Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're baaaaack!

After another long night of flying, we're back home. We left Utah later than planned last night and arrived in Anchorage close to 1:00 this morning. A poor little boy on our flight was very sick and spent 90% of the flight in only underwear while his mom and dad and all the flight attendants ran around feverishly trying to keep up with the vomit and the smell. Our flight from Anchorage to Kenai was at 4:30, but everything, including the gate, was closed when we arrived in Anchorage. We sat around in the terminal (where I incorrectly thought the kids would sleep) until 3:30 when we checked our bags and went down to the gate. The flight is only 17 minutes, but in that time 2 of the kids fell asleep. We were in the tiniest of tiny planes, which was really rather fun.

It was -26 when we arrived this morning. It took Doug's truck probably a good 45 minutes to warm up before we put the kids in it. There was a foot of snow on the windshield The airport is right by Safeway, so we stopped to get milk. I tossed it in the back of the truck and it was frozen when we got home.

When we got home, Brenden was ready to romp and play, but much to his dismay I made him lay down. Ethan was thrilled to be in his bed and Nolan didn't fight (which is saying a lot for putting Nolan to bed). Doug and I made it to bed around 7:00 (and mom, the dogs made it home before I fell asleep, so they didn't freeze to death - I know you were worried). It was a short day by the time I woke up at 1:00 and it was light and then 2 hours later it was dark again.

Our router isn't working for some reason, so I can't use my laptop, which is where all of our Christmas pictures are. I spent a while today getting them ready to post only to discover that I can't connect to the internet. Doug blames the internet connection on the fact that I have a Mac, but I doubt it. I was on my mom's internet for 2weeks and I wonder if my internet connection to my router was messed up. I will keep working on getting it up and running and then you will be overwhelmed with pictures from our trip.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


They boys are having so much fun with their cousins.  I keep looking around at my brother and his wife, my sister and her husband, and my mom and dad and it makes me miss Doug.  He has missed out on so much.  


I am so excited to see my boys' surprised faces tomorrow when their dad is suddenly here for Christmas morning.  I am crossing my fingers that all goes well with his flight and it is on time.   We are going to try to hold 7 children in the basement in anticipation of the arrival of "the package" (which is what we call Doug these days).  I am just a little worried Brenden will be so excited to see what Santa brought that he will push Doug aside (not even noticing that he hasn't been here for the last week and a half) and head for the goods.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Having Fun!

We are having so much fun!  Thursday my mom and I left the kids with my dad (poor man) and shopped and went out to lunch and went to see Glen Beck's "The Christmas Sweater."  Friday we waited around all day to see if we would make it to my little sister Emily's house for dinner.  It was snowing pretty hard, so we decided against it.  My mom and I did make it to Wal-mart though (quite the treat to me since I don't have one near me in Alaska).  Saturday my dad and I went to Emily's house for lunch and left Nolan for a sleep over.  See her blog for details.  

Sunday my brother Dustin and his family arrived.  These 6 boys can make quite a racket!  They are having the time of their lives.  Dylan heads out into the snow the minute he wakes up (even before he is dressed).  We have commented how funny it is that they immediately split up into age groups.  Dylan is 6 months older than Brenden and Hayden is 4 months older than Nolan, so they have split themselves accordingly and play together so cute.  Ethan just tries to fit into one of the "big boy" groups as well as he can and Dustin's baby Kolton just rolls around on the floor.  We made gingerbread houses last night.

I have threatened emailing Santa more times than I can count.  We found out that Grandpa has Santa's email address, so the kids have been very concerned about whether or not I have been on my email today.

My mom got a fancy new camera for Christmas, so we have been taking pictures.  I need to find her card reader and then I will have pictures to share.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Utah here we come

And now we're here, but this post is about our trip.

