Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Brother's Blog

My brother has entered the world of blogging. I like to think that I was influential in this event. Check it out...Occasionally he has some interesting thoughts. I'm his little sister, what did you expect me to say!

Why Does This Bother Me?

I was with a good friend the other day and learned that she doesn't/hasn't read my blog. I've told her about it. Sent her the link. Asked her about it. She looked once. Hasn't checked it again.

Why am I so bothered by this? Do I have vanity issues? Is this abnormal? I've been pondering this for a few days. Perhaps it's a personal answer that is relative. I guess my thinking is that I enjoy the chance to read a friends blog and find out what they are up to and their thoughts and feelings on issues. I feel that whatever insight I gain into their lives enables me to be a better friend and have a greater understanding of them. As I type this I wonder if these thoughts will ever pass before the eyes of this friend...I think I'm safe.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Go, Go, Go!

That is a summary of our schedule...go, go, go. Vacation? Whatever. Maybe I just feel that way because I'm alone w/ the kids and out of my natural surroundings.

Friends and family mean well and intend to help, but do you ever notice that any negative traits your kids posses become glaringly obvious under the microscope of being in the presence of company? The girls are doing well though. I could complain, and have some ground to stand on (like not one nap despite everything from Mckenna!) but I think about everything they are going through and realize that they are really being troopers. We've been here 6 days now, including the day we traveled and they have slept in three different places! Tomorrow night another new bed and then a two night stay somewhere else! Our longest stay is 4 nights in one place!

Maybe this will help them appreciate their own beds when we get home.

On a different note we survived getting professional pictures today with my two nieces. All 5 girls looked at the camera and weren't gotta consider that a success and really at that point smiles are just optional (especially with 4 and 5 month olds).

We also got a chance yesterday to attend my brother's church. My brother is the senior pastor at a church (I wanted to link it here but they are creating a new webpage that is under construction). It's always an interesting/odd experience to listen to your brother speak. Not sure how to explain it. He is a great speaker and the more I hear him the more I am able to not listen to him as my brother but as the pastor. It's a challenge though. I just can't help but thinking to myself, "is this really the same guy that used to duck tape me to my desk chair in my bedroom and stuff a sock in my mouth until he felt enough guilt to release me?" Amazing how people can change. Of course I think if given the chance and under the right circumstances he would still duck tape me to a chair and find a sock if he could justify it.

Tomorrow night another new bed. Then two nights somewhere else and finally a 4 night stay in one place! It's always interesting to return to the place where you grew up. I see things in an entirely different light since being here with my own children. I'm not sure how to elaborate on my thoughts and feelings of returning home. I think I need more time to process it in my own little world.

"Home" has really become relative in the past 10 years. It's good to be here and see old faces. It will be good to return to WA and see new faces. In a few months it will be good to have Brad back and see the girl's smiling faces. That is home.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

We Made It!

We survived our flight east. The girls did really well. They were both up at 5:15am for our ride to the airport. Baileigh never slept all day. Mckenna finally nodded off as we were on our descent into Detroit airport. Brooke took a series of 15 minute cat naps but spent her awake time smiling and flirting with everyone around us. Despite not sleeping, they did well.

I give Frontier Airlines 2 thumbs up for their Direct TV service on every flight. The kids stared at the headrest for 2 hours watching a Richie Rich marathon. That was new to them and considering they were quiet I was generous in what I let them watch. The bags of Fritos that they give out as a snack were also a big hit!

So we're here and it rained today. It was a nice change but made me wonder if I'm truly ready for rainy season.

It was good to get the cousins together. Brooke and her cousin (4 months) have a lot of combined hair! Can't wait to post some pictures...that will have to wait.

We've spent a few days with Papa. I slept in his king size bed with Baileigh and Mckenna. Brooke was in the corner in a pack and play. I didn't know that 3 girls under 5 could all breathe so heavy! Besides a few kicks in the gut from Mckenna we survived.

Off to see Nana tomorrow.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We're Off!

Well tomorrow morning is the day...bright and early. 6am Shuttle.

