Saturday, June 29, 2013

Neighborhood Watch

Taken from our front yard looking across the street yesterday...
 Yep, we finally got some great views of the resident Mama Moose & her two little ones.  If you look close at the picture above, you will notice the Mama looks rather "skinny" AND it appears she has some pretty severe gashes & wounds.  Rumor has it from many other neighbors, she has had to fight off one of the resident black bears who thought her two babies looked like a delicious afternoon meal a few weeks back.  I'd say she is one tough Mama & I wouldn't mess with her.

A short while later, after sneaking behind the row of houses across the street, the Moose family casually emerged from the trees and wandered down to our street again.  It doesn't seem so in these pictures, but there were plenty of neighborhood kids (including 10 kids total in my yard) out playing, biking, and skateboarding.  Thankfully, most of our kids have learned to keep their distance from the Alaskan wildlife and observe from afar. 

With all the wandering around the streets & forested areas behind our houses, I think this Mama Moose & her babies give a new meaning to "neighborhood watch"... like they're keeping an eye on all of us & making sure none of us step out of line.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers (Operation Potty Time edition)

TGIF Friends.
  • Happy end-of-June-its-almost-July-oh-man-the-summer-is-almost-over!
  • Although the kids still have about 2 months left of summer vacation, I start my new gig in less than 3 weeks.  Wow... so much for a long Alaskan summer, right?
  • Speaking of going back to work - the Nanny hunt is narrowed.  Hoping to have the kids meet the potential two Nanny candidates early next week.
  • We're gearing up for our first summer camping trip (July 4th weekend) and everyone in the house is ubber excited.  The funny thing is Brian & I have no idea what we're doing.  There is a tremendous learning curve going on here!
  • Starting today, Operation Potty Time begins!  Cute little girly panties - check!  Pull Ups for when we leave the house - check!  Reward cup with lollipops - check, check
  • Thomas received a late birthday present in the mail the other day (Lego Star Wars Starship) and he is consumed with building it.  Despite it being for ages 8-14, he is doing awesome with it.  Total time invested so far = 5 hours.  Total time to go = approx. 2.5 hours. 
  • Abby has this new fascination with flip-flops.  Aughhh! 
  • This has been going on for quite some time now, but I have to build in an extra 10 minutes to everything we do to accommodate Marilyn's "Let me do myself" independent stage.  Some days we get things done quickly and we are early, other days things take F.O.R.E.V.E.R and we are late.  Oh the joys of 2.
  • Today might possibly rain.  I'm actually looking forward to a cooler day with clouds.
Enjoy your weekend, peeps.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You are my sunshine

Dear Brian,
You are my sunshine.
Not only that, but you are the:
Cookies to my milk.
Cup to my cake.
Cheesy to my poof.
Shake to my bake.
Peanut to my butter.
Ketchup to my fries.
Pop to my corn.
Beat of my heart!

I just want to remind you that after almost 10 years of knowing & loving you, you mean the world to me.  You are my best friend, my confidant, my partner-in-crime, my motivator, my support system, my voice-of-reason, my sounding board, my better half and my lover. 

Over this last decade, we've endured countless joys & blessings (3 in particular), several dark & lonely times (saying goodbye to our beloved Booker & Ziggy, as well as years of separation due to deployments & TDYs), and we know even more love today than the day that we said "I do" next to the water with our family & friends by our side.

I'm sharing this with you and the kids today because I want them to know how wonderful we are together.  What our family has been built on is nothing less than a rock solid foundation made of love & trust.  I know I tell "I love you" every day - several times a day.  But today I want to make sure you know just how much that means... I. LOVE. YOU. 

I love you. Unconditionally. And for our entire lifetime together.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Goals

This post has been sitting in my queue for quite some time now.  Not sure if I was trying to add more goals first before I published or was trying to accomplish some of them before I published... either way, here's what our Summer 2013 Goals look like:
  1. Ride a bike with no training wheels (Thomas) - we got this one early!  Check!
  2. Learn to tie own shoes (Thomas)
  3. Learn our phone number & address (Thomas)
  4. Ride his ATV by himself (Thomas)
  5. Potty Trained (Marilyn)
  6. Learn to write her numbers 1-10 (Abby)
  7. Learn to write her letters A-Z (Abby)
  8. Learn to swim (Thomas & Abby)... although will prove to be more difficult here in AK than FL given the lack of pool time and cooler water temperatures!  But this Mama is optimistic!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summertime Staples

Summer Staples in Alaska =
Graham Crackers,
Hersey Chocolate

Oh, one more thing:
Mosquito Repellent

Sunday, June 23, 2013


It's no secret that Thomas loves music.  LOVES.  IT!
In the car.  On the iPod.  While watching TV.  Makes no difference.  He loves music. 
And any kind.  Hip Hop.  Rock.  Country... especially Country.

