Under The Same Moon

Tonight, as I celebrate the new year in Anchorage with Julie, I will take comfort in knowing the boys (Josh included) are under the same moon, albeit a few hundred miles away.

I miss them crazy, and leaving yesterday was so hard for me.  (Flying away from them always feels wrong. So so wrong.)  But they are having a blast with daddy, and I am trying to have fun here in town.  So far we've eaten out, gone to the doctor and this afternoon we plan to see a movie! (My favorite!)

2014 was a hard year for me, and I am ready for 2015 to come, bringing with it new things and a whole lot of hope for the future.

Hugs & kisses from me to you, boys!!!
Happy New Year!


{Photo credit: my husband}


To Be Needed...

These boys of mine... 
they are needing me lately, and I am so grateful.  The loss of the baby, whom I was so excited about having, made me feel quite useless when it came to parenting after my miscarriage.  That baby was going to need me in all the exhausting ways a newborn does.  Whereas my six & three year olds are nothing but more independent with each passing day.

{My Jack & me}
But the last two weeks, they have been gently reminding me that no matter their age, a boy always needs his mommy.

Jack asks to be tucked in at night and to be tickled daily.  I remind myself that even though he's big, he still needs to be held and hugged and loved.  Logan began requesting that I lay with him at bedtime and sing.  Then when I'm done laying with him, Wyatt has been asking to lay on my chest "Because it's cozy" he says.  Today he asked to sit in my lap during morning cartoons, and when I asked him why he said, "Because you are part of our family."  Well, you can't argue with that logic!

{Logan & Mommy}
In addition to daytime tickles & bedtime snuggles, I have become their go-to for bad dreams.  First it was Logan, dreaming that he had died and couldn't be with me anymore.  Then it was Jack, dreaming that Wyatt had stopped breathing in his sleep like Josh's baby sister Margaret did.  Both of them were seriously shook up by their dreams, and I happily slid out of bed and tucked them back in, whispering prayers in their ears as they drifted back off.

These moments, where my services (as it were) are needed have made me feel like a mommy again. 

{He hates kisses}
At bedtime I sing Dixie Chick's "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" and JJ Heller's "Keep You Safe" pretty much on repeat for them.  Their favorite is "Keep You Safe", which they call "Your Heart" and mine is "Godspeed", which lately reminds me of my baby in heaven.  

"Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh, my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings
Sweet dreams"

But laying there, as the sad feelings wash over me, I can't help but simultaneously feel incredibly blessed to have the three souls I do, in the room with me, peacefully tucked into their beds.

As I enjoy being mommy to these beautiful boys, 
another song I have been loving is 

"I've been taking pictures for a long, long time
Some are on paper, but most are in my mind
Snapshots and memories of the days when we were young
I plan to keep them
Long after you've grown and gone

I remember watching as you took your first step
Seems the clocks been running faster ever since
Every day a little taller, it says so on the wall
The days are passing
And they're not going to stop

And if I could
I would
Ask time to stand still
So I could hold you a little longer

I'd make the minutes stop
So we would always have today
I won't let the sun go down
Until you know how I feel

I love you so much
I wish time could stand still

Fingerprints all over the sliding glass door
And I can barely see underneath the toys on the floor
I have wished away the sleepless nights,
the noise and the messes made
But my heart reminds me
I'm gonna miss these days

So if I could
I would
Ask time to stand still
So I could hold you a little longer

I'd make the minutes stop
So we would always have today
I won't let the sun go down
Until you know how I feel

I love you so much
I wish time could stand still



Christmas Eve

As we prepare for Christmas Eve, 
and say goodbye to our beloved Elf Dashy, 
we'd like to say:

"Merry Christmas to all,
& to all 
a good night."



Mr. Personality

Wyatt is, I think, the favorite of everyone in the house. It is adorable how much the twins love him.  They fight over special time with him, argue over whose turn it is to help him, and melt when Wyatt hugs them randomly.  He can get Josh or myself to help him with just about anything.  And when he cries, we all rush to the rescue.

He says adorable things all.the.time -- I just can't keep up-- but here are some of them.

There are a lot of flies in Marshall.  The first part of the school year was way worse, but we still see them occasionally.  Josh and the twins were talking about flies and how there was one in the playroom the other day, on it's back with its legs wiggling.  Wyatt piped up frantically, "Is it a sting bee?  Like at grandma's house?"  Last summer Jack got stung by a bee at Grandma Carol's and now Wyatt is a bit wary!  Josh assured him it was just a fly.  

