Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jim will be gone longer

An early morning phone call woke me to bad news for one of our best friends. My first thought was that I was grateful Jim was only a couple of states away and could very likely go and be there for his friend. I called Jim to let him know the news and he had the same thought. So, his trip will be extended another several days, or as long as his friend needs him.

Please pray for everyone involved with the reason for and change of plans--our friend and his family, Jim and me. I won't share any more than that...God knows the details.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mt. Redoubt, you have nothing on a toddler tantrum

I just witnessed/experienced/lived through Abigail's first full-blown tantrum. Wow. I'm exhausted. She's asleep, thankfully.

The setting for the blow-up was benign enough: leaving Little Bears after a morning of fun and sunshine. Getting the little girls into their car seats has been a semi-challenge the last month or so, with them wanting to do as much for themselves as possible and resisting most attempts by someone else to get them into their seats.

Such was the case today, when Abigail was being annoying obstinate determined and wouldn't get in. I gave her a "you do it or Mommy will do it" option and she 'chose' to 'allow' Mommy to do it. Right. What followed was a little wrestling, some screaming, a lot of snot and not a little crying so hard she almost threw up. Yeah, that was fun.

The ride home was equally joyous...screams and cries and the occasional gag. A lot of "I do it" as she lamented her poor 'choice' of 'allowing' Mommy to put her into her seat. Dear little Bethany took it all in stride and chatted to me over her sister's noise.

Once we got home, I thought I'd try the old "you can help Mommy get you out..." trick. Used a soft, soothing voice and everything. Ha. She wasn't taking the bait. Not even close to placating the unhinged child. So, I crossed back over into 'mean Mommy' mode and released her buckles against her will. Which set off an entirely new set of wailings. "Me help". Uh, too late sweetie. Another bad 'choice'.

I had to carry her into the house football-style (she looked like Diddle diddle dumpling my son John--only a flailing one--because she had thrown off one shoe and the accompanying sock) and she screamed the whole way in. I hoped no one would be alarmed enough to call the authorities, she was that loud and that distraught.

Suffice it to say that the next several minutes were full of floppy limbs, ear-splitting noises and a general feeling of chaos*. An offer of reading a book went no where. An attempt at giving a cuddle was decisively spurned. The calm sister bringing the freaked out sister her blanket brought on a whole new round of "me do it" rather than a gracious "tink you".

I'm telling you, this would have been the perfect thing to film when considering effective ways to convince teenagers to practice abstinence.

I finally put Abigail in her crib out of consideration for Bethany's ears and for her own safety. She calmed down the teeniest bit while in there and then I found it. The perfect distraction item. I have no idea how it came to be on their dresser, but there it was. A little red feather. After a few rounds of "should I tickle your knee/cheek/hand/toes/etc" Abigail was sufficiently calm to take into my lap for a true cuddle while reading a book (holding and twirling the feather, of course).

By the time the book was done, she was herself again. She even shared the feather with Bethany. She happily sang the ABC song, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her sister. I laid her down, tucked her in, exchanged "Iloveyounightnight"s with the babes and all was and has been quiet since.


*this was not the contented kind of chaos like we usually find at our house

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Amazing how waking to a sunny day helps you forget your annoyance with your children.

*contented sigh*

Monday, April 27, 2009


So, I'm sitting in the babies' room, trying to wait them out until they fall asleep. It's not working. They're still awake. And I'm pretty darn annoyed.

See, Abigail has started having trouble settling at bedtime. It might be the light, it might be that she's just being obnoxious (I know...not nice, but I'm kinda annoyed). Here's just a sample of how she's been lately:

No, I won't lay down for songs.
No, I want my blanket laid this way.
No, I won't lay back down even though that's the only way you'll tuck me, Mommy.
No, I want my blanket this way.
No, I'll stand up and scream, thank you very much.

And then tonight there was a new addition:

Oh, I figured out how to hook my leg over my crib and I got out. And freaked myself out and freaked my little sister out. But now Mommy will sit with us. Hmmm...that worked out better than expected.

Sigh. I had gotten pulled into her manipulations (unintentional though they may have been) when she first started this behavior and I caught on pretty quickly. So I became 'mean Mommy' and let her cry when she was being a pain (did I mention I'm annoyed?). And she learned that I meant it when I said I was leaving and it worked and she had been doing great at going to sleep after a bit of chatting and/or singing.

