Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whew!

Well, after being so proud of myself yesterday for being on-time 2 days in a row, I woke up at 6:16 today.  Seminary starts at 6:30.  I threw on a jean skirt and a shirt and ran out the door.  I pulled into the parking lot at 6:29 by my clock, breaking every driving law along the way.  Luckily, my classroom clock said 6:26 still, so I was not late.  I have really pushed the kids to be on-time and make them sign in what time they arrived.  Today we made a deal though - for every day I am late, they get a free late day.  Hopefully tomorrow will be less hectic.

Ethan is sure growing up.  He has a new fake laugh with a little pout.  It is hilarious.  He also likes to pretend to blow his nose with baby wipes.  I told Doug we need to get a video to post - it is just too cute.

I guess Newman likes the family down the street better than ours now (the ones who take him home).  He slept outside their front door all night last night and didn't come home today until those boys were off to school.  I give up chasing him down.  He came home with his tail between his legs and refused to come in the house like he knew he was in trouble.

Monday was Brenden's first full day of school - last week was 1/2 days.  He decided he wanted to buy lunch, so I put $2.75 in a little sandwich bag in his backpack.  Last week sometime, I paid $60 for the year so he could eat whenever we didn't have time to make lunch or whatever, but I thought he would like to pay for his own lunch and it would make him feel so responsible.  So, then Monday evening he told me all about buying his lunch, but decided he wanted to take his lunch Tuesday.  Tuesday morning was hectic and I forgot to make him lunch.  Doug had to be to work early, so he dropped Bren off at the bus stop on his way.  I guess when Brenden got to school, he realized he had no money and no lunch and thought for sure he was going to starve.  He cried.  I felt terrible.  I am usually really good about letting him know exactly what his day will hold and I was in such a hurry to get Doug and Bren out the door that I totally forgot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A little piece of good news

The "mean dog" was not so mean today.  When I picked up Brenden at the bus stop, we walked home and Molly (aka mean dog) was in our yard.  She immediately jumped on him and knocked off his implant (which I did not discover until later and we had a big hunt to  find it).  Today she did not bite!  After that, Cosmo and Newman put her in her place and she was very calm and actually played with Brenden.  Whew!  For a few days now he has refused to go outside incase she might wander into the yard.  When he has seen her, he has immediately run in the house screaming.

Right now Brenden is trying to get Nolan to venture out.  I might go supervise that...

So far so good, but it is only 9:30.

I HATE to get up early - and there are few things I can say I HATE.  I LOVE to stay up late, and do - very late.  Today was day 2 of 6:30 seminary and getting up at 5:15.  So far, so good.  I have been on-time and even took breakfast!  This is also day 2 of 5 hours of sleep, so that trend is going to have to change.  I have 9 kids in my class, most of them are sophomores.  I teach at the Nikiski High School in a classroom that belongs to one of our ward members.

On other news, I kept it quiet, but two weeks ago Ethan's hearing aid was lost.  I like to blame it on Ethan, but Doug likes to blame me.  I found it this morning!  Doug took Ethan's booster seat off the chair last night and when I put it back on this morning, the hearing aid was sitting under it.  I am so relieved!  Ethan likes to eat them and throw them, so he has to be watched very carefully.  Now if I could find half of the other things in my house...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Onions in our grass

Brenden: Mom, look, we have onions in our grass.  Grandpa had these, but he didn't take them in the house and cook them, he threw them in the trash.
Mom: Onions?
Brenden: Yeah, come look!
Mom: Do you mean mushrooms?
Brenden: Yeah, what did I say?
Mom: Onions.
Brenden: They aren't onions, they are mushrooms.  You thought they were onions?
Mom: No, you thought they were onions.
Brenden: Mom, they're not onions, they're mushrooms!  You're silly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wedding Day

Today was Greg's wedding.  I was so sad to miss it and jealous that Doug and Nolan are there.  I am also jealous that Doug gets to hold our new niece.  We don't see many girl babies in this family!

Well, Greg and Kirsten, you better not be checking my blog on your honeymoon, but if you do, CONGRATULATIONS from Erin, Brenden, and Ethan.  We love you and hope you had a great day!  Have an even better honeymoon (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)!

