Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Return of the Parks

After a pretty mild winter, we are actually having what I think is spring! We are loving all the sunshine and spend a lot of time outdoors (when I'm not packing). We feel so lucky to live in walking distance from an awesome park, and get down there almost every single day. We're really going to miss being so close to such a fantastic place. But I'm sure we'll find other places we love in Wasilla. 
After playing on the playground for a while, we always walk on the nice trails for a bit and end up throwing rocks and sticks in the creek under the bridge. They like to find trees that have been chewed down by beavers, look for moose, (for a couple days there was one way too close to the trail for my liking, but she didn't seem to mind all the people) and find other treasures of the forest :). Life is pretty good when you are a kid playing outside.

The first butterfly we saw this year :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

Saturday Easter egg hunt at the park with several families from the ward. Might I just add this is our third Easter in Alaska, but the first without snow!! It was fabulous!! We just traded the snow for mud...

This is what the park looked like. They found eggs among either mud or thorny bushes. But candy is worth any cost :) 

Easter Sunday 4/20

My heart is so full when I look at these pictures. I love these kids so stinkin much!

And now some blurry phone pictures of our fabulous Easter dinner at the Sponsellers. Andy and Shalee and kids were there too, along with Joshua and Shasta Peterson, and Bro. Later. After the yummy dinner we all created tomb scenes out of play-dough and stuff. It was a really fun activity and I think we'll have to steal that tradition. The kids loved it. We loved having our last weekend in Anchorage to visit with friends and family, especially on this beautiful Easter holiday.

Andy carrying around 5 kids at once. 

I'm so bummed at out how blurry this picture turned out! I'm really going to miss living so close to Carmin. I decided we needed a picture together because of all the many things we've done together and neither of us are in a picture together. She is such a dear friend, and cousin.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The End of an Era

Well we did it. We qualified as the worst parents ever and got rid of our dog, Jake. We had tried selling him before, with an ad on Craigslist. But he was just so mean to people that came to see him, that nobody wanted him! But we just couldn't do it anymore. For a number of reasons, he had to go. It was pure heartbreak for my little boy, and I started crying every time I looked at him. It was (is) a very real loss for him. Jake was his best buddy. Once Kenny left with him, I just held Tyler and let him cry for a while. He said that even though he understood, he was still really sad. I've never felt so awful. Because I know that if I was an animal loving woman, he would have stayed. If I loved dogs and felt like all the extra money and work was worth it, we could have kept him. I apologized to Tyler and took full responsibility, I just can't do it anymore. I tried really hard for 9 months to be a dog person. But oh the extra stress and work is just not worth it. Maybe if the kids were older, or maybe if we didn't live in Alaska and could have an outside dog, or maybe a dog that was kinder to our own children and other people, or maybe a dog that didn't shed SOO badly, or maybe a million other things. But the point is, it wasn't working. I have to admit that I haven't missed him for a single minute. It's been very nice having that huge weight lifted off me. I know a lot of people will judge me (us) for this decision, but please not too harshly.
(We tried to get a picture of Jake with the girls, but he wouldn't stay by them. He only liked Tyler.)

A few other unrelated things...

Here's a funny capture of Kelsey pouting. Oh the attitude!!!

 We had a few more passes to use up at the gymnastics open gym before we move. That's Madison in mid-air :).

Also Madi stylin at dinner the other night

We enjoyed seeing the lunar eclipse a couple nights ago. It wasn't hard for us to see it because it was only 11 p.m. Pretty cool stuff

Friday, April 11, 2014

Patience is a Virtue (which I lack)

I think that I am given lots of opportunities to practice patience daily. But I obviously am not getting it very well because it's something I struggle with constantly. Lately it's mostly just little things that add up to make me a snippy mommy. 
Like people spilling their drinks a bajillion times a day. 
The excess toilet paper that is strewn around the bathroom floors or just thrown away when they pull off too much!! 
Or how the snow is starting to melt, so half of our backyard is now exposed with pure mud since we didn't have time to get a yard in before winter last year. We still have another month to go before we can put in a yard, but the extra laundry and daily mud and dirt that is smeared all over my back door and tracked into the house by well-meaning kids and a stupid dog, make me very impatient with trying to keep it clean. But Jake just paws at the door all the time and whines to come in which makes me feel like a big mean-y. But he's a dog, so it's totally cool that he's outside, right? I'm not that mean, right? Right?!
Also from the dog, he's shedding A LOT since it's warming up. I try to keep him outside ALL day, but there's still dog hair that collects in the corners and under the couches and sticks to clothes and drives me up the wall!!! 
Anybody want a dog? 
We're waiting to close, so I've been packing a lot. But I'm sort of at a stand-still because I can't very well pack up everything if we're going to live here for another week or two. So we're waiting. But whenever I have something big looming in the near-future, I feel like I don't know how to live normally anymore. I know that doesn't make any sense, but I'm just in this state of limbo and on-the-verge of a big change. 

I'm not trying to sound so negative. Yesterday was one of those days where it all caught up to me. But really life is so good and we are all healthy and happy, with so much to be thankful for. Of course there's little daily things that can seem really big if I let them. But the big picture, the important things...we're doing great.

We are most definitely enjoying all the extra light. It's quite a noticeable change with how much is added on each day and week. Our driveway is almost ice-free, and the sidewalk on the main road going to our park is melted now too which makes going on walks and pushing strollers so much easier. We are getting so antsy for summer and warm weather!!!
We are sort of in this rhythm where we do cleaning, school work, and activities in the morning, then try to spend the afternoons outside or running errands. It takes all day to warm up so that's the best time to be outside is late afternoon and evening.

 Building elaborate forts in the living room

 Tyler stays busy in the afternoons with practicing his hammering skills on extra pieces from when our fence was put in last year. He told me he's building a windmill, and is going to need some more wood. :) I'm sure our neighbors hate us for the pounding that goes on, but it makes him so happy and he feels like a man doing important building work.

One thing I love about homeschooling is the no-rush mornings. They can sit on the couch and read for as long as they're interested and that makes me happy.

Kelsey is quite obsessed with these "sparkle shoes" that she has recently grown into.

 I found this idea online to get shelf liner and those plastic yarn needles for kids to practice sewing. The holes are big and they loved it! Madison was a little young and lost interest after 30 seconds. But Tyler and Brynlee finished their creations. Ty made a monster face (of course) and Brynlee did a perfect rectangle. This is definitely something we'll keep doing.

 T & B enjoy "cooking" with the mud. They pretend they're adding in all sorts of ingredients with each shovel full of mud and stir it up with the board. Keeps them busy :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Enjoying the Afternoon Sun

After General Conference this weekend we set out to enjoy the beautiful day. We walked around Potter's Marsh (even though there's no birds back yet), and then of course had to go a few more min. down the road to our favorite Beluga Point. It was super windy and cold (as usual), but we love getting out to enjoy the beautiful place we live in. Together.

Kelsey hated the wind