Saturday, March 30, 2013

Snowman Clan

 Spring is here!  Spring is here!
OK... well that is what I want to believe anyway!
Temperatures are in the low 40s and the Spring storm that dumped 10+" of snow on us almost a week ago is melting quickly.  Although very, very pretty... I'm ready for it to go!
In just a matter of days, the kids went from white sand beaches along the Gulf Coast to this...
 Our side yard was once again a knee deep winter wonderland of fun!
Last night as we were driving back from Thomas' indoor soccer game, we past this Easter masterpiece in one of the local neighborhoods. 
Only in Alaska would you see this.
We also caught a glimpse of this snowman creation:
 And I've never agreed more with the locals!
 So, today we headed outdoors and decided to take advantage of all the snow Mother Nature has still cursed blessed us with.
 All of our favorite neighborhood friends joined us in the yard for snowballs, sledding, digging, and ...

 ... snowman building!
Finally!  After almost 2 full winters, we have created 3 awesome snowboys/snowgirls!
The snow was perfect for shaping, rolling, building and throwing!

 We were also able to use the snowman kits (faces, buttons, hats, etc) that we got as Christmas presents for each of the last two years.  Yeah for finally putting them to use!
Meet our Snowman Clan...

 Lots of snow + lots of snow toys + lots of friends = LOADS of FUN!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers (back to the winter grind edition)

  • Brian and I officially are registered for our first ever 1/2 Marathon!  We will be running 13.1 miles in the Mayor's Cup here in Anchorage in June!  Let the training begin... well, as soon as the snow melts & the temperature gets a touch warmer!
  • Speaking of snow, earlier this week Mother Nature dumped upwards of 10" in just over a day on us.  So much for Spring Break Up here in the great frontier.
  • Abby came home from school this week with her first birthday party invite.  It just so happens to be to a little boy she has the biggest crush on.  Yes, she is 3.5 & talks about a certain little boy quite frequently.  You should have heard Brian giving her the 3rd degree at the dinner table.  I actually feel sorry for any boys she plans on dating when she is a teenager.  They have no idea how many guns he has.  I'm just say'in.
  • And just like that... Thomas has now started closing the door (and locking it) to go to the bathroom and get dressed.  Hmmh.  What happened to my little boy?
  • We are up to 13+ hours of daylight as we head into this Easter Weekend.  Sunrise is around 7:30am and sunset is not until about 8:45pm.  Whoop-Whoop!  Bring on the summer and the midnight sun!
  • I read a quote yesterday morning that, for several reasons, hit home to me.  It's nothing earth shattering.  It's nothing new.  It's common sense.  And most importantly, I like it.  I like it a lot!  "Good things come to those who wait go out & EARN it!"
  • As I was getting dressed this morning, Abby told me that when she is 13, she will have huge boobies & need to wear a bra like me!  After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I told her, "Good luck with those gigantic-sized 34Bs!"
  • Abby is insistent on me giving her a "reason"on why she can't do something.  I love that she won't settle for "because..." or "that's my decision" but my goodness, she is persistent & a bugger.  Her exact words are always, "Mommy, what's your reason?"  Adore. Her.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - Easter Edition

In honor of this holiday weekend, here's a glimpse back to previous Easter weekends.

Easter 2008
(Daddy deployed)

Easter 2009
Easter 2010
(Daddy deployed)

Easter 2011
{the month before Marilyn was born}

Easter 2012
(California vacation)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Punching on Stripes

Although his official promotion won't be until later this year, the kids & I enjoyed Brian's SMSgt Promotion Selection Party last month!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teacher Humor

Thomas' teacher sent me a quick email yesterday.
I love her humor.
Great teachers' minds think alike:

Thomas - "Do you know...."
Teacher - "... the muffin man?"
Thomas - "No. Do you know...."
Teacher - "... the way to San Jose?"
Thomas - "NO! Never mind, Mrs. W!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Abby's Speech Update

It's been a while since I've shared any "speech" news for Abby, but there has been nothing short of serious strides made & major mountains climbed by our 3.5 year old ball-of-fire!  Today was Abby's first day back at school since coming home from our FL Spring Break vacation and she was more than ready to see her two favorite teachers and enjoy the company of her little classmates.  As she stepped off the bus shortly before lunch time, she was ubber-excited about bringing home her report card (as well as her book order catalog... the girl loves her books).  Without so much as a second thought, she handed me her book bag and said, "Mommy, I doing soooo great in school" and skipped inside to take off her snow gear.  Too funny!

