This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.
Some people might sit around wanting to blog but not have anything to say, no encouragement to write. I’m kind of the opposite. I have SO much to say but I get overwhelmed finding a starting point that I just keep the laptop closed and procrastinate on regular updates. It’s a sorry state to be in because I never regret past posts when I look back on them even if they are just a quick blurb and shot into life at the time. Isn’t that what this is, really? Just a glimpse into life as it is right now? So here we are, what is life right now?
Life these days is a little bit crazy but we are getting into a groove. Summer was over before we knew it and as we transition into fall, Molli and Gavin wrapped up their second weeks of school and are doing so well! Gavin started a half day kindergarten at Grace Lutheran. He’s a young kinder so he is going to do the same thing we did with Molli and use this time to grow in skills and mature a little bit before we do “official” kindergarten at public school next year. He has writing homework everyday and while it’s kind of a struggle for him, he’s been amazing. He’s trying his best and working so hard on those fine motor skills! He’ll be reading and writing before we know it.
Molli started first grade at Kaleidoscope, the arts and science charter school where my mom works. Getting to see Grammy each day has been a huge thing for my kids! They love all their grandparents but man it is special and good to know that her Grammy is loving on her when I’m not there. Her teacher seems very sweet and has already recognized her academic levels so she will for sure be challenged this year, which is great! My girl is a reader like her momma and it thrills me! She is excited to go to school and learn new things. She’s making friends and seems to be confident with herself at this new school. It’s a bit of a commute, but so far clearly the right choice for us. She is also growing up in ways that are completely appropriate but as my oldest, surprise me sometimes. She’s becoming more empathetic and understanding a little bit more about her place in this big world.
With the big kids in school this year I am excited to get to hang with my littlest man more often. We miss the others, but the one on one time will be refreshing for Baylor and me. He is still the same sweet guy he’s always been with some extra exaggeration on those eyebrows… He is still moody and enormously expressive. Someone recently told me that they never have to wonder what any of my kids are feeling. This is absolutely true, particularly for Bear! He sure can give “looks”! His imagination is really taking off and it just melts me to see him starting down the path of imaginary play. It’s such a fun stage and one that always amazes me! Their little minds are just so fun.
Myles has been amazing this summer. To be completely honest, it’s been a really hard summer but Myles’ resilience is impressive. He’s shown so much grace, maturity and strength. He’s been the project manager of a job up on the north slope, which has him working away most of the time. It’s not an easy schedule for him or for the rest of the family, but I have no doubt that it’s the best thing for us. Although a sacrifice, he is providing well for our family and we are thankful. When he is not on the slope, he has been spending most of his hitches off down in Boise with his mom and family.
Loraine, Myles’ mom, had a life changing fall back in April that has really shown us how precious and fragile life is. In the process of healing and regaining her strength and self, she found herself back in a bad state with a life threatening infection post-surgery. It was a major setback, to say the least, but she’s making steps in the right direction. It’s very difficult for all of us being so far away and not being able to help with big or little things. The kids and I pray for Loraine daily but sometimes it feels like not enough not being able to be the actual hands and feet of help. Myles has spent as much time down there as he is able, and I think it’s been worth it. Everyone there needs him and the steadiness he brings. The kids and I miss him tremendously, but I try to emphasize how Daddy is loving on the rest of his family and taking care of them when they need it and I remind them as well as myself that this wont last forever. We need him home too and he will be at the end of next week!
As for me, I kind of feel like a tornado. I’m always hustling about, either physically or just in my mind. It’s exhausting! I have so many good things going on in my life but some of my happy places are changing and somehow I’m in unique and somewhat uncomfortable positions. I’m facilitating a Bible study this fall and need to muster up the brain power to make that happen well. I KNOW everything will be fine but it feels like such a big thing. Literally the day after I finally said yes to that I got a text from a friend who is helping put together a women’s retreat confirming the day and time of the workshop I said I’d put together and lead. Oh yeah. Myles and I have had helped in the youth group with the high school students for a few years and we really enjoy it. We love watching them grow and mature as they begin life as young adults, but as our church transitions and we look for a youth minister, we’ve been pulled from the position we love with high school and put with 8th graders. A group I really need to pray for my heart to soften toward! All these things are uncomfortable and not my favorite. I told a friend that either God is teaching me to live outside my comfort zone more OR teaching me to say no to things I don’t want to do, even if they are good. I’m not sure which but I’m sure I’ll learn!
