Monday, August 19, 2013

Settling down, jumping in

Jim and I went to the Girdwood house for the final time Saturday.  We finished cleaning (such treasures behind and underneath the refrigerator!), packed up the last odds and ends things like cleaners and hardware and random toy pieces and smaller containers, cried a little (okay, that was just me), walked the new owner through the house and turned over our keys.

This moving process has taken forever.  Truly.  And as long as we had a key to a house in Girdwood, our move to Seward wasn't quite complete.  Now it is.  We still have to sign the closing documents on the house sometime soon, but for all intents and purposes, we are no longer Girdwoodians.  (although in my heart, I know a piece of me will always be one)

And all of this final house stuff comes just in time for me to immerse myself in a new job, watch our two olders nervously anticipate starting their sophomore year at a very different type of high school, help our two youngers excitedly pack up their shiny new backpacks for their foray into a new elementary school and contemplate what exactly it will be like when Samuel leaves the nest for UAA this coming weekend. 

Whole lotta changin' going on. 

As we build our life here in Seward together (and Samuel will join in whenever he's home), there will be echoes of our time in Girdwood that will remind us of what we left behind to come here.  We had a remarkably blessed time living in Girdwood, sinking our roots gradually, and making them deep and wide.  And the very center of all of that sinking and growing was our faith and our hope in our loving God.  We focused our life around the church and what service we could do while we lived in that community.  He's here, too, and I can't wait to see what He has in store for us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whew! More than a year between posts!

Now that we're in a new town (Seward, AK) and experiencing lots of new things, I think I'll try my hand at blogging again.

Quick (very quick) recap of the last few months:

Jim was appointed to the Seward and Moose Pass United Methodist Churches starting Jan. 1.
The kids and I stayed in Girdwood for the remainder of the school year, traveling down to Seward on weekends when we could.
The three olders got summer jobs and have made some moolah over the last two and a half months.
Summer was amazing this year, with TONS of warm warm warm sunny days.
We were blessed to be the Grand Marshals in the Forest Fair parade, which marked the last weekend the entire Doepken clan was in Girdwood together.
I journeyed to Indiana for my 25th High School reunion and some great family time.
We enjoyed Jim's parents' visit for three weeks and his aunt and uncle's visit for one week. 
We are just about completely out of our Girdwood house, with the new owners starting to move in.
I started a new job yesterday, working as the part-time librarian at the Seward Elementary School.
The four girls start school on Tuesday.
Samuel starts college (COLLEGE!) on August 26.

Time for bed!  I have to work tomorrow.


Friday, July 27, 2012

*insert Charlie Brown-inspired noise of frustration here*

Do you know the sound I mean?  The one that is kind of like 'aaaaaaarraaaaaaarrrrgggg' or something, when Lucy pulls the football away and he flies through the air and lands on his back?  I've got that sound going through my head right now as I contemplate adding two more high school students to scheduling for this school year.

*takes a deep breath*

Samuel will be a senior this year and I feel like we finally got a handle on the rhythms and patterns of high school life.  His was a simple schedule, though, since it was 'just' DDF (Drama/Debate/Forensics) and school and occasional work.  You'd think his sisters would want to emulate their big brother and keep things simple. 

You're right, they aren't.

Moriah wants to try out for flag football and Susannah wants to try out for volleyball.  I haven't the foggiest idea what chances they have of making either team since Girdwood doesn't have a middle school version of either one (volleyball is the only one that was an 'official' middle school sport, but Girdwood has not had a team).  Both girls also are interested in the drama department and yet again, I have no earthly idea what their chances are of making it into a production.  Everyone who tried out made it into Girdwood School's production as long as you showed up for rehearsals.  The girls are also tentatively interested in DDF for the drama events (some brotherly insistence influence, for sure) and would be on the team for sure if they choose to go that route. 

Given all three options that the girls are considering, and given all of the paperwork and driving and logistics that will go into managing these interests, I am feeling no small amount of panic.  Perhaps panic is too strong a word, but my heart is beating noticeably and I'm left wondering if the first part of the school year will be horrible unbearable interesting.  I am incredibly grateful that there is an activities bus available for Girdwood students, making rides less of an issue...but still.  Long days, lots of juggling and at least a little chaos

Nothing we can't handle, right?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yes, I'm pathetic ya doin'?   Did you give up on me again?  Yeah, I don't blame you.  I have such high hopes for keeping up this blog and then life happens or I get lazy and it goes quiet. 

Here's my last promise for this blog:  no more promises.  I'll just try to write when I can.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


We got word this week that Bethany is betrothed.  Hard to believe our youngest daughter is the first to catch the eye of a handsome young man and receive an offer of marriage.  

