Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

We thoroughly enjoyed having daddy home for an extra day. We took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed over to Cheney Lake (?), right across the street from our church. After a nice picnic, Kenny and Ty fished while the girls and I threw rocks and sticks in the water, played on the playground, and fed the ducks. Then I took the girls home for a nap while the boys kept fishing. I went on a nice bike ride, we had a yummy barbecue for dinner, and Kenny and I watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close after the kiddos were in bed. It was a happy memorial day indeed.

See that fish on the end of his line?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Grandpa and Grandma A Visit part 2

Monday, May 21st. Kenny wasn't able to get work off, but we had a fun day anyway. In the morning, we went to the Anchorage Zoo. I thought it really wasn't a very impressive zoo, but we still enjoyed it.

My dad left that night because he had to get back to work. We were sad to see him go so soon. I was so grateful that they had made the sacrifice to come even though it was only for a short time. It meant so much to me. I had really, really missed my parents and we hadn't seen them since last June. My mom was able to stay for the rest of the week and holy cow it was helpful! I didn't realize how badly I needed her here. If ever there was a woman who could get a lot done during the day, it's my mom. We were able to get SOO much checked off my to-do list. A lot of organizational/decorating/house stuff that is just hard to do with 4 little needy kids. It was just so nice to have someone that I didn't have to ask to do specific things, we both just know what needs to be done and do it.

A few more random pictures from the week. Tyler was coloring on my dry-erase board and sounded out the words, "what the heck". :) Not sure why he wrote that phrase, but it was pretty funny.

Madi was so worn out from all the fun she just fell asleep during dinner. Okay, it wasn't just from having fun, it also had something to do with the fact that she has been a horrible sleeper for the last month or so. She just flipped a switch and won't go to bed, she won't stay asleep, and she won't even sleep in her bed. It's a party every night around here.

My mom brought them all new pajamas. I'm a sucker for my girls all matching--I think it's so dang cute. I had to add this shot because it's so typical, Brynlee pouting and Madi crying. Awesome.

Friday night Kenny and I went and saw the movie The Avengers without any kids and it was so dang cool! We had a great time. The next morning we went to the temple and did a session together! We haven't done that in a long time, because we've had to take turns going. It was really nice.

Saturday we went to a fun nature trail thing by the bay and went on a long walk. It's also by the airport, and the trail runs right after the end of the runway, so the airplanes are super close and low over our heads. It was pretty fun to watch them.

We heard some weird noises and turned around to see these two bald eagles on the power lines. It was awesome! Did you know that when they are diving straight down they can reach speeds of up to 200 mph? That is fast!

Awkward family picture?? Yes. But still kind of cute.
That night we had to say goodbye to my mom. We were sad to see her go, but so glad that she made the long trip out here. Come back again soon!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kelsey's Blessing Day

 Sunday, May 20, 2012 was Kelsey's blessing day. My parents had bought their plane tickets back in April so we weren't aware at the time that Stake Conference would be May 20th as well. So after stake conference we came home and had lunch, then the bishop came over to our house. It ended up being really nice and easy to do it at our home--I loved it. It was just the three men, Bishop Smith, my dad (Grandpa Andersen) and of course her father. Using the power of the priesthood, they held her in their arms and Kenny gave her a beautiful blessing. It was so sweet. She didn't cry at all, but instead was looking up at her daddy and smiling and talking to him. I wish I would have written down some of the things he said, but all I can remember now is that he blessed her to know how much she is loved by her Heavenly Father and her family, and that she'll have charity. Kelsey Colleen is such a sweet girl and the perfect addition to our family. We love you Kels!

She wore the same blessing dress that Brynlee wore. I made it myself :)

3 generations: my mom, Colleen Andersen (Kelsey's namesake), me and Kelsey

Grandpa and Grandma A Visit

On Friday, May 18th,  I went and picked up my parents from the airport at 11:45 p.m. We have been looking forwad to their visit for weeks and I was so glad they were finally here!! The kids were thrilled to wake up and see them! Madison especially took to her Grandpa and wanted to be held all weekend long.

Saturday: We went on a walk that morning to our "special place" just to show them where we play.

They brought Tyler a slingshot which is the coolest gift you could give to a 5 year old boy.

After lunch we got in the car and drove to Alyeska Ski Resort, stopping to catch pictures along the way.

Those white spots are mountain goats. Cool huh.

Kenny just had to scale down these treacherous rocks to touch the water.

We rode a tram up...really high. It was snowing, and a whole lot colder, on top of the mountain.

Gorgeous view, but it scared the heck out of my mom. She feels anxiety going on freeway overpasses so you can imagine how hard this was for her.

We ate an early dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant. Unfortunately for us, it was a super cloudy day so we couldn't see all seven glaciers, but a really cool place to eat nonetheless.
No meal would be complete without my kids spilling at least twice. We were laughing pretty hard when Kenny brought back this whole thing of napkins.

