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!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Forest Fair

I've written plenty about Forest Fair in the past, so I'm sure all my readers (yes you, Dave!) are waiting for this year's rundown of FF fun.

Friday, July 1, was the first day of the Fair this year and it was a rainy, cloudy, chilly day.  Friday is always a good day to hit the booths because it usually isn't crowded and everyone has full inventories.  And the weather meant even fewer Friday fair-goers.  I scored a new utensil crock in my favorite color scheme from Irwin Pottery (Alaskan Summer 2, if you must know) and I also worked the t-shirt shack that evening.  Always a highlight of my fair experience.

Moriah and Susannah decided to make and sell duct tape wallets and recycled juice pouch totes again.  This year, though, because they were 13, they had to buy a 'real' booth space.  It was at a greatly reduced rate, thankfully, and was at the very end of one of the newer loops at the fair.  Their spot made them nervous about whether or not people would actually come all the way down the loop, but it ended up being just fine and they saw plenty of traffic.  They made almost $500, too.  Not a bad haul for a couple of teenagers.

At some point on Friday, a friend of theirs took a card, wrote her name on it and taped it to the canopy.  Then another friend wrote + and her name and taped it up.  Then another friend and another...and so on and so on (isn't that from a shampoo commercial?).  Anyway.  Turns out that even perfect strangers were intrigued by this and wanted to add their names to the growing collection.  By the end of the fair, 50 people had taped up their names.  Ah, the randomness of Forest Fair.  Not nearly as random as the weird couple walking around dressed as rabbits and carrying a rabbit 'baby' (hand puppet) or the guy wearing only a Speedo and a cowboy hat (ewww), but random enough.

Saturday morning was the Forest Fair parade and as usual, over half of our family was involved in some way.  Jim wore a lovely fish and marched proudly with the Lions Club.

The little girls dressed as princesses (Ariel and Cinderella) and marched with their Summer Playground buddies.  Oh, what a thrill to throw candy to the masses!

And, as usual, Samuel donned the ever-so-tasteful (or tasty?) ice cream suit to ride on the Ice Cream Shop's float. 

We enjoyed great food (DJ's cookies, cheesy spinach bread and corn fritters for me!), great music (Melissa Mitchell, Rogues and Wenches and Hobo Jim) and plenty of chances for little girls to improve their hula hooping skills.

Bethany shaking her tail feathers

Abigail whirling while twirling

We even captured a good picture of this nice couple that was walking around the fair together:

All in all, a wonderful weekend.

The rest of the (baseball) story

Yes, baseball is finally over.  It's actually ended more than two weeks ago but somehow it feels like it was just yesterday.  That could be from the overload of a lot of games in a short amount of time, but whatever the case, we were glad to end our late-afternoon drives into Anchorage.  Don't get me wrong, the games were fabulous and it was a joy to watch each and every one.  But daily trips into Anchorage and sitting on bleachers and being tense over plays and batting and fielding...well, it kinda wears one down.  Or more than one.

Absolutely ZONKED out.

On the plus side of multiple-trip-mania, having little girls who are absolutely exhausted can provide a smidge of entertainment:

Didn't expect Cousin Itt's cousin to come to the game!
As the last couple of tournament games wound down for Moriah's team, they continued to play hard and really gave it their all.  The Cubs made it to the championship game(s), winning the first to force the second in a double header thriller.  If those kids had had a little more rest and their best pitchers (as the team from the 'winners' bracket had), I do believe they may have pulled off a victory.  But really, what they achieved was amazing and we were all incredibly proud of how they played and how they conducted themselves throughout the tournament.

Moriah was able to pitch once more.  Literally.  Once.  She threw a pitch that was hittable, the batter popped it up and it was caught for the final out in the bottom of the sixth inning of the final game. 

It was clear that her team was running out of steam (yeah, that rhymes), but they still set up an incredible opportunity in the top of the seventh.  They started the inning four runs behind and one run had come in.  With two outs making everyone nervous, two more players got on base and the 'home run hitter' came up to bat.  It was quite exciting, and cautious optimism had crept in just a bit.  The batter hit a deep fly ball...waaayyyyyy back...that was caught.  Just a few feet from the fence.  It was a 'awwwww' moment for our team but boy was that kid who caught it justifiably thrilled with his running catch. 

