Good Timber

 As I blog this afternoon, the twins are (finally) asleep in their room and Wyatt is asleep next to me, propped up on a hundred pillows so he can breathe despite the nasty congestion he's got going on. I had planned on napping myself, but there is far too much going on in my head to stop & rest.

 I am wondering what "normal life" will feel like in. I am wondering how it will feel to be together as a family, away from everyone & everything we know. I am wondering what it will be like to have Josh go to work in the dark & come home in the dark. I am wondering what it will be like to have our groceries flown in. I am wondering what it will be like for the "high" to be in the negatives...

 I wonder how he will adjust...

 And how he will adjust...

 Oddly enough, I am also curious how he will adjust.
After all, he's been up there by himself for four months now. With all adult companions & lots of quiet time.  As he discovered when he came home, our boys are anything but quiet.

 I think of all the things we will miss... 
Pre-school, fast food, Tuesdays with Aunt Julie...

 And I think of all the things we have to look forward to...
Daddy reading bedtime stories, rocking Wyatt to sleep & kissing me goodnight.

 I think of how long we might stay there. 
Two years. Ten years.
How much will they remember? 
Of there? Of here?

 I think of how much easier it is when Josh is here. How I can hold his hand as we lay in bed after the lights are out & tell him about my day.  For the next month we're back to talking on the phone, sending texts, as well as the occasional Facebook message.  There's really no comparison.

 I not only feel that we are stronger for having been through this, but I am stronger for having been through this. You won't believe it, but today I found a fortune (like from a fortune cookie) in Wyatt's carseat. I have no idea how it got there, but it read:

"Good timber does not grow with ease; 
the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."

 While taking care of these three little boys has had its share of crazy days (screaming, crying, tantruming... and that's just me!) it has also shown me that I am more capable than I imagined.

 I have survived sleepless night after sleepless night & still managed to keep house, meet all three of ours sons needs & somehow pack up all our earthly belongings.  I would never consciously choose to be a single parent- this has been the hardest thing I've ever done- but I know now that it wouldn't kill me.

 Now that we are settled in at Carol & Carl's house, we are trying to get into a routine, and a large marjority of my life has gotten easier. Carol helps with the laundry, feeding the kids & generally lending a hand (usually to hold Wyatt) whenever she sees I need it.  Just coming home to other people has made my life so much happier.

 The boys are testing a lot- being naughty at bed time & meal times- but that is normal. They've been through a lot.  I am trying to be consistent with them and understand that all of this transition (Josh coming home unexpectedly, Thanksgiving break- no school- moving houses, Josh's departure) is really hard on them, even if they can't express that verbally.
When I picked them up from school today Logan asked me if Daddy was waiting in the car. I find I have to keep reminding him that Josh left. That he's in Alaska again.

We drove to the old house today to pick up the mail and I will say, I don't miss driving into that neighborhood.  It's much nicer to drive into Carol & Carl's neighborhood, with the tree lined sidewalks & local park by the elementary school. It's a breath of fresh air to be somewhere safe.

 Once we are settled into a routine, and the baby & I get well, I think living here is going to be good for us.  My stress level is not what it was just a week ago.  With everything moved into storage or shipped to Marshall, I am feeling pretty good.  And I am looking forward to some time for catching up- doing the boys' calendars, journaling, reading & playing with the boys.

 I will admit that it's strange not to have our own entire space.  Like at night, when the baby is crying, I get a little panicky, worried we are waking Josh's parents up. And I don't want to be a nusiance, which is pretty much a lost cause seeing as I come with two three year olds & an infant...
But for the most part, I am glad to be done at our duplex. To have closed that chapter in our life, and to be awaiting the next chapter.

I still have a fairly intimidating list of things to do:
  • Buy myself winter gear (coat, snow pants, gloves, face mask, socks)
  • Buy the boys wool socks & scarves
  • Change our address with 8 more companies 
  • Refine my "Anchorage Shopping Lists" for both Wal*Mart (for essentials) & Fred Meyer (for groceries)
  • Purchase a crib & high chair for Wyatt & a computer desk for the new house
  • Eventually ship everything we brought to Carol's to Marshall
  • Get a cell phone/plan with GCI for Bush Alaska
  • Sell a few more things on Craigslist

I am finding it hard to be motivated to get anything done. I'm just feeling so down.  The high of Josh's surprise homecoming was a mountain peak compared to the dismal valley of emotion I am experiencing now.
Seeing him in his element with his family, his parents, his siblings, laughing & seeming so light, was so good for me. And for him.

 Leaving was hard. Dropping him at the airport was sad.  But I have to say that knowing it was our last goodbye helped.
And when he called me to say he arrived in Marshall, he was standing in our house! It is complete.

 And that helps counteract my lack of motivation. 
Because picturing this happening every night motivates me. 

Knowing more about Marshall helps, too. Knowing that Josh is settled there, has friends there, helps me to picture our life there together.

 While he was here for Thanksgiving the temperatures in Marshall reached 30 below.  And yesterday he moved from his current housing to the new housing in -20 degree weather.  I can't even imagine how cold that is.

 I am starting to feel proud of us for making this choice to move to Bush Alaska. I am proud of us for putting our family first. I feel thankful that Josh is the kind of man who wants to work to support his family. I feel grateful that I get to be a stay-at-home mommy and will never have to leave Wyatt.  I feel thankful that our boys are young & resilient.

 I am struggling to enjoy our last few weeks here in Vancouver because I am so overwhelmed by my own thoughts.  I am thinking always of how I'll do things in Marshall. How I will cook. How I will entertain the children. How I will do without all the modern conveniences I am used to.

 All in all I know we can get through anything
just as long as we're together.


bye bye blues

 Today was a melancholy day around the Cunningham ranch...

