9.25.2012

Homemade quiz & life as of late...


What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is dying before the boys are raised.  It breaks my heart to imagine my little boys growing up without a mother.

And your smallest?
My smallest fear is of spiders.  I hate spiders!!!

Any pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is when my socks get wet.  In the bathroom from the shower or in the kitchen from the boys’ sippy cups, it doesn’t matter. It makes me crazy!

If you had four more children (two boys and two girls) what would you name them?
Our girls would be:
Bailey Kate
Claire Ariella
Our boys would be:
Frankie Jay
Reid Atley

What is something you regret?
I regret not doing Running Start, a college program that ran through our high school where you could get college credits, and sometimes even graduate high school with an associates (two year) degree, for free! I didn’t do it, and I always wish I had.

What moment do you remember most of elementary school?
I remember writing stories in Mr. Boyle’s class.  I remember doing rough drafts and final drafts.  I loved that.

Who is your longest friendship with? (excluding relatives)
My longest friendship is with Maggie (Westfall) Helsel.  We have known each other since we were two years old, and were inseparable for much of our lives.  We used to rub sunscreen on our backs and “tan” under the clamp lamp on her bed. Ha! I remember thinking her backyard was really cool because she had a hammock hanging from her swingset. And I liked going to church with her because they always stopped at Fred Meyer on the way and got us maple bars!

What is the weirdest spiritual/paranormal thing you ever witnessed? (ie miracles)
Last spring Logan fell down a few steps on the stairs and when Jack met us in the bathroom, he said, “What happened?” I told him Logan bonked his elbow. Jack immediately grabbed his own elbow and said, “Ouch. That hurts.”

If you were in therapy, what would you be discussing?
Oh Lord. There are so many options! Probably right now I would be discussing my inability to stay calm with my kids (my temper has been getting the best of me) and how to fix that.

If you could learn more about any one thing what would it be?
I told Josh after we flew back to Washington in May, that in my other life, I would be a geologist. Flying over Alaska and seeing all the rocks, water, mountain and landscapes, I was reminded how much I love geology. I am a rock collector and love to learn about the earth.  Maybe when my kids grow up and I am facing an empty nest, I will go back to college and get a degree to teach geology.

Top 3 favorite desserts?
Homemade chocolate chip cookies
Tillamook Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Warm chocolate chunk brownies

Favorite nail polish?
Revlon ColorStay Passionate Pink & Raspberry Rave

Knowing what you do about my life in rural Alaska, what would you find most challenging about living here?
I find it difficult to be in the house all the time; entertaining the kids and keeping them physically active is a challenge.  I also struggle with never getting a break from the kids.  I think that is why girls nite (shout out to Leah & Susan!) is so important to me!

Everyone says they wish they had twins… Why would YOU want them?
I always wanted twins because having twins is so special.  I have always been fascinated by the bond twins share, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to witness it firsthand with Logan & Jack.  Last night at dinner Logan said something completely incomprehensible.  For the life of me, I could not have told you what he said. So I scolded him, "I have no idea what you just said. Don't talk with your mouth full." To which Jack replied, "He said, Ouch! That burnt my finger." Josh and I just sat there staring at each other.  We couldn't believe he had known what Logan said...
The answer most people give me is that they entertain each other. Let me assure you, if that is why you wanted twins, or you thought it would be nice to get it “all done” in one fell swoop, it is a serious price to pay for being done all at once.  The boys didn’t play together well until they were at least two, and still now, at age four, the nice, cooperative play is barely worth the amount of fights they have.  Now that I have Wyatt, I see more each day exactly what I missed in having multiples my first time around.  Rocking them to sleep, feeding them, playing… everything I did was shared and I was constantly guilt-ridden.  I recently read Identical Strangers and the girls were separated because of a handful of studies that claimed twins were better off reared apart, both for the twins’ and for the parents’ sake.  These studies have since been refuted, but I have to say, I found myself nodding with their logic.  Parents of multiples are exhausted, more likely to suffer post-partum depression and more likely to divorce.  It has not been an easy road, and I am constantly juggling what is good for “him”  (the individual twin) with what is good for “them” (the twins). 

