Thursday, April 5, 2018


Most days out skiing this year with the kiddos have seemed too much trouble and just not worth it. Oh, let me list the ways in which it has been the opposite of fun.

~kids whining on the drive up

~kids whining while getting dressed

~kids whining while putting boots on

~kid refusing to walk from car to hill

~other kid walking and whining

~carrying two pairs of kid skis plus your skis and a kid, both awkward and heavy

~kid dropping glove repeatedly on way to hill

~kids having to go pee as soon as you arrive, thereby requiring a nearly full undress

~kids whining because they are hungry ten minutes after arriving

Okay, I think you get the point. A whole lot of whining and work and not a lot of skiing or fun.

But wait. The other day was AWESOME! It made it all worth it! The kids didn't whine at all. They skied for quite some time before we finally decided we should go in for lunch. They smiled and had a good time. The sun was shining. The snow was soft and spring-like. Both kiddos fell asleep on the chairlift! Guess the vibration and warm sun at nap time was just a bit too much!

I know we'll have more rough days on the slopes but I needed a win. I needed a reason to keep trying. Maybe we'll do another attempt this season...or maybe we'll end with that great day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Best mom ever!

The other night, we went for a family ski. I was with my daughter (Age 2) on the magic carpet when she announced she had to pee. Two carpets and a decent walk from the lodge, I thought about it and decided, "if little boys can pee outside, why not little girls?"

So, we ducked behind a snowbank and some trees and I helped her lower her many layers to pee. Well, I must not have gotten everything lowered well because she was soon telling me, "I think I'm having an accident." Sure enough, all pants layers, including her snow pants, were soaked.

I sighed, and then proceeded to make the long haul with her to the lodge. What to do next? My husband was out on the chairlift with our son, and he had the keys to the truck where the extra clothes were kept. So we headed to the bathroom, I stripped her wet undies and pants off and proceeded to dry them under the mega powerful hand dryer, while she stood there mostly naked. And then, yes, I put her back in pants saturated in dried urine until dad came in and it was time to go.

Is there a lesson here? Hmmm...maybe don't skip the bathroom when you're with a little girl on a downhill slope with lots of complicated layers. It's not so easy, turns out. 😂

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A New Epic

The sky was blue and the temp was just right, warm but not hot. We laced up our shoes and threw our 40lb packs on to hike the classic trail to the Grinnell glacier. Our packs weren't heavy with overnight gear; instead, each of us carried a kid, in addition to the essentials. Unfortunately, we were getting a late start (2pm) on this 11+ mile hike. We set out anyway, telling ourselves we would just see a bit and then turn around. But we know ourselves better than that, and we both knew we were going to make it happen.

When our children were very small (i.e. before they could walk), we still got out for some fairly significant adventures. As they grew, our outings became shorter and tamer. We are in that tricky zone with littles that are big enough to be mobile and have opinions but not quite big enough to do much that the adults find interesting.

Typically, neither kid will tolerate a pack. The older has obviously been out of a pack for several years, and he can hike about 3 miles before the whining is unbearable. Our two year old just wants to do everything "by self"! But here we were, in Glacier NP, and we wanted to do an actual hike to a glacier, not a boardwalk "hike" crowded with tourists who just exited the red jammer. So we packed lots of snacks and planned to go as fast as possible.

Everyone who passed us heading down as we headed up thought we were nuts. They didn't think we could/should complete the whole trail with young kids in packs and at that hour of day. We weren't worried about the fitness aspect, but we did have some concern about time of day and weather. As we got to the glacier, dark clouds appeared on the horizon. Knowing that weather can move quickly in the mountains, we didn't spend long at the glacier.

We ate some snacks and put the objecting kiddos back in the packs and hit the trail running. We listened to thunder the entire way down and watched the dark clouds roll closer. Our daughter increased her commentary about wanting to "walk by self", and we did our best to distract her, feigning dramatic interest in squirrels and singing ridiculous songs. Near the end of the trail, we came across a moose standing in a lake just below us. We spent some time admiring his girnormity before hitting the trail again. By now, my husband's neck was really bothering him from the weight and impact of the pack, so we took our son out and asked him to finish the trail. It seemed the thunder and lightning had passed us by, but huge raindrops were beginning to fall. So we all ran the last mile out and managed to clamber into the truck just before the skies unleashed.

