The official Blurb:

Great location! Only five minutes’ walk from the Joy Elementary School playground and five minutes’ driving from Fairbanks’s largest shopping district, this well-maintained home features laminate flooring, fresh paint, and a double vanity in the master suite. Along with extensive counter space and generous cupboards, the kitchen is equipped with a glass-top range and a brand new dishwasher. The kitchen island is perfect for including children in culinary adventures or entertaining guests in the adjoining living room and dining area. The double garage includes a workbench and lots of shelving. Outside, the lawn is well-established in a fully fenced yard and a small garden plot is waiting, with irises already beginning to grow.

~ ~ ~

They kept trying to use the cheezy, Location, location, location, and I said I’d rather have an exclemation point than repitition.

And the kitchen was described as “functional.”

I can’t speak for every woman, but for me that is a red flag word.

Anyway, I feel about this type of blurb as I do myself: even if it isn’t the most attractive, it’s honest and accurate.

“If I’m to be hanged, let it be for something real.”

Ask a simple question…

The children are “ice skating” to their self-created music in the nook normally used as the dining area.

Jay is filling out some huge survey, occasionally trying to engage me by asking questions.

I am trying to cruise through my reconceptualized novel despite the activity, and Jay reads from the survey:

“Do you have trouble concentrating or making decisions?”

Me: “YES!”


This has been the most peaceful trip Jay’s ever been on.

And that was with the 7-years-old birthday party with crafts, donuts and snow-in-the-house.

I can’t imagine it being this peaceful if we had to keep a schedule with the outside world (school, outside work, playdates), but slowing down and doing everything with less intensity.

We’ve gone to bed later, and the kids have slept later, both of which has given me enough of my own space (in the quiet of the house) to maintain a patient, healthy attitude for them.

We’ve continued the 2-chapters-a-day Bible reading Jay started in December, and worked on the house each day as well.

Elisha has, as planned, given up diapers.  This has not (as numerous people seem to predict) resulted in the pre-potty-trained child “making a connection” and using the toilet more.  It does mean he’s mastered the phrase, “I have ah ax-i-dent.”

But, again, the work God is doing in our home (and in me) is such that even multiple changes of clothes and daily laundry haven’t squelched this peace and delight in being together.

I may never be able to articulate everything that has been growing since just before the new year began, but we are currently living in a shower of blessing, and I am grateful for a God who give good gifts.

It’s Fun when things Stick

A long time ago I wrote about how I was careful to change the way I told Cinderella to clarify that work is not abuse. (I was not going to train any attitudes to a false martyrdom. Yuck.)

Anyway, when we watched the R&H Cinderella last week I was delighted when one of the girls leaned over to the other and said knowingly, “They are unkind not to help her.”

The other nodded knowingly and I just grinned.

This was the exact message I’d been trying to communicate, and I was very pleased they’d internalized it enough that months later they still remembered.

Words are so Fun

Got a bunch of books yesterday, and sat a while reading the new ones to the kids.

One really cute one is Lingingstone Mouse where the little critter is searching for China, where he wants to set up his new nest after leaving home.  The first time we read it I had just said the bit from his mother about it being time to leave, and LM was excited and ready to go.

Melody squirmed with anticipation beside me and gushed, “Ooohhh he’s gonna get stepped on!”

Our developing tragedian.   Hmmm.

~ ~ ~

Elisha’s ability to articulate has been increasing.  He is participating in the household rituals with the solemnity of a priest– informing me for the first time that they had become rituals:

M: Elisha!

E: Yes?

M: I love you!

E: I love you too.

He’s also gotten to where he can parrot whole phrases and count in sequence.  The girls have memorized Flint by Christina Rosetti (ask them to recite it for you sometime), but Elisha’s nearly got it too, and will recite bits with them.  Barely understandable unless you know what he’s trying to say, but if you know what you’re listening to you can hear every syllable and all the inflection (which, of course, all the children learn as faithfully as a tune).

Other clear phrases we’ve heard recently:

  • I love you
  • Thanks mom
  • Too much mom

Oh, and every dog is “joule.”  Not just its name, its identification.  Joule is now his word for dog.

Precious.  I enjoy it immensely.


I went and auditioned last night for a play I know next to nothing about.

It felt a bit like an ethical quandary, truly:

Is showing up like an eBay bid, where if you “win” (are selected) you are bound to follow through and roll with whatever’s given you?

I resist being bound, but understand the thinking that would assume this to be basic courtesy.

I did get a “call-back” today.  But it’s for a time-slot I have already committed elsewhere, so I left a message saying so and am waiting to see how it shakes out.

Melody had her first public solo last night.  (that link should take you to YouTube,  The video wasn’t embedding properly, so I changed it to a link)

You’ll probably have to jack your volume, but I was pleased to have any recording.

