Monday, November 17, 2008

Family matters

A couple of weeks ago Monica, my mom (Ruth) and I invited you to ask questions about our family. Here are our responses:

Wendi: I don't know if I have heard you or Monica mention your dad's family. I often hear mention of your mom's family and gather that you don't have extended family in Colorado. How did your parents come to settle in Colorado?

Monica: I think it is safe to say that we are closer to our mom's side of the family, largely because we haven't had as much opportunity to be with our dad's family over the years. Our dad worked professionally for the Boy Scouts for awhile and they used to move their directors around every few years. Before we moved to Colorado, we lived in Missouri and our dad was struggling with asthma. His doctor suggested a drier climate and it worked out with his job that Colorado Springs was an option. When it was time to move again, we were approaching high school and my parents made a decision to leave the Boy Scouts so that we could finish school without moving again.

barbara: I follow both of your blogs and really enjoy them, and your mother's sweet comments. I don't blog, but I do have a sister (and a brother). Unfortunately, we are not close and this is sad for me. How do you maintain your long-distance relationship? (I am in MI and my sister is in OH.) What is your age difference? (I am 7 years younger than my sister.) The only thing we have in common is being in the same family . . .

(Answered below.)

Michelle: Were you and Monica close as children? I'm wondering if your parents did anything in particular that helped you to cultivate a strong relationship, or if it was something that you grew into as adults?

Ruth: I don't remember intentionally working to foster a close relationship between Monica and Carrie, but we did do quite a few things together as a family (camping is an example). We also had a foster daughter in our home for 2 1/2 years (she was younger than M&C) -- I believe that experience created a bond between them as sisters as well.

Carrie: "Growing into our relationship as adults" is an accurate description. We've only gotten closer as we've become wives and moms, and also moved far away from one another.

gail: What is the age difference between you two? About two and a half years. Were you friends growing up?

Monica: Friends - yes, but not the way we are now. I remember our share of not getting along! I also remember that once I moved out of my parents house, our relationship changed and grew for the better.

Carrie: I think middle school/high school was probably the time we were most involved in our own activities. I have many fond memories of playing together when we were younger. We were very imaginative and loved playing things like store and even dry cleaners!

Did you and Monica always want children?

Monica: All I ever really wanted was to be a wife and mom. It would come up pretty often working full time as a single young woman - and I was always very open about desiring with all my heart to be a stay at home wife and mom. I love it!

Carrie: I definitely knew I wanted to be a mom, though I wouldn't say my desire was as strong as Monica's. Being a mother has definitely made me appreciate my own mom more!

What do you remember most about growing up in Colorado--would either of you move back?

Monica: I love the mountains. They represent comfort and strength - God's presence to me. Would I move back - yes, in a moment but only if it was truly God's will that I was not forcing and if David had come around to the idea of being cold! :)

Ruth: We'd love it if they moved back to Colorado!

Carrie: I have many dear friends who still live in the Springs, and I am so grateful to go back and visit them. The scenery doesn't hurt, either! I am very proud to be from Colorado, but I also love where I live now. I used to think I was a city girl, but small town life is a great fit for my husband and me.

Did you share clothes growing up?

Monica: I don't know that we did much sharing of clothes - Carrie always wanted to be independent and we had pretty different styles! Of course, as we grew - we didn't really wear the same size - Carrie's taller than me!

Carrie: I would like to accentuate the fact that I am taller than Monica--by 6 inches! I always liked that I had a height advantage even though I was younger. I know our mom dressed us in matching or coordinating outfits when we were little--we were the same size, and many people thought we were twins. But it's true that it was important for me to have my own style. I remember one family photo where I insisted on wearing the following colorful ensemble: pastel fruit-print sweatshirt, black leggings and my rainbow-striped legwarmers. Late 80s, oh yeah!

Did you share a bedroom?

Monica: We mostly did share a room - a couple of times we decided we wanted our own rooms and then our parents would move everything around, only for me to find I'd want to be back sharing again and not able to sleep in my own room.

How do you keep your relationships alive (sisters & mom) with living in all parts of the country?

Monica: Travel is difficult, but my mom is great at that part! I started my blog with the idea of keeping family and friends caught up with our lives. More of the daily stuff that we don't have time to talk about or forget on the phone. We are connected by our blogs, e-mail, letters and packages, and we each have a set time to talk on the phone. I talk to Carrie on Friday afternoons and my parents on Sunday afternoon. If there can be a favorite thing about living apart - mine would be that we anticipate and plan our times together with gratitude and excitement. We look forward to that time together and then make the most of it!