It was bedtime by the time we sat down at the lodge restaurant to eat dinner. The kids were tired and hungry. The adults were a bit of each as well. We ordered beer with our dinner and celebrated our "epic" adventure. It felt great to do something a little crazy and irresponsible, to have walked that familiar line between comfort and discomfort, to have challenged ourselves and our kids as well. You see, epic is now defined as working through tantrums, bribing trail progress with candy, coming up with creative solutions to irrational requests, moving your body in weird ways to keep a toddler asleep, and, always, racing the clock.

Some of us are made for adventure. I don't feel alive unless I'm doing things that are wild, even if only just a little wild and not very often. As the kids grow, my greatest hope is that they love these experiences too, that they feel that tingling sensation in their souls that rejuvenates and connects them to the creator.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Make No Plans

Be present. Live in the now. Don't go future-tripping. Enjoy where you are. Be content. So many cliches all intended to help us stay in and appreciate our current moment in life. It's a hard balance though. It's nearly impossible to not plan for the future a little. It's good to have a dream or two or three. Something to aim for. A piggy bank to fill for a vacation, a remodel, a new car.

But then we assign timelines to our dreams and they become goals, a bit more tied down and possible. Goals are good too, right? Ah-ha, here is where the problem begins. Your dream is going to become a reality by a certain date. You are heading in that direction, working hard to achieve that dream, through one obstacle after another. Sometimes, an obstacle is too big or requires much more time or money to get past. You return to the lesson of living "in the now". That dream is on hold, just out of reach at this moment. If only you had kept your feet grounded more, your heart wouldn't be crumbling with disappointment.

We had the dream of building a home. So many obstacles and hurdles have come up since that dream began that I question if we should've abandoned it long ago. The most major advancement towards making this dream come true came in the form of downsizing to live in a travel trailer. The plan was to live in it for two years and then start the build, making it a full three years in our camper. With two small children. Who have loads of energy. In a rainy environment. You get it. It has been really hard.

Just last week, as we were ready to finalize our loan and start the build, our final contractor bid came in and we had to face a very difficult reality. The numbers were simply more than we could afford and much higher than originally quoted. Since building in our area has to revolve around snow, we knew that bailing on this builder would mean bailing on building this year and waiting to start until next spring.

This means two more years in the trailer. One year to save and secure a new builder, and another year for the build. Two more years of laundromats. Two more years of laying silently in the dark while the littles fall asleep. Two more years of hating cooking because of cramped kitchen space. Two more years of having to keep everything tidy all of the time because otherwise there is no room. Immediate dishes. Clean clothes put away right off. Beds made first thing. Two more years of searching for things in the disastrous storage unit. Two more years of trying to figure out what to do with two children inside for 9 rainy months. Two more years of forcing said children outside in all kinds of weather because they are crazy with cabin fever and don't know it. Two more years of trying to not engage in conflict with one another "in front" of the kids, because, well, everywhere is "in front" of them in our home. Two more years of wishing for a couch to sit on to watch TV (instead of our bed).

I'm sure I could go on with my list of complaints. Being honest, this is my "now", my "present". I will try to flip it for the positive in a few days, but right now I want to grieve the crushing disappointment of this delay. I have been flipping the situation for the positive for much of the two years we've been in the travel trailer. It's going to be a hard sale to convince myself of the benefits of this reality for another two years. It seems to me that sometimes life is just hard and ugly and frustrating, no matter how you look at it, but you get through it and find yourself in another stage. So I will be in my present, appreciating it as much as possible and trying not to think about how long but, I will allow myself to envision the end of this stage at the same time.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


The other night, we decided to take our kids out to the ski hill. We have gone several times this year and have found certain schedules to make it happen. For those of you reading who are trying to figure schedule logistics with two young children, here are the three options we've tried.