Industry Appreciation Day

Today was Industry Appreciation Day in Kenai.  They basically have a big community fair with free food and a bounce house and all sorts of free stuff.  They have contests (like who can pull in a fishing net the fastest - nothing normal) and give away prizes.  They have a special bicycle giveaway and give rides on a utility truck.  They have all sorts of construction trucks and a fire engine and police car for the kids to check out.  There was a band and all sorts of companies advertising.  Brenden, Ethan and I went to check it out.  Oh, they also gave away a $500 gas card.  Who couldn't use one of those?  We arrived pretty late, so we missed out on most of it, but still had fun.

Freecycle is my new best friend.  Over the last 2 days I have rid myself of LOTS of stuff.  It is a website where you can post want ads or give away items (for free).  Yes, garage sales would be more lucrative, but I just wanted to be rid of a few things and no one comes this far out for a garage sale.  It is so refreshing to get rid of stuff.  Check out if you have freecycle near you.  You might find a little gem (for free)!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hilarious

Yesterday one of the links on AOL's homepage took me to "10 dumbest laws in America."  I laughed out loud at this one:

Texas: A recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.

The others:
-Georgia: Donkeys may not be kept in bathtubs.  Well, where else am I supposed to keep him?
-Nebraska: If a child burps during church, his parent may be arrested.  Uh...my fault?
-Illinois: You may be arrested for vagrancy if you do not have at least one dollar bill on your person.  I can't tell you how many times I would have been arrested by now!
-Wisconsin: Margarine may not be substituted for butter in restaurants unless it is requested by the customer.
-California: Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.  No, Fido, No!  A tavern?  Come on - PEOPLE do that.
-Florida: A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.  If I weren't married I would be there breaking that law right now, okay, 2 days from now.
-Virginia: Children are not to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.  Why not just say, "Halloween shall not be celebrated?"
-Colorado: It is illegal to ride a horse while under the influence.  Partially understandable, I guess.
-Nevada: It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.  Dang, and that was my sole form of transportation.  Guess we'll take the side roads.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Neighbors

You know, I moved to Alaska to not have neighbors so close.  We were mostly successful except those three little boys I keep mentioning.  Currently, they are out on my lawn with every outdoor toy we own on the lawn (yes, including the winter ones).  One little boy is trying to sled.

Two days ago I came home to find they had let the dogs out of the make-shift fence Grant made while he was here to keep the dogs home.  Yesterday, the boys abducted Nolan (and Cosmo and Newman) and took him home with them.  I immediately called for fence estimates.  Doug says he will build one, but that project falls somewhere in a large line of projects.  That is not to say that Doug doesn't DO them, just that he is never home TO DO them.  Now I am waiting for a painful glimpse at the estimate.  Luckily, most of the way around our yard is pretty thickly wooded, so we should not have to fence (although I am quite sure those little boys would trudge their way through).  Right now they are concerned because they can't find their dog.  I kinda wish I could take credit for that.  Sigh...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fishing on the Kenai

Aug. 12 may have been the coldest day of my life thus far (AUGUST, yes, August 12).  We went Salmon fishing on the Kenai river at 6:00 a.m.  
Doesn't it look cold?
Grant finally defrosted around 2:00 in the afternoon.
Those skinny guys need to chub up and get some insulation.
Poor Greg kept catching fish we weren't allowed to keep like trout and Dolly Varden.  Finally, we decided we better take a picture whether he was allowed to keep it or not, just so people would believe he caught something... 
My trophy trout.
The man is Dave, owner of Hooky Charters.  Talk about a great guy!
Warming up, slightly.
I counted at least 5 layers here.  Doug asked me to hold his coat toward the beginning of the trip.  I was happy to "hold" it for him the whole day.  (I also have a hoodie on, with the hood up.)  Sometimes I just had to put my head down and enjoy the warmth of my own breath, which I usually find disgusting.
Greg pretending Grant's salmon was his own catch.
Grant was the only one who caught a fish we were allowed to keep.  
It was a slow fishing day, but one of the best days I've had in a long time.

Time?

