Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Silhouettes of Nick

These are my first attempts at doing a silhouette. Nick was sitting on the edge of the couch, playing the Wii. :)

Absolute Randomness

1. All of us have been sick this week. No fun. Especially when we thought we were going to be swimming and bowling and stuff. Instead we're mostly staying home and watching movies (and becoming Boggle masters). I'm hoping that we'll be over it in the next couple of days.

2. I got a new camera!!! Yes, I got myself a D-SLR. (Thank you Andy for letting me spend all of that money!!). I didn't get the Nikon D90 like I thought I was going to. I decided to save a bit of money and get the less-expensive D5000. It's a pared down version, but still takes the same quality of pictures. It has so many buttons and things on it that it's going to take me a while to learn how to use it. I'm so excited!!!!!!!

I paid more for mine, because I bought it at the photo store in town. I was going to buy it online, but decided to use a local merchant instead. It's nice to have personal service too and be able to talk with someone if I need help.

3. Lexie got a hair cut this week. We were in hair limbo with her for a while. Do we let her grow it out long or do we cut it off?? She wanted it long, but it was constantly in her face. We finally decided that it's much easier to take care of when it's short - and she looks like a little pixie. Now if only I could convince Kate to get hers trimmed up too....

Here is the before picture. Pretty scraggly.

4. I thought that I was going to have this weekend to prepare a bit for our upcoming return to schoolwork. Andy stopped in at the realtor today though and he's coming to our house on Monday. You know what that means?? I get to clean and worry about every little imperfection in the house this weekend. Darn. I'm really not looking forward to the whole house-selling process. I just hope that we break even in the end. I have no desire to pay to sell my house. Does anyone want to buy a house in North Pole, Alaska?? :) Didn't think so.

5. We were starting to think that we might have a dry Halloween, but that isn't going to happen. The snow is on the ground and here to stay. Despite being sick, the kids got out and played in the backyard yesterday. They need to get all of the fresh air they can before it gets stupid cold outside. It's amazing how "warm" 20 degrees can feel.

6. Poor Tori has had lots of ickies coming out of her nose and eyes this week. She wasn't able to go outside with her older siblings, so she stood at the door and watched them, begging to be let out. She even went as far as trying to open the door.

7. We now have more room in our dining room again. Tori has moved from her high chair into the Stokke chair that we have at the table . (They are the coolest kids' seats EVER. We have two of them and they have been worth the money!!). Now all 7 of us are at the table. I never would have guessed that we were going to have 5 kids. If I had known that 11 years ago, I would definitely have bought a dining room table with a leaf!! I don't know how we're all going to fit there in another year or two.

8. Wish us luck. We are going to try to get a family photo in the next few days. I've just been waiting for everyone to get over this cold so that we don't look like zombies!! I hope I can get it done soon, because I really want to order my Christmas cards. I'm using this year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Time

There are some things about living in Alaska that bug me.

One of them is the fact that I can't take the kiddos to the pumpkin patch. It's just not the same getting them from the store. I'd love to let them take a ride on a wagon, pick their pumpkins, and then maybe go through a corn maze. I really miss that.

But I suppose they can't grow pumpkins and corn in the fall when it looks like this outside:

I bought our pumpkins from the commissary and they were 50 cents a pound (which seems a tad expensive to me since they weigh a TON). We decided since all the kids are sick and we're stuck at home, it would be the perfect day to carve them. Something to cheer everyone up. :)

Kate cracks me up. She is so easily disgusted. This was more than she could handle.

She decided that she would give it a try though. She pulled on a pair of latex gloves and shoved her hand in the pumpkin. One or two handfuls was all she could do. Then she ran to the bathroom to wash her hands. Did I mention that she had gloves on?? I just thought that was so funny.

Ellie on the other hand had no qualms about getting slimy and gooey.

Here is the finished product, on our front porch. I wonder what they'll look like after a few days of being frozen!!
Next year, I have promised the kids a trip to the pumpkin patch!!

Our Last Week

I know that I haven't been on here much.

This is Andy's last week of leave before he heads back to work (and we start back at school).

We thought that we would spend it doing fun things with the kids - bowling, swimming, putt-putt golf.

Instead, we're holed up inside (it's finally snowing!) and all of the kids are sick. All of them. I managed to make a run to the commissary, so we're stocked up on Kleenex and meds. They have been watching a lot of TV and Andy and I have been playing Boggle on the computer. We could play that game all day long - well we could if we didn't have 5 sick kids to take care of! :)

So, hopefully this will all pass in the next day or two so that we can enjoy the rest of his leave!

