Friday, November 30, 2012

Half way there at 18 months old!

Marilyn is 1.5 years old going on 15.
She wants to do everything Thomas & Abby do.
She wants everything that Thomas & Abby have.
Same cup. Same plate. Same snack.
You get the idea.
My last baby is growing up way too fast.
I'm sure I'm going to say that many times in the coming years when she gets to elementary school.
Oh goodness... I'm gonna blink and Marilyn, Abby & Thomas will all be in school together.
Life is going too fast.
I did not authorize this at all.
18-month stats:
weight - 24.7 lbs (52nd percentile)
height - 31.8 inches (47th percentile)
  • this whole business of wanting to walk down the stairs while holding the railing and stepping down one stair at a time is scary business for your mama.  Couldn't you just keep sliding on your belly or your butt? 
  • you sure do love books.  You would gladly have us read 5, 10 and even 15 books to you each night at bedtime.  For time constraints though, we've had to cap that at 3.
  • you are so expressive... talking and babbling on so much.  Recognizable words include mama, daddy, doggy, juice, down, no, yeah, moo, baa, hot, ah-oh.
  • your sign language includes "more", "please" and "eat."
  • you love to run, chase, bounce, and climb.  And oh do you love my high kitchen table chairs!
  • One of your most favorite things to do (with Daddy gone) is to Skype with him.  You know the exact sound of the Skype "ringing" sound and you always comes running from anywhere else in the house when Brian and I are calling each other. 
  • You are still a rock star sleeper... good for 12-13 hours of solid sleep each night + 2 hour nap during the day.  No wonder you have so much energy, right?
  • you are still a snuggle bug and love to sit in mommy or daddy's lap or drape yourself in our arms when we carry you.
  • 12 teeth fill your mouth... and more are coming in as we speak!
  • a Cheerio & Fruit Loops lover you are for sure. 
  • Favorite foods include mac & cheese, pizza, any kind of noodles/sauce, grapes, bananas, PB&J sandwich and her sippy cup of milk!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

HAND-made ornaments

Salt Dough Hand Ornaments
To make:
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup water (give or take)
Knead until dough forms.
 Make impression and cut out hand shape with a knife leaving a border.
Poke a hole in top for hanging.
Bake at 200 F for 3 hours.
Paint, Seal and ready to hang.
Here is my gang chomping at the bit to get started!
We did hand impressions, but we had some leftover dough so we also did cookie cut outs & a thumb-printed holly leaf.
(Note: I doubled the recipe and it was only big enough for what you see here)

Once things were cooled off, we got busy painting and decorating.
I've found that if we have painting paper, smocks, brushes and plenty of paint... the kids stay busy having fun creating while I can pull them aside individually to paint their ornaments and/or take cute pictures of them.

Mommy did the painting of the hands, the kids painted the shapes.
 Ready to hang

 Unfortunately, I made the Santa ornaments a bit thick.
Actually... a LOT thick. 
I guess this will be a lesson for next year.
Additionally, this was not a quick craft by any means.  Matter of fact, time consuming. 
Although the end product is adorable and sweet, I'm going to have to rethink a quicker version of this for next time.
Either way, our HAND-made ornaments are ready to be hung this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The truth of the matter is...

  • I'm not superwoman.  But that seems to be the impression I give when I handle things.
  • I am really lonely when Brian is gone.  But my "game face" gives another impression.
  • I'm emotional at some point every single day.  That's par for the course with me, whether Brian is TDY/deployed or not.
  • I can be spiteful and I do it well. I have to work hard to not do it because it comes so naturally to me.
  • I don't like to ask for help - in large part because I think I should be able to take care of it myself.  Also because I don't like being needy.  Matter of fact, I can't stand needy.
  • I find myself in a rut from time to time.  Thank goodness it only lasts a day here or there.
  • There are days that I just don't feel like I did a great job at parenting.

The truth of the matter is though, I am loved despite all of my faults and imperfections.

