Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Ok, so I know I made that whole "back to the nitty gritty" statement and then my blog went right back to mostly nonsense.  Just after that, I got derailed rather badly.  I've been trying to get back on track.  Sometimes you think you see something coming, but then it zooms in at you from a strange angle and conks you in the head.  I got the wind knocked out of me, causing me to feel disconnected from everyone in my life.  I kept wanting to be social, to talk to people, and then as soon as I was around anyone I didn't have anything to say.  I hate being reminded that I am almost a part of two wonderful groups of people, and yet still distinctly an outsider in both.  I shouldn't be bitter about that--I should be grateful that the Lord has given me both.  But I'm getting my head back on straight now, and so I return to writing.  It is at once both my escape from and connection to people.

Yesterday I was reminded once again of just how blessed I am--how much the Lord loves me and has taken care of me--how easy my life really is in the grand scheme of things.  So I will commence in the activity I always return to that helps me focus and think straight again.  Yet another list of blessings (its been a while this time):

*Keilana's maniacal-so-contagious-and-hilarious-that-we-should-patent-it laugh.
*Doug's haircut
*Sugar cookies (and short people to make sugar cookies with)
*Relative financial stability
*That Dylan is hardly ever just Dylan--"I tiger!" "I monster!" "I puppy!" "I bear!" "I car!" "I Paco!"
*for my Snugli
*for babies who liked to be held as much as I like to hold them
*Dylan's utter confidence. . .he just knows he's cool
*my husband's I-know-I'm-being-annoying-and-you-still-love-me-or-maybe-love-me-more-for-it smirk
*sunrises over mountain rises
*sunsets over the ocean
*decent pens and new, unspoiled notebooks
*old journals, filled edge to edge with writing and worn with much love
*my testimony
*the noise of children playing happily--laughing, yelling, stomping, jumping, running
*the silence of nap/bedtime
*good advice from people who love me
*enough restraint to usually hold my tongue when I'd much rather tell someone off or set them straight
*my mother-in-law---the longer I am married, the more convinced I am that the Lord led me to Doug not just because He knew what a great match we'd be, but also because He knew I'd get Katy as part of the deal
*Chuck's goofy, wonderful laugh, and the fact that he finds frequent occasion to use it
*My sister-in-law Christina.  How many in-laws have the ability to make you feel more at home in your own family?  She's a very unique chica, with her social grace and love of people
*My Grandma, and her wonderful example to me of simple faith and loving better even those who are most critical of you, most unable to forgive your past faults.
*Everything I have learned from Doug's family, and the fact that they still love me even though they have seen less of the best of me and more of the worst of me than just about anyone else in my life
*Keilana's maniacal dancing
*Keilana's maniacal trike riding skills!
*Keilana's maniacal energy level.
*Dylan's disarming charm
*Kylie's gentle demeanor and easily contented personality.
*Seeing Kylie smile and giggle at me, or better yet watching her and her daddy smile at each other.
*watching Keilana and Daddy give each other "nose love"
*a husband who thinks like I do, about the same kinds of things I do, often understanding things in much the same way I do, so I rarely ever feel lonely or misunderstood.
*the sight of all three of my kids smiling--when they play together and make each other laugh.  Nothing makes my heart as light as seeing my kids make each other happy.  There is nothing I can imagine that could possibly be better than that.

I could keep going, but this list is for me, and I imagine that you're tired of reading.  I have been blessed beyond my ability to receive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My best argument

for enduring the miseries of pregnancy.  Aren't these 4 fantastically beautiful? The 2008 cousins!! 

Alexa West (b. Nov 16, 2008), Kylie Clark (b. Dec 12), Clark McDonald (b. Nov 6) and Claire VanderArk (b. Dec 15)

My best argument

for adoption.  Now that's its been several months and I'm not so miserable, I can appreciate more my mom's crack about how I looked, "like a cartoon".  Came across this while organizing my photos today. Ugh.

Monday, April 27, 2009

4 month well-check

Kylie had her 4 month check up and shots today.  It went very well.  No tears at Dr. Resa this time, just happy smiles and coos, being her charming self while he held her and checked out all her fabulous self.  Dylan stole the show, however.  I'm not sure what prompted this, but when Dr. Resa walked in the room, Dylan shouted, "You're here!" and ran over and wrapped his little arms tightly around one of Dr. Resa's legs.--and then held on for several minutes.  

Kylie handled the shots really well.  She cried--not screamed--a little, pathetic, whimpery cry each time she was stuck with a needle (5 shots again this time), and that was all.  Her growth rate has slowed down a little bit, but not much.  She weighs 16.5 pounds (the 92nd percentile--she's no longer off the charts) and is 25.25 inches long (the 80th percentile--down from the 90th).  She's a sweet lil pumkin.

She was all smiley and chatty, but then when I sat her down to take her picture, it was impossible to get her to look at me because she was fascinated by her shoes.  She has discovered her toes in a big way lately, and usually has them in her hands any time she's on the floor or in her carseat.
She's actually occasionally getting that big belly off the floor now.  She may be an early crawler like her brother and sister after all.
I need to go back and play with the colors on this one some more.  I like the low saturation, but she looks a bit too ashen.  Need to pink her up a bit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Something Special

There are two things we've noticed so far about Kylie, above all others:  she is a rather sweet little spirit and she studies people very intently.  These two things came together in a most adorable moment while we were in Utah.