The boy in question is one of their little buddies at Little Bears.  We've heard about "K" before, usually in adoring tones and usually about his mad dancing skills.  I've met K and agree that he's a cutie.  Little did I know that underneath the golden curls and sweet smile dwelt the heart of a Romeo.

Apparently Abigail was a close second choice, with K announcing that he wanted to marry both Doepken girls.  Bethany put her foot down, however, and told him he could only choose one of them.  And somehow, she managed to be the one.  

I'll keep you all posted on when the big day will be.  Sometime closer to 2036, I hope!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Spy?

I'm usually the one who seeks the easiest route to dinner when it's my turn to make it, whether it's leftovers, pasta and sauce or quesadillas.  Tonight, Jim pulled a "julie" and suggested an easy dinner:   a trip to Silvertip Grill.  We had a groupon that was burning a hole in our pocket needed to be printed out, so off we went (minus Samuel, who is having his belated birthday/movie/sleepover party at Jim's parents' rental cabin tonight).

As we waited for our meals*, the little girls, Jim and I played I Spy.

You surely know the game.  "I spy with my little eye something that is..." and name a color.  Now, to play the game fairly (and truthfully), you really should 'find' something and keep that thing in mind when you state the color and answer the 'is it...' questions. 

Bethany seemed to do that.   Abigail, not so much.  Her replies to the 'is it...' questions seemed a little fishy at times.  Like she decided to change her answer to favor one 'player' over another.  That one player was usually me.

Finally, during one of her turns I called her on her tendency to shift her answers.  I asked her to pick one thing and one thing only, to which she replied "I don't think in my head!"

Ah, well, that explains it!

*which was, if you're curious: french toast for the older girls, grilled cheese for Bethany, chicken tenders for Abigail, burger/salad for me, taco salad thing for Jim

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Camping Trip with Short Louds

This was going to be it!  The summer we finally took the little girls on their first camping trip.  (Jim calls them The Short Louds occasionally...the name fits.)

Only we weren't making it happen.  We had 'post school year de-stressing' and lots of baseball games (as you know, if you read this blog) and my Tuesday night classes thrown in there and then Forest Fair and my parents' final days of visiting and then ... oh wait!  We didn't really have anything else for a couple of weeks besides getting together with some dear friends who were up visiting parents.

When our friends suggested going camping together, I thought it would be a great combination of camping and hanging out.  Schedules were cleared, plans were made and the countdown began.  The little girls were pretty excited about the whole thing and kept asking how many sleeps till we went camping.

I put the tent up the day before we went, to check for any gaping holes or nasty odors.  It had been at least six years since we've been camping, after all, and I had to make sure it hadn't deteriorated to the point that we'd be eaten alive by mosquitoes or dripped on if it rained.

Thankfully, the tent was intact.  Packed away with several dead bugs, but intact.  And that was a very good thing.  Because it started to rain when we were about 20 minutes away from our campsite. And it rained while we debated about setting up the tent now or when the rain might slack off.  And it rained while we caught up with our friends.

Thankfully, it stopped raining after a little while and we were able to set up the tent, explore the Trail River Campground a bit and enjoy some conversation around the campfire.  The rain abated just about the time that Susannah broke down and donned a stylish black trash bag over her (my) ineffective rain coat.  And yes, this little coincidence meant that we requested that she keep said trash bag on, even though it was not raining.  :)

Oh yes, she rocked the trash bag raincoat!

The men were all about finding more wood to keep the fire going, and Jim and our friend David came back with a huge log to contribute to the firewood stash.  Problem was they had to cut it down a little.  With a hand saw.  And maybe a hatchet (not sure if it was used or not).  Dave mostly worked on sawing while Jim mostly worked on balancing.  Or something like that:

What Jim was really doing was keeping one end of the log 'secured' while Dave tried breaking off the other end, after sawing through it most of the way.  It didn't really work, other than entertaining those of us watching.  (I still think those two could be in the lumberjack show at the AK State Fair.)  Eventually, Jim just started throwing the log down onto the other log and it did break off.  More firewood for us!

We enjoyed a traditional campfire meal of hot dogs and s'mores and talked some more.

Staying close to the fire for food and for warmth.

Sometime after dinner:  thrilled faces!

I had to add this one.  Dave's face is rather...interesting.

She really was enjoying the s'more!
How bizarre...the rest of the post has disappeared.  I had more photos, more about little boats the kids made, etc.  Guess I'll have to rewrite this one when I get a chance.  Sorry!