Sunday, July 30, 2006


Two conversations I never imagined having before being a Mom:

The girls have been in bed for 15 minutes. I go back in their room to give them a warning since I hear a lot of commotion.

Me: "What are you doing Mckenna?"
Mckenna: "I'm making a nest."

I notice a large lump in her shirt.

Me: "Lay down and be quiet."
Mckenna: "But I'm going to have a baby Mommy and I have to get my nest ready."

Baileigh: "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy."
Me: "WHAT Baileigh"
Baileigh: "A few minutes ago, a few minutes ago, a few minutes ago..."
Me: "WHAT"
Baileigh: "A few minutes ago, my ear was hurting, so I touched it and felt something crusty behind it and I picked it and wiped it on the wall so it doesn't hurt anymore!"

Mckenna: (Making a ton of noise)
Me: "BE QUIET MCKENNA...this is your last warning!"
Mckenna: "okay Mommy, I'll be quiet now because I just had my baby (holding up the doggy that had been in her shirt for me to see) so now I can sleep."

Me: "Goodnight quiet or I'll have to get the spoon!"

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sweet but Sad

Just before Brad left I came up with a project that I thought may be helpful during the deployment. Each of the girls took turns with Daddy making their handprint and footprints. Then I took a photo of their creation and I framed it and put this photo in the frame as well.

Each girl has their picture hanging over their bed, or crib. The other night I was kissing and hugging the girls goodnight when Baileigh went to the picture and tickled Daddy's foot and gave his hand print a high five.
Now each night when they are getting in bed one of them will ask "are we going to tickle Daddy tonight or give him a high five?" They also blow him a kiss too. It's the sweetest thing to watch, and incredibly sad.

Play Date

One of the neatest things about living in the NW has been the opportunity to connect again with two Taylor friends, Angie and Jaylynn, that live in the area. Today they came over for a play date. We each have 3 kids so it is quite the group when we gather (nine kids five and under). We don't get to see these friends enough and Baileigh and Mckenna are always so excited for their reunions...and sad to say good-bye!

Stuck in Spinning Class

Today I went to my first spinning class...and probably my last. I hated it. It wasn't so much the class actually, it was the bike. The bike seat. The class itself was somewhat enjoyable. Lights off, fans on high, loud music pumping a classic 80's club mix containing renditions of Culture Club and Pet Shop Boys to name a few of the "oldies" know you're somewhere in your 30's if your reading this and understanding.

But that bike seat. OUCH. I unfortunately have enough padding in the derriere region that I never imagined I would find the small pointy seat the least bit uncomfortable. When the class initially started my body had not yet developed the love hate relationship I was going to find with that seat. I found myself anxious for the segments in the workout when we would be hill climbing so I could stand and get off the seat. Ten minutes later I was exhausted and anxious to return to my uncomfortable friend. I realize I'm not in the class for comfort and perhaps my psychological reaction was the exact purpose of these seats.

The growing discomfort I was feeling only made me feel more trapped...a prisoner for the next 45 minutes. A large clock poorly placed directly next to the teachers head only emphasized how slow my torture was going to be. Through the large window across the hall it seemed all the women were smirking and gloating at me as they bound gracefully over their aerobic steps like ballerina's as if to say "Ha chose the wrong class, we're having so much fun!"

Are my fellow biking enthusiasts really enjoying themselves I wondered? They looked as though they could envision themselves cycling through the French countryside as it had been suggested to us by the instructor. I too saw myself in the French countryside watching the bike race go by as I ate my baguette and cheese while sipping a nice wine on the terrace of the vineyard. I think the other people in the class were actually envisioning the yellow jersey at the end of their 45 minute workout. I was simply wondering if I should use ice or heat on my butt tonight to help with the pain.

Almost more disturbing to me then all of this was the fact that in the midst of my misery I was contemplating what I would blog about this that a sign of a problem?

