Friday, February 27, 2009

Words Words Words

Brenden informed me last night that the other words for slow are: dilley-dalley, pokey, and sluggish.  He reads too much!  Brenden also picks up other words from books: "Is it a girl?  Perhaps, it's a boy..." "The rope gently set me down."  They may sound normal to you, but coming out of my 5 year old's mouth - well, it just doesn't seem to fit.  Doug says it has nothing to do with Brenden's reading - we just use such "regal speech."  HA!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Darn Cute

Nolan has been so supportive lately.

While I was cleaning my bathroom, he came in several times and asked, "How's the cleaning coming, mommy?"

While I was getting a tetanus shot yesterday: "It's okay, mommy.  It's okay."  And then he proceeded to shutter as Doug gave me the actual shot.  (There was a nail sticking out at an angle between the ungrouted section of tile in the kitchen (yes, still...) and while shuffling my feet, the nail found its way deeply into my heel.  That resulted in excessive amounts of blood, followed by finger painting by Ethan.)

While we were in the car, I heard Nolan from the third row: "I'm just doing fine back here, mom."

While cooking dinner: "How's the cooking coming, mommy?"

After goodnight kisses: "I love your hugs and kisses, mom."

Basically, he's just darn cute.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Always on the run

Today was... busy.  Ethan had his first speech therapy session this morning.  It was fun.  He had his first physical therapy session yesterday.  Evidently, early intervention thinks he has some balance issues.  I would agree with that, but I have also seen my other kids outgrow their stumbling.  After speech, Doug went in to work for a few hours to make up for the hours he will miss on Friday (because it too will be a busy day).  This afternoon, Nolan had his follow-up audiology appointment.

Nolan's OAEs in his right ear were still absent in the low frequencies, but after doing some audiometry, it appears that if there is a loss, it is only mild.  It is still unsure what is causing the absent OAEs, but his hearing was within high normal hearing levels, so for now we'll take it the way it is and just keep watching it.  

Last Friday I got a letter from our insurance that Brenden was approved for his second cochlear implant - with a surgery date of 3/12/09!  Whoa!  I haven't even talked to doctors to set a date or anything and then suddenly I hear from insurance that surgery is in 2 weeks!?  I called around and no one seemed to know this information but the insurance company and me.  I was on the phone for 4 hours yesterday and an hour today trying to figure out where this date came from.  After all of that, our consultation is on 3/9 and surgery is on 3/11.  I am in a mad rush to get plane tickets and arrangements made for the other kids.  The good news is that our insurance out of pocket is only $4500 (in-network), but the bad news is that everything we have spent so far on previous appointments was applied as out of network, so we are starting from scratch.  

That, in a small nutshell, was my day.  How was yours?

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Nope, this post is NOT about the act of forcibly expelling through the mouth, well, not really. The Homer Spit is a geographical landmark located in Homer, Alaska on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. The spit is a 4.5 mile long piece of land jutting out into Kachemak Bay.  The Spit features the longest road into ocean waters in the entire world, taking up 10-15 minutes to cover by car.  That is where we spent our day.
Our morning:
(off of the blog, this picture has the most beautiful deep red on the horizon)
Getting ready to go:
In the car:

On the way we stopped to take pictures of the historic Russian Orthodox Church.  
This outhouse is across the parking lot:

And then, 2 hours later, we arrived in Homer:
(Homer Alaska - Halibut Fishing Capital of the World)
The Homer Spit:
The view from Homer:
Homer is home to a LOT of eagles:

Feb 18: Odd, but very cool, clouds: (again, the picture doesn't do it justice)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Twilight and Cartoons

I find it odd that Little Einsteins reminds me of Twilight.  I read it everyday while the boys watched Little Einsteins and now when they watch it, I have a strange desire to read Twilight - or at least think about it.  The music always added a nice intensity to the struggles in the books.  I found myself often adding my own classical soundtrack when there wasn't music playing.  Who would have thought?  Twilight and cartoons can relate!

Water Works

Brenden cries... about everything.  Wrong clothes?  He cries.  Not following schedule?  He cries.  Can't read books at night?  He criiiiiies.

This morning Brenden asked me if we are going to die when we are 120.  I told him probably.  He cried for most of the morning about not wanting to die when he is 120 and not wanting me to die because then he wouldn't have a mom, he would only have a dad.  I told him I'd wait for him and find him when he gets there.  (Mutti, evidently 120 is the magic number, so you've got another 35 years!  But Brenden says you must be so smart after 85 years of life!  I agreed.)  Brenden wanted to know HOW people die and HOW we get to heaven and HOW we will find each other in heaven.  He went on and on and on about death this morning.