We arrived early for our flight to Anchorage from Kenai.  I checked all of our bags - the flight is only 20 minutes, what in the world could I possibly need for the next half hour?  Less than thirty seconds later I turn around to see Nolan red in the face.  I said, "Are you pooping!?" to which he responded with an index finer indicating "give me a second."  Again I urgently questioned, "You're pooping?" and the index finger was thrust forward at me as if to inform me, "I said give me just a minute!"  All I could do was take him to the bathroom, dump the poop out of the pull-up and put it back on him.  Doug did finally decide to quickly drive to Safeway where he bought travel wipes and brought me back another pull-up.  I suppose I should be thankful it happened there when I still had some help.

The boys said their goodbyes to Doug and we left Kenai at 10:40 p.m. as planned.  As I said, the flight to Anchorage is only 20 minutes, but immediately upon sitting down, Brenden was ready to pull out the DVD player and coloring books.  No Way!

I had been very worried about our transfer in Anchorage.  Delta is in a completely different terminal than we were arriving, so we had to pick up our belongings and take a shuttle.  I had: 3 sleepy kids, a stroller, 4 carry-on size bags (2 of which weighed over 30 pounds), and a 48 pound large suitcase.  I needed to pick up my luggage from the first flight and take all of it and the kids to the next terminal.  For anyone who might ever come see me - although Era Aviation will tell you they cannot check your bags through to Delta, they can, they are just usually too lazy to do it.  I found that out one airport too late.

On our flight from Kenai was a wonderful woman and her teenage son.  She sat right in front of us and was high fiving the boys and saying, "Boys rule!"  She asked if Anchorage was our "final destination" and I informed her we were headed to Salt Lake City.  She asked if we were taking Delta and then I saw her Delta employee badge.  Exiting the plane, she asked if we needed any help and I jumped at her offer.  She and her son helped me haul children and baggage and were so kind.  She made sure we were all checked in and our checked baggage was off before she left us.  Thank you, kind Delta woman!

By this time, it was probably about midnight.  We soon found out our flight was delayed and we should be boarding about the time we were supposed to leave.  In the meantime, my children expelled energy (in a way I am not so sure the strangers appreciated, but I was sure they would appreciate it once we got on the all night flight and my kids were not expelling their energy in the tight confines of an aircraft).  Brenden soon fell asleep in a very uncomfortable looking way.  Once they called us to board, he was nearly impossible to wake up.  I poked him - nothing.  I shook him - nothing.  I stood him up - he immediately fell to the floor.  And try explaining to your deaf child that we need to leave NOW when he won't open his eyes to look at you signing to him.  We finally boarded at about 1:10.  I am pretty sure the plane was half full of small children.

Brenden fell fast asleep the minute he hit his window seat.  Nolan fell asleep after stating "But I'm not tired" about 50 times.  Ethan was the last to go.  
That was all before our plane even pulled away from the gate at 2:30 a.m.  They had to de-ice the plane, so we sat there for a long time before we even hit the runway.

The flight went well except there was always someone who needed re-arranged.  If Brenden moved, they all had to move since Brenden was the base layer of the sleeping pile.  I, on the other hand, did not sleep.  There was nowhere to sleep and not even a place to rest my arm.  

About a half hour before we landed, I suddenly got a bloody nose.  At that point, I had 2 children draped across my lap.  I immediately put my hands over my nose (although still bleeding on Ethan's head through my fingers) and frantically searched for anything to sop up the blood.  I looked down into the aisle and saw a napkin which I was fully aware had been in the aisle for several hours.  I thought, "No, I can't... but I have to."  During this time, I was also fully aware of the couple across the aisle pointing and saying, "Look she has a bloody nose." "Look her kids are asleep across her lap."  "I wonder what she is going to do."  To these people I say:  Could you not offer to help me?  I inched my way out from under the kids and headed to the bathroom - they were both occupied.  The stewardess started looking for napkins or anything to help me out until the bathroom was available.  Blood was everywhere!  Finally, the bathroom was available.  I stayed there, trying to get my nose to stop, but it was relentless.  I worried about my 3 kids sprawled out, all alone, knowing that the couple across the aisle would be of no assistance.  I worried Ethan would roll off the seat the way I had left him.  The "please take your seat" announcement came on.  "We are beginning the final dissent" announcement could be heard.  Finally, I shoved toilet paper up my, by this point, very raw nose and attempted to slide myself back under my children right as the plane hit the ground.  My nose continued to bleed as people exited the plane, but stopped as it was our turn to leave.  