If the Cubs had to lose, they at least did it in a way that showed they came to play to the very end.  They took second place in the tournament and have every reason to be absolutely proud of the way they played through that tournament. 

Thanks for memories, guys!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baseball, the extended version

Moriah took on quite the challenge this summer.  She decided to play Little League again this year.  That in and of itself wasn't the challenge, as she's played Little League for several years, and had great fun and success while doing it.  But this year, because Moriah is 13, she had to play at the Junior level...on a bigger field...with bigger pressures...and no other girls in the entire Juniors league.

Compared to most of the players on her team, Moriah is not as skilled and usually only plays about 3 innings per game.  She has been in right field most of the games with a few departures to third base (once) and second base (twice, I think).  Moriah's gotten some hits, she's fielded pretty well and has been an asset to her team as well as fun to watch.  This year's "Girdwood" team has almost half their players from Anchorage and the team has been pretty good, with more wins than losses.

Per this blog post title...her baseball season has been extended.  Her team is currently playing in a double-elimination tournament, working their way through the loser's bracket (darn that Dimond West team who beat them that first night!).  They played three games in a row last week and played again last night.  They play tonight and possibly tomorrow and two games on Thursday, if they keep winning. 

Because of their survival in the tournament, Moriah just added a new position to her repertoire last night...pitcher!  She pitched in the minors and majors but has not had an opportunity to do so this year.  There are good pitchers on her team and she hasn't been tapped to work on her pitching.  

With the advancement through the tournament and restrictions on how much and often youth can pitch, the team is in danger of burning through their good pitchers and jeopardizing their chances of continuing to win.  Jim got a call over the weekend to work with Moriah on her pitching, which caused no little excitement around here.  She practiced a bit at a junior field in Anchorage and then worked with another lefty pitcher who gave her some helpful tips.  Then, during last night's game, she was 'called up' (is that the right baseball terminology?) to pitch.

Now, don't get too excited, because her pitching stint came at the bottom of the fifth, with one out, with her team ahead 20-6 and no danger at all of losing the game.  But, she did pitch pretty well, made one of the last two outs with a quick scoop and throw to home and in general did her mom and dad quite proud!

Here are a few photos from last night:
Got to first on a walk, ready to steal to second.

The wind up during her warm up...

the throw...

the follow through!

Moriah's 'save' last night not only 'saved' the win, but it 'saved' other more seasoned pitchers from being unavailable in more critical games.  I love that she was able to contribute to her team during the tournament in this way. 

On another, non-baseball note, after the game the little girls (who came by the field after watching Cars 2 with Papa and Granna) ran to the slide that is among the AOR ball fields.  It's a fast slide and they love to visit it, whenever they go to a game. 

Whee!  Abigail slides.

Bethany's turn!

We'll be heading back into town soon (I'm 'in class' while writing up this blog post...don't tell my teacher) to watch tonight's game.  And Moriah just may pitch again tonight.

Play ball!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Catch up post: Bethany's feet

Okay, this bit of news is old but still good news.

But first a small retrospective, if you'll bear with me.

As I mentioned in this post a couple of years ago, we felt a little blindsided about the clubfoot diagnosis during my pregnancy with Abigail and Bethany.  After some research, we came to understand that clubfoot wasn't that big of deal and it appeared that the treatment for most clubfoot kids would be 'short' and successful when using the Ponseti method (and if you follow that link, the current photo looks a lot like Bethany's feet did at birth, only hers were even 'flatter').  We anticipated the best and weathered some stressful weeks while she was casted and corrected and had minor surgery down in Seattle and embarked on her brace wearing protocol.

Bethany looking stinkin' cute in her brace
Once we settled into the 'sleepy shoes' era, things were pretty smooth and we followed the protocol as nearly as possible.  Once she turned four, we had high hopes and basically expected her to be released from her Ponseti brace.  She had been wearing it for approximately 12 hours a night for the last three or so years and we were all ready for her to be done with it.

