Saturday, December 31, 2011

A year of change & reflection

I'm in awe when I stop and think about what 2011 had in store for us.  I'm also so happy that this last year we have had more family time together than we did in the first few years of our marriage & having kids combined.  It has been a long time coming and we have tried to enjoy all the cherished moments, learn from the difficult and stressful ones, and remember that the time we have with our children is only once and that the memories we create with them will last a lifetime.

This year we saw Thomas celebrate his 4th birthday, Abbigail her 2nd and we welcomed our youngest, Marilyn to the family.  We got to watch Thomas play on his first soccer team, Abbigail enjoy her first tumbling class, and Marilyn grow by leaps & bounds from 8 lbs to 18 lbs.  We said a bittersweet goodbye to family & friends in Florida and went on an adventurous 2-week road trip through Canada ending at our new home here in Alaska.  Thomas started preschool, Abbigail started speech therapy, and Marilyn has become mobile with rolling and inching in all directions.  I have been blessed to use the last few months to stay-at-home with the kids and come closer to finishing my M.Ed while Brian has started a new job, doing something completely different but using all of his career experience to move a squadron forward.

We are excited about our time here in Alaska.  There is so much that we want to experience with the kids, and some that we will do just as a couple.  But any way we look at the next 2.5 years it is family time filled with new and amazing opportunities for us to enjoy together.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry (belated) Christmas!

It was indeed a white Christmas for us as we enjoyed every bit of our first Alaskan Christmas.
The kids were spoiled with presents from Santa, Mommy & Daddy and loved ones.  And probably the most precious gift that I could have asked for was family time and with Daddy home and enjoying it all with us.

'Twas the Night before Christmas
 Stockings stuffed and presents wrapped & delivered
 The kids quickly found the note that Santa left behind after enjoying his snack.
 I couldn't take a picture of every present that was opened but here is a glimpse at some...

 We even ventured downtown on the day after Christmas to check out the deals and do some shopping of our own.  Look at who we got to see just walking down the main street!
 At REI, we picked up our first hiking backpack for Marilyn (which we will surely get at least 2 more years use out of).  She sure does have a great view from up there!
 We also picked up hiking backpacks + new water bottles for Thomas & Abby.
As a side note, we may have to rent another hiking pack to carry Abby this next summer... I guess time will tell how big she is and how motivated she really is about doing it on her own.  But needless to say, they are both excited about their new stuff and both want to know when the snow will be melted for us to start hiking (ha-ha-ha).  In addition to hiking stuff, we also got some snowshoes for Thomas & Daddy and we will head back soon for some light rainjackets/panchos for the kids as well as some hiking shoes for all of us and maybe even some camping gear.
I will have to tell you the story about the orange whistle clips that are on the front of their backpacks later.

 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The crazy BIG icicle

Look at our crazy BIG icicle hanging on the front of our house...

Marilyn - 7 months old

Marilyn had a well-baby checkup this morning and the stats are in... she is growing like a weed (or rather a beautiful flower) and absolutely healthy and adorable!  Of course, we did know this already but it is always a good feeling when the doctor tells you these things!  The downside of today's visit was a trip to the immunization office for a flu shot... only a few tears though & lots of kisses from Mommy!
Height - 26.75 in (77th percentile)
Weight - 17 lbs 12 oz (77th percentile)
 Yes... as you can tell by Marilyn's chunky rolls... she is a good eater!
Marilyn is such a happy baby.  She smiles and laughs a ton - whether it is at Thomas & Abby playing with her or when Mommy & Daddy peek in on her while she is in her crib awake.  It will make anyone smile back at her.  She is also babbling up a storm.  It's like she wants to be in your conversation and give her opinion as well.  There is a ton of drool EVERYWHERE, but there are no signs of any teeth just yet.  Soon enough they will be here which is when I may need to rethink breastfeeding.  Speaking of mouth, everything goes in her mouth that she can get her hands on.  I've warned Thomas & Abby but they have not taken me serious and found out the hard way when their trucks, dolls, or any other toy ends up yucky wet from Marilyn sucking on it.  BEWARE of the drool!

