Category Archives: family

22 years. 8-28-92

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My sister Lucy loves to tell people that Dave and I owe our marriage to her.

And it’s true.

Set up on a blind date, Dave was the second of 3 young men my sister had deemed worthy. (I have this sneaking suspicion that Dave was considered maybe only marginally worthy as he was not Scandinavian and had no idea what lefse was, but older sisters can’t be exactly right on everything!)

That first meeting was awkward and uncomfortable, but something must have intrigued me, because it wasn’t a week later and I found I absolutely needed to go watch this near stranger play hockey.

After the game, sweaty and stinking like only a hockey player can, he asked if he could call. I said yes.

On our first real date, he brought flowers, took me to a way out of the way, hole in the wall restaurant that served the most amazing food. He didn’t blink an eye as I put away plate after plate. We talked for hours. (I can’t remember what the conversation was, probably due to the onset of a food coma). He drove me home, walked me to my door, did not kiss me (coward) and asked if he could see me again.

I said “no”.
I think I saw his eyes widen just a tiny bit, but he just nodded and said “ok”.
Then I told him I was kidding and that I would love to see him again.

He tells me that is the moment he knew he wanted to marry me.

There was another date, more flowers, another great restaurant.

Then a 3rd date, this time he brought me chocolate, but no flowers.

It was after this date that I called my dad and told him I had fallen in love, and I was going to marry this guy, even though he drove a Chevy (and not a Ford).

56 days after the first time we met, he asked, and I said yes.

6.5 months after that first dinner at Lucy’s house, we were pledging our lives to each other in front of our family and our friends.

It’s been 22 years since we stood in the front of that church.

22 years of (sometimes hard) work.
22 years of (more than I dreamed possible) adventure.
22 years of (never too much) fun.
22 years of (exactly the right amount) of love.

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School starts soon….

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11 days to be precise.

It’s a big year here.

Sunny begins middle school.
Broder begins high school.
Kjell begins his Senior year.

It’s tempting to focus on how fast it has gone, since that first day of kindergarten for Kjell, walking him to school with Broder toddling alongside me, and Sunny kicking from inside my womb, determined to make sure she was a part of things, even then.

I could wax about the days when they were sweet and little and they really had no choice but to adore me, as I was their whole world. (Those were good days, days that validated my choice to be home with them and stroked my ego).

But I would be missing so much of these days.

I see Sunny, strong and confident, entering into 6th grade after a rude awakening to the world of mean girls during her final year of elementary school. She could have let the cruelty of unhappy, petty people crush her. Instead, she faced them. Told them they were wrong, and not nice and removed herself from their talons. There were wounds, that is for sure. And she will carry those scars forever. But, just as the physical scars she sports on her face (car accident at 2.5), she is not ashamed, she is proud to have survived.

Broder has been waiting for high school since he was born, I am convinced. He worked hard in middle school, he learned to study. He found out what it was like to be afraid and learned that his dreams may take more work to come true than he could have ever expected. It would have been easy to give up. To be a victim. Instead, he is marching into this next phase with fierce determination. And he will make his mark.

Kjell, after so many years my sweet one, he is now(though still sweet) firmly on the path to manhood. He makes good decisions, not always the ones I would make, but the right ones for who he is and who he wants to become. His growing independence both thrills and terrifies me. My heart breaks knowing this is the last year he is my baby at home. My heart soars seeing him walk into his future.

Over the last week, I have said a couple times, to a couple different people, the following:

I love this time of my life, my kids lives. I am look at them and I get excited about the adventures that lie before them. The unbelievable potential each child holds, and how that will blossom as they move away from the tethers of my mother-love, my sometimes smothering mother-fear. I know I can’t protect them forever, I know too, that I can’t dream big enough for them.

That is theirs.

And I can’t wait to see where those dreams take them.

Tulsa musings…

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The heat has lessened. Most days it hovers around 90, which is remarkably more tolerable than 110. I am in awe of the men and women I see around me each and every day who seem completely unfaazed by the temptature. Every day I see people who are not sweating.

I wish I were one of them.

But not me. No, I spend my days in a state of sopping. Mst of the time I wear a baseball cap in the hopes that the extent of my perspiration is somewhat disguised.

I don’t think it fools anyone, as my face is a perpetual state of flushed and my shoulders, chest, armpits, calves, ankles and feet are constantly shiny with moisture.

It’s fairly disgusting.

However, there is a plus side, my skin has never looked better, any toxins in my system must be being flushed out with the copious amounts of water I drink.

And I am tan. Which is seriously awesome.

And I am still wearing sundresses and sandals while my Alaska friends are breaking out the fleece jackets.

Tomorrow, school begins…

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Tonight we have 3 really stressed, sad and scared kids.

Through this whole process, the kids have been so good. Helping out with the move in every way. Packing, unpacking, road-tripping.

We have great kids. And I fear we have taken this for granted, assuming that they can handle anything we throw at them.

But today, this past weekend, it has become apparent that this move is a stretch, even for our amazing, flexible, wonderful children.

my heart hurts for them. I don’t know how to make this hurt less. There is no turning back. We live in Oklahoma now.