I'm not sure whether to call him DJ "Jazzy TJ" because of how much he likes to dance, groove or "bust a move," as he says.  As many of you who follow our blog have seen, he dances & sings all of the time.  Case in point is here, here, and here.

On the other hand, it sure would be fitting to call him DJ "Cowboy TJ" because of his love of country music.  Not sure if that's because the car radio is tuned in to mostly country stations, or when he grabs my iPod/iPad/iPhone, there's an awful lot of country on my playlists or even because CMT is on the TV pretty often.  Either way, I'm fairly certain Brian and I are guilty of making him like country music so much.

What also makes him quite the contender for being a DJ is he can almost certainly name a song when the first few cords of music are played.  It blows my mind.  And most of those songs he can tell you the artist.  Music lover for sure.

Just a thought here, but... I'm thinking this boy is gonna have to go to a concert sooner than most of his 1st grade peers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers (Summer Solstice 2013 edition)

  • I've finally decided to stop being in denial and finally admit publicly that I am not running the 1/2 Marathon tomorrow.  Frustrated & disappointed... all in myself.
  • It has been a ridiculous heat wave up here in Alaska this week.  We broke record highs and reached 86*F.  This might not sound all that hot to my Florida friends, but try doing that without AC and without the pools & beaches we are so used to.  Oh, don't forget that the mosquito is the state bird up here too.  Sweat and bug bites are a horrible combination.
  • Speaking of weather, Mother Nature has clearly had too many drinks.  First, she gives us a two back-to-back record breaking winters AND now, she insists on doing the same thing in the summer.  Ghheeezz!
  • Oh, did I mention Mother Nature also threw us a big-enough-to-feel, but-no-damage-caused earthquake (4.4) this week?  Yep.  She has fallen off of her rocker.
  • I'm ready for our "airport run" tonight - I'm over this not sweet, not short TDY & more than ready for my hubs to be home.
  • Over the last week, I've interviewed 5 Nanny applicants.  3 of them are good possibilities, 1 of them doesn't give me any warm fuzzies and the last one is an absolute NO!  I imagine after Brian interviews the top 3 next week, we will have it narrowed even further.
  • I just signed Thomas & Abby up for swim lessons that start next week.  They're super duper excited! The great news is the pool is heated to 92* and indoors!  The bad news is this is as close to Florida as we are going to get for awhile.
  • Today is officially the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, and for us up here in Alaska, this means getting 19 hour 22 minutes of daylight.  Unless you have lived or visited here, you have no idea what "Land of the Midnight Sun" really means.  It really never gets dark here... only dusk.  Amazing is an understatement.
  • On that same note, now we are on the down slide to winter.  We start losing daylight tomorrow. Aughh!

The locals eat organic

We ran into this local one night recently when we went for a drive...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What we are dealing with

