Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Playin Hookie

This morning I was feeling overwhelmed. Halloween is tomorrow, and we didn't even have a clue as to what we were doing. We haven't done any of the fun traditions that we normally do in October, and it's ending so soon. I knew we needed to go to the store, but I had been hearing ambulances on the road a lot--lots of car accidents with the snow that fell last night. I was scared to go out and just frustrated that Kenny works so much when I need him home!
But then I took a few deep breaths. I realized that 1) I cannot live in fear of driving on the roads for 6 months out of the year. I just have to get over it. 2) I need to learn to not depend so much on my husband. I've just got to put on my big girl panties and take care of stuff myself. If I want the kids to have fun memories and traditions, I need to be the one to do it. 3) I'm going to be positive about the winters here, and not let them defeat me. For lots of people, it's just not a big deal. But I think I have a lot more anxiety than the average person, and the cold/snow/ice with little kids stresses me out. But I resolved to not complain, and to be positive about it. I will try to catch myself and change the way I think, or else I'm going to be miserable, and make Alaska miserable for my family as well. We are here, so we are going to love it. So, with those thoughts in mind, we set out to have a great day.
First order of business, declare a day-off of school. Every kid (and mom) needs a day off now and then, and the beauty of homeschooling is you are free to do it whatever day you choose. We then went to Target to finish up some costume-shopping  and get Bryn some clothes because she's grown out of everything. We came home and carved pumpkins! We had planned on doing it last night for FHE activity, but Kenny didn't get home till around 10 and I didn't want to do it while Kelsey was awake. So once she went down for a nap, we pulled them out and got messy! :)

"Make a yucky face!"
This cute girl actually liked it a lot. She kept saying, "Can I stick my hand in there again?" Brynlee wasn't a huge fan, so Tyler helped do most of their pumpkin.

The finished products:

I let the kids (mostly Ty because the girls didn't care) pick out what we would carve on them. He took this job very seriously, as he does all tasks assigned to him.
I had pandora "Children's Halloween" music playing and they were dressed up and dancing/running around like crazies. Kelsey sure enjoys being in the middle and watching all the chaos :).
We picked out pumpkin seeds and baked them too! The house was smelling so good and I was feeling so domestic. But then I went to put Madison down for a nap and by the time I came back upstairs, the seeds were a little too toasted, and tasted like burnt popcorn kernels :(. Oh well, we tried.
While Madi and Kelsey's naps overlapped, these two angels went out to play in the freshly fallen snow.

 This picture makes it look like Bryn's being attacked by Tyler with snow, but she actually instigated the snow fight. They have so much fun together, and it makes me so happy to watch them. They ended up being out there for quite a long time, while I finished carving and cleaning up the big pumpkin mess. They came in and enjoyed hot chocolate with marshamllows. This evening was a mad rush to do dinner and get to soccer on time. All in all, we did end up having a great day, and I thoroughly enjoyed being with my kids. I can't say that about every day, because I sometimes get caught up in what we have to do! Do! Do! But I just let go, and had fun, and it was wonderful.

Just a cute picture from last night. They each picked out their own donut and had apple cider with it for FHE treat :).

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Monday was nothing special. Kenny worked late and I forgot to have FHE with the kids. I hate when we don't do it, and I have no one to blame but myself. Got to do better.

Tuesday we didn't take Ty to soccer because I didn't think his body was recovered enough. But I did host book club that night. We are reading Les Miserables! The complete, unabridged, 1222 page book! I am totally in love with it. It has seriously become one of my most favorite books. It is very lengthy, but oh so good. And what a perfect time to read it, since they're making the new movie about it that comes out Christmas day!! I can't wait. I started tearing up just watching the preview. It's going to be so great!

Wednesday Kenny was working late again so I didn't go to young womens. Wishing these kids would get over their colds quickly!

Thursday Ty had soccer, so Kenny took Bryn and Madi with him to that. I had to go to a YW auxiliary training at the stake center. It was good to go and be with other leaders that are working towards the same goals and going through some of the same things. These girls cause me more stress and worry than I would've thought. I love them and really want what's best for them. I just pray we can find a way to light some kind of fire within them and help them learn to love the gospel and have a testimony, and be proud of their testimony. 

Friday I needed to do some shopping, and there's a mall downtown near Kenny's work. So we went and picked him up and attempted to shop. But honestly, going shopping with 4 little kids is like pouring salt into an open wound. So it didn't last very long. I did get some cute little boots for the girls and myself, and some tights for B. So at least we're covered for church on sunday. Boots are an absolute necessity in Alaska. That night Kenny put all the kids to bed and I snuck out and went to the 8:00 session at the temple. I was feeling really irritable and overwhelmed and just really needed to go to the temple. I enjoyed the 30 minute drive there, singing at the top of my lungs to an old Celine Dion CD--total guilty pleasure :). I am so grateful I am able to go seek peace and refuge at The House of the Lord. It was just what I needed to help clear my head and get a little break.