I’ve also had the opportunity to be involved in a ministry for teen moms called Young Lives for the past couple years and it’s been such a blessing. I got to go to camp with 6 of our girls and their babies/toddlers and what an experience it was! This was our second year going but was an entirely different experience than the first year, with twice as many teens and all toddlers rather than tiny babies. The camp is in Oregon so the travel was a journey to say the least. I’ll spare you the less fun parts because the main takeaway is that God is incredible. These girls have been through SO much and absolutely have my heart. I love each of them and am honored to call them friends.
Life is good. My kids are amazing and I am enjoying this stage of life even though I feel overwhelmed much of the time. When Myles comes home, surely there will be a touch of respite for me as we have fun together as a family. Until then, we’ll keep on keeping on and try not to lose our collective minds! And if we’re really lucky, maybe, just maybe we will get a day without rain soon!
After Myles and I got married, when we were in college and still lived in Florida, I worked for a while at a Hallmark shop. This meant three things, besides a bit of income. First, I had constant access to cards, which meant there was never an excuse to let a holiday or birthday slip by without procuring the appropriate cards with plenty of time to spare. Second, I got to hear people’s stories everyday as I helped them pick out just the right card or gift for whatever situation. Third, I always (always) had at least a speck of glitter perpetually stuck to my face. Hallmark is notorious for capitalizing on holidays and Mother’s Day was certainly one that would ensure a constant parade of people in the store, searching for something that would say just the right thing for all the most precious moms out there.
This Mother’s Day is no different; people everywhere will be hunting for that perfect little gift expressing sentiments of love and gratitude. But today, instead of hunting for just the right thing that says how they feel, why not just say it? I tell my kids constantly to “use their words” and it seems to be the most appropriate thing I can do today. I have been blessed with the most amazing Mom in the world, but when I got married (going on 11 years!), I also gained two other, incredible women I get to call “Mom.”
Many of you know that Myles’ mom had an accident a few weeks ago, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. She is in good hands and among helpful therapists as she recovers, but the road will be long and difficult. Probably longer and more complicated than anyone fully realizes yet. Myles has been back in Boise to be with his family twice since the accident, and I went along once. Let me tell you, it was difficult seeing someone so loved in such a helpless state; a strong, smart woman lost in the haze of an injury and putting forth great effort to overcome challenges that were never considered such. The re-learning and remembering will surely take a long time, but she is being supported and lifted up by people in her family, community and truly in the prayers of people across the world. The situation is devastating, and our hearts are hurting so badly, but there is hope because our God is a magnificent healer.
The thought occurred to me as I was flying back home by myself this week, that I hope she knows how much she is loved. I hope that understanding is so deeply ingrained that she knows it even if she can’t name it. I hope that same thing for everyone, but today, specifically for every mom in my life. It’s no secret that the love between a child and mother is unique. There is a bond that doesn’t compare to any other relationship I’ve ever experienced. There’s comfort, inspiration, acceptance, support and grace in each mother/child relationship I’ve been a part of. It’s a beautiful thing and I want to use my words to acknowledge it today.
Mom, Loraine and Suzette, thank you each for being Mom. Grandma, you fit here too. You are all so different from one another but those motherly traits are a common thread between each of you. I know you unconditionally love my family and me, and I hope you know we reciprocate. You’ve all taught me different things and there’s no doubt that you have plenty more to teach in the years to come. Molli has some great examples in her life! I love YOU!
