Monday, February 27, 2012

My Ash-less Ash Wednesday

I look back at my last post and have to chuckle.

It was a dreary Monday (February 6) and I was raw that day.

My husband and I had a particularly nasty argument that morning over something (or things, as tends to happen with us) and I was prepared for long, long days of chilly silence and heavy hearts around our house. (That's how our particular personalities tend Lots of silence. Lots sighing. Can you see why we don't fight that often?)

Anyway. That night I went home and stiffened my upper lip for the long haul. What wasn't so stiff anymore, I realized in horror, was my gut. I'd been eating right. Walking my miles at the what gives. In exasperation, I blew out a breath and quit sucking in for one moment. Long enough for me to recognize it.

Perplexed, I made up an excuse about needing a bag of clementines at 9 p.m. and drove like a crazy person to the store. Forget the citrus, show me the pee sticks.

My fear/hunch was confirmed when that double pink line told me that Makenna, our seven month old, would not be the baby of our family for much longer. After a week of waiting for this appointment and that scan, the results were in. I was 16 weeks pregnant and didn't know it. Annnnnd, lucky for us we got to find out what ninja baby #4 was going to be...another girl due a mere 13 months after the last one!!

So forgive my absence. I've been trying to cram into three short weeks an entire trimester's worth of panic and I've probably managed to gain every pound I didn't put on the first 15 weeks in the sheer amount of carbohydrates I'm stuffing in my face. And on another positive, nothing stops a stupid fight in its tracks like a suprise pregnancy. Keep that one in mind for the future...

But back to the point of this post.

Lent began last week. And I love Lent.

Call me nuts, but I love Mardis Gras (I've even gone three or six times in college, though don't quote me on it and I'm not entirely sure my mother knows about each time I traipsed across the Texas/Louisiana border). I love the ashes. I love the creativity in finding something new and interesting to give up. Call me crazy, but I always loved to think about how my chocolate or latte-free existence for 40 days brought me closer to Jesus. It had to, right?

But there's something different about this year. To begin with, I had big plans of dragging my family to service at 7 p.m. last Wednesday and like much that happens with a living, moving, chaotic family, it didn't go as planned. None of us got our smudge on. Darn it.

There's also the fact that this year more than ever, I feel like I can relate to the sense of "desert" in the story of Jesus' temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). (Though please believe that I am NOT comparing myself to our Lord and Savior...that's just funny.)

What I relate to is the struggle and fight with fear, anger, frustration, and pride. We're definitely being tested this season with unplanned (though welcomed and appreciated) pregnancies, financial bumps and bruises, and forked, deceitful tongues from people we've held near and dear to us.

More than ever, the temptation to be angry, to give up, to lose faith and just despair the burden we're carrying is weighing on our family. More than ever, the mere act of giving up online shopping or Facebook just isn't enough. I need more this year.

More than getting rid of something I percieve to be negative, my family needs me to produce something positive every day for the next 40 days (ok, minus the whole 5 that I've let slip by between Ash Wednesday and today).

Is it an act? Is it a thing I need to produce? What does my family need from me and what do I need from myself to come through this spiritual desert a better human being, a better mother, and better wife than I was on February 22?

I can't say that I have the answers, but I'm starting with prayer. Each morning starting sometime Saturday around 6:38 a.m. when all three kids were on our bed clamoring for cartoons and cereal, I started praying for each and every one of them, the husband included. I've repeated a few requests over the days, but I don't think the Good Lord has a line editor in heaven calling out my lack of creativity. But it's something and it's daily and it's doing its job for me personally. I feel proactive instead of reactive. I feel closer to my maker instead of a disciplined school kid doing everything they can not to bust into the off-limits cookie jar.

It's a start, right?

What are your thoughts on the Lenten season? Do you give up something or do you commit to doing something?

Either way, here's hoping you have a blessed week and special Lenten season if you celebrate it.



Monday, February 6, 2012

A Monday Journal (Week 1)

It’s a new week. Things are happening. Some of it’s new, some of it’s not. That’s a bit how it goes, right?

