Don’t Abdicate

Tonight was one of those nights.  You know.  Your husband is gone.  You are convinced that you will never get enough sleep in this lifetime, ever.  The minutes drag and still you feel like nothing meaningful got accomplished.  You are too tired to even be frustrated; you are simply apathetic but somehow focused in your determination to make the 3 year old brush her own teeth for a full sixty seconds, even if you have to repeat that sixty seconds 5 times.  Meanwhile, the baby is eating carpet fuzz, refusing to nurse, and would have gone to bed 3 hours ago if circumstance had allowed it.

One of those nights.  The kind of nights that make you want to abdicate your role as mother.

And then you know what happens?

You do, eventually, convince the three year old to brush her teeth.  You do, eventually, convince the baby to nurse to sleep.  You pry your exhausted self out of the rocking chair and stagger into the kitchen.  You put on the Chris Tomlin Pandora station.  And while you listen to Casting Crown’s “Voice of Truth” you find this:

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A handful of weedy flowers picked by aforementioned three year old.  You hear again how she demanded a cup of water for them, because they were so pretty, right, Mommy?  And you hear again her plaintive protests about the neighbor boys mowing the pretty flowers: “But not the pretty flowers, Mommy!”  You live again how she peered out the window, scouting other flower picking sites, reassuring herself that it would be ok, because we can always go across the street to pick more flowers, right, Mommy?

You hold the glass of flowers, smile, and decide to keep them for one more day.  You promise yourself that you will go across the street to pick flowers tomorrow, not care how many the baby eats, and etch their laughing faces into your memory forever.

And you do, eventually, decide that Mommy is the best word in the world, and wistful thoughts of abdication are gone.  Tears come to your eyes as you beg God to remind you of that, next time, every time.  To give you creativity and patience and memory and smiles when you have nothing left to give.   To have energy to show your beloved children how beloved they are.  To treasure them, as He treasures you.


Old Woman Mountain

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Old Woman Mountain is the dominant feature in our home landscape.  It is what I see while eating, washing the dishes, driving home from town, and playing at the playground.  I was happy to make that our first hike.

It was a hike.  I love hiking, but hiking up a streambed with a 10 month old baby on your back when you have lived in Florida for the past four years is quite a hike.  I loved it.  I was so incredibly happy to be hiking, for real, again.

panoramic view from the top

panoramic view from the top

The views from the top were spectacular but chilly.  We lingered just long enough to eat a quick snack and take a few pictures.  The only wildlife we saw was one eagle soaring at the top with a branch clutched in its talons, on its way to do some home repair, we assumed (we sympathized).  And one clump of fluffy white mountain goat hair.  No bears, thankfully, though we did outfit each kid carrier with a bear bell and Steve borrowed bear spray from a friend.  Apparently, the island has run out of bear spray and no one seems to know when the next shipment will arrive.

Allie approves of the Deuter kid carrier

Allie approves of the Deuter kid carrier



Local, Renewable Garden Boxes

I had signed up for a plot at the community garden before we even arrived in Kodiak.  It is only 3 miles from the house, but sadly, 3 miles soon proved to be 3 miles too far.  I may still try a potato crop in the bed that I so fervently attacked with shovel and cultivator, but I needed something here at the house.

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The very nice man at Sutliff’s Ace Hardware asked me, “How handy is your honey?”  I assured him of Steve’s amazing carpentry skills, and he directed me to the local mill.  And by local, I mean, LOCAL.  A true Alaska experience.  Island Lake Sawmill is a small diesel/gasoline driven mill that cuts local spruce logs into rough planks.  I wouldn’t say they were over the top friendly, but they were incredibly helpful in wedging 5 8-ft lengths of 2×12 on top of bags of dirt and between two car seats in our Highlander Hybrid.

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I talked with them a bit about my time on the logging sports team in college, but I’m not entirely sure they believed me.

“Trash” Beach Treasures

Searching for sea glass

Searching for sea glass

Living here in the guest house while we wait for Quarters has been a great opportunity to meet incoming as well as outgoing Coastie families.  We were invited to accompany a group of other moms and kids on a 1/2 mile hike to a beach that some people call Trash Beach because of all the large rusted boat parts and oil barrels that have washed up on shore.  But we weren’t in search of Tetanus, so we bypassed that and instead hunted for sea glass. P1040066

As a side note, everyone assured me that we were making enough noise with all these kids and moms that we didn’t need to worry about bears, though most moms carried bear spray with them just in case.

We spent a pleasant 2 1/2 hours in the sunshine, talking and searching. P1040063


As a side note, can you believe they are paying us to live here?  Pretty sweet deal.  At least when the sun is shining!


Waiting for the ferry in Homer; Allis is snuggled in the Ergo plus my fleece

Waiting for the ferry in Homer; Allis is snuggled in the Ergo plus my fleece

I love living near mountains again!

I said this on Facebook already, but it is still true: When I left Oregon 6 years ago, I left a piece of my heart there, too. I think I found it again here in Alaska!

View of the mountains from my walk on base today

View of the mountains from my walk on base today

Arrival in Alaska

I don’t really enjoy flying on airplanes, at least not with two small children in tow.  I’m also not so keen on being on any boat larger than a kayak.  But four airports, three airplanes, and one 10 hour ferry ride later, we are finally in Kodiak.  Having been here now less than 24 hours, I have surmised that it is a lot like the Oregon Coast, just cooler.  And further North.  And with more bears. I haven’t actually seen the bears yet, but I believe the reports.

I did see a “Mommy moose and a baby moose” on our drive from Anchorage to Homer, so that was really neat.  We have seen one rabbit and one slug thus far on the island.  Rachel was very interested in the slug.  I am very interested in learning how to kill slugs so that they don’t eat my planned lettuce crop.

The ferry ride from Homer to Kodiak is roughly 10 hours long.  The boat broke, so we departed Homer 10 hours late.  We spent the day playing with rocks at the beach, walking around, and calculating how much sleep we could get if the ferry took off x hours late.  At some point during our long day of waiting, Rachel was dancing and walking around in circles, singing (loudly) to herself.  Talking with people in line with us a few hours later, we introduced Rachel and they asked, “Oh, is she the singer?”  In the car finally driving onto the ferry, Rachel again began to sing her nonsensical wordless songs, and demanded that we add in some instrumentation.  Cue Mommy and Daddy drumming on the car and shaking Allie’s rattle while Rachel sang along in the backseat.

Somedays I look at our life and our family it just doesn’t seem real that we are here and with these daughters and didn’t we just graduate college yesterday and how are we possibly old enough to have two children and if I feel overwhelmed when she is three how will I feel when she is thirteen???  And somedays I cry from frustration and exhaustion and somedays…somedays I can’t thank God enough for my incredible life.