Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brenden has a question:

He wants to know what a scientist who studies books is called - a bookologist?  (That was his theory.)  Doug says a scholar.  So, what is a scientist who studies books called?

I finished the bathroom today, but then tore out the floor, so you still get no pictures.  Sorry.  Now you need to start bugging Doug to get the cement board down so I can tile - I don't do cement board - did it once or twice and wasn't thrilled with it.  I figure it's the least he can do, right?  Okay, maybe I'll end up doing it, but I really do need Doug to take out the toilet.

I have moved on to Nolan and Ethan's room.  This is what happens when you're painting a kids' room:
Isn't it sweet?
You know what else happens?  Your six year old's little six year old friends walk in the front door uninvited and say, "Wow, this place is a MESS!"  Everything from the bedroom is stacked pretty much right in front of the front door.  I said, "Yes it is, thank you" and pointed them back toward the door.

Now, what I can't figure out is how I hate to paint, Doug LOVES to paint, and yet I have spent a solid week painting alone.  Oh, wait, Doug hasn't been home A SINGLE DAY I have been painting.  I find some peace in knowing that he hates the situation as much as I do.  

Doug only has 3 days off work before my parents come in two weeks, and one of them is a Sunday.  I am not concerned about the painting, mostly just the tile in the bathroom.  Let's explore Erin's way of thinking: "I better paint the bathroom before we tile so I don't have to worry about the paint getting on the new tile.  Well, now I have the paint out already, I might as well do the boys' room, oh, I have to paint the ceiling... Brenden's bathroom ceiling needs some touching up, oh and his bedroom ceiling too..."  Besides that, I decided that as long as I was painting, I might as well paint all of the exterior doors on my house.  Now there are little fingerprints and bugs stuck to them.  Today I painted the previously green ceiling in the boys' room to white and painted one wall the exact same color.  Unfortunate, I know.  (Why would anyone paint their ceiling green, another brown, and another yellow with pink polka dots?  Perhaps they missed the memo that said CEILINGS SHOULD BE WHITE! unless there are extenuating circumstances, which I am quite sure there were not.)

The results of Brenden's making and doing late at night:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brenden's Modern Day Miracle

I think that we can all learn a lot about faith from kids.  Today Brenden and I set out to paint the letters that spell his name and go in his bedroom.  (They still need some work...)
They were previously primary colors and were on the wall above his crib the day he was brought home from the hospital.  They don't fit his room decor now, so we were painting them to match.  We had all of the letters, but couldn't find the D.  We went out to the garage to hunt for it and after a long while, had no luck.  I told Brenden we were going to have to change his name to Brenen.  Immediately he responded, "Let's pray to Heavenly Father to help us find it."  He then said the sweetest prayer requesting help in searching for his D.  

He asked me how it was going to work.  How was God going to tell him where to find it?  I told him he had to listen and pay attention to where he feels like he needs to look.  He looked around for a few minutes and the very first box he looked in, I said, "Those are daddy's tools, it won't be in there."  He kept diligently searching through the box, so I figured, what the heck, I'd go help him.  He was right!  The D was in the bottom of the box where it didn't belong.  He quickly said a prayer thanking Heavenly Father for showing him where to look and that he was "very grateful."  He called Doug and told him that Heavenly Father showed him where to find his D.

During the process, we also had a lovely retelling of Nephi and the Liahona.  Nephi's brothers tied Nephi up on a boat and the Liahona that told them where to go stopped working.  Brenden and Nolan had been fighting and Brenden reminded me that when Nephi's brothers stopped being wicked, Nephi prayed that the Liahona would work to show them where to go.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Year!

Today is exactly one year from the day we arrived in Alaska - but family, don't start counting down yet, we still have one more week before Doug has been at work for a year.

Yesterday I dressed Ethan and Brenden and noticed that they mostly matched, so I purposely dressed Nolan to match.
My mom gave Nolan this big floor piano last year.  He and Ethan like to set it in the middle of the floor and chase each other around the coffee table and across the piano just to listen to it.
Ethan loves to play with his big brothers - especially chase and trucks.
I would like to note that we do not allow shoes in our living room - or past the front door for that matter, but the matching picture was a last minute thought on the way out the door and it got a little out of hand.

