-paying corporate job.
  3. Starting a new job with a huge cut in salary at a tiny startup software company before actually leaving the first job.
  4. Loving your new job at said startup, even though most of your co-workers work with the lights off (one of them has a really long goatee and calls his tattooed self "Cookie"), and your office sits behind a gas station and looks like a cheap motel.
  5. Loving your new office space even though it's missing carpet, came with a mysterious kid-sized jacket hung on the wall, and only had furniture when you bought it at IKEA and put it together yourself.
  6. Working for said software company even though your ultimate goal is to do hardware, and not for iPhones, but in telemedicine.
Some things just feel right and feel happy, okay? Especially when you are newly thirty-five years old, charmed, charming, and gorgeous.

Rich officially quit his job at Freescale Semiconductor after working there for 9.5 years--the only job since he got out of college. He stuck around until Monday to lay off seven of the guys on his team, and now works for InMotion Software, which has about 8 employees. The owner of this company is working with Rich to help him get his telemedicine ideas off the ground. In exchange, Rich is helping him do some work with iPhone apps and hardware.

And in the end, we got the severance package and health insurance for a while. Amazing how many blessings are showered on us so often.

So wahoo! We've cut the apron strings and are now masters of our own destiny. And speaking of destiny, this opportunity with InMotion came through a temple prep class we taught at church, and the deal was sealed the week of a stake fast for rain and employment. Divine destiny, I'd say.

Happy Birthday, Rich! I didn't really like actually being rich anyway . . . I'd much rather have the man himself, and have him happy at work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Me Estoy Desmayando

That's my Spanish word-of-the-day. Desmayarse=to faint.

I came home from a great, short trip to Utah with Graham. It was just nippy enough there to be cozy, the leaves are flaming reds and oranges, and there's lots of wonderful family and friends, a new baby named William, and temples all over.

When I came home today to a spotless house, I almost fainted with joy. Rich hung the mirror in our bedroom, folded and put away all the whites I'd washed before I left, and finished a big chunk of the deck. All while nursing Isaac who had a 24-hour flu. He's the greatest.

But I wasn't home for long before I started feeling crappy. Hot and sticky. Grumpy. Like I was going to faint. Why in the world people chose to settle in hot places, I never can understand. I also likely felt this way because I had been up since 4 am to catch our flight home. So I took a nap while the boys played outside (never good sleeping), and woke up sweating like crazy. I finally went downstairs and looked at the thermostat. 83 degrees and the heater was on! I remembered then that Rich had said it got cold enough over the weekend that he had to turn the heat on. And had not turned it off, apparently. Amazingly enough, five minutes later, with cool air blowing on me and the temp at only 2 degrees cooler (81!), life looks much better in Austin.

But I still sorta want to move back to Utah. Sorta.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Death of a Delusion

Rich bought this car today. We are now a two-car family again. And I'm in mourning.

Yeah, it will be dreamy to have a car to myself, and not have to negotiate daily about who gets the car. But this luxury means the death of a dream/delusion.

You see, when we had one car, we were different. We were making a statement that the American Dream does not need to include two gas guzzling cars. We were hippies and nonconformists (or so we thought). We have bikes, and we can pedal our way all over the place. Never mind that this is Texas suburbia, which isn't all that bike-friendly. We find our own safe (circuitous) ways to get places. In theory, I can get everywhere I need to go on my bike--school, library, grocery store (never actually tried it . . .), doctor, dentist, church, Sonic (fast food carries less guilt when you burn calories to get there!).

Not to mention, the buff body of my true love, who was riding 22 miles round trip to work a few times each week. I love the concept of getting exercise outside without having to schedule it into my day or get a babysitter while I do it. Being a one-car family meant that not only did we save the money that second car would cost, but also the money we might spend on a gym membership, since we get our exercise by actually using our energy to get places. I love it that when we go out the door to go somewhere, Graham heads for the bike first, not the car.

Pride you say? Well yeah, I guess you could call it that. And lack of discipline. Both are vices.

So after much discussion over some recent life-changes (more on this later), I gave into the idea that this car is pretty much a necessity. Though only two families in our branch in India even owned a car, we need two. Though I can get most everywhere I need to go on my bike, a car in the driveway "just in case" is wise. We can serve better and carpool better this way. We can stop the marital discord that negotiating over the car can cause. We can stop relying on friends and family to bail us out when our one-car world is too small. Rich can be more successful at work with a car to get him there. We might actually guzzle less gas because I won't be dropping Rich off at work or picking him up on rainy days or late days. The disappointingly pragmatic list goes on . . .

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. We live in (suburban) America now, so after almost 1.5 years living here again, we should probably act like we're part of it. Will I continue to ride my bicycle as many places and leave that minivan in the driveway? We'll see. I hope so.

Can you hear me singing that Queen song?

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like!