Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kelsey 15 Months

Our little Kelsey Boo turned 15 months yesterday (the 29th). A little about her at this cute stage: She is a ham! She loves to play games and she knows when she's making other people laugh and will play it up. But only for her family--she's still extremely wary (actually petrified) of other people. I'm praying she gets over that within the next 3 months in time for nursery, because church is a joke with her.
-She is a very picky eater. It's extremely frustrating for me, as my other 3 kids would eat anything at this stage, and she still eats baby food for most meals (even if it's just me blending up food), and even that is a struggle. After a few bites she is done with anything, or she just flat out refuses to try it. If I force it into her mouth, she immediately spits it back out. So she wastes a lot of food and really tries my patience, but we'll get it. Along with that, though, she's getting better at using utensils. 
-She is a very fast mover, and runs away when she knows you want her to come to you (or if she's doing something she shouldn't) and she climbs everything too! She falls a lot and gets hurt, but she doesn't seem to be deterred. Our table (which is taller than the average kitchen table) and the piano are her two favorite spots.
-She doesn't say very many words, but she squaks, screams, hits, and finds noisy ways to get her way. She's definitely the 4th child and knows how to stand up for herself :).
-Her very favorite things are books and dogs. She's abnormally obsessed with dogs, especially for never having one in our home. It's really cute, but sometimes awkward. When we're outside playing and she sees a dog being walked, she freaks out and wants to pet the dog, and sometimes the owners let her, but she never wants to leave so it gets weird. They don't want her to cry, but they can't stay there forever haha. There's a lady in our ward that sometimes brings her service dog and she loves to pet him in the hallway when we're out of class trying to keep her happy.
-She's in that independent stage and we try to let give her opportunities to be in control and feel like she's calling the shots.
-She digs in the trash cans, empties cupboards, and is just always exploring and trying to figure things out.
-She can be feisty, but when she's not tired or hungry she's very sweet with her siblings. Her level of understanding always surprises me.
-I'm still her favorite person in the world.
-She is a cheese ball and we love her so much!
When Madison was 15 months old, Kelsey was 5 days old so I'm really glad to not be doing that twice in a row :). I can't believe Madison was still so little when she came along. But they're great buddies and I'm so grateful we had them all when we did.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Clamming in Ninilchik

We were invited by a couple of Kenny's old work buddies to go clamming on Memorial Day. So Monday morning we left a little after 6 a.m. and drove the 190 miles down the Kenai peninsula till we reached Ninilchik. Neither of us had ever done it before, so it was a whole new experience. You go when it is low tide, walk out as far as you can and dig for clams in the mud. It was very messy, and very fun. The kids had a hard time walking in a lot of places. I mean it was difficult for adults, but their boots kept getting stuck in the mud and their feet would come right out when they pulled. So there was a lot of us carrying and helping them to just move around. I was carrying Kelsey in the baby carrier on my back the whole time, so Kenny did all of the clam digging by himself. It is a very physically hard task, so I was glad he was up for it. Not only that, but he loved it. It was a challenge for him, and he loves things like that. I told him I was so glad that it was a time sensitive activity, meaning we had to dig until the tide came back in, because I know he would have never wanted to stop! :)
We got there at a different time than Tim & Christina and Alexis, and Mike & Maren and their girls, so it took a while to find each other. But once we did, the men went off and kept clam digging, while the moms took the kids to another part to look for sea life and what not. It was a gorgeous day, and we had so much fun. The kids were completely worn out by the time we were done, and so were Kenny and I! But we loved being out there and seeing another part of this great state.
You first look on the sand for small holes or divots, then use the clam gun and push it down into the sand (which is hard to do), then pull it back out, and dump the sand onto the side. You can look for the clam in the hole you made, and in the sand you've just pulled out.
Our very first clam!! I think they're completely disgusting...but kind of cool too.
At one point Brynlee was so upset. She was crying and covered in mud, and got so frustrated that she couldn't even walk. She said "this is NOT fun and I am never having fun again for the rest of my life!" (ahem, drama queen) She said she was done and going back to the van. She started walking back the way we had come by herself, and no amount of persuading would make her stay. But then she saw an empty clam shell, and she was so proud of herself for finding it. She insisted it was a real clam, and put it in the bucket. After that, she thought it wasn't so bad after all and took it upon herself to help out, since she was so good at finding clams :) That, and daddy gave her more rides like this--which she loved.

