Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pink Eye and Parties

We've had a good week for the most part. One of the not-so-fun aspects was that Tyler got pink eye. They were all sick with colds, then he got pink eye. Then Brynlee got pink eye. Then Kesley caught pink eye. And I'm crossing my fingers that Madison doesn't get it too! But it wouldn't surprise me at all if she did. Conjuctivitis is like the gift that keeps on giving! The good news is we have eye drops to take care of it, and that's a pretty easy remedy that I'm very grateful for. 

 Playing at OSP

One of my favorite times of the day. Studying the BOM in French (with English there as a steady reference for my rusty language skills). I'm determined to be better at speaking by the time we got to France--April 2015!

Checking up on our house as usual. We love seeing progress. This week they should be putting gin the sheetrock.

I feel like the last 3 weeks Kenny has been putting a lot of time in on our cars! Both the van and his car have been making funny (but different) noises. So he's replaced a lot of parts in both. In the van he changed the oil, new router and brake pads. In his car...well I don't know all the different things he's been doing, except for the alternator. I know that one. Boy it has taken a while, but he finally got it running well (with no awful noises) on Saturday and he was SO proud of himself! It was a lot of work but he persevered and saved us hundreds of dollars. I'm grateful for his handy-man skills. And you-tube.
On Thursday, BP had their company party. We met Kenny there around 4 p.m. and had a great time at the Shrek-themed event. They had a petting zoo, ponies/horses to ride, inflatable play-things, and of course food.

1st picture: Kelsey starts crying when getting too close to the animals. #2 she's warming up. Then Kenny just sat her down in the pen with them. She cried at first and then decided she loved them. She would literally hug the lambs and lay her head down on their soft little wool. She also picked one up a couple of times and was practically torturing this animal with her new-found love. We were laughing so hard.

Madison sat on the horse, and then freaked out and decided she was too scared. So she didn't actually "ride" on it like the other two did. Maybe next time. Brynlee sure thought riding that pony was the coolest thing ever.
Tyler also went to a few days of Bible Camp this week at the University Baptist Church. It was a free thing our neighbors invited him to, 3 hours each day. He went last year also and loved it, so he was very excited to go again and super bummed when he had to miss the first couple days because of being sick. It was great for him to come home and tell me about what he learned, and we'd talk about the differences between our churches, and our beliefs. It was a lot of fun for him and I'm glad he got to go.

Friday night we went on a date and saw Man of Steel. It was awesome! Always fun to get out together.
Saturday night we babysat for the Rogers (don't worry, the kids had all been on the antibiotic eye drops for several days).
We also got a storage unit that will make the transition into our next home fairly smooth.

Kid Quotes:
Madison made Brynlee upset somehow and through her tears she says, "Mads, you bwoke my happy heart!"
Saturday morning Tyler wakes up and gets a head start on his chores. He tells me, "I realize that if I just get all my chores done early in the morning, I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want!" HELLO!! This is a major revelation, and considering he's only 6 years old, I'm very impressed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What'er thou art, act well thy part

Sometimes I look at other women in the world and feel bad about myself. You know the ones. They're cute, and fashionable, with perfectly decorated and clean homes, multiple degrees, jobs, fancy titles, and of course--they're also moms. I read about them and think, what's wrong with me? Maybe I should be doing more than just being a mom. Obviously there's thousands of women are do more than just have kids. I wanna be cool too!

So I've been praying about it. Is this all I'm supposed to be doing? Surely I have talents and gifts that could be of some use too, right? Not that I have to go out and get a full-time job. But just to have something else, outside the home...bragging rights, if you will. :)

Tonight as I was doing the dishes after the kids were in bed, I turned on Elaine S. Dalton's Conference talk and listened to it. It was truly an answer to my prayers, and I had thoughts come into my head that I know were inspired. Isn't personal revelation awesome?! I don't know what I'd do without it.

My answer was not to look outside my home for satisfaction and fulfillment, but within these walls. To find it in acting well my part. However small and unglamorous it is, this is my part and by golly I'm going to do it well. I realized that turning my time and energies away from my family would only create more problems, not solve any. It's right here that I can focus all that I have--on my husband, my children, my house. It's being present in the moments I have with them that make my life so full and rich and meaningful.

Perhaps someday I will go on to get another degree. And maybe someday I will work outside the home. But I have received confirmations from the Spirit so many times that I cannot ignore it. Now is not that time of life for me (I know everyone's life path is different), and I'm so grateful for that confirmation. I look at pictures from when Tyler was just a baby and I think "Holy Cow!! How did life happen so fast?!" It was a good reminder to treasure these precious years.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Lovin'

 Another day at Goose Lake Park. I'm still not a huge "lake swimming" fan. Growing up in Texas I'm definitely partial to public swimming pools. I was spoiled with those. Nice chairs to lay out, diving boards, kiddie pools, I always know what's under the bottom of my feet, not so muddy...those were the good ol' days :). But we're learning to love lakes too.

