Category Archives: Friends & Family

What one does at a Haggard Christmas reunion

This is a question I once had, but now have it answered.

  • dress small children up like middle eastern peasant people, celestial beings and barn animals
  • wear homemade matchy outfits, as shown above and here
  • eat the dark chocolate Bill refuses to eat
  • get your daily dose of transfats from a popcorn chariot
  • eat homemade eggrolls and authentic Filipino fare
  • if you’re Jason, get your butt kicked by a six year old playing “Guess Who?
  • get used to the volume level of those Haggards (almost all of them) that have “voices that carry”
  • be dazzled by the Christmas lights and bows and swags and wreaths and ornaments and well, Christmas everything
  • enjoy the sparkle of the chandelier hanging above your head as you relieve yourself
  • find a Costco wool sock push-pinned to the mantel filled with your favorite kind of chapstick, Fran’s caramels, and Voluspa candle (all from one particular Haggard man)
  • eradicate diseases that threaten to destroy human life on earth
  • channel your inner domestic goddess (ladies only)

Needless to say, all five of my senses have sufficiently met their limit (and admittedly, at times, been slightly overloaded).  But many enjoyable memories have been made.

“Attacked” by an alligator

I’ve been taking an annual 4th of July trip to Minneapolis for about four or five years now, but it’s gotten quite exciting ever since the Haggards have been introduced into the family. 

When I say exciting I mean this: last year Jason almost burned Linda’s house down.  And this year we were attacked by an alligator.

When I mean attacked I mean that it was lazily floating along the shoreline in Linda’s pond and the police apprehended it with one of those dog-catcher thingies and duct taped its mouth shut.  It’s just that the Twin Cities Channel 5 news made it sound a bit more onorous than that when they featured it as the top story on the 10 o’clock news

Not only did the Channel 5 news station cover it, but Channel 4 the following day, too.  And the Star Tribune and the Eagan Examiner and Minnesota Public Radio and the Bemidji Pioneer and the Pioneer Press.

Geesh people.  An alligator in Minnesota is a bit unusual, but I certainly didn’t feel like my life was in jeopardy.  But, who knows about next year . . .

I think Borgie knows what she is talking about

Last weekend we flew to California, where we met Bill & Becky and Tiffany & Kate at Jason’s grandma’s house (just outside of Fresno). While there we went to the Sequoia National Park, had a small family reunion, hung out with the babies, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

My favorite part of the trip was meeting Borgie, Jason’s grandma. She’s 93 years old and although her body isn’t getting around as quickly as it once did, her mind is sharp and I really liked talking with her. She told me about her kids and her grandkids, about how she lost her husband to a heart attack and then lost her daughter to breast cancer. She told me about how her neighbor, who still lives down the road, told her what it meant to be born again. And she said, with just as much excitement as she probably had the day it happened, how she was saved at the age of 50.

I told Borgie a little bit about my story and how I can’t ever imagine losing my husband or my child like she did. “It is hard,” she said. “But God would give you the strength.” I tell myself that would be true, if it ever did happen. But it’s something else entirely when someone who has gone through it says that God is faithful.

I was most blessed when, at the end of our time at her house, Borgie pulled me aside and said “I can tell when people don’t really love each other, but I can see that you and Jason really do. I think that’s wonderful.”

I tried to tell her we certainly have our fair share of arguments and struggles but she said “Well, we all have our days. I am just happy Jason married you.”

Lately it’s been hard for me to believe that God can use me. I don’t mean to sound defeatist, I just mean that the sanctification is happening bit by bit every day and sometimes my faith is lacking when it comes to seeing the forest for the trees. But then someone like Borgie gets a peek into my life when I’m not looking and sees that God is moving there. I am glad she said something to me. It was very encouraging.

We are so happy Borgie could meet Ian, too.

Thanks, Borgie, for letting us invade your house and for sharing your story with me.

Here’s the rest of our photos and videos from the trip.

