April 28, 2016

The Next Generation

The other day the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) hosted their annual science potpourri.  A day where the science building is filled with tons of displays for kids to learn to much about science.  We built buildings and then tested them to see how they responded to an earthquake.  Played with a water table, robot, and a bike that creates electricity.  We ate ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen and watched a chemistry show where things were blown up.  There was so much to see and do.

12 years ago when I was a graduate student at UAF I worked the science potpourri.  It was a fun time for me to be there with my own kids.
But what was really fun was the moment when we passed through the stairwell.  You see when I met Josh I was a geology graduate student on the third floor and he Josh was a chemistry student on the first floor.  We would meet in the stairwell, sit on the window sill and eat lunch together several days a week.  
To put our three kids on that windowsill where our talks and lunches lead to our love, marriage and these three smiling faces brought me so much joy.  How blessed we are with God's plan.

April 27, 2016


My relationship with my big sister is my favorite.  I am so thankful for her.  My visit to New Jersey was a wonderful time for two sisters to connect.

Today is my sister's birthday.  Even though we are not together in person today we celebrate.  As I spend time with my sister I think of Naomi and Abigail and pray they will have such a relationship as well.  I am blessed by this lady!

April 26, 2016

On Being An Aunt

My aunts are all wonderful ladies.  I have also loved seeing my sister be an aunt to my children for the past 5 1/2 years.  And after all Hillary has given to me and my kids I now get to give back to her.  My time with Matilda was so super sweet.  A time when I could love her without the obligation to getting the day to day chores done.  As a mother there is always so much to do.  As an aunt my role was to love the child while my sister, the mother, ran around.
And to make my visit to NJ all the more special my dear aunt came for one afternoon to visit.  She lives in New York but came down to see Hillary and I, as well as Matilda, and brought us lunch.
As I said yesterday, it was such a special time I will never take for granted as long as I live.  This week away from my daily obligations to relax, serve, love and in turn be loved so greatly as well.

April 25, 2016

Springtime And Family

The day after Easter, how is this almost a month ago, I did something amazing.  I boarded a plane alone and flew to New Jersey for a week. 
Josh was home from work, my in-laws were on hand to help out and I was going to be a sister and an aunt.  Baby Matilda was 4 weeks old and I was about to meet her.
Leaving snowy, muddy and chilly Alaska for spring time in NJ was heavenly.
As was uninterrupted time with my dear sister and her daughter.   Oh, a time when I could be the help they both needed without being a mother or wife at the same time.  It was an amazing gift to all of us!

April 22, 2016

Daddies Are Funny

When I was all packed to head to New Jersey to see my sister a volcano erupted in the Aleutian Islands, a part of southwest Alaska.  Thus my flight was canceled.  But since Josh was home to take care of the kids and I hadn't left, we got to have a family day.  Part of this involved going to the library for story hour all together.
Daddy helped the kids with their craft.  And while Ethan and Abigail made small feeders for the birds, daddy used the craft supplies to make Naomi a halo.  Daddies are so fun to have around!

It was good Josh stayed home from work as well.  My flight back east departed just 24 hours later then planned and I was off to NJ.  My visit with my sister and her new baby girl was about to begin.

April 21, 2016

Date Night

After our state cabin trip Josh's parents came to visit for Easter but also so that Josh would have some help.  You see we were switching things up a little bit.  Josh was taking time off work to spend with the kids and I was boarding a plane to New Jersey.  My sister had her baby in February and I was finally getting to go see them, help out and enjoy being an aunt.  

But, while Josh's parents were in town we took the chance to go out on a date.  Target range was stop number one.
I freshened up on my skills with the 380.  Feels good to be out with my love for an evening of fun, dinner and a movie as well as being a little more confident with how I can protect my kids as well.  

April 20, 2016

From Grammie

When Grammie and Grandpa arrived they came bearing gifts.
Grammie made Abigail and Naomi new dresses with matching ones for each of their baby dolls.  What lucky girls I have indeed.  

April 19, 2016

I Do It

Abigail can "fix" her own hair these days.  Mostly a low pony tail and then a clip for her every growing out bangs.  But still it is brushed and fixed.  She is proud.
Naomi just wants to be like Abigail.  She came to Josh the other day and declared, "Look I do it."  Hmm, baby girl I do believe I will help you just a little bit longer.

