Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Little Lizard-Tongue Baby

Here we are hiking again at Dishman Hills. Just stopping to appreciate the local flora.
Poor Pele. She gets so hot. Good thing we didn't match somewhere in Arizona!

So Katie Bug always has her tongue out now. But it seems to go to the right all the time. We call her our little lizard-tongued baby. She just likes to add a little style to her smile, I think.
This is Kate begging to help with dishes. OK, so she's actually licking the dishwasher while Jeremy and I were eating dinner. I swear we weren't starving her, she actually ate first, but I guess she wanted to try out the flavor of whirlpool.
However, due to the fact that our house is far from child proof as we are packing and she is now so mobile, the Bug gets put in what we lovingly call her "kennel" when we have to do something without her help. Don't worry, we're in the same room and she has plenty of toys in her little cage here, I just love the way she peeks over the edge.
However, despite all of the toys, she still gets bored inside and is much happier on the grass outside. Like mother, like daughter. Don't you love how well I match her clothes?
Ah, our precious little lizard again. This is her crawling on top of me in the grass.
One of our neighbors saw us laying on the grass and decided Kate needed to be introduced to bubbles. She never figured out why the disappeared as soon as she got them.
Other than that, not much has happened in the last two weeks other than Jeremy and I organizing and calling kingdom come to figure out our move. One exciting event that I did forget to mention from the trip to Salt Lake.....
So I said I'd stopped in at the Burn Unit. Well, I talked to the manager over Burn Camp (a summer camp for youth who've been patients on the Burn Unit), and they still had a slot open for a female counselor for the river trip. Jeremy and I talked it out and it worked out for us so I'm going down the river in June! Crazy, because it's smack in the middle of us moving, but it still worked out well and I'm thrilled! I've been practicing different songs on the guitar that I can sing to the kids. I don't know how well they know John Denver, but I'm bringing some other things as well. The last time I went was 2 weeks before Jeremy and I got married. Burn Camp is a magical place and it's a very happy feeling for me to be able to go. Jeremy will have Kate and be hanging out with his family while I'm away, then we'll start our journey out East as soon as I get back. It'll be crazy, but what isn't in this life?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inside of the House

So here's the den and the stairs. The bright open spot between the chair and the stairs is actually the front door. But I think the back door will be used a lot more.
Here's the upstairs mom and dad bedroom. Hopefully Jeremy won't hit his head too often.

I love this part of the house! This is the dining room looking into the kitchen.
This is the mudroom when you first walk in. Through the door ahead you're looking through the kitchen, dining room, and into the living room. I am so excited for the space to put all the shoes! Especially after such a wet winter here in Spokane. After taking the dog out in the snow three times a day I think our carpet is ruined, so I'm very happy about this huge mudroom.
This is the back yard of the house. There's a small unfenced porch and all of the tall plants are actually part of a garden.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Victory and Pictures

It's a Christmas miracle! OK, so it's not Christmas, but this house was definitely a miracle for us! We found it the last day we were there, put an offer on it and within 3 hours we were under a contract! Jeremy said this home is like me - very unique and full of personality.

I don't think the fence will contain Pele, but it should work for Kate! I can't thank the Koffords or my mom enough for this trip. The Koffords for the bed, the food, the fun, and the advice and help I needed to make a wise decision. And my mom for keeping me sane and taking care of us.

Kate and her cousin James.

I got to watch Adyn and Ella play T-ball.

Grandpa Huntington was able to calm tired Kate down on the horse.

Miss Bug busted into our fruit we bought for lunch while we were driving home to eat it.

My niece, Kaylee, can fly aparently. I always wished I could when I was a kid.

How Baby Kate Saved Me

This post is because it's my first mother's day being a mom. For anyone who didn't know, our girl was a surprise. Not unwanted, but not planned either. Jeremy and I had planned on both graduating, then me working full time for a year where ever we went for Jeremy's residency before we planned on being parents. But - SURPRISE! Five months into marriage and we were pregnant. My, how things have changed. Little Katie Bug is now 9 months old and as I was rolling around on the floor with her last night and just enjoying her laugh and her crooked 2-tooth smile all I could think was how happy I am and how much I love being her mom.

This was not always the case. Her first month I hardly remember because I was so weak from the blood loss, but those next two were really hard for me. I thought I was ready to play with kids all day, but that infant thing is something totally different. Day after night after day after night Kate and I learned how to live with each other, read each other, and love each other. Whoever says that this just comes naturally to women, I beg to differ. I think whoever spends the most time with the kids is the one who learns what works the best because you have to. I was overwhelmed remembering how many people said I'll always miss these days, they just pass too quickly, babies are so sweet, and so on, but I would be calling my mom at noon, bawling because I was finally eating breakfast, hadn't showered yet, and been up since 5:30 and had not sat down. All I wanted was for her to be quiet and go to sleep.

I started working because I had worked so hard for an RN license and didn't want to not use it. The job was great. The hospital was great and so were the people. But Katie Lou started sleeping even less at night and I began running on 4-6 hours of sleep at night in 1.5-2 hour segments. And trying to coordinate babysitters got more complicated. After a lot of prayers and pondering I quit. It felt right, I felt relieved even though I loved the job.

Once Baby Kate hit six months, something changed for me. I don't know if it's because she became more interactive or I finally caught on to some of this mom stuff and also gave myself more of a mental break with the day to day stuff, but I was much more comfortable and started having fun being a mom. Now that we're at nine months I am truly happy with this season of life.

