Archive for November, 2006

Every Thanksgiving, I’m reminded that my brother Gregory’s birthday a) just happened, b) is about to happen, or c) is happening. I had the pleasure of getting to talk to him on Thanksgiving this year, and although it wasn’t his birthday until Sunday, I was happy to get to wish him well. I know there is no possible way he could know how much I love him, pray for him, and hope for a relationship with him again one day. He is a good person, and I wish I could post a picture of him for this “birthday post”, but maybe someday I can. Until then, I am very thankful for my family, of course, my darling husband and most intelligent daughter. For my beautiful mom, and generous dad (who drove 300 miles to be with us and to bring Sophia her own personal kitchen to cook her portion of our meal!), for my lovely sisters (especially the one who called me at midnight the other night to ask me what if I used to be the “shoe” in Monopoly when we were kids – Tara), and hilarious brothers. For all the people whose lives touch mine – daily, monthly, or even just once, ever.

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So Cool

Do you ever come to the realization that your kids are so much cooler than you? And they’re not even trying – but I guess that’s mostly what makes them so cool. Sophia, for instance, is so carefree that she’ll dance whenever there’s a good beat to dance to. She doesn’t look around to see who’s watching her, she just hears the music and starts to sway, clap, and boogie. Mama’s there taking pictures of her while she’s doing it, who cares? We’re in church and there are 100 people laughing at her while she shakes her booty, so what? I absolutely love this about kids.

It’s other things, too, though. Not just the dancing. It’s also the fact that when she’s tired of something she’ll announce, “All done.” Whether it’s that we’re giving her too many kisses, playing a game that’s getting too boring, or being held by someone she’s a bit wary of – “All done.” It’s as simple as that. She doesn’t even worry about awkwardness. SO cool.

The other day she just about broke my heart. My dad was over visiting and for some reason was eating later than the rest of us. He was on the couch with his plate in his lap when Sophia noticed him there and moseyed on over and climbed up on the couch next to him. She kept him company while he ate (pointing out all of the “apples”* on his plate and such) almost like she was doing it just to be nice. But she wasn’t. She was doing it because she loves her Grandpa, and that’s pretty cool, too. That’s the kind of “cool” I hope she stays.

* On a side note, Sophia calls almost any piece of produce “apple”. At first I thought she was so smart because she could point out the apples at the grocery store, but then we saw the oranges, and they were “apples”, too, and yams – “apples”, the list goes on.

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Overalls, and light jackets…bare heads and carefreeness.

(Fast forward 3 months later.)


Bodies covered from head to toe, trying to enjoy this thing called SNOW.

If you haven’t met her before, take this opportunity to meet Elaina, one of Sophia’s best buds on earth. Born only 2 days apart, each has never known life without the other. Together, they are learning to share, to make jokes, and to encourage each other. Yesterday, shortly after boarding the sled, Sophia wanted “OUT!”, but Elaina wanted “MORE!”. Elaina squealed and yelled “WEEEEE!” just enough to make Sophia relax and realize how fun it was to be pulled faster and faster in the sled. Soon, they were both squealing and laughing and enjoying the snow.

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Clean as new fallen snow

We Valdezians are beginning to wonder where our winter is. More specifically (because, after all, it is about 22 degrees out as I type this), where all of our SNOW is. Last week we were fooled by the 1/2 inch of snow that fell over us after slowly creeping its way down the mountain sides. We took Sophia out to taste her first snow, and to ride in her sled for the first time. We thought to ourselves: This is it! Here it comes! But then what does it do, but go away, and leave us with frozen dirt.

One of the talents I’ve always loved about snow, is its ability to make everything look clean. Alaska is known for its junk cars in driveways, but it snows, and they’re suddenly gone – poof! Not-very-well-manicured-lawns (ours for instance, although we do have big plans for it) are suddenly gorgeous with their new blankets of snow. It reminds me of a verse I read this morning:

‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’
Isaiah 1:18


When God cleanses our hearts, our sin in gone, and are hearts are left as clean as new fallen snow. What a beautiful thing.

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What I think of when I see this picture…

Catalina Island, August 2006

“Jeeves, get the limo, we’re going on a drive.”


“How do you like my new permanent?”

or even, strangely enough

“Does anyone know where the nearest weight room is?”

(If you guys are up for it, now would be a good time to play Choose Your Own Quote.)

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Dear Sophia,

Last night when I watched you with your papa, putting on his stocking cap, and standing near him while he played his guitar – trying at every chance you got to strum on it yourself – I couldn’t help but notice how much in love you are with him. (And then how every few minutes you would stick both hands straight in the air and yell Hot Dog! – that was not so touching, per se, but extremely amusing…) Usually when I’m working I find myself very contemplative about you, and your relationship with me, and my relationship with you, and I start to feel like we’re both a little cheated. I start to take every little apathetic jesture and look as a personal condemnation. I start to feel like I’m being punished for not being at home with you.

But, last night, what I thought about was something Isaac said about you watching my every move. Moments like the ones I just mentioned are where I usually doubt that idea. I doubt that you watch me, because you only see me for a couple of hours a day, and by then, well, you’re just not used to me and so why would you bother paying attention to what I do? (See how mature I am!) Last night, as I watched you with your dad, instead of feeling like you don’t love me, I thought about how much you love him. And I felt proud that – in the teeniest tinyest way maybe – I have taught you to adore him. He thinks you watch me and my every move, and maybe that is true. But maybe what you’re seeing is my love for him and my want for his attention, and that’s what you want, too.

You are a smart girl to want to adore him. I know how important a girl’s relationship is with her father, and I want you to have the best one possible. I also know that your time with him is something extremely rare, and that he thanks God he gets the time with you that he does. Because here’s a little secret, he adores you, too. No one can ever take the place that you have in his heart. And that’s a lifetime investment.

P.S. Happy 20-months birthday!

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