Wyatt isn't just funny, he's also incredibly smart.  I tested him yesterday with the test I did on the twins when they were four years + two months.  Wyatt is only three years + six months.  (So the twins were eight months older than Wyatt is now when they took it.)

Wyatt was able to label the same number of shapes (four) as the twins were.  He knew twice as many colors (nine total) although that's not really fair because since then we've discovered the twins are in fact colorblind.  He knew all of his numbers 1-10 (the twins knew none of their numbers).  And Wyatt knew 17 letters (+ the sound u makes, but not its name).  Logan and Jack, when they were 8 months older, knew absolutely no alphabet letters.  

...The kid astounds me.

In addition to what he already knows, he is always seeking to learn more.  The other night at bedtime he asked what "tundra" meant.  Sometimes the questions he asks make me stop and really think.  He's even helping my brain grow!

On Thursday night last week the boys and I attended Josh's school Christmas recital.  It started at 7:30, which is a half hour after our kids are already asleep every night.  The next day we went back to the school for the Christmas feast for lunch.  During the assembly before lunch, Wyatt fell asleep on Josh.  It was so sweet.  Josh said he couldn't remember the last time Wyatt had slept on him. It was precious.

When Wyatt wants to show you "how much" of something, he holds his fingers (pointer & thumb) as far apart as possible (making a big "L" with his fingers).  When you ask him how much he loves you, he does that and says, "This much!"  It's so cute!

When I ask him a question he answers, "Well..." like a big boy.  For instance, I will say, "Why do you have that?" And he will say, "Well, I was going to use it."

He growls, "grrr", when we tell him no;
and he stomps his feet, or sometimes rolls on the floor.
In those ways, he is just your typical three year old!

He loves to choose chips at lunch, eats bananas like nobody's business, and drinks water like a dying man in the sahara.  But, like any other three year old, he hates trying new things.

He loves to help his brothers put away dishes and gets really hurt feelings if he's not included in things they do.  He likes putting laundry in the machine, enjoys scrubbing the toilet and will put his dishes in the sink.

Bath time is his favorite of all time.  He stays in long after his fingers & toes turn into prunes.  I will say, "Are you ready for me to wash you?" And he'll say, "Not yet, mom!" 

Lately he likes to play with chip clips from the silverware drawer, and the other morning he came up to me with a pained expression and said, "I -- pinched-- myself."  I lifted his shirt as he indicated, and saw where the metal clip had left an awful red mark on his belly.  Poor, sweet boy!

One morning he was flying his airplane around the kitchen saying, "No hesitation. No hesitation!"  Seriously? Serious.

He is just our little {big} bundle of joy.  If you need a big hug, a big laugh or a big dose of reality, he's your man.  I will sing into different things, pretending they are microphones and he'll say, "Mo-om, that's not a microphone! That's a fork!"  
I love him. I love his little fingers, his sweet chubby feet, his eyes, watching mine, and the soft downy of his hair that cowlicks aggressively near his forehead.  I love rocking him to sleep, watching him play when he doesn't know I'm watching, and seeing his face when I find him during hide & seek.  

I just can't get enough of him.  


Homesick, Heartsick

I've been a touch sad the last couple of days. Crying over nothing, at totally random times.  I'm not sure if it's my hormones, the miscarriage (it's been 8 weeks now) or my being homesick.  This year is the worst for my homesickness.  It's never been this bad.  I miss my people.  I miss my places.  I miss being able to distract myself with running errands and spending time with friends and family.  I miss being able to get the kids out of the house-- going to the zoo, or my mom or sister's-- to enrich their days (and mine!).  I miss picking up an easy meal out after a long day, and the ease of driving myself wherever I need to go (namely the doctor).  I also miss shopping.  And vegetables.

I have a trip to Anchorage coming up. To meet my bestie.  I know it will be a super fun, much-needed break, but along with all my sad emotions, I am feeling really guilty about leaving Josh and the boys.  There's so much I am looking forward to doing while we're there-- eating out, shopping, going to the movies, and catching up with Julie.  But I can't help but feel that niggling sense of guilt about being gone so long.  It feels selfish. 

