get excited

So... with July upon us, I have decided my rainy outlook & nervous pessimism has got.to.go.  How? I asked myself. How am I going to STOP WORRYING and start having fun? How am I going to enjoy this sacred times here in Washington?  How indeed.

I am going to make a summer bucket list.
I am going to find all the things I want to do/will do/dream of doing, and compile them into a list of sunshiny happiness.  That sunshiny list of happiness will spark excitement in my soul. It will inspire me to be in the moment I am in and make the most of everyday.

Summer Bucket List:
Run through the sprinkler with the boys
Do the slip & slide
Sand castles on the beach
Build a dam in the Washougal
Jump off the rock
Look at the stars
Make a wish, or three, on shooting stars
Sit around the campfire, listening to my dad sing
Roast marshmallows
Eat watermelon
Read. To the kids.
Read. To myself.
Take the boys on a real hike with my dad
Make rhubarb pie with my mom
And lemon bars
Go to the movies with my husband
Do sparklers with the twins
Collect rocks to take home with us wherever we go
Road trip to Montana
Get sandal tans
Eat at the Cow Belle on more time

I am also going to make a list of things that I am excited to do/continue/start once we are back in Marshall.  Alaska will occasionally jump into my head, and I picture myself (circa last year) in line to check our bags at the airport, crying like a baby with a lost pacifier, sobbing all the way through the TSA check.

No more!

I cannot worry about what August 13th will look like.  I instead must embrace today. Live today. Love today!  So I am making a list of things that will get me excited (like the sunshiny happiness list, but different) for the idea of going back home.  I will keep this list and refer to it when the thought of leaving here gets me down!

What I'm looking forward to:
Back to normal
Getting on a schedule
Waking up before the boys
Having meditation/journal time
Keeping up my Gratitude Journal
Kindergarten with the twins
Teaching Wyatt numbers
Teaching all three boys sight words
My own shower
My own belongings
Krista & Joe & their {adorable} kids
A slower pace
Date night
Homemade bread
Homemade tortillas
Homemade pizza
More consistent blogging
Emailing Julie everyday
Being in our beautiful house, with its beautiful views

I reserve the right to add to these lists at any time!
Meanwhile, I am embracing a new motto I came across at the craft store:

{Credit: here}

"Let whatever you do today be enough."


Hello from rural Alaska...err, Washington

Hello friends!
Today is an exciting day, 
as my story has been published as part of Sarah's True Story series.

If you are visiting from Sarah over at yesandyes.org, welcome!
I was trying to think of something amazing to write about,
but me and my brain are on summer vacation....

So instead, I am going to direct you to some of my favorite 
Life in Rural Alaska posts:

We are currently on summer vacation in Washington
where all our friends & family are.

But come August, we will be back in Alaska, ready to share our third year of rural adventures with you all.  I hope you decide to stay awhile. {Be sure to use the email option on the right hand side bar if you'd like my posts sent directly to your inbox!}
I'd love to have you!

Oh, and if you are interested in learning more, or have specific questions, feel free to leave your email or question in a comment below. I will be in touch!


the road less traveled

 Growing up Robert Frost was my favorite poet.  I had his book, Birches, and in my front yard, I had my own set of Birches.  They were special to me because of the fuzzy orange caterpillars that lived & grew in them.  

My favorite poem of his was 
The Road Not Taken.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
-Robert Frost

I have been thinking the last few days about the life I could have had if I had stayed here in Washington.  Monday as I drove to my sister-in-law's house, I passed a mom and her two girls as they ran a lemonade stand.  The mom was dressed adorably, every hair in place, and she looked like she belonged exactly where she was.  I thought to myself, "That could have been me."  Not in a sad way, but in a matter-of-fact way.  I could have lived that life.  I could be the mom who helps her kids run a neighborhood carwash, collects trees after Christmas with the Boyscouts, or participates in the elementary school PTA.

Instead, I am the mom who bundles her kids in at least four layers before playing outside in ten degree weather.  I am the mom who teaches her sons gun safety because our household has guns that are used for hunting and keeping us safe from bears on walks.  I am the mom who takes four airplanes with three children and eight pieces of luggage to get to summer vacation.

 In choosing the door I did, other doors closed.  It isn't that those other doors were undesirable.  It isn't that they wouldn't have fit me-- they would.  It's just that in deciding to live in rural Alaska, following Josh's dream to teach and my desire to stay-at-home, running a lemonade stand with my kids is no longer an option.


I sometimes forget that what we are doing is kind of amazing. 

