Monday, March 30, 2009

...and your name is?

Abigail used to call her sis 'Bobidee', which was pretty darn cute, but somewhere along the line Bethany became 'Abidale'. Bethany always answered to Abigail's name for her. But Bethany was also very aware of her own name and could say it well.

Made me wonder if Abigail couldn't separate herself from her twin because she'd still call Bethany 'Abidale' even after countless promptings from me to call her sister the correct name (no, sweetie, you're Abigail...that's Bethany).

Then I wondered if maybe Abigail was preparing for the royal life. Sort of like the royal 'we' but using her first name as the 'we' equivalent. The little girls do rule the roost much of the time.

But the last couple of days Abigail has been very purposefully calling her sister 'Bet-then-knee'. Sometimes with prompting but mostly on her own. She grins when she says it, like she knows she's finally getting it right. And she over-emphasizes the 'th' by sticking her tongue between her teeth, which makes it even sweeter that she's trying so hard to say her sis' name right.

And (some of you probably knew this could be coming) there is that small part of me that will miss the funny side of the fact that Abigail called her sister by her own name. It was endearing and special and utterly silly Abigail in action.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

ashes, ashes, they all fall down

So a few days ago I was actually a little disappointed that Mount Redoubt's initial eruption didn't send ash floating our way. Yes, I am slightly mental. Redoubt has been erupting for several days and most of the ash has missed us. The last eruption was around 3:29 this afternoon.

About a half hour ago the girls called from a birthday party on the mountain to say that ash had started to fall in Girdwood. I hurried to get the girls, toting breathing masks with me to be on the safe side. As I walked out to the car, I could see a light layer of gray ash on the car and I could tell that the snow looked dirty. Then, as I drove to the mountain, I could see how gray the sky was.

I got to the party, tossed the masks to the girls, said a quick thank you to the hosts and hustled them home. The girls asked why I would be so worried about a light dusting, so I explained that every piece they inhale is a small piece of glass...not what our lungs need.

You can go to the Alaska Volcano Observatory's website and check out info and see some very cool pictures, including some awesome ones from 1:30 this morning when it was erupting. AVO also twitters, which cracks me up a bit, but is also kinda neat.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Samuel update

Samuel had a completely normal no-headache no-nausea day today, so I do think we're past any danger time. We'll still watch him a bit longer for any weird symptoms, but I think we were fortunate that he just had a bad fall and nothing else.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Samuel's tumble

Samuel took a header this morning while x-country skiing. He attempted a jump, caught the tip of his ski wrong and went down hard. He felt a bit dazed and nauseous, so he headed to the nurse's office. The school nurse gave him a once over and noted his pupils were fine, his cognition was fine, the pain he was feeling was an appropriate amount, etc. The nausea he was feeling, however, had us all worried (esp. in the wake of Natasha Richardson's death, which I noted in a previous post).

The school nurse suggested a trip to the ER, but our pediatrician's office and local NP said it was okay to watch and wait. So I brought him home and Jim watched him and babies climbed all over him while he tried to rest on the couch.

Thankfully, 12 or so hours later, he seems to be totally fine. The nausea has remained at a dull roar all day but nothing else seems to be wrong. I will probably set my alarm to wake him up at least once during the night, just to be totally annoying and cautious. Jim usually wakes up around 3:15, so I'm going to ask him to check on Samuel, too.

Certainly wouldn't hurt to say a few prayers that he is truly fine, so please join me in praying for our precious boy. (thanks!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twos ... terrible?

So last night Bethany was a pistol at bedtime and wouldn't let either one of us help with her diaper or pajamas and was all over the place. Tonight was Abigail's turn to deny me any success with bedtime prep for her.

My initial reaction is "well, at least they didn't do it at the same time." My secondary reaction is "wow, their 'I do it' stage has truly arrived." Now comes the fun of figuring out how to let them have success at developing independent skills while maintaining the parental authority that makes us the last word even when they're throwing a fit.

In regards to Abigail at bedtime at least, that might just mean making sure she has two-piece pjs rather than the one-piece zip-up kind like she's wearing tonight. She kept trying to lay it out, upside down, and then she tried putting her feet into the arms. All the while having NONE of Mommy easing the way so that she would be successful.

