Off to Hawaii — ALOHA!

Newlyweds Nate and Meg are half way through their first married year, but at this point their adventures must go on hold until September.

Engaged... 7.19.17Our firstborn, Nelson, will be getting married to his true love, Ann Sophie, on August 26. They live and work in Kona, Hawaii, where the wedding will occur, and tomorrow I board a plane, headed their way.



Door County, 2016.After that it’ll be a drive to Iowa to spend time with Emerald and her parents.

Before I leave, though, let’s find out how things are going in Champaign as 2 young adults and 2 very young doggies learn to live together.




Newlywed Love (#67)

June 4-5, 1970

Our first night as parents-to-puppies didn’t go very well. Although we took Toby 2 and the Baron outside right before we went to bed, by morning there were pee-pee and poo-poo spots everywhere. Neither of us had ever personally trained a dog and were astounded at how much our little charges could “go.”

Puppies making messesWhen I left for record-keeping day at school, Nate had his work cut out for him at home. But we couldn’t be mad at our precious pooches. It had been our fault for assuming they could last 8 hours without “making.” Somehow we’d have to solve the problem of servicing them and also getting some sleep.

My school day was a breeze – no students, just lots of paper work, followed by a faculty luncheon given by the district Parent Teacher Association. It was fun to socialize with Linda, Judy, and many other teachers, lots of whom we’d never met.

Cannon School.I got to shake hands with the principal at my new school, Mr. Atkinson. The Cannon School across town where I would be teaching kindergarten was four times the size of little McKinley, but that was OK with me.

When I got home, Nate had been out to buy enough plastic to cover the area rugs in our living and dining rooms and had been getting a workout running up and down the stairs with our little darlings every 15 minutes.

Puppies nappingHe reported good progress and was confident they’d catch on soon. He had also made a decision about night times. “We’ll take them out as late as we can and then shut our bedroom door as usual. Whatever messes they make after that will just be the cost of a good night’s sleep for us. I’ll clean everything up.”

I couldn’t argue with that!

As Linda, Judy, and I made our last drive to Danville together, it was bittersweet. We’d had a happy year sharing as newlyweds, building friendships we hoped would last. And though Judy and Bill were headed for New York, Linda and I promised we’d get together during the summer.

The last morning with my 1st graders was spent partying — cupcakes, candy, and special badges I’d made for each of them, highlighting their best character qualities. It was one last chance to build them up before they slipped out of my life.

When the bell rang at noon, each one gave me a warm hug, telling me how much they would miss me – and I reciprocated. I sincerely hoped, as I waved them off, that they’d been properly prepared for 2nd grade.

EnamoredNate drove to Danville to join us for the McKinley teachers’ bar-b-q at Principal Scarce’s house, and he brought Toby 2 and the Baron with him. The whole world loves puppies, and our little guys didn’t disappoint, providing non-stop entertainment throughout the afternoon. Mr. Scarce’s two young boys were especially enamored (right).

After long goodbyes and well-wishes, Nate and I were off on a 10 day vacation with our tiny pets – first to a Nyman family reunion, followed by several days with Nate’s parents and brother in their home. After that it would be on to Wilmette to join my family.

What we didn’t know was that when we returned to Champaign, we would be short one doggie…

“Look at God; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.” (Psalm 34:5, The Message)

Newlywed Love (#66)

June 3, 1970

Toby #2As Nate and I got ready for this special day, we were both excited about welcoming someone new into our relationship. I was anticipating Nate’s happy expression when he met our new puppy, and Nate was pleased to know we would soon have our very own doggie.

Since it was the last week of school for me, and Nate’s classes had already ended, he came to Danville with me. My students were thrilled to meet “Mr. Nyman,” and he brought new energy to every part of our school day… especially on the playground as he pushed swings and spun the merry-go-round.

Burger and fries.The two of us went out to lunch together, a very special treat. And as we munched on burgers and fries, we talked about a name for our puppy.

“I think he just has to be Toby,” I said, “since he’s a twin to Toby #1.”

“Not necessarily,” Nate said. “He might want his own special name.”

“Like what?”

