Friday, November 30, 2007

Tis the Season

Christmas in New York comes early. About a week before Thanksgiving, my mom came out to see us. We were thrilled to welcome her into our little home as the first official family member to make the trek out. She actually came for a conference of English Teachers so she was very busy and we caught moments together where we could. It was so fun. She discovered a store called Dr. Jayz where she bought about a million pairs of cute striped socks. She was surprised that she seemed to be the only white person who had discovered this great place.
As we were wandering through the streets together with my mama, GK and I noticed that the streets were just a little more crowded than usual.
Maybe it's because the Macy's windows have their Miracle on 34th Street displays up as well as their new age Santa windows. Or maybe it's because the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are out. Or maybe it's because it was starting to get really cold. Either way, the crowds have been steadily increasing since then and the Christmas Season is in full swing before December 1.
GK and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. We spent the day with my mom's sister Betsy, and her partner Larry and extensions of both Betsy and Larry. Altogether there were 12 of us I think and boy did B and L put on a show. Larry had been cooking for four days by the time we arrived on Thursday morning. He looked a little worn out, but his food was UNBELIEVABLE! The sweet potatoes, the regular potatoes, smoked turkey and regular turkey, stuffing, etc. etc. It made me begin my plot to be invited back every year.
Before the big dinner, a big group of us tried to go watch the Macy's day Parade. Larry had invitations to a building where we could have had an amazing view. But by the time we got there, there were so many people on the streets that we couldn't get through to the entrance of the building. I have never seen so many people for a parade. They were stacked twenty to thirty deep on the sidewalks and then on the cross streets, they filled the block. All any of us really could see were the giant balloons floating by and everyone would cheer and get so excited, you forgot how little of the parade you were actually seeing.
So now we're heading toward Christmas and feeling a little homesick. We're wishing we could be nearer to more of our loved ones, but we're trying to soak in every bit of Holiday Magic we can find.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Question of Names

Should there be a GK Risser IV?

To those of you whose pulses have begun to speed up, let me break it to you gently. I'm not pregnant. But when I do become pregnant at some future date, and that little being is a boy, should we name him Gordon?

I never met Gordon number one, but my husband has told me stories of being asked by many people if the famous Gordon One was his grandfather. They would then go on to say what an angel GK's grandfather was.

I have met Gordon number two. He's an angel too. He works so hard and is so committed to helping and teaching his family.

I know Gordon number three pretty dang well and don't you know it... an angel! I mean the name seems to do pretty well for itself. And so I pose the question. Should there be a Gordon number four?

Early in our marriage (being in the beginning of our second year maybe I should say earlier?), I asked GK how he felt about it. He said he didn't care and really that he had never planned on there being a fourth. I joked and suggested following George Foreman and instead of naming just the first boy Gordon Keith Risser, we could name all our kids GK. Girl or boy we could start with Genevieve Kathryn and she could be GK jr. then Gregory Keller could be GK III etc. etc. That way our home could be just packed with little GK's.

Well obviously, the multiple GK's is never going to happen, so I'm back to my original question. Should there be a Gordon Keith Risser IV? GK doesn't care either way, so the critical decision is in my hands and I feel like the choice should be a conscious one. If I'm going to break the line, I want to make sure I've thought it through. And since people generally have a lot of opinions about what babies get named, I thought I'd ask for some imput on the matter.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Blessings of Early Morning Seminary

This is our early morning seminary class so far. There are others on our roles, but for the first two weeks, Edwin (sitting next to me looking a little uncomfortable to be so next to the teacher) and JJ (who made us hold the photo so that he could grab his manual and scriptures) have been there bright and early to talk about the stories of the Old Testament. They are such great kids. We actually have class at Edwin's house. His mom is the stake Young Women's President and is also on a mission to another branch in our stake where her husband is in the branch presidency. They are an amazing family. JJ moved here from China two years ago to live with his mom who has been a member since she arrived in the United States eight years ago. He was taught by the missionaries, was baptized and now is preparing to go on a mission.

I'm not proud to admit that I was a seminary drop out. In four years of high school, I completed two non-consecutive semesters of seminary. I never really thought much about it after that. But as GK and I teach these kids, I realize what a loss that was and how blessed I am to be getting another chance.

So this is how our days begin. We wake up sometime close to 5am (depending on how much primping is necessary, we push it as late as 5:25), we get dressed and ready, leave the house at 5:45 to go catch the R train out to a place called Bay Ridge. On the train we review the lesson plan we put together the night before and just read a little). The train times are always different, so sometimes we get there 20 minutes early and we get a bagel (directly from the oven) and cream cheese, and sometimes we rush straight from the station to arrive at the Herrera home at 6:41 (class starts at 6:40).

Then we teach our lesson until 7:30 and take the train back home. Almost always, the lesson or the questions Edwin and JJ ask initiates a conversation that doesn't end until GK has to go off to his internship or until we get home and have to take a quick nap before the rest of the day.

This is GK after a morning of Seminary. He was just communing with Ernest Hemingway and learning about his fishing adventures until...

Reggie (who sleeps through seminary) decided that enough was enough and it was time to be up and at them.

To celebrate two good weeks of waking up early and studying the Good Word. GK asked me on a date. He didn't tell me where we wer going, but he picked out my warm weather apparel and told me where to get off the train. We got off at Bryant Park and stopped at a little place to get some hot soup. As we walked out of the subway I said, "GK, you have socks in your back pocket. Did you know that?" He said, "Oh yeah, I found some other ones, will you put those in your purse?" I did. Then when we came out of the restaurant I said, "Hey look at those people over there. Are they ice skating?" He laughed at me. It must be fun to have someone around who's so dang easy to surprise. This is us eating our "Hale and Hearty" soup right by the skating rink. Then we strapped on our skates and made a night of it. It's a good life.