And one last Bethany note...she keeps saying "I bump down stairs" throughout the day. I guess she'll remember her tumble for a bit longer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Artie madness

Instead of heading to bed like a good girl, I decided I needed to blog about the new scheduling nightmare for our household. The three older kids all have roles in the school play, King Artie and the Knights of the Rad Table. Practices began today, as did the awareness that life will be busy for the next six or so weeks.

Samuel will be playing Merlin, Moriah is the town crier and Susannah is the dragon.

Samuel initially thought he'd rather be the main guy, Artie, but agreed that he probably couldn't pull off playing a 'skater dude' as well as he could play Merlin. Now he's looking forward to being the 'wise' guy.

Moriah has a large part in one of the early scenes and has a solo, too. She gets to announce competitors who will try to pull the sword out of the stone. She thinks it's funny that she has the same role that Samuel had when they did the play four years ago.

Susannah will be playing the dragon later in the play who has captured some damsels in distress. Her dragon is a refined creature who enjoys tea, and she also has a solo where she will sing about a lovely spot of tea.

I'm going to be helping the school's music teacher in whatever capacity I can, whenever I can make it to practices. I was her 'assistant' director for the Girdwood Community Theater's The Music Man in December, so she knows I make myself at least marginally helpful.

The performances are May 6 and 7, so buy your plane tickets early to catch the performances. *grin*

(Oh, and P.S. Bethany is still fine today after her tumble. She's got a bump under her left nostril but it doesn't seem to be bothering her much.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

tumble bumble down the stairs

I came home early from mosaics tonight and was greeted by Moriah who said "Bethany fell down the stairs." I didn't hear crying and no one seemed in a panic, so I assumed she was okay. Apparently the babes were sitting on the top of the steps, waiting for Daddy to finish a phone call, when Bethany took a header and ended up landing about 2/3 of the way down the stairs. She had a lightly bloody nose (it's kinda scraped under one nostril) and appears to be fine. (translation: Eyes are fine. Acting fine. Not holding any part of her body. No weird crying. No major nose bleed.)

I'm not sure why I'm blogging about this beyond the fact that I'm still slightly freaked that it happened and so very grateful she seems totally fine (except for the 'owie' on her nose). She's sleeping soundly, with many prayers being said by Mommy that nothing else is wrong.

I guess Natasha Richardson's death spoke to me in more ways than "always wear a helmet when skiing" (which is the absolute rule in our house) don't take hits to the head lightly.


It's Spring, you say? Really?

About two feet of snow fell between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, deepening the already deep snow in our yard. Samuel was inspired to create a little snow cave for his littlest sisters and after dinner the kids all went out to play. (I should add here that the babes heard the word 'outside' and wanted nothing to do with their dinners...just wanted to go play outside.)

The babies LOVED it and couldn't get enough, even as they stumbled and tried to keep their footing. The older kids decided that jumping from our upper yard to the deep snow below was the thing to do--trying to see how much of their bodies would still be visible once they landed and sank into the snow. Samuel also tried to break a new trail down another part of our yard, rolling and pushing his way through the snow. He eventually ended up on his back, head buried and facing downhill, legs barely visible. He loved every minute of it.

I was outside as the photographer, not dressed for playing. Of course, I got wet anyway--at one point my right leg sank all the way up to my hip. Took a little effort to get me out. None of the kids really wanted to come in, but wet and cold clothing and bedtime for little girls meant an end to the fun. Abigail, especially, was quite put out about coming in. I took a lovely photo of her angry, tear-stained, snotty-nosed face but I won't cause her future embarrassment by posting it here. Just know that she REALLY wanted to stay out and play.

Here are some highlight photos:

Samuel and the babes in the snow cave

Susannah and Moriah waist-deep in snow

Samuel mid-jump (not a great shot unfortunately)

Moriah taking off

Susannah jumping high

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bethany funny

Earlier today Bethany was racing back and forth in front of our entertainment center, holding the Rock Band microphone and singing the same line over and over again. It sounded much like "yes sir, we sir, run 'em in the road." I had no idea what she was really saying but she definitely was saying the same thing over and over, clearly chanting something she'd heard before.

It eventually dawned on me that it was supposed to be "yes sir, yes sir, three bags full." Just as I was telling Susannah that's what I thought it was, she sang the line "Baa baa black sheep ha you enny woo". Ah ha! I was right. And, just as I figured out what Bethany was singing, she came to a final, panting halt, too tired to keep going.

Never a dull moment at our house.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Footsies update

There is no surgery on the horizon for our girl! yay!