But now I've been suckered back into new bedtime drama because of tonight's Great Escape and I'm really po'd about it. I want my evening time. For me. I'm selfish that way right now because my beloved has been gone for 11 days and I'm not enjoying myself much lately. Especially today. It felt like a Garfield-type Monday.

My wonderful son even called me on my grumpiness after dinner. He inadvertently left very few tortellini for me to eat once I got back from a short meeting. He had forgotten I hadn't eaten and helped himself to extra, as a growing boy should. But I was not happy to have so little for dinner. He very lovingly suggested that I might want to try to stay calm instead of giving into my frustration. He's right. But it feels kinda satisfying sometimes to lash out...for a moment. Then it feels yucky. Who knew my oldest could be so sagacious? (Well, I did, if you want to know the truth.)

Now I'm going to attempt to leave this room and hope that Abigail doesn't become unhinged again (I still have no idea what set her off onto tonight's crying jag). I want to watch the Daily Show. Selfish. I know. I can live with that, tonight.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Since I last posted...

Wednesday (kinda counts because I heard about it Thursday)
  • Moriah had an awesome baseball practice, complete with getting a ton of hits.
  • I helped with play practice once more.
  • My three older kids participated in an all-school Circus Arts performance and had a lot of fun. And did a good job with their 'parts'.
  • My two youngest kids and I thoroughly enjoyed watching aforementioned performance (both babes kept saying 'a wother one' after each class was done with their part).
  • I had a good day at work but had to say goodbye to two great kids who were moving away.
  • I found out that my dad and step-mom purchased their tickets to come visit this summer. Yay!
  • I met with a fellow librarian to work on my 'alternative evaluation' report (she was kind enough to drive down to Girdwood for the meeting AND brought milk to replenish our dwindling supply...but I forgot to pay her back...oops!).
  • Samuel went to soccer and had a blast playing (different atmosphere than the Monday night games he recently stopped going to).
  • I went and hung out with a bunch of really nice ladies and had some 'me' time...ran home to finish putting babes to bed and then went back and stayed out late!
  • I helped do some cleaning at Little Bears while the three older kids did some housework and separated recyclables.
  • I ran to town (once Bethany stopped crying inconsolably for some reason) to get some much-needed groceries and drop off recyclables. And thanked God multiple times for my generous older kids who watched little sisters so I could do the grocery run.
  • The whole family watched at least part of the Spring Carnival/Slush Cup festivities at the resort (skiers and boarders attempt to 'ski/board' across a 90-foot pool of freezing cold water). Samuel went with his friends and I went with all the girls and one of their friends. It was...the same as previous years...not sure I even want to go back next year.
  • My neighbor sent down some chili, corn muffins and salad for dinner...didn't have to cook! Yay! (and believe it or not, dinner is just about the biggest obstacle to my limited Jim-less happiness I face when Jim is gone...I dislike cooking dinner every night)
  • I helped set up a bit at church for today's service and then ended up spending too much time chatting with a dear friend who helped me out by buying a new tie-out cable for Hurley.
  • Went to church and enjoyed a wonderful service led by a pastor we've known since we moved up here. And! the church was full! And Jim is gone!
  • Moriah and Susannah went back for some Spring Carnival events and Susannah came home with frozen feet because she didn't truly 'get' Mom's advice yesterday about wearing appropriate footwear for walking in snow (and yes I know it's technically Spring, my dear). *clears throat meaningfully*
  • I went for a nice long walk with Hurley.
  • Some homework was completed by all three older kids (I think).
  • I actually vacuumed and was once again stunned by the amount of fine dirt my little vacuum can find. Are we really that dusty???
  • Samuel had a confirmation mentor meeting.
  • I worked on an iMovie project with Moriah -- looks like it will turn out pretty cute.
  • And now I'm avoiding those final kitchen clean ups by posting here.
  • And I'm thinking that Jim is over half done with his trip and will be home a week from tomorrow. *contented sigh*