So...way back in February, Bethany had her yearly check up with Dr. Mosca, the 'foot guy' who comes up from Seattle once or twice a year to see club feet kiddos.  Dr. Mosca watched her walk, watched her run up and down the hallway (Abigail had to do it first because Bethany had an attack of the 'I won't do anything for you because I've become incapacitated by my shyness'), manipulated her feet this way and that and proclaimed her fully corrected, giving us the happy news that she indeed could stop wearing her brace.  

I'll admit that there was some trepidation on my part when he said "see you in a year" for her next checkup, because relapse does happen occasionally.  But as far as I can tell, her feet still look great and she's doing just fine.

On our way home, I wanted to stop at a store.  This was to try to purchase something I had promised Bethany now and then over the years once she stopped wearing her brace.  Jim and the babes stayed in the car and I went into a Fred Meyer, hoping against hope that all of the winter clothing hadn't been completely put aside for springtime fashions.

Pause for a mini-rant:

Why oh why don't chain stores understand that we Alaskans need our winter clothes available for sale a little longer than most other places in the US?  Seriously...bathing suits in January?  With several feet of snow still on the ground?   Geesh.

Okay, I've said my piece.  Thank you

Anyhoo...thankfully, I found what I was looking for and a very excited Bethany donned these that very night:

Just look at that pleased, cheesy grin!

What was so special?  Well, these were Bethany's very first pair of footed pajamas.  Ever.  (Okay, maybe that's not totally true since she did wear those footed sleeper things as a tiny baby, but definitely her first footed pjs that she made the conscious decision that she really wanted to wear!) I have to admit that it made me choke up a little, seeing her excitement over footed pjs.  But really, after watching Abigail wear them over the years and mentioning wanting a pair, it was cool to finally give her that small thing.

Hokey, yes.  But something I'll (and possible she'll) always remember as we said goodbye to her brace?  Absolutely!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catch up post: Wonderland

This year's school play was called Wonderland, performed on April 13 and 14. It was sort of Alice in Wonderland but with additional characters and centered around a chess game theme.  Susannah landed one of the lead roles as Alice, and she was on stage for virtually the entire play.  She sort of stayed put and the 'scenes' evolved/revolved around her with minimal props and scenery.  It almost felt stream of consciousness and didn't always seem to make full sense. 

The other characters were entertaining and it was fun to see them interact with Susannah's Alice.  A few times, Susannah guided her fellow actors to their correct lines and kept the play going smoothly.  It was a pleasure to see her leadership and her two solos were beautiful.

Of course (by this mom's measure), the most entertaining 'side' character was Hatta, played by Moriah.  She thought it would be a bigger role, like the Mad Hatter, and she had some momentary angst when comparing Alice's stage time with her character's stage time.  Even though the role was smaller than she would have liked, Moriah totally played up her scenes and was a definite highlight of the play.

I will try to update this and put some photos on, but all I have right now is the video I took of the play.  I'm not sure I'll post the songs they sang, but I might.  The girls may have some photos from the play on their cameras, too....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yeah, right...

Huh...who would have thought?  I didn't get caught up on blogging.  I did go 'dark' on Facebook for Lent, which was a good thing.  But I didn't get much blogging done.  At all.  Oops.

Since my last post (a month ago!), we have seen the girls perform in the school play, have watched my certificate/student teaching drama unfold, have gotten confirmation on some summer visitors and sent our two older daughters off to Washington, D.C.  I'm sure other things have happened as well, but those jump to mind as the biggies. 

Now that my semester is coming to an end and the school year is coming to an end, maybe I will get caught up.  I have this awful feeling that approximately three people read this blog (one of them being my darling husband) and I'm guessing my inconsistency in posting is the main culprit.  Let's see if I can fix that.  Stay tuned....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Long, long ago...

in a galaxy far, far away....

the younger generation of Doepkens also fell in love with Star Wars.  Especially Susannah, who developed a huge crush on Han Solo.  Yeah, we know.  She knows.  He's 'old' now.  She doesn't care.  He's cute in the movie and that's good enough for her.  In fact, she's so enamored of the first (last?) three movies, Susannah has orchestrated two different movie marathons with her friends to introduce them to the joy that is gazing at Mr. Solo.