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Baileigh was elated when she found a field of untouched dandelion's...just waiting for her to pick!
I was asking her to explain to Mommy her love for this weed...oops...I mean flower. She thought about it a minute and said, "Sometimes you can find them anywhere, and I can pick them and give them to you, and I don't have to buy them at Costco."

3 Weeks Down

It was 3 weeks ago yesterday that Brad left. I was assessing what I have learned in that time:

Jelly fish don't always sting.
No naps stink.
Friends are priceless.
Email is priceless.
I'm the queen of multi-tasking.
Blogging is addictive.
Urgent Care closes within 30 minutes of an illness appearing.
A scratched cornea is blinding.
A good babysitter is hard to find...when you do, pay them well!
I'm okay with charity.
"Thank you Mommy" and "I love you Mommy" can make me feel great and guilty.
I can magically make money disappear.
Small 1st Aid Kits don't have enough band-aids for a full days outing.
Business is slow in July.
4 days of temperatures in the nineties with no AC and a little baby really stinks!
I'm tired of moving sprinklers.
Soon I'll be tired of the rain and wish I was moving sprinklers.
I don't intentionally play with my girls enough every day.
I can fall asleep reading easier then watching TV.

A difficult bedtime can ruin an otherwise okay day.
Bedtime prayers can fix an otherwise bad day.
I'm impatient (didn't really learn this...just confirmed it).
A personal letter in the mail can make a bad day good.
Bills are stressful.
I'm a better parent when I'm not alone.
I miss my best friend.

Maybe they do understand?

Last night we were saying our prayers before bedtime. It was Mckenna's turn...she ran through her list of people and pets that she prays for on a nightly basis. I thought she was just about done when she said,

"and Gawd (God), help Mommy be okay when Daddy gone and she have a bad day and feel sad. Help me and Bayee (Baileigh) obey and help Brooke be happy! Amen"

I was caught off guard by her insight...maybe they do understand.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beach Fun

We spent today the day in Grapeview which is on Case Inlet which connects to Henderson Bay which flows into the Puget Sound! My friend from Taylor, Kathy, has an aunt with a beach house. I've heard a ton of stories about their adventures at Aunt Nancy's place so we were excited to participate.

We've been to a few beaches around the Puget Sound area and I'm always surprised with the variety you find in sea life as well as the ocean shore and tides. The effect of the tides here are amazing. I grew up around the water in Michigan and high and low tide usually meant a difference of about 20 feet along the shore. Around here the difference can be 30-50 feet of water levels.

This picture is during low tide. I am standing on the Inlet floor in this picture. In a few more hours the water will be about 25 feet above my head. Boats will be able to pass under the bridge you see in the background and the white poles coming out of the ground will stand about one foot out of the water as a warning to boats of low water levels.

The kids had a great time catching crabs, sand dollars (which don't require much catching) and Baileigh surprised us all when she brought to our attention the jelly fish she was holding! Luckily she dropped it as I sprinted towards her like an insane woman yelling and waving my arms. She was scared of me, not the jelly fish! Thankfully, I think it was dead and there was no harm done. I don't think I have to ever worry about her picking up another one again after my reaction. For a moment there I thought I was going to have to pee on her hand! (If you're saying "WHAT?" then you obviously aren't the seasoned marine biologist like myself!).

The jelly fish Baileigh found (and held!).

We took several crabs captive! It was a tough lesson on death when we got home and heard "all my crabs are sleeping." This led to a lengthy talk on the fragility of life and our own mortality...I'll save it for another blog.

We also found several wild golf balls and took those captive, too.

Mckenna had moments of fear when a crab would crawl in her sandle or she would get stuck...but for the most part she overcame any reservations she had about the "big crabs with pinchers that hurt," as Baileigh had so helpfully described earlier that morning.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I have found the best two babysitters this summer! The girls are just in love with these two! I still feel like Brooke isn't really ready to be kept by them, but when I need some help with Baileigh and Mckenna, I can always count on these guys! For instance, yesterday I was trying to get the grass cut and trimmed and pull some weeds. This one hour task can frequently take me three hours when it's filled with interruptions from the kids, but thanks to Brooke's nap and the babysitters I was able to get it all accomplished in minimal time.

