My Father's Hands

"Pap Pap", aka Grandpa Kosker, holding the hand of Hazel Mari.

One Veteran's Day during my adolescence, a strange man, a Veteran, called my house to tell J. Orris Sr. (my grandfather who was many years deceased) about what a wonderful (I'm ad libbing) man his son, J. Orris Jr. (my father), was. He had served with J. Jr. in Vietnam and figured that his friend's dad would be thinking of the son he lost in the war on this National Holiday.

CONFUSED? Yeah, so was I. Clearly, I am not old enough to have a father who was killed in Vietnam. It's a long complicated story, but suffice to say that there were many tragedies during Vietnam and things were often confusing. Amidst all of that, the men and women (ok, I have no idea if there were women there. I'm trying to tell a story and am taking some poetic licenses) serving with my dad thought that he was killed.

So, this poor Veteran is trying to figure out who this young-sounding girl is on the phone that is insisting that her dad is J. Orris (we don't use the Jr. part of his name). So, he went all Sherlock and Watson on me and asked (get ready... I'm almost to the point...): "ARE YOUR DAD'S HANDS HORRIBLY BURNED?".

Now, this should be a simple question and I am still teased mercilessly- MER-CI-LESS-LY- about this by my family, but I didn't know the answer. My dad's hands are rugged, he has a permanently crooked (as in both joints are bent at 90 degree angles) pinkie (that's a great story if you ever get him around a campfire), and they are humongous! So, are they burned? Well, maybe he's burned himself. He does have some scars and a gazillion callouses. Fortunately, I mentioned the infamous pinkie and this Veteran who has poor timing (I mean, he could have called when someone ELSE was home to answer his brain teaser questions), realized that his buddy was not killed (what an awesome discovery!!!) and even better- birthed a BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL daughter. Yeah, I'm sure he didn't think that last part, but it's my story!

Did you miss the point? The point is that my father has incredible hands. As a kid, I was pretty sure those hands could make (or break- I get my klutziness from somewhere!) anything. Actually, as an adult I still think that. He's a mechanic, a wood worker, a musician, a builder, a back scratcher (though always a little grudgingly). I love his hands. They are really unique, strong, and have I mentioned- HUGE?

Now I have this brilliant, beautiful, perfect little daughter and I cannot WAIT to see my father's hands holding her. Of course I'm looking forward to him meeting her, but mostly, selfishly, I just want to see his hands on her.

Along a similar vein:
After watching "Mrs. Doubtfire" (let's have a moment of silence for that movie), I remember my mom saying that the movie was implausible because a wife would always recognize her husband's hands. In fact, my mom has recognized people simply by seeing their hands and before noticing their face or voice. So, I guess I get my love affair with hands from her.

On a similar note:
The toothless Native American who sold us 2 HUGE salmon the other day (don't think my car will ever recoup from that smell) looked at Hazel and promptly said to me: "she has your hands". I don't know how she noticed this so quickly, but I was THRILLED! Because it's one of the first things I noticed about her too (Hazel, not the Native). I'd say that my hands are my favorite part of my body and though my hubby has great hands, they are not feminine. I think the Doctor who delivered Hazel was a little off-put by my relief that she didn't have Jake's hands. I'm such a self-centered wife ;)

Finally, to clear-up any confusion you have about the photo and caption:
Yes, those are Hazel's other grandfather's hands. However, that pic made my yearning to see my father so strong that I just had to sit down and write this post. Pap Pap has great hands too!


Going Green!

Ok, at the risk of this blog turning into Jake Kosker's Biggest Fan site, I really want to share this with our readers:


Keep in mind that this is on the FRONT PAGE of one of Oregon's biggest newspapers (we live in the state Capitol).

Back in the day, I didn't think being in the newspaper was any big deal because I was in it quite a lot. However, that was a SMALL town paper which publishes stories and photos about every citizen's accomplishments (for example during my Senior year: Homecoming Court, District Chorus, District Band, Regional Chorus, Musical, Prom Court, Prom Queen, Senior Awards...there may have been more, but I think I've bragged enough. haha!).

I think it's wonderful for youth to be recognized and I'm looking forward to raising my daughter in a place where she will be recognized for her achievements- whether she goes the music route or not (fingers and toes are crossed on that one!). However, even in a small town, it's rare that an average citizen has an article written about them because they are unique and interesting. So, read the article and come to grips with the fact that I adore my hubby and like talking about that in this forum ;)


dada day

Today Jake claimed Hazel for a "dada day" (we are competing for her first word, so I constantly say "mama" and he says "dada" to her... a perfect formula for her word to actually be "poo").

Did I run errands? Did I tackle my Thank You notes? Did I scrub the ever-rejeuvenating scum on the shower floor? Did I cook dinner? Did I create beautiful flower arrangements from my awesome rose bushes? Did I call old friends? Did I pay bills? Did I start a novel and take a long nap? I think you all know me well enough to know the answer to those questions ;)

As a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), I'm probably a B+ (all the lovin and cuddles have to count for something!). I have not reached the competence level of caring for Hazel AND cooking. Today Jake made a gourmet dinner of tuna steaks, swiss chard and rice. To be fair to myself, I did feed Hazel and then cuddle her for an hour so that Jake had the time to cook.