It’s another winter week in Alaska. That sounds so depressing in my head, and there’s a “winter blues” aspect we’re all combating to be sure. But it’s also February. And for the most part, I love February. Hearts, candy, chocolate, cupid. I’m a romantic at heart and I’m all about glitter and crayons.

I’m also taking a writing class over at Savvy Authors. I’m excited to learn about using the conflict grid in my work.

Beyond that, my life is blessedly dull for another seven days.

Boy Wonder has another week with the Junior Native Youth Olympics on Tuesday. He loves to come home and talk about how high he jumped or how far he hopped. He’s making friends and that’s good, too.

Boo turns 3 on Wednesday, can you believe that? He’s insisting on a “Spongebob Cake” so we’ll see what we can do.

Kenna is crawling and the whole “life at home” game has changed because of it. She’s also not sleeping much because of those darned “toofies.”


Right now, I am struggling with inspiration. The world is still pretty dark and grey out, and with minimal sleep and a touch of cabin fever, I’m definitely a candidate for a “get over it” sort of pep talk.

We’ve been noticing that Boy Wonder’s handwriting/spelling/reading comp is slipping lately and it’s a bit disheartening for such a bright, upbeat young man like him. There are days that I wish we had the lifestyle to support homeschooling, but what’s to stop us from “homeschooling” anyway? At least in the time we are allowed.

Not that it’s inspiring by any means, but I got the idea to have a theme each month at home where we work on discovering something together as a family. This month we chose “Dinosaurs” and we’re learning all about the Triassic period right now. With his “discovery journal,” he works on his penmanship, spelling, and writing. He also self-motivates with projects he thinks he’d enjoy working on.

He’s already picked out “Vikings” for March, so I’d consider us inspired by this new turn of events.

On the “dinosaur” theme, I took the kids to the Alaska Museum of Natural History on Saturday and spent the day poking old bones and looking at rocks and minerals. It was amazing how much those kids can focus when given the chance. Me too, I guess.

I have a short (ish) piece due to Entangled this weekend that I’m ignoring. But not for long.

I’m hoping to get going on organizing/spring cleaning. Winging it each morning “on the fly” is getting harder and harder. Some sanity would be much appreciated around our house.

I’m also working on my health and wellness. I’m not exactly brimming with energy lately so I got us a family membership at the local “dome” covered track and logged 5.5 miles last week (2.5 of them were with the little kids and we walked, but that SO counts!) This week, I’m working on making it there for my own workouts M, W, and F and taking the kids on T, Th. We need the movement!

Boy Wonder is working on earning back some privileges he lost two weeks ago. He’s well on his way, too. I hate punishing him and I’m really bad at it…I’m a “caver” at heart. But P is good at being the voice of reason and reminding me that learning right from wrong is a very good thing.

Boo is working on puzzles and drawing mostly. He loves those.

Kenna’s working on that whole babyfood thing. Somedays she gets it, other days she’s offended at the sight of a spoon.

Not much lately. Cooking requires cleanup, and that’s just not fun. I’m trying a new spaghetti squash creation on Wednesday, though. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Re-reading, actually. Starting the “Hunger Games” trilogy over. I know, I’ve already read it twice, but the movies coming soon and my other books bored me.

I’m determined to crack open my Bible tonight, too. I really, really need some words of wisdom.

Boy Wonder is in the midst of his “Magic Tree House” books. He devours those things.

Boo has memorized his “No More Monkeys” book and reads it to himself at night.

‘Kenna crawls up next to Boy Wonder whenever he’s on the ground with his book and reads over his shoulder. True story.

For Samantha Koenig’s family. For patience and compassion and even more patience. For opportunities for new things in 2012. Broader horizons.

For our health. For my beautiful family. For having such awesome extended family and friends. For having a job I love. For a house that keeps us warm (ish) and a car that runs


(OK, that’s coming. i forgot my phone at home!)

Have a wonderful, productive, and peaceful week!


( P.S.: Credit for this fun little way to start the week belongs to my blog pal Misty over at Rainy Day in May. I love her posts. Really really. )