Ten Ways Having a Little Boy is Like Your 7th Grade Boyfriend

1. You are the center of his universe

2. He constantly wants to hold your hand

3. You are in charge of the social calendar

4. He can be rendered speechless by a hug & a kiss

5. He thinks you are the most beautiful girl he's ever seen

6. When he's not sure what he's feeling, he turns to you to express it for him

7. He will give/make you cheap jewelry

8. He writes you ineloquent, poorly spelled love letters that you can't bear to throw away

9. He can't imagine what he did to deserve you in his life, but he's forever grateful you're his

10. Imagining the inevitable future the two of you face will break your heart


Homeschooling is Hard

 Jack says his job, every kids' job, is only to play.

Therefore it has been challenging the last two weeks to get him to do school. Especially reading. Because of this, I am changing up everything we have been doing, in an effort to make school seem not only more exciting, but also to try some different techniques for getting through the curriculum.

I decided after Christmas break that instead of having Wyatt watch movies on our Tablet in the playroom, I wanted him to play or join us. Either way, I wanted him around, soaking up some of what he hears as I teach.  The first few days were hard.  Breaking that Tablet habit was tough.  I thought I'd need a support group to help him through it!

But we made it, and he's now adjusted to playing quietly in the playroom, joining us in the kitchen or bringing a bucket of toys into the living room so he can hear us, but still play freely.  I am much happier because his screen time is down to a half hour each day, which makes me feel so good!

However, the twins have struggled with the transition. Now instead of being plugged in to the movie on the Tablet, Wyatt now bounces in and out of our lessons, and the twins are having a hard time dealing with the distractions.

My plan for now is to do our simpler work (math, sorting, patterns & crafts) in the morning, and save their more intensive reading program (which takes at least twenty minutes each) for the afternoon, while Wyatt is napping. It will be a big change, as they are used to Wyatt's nap being their break time for enjoying a movie or playing, but I think overall it will do them good.

I have also discovered that Jack actually needs more school, not less. He needs to be working on his flash cards and reviewing letter sounds and groupings.  If he had more confidence, I think he would struggle less with the reading. So that's also on the top of my priority list.

I was telling my sister-in-law that it's a good thing homeschooling is really super-duper important to me, because if it wasn't, I am not sure I could stick with it. It has been really challenging. I have to remind myself that I haven't been fully well for most of the year, and as my health and mood continues to improve, school will come easier for us.  Because of my illness, we haven't had official school in over a month, so adjusting back to our routine has been big.

We also came up with rules for what school time should look like.  
The boys chose the following three rules:
1. Stay in your chair
2. Do your work
3. No whining

Making these adjustments feels good, and involving the boys in the changes has been pivotal. There is more good to come in the future.  I can feel it.

"There is no school equal to a decent home 
and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent."
-Mahatma Gandhi


Funny & Sweet

These kids have been cracking me up lately. Mostly Wyatt, whose speech far surpasses his two and a half years, and whose lisp makes the words he says even more adorable.

For example:
"This is serious, Logan!" -Wyatt

"It's not fair!" while folding his arms -Wyatt

And when he farts,  he says,
"Excuse me, farties."

And when I go to change his diaper, he always will warn if necessary,
"There's poops in there."

I've noticed some of the last "baby-ish" things the twins say, including "ack least.":
"Ack least we have that one!" -Jack

And along with story telling, Wyatt has taken to asking questions.
The conversations start like this:

Wyatt: Can I ask you a question?
Me: Sure.  (He then proceeds to tell me a statement.)
Wyatt: Alligators don't bite.
Me: Yes, they do. But we don't have any alligators here, so it's okay.
Wyatt: Mom, you're cute.
Me: Aww, thank you. So are you.
Wyatt: We're cute aren't we mom?
Me: Yes. Why do you think I'm cute?
Wyatt: Because you're little.
Me: And why are you cute?
Wyatt: Umm... Because I'm big!


While Josh is gone, I let each of the big boys have special time with me.  On their night, they got to stay up with me, have  special treat and sleep in my bed. They thought it was the best thing ever.  Seeing their enthusiasm about something as simple as spending one on one time with me was heartwarming.