Susannah is currently at a friend's house, possibly watching part two (or five?) right now.  Or maybe she's asleep, dreaming Han Solo dreams.


Samuel, Moriah, Jim and I all watched The Count of Monte Cristo tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it.  After the movie, we had a discussion about whether or not the movie followed the book (it doesn't completely, according to one of Samuel's friends who's read's still on my mental reading list).  Then, we had a discussion about the name of the friend who betrayed the 'count'.  None of us could remember what it was, but we all knew that it wasn't whatever Samuel was saying it was.

That led us to to look at the cast.  Aha!  Guy Pearce played Count Mondego.  Jim (now James) Caviezel played the 'Count' of Monte Cristo (I swear I thought it was the Count of Monty Crisco, once upon a time).  I followed various links to see what actors had been in what movies, thankfully satisfying Moriah's nagging suspicion that she had seen Guy Pearce in something else.  Yes! an ad for The King's Speech.

What in the world does this have to do with Star Wars you ask?  Good question!  Somehow, and I truly don't recall the particular rabbit trail at this point, we looked up Mark Hamill's imdb listing.  Did you know that he's been a hugely successful and prolific voice-over actor for tons (and tons!) of animated series and video games?  Yep.  Stickybeard and The Joker and some part on a Spongebob episode.  Well, he has.


I scrolled way down to see what movies or shows he had been in right before he hit it big with Star Wars.  And there it was, sandwiched between Corvette Summer and The Empire Strikes Back.  Do you know what I am talking about?  Do any of you have flashbacks from a childhood viewing of what I'm about to reveal?  Okay.  Here goes.

There was a Star Wars Holiday Special.  In 1978.  A TV movie, apparently starring Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and James Earl Jones' voice.  Seriously.  Oh, and it also starred Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and (wait for it...) Harvey Korman!

Amidst all of the laughter and snorting, I went directly to Netflix to look for it.  Sigh.  Not there.  Off to YouTube, where we found it, uploaded in segments.  The 'channel' I found looked to have the 97 minute movie in five-minute pieces and we began to watch.  And giggle.  And chuckle.  And wonder why in the WORLD anyone thought this was a good idea.

We ended up watching the next two (or three?) segments, cringing at the 'plot' and noting that the number of views for each segment kept decreasing.  Smart people stop watching really bad movies when their eyeballs start to itch.  Not us.  What finally got us to stop watching was that it was after midnight and we had to get to bed.

But we always have tomorrow....

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The kids and I now have competition for Jim's attention.  Possibly for his affection.  Actually, I'm thinking that even Hurley-dog might have to worry. 

It came in such an unsuspecting little box, looking so innocent, so generic.  With very little fanfare, it arrived while we were all away from home.  Maybe that was the plan all along?  Sneak in, under the radar, and make its move.

Of course Jim was far away when it arrived.  This new addition that he had sought after and dreamed about and squirreled money away for.  I was cheeky enough to tease Jim by asking to play with this newcomer, never intending on usurping Jim's place as the first to establish a relationship with it.  But I confess I did enjoy his somewhat anxious "I'd rather you didn't" response. 

And now, Jim is fully engaged in acquainting himself with his new friend.  In full-on grin-and-discovery mode.  He's been home a little over an hour and I feel like chopped liver.  Or something. 

I know, soon, I'll come to accept this new addition to our family.  Maybe even get to know it a little.  If Jim will introduce me.  We'll see about that one. 

Welcome home, iPad.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I 'cut' Abigail's hair once.  A while ago.  And only because her hair was growing straight down into her face and you couldn't see what a cutie she was.  So I did what any nervous-to-be-wielding-scissors-close-to-a-toddler's-face mom would do.  I grabbed her hair, lifted it straight up away from head and face, and cut.  Hey, it worked well enough.  I could see her eyes afterwards.