Favorite ALL TIME (could read a hundred times) books?
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
Fortunes Rock by Anita Shreve
Barefoot by Elin Hildebrand
The Island by Elin Hildebrand


Please answer these questions,  post them on your blog, and e-mail the link to me.
I would love to read all your answers!!!


Life as of late:

 Last week the afternoons dragged on and on with the kids. So I decided to make this week different.  I have been more focused on playing with them, getting on the floor, making lego castles and coloring superheroes.  So far, it has been paying off big time.

I am hopeful the trend continues because Josh leaves tomorrow for Hooper Bay for teacher training with the district for three days.  I am excited for him to go to Hooper Bay because it is on the coast, and he is going to get to see the Bering Sea!!! But I must admit to you that this trip is making me crazy nervous. I am somewhat scared to be here by myself with the kids.  I am terrified something bad will happen to one of them and I won’t know what to do.  And I am also nervous for Josh to travel, as I always am. I am praying he makes it back to us in one piece.

 I am feeling good right now.  Last week, in addition to the kiddos driving me nuts, I was uber exhausted all the stinking time.  This week is better.  Josh and I are back to working out each night, and it feels so good.  I have also been journaling and writing down my blessings everyday, which really helps my state of mind.

I am sad some days, and on those days, I try to let the feelings wash over me, knowing they will never stick around too long. The kids keep me too busy to be sad for long!  I would say, though, that a majority of the time, I am very happy here.  I miss people, yes. My mom, my sister, my dad, Julie… But I have also been reminded lately what a blessing it is to be home.  I am so grateful that I am the one here, day in and day out, with the baby.  I am so grateful to be the twins’ teacher, showing them shapes & colors & how to write their names.

School Project!
In addition to preschool and playing with the kids, I have been busy organizing and cleaning in preparation for our first visit of the year. Josh’s parents will be here on Saturday, and the boys are beyond excited.  They made countdown chains, and every morning they try to tell me it’s actually less days until they get here. So funny! 

One of the major projects I wanted to get done before their arrival was the pantry.  With three humongous Walmart boxes full of groceries on the living room floor, and the pantry looking like a mini-tornado hit, I had my work cut out for me. 



It took me most of last Saturday to completely empty, reorganize and get it back in working order, but it was totally worth it.  I am so happy to have it done!

This morning I walked Josh to the door to kiss him good-bye, and there, on Howie’s workbench on the rail, was a moose head, watching as we kissed. Only in Alaska, folks! Only in Alaska.

See the "double rainbow"?
I am officially on the countdown to thirty—54 days and counting… (My birthday is November 18th)  In honor of my first birthday here in Alaska, I am putting up a wishlist page.  I am really excited to turn thirty. I am excited that thirty means Josh and I will be celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary.  I am excited that this is the first time in a long time where I truly feel the age I am turning.  And I am happy to say that I am exactly where I thought I would be when I turned thirty. A stay-at-home mom with three boys, a beautiful home, and an adoring husband. I feel like a very lucky girl.

In addition to a birthday wishlist for myself, I will be putting up a Christmas wishlist for the boys as well.  Both can be found under the heading, on the “Wishlist” page.

Please comment on how amazing these rainbow photos are... I almost died running down the stairs, out the door, off the ramp, up the muddy hill and into the middle of the road in the pouring rain to capture them after seeing them out my bedroom window. They had better been worth it!
Word on the street is that we should be getting internet at the house as early as mid-October (three weeks or so) but I am not holding my breath. In the meantime, know that I miss you. I miss blogging for you, I miss reading your blog posts, and I miss feeling connected in this crazy life we live as mothers.  And also please forgive me my intermittent posts.  I get to the school when I can, but most nights, honestly, once the kids are in bed, all I want to do is lay on the couch and read my most recent Elin Hildebrand novel!

9.13.2012

It's September


 Oh, how I miss blogging! I hate not having the internet.  I hate feeling so disconnected! I miss reading all the blogs I follow, getting inspired, feeling less alone in this whole “motherhood” thing.  

 I miss reading & sending e-mails.  I miss having complete access to my Facebook account.  I can get on there on my phone, usually early in the mornings when there are less people in the village online.  But it’s limited.  I could access all those things at the school, but it’s been so hard to get away in the evenings, and this weekend, which I will get to later, was very, very busy! I try to stay in touch with some people talking on the phone, but my three (very loud) children make phone calls a bit trying!

