A Heavy Heart

Last night we were watching a movie, eating pizza with our friend Leah when she got a text message about a plane crash near St. Mary's.  St. Mary's isn't technically part of our district any more (they are their own district) but we play each other in games and it's very close to Pitkas Point, which was part of our district up until last year (when they got too small to sustain a school).

The plane was headed from Bethel to Mountain Village (our district headquarters) which is just past St. Mary's.  It had nine passengers and one pilot on board.  Somehow things went wrong, and just four miles from St. Mary's runway the plane went down.

KTUU News Link
The pilot, a couple, and a newborn baby boy (also named Wyatt) all perished in the crash.  There were six survivors, all of whom are in fair condition except one.  The survivors were medivac'd out and a full investigation was started this morning.

Our hometown news in Washington even had a blurb on the accident.  It is devastating any time a plane crashes, but this was especially horrific because of the fact that it happened in our school district, and Terry was a pilot many people knew.

Our hearts are broken for the families and their loss.  
It is a sad, sad day in rural Alaska.



Second Annual Marshall Thanksgiving

We awoke to this gorgeousness Thanksgiving morning.
A wonderful reminder of our creator & the beauty he shares.

In the afternoon we hosted our second annual Marshall Thanksgiving for the staff,
and it was a huge success.  
We had 23 people here, including our family.
It was so much fun!

Martin cut the turkey for us with his electric carving knife,
and everyone brought delicious food to share.
There was so much food!

Our boys were asking all.day.long if it was 3:00 yet.  They were so excited to have company and to get to eat all the yummy foods they kept smelling.  When their friends finally arrived, they had so much fun sharing their toys, showing off their room and trying new foods. 

Mostly they wanted dessert! 
Fudge, pumpkin pie (with whip cream, of course) & chocolate cookies!

I didn't take any pictures, I decided instead to just enjoy the day, so I was grateful that Peter snapped a few!  It really felt like a magical day.  We each shared one thing we were grateful for before we ate, and what I said is definitely what I felt in my heart-- this community. I am so grateful that even though I am thousands of miles from family & loved ones, I have people here who care about me & my family.  That is truly the best feeling.

On the agenda today, aside from enjoying this snow globe we're living in, is putting up Christmas decorations.  I am really excited to hang twinkle lights, decorate the tree and uncover our Christmas books.



for motherhood

 Today I am grateful for being these three boys' mama.

 I am grateful for Logan,
for making me a mom,
and for being the tender heart he is.

I am grateful for Jack,
for being surprise Baby B,
and for holding the key to my heart.

And I am grateful for Wyatt,
for letting me experience parenting a singleton,
and allowing me to become the mommy I want to be.

 I am grateful for bedtime prayers, morning snuggles & spontaneous, "I love you's"...
I am grateful for story time, homeschooling & little boy sound effects.
I am grateful for family movie night, little feet & hysterical giggles.

I am also grateful for brotherhood.
These boys melt my heart,
and I feel so blessed to be the one raising them.

"A parents love is whole no matter how many times divided."
-Robert Brault




This & That

I found that I had a handful of pictures that didn't really fit into any other post, so here they are.

Josh got this little note from Jack last week.
"Thank you for making crunchy macaroni, Daddy."

{heart swoon}

 Wyatt's blue taggie had been missing for about two weeks.
Yesterday I found it!

I showed him I had found it and he goes, 
"My taggie?!? I love that thing!"

Then he ran to me & grabbed it.

 Do you know what this is?
If you think it's a pitcher for the boys' play dishes, you'd be wrong.

It's the home of our most recent pet.
A fly.

Jack caught him by the window after lunch, and all afternoon they carried him around in there, checking on him and giving him food they found under the kitchen table.  "Because flies like garbage, mom."

This little one has become quite the little singer. 
This morning when I went in to get him, he was singing Brave by Sara Bareilles.
"Honestly, I want to see you be brave!"
He's so scrumptious!

 Today on the agenda is Thanksgiving lunch at the school; making fudge & baking pumpkin pies; and an evening social for the boys.  A fun-filled day that will lead into a much-needed four day weekend for our family.


And lastly, I wanted to share these pics of the boys in a box.
They just crack me up!

Today's Daily Gratitude:

My Camera
for being a great hobby,
for capturing precious moments,
and for supplementing my words on the blog


Lessons Learned

1.  Hard won successes taste sweeter than things that are easily achieved.

2. People are more likely to help you if you're polite.

3.  Cocoa just tastes better with whip cream.

4.  The best way to show your love is with your time.

5.  Everyone loves getting mail.

6. Going to sleep on clean sheets is worth the effort of changing them.

7. Writing is the best way for me to get clarity about a situation.

8. When you feel the most alone, God is there.

9. It's hard to change our ways, even if it will make our lives easier.

10. Listening to good music makes any chore better.


Today's Daily Gratitude:

My Dad
for working to support our family
& instilling in me a love for the outdoors


Weekend Update + What Makes Me Happy

Weekend Update:

Friday my anxiety reared its ugly head again. But I took the advice of my book (Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes) and let the feelings float over me. I continued on about my day as if it weren't there, and by the afternoon, I was feeling alright.

