factor v & reflux

Shortly after we arrived in Alaska, I began to feel pain in my right leg. As the days passed, the pain increased. When I couldn’t bend my leg, I discovered a hard lump behind my knee. My concern grew as I have Factor V Leiden which is an inherited blood-clotting disorder due to a mutation of the blood’s factor V protein. My mom also has it and survived a puliminary embolism.

After more research and a long search for a local preferred physcian, I had my first doctor’s visit in November as the clot had grown into a hard cord. We began the appointment with an hour consultation and exam, followed by a duplex ultrasound. The doctor’s office is located in the hospital which made it conveinient and possible to do immediately. The results confirmed that I had a blood clot and began immediate treatment with a prescribed blood thinner medication and thigh high compression stockings.

A week later, I began follow up treatment at a Laser Vein Clinic. We started with a thorough exam and duplex ultrasound on both legs. They discovered the exact placement of the clot, along with additional clots in my lower calf. The results also revealed that the great saphenous veins in both legs have reflux. These veins carry the blood upward to the heart, but mine have a gap in their flap that allows some of the blood to travel down and pool at my ankles due to gravity. It also causes cramps, aches and pains in my legs and feet.

For three months, I continued taking daily blood thinner medication, wearing the compression stockings and going to the clinic for regular ultrasounds. In April, the ultrasound indicated that my blood clot dissolved enough to move forward with part two of my treatment to remove the “bad” reflux veins. Today is the day… for the left leg and tomorrow the right.

May the Lord guide the medical team and my recovery.

forty days

The last few weeks flew by with our days full of ministry activities and our move.

This is our first Lenten season with daddy as a parish pastor of a congregation. As a child, I grew up across the street from our local congregation where I thought I had a good grasp of all the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts of a stateside congregation, until now. My deep respect for pastors and their families has grown exponentionally since our arrival, but especially the past 40 days as we prepare our journey to the cross to the empty tomb. Much planning, coordinating and doing are woven into Lent.

Our two little ones squeal with excitement when they hear daddy unlock the door and jump into his arms. Many of the nights they are in bed when he comes home. They are convinced he sleeps at church, even though he does give them a good night kiss when they are fast asleep.

Our move to another part of the city was a success! As soon as the keys to our new rental home were in hand, we did a thorough walk through while video documenting a list of repairs needed. Then it was time to deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms.

The next day, a few members from church came to pack the kitchen and move the items from our smaller rental house to our new one. After a long day, we spent the first night in our new home.

The first few days, we tried to unpack as many boxes as possible from the garage to make room for items from our storage unit. One morning, a volunteer group from one of our high schools in Michigan moved two loads from our storage unit to our house. Thank you, MLHS!

We have most of the boxes opened and furniture assembled. Some things ended up repacked as we downsize. We still have a load or two in the storage unit we need to move. We hope to tackle that sometime after Easter.

We are truly blessed and loved by our Lord.

three houses

Have you ever felt like you were in three places at the same time? At least in your mind? This week, we are dealing with three houses.

# 1 Our current rental house is going on the market in April. Today, we had a visit from a real estate agent and continue packing everything up.

#2 Our upcoming rental duplex doesn’t have any window coverings. The owner agreed to work with us on a budget for the 19 windows. I put together an estimate for different blackout options as we are entering the sun season. We found out today, the owner will put up hardware for curtains only. Good news, hardware installation will be done before our move. Sad news, black out blinds weren’t selected.

#3 After six months, we received an offer on our 2 yr old home in El Paso, Texas! We are in the inspection stage, which went mostly well. We have a list of minor repairs which is a challenge to do 3,500+ miles away.

Many “to-do” lists this week! Can’t wait until the move is complete and house is sold! It is an amazing feeling to finally feel moving forward to getting settled. We are still one away from our next home, but much closer!

12 / 12

They day we’ve been longing for has finally arrived! Today we had TWELVE hours and TWO minutes of daylight in Anchorage, Alaska! It is unbelieveable. It is amazing to watch the sunrise and have lots of light after suppertime. I will admit, our little ones’ bedtime is slowly getting pushed back as it is difficult for all of us to begin the bedtime routine with the sun out. Looks like black out curtains and blinds are on the top of our shopping list.

A shout out to any sourdoughs out there, please share any tips or tricks you use to maintain your kiddo’s bedtime and any recommended window treatments. 🙂

our roots

After a six week wait, we received the results from our recent DNA testing.

