Thursday, October 30, 2008

The way so many Christians see things in such polar opposite ways has always challenged me.

It struck me the hardest when I was in Israel studying in college. We met Christians who felt convicted by God to peacefully protest against the Israeli government buldozing Palestinian homes, putting their lives in danger to prevent further violence.

We also met Christians who pray for war in the middle east so that Christ will come sooner and felt convicted by God to support Israel no matter what, even when they harmed the innocent. (I got the impression that if Israel decided to slaughter their entire palestinian population, this group would rejoice and support them. I am not exagerating.)

Who is right? Who am I to say one group is a better or truer Christian compared to the other? (rhetorically, I am not looking for an Israel argument) How can someone who is truly passionate about Christ have completely different opinions than me, even ones that I find biblically offensive?

Is everyone who disagrees with me just misled by Satan? Am I just misled by Satan? Can two mature faithful Christians have completely conflicting viewpoints based on how they read the scripture? Where does this leave the truth of scripture?

There are so many questions in my heart around this issue, and some answers that I've slowly grappled with over the years. Sometimes it really depresses me, sometimes it gives me joy in the way God created us all so uniquely to express himself.

Grace, humility, love, Christ. Those are the answers that bob in my heart and inspire me, even when I am frustrated and calling someone who disagrees with me "stupid". *smile*

All I actually wanted to say is that I enjoyed stumbling across this post today, exploring this topic in light of our upcoming elections. Somehow trying to explain it turned into long post.
One of Annika's favorite games is a "trust fall" off of kitchen counters or the changing table. I stand her up, then hold out my arms and she grins, but doesn't do anything. She savors it for a good 10-20 seconds - she smiles, makes happy hums, looks down at the ground, then slowly tips forward into my arms, sometimes giggling as I catch her. It is marvelous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


By March, I will have a niece and in December, I will have a nephew.

And both the kids will have real true cousins finally! (Saben will remind you that he already has cousins - but they are actually the children of MY cousins, whom he adores)

A day in the life

It's been one of those long days. The ones where your husband calls right after you climb out of bed to tell you a contractor is on his way RIGHT NOW to come work on your heating. While you are on the phone, your daughter is screaming in her crib, because she hears your voice and KNOWS you are awake and ignoring her.

Right after you get in the kitchen with your daughter, who woke you up in the middle of the night last night & drank a bottle to help get back to sleep, then peed 20x extra which soaked through into her pajamas and left a wet spot on your hip where you held her....I digress.

In the kitchen, holding pee soaked daughter, the phone rings & its the lady giving you a tiling estimate and she wants to chat about a couple things. And the other contractor is on his way still and you are still in your pajamas & have icky sleep mouth and your daughter now smells like poo too. And now your son (whom your husband already fed before he left) wants another bowl of cereal and says it over and over while you struggle to hear the lady on the phone.

Finally, change the baby's diaper, get her a bottle, get your son more cereal, put on some pants and see the contractor pull up. Quickly brush your teeth before he comes in and hope there's no mascara smeared under your eyes. Discuss project with him while your baby starts yelling for her bowl of cereal. Look at the clock and realize you need to leave for playgroup in 5 minutes if you want to be on time.

Arrive at playgroup 45 minutes late, but have fun for 45 minutes till its time to leave. Lunch, preschool drop off, baby naps & FREE TIME AT LAST! Which means its time to mow the lawn before it rains tomorrow. But first the contractor wants to chat for another 20 minutes. Pick up your dogs poop in the yard, then go pick up TEN PILES of everyone else's dog's poop scattered around the side & front yard. (decide to try writing a nice note with chalk on your wood fence, reminding people to pick up after their dogs)

Actually manage to mow the entire lawn, but no time to do your workout or anything else (except to grab 15 minutes to figure out what your brother is naming his child and then gloat because you broke the world speed record in deciphering his clues), its time to go pick up son from preschool.

Go get dog food on the way home, but first return call of yet ANOTHER CONTRACTOR to get their estimate for tiling. (begins to dawn why people hire general contractors for remodels) Actually really have fun looking at the animals with the kids, engage in brief tussle with daughter over her carrying "rodent berry treat" bags around the store. Give up when screaming ensues, feel guilty for giving in, especially when you find the bags in her mouth a while later.

Home again, son is in the mood where he asks 5-10 questions per minute and your daughter is in the mood where she wants to be held/played with constantly and cries everytime you try to make dinner. Son wants you to help him make a rocket by taping together toilet paper rolls, chopsticks & a piece of cardboard. Who are you to stifle his creativity?

Take a brief break where for the first time in your life, you hide in a locked bedroom and eat candy for two lovely minutes while kids bang and yell at the door.

Pull out the defrosted salmon and it nearly disinigrates in your hand into a pile of mush. Thanks Trader Joes, apparently meat is just not your strong suit. Husband home, eat dinner, try to catch him up on what all the contractors have been saying, but your son keeps telling him random fragments from the plotline of our BOZ the Bear movie and has to be reminded not to interrupt at least 17 times.

Baths while husband cleans up kitchen, stories while husband takes a shower and put both kids to bed by yourself so he can go have his night out "with the guys".

