Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Muy contenta

That would be me. Very content. Sigh.

Jim is home.

Need I say more?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I miss Jim. The kids miss Jim. I am really looking forward to Tuesday night. Sigh.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The picture that made us all laugh

The babes (and everyone else) thoroughly enjoyed a blueberry dessert our friend Becki brought over tonight.

Abigail was a little more enthusiastic than the rest of us:

Lil' frustrated

I dropped my wedding ring a while back and watched it roll under my bed. I fished around for a good twenty minutes (at least) right after I dropped it, fully expecting to find it. Well, I didn't. I've felt around for it twice more since then, without success. Today, I mucked out everything that was under our bed and then Susannah helped me lift my mattresses off the bed frame so I could finally really look for it. Guess what? It's not under the bed! I watched it roll under the bed. Watched it roll. Really. Where is it??? (and to anyone wondering...Jim's side was way messier than mine. truly.)

I told Jim about it and he chided me for losing the ring (after initially pleading ignorance about knowing it was missing...I know I told him about it!). This is the man who regularly misplaces his watch with his watch band threaded through his wedding ring. Regularly. His defense is that he always finds it. But shouldn't I get at least a little slack, a little understanding, a little sympathy for this one time loss/misplacement compared to his (dare I say) habit of misplacing his? In almost 18 years of marriage? Thank you. I thought so. (*grin*)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting the hang of it

I've tried naked. I've tried m 'n ms. I've tried cajoling. I've tried continuous reminders. I've tried pull-ups. Now it's underwear. Yes, I'm talking about potty training.

First came just making them go naked. And I found out that the little girls can 'hold it' for a while. At least until the diapers were put on for naps and bed. Especially Bethany. Abigail finally had a couple of reluctant successes, but then went a couple of days of resisting anything. It was also hard to keep that up with our schedule this week of baseball and Little Bears and other stuff.

The m 'n m idea was hatched after realizing how big a sweet tooth the babes had...it didn't work at first, but I sure think it's got Abigail motivated now. The cajoling and constant reminders fell on deaf ears. Not much interest in trying for the sake of trying. The pull-ups don't seem to work that well since they know they can potty in them.

Then I figured I'd try putting training panties on them and that seems to be doing the trick. Kinda. Maybe. Abigail has had several successes today and has 'earned' a lot of chocolate. In fact, I think she's not completely emptying her bladder so she can get more chocolate. While we were outside after dinner, she went four times. Yes, four. Then she went once more when we came in (barely anything...she got one m 'n m for that one).

Bethany finally went on the big potty tonight right before dinner. What rejoicing was heard in the Doepken house! She even wanted back down out of her high chair so she could dance a little more. She also went once more right before bed. On the flip side, she also pottied in four pairs of the training pants, so not a 100% successful day. The last one was outside, at least, so minimal clean up.

I'm very hopeful that we'll be on the other side of diapers relatively soon. Maybe not overnight, but during the day.

A mom can dream, right?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chain reaction

I may get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. Or at least earlier than my bedtime last night, which was 2:45 am or so.

Which was because of five teenage boys watching Independence Day until the wee hours of the morning.

Which was because I got home after 11:00 pm with the movie and they couldn't start watching until late (and it's a long movie!).

Which was because I had to run my errands to Blockbuster and the gas station after Moriah's last baseball game of the season that took forever (they lost this one), as well as adding a stop at McDonald's to buy fast food junk for a very late dinner.

Which was because we were running late to the game and I was counting on a 'snack shack' at the baseball field for hot dogs for dinner and there was no such shack around.

Which was because I had to give Abigail a quick bath after she attempted to change her own poopy diaper. For the second time that day. (yes, gross)

Which was because I let the babes 'play' a little in their room after they woke up from their nap so that I could get a birthday cake made and put into the oven for Samuel's party....

Which leads me back to my late bedtime last night. Ta da!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nail biter

Moriah's team had their penultimate baseball game of the season tonight. The rainy weather let up earlier today, thankfully, and we had a decent (and chilly) evening. Following is a somewhat biased account of the game: seen through proud-mom-of-Moriah glasses.

The first three innings were close. Moriah was the second pitcher and was really 'on' tonight, keeping them to only two runs. She pitched just a bit of the fourth inning before she maxed out her pitch count. By the end of the fourth inning, after their pitcher had walked in five runs, we were ahead 12-5 and the kids were really excited. We all thought we had won for sure because of the 'five run rule' the league has in place. But, alas, when we started the last inning I learned that there was no run limit for the last inning. The game could go on and on. Which meant that we might lose because of pitching. Again.