I think there are some parent's that would question these two babysitters, and I too was hesitant at first and not necessarily proud of how much I felt like I was depending on these guys at times...but the girls seem to enjoy them so much. I love to hear them laugh out loud when they are watching their babysitters do silly things. Next year I figure the kids may tire of the babysitters and I may have to find some new ones...but for this summer and during Brad's deployment there are always two guys that I can count on when things get desperate and I need some help.

So thanks Tom and Jerry! Yes, the cartoon.

Friday, July 21, 2006

On The Move

Crawling? I'm not sure what Brooke is doing these days but the advances in her development and mobility in just the past week has amazed me. She is constantly rolling over to her tummy and then scooting around...enough to where she has rubbed a blister on top of one of her toes when she pushes herself. I think she knows she has two active sisters to keep up and is already doing her best!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Ahhhh...finally, me time. This is truly the first of it today, which isn't too unusual since the kids stopped taking naps. We still have "quiet time"...but frequently that is an oxymoron.

Today was rough. Our worst yet since Brad's departure. Primarily thanks to Mckenna. I wish I was naive enough to think that in a few weeks when we exit the terrible two's that these types of days would cease to exist. Of all my girls...we will clash heads the most in the future. Of all my girls, she is the most like me!

During "quiet time" I was recognizing my fragile mental state and the fact that if I didn't find at least 20 minutes of childless time I was really going to loose my cool, again. So I closed all the bedroom doors, turned off every monitor, turned up some music, and grabbed a drink and went out on the patio to read (not that kind of drink...although it may have helped today). I was anxious to look at my alumni magazine from Taylor University. It always takes me back.

I loved my college experience at TU. Taylor is the definition of "community". If that doesn't make sense to you then you've never been to Taylor. But it wasn't all fun and games...although there was a ton of it. It was also a time in life when my parent's marriage was disintegrating. When my self image was in shambles and I struggled with bulimia, when my Spiritual life was questioning everything I had ever thought to be true. But actually because of those struggles and the depth of the relationships I was formulating, and the bond I was developing with lifelong friends, and the amazing opportunities I had before me for spiritual growth...I loved my college experience at TU.

So finally a few minutes to hopefully escape (despite the noise I hear through the windows upstairs...mental note, turn music up louder next time). I began to read. I began to cry. This issue was dedicated in memory to the students that had died in the accident on April 26. This tragedy made national news when it was discovered that two of the girls identities had been mistakenly switched, and in actuality one girl, Whitney Cerak, thought to be dead was alive in the hospital while the other girl, Laura VanRyn, who was thought to be in a coma in the hospital had actually been buried by the other girls family.

I have been reading the blog of Witney Cerak, but to read the perspective of the Taylor community as they dealt with the event brought me to tears. There were letters from self proclaimed "non-believers" as far away as Australia who had heard of the story and been following the blog and were moved and baffled by the faith demonstrated by the university and the families involved. Stranger after stranger mentioned that the faith of the families was the overwhelming feature of the blog:

"I wish I shared your faith."
"It is obvious that you have something so special there and I wish I did too."
"I came here (blog) saddened over your terrible circumstances and such a dreadful way to lose your daughter and troubled by the hard time you have been through...and yet here I am, wishing I had what you have. How can that be?"

Wow. Powerful stuff!

No talk of lawsuits. No finger pointing. No one jumping at the chance to sell their story for a few minutes of fame. Just students and families exhibiting an indescribable peace and faith that is truly only the manifestation of a solid faith in a God who has called us to obedience and trust, even when the way is uncertain, the path is dark and the challenge is great. As C.S. Lewis puts it, "I know now Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away."


