Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fur Rondy

This past weekend we celebrated the big "Fur Rendez-vous" (shortened to Fur Rondy) celebration along with the rest of Anchorage. They've been doing it for many many years. It was basically something to look forward to each winter, where everybody came together and got out during the long winters. Technically, it's still going on, but we haven't been part of anything else since Saturday. We bundled the kids up, (but not enough, I should have put their snow pants on) and set out for the day. We were glad that Kenny gets free parking downtown, since that's where he works. We caught a bit of the parade going on, then walked over to where they were doing the dog sled rides. We stood in line for a long time and paid way too much, and Ty and Bryn each got a turn taking one loop around the park in the dog sled. They loved it though, and I'm glad they got to experience it. We walked over to some random building to warm up, and it happened to have a bunch of taxidermy, which the kids obviously thought was cool. Then we walked over to the mall and had lunch in the food court. That sounds simple, but it took a really long time because of all the people. Once we were all full and warm and rejuvenated, we went to the Anchorage Museum to see the cultural fair thing they had going on. There were booths and kids doing songs and dances representing all the various countries they came from. I really am surprised at what a diverse place Anchorage is. I had no idea. It turned out to be a pretty dang cool museum and since we had all gotten in for free, we spent the rest of our time there, till the kids were worn out and ready to go home. It was a really cold day...like a high of 22 or something so it definitely could have been more enjoyable. I'm so not a fan of the cold, especially with little kids. It's hard pushing a stroller around in snow. The wheels don't spin, you just push it through. It got some contractions going, all that walking around downtown all day, so that's good. But I just keep telling myself to get over it and get used to it, because cold and snow and ice is my new life. And I just need to learn how to love it, because there's no avoiding it. We really did have a fun time, but we were sure worn out by the end. We stopped at the little cafe that was giving out free hot chocolate to kids. Ty and Bryn each got a nice cup (with whipped cream too!) for the ride home and they loved it. It was a great family day and I'm glad we did it. Once again, I'll load the pictures whenever I'm able. We were planning on going back for the fireworks after we had dinner at home, but we opted out since everyone was tired and we didn't want to keep the kids up late.

There were lots of other things going on that we didn't take part in that sounded cool. They have snowshoe softball game, snow sculpture contests, a figure-skating show, you can go on helicopter rides, a little play, and there's fur rondy royalty girls that wore big pretty fur coats. There's a ton to do, but most of it costs a lot, and is not feasible to do with little kids. I think we got our fill though. This celebration goes up until this weekend, when the Iditarod starts on Saturday. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tyler Quotes

Tyler's always saying the funniest things, and lately I've been better about writing them down so I can tell Kenny when he comes home. Here's a few from this past week:

--"Either this apple is really soft, or my teeth are getting stronger!"

--"Mom, sometimes I think about our whole family being wrapped up in toilet paper because I just love all of us so much!"

--"If our earth is in the universe, what's holding the universe?"

--He was in time out the other day and he started making up a song about being obedient to Heavenly Father. Then he says to me, "I think I just taught myself a lesson!"

--He got some handcuffs as one of his birthday presents and he's always locking people up and saying, "I'm under arresting you"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Other Stuff From The Week

-Our cars arrived on Wednesday! It's nice to have 2 cars again, even if we only have 1 garage.

-Kenny signed the contract for the house we're renting on Wed. too! We are so excited. Our stuff gets here on the 29th, and they're going to let the movers unload it in there a day early which is nice.

-I took the kids with me to Costco and got snow tires on our van. It helps me not be so scared of driving. p.s. I hate doing car stuff with 3 kids in tow.

-Madison has been really sick this week. I think maybe roseola?? Tuesday night she got a fever and she's been miserable and feverish all week. The last couple days she's had a rash all over, too. But today she's actually eating again and she seems to be feeling better so we're praying the worst is over.

-I stayed home with Madi from church today because she was still feverish last night and it was actually really nice. I even got to take a nap with Madi and heaven knows I needed one. I don't sleep well anyway at this point in my pregnancies but with a sick baby it's that much worse. Kenny took the other two to our new ward for the first time. I'm anxious to go there and start meeting people.

-I successfully french braided Bryn's hair for the first time in my life! It may not be a big deal to other people, but it is for me. I am really not so good at doing hair, especially braids, so I was proud of myself.