Saturday I took the kids to gymnastics. Kenny got snow tires put on both cars, and the oil changed on both too. That was a huge on my to-do list, so I am so grateful he took care of that this week. I am just feeling very grateful for Kenny lately. He is my rock.

Also on Saturday night, we finished the Book of Mormon as a family for the second time! We only read a page a day, so it takes us (obviously) a very long time to get through it. So I feel like that is a note-worthy accomplishment!!

Kelsey started crawling for real this last week! She also pulls herself up to stand up to things. Now we've reached a whole new level!! She is so darn cute. I love how she pants when she's excited. She's not a very noisy baby, she shows her excitement with how hard she breathes, it's so funny! She also sucks on her fingers to calm herself and put herself to sleep. She will be 8 months old in a couple days and I can't believe how big she's getting.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Week

Things are going well here at the Weston Household, just trying my best to keep up. All the kids are sick again (didn't we just barely do all this??) which is never fun. I'm really hoping this doens't last long. Tyler's soccer has started up again. It actually started October 1st, but he has an air-head for a mom, so we missed the first two weeks!! Yeah, I was pretty upset about that one. But he goes every Tuesday and Thursday night, and it's amazing how much that adds to a week. I still have mutual every Wednesday. This last week was especially bad because I also had a "Fabulous Friday" stake RS craft night on Fri. night, and had to attend the tri-stake youth dance on Saturday, and a fireside on Sunday. SO I was gone quite a lot, and poor Kenny always gets the brunt of it. I am really grateful for a capable, helpful husband who carries on and does a fabulous job when I'm gone. I feel bad having to leave so much, because I know that it is just an added load on him.
Ty and Bryn have gymnastics on Sat. morning too, but Bryn missed because of being sick, as I said.

Kenny still works crazy hours. The only time he does come home is because I absolutely have to be gone. But we are rarely home at the same time, except for sleeping. But even that we haven't been doing much of thanks to sick/teething babies.

On Sat., Oct. 13th I hosted a big "baby bash". It was supposed to just be one giant baby shower to cover the 5 pregnant ladies in the ward, instead of giving them individual showers. I sent out around 40 invitations, with 5 pregnant ladies to celebrate. I was thinking big. Guess how many showed up? 8, myself included. Only 2 of the pregnant people whom it was FOR came. 2 called and backed out an hour before it started, the other forgot. So it was a pretty big flop. But my house was nice and clean and my family sure enjoyed all the leftover food!   Serves me right for trying to plan something--it never works. That night we went out to Wasilla and had dinner at Mike and Maren's gorgeous home. Kenny and Mike work together, they are members of the church also. The other mormon couple, Tim and Christina were there too. It was a fun night, and I enjoyed getting to know them better. It also snowed a lot that day and the next few days.

Another new development is we have decided to build a duplex. So we've been getting the ball rolling with that, and it's very exciting. This is our first time building or owning any kind of home, and we are really excited about it. SO many decisions with that!

Tyler had a fun church-class Halloween party on Saturday and he had a blast. His reading is improving and it's so fun to watch him. I feel like he is so tall now! I don't know why, but all of the sudden he is just so big to me. He really loves doing soccer and gymnastics and told me he feels so lucky to be in not one, but TWO sports! :)

Brynlee is into this phase where she just LOVES cleaning. It's so funny! Every time she is in the tub, she will take the wash rag and sit there scrubbing the tiled walls. If she washes her hands in the kitchen sink, she will get distracted and end up "washing" the sink and/or dishes for as long as I let her. She's just obsessed with making things "nice and shiny" and I love it! Kenny says she has a little too much of her Grandma Andersen in her :). My mom is known for her cleanliness haha. Sometimes I just hand her a bottle of windex and a paper towel and tell her to make the windows and mirrors shiny. She's happy to oblige.

 Madison's hair is getting longer and so are her sentences. She likes to copy Ty and Bryn by telling "jokes". Last night at dinner she said, "why did the pig cross the road? because he wanted to wash the spider out!" hahaha. Honestly, she makes about as much sense in her jokes as Bryn and Ty--it's all just a bunch of nonsense but they sure think they're funny!