But since then, Abigail's hair has grown with the exception of the small snip of 'bangs' she gave herself about a year ago.  Bethany has never had a hair cut that I recall, although my brain seems to be recalling at least a desire to rid her of her baby mullet.  I'm not sure I did anything about it, though.

Fast forward to about two months ago, when Abigail began asking for a 'haircut like Maile's'.  The style in question was a bob, and a very cute one at that.  Considering what a nightmare it could be to brush her long hair, the prospect of a short hair style was definitely appealing.  But there was a small part of me that resisted, mostly because (if I am to be perfectly honest here) I coveted Abigail's hair.  A little.  Okay, a lot.  Her silky, shiny, straight blond hair was right out of my curly-haired daydreams.   Not only was I reluctant to cut that beautiful hair, but I also was reluctant to tote the little girls to Anchorage to get a haircut.  Not my idea of fun on a Saturday. 

Then a friend told me about a gal who comes to your house and cuts hair.  For a very reasonable price.  Okay...this may just work!  Especially since Bethany and Moriah both started making requests for haircuts as well.

She came to my house with only a few days advance notice (waaaaay better than the gal who cuts used to cut my hair in Anchorage, who has a waiting list at least a month long) and quickly got to business.  In no time at all, Abigail, Bethany and Moriah were shiny and shorn and her bill was only $30.  For a haircut house call!

The results were totally worth it and totally adorable.   I must say that I learned a new lesson that day:  put newspaper or another something on the ground to catch hair.  Otherwise it's a bear to clean up.  (the price of doing business with someone who doesn't have an official place of up your own hair)

Abigail's first snip
Bethany's first snip



Their new 'dos make them look like real little girls now, not just preschoolers.
Eek!  Where does the time go?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fourth Birthday post with pics

Now seems like a good time to post the few photos we have of the little girls' fourth birthday.

It was on a Monday, which is a Little Bears day and which meant they could bring some cupcakes to share with friends during snack time.  Somehow, I was actually ahead of the game and made the cupcakes with enough time for the littles to help decorate them the night before.

The random blobs you see on the cupcakes?  Well, those are princess-themed sprinkles that I had seen at the store and had squirreled away for a time such as this.  The cupcakes were liberally covered with Cinderella's 'slippers', Snow White's 'apples', Sleeping Beauty's 'crowns' and little 'pearls' that, according to Abigail, are from Tiana (of The Princess and the Frog fame, if you're not as familiar with one of the newer princesses).

The beaming four-year-olds were treated to some wonderful off-key singing from their friends and then they were all off and munching the delicious cupcakes.  Abigail and Bethany opted to stay a bit longer and play, so we left them there and I came home to work on the family birthday cake.

Abigail and Bethany were fairly convinced that they'd be having a party this year, since a couple of their little buddies had had parties.  I quickly disabused them of that notion because I refuse to start that whole crazy-ness before any of my kids turn five.  By then, they may be old enough to really get the Kris-Malecha-Party-or-Present option*, something introduced to me years ago and that I totally and completely LOVE.  I did, however, tell them that they could invite over special family friends and they chose to invite NeNe (aka LynnĂ©) and her two daughters.

The cake I made for them was definitely not my finest, but it was fun.  They wanted a princess cake, with a castle, so I finagled one out of cake rounds and sugar cones.  In the planning stages in my mind, the cake was going to be rectangular, but it just didn't end up that way.  It did have a 'moat' with 'fish', a grassy area and a walkway leading up to the front castle entrance, though.  Not too shabby.

No matter, Abigail and Bethany were thrilled and enthusiastically blew out the candles and ate their cake.  And they also donated some of their plastic princesses to the cause, even though a couple of the princesses looked about half as tall as the towers on the castle.

And, FYI, the cone 'towers' were dipped in sparkly just can't tell in the photos.  Just sayin'.

They also opened some gifts that night and loved every single one.  They played with the ice cream parlor toys that reminded them of what their big brother does at his job.  They cuddled their new baby dolls.  They built new structures with their Magna Tiles.  And we had a hard time getting them to bed, away from all those cool toys!