Then I will go to a party where people haven't heard our story, and I see in their eyes a kind of awe that inspires me to carry on.  They ask about groceries, hunting, weather and sunlight.  They ask about homeschooling and fishing and entertainment.  I had Josh's sister laminate a map of Alaska for me, and that has helped people understand just how remote we are nine months of the year.  

 Yesterday I attended Lincoln's end-of-the-year party and on the drive home I was telling Josh how amazing it felt to be there, surrounded by people who have been rooting for us from the beginning.  There must have been fifty people at the party.  All my old coworkers, who knew me before the twins, before Wyatt, before Alaska.  Friends who have hugged me, laughed with me, cried with me-- friends who, like you, follow the blog and wish only good things for us.

It is so good for me to remember how far we've come.  I have been a stay-at-home mom for two years now.  It was those people, as well as my family, who were by my side through what were some of the darkest times of my life so far.  The road we've taken is certainly the one less traveled, and despite what we gave up in the process, I don't think we'd have it any other way.

"Do not go where the path may lead;
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson



Today was a kind of cool day for me.  I woke up and got ready for the day while Josh fed the boys, then I took Wyatt to his two-year Well Child checkup with his pediatrician, whom I love.  I just saw her two weeks ago for the twins, and was excited for her to see Wyatt.

He is big for his age, which I already knew, and a little bit short, which I had assumed.  But what I was unclear about was his developmental status.  It was awkward to bring it up, so I just said, "I don't want to be one of those moms who thinks her kid is brilliant, but..." and Dr. V cut me off and said, "But you think your kids' brilliant?" and laughed.

I showed her how he knows the letters of the alphabet with his flashcards; told her he can spell his name, count to twenty, recognizes shapes and tell us where he's from; and she heard with her own ears how articulate he is and how amazing his sentence structure is for a two year old.  We got done talking and she said, "He's absolutely advanced.  Gifted.  He is smarter than some children entering kindergarten."

It took my breath away.  I mean Josh and I had wondered.  We had talked. We had done a little google searching to see what we could see... but to hear my pediatrician confirm that this little guy we have is something special was really awesome.  I feel so proud of him.

From here, she suggested I let him participate in as much school as possible with the twins, allowing him to dictate when he does or doesn't participate.  We agreed that it's very important that we follow this through at his own pace.  It makes me really excited to start kindergarten with the twins, doing sight words and math... and see if Wyatt can keep up.

Well, now that I am done bragging (thanks for allowing me!) I will share some of the hilariousness that has come out of the mouths of our bubbly, chatty boys these days:

Saturday was Wyatt's birthday and as I was rocking him for his nap, I said, "Wyatt, today is your birthday? Remember when you were born?"
He responded, "I bonk my head."
So I asked, "How did it feel?"
And he said, "Happy."

Later that afternoon we were at a party at my Aunt Linda's house, for my cousin Savanna (who just graduated with her high school diploma and her two year college associate's degree) and as we said goodbye, Aunt Linda was holding one of her little chihuaua's.  Wyatt looked out the car window at her and said, "My have it?" So Linda came around and let him pet her.

Then on the drive home he said, "Linda's dog was so cute. So cute, mom."

The other day when I was changing Wyatt Jack blew raspberries on Wyatt's belly, and Jack goes, "He loves it when I blow rose-berries on him.  That's his favorite."

We were in the car, waiting for Josh to get a movie at RedBox, and the guy next to us had a little dog on his lap.  Jack goes, "I want that little dog. I would smush it in my pocket."  He stopped for a minute, and I was laughing hysterically because I always say that about cute babies. I say, "Oh, I would just take you home in my pocket!"

He said, looking at me all serious, "I would take it out to feed it! And to share it with Wyatt," he thought for a minute, "But you would have to clean up the poop."

The other morning the twins were being really quiet (never a good sign) and as I walked into the dining room, they were at the table with crayons and a coloring book, whispering.  I listened and realized they were making a list of all the naughty things they would like to do if they could wake up at night while I was asleep.  On the list was: driving (Jack would take the wheel and Logan the pedals); pouring whip cream in their mouths; and eating all the chocolate in the house.

Of course they can't write, so their "list" was just jibberish letters, but I heard them whispering all the things to each other. It was hilarious. And also very naughty.  So we had a talk about imaginary plans and real plans...  Ha!

We take the boys swimming when we can on Friday afternoons because it's only $2 per person at our favorite place.  Last week we took the boys and when we were loading them in the car, I was telling the twins that when mommy & daddy take them to do something special, it's really nice if they say thank you when it's over.  So they each said thank you for taking them to the pool, and as I was buckling my seatbelt Wyatt says quietly from the back, "You're welcome, mom.  I had a good bath."