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Thousand Little Things

There are a thousand and one reasons why I feel like I never get anything done. Of course, there are the obvious ones like laundry, food preparation, my {non paid} internship, that final push for that M.Ed, and, of course, children, but there are a ton of tiny little things that suck me dry every day. Let's review:
  1. Paper sorting/ signing/ responding/ trashing/ filing- completed schoolwork from children, fundraisers, assemblies, junk mail.
  2. Scheduling and maintaining the calendar- birthdays, dentist and doctor appointments, speech sessions, gymnastics classes, soccer/basketball practices & games, on and on and on it goes.
  3. Childcare- since I work part time this must be specifically scheduled weekly, prepared for, and paid for. Constantly.
  4. The never ending job of dealing with children's clothes- sorting, changing over of seasons, what fits and doesn't fit.
  5. Table wiping, chair wiping, nose wiping, tear wiping, butt wiping.
  6. Snow gear - getting 3 kiddos ready to leave the house when the temps are single digits is ridiculous.  Snow pants, snow jackets, boots, hats, snow mittens, scarfs.  And then they change their minds a half a dozen times.  No exaggeration.
  7. Picking up- toys, children, socks, shoes, papers, clothes, pillows, messes.
  8. On my laptop - personal email, M.Ed email, M.Ed discussion chats several times a week, job applications, blogging (although not a chore, but sometimes its just too much).  Being on the computer too much. 
  9. Dishes. Washing, loading the dishwasher, emptying the dishwasher, loading, emptying. That dishwasher is running endlessly.
  10. Telling someone to do something for the second, third, fourth time. Enough said.
  11. Other people's hygiene. Face washing, hand washing, butt wiping, dressing, toothbrushing, toothbrushing supervision, hair brushing, bathing, hair washing, lotion applying, diaper changing, underwear changing advising. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

I made a last minute decision Friday afternoon and decided that my crew and I would head downtown that night to enjoy the sights & sounds of the Annual Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.  It was our first up here in Anchorage. 
So with temperatures hoovering in the low-teens, I bundled us all up and we headed out.
I had expected a large crowd, beautiful lights, music and seeing Santa arrive to the light the TownCenter holiday tree as part of the celebration.
Just like any big event in a large urban city.
But it was so much more.
I was surprised, and really in awe, to find that this community kick off of the holiday season anything but urban & big city.  It was quite the contrary. 
There were cookies and hot cocoa for everyone compliments of the Salvation Army.
And I mean everyone.
And did I mention the candy canes from Santa?
But there is no denying that seeing Santa's reindeers up close & personal (and with no one else around because they were waiting for the ceremony to begin right near our parked car) was pretty neat.  The kids were most certainly in holiday "awe!"
 Unfortunately, I told Thomas & the girls that we weren't staying (to wait in the very long line) to sit on Santa's lap that night.  I didn't realize just how disappointed Thomas really was until we got home and he had hardly spoken a word to me. 
After tucking the girls into bed, we sat up and talked about not seeing Santa that night.  He ultimately was worried that he wouldn't see him again before Christmas.  But when I asked him what he would have asked Santa to bring him for Christmas had he sat on his lap... he couldn't think of anything that was on his Christmas list.  So, I told him now we had more time to think about one really important and special present that he would like.
Eventually, Thomas came around but it became abundantly clear that we MUST see & sit on Santa's lap this year... no exceptions!

Art Lessons

There's not but a few short minutes that go by in our house (or in a restaurant in this case) where Thomas isn't drawing or painting something.
He loves art.
 And even gives art lessons upon request.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers (onto Christmas edition)