A few of Brenden's favorite projects:
Newspaper mat
I have to admit, it was pretty fun to make.
Banjo 
(I showed Brenden the video "Banjo Boy" by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband - if you don't know the song, I think it is worth looking it up on youtube - as a matter of fact, watch all of their videos, I really rather love them.  Brenden says they're not real rock stars because real rock stars don't play the violin, only the electric guitar and drums - he included a little demonstration with that explanation too.  I showed him they have drums and guitars, to which he responded: "Is it an electric guitar? No!")  
Back to Brenden's Banjo:
Flute (it sounds like a kazoo)
Puppet 
(this one he made while he was supposed to be asleep last night)
He's been a busy boy and has been trying to involve Nolan in the projects.  They made these hand and foot fans while I was painting the bathroom today.  
Brenden managed to trace my foot amid the mess of paint.  He painted it for me and I asked him if my toes were dead and he says they are painted with "you know, that stuff Felicia puts on her toes."  The fans are to cool themselves from all of our "warm weather."  (It has rained for almost a week.)

The bathroom is done except for the ceiling - it was brown before, so I am painting it white.  I promise pictures when it is finished.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things to Make and Do

Last night, I went to check on Brenden at 1:00 a.m. - I suppose that would make it this morning that I checked on him, whatever - 1:00 a.m.  He was wide awake with a bed full of projects he was working on.  He is reading a huge book - it looks like a text book - called Things to Make and Do and he was making and doing all of them.  I told him that he was up ALL night and now it was morning and he said, "That's funny, I don't feel tired."  I cleared his bed and stayed in the room until I knew for sure he was going to stay in his bed.  He was up bright and early ready to make and do more projects.  We made a flute and a banjo this evening.  We are missing some of the items needed for the projects he wants to do, but he spent quite a bit of his day wandering through the house and garage looking for precious gems he could turn into something else.

I accidentally pained a section of the bathroom I am painting in yellow and was painting back over it and Nolan said, "But yellow is FUN!"  He was surprised to see some blue on a wall and he said, "I LOVE the blue!"  He also told me this morning that he is cute because I made him that way - usually he tells me he's cute because his dad made him that way.

Ethan has a set conversation he uses on the phone for everyone, "LO! (hello) gaba gaba gaba bye, wuv oo," sometimes he'll throw in a "mo" if you ask him a question.  He has a little girlfriend at church.  He threw a fit on Sunday because she went in the nursing room with her mom and he desperately needed to go too!  When they see each other, they hold hands and there is the occasional hug.  She used to give him kisses, but has been dissuaded from that.  Ethan has turned into a little monster.  He hits and kicks his brothers randomly for no reason at all.  His favorite book is Go Dog Go and he yells "GO! GO! GO!" through the whole thing.  He is just too cute!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

It is 4:00 on Father's Day and Doug just ran out to door to go to scout camp for the next three days.  I was up until 12:30 this morning preparing to prepare Father's Day dinner so we could eat really, really fast before he left.  This morning I made a Denver omelet casserole for breakfast - Doug really likes omelets, but time is short on Sunday mornings so it was all turned into a casserole last night and went into the oven this morning while I showered.  For lunch/dinner after church we had my great-grandma's recipe for pork chops, asparagus, and Doug's favorite spinach salad - a recipe from Rick's College, back when it was called that.  I made strawberry rhubarb pie (with wild rhubarb from the woods) and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Brenden made Doug a tool box, filled with hearts he cut out all by himself.  He had the idea on his own and knew exactly what he was making, but he needed my help for taping because he "doesn't have five hands."  Nolan made a super cute card with a picture he drew of Doug.  He "wrote his name," which looked oddly like a mountain range and then said, "Mountains are my name."  Ethan scribbled nicely on a piece of construction paper.
On the far left is a paper with 35 hearts drawn on it and at the top it says, "How meny are thar?"  Next is our family card, but Nolan decorated the front mostly by himself.  His very cute picture is on the inside.  Then there is Brenden's card - he even did block lettering on the inside.  In front of the bag on a blue piece of paper in red crayon it says "coclite" (chocolate) and has a picture Brenden drew of a chocolate bar.  The orange bag looking item is the paper tool box and last is a yellow paper that says, "I (heart) yes yes you."  All of the hearts were in the tool box. 