A little overwhelmed right now. Just hope that I can turn off my mind and go to sleep. The girls are excited and it's nice to see them distracted by something. Except Mckenna did pray tonight that Daddy could come to Michigan. She also prayed that someday she could have clown hair.

Considering I'm alone with the kids and we stay 6 places in 15 days this isn't really a vacation. Just a distraction. But I do think I'm taking a blogging vacation. I may post a brief note if I have some occasion that provides killer blog-fodder so all you closet readers that I know are out there won't go thru withdrawal. But the pictures will probably cease for the next two weeks. Maybe that will give my blonde hair time to darken!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Living Dangerously

A few months ago our pastor did a sermon on living dangerously. He asked us to think of the most dangerous thing we had ever done. I thought back to my rock climbing and repelling adventures in the Tennessee mountains. I recalled mountain biking alone in the Colorado Rockies (that alone was dangerous and dumb) and coming upon a mountain lion perched above me in the woods. I remembered back to the time I went Piranha fishing with a fresh cow heart as bate in a rickety man-made canoe 20 feet long by 2 feet wide in a muddy river in the jungles of Venezuela. All true, and all dangerous.

But not nearly as dangerous as my upcoming adventure...

I'm flying alone with 3 kids under 5 from Seattle to Michigan via a layover in Denver. Dangerous.

What I wouldn't give to be 100 feet above the ground on a jagged mountainside with bleading hands. Just an elastic rope securing my fate.

Or eye to eye with the wild mountain lion, ready to pounce on me at any moment. Should I ride faster or slower?

What am I doing in this tipsy canoe in a river filled with Piranha and fresh cow blood? Would I really be eaten alive in seconds?

I can already envision it:
"Now boarding, families with young children. Crazy women flying alone with 3 kids under 5." "Your going to have to drink that baby formula so we can make sure it's not an explosive."
"Please remain in your seats until the captain has turned of the seatbelt light." "MOMMY, I have to go potty, now." "Mommy, can I have a snack." "Waaahhhh." "Are we there yet?" "Mckenna hit me." "Baileigh won't share."

"Excuse me, flight attendant?" "What do you have available in the cash bar?"


Mommy decided that playdough is a lot of fun...OUTSIDE!!! No mess to clean up. I wonder if they'll fall for it when it's 50 degrees and raining?

Mckenna has a little bit of that mad scientist look on her face abour her creation!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Brooke absoluletly love her swing! She laughs and squeals, especially when the girls stand at her feet and tickle her toes or plays peak a boo.

Freddie the Frog

Today we found a frog in the yard. The girls quickly named him Freddie and gave him a home in their pool. Freddie was a good hour worth of entertainment. I'll have to look for more frogs!

Ranger liked Freddie, too. A little too much and Freddie had many close calls with Ranger.
When it came time to let Freddie go home Mckenna began to cry. Apparently she had become very attached to our little frog friend and has issues with saying good-bye.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Mckenna

Today was a memorable day...not all good memories, but we tried. I'll get to that later. We met Mckenna's friends Coley and Hannah at Build a Bear Workshop to make bears and then ate Happy Meals in the food court and had cake. It was a little chaotic but fun.

"I'm 3 today Mommy, see my fingers!"

Hannah, Baileigh, Mckenna and Coley waiting to stuff their bears.

Picking out a heart for her bear.
Mckenna was excited for her turn to wear the traditional family birthday hat.

They had wigs for the Brooke looks more like her sisters...and Mommy.

The day took a turn for the worse with an episode that would have qualified us for a visit from the Super Nanny. I seriously felt like I was having an out of body parenting experience as I watched Mckenna's tantrum. "Where is this coming from, what have I done?" That was all I could think. I got down on her level. Talked calmly. Held my ground. Was persistent. Then I fell apart and threw a tantrum with her. Do I really have a Masters in Family Counseling? I'm sure I never studied this technique in any of my classes. I don't recall my practicum supervisor discussing this theory. A lot of good that degree is doing me...I'm not using it professionally and can't even take advantage of it in my personal life. Her outburst turned into a 40 minute stand- off in her room that caused me to close the windows so that DHS wouldn't be called by my neighbors as she screamed bloody murder in protest over sitting in a spot on the floor where I told her to park it. After 10 minutes I regretted that I had ever told her to sit there but now it was a battle of wils.

