Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Funny Face


 I love my crazy little Brynlee. She loves to pull funny faces and does it quite often :). A few things about her:
-She is very dramatic and in tune with how she is feeling. She gets her feelings hurt easily, and wears her heart out on her sleeve.
-Because she is so transparent with her emotions, I love to watch her watch a movie. You can always tell what's going on in the movie by looking at her face.
-She thinks the word "married", means twirling around when you dance. As in, when the boy holds the girl's hand and spins her around. It took me a little bit to figure out that's what she meant. I have a little scarecrow out for fall decor that she likes to dance with and "marry". A conversation between her and her brother:
B: Ty! Come marry me!
T: No Bryn, I'm busy.
B: But I'm a princess!!
-This girl knows who she is and what she is worth and it's a great reminder for all girls out there, myself included. She is so happy being who she is, and she has no doubt that she IS a princess!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Exploring on Friday

It was yucky weather all week. Gray skies, lots of rain every day, flooding, really strong wind storms, more power outages, etc. We all had colds too; runny noses like leaky faucets, dry coughing, and don't forget Kelsey teething.
BUT, on Friday morning the sun came out making all those left-over rain droplets look like sparkling little gifts from heaven. And all of the sudden, the week didn't seem so bad.
Kenny only worked half-day. Then we got in the car with some peanut butter sandwiches and set off to enjoy the afternoon. We stopped at a random pull-over spot that looked really pretty and got out to explore. We were not disappointed.

Every year when I was younger, my family would drive from Texas to Utah for some sort of family vacation or reunion, or holiday or something. And every year I would wish and beg and plead with my dad to just stop and pull off the freeway so I could climb the rocks and the mountains. Something about it appealed so much to me. It looked so fun and inviting. Just to get out and see what there was, find out how high I could climb and how hard it really is. (Perhaps I was a pro rock climber in a former life??) Unfortunately, he never did stop. But on Friday, my husband made my childhood dreams come true :). We did get out and look around just for the heck of it and you can bet I scaled up (only a few feet) on those rocks :). My oldest daughter quickly followed my lead.


I love this fireweed that grows here. It's beautiful!!

We were having a grand old time exploring and taking way too many pictures, when this big friend showed up and ended the outing abruptly.
 Yeah, he was close. Totally freaked me out. I had walked back to the car with the 2 little girls and Kenny was still off with Ty and Bryn. I had been out there for a few minutes, changing a diaper and getting them in when I looked over and saw him. He looked right at me and I didn't know what to do. He was definitley within charging distance. I took a few steps, not daring to go any closer, and yelled "KENNY!! THERE'S A BEAR!!" Next thing I see is Kenny running out of the woods half lifting/half dragging Tyler and Brynlee, one in each hand. We all climbed in the van and shut the doors. The bear just went on eating and minding his own business. So we took some pictures of him now that we were safe :).

We also saw a bear just on the other side of our fence last week. I think it's so cool. Only while we live here in Alaska will we have experiences like this!
I just love this time of year. The colors are all so brilliant and everything looks so pretty in the fall. I love the deep greens against all the bright golds and yellows. I only wish it lasted a little longer. I vote that fall and winter switch places; shorter duration for the snow, longer for the pretty leaves :).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mirror Lake

Don't mind Madi, she's just throwing a tantrum :). She just wanted to go on the swing, not take a picture. So afterwards we headed over to the swings and she perked right up...

 Tyler is the master bug-finder. He loves to observe any animal or bug he can find. Below, there is a teeny, tiny caterpillar-type-thing on the end of the stick.
Fall is in full swing and it is absolutely gorgeous. We went up to this lake to just play, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of the earth. It was an afternoon well spent.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Photo Dump

Guess it's been a while since I uploaded pictures from my phone again. Here's some things I want to remember.
The girl with a pink shirt and purple pants is Brynlee--she's my little climber. This was several weeks ago.

These two are always dressing up in our clothes and playing mom and dad. It's cute, but sometimes I wish they could reach the hangers to put all our clothes back when they're done. :)

She loves brushing her teeth...or rather, chewing on the toothbrush. She also is good at taking the step-stools around the house to get into whatever she wants.

I love this little munchkin so much!! She's got the most kissable cheeks!!

Kids love to work! I hate cleaning bathrooms, but they sure think it's a lot of fun.

Scrubbing the toilet with a smile--this boy's a keeper.

Spent some time at OSP the other day. Discovering our shadows. Kelsey's in the carrier on me.

Love the exploring that goes on here

Lots of trees and plants blown over from the crazy wind storms

These two are going to be great friends for eternity. And that thought makes me so happy.

I LOVE that Kelsey is sitting up well enough to bathe all 3 girls at the same time. Madi's drinking bath water. Gross.