Kelsy is majorly obsessed with me, which makes things trickier. But I am sure crazy about her too, it just makes it harder to get anything done. She army crawls around to get to whatever she wants. It's so funny for me to watch because she's the first of our kids to do that. I know lots of kids will army crawl before they actually crawl, but none of the other 3 did that. Looks like it's time to buy a gate so she doesn't go tumbling down the stairs. It makes me so sad when she's sick.

This picture is from last week. I put down a "road" with masking tape on the carpet. We were role-playing how to safely cross a street for part of Bryn's preschool that day. Afterwards, they brought up the bin of cars to have them on the road. Then they brought up the legos/foam blocks to put buildings on the side, and tunnels on the road. Things get pretty elaborate when Tyler is around and directing his sisters. It sure kept them busy for a while!

This next picture is to represent (very poorly) my favorite time of day. The temperatures are really cold now, just hanging out in the low 30's as a high. Every morning we wake up to a thick layer of frost. Each individual leaf, every blade of grass, every weed and twig and post, has a nice layer of frost covering it. Around 10:30 a.m., when the sun finally makes its way above the mountains, it shines on everything and there's this awesome lights show. Every little thing just sparkles and shines in the light of the sun. It is so beautiful and really cool to watch. If only I could figure out how to photograph it, then I could actually show you what I mean. Women of New York...Frost Yourselves! (10 points if you know that movie)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunny Afternoons

When the sun comes out, we like to come out too :). I love the afternoons that are just me and my kids playing around outside. Climbing trees, riding bikes/scooters, going on walks, and eating warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I love the carefree days of childhood. No worries, no strict schedules. I just want to soak up all this time I have with my kids and never forget it. I know it won't always be like this, and time goes so fast.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Anchorage Museum

Tuesday was cold and wet. Okay, so almost every day is cold and wet. But this day we decided to not just stay inside. We headed out to the Anchorage Museum, where we have a membership. I really, really love this place. It paid for itself within about 3 visits for our family. They have the best little kid space that has enough fun, educational/stimulating activities for all 4 of my kids, with all different interests and attention levels. It's sectioned off from the rest of the museum so big kids can't come and bother them. It has its own little bathroom (so we don't have to trek around the museum looking for one for Brynlee's frequent visits and the many diaper changes), a bench for nursing mothers, and stroller parking with cubby holes. Basically, it's the only place I truly enjoy taking my kids by myself because of how accomodating it is for families. The best part is that it's downtown, so Kenny can walk over from his office and meet us on his lunch break. He joined us for the last few minutes and then we went out to lunch together. It was such a treat to be able to hang out with daddy during the day! Kenny and I are trying to find a time to go on a date to the Body Exhibit going on at the museum right now. It's a fun place!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Rear Window(s)

Back in February when we moved here, we were living in a temporary, little, vacation rental. On the rare occassion that Kenny didn't come home late, we would set up appointments to go see different houses, trying to get moved in before the baby came (haha). To be honest nothing appealed to us, and frankly it was hard to think anything looked good because we could hardly see the houses there was sooo much snow. But when we came in this house, she took us upstairs and we beheld these two very large windows.
 It was the most magnificent view! It almost made me forget how much I hated the winter, because it looked so pretty out those windows. We looked at each other and said, yes, please!

Since then we have never tired of our view. We comment on it almost daily, and take dozens and dozens of pictures. You'd think we would get used to it, but I don't think we ever will. It is just awesome, no matter what time of day or night.

If I were a good photographer, there would not be a blinding light, and you'd be able to see the full moon rising over the snow-capped mountains.
Also the moon, another time

The sunset made these trees look like they were on fire!
 A week or two ago I was teaching the kids at the table, when all of the sudden I looked outside and gasped. It looked like someone had thrown glitter on the frost and it was so unbelievably cool! I have never seen anything like it. I grabbed the camera and snapped some pictures, but wasn't satisfied that it was catching it. I went downstairs and outside, only to see my next door neighbors also outside trying to take pictures of the same thing. He said, "do you see that rainbow in the frost?" I wouldn't have known to call it a rainbow, but I guess that's what it was. It's so hard to see in the picture above. We played with the colors to try to bring it out, so we could tell better where it was. Trust me, it was amazing.