Josh encourages me to look forward to the trip.  Telling me that it will be a wonderful mini-vacation, that he and the boys will be fine without me, and that he's glad I get this little bit of time away.  He assures me I will come back refreshed, and that it may be hard to say goodbye, but it will make coming home ever-so-sweet.

On this trip I would have been finding out the sex of our sweet little baby. So I think that is making the trip a little bittersweet as well.  New Years would have marked the halfway point of this pregnancy and instead of growing a little one inside me, I have no idea what the future holds.


"I know sometimes you cannot breathe deeply,
and the night sky is no home,
and that you are down to your last two percent, 

nothing is infinite
not even loss.

You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day,
you are going to find yourself again."

-Finn Butler


Chasers of the Light

It started on Pinterest.  I saw one, then two, then three quotes by Tyler Knott Gregson, and that was all it took. I was hooked.  A lot of his poetry is about love, which I adore... But what I like even more are his poems about life.

Chasers of the light is a collection of his poems, typed old-school on a typewriter he picked up at an antique shop in Montana.  I read the book, cover to cover, in a matter of days, and nearly every page was magic.

A few favorites:

"Find the positivity.  Find the grace.  Find it and hold it and cling to it like it is your lifeline and only breath of air before everything sinks.  Find the silver linings.  Hold them in your lungs and search for them in the bubbles and rubble of all that pours down around you.  Find the bright spot in the dark clouds, listen for the sounds of the birds when the winds pick up and tear down the house around you.  It is there, shhhh, it is there, it is always there and it is waiting for you to reach out with both hands, bloody and shaking, and hold tight to it like it is the last thing you will ever learn how to let go.  Find the glory, the glory through the ache, and understand that it is what we can endure that defines who we become.  That it has never been about the punches we can throw, but the punches we can absorb and still stand up from.  It is the standing up, it has always been the standing up and the refusal to lie still and quiet as the numbers count towards ten and the knockout becomes complete.

Rise my soul, rise through the flame and ash, rise through the waters that fill the spaces under your arms as they crawl toward your throat.  Rise and find the grace, for it is all around you.

Find it. Find the grace."


"Be gentle,
always delicate
with every soul
you meet,
for every single morning
you wake up,
there is someone
and secretly,
that they
had not."


"We are all 
for the right
to want to
get out of 
each and
bitter cold


"Look up more than down.
See more than say.
Listen more than speak.
Hope more than dread.
Believe more than criticize.
Yes more than no.
No more than maybe.
Laugh more than cry.
Love more than hate.
See. More. See."

So now you see.  You must buy it.


The Happiness Project :: ETERNITY :: December

I a little bit fell off the wagon of happiness in November. I still did a lot of the things I had planned, but perhaps less consistently than I would have liked.  But I am determined to stay on track, so here are December's Happiness Goals.
I love this quote.  It reminds me so much of what Gretchen's goal was when she wrote The Happiness Project.  She wanted to "change her life without changing her life."  That's my goal.  I already have a really good, blessed life.  I just want to appreciate that and live it to its fullest.

December's goal area is Eternity.  Gretchen's chapter in the book about Eternity says that great minds encourage us to consider our death.  For death is what makes life so beautiful.  This is a touchy subject for me as a majority of anxiety stems around the idea of getting sick and dying. (And leaving my husband and young children behind.)  But I am determined to do it because I know that if can face the fears, they will diminish and peace will come.

Gretchen started her month on eternity by collecting memoirs to read about suffering, illness and dying.  She explained to her husband that while the books were indeed sad, they were also uplifting.  She found herself extra grateful for her ordinary life.  I had the same feeling as I read Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search For Meaning last week.  It's about his time spent in a concentration camp and his subsequent theories on the psychology of life's meaning.  The book was, generally speaking, depressing.  But I, too, found myself feeling grateful for the things in my life.  Warm showers, enough food to eat, my loved ones being alive & well.  

Reading these accounts of suffering made real the quote by William Edward Hartpole Lecky,
"There are times in the lives of most of us when we would have given all the world to be as we were but yesterday, though that yesterday had passed over us unappreciated and unenjoyed."

So for the rest of December I want to:

1. Surrender Daily

Let it go & trust God
{remember "It is safe to trust." -Ann Voskamp}
I want to stop fearing bad things that might happen.  
Gretchen reports that this is a great source of unhappiness, 
and I am guilty of it.