The end.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Valiant Efforts

Having 4 little kids is tricky, because you pretty much can't do anything. Some days I feel very brave and determined and I think, "This isn't going to stop me!" We will go out and do things and have fun and make memories!" But other days I just say, "Okay! I quit! You guys win!! We will just stay home and be recluses because it is SO much easier to not leave the house!" Because a lot of times we do try, but it just ends up a disaster. It's like 40% good, 40% bad, and 20% awful. So I can never decide if it's worth it.
Here's a couple of examples to illustrate my point.
Valiant Effort #1: The morning after we hiked flattop, we tried to go on a family bike ride. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and I thought we were ready for that. I would be riding my bike and pulling the trailer, with Madison and Kelsey riding in it. Tyler and Brynlee would be riding their own bikes, and Kenny was going to run so that he could help them as needed. We hadn't ever been on this trail before, but I looked it up online and we thought it was pretty simple. We would park our cars and start at one spot (Goose Lake Park), then go until we got to another fun park that I've been wanting Kenny to see. I guessed that it was around 3 miles. It wasn't quite the "fun family bike ride" I had envisioned so nicely in my mind. Pretty much from the very first 2 minutes of starting out, Kelsey started crying. She really didn't want to ride in that thing. I was hoping she would eventually just fall asleep. She didn't.
Tyler is still fairly new at riding his bike without training wheels, so he can only go one speed: fast. Otherwise he loses his balance and falls off. The problem with that is he also can't start himself again. One of us as to stop and hold the bike steady while he climbs on, then give him a push off to get him going. I can't even count how many times we had to do that.
Brynlee is very good at riding her bike, but she is still little, and it still has training wheels, so she just doesn't go very fast. Oh, and neither of them can do hills very well. Going up is too tough, going down is too scary.
So we have Tyler going super fast, Brynlee going super slow, Kenny and I trying to split the difference, and help out whichever one was struggling at the time. Including the baby girls in the trailer. Kelsey was screaming her head off, and Kenny finally just took her out and held her, while walking next to Brynlee's biking speed.
On top of all this, there were like hundreds (that's a bit of an exaggeration) of trails intersecting with this one, or it would split off into two different ways and we had no idea where to go. Those were not online. We had to back-track a couple times, and I think we looped around a little too far one time too. We had NO idea where we were, or how far away from our destination we were. I kept saying, "we've got to be getting close, we've been going forever!" But when we asked some guy who sounded very confident, he said we were still 2 miles away!! I thought maybe I had just grossly underestimated the distance. So we finally gave up when we reached a part that ran next to a  main road. Kenny took my bike and rode back to the cars. He drove back to pick us up, but found out that we were probably 1/8 of a mile away from the park!! I just about died. Of course we were that close when we finally gave up. It wasn't very funny at the time, but now I can laugh about it. So we walked/biked the last few minutes to the park. The kids were thrilled to get to their favorite playground (Valley of the Moon Park), but it didn't last long because they were also super tired and hungry from that taking so much longer than anticipated! (A couple of hours). Maybe next summer we'll try again??
Valiant Effort #2:
Labor Day was the last day of the Alaska State Fair. Everyone was talking about it and saying how much fun they had there, so we wanted to check it out. I also really wanted to see the Bodies Exhibit that they had going on. We drove the 50-55 minutes out to Palmer, and realized we needed more coats. It was cold and very, very windy! Somebody in the parking lot gave us a free adult ticket that they weren't using, and children 6 and under were free! We thought it was so great that we only had to buy one ticket for all of us get in. We quickly went to the indoor part to see all the animals, and to get out of the cold, strong wind.

That was fun for a while, but there are only so many animals to see. So we ventured out to see what else we could find. For our little group, there was not much. Unfortunately for me, the bodies exhibit was closed. We didn't plan very well and only a few dollars in cash with us. But we're also really cheap and don't want to pay $3-6 per ride, per child. So there wasn't much left to do, since we also weren't buying the incredibly overpriced and fatty fair food. Maybe had it been nice weather, we could've lasted longer. But we have no control over that. In fact, I usually feel like I don't have much control over anything :). Madison was the first one to lose her patience. Bryn and Kelsey soon followed. We might be able to handle 1 child missing nap time, but 3 is a little too much. So even though we had only been there about an hour and a half, we called it quits. People just stared at us as we tried to hurry back to our van (which by now is like 20 minutes of speed-walking away) with lots of screaming and crying children who could not be consoled. A few minutes into the car ride, Madi and Kels were out.
Thank goodness we only had to pay for one ticket!