Doug is a wonderful father.  I knew he would be long before we had kids.  Kids are always fascinated with him and he is always in the center of the group of kids playing.  Doug always includes our boys in his projects and gives them their own jobs.  Doug LOVES babies.  He would have hundreds of babies if they would just stay little cuddly cute babies.  The boys sometimes have to go for days at a time without seeing Doug because he is out the door before they are up and home after they are in bed.  I think it is just as hard on Doug as it is on the boys.  Ethan's face never lights up so much as when Doug isn't getting dressed for work first thing in the morning.  Doug loves to take our boys fishing and just about any form of outdoor activity.  Doug makes sure I keep things in perspective and provides the tranquility in our crazy daily life.  We're all lucky to have Doug be the dad in our family.
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My dad has always been a really great dad.  Sadly, I couldn't find many pictures of him on my computer where he was facing the camera.  He was always either facing the grill, stove, or sink with his back to the camera or holding a kid, who is the focus of the picture and my dad was half cut off.  He's always kind of like that - the man on the sidelines who makes everything work.

The times I remember most growing up were the times that we were building or fixing something.  My dad and I built a floor in our attic for storage space in Texas.  My dad and I finished a bedroom and bathroom in my grandma's basement.  It was always a good time with my dad.  My dad is always very helpful, but also lets the kids help him out.  Brenden loves to help my dad shovel snow and work in the garden.  

Growing up, our favorite game was tickle monster.  My dad would tickle us and the only way to turn the tickle monster on or off was to push his nose.  I am quite sure we broke his nose a time or two.  Now, as a grandpa, he loves to entertain the kids and they think he is a hoot!

My dad is a great cook.  He is best, I think, at breakfast (oh, and Kline chicken - yum, Kline chicken...).  He would always make us pancakes in whatever shapes our little minds could come up with.  Brenden still enjoys this - and my mom likes to tell Brenden to ask for challenging things like skeletons, but my dad is always up to the task.  Dad, if I were there, I would have made you biscuits and gravy with sausage for breakfast this morning.

My dad likes to be active and he especially likes to go to the gym and play racquetball.  For as long as I can remember, my dad has loved racquetball.  He also likes to lift weights and be generally healthy.  As my sister said once, "You should see my dad's guns!"

My dad is very friendly.  He can strike up a conversation with anyone.  Sometimes we would be in the car waiting until finally one of us went to find my dad in the middle of a conversation with someone he didn't know.  My dad is always humming or singing silly tunes.  I learned the "itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini" song from my dad I thought it was such a scandalous song at the time.

My dad is also very supportive.  If it was something that we wanted and were working for, he was all for it and would do anything to help.  He is still a great supporter in my efforts today.  My dad was always my resource for my math homework.  I used to really dislike math, but as I played with numbers with my dad's help, I learned to love math and became really good at it.  I still like that kind of thing - finances and problem solving.  My dad is also great at sign and I think he was almost excited when he found out Brenden was deaf because he could use his awesome skills.

My dad is fantastic - every time I thought about what I wanted to say about him in this post, a song from my younger years popped in my head.  It went something like this:
My dad's the biggest guy, and my dad's the strongest guy, and my dad's the smartest guy of any guy in town. He can do anything --- he'll fix your bike or fly your kite 'cuz MY dad, MY dad's the greatest guy around!
I wish I could find that tape (yes, tape, no CDs yet).  I think my kids would love it.  I know I saw it once in Pocatello.  Anyway, back to how wonderful my dad is.  Well, he just is!  I love him and miss him very much.  I am so excited to see him in two and a half weeks!  
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As with my Mother's Day post, I can't go without noting my other father - Doug's dad Grant.  I am quite convinced that he can build anything, including entire houses.  This poor man came on vacation to Alaska last summer and ended up building me shelves for my storage room!  He made a lot of trips back and forth to Pocatello while we were there to fix things, tile, or build entire basement apartments.  He is Doug's number one fix-it man to call when there is anything Doug isn't sure what to do with.

