Saturday, April 14, 2007

Important Message

My Life, My Love has moved. Go to to see a continuation of this journal.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Well, I told you that Sophia started saying "shoot" when she drops something, or knocks something over, or pretty much makes any kind of mistake. Lately, though, she's adopted another of Mama's words: goodness. Sometimes even coupled with "gasha" (gracious). She was cooking in her kitchen the other day, and happened to inadvertently dump a cup full of raisins behind the unit, which was backed up to the wall. She immediately scooted it forward and knelt down saying, as she picked them all back up, "Goodness. Oh, goodness gasha!" She said the same thing to me the other day after I accidentally hit my arm on something as I was walking by. "Oh goodness Mama," and she gave it a kiss.


This one requires a bit of background...
Valdez is known for it's yearly Pink Salmon Run, in which, every summer, millions of pink salmon return to the banks near our local hatchery to release their eggs and die. The smell, especially to "new noses", is horrifying and will give you reason to just skip eating altogether on any given day. On windy days here at work (as I work right right near the shore), I'm often sabotaged by the smell as I roam around outside taking an inventory of equipment, or putting new tags on DOT trucks. When you are hit with the smell, your breathing automatically ceases, and you mentally count the steps to the nearest building or automobile that may serve as your sanctuary. Trust me, I've been there.

The only time the smell is completely gone is in the winter when everything is frozen. Which means that while spring is approaching, and everything starts to defrost, well, so do the old pink salmon remains.

Some time last week we drove over the mud flats (one of the fishy areas) and I looked up into the rear view mirror and said, "That's pretty stinky, huh?" She looked up at me from her car seat. "That old fish smell," I said, "is pretty ucky, huh?" She put on a look of defense and irritation and said, "No ucky! Goldfish yummy!" "But that old fish smell, that's gross." I tried again. "Goldfish no gross!" she protested, as if I was insulting her best friend in the world. "Okay, but I'm not talking about Goldfish Crackers - that dead rotting fish smell, that's gross." There was no answer. Apparently she had given up on me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, My Love

The greatest dad the world has ever known turns 32 today. He has the heart of a child, but the strength that is needed to be the wonderful husband and father God has called him to be. I will forever be grateful to Him for blessing us with Isaac.

Happy Birthday to the love of my life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Dress

Thanks, Mom, for the dress. As you can see, Sophia's was quite the doll in it.

A Special Easter Message for Pop-Pop

Projects Galore!

This past R&R was one of much kitchen fun. Sophia and I indulged ourselves in such projects as: Pecan Pumpkin Pie, Peanut Butter Cookies, and, shown in the pictures below, Egg Dying and Chocolate-Making.

The Eggs

We actually started out with 10 eggs, but finished with just 5, due in part to my clumsiness, and to Sophia's inexperience with the fragility of those things!

Before we got a chance to pour water and vinegar over them, Sophia attempted to eat the egg dying tablets. She couldn't undertand how something so yummy looking could be "ucky".

The Chocolates

I actually gave this bowl to her so that she could eat the remaining melted chocolate, but she just wanted to stir it instead - which was fine with me. :) (She'll figure it out soon enough, right?!)

These chocolates are a combination of pretzels, chunky peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate. Sophia's job was to get the pretzels out of the bag for me, and to hand the pieces to me for the final dip in the chocolate sauce. At our Easter Dinner, she carried a basket around and handed them out in little bags with pretty ribbon to everyone.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Perfect Day

Saturday was the first full day we spent together as a family in about three weeks. It was better than I ever could have imagined it. I met my goal last week of getting up before Sophia everyday, so Saturday was a great excuse to wait for Isaac to bring my baby girl into the bed so that we could cuddle. Breakfast was divine, of course, french toast with yoghurt and berries and real maple syrup. We took a drive to "Old Town Valdez", which is where the town was prior to the earthquake of '64, and walked the trail all the way back to the water.

