Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recently in North Pole...

It feels like I live in a snowglobe. A beautiful, peaceful, glittery snowglobe. The boys performed in church this morning in the Polar Kids bell choir. It was so interesting to watch because their personality differences were very evident in their performances! Ethan was full of concentration and determined to only ring his bell at the correct time. Caleb was just having a party! Ethan was so pleased everytime it was his turn to ring his bell. Caleb constantly rang the bell AND danced at the same time! I was proud!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sunday Shenanigans.

It's Sunday morning. 5:30 AM. The boys are up. Why are the boys up so early? Time to shower and dress up and eat breakfast. We pack everyone in the van and they fall asleep on the way to church. Fast forward through Sunday School and now it's time to worship. The music starts, and so does the drama. Caleb wants to drink the communion juice. I say no. Meltdown #1 lands us in the bathroom where I lay down the law. A few songs later both boys decide they are entirely too tired to stand during worship and lie down on the pew. Apparently, this pew isn't big enough for the two of them because suddenly Ethan let's out an ear piercing, angry scream. Then they both start bawling. Meltdown #2 and off to the bathroom again. I am literally dragging them down the hallway while they are howling in protest. Worship is over? Huh, I guess I missed it. Time for announcements. Of course, now that there is no music to cover the noise, the boys feel the need to be even louder. Once again, Caleb wants communion juice and I say no. This starts him on a screaming, fall off the pew, my life is just awful tantrum. Meltdown #3 as I carry his flailing arms and legs off to the bathroom. I lay down the law...again, then place him on the little stool and with my mommy mad face on say, "You tell me when you're done!" Two minutes later and he's calmed down and repentant. Just in time for me to drop him off at kid's church.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Milestones and Making Merry

My babies are growing up! Each time they learn something new, they need me less. Part of me rejoices at their new independence, part of me aches for what was. This week Eliana has learned to hold her own bottle. She is quite excited to be feeding herself! She has also been getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. It won't be too long before the baby gates will be put to work once again. She is my last baby and I cherish every smile she gives me, every sweet little noise she makes, and every moment that we cuddle. Watching my babies grow is bittersweet.

Christmas season is in full swing here in North Pole, Alaska! Our tree is up, Christmas lights greet us as we drive up the driveway, Christmas carols fill the air, and the gingerbread house we made fills our bellies! The snow here is glittery, and it clings to the trees making them look like crystal statues. It's like living inside of a snow globe. This weekend we went to a holiday bazaar at a local park. If you have never experienced riding an amusement park train that is covered in Christmas lights in -10 should! Cookies and cocoa warmed us after the ride and then we enjoyed some holiday fireworks. Over the next few weeks we will be visiting a gingerbread house competition, attending several holiday parties, and playing on a playground made entirely of ice!

This is my favorite time of year. I am full of joy and peace. I love watching my children's faces alight with the wonder of this season. I wait in impatient anticipation to be surrounded by the noise and sweetness of family. Merry Christmas!!
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Culinary Adventures

This week we started Eliana on baby food. She took a bite, made a funny face and fussed a little, then opened for another bite. Caleb gave her a few spoonfuls, then Ethan wanted to try. He took the spoon, and promptly threw it down on her highchair tray, proclaiming, "Baby food stinks!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Eliana has begun vocalizing. She doesn't talk though, she sings. I love it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Learning Adventures

Learning. We all do it everyday. Our brains are always absorbing new ideas, new discoveries. I am currently enjoying the privilege of teaching and molding the minds of my two boys. Each day we sit at our kitchen table and learn. Caleb is learning how to write the letters of the alphabet, what his shapes are, and how to spell his name. Ethan is learning basic math, reading comprehension, and Alaska's geography. Each morning when I ring the school bell they come running full speed, anxious and excited to begin. Ethan cries almost every day when I tell him "school time" is over. I wonder if he will follow in Uncle Adrian's footsteps and become a professional, life-long student! I am proud of them, and in awe of how quickly they learn.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Angry Eyes,& Kickboxing

We recently borrowed the movie "Larry Boy and the Angry Eyebrows" from our library. If you haven't seen it, the basic message is that God wants us to let go of our anger. Unfortunately, the movie seems to have had the opposite effect on Caleb. He puts on his "angry eyebrows", crosses his arms and using his "mad voice" says, "I so angry!" I have to turn away every time because I can't help but laugh.

I have started using a kickboxing exercise video. It's very effective...if the boys aren't in the room. Let me paint you a picture of my workout this morning. Sweet Eliana is in her baby swing laughing at me every time I punch. I have Caleb on my left side and Ethan on my right. They are also working out. I was kicked in the leg, punched in the behind, and what happened when I sat on the floor to stretch? Ethan dramatically flopped into my lap claiming to be "so tired" and Caleb jumped on my back and yelled, "Horsey mommy!"