So looking back, I can only say Katie Lou is a gift from God. I think what really made those first six months so hard was coming face to face with how self-focused I can be and not wanting to change that. (Let me preface this by saying there should be a balance in all things!) After living on my own for 8 years - working, school, mission - I thought I had life figured out. I'd lived with so many roommates, of course I'd know how to live with a family! I'd had to work out school and work schedules so of course I could manage time well. And with all my life experience I was sure I knew about patience and long suffering. Ha, ha.

Everything I thought I knew, I'd only tasted and was WAY over confident about being able to handle any of this. Kate has softened me. She's taught me I really can't have control over everything I want, but it doesn't matter. I'm not here to have control or make things work my way, but to learn how to be happy in whatever the circumstance may be. She's helped me see I need to quit feeling like I have to prove something to anyone else, or even myself sometimes, that I really should just be OK with me for who I am, not necessarily what I can do all the time. She's helped me slow down enough to really focus on our family and find joy in making home a home, not just a place to eat and sleep. She's helped me appreciate and love Jeremy even more, and my own family for that matter. She's taught me I need to ask for help more often than I do and gracefully accept it when others offer - I'm not here to accomplish everything alone. This isn't a contest to see how independent I can be, but a test to see if I will love others more than my own comfort. She's helped me draw closer to Jeremy than I ever thought I could be. She took my fear out of having a girl (well, she's not 13 yet, but at least at this stage). Our little surprise has forever changed my life and I am forever grateful that I was given this blessing of being a mother.

Shout Out to Mom (and the Sorensen Sisters)

Being Mother's Day, I have to write a tribute to my mom. First of all, just the trip out to NH for the house hunt would have been a NIGHTMARE without her to help out with baby Kate and take care of both of us when we were sick. My mom is truly an angel. She let me be the free-spirited child I was (and still am) from day one, and taught me over and over again to trust myself and believe in myself. In so many ways she taught me that I can do anything my heart desires if I have the diligence to work for it. She taught charity through her example of caring for so many other people because they needed it, not because there was any particular reward in it. My mom constantly taught me it is your choice to be happy where you are and with what you have and to not covet. She's always had an attitude of gratitude and been quick to point out the positive things of life. She taught me a great love of learning, being curious about things, and to not be critical of others. She taught me it's always more important what the Lord thinks of you and what you've done than what others do. She taught me to have faith, when I pray and when I act, that things will work out for the better. She taught me to be patient (although I still have a long way to go on that one!), and she taught me to laugh when things fall apart, but that it's perfectly OK to cry, too.
I want to say how grateful I am for my sisters as well. Ann and Melissa have been such great examples and friends to me in so many ways. How well they mother their own children, how often they listen to me, and I love that we can laugh about all the same lame movie lines!
Lest anyone thinks my family is perfect, we have definitely had our moments. I fought with everyone A LOT when I was in middle and high school, and we still disagree on somethings, but thank goodness for that! They help me be a better person and I love them. Happy Mother's Day Sorensen clan!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

So the trip has been good so far. Kate and I were able to visit all of Jeremy's family in Salt Lake City and also able to visit my old stomping grounds at Shriner's and the Burn Unit. Man, I miss it there and it feels like I'm at home and never left when I visit. We stayed with my sister, Ann who was such a help with Kate for me while I was trying to coordinate things with our realtor over the phone and Internet. And she was willing to get up before 5am to make my mom and I cinnamon roles before she dropped us off at the airport. Kate was a real trooper for that super long flight. It was a little over 3 hours to Detroit, with an hour layover, then about another 2 hours to Manchester, NH with an hour and a half drive after that. We made it safe and sound to our friend's house and they have been so kind, generous, and helpful. Especially since Kate got pretty sick (we think she might have the croup) and I'm currently trying not to be, but not doing the best job. My mom is also such a saint to help out with everything out here, especially loving and caring for sick Kate while we're looking at different houses.
House hunting alone has been quite the adventure. You can find a great home here if you have around $300k. Having the loans we do and living off the income of a resident's stipend, we're quite a bit below that. Fortunately, we found a house still available just a few houses down from the friends we're staying with that may work out for us, if he's willing to come down on the price a bit. We're hoping and praying and seeing how things go.
It is beautiful out here. Kate had me up one morning from 4am-5:30 and since I couldn't go back to sleep and it was getting light outside I went for a run down a dead end street close by. I got to watch the sun come up over the tree covered mini-mountains and the Connecticut River and I'm in love with this place! We'll definitely need some DEET in the summer (I already have 3 mosquito bites), and it'll take some time to figure out how to get everywhere, but I really like it here.
Since we're staying with a family that's in the anesthesia program I'm getting a taste of what it'll be like and it's so nice. All of the residents and their families form a really tight, supportive group and EVERYONE here is so active! They either run or bike all the time, there is a ton of hiking, and when it gets warm enough people are out on the lakes, ponds, and rivers all the time. Sounds like their winters are as insane as our last one in Spokane was, so it's a good thing we have the vehicles we do. If they stop working maybe Pele can pull Jeremy into work on a dog sled.
So here's to hoping we get our house and that Kate and I don't have the little piggy flu. In the meantime I sure miss my husband and our dog. Since Jeremy's in the ICU right now, Pele's pretty lonely. Thank goodness for the friends that are checking in on her everyday. I hope my husband gets checked in on by people as well. He's one amazing man and I'm glad he trusts me to do all this. Sometimes I look at these homes, how much they're asking, then I picture how people live in Argentina and it's overwhelming. We don't know how good we have it here. We are a very blessed people and we should be counting our blessings long before we start complaining. I don't think that's being falsely optimistic about things, I think it just helps you put things into perspective.
I'll post pictures of this trip when I get home. I don't know how we could have pulled this trip off without the friends and family we have that have been so helpful. Thank you all of you!