I packed up our belongings as Ethan started wandering the plane.  By this point, we were the only people left on the plane.  The flight attendant urgently grabbed our carry-on bags and asked what I would like done with them and I told her she could set them out by my gate-checked stroller.

Then I had to wake the beast.  As I said before - not an easy task.  BUT, the waking beast must pee the moment he is aroused, so I sent him to the airplane bathroom right as the cleaning people were getting on the plane.  One stewardess, seeing Ethan's bobbing head a few rows ahead of me asked if I had forgotten something and informed me the plane needed to be cleaned.  I said I knew he was there and we would be just a moment.  A minute later, 2 stewardesses grabbed my kids and my last bag and told me I had to get off the plane now.  I said, "I realize the plane is delayed and there is a hurry to get it cleaned, but my son is in the bathroom and I am NOT leaving without him, so I don't know what you want me to do, but you are going to have to wait!  He needed to go, so your choices were let him use the bathroom or have him pee all over the plane on his way out."  She impatiently waited with me while the other hauled off the little kids (making me even more unhappy).  

My dad was there to pick us up (Nolan was the first to spot him and yell, "There's GRANDPA!) and he tossed the kids in the car while I ran back into the airport to get our bags.  We were fortunate that my grandma was visiting and has a huge trunk, so we fit everything all in one car (and reduced her MPG from 34 to 28.5).  The kids slept on the way back to my parent's house.

My mom and dad have worked so hard on their house to make it comfortable and accommodating for our visit.  We are thrilled to be here and love the changes they have made for us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nuttin' but bad

My kids are getting nothing for Christmas.  NOTHING I tell you.  They are naughty.

This morning when I went to tell Brenden good morning, he was in the shower.  I looked at him and his hair looked a little odd, but I thought maybe it was just partially wet.  Upon further inspection, I discovered several bald spots.  That which I had hoped only happened to people with little cosmetology bound girls had happened to me.  I asked Brenden if he had cut his hair and of course, the answer was no (he has become quite the little liar these days).  I told him someone had cut his hair and I wanted to know who and he finally confessed.  He missed the bus because I was trying to give him the best little army buzz cut I could, all the while threatening to call Santa and let him know exactly what had just happened.  He still has some odd bald spots.

Nolan has taken to being the authoritative big brother.  He freely steals toys and trips Ethan.  When I show my displeasure in his actions, I am greeted with a growl, and scowl, and usually a slap.  What happened to the sweet Nolan who used to live in this house?

Ethan has learned Nolan's tricks - as well as Brenden's.  He is currently covered in green marker, with glue stick in his teeth, but luckily no buzz cut.  Where have I gone wrong?

I was ready to bawl yesterday while watching my misbehaving kids in church.  Last night while we were praying, Brenden was attempting to slowly sneak off to play with his toys, Nolan was talking, and Ethan was being a one year old.  Again, where have I gone wrong?  Be concerned for my sanity.

I have been frantically packing for our trip to Utah.  The Leapster, DVD player, my laptop, cell phone, and iPod are all charging and the last load of clothes is in the wash.  I am going to miss this winter wonderland, but I am so excited to see my family and for the kids to play with their cousins.

We had "Christmas" on Sunday.  The kids didn't get a whole lot, but it was really fun to just slowly open presents and play with them for a little while and then open another and play for a while.  Doug and I didn't get each other anything, but watched the kids and really enjoyed ourselves.  Ethan wasn't at all interested in any sort of present opening - not even when we opened it for him and he saw it was a toy.