When Logan woke up next to me in bed Friday morning, he said, "I slept so good mommy! I think it's because you were with me!"

Jack was eating his special treat (a fun-size Hershey bar) while I was laying Wyatt down for bed.  When I came back in my room, he said to me, "I saved half, mom.  It's just for you. For letting me have special time with you."

Seriously. These guys. Heart.melting!

And one more hilarious story to close.  I started potty training Wyatt today. My bush order from Walmart came yesterday, which had his new underwear & his potty chair in it.  So I thought, "Let's do this!" So when he woke up this morning I put a t-shirt & underwear on him, and we practiced sitting on the potty many times.  He never peed, though. Instead he came to me while picking his morning snack and said, "I'm sorry, mommy. I peed on my knees in the pantry." Sure enough, he was wet, and there was a puddle in the pantry.

Later he came running out of the playroom with something in his hand, 
and he proclaimed, "I found a rock in the playroom!"

Umm... it was not a rock. 
And after that Wyatt got an extra long morning bath.

I forgot how hard potty training is. How did I do it with twins?!?


27 Tips for Surviving Anxiety

The last few weeks, since getting well from pneumonia in December, I have been uber focused on getting well mentally.  This has included a variety of methods, so I thought I'd share what has worked for me with you!

 1. Be Optimistic 

It's so important that I believe I can be well.  Holding onto that hope has been a struggle at times, but it's so worth the fight!

2. Be in the Moment 

If you are struggling with anxiety, staying out of the past and out of the future is really important.  Being where you are with what you're doing can get you through anything.

3. Read this Book

Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes

4. Go to this Website


5. Accept the Anxiety

Take the advice of the book & the website, and accept the anxiety, knowing it will eventually pass.  The more you resist the feelings, the stronger they get.  Relax into the sensations, and don't fight them.

6. Reach Out

Phone calls, text messages and time spent with friends is really important.  Anxiety can be very isolating, so seeking out support has been vital to me.  Sharing my struggle in person and on the blog has been very therapeutic, as has talking with other people who also deal with panic.

7. Read for Pleasure

Just 6 minutes a day can improve your happiness.  There was a period of time when the anxiety was too severe for me to focus on reading, but once I could, I found it brought me immense joy.

8.  Take Baths

Taking time, usually before bed, to lay and let my thoughts simmer before trying to sleep has been very useful.

9. Indulge Yourself

Every day I listen to my favorite music, put in new Scentsy smell goods, take a long shower, eat a little chocolate, and try to enjoy some kind of quiet time, even if it's only ten minutes before I fall asleep.

Letting myself be the priority in a few different ways each day reminds me that I am a priority, too, not just the kids, my husband and the house.

10. Drink water

And lots of it.

11. Sip Tea

Mentally, drinking tea does a great deal of good for me. It makes me feel warm and comforted, and generally calmer than before I had it.

12. Eat Healthy

When I am able to eat well, my whole body feels better, which leads my mind to feeling better, too.  With my anxiety came a lack of appetite, so it was important that I continue to eat despite my lack of desire to do so.

13.  Get Plenty of Sleep

An early bedtime has been vital for my sanity.  Being sleep deprived makes me less rational, and more emotional.  Getting enough sleep allows me to think before responding, and has let my weary mind get a much needed break.

14. Workout!

Everyday, do a little something to get your heart pumping. This helps deal with the adrenalin that is overreacting inside, causing anxiety.  It also releases endorphins that make you feel happier!  Bonus-- working out also makes you tired and more likely to get a good nights' sleep! Awesome!

15.  Take Your Medication

I am on a daily medication for anxiety & depression, and I also have an as-needed anxiety pill.  I never miss my daily pills, and I work very hard to take my as-needed pill whenever I need it.  Sometimes I try to be the hero and avoid taking it, but this generally doesn't work out real well.

It's also important that you give medication plenty of time to start working, and have open communication with your doctor about what's working and what isn't.

16. Find a Good Counselor

Don't be afraid of finding someone to talk to.  Even if you aren't sure what you will talk about, or what your problem is, a counselor can help. They can help by listening, providing coping mechanisms, and directing you toward a better future.