-Yesterday we went on a (long) drive to see more than just this city. It was GORGEOUS. But the pictures will have to wait since they're on our good camera

-I got a pediatrician and all the kids' appointments set up. We also got a car seat for this new little baby since the other one is "expired". I guess they don't like you to use them for more than 5 years or something, so we had to get a new one. One less thing to keep me up at night now that I've got those two things taken care of.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day

We had a LOVEly Valentine's Day. Cinnamon rolls and oranges for breakfast. Tyler looks over the breakfast and the giant hershey kisses they got and says, "I think I'm really going to like Valentine's Day."  
My cute girls matching in their heart shirts. I sure love these kids so much, even if they can't take a normal picture :).

We went out to play in the snow while Madison napped so they lasted a lot longer than we normally can with a little one. Here they're climbing the mountain of snow that is our front yard.

We had big plans to build a giant tunnel through the yard. But about a foot and a half into it, we ran into the fence. I had no idea there was a fence there haha. Darnit.

Tyler thinks icicles are so cool

I had my 37 wk. appt. that evening--full-term baby!!! This little girl can come whenever she pleases now...although I'm sure it won't be till right around her due date. And that's okay.) When Kenny and the kids picked me up, they surprised me with this gorgeous bouquet. Our tradition is to do a single red rose, but Kenny went a little overboard this year and got an extra dozen white roses to go with it. I love having these displayed on the table, they are so beautiful.

It's always fun to spend a day showing each other how much we all LOVE each other. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. We also found out this day that we got the house we really wanted!! We are so excited and feel really blessed that everything is falling into place. Now we don't have to stress about that. We can move in March 1st. Hopefully I'll get a few good days to unpack before this baby comes. We are so excited about it and can't wait for the next 2 weeks to pass.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking News

On the news last night there were two major issues going on.

Problem #1: There are not enough places to dump the snow. They are running out of room at the dump sites, with the snow piles being over 100 ft. high already. One proposal to fix this problem was to invest in the snow melting machines that melt the snow and dump the water right into the sewer system. The city council was also holding meetings to pass an ordinance where people could volunteer their private property to become a dumping site. (I’m sure they’d get paid for it or something.)
Problem #2: The moose are “taking over our schools and our streets”. Because of the unusually harsh winter this year, they are coming all over into people’s yards, etc. So to fix this problem they were wanting to have people buy some fresh hay bales (at $50 a bale), and put them in specific locations to lure them away from all these residential and public areas.
Kenny and I were laughing so hard. We just looked at each other and asked, do we seriously live here? Where have we just moved to? Too much snow, and too many moose, these are the issues making the top headlines in Anchorage. What’s the news like where you live? J

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Tyler--February 11th

On Saturday, Feb. 11th Tyler turned 5 years old!!! I told him he's not allowed to grow up anymore, it's happening way too fast! Unfortunately, daddy had a very busy work week and it wasn't over yet. So he was gone before 7 to the office. So we had blueberry muffins and apples (per Ty's request) for breakfast without him. The mail man knocked on our door that morning and presented us with 4 big boxes! It was like Christmas morning for the kids :). Grandpa and Grandma Weston had sent lots of birthday presents for all 3 kids, so that was a fun highlight of the morning. Kenny got home around 1:30 and we went to look at another house before going to Chuck E Cheese! Tyler has been talking for literally months about going to Chuck E Cheese for his birthday. When we pulled up we saw how completely full the parking lot was (we had to park far away at the Blockbuster), we wanted to turn around but we knew we couldn't do that to Ty. So we braved it anyway and the kids had a great time. It was definitley a busy place. Lots of birthday celebrations going on. We even got a pizza there (that took about an hour...) so that was a fun treat too. We hurried home and sang happy birthday to him and he blew out his candles. Then Kenny left and went back to work for the night. It was fun to spoil this sweet boy for the day and let him know how great he is.

He has been so funny about his birthday. He kept saying "I just can't believe I'm 5 years old!" haha, I can't either. For some reason he decided that 5 is THE age where he is now independent and can do anything and everything. He no longer wants help and is earnestly trying to learn to tie his shoes, etc. At the beginning of church yesterday he turns to me and sighs heavily then asks, "Do I have to learn everything when I'm 5?" hahaha. I told him he still has lots of years to learn everything he needs to, there's no rush.