This boy was in heaven
Lots of beautiful bald eagles, golden eagles, and seagulls.


Once you pull the sand out  with the clam gun, you have to hurry and reach your arm clear down in the hole you just made, and fish around for the clam with your hand. He was in clear to his shoulder!

L to R: Tim, Tyler, Mike, Kenny


Some of our treasures we found: top row- lots of starfish of all colors and sizes. Bottom L to R: squid, hermit crab halfway out of the shell, and various kinds of anemones sucked back in their holes

Far left in back Christina and Alexis, then Maren showing all the kids something she found


Awkward head shot to prove that Kelsey and I were, in fact, there with them.


Finally tuckered out on the way back to the car

Husking/cleaning them was my least favorite part. They are so slimy and squishy and just so gross! I know I'm a wuss when it comes to these things. I had the job of holding them by the slimy long thing that sticks out of the shell, and submerging them into boiling water for about 10 seconds. Then the shell pops open (or it's supposed to) and then I dunk them into a bowl of cold water, and use a spoon to scoop them out of the shell. Then I did the first part of the dissecting and removing of unnecessary parts, and Kenny did the rest. He was nice enough to do the most disgusting parts, and spare me a little bit. The last picture on the bottom right is so cool to me. Clams have zippers! As part of their bodies! I'm pretty sure that's where humans came up with the idea of a zipper because it looks just like one. It's pretty cool.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Camping at Kepler Park

Our first camping trip of the season!! I was really nervous about going with 4 little kids, and with good reason. In talking to my friend, I expressed my concern about sleeping. She was saying how I just can't expect a normal bedtime. I laughed because that was the last thing on my mind. Of course they weren't going to bed at 8:00, I just knew that Kelsey especially wasn't going to sleep at all! She is the only one of our children who hates sleeping with us. She will NOT fall asleep in our bed. She just only likes her own bed, and anywhere else is a big problem. Throw in really cold nights and only a couple hours of dark...I knew we were in for it. But the kids were all so excited! They each got their own sleeping bag and have their own camping chair, and they couldn't wait to build a fire :). Kenny got off work an hour or so early, we stopped and got a couple things--including my first ever fishing license!!! We also have a can of bear spray. I guess I'm officially an Alaskan now with those two things :). We tried to camp at Eklutna Lake, but we got their and the campground was full. Hello Memorial Day Weekend, and the first nice weekend in AK. So thankfully I had brought along our handy dandy 2013 Milepost book that has everything you need to know about Alaska. We found this family owned and operated campground a few more miles up the road. It was a great place for us! We had a great time and made some great memories. The kids did not want to leave, and are begging to go again next week. I'm still thinking about it.

The first camping trip with these little ones was definitely a learning experience, and we'll be more prepared next time. Kelsey did do horribly at night, as expected. I don't think we even lasted an hour in the tent. She fell asleep quickly because she was so exhausted, but she woke up screaming and wouldn't go back down. She and I spent the rest of that long, long night in the van. Everyone was too cold during the night, and my camping cooking skills have a lot of room for improvement. But we are bound and determined to be a camping family! :) I'm just lucky to have such an outdoors-loving husband who is good at it all, and is patient with me. I took far too many pictures so it's hard to only pick a couple.

He loves roasting his own hot dogs, and marshmallows, and anything else too

The only thing she will eat anytime, anywhere...Pirate's Booty. It is hand's down her most favorite thing to eat in the world. We gave her the whole big bag to herself so we could set up the tent without her climbing on top of everything.

Goin fishin

Caught one! (Rainbow Trout)

Her hair has a big funny lump because it got caught in the zipper while playing in the tent :). Typical Miss B.

Our humble abode

Caught another one! Sat. morning

 Kenny gave Tyler a chance to "help" him drive from the campsite, down to the parking lot and he felt like such a man! He loved it. Then of course Madison screamed until she got a turn in the parking lot. Poor Bryn still needs a turn to drive...maybe tomorrow :).