Thursday, April 23, 2009

not so contented chaos

This afternoon* was a bit hairy

I was a 'fill-in director' for play practice at school starting at 3:00.
I had to rush Moriah to piano (we were late because play practice ran late).
I had to run home to pick up the piano books that I should have taken to play practice in case it ran late and take them to Moriah at her lesson (and I got her baseball stuff).
I had to run home to start dinner (turkey, noodles, peas...thanks for asking).
I had to pick Moriah up from piano and run her to baseball practice, after finding her birth certificate and writing checks for various fees.
I had to finish Little League paperwork while at her practice.
I had to run home to finish dinner.
I fielded a phone call from my hubby who called while dinner was cooking and right before I had to leave again...not a long enough conversation. sigh
I had to run and pick up Susannah from her lesson (she walked smart on that one).
I had to come home, dish out dinner for babies, choke down a bit of dinner and bark out directions to the three older kids (yes, I did bark...not proud of myself).
I wanted to run to Bible Study, where I did get fed and nurtured as I studied Loving Well by Beth Moore with an amazing group of ladies (GREAT study).
I ran home right after sharing prayer requests to finish putting babies to bed (Moriah and Susannah ROCKED getting them almost completely ready).
I had to finish up a few dishes (again Moriah and Susannah ROCKED getting most things washed up).
Now I'm ready for bed (late as usual).

And all of this following a morning where we all got out of the house in plenty of time to drop little girls at Little Bears and get the rest of us (minus a sick Samuel who stayed home today) to school on time. Who knew the afternoon would be such a contrast to a relatively peaceful morning?

*I posted at midnight so the date says Thursday even though this is about Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lighter nights

I had forgotten how annoying the lighter nights can be in Alaska when you have toddlers. Don't get me wrong, I love that it's still mostly light out at 10:00 right now. Makes me really ready for summer and for the snow to be gone. But when it comes to convincing little girls that it really is bedtime...well, that's when I don't enjoy it quite so much.

Light encourages giggling and squirming and higher energy than normal at bedtime. Light means full attention may not be on the books you are reading. Light makes it hard to sing lullabies to little girls who are moving around or trying to kick each other in the head. Light makes them think they can do their circus jumping in bed. (I really do love the light!)

Thankfully, the little girls went to sleep relatively quickly tonight. Just took some giggling, talking, several rounds of the ABC Song and I think I heard a little We Will Rock You (complete with bum bum chh) and then they settled. I'm going to let myself hope that this will be a short transition into being willing to go to straight to bed while it's light out.

Then I can wonder if they'll end up being scared of the big bad dark when it's actually dark at bedtime again in a few months.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Freshman Fair

I mentioned the Freshman Fair in another post but forgot to update it (probably because I'm busy wallowing in pity while I miss my honey).

South Anchorage HS is the newest high school in Anchorage and has such a boring name. But then again, there was already a West High and and an East High. Made sense to choose another direction? Next will be North?

Inside is pretty nice although we didn't get much of a look around. The main thrust of the evening was to sit in a room to hear staff and department heads talk a little about programs and classes and what to expect. It was nice to get a small sense of things but it was a little boring.

Then the kids got to go wander a bit among tables set up with sign up sheets for various things: x-c running, world languages, speech/drama/forensics, cheerleading, football, swimming, student government, band, etc. Samuel was interested in the first four things I mentioned and left his name on the sign up sheets to get info emailed to him later. (I'm kidding about cheerleading! but Samuel was interested in the first three things I listed.)

He'll probably eventually be interested in Student Government but decided to take a year to acclimate to his new surroundings before making that decision. He's had a good time being president of the student council at Girdwood, even with the lack of enthusiasm from most of his fellow 8th graders.

On the way home, after we had dropped Jim off at the airport, Samuel had a little time to ruminate on what he heard and saw. He determined that next year would either be amazing or horrible. I suggested that he might find it a combination of both.

I'm excited and stunned that we'll have a freshman in our house next year. Where in the world did my sweet, curly-headed little boy go???

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fear of fuzzies

For some bizarre reason, the little girls seem scared of bits of fluff or dog hair or the occasional bigger piece of dirt. Well, maybe not scared, but they do give undue attention and concern whenever they see a 'fuzzy'. And, as I have stated in a previous post, I don't like to vacuum....

I'll wait while you do the math...almost there...yep! Not much vacuuming=lots of fuzzies. Lots of fuzzies=frequent fuzzy fears.