I was reminded today how truly blessed I am. I am a stay-at-home mommy. I get to be here for the funny expressions, and comical sayings, and all of the wonderful milestones my kids reach. Not every day is laughter and play. Some days are harder than I ever thought they could be. But I wouldn't trade this beautiful chaos for a second. They are my God given little miracles and my life would be much less rich without them. So today I am thanking and praising God for this awesome, sometimes scary, privilege and responsibility that is motherhood.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Redefining Adventure (by Shawna)

This week, we are on vacation. Monday, Damian and I thought it would be a grand adventure to jump in the car and take a drive. We decided to drive to Chena River and do some hiking. The drive is a little over an hour long. It is a beautiful drive full of amazing scenery. Now, before we had children, we took long, meandering drives frequently. Just to explore. We had meaningful conversations and drank in the beauty that surrounded us. This drive was nothing like that. The music on this drive was verses of crying baby with a chorus of sibling rivalry! When we finally reached our destination everyone was joyful and relieved to be getting out of their confinement.

The river was lovely. We splashed in the freezing cold water, met a fisherman, hiked a trail, ate freshly picked raspberries, and saw five moose. When we arrived home that evening, I asked the boys if they had fun. With genuine smiles they emphatically replied, "YES!" Then I asked them what their favorite part was. To which Ethan replied, "Playing on the rock." What? We drove all that way and saw all these things and his favorite part was playing on a rock?! Then I remember, the world looks different through the eyes of my children. Anything can become an exciting and new experience if you use your imagination. And so, we are redefining adventure.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week In Review (by Shawna)

Saturday morning and the mood in the house is loud and happy. It has been a busy week for us and the next week looks the same. Sometimes life hits warp speed and just doesn't want to slow down. However, there is an end in sight! We will be taking a vacation in two weeks and using the time to further explore the beauty that is Alaska. I must be truthful enough to say that I am looking forward to an entire week with no agenda.

Some of you may remember that when Ethan was barely three I asked him if he wanted Jesus to live in his heart. He said yes, and repeated a prayer after me. I have often wondered if he truly understood the significance of what he had done. This morning I received an answer to that question. He woke up with a huge smile on his face and said this: "Mommy, I was praying to God in my bed. I asked God to live in my heart. And now I feel happy because God lives in my heart!" This time he initiated it, he prayed on his own, he took responsibility for it. What joy!

Eliana is becoming very responsive. When we talk to her now, she smiles and squirms and kicks her feet. She is enamored with ceiling fans. When she is crying and inconsolable, I lay her on my bed so she can watch the fan and she instantly calms down! Yesterday she rolled over for the first time, from her stomach to her back. I am amazed at how quickly she is growing. I am truly trying to soak up every moment.

Caleb has developed an obsessive love for cereal. He wants it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It doesn't make any difference what kind of cereal it is. If it's in a bowl with milk and he can eat it with his Lightning McQueen spoon, he's happy. He is also becoming quite the protective big brother. If a non-family member is holding Ellie at church, he is quick to point out, "that's MY baby." When she cries, he pets her head and tells her it's ok. Or he sticks her pacifier in her mouth. It's rewarding and sweet to watch.

Damian has been busy with church construction and searching for our new Fine Arts Pastor. I am so proud of him! This is just the opinion of a loving and biased wife but I think he is doing an amazing job here! Well, dishes and laundry are calling so that's all for now!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Foreign Land (by Shawna)

Welcome to Alaska! One of the 50 states in our great America, and yet, to many it seems like a foreign land. I must admit that it was not on my list of “Dream places to live.” However, now that we are here I would be heartbroken if I ever had to leave. Have you ever read journals from the early settlers? Their words spoke beautifully of what it was to “love a land.” This is something I never fully understood until we settled here. I love this land. This Alaska. Why? I wake up in the morning and see moose in my backyard. Wildflowers spill their colors unrestrained. The Northern Lights. Snow and ice turn the trees into tall crystal works of art. The beauty of this landscape is rugged and distinctive and beyond description. It reminds me of the poetry that is God’s creation!

Then there are the people. Alaskans are the most generous and servant-hearted people I have ever met. They challenge me to be less selfish, and more like Jesus. We are so far from our family here and of course we miss them ferociously. And yet, these people have become our family. I love them much more than you should love someone you’ve only known for five months. This is where we belong. This is home.

I feel truly blessed and humbled that God has chosen to place us here. We hope it’s a lifelong appointment!