Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our first visitors

Grannie and Grandpop arrived a few days ago and the kids have been enjoying every second of their visit.  There definitely has been no shortage of smiles & laughter by all.
 For Thomas & Grandpop, it was especially sweet to see the two pick up like they just saw each other last week - playing, being silly, even taking a nap together (that is until Pop fell out of bed).  Here they are playing with a new Cars 2 toy... Finn, the secret spy car... which was a present from a recent shopping trip they all went on (can you say SPOILED?).
 I'm sure this made Grannie very happy... talking to her son via Skype.
Daddy is due home from his short deployment tomorrow afternoon - just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving with all of us and the rest of the week with his parents.
 Girls in pink
 Would you believe that these three are looking at one of those darn toy catalogs that arrived in the mail?
Who knows what they are scheming...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gym Rats

I mentioned last week that we have a FREE Arctic Gym/Playground on base.  Although we go weekly, from time-to-time I actually get to workout there as my kiddos play and have a good time.  My workout is usually not very long, maybe a 2-3 mile run on the treadmill and some Ab work on the mat depending on how busy and occupied the kids are.  Of course the great thing about this place is how relaxed it is.  I don't have to worry about people getting upset that the kids come over to me when I'm on the treadmill or if I'm down on the mats doing crunches or push ups... kids are everywhere and that is just the accepted thing here.  I have a juice box and a small snack for them on the stroller that they help themselves to and also plenty of little toys for Marilyn while she hangs out with me.  Here is a glimpse at my gym rats with me last week:

 Not sure if they are working their Abs or not?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers (Is it really almost Thanksgiving? edition)

  • Holy Cow... is it really almost Thanksgiving?  Like one week away, right?
  • For the record, I'm not quite as bad about buying "stuff" for Thanksgiving as I am for Halloween.  Halloween candy  I usually buy the day OF but I think I'm going to buy the turkey and fix'ins this weekend... you know, a few days ahead of time, to get a head start.  Ha-ha.
  • This is by far the coldest Thanksgiving week I have ever experienced (highs = single digits, lows = negative 9).  Brrrrrrr!
  • Grannie & Pop-pop arrived in the middle of the night last night.  We saw them early this morning and all had a wonderful time revisiting and having fun.  So much fun that ALL (with the exception of Mommy) are fast asleep before noon.  Can you say "exhausted"?
  • Just a random thought here... is putting 3 kids (ages 4, 2, and 6-months old) in the tubby all at the same time too much?  Is that a nightmare waiting to happen or the most efficient idea I have ever had?  Ha... I think the first is more like it. 
  • When ever Brian is gone TDY/deployed, I always resort to the "most efficient" way to do things as a mother of multiple kiddos.  But this idea is probably a bit over the top, right?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


For the record I'm OK with nicknames and shortened versions of names.  I, however, never had a nickname because my mother refused to let anyone call me by a shortened version of "Michelle", namely "Shelly."  Auughhh... doesn't that just sound awful?  Thank you Mom for standing your ground on the name issue. 

I admittedly do have a bad habit of shortening people's names when I get comfortable with them.  It's old habit.  It's who I am.  I do it with my children, my hubby, my family, my students, other people's students and almost anyone else that I have daily/regular contact with.  Again, it's out of habit.  If you are one of those people who have inherited a nickname because of knowing me, I hope that is OK?  Well, regardless if its OK or not, I'm sorry if you don't like it.

As for my own kiddos and their nicknames, its hit or miss.  They all three have them but for very different reasons.
For Thomas, being our first, we wanted to call him by his given name: Thomas.  We didn't want Tom, Tommy, Tom-Tom, TJ (Joseph is his middle name) or anything of the like.  The only person who has ever called him something else was Ms. Deborah at his daycare.  She lovingly called him "T" and he took right to that name."  With as much as Ms. Deborah loved on Thomas and taught him... she can call him anything she likes. But "Thomas" is what he is called by everyone else.  However, his mama also calls him Goose (for silly goose), Bud, and Thomas Joseph.

For Abbigail, she seemed to earn a new nickname every week.  Don't get me wrong, we call her Abbigail a good chunk of the time, but her other names are abundant too.  It started with Thomas being able to say "Abby" and then even that got shortened.  Throw in all the nicknames from daycare and you have quite the laundry list:  Abby, Abbers, Ab, Abbu, Abbilicious, Sweet-pea. 

For Marilyn, despite only being a few months old, she too has earned a nickname or two.  Abby calls her "May-May" but the rest of us call her "Mear" (rhymes with Bear) or even "Mear Bear."  Poor girl.  I really do try and say Marilyn so that she doesn't have any identity issues later in life.

PS... For my "Thankful Thursday Thought"... I am thankful my in-laws are flying up for Thanksgiving today.  It will be so nice to be around family for the holiday.  They are our first guests and we certainly hope they have a great time with their grandkids.  I'm sure the next 10 days will be filled with lots of pictures and stories. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gett'in her roll on - Part 2

It's hard to believe that it has been almost 2 months since Marilyn took her first roll (from tummy to back);
Today she figured out how to go the other way... the harder way... from back to tummy.
She has been trying to perfect the feet grab, the look-back-while-on-your-side, the tucked arms & leg-over swing and finally... the landing on your tummy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When you give...