“I want to do that again next time,” she said as soon as we got back to our seats.  “With different people, though.”

I told her she was very brave to march up there and do it, and asked if she was scared.

“I was nervous when I walked up,” she said, “But singing was exciting.”

“Where Do They Go to School?”

We took the kids to a playgroud last Saturday morning. There was a family of three kids already there, the oldest brother (maybe 10) seemed to be vaguely in-charge and eager to converse with an adult (hey, that’s me!).

He asked if that school was where my kids went. I said they weren’t old enough to “go” anywhere yet. “Well, will they come here when they’re old enough?” he persisted.

“No,” I said, “I’ll be teaching them at home.” The young man seemed nearly distressed, and protested, “But they need friends!

Sleeping With the Cow for Free Milk

(Extra points for anyone who recognized that line from Mad About You.)

I don’t know if anybody really uses the “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free” line, just like I don’t know anybody who uses the “If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you?” line, but I just did today.

The Cow line.

Jay is no longer in the Electronic Shop at the University. He is now working “exclusively” in infrasound and is down to three jobs:

  • Operator of two CTBTO infrasound sites
  • Part-time deployment data-collection specialist (assisting with preparation and deployment of portable sensor arrays for specific data-collection projects)
  • Working for Chaparral.

Not just working-for.

Due to some bizarro (but ultimately positive?) events he is now the Boss Supremo (second only to the guy who’s the head of the whole Geophysical Institute). But he’s still the only full engineer “in” the Electronic Shop.

And he’s under a *lot* of pressure right now trying to keep a bundle of knives in the air. No only is he going to have to start learning how to run a company by doing it (I’m thankful he has such high quality standards, and he’s thankful he can now have full say in how the products are presented), but he has to help his Shop (former) boss finish up a project.

Naturally this has led to long hours and an over-tired, stressed-out man at home. I found a Business Administration class he is now considering, to ease the transition. This would result in more time away from home but– Lord willing– a less-stressed man in the end.

I’ve been calling his Shop project an albatross. I asked Jay why someone else couldn’t take it over.

He said it was because said he was the only engineer in the shop, and it would take forever to hire a new one. I pointed out that there was no motivation for the Shop to look for a new engineer while they have access to one as good as he.

That’s when I made my lame attempt to quote the line about the cow, and it came out like the misquoted title, and I had to try again.

“Why would you do that?” I asked.

“I’m a nice cow,” he said, firmly.

Then he explained that he wants to use the finished project at Chaparral, so being a part of this ensures he ends up with what he needs.


Natasha was playing on her bed today, flopping backwards onto her pillow. After a while she misjudged and fell into her headboard instead (there was a nasty crack).

For a while she could only cry while I held her, and wouldn’t answer my how-are-you-feeling question.

“Can you see okay?” I asked, trying a different tack. She nodded. “How about when you hit your head?”

“When I hit my head it really hurt, and my eyes twinkled.”

“Are they twinkling now?”

“No, not any more.”


Back on Tuesday the girls were at Ruth’s house while I was in class.

Ruth was sort of surprised at Natasha, because she’d been hitting and throwing things. When she threw a spoon into the lake Jon had to use a rake to get it out.

At that point Natasha said, “I’m ornery tonight. I didn’t get a good nap.”

We’re in Chaos Here

…but at least I can still feed them well.

We had ham and chix chowder for dinner and homemade choc ice cream for desert.

While finishing up in the kitchen I had fun thinking about the different things being said around our front room (one of them was me, and one was Jay. The rest were Natasha. Melody is currently on a nodding kick, where she seems to be resisting our family’s tendency to use words so much).

  • “Respect her ‘No,’ Dad.” (Melody wasn’t in a mood to be teased and said so).
  • “Give her time, she just woke up.”
  • “Play Fives…with the pickle.” (“And the tickle?”)
  • (“Ew, yuck, I don’t like that.”) “That’s not something you can say to your mom. you can only say, ‘Thank you, very much!’ And eat it all up.”
  • Please don’t break your neck. That would make me very sad.

Natasha has begun to invent in her conversation. She told us all about her telephone conversation with Uncle Benjamin while we ate dinner. Bet you didn’t know he’s got three kids (he hasn’t told her their names yet) and he broke his arm last night.

How did he do that? Well, there was this tree, with spiky things sticking out of it. And Benjamin wanted very much to hug his mom, and was running toward her very fast and banged into the tree… and his arm fell off.

(This injury was why he didn’t have time to list the names of his children.)

But he was very happy to see his mama, and hugged her anyway. With his only-one arm.

Yeah, it might have been messy, but he was getting it taken care of. That’s why he couldn’t talk on the phone long. And his kids were staying with Abby and Hannah while he got fixed up.

We are just going to have to start recording dinners. It was a total hoot.