I always thought trees were supposed to be green...

Isn't that incredible?  That is frost, not snow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Catching up

I had my seminary students over last night for a pizza party.  It was really fun - we ate, had a white elephant gift exchange, watched a movie, played pool, and played Boxers or Briefs (although the name of the game concerned the mother of 2 students).  My neighbors called the State Troopers on one of my students because she parked in their driveway.

Doug's co-workers will be here Saturday evening for a Christmas Party.  Traditionally they go to a bar, but this year we are throwing a family friendly, alcohol free event.

The kids and I fly to Utah in 4 days!  I am excited for the break from seminary and the chance to see our family and friends.

Sometimes I really enjoy living in Alaska.  Where else can you experience a bright, full moon in the middle of the day and sunrises like this every morning?
When we drove to Anchorage over Thanksgiving, it was a beautiful, white drive.  I thought nothing could compare to the drive in the summer, but the winter drive is just as beautiful - in a very different way.  We were able to see the tide go out, which was amazing by itself.  Alaska’s most famous bore tide occurs in Turnagain Arm, just outside Anchorage.  It climbs up to 6 – 10 feet tall and can reach speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour.

It is amazing to me that here, a tiny branch of a tree can have 3 inches of snow on it.  It snowed it Idaho, but was so windy that the snow couldn't stay on the branches.  It makes things even more beautiful to see the trees like that.

I also love to get packages (even when they aren't for me).  We have gotten lots of packages lately and loved every one.

I look forward to living close to family again, but for the time being, I am trying to have a positive outlook on this new, beautiful place I live.  I had a few comments that people will be interested to see my posts in 6 months when we still have snow.  I never said I love every minute, but I am trying to stay as positive as possible.

I find my children ridiculously cute:
I look at this picture and see a much older boy that the one sitting on the couch in front of me.

While my sister was here:
My dogs received a little more love
(Jared and Fudge)
The kids exhausted themselves
Ethan was allowed to throw things
Halle was just darn cute (and refused to speak to or look at me the entire time she was here, but fell in love with Doug)
We went sledding... 
(Emily hauling Halle back up the hill)
We went snowmobiling... 
(Jared and Halle)
Jared went off on his own and made Halle cry...
We played pool...
Harry Potter came to visit
I gained 5 pounds - I generally do not make, buy, and/or eat junk food, but all inhibitions were tossed out the window.  I am now fighting with the scale and losing the battle.  I feel a New Year's resolution coming on...
(peanut butter balls, brittle cookies, hopscotch, and oreo balls - which Jared made)
Halle and Nolan watched Little Einsteins (which Nolan fell in love with)
Emily made hair bows
I made hair bows
The boys hunted and slaughtered a tree
And then they had to go home.  We were sad to see them go, but will see them again in less than a week!  I took a break from cleaning (and any other daily task I usually do) while they were here and just enjoyed our time with them.  It got a little out of hand and all had to be caught up when they left, but was worth it.

Our Christmas tree all set up, all 12 feet of it (and tied to the wall for added security)
Dec. 5 - Decorating the tree.
Dec. 7:
Ethan got a belated birthday package from Sabrina and Felicia.  He LOVES his dinosaurs and Nolan is totally jealous of the pajamas.  Go ahead, try to convince me they are NOT the cutest PJs on the planet.  Modeling on the runway:
Dec. 12 - We got a package from Jim and Linda this morning with these darn cute bears for the boys and a CD for Doug and me.  Thanks guys - we'll see you soon!
We are ready for Christmas!  The good thing about having such a big tree is that instead of hanging our Christmas decorations on the walls, we hung them on the tree and they don't look out of place.