Leaving after breakfast is one of our favorite options. In our family, "after breakfast" means 11am, by the time we have the gear loaded and the kids dressed. Once there, we feed the kids our packed lunch and then we divide and conquer. The oldest skis with one of us, and the baby takes a front pack nap while we ski tour on the Nordic trails. When she wakes up, we trade off skiing with our oldest. Another option is to leave the house around nap, the baby sleeps on the drive up and we have a few hours to enjoy skiing before heading home for dinner. The third option, and the most tricky one, is to leave after nap (about 4pm). In that scenario, we give the kids a late snack and then ski a couple hours and have dinner on the hill.

On this particular day, we just didn't get it together to leave before nap, so we opted to go after. A light snow fell as we headed up the mountain. As soon as we arrived, it turned into a crazy blizzard with fast and deep accumulation. We got the kids in their final garments and packed them and their gear to the lift/carpet. (Another tip: use a sled to haul the kids and skis.) I took the toddler to the carpet and, no joke, there was too much snow. The slope wasn't steep enough for us to get any speed to push the amount of snow that had fallen. So, after two "runs", I called it and we went inside the lodge.

Meanwhile, my son and husband got a couple chairlift runs in before the little announced he had to go pee. Again (he had gone in the parking lot). So, trek to the lodge, lumber down the stairs in ski boots, off with the many layers, pee, re-dress, up the stairs and back out again. It was my turn so I headed out with our son. But there was something very wrong with my skis. They felt like glue on my feet. I took them off and discovered over a foot of snow packed onto my ski. I scraped it off, but found a layer of ice beneath, the reason for the stick. I needed an ice scraper to get it off. So I went back inside and told my husband to go back out with our son. He did a couple more runs and then came back in because our son had to go poop. Of course. By this time, it was getting late so we decided to be done for the night. We headed to the restaurant and sat down to eat, by now 8pm, past the kids' bedtime and they were just eating dinner.

While eating dinner, we learned that the freeway was closed. Hearing that, I felt super anxious. Now what? Will we sleep in the truck? Will we wait the closure out and hope the kids don't turn into monsters? Thankfully, the freeway opened and it was not an issue at all.

Our kids did not fall asleep on the drive home (why did we not get those kids?), so it was 10pm by the time their heads hit the pillow. My husband and I tumbled into bed not long after and asked each other if it was worth it. Our son and my husband got four bunny hill ski runs in, our daughter did two carpet rides, and I mostly sat in the lodge. It puked snow the entire time and I stared longingly (and a bit painfully) at the empty, steep slopes. We ate a hurried meal with cranky children, and got them to bed late, thereby ensuring more crankiness the next day.

I still contend it's always worth it. Some trips are a flop. Others are awesome, and you hope your kids will remember them. You never know what you're going to get, a day of sweet turns with your kid or
whining and hot cocoa in the lodge. You've got to try to find out. Hopefully, it gets easier, this whole 'adventuring with kids' thing. Someday, we won't have to deal with complicated nap schedules, frequent potty breaks, and fits over wonky gloves. Right?!? Please tell me it gets easier. 😜

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Now What?

Oh, naïveté, how I prefer thee to truth. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, in regards to a couple different aspects of my life. You know how, in youth, you are full of such hope for the future and all that holds. Hope in love, work, life, adventure. You are certain you will get a great job, give whatever it takes to have a successful marriage, and so on.

Now I was never so naive as to believe that "love is all you need" to make marriage work. I did, however, think we had an unbreakable combination of factors in our favor: love, like, desire, belief in God, commitment, and shared interests. Our story was amazing. We met, had a date, spent every minute together, and then were engaged three weeks later, married six months later.

Some might gasp and say that is the reason for any marital problems you are having, of course, because you did not know each other well enough. However, our story goes a little differently than that. After our quick engagement and marriage, we enjoyed 12 amazing years together. Not all of it was "bliss" but nobody should expect that. We had a great time together, we supported each other, we worked through conflicts, and we loved one another.