 Daddy packed up his bags in preparation for an afternoon departure for Anchorage.

 And little boys squeezed in all the extra snuggles they could with him.

 The last ten days have been so amazing. We packed our house, turned in keys, moved in with Josh's parents, celebrated Thanksgiving & got in a lot of quality family time with our bubs.  Both Jack & Logan told me today they didn't want Josh to leave. I hear that.  It's so hard to see him go.
Lucky for us it's just 27 days until we see him again.
And we won't have to say good-bye any more after that.



"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."  --Thornton Wilder

 Today I am very conscious of my treasures... my four boys.
What beautiful treasures I have.


loved ones

I sit tonight in a new room, with fresh paint on the walls and a sense of peace I haven't known since July.  My boys are tucked cozily into their bunk beds in the room next door, dreaming away.  The baby is in his bassinet, swaddled, humming softly to the music playing from my blog. And downstairs my husband is playing the Wii with his brother.

It is so good to see him with his family again. You can see it in everyone-- the joy at his presence.  He is so loved by these people; his parents, his siblings... He & Samuel cracking "That's what she said" jokes & giving each other (or me) a hard time.

And to see him with the boys-our boys- words can't describe the emotions that run through me as I watch those three together.  For the first two days he was here, any time he wasn't in the same room as us, the boys would ask if he had gone back to Alaska. I had to keep telling them Daddy won't leave until we take him to the airport & say good-bye. They are loving wrestling with him, reading stories with him & getting to laugh with him.  Jack is hating getting reprimanded by Daddy. He is desperate to make Josh happy.  Logan takes the discipline better, but is also striving to make Josh proud, asking repeatedly, "Are you proud of me, Daddy?"  And as for me,  I am loving his help. With the move, with the boys, with the baby. It's amazing how much calmer I feel with him around.

He helped so much with the move, packing & sorting. As well as shipping at the post office (36 boxes $943 later, we are done!) a Goodwill run & putting ads for what's left on Craigslist. All things I would have had to do on my own had he not showed up. I am loving his assistance.

I am also loving falling asleep to the hum of his snoring, his body warm next to mine; driving in the car, holding his hand; and walking into the bathroom after his shower & smelling his cologne.  It all feels too good to be true.
We're here, together. We are officially moved in with his parents. Josh hasn't lived here for 10 years (since he was 18) and it's been a surprisingly smooth transition. Josh's mom emptied two entire rooms for us, and his brother helped us move our belongings.  Falling asleep the first night here was so easy. Knowing that Josh, his parents and his brother were all here gave me a sense of shared responsibility.  Like this morning Josh's mom watched the twins so I could take a shower. A real shower. Not scrubbing as fast as humanly possible while screaming at the boys to quit playing "fight game". And she has been doing our laundry. And the dishes.  Plus, she & Carl bought a ton of groceries just for the boys & I.  I feel so blessed. To have help. To have family.  I am hoping this will aid in lessening the blow when Josh leaves on Saturday.
On top of help from our families, people have been so happy for us. It's so lovely. To be wished well by everyone around.  Other moms at pre-school were overjoyed to meet Josh, to see our boys reunited with their Daddy.  And my friends (in real life & on Facebook or the blog) have had nothing but wonderful things to say about his surprise arrival. So far, being 29 rocks!
This year as I head into Thanksgiving, I find that there are not any physical things I am thankful for.
I am grateful simply for loved ones.
  • For my husband. I love him. He loves me. We were MFEO.
  • For my children. They keep me busy & smiling, just like they're supposed to.
  • For my sister. We are super close right now, and I am loving that.
  • For my parents. They have been willing to do anything for us lately, and it means a lot.
  • For Josh's parents. Their generosity has been awe inspiring.  We are so lucky to have them.
  • For Josh's sister Julie. She has been such a rock for me during Josh's absence. Love her.
  • For the boys' pre-school teachers who love my boys & make my life easier 3x a week.
  • For my grandparents. Grandma has listened as I've cried & assured me all will end well.
  • For my friends. Sis D & Annie. I love you girls.
  • For God. For always having my back.



 Today was my 29th birthday.

 And tonight as I blew out my candles, surrounded by my loved ones, most importantly my three children & adoring husband, I didn't make a wish. Instead I thought, with a tear in my eye, "This is perfect."

 No need for wishes when life is this sweet.

 And the simple joy of family is so abundant.

 We feasted on chicken & dumplings followed by homemade apple cake with caramel frosting served alongside Ice Cream Renaissance Honey Vanilla- my favorite!

 We laughed with babies...

 We laughed at cameras...

 and we laughed with each other.

We did what we do for birthdays- cake, candles, singing...

And lots of love for the birthday girl!

What was going to be my first birthday without Josh since I turned seventeen wasn't empty like I thought it would be.

Instead it was perfect.


He's home!!!

 This is what I have been waiting for! I am sitting here blogging, watching Josh wrestle the boys from the "Nanny Cam" in their room on our TV...

 ...I woke up this morning to someone BANGING on my front door. I grabbed my cell phone and tiptoed to the door where I could hear Josh's parents talking about how I don't answer the door.  Since I could hear it was them, I opened the door & stuck my head out.

 Carl said, "Happy Birthday! We have a surprise for you!" And honestly, all I could think was "it's six AM and it's NOT my birthday." Lucky for me I was too tired & out of it to express these thoughts and that's when I saw him. All the way from Bush Alaska my travel weary husband, still sporting his fur hooded North Face jacket & sub temperature Sorel boots.

I covered my mouth with my hands and said, "I'm not wearing very many clothes!" (I was only wearing underwear & my nursing tank top.) From the back I could hear Laura's reply, "I don't think he'll mind!" And with that he opened the screen door & I threw my arms around him as I shook & cried, "I can't believe you're here!"

I can't believe he's here.