Thanksgiving is over.  December is around the corner, people.  We are officially onto Christmas now.
  • I don't know if its because the temps are hoovering just above zero here in Alaska or that my husband is spending this holiday weekend at home in warm, humid, non-frozen Florida, but I had a crazy dream last night about laying on the beach in my bikini with my snow boots.  Weird.  I know.
  • I think Thanksgiving Thursday shoppers are crazy. Just plain crazy. Of course, I say that because I couldn't go.
  • This is the first year EVER that I have created and ordered our Christmas cards in the month of November. Unbelievable. People, unprecedented.
  • I witnessed the most heart-warming thing between Thomas & Abby last night when I came down stairs to tuck them into bed - they were both snuggled in her bed with Thomas reading the word on her vocab card & then her repeating the word to work on her speech sounds.  But the heartwarming part was him saying the most encouraging things to her as she pronounced each word.
  • I'm grieving the post-Thanksgiving Day leftovers.  I have none.  Of course, that will work nicely for my diet that I should now go on after eating as much turkey & fix'ins as I did.
  • I'm already feeling the stress of Christmas shopping and we are still a month out.  That's my personal demon that I struggle with because I don't have a paycheck.
  • I'm really looking forward to this weekend...hoping to make several "handprint" ornaments for the Christmas tree with the kids!  Bring on the "Ho-Hos" & White Christmas.
 Have a great holiday weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So much to be thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving!
Despite not spending this holiday together, I am extremely thankful my husband is safe and out of harms' way this year.

Truly thankful that a new friend has opened her home today to the kids & I to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with her wonderful family.  I'm truly grateful for new friendships.

I'm so thankful that all of my loved ones are with other loved ones or taking care of those who must work on this special holiday.

My family is healthy, my children smile & laugh everyday, and we are provided for by the most loving and caring husband.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.  Life is certainly good...

A baby girl who has grown by leaps & bounds this year and
has the most precious smile & giggle:
My little boy who loves to learn and has an amazing imagination & is so creative:
But I would be remiss if I didn't share that I am most thankful for my sweet, independent and strong-willed Abbigail who has found her words & sounds and continues to improve every day
with her speech:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: White Winter Photo Shoot

Foul-Mouth Mommy

If you are easily offended, please don't read this.  If you have a good sense of humor & know that I say things I shouldn't... please feel free to carry on and read.

This morning as I was helping Abby get dressed, her underwear was twisted up & she needed me to straighten it for her so she could put it on.

After fixing her underwear, I handed it back to her and told her they were ready to go.  I didn't realize that I handed them to her upside down.

A: {looking confused} where is the hole?

M: No, not that hole Abby... those are the small leg holes.

A: {getting frustrated} I no see the hole MOMMY!

M: Ab, use the big hole.  Ya, know... the butt hole.

{Yes, I said that without even thinking}

A: Ohhhhhhh, yes... the butt hole.  I got it Mommy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

M.Ed - the end is finally in sight!

In just less than a month, I will finally be done with my Masters in Educational Administration.  It will be my 2nd Masters degree.  It will also be my final one. *whew*  The end is finally in sight!

Here's a look back at it taking so long:
  • Started April 2009.  Will graduate December 2012.  Completing the degree took 3 years and 8 months.  Been a long road.
  • Surviving one of Brian's 8-month deployments during this time.
  • Countless and endless TDYs which meant handling the homestead by myself.
  • One PCS (5,000 miles) move up up to Alaska.
  • Two pregnancies.
  • 3 beautiful and energetic children to keep up with.
  • My teaching career.
  • Being a stay-at-home mom in Alaska.
  • 16-weeks, 270 hour internship... Non-paid.
  • 11 classes.
  • Research & Writing up to my eyeballs.
  • One supportive, loving, patient, and motivating husband to help see me through it all.
My hope {and plan} is to now have the opportunity to step into an assistant principal position here in Alaska and then eventually when we return to Florida.  My heart has always been in the classroom, making a difference in the lives of young teenagers as a mentor, coach and teacher.  Whether I was teaching history or listening to their struggles and offering advise and guidance, I've always wanted to be a positive influence on kids.  But after 12 years of teaching, I want the opportunity to be a school leader and a vital part of the bigger picture.  With my M.Ed {almost} done, my goal is take advantage of new opportunities in 2013!

Sneek Peek

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The week in pictures

 I assure you that homework time doesn't always look like this - so I figured it was worthy of a Kodak moment because it might not ever happen again.

 It's tough being young.
 My dear friend Corrie & two of her sweet kiddos joined the girls & I on a sleigh ride one afternoon.

 Basketball snacks!
 Checking out the new snow.
Notice where Marilyn is standing.
 One evening shortly before bedtime.  Everyone had the sillies!
Yes, you guessed it.  No one is even close to being ready to go to sleep.