Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013.

Wow, are we blessed.  

We had such a wonderful, mellow, cold, white Christmas this year.  Just the right amount of family, friends, and cozy time together at home.  A really good blend of Jesus and Santa ;)   Far too many presents for one family.  We simply got spoiled rotten with some of the most thoughtful, wonderful gifts.  We even got to see lots of family on Skype, which is always just incredible that it is even possible and made my day even more special.

And on top of that we got visits from three different sets of friends that we don't see very often.  And honestly, living out here in the sticks, a visitor is one of the best gifts of all.   

Other little snippet highlights:

:: Ever opening presents.  Beyond rewarding this year.  Drama in a new direction than usual :)
:: Tell and all the grandkids in their cowboy hats and handkerchiefs
:: Ever pointing out "Jesus' star!!" to everyone when she spotted the brightest one out the window
:: Church. Whiny, restless kids and all :)  The church full of candles and everyone singing Silent Night always feels sacred.
:: "Mama you better get to bed because Santa will be here soon and he won't stop if you aren't asleep!!!"
:: Seeing Ever, literally, dart across the kitchen to get to her stocking at 5:30 a.m.
:: Christmas Day Yahtzee with Grama & Grampa.  Bry had never even heard of Yahtzee before and somehow has rolled a yahtzee everytime we've plaid. Seriously?
:: Family.  Near, far, here, and gone... 

It's easy to get wrapped up in the "what's" of Christmas.  What we're giving, what we're getting, what we're eating, what we're decorating with.  Our society is all about the what's and it never stops.  Somebody always has something better or prettier or bigger.  And they always will.  

But I do know this, if it all disappeared, if all we got for Christmas was a day with these incredible little people we get to call our children?  Next to salvation, we would have the greatest gift on Earth.  

:: Cozy little bundle back from some ~cold~ fresh air ::
:: Grama keeping a close eye on Isla. Isla keeping a close eye on Hayden & Rowan's monster trucks::
:: Merry Christmas Bmen -- he had fun checking his traps with Chuck & Randy on Christmas Eve ::

:: My snow girl.  She loves it. ::

:: Piper & Isla all dolled up for Jesus' birthday party ::

:: Ever couldn't wait to open her gold present under Grama & Grampa's tree - a nutcracker snowglobe ::

:: Isla with her outlaw Papa & his new-to-him .22 ::

:: It was a cowboy Christmas in Gakona this year -- guns, horses, and cowboy hats. ::

:: Big brother looking a little mischievous. ::

:: dollface ::

:: Tell's new favorite toy.  Everything is getting "chainsaw-ed" .... watch out. ::

:: Happy boy with his new planes from his Rother Aunts & Uncles ::

:: "I think Uncle Josh is Santa because he knew exactly what I wanted!"  ::
:: Grampa snapped this pic of me and Isla bird on Christmas ... I am one lucky girl. ::

Friday, December 20, 2013

Good Timing.

As I found my leggings (of all things) fitting very snugly and none of my pants fitting yesterday, I was happy to randomly stumble upon this blog post:


I whole-heartedly agree with this mom (and love her artwork!).  We women have a tendency to expect so much of ourselves, and so fast.  I try to remind myself - and others - that it took nine months to get there, and it's going to take a little bit to come back down.  And I love the sentiment of appreciating what our body has created and carried and been through.  Here's one of my favorite parts:

"I carried her in this meadow of a body for nine months.  She stretched me and rested her sweet head against my ribs.  We listened to each other late at night and tried to learn what the world would offer the two of us.  She moved her little legs when I lay still and in the end she came wailing into the world through the same c-section incision her brother did, and it was sacred.  I am not eager to erase the evidence of that for the sake of looking awesome.  I don't think we should have to ask our body to snap back into something it once was, because the fact is, after being pregnant,  it is not the thing it once was. I see so many friends who want to have children, but can't, and I think they would trade imperfection for the opportunity."

Honestly, I had hoped to "bounce back" quicker with this one.  But let's be realistic, with three young kiddos at home with me all day, there is not a lot of time right now for structured exercise.  The time will come though, I hope...

And with that in mind, I pour another glass of egg nog and embrace the holidays!  While I anxiously  check the mail, awaiting a new pair of jeans in a size up.  There's always a silver lining, right? :)

Simply because it's so stinkin' cute ... from pinterest.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


When I'm feeling particularly homesick (I tend to use the term loosely, usually meaning that I'm homesick for someone I love),  I like to try and remember the feeling of holding their hand.  I can clearly recall the feeling of about seven people's hands and one dog.