I used to be concerned that these deployments would create permanent issues for the girls in their young I'm worried about the damage it's doing to me! Maybe 3 kids is enough. Perhaps this deployment is turning into a form of birth control in more then one way.

Friday, August 18, 2006


When your downloading video at midnight and your husband is deployed and your bored but tired I don't recommend coloring your hair on a whim. That led to my orange hair a few days ago. Professional help was needed. This led to my now two tone hair...blonde and then BLONDE. The highlights are well done...its just all a lot lighter then I expected. Doesn't "dirty blonde" really mean light brown. Apparently not...that is what I wanted, dirty blonde with lighter highlights.

I should attach a photo of my hair...but I'm still in shock. I take any compliments skeptically, thinking that in reality they are making fun of my hair. Oh well...I'll just pretend its all part of a makeover look I was going for while Brad is gone and try to wear it confidently.

Did I mention my hair is BLONDE!

3 Years Ago

So 3 years ago at this moment I was in labor. Three years later I am laboring...both w/ the same kid...ironic. Mckenna and I have had a rough few weeks. There are moments where she has me fighting tears with her sweet comments and cute questions. Today she asked me, "Mommy, when we're on the airplane going to Michigan will God see us and take care of us?" And then we've had quite a few moments lately where she has me in tears with her defiance and tantrums followed by a tearful collapse into my arms saying "I want Daddy." I battle between compassion and heartbreak and anger and annoyance. How much of all this is her just playing me or her inability to process all the feelings she is experiencing in her little heart and head...I think a little of both.

Despite our current struggle to stay afloat, there have been more highs then lows with her the last three years. She causes me to laugh more then cry, to smile more then yell (this week being the exception) and I wouldn't trade a thing...except the deployment. So here's to you kiddo...I hope Mommy can make your 3rd birthday special for you tomorrow even though I know the thing you want most I can't give you...Daddy.

Princess Camp

I'm obsessed with learning how to download video. Coincidently the girls had a performance that concluded their 3 day Princess Dance Party Camp at the YMCA. I can tell that Baileigh loved the performing and would enjoy a ballet class if I ever give in. For now we'll focus on soccer and maybe that will distract her. Mckenna had fun but was distracted in her moment in the spotlight by a wardrobe malfunction with her foam tierra. She recovered though for the grand finale!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fighting Off Sleep

Bouncy Seat

I'm so proud of myself right now...I figured out how to download video. This has been an all day process since our video camera is fairly new so the first thing was figuring it out...then how to download the video to the computer, then to YouTube, then to my blog...I'm making it all sound harder then it was but that is because I want you to be as impressed with me as I am with myself. And in the midst of all that I changed a poopie diaper, settled a dispute, phone call, door bell, bottle etc.

There is no need for volume on this video...all you will hear is the cartoon Oswald in the background. I saw Brooke nodding off and couldn't resist capturing the moment. The video is kind of dark, a little grainy (which I think is YouTube, not my camera)...but I'll get better. Give it a few minutes to download.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Surrender!

Bedtime was just a knock down drag out battle. I'm exhausted, I surrender. I usually wouldn't run down here and blog about my inadequacies as a Mom so close to being in the heat of the moment. But I've been trying to blog the past hour in the midst of running upstairs to fight the bedtime battle. I've got about 6 jogs up the stairs now...that should be good for at least 100 calories burned. I think that Mommy's mental breakdown concluding with a good cry was enough to scare the girls into silence for the evening. Think of the counseling sessions they'll have someday! Moments like these make me want to count the remaining days until Brad the same time nights like these make me not want to even think about all the remaining days until Brad returns.

Let me preface anything I may say by expressing my complete and utter love for Mckenna. She is a blast. She has such a contagious personality...a real exuberance for life. The trade off to that is that she also is strong-willed, stubborn and disobedient. Brad says that we are a lot a like and will probably clash in the future, too. I admit that I can see I said, she is a blast! She is often discrete and stealth about her defiance that many would disagree with my assessment of her. Maybe its just something special she saves for Mommy. Lucky me! Someday, when she is 16, I'll probably think back to our bedtime battles and wish it was all that easy...I hope and pray I can rationalize with her better by then...probably not, but maybe the concept of being grounded will be effective.