As I read in attempts to escape my day...I was humbled at the fact that I've been blessed with 3 children that had tried my patience all day. That I am 32 and have experienced true love, the miracle of birth, the joy of mothering, a personal relationship with my maker. That I was given this day, as it's never promised or guaranteed. That I have my health and freedom to sit here and be humbled by my immaturity and my mustard seed faith.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Explain this to me!

I admit that I have waited for a parking spot before. I usually give myself a 30 second cap on sitting and waiting for a spot. With the exception of the holiday season on a rainy day with three kids...then I'll wait a few minutes if there is absolutely no where to park except across the 5 lane road in a neighboring lot.

Today I was leaving the YMCA...this isn't a quick process sometimes with the 3 kids and today I had to change a poopie diaper before we left so it took us about 10 minutes to actually get out of the parking lot. As I was walking to our car somebody slowed down to wait for my spot. Admittedly it was a great spot, right next to the handicapped spot in the front. I just got lucky and it was open as I drove by. I thought that surely when they saw that I had 3 kids to load and a dirty diaper to change they would move on to a less desirable spot. Nope...they waited, and waited, and waited. I even tried to politely smile and gesture at the beginning of my departure routine that I wouldn't be leaving at the current moment. But they waited, and waited, and waited. Are we not at the gym? This woman looked dressed to work out. Can you explain to me being so lazy that you'll wait 10 minutes for a spot that is 20 yards from available spots so that you don't have to walk as far to the gym to exercise? Go figure.

I even admit to the fact that I watched her (after she got her favorite spot apparently) get out of the car and walk in. I was thinking that perhaps she would be justified in her waiting if she had some type of physical alligment. Nope...she got out with her water bottle and MP3 player and headed in. Hope she had one exhausting work least she won't expend too much energy returning to her car.

Snoqualmie Falls

We spent a day at Snoqualmie Falls. Pictures don't do the falls justice...they are no Niagara, but beautiful and breathtaking none the less. God's creativity never ceases to amaze me.

Hanging out with my Grandpa

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Yahoo...we're big enough for the exersaucer! This was a hit the first time I put her in it. The toys aren't the overwhelming aspect, it would be her sisters constant spinning of her and playing w/ the toys themselves.

She christened the toys too by drooling all over them!


Today the girls wanted to watch our wedding video. A few weeks ago I came downstairs to find them watching it. Brad had put it in and they were enthralled. They love to see Mommy in her fancy dress and watch the dancing and see Daddy put cake in Mommy's face. So this is now a popular video to watch.

At the beginning of our wedding we showed a video made from pictures of our childhood. There is a baby picture of me in the video that looks exactly like Brooke! I thought she resembled me as a baby a little but this picture looked like Brooke in a dress from 1974. I held her up next to the TV to get a closer match. My in-laws agreed, which I thought was complete confirmation since usually the two different sides of family always want to claim that the baby looks just like their side of the family...somehow making it more part of the family or something if it resembles someone from their blood line. I find this an odd and weird phenomenon. So agreement that it looks like the "other" side must meen there is just no denying it.

I was just relieved to see that she looks like me...she isn't the mailmans, and I'm definitely the mother. In case there was any doubt! Baileigh looks like her Daddy, Mckenna is a little mix, and Brooke (now my favorite, just kidding) is the most beautiful baby in the world...and looks just like me!

Alki Beach

Brad's parents are visiting for the week from Texas. It's been nice to have them here but it will be hard to believe that when they leave it'll only be two weeks into this deployment! Staying busy actually makes things go slower sometimes.

We had a fun day at Alki Beach near Seattle. The weather was perfect and the tide was really low. The girls had a blast digging for sea life.

A photo taken from this perspective is only cute and flattering when you are this age.

Baileigh was extremely entertained by jumping waves

Rolling Over

I put Brooke in her crib for a nap the other day on her back. This is how I found her. I guess she can officially roll over to her tummy and sleep.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blue or Green?