 We had a great time together and love seeing more of this beautiful state, Alaska.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day and more

Mother's Day 2012

I love mother's day. I know a lot of women say they hate it because it makes them feel guilty or whatever. But I think it's awesome that we take a day to celebrate the most holy calling there is. A day to honor the women and mothers in our lives that influence us more than anyone else can. Motherhood is so much more than changing diapers, sleepless nights, making meals, and having mile long to-do lists. It's about teaching, nurturing, and learning how to have perfect, Christ-like love. There is no better place or training ground to develop the charateristics we need to have, to be celestial beings. No other job will give us the day-to-day (and minute-to-minute) opportunities to practice patience and selflessness. I know that a lot of women struggle with being able to bear children. I am beyond grateful that I have been able to have kids, that I am a mother. And not just to any 4 kids, but to the best, cutest, and most brilliant four children there are ;). I can say that, because I am their mom. I am also eternally grateful for my own mother, for my husband's mother, and for all the other mothers out there that I learn from and look to for an example. My sisters, cousins, sisters-in-law, aunts, friends, etc. I am surrounded by incredible women!

It's been a good week. Monday and Tuesday the kids didn't even get to see Kenny because he worked so late. On Wednesday I hosted a playgroup for some other women in the ward to get to know them better. There was an incident where one boy knocked over our glass lamp and it shattered all over the play room where the kids were. But we got it all cleaned up and nobody got hurt, so it worked out fine. Thursday was Tyler's last day of soccer. He starts up again the beginning of June. He is improving a lot and it's fun to watch him have such a good time out there. On Saturday Kenny went into work for the first half of the day. Then he took a couple trips to the dump for me which really cleared out the garage. That night he let me go shopping all by myself! That was my mother's day gift :). It was wonderful. I haven't been shopping for myself in almost a year, so it was nice to get some new clothes. It got cut short a little because the bishop called and asked if he could come over that night. So I had to hurry home. But I got a calling as 2nd counselor in Young Womens. I'm super excited, as I felt like my time got cut short in YW in Ohio. So I'm glad to be back. I'm not sure what I'll do about girls camp and Kelsey, but we'll figure that out as it comes.
We started Kindergarten for Tyler this week. He absolutely loves learning and is a real joy to teach. I know sometimes parents and kids clash in their teaching/learning styles. But with me and him, it works. We'll see how it goes with the rest of the kids :).

This is what we call "our special place". We can walk to it and it's just a bunch of land, a big open field, some woods, and even a little creek. We've gone there every day this last week. I love it because there's no cars to worry about, no other people to disturb, and they can just run around and have fun. The rule is as long as we can see each other, they're okay. That gives them lots of freedom still and I love it.

Kelsey sleeping in the baby bjorn on our daily walk

Tyler pulling up the bark on the logs to look for termites and bugs

Painting some of the rocks they brought back from our special place
This was a super sweet moment and I had to hurry and snap a picture, even though it didn't turn out so well. Madison had pooped through her diaper and it was on her clothes, etc. so I was in the other room changing her and getting it cleaned up. Kelsey was in the bumbo crying really hard--it was nap time. Without me asking, or them telling, Ty and Bryn climbed up onto the counter where she was to comfort her. Bryn rubbed her back, and Tyler put his arm next to her and she rested her head on his arm and fell right to sleep. It was so sweet.

Going out in the backyard to play soccer. It was raining.

My friend Terra Reed gave us two cute little dance outfits. I pulled them out and washed them a little bit ago and Brynlee is obsessed with hers!! She wears it almost every day and calls it her "pretty pink princess dress". Notice her pink princess slippers she wears with it. She really loves pink and loves to be a girl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Favorite comment from a stranger this week: "Are these all your kids, or do you run a daycare?"
No, they're all mine.
"Oh! Well that's...challenging."

Favorite comment from Tyler at Costco the other day. We walked passed a giant dog kennel and Tyler says (more like screams), "Look Mom! That is just the right cage that you want, you know, so you can put all of us kids in it!"

Not So Different After All

I usually feel like Kenny and I have such different "during-the-day"-lives. But the other night he called to let me know he was going to be really late again. As he kept talking, I started hearing phrases that sounded so familiar...
"I just get all my work done better when no one else is here"
"I've been going hard all day I just didn't get done what I needed to get done because I was too busy doing everyone else's stuff"

I get my work done better when all (or even some of) the kids are asleep. I go and go all day and yet a lot of times my to-do list just rolls over to the next day because I didn't get to any of it!

Turns out we understand each other better than I thought.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This week

It's been a nice, relaxing Sunday. I'm sitting here with Kelsey waiting for her to fall asleep. But she never goes to bed before 11:45 p.m., so we just hang out together. The other night I had this cool experience with her where I was looking at her and my eyes somehow focused weird and her face was bigger, and it's all I could see. At the same time, I had this thought hit me that we are equals, spiritually. That here on earth I am her mother, but that our spirits knew each other before we came to this earth and we are first and foremost, both Heavenly Father's children. Her spirit could be just as old, or even older than mine. I know that was a horrible and weird explanation, but it's hard to put into words. It was just this cool moment where I felt like our souls were connecting...as cheesy as that sounds.

This was a good week. I am getting better at going places with all the kids, by myself. We went to the library one day, the park one day, and the gymnastics place for open gym another day. I put Kelsey in the baby bjorn carrier my sister steph gave me (thank you!!) and it saves my life. No more lugging around a car seat or pushing the monstrous double-stroller. I also took them with me to Target and bought two huge shelving units. I assembled them myself and re-arranged/organized the garage over the course of the next two days. I was pretty proud of myself. After a trip to the dump and goodwill, we should finally be able to park both cars in the garage!

The weather has been beautiful and I am so grateful for that. The snow is now completely melted in our backyard! I thought it would never go away. The kids and I have been out there this week removing all the moose poop, raking up the leaves, and trying to fluff up the grass since it's been so packed down. We bought some pots and stuff to plant a few vegetables and some flowers. We'll hopefully get that planted this week and with any luck we may grow a thing or two!

We finished Ty's preschool curriculum this week (or rather declared it finished because he's so beyond those workbooks now that it's annoying for him to have to do it, he's super bored by the simplicity). I was going to wait a little while before we started his Kindergarten stuff, (p.s. I will be homeschooling him--more on that later) but he's so dang excited to dive into it all, and I can't think of a good reason to wait.

Yesterday after Ty's soccer, Kenny took Ty and Bryn to the Alaska Railroad Days open house thing they had going on. They had all these real trains there that you could go in and walk around, they could go on a free train ride (although they didn't because the line was forever long and Bryn didn't have her coat). They came home with some fun maps, pins and balloons, and seemed to have had a great time. We also had the missionaries over for dinner last night and that was fun.

Well I'm sure this post is sufficiently boring so I will end the misery now. Good night!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Messy Madi

When looking through recent pictures of Madison, I realized that most of them were of her being messy. I guess that's toddlers for ya, right?
These first two were from this last week. I looked up online a trail to go take the kids on a walk. I packed up some food to make sandwiches there so we could have a nice picnic and spend a good couple hours outside. We drove the 20 minutes to get there, and it was a nice, sunny day. Only problem is it's super duper muddy right now because all the snow is melting/melted. We walk for a few minutes and then come to this fun playground, and the kids are dying to play on it. So we stop to play and 10 minutes into it, Madison wanders off the paved path and steps right into a massive pile of mud. She falls and catches herself with her hands. So now she is covered in mud, and it's cold, and it's her naptime so she's not happy about it. We leave the playground and walk back to the car to try and clean her up with wet wipes. I realize it's going to take a whole lot of wet wipes to get this taken care of, and I'm getting muddy in the process of trying to get her clean. So we bag the whole trip and get in the car and go back home. Lessons I learned: Never put the kids in white jackets to go play outside until the mud is gone. Don't let them go out without their boots on. Stop trying to bring the double stroller when a baby carrier would work so much better.

Thanks to her extreme independence, she has quickly learned how to use utensils to eat. It also results in a HUGE mess after every single meal, but we're getting there. I have to get her out as soon as she's done eating or she rubs it all in her hair and dumps what's left on the floor. Awesome.

green smoothie

fruit smoothie


This girl's a basket case :)

Obvious influence of Brynlee: dress-up and snow hat over regular clothes

Oh I love this little girl so much, even if we have been going through a rough patch. I've started doing time-outs with her, "Super Nanny" style and it's actually working. I still think distraction is the best thing you can do for toddlers, the majority of the time. But when she's hitting, or yelling "No!" at me, we do time-outs and she gets it. I thought she would be too young for it, and that it wouldn't even make sense to her. But one day I had the thought, "if she's smart enough to be doing all these things, she's smart enough for a time out". And it's true. I'm still scared to go in public with her because things can unravel so very very quickly, but life at home is getting better and that's pretty much where we are all the time anyway :). 

 Madison really is incredibly sweet and playful, and has these long eyelashes over her gorgeous brown eyes that melt my heart. She is repeating words we say all the time and it's so cute to hear her talk. We are counting down the Sundays until she's old enough to go to nursery!! (5...in case you were wondering :) She is a really good eater. Her favorite food is fruit of any kind, but mostly banans and strawberries. Also, she won't ever say "da da". She still calls Kenny "mama" and it's so funny...which may be why she does that.