When I had a quiet moment while the girls were enjoying lunch, I snuck a peek at her report card & quarterly IEP report.  Although I've known in my heart-of-hearts how much Abby's speech has improved over the course of this last year, it still took my breath away to read about the unbelievable progress she has made while enrolled in her special education communication class in the last 3 quarters.  I couldn't help but wipe away the tears of happiness and pride that filled my eyes as I read not only the kind words of her teachers, but also the data of progress that speaks volumes about our Abby:

Articulation - AMAZING Improvement!
  • Sept 18, 2012 - score of 161 (severity rating was "profound")
  • Jan 8, 2013 - score of 115 (severity rating was "severe")
  • Feb 25, 2013 - score of 76 (severity rating was "moderate")
Omitting Sounds - Wow!!! Unbelievable!
  • Sept 18, 2012 - omitting middle sounds 71% of time
  • Jan 8, 2013 - omitting middle sounds 36% of time
  • Feb 25, 2013 - omitting middle sounds 7% of time
Consonant Clusters - She is working so hard!
  • Sept 18, 2012 - reducing consonant clusters 108% of time
  • Jan 8, 2013 - reducing consonant clusters 85% of time
  • Feb 25, 2013 - *not provided*
Currently, Abby has a few vowel errors but her words contain the correct number of syllables.  She is correctly using beginning /f/ sounds and /k/ sounds in conversation (new sounds they have focused on this last quarter).  She continues to have difficulty with tongue placement with imitating /l/, but this is also one of the more difficult single consonant sounds.  Additionally, Abby's sentences are steadily getting longer (average sentence length is 3.3 words; only slightly below normal range of 4.1 words).  Abby continues to do a super job using "I" instead of "Abby" to refer to herself.  She is using early developing prepositions (in, on, under, behind), plural endings and is starting to use copula "is".  And in true Abby fashion, she is asking many, MANY questions despite being much quieter than her other peers.

Not to sound cliché or anything, but Abby has left me speechless.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Being honest - Marriage

I started this blog almost 6 years ago as a way to keep record of Thomas' life.  Then we added Abbigail.  And finally, Marilyn joined our clan.  The bottom line is this blog is for my children.  It documents their lives, our lives, and everything in between.  This is also my blog, so my voice is the only one represented.  Although many family and friends read this blog and enjoy the family updates, especially when we live so far away, I blog with the intent & the reminder that my children are going to be reading this one day.  With that said, I obviously censor what I share.  Actually, to be quite honest, there is a tremendous amount of censoring that takes place regarding my thoughts & my feelings about everything that goes on in our lives.  Brian, too appreciates that I censor what I share with the world.  He reads the blog, offers feedback and sometimes offers suggestions about future topics.

With all that being said, there are several reasons why I don't ever complain about our marriage.  Let me set the record straight, although we do have a great relationship, Brian still makes me crazy on occasion and we, like all couples, have things we are constantly working on.  We argue, we get mad at each other, we yell sometimes.  But, in the end, we respect each other.  It is that respect that sets the tone for how I talk about Brian on this blog.

I want our kids to know that marriage is work.  Marriage is compromise, give and take, friendship, and love.  It is not a perfect situation involving unicorns, roses, and rainbows.  To put it simply... I don't like to air any of our dirty laundry.  Matter of fact, that's down right disrespectful.  What happens in our house, stays in our house.  Sure, from time to time we need to vent, and we each have a special person that we confide in with the things we quarrel about.  I admit, he does make me crazy when he doesn't load the dishwasher "correctly" and I drive him nuts that I always fill his coffee cup up to the brim & usually spill some as a result.  We are human, after all.

