Wednesday, September 21, 2011

...that guy...

Let me start by saying that I'm not proud of this, but it must be recorded!

Yesterday, during one of many carpooling trips, Finn and I chatted.  He asked why I wouldn't take him out "right now" and buy him an Indian Jones Lego set.  I said that Christmas was coming and that I could put it on his list, but as of now I was saving up for Christmas.

He said, "What's the big deal about Christmas anyway?"

"Do you mean, why do we celebrate it?" I asked.

"Yes," he confirmed.

"Well, it's Jesus' birthday," I answered and immediately saw a perplexed look come over his face.  "Do you know who Jesus is?"

He considered this for awhile and then said, "Oh yeah, is he that guy who gave us the ice skates last year?"

Sad, but true.  (And pretty funny.)  He was trying to be on the right track; remembering back to St. Nicholas' gift last year.  The truth is that Mike and I have struggled with an absence of need for organized religion, but never our beliefs.  It seems that Finn's initial understanding has been lost in our struggle.

I quickly explained and dusted off Bible Stories for Young Children.  Even if we're not sure where our own trees are planted, it's time to give this kid some roots.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

highland queen

Some things just never get old.  This is what we learned for sure during Granddad and Grandmom's Labor Day visit a week ago, when we traveled 45 minutes east so that Alby and Mike could visit the Highland Queen, famed ice cream joint from earlier days in both of their lives.  I've been along for the ride before, but not with the kids along, which made it loads more fun.

Check out these pictures from our delicious adventure!

Outside with the sign - it remains the same!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years have gone by in a flash.  Like most Americans, I'll never forget that crisp, electric blue September morning.  Feeling immense hope with my first child on the way, but so fragile from my ulcerative colitis diagnosis just a few weeks earlier; the world seemed both full of possibilities and kind of terrifying at the same time. 

Mike called to tell me about a horrifying plane crash in NYC.  Once I exited the train and arrived at work, the unbearable tragedy unfolded before us.  I stood wedged in an office doorway, with my friends and co-workers leaning against walls and sitting on the floor, watching the only television we had. 

We now have three children who don't know what happened that day, don't understand the emotion we all felt when we watched the towers fall.   With Bin Laden's death and the 10th anniversary, they've started to talk about it at school.  Today, I decided to tell them my honest, but child-friendly version.  Logan and Riley became teary-eyed as I explained how regular people became heroes that day, in so many ways, to ensure the safety of others.  "Super heroes?" Finn asked.  "Definitely," I said.

Later we visited our downtown memorial, where thousands of pairs of shoes lined our village streets to represent those people never recovered, including a basket of baby booties symbolic of the numerous unborn children that died that day.  It was breathtaking.

I will never forget the details of the day, the sacrifices made September 11, 2001, those made throughout the ten years that followed and those still being made today.  These heroes deliver us our freedom, they ensure our safety and allow us to raise our children with the belief that goodness is intrinsic to our world.  I am forever grateful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


If you glance out the window and see your child on a bike, wearing snow boots and holding a sled in the summer, I strongly urge you to immediately drop what you're doing to investigate further. Last Thursday this exact thing happened, and in the two minutes I took to finish a conversation before sending Mike out on a Finn search, all hell broke loose.

In his infinite and boyish wisdom, our 5-year old decided to helmet-less-ly travel across a forbidden busy street to sled down hills in an area of our subdivision under construction. When his wheels hit the gravel, his snow-booted feet weren't up to the challenge and he bit it, hard. Here's what he looked like:

X-rays showed no fracture, but his swelling was nothing short of freakish! The healing power of kids is amazing and he's well on his way to having a miraculously decent school picture next week. And while we have new rules in place and a new bike helmet thanks to Granddad, I can't knock this little dude's creativity. Lord help us in the teenage years!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

alaska bound

Finding out my brother Dan was packing up and head north, WAY NORTH, to finish up school in Soldotna at the University of Alaska, was not the best news I've ever heard. But I couldn't be more excited for the adventure he's undertaken, the life experience he's sure to have and the fact that he's living out a dream. Bunches of us gathered, last minute, at our place to send him off right and say "goodbye for now" last Thursday night. Logan and Riley had many tears to shed, but they were relieved by thoughts of him flying home for Christmas. On Friday morning, he was off!

My Dad and Dan traveled over 3700 miles through five days and all sorts of climates and terrains and arrived in Anchorage on Tuesday. They were laughed at by locals who found their summer clothes amusing and almost grew accustomed to seeing a mama bear playing with her cubs when they crossed a river or driving through a heard of buffalo. They've made pals with Santa's reindeer, so the Anderson kids have nothing to fear this year!

They've told me that the land there is far beyond what we can even imagine in terms of beauty and that Mike and I must, no matter what, begin saving so that we can find a way to get up there with our kids to see Dan in his new, truly awesome habitat. It seems plans for our romantic 15 year anniversary celebration (next year) in Italy will be swapped out with a family-style Alaskan adventure. But that's okay - we wouldn't miss it for the world!

Here's to Dan's adventure, remembering to grab life with both hands and to loving every minute of it!!