For now I just keep reminding myself that this is the last week of her life of being 2 and that I'm sure she will magically transform into a compliant child when she turns can dream.

Nights like these also remind me that she is just turning 3. I think about how much more I expect of her then I probably did of Baileigh at the same age. A lot of that is due to the fact that she has a big sister and I frequently and unfairly expect the same things from both of them. The other factor is that Mckenna has always done things early and acted older for her age and usually doesn't want my assistance. So this week I'm going to work to enjoy all the things that make her 2, for one last week...and pray that her 3's leave me with enough stamina and mental capacity to make it to her 4's!

What a Difference 4 Months Make!

This picture was taken this morning in the girls Easter dresses. I figured we had very few warm days left to wear them. I took a picture to compare how they have all changed since they first wore their dresses.
This picture was taken on April 16, just about 4 months ago. Obviously Brooke is an entirely different baby since she was just 6 weeks old at the time...but I was so surprised to see how much more mature Baileigh looks in just 4 months. She is loosing her baby face and looking more like a young girl every day.
Brooke isn't sporting the same polk a dot outfit in the Easter photo thanks to a blow out diaper that caused a wardrobe malfunction.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Yoga for Beginners

I went to my first yoga class today. I'm trying hard to work out 4 to 5 days a week. The past two days my workouts were pretty hard so today I needed a break and decided yoga sounded like it could be a good compromise. There was also a spinning class being offered at that time, but you know how I feel about spinning!

The first thing I learned is that attending yoga is similar to attending a Baptist church...the later you arrive the farther in front you have to sit. Class began after our teacher, Sunny, had her therapy dog, Doggie Lama, make the rounds wishing everyone in class good karma. I'm not making this stuff up people. I admit thinking, "this is great blog-fodder!"

I confessed to being a first time attendee and was pleased to see at least another half a dozen people gingerly raise their hands as well. Throughout the class the teacher showed us 2 to 3 variations of every move depending on your skill level. I'm proud to say that I was capable of several level two moves, including the cat/cow, thread a needle, pike, tree and warrior. Frequently I thought the teacher was swearing during the class until I realized she was saying Asian words that referred to different techniques she was demonstrating.

Overall I confess to really enjoying the class. I admit I actually felt fairly "centered" and "focused" afterwards. I think that really comes from the fact that you do have to slow down and concentrate on the most basic thing such as standing because otherwise you will fall down and look like a fool...perhaps that is why we don't commonly stand on one foot with the other foot raised up and out to our side as high as we can lift.

I was disappointed to not win the free yoga mat drawing at the end of class...I was going to take it as a sign to attend again. However, Doggie Lama seemed to like me and came directly to me afterwards and sat down...perhaps that is a sign.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lame Comments

I have a friend who is an Army wife. Her husband left today for a year. What do you even say to that? It helps me with my daily quest for perspective. I've actually met two women in the past month who have husbands deployed for a year...not by accident, I get it God.

Even though I am a military spouse, I still don't feel like it. You would think that the reality of Brad being gone for four months would be enough. I guess I've just always had a lot of preconceived ideas about military families and never saw myself fitting into that concept.

So as I sit here with 10 years of service under my belt and in the midst of a deployment, you would think that I would start to feel like a military wife. Where am I going with my rambling? I'm not sure to be honest. I guess I've just been thinking empathetically all day for my friend and hoping she doesn't hear the lame comments that people make with the best of intentions.

"I don't know how you do it."
"I could never do that!"
"Oh, I can't even imagine."

Yet I confess I've thought all those things today on her behalf. I'm smart enough to not say them. I've heard them myself. If people really analyzed these comments would they say them...

"I don't know how you do it." Do you think we have a guidebook and a survival plan for single parenting while our spouse is deployed. There probably is something out there very similar to that description published by Family Support Services...but I don't see that guidebook dealing with sibling rivalry, crying kids at night, and changing dirty diapers.

"I could never do that!" Do you think I debated between marrying someone in the military or someone working in a cubicle and decided to go the adventurous route with hopes that we could be separated for long periods of time to test our strength and resilience?