Not sure if it's a summer time thing, a Daddy is TDY thing, a 6, 4, & 2-year old thing... or a combo of them all.  But as of late, here's what we are dealing with in our house.
  1. Calling people liars - primarily Thomas.  If someone (namely Abby) tells her version of the story or tells what she saw (and it differs from his) or even if Thomas doesn't agree with what she says, he blurts out "liar" as he throws his pointy finger her direction.  It has taken a lot of patience & will power not to reach over on most days and yank his little finger off of his hand when he does this.
  2. Tattle tailing... both of them, but Abby is the worst.  EVERY. SINGLE. LITTLE. THING. she is running upstairs or running back into the house to report that so&so did such&such to her.  The icing on the cake is when she tattles that "he or she almost did X, Y, and Z to her!"  Holy Mother of Messes.  Abby takes the cake with this one.
  3. Pushing the "freedom limits" - namely where he can ride his bicycle to in our neighborhood.  Give the boy some wheels and he's off.  Almost immediately upon him learning how to ride this spring, I laid out the boundaries on where he could go.  All of it is in ear shot and almost every bit of it is in eye sight of the house/kitchen window.  But wouldn't you know, he wants to go further.  Rightfully so because he has some friends in neighboring Cul-de-Sacs.  But wouldn't you know, as soon as I said "yes" one time... he thinks that's an open door ticket to anywhere, or almost anywhere.
  4. Whining - surprise, surprise...Abby!  I'm at a loss of words.  It's everything.  What we are eating for dinner, where we are going that morning, what clean clothes there are/aren't in the closet for her to wear, what her "choices" are and why she can't do what she wants to do at that very moment.   OH, please give me strength to deal with a 3.5 year old who thinks she is 13.  Speaking of teenagers, I'm pretty sure that Abby might drive me over the edge in less than 10 years when she is a teen.
  5. Sharing... or should I say a lack of sharing - that would be Marilyn.  Yeap... Terrible Twos are in full effect, folks.  It's ugly at times.  Pair not-wanting-to-share with drop-to-the-floor tantrums and you've got yourself quite a mess.  A hot mess.
I realize this is not my first rodeo.  Matter of fact, it's my 3rd.  However, dealing with 6, almost 4 and 2 at the same time is a first.  The personalities, the attitudes, the behavior phases and the clashing of them together is like a perfect storm.  And I'm stuck right in the middle of it.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Your children don't care if you wear lipstick or earrings or drop them off at school in your PJs and slippers.
Your children don't care if their crayons are new or the markers are drying up. 
Your children don't mind that they have pancakes for breakfast and lunch.
Your children don't care what size your jeans are.
Your children don't care if you cut out carbs, meat, dairy, or sugar.
Your children don't care if your hair needs a color or cut. 
Your children don't care if it is raining or cold.
Your children don't care if the dishes are mounded on the counter or the laundry is mounded on the couch.
Your children don't mind if you stay home all day and skip big outings. 
Your children think you are beautiful.
They love you just the way you are.
They appreciate you sitting down for the meal, more than the balanced diet you strive for. 
They just want your attention, your ears that hear, and your touch from time to time. 
Coloring with you sitting by their side is more important than the perfect coloring tools. 
They love their home and can't see the mess.
And typically, if you fill their little cup with 20 minutes of uninterrupted will find your cup is so much fuller too.  And they most likely, will pitter pat off to putter with something independently.  
They just want you!
{I'm so thankful for this reminder from a blogging friend}

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to our:
Best Friend
And to all of the other wonderful Daddies in our lives... Pop-Pop, Grandma Mike and Grandpa Heck!
We love and miss you all!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


On many occasions, I have been told that Marilyn really resembles the character "Boo" from Disney's Monsters, Inc.
Today was no different. 
We happened to be in Toys R Us and 3 different folks came up and commented on how cute she was and how Boo & her must certainly be twins.
Whatcha think?

Friday Night Leftovers (mostly pictures edition)

  • We are having seriously "perfect weather" and a heat wave here in Alaska.  Sunny skies, light breeze and temperatures in the upper 70s.  Craziness.  Matter of fact, early next week we are supposed to see Florida-like temps creeping into the mid-80s.  OMG... what am I going to do without AC?  We might be visiting the frozen food section of the grocery store or sitting in the car soaking up the AC, for sure!
  • The Nanny hunt is in full swing and interviews are lined up.  Matter of fact, I had the first one this morning.  Now I'm not nervous anymore & I actually feel like I know what I'm doing.
  • The 1/2 Marathon is in one week.  Things are not looking good at all. 
  • I had the insane idea this week to take all 3 kids (by myself, because Brian is TDY) to Toys R Us so that the birthday boy could spend some of his birthday money.  After 1 hour in the store, we hadn't even gotten past isle 5, we had made 2 "emergency" bathroom trips, Marilyn was walking around the store with a  poopy diaper, and there was 1 meltdown near the Dora toys by poopy-pants.  Someone tell me what the hell I was thinking doing this... and the kicker was it was close to dinner time so we were all starving.  And just so it's clear... every Heck child left the store with something in hand.  I'm not that mean. 
Trying out Thomas' new reading chair in the store
 Best Buds
 The unseasonably warm & sunny summer days has been perfect for picnic lunches and snacks outside with friends!
 Homemade Lemonade Pops
 I snuck some balloons into the birthday boy's room as a surprise!
 School & sports physical... waiting for the doctor!
 Getting a chance to see this face on the computer this week always puts a smile on my face!
 1st campfire marshmallow roast of the summer!
 Enjoying the S'Mores!
My "helpers" in the kitchen when I was baking Thomas' cake.
I'm pretty sure they were there for only one reason.
 Abby's the only person I know who can pile high the grapes (this is when she had eaten half already) and eat Every. Last. One. Of. Them!
 Princess Marilyn