She’s started running!

I never thought I’d be this excited about a toddler running. I guess I always thought they went together.

But for the longest time Natasha’s been a runner and Melody has… enjoyed the scenery. It was the most frustrating thing to try and walk alone with both of them. NJ ready to take off and run until the end of the world, and Melody m…e…a…n…d…e…r…i…n…g along.

If I asked her to run, she’d move her feet more quickly for a little bit, picking up her knees higher, but really not moving any faster.

Then on Sunday she just started to take off. We walked part of the way to Gma Florie’s house in the evening, and both girls ran for more than a block (that’s a long way for a body their size). Then they both ran all over the lawn while playing. And every day since then it has taken very little motivation to get and keep Melody moving.

She’s even starting to get a little “air” when she jumps, and that’s another first. I wonder if she just grew into “coordinated” all of a sudden and that’s why she can move in these new ways.


We have a whole routine now, and even Melody does a good enough job I don’t have to re-do hers.

We start with sleeves up and water in the sink. The girls get their hands wet and are alloted soap by a grown-up (many incidents have reinforced this is the way to go). Soap is placed out of reach if children are left alone to finish, most of the time now.

The girls rub as fast as they can, “to make bubbles” everywhere. Maybe when they’re older we’ll introduce a song for length, but this works for now. Then they rinse in the sink again.

There’s usually still bubbles on their hands, so they’ll often get a second rinse, but either way this system uses less water (by my uneducated calculations) and gets the girls doing their own washing up (formerly one of my least-favorite activities, for whatever reason). Both useful features.

Power struggle

Jay and I had an… incident yesterday evening.

The short description was that we both wanted to be in-charge and not to back-down.

The irony of it all (and the point of this post) was that right before this all began we were reviewing our second Navigators verse, Galatians 2:20.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”


I pointed this out during our discussion of the incident, after the girls were asleep. Jay promptly began quoting, with the modification, “Part of me has been crucified with Christ…”

Elisha’s first haircut

I just finished cutting Elisha’s long hair. All the brown came off and we now have a second little blondie.

Very different look at first. I hope we’ll hve pictures up this week (we’re a few months behind, I know). I really want to highlight the change ;o)

We’ve found perfection– until we make it better

Do you like Wendy’s Frosties?

What about them do you like? The cold? The texture? The chocolate? (Grandma asked more than once if we could “talk to Dave” about making a vanilla Frosty. She didn’t like the chocolate so much).

But if you like choc, and have an ice cream maker, try out this recipe:

2 1/2 cups milk,
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar

Mix and dump into your maker of choice (ours is the kind with tumblers you put in the freezer, and only hold about a quart. We used to have the gallon-size kind you use with ice and rock salt, but we wore out two of those in, hmmm… 1, 1½ years. Seems they weren’t actually made for regular use).

Let it run until the ice cream is firm, and then just eat it (as opposed to letting it “ripen” in the freezer). Wonderful smooth texture, minimal work and wait and still no guilt about potentially poisoning your guests/friends/loved-ones.

Cook books emphasize the importance of cooking the eggs into a custard before using them in ice cream. This effectively doubles the prep time. No such thing as spontaneous ice cream there. And more dishes to wash. And I still have never managed a custard w/o scrambling the eggs.

This is much better.

I’m still playing with the ratios and whether or not to include vanilla, but I am eating this one right now and it is veeeeery good.

Thank Yous

Tomorrow morning, I’m going planning to spend at least half an hour writing thank-you notes.

Would you believe I haven’t written any clear back through Christmas (of course you’d believe it– You haven’t seen any have you)?


I hope you know I was (am) grateful. And more for you than what you actually give us.

That’s meant as a complement.

Anyway, I think I’m just going to have to write off Christmas with it being so long ago, and just try to jump back in with Baby stuff.


So here’s 3 1/2 months with three kids.

I’m finally getting into the swing of this. And if I can trust my memory at all, I’m doing better this adjustment than I was with shifting to two.

For example: After Melody was born, Grandma spent much of many days at my home with me. Grandpa had died two weeks before Melody was born, and I think she appreciated having something to do. Often she just held the baby (kept her happy) while I worked. But Melody was 3-months old before I cleaned the house on my own.

I remember this, b/c we had music practice that night and we were each asked to share a praise. That was mine: I’d finally gotten my house back, on my own.

This time I had a similar feeling before three-months, and less-frequent help. Though I have had help. Two different women have come over and washed my dishes and folded my baskets of wrinkly laundry.

The week before Grandma died, I woke up to my sloppy house and didn’t know whether to scream or cry. Of course I did neither. I called my mom so I could talk and figure out what to do.

Half the time I think it’s simply the process of talking that helps me figure out a solution, but she gives good advice too, and on her suggestion I called the two ladies who had offered their help. One came over that same day and the next. The other came over two days after Grandma died, and cleaned my kitchen and bathroom while I wrote the obituary (and told-off that political caller).


I am convinced that Elisha’s easy sleep personality was divine provision for the timing of Grandma’s departure. I think I would have been a much more anxious/disappointed person if I hadn’t been able to spend as much focused time with her as I did in the hospital. (I have a longer list in process I will eventually post, listing the many ways God provided during this time.)