Biking to the library on Wed. for story time has become a favorite weekly tradition. Don't mind Kelsey's outfit...Ty and Bryn always fight over who gets to pick out her clothes, and sometimes they both do it together without coordinating. So she ends up with interesting combinations of tops and bottoms :). She's cute though, so she can pull off anything!

 Live at the Library on Thursdays. This last week was the cool Japanese drummers. Although only a few looked actually Japanese.

Madison is always taking care of her babies. She's a great mommy and often gets after us if we're too loud..."Shh!! Guys! My babies are sleeping!" Sometimes they get put in time out, and they often get sang to (sung to?).
 Last Friday (I think) we went to the Natural History Museum because I had bought a groupon for it a while back and needed to use it before it expired. It was a fun place, and would've been nice to spend a little more time in there for Tyler. But they were doing some construction work and power washing it and stuff outside. Some rooms were so loud from the work they were doing on the roof, we could hardly hear to talk to each other.

Her stroller got a little too close to a bear display :(

Behind this "dino dig" display there were a bunch of tables and a kids' Lutheran camp were there on a field trip. They sat down to eat lunch while we were here playing. One of the camp leaders called on someone to "choose a prayer". The little boy says, "Number 4!" So they all shout "God is good! God is great! something something....Amen!" My kids were staring wide-eyed at this strange scene and it presented a great opportunity (after we left) to talk about prayer and how lots of people pray differently. They understand now that all praying to God is good, we just choose to be more reverent when we pray and think about the words we say. It was pretty funny.

My walking aquarium boy loved this place. You can thank his dad for that stellar shirt he picked up for him in Hawaii--despite my protests.

The Eskimo family. Minus Kelsey.
Kenny went fishing Friday night. He left straight from work with some buddies. They fished most of the night, slept a few hours in the car, and got up and fished some more. He got home around 10 a.m. I tell you he is a man of extremes, and he really loves salmon fishing :). He only brought one home though. The kids love watching him filet the fish and he identifies all its parts. I think it's so gross. But he did grill it for us on Sunday and it was delicious! It's starting to grow on me! We had the missionaries over for dinner too, and it was a lovely meal of grilled salmon over wild rice, grilled asparagus and corn on the cob. Perfect summer meal.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Father's Day

Last Sunday, June 16th, was Father's Day. We love having a whole day to celebrate what a wonderful father Kenny is. These 4 hoodlums are crazy about him, as am I. On Thursday night Kenny left right after work and went salmon fishing (the first weekend of the season--more on that later) and so he was gone all night long, getting back on Friday a.m. around 5:30. So it was a great time for the kids and I to brave grill shopping! It was tricky getting it in the car, and then unloading it and around the back of the house and setting it all up. But I did it, and he had no idea :). We were going to wait until Sunday to surprise him. But Saturday he was going to mow the lawn, so obviously he would see it if he walked into the backyard! So we decided to present it to him then and I think he likes it. I may like it even more than him, because I absolutely love not heating up the house when it's hot, and less dishes to clean. We don't have A/C (nobody in AK does) so when it gets warm outside, we are roasting inside. We've had an unusually warm summer, which is awesome, but it means a really hot upstairs. Anyways...we use it a lot and it's been great.

Tyler hugging him and Brynlee offering a bouquet of dandelions. You can always count on Bryn to have a bouquet of dandelions. She is constantly picking flowers.

Cute girl on father's day

Grilling some kabobs (steak for him, chicken for us) on his big day
 Kenny also had the opportunity to give a talk in church that day. He was very emotional. In fact, I have never seen him cry that much in our whole marriage as he did during that talk. Which was really sweet to me,  because it shows how tender his feelings are concerning being a father, and towards his own father. I loved hearing what he had to say.

I really love how Kenny always puts his family first. He is so good about playing and wrestling with the kids when he comes home from work. They can always count on their dad to be their for him, and take care of them. He is much more concerned about mine and the kids well-being and comfort than he is about his own. I love those things about him. When you get married, you don't really know what kind of a parent they are going to be, because you don't have kids yet. But I got lucky. He is a super-duper dad and we love him so much.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Funny Kids

My kids say the funniest things (I'm sure all kids do, I'm just around mine all the time) and unless I write them down I will definitely forget! So here's a few recent comments that made us laugh...