I was keeping score and it was pretty painful to color in the little diamonds each time a batter was walked home. Moriah made a great double play when she caught a pop fly and then tagged the runner out at first who had started for second. She also helped make the third out when the pitcher threw the runner out at first. By the time all those outs were finally gotten, the other team had amassed ten runs. On walks. Sigh.

We got our last at bat and the score was 15-12. Where our pitching had gotten more shaky, it appeared this team had saved one of its better pitchers for this last part of the game. The Grizzlies had two outs within the first three batters and it didn't look that great. But, after Moriah struck out (truly, that third strike was at her ankles...not a good call), we got a break and ended up with kids on base from walks and a couple of good hits. We had tied the game when a strong hitter came to bat. Talk about stress...after a couple of full counts and tension before his at-bat, every Girdwood fan was on the edge of their seats. What a thrill went through all of us when he hit a triple that won the game. Whoo hoo! (here I will admit to praying for a win...selfish? Yes. Surprising? no!)

The win was very sweet after so many losses. In my head I had already credited them with a win after the fourth inning...they played so well and had every reason to be proud of themselves. Tomorrow night is the last game of the season for them. I know Moriah will miss the games and practices and team spirit. And I know Jim and I will miss seeing her play. Till next year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More on the Frosts

Recently someone asked me if the Frosts' visit went too long, since Julie and the boys were here just a hair over two weeks. My reply was "No!" And in truth, that is really how I feel. What a blessing it is, to know that out there (too far away, of course!) we have such dear friends. Friends who overlook mess and fairly cramped housing. Friends who willingly change poopy diapers and bathe babies. Friends who help strip wallpaper. Friends who seek out a special beer and then completely appreciate it with you. Friends who believe in the love of Christ and teach their children the same.

There is simply too much to share about their time here, so I thought I'd blog about a couple of things we did together. Just know that I am thankful for so many good memories to tide us over until we can be together again.

During their visit we went down to Seward and had a lovely day. We hit the Sealife Center, had a picnic and shopped a bit. We wanted Joshua and Jonah to see at least a little bit of the state beyond Girdwood/Anchorage. Julie kept telling the boys to look at the scenery and not their electronics as we drove and we did see some beautiful sights (of course). Julie was determined to see moose or bear but we didn't see anything on the way down.

On the way home, Julie and I took our time driving back, so we could pop out and take some photos. We were hoping babies would nap and they sort of did. A little. We were probably half-way through the Pass when we noticed our other car in a pull-out. The Honda got a flat tire, which meant we'd be cutting it close for Moriah's baseball game. Jim took off in the Suburban with Moriah and some of the kids, and the other half of us had a very slow drive the rest of the way home. Thankfully Moriah made it back to Girdwood in time for her baseball game. Chuck ended up being home plate ump, too. It was a long but good day. And! Julie saw a moose near Girdwood! Here are a couple of highlight photos:

Moriah, Susannah and Jonah considering touching squishy stuff.

Daddy and the little girls 'praying' like the otter.

Everyone trying to weigh as much as a bull stellar sea lion (I think).

Joshua had expressed a very strong desire to hike mountains, and during his trip he hiked Flattop once and Alyeska twice. Julie and I took (almost) all the kids for that second hike up Alyeska (Samuel had to work). We had beautiful weather to wind our way up the mountain, hiking up the 'Ewok' trail that begins near our house for the first leg. The Ewok trail goes through trees and over roots and alongside creeks and pretty much straight up. Julie and I were both a little winded as we wound our way up, but we made sure to hide that fact from Joshua, who was head sergeant and forever urging us faster.

We made it to the radio tower and stopped at the first chair we saw. Perfect spot for a photo!

Our first water break.

We made our way along the trail, stopping for frequent water breaks and for one long snack break. I even let Hurley off his leash for a bit and he stayed with us. Our little squirrelly dog loved running through the snow that was left near the top. He also loved running at and over Jonah, who had lay down to make a snow angel. Here are a couple more photos that captured the day:

One of the many beautiful vistas along the hike.

Jonah recovering from Hurley's drive by (run by?). Note Hurley's body position--he's booking it!

The visit really did go too fast. They all fit perfectly into our routines and rituals (weeellll... except for our son who's a night owl sharing his small room with their sons who go to bed much earlier...when they aren't in Alaska during the summer when it doesn't get light till really late), and pitched in and hung out and made us laugh and, for a glorious time, completed a special connection that is usually separated by too many miles.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Empty threat?