Doug and Nolan just left for Idaho, so I am hoping I will have a little time for updates and cleaning.  As soon as they left, Brenden and I were both bawling about how much we missed them.  Brenden and Nolan really have a good time together.  In fact, here is a picture of them today...
That is what we call a "Jeremy" smile.  Love ya, Jer!
The following picture is for Trudy's sake...
I was afraid that even with all of these notes I was going to forget to renew our temple recommends and Doug needed it for his brother Greg's wedding.

As long as I am talking about church stuff, I will tell you about our callings.  The second week we were here, the bishop showed up at our cabin and told us they were considering calling Doug to seminary (for any non-Mormons, that is that crazy church thing I did at 6:00 a.m. during high school).   We told him all of the reasons why they shouldn't and they didn't.  Doug is now the second counselor in the young men's.  I was called to nursery (which in Doug's mind is the BEST calling in the church).  Basically, I babysat all the kids between 18 mo. and 3 years old during the last 2 hours of church.  I cried everyday for the 2 weeks I had the calling.  How can they call a stay at home mom to a calling that she took 2 of her kids to?  It was my ONE day to see adults and be away from my kids.  I was utterly depressed.  So, knowing they needed a seminary teacher, I volunteered (I doubt that is standard church procedure).  So, now I get to be in seminary at 6:00 a.m. everyday and I hate to get up early.  It is funny to me that in Utah and Idaho being a seminary teacher is a competitive job market and here they can't get anyone to do it.

A few people have asked for pictures of my house.  These pictures are just from the previous owners.  I have not taken any and I am still painting the inside, so when I feel like my house is ready, I will take some interior pictures to share.  "Ready" is a very relative term.
So much for that copyright...
Our boat dock with a couple of our boats.

These pictures are from Doug's dreaded day of rowing...

Aug 6 - The day Grandma, Grandpa, and Greg arrived:
Fishing with Grandpa and Uncle Greg
I LOVE this face Brenden makes when he rides his bike - if you can't tell, his tongue is sticking out like he is concentrating.  I did not realize I did this too until we were moving and I couldn't figure out why my tongue hurt so bad.
While we had family here visiting, we tried out our fire pit and made s'mores.
I don't think Brenden ate any, but he sure liked to cook them.
Nolan on the other hand ate lots.
But I think Ethan ate the very most.
Sugar makes for happy little boys.
Greg - King of the rock at Capt. Cook State Park (aka. the beach)
Doug thought the picture of me was better than the picture his mom was trying to take of him and the kids.

I think I only have one more post until we are totally up to date!  Woo hoo!

First Day of Kindergarten!



He HAD to wear the new shirt his uncle Greg picked out for him.

Brenden totally posed himself for these pictures.  I totally cheated and they were taken AFTER school (I am so not on the ball with pictures - sometimes I forget cameras exist and that I might want some visual record of big events).

Brenden has been counting down the days until school starts for a while now.  He has been so excited.  We went yesterday to meet with his teacher and talk about the FM system, cochlear implants and hearing aids.  Today when we arrived, he was greeted by his teacher, his deaf educator, and his speech therapist.  I was so happy they were all there to make his transition a good one.  The K/1st class has 7 kindergartners and 12 first graders.  He says he found a new best friend, but did not know his name.  His teacher is SO quiet and there were times while I was in the room that I could barely hear her.  The speech therapist, Mr. Hufford said that he could tell that Brenden could not hear some things that were said.  The FM is still on order, but it will help a ton.

At the school they have a "boo hoo breakfast" for parents of new kindergartners.  It is meant so that the parents can all sit and cry together that their baby is all grown up.  No crying here!  There were kleenexes everywhere.  I enjoyed getting to talk to a few other parents though.  I think Brenden will really enjoy school - I love that he loves school so much - what better dream could any teacher have for her own children?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't miss it.

I just uploaded a post called "Who knew?" that appears after "I have a question..."  If you have not yet read it, please read it before you read this post (and close your eyes as you pass this picture).  Then they will be in a more appropriate order for you.