I told Brenden that we don't know how and when we will die, but as long as we are being good we will all go to heaven and be able to find each other.  He asked me how I am going to find my grandpas and then he decided the best way is that Jesus will go looking for one and Heavenly Father will go find me the other one.  Lately he is very concerned about being lonely.  I don't know where all the death talk came from though.  I think he is a pessimist.

Brenden is also very concerned that he can't take his toys to heaven with him.  I told him I was pretty sure there are better toys in heaven.  His final concern: there are no cars in heaven, only wheelbarrows.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am utterly embarrassed.  I told Doug I wasn't posting this because I was too embarrassed, but I can't seem to keep things to myself.

As you are all fully aware, yesterday was President's Day.  Sunday we told Brenden that he could stay up as late as he wanted because he didn't have school.  I watched a movie with the family instead of doing my seminary lessons for the week.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

I got an email around 12:30 yesterday from Brenden's teacher asking if he was sick.  Uh... huh?  Turns out there WAS school yesterday.  I flew down the stairs and told Brenden I was sorry, get dressed, and get in the car!  I made him a quick lunch and he ate it in the car on the way to school.  He was there by 1:00, but had a short school day.  This morning I had to profusely apologize to my seminary students who showed up at 6:30 to no teacher and a locked classroom.

I am so embarrassed!  What a day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Adventures on E

Today the "E" is for my bank account.  Last week we borrowed a computer program called Boardmaker @ Home from one of Doug's co-workers.  I brought it home and put it up on our entertainment center so Ethan couldn't get to it.  The other day while Doug and I were clearing up the snowmobile mess Brenden made, Brenden decided he wanted to watch what he thought was a DVD.  He, attempting to pry the CD from its case, broke the Boardmaker in half.  I have looked on eBay, Amazon,, and googled to find a copy I can buy.  It is nowhere to be found and no longer made.  So, in order to buy what would be the closest thing to a replacement, it is $400.  I might have to start a "Children are expensive" column to my monthly bills/budget worksheet.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An eventful Valentine's Day

This morning we woke to a beautiful day, so we decided we would spend it outside.  We got the kids bundled and headed out.  Doug took a few trips around the neighborhood on the snowmobile and told Brenden and me that it was ready to go.  Brenden hopped on, I hopped on behind him, and before I could get my helmet on, Brenden held down the gas.  We collided with a tree stump, which threw us off (where I landed on Brenden), and the snowmobile continued on its way finally crashing into the trampoline.

Once that mess was all cleared up (although the snowmobile now needs a new paint job), I headed out on my own.  After a short time wandering the lake, the snowmobile sputtered and died.  I tried calling Doug several times with no luck.  Finally, I knew I was going to have to walk.  The snow on the lake is almost knee deep, so it wasn't going to be an easy venture.  Luckily, I was at least near enough that I could see our house (we live on the second largest lake in Kenai, so it was luck!), but I was all the way across the lake.  After a short tiring walk, a very nice man came and picked me up on his snowmobile and drove me home.  We got some gas and he drove me back.  Blah blah blah, a few minutes later we discovered the belt on the snowmachine was toast and needed to be replaced.  The nice man also did that as Doug arrived pulling the kids behind him in a sled.  I was finally able to spend some time snowmobiling and it is incredible to be out in the open going 75 mph!  It was my first time out - and the first time I have even been on a snowmachine since my sister was here for Thanksgiving.

I came home and got Nolan and took him back out with me.
After all of that, we went sledding at our neighbor's house.  They have been shoveling snow into a huge hill that is perfect for sledding.  The kids had tons of fun!  We're all tired and will sleep very well tonight.

We get almost six extra minutes of daylight every day.  We are up to 9 hours of daylight!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


How do you get mad at a kid who is out of bed when the reason he is out of bed is because he is making you a Valentine?  It is a giraffe with hearts instead of spots, delivered in a sealed envelope with my name on it.  Now he is downstairs making Doug one and it is after 9:00.  It is yellow with hearts all over it and says I think you are silly.

Happy Lincoln's Birthday!

Okay, so my birthday was yesterday, but I have always felt some sort of kinship with good ole' Abe because I could always remember his birthday.

For my birthday, I did my taxes, created a filing system for important papers, filed insurance claims, and did laundry.  Birthdays just lose their fun when you get old.  But now I can forever be 29.  