Bryn: My feet are getting so old!
Me: Oh yeah, why is that?
B: Because I'm growing up to be a mom and a grandma!
Ty: Bryn, you are not even close to being a mom or a grandma, you're only 4 years old!
B: Oh. Well, my feet are still getting old.

Madi: (upset about something) I just need apple juice to make me feel better!

Bryn: What's wrong with my heart? I just can't stop giving hugs!

The kids were pretty rotten during church today (Kenny had to speak so it didn't help that I was doing it alone). Kenny was talking to them about it tonight and asked them what they think the consequence should be. Tyler thought about it and then said, "No birthday cakes on our birthdays next year."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Camping at Eklutna Lake

On Friday morning we drove down to Eklutna Lake to go camping. We had only been there once (for our family pictures last week) and loved it so much we wanted to come back. So we did, and we had a great time :). It was fun to play in the water, explore the area, and most of all be together. I like how there are no distractions. We are all out there with nothing to do but spend time together. The kids have so much freedom to be dirty and play around, like kids should do. It was a gorgeous area, as you'll see. But I have never been in a place where there are SOO many mosquitoes! It was extremely annoying. We were constantly re-applying bug dope, but we all came away with a few more bites. There's a cute little ice cream shop (Rochelle's Ice Cream) a mile down the road and we went and got some chocolate ice cream after dinner. That was a special treat for the kids.
There were a few incidents... like when we were cooking dinner on our propane camp stove and I realized the beach towels, that we didn't notice were right behind it, had caught on fire! And also when Brynlee put the end of a stick in the fire, and then went and stuck it in a pile of dry leaves and started a small fire in the forest...yes we have to constantly be on guard when camping with small children. It is exhausting! I told Kenny if we just wait 7 years, maybe we'll all be able to enjoy it. :) But the sleeping situation was a little better than last time. We just had the 3 girls sleep in the van, which worked out a lot better. Other than the fact that I forgot Madi's pull-up and she peed in her sleeping bag and on the car floor. But we all came out alive and with some good experiences to remember and learn from, so that's what matters I suppose. We took a lot of pictures again, but good heavens it's so beautiful there can you blame us?!

We walked around the lake for a while, not all the way around because it's 7 miles long and 1 mile wide. But the kids love to take turns being "the leader" on our walks, and usually sing the song from Peter Pan.

They would spend hours just throwing in rocks (and logs) into the water. They never tire of it.

Notice the can of bear spray right by Kelsey. Thankfully we didn't have to use it, but I always bring it with us!

Daddy's really good at skipping rocks. Hang on, Kels!

Yes, we eventually did let Kelsey out of the carrier...and no matter how many times I tell Brynlee not to get in the water, she just can't help herself!

Tyler was dubbed "Keeper of the Flame" and took his job of tending to the fire very seriously, as usual. We've learned that if he doesn't have a specific responsibility or task at hand, he'll spend the whole day teasing his sisters :). He loved finding sticks, leaves, and rummaging through our trash to burn whatever he could. Then he'd burn the end of his stick and draw on the pavement with it. Needless to say, he really likes fire.

This whole lake is glacier run-off, and it is FREEZING. The kids really couldn't be in it for more than a few seconds because it started to really hurt their feet. But of course, that doesn't stop them like it does me! But they would throw rocks in to try and splash dad, and he would in turn spray water at them as they tried to run away :)

Kenny thinks my face "the morning after" sums up my feelings about camping pretty well :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Photo Dumping

Most of these are off my phone from the last week or two.

Went to Margaret E. Sullivan park where they have an awesome playground, and a beautiful view along the Trail. I forgot Kelsey's shoes that day which was stupid of me, but we had fun anyway.

We're looking into getting a dog when we move into our new house, so we occasionally go to the pound and the kids love it, Kelsey more than anyone

My little sous-chefs

Digging through mommy's "special bin" in the bathroom again :)

 We still love playing at OSP (our special place). The creek is especially tempting. Brynlee is in heaven here, and never wants to leave. I think she would live outdoors if we let her :)

Went swimming at Goose Lake Park again

One morning Tyler heard Kelsey crying and got her out of bed. He brought her upstairs but she didn't want me or Kenny, just her sweet big brother

 (Above and 2 below) Live at the Library has started up again. We went today and met up with the Reeds. They have a live band that plays, we bring a picnic lunch, and the kids go crazy and have a blast. It's especially cute to watch Kelsey dance--she is hilarious.

Sunday morning moose watching

Lots of playing in the sprinklers in the backyard
We also rode our bikes to the library and went to story time this week and enjoyed that. It's so close to home it's really nice. We're living it up while the weather is so nice! Everyone is amazed that it's stayed so warm for so long--but nobody's complaining! :)