Mom friends and mentors, thank you! I have a whole tribe of women surrounding me and I don’t have to do this alone. It is so refreshing to come to you and tell you how much I’ve failed but once I’ve finished whining, you pull me back up to reality. I have amazing Godly women in my life who can remind me that there’s grace in each moment and my failures are not going to ruin everything. I’m so far from perfect but I’m grateful that I don’t ever feel like I have to pretend to be. I love YOU!
Molli, Gavin and Baylor- you three have changed me permanently (in so many ways, thank you very much). You guys drive me totally bonkers but I love you to pieces. I mean it when I say “I love you more” because I’ve never felt a anything as enormous as I do toward you. You simultaneously bring out the mamma bear in me as well as the softest pile of mushy emotions. I can’t get over how amazing each of your different personalities are. It’s been a pleasure to grow with you all your lives and I don’t take for granted the many blessings of getting to continue this journey of motherhood. Thank you for making me a mommy. I love YOU!
Myles, goodness gracious. I don’t even know what to say. Maybe you’ll get your own Father’s Day post, but for today, thank you for being a good man for our family and for helping me be a good mommy. You’re a great dad, husband and friend to us. I’m thankful that your mom raised you well and for her love for you. You’ve shown so much grace and maturity, these past few weeks especially, I’m encouraged by you. When we became parents, our family changed tremendously, but I am happy that we are continuing to live out our wedding vows we made a lifetime ago and being the example our kids need. I love YOU!
Hallmark has a card for pretty much everything, but I don’t think there are any that say all that I have on my heart. I am so blessed to have all these amazing people in my life and so many great examples of love. If motherhood were to be summed up in one word it would simply, and maybe obviously, be “love” and I’ve got more than I deserve. I hope you all know, at the very core of your being, that you are loved and important! You are each teaching me and changing my life. If your card is late, which is how I roll, I’m sorry, but these are the real words I want to say to you on this Mother’s Day. I love YOU!
Real life nightmare. Some people might consider this an exaggeration, but I’m the type of person who thinks of every possible worst case scenario in any given situation. My husband is too, but in a less anxious way. I thought it was normal until college (actually, there were an awful lot of things I thought were normal until college) when my bff/roommate and I were stranded on the side of the massive highway with a flat tire, dead cell phones, dead car battery and a solid white 15 passenger van with whited-out windows pulled over to help us (or murder us, you decide). I told Amanda that I wasn’t opening the door for him but we’d talk through the already cracked open window but if he tried anything sketchy, I’d kick open my door, shoving him into traffic. Don’t worry my friend, I have A PLAN. A plan indeed. Luckily that plan was unnecessary and we eventually made it back (but I think we were late for curfew). Amanda made it clear that this was not a normal default. Whatever. The point is, unfortunately, some nightmares happen and there is no time for a real plan. There is only panic and hustle.
The scene is an average Wednesday morning. It’s becoming winter so it’s getting colder and staying darker longer in the mornings. It was a sleepy morning in our house and Myles and I were procrastinating with the whole “getting up” thing. I bit the bullet and got up first. I came out of the bathroom from brushing my teeth to find a sleepy Molli snuggling with her daddy in our bed so I took that as my invitation to snuggle too. Molli climbed over Myles to get to me and we shared a pillow as I enjoyed snuggling my enormous six year old. With a six year old, the cuddles are becoming fewer and farther between than ever before. So I had no choice! We snuggled until it was clearly time to get a move on. Molli abandoned us and joined a freshly-awakened Baylor in his crib until it was really time to get going.
We brought the party downstairs to begin a slightly more hurried version of our morning routine. That being a fancy breakfast of cereal while I braid hair. We decided on two braids. I got a brush, comb, spray bottle and hair ties ready, my hair-fixing arsenal. I brushed through her waist length hair while she ate and prepared the braids by parting it down the middle. That was the beginning of the end for me. I used the comb to pull the parted hair to it’s proper side and spotted something horrible! So horrible. I pinched up what I feared was a little bug and put it in a ziplock bag. Bagging icky things in ziplocks is my M.O. in any given situation involving gross things small enough to fit. With an increasing sense of panic, I looked more thoroughly in her hair and spotted another buggaboo. He joined his partner in the bag. Now realizing this was not a fluke, I turned the reigns over to Myles and ran upstairs and started stripping sheets with haste. Every inch of my home needed to be cleaned. Or burned up.