I just had to share some of my gifts.  My mom bought me a watch, which I LOVE, when we were in Utah for Christmas (although I am sad - when we removed our carpet, the face of my watch got all scratched up...)  Some of my seminary students made me orange rolls, which were delicious!
Nolan and I got a package from Doug's parents last week with both of our presents in it.  I got a massager, metal palm tree hooks, 2 hawaiian necklaces, a hawaiian bracelet (can you tell they just got back from Hawaii?  Jealous...), a new much needed wallet, and an orange fleece blanket.  Nolan got a matching red one for his birthday.

Doug quite impressed me.  Since we got a new dining room table, I have been so sad I don't have any tablecloths that fit it.  Doug got me this cute striped one, which I love.  He got me a diet book by Bob Harper (he got in trouble for that by the girls at work because you're not supposed to give your wife something like that for her birthday!, but he knows better and knew I would love it).  I was most impressed though that he got me the CUTEST sandals and some capris.  He bought them online - I won't even buy my OWN clothes online for fear I will hate them.  It usually takes me near 50 not-online stores to find something I will even wear.  Doug picked them out perfectly though and I look forward to a summer day when I can wear them.

We went out to dinner, but will likely never go back.  We have been to the restaurant twice now and it wasn't good either time - we had forgotten about the last time, it was when we first moved here.  Doug got a 9 inch hamburger, which he shared with everyone at the table and there is still some in the fridge.  That was about the only thing worth the money and that is still questionable.  BUT, the kids ate free, so I can't complain too much.

The best part of my day was that the boys were so good to each other.  They played nice (until Brenden got home and bit Nolan's bare butt because he wouldn't do something Brenden wanted him to).  Nolan and Ethan got along ALL day though, so I got a lot done.

My favorite conversation with Nolan yesterday:
Nolan:  Mom, I peed in my underwear!
Me:  You peed on the stairs!
Nolan: (sheepishly) No, I only peed on one stair.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Since my last post...

Thursday I went to parent/teacher conference.  Brenden's reading is off the chart.  His teacher tests in different areas and one of them was "Nonsense words."  They are words that technically fit together following the rules of creating a word (like kiv), but are not actually words.  He scored 106.5 words in a minute - she said the standard is in the teens and she has never seen a score that high.  (I didn't think of my response until tonight, but I should have told her that it was because we have been reading the nonsense of Dr. Seuss to him since he was born.)  She basically told me that his scores were not applicable on some of the other tests because things like "letter sounds" mean nothing to him anymore because he can simply read and he doesn't need to think about letter sounds like the standard kindergartner.  His classmates are currently learning about the letter "k."  He has trouble reading aloud in class because his brain doesn't want to slow down long enough for his mouth to say the words, so he slurs everything together.  We are working on pronunciation and enunciation.  He is not applying himself in math and has chosen to simply X out the problems he would rather not do.  

Speaking of Brenden: we recently went through a trying period where he claimed (outloud!) that he knows EVERYTHING!  He would come home from school and I would start to tell him about our day and he would yell, "I know, I know!  I know everything!"  After a few days of that, I strictly forbade the phrase from home or school.

Friday Doug took Brenden to a hockey game.  The hockey team came to Brenden's school last week and gave all the kids free tickets, so they sat in a section full of kids at the game.  Brenden got all the kids chanting: Go...Go...Go! while pounding their fists.  He enjoyed the game and claims to be the reason the team got 2 points.

Saturday Doug worked, but I took the kids to a book carnival.  We received 4 tickets (one for each of us) and 3 of them won, so we got free books.  Brenden played a game and won a book (of which he read 6 chapters while he was supposed to be in bed) and the kids won other fun prizes.  There was a blow-up bounce thing, so the boys both really liked that.  They had a teenager running the thing and I thought he was kind of dumb because he constantly stopped the line of kids entering the thing right between siblings when it was completely obvious that they were together.

Sunday Doug took Nolan and Brenden out sledding on the lake - well, he pulled them on a sled behind the snowmobile - although I have been reminded several times that in Alaska they are not called snowmobiles, they are snowMACHINES.  Brenden and Nolan were both very concerned they were going to fall through the ice, which is over 16 inches thick for the most part.  Nolan complained that he was cold and was going to walk home, so Doug brought him home and went back out with Brenden.  He caught some cute shots of them.
Nolan, Fugde (our ever-constant shadow), and Brenden
Brenden's snow alien - he later added antenna.