The sun rising over the mountains through the very thick fog

Another gorgeous sunrise

Okay, so this is actually out my front window in our bedroom. But it was so cool I had to throw it in.
 I love, love, love our view from the rear windows. The reason there are no houses behind us, is because it's Fort Richardson. The Army uses it for trainings and stuff. So not only is it a great view, but we get a lot of wildlife! Tyler is always identifying various kinds of birds, there's a lot of moose, and bears (though we've only seen them twice). We often hear random gunshots, and there's a whole lot of airplanes and helicopters to observe. These windows provide a lot of entertainment. We couldn't have chosen a better location.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Budding Photographer

My son loves to steal my phone and take pictures and videos. It is so funny to go through my phone and discover the latest and greatest of his ever-growing portfolio :). I actually have him to thank for most of the video footage we have of Kelsey thus far. He's done a better job of recording her babyhood than I have.
Sometimes I think, maybe he has an artistic eye?

Then I keep going and realize, he's still just a silly 5 year old boy :). And oh how I love him!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Happenings

I think it's been a while since I've done a real update. Here's a quick run down of our current happenings for our family.
Kelsey is 7 months now and so very close to crawling. She is getting around all over anyway, with rolling/squirming/sitting/laying/spinning, etc. Sometimes we have "Crawling for Kelsey" times where we will crawl all around the room to help teach her how to do it :). They think it's pretty fun.
She is in the (not so) fun stage of putting everything in her mouth. It's good that the kids love her so much and I can use that as a way to get them to help me pick up even all the little tiny things on the floor. They will say "we have to pick it up or else Kelsey will put it in her mouth and choke on it and die." Which could potentially happen, so I'm glad they're willing to help out their baby sister :).
She got 2 more teeth now, making 4 total. She eats a good 3 meals a day of baby food and nurses from me. She's chunking up a lot! When she doesn't like something, or when she's done, she will throw her arms up in the air. It's so funny and cute. Pretty much everything she does we all think is so funny and cute. That's what's great about having a baby around!

I love how she looks like a pink teletubby in this thing! At least I know she's staying warm.

Madison will be 22 months this week and I am amazed at how well she speaks. She talks in complete sentences and sounds so darn cute we often have her repeat funny things. But repeating is what she does best as she has been copying whatever her older brother and sister say for the last several months, which has obviously helped her learn really quickly. She prays over the food by herself and repeats us for scriptures and prayers too.She is always trying to keep up with Ty and Bryn. She still loves dolls and takes such good care of her babies. We took her bottles away a month or two ago for good. I know I let her have them for way too long, but it just wasn't worth the fight at the time. She and I both needed her to have them for a while longer because they comforted her so much. But the time came to get rid of them and she's done great.

Bryn and Madi are such good friends, but it causes problems at night time and nap time. It takes them SOO long to fall asleep every time because they just stay up talking and singing every song they know (and they sing a lot!), and playing babies. As frustrating as it is, it's also pretty darn cute. We have a baby monitor set up in their room so we can hear their little conversations and know what they're up to. They are hilarious and so darling together. But I do wish they would get to sleep!!

We are doing homeschool every day, and for the most part it's going very well. Kindergarten for Tyler, and preschool for Brynlee. I love teaching them, but every day is a juggling act and it's harder to keep up with other things. I know it's a learning process though, so I'm trying to just figure it out and be patient in the meantime. Some days I do better than others, that's for sure. Tyler is a smart little cookie and just really loves to learn. He starts sentences with words like, "apparently" and "as you can see", and he loves to watch documentaries about animals and dinosaurs.

Saturday, September 29th I woke up and went outside to go running only to find that it was SNOWING! And so begins our first full winter in Alaska. It sure was pretty, though. And the sun melted it all away during the day, so it's okay.


Kenny and I are doing well, too. Just always trying to keep up and stay somewhat balanced. I don't think I mentioned before, but Kenny was called to be the Sunday School President in our ward, and he's doing great at that too.
Funny story: Last week we had a hair-cutting incident. I was downstairs doing laundry, and the kids were upstairs playing. Madison had been playing with a pair of glasses, and got one of the nose pieces caught in her hair. Instead of just wiggling it around to get it out, Tyler takes it upon himself to quietly remedy the situation by CUTTING her hair out of it! I just about died. He said, "it was an emergency mom! Her hair was really stuck!" Then later, after his time out he said, "well wasn't it a good thing that I at least told the truth?!" As if honesty should always exempt you from a consequence. Ha! I don't think so, buddy.
Ty had his first dentist appointment a week or two ago, and Brynlee had a trial-run with the dentist. They let her watch Ty and sit up in the chair and look in her mouth, but didn't do a real cleaning. They were very impressed with both of them and said they were so well-behaved. I was grateful, because I wasn't able to go back with them since I had the two little girls in the waiting room with me. The best part is no cavities! Kenny and I also took turns getting our eyes checked--working on getting new glasses.
Everyone but Kenny had a cold for a while, but we're all doing better now and feeling so grateful for good health again. Life is good.