Grant likes to fish.  He doesn't get outwardly excited about much, but I can sure tell when he's ready to fish!  He'll be here in a little over a month.

Doug's dad is a family man.  He loves his kids and makes sure they're all well taken care of.  He is a patient and loving husband to Doug's mom.  Beyond that, he calls his own dad every single night.

Grant humbly knows the gospel well.  He has binders divided into gospel topics with any information he might need at any given time.  He served as Bishop a few years ago and fulfilled that calling with all his might.  He is a great example.  I have to say, I married into a good family!
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Off of the topic of Father's Day - today is also a big day in Alaska.  It is the longest day of the year!  (From here, it's all downhill until December and the shortest day of the year.)  Yesterday there was an event to celebrate this special day.  It was called Family Fun in the Midnight Sun.  Doug had to work, but the boys and I went and had a good time.  I think the kid's favorite part was:
the green hair
(they have the same color spray paint, the kids just have different color hair to start with)
Nolan had a star on one cheek and a sun on the other.
Brenden got a cool shark on his cheek.
Look!  Brenden's hair is the same color as Ethan's cup!  
(and yes, Nolan's car seat is now green and the seat behind Brenden's head is now green - we made them bathe last night, but after sitting in the car on the way to church this morning, they both ended up with slightly green hair.)
And a darn cute picture of Ethan:
We went to Safeway after the event and I received several "what kind of mother lets her children have hair like that?" looks from other parents.  The kids were sad to shower the color out and Brenden wanted to know why Jesus wouldn't let him go to church with green hair.  His scalp is still green in places, as well as his scar above his right ear.  We had a great day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where have I been?

I'll tell you where.  I've been fishing on the Kenai river with friends:
Berenice and I always get caught matching!
(pardon the 6:00 a.m. look we have going - I left my house at 4:50)
Berenice, Kaarin, Kristen, and I were the first to head out fishing.
Holly stayed behind and napped with Berenice's baby Kenai.
Kaarin caught the first fish - too tiny to keep.
Our guide was Dave Goggia of Hooky Charters (the same one we had last summer).  He was my fellow seminary teacher this year.
Then we traded Bere for Holly.
Holly caught a ginormous - oh, the correct word is "trophy" - trout within minutes of stepping in the boat.  It was too big to keep.
No other fish were caught, but we had a great (but chilly) time!
An eagle's nest.

Before that, Doug and I finished the swing set.  The boys have been having a great time and they play on it for several hours everyday.  
Before:
(well, a day into construction)
After:
The morning after we finished, I could hear screaming from outside.  It sounded like Nolan's normal "Brenden is torturing me" scream, so I ran outside and I found him screaming "This is SO MUCH FUN!" on the glider with Brenden.
Ethan immediately climbed to the crow's nest.
Brenden even pushed Nolan for a little while.

The final step (still to come) is to put sand in the sandbox under the playhouse.  There is a cute little deck with a picnic table under there.
The day after we finished, we had a big BBQ with friends so that everyone's children could try out our new toy.  After that I had an all mom sleep over (with the small addition of two nursing baby boys).  I don't know why they are called sleep overs - there was very little to no sleep for most of us.

One of the evenings that we were working on the swing set, Doug came in the house to check on the boys and he found quite the party going on:


Ethan sleeps in the bottom bunk at night, but had climbed in his crib so he could reach the sunglasses.  They were then dispersed so the party could ensue. 

I have been painting Nolan and Ethan's bathroom.  I will upload pictures if I ever finish - who knew orange paint took so many coats?  I am on #3 and there will be at least one more.  Doug has been building shelves in the garage so that someday we might actually park a car in there.  Mandi is still holding her breath for that day, I am sure.