2. Keep a daily gratitude journal

Find something about every situation, especially trials, to be grateful for,
& continue with my 1,000 Gifts notebook--
{finding the "ugly beautiful" in my life}

3. Spend some time journaling about death

Keeping in mind that as with surgery, God cuts into our hearts to make us whole.  There's no seeing God face to face without first the ripping. {Ann Voskamp}  As afraid as I am to contemplate my death, I have to go through the pain to arrive at peace.

I want to trust, fully, God's plan for my life, and stay focused on the positive.
The new year holds good things.
I just know it.



On My Nightstand

For October I made the {small} goal of reading four books.  At the time I thought it was a reasonable goal.  And I got through the first two books rather quickly.  But I just finished Outlander (two.months.later) and still haven't finished Unconditional Parenting.  But the goal of reading {more} was accomplished, so I consider it a win.

Then for my birthday, Josh completely spoiled me with $100 Amazon gift card for books.  And his sister, my bestie, also sent me $ for books from Barnes & Noble {my favorite!}, so after Thanksgiving I sat down and gathered all my notes and wishes about books I wanted to read, and began finding them on the interwebs.  {Also for my birthday, my mom sent me Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson, but that book deserves its own post, so keep an eye out for it!}

Said books have been rolling in ever since, and it makes me SO happy!


In addition to finishing Outlander, I also finished Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.  Man's Search For Meaning was a very timely read considering the loss of our pregnancy and the uncertainty of our future. I really loved reading about the psychology behind his theories and how positive his view of humanity was despite all he went through in the concentration camps.

This morning I started Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.  My mom had told me about at the end of the summer, so we both got it and are reading it together. I'm excited to be able to talk to her about it as we read!

And now, on to the books on my shelf. 
Oh how this sweet little collection makes me smile!


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand
Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Sister by Rosamund Lupton
The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Little Face by Sophie Hannah
Don't Let Me Go by Susan Lewis


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

After Leaving Time, I would like to reread The Giver.  Josh and I watched the movie for date night last week, and it made me want to read the book again.

I also hope to finish Unconditional Parenting.  I am looking very much forward to Josh's Christmas vacation (3 weeks, baby!) so I can get a little more reading done than I have in the last two months.

What are YOU reading & loving?
Please share!


Good & Bright

{So loose it was crooked!}
Right now I am in this weird place in parenting where I'm not needed like I once was (to help in the bathroom, to dress them or to feed them) but I'm also not quite to the point where I can get things done simply and without "help".

{"I crunched it out with that cookie!"}
{All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!}
 Instead of brushing their teeth, I am playing "Tooth Fairy."  Instead of airplaning food into their mouths, I am trying to shove kindness and consideration down their throats.  It's a bit strange.

They are more independent now than ever, and also more capable of pitching in.  But with that maturity comes some things I wasn't prepared for.  Embarrassment (for example, before we did the Just Dance game we borrowed from a neighbor, Jack insisted we close the windows) and also frustration (for example, when we tell them they have to do something they don't want to do).


Lately there have been many days spent inside with cold and windy weather (but still no snow!) so we have pulled out all the stops.  Play Doh was my secret one afternoon.

I love how they will protest at first, but before they know it, they're making pizzas...

ice cream treats...

and candy to "sell".

We've also been doing a lot of coloring, which I enjoy.  We'll sit at the table, the four of us, with Christmas tunes playing in the background and we will color to our little hearts' content.  A favorite lately is our Elf on the Shelf color book that I got from Target.com and made copies of.

In addition to coloring and Play Doh, we spend a lot of time doing chores.  The boys have mastered putting away dishes,

and folding laundry.

They also take out the trash for me, and put the laundry in the wash.  I love how helpful they are, and that they are old enough to pitch in.  They occasionally complain, of course, and I remind them that in our family, it's all about TEAMWORK.  Daddy works to make our family money, mommy works to feed our family and keep the house clean, and their job is to help out wherever necessary.  This usually turns their attitudes around. 

I really want them to have a good work ethic, to not mind a challenge, and to dive into a hard job with a smile on their face.  One thing I do when they're working is let them listen to music, either on my phone or on the ipod we have.  I truly believe music can make a crappy job feel less crappy.


Another perk of them getting older is that they are hilarious.