Generally, we don't fight much at all, but when we do, it is my job as my children's mother to present their father with fairness and respect, not anger and retribution because we bickered and I didn't get my way or I think I'm right and he's wrong. This is true of the blog and in real life.

Without a doubt, I adore Brian and I adore our marriage.  It's not perfect, but that's for us to work out behind closed doors, not for the public to place judgment on.  I hope our children will grow up to see our commitment to each other as an example of what to strive for not just in marriage, but in all relationships.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Elmo Daze

There are only a few things that will stop Marilyn in her tracks & make her just stare...
1. Doggies (she calls them "woofs")
2. Babies (we have to make sure she doesn't steal any of them)
3. Elmo & his friend Mr. Noodle
OH, how that red, furry, little monster that so many toddlers love & adore...
can cause the Elmo Daze!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers (Vacation Recap by Numbers edition)

Fresh off the airplane from our much needed Gulf Coast vacation, and still a bit exhausted, here's a glimpse at the fun & oddities based on numbers:

18 - Days we spent on vacation
2 - Days that we spent traveling across North America
10 - Days in our beachfront condo
28 - Loads of laundry
273 - Times friends and family asked "how we liked Alaska"
273 - Times friends and family asked "when we were moving back to Florida"
1 - Day I went running
16 - Days I expected myself to go running
4 - Dates I went on with my hubby
64 - Average daytime temp in Florida
16 - Nights that Marilyn spent sleeping in a big girl bed (for the first time ever) without incident
1 - Fish that Brian caught while surf fishing
11 - Beautiful Florida sunsets
8,729 - Air miles traveled
3 - flights that Marilyn had to sit/squirm on my lap
3 - flights that Marilyn got a "free" seat all to herself
0 - Times that my little people asked to use the bathroom on the airplane
126 - Times that my little people asked for a snack while on the airplane
32 - hours spent waiting at airports and flying on airplanes
19 - Applications of SPF 50 I applied to little bodies and faces while in FL
1 - sunburn received... on Mommy... not kiddos
16 - Days I wore my flip-flops, not snow boots
6 - different playgrounds the kids enjoyed
7,933 - kisses the kids got from loved ones who missed them

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break Part 4: More Family, More fun!

As we wind down our last few days of vacation back here in Florida, we are certainly trying to enjoy the family that surrounds us (including those loved ones who have both flown and driven down to see us).  We have certainly been blessed with open arms and relaxing times over the last 2+ weeks.
Brian and I have both had chances to visit with our former colleagues/friends/bosses (and my former students) and catch up on old times as well as map out possible future opportunities.  To say the future is bright for both of us back here is an understatement and we truly look forward to the next time we call this place "home."
Here's a glimpse into the last few days of Florida Fun...
Hot Chocolate mornings 

 Monkey'ing Around at the park with Daddy

 Stroll'in with Nana
 Nana & her 3 Alaskan munchkins
 More naps
 More beach time - this time with my sister, brother-in-law, dad & stepmom!

 Sullivan sisters + Dad
 3 generations + Aunt Jen
 Sullivan sisters, Dad, #3 and #1
 Hang'in out with Uncle Ashley!
Playing with old school toys (Mommy & Aunt Jen's Cabbage Patch Kids) in the mornings
 Old School Lego's
 Abby hasn't let this Cabbage Patch baby carrier out of her sight - I have a feeling that this is going to make the trip back to Alaska with us later this week.
 If they were a little bit older & bigger... I'm thinking this would be a GREAT climbing tree!

 I'm not sure Marilyn wanted to get down...
 Sweetness in a small package!

It's hard to forecast out when the next time we will be home - whether it will be for a vacation or because the Air Force has chosen to move us back - but what is abundantly clear to Brian and I is that it has been so wonderful to be home.  The area that we call home is as beautiful as the day we left it, our family & friends have welcomed us with open arms and our future opportunities are extremely bright for when we return. 
Until next time, Florida!