That same ride home, Jack was asking how much money it was go to swimming. So I told him it was $2 for me & daddy & him & Logan.  Before I even finished talking, he goes, "So it was $8?"  He can do math so quick in his head! I was blown away!

There is rhubarb growing in our backyard here, and I harvested some with the twins this weekend.  Jack wanted me to make pie right away with it, but I told him I would have to wait until I could get together with Nanny (my mom) so she could show me how to do it.  He looked impatiently on the top of the microwave and goes, "But you have your book, mom!" referring to the recipe book that I made in the spring.  I explained that even if you have a recipe, it's sometimes helpful to have someone actually show you how to do it, especially if it's your first time.

The twins both use the word "very" instead of "really."
"Mom, I tried it, but I don't very like it."
"That toy is not very working."
"I didn't very eat that much."

On Father's Day I took all the kids to Fred Meyer to get some groceries and hair gel for Josh for Father's Day.  The twins really wanted me to get a "car cart".  I told them they are too big for it, and I didn't want to get it for Wyatt, because it's for two kids, not one.

Logan said, "Well, maybe when we get little again we can go in it."

I explained that growing only goes in one direction, that once you're big, you don't get to be little again.  "Why?" he asked. I told him that's just the way it is.  He seemed disturbed by that.

Today when I got home from Wyatt's doctor appointment (where he had a shot, cried very little, and was quite the "brave dragon") Jack was running in to use the bathroom when he said, "Mom, guess what?  Dad put jello in his hair," he grabbed the hair gel off the counter, "This one, mom.  This new jello you got him for Father's Day!"

Parenting the last few days has been really tough.  The twins are fighting a lot.  Jack is pushing limits and testing boundaries, and Logan is using his hands (hitting, punching, pushing) instead of his words.  Plus Wyatt has joined the fray and is now as bad as the twins about playing fight game or wrestling, and can often leave the twins in tears.  And his tantrums-- oh my holy-- that kid can throw a tantrum.  And I swear as I am carrying him to his bed for a timeout, he weighs double what he would when he's being agreeable!

But last night, when all three were asleep, and Josh and I had finished our "date" of frozen pizza and This Is 40 (hilarious!), we snuck in to spy on them as they dreamed.  Wyatt was asleep the short way in his crib, with his chubby piggies poking out between the rails; Jack was asleep with his Santa Bear on his chest, his arms wrapped tight around it; and Logan was asleep like a wild child, sprawled out across his bed, stuffed animals everywhere.  Josh leaned over and kissed the two big boys' foreheads, causing a tear to come to my eye... He is such an awesome dad, and they are such amazing boys. I just felt really blessed in that moment.  We had had a great Father's Day- he worked on the riding lawnmower that's here but not running, and the boys and I went on a bike ride and played out front a lot. Josh's brother and his girlfriend came by, and that was really nice. Just to visit, sitting in the front yard, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies, watching as cars drove by.

It's nice to know that we can take a day to slow down when we need to. It's been fun, so far this summer, to stop when the kids say or do something hilarious and write it down.  It's been wonderful, each night, to slow down, read stories, share kisses and make memories.

The other day I began telling myself, "Slow down" any time I noticed my heart was racing or I was feeling anxious.  It is working like a charm, that little reminder to breathe, be in this moment, to not rush these days with our boys.

I hope that as summer begins for you (whoever you are, wherever you are) that you, too, can remember to slow down.  It's such a beautiful thing.

"Slow down. Calm down.
Don't worry. Don't hurry."
-Alexandra Stoddard


"I want daddy"

I don't think a day passes in our house where one of the boys doesn't request, "I want daddy."  
Jack wants his daddy to "work with him" (on the lawnmower, the house, the car), play baseball with him, kiss him goodnight.

Wyatt wants his daddy to hold him, comfort him, tickle him.

Logan wants daddy to wrestle with him,  read his bedtime story & take him down the slide at the pool.

These boys seem acutely aware of just how amazing their daddy is. 

I am so blessed to be raising these three little men alongside such an awesome grown man.  Josh is a perfect example of what a man should be- hardworking, loving & committed.

We love you, Josh.
Happy Father's Day!


happy birthday, light of my life

Dear Wyatt,
Today you are two years old.
In two short years, you have accomplished many things.
(Walking, talking, learning your ABC's & 123's...)
There is so much I am grateful for.