Marilyn is certainly becoming mobile with her rolling and the 360 circles she can do to reach her toys.  She also has managed to get her knees tucked up under her butt a few times but that is it - no crawling yet.  I'm not hoping for this anytime soon because I remember all too well that once that happens, its a whole new ball game after that.  We are going to start baby proofing the house once again though... starting with gate at the top of the stairs.  Another first for Marilyn is she just started to take a bath with Abby.  The two of them both have so much fun just playing.  She watches Abby do big girl stuff and Abby (I think) really likes being the bigger and older one in the tub for a change.  It really is fun to watch them together.
On the eating scene... Marilyn just started trying some finger foods (little baby snacks) & even has tried a few macaroni's, noodles and mashed potatoes.  New foods, new tastes and new textures is what it is all about now.  She has even started to hold a sippy cup.  We put water in it and usually give it to her after she is done eating.  She is a hoot with it and yes, she has figured out how to get the water out.  Not too bad for a 7-month old.

Finally, Marilyn is a really good sleeper.  Actually, all the kids have been good sleepers as babies.  Usually about 75% of the time now she will sleep ALL night long.  When I say "all night," I mean 7pm to 5am - definitely a good 10 hours.  And almost always after a quick diaper change and feeding, she is back to sleep for another hour or two.  And just this week, I found her like this one morning... FLIPPED over and still sound asleep!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A look back on Christmas

(Daddy is deployed here)
 also 2009

Hiccups & Glitches

Due to this stupid computer some minor hiccups & glitches, the birthday video will not be seen.  If I can figure out why YouTube and my internet connection don't like me very much... I will post it later.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share some funny, silly, and precious quirks from the kids this week -
  • Thomas told us he got to see the movie, "How the Grunch Stole Christmas" last week at his Christmas party.
  • Abby has now added "Purple, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Orange" to her word list.  Listening to her it sounds like, "Puple, Rerrow, Geeen, Boo, eh Ooran."
  • "Mommy, I am starving and I have an appletite." (not to be confused with appetite)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birthday boy

We treated Daddy to a homemade cake made almost entirely by the kids today.  The video is forthcoming tommorrow complete with egg cracking, mixing and the wipe-down song.  We think the finished product looked pretty good (considering a 4-year old & 2-year old decorated it)... and tasted absolutely delicious.
It ended up being so good that Abby preferred hers straight out of the pan with her finger.

Happy Birthday Daddy!
The birthday happenings & stories will be included in tomorrow's post.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Finally!  The Heck household is starting to feel a lot like Christmas.  We were a bit behind this year with everything, but we are rebounding and getting ready for the big day with just 7 days to spare.  There are tons of the white stuff outside, plenty of hot chocolate inside and more decorations that I can remember ever having.
Here is Marilyn getting ready for her 1st Christmas...

 Little elves hard at work decorating the tree.  I think their favorite ornaments are the ones with their pictures on them from years past.

 Although cold and crisp... it really is beautiful outside.  These next few pictures were taken as the sun was setting around 3:45 in the afternoon.

 Whenever we head up to the sledding hill, the whole gang goes (obviously... I can't leave anyone behind).  Abby has made it very clear that she is not interested in sledding.  She prefers to sit on the sideline and just watch.  When she is cold, she also has no problem letting me know that and insists that we need to go home... right then and there! 
Abby now insists on wearing her snowsuit + her winter jacket. She really looks like a pink Pepto marshmallow now. But if it keeps her warmer and she is comfortable - who am I to say no?
 However, on the chance that things are good and she is having fun... I get to see her and Marilyn enjoying the snow together while we watch Thomas tackle the sledding hill himself.

 As the Mommy-pulled-sleigh heads back home, my youngest passenger gets a little shut-eye rest...
 ... and remains asleep even after I lay her down on the bed and take off her snowsuit.  Poor little tired girl - I guess all that fun in the snow will do that to an almost-7-month old.