So I caution you all to 'watch out' once I get back into the blogging swing of things and then don't deliver. Empty threat indeed. I haven't really bombarded you yet with everything that I'd like to. It's like my mind goes blank and I can't remember it all. Duh. I figured tonight I'll do a little bit of little girl updating. How about that? ;)

The babies saw their first in-the-theater movie today. Monsters Vs. Aliens was playing at our cheap theater and I the kids really wanted to go see it. I took a chance that the babes could handle a 94 minute movie (after asking advice from all my facebook friends, of course). I am happy to report that they 'watched' the movie with minimal wiggling and very little noise that would disturb anyone else. Not that I'm in a hurry to do this again anytime soon, but it was a success.

The cheapy theater is connected to a restaurant so you can order delicious food to eat while watching your movie and I figured we could eat dinner while at the movie. Now, the delicious food is not cheap. But the food is good and the movie is cheap, so it all balances out. Especially my salad, which balanced on Abigail's lap while she sat on my lap as I ate with my left hand (yes, I had salad all over my shirt by the time the lights came up).

Other recent little girl highlights (besides the 'whys' of an earlier post) include Bethany's 'opera' singing and Abigail's comedic faces. Bethany enjoys singing...what she sings we're never quite sure, especially the times that she's got this semi-vibrato going on as she sings her own tune. I've got to try to get it on video but haven't reacted fast enough so far. Abigail seems to have a knack for knowing how to make us laugh with a goofy face. Just tonight I called out her name as we were driving home and she gave me this weird squinty face and then giggled. Life is so not boring at our house. Or quiet.

Bedtime and naptime have been quite challenging since they started sleeping in toddler beds, but that seems to be settling down too. I'd really love it if those two could better handle occasional late bedtimes that happen so much more during Alaskan summers. It's just so light out so late that we end up doing everything late, including their bedtimes. They have had some later bedtimes that got wildly late because of their inability to settle when overtired and it's driven me a little nuts. At least Abigail has stopped fighting about staying in bed. Her tendency to taunt me with sticking her leg out of bed and putting a toe onto the floor has slowed down considerably. Thankfully. I don't enjoy the toddler tug-of-war with boundaries, but when the kid finally gets that you mean business and won't give up, what a difference it makes!

Guess that's about it. I've been working on another post about our visit with the Frosts, so that'll come up next when I get a little more time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The Whys have invaded our house. Bethany got them first, sometime last week, when she asked a very innocent "why?" Abigail just caught them, it seems, yesterday. Their older sisters are already impatient with their natural curiosity and have decided to answer with "because", which Bethany promptly mimicked.

Should be a fun summer, huh?


Baseball tonight

Moriah's team has had a losing season. It's been hard on her to have so many losses, but I keep trying to get her to understand that they have a pretty good team. We've been focusing on complimenting her (and her teammates') skill and hits and fielding...they are comparable to most of the teams they've played and should be very proud of how well they've played overall. It's the lack of enough good pitchers/pitching that typically turns the game into a loss, when batters are walked and walked and walked....

Tonight was game two of the 'championships'. The first bazillion games they played (three games a week made it seem like millions of games) were all 'exhibition' games. (???) Now, the games this week and next week determine the 'champions', I guess. Tuesday's game wasn't that big of a loss. We were actually ahead and doing really well. Then the pitching got us and we ended up losing. Tonight was the same story. We had pulled ahead by two and then truly lost it with the five runs that were walked home. Sigh. (I promise I'm not such a downer with Moriah... I really am proud of their team.)

So, onto a couple of highlights in Moriah's game tonight:

Moriah very nearly made an out with a close call at first--she thought she had gotten the kid, who needed to be tagged, but the ump didn't see what she saw/felt and called him safe. Although it wasn't an out, she did very well with the play.

Then, she was part of a double play. The second baseman caught a pop fly and Moriah realized the guy on first had gotten trapped off base. She called to her teammate, caught the ball and tagged him out as he was returning to first. I got to giggling because she had made an extra out--the pop out was the third out but she didn't realize it. I was proud of her for being cognizant of a good play and the two players executed it perfectly. Moriah was proud of her fourth out, too.

Finally, at her second at-bat (first at-bat was a strike out while looking), she took a good swing and hit a solid single to left field, bringing in two runs. She had put them ahead and was very pleased with herself. I looked across the field at her, blew her a kiss and got a huge grin in return.