Well, the baby is down for his nap, so I am typing this on my laptop, which I will take with me to the school later today or tomorrow to post online for all of you to see.  Oh the lengths I will go to to post a blog!  I have lots to update, so as has been my way lately, this post is gonna be a long one!

Last weekend, while I was at the school blogging and paying bills, Jack lost one of the lenses to his glasses.  Josh didn’t notice (and Jack didn’t clue him in) until they were back at the school, from the store.  They had walked all that way and Jack had never mentioned anything.  Josh was so frustrated with Jack for not telling him.  We searched everywhere.  Jack and I even retraced his steps to the store, searching through the mud, to no avail.  

 I looked at his glasses, and unbeknownst to me, his glasses had a teeny tiny screw holding the part that kept the lens in closed.  He lost that screw, and the lens fell out.  

 They haven’t even had their glasses two months!  Now this is the part you won’t believe—three days later, the exact same thing happened to Logan. He lost the same lens, from the same problem!  Talk about identical. Ha!  


 So I called the place I got the glasses, and I pleaded my case. We spent almost $400 on their glasses and I couldn’t afford to pay nearly $100 per pair to repair them.  Thank goodness the woman helping us took pity on me and agreed to replace it for free.  Meanwhile, we are without glasses, which sucks when we are doing preschool or reading books, but I plan to order a secondary pair to have on hand as well, so hopefully we won’t be in the situation again.  I guess what got me so upset was that they weren’t playing “fight game” or being naughty, the glasses just loosened & broke on their own.  I figured if they broke, it would be from my naughty children, not poor design!

So that was last weekend.


This weekend Josh was invited to go moose hunting with our neighbor Howie.  Howie’s daughter had caught her first moose Friday night, so they were both pretty excited to get out on Saturday.  They took Howie’s boat (and $145 worth of gas- it’s $7.00 a gallon here!) and headed out on the river.  I was nervous for Josh to go out on the river after what happened to poor Paul.  (If you missed it in my previous post, Paul was one of the health clinic workers with three children and when he was cleaning his boat and getting all the rain water out of it one night, he fell out and drown.  They found his body last week and had his funeral yesterday.  It is such a terrible tragedy.)  Luckily Josh had no qualms about wearing a life jacket to appease my worries and they headed out.  He said they didn’t even spot a moose until about 6pm.  And when they did, in a slough North of here, it was between two cows, which are illegal to shoot.  Between the bobbing of the boat, and the position of the bull, Josh said shooting at it was really challenging.  He missed with his first five shots, and while he was reloading, Howie tried to shoot it, but missed as well. Finally, with his sixth shot, Josh got it in the neck and it went down.


When he got home, near 9pm, he was covered in blood and grinning ear to ear.  He was so excited. I threw on a jacket and my shoes and ran out to the truck, where they had the moose, in pieces.  Its head was the size of my torso, no joke, and it was so pretty.  I felt so unbelievably proud of him.
Sunday Josh spent the whole day at the school butchering all 800 pounds of the 4 year old bull.  Village tradition says you give away most of your first moose, so Josh spent some of the day driving around, handing out roasts and legs and other miscellaneous parts to people in the village, particularly elders. 

We were able to keep some ground meat, as well as a handful of roasts, and that very night Josh made his first moose burger of the season.  He said it was delicious.  And yesterday while we were out walking to the post office, he ran into some of the people he gave meat to, and they all said it was so tender. 


We had our first crock pot moose roast yesterday, and it was divine.  The meat really is so tender, and the crockpot seasoning packet my mom sent me was perfection.


The Monday after hunting,  I awoke and was pleased to find that my washer was able to get all the blood out of his clothes, and nothing was worse for wear.

The only bum thing about Josh’s weekend experience, was that it meant I was home alone with the kids all weekend, and I have never needed a break so badly.  Josh got sick at the beginning of the week last week, and by the middle of the week, all of us were sick.  The boys are coughing and snotty and no one is sleeping.  Wyatt is finally over his ear infection, and now he can’t breathe through his nose.  I haven’t slept through the night since we were in Washington, and out here I have been lucky to get more than two hours in a row. For example, last night was a “good” night and I was up at 10:45, 1:15am and 3:00am, and up for the day at 6:30am cause Josh got up with the boys at six.