On Monday afternoon, Brenden was outside playing with his "friends" (the three boys down the street who evidently have no parents).  When they were headed home, Newman was following them and Brenden tried to retrieve him with no luck.  I told Brenden we would hop on our bikes and go get him.  I headed in the house for some shoes and realized that Brenden had hopped on his bike with no helmet or pads.  We made it almost all of the way around our loop safely, but down the street from us there is a evil, man-eating puppy who thinks Brenden is particularly tasty.  Well, he attacked Brenden, who flew off of his bike and his implant flew another 5 feet from him.  We figure he had a concussion because his pupils were huge and all he wanted to do was sleep.  He cried in a fetal position for 3 hours whining that the dog was getting him and he was mostly incoherent.  He seems fine now, but I was pretty worried for a while. 


Monday, August 18, 2008

I have a question...

Next to "I need a hug," "I have a question" is Nolan's new favorite phrase.  Lately, our favorite conversation goes like this:

Nolan: I have a question, mom.
Me: Okay, Nolan, what is your question?
Nolan: When I run away, will I get a big spakin' or a little spankin'?

Who knew?

My kid can ride a bike!  For the last several years, Brenden has ridden around on his bike with training wheels and I never tried too hard to teach him how to ride it.  He is kinda nutty and freaks out about little things, so I thought I would give him a while.  I told him we were going to try today after church and he cried and said he would fall down and get hurt.  So, I went through some boxes and found the helmet and elbow and knee pads.  I told him if he fell, these would help him not get very hurt.  In the process of the move or maybe from having gravel roads, one of his training wheels broke off of his bike, so I removed the other one.  I told him, it is okay if he falls, he just needs to get back up and hop back on and practice some more.  He said, "But I'll be okay, cause I have this!" and pointed to his helmet.

We went down to the road and found the most flat spot we could.  I helped him get steadied and started to run along side him.  I realized I wasn't doing anything, so I let go.  Off he went and he rode down to the house and into the driveway.  I was amazed.  The first thing he said was, "Dylan will be so proud!"  (Dylan is his cousin who is 6 months older, but has known how to ride a bike for almost 2 years now.)  Here is a little video for you.  Sorry it is shaky.  Our road is not what you would call "smooth" and I was more concerned about falling in a hole.  I will work on my movie making skills too.  I have not had time to play with my new movie software yet (and by new I mean one year old).

video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Moose have a hug

About 1,243,561 times a day Nolan tells me, "I need a hug."  This is not something I should be upset about, but it is getting a little excessive.  He can't go to bed without hundreds of hugs and wakes up in the middle of the night because he needs a hug.  I love to hug him and I love his hugs, but sometimes this gets a little out of hand.  When Doug and I came house hunting, we saw a pair of pajamas in the airport that had a moose on them and said, "I moose have a hug."  I have wanted them ever since.  When I was souvenir shopping with Doug's parents, I found them.  There was one pair and they were Nolan's size.  BUT, they were $23.  Anyway, they were cute.  Just had to share.  On this website, they are only $12.99, but no one seems to know that we still get the US Postal Service here and they charge an arm and a leg.  Also, on this website they are purple, but still say they are for boys.  Hmmm... what kind of boys?  The others were brown, but I can't seem to find them on the internet.

Halibut fishing in Homer

August 9, Doug, his dad, and brother Greg left at 4:00 a.m. to go halibut fishing in Homer. Unfortunately for Doug, we were up until 1:00 looking for our missing dog, Newman. That is a whole other story though. The boys had a great day. They each caught 2 halibut and Greg caught 2 salmon and the other guys caught 1.
Morning in Homer
Sunrise on the ocean
Two thumbs up - Way up!

They were incredibly close to several whales.
Greg driving the boat - SCARY. Who let him do that?
Reelin' in the big one.
Silver Salmon
The boys fishing
Doug's halibut
Greg and his halibut. Is that not the scariest looking fish ever? Or really just disgusting?
The other side of the halibut - much less scary.
Grant's halibut
Grant's salmon
Greg weighing in his salmon. He was only 1/2 lb short of winning the daily derby.