For date night Josh put sausage on the pizza, which was awesome, & we watched Ocean's Twelve, a classic favorite.

Saturday I was still having anxiety, so I accompanied Josh and the boys to Saturday Social.  I find that when I am having anxiety, the worst thing I can do is be alone. While at Saturday Social I figured out where my anxiety came from. On Thursday night Josh and I were talking about the future, and with his new degree, everything is kind of up in the air. We don't know where the future will take us, and with my emotions right now, that's seeming pretty scary.

We had family movie night (Josh made the boys favorite- cheese & olive pizza) and we let them watch Home Alone. They laughed so hard during the part where Kevin was tricking the bad guys, Josh and I were rolling just watching them giggle.

Once the boys were tucked in for the night, I headed to Leah & Johanna's for Girls Night, where we sat around talking, as girls will do, for hours on end. It was just what I needed to get outside my own head. It's so nice to have those girls for my friends, knowing they have my back.

Sunday I slept in (thank you, Josh!) but woke up with a headache.  I took my migraine medicine, which makes me drowsy, so I took a short nap on the couch before taking the twins to Aaliyah's birthday party.  They were so excited. All morning they kept saying, "I can't believe we're invited to her party!"

Josh made some bread and we discovered why my past few loaves haven't been good. Our yeast was bad. So the dough wasn't rising enough to make a good loaf.  I am grateful we discovered the problem because I was starting to feel really bad about my baking abilities!

In addition to making bread, he cleaned the house while we were gone and he made dinner (homemade macaroni & cheese) for the boys.  I feel so grateful that he did so much while I wasn't feeling great.

This week:
  • Clean the house (!!!)
  • Wednesday- Thanksgiving meal at school with Josh's class
  • Thursday- Hosting our second annual Marshall Thanksgiving
  • Figure out how to cook a turkey
    • when do I start defrosting the dang thing?
  • Figure out how to make pumpkin pies
    • then make them
  • Friday- decorate for Christmas

Next week:
  • Start Elf on the Shelf
  • Begin addressing Christmas cards


What Makes Me Happy:

Double rainbows
{Thanks Cyndy for calling to tell me about this one!}

 The boys' new room
{Here's hoping having the bunkbeds dismantled makes for more sleep filled nights!}

New books to read
{I finished my newest Anita Shreve & am ready for more reading!}

Music from a friend
{Thank you, Karen. I love it!}

The school supplies my Aunt Linda sent my boys
{They love playing "school" with it, and I love the enthusiasm they have for kindergarten now!}

I am also happy that I've been blogging nearly all month!  A few more posts, and I might actually empty out my draft posts!  At one point there was more than forty. Now it's down to 17!  Wahoo!

Today's daily gratitude:

My sister
her friendship 
& how she inspires my parenting



Basketball is huge in Marshall.
Everyone loves to play.

At the park back in August, even Logan & Jack tried to play.
It was so cute to see the big kids give them a chance.

Today's Daily Gratitude:

Quiet Time
it feeds my soul the peace it needs


Such A Big Kid

My sister was a saint during our last week in Washington, 
and had each one of the boys for a day to play.

Logan chose to ride his bike to her house (she lived one house away in the summer) and in that moment, as he rode away, I couldn't believe how big he was.

I still can't believe it, really...  That the twins are five. That they are in kindergarten. That they are learning to read. I can't believe that they can brush their own teeth, dress themselves and run the DVD player.

The other night Josh and I were talking about next summer.  We were agreeing that camping is going to be even more fun this year than last year. That as the boys get older the work to fun ratio evens out a bit.  

After the whirlwind that was their first two years on the planet, 
I am grateful to be in a place where things have slowed down and gotten easier.


Today's Daily Gratitude:

My Mom
...for her generosity of heart,
and her love.


It's Twins!

Pregnancy Dreams
When I was 1 week pregnant (and didn't even know it yet) I dreamed that I was pregnant with twins and the doctor was explaining that one baby hides behind the other sometimes.  That is what happened for real, at 19 weeks, when the ultrasound tech found a second baby.  We had missed him at my previous appointments.  We saw one little white bean at my first appointment, and heard one heartbeat at my next appointment.  Until I re-read my journals after having the twins, I had completely forgotten about this random dream.

I also dreamed about that I gave birth to the tiniest, most adorable hispanic twins before I knew I was carrying two babies.  In that dream, one of the twins died and I took it home in a baggie. That's how small they were.

Disturbing, I know.

Pregnancy Complications
My midwife, having heard that the tech found a second baby, called me at home the evening after my appointment to apologize for missing it.  The worst part (if there is a bad part) about finding out I was having twins was that I could no longer see my midwife. I had to see an OBGYN because of the risks of twin pregnancy.  Luckily I liked my OB as much as I had my midwife, and I needed a good doctor as my twin pregnancy was not without complications. 