I taught Jack the word "jog" a few weeks ago when it was in a book he was reading.  He now consistently calls it "hogging" on accident, and I think it's hilarious. I was telling my sister-in-law that if he ever saw me jog, he might think it should be called hogging.
We were talking about my grandma's sister who passed away, and Logan said if I died he'd kill himself to be with me.  It was so sweet how intense his eyes were, like that would solve the problem.  So we talked about how the people left on earth miss our loved ones, but our loved ones are happy in heaven with God, and that there is still joy to be found on earth.  Such deep talks I find myself having with that boy.
One afternoon Wyatt wanted to know, "Mom, what does "pitied" mean?" I asked him where he heard it and he said, "The lion pitied the mouse."  He heard it from Aesop's fable on ABC Mouse.  So I explained (to my three year old) what pity is. This kid astounds me.

For probably a year now, Wyatt forbids kisses.  This of course, makes him seem more kissable than ever.  I will kiss his cheek, his neck or his owies, and he will proceed to "wipe them off" aggressively.  Then he says, "No kisses!"  Once in a blue moon he will kiss my forehead if I ask for a kiss, but never on my lips.  And rarely can we sneak a kiss on that doesn't get wiped off.
One day while he was naked before baths, he asked, "What holds your body on? Glue?"  It was adorable.  I explained that our skin kind of keeps it all together.  Sometimes he stumps me.
I was shocked the other day when the twins were talking to him about right & left (we talk about it a lot since the twins are mirror twins-- Logan is left handed and Jack is right handed.  In addition to that, Josh is left handed and I'm right handed, so we talk a lot about handedness) and we discovered that Wyatt knows his left & right! No one even taught him. He just picks stuff up!

He can also count out items, like crackers or guys.  He's not always accurate, but he's always enthusiastic.  "It's five. That's my favorite number!" is what we mostly hear him say.  Even if there are twelve. Or two.  He says, "It's five! Mom! It's five! That's my favorite!"

I said before that with Logan I often find myself having very deep conversations.  The other night at bedtime I was laying with him and he said, "If you started when you were young, maybe you could go visit God."  He likens heaven to another planet, thinking it is "light years" away and takes a long time to get to.  He reasoned that if he started really young, he would make it back before he was an old man, ready to die.  He is desperate to get to heaven to see Josh's baby sister Margaret.

Another night he asked me, "Does your belly stay big after a baby?" and also, "What if all three of us were in there together? Could you walk?" I laughed and said, "Barely, I bet!"

While it's true that most of my heaven and God talks are with Logan, Jack has been asking questions more lately as well.  I think it's all the talk of Jesus' birth in our Christmas books.  The other day, after my grandma's sister had passed and I shared the news with them, Jack asked, "Why can't God bring us back to life?"  I gotta tell you, this is the tough stuff of parenting.


The next few pictures are from my *new* instagram account.
(Sorry for the repeat if you're a follower!)
I am so happy to have finally joined!
Check it out:
I bribe the twins with Wii time in the afternoons if they stay in bed until the light is green in the morning.  The light turns green at 6:15am.  It makes for some long days, but bedtime is at 7:00pm sharp, so that's a bonus!

They love Super Mario Brothers, which takes me back to my childhood.  We love Yoshi around these parts!

 The other day for school we did this awesome calendar that Kymberlee got us at the start of the school year.  This time we did the circulatory system.  We worked our way through the parts, naming them and learning their functions.  When I asked what the heart does, Jack told me it pounds.  And Logan said tentatively, "It's where the love is?"

Gah, I love that kid!

Wyatt has a queen size bed. Obviously not because he needs one.  It's just what they had here in one of the storage lockers when he outgrew his crib.  That kid uses every.inch, I tell ya!  He is never where I left him.  I wonder what he will do if we ever have to downsize him!

Last night Logan was telling us that he wishes he and Jack got to sleep in that bed.  I asked if he meant taking turns, and he said no. Like last summer, how they shared a bed. He wants to do that again.  When Josh and I asked him why, he said, "Because then if I have bad dreams, when I wake up, I know Jack is right there with me."




PS- I noticed, looking back at my Ten on Ten post, that the twins dressed the same that day.  They did it on purpose. I love when they are adorable like that. For the most part, when we're in Alaska, I let them wear whatever they want. I don't care. Most of the time this produces different outfits.  But occasionally they will decide to match. They love it. It's so cute.