All in all, a happy fourth birthday.  Hard to believe that much time has passed since the day they were born.  

*Our kids all have the option of a party OR a present from us.  If they have a party, then it can be a 'big' one such as a roller skating party or bowling party.  That, then, is our 'present' to them.  If they choose a present, then it can be a 'big' one such as a wooden doll house or pierced ears/earrings.  It's a great option and one that we will incorporate with the littlest Doepkens as soon as they are old enough to host a party.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lenten motivation

I just went 'dark' on Facebook for the remainder of Lent.  A little late in getting started on that because I allowed my brain to go into complete vacation mode while we were in Hawaii.  Now that we're home and settled back in somewhat, I figured it was a good time to follow through on my decision to give up one of the things that is wasting my time and keeping me from doing other things, like blogging here.

To echo something I wrote in a post a while back, I plan on trying to get at least a little caught up with what's gone on with our family in the last several months.  I have no idea how quickly the posts will appear but I do know that without my Facebook distraction I should have a little more time on my hands.

For now, though, I'm heading to bed.  The last two nights have been very light on sleep (see future posts for an explanation) and I am exhausted (even after a four-hour nap this afternoon!).

Nighty night.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The little girls are four!

Happy Birthday Abigail!
Happy Birthday Bethany!

We love you both very much and hope you had a great birthday.

(Yeah, a real post with photos is forthcoming...I'm literally falling asleep at the keyboard and must obey my body's need for sleep!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bedtime Hell

Abigail continues to be a child who really needs sleep.  I can tell when she hasn't had a 'nap day' when I pick her up from Little Bears.  And today she didn't get a nap.

By the time 7:45 rolled around, I was in the first steps of getting the little girls to bed. A much-welcomed phone call from Daddy slowed us a bit, but I was still hopeful that a smooth bedtime could be had.

My first clue that things might be rough came when Abigail refused to go upstairs and get pjs on and brush teeth before reading books.  I steamrolled that decision anyway and went ahead on up, forcing her to follow me or miss books.

The next delightful interchange occurred over the choice of pjs.  The two options held no appeal, but again I held fast and she chose the princess gown.  She made it very *very* clear how unhappy she was, but the choice was made.

Bethany wasn't totally innocent at this point and was dithering and dallying herself.  That's when I set the timer for 5 minutes and challenged them to get dressed and teeth brushed before it went off.   The timer gambit may have been my fatal flaw in getting Abigail too wound up, but it did result in two little girls totally ready for books (even a potty stop, which I hadn't required quite yet).

Book reading was rough.  Abigail didn't want to share my lap and hit and kicked out at me and her sister.  After a warning, I turned away from her and read anyway.  She realized I was serious and settled in for the story, looking sort of 'around' my side and staying put.

Songs were a little easier (but not completely peaceful), and I could tell her energy was waning.  She snuggled during her song and got into bed when asked.  Her breathing almost immediately deepened and she finally relaxed.  By the time all the songs were done, she was murmuring her 'good nights' and she went off to la la land.

I love my daughters.  But I have to admit I have a hard time 'feeling the love' at times.  Like tonight, at the height of Abigail's tizzy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day with Susannah

Susannah and I wore ourselves out yesterday with her 'big' Christmas present:  a 'shopping spree' with Mom.  We went out to Kohl's, where Susannah surprised herself by trying on and liking a sweater she would have normally passed by and pairing it with a cute ruffly tank top.  Susannah found some cute jewelry to accessorize the new tops, too.

After a late lunch at Subway, where Susannah had one of *the* best sandwiches she's ever had, we hit Target.  Susannah found another shirt, a cheap pair of velour lounge pants and a pair of flats, adding to her fashion stash.

The next stop was the Dimond Mall.  We hit Aerie, Forever 21, Old Navy, DQ/Orange Julius, Auntie Anne's and the Calendar Store.  Scored two great things at Forever 21 that has TONS of stuff to look at (and even Mom tried on something).  The calendar store had all calendars 75% off and everything else was 50% off.  I got some Buckyballs for myself for only $15.