Ruth: Monica and Carrie's blogs have been a huge blessing to me in keeping in touch with what is going on in their daily lives! I am also grateful for the airlines and for enough flexibility in my job that I can travel fairly often. I share a magazine subscription with each of my dear daughters (Real Simple with Carrie and Country Home with Monica), which is fun to share from a distance--we'll often comment on an article or idea that we enjoyed in the magazine. I also buy three of the same calendars each Christmas so we are each looking at the same picture on the calendar each month of the year. And my Sunday afternoons are dedicated to phone calls to each of them (as well as my mother and mother-in-law). We often read the same books and share thoughts in them. These are some of the ways we try to bridge the miles!

What is it that makes you two so darn cute?

Monica: I think it is our wonderful mom! She has been a tremendous influence in our lives and with God's help has shaped us into who we are now.

Ruth: I'm glad you think my girls are cute -- I agree!

angie: Carrie and Monica-You are both so creative, and are articulate writers. What did both of you do before becoming mothers?

Monica: After graduating from high school, I was asked to continue working there - it was a small Christian school. I worked in the office for the next six years as registrar (grades and records), athletic director's secretary and cheerleading coach. After that, I worked at Glen Eyrie in several different positions - front desk, concierge, event planning, guest services manager, and the longest - executive assistant to the director of the property. I came to realize that my gifting and desire were to make a leader's job easier, and serving in the role of assistant was fun for me - now I get to do that in my home!

Carrie--I taught 8th grade reading and writing for a year, before deciding to return to my alma mater as a women's dorm director. I then worked at the college in student programming and public relations until Nathan was born.

What is your favorite tradition from childhood? I'm imagining that your parents planted the seeds for cherishing family time.

Monica: Our mom was great at traditions. She is the one who cultivated such a wonderful love for celebrating the every day and the simplest pleasures. I loved all our Christmas traditions. Playing charades on Christmas Eve by candlelight, programs that my sister and I would come up with and perform, homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and so much more.

Ruth: I was a stay-at-home mom and money was tight, so I tried hard to make things fun and memorable without spending a lot of money. I hope they have happy memories!
Carrie: My parents were also committed to us taking a family vacation every summer. We always drove, and either camped or stayed with relatives. We've covered a lot of territory in the U.S. together, and I'm thankful our parents valued seeing new places.


Grace said...

Hi Carrie
Grace here9Monica's Friend). This was so fun to read. It is always good to learn new things about your friends. Have a great day!!

Grace said...

that 9 is supposed to be ( *smile*

Leah in Iowa said...

What a great post! You three will have to do that more often. =) Thanks for sharing!

Super Mommy said...

This was fun to read Carrie. Thanks for sharing so mcuh with everyone.

Amy said...

So sweet! I love that your mom supports your blog so much that she would be willing to share answers to questions about your childhood.

You know I have a special place in my heart for both you AND Monica :)


April said...

Thanks for sharing about your family. There's a lot of love between you all! :-)

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I loved reading this, Carrie! I think I need to befriend your mom so I can be inspired by her too!

Praying for you today,

Krista said...

I agree with Leah; that was a great post. Monica, I remember a lot of good times with you in the school office! (For you other readers, my mom worked in the same high school office with Monica. I saw a lot of her in that very same office.) I specifically remember your helping me with distributive property in my Algebra class.

It's interesting to 'get to know' people via blog that I knew in high school. I don't remember being very close with anyone in high school, and it's been really neat to read a little about what your lives are like now. Thanks for sharing!

Abbey said...

I've enjoyed reading both your blogs so much and this was an extra treat. I really hope to have another girl someday because I would love to experience sisterhood through my daughters. You have such a great family!

gail said...

hi carrie,
love the pic so i could see you all 3 together. great post! who ever gave you such a great idea?? they must be genius--hee hee

so fun to see how you're alike and yet different. i had a funky clothing style in the 80's too!

i missed you last week, hope you had a great time with family and work.

Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

Thanks for sharing all your "personal info". :) It was fun to read a little about your lives.

Anonymous said...


Of course I enjoyed this post. It brought tears to my eyes as I shared in the pride & joy your mom has in both you & Monica.

Love you, Grandma

Michelle said...

What a nice post! I like the picture of you with your sister and mom too. :)

Michelle said...

What a nice post! I like the picture of you with your sister and mom too. :)

Rebecca said...

Lovely friends!
This post made me cry!
I loved reading as all three of you are such dear friends. I am honored and blessed to know all three of you!

Katie said...

What a neat post! I've been out of the blog loop for awhile here...I missed out on the questions! :-) I think this covers a lot of them though. :-) Thanks so much for sharing about your sweet family!

Elise said...

That was so much fun to read!! I've always wanted a sister, but instead have three brothers.

Jeremy and Christa Nichols said...

I love this dialogue. My brother and I have also grown a lot closer as adults, even though he and his wife life half a world away. Truly they are some of the most precious people in the world to me, and it's so great to see other siblings share love like that too.