Sunday, September 27, 2015

Reflections Lake, Fall Edition

I'd been wanting to go take some pictures of all the beautiful fall foliage for a while, and I knew my chance was coming quickly to an end. So a couple weekends ago, it was a Saturday night and we had just finished up dinner, I decided we just had to go that night because it wasn't raining and the sun was shining! I have a really great husband who suggested I should just go by myself even though my original plan was to go as a family. So I grabbed my camera and my journal, and drove about 20 minutes to Reflections Lake. I found a nice quiet spot to sit down for a while and think and write. Then I walked around the entire lake (it's only about a mile) and took pictures along the way. There were probably half a dozen photographers there too. That's how I knew I'd made a good choice :). Anyway it was a really great evening and something I need to do more often. I find such great solace in nature, especially with water. It was a really nice, quiet evening where I could sort out some thoughts and just think, with no distractions. I feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful place where I have so many gorgeous places so very close to my house. 
When I got home, the kids came running out to meet me in the garage, nearly getting run over. (only kind of joking) Brynlee had just lost her first tooth and couldn't wait to tell me about it. It was quite exciting :). 

This is the Knik River, right by the lake. Part of the trail goes right in between the two.


First of all, we celebrated Kenny's 32nd Birthday!! On the 7th, (labor day) we had Andy and Shalee and kids over for a little get together/party. We just had lunch together and cake and ice cream, pretty low key. Then the next day, his real birthday we had another little family party that night. I was literally blowing up balloons while I was driving in the car, and making his candy poster in the car while waiting for Bryn's dance class. It was a busy day, but we did it. That night we had all his favorite foods for dinner: steak, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and pretzel rolls. And of course brownies and ice cream for dessert. (2 nights in a row of dessert!! ) I gave up on buying this guy gifts long ago. So he went and picked himself up a remote control helicopter the night before, and the kids helped me wrap it and he pretended to be surprised when he opened it that night. :) He's a hard one to please, and very particular, so he gets to pick out his own gifts. It doesn't sound very romantic, but after almost 10 years of dreading holidays, trust me this is the best situation. We sure love this guy and all he does for us. I hope he knows how much he means to all of us.

I ended up having to buy each of them 2 pairs of shoes for their one dance class, which made me so mad I nearly withdrew them! I was certainly not planning on that cost when I signed them up. Lesson learned. But they sure do have fun click-clacking around the house in their little tap shoes and mismatched socks. These two are quite a pair. :)

New instruments!! Brynlee has started taking violin lessons, and Tyler has started on the cello. I'm very excited to watch them learn and develop their talents in music. Hopefully it'll help Brynlee with her ability to focus too :).

Our chickens are laying an average of 8 eggs a day, which is a lot! We've sold about 4 dozen, and hope to find some regular customers because it's more than we can do. We often have eggs for breakfast, or german pancakes, or a frittata for an easy Sunday dinner.

One Friday morning this was taking place...Tyler was dissecting owl pellets, leftover from CC. They all did it in their class, but they had some extras and Tyler was more than willing to bring them home! It was awfully gross, but pretty cool too as they were able to identify lots of different bones and even found some whole skulls! Bryn loved it too, of course. Speaking of Brynlee, below she is building a rabbit "trap". There were 3 little rabbits always hopping around in the bushes at the end of our street. Brynlee really wanted to catch them because she was worried they wouldn't survive the winter. So she worked hard making this little trap (complete with a window covered in saran wrap) and even put in lettuce and carrots inside. Daddy was nice enough to walk down the street with her to help her set it up. He decided to check with the neighbors just to be sure, and lo and behold it's their bunny rabbits! So we weren't able to catch them after all. Not that I thought it was going to work, but Bryn as pretty deflated. We were wondering why they just let them roam free, always hopping back and forth across that road. I had to stop multiple times to avoid hitting them. The other day one of the black ones was dead on the road, so that serves them right for not taking care of them. Bryn would have done a much better job. :)

Tyler's been in soccer. Practice every Thursday night, which I do because Kenny's gone doing visits, and games on Saturdays. He loves it. It's literally raining almost every single time they play. So in some of the pictures I have him wearing his coat underneath his jersey. It's just so cold. A lot of the kids don't even wear under armor and they're freezing! He's having a great time though and improving. He really loves this sport.