After dinner, Jake prepped her bath (as I fed her... it's exactly every 3-hours like a Swiss clock during daylight hours. Her Swiss family must be proud!) because she had a few days of spit-up caked on her cheeks and between her chins (yeah, that's plural). Then he gave her a bath with his annoying wife hovering and offering "helpful" suggestions about the "right" way.

After her evening bath and meal it's DANCE PARTY TIME. A little somethin' I started a few weeks ago. It's cardio for me and amazingly lulls her into a calm- near sleep state. Did Jake play Hazel's usual dance music (Blueberry Pie is her favorite song)? Nope, I discovered them dancing to this:

Oi Vey!
(someday, I hope Hazel sings "My parents are real nice people, mfers" from "Everyday Normal Guy"!)


ready for anything...

This artist clearly thinks that only large chested women will ascend to the heavens. I might just breast-feed forever to ensure my salvation. KIDDING!

While I'm not gonna start making a "Rapture Ready Kit" (don't steal my dad's brilliant/all-in-jest idea! I won't share all of the details, but here's a glimpse: Spam and name tags written in Aramaic. Hey, we're good Lutherans and the book of Revelations is Holy, but...well... our Pastor once gave a sermon about how horrid the "Left Behind" series is.), my husband is stock-piling to prepare for, well... anything.

I think it's his way of caring for his family while entertaining himself. Friends have often said that if grocery stores ever disappeared, they'd want to live near Jake. He is the ultimate hunter/gatherer. In fact, a reporter from our local newspaper (the state capitol's newspaper) just came to the house to interview him about his Urban Scavenging (more on that once the article appears in the paper... oh how I hope she doesn't write about any of his questionably legal hobbies. Rereading that I feel like I'd like to point out that I'm not talking about drugs.).

This week we took a road-trip to the coast where he bought a LOT of fresh tuna from a fisherman. He also recently bought a $200+ canner. (@&^^%#*&#*&!!!! No, your eyes did not deceive you. This is the ultimate home canning machine. It's construction reminds me of my dad's old Cherokee airplane. Back to the subject at hand: ) Do you see where this is going? Soon, the Kosker's will have their own home-canned tuna!

I find my husband fascinating. How other people feel about staring at a great painting, that's how I feel about life with him. He's an anomaly and he's all mine! My father-in-law was just visiting and he often comments on what an amazing match his son and I are. Talk about the ultimate compliment (I can't imagine anyone ever coming close to matching Hazel's awesomeness. Please, you didn't think I'd write an entire blog entry without mentioning her, did you?). I look at myself and other than temperament and joie de vivre, I see tons of differences between Jake and I. However, I've begun reading "Self-Reliance: Recession proof your pantry" while I sit on the royal throne. Perhaps my father-in-law was more right than I gave him credit for?


1 beautiful, life-changing month

Sleeping Babes :) A new morning ritual when Jake gets off night shift.

The "Sleepy Wrap" or "man womb" is AWESOME! Jake feels like he has good quality time with her and she gets to sleep, see the world, and cuddle.

I'll be taking a similar pic each month on her sheepskin so you can watch her grow!

Trying to replicate one of her newborn pics.

Can you see the ridiculousness of the huge cloth diaper? The rose matched the diaper cover, but when I gave it to her to hold, she flailed it around and so we were left with only petals :)

A blur. That's how everyone describes the first months of their child's life. "Right on" says this kinda tired, kinda frumpy, kinda sore mama! I'm hoping that in month #2, I'll begin brushing my hair...

I've been writing her birth story for A MONTH now! WHAT! I can't believe I haven't finished it. However, I'd rather cuddle, feed, or even wipe Hazel's tush then sit at the computer screen. Even with my mom here, I couldn't find the time to work on the blog. So, forgive me! Hazel and I are gradually finding our groove and I'll be more regular with my postings. I mean, I hate to think of the pain you must feel simply waiting for an update about this amazing creature ;) (I recommend joining facebook for oodles of pics... Whitney and Kelly!!!)

Hazel has a pretty great temperament. However, she cries before a poop and boy does she poop A LOT! The books say that there should be at least 4 bms every two days... how about every 2 HOURS! We just switched to cloth diapers (they look hilarious on her tiny frame... in fact, I think she's gonna be bow-legged) and she's staining them faster than I can say "JAKE...wanna hold her?"

She's still itty-bitty and swimming in the New Born sizes. But oh is she BEAUTIFUL! Her eyes have cleared up and she has these moments of zen-like clarity in which she'll just gaze at whoever is holding her. She's also getting pretty strong with her head movements. My mom helped me spread Hazel's feedings out, so she now goes regularly 3 or even 4 hours between feedings (start to start). That's really helping me to become human! Yeah, she's already above average! However, I cannot PHATHOM (spellcheck tells me that that isn't a word... isn't it?) having more than one child. I can barely eat a bowl of cereal and I only have 1 and she basically sleeps all of the time!
It's been a great month. I've learned a lot, experimented many techniques, and learned that I will NEVER judge another person's parenting philosophy again :)