April 18, 2016

Heading Home

The first night in the cabin, as I was putting the kids to sleep, Abigail panicked and said, "I don't want to sleep here, I just want to go home."  Well, 36 hrs later when it was time to pack up and head out she was singing a very different song.
We all had a great time.  March and April for our family has been especially busy and slightly odd with our schedule.  These two days away were so special for us all to reconnect and relax before it all.  
When new things are experienced with such positive results we all know, we will be doing cabin life again soon.  So thankful for the beautiful state we live in and all the opportunities that we have to enjoy it all.

April 15, 2016

Evening Fun

One of my very favorite parts of camping/cabin vacations is the ability to complete the "home" type chores so quickly.
Part of visiting a state cabin is the expectation that there will be wood there to burn when you arrive and that you will leave wood for the next person behind you.  One morning the boys did a wood run and had so much fun.
But really, besides that and sweeping out the floor (2 minutes) and make your sleeping bag (5 seconds) the day is open for fun.  And my favorite is the after dinner fun.  When everyone is full, tired but has just a little more energy to burn.
Hiking in the woods to the sound of the evening birds, the coolness of the air, the sky as the sun sets.
It brings out a silliness, a honesty, and a pure joy within all of the kids.  No big expectations, no agenda and no plans.  Just playing follow the leader, running down the hill pretending to be an airplane and filling our boots with snow.  These moments are the ones I always hold close.  These evening times of play are so very sweet indeed. 

April 14, 2016

Cabin Fun

In preparing and packing for our cabin trip my sister commented how much easier it might be if I didn't have to pack all the food.  
I thought of this as I got ready and realized to me it is the activities for the kids that is a harder thing to plan then anything else.
Because we did play outside a lot when we were at the cabin but it was still winter temperatures, snowy and the kids - as well and Josh and I - do get tired from hike after hike.  Time inside is necessary and in order for it to be fun thought had to be put into the planning.
The first time we went camping as a family last summer I didn't do enough of this planning and the kids ended up getting into stuff they should not have.  At the end of the day nothing makes me more disappointed then having to scold my kids when we are all on vacation.  A trip that is supposed to be fun for all.
And as a result of that experience, knowledge and a bunch of small activities we had a great time.  Things the kids could do for 5 minutes or a hour.  Items that could be used up and then tossed in the fire and not hauled home.  A drop of food coloring in water and a paint brush, window clings, play dough, coloring books, highlight magazine full of stories to read and more.  We had a great time but we were also reminded of how important these areas of "ok" activities are.  Kids aren't adults and they are curious.  Without a little direction they often go right to what a grown up knows not to do.  
Plus in packing for the kids I did remember something for the evening.  Good books to read with no chores or technology to distract is a lovely thing for an adult as well.  Yes, time in a cabin in the woods provides outdoor exploration but also cabin fun as well.

April 13, 2016

Springtime In Alaska

It was so fun to rent a state of Alaska public use cabin last month but one thing to note, not all the time was spent in a cabin.
The end of winter/start of spring in Alaska is an amazing time to be here.
A time when the sun is out and the water is dripping a little but the snow is still there.
The kids still dress in full winter gear but each and every piece becomes soaked during each outing.  The snow is finally wet enough to build a snowman in yet the world is still covered with enough snow to play in.
We woke up in our little cabin in the woods, enjoyed breakfast and play, and then we headed out as a family to explore.
Where we had rented the lower angel creek cabin for a few nights, we were curious to see just what the upper angel creek cabin looked like.  The trek up the valley in this amazing sunshine was just what we all needed.
Upon seeing the much smaller and well worn upper cabin, the kids all appreciated our lovely cabin that much more and were super excited at the prospect of heading back for lunch.  Springtime in Alaska, before the muddy/buggy season really starts, is a wonderful time to enjoy for sure!