Now, about Newman. There are 3 little boys down the street who wander the neighborhood as if they have no parents. As a matter of fact, I have not seen any parents. Evidently, they have been trying to claim Newman as their own. They have been taking him home at night to sleep at their house. We were up until 1:00 looking for him and never found him. At 6:00 a.m. he was on the deck howling. The next night he was gone too. The third night, I walked down to what I thought was their house and knocked on the door. It was 11:00 p.m. 3 little boys answered the door and I heard one of them say, "Uh oh, Newman, you have to go home." I asked them to PLEASE not take my dog in their house. The next night Newman was gone, so I walked down again and they were in the garage with the hose water running (they told me they were trying to flood their garage) and they were teasing Newman with their cat. They said, "Well, we didn't take him in our house!" These boys are 6 and twin 5 year olds wandering around in what essentially is the wild. We have moose and bears here and I have never seen these kids with a parent. I was looking for friends for Brenden, but I am not sure these are the kind of friends I want him to have.
So, after being up all night, Doug threw up all day. They all decided it was a good way to attract fish.

Happy Birthday

Not that this is a normal blog entry, but my sister did not answer her phone today, but I know she checked my blog, so here it goes:

Happy Birthday, Em!  Love you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Visitors!

August 6, Doug's mom, dad, and brother Greg came for a visit.  Our house was a disaster, so Doug went to pick them up at the airport while I frantically cleaned my house.  Later in the day, I took Brenden to register for kindergarten.  He is so excited and I am pretty excited too.  Full day kindergarten - woo hoo!  He will actually be in a K/1st class.  He is academically way ahead of most preschoolers.  If it weren't for his deafness causing a bit of a social delay, I think we might have had him tested to skip Kindergarten.  He can read just about anything you put in front of him and has such a great desire to know everything.  He is always full of questions.

August 7 we went to Seward for the Kenai Fjord Tour.  It is a 6 hour tour (although you can take a 9 hour tour, 6 was plenty) through, you guessed it, the Kenai Fjords.  A fjord is a water filled inlet carved by ice.  It was a GREAT day full of fun.

Nolan was ready to head out!

Greg and Nolan spotted fish before we even left the harbor - Swedish Fish.
The boys really liked seeing the boats in the harbor.

Safety First!  Greg is very cautious... (rolling eyes)

This is the blue water I mentioned before.  It is so blue from the silt run-off from the glaciers.  What you can't see in the picture is all of the seals on the rocks.
Harbor seals basking in the sun.  We saw LOTS of them swimming, fighting and hanging out.

The gigantic glacier.  We were able to see and hear it calf (when it shifts and breaks).
Glaciers are blue because of their thickness.  The ice absorbs most light and reflects the short wave length blue light.
Ethan, Greg, Grant, Brenden, Trudy, Nolan
They fished out a piece of the glacier from the ocean.  Here is Brenden checking it out.
Brenden and Greg have been the best of friends since Brenden was born.

Ethan was rather bored, so he spent his time crawling across the bow of the boat.  We were the first people on the boat, so we claimed the observation deck.
He wore out Grandma AND Grandpa.

Sea lions.

A school of porpoises came and "played" with the boat.  They swim along side and back and forth under the bow.  It was incredible and probably my favorite part of the trip.
We also saw some whales, but were rather unsuccessful at getting a good picture.  There were lots of birds, but I am not an avid bird watcher, so I didn't care about too much other than the puffins.
Could it get any more beautiful?

As I said, we were the first on the boat and claimed the observation deck.  For the next 20 minutes we were fighting off people trying to claim our seats as their own.  We were fed lunch, but the boys did not eat all of their carrots.  We saved them for later.  One older gentleman had been trying to invade our prime territory and Grant was doing a good job of spreading himself across the seats.  The man came and settled himself across the entire front of the observation deck and spread out all sorts of paperwork.  Then he really started making himself at home.  He ate the boys' carrots and then stole our seats, spreading himself and all of his stuff across our prime location.  Rude!

Our favorite quote of the day was from a lady watching some fishermen remove their catch from their boat.  She asked, "What kind of fish iz zat?"  The men told her it was halibut.  Her reply: "Zis iz ze first time I have seen ze halle-butt."  We repeated it for most of the week.