I hurried about the house clearing every room of anything that could be contaminated. She was in my BED! She was in Baylor’s CRIB! Sheets, pillows, recently worn clothes! Since most of my local friends were most likely sleeping still, or getting their own kids ready for school, I did not want to begin a widespread panic and enlist anyone else in this war quite yet. Instead, I texted an east coast friend who pretty much reinforced my plan A:
My mom works in a school office so she and her fellow secretary are fairly akin to the ins and outs of lice happenings and have knowledge and resources for such an event. These ladies had my back and gave me a step by step of what needed to happen next. I took their advice because the cleanup with their plan was a lot easier than the cleanup of the pile of rubble that would have been my home had I gone with plan A and lit the entire house up in flames. I cleaned Molli’s room corner to corner, bagged up half her room and the play room, washed all sheets, blankets, pillows, clothes, backpacks, coats, and hats, vacuumed every possible squishy surface and wiped down all the harder types. My washer and dryer ran nonstop for about two days. (I’m really excited to see our gas bill.)
I saturated Molli’s head in olive oil to suffocate any living bugs left (gag) and wrapped it all up in saran wrap (see photo above) then gave her a spot on the (vacuumed) couch on top of towels and handed her the ipad, which was her best friend that day. We washed her hair with Dawn dish soap to get the oil out then rinsed with vinegar to help the nits come out easier. She claims that was the worst part of the whole experience. I suppose if I was six years old, skipping out on all responsibilities and playing with an ipad for hours at a time, that would have been my least favorite part too. Once she was clean and dry I put on my headlamp and did my best momma monkey impression and spent the next three hours picking nits out of her hair. So fun.
The entire time I was scouring the house and being a psycho, I was freaking out internally over phantom itches in my own hair. Seriously, lice induces insanity. My internal thoughts were an anxious mess and I couldn’t stop googling everything. It was awful. My AMAZING friend and fellow lice survivor came over and searched my head (what a champ!) then when I got the all-clear, she helped me go back through Molli’s hair again. I slept with oil and plastic wrap on my head, just in case. The thing about nits is that they’re itty-bitty. They’re small and not, like, bright purple or something super obvious. They’re crazy easy to miss, no matter how closely you look or how bright your headlamp. For 2-3 hours a pop Molli’s head was searched and ridden of all nits. Hallelujah, we are free! My friend searched my head one more time a few days later, just in case and I started to breathe again. We re-joined the land of the living and immediately the kids got fevers and we had to coop back up.
Here are some of my thoughts from the other side:
1. Thank goodness for friends to search heads, deliver iced coffee and babysit lice-free siblings.
2. The internet has a way of making you believe anything. If you are hoping to not have to clean like a mad-person, you’ll find 6,000 sources online saying it’s unnecessary. If you feel dirty and crazy like you need to clean it all, you’ll find 12,000 sources saying it’s the only way out.
3. You don’t need to use chemicals/pesticide shampoo to get rid of lice.
4. It’s unpleasant but mostly for the creepy, ick factor. Lice don’t actually harm anything, have diseases or necessarily affect everyone (Molli was the only one in our family who had any!)
5. The length of hair doesn’t matter all that much. As long as it’s healthy and not unusually tangled, it takes a while a to nit pick through, but it’s not unbearable, and even kind of relaxing when there’s nothing left (I can’t believe I’m saying that. I’d turn on an audio book and get comfy). Don’t bother considering chopping.
6. Other survivors come out of the woodwork with heaps of sympathy when they find out your battle. It’s not a sign of anything dirty or bad parenting (but still such a stigma!).