I know, in time, they will make friends, we all will. And I know they will do well in school, it’s who they are. And I know right now it is very very hard.

So, I hug them, pat their backs, make them cookies and assure them it will be ok.

And after I kiss them goodnight, and they go to bed, I weep, and pray.

The art of discipline…

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as a person, I like to think I am a bit of a free spirit.

As a parent, it has been said that I am a bit of a disciplinarian.  (no, not by my children, of course they think I am out to make their lives miserable, but by actual responsible adults who have children that are now successful functioning adults).

The first time I heard this, I was very taken aback.  How could I, the one who lets my kids stay up too late, and rarely forces the making of their beds (because I would have to lead by example), how could I be one of  “those” parents?

Then I stepped back and watched myself with my kids  and yep, I might be a bit free personally, but those children of mine operate within strict parameters.

I have been asked to describe my discipline philosophy, and it took me a while to come up with something I was able to articulate.

People talk about walking a line, but that is not the way it works around here.  I like to think that my kids have a big wide circle of acceptable behavior, and within that circle pretty much anything goes!

But step outside of the circle…

the rules are pretty simple:

Be kind to those around you

Work hard

Don’t be snotty to your parents

yep, that is pretty much it.  Those are the rules that form the circle.

truly, it is because I am terribly lazy and I lack the basic organizational skills that would be necessary to implement a more complex system.

So, that is my secret.

Pretty exciting, huh?

Tonight, while eating dinner…

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Broder looked across the table and said:

“Mom, when I think about the things I like most, the memories that are the best in my life, it is the little stuff I like best.  You know, like when we are having meals together and laughing, or when we are driving somewhere and we all start singing in the car.  That stuff  is the best.  Not the big things.  Not the big events”.

As a mom, I can’t imagine anything I would have rather heard.

I have talked  quite a bit about my desire to create memories for my kids, (as I don’t take pictures, and we don’t have a forever home that they are growing up in) and I have prayed that my shortcomings as a mother are not what sticks out in their minds as they grow up.  That what they look back on and see is a lifetime of love and joy.  Everyday joy.

And it seems to be working out ok.

Good Heavens, where does the time go?

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when I sat down this evening, I thought it has maybe been a month since I posted last, not nearly 3!!

We had a long dreary summer here in Alaska, perhaps the rainiest on record.  32 days in a row where it rained.  We got to the point where we would mow the lawn, not when it had a day or 2 to dry out, but when it was just sprinkling asopposed to the rain we were getting most of the time.  The good news in all of this is that it was a banner year for mushrooms around south central Alaska.

I began working in July, and now after 2 months, it is beginning to feel like I have a handle on the job.  The hours and days just fly by and for the most part I enjoy each and every bit of it.  I love being a part of a place that takes women’s health so seriously, and a practice that so passionately believes that women should be able to give birth where and how they choose:  be that at a hospital with an epidural, a birth center with  favorite music playing, or at home on the living room floor surrounded by friends and family.

The diversity in my workplace: economic, educational, political, religious, both among those of us who work together, and the women we serve, is incredible.  Every day we learn something new from one another, and every day, our differences and beliefs are respected.

Working full time has been an adjustment, and not all of it is rosy.  I miss being with the kids all the time, and they miss me too.  i miss the lazy days that Dave and I could have together when he was home and the kids were at school.  I miss my house ever being clean.

Most of the change, however has been good.  Remarkably, we eat even more meals together because this is the time we consistently have as a family.  Knowing that we have a limited time, has forced all of us to be more organized in preparing meals, and now, more than ever, we are eating home cooked dinners, as I plan things out where I never really had to before.

I have given up most of the volunteering I was doing at the kids’ school, in fact, I don’t even pick them up from school 4 days a week!  I actually pay someone to pick the kids up from school and drop them at home (we don’t have bus service as a charter school).  It is all so different from when last year (and each year before that) when I was in the classroom, in the lunchroom, and on nearly every field trip.

We are hosting another student teacher from Germany this year.  Right now she is slated to be with us until nearly Thanksgiving, that may change, and she may be with us longer, to the end of her stay in the US, which runs through January 2011.  Magdalena is delightful, and we all enjoy her so very much.

after shoulder surgery in June, I decided to start running again.  It has been years and years and years since I have run on a regular basis, and it was hard going at first.  But on August 15, with the encouragement of family and my good friend Myrna who was with me every step of the way, I ran (without a single step of walking) a 5k race through downtown Anchorage.  I was not fast, and it was not pretty, and I was not last!  I look forward to more of the same in the months and years to come.I have set some pretty crazy goals for myself over the next couple of years, and this 5k was the first step to reaching them.  It felt good.

It has been a post about me, me, me.  And I feel like I should apologize, but not tonight.

I want to promise that it won’t be 3 months until I write again.  I wish I could.

It is busy around here these days, but some things will never change, and among those that stay constant are the following:

there is always a place to lay your head,  always coffee in the kitchen, always time for a lively conversation, and always, you are welcome.  Come and visit.