I had gallbladder attacks, starting at 24 weeks, and the pain of the attacks would cause me to contract.  I was placed on a low-fat (10 grams of fat/day) diet and was able to sustain the pregnancy to 37 weeks.  Eight weeks postpartum I had surgery to remove my gallbladder.  When I later got pregnant with Wyatt, I was so grateful I didn't have any eating restrictions. With the twins, I wanted to have a steak SO bad!  The good thing about the diet was that I only gained 25 pounds, but at the time, I didn't care about that!

Having A Favorite
Having a favorite twin is very common, although it's a taboo topic.  I have done a lot of research on the subject, and it's somewhat evolutionary to have a preference.  70% of mothers prefer the larger, more robust twin.  And did you know that panda's who give birth to twins only keep one? They cannot sustain two, so they don't even try.  Knowing that many women have a favorite, and that with time the issue resolves itself, I felt less bad about the fact that I had a preferred baby when the boys were born.
Who is Older?
It's a question I get a lot.  And one that I don't mind answering.  Being that I have my degree in psychology, I strongly believe in the importance of birth order.  I think where you are in your family line up has a huge impact on who you are, so I have always been open with the twins about who is the firstborn.  There are many twin experts who will tell you not to divulge birth order with your twins because it causes competition.  But the truth is, twins will compete.  It's the nature of twinship.

Honestly, I am more concerned about competition because of ability (or lack thereof) than I am about competition over who is older.
That's Twin-Parenting Life
A friend of mine sent me this Link to a hilarious article about raising twins. Josh and I were laughing out loud reading it together one night.  If you have twins, it's a must-read.

The Twin Bond
On Monday, the boys were watching Lion King during nap time, and as Jack watched Simba take in what land his father said was theirs, he goes, "I would want to be a lion king... but only if I could be a twin lion."

My mama heart melted.

I just love being their mom.  I feel so lucky that I have gotten to experience everything that being a twin mom has allowed.  From the magic of, at one point, being three people in one (which always tripped me out to think about) to witnessing their similarities & differences everyday, it has been a blessed journey.


Today's Daily Gratitude:

Connection to that which is bigger than me


Life in Alaska

It's been a while since I did a "Life in Alaska" post, and since Winter arrived on Tuesday (like literally blew in, bringing with it snow and subzero temperatures) I thought I'd get these pictures from fall posted.

I had hoped the weather would wait until my birthday to arrive.  I got my wish, and I feel so blessed that we were able to take advantage of such an amazing, extended fall.


I have to say, first of all, that commercials are rude.  Red Robin, Red Lobster, and most of all Subway!  I see the commercials and all it does is remind me of what I'm missing out on.  Namely vegetables & someone else making my meal!  Earlier this year, Josh brought me Subway that the district had flown in for the staff. I was ecstatic. It was so good!

{Mt. Pilcher}
Occasionally the co op will have grapes, avacados (for $5 apiece!) and bananas, and those are happy days.  For my birthday, Peter & Leah (fellow teachers) brought me goods from the AC store in Mountain Village, where they were for training. (Mountain Village is where Lower Yukon School Districts' district office is.) If I could change one thing about Marshall (aside from relocating my family & friends here!) I would wish for an AC store.  AC stores have more access to fresh produce and a larger supply of groceries because it is a statewide chain.

{Walking the airport road}
Peter brought me two bunches of bananas (!!!) and Leah brought me a beautiful head of green lettuce.

I miss lettuce & tomatoes probably the most.  Bananas, apples & oranges would be second.  So these gifts from my friends were joyfully received.

{Teacher Housing- Our unit is on the left}
The sense of community among us helps so much.  We turn to each other for ingredients when needed, sharing the goods.  Earlier this fall, while waiting for our Span order to come, we were given both milk & flour, making it possible to feed our family.  If a neighbor calls needing mayonnaise, batteries or large ziploc bags, you answer the call. Because it may be you next who needs something.

{The Yukon River}
I had a question that rolled in late after my last "Your Questions Answered" post.  They wanted to know if we have wolves, fox or polar bear here in Marshall.  There were wolf tracks spotted just yesterday along the river, and our first winter here the boys and I saw a beautiful red fox hunting out the playroom window on the tundra. 

As for polar bears, we are too far south.  
(We are in Southwest Alaska, near Bethel on this map.)

Other than wolves and fox, we have brown & black bears, moose, porcupine, beavers, lynx, and martin.  There is also a large variety of birds.  Ravens, ptarmagin, swan, geese, ducks, owls, and eagles.
People here can make animal/bird calls like nobody's business.  It is truly impressive.

Aside from the weather changing so drastically, our amount of daylight is also transitioning.  Yesterday the sun rose at 10:13am and set at 4:53pm.  We will lose roughly five minutes of daylight everyday until the winter solstice.  

If there's anything I've missed this time around, things you wonder, things you'd like to know, feel free to leave a comment and I'll put together another post for the future!

Today's Daily Gratitude:

The Computer