Try it.
See if you can mentally recollect how a certain person's hands feel when you hold them.
It's surprisingly soothing and comforting to the soul.  And for me, reminds me of those that are the very, very closest to my heart.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Fox and the Child.

"Somebody told me that courtship was a strange mix between love & war."

Never heard a truer sentence.  Anyone else been feeling this way lately?  More on the war side? :)
Children's shows are so full of wisdom ....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Highlights from our past week ....

Love from us to you .... And extra wishes to my girl Saylor Shea on her birthday today - we're thinking of you!!  xoxo 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Because I can't stop taking pictures .....

:: 10 days old ::

:: Two Weeks Old ::

:: Two Weeks Old ::

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Cup Overflows :: Isla Skye

I haven't taken the time to post in the last 9 days because I've been too busy staring constantly at the precious little gift we were blessed with last weekend.  Sweet baby, 

Isla Skye McMahan 

arrived, unlike the rest of her family, on time on October 13th at 12:03 a.m.

Her birth was swift and perfect.

I can't tell you how overcome with thankfulness I've been in the last two weeks.  We are so fortunate.  From our family and friends taking incredible care of us, to thoughtful messages from others, to gifts and treats.  We are so lucky to have loving family that we were all able to stay with both while we waited in town for her to arrive and the two nights she and I spent at the hospital.  I had a wonderful collection of people with me when she was born and I am so very thankful for that.  
I looked back at my three incredible kids on the drive home and wondered how I got so lucky.  And for them to have one of the best Papa's I've ever seen.
Friends have cooked for me, treated me with the most thoughtful of gifts, sent their love...

Our house is so filled with love right now.  
I want to hold time right here and savor every single moment of it...
If I could just wrap this moment up and put it in my pocket to save for always.  I'm certain there will be a time when I'll look back and long for these simple days.  
These days when our life is honestly based around eating and sleeping and growing.  
The feeling of the softest-of-soft newborn skin in their first hours.
When the very first thing Ever & Tell think to do when they wake is come in and hold their new sister and kiss her.  If Tell has been gone somewhere, he comes home and goes through every room until he finds where she's resting.

The love.

And I was worried there wouldn't be enough ;)  

Our cup overflows....

Here is a glimpse into Isla's first week:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Preparing for Baby #3.

I had big plans to prepare for Baby #3.  I have made lists.  And lists.  And lists.  I'm sure I will find them all, unchecked of course, when she's about 14 months old ....  But now that the countdown is 10 days I've found myself placing more value on sanity and energy preservation than preparation.

I know this will come back to bite me.

But seriously.  I have done very little these last couple weeks.  And I think it's an unconscious attempt at self-preservation because really, I am very inefficient right now.  If I have the energy and correct muscles left in place to accomplish something, I usually lack the mental clarity or decisiveness to complete (or more often, start) it.  If I can think straight about something that needs taken care of, usually I run out of steam before even attempting it.  I've given up.  It'll all be okay.

Then today a whole new wave of unpreparedness hit me at the kids' naptime.  My heart.  This baby is 100% blessing, no doubt about it.  But I look at Ever and worry about the things I'm going to miss during the business and excitement and weariness of this next phase.  I look at Tell and suddenly realize how very much he still looks like a baby when he's sleeping.   I tell my heart to grow and my will to stiffen and buck up, because loving three is going to take more effort, but it will all come back to me a million times over, I know...

I'm in love with my kids.  Every day I get frustrated and angry with them, but every day I thank God from the bottom of my heart for placing them here with me.  They are so excited to meet their little sister and so am I.  They love to blow raspberries on my tummy and laugh and I'm sure she can hear their excitement.  It is truly a special, special time.

So, that said, now if anyone can tell me of a safe and legal drug that will give me the energy and peace of mind to play with them and teach them and gaze at their angel faces while they sleep and clean and cook and maybe even exercise and still be a happy, smiling, calm mother, please let me know ;)


Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Comings & Goings.

:: Photo taken by my good friend Ashley ::

We've had quite a month, these (3!) kids and I :)  Since I last wrote we've had quite the adventures and seen all sorts of wonderful people and amazing sites...

The space between fishing and hunting season seemed unusually short this year, even though it wasn't.  Is that the way it goes with age?  The earth spins at a faster pace than when you're young?   Tomorrow is the last day of moose season and we are ALL ready.  Yesterday, Johana and I packed up the kids (... and a rooster for trade ... and two dogs) to spend a couple precious hours with the Papa's up at Grizzly.  The boys and hunters headed back out for one last attempt yesterday evening.  In exchange for our hard-to-part-with rooster, we came home with a new little, beautiful hen to add to our flock.  We held her for a bit this morning and she was given the name Chalala (sp?!?!).  I voted for Pepper, but was outnumbered 2 to 1.