My first counselor was not the right person for me. His solution was for me to move back to Vancouver, but I am a firm believer in "Wherever you go, there you are", so I felt he was misguided. I talked with my mom, sister and Josh about it, and eventually had to make the decision myself to let him go. You want a counselor who challenges you, yes, but not one who intimidates you or doesn't hear you.

My new counselor has acknowledged the challenges I face, given me new thoughts to ponder, more tools to use, and has lead to Tips #17 & #18.

17. Change Your Thinking

Don't catastrophize, remember "I can do hard things" and challenge old beliefs.

18. A + B = C {work through your emotions!}

A is the Activating Event
B is the Belief you hold about the Activating Event
C is the Emotional Consequence of your Belief

Using this equation, you can challenge your belief that (in my case) being sick (Activating Event) means I should FREAK OUT (Emotional Consequence) because when I sit down and write it out, I realize I only freak out when I'm sick because my Belief was I couldn't go to Anchorage alone. That belief is no longer true, so I am currently retraining my brain to NOT freak out any more when I don't feel well. It's a long road, but I truly believe I can retrain my brain.

19. Journal

My brilliant friend told me that I need anxiety to GET OUT. By whatever means possible. Pray, write a letter, text someone, or journal.  I found that I was scared to journal when I was anxious, but then I did it, and it was amazing. Writing it down was like setting the caged bird free.  The anxiety literally left my body.  I highly recommend it!

20. Use Visualization

My counselor gave me an awesome visualization to use when I am having worries.  He said to close my eyes and imagine it is fall, and I am sitting along the rocks of a slow moving river.  He said to pretend my worries are leaves floating down the river.  Watch as they float past, acknowledging and labeling them (fear of death, worry for illness, financial concerns) and then breathe as I watch them go. He said our anxieties are real, and we can't force them to leave, but this visualization  helps us accept and then let them go.

21. Focus on Your Breathing

In the peak of a panic attack, I find that it's helpful to focus on my breath.  I breathe in through my nose to a count of four, and out through my mouth to a count of four. I breathe out somewhat forcefully to make sure my lungs get completely empty.  Focusing on this, and counting the breaths, allows thoughts to flow freely in and out without concerning me too much.

22. Use Worry Time

On the Anxiety Coach website (see # 4 above) he says that something his patients have found effective is the use of a specific time to stop and worry. When I first read it, I was laughing. But it seeped into my subconscious, and now when I feel a worry coming, I say, "I will worry about that later." And then I do. My worry time is in the shower. I pray, out loud, about every.single.thing I am worried about, and then I get out of the shower feeling a hundred pounds lighter.

23. Trust God

For me, putting my trust back in God (while reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp-- thanks again, Kasey!) has been huge in my recovery. Knowing that I'm not in control, but He is, has brought me much needed peace.  Praying everyday, casting my cares upon Him, has allowed me to let go of all the little things and just be.

24. Express Gratitude

When I was so sick, I found that practicing gratitude could really help my perspective. Yes, I was sick, but I had Gatorade! I had my inhaler! At least the kids weren't sick! Finding the silver lining has been a fun challenge throughout this struggle.

25. Fake it Till You Make It

Everyday since I got back from Anchorage I have gotten ready for the day.  I do my hair & make up and wear jeans, not yoga pants.  The idea is that if I look normal & healthy, and move about at a normal & healthy pace, maybe I will start to feel normal and healthy. It's crazy how much it works!

26. Develop & Stick to Routines

Having a daily to do list, regular times of doing things like homeschool, as well as a weekly Date Night & Girls Night help me to have a sense of normal, even when my emotions are out of whack.  Sticking with the schedule, even when you don't feel like it, sort of goes hand in hand with "fake it till you make it"-- if you can just stay with it, it will eventually feel right.

27. Be Flexible

Allow yourself to accomplish things, or let things go, whatever makes you feel good in the moment. Anxiety is all about getting from one moment to the next. So if tackling your to do list puts a smile on your face, then do it. If sitting on the couch watching one more episode of Teen Mom 2 makes you feel better about yourself, then do that.

This is my favorite quote about anxiety:
{Thank you Kari, for sharing it with me}
I find that keeping my anxiety in check requires constant vigilance, but it's all about balance.  Making sure I am taking care of myself as well as those around me.  I hope this list helps some people out there.  I am certainly not using all 27 of these at all times, so feel free to pick and choose what works for you.  Everyone is different. And if there are things not on my list that have worked for you, I would love to hear about them.  