I've always said, even since Tyler was a baby, that the Lord knew I needed him first. He continually amazes me with how mature he can be. The way he processes things and understands, he's wise beyond his years. Don't get me wrong, he's still the silly little boy that's cracking jokes and teasing his sisters most of the time, but he is so helpful and kind-hearted. He has a very obedient spirit and truly desires to do what's right. I feel very blessed and humbled to be his mom. He's sensitive to other people and what they are feeling, and impresses me with the questions he asks and the comments he makes. He's still a really picky eater, and it's a daily struggle for us. But he tries so hard because he knows that he should eat healthy, and he genuinely wants to, he just has a hard time swallowing a lot of foods because of their taste/texture. He likes to put his shoes on in the morning when he gets dressed, and wears them all day, I guess so he's always ready to go. His favorite sport is soccer, although he frequently acts like a ninja with awesome karate moves :). He has an insatiable appetite for reading and I can't keep enough new material in the house for him. We love our big Ty man so much and we're so glad he's in our family.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Brynlee--February 9th

On Thursday, Brynlee turned 3 years old!!! She was so cute about the whole thing. She had come into bed with us during the night so when she woke up, I turned to her and said, "Good morning Brynlee! Happy Birthday!" She got so excited and said, "right now? It's my birthday right now?!" We had been talking for days about their upcoming birthdays, so she couldn't believe it had actually come. She also kept calling it her "pink birthday". This girl would be happy with anything as long as it was pink. So we blew up lots of pink balloons and got some pink plates and a pink (and purple) cake with pink candles. She loved it. To save ourselves from having another boring day we went and found an indoor play place called Arctic Playgroundz. We stayed there for a few hours and the kids had lots of fun running around, climbing, and playing with other kids. We had lunch there, too. She picked out her gift--a big strawberry shortcake doll. She also got some fun gifts from her grandparents. We love grandpas and grandmas and their generosity :). Pictures are on my other camera. But we sure love our big Brynlee girl and we're so glad she's part of our family. One thing about Brynlee is that she just has such a big heart. She has so much love to give, and she gives it so freely. Kenny and I love how she will just come over randomly and give us hugs or want to be held for a little bit. She's always saying, "I just love you so much, Mom. And I love you so much, Dad. And I love Tyler and Madi. I'm just so happy and I love our whole family." She has the cutest little voice, deeper than most little girls. A little more raspy like mine when I was young (or maybe still). She loves to sing, dress-up, get her nails painted, brush hair, and often requests that we call her "princess". She has an iron will and more of an independent spirit than I think I can handle sometimes, but she teaches me a lot. We love her curly hair and infectious smile. I am so thankful I get to be her mom, Brynlee is one special little girl.

Even the sky gave her a pink sunset for her "pink birthday"

Friday, February 10, 2012


We really don't have too much to report. (Aside from Bryn's birthday which was yesterday...but that's its own post for later.) We stay inside pretty much all day, with hardly anything to do, and the tv is on a lot. But we're happy and making it through. Kenny has the car during the day, unless we get the kids up super early (like 6) to take him to work so we can have it. Or one day this week Kenny came home at lunch and we turned around and dropped him back off at work so we could have the car. But it really throws off dinner when we have to go pick him up right during that time, so any way it's pretty annoying. BUT the good news is I am overcoming my fear of driving here. I thought it would take several weeks or months, but I'm getting used to it. I even went to the store by myself with the kids the other day, pushing that dang shopping cart full of groceries in the snow-packed/ice-ridden parking lot by myself and everything. I felt very accomplished that day. We are looking and looking for a house to live in, and I would love if we could move in the first of March, instead of April. Who cares if the baby is born the same week? I would love to have our own stuff back and have a little bit more space. Here's a few pictures from one day this week when we played outside for a little bit. It takes forever to put everyone's snow stuff on, and then after about 7 minutes they are ready to come back inside. But fresh air is always good, even if for a few minutes, right? I apologize for the poor quality, but using my phone is the only way I can put pictures on here.

Notice how tall the snow is behind them! They are standing on the driveway and the snow is where the front yard is supposed to be.

