Saturday, December 28, 2013

First Snow Day!

It snowed on December 20th, giving Raccoon and Ducky their first (and only so far) experience with snow this winter. Raccoon has seen snow a couple of times (6 months and 2.5 years) but this was the first time he got to go sledding, have a snowball fight with Grandpa, and make a snowman with Grama. 

Ducky's first snow came at 10 months old. She was so bundled up that she couldn't do much more than walk or sit. She wasn't sure what she thought of the sled, or the snowball fight, or the snowman. She went inside with Daddy for some warm-up snuggles while Raccoon, Grama, and I stayed out to play.

I did a picture for SB too, since she never got to play in the snow.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter in Washington

We recently had a snow day, which Raccoon thoroughly enjoyed, but winters in Washington are mostly rainy. I updated my blog look to celebrate that we are no longer in the 20s. For posterity, this is the old look:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rocky Road

Nope, not the ice cream. I'm referring to what marriage is like. Sometimes you have a gorgeous view, and sometimes you feel like you're about to fall off the edge. (It's not just me, right?)

I've been seeing personality profiles from here going around on Facebook, and since I love type talk, of course I had to check it out. It's based on the Myers-Brigg types but gives them different titles. I am the "Dreamy Idealist." My husband is the "Dynamic Thinker."

This is from my description regarding relationships: "Due to their high demands on themselves and others, this personality type tends however to sometimes overload the relationship with romantic and idealistic ideas to such an extent that the partner feels overtaxed..." (italics mine)

And this is from his: "Normally, for Dynamic Thinkers, a partnership only takes second place after their profession. But they like to have someone at their side who is a match for them intellectually, with whom they can pursue mutual objectives and have interesting discussions all night long; preferably factual discussions - sentimentalism and romance are not their thing." (italics mine)

When we were first married, I agonized over this. Now I just laugh. So, so true.

This is why our marriage will always be an adventure. But when we get things right, it is sweet, sweet indeed.

Kitty's Christmas List

Inspired by this one. :)

Dear Santa,
I am ten months old and I don't actually want anything on the list my mother gave you. These are the things I really want for Christmas this year.

1) Some hard candy (it comes in the almond milk carton)

2) These shiny, pointy things, without all the chairs in my way.

3) This basket of goodies.

4) This fluffy toy

5) Or this one

6) These chew sticks

But not these, I can tell the difference.

7) Some gummies

8) The latest PlayStation with accessories

 9) And if you're not sure what to get me, 
I'll settle for anything he has, or wants, or 
looks like he might want if I'm holding it.


Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Hygge

I read an article the other day about words that don't exist in English but should, and "hygge" wasn't on there, but I think it should be. This article does a great job explaining it.

I was definitely feeling some hygge today at the post office when it took me more than an hour to mail 5 packages. Everyone was in merry spirits and we compared notes about what was in our packages (one lady exclaimed after seeing mine, "I never thought about sending shoes in a padded envelope!"). Another woman collected stamps and was sending her sister some socks. Another man had been sent by his wife and had to make sure his four large boxes arrived BEFORE Christmas or he'd never hear the end of it. We all found out from the last person in line that it was expected to be the post office's busiest day of the year. The woman behind me held my packages shut while I taped them up.

And so it went. There was a special sense of community and camaraderie that I wish lasted all year long.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Remember Zoey?

I was captured by her story last year and so glad that a family chose her. They are in country now, but have to leave her there and wait a few months until they can go back again to finalize her adoption. Please pray that she will know how loved she is!

Amazing pictures.

Redeeming love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bladed Underflow - A Little Word Fun

This random phrase generator is endless fun to a verbivore like me. Almost as good as my ginormous dictionary. The title of this post was my first click. I wish I'd known about this when I was looking for a name for my blog. I could have been:

The Fuming Acorn
The Adequate Whim
The Truant Husk
The Spacial Washout
The Uttered Nerve
The Crushed Page
Next to the Lung

It does sentences too. They even have an obscure word setting. So without further ado, I present to you my first two nonsense poems (titles, phrases, and sentences exactly as generated, I just kept clicking until I found ones I liked then put them in an order that appealed to me):

Bladed Underflow

Under an acorn fumes the incoherent country.
A resistance relaxes near a complaint.
The repaired intolerance predicts a surprising ignorance.
An utter nerve dares an unsatisfactory calm.