Thank you for letting this be a place where I can talk about my anxiety freely and have such love & support. You guys are the best!


just me & the boys

Tomorrow Josh leaves for Anchorage.  
So it'll just be me and the boys.
For the next five days.

I have had a touch of anxiety today, fretting about not getting a break, staying sane and keeping my forward progress. But I have more tools now than I did in the past, so I am optimistic that it's going to be a good weekend, even if Daddy isn't here.

Logan is excited for Saturday Social.

Jack is excited because our new movies came and he can't wait to choose which one we should watch on Family Movie Night.  Will it be Honey I Shrunk the Kids or The Land Before Time?

I am glad we have some things to look forward to, and I worked my tail off today preparing for his departure. I did laundry, caught up on my correspondence, submitted my insurance paperwork I had been putting off and made a shopping list for Josh.  My hope is that I can do the bare minimum while he's gone and just enjoy the time with my boys.

Josh made sure I had all the groceries I needed from the co op, and picked up all our packages at the post office.  He leaves in the morning and will have three days of Response to Intervention training as well as two days of travel there and back.

I'm as prepared as can be, and I am better now than I have been in a good long while. So I am anticipating a lovely weekend with these cuties!


Random Tuesday Night Update

(deep breath)
How are you?

Everyday I think, "I'm going to sit down and write a post" and then every night something has come up during the course of the day, and it just never happened.  So this post might be a little all over the place, but it will at least catch me up.

We had a busy week last week, and an eventful weekend.

The weather this winter has been strange.  Very warm, not much snow, and generally very windy. With the wind comes lots of static and dry air.

Logan and I thought this blanket being affected by the static was pretty cool.

In addition to creating static, the dry air makes our skin nearly painful.  We are all so dried out.  I have turned to Dove daily body wash and pumping lotion like it's going out of style!


Last week we got back into our routine. Josh went back to work after three weeks at home for the holidays, and the boys and I picked up school & our daily grind.

It was really hard on the boys emotionally.  After having daddy around for so long, getting used to him being gone was really tough.  Wyatt would cry, asking Josh if he could go with him to work.

Homeschooling has been hard, too. 

I will leave it at that, but there will be a hard homeschooling post coming soon.

Friday afternoon we got a break when we headed over to the school after Wyatt's nap to see a basketball game.  Marshall hosted a tournament for five schools, so the entire weekend was full of games & dances.  For Josh it meant long hours & a lot of work.  For the boys and I it meant a chance to get out of the house, see some friends and enjoy nachos & slushies from the concession stand!

I thought it might be interesting for you to know how other teams come to Marshall. Occasionally the closer villages can ride in on snow machine (like Pilot Station and Russian Mission) but the rest of the time, the students come on planes chartered by the district.  

While watching the games, Wyatt was so adorable, so excited.  
He was constantly clapping and cheering.  

 Leaving the school was a bit of an adventure Friday evening...
Let me tell you a little story:

"Once upon a time there was a mom with three young sons.  She lived in a tiny village on the Yukon River in Alaska where the winter weather had been strange, finicky.  After a day of rain, what had been a few inches of snow magically transformed into a thick sheet of ice covering the entire village.  Departing the school basketball game to get her boys home for dinner, this mom geared her three boys up-- snow pants, scarves, hats & mittens-- bundled tight for the insane wind, and headed out.  The weather was actually quite warm, in the thirties, but the wind was gusting beyond fifty miles an hour.  As the four set out, stepping off the fluffy snow by the school and onto what had become a skating rink, the real adventure began.

Before she could believe it, one of her older sons was sliding on the ice, down a hill and away from her and his brothers.  His little brother tried to follow suit, but his mom was able, barely, to grab him by his hood before losing him down the hill as well.  It soon became apparent that she, without her ice cleats, was not going to be able to get her boys home safely.  Every step was precarious, and wrought with danger as the wind threatened to blow she and her boys down the road away from their house.

Enter her husband, knight in shining armor with ice cleats on feet and bravery to spare, to save the day. One by one he assisted his children and wife across the ice lake that had once been a road and safely delivered them to their front door before heading back to the school.