She spent her final few bucks at our last stop, Borders, on last year's Newbery winner.

All in all, we had an awesome day of hanging out, fashion suggestions and general togetherness.  Susannah shops sorta like I do, content to wander a bit, meander some, and take her time to look through stacks and racks to find treasures.  We were both pretty tired by the end of the day, though, and spent about 10 hours out and about (including the two hours of driving).

I think I can get used to offering that kind of 'big' present to her every Christmas.  A gift that gives joy to more than just the receiver isn't so bad!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Song lyrics

Just a couple of samples of slight changes the little girls make to the songs they love.  They don't make nearly as many changes as they did and get most of the lyrics correct at this point, but there are a few cute mistakes hanging on yet.

Brown girl in the rain, la la la la la...
Brown girl in the rain, la, la la la la la...
Brown girl in the rain, la la la la la...
Looks like a pudding in a plum plum plum!

Rudolph with the reddy shiny nose...

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!
So much fun it is to rhyme, Wun-ta (?) in his sleigh!

Old Macdonald had a farm,
On his farmer had a cow
With a moo moo there and moo moo there
everywhere everywhere a moo moo...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More dinner time fun

And you didn't think that was possible, after my last post, did you?  We-ell, let me tell you that dinner is seldom boring at our house.  And almost never quiet.

Tonight's loudest entertainment came from the esteemed father of the household, who made interesting noises and faces with his dinner glass.  He somehow inserted his lower jaw into the glass, creating suction with this mouth and a rather undignified-sounding noise along with it.  The process was something like this:  insert chin and mouth, pull down glass to create noise while making a weird face, pop the glass off his face and begin the whole thing again.  It sure made the little girls giggle (and me, too).

Before and in between all of this glorious noise, Abigail was busy consigning 'titles' upon her big sisters.  Moriah was a princess and Susannah was a...rabbit.  ??  Then, Abigail further shared what she thought about her sisters.  Moriah was awesome and Susannah was...stinky.  Yep.  Stinky.  I have to say that I beg to differ because I don't find Susannah stinky.  Moriah is indeed awesome and Abigail declared Daddy, Mommy and Bethany awesome as well, smart girl.  Poor defenseless Bubby was at work, but Abigail eventually pulled him into the conversation and pronounced him as part of the Stinky club (and yeah, he's a teen-aged boy...she wasn't too far off the mark some days, to be honest). 

Anyone send in the Dinner with the Doepkens pilot idea to TLC yet?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reality show?

Samuel posed an interesting idea tonight:  a reality show called Dinner with the Doepkens.  This was caused by the chaotic cacophony that came about after the core consumption of our comestibles was complete.  (*snort* like my use of alliteration?)

Anyway!  Jim made us a scrumptious meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and veggies tonight and the five older Doepkens had thoroughly enjoyed it.  Especially the mashed potatoes, which were made with garlic salt (or just garlic?), cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.  Hearty and thick, with chunks of potato....  sigh.  *licks chops*

Yes, yes, back to the story.  We were trying to coax the little girls to eat more dinner and it began to get progressively noisier after that.

Perhaps Samuel's impression of a pterodactyl began the noise-fest.  Squawking in Abigail's face, raising his arms in a 'wing-like' manner.  Then snatching Bethany from her chair and airlifting her to the couch, pterodactyl-ing the entire way.

Perhaps describing the loud noises a student of mine makes just encouraged Jim to attempt and successfully emulate said noises.  Very successfully.  Gleefully so.

Perhaps the little girls thought adding their voices to the din would create some sort of harmony.  They are certainly noisy enough on their own most days.

Perhaps Susannah was feeling left out and just had to read me a passage of a book she was engrossed in, having to speak louder and louder over her little sisters' squeals and squeaks.

In any case, the noise level made it near impossible to make (or hear) rational, calm conversation and that is when Samuel made the reality show comment.

Dinner with the Doepkens.  Has a catchy ring to it.  But would anyone dare?