Category Archives: Friends & Family

Bye Bye Vikeslands

Ian’s been saying “bye bye” to a lot of things lately–the park, meal time, Lizzie, Daddy.  Anything that he’s leaving, or is leaving him, or is just ending for the time being.

Little did he know he’s been practicing for a very big bye bye.  The Vikeslands are moving to St. Louis.  They leave tomorrow.

I am really excited for them because I know St. Louis will be a great adventure.  Alyssa says it’s the first big thing her and Kabyn have done together as a couple (besides having a kid).  I know it’s going to be a time of growth, of new relationships, of learning things about themselves and each other that they didn’t know before.

But, I am also really sad.  For me, for Ian, for Jason.  The Vikeslands have been really good friends to us.

I first met Alyssa probably three or four years ago.  I was living with Sally and she had mentioned this friend she’d been hanging out with.  I eventually met her on our front steps after she and Sally had gone running one afternoon.  And we became friends.  Because if you know Alyssa, you know that all she has to do is meet you and you are automatically her friend.  That’s just how it goes.

Sally told Alyssa about the Story Group we were forming that fall and she wanted to join.  And so for the next few months seven or eight of us got together and talked about God and shared stories from our lives.  A lot of them were hard stories.  So Alyssa knows a good portion of my junk and I know hers.

Then she introduced me to Jason.  She had been triathlon training with him through the summer.  This inevitably leads to talking about all kinds of things and getting to know your training buddies quite well.  And then one day she had the revelation that Jason and I should know each other.  This was, of course, after having sworn she would never set anyone up ever again.

This time it worked.  When I say that I don’t mean that we immediately clicked, began a whirlwind romance, and thanked our lucky stars that we both knew Alyssa.  I wasn’t sure–for what seemed like forever.

Alyssa and I spent a lot of time over IM talking about it, about fear and risk and “how do you know?”.  She had started dating Kabyn at the time. Despite her own distractions, she talked me down off the ledge of relationship-related despair on several occasions.

Then we got married . . . and then we got pregnant two months later.  I vividly remember the day I went over to Alyssa’s house and was going to tell her the news.  I walked in and she held up a pink onesie that said “Daddy’s Little Girl”.  I was confused.  How did she know?

She didn’t.  She was just unexpectedly pregnant, too.

I had a miscarriage and Alyssa kept going.  In that time I realized that having a baby now (which was then) wasn’t so bad of an idea after all.  And then I was pregnant again, before we could even make a decision.  And Alyssa and I were back in the same stage of life.

Almost two years later and we’ve spent a lot of time together.  Kabyn & Jason have been fiances, then husbands, and now dads together.  They’ve drank beers, watched games, talked theology, told stories.

And Alyssa and I have have spent a lot of time together at our house, at least a day a week if not more.  She sitting on the couch working and me folding laundry, doing dishes, picking up, cooking, playing with the kids.

I’ve made her lunch and she’s listened to me as I struggled through the thought of leaving Mars Hill.  We have talked about our marriages, and of course, our kids.  A lot of time on the kids topic–sleeping, breastfeeding, solids, discipline, weight, height, the list goes on.

And our kids have spent a lot of time together.  It’s one of the hardest things to think about it in their moving away.

Alaythia really truly loves Ian.  She talks about him all the time.  If Ian talked more he would probably talk about her,  but Alaythia has a particularly special affection for him. The other day Ian  gave her a big hug and the weight of his body toppled her dainty little self over and she hit her head on the leg of the desk.

She cried.  But it didn’t keep her from being thrilled the next time he wanted to touch her face or pet her or just get uncomfortably close.

And Alyssa really truly loves Ian, too.  In all the time she’s spent with him playing games, eating cheerios, crawling around, and being silly, I can tell she thinks he’s so great.  And on a deeper level than most other people.  That has made me feel so good as his mom.

Alyssa has really loved me, too.  She’s always generous, giving me her time, her stuff, her food, her prayers, her insight, whatever.  I really appreciate that about her.  She’s even given me her friends.  She introduced me to the moms I spend time with every Thursday at our play group and see at church on Sunday.  She just loves to include people.

Today Ian said bye bye to Alyssa and Alaythia.  Alaythia said bye bye back to him.  Then we went to our big window and waved goodbye and said bye bye a bunch of times more. Well, he said bye bye and I cried and he was kind enough to give me hugs.

I know I will see our friends again.  They will be back to visit.  But we won’t go through life stages together like we have, in the same way.  Our kids will grow up and change.  Even our marriages, our circumstances, our struggles, our joys will change.  And we won’t get to be there, up close.