Brenden and Doug wrote "We (heart) Mom" in the snow, but they couldn't get a high enough picture to see it well.  What mom wouldn't appreciate that?  I love my boys - the big one included.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Nolan!

Today was Nolan's 3rd Birthday!  I was making breakfast when he came out of his room and I started singing Happy Birthday and he, in his gumpy first thing in the morning tone said, "I don't like that song, mom."  He cheered up after that.  We let him open 2 presents before Brenden went to school.  Brenden insisted Nolan needed tools (which we searched all over Target for, only to discover we already had one packaged and ready to give at home).  This is a complete tool set with a hard hat, suspenders, a tool belt, tools, gloves - the works.
Brenden was excited for Nolan.
We had caramel pull aparts for breakfast.  With a 3 year old, you have to blow out the candle as many times as possible right?  So we did a candle with breakfast.
Brenden missed the bus so he could enjoy breakfast with us.  We had him there right on time though!
Evidently we didn't have enough balloons already.
For dinner Nolan wanted spaghetti, but during grocery shopping it morphed to lasagna.  Here he is eating the obligatory salad so he could have carrot cake and ice cream.  Yep, even on his birthday he has to eat his vegetables.
Ethan enjoyed the lasagna.
Nolan warmed up to the idea of singing Happy Birthday and sang it all day - especially over the phone to his many happy birthday wishing fans.
We blew out candles twice - just to make sure we had a good photo.  Doug even caught some saliva on film for posterity sake.
Nolan got Superman pajamas like Brenden's.  Here he is opening Brenden's Target toy find.  Brenden has been dying to open it.
Ethan thought maybe he could get away with one while no one was looking.
Brenden was an ever helpful assistant.
Mom, they all enjoy the gift you didn't know you gave.
(Doug says that sounds bad, so to clarify: she sent money, I shopped for and bought the gift.)
It was a fun day.  Doug was home, the kids were happy, and my little monster is three.  We always tell him he is our favorite Nolan and he and I always say, "I love you oodles."  We're so glad he's ours!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Still waiting...

Today was supposed to be THE day for our big volcano, but it is still holding in there.  All over the radio and the internet people were saying that today was the day.  I like to think of it like an overdue baby that you expect anytime, but you never know when.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Peninsula Winter Games

Every Sunday we see an average of 3 moose on the way to church - today was no different. About 3 weeks ago Safeway announced the pharmacy would be open on Sundays and today is Doug’s first Sunday at work.

My favorite Nolan quote of the day: “I’m hicking-up.” (he had the hick-ups)

Yesterday we went to see the start of the Tustamena 200 dogsled race. It was fascinating seeing the teams of dogs pulling the sleds. It was around -20, so the mushers were well bundled.
Then we went to the Peninsula Winter Games. From the moment we stepped out of the car, Nolan was crying that he was cold. We wandered and saw the ice sculptures and watched the dog weight pull. They hook a dog at a time up to a sled and fill it full of boxes of nails to see which dog can pull the most weight. The ice sculptures were very interesting as well.
Our favorite was of Horton from “Horton Hears a Who.”
Indoors there was a kids league hockey game going on as well as booths for the kids to go around and do activities to earn coins.Brenden liked making hockey goals (off the ice) best.I sat with Nolan and Ethan and watched the game until they got restless. They were hungry and tired and fell asleep in the car as soon as we had eaten.

The word on the street is that our volcano is expected to erupt tomorrow. If I am offline for a few days it is because the internet or electricity is down. I have made a list of things I need to head to town to pick up in the morning to make sure we are prepared to be without electricity and heat for a little while. I just hope the volcano will hold off until after I make it home (but preferably until after Doug has made it home from work tomorrow night). We are prepared with food and water, dust masks, flashlights, and chopped wood to last us for a little while. I will fill some more containers of water in the morning just to be safe though. That is what I am most concerned we don’t have enough of - especially considering there is always the possibility of a well becoming contaminated. We are justing playing a good old game of wait and see.
Jan. 31 - the steam coming up from the fumarole.  Today the steam cloud was double the size.The caption says: View of vigorous hot fumarolic emission from two holes (at about 7000 feet in elevation) through the steep Drift glacier that descends from the Redoubt summit crater to the north into Drift River Valley. The orifice on the left was first observed on January 30 during an overflight and it appears to have widened by the time this photo was taken on January 31. The orifice on the right was first seen on January 25. Water vapor and volcanic gas emanating from these holes in the ice are forming a visible white plume that rose about two thousand feet vertically, nearly to the summit of the volcano.  (See more pictures at this link to the Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey.)