The mother breathed a sigh of relief and vowed to never again leave the house without her cleats." 

Lesson learned.


Later when I talked about the ice incident with the twins, I said it was kind of funny.  Well, Logan lost his scarf during the windy debacle, and he promptly informed me that it most definitely was not funny.  The next day he was talking to my mom about it and he told her that he was pretty sure his scarf blew "all the way to America."  (Along these same lines, I wanted to tell you a kid "funnies" post is in the works & coming soon.)

After getting the kids home, fed and in bed Friday night, the house felt lonely & quiet as it was the first date night Josh and I have missed in a long time.  I will admit, I missed the pizza perhaps as much as my husbands company. What can I say? He makes really good pizza! 


 Josh ordered the boys a CD player after they received some music CD's for Christmas.  They are in love with it!

Wyatt especially.   It's so fun to watch them choose a CD, pick a song and dance together.  

Josh continued his crazy hours working the tournament, while I attempted to enjoy the day off with the boys.

In the afternoon we headed to the school again (this time with ice cleats!) and enjoyed more treats from concession.  We also got to visit with my friend Augusta, who would take Wyatt home with her in a New York minute.  Love her!

When we got home from the school, we had family movie night, and apparently the day wore them out, because they were asleep before I knew it.


Over the weekend I finished reading The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty and started A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy.  I am so happy to be reading again. I have truly missed it.  

I awoke Sunday after a sleepless night with Wyatt and somehow found the strength to clean the house.  Josh had invited a few people over to watch the Seahawk's game, and it was a nice excuse to sweep the stairs, vacuum the rug and scrub the bathroom.

I hope to do the rest of the house, a really deep clean, as January wraps up.

The Seahawks game was fun, and it was nice to have people over.  Plus the Seahawks won.  The bonus was that Josh made pizza for all of us, and it was awesome. Double prizes!


Lately Wyatt has been all about washing his hands independently. I can hardly believe he's old enough to do it himself. There's a lot about Wyatt that is surprising me lately, so there will also be a post all about Wyatt coming soon.

We awoke Monday morning feeling fairly certain that Wyatt had an ear infection.

Unfortunately the clinic was closed Monday, so we had to wait until Tuesday to have him be seen.  Thankfully I had recently re-stocked our supply of children's motrin and was in a good position to keep him out of pain.

Monday Josh was principal for the day, which meant we didn't see him for lunch. That always makes the days longer, and as I said earlier, homeschooling as has been super challenging as of late, so it was a hard day, but with my anxiety nearly gone, I find that obstacles are much more easily overcome.

I am planning to work on peaceful parenting & establishing our routine, as well as crossing things off my to-do list & blogging, in the week to come.  I feel like January is such a beautiful time to be starting fresh and letting go of old habits.  I am anxious to feel like we have a new "normal". Especially with my finally being well.

That sense of normal may still be a long way off, though, as Josh will leaves Thursday morning and will not return until next Monday night.  It's going to be a long five days all on my own while he attends a Response to Intervention Conference in Anchorage. Thankfully, both Leah & Peter have offered to help if I need anything, and I know everyone else in our little community here will help if I need them.  It's a good feeling.

It's also a good feeling that my anxiety has been nearly non existent. I am surprised to say I'm not too nervous for his departure. I am planning an anxiety post (coming soon!) to tell you all about my methods for dealing with this monster and how they have helped me cope.  It feels so amazing to {finally} be on this side of it.

"Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the small voice at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
-Mary Anne Rademacher



Anxiety Improved my Marriage

 I told my mom just the other day that many of the challenges I have faced in my life, I would choose again because the outcome was worth it.  Anxiety is not one of those.  I would never choose to suffer panic attacks and debilitating worry.

{Engagement :: 2002}
But if I were pressed to find the silver lining, I would have this to say:
Anxiety has made me fall more in love with my husband.

Watching as he's cared for me, listened to me, pushed me to seek care, and supported me through what has been one of the toughest periods in my life has pushed our marriage to the next level.  I thought I loved him before. I had no idea. 

I had no idea the depth of his love for me. 
I had no idea the strength he had. 
I had no idea that he could play both mother & father while I was busy getting well.