Bantering Scrutiny 

Beside the elephant orbits the refrain; it's planet overlaps a gossip.
Within the patronizing thumb clicks the furry bliss.
The thumb orbits opposite the ocean.
Why can't the conscious grammar change?


Aaaaaaah! Somebody stop me! Or join me, then I would feel less weird. :)

p.s. Happy Birthday to my beloved King. I am so glad that we serve the King of Kings together.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pondering: How to Love 6 AM

Just that title makes me laugh because of it's apparent impossibility in my life. Maybe if I could be someone else? This isn't even a goal of mine at this point, but here is one man's solution...

" I could re-programme my brain to love 6 am. I learned that a habit consists of a cue, a routine, and a reward and that I needed to optimize all of them have a successful habit change." Patrik Edblad

I think that the need for a reward is the true reason why most of us don't break bad habits successfully. That is the insight that caught my attention and started my wonder ponder thoughts.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

7 Lessons in 7 Years of Parenting

Inspired by the blog Waiting for Happy. My favorite of hers is #10, "The biggest thing I've learned, that I am JUST realizing this year, is that God didn't give me kids because he wanted me to perfect them and make them better.  He gave me kids because they are a gift.  He is using them to perfect ME and make me better."

Here are my 7 things from 7 years of parenting (in random order):

1) If there's a problem with how things are going, it's probably me.

2) The toddler years never end. (I technically know this isn't true, but I've been living in toddlerville for all of my seven parenting years.)

3) The days are long but the years are short. (I stole this from Gretchen Rubin.) My variation is: One way or another, every day comes to an end.

4) Make more eye contact, or as I like to think of it - soulful staring or warm eyes or my approval face. The look my kids get the most from me is the hairy eyeball when they're disobeying. I'm not very good at the positive side of this, but I'm trying. I got the idea from Our Town, "Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me."

5) Your first child is like the first pancake. (Said to me by a friend as a word of encouragement on a bad day. Except now I have had four first pancakes. Kitty has it made, except she's the fifth so she suffers from mommy-enrichment-burnout. She has to bring me books for me to even remember that I should read to her.)

6) Persevere. That's one of our family mottos.

7) I'm not perfect and I cannot expect others to be perfect. (You'd think this one would be obvious, it is obvious, but I still agonize over every mommy fail. When I watched this short video, I noticed that the first thing the moms thought of when asked about motherhood was everything they weren't doing well enough. It also helps me to remember that I cannot expect great behavior from my kids all the time.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What do I want for Christmas?

* to be with my family as much as we can all stand
* to see Raccoon playing in the snow (every little boy should have at least one memory of snow I think)
* to remember those in need
* to experience something magical

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pondering: Winter

I don't have any quote for this one, but I have decided that if it's up to me, this is my last winter. Biting cold, cabin fever, being inside with my very active son

I have wonderful winter memories of sledding with my brother, bonfires and hot chocolate, Christmas carols, wood stoves, ice skating, and lots of fun. I was feeling nostalgic for all of this, until I actually felt the cold again in a drafty house. Now I remember the feeling of wondering if I'll ever be truly warm again.

So until my kids are older, I think we'll be staying south for the winter and coming north in the summer and fall. Those are my new favorite seasons. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Am I Deliriously Happy?

I was rereading some posts I wrote in May when I was freshly back in the U.S. I wanted to be deliriously happy (#9), and you know what? For the most part, things have been good. But one of my most frustrating traits (or a bonus occasionally), is that I always want more, or am looking for more.

Then I reread my post on being a special needs parent and I could see how far we've come. Raccoon now happily goes to Sunday School for an hour, preschool twice a week for 150 minutes, and he has walked next door (by himself under my watchful eye) many times and voluntarily spent time alone with his grandparents. He has gone to the park and out for pizza for several hours with his grandpa. He has gone Christmas tree shopping with his Grama, Grandpa, and cousins. And I now ride in the front seat of the car.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Different Kind of Bucket List

Procrastination breeds its own stress.