The doc was pretty conservative and didn't want to make any major decisions quite yet. He also didn't have any x-rays of her feet and said that we should wait to see how she does with her insoles. He built her insoles up a bit more and encouraged Moriah to wear them as much as possible. Now we'll wait and see if her feet respond.


In about twenty minutes (after he finishes breaking up an ice dam on our roof that is causing water to drip through our windows), Jim will be picking up Moriah to take her to a doctor appointment. This will be a second-opinion appointment for her feet, which are proving to be troublesome appendages for our active tomboy.

She has very flat feet and the lack of arches means the mechanics of her feet aren't working correctly. This in turn is causing her feet to pronate and some of her bones are growing incorrectly as they adapt to the altered gait. It looks as though she has two ankle bones on each foot, to give an idea of what it looks like. This causes her pain and has impacted her skiing and other physical activities.

Her first foot doc (who has done Jim's two foot surgeries) said she may be a candidate for something called an MBA implant. Here's a very medical explanation:

"If flexible pediatric dysfunctional pes plano valgus deformity is diagnosed early in life, the treatment protocol can often be limited to a simple procedure entitled subtalar joint arthroereisis. This is an implant that is inserted into the sinus tarsi of the rearfoot and acts as a block to the excessive anterior and inferior displacement of the talus. This allows normal subtalar joint motion and blocks excessive pronation. The state of the art implant that will be utilized in the procedure that your doctor is recommending is known as the subtalar MBA implant." (taken from a website that you can see here)

Today's appointment is to see if another doc concurs.

For those of you who pray, I'd appreciate prayer for a wise doc, discernment for us as we decide how best to help Moriah, and peace for Moriah's state of mind as she deals with all of this.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Official!

The Frosts (Chuck, Julie, Joshua and Jonah) will be here at the end of May! The tickets are purchased. No turning back now. Yay! I cannot tell you how happy and excited I am!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dirty car, solution

Just let it get buried under about eight inches of new snow (and still falling fast) one will see how dirty the car is!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dirty car, thoughts and observations

With all of the sunshine lately, the highways are wet and there is a LOT of dirty spray as you drive. Washer fluid helps to clear some of the schmutz and you have to use it often, making it just about the most important car 'part' in the spring. (I'm sure most of you know what schmutz means, but I like showing off my ability to link things!)

I was sorely tempted to go to a car wash while we were out and about yesterday because it's absolutely nasty to try to shut our back hatch on the can't find a clean spot to touch (I usually grab the inside handle with both hands and pull down the door that way, risking a bashed head rather than touching the outside). But then I realized that it would be wasted money. It would be just as bad by the time we got home. By the time we left Anchorage, probably.

I was in town earlier in the week, too, and attempted to clean my windows while filling up the gas tank. I had to laugh when I tried because the water in the squeegee holder was absolutely positively BROWN. No trace of the normal blue cleaner at all. Brown and murky. I did give it a go and just giggled the whole time I used dirty water to clean dirt off my windows and lights. Surprisingly it did make a little bit of a difference, but not much. At least my lights were easier to see.

Now, if he had been with us yesterday, Jim likely would have encouraged the car wash stop while quoting what his grandfather always said: "You only get the same dirt off once". What does that mean? Does that mean it's a good idea to get at least some dirt washed off before more dirt gets layered on? Does it mean we should be bold enough to go ahead and spend that money on a car wash, even if it'll be dirty again soon? I'm not sure, but I do know that while I love this time of year I do NOT like how dirty our car gets.

Just when it gets beautiful and sunny outside the car windows get besmirched and dull the views of scenery around us. Ironic.

(here ends my rumination on our dirty car...don't you feel better?)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

baby cuteness

I discovered a few days ago that the little girls know "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". Complete with finger shaking and grumpy eyebrows during the refrain. They had to have learned it at Little Bears because it's not something we've done with them. Makes me giggle just thinking about it.

Both little girls are into counting right now. Abigail is better at saying the numbers while pointing at objects...doing a one-to-one count. Bethany has a much faster finger than her numbers come out, so things don't get counted. Bethany is also the one who can count to ten; Abigail is almost there.

Often I will hold one of their hands, index finger extended, and help them point to individual items as we count aloud together. Tonight I came upon them looking at a counting book together. They were taking turns 'helping' each other point to the ladybugs and saying the numbers, just like I do with them. One would finish and then the other would say 'my turn'. Random cuteness at its best.