Feel guilty because you are already missing your goal of writing on the blog every day this week, decide you better write SOMETHING. Mind is a blank even though you had at least 20 good ideas on Monday. Decide to write about your day, which was quite crazy, yet seems to be this crazy at least 1-2 times per week if not more. (for example, the day you got your son ready for a Halloween party a week early)

Wonder if posts needs pictures. Decide you've done enough already.

Thank goodness tomorrow is my night off.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annika's First Finger Painting

She actually did have fun for about 20 seconds. Then she looked and saw.... GREEN HAND!
Why do I torture her like this?

Shoe trouble

When Saben was Annika's age, his favorite game was kicking me in the gut when I changed his diaper. Annika on the other hand prefers to kick vigorously the very moment you are about to finish tying her shoes.

She sits there pleasantly while you get the shoes on, watches you tighten the laces & start your bow...and then bam, her little feet go nuts, kicking all over the place while she giggles. How on earth does she know how funny and annoying this is? I suppose she's punishing me for buying lace up shoes, but who can resist pink converse? It did cheer me up when she did it to my mom, its pretty funny watching it happen to somebody else.

My goal this week is at least one post per day because I need to get back in the habit of short & sweet posts on a more regular basis.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cousin in the paper

Amy's story was front page news in the Wenatchee World, if you are curious, you can read it here: (hopefully it is a permalink, not sure how long it will work though)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I just spent an hour making cute halloween snacks & getting Saben dressed up for his preschool halloween party. Except that it is next Friday, not today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Amy is out of surgery for her masectomy and they did not find any cancer on her sentinel node. This is GREAT news because it means if there is any breast cancer, it hasn’t spread to her lymph nodes. We still wait to find out if there was any cancer in the breast tissue itself. Keep praying as Amy wakes up that things goes smoothly with her recovery.

The investigation

This morning, Annika was noticing the difference between girls & boys when Saben was getting dressed. First she tried to grab and he drew away. So then she just pointed and gave this big laugh. I almost died, it was so funny.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saben - 3 1/2 (plus a month)

"I'm ready to go to Grandma's house mom" (that is exactly what he said)

It feels like forever since I did a real update on the kids, or maybe its just that they've changed so much in the last couple of months.

Lately, Saben is obsessed with drawing, painting, cutting, gluing etc. Everyday, markers, paint & scissors are his toys of choice. He will spend a full hour messing around with art supplies on his own. On top of what he does at home, it seems like he does at least 2 different art projects at preschool each day he's there. We have a huge stack of art in our kitchen and I'm at a loss as to what to do with it.

Saben made this house in preschool and when I saw it, my mouth dropped open because I can not figure out how he got the perspective correct. I have never seen him draw something with perpective so either a) he's a genius b) it was a fluke or c) the teacher had an example with perspective and he copied it. I asked the teacher if she helped him and she said no, but I wouldn't put it past him to copy a sample exactly. Who knows

Saben also loves rockets. He's spent quite a few hours drawing & then cutting out these pictures of rockets. He always asks to watch space shuttle launches on YouTube and counts down to launch all sorts of things. The other night he was pretending his carrott was a rocket and he was doing the countdown & dropped it on the floor. Roxxy ran over and ate it and he kept asking tearfully "Why did Roxxy eat my rocket?"

Like any obsessed 3 1/2 year old, he is full of every fact he can remember about space shuttles & rockets and will tell you all about the booster rockets and to watch out when it launches because the fire can hurt you.

Saben loves to joke around with nonsense words & saying the wrong word for things. He has also learned that it is funny to keep doing things even when someone tells you to stop. (thanks kyle) We are working on fixing that, but its hard to not feel like a spoilsport when he is laughing so hard.

Learning how to repair a chimney. He loves this book.

The only time Saben is really naughty is when Annika is getting too much attention. And she is a super huge attention hog - I'll write more about her later, but every day I have to really focus on making sure I'm not just attending to her needs because she is the loudest. Often Saben will join in screaming with her or will start mimicking the naughty things she does so that he gets attention too. Sigh.

I guess he also likes to refuse to do things I ask or do them super slowly. And he is super persnickety about his sister touching anything he is working on or has played with in the last 6 hours. They fight a lot, as is normal. But they are starting to have fun together every now & then, making funny faces, running around, etc.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fridge Theif

Every time I open the fridge, Annika sneaks in and steals my horseradish & tamarind concentrate. Always the same two jars when there are quite a few to choose from. All I can figure out is it must be the colors (blue, white/red) or the shapes of the jars, or just a refined sense of taste.

Update #2

Despite the negative biopsy results last week, the surgeon doing her masectomy still thinks one spot might be cancer in my cousin's breast. They won't know for sure till they do the masectomy next week. If it is cancerous, they will check her sentinel lymph node to make sure it hasn't spread and then make decisions about chemo. Please continue to pray for her as she undergoes the surgery next Thursday and waits to find out the results of the full biopsy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our family breast cancer story

Last week, my cousin Amy found out that she has breast cancer.

This is her story of facing breast cancer, but it effects everyone in our family and it is my story as well.