Today (and I'm giggling a little as I recall this picture), Bethany ran away from 'fuzzies' that were lit up in the sunbeams that were coming through our windows. You know how you can see dust swirling sometimes? Apparently, it sort of freaked her out and she ran away from it saying "fuzzy, fuzzy". It was a short episode and she wasn't screaming or anything, but she was still unnerved by noticing the swirling dust.

Then tonight there was something in the bottom of the bathtub that Abigail noticed. It was really small and black, maybe a small chip of gravel or other rock. Abigail was frozen in place while staring at it and then actually backed away from it like it was going to eat her toes. She looked amazed when I simply used my finger to scoop it out of the tub.

I know fears shouldn't be taken lightly and I sure hope nothing bigger will develop out of this uneasiness. For now I will continue to giggle to myself as I save the little girls from the ferocious fuzzies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I miss him already. Sigh.

Leavin' on a jet plane...

but I do know when he'll be back again. May 4.

Jim is heading out to Mississippi tonight for a fund-raising trip. This is the first extended trip he's taken since the babes were born and I'm pretty sure I'm in for a stressful 18 days. Not only do I have work and older kid schedules and Bible Study and other odds and ends, but I will be missing the other half of me. Jim is my partner is every way and this home just isn't anywhere near the same without his warm, funny presence.

We'll be taking Jim to the airport--all of us--after we go to the "Freshman Fair" a South High School tonight (which I'm sure to post about soon). We thought about leaving the four girls at home, but Moriah and Susannah would really like to say goodbye to Daddy at the airport so everyone is coming. Should be fun putting the little girls to bed tonight. *grin*

Please pray for all of us. For Jim to be safe and healthy and for churches to be open and welcoming to his 'message'. For me to stay healthy and sane. For the kids to stay healthy and to be obedient and for all of the scheduling things to be smooth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random snow observations

This time of year is 'break up'...sort of spring, sort of winter, sort of yucky. The snow is melting slowly (unless we're getting several new inches of snow on top of it like last week), dirty snow lines roads that are slushy and rutted, and many of us are itching to see grass and spring flowers (oh, I do miss daffodils).

I drove up and down our road this afternoon more times than I care to admit. Okay, I'll admit to: picking Susannah up from play practice, running Moriah to piano lesson, running Susannah to piano lesson, picking Susannah up from piano lesson, going to Bible Study. Whenever I drive on the truly rutted roads I feel like I'm on a Disney ride, where you're in a car moving jerkily along with no choice but to go where the little electric track takes you. Thankfully, so far no weird creatures or cartoonish figures have jumped out at me and thankfully I haven't had to try to get out of the way of other cars who are trapped in the same ruts. I'm especially thankful that no cars have been heading down our hill as our car fishtails and wiggles up our hill.

I love snow and usually love it any time of year (well, maybe not the middle of summer). Even when it gets dirty and slushy and messy. But I'm ready for more melting than is happening so far this year. So is Susannah. She keeps saying "it won't be summer'll really be spring break" once they get out of school. It may feel that way.

So as this snow is slowly melting, I've noticed that it seems extra dirty this year. I think it's because you can see the thin layer of ash we got from one of Redoubt's eruptions on top of the melting snow. The ash layer had peeked out a bit a week or so ago, but some extra snow covered it back up. Now it's appearing again and makes everything feel a little grey. Someone told me that once the snow is gone, we will probably have a really good summer growing season because of the ash. That would be cool.

But really, all I want is to see my yard. Before June.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter wrap-up

We all know there are puh-lenty of yummy secular reasons to enjoy Easter. If you looked in 'my' part of one of our kitchen cabinets, you'd see a whole slew of my seasonal favorites. (imagine guilty grin here) I do this at Christmas, too. Stock up a bit on the yummies that come out just at that time of year. In fact, I'm munching on some Mini Eggs right now.

I realized today, though, that I really hope my kids don't think I love this time of year solely because of the candy. I am pretty sure they know how important Easter is to me and why. But I wasn't sure they understood how important Holy Week was to me, too. So we chatted a bit about it on the way to church this morning. I told them that even if we weren't a pastor's family, we'd still be going to the Holy Week services. Because I feel that it's a little pointless to get all excited about Easter if you haven't taken the time to consider that Christ suffered and DIED. And it was all for ME. And my dear husband. And our children. And you.