“Something powerful… like King or Duke.”

“But he’ll only be a medium-sized dog. Aren’t those names for big dogs?”

“I suppose. But we could scale it down and call him Prince or Baron.”

“Maybe,” I said. “But I bet when you see him, you’ll see a Toby #2.”

Puppies...The afternoon passed quickly, and soon we were kneeling in front of a box of squirming 6-week-old puppies, each making an effort to get to us.

“There he is!” I said, pointing to our little guy.

When Nate reached in and lifted him up, his broad grin told me I’d picked the right one. “He’s so soft,” he said, stroking his back.

While he and “Toby” cuddled, I gave the other pups a little attention. My student’s mom watched us, probably grateful to find a home for at least one of their 8 dogs.

“Will our puppy suffer,” I said, “being taken away from his mother and siblings?”

“Oh no,” she said. “He’s ready to go. In a day or two he’ll forget all about them.”

“They’re so adorable,” I said. “I wish we could take them all.”

Nate’s head made a quick turn toward me when he heard that, and he said, “OK, let’s not get crazy now.” Then he paused. “But maybe we could take just one more?”

I couldn’t believe it! “Really? A second puppy?”

“It might be easier for them to adjust if they have a buddy.”

This was astounding… and the best idea ever!

Puppies drinking milkIt didn’t take long to choose a friend for our little guy, another black and white male. And as we drove back to Champaign, thrilled with our new babies, Nate summed it all up well. “Now we have Toby #2 and… the Baron!”

“For everything there is a season… a time to love.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1&8)

Newlywed Love (#65)

May 29, 1970

As our 6 month anniversary arrived, there were still lots of question marks in our future plans, but one thing was certain: Nate and I were still crazy about each other.

From my journal:

Reading the BibleWhen I consider our marriage thus far, I am pleased pink. Not any area has been a disappointment. We do some things regularly that hold great meaning. For example, we read Scripture daily and have a bedtime prayer time daily as well. We seem to be more deeply interested in each other’s problems because of the subject matter of the prayer times.

We had to admit we’d learned a great deal about each other since we’d met, and had learned at high speed since we’d gotten married. So we wondered together how much more there would be to know about each other. “Do you think,” I said, “we’ll keeping learning new things all the way to the end?”

Kisses“Maybe so,” he said, “but so far 99% of it has been good.”

“Only 99%?” I said.

“Well, maybe 99.9%.” I loved the smile he wore when he said it.

The journal continues:

Another fabulous time is in the morning when we have a chance to cuddle. We set the alarm 20 minutes early so we can look at each other all mussed up from sleeping and swollen-eyed and pink-cheeked. It’s so neat to have some pre-workday “snestling” while it’s warm and cuddly beneath the blankets. The mood seems so soft and comfortable.

Meg's journal

What a perfect way to start off every day, caressing and saying the tenderest of words. It’s the most precious 20 minutes of the whole day. I think of that time all day long, and when I see Nate in the evening, it seems like we pick up in closeness right where we left off.

Since Nate’s last exam took place on our anniversary, it was fitting we celebrate our special milestone by going out to eat. It was extra special that for the first time in many months, he had no studies hanging over his head, no academic pressure. This made for jubilant dinner conversation, and he kindly approved of the goofy poem I’d written for the occasion. 

Meg's card

There once was a fellow named Nate

Who had many a wonderful trait.

He could often create

At a fabulous rate,

So his readers he’d all stimulate.

The silly sentiment continued for 3 stanzas, 15 lines all rhyming with the word “Nate.” Later that night I expounded further praise for my husband in my journal:

It seems unbelievably great that we’re going to get to live together and sleep together another day and another week and for years and years!

New cookie jarNate gave me a cookie jar of orange glass (on the table behind me) which I loved and promised to fill as soon as I got a chance to bake.

And his touching letter elevated the whole day to a wonderfully high level:

I’ll love you forever. Our marriage is truly in harmony with the Divine Scheme. Let us always keep it that way.    Love forever, Nate

Nate's letter

“Live peacefully with each other.” (1 Thessalonians 5:13)