Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Valentine Treat

Valentine's Day parties have long been a favorite celebration in schools all across the country, with the theme focusing far more heavily on friendship and candy than on love. Most schoolkids bring valentines to school for this party, and the valentines can run the gamut from paper cards to homemade goodies.  Almost every Valentine that we got as kids had one of those little conversation hearts included - which you either LOVED or HATED.  Personally... I loved the corny messages more than the taste.

Well, the time has come where Thomas has to bring in Valentine's Day Cards to his class party.  Truthfully, I've never been a fan of this (even when I was younger), but I guess I need to put on my big girl Mama panties and just suck it up for Thomas' sake.  The problem is I just don't want to do the cheap little rip-apart V-day cards that are stuffed in those even cheaper white envelopes.  I'm thinking, instead, that I will make a little craft fun at home and make some home-made cards with Thomas for his party.  Maybe something simple like this?
If anyone out there has some better, more creative... but just as simple... let me know. 
But to kick it up a notch... I think we might also try this fun treat for Valentine's Day.  Yummy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Potty Celebration!

So I finally got serious about potty training Abbigail.  She has been showing interest and her 3rd birthday is not too far away (which to me is when we need to be out of diapers & potty trained).

We hit up my favorite kids consignment store late last week and picked up a 2nd little potty (which is identical to the first one we had... except this one is pink) for upstairs.  That was the first thing we did to start getting her excited.  The second thing was to pull back out the little girlie undies (complete with all her favorite colors and princesses) that she had picked out a few months ago.  One more thing to get her to buy-in to the potty training thing.  The third thing was to have an immediate reward that she could have when she put her "Pee-Pees" in the potty - I put together Dora The Explorer cups of her favorite lollipops and strategically placed them in eyesight in each bathroom.  He-he!  Yes, I am all about the bribery!

We kicked things off on Thursday afternoon when Abbigail woke up from nap time.  I tucked the diapers away & out of sight (because we are only using them for naptime & bedtime).  I pulled out the Pull-Ups (with Princesses all over them) so we could use them when we left the house.  And I set the timer on my iPhone to go off every hour... and for added buy-in I let Abby pick the sound.  With all of these preparations in place FINALLY, we started to officially potty train Abby.

OMG... do you know it took a lot of tears (from Abby), a lot of patience from both Mommy & Daddy, a lot of wet undies and pants, a lot of read books sitting on the potty, and a LOT of cheering and encouragement to finally get some Pee-Pees in the potty today?  Can we get an Amen?  A Hallelujah?  Yes, our little girl put her Pee-Pees in the potty and we celebrated.  The first time (yes there was a 2nd time too even by lunchtime) it was just a few drops, but by the next trip to the potty she gave a hefty amount and then proudly stood and said "Done!"  Seconds later she was requesting her prized lollipop that she ohhhhh so earned.

Wow!  Potty training is an exhausting business but it feels oh so good to see Abbigail doing it.  Way to go little girl!

Baby Dinosaur Roar

Video Clip - Just because you are little and happen to be the youngest in the family certainly does not mean you shouldn't be heard... at least that is Marilyn's motto. Here she is at dinner recently making us all laugh & giggle as she does her best to be in on the conversation. Her problem is she sounds like a dinosaur while doing it. If only you had a close up view of her big, gummy smile while she is in action... you would then get the full effect of her cuteness!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers (the We're Only Halfway Done with Winter edition)

  • So, just now it occurred to me that we (us folks up here in the most northern of northern places) are ONLY halfway done with winter!  What the heck?  Yes, it will be warming up however there is still snow on the ground (and sometimes falling from the sky) here up through April.  OMG!  I think I might be starting to miss the warm,sunny Florida beaches right about now.
  • On a warmer & more pleasant note, we've seen two moose this week.  I don't care who you are... that doesn't get old or boring.
  • I've decided that people who don't shovel their driveways & sidewalks are just plain LAZY.  Don't they realize that it is dangerous (because of the ice) and that people can get hurt (especially their kids)?  Dumb.  Just dumb.
  • I've decided that the short bit of time in the morning that I have to myself (as I savor my perfectly blended cup of coffee w/ hazelnut creamer & Splenda whiling pumping milk for Marilyn) is indeed the "Calm before the Storm."  All craziness begins the moment the kids are up.  If I don't get up shower, pump and get dishwasher unloaded &breakfast started... it becomes a difficult day from the beginning.  This is why I get up at 5:15am.
  • I know its not even February yet, but our taxes are done and filed.  Man... that feels good.  Especially since Uncle Sam owes us.
  • Have I mentioned that we are now in baby proof mode at the house?  Yep... closets, cabinets, electric outlets, stairs, etc.  It just feels like she was born yesterday and now she is crawling.  How did this happen?
TGIF everyone.  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Army crawl

Video Clip - Call her an inchworm. Call her an army crawler. Whatever you call her - make sure you get out of her way because Marilyn is now VERY mobile and is everywhere. Thomas and Abby have already learned a few lessons about leaving their favorite toys just laying around... she will get them & she will drool on them.