I love Target and my two older girls

Not in that order, mind you. (It can be kinda close some days, but I do love my girls more than Target. really.)

Moriah was in desperate need of new pants so I thought a trip to town was in order before Spring Break was over. Susannah came along for the ride, hoping for Mommy largess to kick in for something new. Kohl's has been built right next to Target (can anyone else hear the trumpet fanfare that I hear?), making an ideal stop for clothes shopping, and I thought it was open by now (nope). But all was not lost because we spent puh-lenty of time in Target anyway.

Two pairs of jeans (one was even a girl pair!) and two shirts later, Moriah was done. Susannah got one shirt courtesy of Mom and then she bought herself another. Samuel got a pair of khakis (love those sales) and a funny t-shirt. We also got some new towels, a few cool lime-green containers for (some of) the stuff in the girls' room, finger paints and paper for the babes, and a few other odds and ends. *insert contented sigh here* I really enjoy Target.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peas and tink you

Manners are important, right? Right. We started working with please and thank you via sign language forever ago and "peas" became one of the little girls' early words, when we prompted them to use it. So both girls are beginning to understand what the word really conveys and will use it with gentle prompting. Here are a couple of examples:

Abigail still struggles to verbalize what she wants and will start to get frustrated if we can't figure out what she's 'saying'. I'll often say "use your words" and she'll reply "peas" as she tries to make her request again, swiping her hand across her chest as the way she signs it. (Such a polite request, sweetie, but I still have no idea what you're asking for.)

Bethany will ask for something without including please, until I give her a semi-stink-eye and then she'll say "peas". (Bwaa haa haa! such power in a glance!)

In addition to these wonderful demonstrations of manners, they are both now saying "tink you" when someone helps them or gets them something. UNprompted. LOVE it. Gives me the false sense that we're raising two of the most polite little girls that ever were. (ha)

I'll be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mombrarian is loving it

Abigail always wants 'one mo' book. Before nap. Before bed. During the day when anyone reads to her. Anytime books are involved, she wants more. *contented sigh*

Saturday, March 7, 2009

First true babysitting gig

Tonight Moriah and Susannah will have their very first babysitting job. They're doing it together, which is probably a good thing, and splitting the money. The job is watching two brothers (one is 4 1/2 and the other is 17 months) for a couple of hours while the parents go out to dinner. They have helped out as mother's helpers twice for these two boys, so familiarity is already there.

Let's all hope that nothing happens to need their recent first aid training to kick in. :o)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friends coming

I'm getting very excited at the thought of our best friends coming to visit in less than three months (and they're planning to be here for Jim's 40th birthday). For anyone who doesn't know, the Frosts used to live here in Girdwood and Chuck was the pastor at Girdwood Chapel before Jim. We got to know Chuck and Julie well while in seminary (Jim met them the summer before during his missionary stint in Alaska), and they were instrumental in our coming to Alaska, so they've been special to us for a long time. We last saw them two summers ago, when we rented a lake house together in NC. One of the very best weeks I've ever had, truly.

We've been working out the details of tickets; we have to work together to coordinate flights because Jim and I are letting them use some of our frequent flier miles to get tickets since our large family won't be traveling Outside anytime soon (though I sure wish there were still 'super saver' just don't get the same 'value' for those freq. flier miles anymore). It'll kinda be like my 40th birthday gift for Jim. Weirdly, the good flights I see in the 'awards reservations' search don't appear in the regular reservation search so they can purchase the other tickets. Hmmm. I've got to get on the phone to ask about that.

You'll see more of my excitement as their trip draws nearer. I'm truly ecstatic that they are coming.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Undone by apartheid

Susannah made it through the first round by spelling wanton. The very first word of that round was ballerina and the second word was giraffe, so I was thinking she'd have a good chance of making it through. Susannah was number 143 out of 154 and the words got progressively harder as the round went on, it seemed, so I got a little nervous about what her word would be. But she got one she could spell, thankfully.

Second round she wasn't so lucky. The 'pronouncer' said apartheid like apart-ate, which is one way to say it. In my head, I urged Susannah to ask for any alternative pronunciations, but she didn't. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have spelled it right either way, but she was frustrated because she didn't 'hear' it right.