Before he left yesterday, Bry took the kids and I for a short flight.  There is never a bad season to see Alaska from the air, but fall is most especially beautiful.  The trees literally glow with color.  Oranges, limes, yellows, reds, a few pinks.  It's stunning.  I didn't take any camera along, so I'm sorry I can't share.  The kids were on cloud nine.  Tell came out of the plane saying, "Airplane!  Fun, fun!!" And he fell asleep last night saying the same thing :)

I'm hoping to post a few photos of this last month soon.  I'm moving a little slower these days though, as baby is due in only 24 days!!  Wish me energy please :)   xoxo

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bird's Eye View.

Bry played around the other day strapping his GoPro to the airplane.  I love these videos.  The mountains he is flying in are the same mountains we look out to every morning from the kitchen windows.  Simply incredible .... I am always jealous of the country he gets to "work" in.  One of these days the kids and I will be grown up enough to tag along more.

We've been busy around here.  And when we're not busy, we're busy resting ;)  Baby is getting BIG.  And every day is one day closer to her arrival ... I can't wait.  Although, for the multitude of reasons any mother knows, I can wait.  I'm relishing these days that are fleeting and shortly to change.  Getting to feel her every move is such a blessing, every time.  These days with Ever & Tell, and who they are right now.  So lucky...

We've been gobbling up what little produce is coming from the garden.  Unfortunately, this year was a bit of a downer as far as edible goods go.  Ever did a lovely job on her flower garden though and her and Tell get so much enjoyment from playing in the garden that I definitely wouldn't call it a disappointment.  We've been canning and jamming and berry picking and freezing.  Kind-of surprising, but I'm still enjoying it :)  If I have any winners from the results I'll post some recipe links.

We might have some birds with stomach aches tonight...  Ever rang out a five-alarm scream tonight from the yard -- "The ducks are eating the moonflowers!!!!!"  Immediately followed by dramatic sobs and "They're going to get sick and die and there's no animal doctor here and where are we going to get them medicine?!?!?"  Her and I quickly ran out to scare them off and I put the pots up on the greenhouse deck (they were in quarantine because of aphids).  I also realized that the grown hens were eating rhubarb leaves that I had discarded this afternoon.  I don't think either one digested enough to keel them over, at least I hope not, or I will have one very sad "birds-are-my-life" girl on my hands.  

:: Ever feeding Georgia some scratch ::

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Lean not on your own understanding .... thank goodness .

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Loving lately ....

:: the fresh smell of rain ::
:: thunder ::
:: the way thunder reminds me of Nebraska ::
:: music ::
:: dreaming about beautiful things to make ::
:: dreaming about things to do ::
:: the way our little rooster lets Ever come right up to love on him and scold him for pooping on the ramp :)  ::
:: the rainbows of colors hiding in the ducks' feathers::
:: how Tell tries to say everything his Papa says ::
:: Tell's red hair and dimpled smile ::
:: the way Ever has been loving the bikes lately ::
:: how Ever names her strider bike moves (the princess, the ballerina, & the strider glide) ::
:: the way this baby's been rolling around so big in my belly ::
:: the way brother and sister talk and kiss and love on baby so much all ready ::

:: this guy ::
:: so much ::

:: boy are we glad to have him home ::

P.S. Thanks for snapping these pics, Aunt Jenny!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Girl.

It's not uncommon for Ever to ask me to do things for her all day long  after she goes to bed.  Like, "Draw me a picture of an eagle tonight"or "Make sure you come sneak in after I fall asleep."  Today she brought me a little bouquet of flowers from the garden.  She made a special point of telling me it was because she loved me and you do nice things for your friends :)  She then asked me to pick her some flowers after she went to sleep.  When I went out to close the greenhouse up tonight I picked her some petunias, a lavender, and some verbena.  I put them in a tiny glass pitcher we pilfered from Omi on the last trip home and I snuck in to put it by her bed.  As I was leaving she rolled over and looked at me.  When she noticed the flowers her face broke into the biggest, warmest smile ever.  
It melted my heart.
Sometimes I worry that our kids feel too special.  They are so, so loved by their family and friends.  But it's times like this that remind me that you cannot love a child too much.
I know this isn't the most exciting write-up in the world, but I wanted to get it down for my own memory more than anything.  I never, ever want to forget that genuine smile and gratitude in her eyes.
We've had so much fun, this girl and I.  We definitely have some long days around here, but I'm so very thankful for quiet moments such as this that truly restore a tired Mama's soul.

:: Ever's first trip to Homer with Aunt Stacey, Omi, & I when she was 7 months old ::