I’ve said it many times when people ask me about Grandma’s death, but it’s the best description I have: It wasn’t good, but it was as good as it could have been; and I’m thankful for the way God brought all the details together. The great orchestrator…

Home Sunday Morning

The girls had a very busy weekend. We’re still recovering.

There was a conference at Door of Hope this weekend (“Childcare provided”), and I went Friday night to check it out. The girls had such a good time in the “kid room” that we came back Saturday morning so they could play again. Then Mom and Dad took them back in the evening when I was too tired to go.

Elisha comes too, of course, and I ended up walking him most of both services. At least four hours of non-aerobic walking. I wasn’t looking forward to two more hours of that.

Then (that was Saturday) nobody slept well. I wasn’t in my bed for more than an hour at a time; half-an-hour the first half of the night. It was rough and nobody was rested in the morning. Melody was coughing and Natasha had a runny nose (she told me later she had a “pinch” in her throat earlier).

So Jay was the only one who went to church; he records the sermons and teaches Sunday school every week.

Learning Contentment

Jay and I (you may know) have been “window shopping” for a bigger house. Specifically, one that is a little out of town with some land. And now we’ve officially stopped.

Between Jay’s latest step-increase and the (temporarily?) reduced cost of health insurance we have “loose” money for the first time since I can’t remember when, and Jay pointed out that getting a different (bigger/more expensive) house would eliminate that pretty quick. And we both enjoy the idea of a little cushion, so we decided we can decide to be settled here.

It is an interesting mindset (one we have rotated through periodically) of making this house the focus of our planning/future. Expecting to be here long-term. Long-term being defined as, “until the house is paid off.” (Boy, that makes me think of A Series of Unfortunate Events and all their specialized definitions.)

Anyway, we’re back to our initial plans of reflooring the front room and building an entryway on the front of the house. Jay would also like to build a shed for storing stuff currently in the garage (so he’d actually have “workshop” room), and I would like to add a gate and stretch of fence to our back-strip (being too small to be a backyard) to have a dog yard.

I told this to Jay and he said, “Why would you need a dog yard? You don’t have a dog.”

“I’d like one,” was my natural response.

That’s still under negotiation.

The dog-yard would be a must. The front yard (that we put in last summer) is looking gorgeous. Jay and Grandma were comparing notes all summer, and ours is really starting to look as good as hers. We are enjoying it.


I’ve begun to understand why those who have experienced a loss are told to not make any major decisions for X-amount of time. It’s only natural that one will not be thinking clearly for a time.

For example (this is a scenario we’ve talked about but placed it far down the road), I was imagining starting to look for property out-of-town, that we could buy, and build a totally different lifestyle than we have now (we’ve talked about someday getting a milk-goat and a couple of chickens for family use).

It’s ridiculous, of course. I’m just keeping my head above water as it is, and there’s no way I would enjoy moving and/or taking on new responsibilities at this time. But I realized that the reason I wanted this was to have a change I was in control of; because right now I am looking at a change I have no control over at all.

Political calls, forgiveness, and a 400-degree door

Oh, and we have a 2-year-old who speaks in complete sentences. How often does that happen? I really don’t know, but it seems unique.

I mentioned this to mom and she said, “It only counts if she can be understood.”

“It can be understood,” I said. “Sarah’s the one who told the story.”

“Antee-tarah, my ponytayol come out. Can oo fih it, peas?” [Tell me that’s not the cutest thing you ever heard.] “Tank-oo.”


Yesterday Rae Ann came over and cleaned my house while I worked on the longer Obit for tonight’s memorial service. While I was working it out the phone rang and it was one of those political telemarketing calls (can something be exponentialy annoying?); Concerned Alaskans for something or other was calling.

“Mrs. Helmericks, did you know that at this moment in the State Legislature–”

“Did you know,” I interrupted with a voice not-quite-steady, “that at this moment I am writing my grandmother’s obituary, and this is not a good time.”

A gratifying amount of awkwardness ensued.


Last week Natasha came up to me while I was sitting in our big blue chair and asked in her gentle voice, “Mama, do you ever forgive me?” After a Do I ever! laugh, I answered, “Yes, I’ve forgiven you lots of times.”

She embraced my arm tenderly and said sincerely, “I forgive you lots of times too.”


Today I had Jay drop me off at the DMV to renew my months-expired driver’s license. I wanted to be dropped off in case I was asked (with my 4-months expired license) how I’d gotten there.

When I called to ask Jay to pick me up he said something (over our poor cell-phone connection) that sounded like “oven door came off.” I could hear the stress in his voice.

“You can’t be serious!” I said.

“I am, and I’m on my way,” he said.

As soon as I was in the car I pumped him for the story. It seems Natasha had left one of her shoes in the kitchen, and Jay, stepping back as he checked on a pizza in the oven, felt it under his foot. He thought he’d stepped on Maestro or Melody and immediately picked up the foot again. His weight had already shifted, and so he hung on to the door, trying to catch his balance– and found himself holding a 400-degree door, looking at a half-baked pizza in the open oven.

Thankfully, the door wasn’t actually broken; it’s designed to lift straight up once opened, and the angle Jay pulled it at just lifted it straight out. Discovering this it was easy enough to fix, but didn’t entirely remove the panting moment of adrenaline.