There were tons of 'foreign' words in the second round; that surprised me. I had fun trying to spell the words and even learned a couple of new ones today. What made me happiest, besides being so proud of Susannah, was knowing that Susannah had a great time even though she didn't make it past the second round. And, Susannah is motivated to learn more spelling 'tricks' and to try to get to the state bee next year too.

6:30 AM

It's early. Really early.

Off to the Spelling Bee!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Buzz Buzz

Tomorrow is the state Spelling Bee. Susannah is getting excited and nervous and I'd really appreciate prayers for her tomorrow.

For a calm, centered mind.
For confidence.
For good health and great sleep tonight.
For her to meet any goals she may have set for herself.

Oh, and for us to hear our alarms since we have to be on the road by 6:45 AM!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Yesterday, today

I had a lovely birthday yesterday. Here it is in nutshell:

Great church service.
See's butterscotch squares for lunch (giggle...yes, I ate some 'real' food too).
Lazy afternoon.
Calls from loved ones.
Texas Sheet Cake for dinner.
Trip to Anchorage to see Twilight.
California Turkey Club wrap for dessert.
Margarita to sip while watching the movie with a good friend.
Crepe paper and balloon decorations awaiting my return home.

Today I got another glimpse into the babies' post-nap time. This time it was both girls. Abigail was reading an animal book and kept telling Bethany what animal it was. Bethany was laying on her tummy reading her own book, but would look over at Abigail's book and agree about whatever animal it was. I got my camera and stuck it into the doorway, capturing a little interaction and some cooperative counting until Abigail noticed the camera and then realized I was holding it. Then I got a little bit of the 'Mommy!' jumpy joy on film. Oh, and I also got Bethany telling me she had pooped. *grin*

Right now I'm going to go get a piece of my birthday cake. Love that stuff.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

short lapse

It's been a few days since I last blogged. I had been doing so well and I'm not sure why I took a short 'break'. Except I guess that we've been busy. And there hasn't been too much cuteness going on (hard to believe, I know!).

My birthday is Sunday (today, really, since it's after 1 am). I'm 39. Last year of my thirties. Sigh. I wouldn't change a thing about my life but it'd be nice to slow down time just a bit now and then.

Random cuteness:

The little girls have discovered The Wiggles, thanks to me. They are fairly enthralled with the whole thing, especially the parts with puppets. Me? I'm a little creeped out by the puppets but Abigail asks for them again and again.

We recently purchased a fairly cool night light for the little girls' room. It's called Tyke Light Jr. and I love it (click the link to check it out). The LED light stays cool and has three settings, including a 15 minute timer. The 'light man' comes and sits with us for our singing before bedtime and the girls give 'him' a kiss before naps and before bed.

Abigail was gazing out the window at the falling snow and said "no" (which is really "snow" but she doesn't quite get the 's' out). Then she looked out our big picture window and said "no". Then she looked out the far windows in the 'dining room' and said it once again. I agreed and said "yep, snow all around", gesturing at the three windows. Bethany immediately mimicked my arm motion and said "all aroun'". Bethany will be the one to avoid cursing around, I can tell you that right now. *grin*

The big girls took a babysitting first aid course today. It went from 9:30-4:30 and they really enjoyed it. They cannot wait to be released (or unleashed?) into the babysitter world. And they'll be wonderful at it, too. I think they'll need to realize they won't get called together and will probably have to jockey for jobs. I did find out later that Moriah got into a little 'trouble' for tossing her 'real' baby into the air. Oops. I'm sure she'll be much more careful with real children.

I should throw in one cuteness thing about Samuel here since he often gets a little overlooked in the land of girls. On Valentine's Day the girls and I attended a 'tea party' at a friend's house. The daughter made playdoh hearts for the girls to bring home. Apparently some kids at the party had convinced another kid that the hearts were really 'sponge cookies' and got him to take a bite. Samuel became the target of the same joke at our house once we got home (and here I will somewhat shamefacedly admit I helped convince him to take a bite). He thought it tasted awful and almost immediately spit it out. But, he revealed to us later, his thought process went like this:

Oh, these are awful...really salty.
But Susannah probably worked really hard on making them so I'll try to choke it down.

How SWEET is that for a big brother to think? What a guy!

Guess that is enough rambling. I kinda caught up by giving you a nice long blog post, right?

Oh! I took some video of Moriah and Susannah snowboarding and will work on having it available to look at here. Watch for it sometime soon.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!