It is because of this sleep deprivation, and my lack of a break over the weekend, that led to my being a terrible mama on Sunday.  I lost my temper too many times to count, felt so frustrated by the boys and at the end of the night, once they were in bed, I just sat in Josh’s chair in the living room crying.  The only thing that brought me peace is the quote I underlined in Kelle Hampton’s book Bloom and wrote on a notecard to put up in my living room that says, “No matter what, there’s always a new day, a clean slate, an opportunity to begin again and vibrantly live out our “one wild and precious life”.”  I clung to that.

One positive thing I have found in the last nine days of some or all of us being sick is that as a SAHM, illness is about 90% less stressful.  When I was a working mom, a term I find redundant, I would struggle to decide how sick I was, or how sick the boys were, and whether it was bad enough to call in sick to work.  Then, as the illness would wear on, I would stress over how many days I had missed, how much sick pay I had used up, and that stress would, of course, only make the illness last longer.  Now, it’s a given.  I am home, all day, everyday.  And if they are sick, that just means we take it easy, or throw in a nap if necessary. And here in Marshall, we have no social life, so I don’ t have to make any decisions about canceling plans or prior engagements.  It’s so much less stressful!  And what a blessing.
---
Some things did highlight our week, and those were the Care Packages we received. 
My Grandma Pansy sent a box full of grocery items we needed. Baggies, ziplock bags, granola bars, beef jerky, olives & plates. 

My friend and our adventure supporter, Kristina sent 2 boxes.  Popcorn, fruit squeezes, some pizza ingredients & lots of special treats made for some fun boxes to open.




 We got a “Pirate Party” box from Julie, and the boys LOVED it!   

There were mustache & eye patch kits, cups, plates, napkins & balloons, candy ring pops & necklaces, chocolate coins, tiny swords, two tiny treasure chests, Pirates Booty, a “Pin the patch on the pirate” game, and some birds that the boys got to color, attach an eye to, and glue feathers on.   

And the favorite for the boys? How I Became A Pirate by David Shannon.  We have read it twice a day everyday since we got it.  It’s super cute.

Also tucked inside was glue & Borax for making flubber; Yogurt melts for Wyatt; cookies for me; and notes full of love for the boys.

 We also got a box from Nanny & Papa.  Inside were glasses for Jack & Logan’s Build a Bear animals, as well as extra outfits for each of them.   

And pillowcases that she created to match their gorgeous quilts.  She also threw in some lotion, candles, handsoap (yay!), Borax & Parmesan cheese.   

For the boys she also included books- two on trucks & one adorable Golden Book on where Giggles come from.

These boxes bring us such joy. From opening them, to enjoying the toys tucked inside, to munching on the carefully picked snacks & grocery items- they are such a blessing.

 Wyatt will be fifteen months on the fifteenth, and he has, in all honesty, been a pain in my side since we arrived in Alaska.  Alaska Wyatt has sucked!  To be fair, this is not his fault.   

When we arrived he had a double ear infection, and just on Friday he finished up the Amoxicillin for that.  Now that he is over that, though, he is sick with the nastiest cold. Terrible nose congestion and a cough that is very barky, similar to croup.  I am bathing all three boys every night and running the humidifier 24/7 to help.  

 On top of the ear infection, and cold, he has been working on a one year molar that I think is making him crazy.  I just can’t wait for him to be his happy, healthy, bubbly self.  He is walking, completely, now, and when he walks across the room, you can tell he is so proud of himself.  

 He is still taking two naps a day, but I have the feeling that once he starts sleeping through the night, when he is 100% healthy again, that he will drop that morning nap.  I am excited for that, oddly enough, because keeping the twins quiet for two naps a day is exhausting!!!   

Just today I started cloth diapering again, and I will be sure to let you know how it goes.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t stink! (pun intended!)

  In my first few posts from Alaska, it was all about the rain.   

Well, the rain has finally quit and it has been just beautiful out.   

The blue skies, with clouds draped across, wilderness as far as the eye can see, it’s just beyond description. 

Fall is here, and Josh tells me to enjoy the colors because they will literally only last three or four weeks.  So I am starting each morning by tearing up the blinds and soaking in the oranges and reds.  