I'm pretty sure I've said it here before, but it bears repeating. It is a pure joy to watch her play baseball. She can get caught in a negative spiral of 'yuck' if a game isn't going well, but for the most part she has a fantastic time. I'll share a photo that one of her coaches took on Tuesday night:

She sure is something to watch!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another trip

Jim is gone again, to Indiana this time. He's there doing some fundraising and to attend the Indiana United Methodist Church's Annual Conference. As evidenced by last night's post's weird rhyming beginning, you can see that I go a little goofy in the head when Jim is gone. I don't like it when he's gone. I don't sleep well when he's gone.* I get crabby when he's gone. And I may have said this before: I also am reminded how very hard single parents have to work when they don't have that built in partner support. Makes me grateful for Jim all over again.

Love that guy.

*I changed the time of this post so you all wouldn't see how late I was up.

I said a

room switcharooo... (I said a room switcharoo)
I said a room switcharoo... (I said a room switcharoo)
I said a rooma switcha painta switcha movea switcharoo! (I said a rooma switcha painta switcha movea switcharoo!)
Uh huh...oh yeah...one more time...(you pick the style)

Anyone remember the "boom chicka boom" cheer? That's what started going through my head when I contemplated writing up my room switcharoo post (or is it switcheroo?). I'm already starting to go a little nuts with Jim gone. Uh huh...oh yeah....

We decided a while back to switch Samuel's and the little girls' rooms around and thought that the time between school letting out and the Frosts arriving would be the best time to tackle it. We did have those delightful day(s) playing at Big Beaver Lake first, which pushed our time line back a little bit.

Tuesday night (the 26th) we got Samuel's mural taken down. I hated to see it go because it was a cool 'artistic' world map and reflected Samuel's interests when we moved into the house back in Jan. of 2003. Samuel asked if we could just paint around it, but I thought the babes deserved a fresh start and it wouldn't really 'match' the yellow paint I had chosen. So down it came. Slowly. Stickily. Reluctantly. Vengefully. (I say that last adverb because in a few spots it took extra paint with it, requiring spackle repair.)

Wednesday we finished packing up Samuel's room and had almost all of his non-furniture possessions downstairs on the futon. We also got primer put onto the walls, with Jim helping for a bit before heading to town and a friend helping at the very end as I tried to cover the walls as completely as possible. The little girls' room was also mostly packed by this point too.

Thursday was the day Samuel's loft bed came down. It just had to, after contorting my body to paint the day before. It was much nicer standing on the platforms flat on the floor rather than crouching upon the top of the loft. (The two front bedrooms have quite the sloped ceilings because of our roof's pitch, making painting around furniture even less fun than it might normally be.) We got the yellow paint on the walls and were thrilled when it covered well and didn't require much touch up. We got the cribs taken down before wrestling Samuel's bed downstairs.

We finished switching furniture: one dresser down, one dresser up, toy 'shelving' up, much of the rest of the stuff from Samuel's closet down, crib mattresses up (no toddler beds assembled yet). Our family room area was the Furniture Way Station for a little while, with Samuel's mattress perched on top of his dresser drawers and other items scattered about. The little girls were put to bed in a room that still smelled of paint and had possibly wet paint somewhere on the walls. Samuel had help hauling all of his boxes upstairs and stacking them on top of the loft bed he and Jim reassembled. He was a little appalled to see how much smaller his new room was. I was too. We all thought he'd have a bit more room on the floor. oops.

Then...I went and picked up our company from the airport! Julie and the boys got in late that night and did have places to sleep, thankfully. I will be eternally grateful for Julie's, and (a little later) Chuck's, graciousness about our messy house and the not-quite-finished room switcharoo (Do you have that rhyme going through your head again? I do.).

In fact we're still finishing the final details of the room changeover (used a synonym to give you a reprieve from the rhyme)...I just cleared the very last things from Samuel's closet and made room for lots of the little girls' things. Now I have to figure out the best way to keep them from opening the closet and pulling things down!

As we worked feverishly to get everything in its place, Jim asked me why we had chosen to do this 'project' right before our company came. Fair question, as we also tried to finish cleaning certain areas of the house. Those days were about the only days we could do this. The Frosts were here until the 13th, Jim was leaving the night of the 15th for two weeks, he was returning with his parents, my parents were coming right after his parents left, then I'd be starting school the week after our last guests left. We didn't have the luxury of putting it off. Plain and simple.