My eyes changed from blue to green when I was about two. Brooke's seem to be changing...we'll see.


I can't count the number of women that told me today that they couldn't put their daughter's hair in pigtails until they were at least one! I think we may be getting our first haircut by then.

Who is that?

Brooke has discovered her reflection and is smitten with the cute baby she always finds. So am I!


The sunset was beautiful the other night. It would have been better if Brad was here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Paint Roller?

Mckenna and I were chatting about what she learned at church. She kept telling me about the man with the "rolly" thing. I couldn't figure out what she meant. Then she said it is like the thing that Mr. Eric painted our house with. I still was confused as to what Bible story contained a paint roller brush. Then Mckenna remembers she had brought home a paper from church with the Bible story and a picture. She ran to the diaper bag and looked around and pulled out the paper and brought it to me with a huge smile on her face. She was so excited and proud to show me the paint roller picture in the Bible like Mr. Eric used to paint our was a scroll.

Friday, July 07, 2006

4 Months Old

I can't believe how quickly the past 4 months have gone. I hope the same is true for the next four months!

Brooke is sporting some fancy band-aids from the shots she received at the doctor today.
Her sisters thought they were very cool, and were quite jealous, until I explained that in order to receive them she had four shots...then they just thought they were cool.

Brooke weighted in at 13lbs. 14 ounces and 24 1/2 inches...around the 70th percentile for girls. That makes her the smallest of the girls at this point.

As the Dr. asked about her developmental achievements thus far she rolled from her back to her front on the exam table for the first time! Show off!

Fuzzy Mouth

Our neighbors just had a baby a few days ago. As we were driving out of the neighborhood I pointed to the flag on their house announcing the baby and the older man standing in their driveway talking on a cell phone. I commented that it must be their Grandpa visiting to see the new baby.

Mckenna looked at the gray haired gentlemen with a mustache and made the mental comparison to her own Grandfathers both with balding heads and lacking facial hair. "No Mommy, that's not a Grandpa! He doesn't have a shiny head and he has a fuzzy mouth!"

I was in the middle of taking a drink of bottled water when she made that comment and couldn't keep it in! These funny moments may get me through the next 119 days.


In the car today on the way home from the YMCA Mckenna was teaching Brooke the ABC song...the conversation went like this:

"Yisten Brooke, I'm gonna learn you the ABC's. It goes yike this, a, bee, c, DEE, e, f, geeeee, h, i, j, k, yell, m, n, o, PEEEEEE, q, r, ssssss, t, u, v, dubya (thanks to Daddy), x, Y, M, C, A. Now you yearned your ABC's, next time won't you sing them pleeeaaasssee.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Saying Good-Bye

This is how we all feel about deployments!!!

I'll spare you a lot of details of our day. It was full of tears. Lots of whining and complaining (by all of us). Some laughs and heart to hearts.

It's over. We've begun and I guess every day is progress towards a reunion. We all look generally happy in these photos...I selected carefully and decided to omit the ones where we're puffy eyed and look like blubbering idiots.

Mckenna isn't accidently looking away in this photo...she apparently decided to handle her emotions by being shy and uncooperative. That's kind of how I felt like acting too, but it's more socially acceptable for her since she is two.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Everything Sucks!

I said good-bye today to Brad for four months. I was reflecting on things in the car on the drive home, as much as I could over Baileigh's crying and Mckenna's singing and Brooke's babbling (no pun there...but that made me laugh), and decided that the summary of my feelings was "This Sucks". It's not the most eloquent of terms, but the most genuine of where I was at. Ironically, a good friend of mine who is so much cooler then me and has made my girls want red hair too sent me a link to this song by MxPx which lyrically described where I'm at:

Everything Sucks (When You're Gone) by MxPx
All I ever needed was to eat popcorn with you
Come on over, watch the late show, stay up talking until two
Today's the day you're leaving and tomorrow you'll be gone
You're in my heart and on my mind, I will bring you along
Everything sucks when you're gone
Everything sucks when you're gone
I dream of our reunion, makes me crazy just to think
How so very far away you are, my hope begins to sink
Today's the day you're leaving and tomorrow you'll be gone
You're in my heart and on my mind, I will bring you along
Everything sucks when you're gone
Everything sucks when you're gone
And it's not okay; I made dinner here for two
And it's not okay; I've got candles lit for you
And it's not okay; I've got your favorite records out
And it's not okay; you should already be in route
Toooo meeeee
Today's the day you're leaving and tomorrow you'll be gone
You're in my heart and on my mind, I will bring you along
Everything sucks when you're gone
Everything sucks when you're gone
I want you, I need you...
Everything sucks when you're gone


The day finally arrived. After many months of anticipation and dread, the day of the deployment has arrived! Seems like I was just writing my first blog in preparation for this time. Let me preface any negativity by saying that I really wished we lived more days like our past few. We spent more time hanging out as a family. We didn't sweat the small stuff. We laughed more. We were more patient. We were more reflective. We were more appreciative. We were more forgiving. We were more affectionate. We were more intentional.
Our goal as a family is to not just survive this event, but thrive...somehow, in light of it. I'm not sure what exactly that will look like, but I think if we can reunite and continue to live life a little bit more like we're about to deploy then something positive grew out of this.

4th of July

Okay, technically this all occurred on the 3rd of July, but we decided to celebrate it early in light of Brad's departure.
Our first outing was to Chuckie Cheese, a favorite of the girls. Appropriate to their personalities, Mckenna loves to ride the big trucks and Baileigh spends her time drawing on the computer. They are so similar, yet so different!
We attended the Tacoma Rainier's minor league baseball game in the evening. Baileigh had been asking to go to a baseball game ever since we went to a Mariner's game in Seattle. It always sounds like a good idea, and it is...for about 3 innings!
The biggest motivator in attending this game was the Fireworks extravaganza afterwards. We slipped out of the stadium early to walk half way to the car and then find a good place to take in the show (we intentionally arrived late to the game so the kids wouldn't tire out too quickly...but forgot to factor in the parking aspect of the equation and ended up parking faaarrrrrrrr away!
The fireworks were beautiful. In hindsight it isn't recommended to sit about 50 yards from the actual launching site with a four month old and a four in a half year old with canine hearing. Baileigh initially cried until Brad shoved his fingers in her ears up to his knuckles and then she relaxed and enjoyed the show. Brooke was slightly distracted from her dreams and wavered between fascination at the bright lights to horror at their noise. Mckenna spent the entire time laughing and saying "ooooooo" and "WOW" and making us laugh and cry at the same time.

New Toys!

I'm not sure who is more excited that Brooke is getting to the point where she can start using some new toys! Her door way jumper was an instant hit which didn't surprise me considering how much she likes to stand.

Mckenna enjoys entertaining Brooke and thoughtfully tried to give her a few "under-dogs" in the swing!

Gymanstics at the "Y"

Today is our long awaited first day of gymnastics at the YMCA since graduating from The Little Gym. Our "Y" has a ton to offer, but as a result it is so crowded and there are waiting lists for most classes and a lottery system for enrollment. I was lucky enough to get both the girls together in a 3 and 4 year old class (Mckenna is close enough I decided). I signed up for a Saturday since it is the least popular day according to the staff. Apparently most people do things together as a family on that day, for whatever I thought it may be a good day for us to have a scheduled activity during Brad's deployment. He was able to attend their first session so now he can envision their feats of strength when I describe to him their achievements via email or the phone...the "Y" doesn't allow photos or video cameras in their class, apparently they don't want other coaches to see how gifted the Hall girls are in fear that college and Olympic recruiters would flock to their facility thus increasing the already chaotic and frenzied environment. So you'll just have to take my word for it!