Mother’s Day weekend

The Francis people and the Haggards hit the open road this weekend and headed to Coeur d’Alene. This was Jordan & Elysia’s first time in Idaho so we had to make it worth their while. We hope we did.

We left Thursday afternoon and didn’t arrive at Mom’s until late that evening because we stopped at the outlets and Jack in the Box, where I consumed 3 mini sirloin burgers (REMEMBER, these are NOT made from mini-cows! Also, I know I’m a hypocrite, but hey, I had a coupon).

Friday was sort of a lazy day–we hung around the house while Ian napped and then eventually piled in the Vo to buy chicken feed and go to Kohl’s. Exciting, I know. Turns out the store with the chicken feed no longer existed and Kohl’s didn’t sound all that exciting anymore, so we went back to the compound.

That evening we went downtown Coeur d’Alene for the Friday night artwalk, where we went in and out of galleries and drank free wine. Mom took Ian back home to go to bed and the four of us went up to Beverly’s, where there is a great view of the lake, one of our favorite cheese plates, and more wine.

Saturday we promised Jordan & Elysia we’d take them on a hike up Mineral Ridge. Mom decided to opt out, citing that there were bears and kooks up there and she wasn’t even sure we should take Ian.

On our way we stopped at Sonic, a place dear to Jordan & Jason. They used to shoot the breeze there in flight school, when they were young and single. We had limeades (easy on the ice) and sunshine smoothies, of course.

The hike was great–the weather held out, Ian enjoyed himself, and we only had one run-in with bears and kooks.  Here’s all of us at the top.

Later that night we went to the new X-Men movie and followed that by firing up the grill for blue cheese burgers. We gave Mom her Mother’s Day gift, which was a collection of old photos of her mom, matted and framed. Mom gave me a set of cute baby photo albums to document Ian’s first year.

Sunday morning Jason greeted me with a Happy Mother’s Day and gave me a handwritten letter (he knows I love these) and this really special frame with a collection of photos of Ian & I and of me when I was a little girl. I was so impressed with his creativity.

We drove home but not without one last surprise. When we were almost to Seattle Jason exited off the freeway in Factoria and stopped at TCBY (which I also love) where they were giving away free cones to moms on Mother’s Day. We ate the cone and a parfait the rest of the way home.

When I was first getting to know Jason he told me that Jordan and all the Francis’ were like family to him.  I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I’m starting to get it now.  Jordan & Elysia love Jesus, love us, and are a lot of fun to be around.  We’re glad they get to be with us in Seattle for a while.

Here’s all our photos.

Keisha’s piano

This is Keisha’s piano.

It has many stories. Many of them I don’t know, but I will tell you of the ones I do.

I met Keisha about three years ago and our friendship grew quickly because we both love stories. One conversation over email turned into longer ones spread out across many Monday afternoons in the spring and summer of 2006.

We talked about our stories, about what it was like growing up for us, about our struggles, and about God. We talked about what He might have for us and we spoke into each other lives about what we saw.

The piano sat there, right next to the kitchen table, as we talked and prayed and ate Keisha’s famous Mexican food. It sat there over the course of ten Monday evenings when we invited a handful of ladies to share their stories in our Story Group.

It sat there and Keisha played it when she wondered what music was supposed to mean to her at all.  She played it when she wondered what it looked like for her to be a loving wife, a good mom, a true friend.  She played it as she waited to get pregnant and when she miscarried again. She played it through the time she carried Ketziah in the womb (and maybe even going back to Malia), scared but excited.

Keisha played the piano as I met Jason, as we decided to get married, and as we struggled to be married. She played it as her friendship with me suffered through that season.

More recently, Keisha played the piano when Chad found out he had lost his job. And she played it through the praying and the finally deciding to move to North Carolina.

I have told Jason many times, “If you ever get me a piano, I want one like Keisha’s.” During that spring and summer of 2006 when I first met Keisha, I felt God clearly call me to start playing, but the time has never been right to buy a piano. Sally gave me piano lessons through my pregnancy and Jason bought me a keyboard to practice, but I haven’t played much since Ian was born.