The data confirms our family is a mix of European and Native American composition. There weren’t any surprises in the report. Our origins trace back to Germany, Poland and Latin America. A few educated guesses related to our ancestry timelines were also included. I was hoping for a few more details, but happy our samples were enough for the testing.

last great race on earth

Last Saturday, we attended our first ceromonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race! We are thankful to great friends who invited us to watch this amazing race from their favorite spot along the trail!

We enjoyed cheering on the mushers (dog drivers) and their teams of 12-16 sled dogs. A list of the 2019 mushers (dog drivers) can be found here.  Most of the sled dogs are Alaskan Huskies.

The official restart of this awesome dog sled race was the next day, beginning in Willow, with the finish line approximately 1000 miles away in Nome. It takes 8-15+ days to complete the trek.

A little research tells me that the Iditarod began in 1973. There is a northern route for even-numbered years and southern route for odd-numbered years.

I find this a truly fascinating sport and love following the mushers and their pups! Take a peek at: https://iditarod.com

snow removal

During the past month, the snowflakes fell in abundance. It was beautiful and dry.  The dryness took some of the chill out of the air. We spent lots of time playing and sledding in the snow.  We shoveled snow daily, often several times a day.

Winter driving in Anchorage was a new experience. After a fresh snowfall, it takes a while for the city to clear the secondary roads. The snow piled up on the street of our neighborhood.  It was deep and our van, equipped with snow tires, slid along as I tried following the ruts of previous vehicles. As we entered the main streets and highways, they were much clearer. 

The tricky part is the temperature hovers around freezing and forms ice below the snow. It makes for a pretty slick drive. Instead of school cancellations for snow days, in Anchorage we have ice days.


This month began with the birthday of a new year, 2019! The festivities continued with Epiphany as we celebrated the coming of the Christchild to the Gentile world. Two birthdays and placement anniversaries filled us with joy & thanksgiving followed.

We spent wonderful moments together, exchanged small gifts and enjoyed delicious food. During these special times, it is difficult to be so far away from immediate family but video chatting continues to keep us connected on a regular basis. Our new friends in Alaska fill in the gaps with lots of love and laughter.

ethnicity reveal

This week, our family of four completed and submitted samples for DNA genetic testing. The genetic analysis requires a vial of salvia, which can be an almost impossible task for a young toddler so we decided to wait until our little ones were a bit older.

My husband I found it a struggle ourselves to fill up the vial. No food or drink 30 minutes prior to “submission.” Big & Sweet Pea did a great job. It took a while, but they were persistent. We encouraged them to rub the outside of their cheeks while thinking of their favorite foods. I also had them smell some lemon YL Essential Oil. It worked and 30 mintues later, the vials were sealed and ready to go.

So far, the laboratory has confirmed the arrival of Big’s sample, we are still waiting for confirmations of mommy, daddy & Sweet Pea’s. They estimated 3-4 weeks for the results.

Adoption is a tremendous blessing for the four of us. We can’t wait to learn more about each other! Stay tuned for our results…


This month we officially became residents of Alaska!  In other words, we received our Alaska Drivers’ License! 

We waited to apply for our Alaskan Driver’s License at the DMV until we had a “semi-permament” address.  In preparation, we took a few online Alaska driving practice tests at home. I think I went through over 100 different questions.  The good news, there were only 20 questions on the exam.  We both passed. Completed Form 478. Submitted the required identification. Aced the vision test. Paid the fee. Took our voided Texas Driver’s License. Half-smiled for the camera. Waited 2.5 weeks for our Alaska Driver’s License to arrive in the mail.

I almost applied for a Class C (commerical) instead of a Class D (regular, non-commerical) License as I relied on the information from my Texas Driver’s License. There are a few differences between Texas and Alaska driving in classification and road regulations.

Alaska is part of the USA, yet in many ways it feels like living in another country.  In the faces I see, the languages I hear, the foods I taste, the scents I smell and the customs I try to learn – I find hues of Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Last Frontier. It is amazing to be in one place with constant reminders of my past. I am proud to be an Alaskan, even if I am a Cheechako.

Cheechako – A very important word for visitors to know. A cheechako is a newcomer to the country. The name is usually used in the pejorative sense, such as when someone displays a lack of skill or understanding in the ways of the wilderness. The opposite would be a “sourdough.” alaska.org/advice/speak-alaskan