Archive for the ‘Welcome to My Life’ Category


Our bedtime routine goes more or less something like this: diapers and jammies on, brush teeth, read stories, say prayers, kisses to Tess (who is then carted off to the pack ‘n play in the spare room where the girls won’t bother her sleep), kisses and hugs to both girls, and then a “story from when you were a little kid” from me or Isaac (depending on who has the energy that night).  Sounds easy enough – eh?  Not really, but that will have to be saved for another day.  Tonight, I was nominated to deliver a story.  I had quite a time thinking of one, as in my mind I ran over the different eras of my life (California Days? No.  Knight Island?  Knik River Road? Something about the stepbrothers and sisters? No. No. No. Most of that’s been covered.)  Finally I decided to recant something from my “Year in Germany”.  The story (with comments from a certain 4-year old) went something like this.

“So, let’s see.  Well, you guys know I speak a little German to you now and again right?  Well, that comes from the year I spent in Germany.  I remember the day I left for Germany…I don’t think Uncle Gregory came with us to the airport.”


“Well, I don’t know.  Good question.  All I remember is that he and I did dishes together that evening.  We were having such a good conversation and we were laughing a lot and all of a sudden I was sad to be going.”


“Because I was going to be leaving for a whole year and knew that I would miss him, and thought for just a split second of maybe not going after all.”


“Because I thought Gregory needed me there.  We needed each other.  Anyway, I remember that he didn’t go with us to the airport because Opa and I said goodbye to him out in the driveway and then took off down the road.  I glanced back at one point and saw Gregory running after us and waving.  I thought maybe he was sad that I was leaving.”

“Why was he sad.”

“Well, because one day when you go away from home we’ll be sad that you’re leaving, too.”

The misty eyes came before this last sentence, but after it, the flood gates were opened.

“What’s the matter, babe?  What did I say?  Why are you crying?”

“I’m crying because you said something very naughty, Mama!”


“That I have to go away!”

“No, no.  I said when you go away.  Like to college, or when you get married.  Don’t you want to do that?”


“Okay, you can just live with us then – as long as you want.”

“Until I die?”


These kids…man, oh, man.  Sometimes I find myself embracing them and never wanting to let go, lately I find myself I’m hiding from them.  And as long as it takes for them to find me is what I consider to be my “alone time”.  It usually lasts about a minute or less (our house is very small), but hey, it’s something.  I never realized how much I am really needed or how many times I get up from a sitting position during the day to meet their needs, until I was stricken with the flu.  I’ve spent the last few days doing the kind of “half-sleep” that only parents know.  With the eye closest to the couch closed, while the other opens and closes every 30 seconds or so to do patrol.  “Resting your eye”, I guess you can say.  I’ve also found myself waiting, praying, for the sleep jerks of a sick child, and then the slow, steady, deep breathing, so that I know it’s safe to venture back to my own bed. 

I wonder, did my mom and dad feel for my sleep jerks, too?  Being the 5th of 7 children, I highly doubt it.  Most often, I probably just fell asleep during whatever evening activity was taking place.  I have many memories of falling asleep in one spot and waking up in my bed the next morning surprised, always thinking that I sleep-walked there.  Other times I actually remember the weightlessness I felt as my dad or mom toted me off to bed, head on shoulder.  Unlike my own children, I’m pretty sure I “transfered well”.

The worst thing about the kind of flu I had, though, was that it was feverless.  A fever is always the best excuse to get people feeling really sorry for you, to the point where they demand that you get some rest.  “The chills”? Doesn’t sound so serious.  “Aching muscles”? That either.  But a fever?  Yes, get into bed this very instant, young lady.  No dishes, no laundry, and above all, no taking care of children until you are better!  Yeah, no such luck. 

So, what do you do in such a situation?  The key is to make yourself look, and sound, as sick as you feel.  The hair is very important.  Whatever you do, don’t redo your ponytail mid-day.  Let the hair, and hair tie, fall where it may creating a very “sick” look.  Sweatpants (or any type of jammie pants, really) are “sick” attire.  Anything really well worn is preferred.  And when you answer the phone – give it as much croak as possible.

The day I came down with it started at a lovely 4:45 a.m.  Sophia came into the guest bed where I was trying to get Tess to go back to sleep and ended any chance of that.  She hacked and hacked until Tess was so wide awake she was doing her “happy talk”.  And once the happy talk starts, there’s no going back to sleep in our house.  “Why did you have to come in here Sophia?” I asked, knowing that the day had begun and dreading it.  A minute or so later, as I lay there feeling sorry for myself, she began to get back out of the bed.  When I asked where she was going, she said, “I’m going to go out there and cough so it doesn’t bother you.”  Talk about a heart breaker.

So, tonight, after I said she could live with us forever, I backtracked just a bit and suggested that maybe she can do what she’s mentioned before and have a house next to ours and that I can come over and visit every day.  And she said, “No, I’ll come and visit you.”  And I said ok.  It’s a good compromise.

Here’s a few more pics to hold the grandparents over:

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A Perfect Day

Saturday was the first full day we spent together as a family in about three weeks. It was better than I ever could have imagined it. I met my goal last week of getting up before Sophia everyday, so Saturday was a great excuse to wait for Isaac to bring my baby girl into the bed so that we could cuddle. Breakfast was divine, of course, french toast with yoghurt and berries and real maple syrup. We took a drive to “Old Town Valdez”, which is where the town was prior to the earthquake of ’64, and walked the trail all the way back to the water.

A large part of it Sophia got to walk herself. The snow was nice and compacted, so she was able to keep up pretty good. We were amazed by the warm weather, which hit a high of 41 degrees, so we all enjoyed a little time without our big coats.

I’ve lived in Alaska almost my entire life, but I never cease to be amazed by its beauty. As we walked the trail back to the water, only our voices could be heard, the rest was silence created by the thick layer of snow all around us. And to think, God made this for our enjoyment. He knew we would need beauty, so he created so much that one person could never see all of it on this earth, even if they tried.

Sophia loved the birds, and the water, and really didn’t want to leave, but the wind started to pick up and the shelter of the trees on the trail was a big relief. Back at home, we ate soup for lunch and all took naps.

A perfect day, if you ask me.

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When I was pregnant with Sophia, not a minute went by where I wasn’t conscience of the fact that I was pregnant. Conscious of the fact that a living person was growing inside of me – bigger by the second. This time around it’s a little bit different. There are actually moments where I all of a sudden remember that I’m pregnant.

In the past few days, what I’ve been experiencing has brought me to the conclusion that even if I don’t dwell on it every second, I somehow always have a way to remind myself of my current state. So I came up with a mini you-know-you’re-pregnant-when list.


You know you’re pregnant when…

You start to type a list of something and forget totally what you were going to say. 🙂 (That just seriously happened.)

Ok, I remember. Your dreams of a “scary man” are so vivid, that you’re kicking yourself your entire way to work for not checking the back seat before getting in, because now you’re sure he’s sitting right behind you, being all creepy and scary. And all you can do is grip the wheel really tight and try to get there faster.

When, in the course of 10 minutes, you spill your hot chocolate all over the counter at work, which rushes under the microwaves and popcorn machine (impossible to clean, I assure you); slam your hip into your desk really hard on your way back into your office; drop your pen 3 times before finally securing it in hand in order to write yourself a to-do note; realize you forgot to refill your post-it dispenser; and then slam your other hip on your desk leaving your office to go to the supply cabinet.

You cry at the end of a radio episode of Paws and Tales (it was a really touching one, though, about C.J.’s dad defending “the mule”).

You forget for the fourth day in a row that you wanted to load new pictures onto your blog when you get home from work, and end up going to bed earlier than the night before because 1. you’re exhausted, and 2. you learned today that 8 hours and 23 minutes of sleep just isn’t enough.



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Tears to Jammies

It’s amazing that when I think about yesterday evening, it seems like 2 totally different evenings to me. I think if Sophia had the vocabulary, she’d say the same. Isaac started a new job yesterday at the High School that will last until the end of May, which meant that Sophia was at the babysitter. It’s very hard for her to nap when she’s at others’ houses, so she didn’t get one, which meant that she fell asleep in the car on the way home and stayed asleep for nearly 2 hours before Isaac got her up. She was NOT a happy camper 20 minutes later when I walked through the door. She could not be consoled – other than to hold her on the couch, in complete silence. I was starving and really didn’t feel like having to sit, waiting to eat while a 2 year old girl took 30 minutes to adjust to being awake after sleeping 2 hours. So I suggested that we put her in her crib and she could just sleep more if that’s what she wanted to do. Well, she cried and cried and was finally quiet, so Isaac ventured back to her room to see if she was ready to join the family. Here’s how their conversation went:

Isaac: Sophia, are you ready to come out and eat dinner with us.

Sophia: No.

Isaac: Do you want to just stay in your bed then.

Sophia: No.

Isaac: I think you better just stay in your bed.

Sophia: No, no, no!

Isaac: Are you ready to come out then?

Sophia: Yeah.

He picks her up and carries her through the hall.

Isaac: Are you ready to tell Mama that you love her?

Sophia buries her head in his chest and tries to avoid eye contact with me.

I made her sit with me at our “breakfast bar” (which is actually more like a meal bar, since we don’t really have a kitchen table) and she shared my food with me. After we ate, she was in good spirits and sat in my lap on the couch and even giggled at Isaac’s antics as he recounted his first day at his new job. I got up at one point to get some water and noticed a box on the counter…from Grandma Becky! Sophia, when asked, was very ready to open it up and was overjoyed to see all of what her Grandma had sent. And she was so, so happy about her new jammies. After she had them on she danced around the living room and sang a song she quickly thought up called, “New Jammies”. We were even happier for those jammies, considering they are the zip up, button at top, kind that she hasn’t figured out how to take off yet (just yesterday morning, Isaac found her completely naked in her bed when he went to get her up!)

So thank you Grandma, for the much needed stuff (and the extra fun stuff), and thank the Lord for bad evenings gone good!

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Last week I mentioned not getting to post something that I was working on – well, here it is. This day was recorded last Thursday, March 1.


It’s Thursday morning, at about 4:25, just before my alarm goes off. Sophia wakes up from a coughing fit she’s been having off and on for the past few hours and finally starts to cry. Isaac gets her and puts her in bed between us and I reset my alarm for another 10 minutes hoping she’ll fall asleep in that time so that I’m able to get up without her wanting to get up as well. She clears her nose by breathing in and out of it really hard and fast and eventually plops her head down on my pillow and relaxes (she prefers my pillow over Isaac’s, for some reason). By the time I get myself up out of bed, her breaths are steady and she is asleep. When I come to kiss Isaac goodbye she’s has happy as can be snuggled up against her Papa.

She is finally fully awake by 7. As routine will have it, she requests a banana just like she has for the past 300 days in a row. She sits on the couch and slowly wakes up to a Baby Einstein movie.

Now that she’s had a chance to wake up, she wants breakfast. Breakfast changes day to day, but today she’s offered eggs and she nods her head and says, “With ketchup!” She scarfs them down with her big appetite, and is now ready for bigger and better things.

She gets a little morning reading in.

Takes a shower…
…making sure to wash those shower walls extra good. 🙂

Requests a blanket because she is FREEZING!
Dresses and brushes those pearly whites. And then it’s time to go outside.
Uh-oh. Bad fall. But even worse since Papa has taken an extra few seconds to snap a photo of the event. Poor thing. But he’ll soon make it up to her with a special surprise.

Sophia wonders where they could be going…

The Animal Shelter?!!!! Hooray!
The Animal Shelter! We’ve been reading Curious George and the Puppies a lot lately, so this little girl knows exactly what animal shelters are all about (or at least what kids should now about them). She loves seeing the kitties, the puppies, the big dogs and the turtle.
She teases the dogs by holding the treats a little to far from their lips so they really have to try to press through the cage wall to get to them. She doesn’t realize she’s teasing, of course – she probably just doesn’t want to get too close to those enormous teeth – ouch!

The trip is a success. Sophia’s happy as a jaybird, although a little worn out, from their little excursion.
So worn out, in fact, that she drifts off to sleep and stays that way for a few hours…

At around 6:00 I pull into the driveway and park underneath the carport. I’m greeted by a big smile and the one single word that makes my heart leap from my chest, “Mama!” We eat pepper steak, mashed potatoes, and salad, and then disrobe the little girl to free her from her mashed potato mess! Jammies on, story read (Curious George – to recap the day’s events), teeth brushed, and back in bed, at about 7:30. Sophia’s bedtime is always a good time, because it means Mama’s bedtime will follow shortly after.

A day in the life of US, when I’m at work.

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I’ve somehow managed to hurt the tendon that connects to my right thumb. Now, when I move my thumb, I get a shock of pain down my arm that’s almost crippling. My doctor made this splint for me on Friday, which has helped out a lot. I no longer have to think about not moving my thumb, at least, I just have to do things like remember to hit the space bar with my right pointer finger.

I sat this morning drinking some cherry-vanilla tea while Sophia finished her snack. I poured a little of it into one of her play teacups and before I knew it we were having our own little tea party. She’d stop between sips to raise her cup for a “cheers” and to announce, “Phia Tea!”. She’s getting extremely good these days at “self-praising”. We hear the words “Yay Phia” about 20 times a day after she accomplishes all tasks: eating all her dinner or putting her socks on (again and again). She’s also getting better and better at cheering her mama up. She reminds me how having only one fully functional hand is actually very useful for passing off the duty of changing messy diapers. 🙂

All jokes aside, though, she knows how to cheer me up faster than anyone else. Sometimes it just takes her smile, other times it takes climbing up onto the couch next to me to cuddle and watch a documentary on The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Either way, she knows her mama best.

Happy 23rd month of cheering Mama up, Sophia!

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While You Wait

I’ve added something to the last “Sophiecdotes” post (actually, Isaac did :)), so while you’re sitting around waiting for my vestation ticker to read “0 days”, go ahead and check it out.

Oh, and a quick story to illustrate why I never should have been a mother. A couple of nights ago we were out pulling Sophia on the sled around the block (it’s a mile long loop) and talking about how nice it is to go outside like that because we can have an uninterrupted conversation. Sophia can sit and enjoy the ride and we can just talk without having to stop every few minutes to say, “Oh, wow Sophia,” or get up to get her some raisins. Anyway, soon after I’d said that she started to say, “Go, Mama, go!” – letting me know that I needed to pull her faster. So I picked up speed and ran while she yelled, “Weeeeeeee!” and I got so caught up in the moment that I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so much fun to change direction all of a sudden and whip her around?” The answer, of course, is no. Not with a 25 lb girl. The sled quickly tipped, dumping her onto the ice and snow. You can imagine how she wailed, I’m sure, as we attempted to fish chunks of ice out of the collar of her jacket and brim of her hat. The only way we could console her was to ask her if she wanted to pull the sled on her own. So she did, for the remaining half-mile. It was a late night that night. (Our conversation, by the way, was interrupted every couple of minutes as one of us said, “Let’s go, Sophia. Come on, pull your sled faster!”)

This is what makes this undeserving mother so grateful that God gave her a chance at it, despite her downfalls:

 Click here to see the video.

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I must have said it a million times. I wanted a reason to start reading the Bible on a daily basis. I wanted to get involved in some kind of Bible study.

And then, *BAM*

Two studies at once.

Two studies at once?

Currently I am involved in an on-line study of David with my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law. It is the study of the heart of David, the greatest king the Jews had before Jesus. Before I started reading 1 and 2 Samuel, I must admit that the sound of those books alone didn’t really lure me in. It took a study like this one to make me realize how much excitement and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense exist in these two books. Plus, I am loving the accountability I get from my study group, and am having lots of fun “getting together” even when they live 4,000 miles away.

The other study, Beloved Disciple, will begin the 6th of February at my house, and will be based on the life of John. My friend Jennifer and I have been planning it for about 2 years now and it finally came together, but this was before I knew I would also be doing a study on David (apparently God thought I needed both at once!), so it looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. I am excited that, for the first time in my life, I will be meeting weekly with a group of ladies to talk about the Bible. I have never, ever done so before.

I’m praying that the people He has handpicked for these studies are moved and changed because of the time we spend together in His word.

Photos courtesy of Living Proof Ministries: www.lproof.org

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