  • I am grateful for your company, that got me through your daddy's absence after you were born.
  • I am grateful for your giggle, that makes us all smile.
  • I am grateful for your "little brother" status, that has softened your big brothers and lets them show their tender side.
  • I am grateful for your relationship with your daddy, that makes my heart swell and fills you both up.

All four of us would agree that you are the best thing that has happened to our family. 
We adore you, we cherish you, we love you.  

Happy Birthday sweet, wonderful boy.
May it be filled with magic & wonder.
Love, Mommy

****For a peek at Wyatt's first few days on the planet: check out his birth story****


birthday, birthday

As I am sitting down to write this post about my beautiful little boys turning five, my heart is heavy with the news of others whose future birthdays are not a given.

In the last week I have had three people I care about tell me they have been diagnosed with MS, thyroid cancer and leukemia.

While this makes celebrating a birthday taste bittersweet, I am grateful to be reminded of our health.  I have been blessed with three healthy children (two of whom got new bikes for their birthday!) who can run and play.  And that is so amazing.

We started their birthday morning off with waffles.

Which are always a hit!

Then we got ready for the day, loaded up the car with their new bikes and a picnic lunch, and took off for Coop Park.

The boys are all into hat wearing these days.  Wyatt loves this Buzz hat I found in the storage unit that used to be the twins'.

And Logan & Jack love their new WSU hats that I found at Lids at the mall while we were buying sandals with my mom last week.

Once we got to the park, Wyatt was strutting around like he owned the joint.
That kid cracks me up!

And the big boys finally got to ride their bikes!

I was amazed at how quickly they adjusted to the new, bigger bikes (sans training wheels!) and were able to "start" themselves.  They make me so proud!

They bought each other baseball bats for their birthday, and were anxious to try them out with dad at the park.

They each did great, getting a few hits.

Josh is such a patient teacher, and he loves baseball, so it was fun for everyone!

Soon we all gathered around for a picnic. 
We had invited my sister and her two littles, as well as my mom, to join us.  
It was a really fun morning!

After lunch Nanny pushed Wyatt & Milo in the swings side by side. It was so cute!

Milo loves the swing whereas Wyatt's not so sure. 
Nanny managed to keep them both smiling, though.

There was tons of off-roading, especially with Jack, whose favorite thing to do is ride in the gravel.

I just loved watching them go around and around the loop, never tiring.

Ferris isn't ready to pedal yet, although I think Roxanne's hoping watching the twins will convince Ferris to give it a try.

He chooses instead to scoot with his little legs, and Roxanne and I both commented that our thighs would KILL us the next day if we were doing that workout!

Off went Jack...

And then Logan...

And then Ferris!
He didn't let his tiny bike slow him down.
He wanted to go with the boys every time they went around.

It's just too much fun to watch the three of them together.
I can't wait to take them to the river and camping together.
All the memories they will have... it's just really special.

Wyatt was getting pretty warm by the end, so he and Nanny sat in the shade singing. That baby loves to sing or be sung to.  It was so precious!

Soon we loaded the car back up with our sweaty, exhausted boys and headed home for naps.
After naps we were off to Aunt Julie's to BBQ for the twins' birthday.

I picked up an ice cream cake for them (Oreo, of course!) and we played and ran and laughed and finally ate dinner.

Julie had put up decorations in the boys' current favorite colors (Jack's is blue, and Logan's is yellow, like his father), which are also my junior high school (shout out to all you Wy'East alumni!) colors, where I was a cheerleader. So I felt a little bit like I was at an awkward 8th grade dance whenever I noticed the streamers.  Luckily no one was ignoring me and there wasn't any Ace of Base playing... so it was all good!

I love the way she sewed the streamers together, though. So pretty & fanciful!  Not to mention super thoughtful for the boys!

Wyatt loves Julie's house, and in fact, when she stopped by our house the other day, he wanted to go to her house with her to jump on her trampoline!

After dinner we lit the candles on the boys' cake (five each!?!) and sang.  

Logan blew out his candles over and over as we sang.

Ethan saved the day and re-lit them for him!

I told them to make a wish, but Logan just laughed and said no.

I guess that means they got everything they wished for this birthday!

Once we ate the cake (which was awesome!) we headed out front where Josh, Ethan & Alvin played basketball, and the little boys chased Julie and I around with dart guns!

We also played some cars with Wyatt.

And used up every last ounce of their energy.  It was such an awesome way to end such a special day in my life.  

June 6th is special because two amazing little boys entered the world.  
June 6th is special because I became a mommy.  
June 6th is special because Josh became a daddy.

But mostly June 6th is special because we became a family.