One night we stayed at Jen and Paul's, I was walking around with Kylie riding in the Snugli (where she spends about 30% of her time, it seems like--she's big on contact).  We stopped so Doug could talk to her for a minute, and she stared intently at him, silently suckling her pacifier while he talked.  He popped the pacifier out of her mouth for a minute.  She just kept staring at him for a minute and then he popped it back in--with her help.  She pushed on it with her hand to make sure it stayed there.  So he popped it out again--no reaction.  Then he popped it into his own mouth.  Cue big, sad eyes, deeply drawn down mouth, tears starting to flow before letting out a very sad and pathetic little cry.  It was the most heartbreaking little face--she looked as though she'd been betrayed.  So Doug quickly put the pacifier back in her mouth and started talking softly and sweetly to her.  He felt bad so he asked me to take her out of the Snugli so he could hold her.  

He sat down on Jen's couch with her, continuing to soothe her with soft, affectionate words.  After just a few minutes, she suddenly did this:

She took the pacifier out of her mouth and shoved it up towards her daddy's mouth, in an apparent attempt to share.  She seemed to be trying to show him, "I get it was a joke now.  I forgive you."  It was adorable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain." ~CS Lewis

How I'm feeling today. . . .

Nearly-5-year-old drama queens who scream because they're having a tiny bit of trouble getting their shirt on and then pound incessantly on the bedroom door when you shut them in and tell them to calm down are enough to make any mother say:

"Where did I go wrong?"

Deep breath.  Maybe a nap before playing at the fountains.  If this much fit-throwing is involved in the frustration of a troublesome shirt, imagine the fun we'll have next year when 90% of Kindergarten is done in Spanish.

Pray for us.

Monday, April 20, 2009


So my mom booked this train ride for everyone.  My kids love trains, so she first came up with the idea a couple years ago.  Its about an hour long, from Whitefish to Essex, and its a beautiful ride.  It only runs twice a day, however, so we had to wake up pretty early in the morning to make it.  It was totally worth it.  The view were beautiful.

Yaya/Kenna with my kids, and Ahni and Jeriah:
Todd, Christina, Eldon and Iyezk:
Dylan doing a little sight-seeing with Yaya's binoculars:
We had breakfast at the Izaak Walton Inn, and then did the easter egg hunts there (one for 7&up grandkids, and one for 6 on down).  The younger kids preparing to take off:

It was pretty icy and snowy up there and unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to get any pictures of the most hilarious part of this egg hunt.  This pavilion is used for ice skating in the winter, and still has a thin layer of (very slick) ice on it.  So as all the little kids took off to find the eggs they all fell down, one by one, about half a second apart.  Splat! "Ahhh!' Splat! "Ahhhh!"  It was too funny.
Dylan and Paisley take off up the hill with the rest of the troupe, hand in hand.  These two really like each other.

When you're sleep deprived anyway, 4am is EARLY.  They crashed out pretty hard after their day in the snow.

Easter Egg dying


Ok, so here's what happens when you don't update your blog for two weeks and have a picture-taking problem (more than 1,000 on this trip):  you end up overloading.  But here we go.  The ride to Yaya's was pretty good for the most part.  Kylie doesn't like the car, so here is Dylan's usual pose in the backseat (in response to her crying):
And this is his "guilty" look--in other words, yes, I did just slap my big sister in the head:
We spent the first day just chilling at mom and dad's (well, Doug did homework).  Deva stopped by, though, so we got to chat with her and play with the Umphrey girls for a while:
Wednesday, we spent the better part of the day at Grandma Umphrey/Joy's house.  Keilana and Dylan liked her big box of toys, but they loved her big bag of Fruit Loops better. I love my grandma and have lots and lots of respect for her.  She's a little crazy and, like myself, she talks too fast, but I think she's awesome.
We kept hanging around my Mom's house waiting for Doug to finish homework, but when it finally started to feel like there was no end in sight we set off without him.  We spent the afternoon on Wednesday over at Christa's house.  They just added a great big addition to their house and it looks awesome.  Dylan loved Christa's house, since there he can find all his favorite things: cousins, guns (not picture), cars:
boxing: (oh, this was too funny.  These two are both scrappers--though Dylan in usually a more lighthearted manner than Zoran, and loved having each other to fight with):
Lex prefers radios, but his mom's camera was sufficient for the moment.
Both my kids love trampolines, and everybody has one up there.  Classic Keilana:

After the fun afternoon at Christa's and a stop at Christina and Eldon's after Doug emerged from the basement of homework (their gardens/yard are coming along nicely.  I'm just a smidgeon jealous.  They're cool folk, those two:) ), we all had a hot dog roast over at Mom and Dad's.  From that point out, Dylan was incessantly asking for hot dogs in the hopes that we'd light another fire.

And the kids checked out Yaya and Papa's (not quite finished) new deck:

While the rest of the grown ups left to do their grueling walking test and standards, Christina challenged Doug to a barrel race (my parents just have a few of these hanging around the yard for just such recreation purposes):

As you can see, Doug was super good at this activity.  This is my favorite "falling" picture I got.

The next day, we took the kids down to play at Dragon's Hollow and the Carousel.  Gwen met us there with her girls, and Mom met us there as well.  It was a gorgeous Montana spring day and we had a blast.