 Tyler's face of delight right after he threw snow at me :)
 Somebody's coat needs a good washing...
 Can this little munchkin get any cuter?? I think not.
I started to stop them from eating the snow then realized that I would be depriving them of their very childhood :). Kids always eat snow, that's just the way it is. So I taught them to only eat white snow, instead.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Anchorage: The Beginning

Well we made it safely to Anchorage! My posts for the next month are going to be photo-less because I realized I didn't bring my cord to get our pictures off the camera onto this laptop. The desktop I normally use takes the memory card, so I forget about the cord. I'll just have to go back later and put in all the pictures we'll take. So here's a little catch up of the last week...

Wednesday, Feb. 1st: After a very long night of not much sleep, I got up early to finish getting things ready to go for when the movers got there. They came around 9 a.m. They got started and I took Tyler and Brynlee to Amy Lassen's home. She was kind enough to take them for most of the day so they wouldn't just be in the way of the guys as they packed up everything. It worked out well because Tyler got to go to Joy School one last time (Julia is Amy's daughter). Madi and I hung out at the house while they packed. It was kind of boring. We went on a walk, watched tv, and had a lunch date to Subway.

Around 2:30 Amy dropped the kids back off. A couple hours later they were done boxing everything up, and left. We picked up Kenny from the airport at 6:30 and we were all SO glad to be back together as a family. We stayed at a hotel that was right by the airport that night. The kids were pretty excited about the pool, but Bryn was like a totally different person compared to this past summer. I don't know if she's all of the sudden old enough to be afraid or what, but she was not nearly as brave and fearless as she's always been in the water.

Thursday Feb. 2nd: We picked up some breakfast and went back to the house because the movers got there around 8:30 that morning. We didn't stay long because it was really cold (they obviously left the doors open as they were constantly going in and out, so the kids were pretty cold just sitting there). We went to wal-mart and picked up some snacks for the airplane rides the next day.
 Then Kenny took us back to the hotel where I stayed pretty much the rest of the day with the kids. Kenny went back to the house because technically we're supposed to be there while they are. The other people came and picked up his car to ship it for us. He came back and got us, got dinner at Panera, then headed back to the house again. We had a bunch of ladies from the ward coming to help clean the house that night. But as Kenny was doing a walk-through with the landlord (a few minutes before everyone was supposed to come), he said he was just going to hire a cleaning service to come in and do everything. So while I was so glad to hear that, I felt bad that people were already on their way. I was only able to catch 2 people before they got to the house. But it was nice to say goodbye to the ones that did show up. I'm sure they weren't dissapointed about missing out on cleaning :). We cleared out the rest of the last minute items (they forgot to pack all the cookie sheets and stuff in the pull-out drawer under the oven), locked up and said goodbye to our house.
The kids were dissapointed that they didn't get to swim anymore, but Tyler and Madi got really bad colds Wed. night and they just kept getting worse so we didn't want to push it.

Friday, Feb. 3rd: We lounged around in the morning. That car-shipping company came and picked up our van at the hotel to ship that one too. It was very nice of them to come twice so that we could have our car the night before, as we needed it to get around. At noon we checked out and took the shuttle over to the hotel. We had 7 checked bags, 3 car seats, a stroller, 4 carry-on's and a very tired Madison.

Above: All our stuff strewn across the sidewalk. It took a while to check everything. Ty and Bryn were fighting "bad guys" while we waited. Below: Goofy faces and eating lunch.