"Oh, I can't even imagine!" Difficulty with that comment is that we can't when you stand there and say things like that it only emphasizes to us the desperation of the current situation and increases the crapiness one was already feeling.

I admit that in my opinion most of the civilian population is really in a quandary because to say these lame comments that really only make them feel more comfortable with the situation is pointless while at the same time to not acknowledge the deployment makes us think your pretty self-centered and cold hearted.

So I'm stepping off my soapbox now. Perhaps it was to an audience of one. I have no answer. Deployments still suck. I guess I feel better though venting on behalf of my friend because I know there really isn't anything I can do to help or change the situation for her. So Lynn, it really sucks and I'm sorry.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Best Food Ever!

Mckenna claims that cotton candy, especially blue, is "the best food, EVER". I would argue that technically it isn't even truly "food" but who can argue with a kid who looks so happy (and messy) eating!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

5 Months Old

I'm a few days late in posting this, but two days ago Brooke turned 5 months old! It's hard for me to see changes since I'm with her every day...but I just compared her 4 month pictures and I can tell a difference!

She can't sit up unassisted but she tries hard and is always pulling herself forward if she is sitting on any kind of incline.
At 5 months she sleeps a good 12 hours most nights (she has been doing this at least a full month now!), she talks up a storm...Especially to Baileigh, she sucks her thumb frequently, and she has tried rice and oatmeal cereal, carrots, squash, and bananas!
She loves her exersaucer and door way jumper. As her personality develops more she continues to be laid back, full of smiles, and generally an amazingly happy baby!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


We've graduated from cereal to our first veggie...carrots. I thought I would start with the less popular options and be able to progressively improve. However, Brooke never really protested the carrots and seemed happy to be eating lunch with her sisters.

Notice the eye color. The verdict is still out, but I think they are changing to green. Her hair continues to lighten with shades of red and blonde. I can't wait to see what all this speculation will amount to in a few years.


My Daddy deployed for four months and all I got was this t-shirt!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Columbia River

The drive across Washington varies incredibly! A variety of terrains exist, including a beautiful drive along the Columbia River.

Breaking up the drive with a stop for a scenic overlook


We headed east this weekend to the booming metropolis of Colville, north of Spokane. Our great friends from NJ, the Kings, were visiting Ryan's parents and they were kind enough to invite our entourage over for a few days. It's been awesome that they have this connection to WA so we've managed to see them at least annually since moving.

We almost had every preschool age group represented with five girls ranging in age from 5 months to 6 years old. They all had a great time together and it gave me a glimpse a few years ahead when we'll have girls that are 2, 4, and 6. That still doesn't scare me as much as 12, 14, 16!!!!

Mckenna and Baileigh, Emma and Lila

"My new friend, Lila!"

Look at all these girls...imagine the damage can do shopping someday when we get together for a girls weekend. We'll have to point this fact out to the guys so they'll keep the kids at home...we'll tell them we'll spend less this way!

A highlight of the weekend was all the opportunities to explore. We went on a nature walk collecting goodies and got a tour of the family homestead. Their family has a lot of history in this area!

"The Rock." Someone in their family actually got married on this rock!

Up in this barn is a swing that hangs about 30 feet from the rafters. The girls were so excited about this swing that they braved the cobwebs, mice, birds and poop so they could climb upstairs and experience the swing!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

10 Years Ago

10 Years go this week I met the love of my life. This is a breakdown of how it went:

Introduced August 4th, 1996.
Called for 1st date on August 6.
First date August 8.
Date August 9
Date August 10
Date August 11
Date August 12
Date August 13 - First kiss. Decided to get was a good kiss.
Here's to the next 10 years babe! Hope we're not oceans apart when we celebrate that one. Thanks for the beautiful flowers.
Brooke is very happy to celebrate this occasssion...because without it she wouldn't be here!


Shameless product endorsements for Jamba Juice.

Outgrowing My Bath

It seems like just last week Brooke was flopping around and screaming in her bath tub. Now she barely fits and spends the entire time laughing and kicking.

Almost 5 months old

5 Days Old