For several weeks in April the thought of getting a piano and starting to play again would randomly pop into my head. I wasn’t sure what it was about.

Then Jason asked me one evening “What are you passionate about? What do you want to pursue?” Music was the first thing I said. It was merely an exploratory conversation and nothing concrete came out of it.

The next day I was making dinner and I started praying for Chad & Keisha. They were getting ready to move and I wondered how they were doing. I thought I would email Keisha to check in.

She emailed me back right away and said “I’m selling my piano. Do you want to buy it?”

And so now that piano, with so many stories, sits at our house. Jason was kind enough to approve and family pitched in some money to help purchase it as an early birthday present.

The first thing I thought when Keisha asked me if I wanted it was, “God would go and do something like that–not just give me a piano, but Keisha’s piano!”

God has a way of giving gifts that are so much more meaningful and far better than we could ever give ourselves.

I don’t know what I will struggle with and celebrate over as I sit down to play Keisha’s piano. I know it is a sacred space and I want to enter it humbly. I will think about and thank God for Keisha’s story. I will think about and thank God for mine.

And I will worship.

“be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:19-20)

Listen to Keisha’s music here.

Yard Work Day

Yesterday some friends came over and helped us clear our backyard–Jordan, Jon, Dallas and the three Tims (Harmon, Stiles and VanOss). Tim Harmon’s sons Gary and Vegas came, too, and got in on the muddy, rainy, very dirty event.

(Comment on photo: I think Jordan is impersonating a rabid neanderthal and Jon is trying to saw off Jason’s leg.)

Everyone showed up early and after stuffing themselves full with cinnamon rolls and orange juice, they braved the cold elements and got to work. As you can see from the group photo they got filthy and in order to save my home from the mess, they were nice enough to eat lunch in our dingy basement.

Jon, Amie, Providence and Rosemary drove all the way up from Auburn. The ladies stayed inside and visited with Ian and I, while Jon helped the rest of the guys.

Jon brought his chainsaw, Jordan took a hold of the weekwacker, Vegas dug up worms, and everyone else picked up some sort of sharp object and hacked at whatever plant life was in front of them.

Within a matter of hours what was once a jungle was cleared. As I looked out from our back windows I couldn’t believe that all these guys would come over on a Saturday and help us when they could be at home with their families. To do the work ourselves would’ve been very time intensive and to hire laborers would’ve cost a lot.

Our friends braved the elements and put in a lot of hard work because they love God and they love us. We are very blessed!

I’m kicking myself for not taking a before picture, but here is the end result.

It doesn’t look all that great, but once we plant some grass, put in a garden and build a chicken coop it will look a lot better. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on our backyard activities.

View the rest of the photos here.

Tiffany and Kate

We’ve been busy the last week because Auntie Tiffany and Baby Kate have been visiting from North Carolina.

The above picture was taken at Cupcake Royale in Ballard where we stopped for coffee on Thursday.  Since then both babies have been a bit off in their napping schedules so we’ve spent quite a bit of time at home.

And what do you do when you’re at the Haggard Haus?  You cook and you eat.  Then you clean up and start all over again.

Our menu has included BLATs (bacon, lettuce, avocado & tomato); Rachael Ray’s Midwinter Minestrone; homemade veggie pizza; Elysia’s beef stir fry (made by Elysia); and Elysia’s chicken noodle soup (made by Elisabeth, who failed to make it just like Elysia).

You can see judging by the mention of above said Francis, Jordan & Elysia have been over for several meals. They also gave us the Vo, which has enough room so we can actually put the babies inside the car instead of strapping them to the roof.

While here, Tiffany has become very excited about two things: Trader Joe’s Rosemary Bread and baking out of this cookbook.  So, as you can imagine we’ve been consuming a lot of carbs while sitting around the house.