Three months before I married Kyle, my Aunt Deanna died of breast cancer at the age of 47. She had only been diagnosed 9 months earlier. My mom lost her sister and my maid of honor, Amy, lost her mom. Our whole family lost a wonderful daughter, sister, mom & aunt.

Amy and I have known eachother since we were wee sweet little girls. Our moms were sisters and though we spent most of our lives a three hours drive apart, we managed to become great friends. Sometimes we email (or sent letters) every week and then sometimes we don't talk for months, but I still consider her one of my best friends, one who is always there when you need her.

Four out of six of my grandpa's sisters died from breast cancer. One died from "stomach cancer" which was most likely ovarian cancer. For years, my mom mentioned this to doctors, and each time the doctors told her "genetic breast cancer is passed through your mom, not your dad, so you have nothing to worry about".

Right before she passed away, they took a blood sample from Deanna to check for a genetic marker for breast cancer. She tested positive for a genetic mutation that is called BRCA2. Because of my grandfather's family history, we are certain that it was passed through him and it is common knowledge today that the gene can come from either parent.

A month after her mother died, Amy also tested positive for the gene which meant she had an 85% chance of getting breast cancer during her lifetime. That same week she was having a cyst removed from her breast that kept showing up as suspicious on mammograms. She remembers lying on the table with tears streaming, positive that she was going to die and leave behind her one year old daughter and her husband.

A few weeks later, my mom tested negative which presumably means I do not have it. I found out a few days after Kyle & I returned from our honeymoon. A cousin of my mom & aunt also found that she tested positive, but many in the family decided they were not going to test, at least not right away.

Those of us who tested negative felt huge relief that was nearly smothered by guilt. The first couple years after losing her mom & finding out she had the gene were incredibly hard for Amy, feeling like cancer was lurking right around the corner and that she would never make it to see her daughter marry or meet her grandkids.

This gene is also linked to ovarian cancer which is rarer, but more deadly. Our mother's cousin had this disease at age 27 but survived. Every time they found a cyst on Amy's ovaries, she had to go in for a painful, hormone disrupting biopsy. Because she had painful endometriosis and was tired of all the biopsies, Amy decided to remove her ovaries & uterus.

This meant that at age 27, Amy was launched into full menopause and she struggled for years to get her hormones balanced right again. When things were off, she describes it as a dead numb feeling - like your emotions are sucked out of you.

sigh. I know, its horrifying.

Over the next few years, Amy slowly healed emotionally and learned how to live with the shadow of breast cancer looming over her. She learned what worked best for her to handle the risks she faced and she started to have peace with the issues she had to deal with in her life.

Amy began to contemplate her options for diminishing her breast cancer risk. This summer, she attended the FORCE (Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered) an annual forum on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Anyone concerned about hereditary cancer: cancer survivors, high-risk individuals, those with a BRCA mutation or family history of cancer, and health care providers who treat high-risk patients; were there.

After gathering information at the conference, Amy finally made the decision to have a preventative double masectomy on October 23rd in New York where she could g et the most cutting edge surgery available. She would have both healthy breasts removed, get implants and reduce her risk from 85% to 5%.

I can barely fathom how difficult and sad it would be to make this decision. When you have this gene, there is no one who is going to tell you exactly what you need to do. Everyone has a different opinion and a different way of handling it. Sorting through the options is an extremely hard and emotional proccess. Amy spent time grieving the loss of her breasts, but was also extremely excited to have the spector of breast cancer erased from her life once & for all.

Last Thursday, three weeks before her surgery, Amy went to the UW for a routine pre-surgery breast MRI. They discovered cancer in both breasts, cancer that had not been there in February during her last MRI. Cancer that neither mammograms or an ultrasound had detected.

Amy had a biopsy on the cancer cells this week and will find out soon what the prognosis is. It is very likely that she will still go to NY for her masectomy on October 23rd, but we don't know anything other than that.

If you'd like to hear Amy's story in her own words and check for updates on her status, you can go to her blog here. I know she would appreciate your prayers in the weeks to come.

I meant to spend this post telling you how incredible my cousin is and I sort of got wrapped up in the story and forgot to mention it. But hopefully it is apparent that she is amazing and has gone through incredible things. But my favorite part is that she is down to earth, quirky and totally normal. She is wonderwoman, a basket case, is kind and sometimes very grumpy, all at the same time. She isn't always perfect but she is amazing all the same.

Did I mention she is beautiful & had so much better fashion sense than me when we were growing up? All the pictures of us growing up that I looked through for this post, I looked like a dork and she is there looking all cool with a perfectly posed smile. But at least we both had huge glasses at the same time. And by the way Denaye, you should be happy I cropped you out of that shot, because you looked just like us. : )

Update: I didn't get this posted quickly enough but decided to leave it as is. We found out today that Amy does not have cancer! The cells were pre-cancerous and need to be removed, but are not cancer. (all the doctors that looked at the MRI were certain it was cancer) Check Amy's blog for details. This is a huge answer to prayer and makes me happier than I can describe. If I was into animated fireworks on my blog, I would insert them here. Thank you God.