Singing hymns this morning with a church crammed full of people was a beautiful blessing. We sounded great. But those joyful hymns wouldn't resonate with the same joy if we weren't celebrating the fact that Jesus conquered death. As one of my best friends 'facebooked' this morning, "Take that, death."

You got that right.

He is Risen! Alleluia!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My vacuum

I love my little vacuum. It's a Hoover Nanolite. It's small, it's lightweight, it's bagless and it picks up an amazing amount of dirt. Problem is, I really don't love to vacuum. Or do much in the way of housework. Everything just gets dirty again, and quickly, right?

If I've got to vacuum occasionally, then of all the things I love about my vacuum, the best thing might just be that the handle telescopes up and down, encouraging little helpers like this to come to my aid:

Yep, train them young, and maybe I'll never have to vacuum again. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I feel the earth move under my seat

We had an earthquake today. It was a 4.7, centered 20 miles north of Anchorage, so about 50ish miles from us.

I was sitting at my desk and realized that the things on my desk were shaking and there was a deep rumble for a few seconds. Samuel was still in the lunchroom and definitely noticed the rumbling. The girls were out at recess and didn't feel it. Jim was probably making lunch for the little girls and didn't feel anything either.

I had just received a district email that told us that we didn't have to cover our computers, that Redoubt was a level 'orange' today. Then the earthquake, not related to Redoubt, made things a little more interesting for a few seconds.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our Sunday

We had a cool day today. It's Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, and we didn't go to church today. In fact, Jim encouraged us to not go to church today. What, you ask, would make a pastor tell his congregation to skip church?

Instead of being at a service, our church was invited to be *in* service in our community.

We held a 'free sale' (usable, good-condition items for free for those who needed them) and had canned/non-perishable food for those who needed extra help, we cleaned the kitchen and painted at the local daycare, we shoveled out some of the community playground (way harder than anticipated!) and we helped a local man struggling with health issues clean his house. We also gave away free hotdogs and took homemade cookies to the lifties on the mountain. All in all, a very cool way to spend Palm Sunday.

Jim shoveled and drove and helped at the free sale, I painted, Samuel shoveled at the playground and Moriah and Susannah did some shoveling and helped a little with child care. Abigail and Bethany hung out with me at the daycare and played the morning away.

We may not have been in worship together this morning but we were still together as part of the Body of Christ, working for His good. Cool day.

selective memory?

As I delay my bedtime tonight, I find myself wondering if any of our older three kids screamed when they were 2 and frustrated or angry. I can't remember having little screaming children. Is that because they never really screamed or is that because I have chosen to block it out?

In any case, I hope to have an equally fuzzy recollection of our youngest two and their screaming habits. It'd be nice to say, one day, "I can't remember if they screamed or not." To be honest, though, I've heard enough ear-tingling screams in the last few weeks to know that I'll remember.

I just hope I don't remember how long it lasted. ;o)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Samuel's possible summer job

Samuel has now officially applied for his first 'real' job--at The Ice Cream Shop. Hmmm. The name looks funny all typed out because the logo for the business has an ice cream cone instead of the words Ice Cream in the name. The O> Shop might be more accurate? Or maybe it faces the other way? (which I can't type here because blogger thinks it's html code or something and some of my post disappeared)

Anyway, I digress....

The O> Shop is one of the few places teenagers can work here in Girdwood and Samuel's been talking about working there for several months. One of his classmates thought he was nuts for wanting to work there because he'd 'have to talk to people' (gasp). Samuel said, 'um yeah, I'd like that' (no surprise there, huh?).

Samuel even had a chance last weekend to 'advertise' himself to the owners. Samuel was volunteering at a pancake breakfast fundraiser and made sure he was the server for their table. And made sure no one else touched their plates...hovering at the pass-through window to grab the plates as soon as they were ready.

He's excited about the possibility of working there and I really hope he's hired. I have heard great things about the all-around job training the kids receive. I know that this would be a great first job experience for learning people skills, money-handling skills and responsibility skills. Not to mention the one-cone-per-shift benefit!

I'll keep you all posted!