Other than that, I play mother daily to several neighborhood boys.  Today I was fed up and tomorrow they will not be invited in.  They have become all too comfortable here.

This one's for Sabrina:
video

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hyper

Last night a neighbor boy showed up at our house and asked if Brenden could come to his birthday party.  I asked him when it was and he said 7:00 - it was 6:45.  So I sent Brenden down to his house with him.  Around 9:45, we decided we better go looking for him.  We found him at another neighbor's house.  As we walked up to the house, I could hear the neighbor boy yelling, "Brenden, your mom and dad are coming - HIDE!" 

Brenden was talking a million miles a minute and bounced all of the way home.  I finally asked him "What did you EAT at that party?"  He said, "Mountain Deeeeeeeew..." and Doug and I couldn't even let him finish we were laughing so hard at the bouncing and the drawn out deeeeew and the very hyper way he said it.  He then proceeded to say, "... and cake and ice cream... I had A LOT of SUGAR!"  Yeah, we could tell.

Doug and I have been very busy building this:
It has been so much fun!  No, seriously, I love it!  After a close-call with purchasing a used one from someone, I finally decided to load up the boys and make a quick up and back trip to Anchorage.  It is taking us forever to put together because Doug isn't even home until 8:00 at night.  If it weren't light all the time in Alaska I don't think we'd ever get it done.  I work on it during the day, but my helpers are usually less than helpful.  Brenden asked me several times yesterday, "Are you sure you're doing that right?  Is that how dad did it?" and finally he said, "Dad taught you how to build good!"  When asked to retrieve something, Brenden moves in slow motion.  We have been eaten alive by mosquitos.

We have had beautiful weather!  It was 70 the other day and the boys were complaining it was too hot.  I don't know if we're closer to the sun or something, but you literally feel like you're baking.  It's not hot weather, but the sun is hot on the skin!  And this is coming from a girl from Texas!

We are in the midst of all of our projects.  We have started about a million and a half of them (Doug really hates when I use superlatives like that - right now he'd say: Really?  A million and a half?).  They're all in progress and nothing is done.  We are moving the green house, trying to green-up our peat moss infested lawn, building a swing set, building shelves in the garage, and about a half a dozen (no superlative this time) other projects.  I hate that it's not done, but love working on them.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

MIA

Yes, we are all still alive and well (well, other than Nolan who has a slight cold...), we have just been enjoying the great outdoors.

May 29 was Doug's birthday.  Brenden decided that Doug needed a "fishing party," so we spent a few days preparing fishing games and making a fish cake.  We should have eaten fish for dinner too, but Doug requested omelets.  So, here in a pictorial nutshell is Doug's birthday.
Captain Brenden and the crew
Captain Nolan
The Birthday Carnival
(Go Fish! Booth, Alaska Art Booth - all art purchasable through Brenden Boehme, and Let's Go Fishing Game Booth)
Dad's Fishing Game
We printed off fish and wrote on them why we love Doug and put a paper clip on each one.  We attached a magnet to a fishing pole and sent Doug fishing.

No one can ever open a present alone in our house.
Doug caught a salmon!
May 30 a real carnival came to Kenai.  I loaded up the kids and we spent a short (yet VERY expensive) time with the carnies.  Doug joined us a short time later after he got off work.
Brenden rode the first ride alone.  
He said he thought he was getting "air sick," but enjoyed the ride.



We have had some excitement here as well.  The moose are having their calves, which makes them very protective and very grumpy.  Brenden was next door playing and I was in the neighbor's house when Brenden came running in screaming about a moose.  The two neighbor boys who were in the yard with Brenden had been charged by the moose and they ran up the swing set into the tower in just enough time to get away from the moose and her twin calves.  SCARY!  Last night our other neighbor called to tell us that a moose just had her calf in their yard and to get the dogs in or the mama moose would certainly kill them.  

We missed it, but there were black bears on the road last week.  The baby brown bears from last summer have been spotted quite often up near where we saw them.  See this link for some photos from a friend's blog.  Oh, the excitement of living in Alaska!