And, of course it wouldn’t be a Haggard family visit without a trip to Costco.   Believe it or not, we came out of there having spent under $100.  That is the definition of a miracle.  Especially when you have two Haggards instead of one yelling at you from down the aisle, “Look at this!  This is great, we should get this!”  This was probably in part because Tiffany only has so much suitcase space and because we only have so much basement space to store crap we don’t use.

Yesterday Tiffany & I went to Sears and got Kate & Ian’s photo taken in matching outfits, made by Grandma Becky.  Although it was a bit tricky getting them in a semi-agreeable mood at the same time, we came out with some keepers.  That is, after a brief stint of crying and subsequent booby juice for Ian.

All in all, our time with Tiffany & Kate has been great.  We can’t wait for the rest of the Hightowers to come someday soon and meet Ian.

View the rest of our photos here.

Merry Christmas from the Haggards

We hope the reality of Christ’s birth brings much joy to you this season.

We thought both 2006 and 2007 were jam-packed with meeting each other, getting engaged and married and moving, but as as you can see from the newest addition in the picture above, God has decided to pack in even more in 2008 .

Since I’ve covered much of the year on this blog, I’ve decided to highlight the big events below instead of doing a holiday letter.

And last but not least, the recent birth of our son, Ian, on December 3rd. What a joy he is to us and to our family and friends. God has been very good to us.

We’ll see what God does in 2009!

A Francis Thanksgiving

Here we all are at Thanksgiving (and Jordan’s birthday)–Jordan, Mom Francis, Elysia, Jason, me, Mom and Noe. Yet another celebration with the Francis people.

Jordan got a new camera for his birthday and this is his attempt at using the timer feature. As you can see, we’re all showing our true and weird colors. Mother Teresa has been quite easily adopted in.

Elysia made a fantastic dinner complete with pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie to finish it off. The conversation of choice settled around what kind of superhero each one of us would be. Unsurprisingly Jason was deemed “Sensitive Man”, Mom was “Queen of Planning”, and I was “Super Blogger”.

And yes, I look exactly the same as I did when this picture was taken. Still pregnant.

Happy Birthday, Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa turns 40 today. Well, not technically speaking, but I think we all know what I mean.

She doesn’t look a hair past 39, does she? I think it’s all those facials in the recent years. Here’s hoping I get the anti-aging genes.

When she’s not busy jetting off for getaway weekends on people’s personal jets (no joke), she likes to spend her time gardening, visiting us in Seattle, loving on Lizzie, spending time with friends, fly fishing (gators and all) and ecstatically cheering on the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball team.

She has recently also picked up a new hobby: cleaning out her house and consequently bringing anything she doesn’t want to ours.

Some things that I have really come to appreciate about my mom are:

  • Over the years she has always been able to laugh at herself. As a result she has encouraged me to not take myself so seriously. Her efforts seemed stalled during the teenage and college years, but when I started singing to the cat and talking to myself in the mirror while getting ready in the mornings, I realized things had finally come full circle.
  • She is a fantastic gift giver. She does not hesitate to give yet she is not owned by things. She knows how to find just the right thing for the people she knows. I have been the recipient of this many times, but I have also seen many others blessed by this, too.
  • She keeps a beautiful home. Growing up I was surrounded by a lot of beautiful things in our house, which I look back on and am very thankful for, to both my parents. My mom has very tasteful decorating skills, is a fantastic floral gardener, she knows how to make the holidays beautiful, and her meals are pretty and delicious.
  • She really likes Jason. In fact, sometimes I get completely butted out of the conversation and have resigned myself to sitting silently as they talk about investing or the wines she brings him. Plus, Jason seems to be able to convince her to do things that I can’t (ie–the horse face). I am really glad they enjoy each other’s company so much.
  • She is letting her faith be built. I have seen this especially recently, as she left a job that she felt convicted was no longer what God wanted for her. I really see her trusting in the Lord in this time and waiting patiently for what the next blessing will be. We have really enjoyed spending this extra time with her, too!

Here’s to Mother T, who (sometimes) lets loose and lets the wind blow in her hair.

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday!