Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fathers day (and other stuff)

We had a great father's day! I love honoring the fabulous fathers in our lives. First of all, my husband Kenny is the greatest dad. Our kids love him to pieces and his homecoming each night is the highlight of our day! I'm lucky to have him be the father of my children. Unfortunately, he didn't get very spoiled. His gift (a photo book I made with lots of pics of him and the kids) didn't arrive until Monday. But he had gone fishing again the day before and caught some more salmon. So we had salmon for his father's day dinner since he loves it so much. The sad part of this story, is he's the only one that loves it so much. I did eat some, but I really just don't like sea food. Go here for our dinner recipe. Go here to see what we ate for dessert.
This picture is from Easter, because we failed to take a picture on father's day. Lame.

My own dad is an incredible example to me. We've always had a really good relationship, and it means so much to me. He's one of the best men I've ever known and I'm so grateful for the things he taught me growing up, and continues to teach me.

Here's some other random pictures of things from the last week or two. I've got to get all caught up because we've got family visiting for the next couple weeks! :) Hooray for family coming to see us!

Saturday night when Kenny got back from fishing we picked up some pizza and went to the Coastal Trail and had a picnic. Then we played around on the playground and went for a walk.

The bay--view from the trail

This was the view from our living room window the other night after some good rain. See the double rainbow? It was about 11 p.m. whent his was taken.

The girls were playing with their doll house. Tyler comes in and sets up 5 of his guys (Batman, Moroni, Transformers, etc.) around it. He said they were protecting the house from bad guys :). I thought it was so cute. Boys are such instinctive protectors! My favorite is the top middle, Captain Moroni standing guard!

We've been riding our bikes a lot--Bryn has improved a lot, and really quickly.

Going on a walk at OSP

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Soccer Star

Running over for a water break

Ty's cheering section--and the only day we haven't had to wear jackets!

Just because she's cute, and growing so very quickly

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Naker Bum

I just can't think of anything in the world better than a naked baby, freshly bathed and lotioned up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Things I Now Know

Mosquitos: I had NO idea there would be mosquitos in Alaska. Moose? Yes. Bears? Yes. Fish? Yes. Mosquitos? Heck no. It's not just a few either, they are huge and they are many. Extremely annoying to be soaked in Off! whenever we go outside. A couple weeks ago I had Bryn on my lap during church, it just barely started, and I noticed her forearm was super swollen and red. It looked the same way on her other arm, but just above her elbow. Nasty mosquito bites.

Earthquakes: So I have never experienced an earthquake that I've felt before moving here. But several weeks ago, at 7:02 a.m. I was sitting in the living room nursing Kelsey when all of the sudden our house was totally shaking! The glass objects on the top shelf were rattling, some falling off. It totally freaked me out. Kenny was running behind getting to work and he stood in the hallway and we just looked at each other, like a freaky moment frozen in time. For some reason I couldn't understand what was going on, like my mind never registered, "earthquake". So I just sat there, terrified, wondering why it wouldn't stop. But it did stop, and it was pretty cool. Kenny has this cool earthquake tracker thing online that he keeps up with. We get a lot of them here, but that was by far the strongest one I've felt. Now I can't remember what it was on the scale, maybe 4.8?

Lights: In the Book of Mormon when it's talking about the sign of Christ's birth and there is a day and a night and a day, as if there were no night because it's light the whole time? Well, that was always hard for me to imagine before. But now that's a perfect explanation of every day and every night here in Alaska. It's pretty cool. I just wish it would last longer in the year :).
Also on lights, the northern lights. I don't think I ever mentioned it, but we TOTALLY SAW THEM! It was when my sister Laura was here, right after Kelsey was born. I want to say it was on March 9th. It was pretty dang cool and surreal. We watched them right from our living room window. That's probably the only part of the winter I'm looking forward to.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kenny Goes Salmon Fishing

On Monday, Kenny and 3 co-workers all took the day off to go fishing! Kenny has been really looking forward to going fishing. That was probably what he was most excited about when we found out we were moving to Alaska. Thankfully, this trip did not disappoint. They left around 4 a.m. and drove down about 2 hours south to catch some sockeye on the Russian River. He had such a good time and can't wait to go back. Unfortunately, our freezer is now full of very big fish fillets Kenny's the only one that likes it! :). I really am trying hard to like fish--it's just not coming very easily to me. You're only allowed to keep 3 fish in one day, so they all caught their limit and then just released any others they caught. They even got to see a bear, pretty up close which made me nervous. They got some fun footage of the trip which I was glad about.

Kenny and Tom

James, Kenny, Tom, friend, Feliciano

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thunderbird Falls

Saturday was awesome. We worked hard the first half of the day and played hard the second half. Biggest accomplishment was that we now have both cars parked in our garage!! Woohoo!! I was starting to wonder if it could ever be done. After the girls' naps we went on a fun family hike to Thunderbird Falls. It's only about a mile hike to the waterfall. Pardon all the pictures. It's just so gosh darn beautiful here we can't help ourselves.  I always think of the scripture in D&C 59:18, "Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;"

Thunderbird Falls

This boy is such a character

18 months (and our week)

Our cute Madi Lynn turned 18 months! You can see in this picture what happens when she eats dairy--she gets a nice rash around her mouth. Poor girl. She only drinks almond milk, but sometimes it's hard when she sees Ty and Bryn eating yogurt or soemthing and she doesn't understand why I don't want her to have it. So obviously sometimes I let her, and she gets that rash.
I feel like I don't say enough good things about Madison; especially lately as we've been having such a hard time with her. But she really is such a sweetheart. She's very playful and loving. Just this last week it seems like she just hit a mark and has had a language explosion. She says several new words a day and it's lots of fun to watch her communication develop.
This is how she gives kisses. She just leans her head into you, and waits for you to kiss her.

Fishin with daddy


 Madison loves to read books, sing songs, see animals, climb on the table and throw everything else off, follow her big brother and sister, and give loves to Kelsey. She likes to have me sing songs to her until she falls asleep every night and every nap time. I am trying to break that habit, but sometimes she just tugs at my heart strings when she looks at me with her big brown eyes and says, "Mama" all pathetic-like. :) She has an infectious smile and the cutest baby pudge ever.

Highlights of our week:

Monday: Tyler started the summer season of soccer. It's definitley not typical "summer" weather for us, but it's still outside. It's pretty far away, and it's Monday and Wednesdays from 12-1. So I just pack lunches for us and we eat while we watch him.

Tuesday-Thursday: Tyler went to a bible camp at the University Baptist Church. Our neighbors brought us over a flier for it, they are pretty active in that church and their teenage boy was one of the youth leaders for it. It was from 11-2 those days and Tyler loved it!! He had such a good time hanging out with other kids. When I told him it was with the Baptist church he asked if they were going to baptize him, lol. Since attending there, I have seen him writing things on his drawings/papers like "Jesus is Alive" and "God is Powerful" haha.

Tuesday afternoon I took the kids down to Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. It's a beautiful trail with a fun park. We played there for a couple hours.
I accidentally left my phone there, and didn't realize it till we were on our way home. I hurried and turned around and went back to look for it. Some kind lady saw me looking around and asked if I had lost my cell phone. She had stayed there waiting for me to come back and get it!! What a saint! I'm so grateful for honest, good people. That could have been a very expensive mistake.

Thursday while Ty was at the camp, I went with the girls to the library where they hold a "concert in the park" thing. It's every Thursday and a different band comes and plays music. There's kids dancing and running all around having a good time. It's a very relaxed, fun environment--perfect for little kids!
Kelsey, Brynlee, and the Air Force Band
Thursday night I had one of the YW from our ward come over and babysit at 8. We had all the kids asleep when she got here, and Kenny and I snuck out on a date. We wanted to go play tennis, but we can't find our tennis rackets anywhere! Very frustrating. So we drove over to the church to play basketball, but there was a big party going on. So we went across the street to the lake and ran around it. It didn't take nearly as long as we thought it would, so we drove around and found a basketball court that wasn't being used. We had a great time playing horse (which I won), and one-on-one (which Kenny won, but only barely) :). Then we went back to the lake and walked around some more. We nearly got attacked by a moose there!! Okay that might be an exaggeration, it wasn't attacking us. But it was walking towards us. I was seriously about to jump in the lake I was so scared. Kenny wasn't scared at all, and was walking towards it, which made me freak out even more! Anyway, it was so good to get out and have fun together.

Friday night we went down to Cheney lake again as a family. Kenny and Ty fished, the girls just played and loved seeing the baby ducks. It was a nice evening.
This week was infinitely better than last week because they brought somebody up from Cleveland to help out with the work load. That means Kenny's actually coming home at regular hours! It's so nice not only to have him home, but also to not have him so stressed out day and night.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Every once in a while we have a really fun Family Home Evening, and I just want to share it in case anyone else wants/needs a new idea. The lesson was on work and family responsbility. Everyone has jobs to do just because they're part of our family and so we all get to help out. Object lesson: I dumped out a bag of legos and timed Tyler to see how fast he could pick them all up by himself. Then we dumped them out again and had everybody help pick them up, and we timed it again. They could see how much faster it was, and how much less work they had to do when everybody pitched in and helped!
Then we went over to this poster that I had made earlier (with the help of my trusty cricut) and put finger paints on our hands. They each made their hand prints on it and really loved that.
We briefly talked about Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." It would have been more effective if we had an ant hill or ants to watch, but we didn't. Tyler still loves ants though so it was a good analogy for him. Could also use D&C 42:42 "Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." That is the moral of the story for The Little Red Hen.
We also gave them their new job charts! We've never really had consistent job charts in the past because Tyler just kind of does what I ask him to and knows his jobs and does them. But Brynlee is the queen of getting out of work and avoiding it when she can. So we're really getting serious about these job charts. It's always nice to have some visual to check off or put a sticker on it when as they accomplish their tasks.
I think teaching children to work is one of the most critical things we can teach as parents, and yet it's becoming less and less of a priority. I know the real challenge is to continue to make them work when they are older (like teenagers) but hopefully if we establish good patterns and expectations from the time they're young, it will roll over and work to our advantage as they grow.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Full Disclosure

Sometimes I get really nice comments from some of you kind people that read my blog. Comments that you might be impressed with what I do, or think I'm doing a good job or something. And while it does lift my spirits, I think I need to set the record straight. Maybe it's deceiving because there's usually pictures up here where we do fun things and we're all smiling. But that does not mean that our whole days are just fun and playing and smiles and laughs. I think I reach a point almost every day where I feel like I'm going to internally combust from stress and frustration. We're just surviving here--for real.

Monday and Tuesday Kenny didn't even get to see the kids again because he got home so late. Wednesday he was still working late so I got a babysitter (our next door neighbor) to babysit the older three so I could go to young womens. I was in charge of it that night so I couldn't miss. Madison cried the whole time I was gone, except for when she fell asleep for a few minutes. She's not one of those kids that will settle down after a few minutes of crying. She has stamina. It's like at night time and nap time, she will cry for a good 2 hours if I let her. Even if she does fall asleep, she will wake back up and cry again every hour or so. The whole "crying it out" method doesn't really work for her. Some days I feel like her whole childhood is "crying it out". I am at such a loss of what to do with that girl. Anyway, I felt really bad for the babysitter. I also felt bad for Madison because she is just so sincerely distraught when I'm not around and I don't know what to do about it.  

Thursday night started youth conference for the weekend. Thankfully the other leaders were able to take most of it so I just went to the dance Thurs. night. I took Kelsey with me so that Kenny could have fun with the other three at home. (hallelujah for him coming home!) It was fun to go to the dance--it brought back a lot of memories of dances I went to in my youth. I always loved them! Good times.
Friday we had a nice evening as a family at our special place (which will heretofore be called "OSP").
 Pictures below.

Earlier this week I got new bikes for ty and bryn. It was quite the shopping trip. It included Madison throwing such a fit that she flipped herself out of the shopping cart. She wasn't hurt, and that surely didn't help the screaming and crying subside.
Saturday we got some things done with the van and around the house (not nearly as much as I would have liked, but progress is progress). We took turns working out that morning.  This getting back into shape thing is really slow-coming. Kenny took Ty and Bryn fishing that night, while I hung out with the little girls.
Sunday was one of those why on earth do we even try to come to church days. Somehow I managed to forget diapers for Madi, which isn't usually an issue. I rarely even have to change her at church. But of course, because I didn't have any, she poops during sacrament meeting. I had just come back in from the hallway, putting Kelsey to sleep. So I take Madi and we go home and get her changed and come back. Kelsey's awake again and crying, and ty and bryn are not helping the situation either. Both being very needy and crying and wanting either Kenny or I when we are certainly not available for them, with two baby girls. Once it was finally all over, Kelsey's up and crying again. I go into the mother's room, grateful for a chance to escape for a second and take a few deep breaths. I feel like we're juggling a freaking circus and we can't get anything together. The only thing I heard during sacrament meeting was when one sweet lady was getting emotional about being a mom and how quickly her kids are growing up. I was getting emotional because I was sitting there feeling guilty that my thoughts at that moment were "they can't grow up soon enough".
 I don't know how we're ever going to get Madi to go to nursery even though she's 18 months tomorrow. She won't leave us and Kenny substitutes teaching a class every week and I am in YW. So we'll see how this goes. We got home from church and declared a mandatory nap for Tyler and Brynlee. I spoke with them later that night about how they need to be the big kids and need to be our helpers during church. No more crying and misbehaving. I know they are still young, but they need to behave better than they did. Areas I can improve on are making sure all the bags are packed the night before so I don't forget essential things. Also, making sure the kids are in bed by 7:45 so they get PLENTY of sleep. Kenny put the blanket back up in their window so they stop waking up at 6:00-6:30. It's so light all the time here. I spent money on blackout material and my mom sewed them to the curtains in their room, but it doesn't seal around the edges so there is still a lot of light coming in. So we had to fix that so they'll sleep again.
That night we went to eat dinner at the Meade's home. They are good friends and so fun to get to know. Jason cooked us some red salmon--they're all trying to convert me to liking sea food. It was battered and covered in coconut then deep fried. So at least my gag reflex didn't kick in and I was able to swallow it :). Miriah is pregnant with her 5th and helped me to remember that these days will pass. 

Thankfully I was able to capture some of the fun times we did have. Because, in truth, we did have some fun times.