Thursday, July 31, 2014

Updates on Kiddos

Started piano lessons after we moved out here. He takes from a lady that was actually in our ward in Anchorage. She comes out here to the valley one day a week to teach students, so I quickly called her--she's fabulous. He's making good progress and seems to enjoy it most of the time. I don't enjoy nagging him to practice, but isn't that the cycle of life? It's just part of my job as a parent, I'm afraid. After going to see lots of different schools and talking to people, reading, and lots and lots of prayer, we've decided to homeschool him again this coming school year. He's ecstatic. I'll talk a lot more about that later, though. Probably deserves its own post with how much stress and thought went into that decision.
He's still very creative and comes up with all kinds of things to make and do. Quite addicted to legos still and loves when he finds a friend or cousin that shares his lego passion. He is so excited about a new baby coming, especially that it's a brother. He really just loves babies and other kids and is really good with them.

Often starts new thoughts and sentences with "and since...". I've tried explaining the appropriate time to use the word "since", but she continues to stick with it, and Madison says it a lot too now. It's pretty funny. She absolutely loves fruits, except for blueberries. And she is my best vegetable eater, except she hates peas. Like really bad gags on them.
Bryn has the most grateful heart. She is always the first to say "thank you" for everything. A lot of times she'll even say "Double thank you for this lovely, lovely meal!" Or however many thanks she feels is deserving.
She's often the first to try new things--fearless attitude.
Bryn has come up with some of the funniest words to use:
"I can feel my heart beeping"
"I will give you a back scrub, then you can scrub my back"
"I'll have that done in a jiggle" (jiffy)
Once something happened and Tyler said, "hey! I wished on a wishing flower that it would happen!" Then Brynlee says "That's so crazy that your wish came true! I wished that I could fly, but it still hasn't come true yet!" I think she's still holding out hope :)

Oh sweet Madi is about to become the dreaded "middle child", haha. I'm really not worried about her. She's such a happy and sweet girl... except for when she's not :). I think she's figured out that doing school work leads to individual attention from me so she often requests to do her "letters and numbers" together. She and Bryn like to play "school" on the new chalkboard wall upstairs and Bryn teaches her to write different letters, it's so cute. She really loves to hand-wash dishes ALL the time. Sometimes I don't always want the help, but I try to never say no that, because who knows how long that will last. Really she's just always eager to help me no matter what I'm doing and it's fun to have a little sidekick. She's still a very devoted mother to all her little baby dolls. Lately, she often has them under her shirt to be pregnant, just like me. Then all of the sudden they just come out, ready to play. If only it were that easy :).

It's a good thing we are having another baby because Kelsey has been so spoiled for so long! Everyone thinks she's just hilarious, and she soaks up the attention. 2 year olds crack me up! It's such a fun stage and I love watching her learn and grow. We all think everything she does is so cute and funny, I'm sure she gets away with a lot more than the others have. She still has such gorgeous curl in her hair, which is finally growing well now. She's got a sensitive spirit and doesn't like to play too rough. Even when the kids or daddy are pretending to be a lion or some animal that growls, she asks them to be a kitty or puppy instead. She'd rather hug you, than wrestle you. But still likes to be thrown up in the air by her dad. I don't really have a whole lot to say about her, she's just a doll.

My mom and youngest sister, Sarah, are going to be here early early Saturday morning (4:30 a.m.!!). We are SO excited to have them here. Hopefully this little babe will be just as anxious to see them, and us, as we are to meet him! I sure am ready for him to come. But everything with this pregnancy has gone well and we've both been healthy and not had any complications. For that, we are extremely grateful. We're all very anxious for him to join our family. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Webbtons Days 6-9

Saturday, July 19th: We didn't have a whole lot planned for the day, but I think they were all ready for a breather. We went down the road to the Iditarod Museum, which is literally only a few minutes from our house and we had never been to it. It's not anything huge, but fun to see. We watched their movie and played with the adorable puppies, who are all future sled dogs. They were seriously cute. We had a delicious dinner of grilled salmon, wild rice and fresh green beans. That night we got some major treats (popped popcorn, doughnuts, and salt water taffy!) and had a fun movie night. We introduced our kids to the movie Andre, about a girl and her seal friend. We used to watch it when we were little kids at my grandparents house, and they all loved it. 

Sunday we stayed home, except for church of course. These kids just play and play and play. 

Monday July 21st. Unfortunately, Kenny's partying days were over and he had to return to work after a glorious week off. I can't remember the last time he had a whole week off! I was so grateful he took that time off, especially having just barely started at his job. But it was all talked about and worked out when he got hired, so they were kind to be so flexible. Anyway, we packed a lunch and headed up to Independence Gold Mine/Hatcher Pass. It's so fun to see those old buildings and get a glimpse into how their lives were. I can't imagine raising children in that kind of a place, but those strong women (and men) did it. We hiked around, picnicked, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The kids loved walking around in the cold lake, and dipping their heads in. Uncle Andrew got more daring and ended up swimming in it for a few seconds before his muscles literally would seize up and he could hardly walk out of the water! haha. It was very entertaining for all the kids who kept chanting for him to do it again!!

They dunked their heads in 

Tuesday, July 22nd: This was our last day with them! We ended up just going to Wasilla Lake, a few min. away. While it's not very touristy, it ended up being just great. The kids (and Andrew) love swimming in the lake and playing hard building in the gravel sand.