* go to the dentist
* get your wisdom teeth pulled
* meet with the accountant
* make a legal will
* make any phone calls you have been dreading
* forgive the person you need to forgive
* get those pants hemmed
* take the used books to a consignment store
* have a full medical exam done
* apply for life insurance
* take your vehicle in for a tune-up
* take a deep breath and have the confrontation you have been avoiding

Check off any other tasks on your mental to do list. This will free up head space and time.
-  Sharla Kostelyk

This list brought to mind some relationships that have been on my mind for years, but are still broken (at least from my point of view). I wrote some letters, asking for forgiveness and hoping to start things on the road to mending, but I am not sure if I will actually send them. It was late at night so I was brutally honest and in the light of day my courage is waning. I put out a fleece. If they give me their addresses, I'll mail them; if not, I'll burn them. I was surprised how good it felt just to write them and finally say what's been on my heart.

The only thing I don't need to do on this list is the vehicle tune-up (thanks honey!).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pondering: Humor

I have long wondered why it us truth that makes us laugh. Today I found this little explanation -

"Humor is what happens when we're told the truth quicker and more directly than we're used to."
- George Saunders

Does this hold true across cultures, I wonder?

Monday, December 2, 2013

From Robin to Ducky (to Kitty)

I am officially changing my daughter's blog name from Robin to Ducky, and I thought I should do a post about it just in case any of my readers (hello if you're out there!) are confused by the change. At some point, I will be going back and changing everything from Robin to Ducky. I hope it is clear that at this point, I only have one daughter and have not mysteriously acquired another. :)

I chose Robin because it was a sign of spring coming to my life. My daughter has been all of that and more, but in other ways, the name just did not fit her. Although now that I look back at the reasons why I chose it, I am rethinking this a bit...

But I like Ducky because my mom picked it out, so it makes her named in a way by her grandmother, who she is actually named after in real life. My grandmother suggested SB's name - we moved her first name to her middle name (the B) when she became ours, and we wanted to pick a new first name but couldn't come up with the right one. We visited my grandmother and introduced her to B at that point, and she said she'd always wanted to name a daughter of hers S... but my grandfather (her first husband) wouldn't hear of it. It was a beautiful name and fit SB just right, so we kept it.

I also like Ducky because really, most of the time, she is just ducky, and she's plucky too. She's more than a match for her older brother and they'll keep each other in line. I also hope that they will be the best of friends. I chose Raccoon's name because (to me) it fits with some of the qualities he has (intelligent, mischievous, dexterous, agile, good memory, and not afraid to tease the dogs), and I chose Ducky in honor of my daughter's resilience, sunny nature, pluckiness, love of getting her hands messy, her inner and outer beauty which she will continue to grow into, and the way she likes to play follow-the-leader with Raccoon (which right now consists of just trying to do everything he does and driving him crazy in that time-honored little sister way).

1/31/14 ETA - weeeeellll, I've been trying Ducky out for awhile but just couldn't settle into it. I chose Kitty instead. She is all those things above, but she's also snuggly and just loves being with us.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I am so excited that today is the first day of December. I am doing something special for Raccoon and Kitty for Advent this year, a small gift each day until Christmas, and hopefully we'll be lighting some candles as well.

There is so much for me to celebrate this year - freedom in Christ (I think this is the first year that I've truly appreciated the full meaning of that phrase), being with my family, still living next door to my parents, the faithfulness of those who support our work, and even our approaching return to South America in the new year. The biggest lesson I've learned in this season of my life is to accept that there is purpose in the process.

I have begun to think of my Word of the Year for 2014. Peace has been a good one for this year, carrying me through many, many changes. I was going to choose Dream, but I don't think it's quite time for that, maybe 2015. I'm leaning towards Accept, but I like to keep things open until the last minute. Other contenders: Stay, Celebrate, Savor... 

p.s. And I finished NaBloPoMo!