 Raking leaves as a family. Bryn and Madi were really getting into it, they thought it was the best job ever!

 Above: We go on a walk every Sunday unless it's pouring rain. They're putting in new roads and selling off all the lots just down the street from us so there will be lots of new construction soon!
Below: Every day I read a chapter from our family read aloud. Right now we're reading Caddie Woodlawn. It's a fabulous book! Bryn likes to practice braids and twists and what not in my hair while I read.

I was released from my calling in Cub Scouts as the Wolf Den leader, and put in as the Secretary in primary. But because they haven't filled this calling, I'm doing both. I don't dislike scouts, but I will be glad when they find a replacement :).

One last thing: this past Friday, the 25th, Kenny and I had planned all week on going to the temple. We had arranged with Andy and Shalee to watch our kids so we could go. I rearranged Tyler's popcorn selling (a fundraiser for cub scouts) and had someone fill in for him, etc. We worked our whole day around it. I took the kids in a little early to Anchorage so we could go to the library for a bit. Then we picked up Kenny from work, grabbed some pizzas for everyone to eat, dropped the kids and pizza off and drove down to the temple, scarfing Subway down quickly. Then we got there and it was CLOSED. This is not the first time this has happened to me. It made me so mad! I should've learned my lesson the first time and always check online before working my whole week around a temple trip. It's very frustrating how few sessions there are to choose from anyway, and then all the dang maintenance days make it that much harder to attend. Anyway. We ended up going right back to the Weston's and hanging out with them for the evening. While we were there, Kenny and Andy were working with Briggs to walk using mini M&M's and he took his FIRST STEPS! Everyone was there cheering for him and we were all so excited. It was so cute. Hopefully he'll pick it up quickly. On the way home we very nearly hit a moose. It was quite scary how close it came, actually. Thankfully Kenny saw it coming out of the corner of his eye and slammed hard on his brakes. It was a huge male moose with very big antlers and would've been quite a collision. He just kept running straight across and up the other side of the road. It was scary but I'm so grateful that nothing happened. We felt very blessed. Plus the kids thought it was awesome :).
I'm sure there's lots more I'm forgetting, but I'd better stop there. September's been good to us. Except for all the rain, but I guess we've had it coming...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Blueberry Picking

On Labor day we decided we just couldn't wait any longer and headed up Hatcher's Pass to get what few blueberries were left. It's an annual tradition, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. That place is like heaven. It's SO gorgeous and I just love the big open spaces. Everybody's so happy up there. We only got enough berries to add to one morning's worth of pancakes, but I'd say the trip was still a success. It was a perfect evening.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Wrapping Up August

We had one day of rest (Sunday) and then Monday the 24th we tried to get right back into the swing of things. We started up school, all the kids classes were already going and had even missed the first week of a couple things. I'm a little fuzzy on all the details, but I did write in my regular journal so I can reference it later. Anyway, here's a few pics from the last couple weeks...

When it's nice outside, it is pretty impossible to keep Brynlee inside. So I would try to move her schooling outdoors. This time I brought out a white board with some math problems for her to solve where she would be happy. Barefoot in the grass, with the chickens running around her and the sun shining on her, and of course a weird antennae/headband thing she created that morning. Oh Brynlee. I never imagined I'd have such a free-spirited, nature-loving daughter. I have to adjust my teaching style and everything to work with her but it teaches me patience.

All 3 of the girls started dance class. Luckily Madison and Kelsey are only a year apart so they get to be in the same class! Thumbs up for one less trip to make! They have lots of fun together and I can't help but smile every time I see them all dressed up. I think it's completely adorable. Especially when Kelsey walks down the stairs looking like this...

One lazy Saturday morning. Daddy sat down on the couch and they all piled on.

Google hangout to watch my sister Sarah open her mission call!! (We were in the car waiting for Bryn in her dance class.) She's going to Reno, Nevada and we are so excited for her! She's the last to leave the nest and we know she'll do a fabulous job.
Kenny cleaned these big windows for me and the girls wanted to help. But really all they did was climb the ladder.

Sort of embarrassing, but my sister Steph taught me how to curl my hair while we were in Utah. I tried it out one morning before church. Kenny came home from meetings and walked into the kitchen and almost didn't recognize me! haha. That is a pathetic, but true, illustration of how often I do my hair nicely. So here is to document that I did put forth effort into myself one time this year! :)