April 12, 2016

An Alaskan Adventure

Living in the interior of Alaska is an amazing thing.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Such as our truck, snow machine and the State of Alaska Public Use cabins.  So, before Josh's parents arrived for Easter, we set a few days aside for a new family adventure.  
We booked a few nights at a cabin months ago and then have had a very dry winter with very little snow.  As the date for our cabin rental got closer and closer we were getting concerned that there would be no snow to run the gear out with the snow machine.  Thankful the week before we recieved some fresh power and a few nights of cold temperatures to keep it in place for our adventure. 
With the truck loaded with gear to take to the cabin, the kids and I started off down the trail.  We left Josh behind to load up and shuttle items out for us.  
I started the kids on our "no stroller / learn to walk" venture 10 months earlier.  Last summer we took the kids on small hikes and all winter we have walked outside a mile or so almost daily.  But it was this trip that would put my views on our progress to the test.  How would the kids do walking the little over three miles to the cabin?  
I am proud to say they did really well.  We started our hike out a little after 5pm.  Just how things ended up happening with Josh at work, loading gear and then the hour drive to the trailhead.  Not an idea time to start a hike with preschoolers but that is what we had.  Thankful for the longer springtime days we had plenty of daylight ahead of us.  The kids hiked a long, needing encouragement, but steadily moving.  All the while Josh ran one load out to the cabin and then passed us as he headed back to the truck for the second load.
When Josh passed us heading back out that second time we had already passed the two mile marker.  The kids were starting to lag quite a bit but not complaining.  It was a good time to let them all climb on the snow machine with daddy while I hiked along solo for that last mile.
Turning that last corner the cabin was a beautiful site to see.  I had seen this cabin in our hiking/camping days before kids and it wasn't anything to write home about.  But then it burned down and was rebuilt in 2010.  It is by far the nicest state cabin I have ever seen.
Upon my arrival I found Josh and the kids inside with a warm fire started.  The kids were so excited about picking their bunk for the night and everyone was busy unpacking.  Thinking soup would taste good after a winter hike I had brought along a zip lock bag of some homemade ham bone soup and a loaf of my potato bread.  Both had been frozen for transport and I failed to realize how little they would defrost in the cold temperatures - the answer is not at all.  Luckily Josh and his hatchet came to the rescue and soon the soup was simmering on the stove while we worked to make the cabin home.
Dinner at 8:30 pm isn't what the kids are usually accustom to but it is part of what makes these kinds of trips adventures for all.  
Yes, a little time away from life and surrounded by family.  That is what this trip was all about.  The first day and night had us off to a good start for sure.

April 11, 2016

Ready But Not Done

During all this time I have been away from the blog, Josh has been working.  With his parents coming to town for Easter we had a deadline ahead of us to get the murphy bed done.
And where the unit still needs the sealing coat of polyurethane and sanding to complete it, as well as the drawers put into place, it was ready when they arrived.
 Ready enough to put a mattress, sheets and blankets on to comfortably sleep two for a week.  How proud we were.
And since the mattress pushes on the wall when it is up we can't put a picture or mirror over the bed.  So a wall decal was chosen instead.  I love how it turned out.
Yes, there is still work to be done before this project is completed but this week holds the time for Josh to do all of the completion work.  The kids' favorite part - a wide open space to run like mad in.  They have just as much space in the living room and the basement but this is "new" and so much fun.

April 8, 2016

The Holiday Fun

In addition to dressing up, feeling fresh, sharing a traditional dinner and all we have a little fun on Easter too.
 The kids get so excited about their easter baskets - and I get pretty excited about putting them together too.  This was the first year we hid them on the kids and it was fun to see them running around trying to find something all the while being not sure what they were looking for.
 We keep baskets pretty simple but in a way that is one of the joys of it all.  A new box of band aids to play with for each child is always a favorite.
 And this year the kids were extra blessed with toys from Grammie and Grandpa too.  Pretty much a child's dream morning occurred before all that dressing up took place.
And the afternoon, well it was certainly full of sugar.  As a mom I sometimes want to just call it quits and say no more, not another jelly bean or one more piece of easter grass.  But really, it is in my power to keep it simple and the joy of a special day set apart is so fun.  I hear people say all the time, "oh I just don't do holidays."  I can understand that reasoning but the days set apart from the day to day makes life a little extra special, brings a little more laughter and a lot more joy.  Yes, easter grass is super annoying but childhood memories - priceless.  

April 7, 2016

Thinking Back on March 2016

What a busy month we have had.  Full of good, busy and exciting days.  There are so many things that I am looking forward to show on the blog.  I figured a good place to start was with Easter.
 Easter is always such a special day at our house.  A time of new beginning and promise in our savior.
 There is no other holiday I enjoy sharing with these three then this day.
And to make this year extra special, Josh's parents were able to join us.  It was to be the first time we were all together for Easter and it made the day so special.  Church, breakfast potluck, ham dinner, baskets and egg hunts.  It was a wonderful day for all.

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