And then, we had a kid. I hear this is a tipping point for many couples, due to the ways in which life must change and the increased pressure. I was as prepared for this as a person can be, but then nobody is ever prepared for children, are they? I was not prepared for the way it seemed he didn't have room in his heart to love more than one person...and our son got the love. It's not that I wanted more time with my husband (I did), it's not that I wanted him to say "I love you" more often (I did); I wanted that indescribable thing we call love that you can see in a look from across the room and feel in a gentle touch on your shoulder. You can't describe it but you know when someone "loves" you and you know when they don't, when it's gone.

Oh well, we had another kid. I thought it would pass, that it was actually getting better, but it became clearer after our second child that it's quite the opposite. Now, we are a divided, sad home. My husband seems to love and have room in his heart for our son only. He appears to find myself and his daughter to be a nuisance, not the objects of his affection I once was and that every baby girl should be.

So, I pose to you, now what? We have talked. And talked. And talked. I have cried and yelled and yelled and cried some more, at the same time even. I am so sad. Some days, sad looks like mad, but it is just sad. He doesn't think his love has changed, at least that's what he tells himself and me because he doesn't know what to do with the truth. I don't blame him, I don't know what to do with it either. Even if he acknowledged that he really only has the capacity to love one person at a time, how does that get remedied? What is the underlying problem?

I am committed. I made my vows for forever. Like all people who marry, I truly never thought this would happen to us. We had love, true love, the kind that you know within three weeks.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Do you believe in seasons of darkness, seasons of light? I once heard spiritual friends talk about seasons of their lives this way but I guess I had never experienced a long season of darkness. At 17, I battled severe depression, but it passed in about 6 months time; I only needed time to process some life changes and redefine myself. It wasn't that the sadnesses didn't return, but they didn't stay or have the same impact. I has hope. I was excited about my life. And I'd say there have been other, brief time periods of darkness spread out over my lifetime.

My husband and I spent about 14 years of marriage together in a period of relative light. It wasn't without issue or strife, don't get me wrong. In that time period, there were three years somewhat consumed by a diagnosis of a brain tumor and potential brain surgery, for example. We had three miscarriages. We took a couple financial risks and lost. One of us hated our work vehemently. Our son was born and refused to sleep. Ever. But this: we were happy. We were together in the hard stuff. We were best friends. We had hope. We had dreams. We lifted each other up; when one was discouraged, the other encouraged. There was a positive life energy around us. I'm aware that sounds cheesy but it's true.

I'd say we've been in a period of darkness since we decided to sell our home and live full-time in an RV. A lot of folks would say, "duh, why'd you do that?!?" Our reasons were many and complicated; suffice it to say that it seemed like the best way out of a financial mistake and we really thought God led us to this decision. So, here we are, with little option out at this point, and over one year to go.

This has been, hands-down, THE most challenging time of my life. I find myself praying desperately every morning on my drive to work with tears in my eyes, and doing the same on my way home. The point I really want to share with you is this: God is with me. He is with you. Always. I never actually knew this before. I knew it in words but not in my heart. He has brought me to my knees in grief and fear and moments of hopelessness, but I have felt His role in all of this without doubt the entire time. I can visibly see His work on my character. He is scraping away my pride, my idols. He is teaching me to depend on Him and to glorify Him. This work hurts and I would love to cry "Mercy", but I know it will be in His time.

 "Never doubt in the darkness what you have seen in the light." I have that quote up on our wall and I look at it on the really rough days, like today. Lord, help me to hold on to the direction you gave us nearly 2 years ago and remain steadfast in this direction, despite the obstacles. You urged us out of  the light and into the darkness. We are afraid of the dark. I am like my little boy who, tonight, whimpered as he walked a few steps in the black night from our car to our home. I took his hand in mine and assured him he was safe, and then we were back inside. Im grasping your hand tightly, Lord, and listening for the comfort of your words.