{Life in Alaska :: 2012}

I ask every day why God gave me this gift of a man who loves me so wholly.
I don't have the answer, but I do know I'm grateful.


Life Lately

Coming back home after my trip to Anchorage was a bit nerve wracking. I knew we only had a few days of vacation before Josh would be heading back to work after three weeks at home, and I was nervous my anxiety would rear its ugly head when he returned.  

Thankfully, that has not been the case.  With my medication, counseling, hypnosis track (thank you, Jessica!) my journaling, emailing and texting friends when needed, I have managed to find myself better than I've been in a while.  Also, Josh and I started working out together every morning.  It makes a HUGE difference in how my day starts. We wake up together, before the kids, and exercise. It's a nice chance to talk and spend time together before the kids wake up and all hell breaks loose.

Each day I make all the beds upstairs, plug in "smell goods" (AKA Scentsy plug ins), play happy music and get completely ready for the day (dressed, do my hair, make up and wear jewelry). It's amazing what those little things do for my psyche as I begin each morning.

I have also been making sure I take time to read a novel for pleasure each day.  It was hard at first, but now I look forward to it.  I just finished The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, and have started The Hypnotist's Love Story, also by Liane Moriarty.  I have a stack of books that I will be blogging about soon that I am excited to get started on.

Aside from focusing on self care (which is obviously really important right now!) I have also been focused on giving back to my family, who has been so amazing at putting up with me.  I find that I missed taking care of Josh-- I missed making him food, welcoming him home, and cooking dinner for our family.  It's so nice to be able to do these things again.

I have also been paying special attention to our boys.  Just a few days away, and I feel like I am seeing them with new eyes. Everything they say is adorable. Everything they think is brilliant.

I love how the twins call wolves "woofs", and they call barking "roofing". 

I love how excited they get when I let them watch grown up TV shows.  We love Alaska shows: The Last Frontier, Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, Mountain Men.  We love cooking shows: Chopped, The Pioneer Woman.  We love house shows: Love It or List It, Property brothers (hello, handsome identical twins!).  They particularly love Gold Rush and just this morning they saw a commercial and were like, "Mom! It's a new one! This Friday!!!" So cute!

Wyatt's been sick, just a cold, and I have to say, he has been so good about the nose sucker.  He still can't blow his nose like the older boys can, so I use that before he goes down for naps or bedtime to try and get his nose working.  A few nights ago when I was laying the boys down for bed, Jack told me in a serious voice, "Mom. I made a bad choice. I put water in that thing you use for Wyatt and I drank out of it. I think that's why I'm getting sick." Oh.my.god. I almost threw up. I thought for sure he was talking about the nose sucker (you know, the blue things they send you home from the hospital with?)... Thankfully, he continued on, "You know, the shooter you use for his medicine? There was one in the bathroom and I filled it with water." I breathed a sigh of relief. They were clean, had not been used, just empty medicine shooters. I can only imagine what my face looked like when I thought it was the nose sucker!!!

Logan has started telling Wyatt stories.  They start with "Once upon a time" and usually end with some kind of exciting violence. Often an alien or witch is involved. At the end Wyatt says, "Ooh, Logan! That was a scary story!" all excitedly.

Wyatt likes telling stories now, too. When we're in the rocking chair he'll ask me if he can tell me "one more story?" with his pointer finger up, indicating one.  "Once upon a time there were bad guys on Dora." Or "Once upon a time there was a robot and a witch." That's about it. But his face is so earnest!

The twins love to hug him, kiss his forehead when he's going to bed.  It is so sweet.  And Wyatt is still telling me every night that he's so happy I'm home.  Melts my heart!

Wyatt's prayer the night I came home was this:
Dear God, thank you that mommy's heart is all better. Thank you that she was brave on the airplane. Thank you that she came home to me. Please bless her. Give her blessings. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Seriously, the kid slays me.

When he gives me snuggles at bedtime, he'll ask me, "I'm a sweet boy, am I mom?" I love how he says it, and will be a little sad when he corrects his English.

He always tells me, "You're a nice mom." Or "You're the best mom ever!" I don't know where he got that from, but I don't question it. It feels good to hear!  

And it feels good to be back.