A while back I posted about my mold problem in one of my Christmas totes.  I cleaned it out, but didn't discover the problem until a few days ago.  Last year Trudy (my mother-in-law) gave me a very cute musical Santa snow globe.  The music never worked, but there wasn't a replacement at the store.  We boxed it up and when I opened it this year, I discovered there was no water in it.  My guess is it was leaking when it was given to us (flooding whatever made the music) and then just emptied itself into the Christmas tote.  The only thing I lost that was of much value to me was my manger and some ornaments (well, AND the snow globe).  The other things in the box were either plastic and washed up ok or things that I liked too much to get rid of, but never really loved.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pitch Black

It is currently 9:00 a.m. and black as night outside.  Literally.  Nolan just announced, "It's still dark out there mommy" and I haven't mentioned a thing.  I have come to realize though that being the early morning seminary teacher has come as a true blessing for my first winter of darkness.  I am up so early that I expect it to be dark and then never realize what time it should actually be light.  Friday I was sick though and called a substitute (named Doug - who then called a different substitute).  I had the hardest time getting out of bed at a reasonable hour more from the darkness than from being sick.

There is something very predominate in Alaska called S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder, aka. winter depression).  They sell these lights called "Happy Lights" that people sit in front of for 30-60 minutes (with their eyes open, but not staring at the lights).  Another interesting option is called "Dawn Simulation" and it is a treatment involving timing lights in the bedroom to come on gradually, over a period of 30 minutes to 2 hours, before waking up. Thanks to the very early stimulation of seminary, I have not experienced (yet) the effects of seasonal affective disorder.  I will be in Utah during the shortest day of the year.  We lose 6 minutes of daylight everyday until then and then we begin to gain 6 minutes a day.

I just laid Ethan down to change his diaper and unzipped his footie pajamas to discover he was naked and there was a poop-filled diaper wadded up in the foot of the pajamas.  He was promptly thrown into the bath (where he again pooped) and the pajamas are headed to the wash.

I need to add some pictures from the final days of my sister in Alaska as well as some of our Christmas decorating.  We have had fun.

Last night we lost power for about 2 hours.  It was cold and very, very dark.  I did my seminary lesson by flashlight and the minute I closed my manual, the power buzzed to life.  Doug had to pull out the flashlights that were being reserved as stocking stuffers for the boys and they had tons of fun.  I can't tell you though how many times we were told, "Turn on the lights!  It is dark!"  Luckily, we had our fireplace up and running, but as soon as the power was back on, Doug was on the internet looking for a generator.

Yesterday and today, our roads are like a big sheet of ice.  Doug and I have both plowed into the large snow pile across the street trying to make it around the corner.  We are lucky the snow pile is positioned appropriately because it is all downhill to the lake from there.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot...Hot Chocolate

Yesterday Nolan watched the Polar Express.  He spent the entire afternoon singing the hot chocolate song - while playing motorcycles, while running around naked, while peeing, while playing ball with Ethan...  Then, when dinner rolled around hot chocolate turned into "hot, hot chicken!"  Suddenly Brenden wanted hot chocolate for dessert.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homemade Christmas Fudge

Homemade Christmas Fudge
(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Dashing from the mall,
with groceries yet to buy

lessons, work and housecleaning

life is so crazy. Why?

Bells on my phone ring,
the machine will take the call,
I have no time for family or friends,

it drives me up the wall.

How are you? How's your life?
I really want to know.

I'd love to chat and hear the news,

but please don't talk too slow.

How are you? How's your life?
I really want to know.
Hope you're ready for Christmas,
now maybe it will snow.

A day or two ago;
I thought I'd make a treat,
for all my special friends-
a Christmas gift to eat.

My intentions were top notch,

but my schedule would not budge,
hence, here's this year's edition
of homemade Christmas Fudge!

I gave this to my friend Jamie last year with a box of chocolates.  Thanks for the reminder, Jamie - I had forgotten all about it!  I thought maybe a few of you could use an easy clever idea as well.  I will likely be recycling the idea this year.