Despite the sadness, God has done something great in giving us our friends that I have been so very blessed by.  I know there are other people out there who are going to be blessed by the Vikeslands, too.

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Haggard hospitality

This has been the month of visitors.  First it was Mother T, then the Franci popped in between Australia and Sweden, then Corrigan from Haiti for a night, then Dad & Linda for a long weekend and now a good portion of the Haggard clan.

Three out of four weeks.  Whew.

For this reason I have barely kept up on email or returning phone calls or anything really, that pertains to the outside world.  If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry, you will see my face one day, some day, soon.

We’ve had quite a good time with everyone, but I have not the energy to report on it all.  So, I’ll stick with last week and all the Haggards–the Jared Haggards, Jason Haggards, and grandparents all together.

We went to the zoo, Pike Place, downtown, the park.  We ate Korean short ribs and Thai chicken soup.  And a lot of desserts. We played Spoons and Game of the States. And we frequented our local Redbox often.

Jared, Rosheila & Aidan left on Tuesday and since then we’ve slowed down a bit.  More movies, a trip to the Museum of Flight, Costco, Value Village & Goodwill.  We ate at The Counter last night (it was great) and strolled through the samples at Theo today.

Actually, that doesn’t sound like we’ve slowed down at all.  But we really have.  I even got nine hours of sleep last night.  I’m still giddy about it.

I wondered how Ian would do with having so many people around, but he’s absolutely loving it.  He crawls into Grandpa‘s lap without thinking.  He plays hike & seek with Grandma.  He greets everyone with “Bbbbphhhhhhh!” (a cross between blowing air out his mouth and spitting everywhere). I guess introvert x introvert = extrovert.

Today we registered for the Cd’A Tri and have plans to register Jason for the Seafair and Black Diamond olympic, too.  My training officially starts tomorrow (it’s a rest day :). I’ve been preparing for actually beginning the training, in more ways than one.  But more on that later . . .

Here’s photos.

Snow adventures

It’s a bit odd to say that last weekend was all about snowbumming seeing as how there is no snow to be found here in Seattle.  In fact, it was about two weeks ago that I started feeling a bit silly wearing my furry boots out and about.  And I just noticed this morning that the trees down our street are blooming a vibrant shade of pink.  That’s supposed to happen the end of March.

We went to North Idaho because surely we would find snow there.  Nope.  No snow.  No flowers blooming, mind you, but still much warmer than usual and definitely no winter white.

As you can see we eventually found it.  But we had to drive several thousand feet up two different mountains to get to it.

The first trek was to Mt. Spokane for some skiing & snowboarding.  Shell is offering B1G1 lift tickets at select ski resorts and Mt. Spokane was one of them.  Cheap is very motivating, so away we went.

I was the lone skier, everyone else snowboarded. I was very impressed by Jason’s skills, seeing as how he said he wasn’t very good at all.  We cruised along at the same speed, which was very nice.

Then my hands turned to stinging burning blocks of ice.  That wasn’t so fun.  To me cold = misery.  But that was toward the end and as you can see, I recovered in time for this photo.

Our second adventure was snowshoeing at Lookout Pass. I love snowshoeing because it doesn’t require much skill and you can make it as easy or as rigorous as you want to.  Plus, Ian can go along now that we have a kid pack (thanks Tiff & Ash).

This was both Ian and Mother T’s first time snowshoeing and I think they were in agreement that it was a good experience.  Mom even said she wanted to go again sometime.  That means it was a major success.

We started out on the Hiawatha trail, which is the location of an old rail line, so it’s wide and flat.  As you’ll see, Jason is sharing with Ian everything he needs to know about snowshoeing.

You can surmise from the video that we ended up in the woods.  The Hiawatha got a bit boring so Jason took us off and uphill where we traipsed around for about an hour with a stop for snacks.  By the time we made it back to the trail the sun was shining and we were very pleased with our adventure.

Jordan brought his sled and after we got back to the car he and Jason wanted to take Ian for a little ride so they headed for the lodge and the bunny hill.  I don’t need to say much more than that, since the video captures it well.

Moments of elation very soon followed by the depths of despair.  Such is the life of a toddler.

When we weren’t out in the snow we were mainly sitting around eating and watching the Olympics.  We also got a chance to visit Chad & Keisha in their new home in Spokane which was so nice.

The combination of all these things made for a great mini-vacation.

See more photos here.

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.