A large part of it Sophia got to walk herself. The snow was nice and compacted, so she was able to keep up pretty good. We were amazed by the warm weather, which hit a high of 41 degrees, so we all enjoyed a little time without our big coats.

I've lived in Alaska almost my entire life, but I never cease to be amazed by its beauty. As we walked the trail back to the water, only our voices could be heard, the rest was silence created by the thick layer of snow all around us. And to think, God made this for our enjoyment. He knew we would need beauty, so he created so much that one person could never see all of it on this earth, even if they tried.

Sophia loved the birds, and the water, and really didn't want to leave, but the wind started to pick up and the shelter of the trees on the trail was a big relief. Back at home, we ate soup for lunch and all took naps.

A perfect day, if you ask me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I'm home this week and next and have been enjoying my time immensely with this little funny girl of mine. She's getting more verbal every day, although we don't always understand what she's trying to get across...

Just the other day, she mumbled something that both Isaac and I didn't understand, and then she started to crack up so hard. When we asked her why she was laughing, she said, "Sophia funny!"


Well, if that was her first joke, then here's her first "understandable joke": she finds it extremely funny to call us by each other's names. For example, when I ask her to comply with whatever it is I'm saying to her with a "Yes, Mama", she'll say, "Yes, Papa" and start to giggle. She does the same thing to Isaac by saying "Yes, Mama" to him.


But, with her increasing verbal skills, she's also able to express more sorrow and dismay. Like the other day after we went to tot-swim in town and then visited Isaac at the school for lunch, we turned onto the main road heading out of town, and Sophia said, "No home yet!" Poor thing - she just didn't want the fun to end.

Monday, March 26, 2007

ABC, easy as 123

This girl sure does like her letters. Just last night she and Isaac were showing me a game they made up, where he asks her which letter she would like, she tells him, and then he hands her the letter.

I got to play, too, but every time it was my turn I would say, "May I have the "Q" (for example) please Papa?", and then he would hand it to me. Soon, Sophia was saying, "My have "M" peeze". They learn so fast... It's so encouraging that they pick up on good habits, too, and not just the bad ones. :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Memories of Days Like These

There is snow once again, and Sophia is happy to venture out in it. Just last night, while I was planning to do so anyway, she asked if we could "Go side". It is a pleasure to know that she is enjoying being outside again, after all of the horrible, cold, windy days of February and early March.

It was starting to look a little odd outside, too. What, with the ice and snow disappearing down to the dirt and gravel of the roads that surround our house - but with the bitterly cold wind persisting - I felt as if something was just out of place. The snow has brought our temperatures up to the 20s and 30s, and has provided a new base on which we can pull Sophia's sled through the neighborhood - while she scoops up the snow and piles in on her lap, forming a mountain of powder to delight in.

With the turn of the weather, I can't help but think about Sophia's first weeks home after her birth. On those days where she seemed inconsolable, I could always trust that a jaunt out in the fresh air would calm her down. Whether it was the crunch-crunch-crunching of the snow beneath my boots as we ventured about, her in the front carrier, or the cool air on our breath, it always seemed to do the trick. It's hard to imagine that my once tiny babe is now big enough to climb out of her sled when our walk is over.

I started reading a book yesterday that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas called Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss. I came across some words that made me think of my little girl:

Where does all the love come from?
If I had had her always I do not see how I could be more fond of her.
And do people call it living who never had any children?

Above all else, I am excited for the time when I will get to spend each day at home with her. Being away, though, gives me a chance to think about her and everything that makes her unique... On more than one occasion, especially lately, I've wondered if, when I'm with her all the time, I'll still have those chances to think about her as much as I do when I'm away. I've wondered if I'll have reasons to write about her as much as I do now. I can only hope that I will.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Fairytale Love

Introducing Little White Riding Hood...

...and her big bad Papa-wolf who loves her "to death". :)

(Thanks Sheila for the pictures!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


No year stands out more to me than 1989.

In school, we learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall. 10 years later I would live with a family in Germany whose lives changed dramatically when that wall came down. Without the ending of that separation between Ost and West, I probably never would have come to know and love my German family.

My parents got divorced. We were living in Northern California at the time in a tiny town called Platina on a 20-acre plot of land my parents had bought way back when. My dad loaded the 4 or us kids up in our orangish-brown Ford crewcab, threw some bags of clothes in the back, and we made our way back up North to Alaska.

And on this date, in 1989, the first in the group of our nieces and nephews was born: Kenneth James Kramer. My sister Patty flew to California to visit us that year and show off her new baby boy. For weeks afterward, everytime we'd see a plane fly by overhead we'd wave and say, "Bye Patty, bye Kenneth".

11 years later we would have to say "bye" to him for real. But we never would have had that chance if he hadn't started his journey in the first place. So I want to recognize that gift God gave us on March 20, 1989: the day when his Mom held him and knew that nothing in this world will ever compare to giving life.

Happy Birthday Kenneth!

Movie Recommendation

Heart of the Game

Just the other day, I commented on Sally's Blog that if she hadn't done so yet, she needed to Netflick this movie. Partly, because one of my family members stars in it (my brother-in-law Bill Resler), but mostly because it is a powerful documentary film about teamwork, sacrifice, and going against the grain when it matters most. You can read more about this movie here, which is also where I got the pics for my blog. (Plus, in the extra features, the narrator - Ludacris - compliments Bill and even takes time to hang out with him, which alone makes the movie worth watching!)

When Sophia was just about 7 weeks old, we went on our first family trip - to Seattle - to see U2 and to let Auntie Sherry and Uncle Bill watch Sophia for an evening. At some point during the trip, Bill took the opportunity to tell us about this upcoming documentary film he was in, so of course we were completely beyond ourselves with excitement when it was finally released on the 28th of last month.
We watched it one more time last night before having to return it. I think we may just have to buy a copy.
And I think you all might just have to check it out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Of Advice and Time

You know how older people (no matter how old you are, there is always someone older) are always telling you tidbits of advice they've gathered throughout the years? Like to "not worry about the little things" and to "take time to stop and smell the roses", and other things to that effect? And you know full well that they are trying to spare you heart-ache, and trouble, and lost years? And you listen to them and nod and are completely well-meaning in wanting to heed their advice and learn from their mistakes, right? Fast forward, X-number of months/years later and it suddenly dawns on you that what you actually learned from your lost years and your lost chances is that you need not "worry about the little things" and that you should take time to "stop and smell the roses". What I'm saying here, is that advice is great, but for me, it has only really made a difference in retrospect. In those moments where a light bulb turns on upstairs and I realize all of a sudden what my uncle was talking about nearly a decade ago when he told me that it is important to marry someone who believes in God the same way that you do, is something that I look at now and say, "Yes, Uncle Fred, I know." Because I ended up marrying a man who thought NOTHING more important in life than that I know Jesus as my Lord.

Right around the time Isaac and I were married, I received so much advice from friends and family about how to have a good marriage: take time for yourself every once in a while, encourage him to do the same, respect him as the leader of your family, encourage each other in your endeavors. Then little bit, by little bit, over the course of 3+ years, more light bulbs have started to turn on, and this advice comes flooding back.

I sat in the front pew at church today, which I don't think I've ever done. We usually sit toward the back (mostly so we have a quick exit for a Sophia emergency). But today, I sat up front to hear my husband preach a sermon. He is not a preacher, but was asked by our pastor to take the place this Sunday morning. It was hard for him to say yes, and I saw that, so I tried to justify him saying no, letting him know that it would be completely reasonable to do so. In the end, though, he agreed to do it. I sat there this morning and listened to his words, and I laughed and cried and nodded my head countless times as he spoke about physical light that was created by God, and the metaphorical light of the Savior, and then related stories of his own experiences in being a light to the world around him. All of a sudden, the biggest light of all was turned on. I thought if I could go back in time to give myself any marriage advice, I'd tell myself to "encourage my husband to let the Lord work in him". I'd tell myself to "allow each other to take chances for the Lord", and to "be a light to this world through Jesus our King".

Not that it would have done any good, anyway, but I'm glad to see it now.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Signs and Symptoms

When I was pregnant with Sophia, not a minute went by where I wasn't conscience of the fact that I was pregnant. Conscious of the fact that a living person was growing inside of me - bigger by the second. This time around it's a little bit different. There are actually moments where I all of a sudden remember that I'm pregnant.

In the past few days, what I've been experiencing has brought me to the conclusion that even if I don't dwell on it every second, I somehow always have a way to remind myself of my current state. So I came up with a mini you-know-you're-pregnant-when list.


You know you're pregnant when...

You start to type a list of something and forget totally what you were going to say. :) (That just seriously happened.)

Ok, I remember. Your dreams of a "scary man" are so vivid, that you're kicking yourself your entire way to work for not checking the back seat before getting in, because now you're sure he's sitting right behind you, being all creepy and scary. And all you can do is grip the wheel really tight and try to get there faster.

When, in the course of 10 minutes, you spill your hot chocolate all over the counter at work, which rushes under the microwaves and popcorn machine (impossible to clean, I assure you); slam your hip into your desk really hard on your way back into your office; drop your pen 3 times before finally securing it in hand in order to write yourself a to-do note; realize you forgot to refill your post-it dispenser; and then slam your other hip on your desk leaving your office to go to the supply cabinet.

You cry at the end of a radio episode of Paws and Tales (it was a really touching one, though, about C.J.'s dad defending "the mule").

You forget for the fourth day in a row that you wanted to load new pictures onto your blog when you get home from work, and end up going to bed earlier than the night before because 1. you're exhausted, and 2. you learned today that 8 hours and 23 minutes of sleep just isn't enough.



Friday, March 16, 2007

Tears to Jammies

It's amazing that when I think about yesterday evening, it seems like 2 totally different evenings to me. I think if Sophia had the vocabulary, she'd say the same. Isaac started a new job yesterday at the High School that will last until the end of May, which meant that Sophia was at the babysitter. It's very hard for her to nap when she's at others' houses, so she didn't get one, which meant that she fell asleep in the car on the way home and stayed asleep for nearly 2 hours before Isaac got her up. She was NOT a happy camper 20 minutes later when I walked through the door. She could not be consoled - other than to hold her on the couch, in complete silence. I was starving and really didn't feel like having to sit, waiting to eat while a 2 year old girl took 30 minutes to adjust to being awake after sleeping 2 hours. So I suggested that we put her in her crib and she could just sleep more if that's what she wanted to do. Well, she cried and cried and was finally quiet, so Isaac ventured back to her room to see if she was ready to join the family. Here's how their conversation went:

Isaac: Sophia, are you ready to come out and eat dinner with us.

Sophia: No.

Isaac: Do you want to just stay in your bed then.

Sophia: No.

Isaac: I think you better just stay in your bed.

Sophia: No, no, no!

Isaac: Are you ready to come out then?

Sophia: Yeah.

He picks her up and carries her through the hall.

Isaac: Are you ready to tell Mama that you love her?

Sophia buries her head in his chest and tries to avoid eye contact with me.

I made her sit with me at our "breakfast bar" (which is actually more like a meal bar, since we don't really have a kitchen table) and she shared my food with me. After we ate, she was in good spirits and sat in my lap on the couch and even giggled at Isaac's antics as he recounted his first day at his new job. I got up at one point to get some water and noticed a box on the counter...from Grandma Becky! Sophia, when asked, was very ready to open it up and was overjoyed to see all of what her Grandma had sent. And she was so, so happy about her new jammies. After she had them on she danced around the living room and sang a song she quickly thought up called, "New Jammies". We were even happier for those jammies, considering they are the zip up, button at top, kind that she hasn't figured out how to take off yet (just yesterday morning, Isaac found her completely naked in her bed when he went to get her up!)

So thank you Grandma, for the much needed stuff (and the extra fun stuff), and thank the Lord for bad evenings gone good!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I swear this girl gets funnier by the second.

It's been really windy, dry, and cold here in Valdez the past 3-4 weeks. This morning as I walked from the house door to the car door, I smelled something I haven't smelled since we moved here: static. And it does have a smell. I remember figuring out as a small child what it was, and since then, I've placed it in the group of "smells I dislike the most". It's hard to explain - and Valdez is usually such a wet place, even in the winter - but that moisture has been sucked out of here, leaving us with static. Needless to say, it's been somewhat of a chore to venture outside these days. But I do it, and when Isaac's not at home to keep Sophia inside, she goes with me - all bundled up from head to toe in her stroller. Tuesday was my first day back at work, and one of the first questions Isaac asked her that morning was if she'd like to go outside. "No!" she said. When he asked her why, she said, "Too COLD!" It's really not her fault she has a mother with such a strong desire to go outside everyday, even in this weather.


Last week, we had our second Prenatal Appointment at the clinic. Sophia intently watched as the doctor and a medical student visiting from New York rubbed goo all over my belly with the sonogram machine. It took a while, but they found a heartbeat. One of the most beautiful sounds in the world. I don't think Sophia knew what to listen for, but the steady swish-swish-swishing was there, right between 160 and 170 beats per minute. The doctors left for a few minutes, and immediately, Sophia wanted "Up, up!" onto the examining bed. She lay herself back onto the crunchy paper pillow and sheet, lifted up her shirt all the way to her chin, pointed at the machine they had left on the counter while rubbing her belly, and asked, "Sophia baby tummy?"

She's somehow convinced she has one in there, too. :)


Last night, while we were busily doing our bills on the couch in the living room, Sophia roamed from here to there, playing a little of this and a little of that. Obviously we were a little too entranced in our work because at some point, she was all of a sudden right behind us, sitting in a chair at the table right behind the couch. I had a bowl of fancy "tea chocolates" up there, and Sophia found one that she wanted to open. By the time I saw her with chocolate in hand (she chose dark chocolate - just like her mama would), she already had it unwrapped. "Sophia, what have you got there?" I asked in my I-already-know-what-you-have-so-you-better-just-hand-it-over tone. "Trash," she said, as she, in one smooth movement, handed the wrappers to me with one hand, and popped the chocolate in her mouth with the other.

Let the record show that I did make her throw away her own trash.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Craft Weekend

Sunday evening I returned from spending the weekend with some of my very best friends (including my mom) at the Alaskan Leopard B&B on the Hillside of Anchorage for a Scrapbook/Quilting/Sewing Weekend. The whole B&B was ours for the weekend, and was filled with laughter, discussion, movies, glasses of fine wine (for the ones who weren't pregnant :)), great food, and lots of work on our different projects. I was able to complete the first in a series of scrapbooks on Isaac and my life together - starting with when we met and finishing with when we got married. I have a tendency to put together certain events in our life on album pages, and never really form them into an album, so it was very nice to feel that accomplishment.

It was wonderful having time to hang out with the girls. So much was discussed: love, family, births and deaths, funny memories, religion, and faith. Coming away from the weekend I realized that fellowship is not something that can only happen during Bible Study, or Church Service, it can happen anywhere. It happened this weekend, and it was something I needed more than I knew.

So, thanks girls - Staci, Jacquelyn, Jessica, and Mom - for joining me on our get away. Can't wait to do it again (soon).

p.s. I'll try to post pictures soon. Blogger's not cooperating with me, again.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Day in the Life of Us (when Mama's working)

Last week I mentioned not getting to post something that I was working on - well, here it is. This day was recorded last Thursday, March 1.


It's Thursday morning, at about 4:25, just before my alarm goes off. Sophia wakes up from a coughing fit she's been having off and on for the past few hours and finally starts to cry. Isaac gets her and puts her in bed between us and I reset my alarm for another 10 minutes hoping she'll fall asleep in that time so that I'm able to get up without her wanting to get up as well. She clears her nose by breathing in and out of it really hard and fast and eventually plops her head down on my pillow and relaxes (she prefers my pillow over Isaac's, for some reason). By the time I get myself up out of bed, her breaths are steady and she is asleep. When I come to kiss Isaac goodbye she's has happy as can be snuggled up against her Papa.

She is finally fully awake by 7. As routine will have it, she requests a banana just like she has for the past 300 days in a row. She sits on the couch and slowly wakes up to a Baby Einstein movie.

Now that she's had a chance to wake up, she wants breakfast. Breakfast changes day to day, but today she's offered eggs and she nods her head and says, "With ketchup!" She scarfs them down with her big appetite, and is now ready for bigger and better things.

She gets a little morning reading in.

Takes a shower...
...making sure to wash those shower walls extra good. :)

Requests a blanket because she is FREEZING!
Dresses and brushes those pearly whites. And then it's time to go outside.
Uh-oh. Bad fall. But even worse since Papa has taken an extra few seconds to snap a photo of the event. Poor thing. But he'll soon make it up to her with a special surprise.

Sophia wonders where they could be going...

The Animal Shelter?!!!! Hooray!
The Animal Shelter! We've been reading Curious George and the Puppies a lot lately, so this little girl knows exactly what animal shelters are all about (or at least what kids should now about them). She loves seeing the kitties, the puppies, the big dogs and the turtle.
She teases the dogs by holding the treats a little to far from their lips so they really have to try to press through the cage wall to get to them. She doesn't realize she's teasing, of course - she probably just doesn't want to get too close to those enormous teeth - ouch!

The trip is a success. Sophia's happy as a jaybird, although a little worn out, from their little excursion.
So worn out, in fact, that she drifts off to sleep and stays that way for a few hours...

At around 6:00 I pull into the driveway and park underneath the carport. I'm greeted by a big smile and the one single word that makes my heart leap from my chest, "Mama!" We eat pepper steak, mashed potatoes, and salad, and then disrobe the little girl to free her from her mashed potato mess! Jammies on, story read (Curious George - to recap the day's events), teeth brushed, and back in bed, at about 7:30. Sophia's bedtime is always a good time, because it means Mama's bedtime will follow shortly after.

A day in the life of US, when I'm at work.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Sophia!

Sophia came out into the living room after her attempted nap, and wanted one of the balloons off of the ceiling so bad. It took her a little while to realize that there were a bunch on the floor waiting for her to play with them.

The birthday princess.

Isn't she the most beautiful birthday girl ever?

The only game played at the party: Ring Around The Rosie.

Sophia, as well as the rest of the girls, loved the doll cake. The only problem was, I had to blow out the candles before Sophia could even try to. For a lack of a more convenient place to put the two candles, I decided to make it look like the doll was holding the candles. The candles burned down far enough while we were singing that it actually started to burn one of its hands and emit some black smoke. The girls looked pretty horrified that I was burning the doll, but rest assured that it only got a little charred.

One of the funniest moments of the event was when Isaac asked Stacie (pictured far left), after having discussed our upcoming addition, if she thought she'd ever be ready for a "number 2". Being that Stacie was currently involved in a different conversation, her response to him was, "Excuse me?!"

Sophia and her buddies. From left to right: Elaina holding her sister Sarah, Kailyn, and Anna.

From a Mom's point of view, I think it was a success. Messes were made, sweets were devoured, and the girls all played very nice together. And, no one cried the entire time - not even baby Sarah. :)