Monday, September 10, 2012

1 Year Older And Wiser Too

Saturday, September 8th, was Kenny's 29th Birthday!! I was so glad that his birthday fell on a weekend. We sure loved taking the day to celebrate having this wonderful man in our lives, and at the head of our family. We sure love him!!
On Friday night Kenny and I were able to get a babysitter and go out on a date!! We went to Olive Garden for dinner and went to see the Batman movie. It was really good, even though I closed my eyes for all the intense fighting scenes. I'm a pretty big wuss with violent movies, but it was Kenny's choice and he was very glad we saw it in theatres. :) It's always so nice to get out and spend some time together. I always have a hard time being away from the kids for an extended period of time, but I know it's still important to do it. Kenny and I need that time as just a couple. I think it's probably good for the kids, too. We had 2 babysitters (sisters) so I felt much better about how things were at home. We came home to everyone asleep and a nice, clean house.
The actual birthday day:
Breakfast in bed...("and it's happy to see ya!")
 We had a few things scheduled like Tyler's practice for the primary program, and gymnastics for both Tyler and Brynlee (their first day). But other than that we just hung out at home and enjoyed the day together. Kenny's not a huge fan of cake, so we usually do some other dessert. The night before when we were at Olive Garden, we had intended on getting dessert, but we were both SO full that we just couldn't. But Kenny saw some other folks eating these doughnuts dipped in a chocolate sauce and decided that's what he wanted us to make in lieu of a birthday cake! I was a bit hesitant, knowing how long and tedious homemade doughnuts can be. But I found a cheating method online and it was super fast, easy, and delicious! We bought a can of pillsbury biscuit dough, flattened them, cut them into smaller pieces, and fried it up! Then we tossed them in powdered sugar and melted some chocolate chips for the dipping. The kids absolutely loved them!

Presents: some new black church shoes, sweat pants, and the children's game "wack-a-mole". I let the kids pick out a gift for their dad, and that's what Ty decided on. hahaha. It was better than the barbies that Bryn wanted to get him. I love the egocentric view of children, it's so hard for them to think literally about what an adult might want. Tyler was doing a pretty good job actually, but he picked out a lot of other expensive things, so we settled on this. And it's a great gift for daddy to spend time with them!  It's already proved to be a very fun purchase.

I am so grateful for Kenny. I love that he works so hard and provides for us so well so I don't have to work. I know a lot of women that would love to stay home, and I am lucky enough to do that. He always puts his family first and I know he'll drop anything for us if we need him. He is an amazing husband and father. Happy Happy Birthday Daddy Dear!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Power to the People

On Tuesday night there were some horribly strong winds. It knocked down lots of trees and took out power for almost the whole city of Anchorage. We thought it was pretty crazy, as Anchorage isn't a very windy city generally. But we made sure the cars were clear of big trees, and moved all the kids into our room to stay warmer. It's always sort of fun when it's just for a short while. We expected it to come back on sometime during the night. It didn't.

The next morning Kenny got up and went to work, and didn't come home so I assumed his office had power. Cool places always have a back-up plan. I wish we were cooler. (I may get my wish, because after this experience we've talked seriously about getting a generator.) It was cold, still windy, and rainy all day. My phone battery was about to die, our van was stuck in the garage, and on day 2 I didn't know what to feed my kids besides peanut butter sandwiches, pirate's booty and fruit snacks. They didn't complain. Honestly though, it wasn't that bad. It could've been in the dead of winter, and we could've been pushing a handcart across the plains...
(Whenever I feel like I'm going through an uncomfortable or hard time, I always compare my life to the pioneers and feel immediately better.)

Kenny came home during his lunch break and hefted open the garage door for me so we could get the van out. He also brought home the car charger so I had some contact with the world. That was actually pretty important because we had a combined mutual activity to cancel. Anyway, without describing every detail of the days, I will sum up by saying that we were out of power for about 42 hours. It was a super good reminder to me of all the things I take for granted every day. We live very comfortable lives, and I don't think I appreciate it enough. It was also an excellent way to evaluate what we are lacking as far as emergency preparedness.

The kids were just as excited as I was when it finally kicked on and we started dancing around singing "The power. The power. The power is on!" over and over. Then I said, "and you're all going back in your own beds tonight!!" Then they didn't think it was so cool anymore. I, for one, am excited to not have to shower and change diapers by light of a flashlight.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kelsey 6 months

Little side note: There's the saying, "the eyes are the windows to the soul". I think it's funny that in Kelsey's eyes you can see windows reflected in them. :)
This sweet baby is sitting like a pro, rolling around the room, wears 9 mo. clothes and has 2 bottom teeth. She weighed 16 pounds 13 ounces at her 6 mo. appt. and they were off on her length (said she was 25 inches, but that's what she was at her 4 mo. so I know they're off. They knew it too but didn't bother to re-measure her). She is definitley a mama's girl still and loves to watch her older siblings. I just started her on baby food a few days ago. I've only made sweet potatoes, green beans and applesauce for her to try but she gobbles it all up!! So far, so good.

A few behind-the-scenes outtakes from our mini photo shoot in the living room. Everybody wants a little piece of the spotlight :).