7. You don’t need a magnifying glass to search these things out. Lighting is key- get a headlamp!
8. Lice (not nits) are certainly contagious, but mostly by head to head contact. There must be a balance when you have a kindergartner who wants to hug her friends. For now we are snubbing friends, when we remember.
9. It doesn’t have to be such a big deal. I mean, yes, it totally sucks, but if people could just tell people who might need to be more aware (aka- people who have been in close contact with the person/family) then everyone could be proactive and it wont have to go around and around. Catch it before it gets out of control! Communication, folks. Day one I was communicating with the school office, nurse and Molli’s teacher as well as the childrens ministry director at church, Gavin’s teacher and the preschool family with whom we carpool. As well as our close friends.
10. Some facts. Lice are small. They reproduce sexually and the females have one sexual encounter to last their lifetime but can lay several eggs (nits) each day. Lice cannot live more than a day or two off a head. A healthy louse will not purposely leave a head, except to join another head. This is pretty much a death sentence for it. Without wings or hind legs they can’t fly or jump.
11. I’m going to be doing regular checks on all my kids for the rest of their lives, and you should too.
So my friends, we survived the nightmare of lice. I’m not proud, but I’m sure why I should bother being ashamed. We caught it and dealt with it as thoroughly as we could, aside from jumping ship completely. I wracked my brain trying to think of where it could have come from, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter. It’s not as uncommon as we all probably assume. I currently know of 5 families at 5 different local elementary schools with it. So if you’re local, be aware and check your kid’s heads!
The waves flow onto the sand, reaching as far as they are able before begrudgingly drift back out into the sea. Over and over the waves roll up and back out. Methodically coming and going, increasing and decreasing in a smooth, stable pattern. Ocean waves are a familiar pulse. The waves are insignificant, quick flashes of a greater motive; the tide. It typically rolls in slowly with the waves, gradually creeping up the beach and back down again in its time.
Likewise, life ebbs and flows with various tides. At certain times life seems to radiate from each experience, each connection. There is a brilliance during these times. Perspectives shift and the world is a more beautiful place. In other times, a sense of emptiness looms as the struggle to find genuine meaning increases. These darker times are seen through a sepia lens, void of the vast, captivating palate that is intended to highlight magnificence.
I sense the tide rising in my life. The desire to connect deeply with people, the need to use my time learning about my savior, the urgency to recognize His hand and to approach Him with gratitude. My heart, sometimes literally, feels like it is being molded and shaped in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long time.
The chorus to Dividing the Plunder’s song “Perimeter of me” has been playing in my head as I reflect on where I am and where my life is headed.
And I want to live with wider eyes,
There’s far too much to see
To think of nothing else
But where I’ve been and where I’ll be
I’ve been longing for the freedom
That is waiting silently
In the life that’s just beyond the small
Perimeter of me
Before this shift in tides, I had been feeling fairly disconnected from some of the most important connecting points in my life. The day to day tasks elevated themselves and became priorities, drowning out the pieces of life that should have been in those lofty positions. My marriage, my kids, relationships etc. But I’m finding myself hurting more deeply for others and valuing my relationships more. I feel a sense of urgency to make sure I’m putting forth the best effort to build up my marriage, raise Godly children and reach out to hurting people. These are all normal components of my life that are expected of me, and should be, but the need to step it up and really live in a more selfless manner is weighing on my heart.
My prayer is that God would flood me with this feeling to connect; first with him, then with the people I’m in contact with in order that my insignificant perimeter expands and my eyes are open to what He sees. I want to love the way He loves and live accordingly. I want this tide to continue coming in fiercely and wash away the selfishness that I tend to lean on and just be swept away by who He is.