I know, I'm huge

I drove them to the airport that night, though their flight didn't leave until 1 a.m.! I always feel so bad for people coming and going from Anchorage, the flights are never good times. I'm sure it was rough, but we were SOO grateful that they made the trip out here. We had such a blast and made some really great memories. I loved spending that time with my sister, and I'm always glad when the kids get to be with their cousins. I know how much I cherish my relationships I have with my (many) cousins and hope they all can grow up with the same. They make fantastic friends. Thanks again Webbs! Come back soon :).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Webbtons Day 5

Friday, July 18th: We started the day out at the Reindeer Farm, because that's a no-fail place with kids. They always love the animals and it's very hands-on. We always have fun feeding the reindeer (except for Madison who cries because of how overwhelming it is), and the super tall elk. Then we went to the Farmer's Market (Steph's favorite!) there in Palmer and pulled out our picnic lunch. 

Kelsey always had to wear uncle Andrew's hat. She's recently developed hyper-sensitivity to wind and will sit there holding her little ponytails. She's SO stressed out (to the point of crying) that her elastics might blow away. Strange, and irrational fear. I'm not sure why she just all of the sudden developed this fear, but I sure hope it goes away soon. In the meantime, she wears hats and jackets with hoodies.

From here we separated. They went on to the incredible and awesome Matanuska Glacier. I didn't think that was a good idea for me at 37 weeks pregnant. Nor is it easy to do with little kids. So I brought home Madison and Kelsey with me. They slept for about 3 hours! We had really been just going and going and I was feeling pretty sore today too. So it was nice for us to all get a little rest for the afternoon. I was sad to miss it though. Especially since the last time we went was an ordeal, I have been wanting a chance to go back with a better attitude :). But I enjoyed seeing the amazing pictures they brought home and they all seemed to like it.

Webbtons Days 3 and 4

Wednesday the 16th we had a Wildlife Cruise booked with Major Marine Tours out of Seward. Getting down there in one piece was somewhat of a miracle as our gas tank was running on empty for the last 45 miles or so. There were literally no gas stations, but I sure said a lot of prayers. We made it in one piece and got on the boat excited. Pretty quickly after we left, Kelsey started acting weird. She was crying a lot and super clingy, also terrified of the wind. Then I noticed she was getting warmer, like feverish. After an hour or two, (I can't remember) she threw up for the first time all over Kenny, herself, and the boat. Thankfully I had brought a change of pants for her. Either Kenny or I had to be inside with her pretty much at all times. She did sleep some, a little on both of us. Her fever was getting worse too. The second time she threw up, it was less, but still got me and herself. I hate the smell of throw up, and we were stuck on that boat for several more hours. I felt so bad for her. They did have some ginger ale on the boat that we let her sip on. It was hard to stop her from drinking it too fast because I'm sure she was so dehydrated and had a dry throat after throwing up. Anyway, we all made it out alive but learned that Kelsey does get sea sick. She recovered quickly once we were off the boat and was pretty much fine afterwards. 

It didn't ruin the whole trip though, we still had a good time and got to see some beautiful, amazing scenery and animals. As far as wildlife cruises go, this was pretty successful. We saw a sea otter, bald eagle, puffins, seagulls, stellar sea lions, jellyfish, porpoises, and whales! All the kids did their little Jr. Ranger program on the boat and after filling out their packets, they were awarded a badge, which they all wore so proudly for the rest of the week :).

I should probably edit this to make it clearer, but there's a bald eagle in there. Really it wasn't a big deal because they are all over, but it still looked so majestic.

These sea lions crack me up. Some of them were growling back and forth at each other. 

That little building on top is an old World War 2 Bunker

Incredible glaciers

Some of them sporting their Jr. Ranger badges. Obviously the boys don't like that their moms take so many pictures! Lol

Brynlee also squeezed in a nap :)

Humpback whale

After the cruise we walked over and got some dinner, then of course had to treat ourselves to ice cream. It was a rough day at sea :)

That night instead of driving the 3.5 hours back home, we stayed in a little B&B. Our room had a King bed, and a full bed. So all the kids slept together in the King :). Kenny and Andrew tried to go fishing that night while we put our kids to bed. I say tried to, because it wasn't very successful. The fish just weren't running--it was bad luck. The next morning we tried again though. Steph and I had the kids at the park, while the boys tried to fish the Kenai river again. I'm sure had they stayed there for many hours and been persistent they could have caught some salmon. But because of our group full of little people, they didn't push it and I was grateful. We got some lunch and then drove over to the Russian River where there's a little more of a family-friendly spot to fish. All the kids got a turn fishing and they really liked that. It was a beautiful place to be. Just as we had finished and walked back up to the car, a guy came over and asked us if we were going down there. We told him we had just returned and he was glad because a bear had just come over there, and he wanted to warn us about him. Glad we missed him :).

Little Leighton is so cute how he idolizes his father and does just what he does. He was out there fishing for longer than all the other kids combined, he was so happy there.

 On the way back home we stopped on the side of the road to see the mountain goats above us. We also filled up our water bottles with the delicious, cold, fresh spring water out of the side of this mountain.

We stopped in Anchorage for dinner at a super yummy Hawaiian food place called Hula Hands. Then finished the drive home.