We had a few hours to wait for our flight. We let the kids run around (so glad Cleveland is a small and not very busy airport) and we ate lunch, Madi also took a little nap on Kenny. At 3:15 we flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a little over 2 hours. We had a quick one-hour layover there where we quickly grabbed some dinner and got on the next plane. It was 6 hours from there to Anchorage. It was a very long flight. I think we should be allowed to drug children under the age of 3 for airplanes. It would just make everyone's lives better. :) Madi was hard because she ONLY wanted me, and I don't have much of a lap. It was really hard to hold her with very little space. Being 8 months pregnant on an airplane for that many hours is no fun anyway, but especially with a one year old that won't go to her dad. But anyway, we made it safely regardless of how easy it was. All 3 kids had fallen asleep for the last hour or two of the flight because by now it felt like 12:30 to us, even though it was only 8:30 p.m. Anchorage time. So none of them were very happy to wake up again, obviously. We were amazed at how much snow there was when we landed...I was even wondering how the plane was going to stop in all the snow. Anyway, we got all our luggage and car seats and formed a big pile in a corner of the airport. Kenny left us there to go get our rental car, and the kids fell apart. Brynlee kept leaving, just taking off because she wanted to find her dad. She was so dog-gone tired and would not be reasoned with. She just screamed and cried and caused quite a scene. Madison was also not content to just sit in her stroller, and wanted to wander around too. I didn't blame them for wanting to get up and walk around, but I can't very well watch all of our stuff, and chase two different children in all different directions. One lady was trying to be helpful and kept trying to talk to me, and I wanted to either slap her or just break down crying. (I was a little tired myself) Brynlee honestly looked like she was possessed by some demon by the way she was acting and I was ready to throw her out into the snow without even feeling bad. After what seemed like forever Kenny finally came around to pick us up. We loaded everything in and pulled out our gps to find the place where we're staying, only to realize that our gps doesn't work in alaska. Apparently the satelite's don't come this far haha. Thank goodness for our smart phones that have a gps in them, we were able to get here and go to bed. It was about 2 a.m. by that time (not for real, but what it would have been for us). The 4 hour time change is taking some getting used to, for sure.

Saturday, Feb. 4th: This day was my 25th Birthday. But that was pretty much an after-thought. We were all pretty tired all day. Kenny went to the store in the morning for us because we didn't have a single thing to eat. Apparently it was a pretty big snow storm during the night and we had gotten like 18 inches or something ridiculous. Like I said, there's a ton of freaking snow. Kenny got stuck and couldn't get up into the driveway when he got home from the store. It's hardly even an incline, but it was just really slick and we don't have snow tires on this rental van. Thank goodness for my big strong muscles to push that van up the driveway and get us un-stuck. Haha, I'm just joking. I pushed on the gas while Kenny rocked and pushed the van. First snow disaster averted. We didn't do much that day. I unpacked our suitcases and tried to get this little furnished house set up. We made a trip to Costco which I swear I will never do again on a Saturday. IN-SANE!! We also went to Wal-mart. Prices are ridiculously expensive here. I was blown away at how much everything costs. Dinner was a total flop that night. Not sure why everything tasted so off, but I think it was the dishes. I have been having to wash everything before we use it, because I don't know how long it's been sitting here, and it's gross. But we had picked up a little cheesecake thing and some candles, so we didn't make the kids finish eating their dinner (because I could barely swallow it) and we skipped ahead to cheesecake and ice cream. They sang, I blew out the candles, then we all went to bed. Maybe we'll celebrate better next year :). It was sure nice to receive texts and phone calls from family throughout the day. I was having a hard day, emotionally (poor Kenny), and it made a difference to know people were thinking of us and praying for us.

After our first day, here are some of the thoughts we have about Anchorage:
1. People that live here must be insane
2. I'm scared to death to drive, at least until we get snow tires.
3. There is a ridiculous amount of snow, but people keep telling us this is one of the worst winter's ever, so that's good to know it's not the norm.
4. It's beautiful here; we LOVE being back in a place with big, gorgeous mountains.

Sunday, Feb. 5th: We all still wake up between 5:30 and 6. Church wasn't till 11, and it went fine. Tyler made a comment on the way to primary about how he was scared to go and make new friends. I talked to him a little bit about it, and he was brave. Same with Brynlee, she walked into the nursery room, and then realized she didn't know a soul and turned around and came out, telling me she wanted to go to a different room. She said, "I'm scared of that kid, and that kid, and that kid..." It was all the boys she pointed to. I was feeling really bad about all that we are putting these kids through. We are pushing them outside their comfort zones and not making their lives very easy, and I was feeling bad about it. But then I thought, it's okay. We can do hard things, and our kids are learning from a young age that we will and can do hard things. We are all going to learn and grow a lot from these experiences, and that's what this life is all about. I was so proud of each of them when we picked them up and they were both so happy, claiming that they had both made a friend. We will most likely not even stay in this ward longer than we are here in this furnished rental home, so they will have to figure it out all over again in a month or two. But they will be just great. They're good, friendly kids and we'll all be just fine. Even if it takes some time.