 Unfortunately, with the clear weather, it is also getting colder.  

 We almost need heaters, but I am trying to hold off. When Josh leaves for work in the morning it is in the mid thirties, and by late afternoon it’s only warming up to about fifty. 

When we take the boys out in the afternoons, already they have to wear light gloves and hats.  Mostly because of the wind, but even on calm days, there is a definite chill in the air.   

The boys keep asking when it’s going to snow, and I think Jack might spontaneously combust when it finally does, he is so dang excited!

 Each morning I have been trying to record the things I am grateful for.  One of the few that keep coming up is our meat order. We decided to place an order with some other teachers through Span Alaska and I am super excited to have some meat , cheese and butter stocked up in the freezer.  

 I am also grateful for my many friendships, like with Josh’s sister Julie, and Josh’s coworkers Susan and Krista.

I am thankful for Josh’s drive.  He has made a change of plan and will not be starting the masters program this semester.  He could feel that his passion for counseling was waning, and he was having trouble, as of late, envisioning himself as a counselor.  He worried about his ability to make a difference, and how stretched thin he may feel in that position.   

Deciding that counseling is not for him, he chose to put off starting classes, and is thinking that perhaps administration, which is what he had planned all along, will be better suited for him.  There are many positions he could hold with an administration credential, but the main one would be that of principal.   

He had the opportunity last week to try his hand at being principal, as Randy was out one day.  He seemed to enjoy the experience and I personally think he would make a fantastic principal.  He is organized, easy to talk to, laid back and a great leader.  Despite not taking his masters classes, he will be plenty busy holding the Lead Teacher position, tutoring kids after school three times a week, and doing yearbook and all required photography.  His work ethic is something I both admire and appreciated.

I also appreciate my funny kids.  Last night in the bath, Logan asked me to be sure and was his arm shields, AKA arm pits. Ha!  
And the day before yesterday, he was in timeout when he asked me, “ Mom, when you went to rent us, did you ask the worker for a Jack and a Logan?”  He had recently watched Stuart Little, and I think he was imagining that Josh and I went to an orphanage to pick he and Jack out. 
“No,” I explained, “I got you and Jack because you grew in my belly. The doctor took you out and gave you to me because you were mine.  God gave you to me.”
“But how did God put us in your belly?”
“That’s a conversation for when you are older.”
“Did God use his special powers?”
“Yes, Logan, God used his special powers.”
Ha!

 I am eternally grateful for good books.  Before we left Vancouver I went to Goodwill on two different book runs, and though I felt I bought a million books, I am going through them at quite a rapid pace, what with no internet or television to distract me!  I am currently reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield, which is amazing. I love it. And before that I read Identical Strangers, a story of identical twins separated at birth and reunited at age 35.  And before that I read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, which was also really good.  I love how I can escape into a good book.  It’s a beautiful thing!
 
I am also grateful for my bath tub, bubble bath and magazines. Nothing caps off a long day like a luxurious soak in a hot tub with Redbook to read.

 And finally, I am worried about something… I am worried about being able to get home for Christmas.  I have had my heart set on going home over break, but Josh looked up flight costs, and even with the $99 companion tickets for Logan & Jack (Only $99 round trip with our two paid tickets!) flying to Portland and back on Alaska will be $3200.00.  And that doesn’t even count the cost of flying Marshall to Bethel on the way out, and Bethel to Marshall on the way back.  That could easily be another $1000.00.  

 I am heartsick over the decision because I want to be smart financially, and dropping $5000 for a two week visit seems like a lot of money, but I also know myself, and I think that having that trip to look forward to, and to break up our year here, is really important. 

  Anyway, if you think of it, will you lift up a prayer of direction for me.  We just don’t have that kind of money put away at this point, and I am honestly not sure how we will come up with it. Or even if we do, I don’t know if the “adult” thing to do would be spending it on that when we have so many bills.  On the other hand, I can’t imagine not seeing everyone and celebrating the holidays at home surrounded by loved ones. Ah, to be a grown up!

(Please pardon the red eye in the photos, the teeny tiny picture of Josh and his moose- I can't figure that one out!- the misspelled words or any other errors- it is almost 11pm, and I just want to get this thing posted!!!)