Wordless Wednesday: More Moose

Around the corner from our house...
 ... was another beautiful encounter of a moose today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

speech apraxia

There is no doubt that Abbigail is benefiting from her speech therapy with Ms. Amy. She has started at a young age and we have high hopes that through her sessions that are 2-3 a week, our help at home and eventually her help she will receive in preschool - her speech will become even more clear for everyone to understand. For most people, understanding what Speech Apraxia is foreign. Hopefully this might explain it a bit better:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The dogs & the best sled ride!

Today we got to enjoy something that none of us have yet to experience - riding on a sled that is powered purely by a team of Alaskan Husky dogs.  It was pretty awesome.  Not only the quiet sound of the dogs mushing through the snow, but the cold air blowing up against our cheeks (because the rest of our faces were covered) and the beautiful scenery around Hillberg Lake (which is obviously frozen).  It really was exciting and it is just one more thing that we get to experience with the kids up here in beautiful Alaska!  Another thing I got to check off the "Alaska Bucket List!"

We actually drove up to Hillberg Ski Resort (right here on Elmendorf AFB) last night to check it all out and make sure that it was something that the kids could enjoy.  And wouldn't you know it... this was the beautiful skyline that we got to enjoy as the sun started to set.  By the way - sunset this week is approximately 4:35 pm and sunrise is 9:45am which means that we are almost up to 7 hours of sunlight per day.
 The Team
8 dogs, ages 4-6 years old, Alaskan mixed Huskies
Pure adrenaline and power
 Guess who was first in line this morning?
 Made a few friends while we waited in line
 But Marilyn was probably the coziest & warmest out of the bunch.
Unfortunately, she didn't get to ride today...
 ... but she wasn't the only baby there so she had a little company!
 Daddy & Abby went first...

 ... followed by Thomas & me!
 And as a special treat, when we returned home we had this visitor strolling around our neighborhood.
He is literally walking across the street from our house...
 ... I think he was looking to see if anyone was out BBQing for the big football games today...
 ... but realized that most everyone was cozy inside their houses so headed home back into the woods.

Under Reconstruction

As I said recently...
It is time for a new look for the blog.
So consider the "HeckLures' Northern Adventures" under reconstruction
with updates happening regularly.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Army song

Thomas has been singing this song for weeks now and I have never really understood all the words he was singing until the other night when Daddy (who can clearly translate some of his lingo for me) informed me of the song's lyrics. Once I knew the lyrics... I now think it is absolutely hilarious everytime he sings it (which is upwards of 5 times a day) because this is just one more example of his Christian preschool having a big influence (which is good) on him. Often times he sings it for Marilyn to make her laugh and giggle and other times he sings it superfast (which is something I think they do at school to have fun with the song). Anyway, I've included the words below to Thomas' rendition of the song, "I'm in the Lord's Army" for you:

I may never march in the Infantry, (march)
Ride in the cavalry, (pretend you're riding a horse)
Shoot the artillery. (clap hands together)
I may never zoom o'er the enemy, (spread arms out and pretend to be a plane)
But I'm in the Lord's Army. (point one finger up to God)
I'm in the Lord's Army, (yes, sir!) (salute)
I'm in the Lord's Army, (yes, sir!)
I may never march in the Infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never zoom o'er the enemy,
But I'm in the Lord's Army, (yes, sir!)

Old School Popcorn

Video Clip - We had a movie night last night complete with "old school" popcorn and drinks. The kids were in awe of our new popcorn machine that made the world's most incredible tasting popcorn!  A huge thanks to Grannie & Pop-pop who sent it to us after realizing from their Thanksgiving visit that we have the most awful microwave for making popcorn.  So instead of getting a new microwave... this was the next best thing - and it was AWESOME!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers (The pictures that didn't get posted this week edition)

Hi Friday... I figured I would just get caught up with pictures that didn't quite make this week's blog posts.  Enjoy!
  • Two little ones who are practically as tech savvy as Mommy & Daddy (thank goodness for free Preschool & Kindergarten Apps on the iPhones...
  • With temperatures holding steady at negative numbers for the last week or so, we hit up a new Arctic Playground and everyone seemed to give it a 2-thumbs up!

  • After far too long of just sitting around for the last several years, Brian found the perfect place for my "Mother's Day Pots"... they hold my apples and soon to be herb or flower plants.

  • Darth Vader visited our house this week (ha-ha)!  Well... actually Daddy had his Chem gear out for inspection and some little troops got their hands on his mask.
  • This is what weekly grocery shopping looks like.  Fun Times.  Do you believe that I'm the norm walking around with 3 kids?  Yep... plenty of moms doing this with 4, 5, and 6 kids.  Crazy with a capital "C."

  •  Marilyn is not only a self-sitter, but also a pretty strong stander and is officially on the MOVE... she is perfecting the army man crawl and is no longer to be trusted and left alone even for a milla-second.  The gate is going up ASAP. 

  • For whatever reason, all 3 of my munchkins think its fun to be in the crib together.

  • I thought I would start the weekend with a "Friday Photo" of a something that has caught my eye here.  More than likely it is going to be something absolutely beautiful - which tends to be the case up here in Alaska.  Every thing is beautiful... just like this one of a side road here on base.