Have you heard of some of the silly, kid-favorite stories of "When You Give A Moose a Muffin, ... A Pig a Pancake, ... A Mouse a Cookie"? 
Well here is what happens "When You Give A Kiddo a Camera" in our house:

(Photographers are Thomas & Abbigail)

 Sorry Daddy... the picture was too funny not to post!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Size 3 - The upside?

As I mentioned earlier on Friday, potty training is a very slow process with Abby.  S-L-O-W.  So, meanwhile she is wearing size 3 diapers (and periodically some Pull-Ups).

On the other hand, we are squeezing Marilyn's chubby & chunky tush into the last of the size 2 diapers.  When I go to the store this week, I will be upgrading to the next size.  That would be size 3 diapers.

So... is this the upside to one daughter not being potty trained yet and the younger one growing like a weed?  They will both be in size 3 diapers starting tomorrow.  Not sure if this will save us money or not, but it sure will be more convenient.  Wow.  Didn't see this one coming.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arctic Playgrounds

It's no secret that the winters are cold, dark, snowy and long here in Alaska (at least that is what I have been told).  Although we have enjoyed many afternoons on the playgrounds, going on runs & bike rides, the winter weather is officially here and I'm quite certain we will not be seeing any grass or bare sidewalks for many months to come.  With that said, you can only bundle up your 2-year old & almost 6-month old girls so many times to go out play with your 4-year old son in the snow & to sled down the hills around our neighborhood.

Introduce the Arctic Playgrounds that seem to be a popular choice all around Anchorage (including a FREE, yes FREE one here on base).  They range in size, price, the kind of play equipment and toys they offer.  However, there are a few things that all of these indoor playgrounds have in common.
  1. kids have a great time on them & expend some built up energy playing.
  2. moms & dads alike get a small break while they enjoy watching their little kiddos run around like crazies.
  3. the playgrounds have some kind of coffee shop, snack bar, sandwich place all located either inside or adjacent to the playground.  This of course makes it even more inviting.
  4. If you are like the Hecks, who like to bring their snacks with them to the playground... all of the playgrounds welcome that.
  5. There is always free Wi-Fi (although I'm on my iPhone)
  6. Everyone stays warm & dry while they are playing & having a good time.
With the snow falling once again this morning, I knew we needed to get out and blow off some energy.  So we checked out a different indoor playground not too far from base.  It wasn't too bad given that we almost had the place to ourselves for the first hour.  There wasn't as much climbing equipment as I would have liked, but the kids LOVED all the toys and were busy the entire time were there (2 hours).  Matter of fact, they even passed up on snack time just to keep playing.

 Isn't the license plate quite fitting for Abbigail?

As I said before, arctic playgrounds come in all shapes & sizes.  Here is the one we are lucky enough to have on base & the one we visit at least weekly for FREE.  As you can see, lots of things to climb, slide down, swing from & crawl through.  Usually Thomas is off running & playing with other kids his age as Abby usually plays by herself or trys to keep up with her brother and all he is doing.
 Adjacent to the big playground is this toddler-size one which Abby really enjoys.
 A rock wall for the little kids (and they have a full scale rock wall for the big kiddos)
 Let's just call this the Mommy Side. 
Lots of mommy's can be found here (me included) with their strollers, snack bags, playmates & workout shoes all while watching over their own kiddos while they get their sweat on.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers (Happy Veteran's Day edition)

Happy Friday.  Happy Veteran's Day. 
  • My "Thankful Thought" (because I missed yesterday AGAIN) - Thank you to all the men and women who stand up and fight for our great nation.  We are free because they are brave.  We owe our deepest gratitude to each of you, both past & present.  Thank you.
  • Speaking of our military hero... we are missing ours while he is 1/2 way across the world serving this great nation.  We love & miss you Daddy (Brian).
  • Marilyn is doing the butt-up, toe-pushing, sometimes-going-backwards attempt at crawling this week.  It's precious.
  • Abby is ho-hum about potty training.  She loves sitting on the potty as long as I'm right there with her reading books.  She loves her "princess" pull-ups and panties.  She, however, is not a fan at all about going pee-pee or poo-poo in the potty.  She has done neither.  Can you see where this is going?
  • Despite the slow progress, I know it will happen eventually.  Thomas was fully potty trained before he was 3.  There is time.
  • I'm sure there are days that every parent feels like this but my day was today.  I feel like pulling my hair out because of what my kiddos are doing or in some cases, not doing.
  • I have a full appreciation for my hubby's snow shoveling duty over the last 2 weeks.  Almost daily he shoveled before work in the morning, sometimes at lunchtime and often in the evening.  With him gone, guess who is stuck (sometimes literally) with the job?  I can assure you it does not get done nearly as frequently or as thoroughly.  But it does get done.
  • I'm at the half way point in my current M.Ed course that I'm taking now... and I can't wait for it to be over and for our holiday break to be here.  I'm just not feeling it.
  • Exciting news... before he left the country, Brian made room in the garage for this Mama's driving machine.  Yes - I am parked in the garage people.  This is indeed a first.