I'm glad it's basically done. Now if I could only get the little girls to be complete angels in their new room with their new-found freedom....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Samuel's new job

Samuel joined the ranks of the employed on May 28, his 14th birthday. He got the job at The o> Shop and is quite the ice cream scooper. And latte/cappuccino/espresso/americano maker. And pretzel maker. And milkshake maker. And...well you get the idea.

I'll try to get a photo of him in his adorable yellow apron and post it soon.

Oh, and his plans for this summer's income? Possibly a new laptop. We'll see....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Memorial Day Fun

I realized I never did post about our great get-away over Memorial Day weekend up to Big Beaver Lake near Houston. First thing to note is this: we never go away for Memorial Day weekend. Just doesn't happen. Basically, going somewhere over a weekend isn't that easy when someone in the family is a pastor.

The invitation was initially cooked up between Moriah and one of her buddies at school, who wanted Moriah and Susannah to come out to his family's lake cabin. Then I was told by Moriah that the whole family was invited (which I was initially skeptical of...invitations are another thing that almost never happen...remember, there are seven of us). Sure enough, the whole family--and Hurley--was invited! Wow.

Our gracious hostess let us figure out when it might work to go out to their cabin and we thought leaving shortly after church on Sunday and coming home on Monday would work out. She generously offered to let the three older kids stay an extra night, coming back with her on Tuesday. That went over very well with those three, who had even more fun.

We had an amazing time. The cabin and its bunk house were comfy and fit all of us (with some away-from-home sleeping issues for the little girls, but it was all okay). The weather was gorgeous and sunny. We went out on the lake after dinner and the older kids swam in c-c-c-c-cold water.

We also played badminton, the babies dug in sand and climbed a swing set and dumped water out of an old sandbox, Hurley and their dog ran and ran and ran and ran together, we kayaked and paddle-boated, we (I) laid in the sun and read, we ate great food, we listened to Samuel's interesting taste in music, the older kids watched a movie and we collapsed, exhausted, into bed.

And all of that was within one 24-hour span. Really. We packed that much fun into a day. Amazing.

Makes me want to own a lake cabin. :o)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Big gap in posting

It's been 10 days since I've posted. Yes, that means we've been having an awesome time with our best friends. Chuck went home Tuesday night and Julie and the boys go home tomorrow afternoon. Contented Chaos will be back to regular programming soon. And once I do start writing again, watch out. There's lots to catch up on!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

So I was wrong

This is my 100th post. I evidently had three drafts in my list of posts that I had never finished, so it threw off my post count. oops. Sorry Mom...your surgery post wasn't my 100th. But I thought it was, so that's almost as good, right? ;o)

In honor of this being my (real) 100th post, I thought I'd share my joy in having our best friends, Chuck and Julie Frost (and their sons Joshua and Jonah) here visiting.

A little back story: Jim met them back in 1990, when he was doing his 'am I supposed to be a pastor?' mission work in Alaska. Chuck was at Duke already when Jim started seminary in 1991 and I met them once we were married and I got out to North Carolina. We were all in the same circle of friends and spent a lot of time together. Jim and Chuck worked in the seminary copy room together and had ample time to goof off and make up silly games.

Chuck and Julie were in Alaska serving a church when Jim was seeking an Alaska appointment, so we came up in January of 1997 and visited in the winter to see what Alaska was like, toting 19-month-old Samuel along with us. We, of course, loved the landscape and the snow and couldn't wait to see if God would bring us to Alaska.

God did, and in the four years we spent in the same state as the Frosts, we spent as much time together as we could...until they left us for Georgia. *sniffle* (The state, not a girl named Georgia, you sillies.) Their departure left a pretty big void in our lives and we just never connected with anyone else the way we've connected with them. They are like family and are very dear to us and we have loved every second of their visit.

So far, all or some of us have:

driven to Anchorage to run errands
watched and/or played baseball
hiked the hand tram trail (all of us)
laughed more
ridden bikes to and from the playground area (the kids)
waited for babies to settle in their new toddler beds at night
hiked the lower trails on the mountain (Jim, Julie, Julie and Jonah)
gotten a little tipsy (well, I watched the other three adults drink a strong beer)
laughed a lot more
visited Seward (Sea Life Center, shops, gelato)
changed a flat tire (on the way home from Seward)
watched and/or played more baseball (all of us, and Chuck was the ump)
surfed the internet (currently all four adults are online...sad or funny?)

They'll be here for several more days...and the list, especially the laughing part, will get even longer.