My typical fashion is pretty much yoga pants and a hoodie. We don’t even have to be best friends for you to know this about me. If you know me, even just a little bit, you are probably well aware of this. I dress for comfort and also for forgiveness. Until Nike comes out with fringed and sequined yoga pants, I won’t be fringed nor sequined. Well, I also live in Alaska, so Nike will have to come out with them, then wait five years to get to us, then it has to stop being a top trend before I gain awareness, and at that point I’ll catch on and wear them. I’m pretty sure that everyone at Molli’s school assumes either I workout constantly between drop off and pick up (HA), or that I only own oversized tops and pants primarily made of spandex. The stretch factor is important to me. I don’t need my own clothes making fun of me and hurting my feelings. I’m a delicate flower, not to be burdened or broken down by buttons, zippers and other such atrocities. My love handles are more lovely snuggled up to some stretchy waisted pants and tucked in with a cozy hoodie. It’s my life.
Some moms may read that and nod in solidarity, or raise the roof because they’re ahead of me in the game. (It’s cool, I don’t mind). Other moms might not have a clue what I mean because perhaps their kids are older and they have a life that doesn’t equate pajamas with happiness. But let me tell you something. I’m feeling large and in charge because I went to a fancy schmancy cocktail party tonight. You guys, do you even know how many times I’ve ever been invited to something like this?! zero. Because my friends aren’t fancy and neither am I. An outing with the girls typically involves the grocery store and coffee if we’re lucky. (Except for the time girls outing ended up in the four of us getting tattooed, but that’s another story). Anyway, it wasn’t just a boring fancy cocktail party, everyone went with the 1920s theme and dressed all up! I can’t get over the fact that everyone seemed to have THE perfect dress for such an occasion. Like, what the heck, is it normal for a house full of women to be able to pull off the same look when we have like 1.5 stores that sell clothes locally? The fringe, the fishnets, the sequins! Oh my. It was so good. And the cocktails were fabulous.
I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the invite, my initial reaction was “wow, they’re going to have such a good time!” I automatically excused myself from going because I don’t go to things like that. But then I realized something. If I say no, I’ll be perfectly content to be home with my family and watching Lost when the kids go to bed. No complaints! But what if I said yes? What if I squeezed myself into something that made me a little uncomfortable and stepped out there among other women and pushed aside the discomfort of the social awkwardness and just rolled with it? What then? Would it be worth it? I RSVPed affirmative and told Myles that I was going to a cocktail party and I need to figure out something 1920s themed to wear. I’m sure he thought I was a little nuts for a minute because it’s so far from anything I typically do. The homebody in me is pretty persuasive and has probably talked me out of more than one outing in the past.
So, with some help, I pulled together enough accessories to make an outfit work just fine and got to work. A friend and I knelt by my bed as we haphazardly followed along with an eye makeup tutorial on YouTube. Who knew that eyeshadow requires like 5 colors and 12 different brushes. Good thing I saved all the clinique makeup samples my mom gave me whenever she bought her perfume. The eyeshadow didn’t matter anyway because I had a fantastic bright red lipstick to detract from my apparent lack of smoky eye skill. Pretty much, between the makeup, hairspray, and accessorizing, I felt like a five year old having a blast playing dress-up and trying out these new things. I’m not going to say I looked like a superstar, but it was fun to get all done up and look like a very different version of me.
A few friends and I went out there together and we had a great time! Being among other women was such fun, even if we only knew a handful of people. Now that I’m showered and relaxing before falling asleep, I realize that this little outing was more than a party to me. It was a tiny bit of liberation from succumbing to the easier assumption that the fun things are for other people. It was also a reminder of the innate desire to connect with other women. Every lady in the house was there because there is something in us that craves company. It’s the same craving that drives us to invite someone over for coffee, to spontaneously call/text a friend or to show up when it is easier to pass. I’m sure I won’t say yes to everything I get invited to, but to those who do the inviting, THANK YOU! It means a lot to me to be asked to join in on fun things and even if I don’t always say yes, I appreciate the gesture, probably more than you know. And to those who are invited to things, consider putting yourself out there and saying yes.
So with that, I am back in my non-sequined, fringeless yoga pants and I’m excited for a (hopefully decent) night of sleep. Being gussied up and around people is draining for this self proclaimed introvert.