Sponsoring Roza

We started sponsoring Roza this past April and we are finally starting to form a real relationship with her. We have already received 7-8 letters and each one has been so special. She is such a friendly little girl.

It is only $38 a month to sponsor a child through Compassion International and I highly recommend their organization. That money pays for her to have medical care, food and water, educational opportunities, etc.

We are also allowed to send family and birthday gifts to her (money only). They then use that money to buy what the family needs. The above picture is of Roza and her mother and the things they bought with the family gift we sent. It is so humbling to see that they spent the money on a mattress, hugs bags of maize, shoes, oil, and soap. Nothing frivolous, that is for sure. There are 9 children in the family, so I am assuming that the mattress was much needed!

This experience has really been great for our children. They are beginning to realize how blessed we are to have a large, warm home, clothes on our backs and food whenever we need it - besides all of the extras. This week, they wrote letters to Roza and drew some pictures. I like it that they want to be involved and included in the sponsorship!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Green. It's my favorite color. It always has been.

God has given me 4 beautiful little girls. I am thankful for that. I am sick of pink and purple though. Goodness gracious, sometimes they look like a piece of bubble gum.

When I was walking through Old Navy the other day, I spotted this gorgeous green jacket and decided that I just had to buy it for Tori.

I love seeing her in it. She looks like a little person with a big personality - which she is.

Now if only I had the exact same jacket in my size. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Education

I am trying to make a really big decision right now.

Andy is able to sign over his GI Bill to me. Which means I can go back to school for free. He already has his Bachelor's Degree and if he wants to get his Master's before he retires, he can do it through tuition assistance while he's still in - so he doesn't need his GI Bill.

I only have my Associate's Degree, some upper level credit from my Russian courses at DLI and a couple of CLEPs.

I really would enjoy going back to school and finally getting my degree.

Would it be worth it though - the time and effort I mean? I would obviously have to do classes online or at night, because I'll still be homeschooling the kiddos. Can I handle that? Can I get it all done and still be sane?

Of course I have fears that I have forgotten too much. That I would be completely out of place with a bunch of recently graduated "kids". I'm sure I'd get over it, but it's still in the back of my mind. It's been many years since I've sat in a classroom.

The other factor in this equation is the fact that the GI Bill benefits can also be transferred over to one of the kids (or split between them). There are 36 months (4 school years) of benefits. Should I feel bad if I use a couple of years worth of it, when I could be giving it to the kids?

I go back and forth every day. I have a lot of thinking to do........

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drive to Denali

After a year of not leaving this 20 mile radius, I decided that I needed to go see something - anything other than Fairbanks and North Pole. The weather was still great, so we decided to do a day trip and head down to Denali National Park.

It was a nice drive - aside from Tori's scream/squeal that she is constantly making. It is seriously eardrum-splitting. Anyone know how to cure a kid of that? She is starting to speak, but she tends to make the most high-pitched, glass-shattering noise when she is unhappy - or bored - or wants something but can't express it. It is not very fun to hear when you're stuck in a car with her. Trust me. I'm hoping that she is cured of this habit before we move and make our cross-continent trip.

Anyway, we headed to Denali. Almost everything was completely closed - gift shops, gas stations, hotels. I mean seriously closed - like boards on the windows for the season. There is usually quite a bit of snow on the ground by this time of year and there aren't any tourists camping and hiking. I am very grateful that the snow is waiting a bit later this year.

We were able to drive about 13 miles into the park. Beyond that, (during the summer) you are required to take a bus to get around the rest of the park. They do a "lottery" each year and people are randomly chosen to get the chance to actually drive through the park in September. That would have been so cool!!!

Amazingly enough, we didn't really see any wildlife in the park. I was waiting for a hungry bear to come out and attack me while I was engrossed in taking pictures, but it didn't happen. :)
We did see a bobcat cross the road in front of us on the way home though. Wish I had been quicker with the camera!!
Unfortunately, there was a lot of fog/cloud cover and the views of the mountains weren't crystal clear. It was still breath-taking though. And it was so nice that the park was empty.

We are now back at home, resting our eardrums. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I ♥ Faces: Pink!

This week's theme is "pink", in honor of breast cancer awareness month. This is a picture of my daughter Tori, prancing around in her fairy costume last month. The weather has grown really cold here, so I'm hoping that the cute little pink skirt still fits her next summer when the snow melts!! :)
To join in the fun, or just check out all of the other great photos, go to

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enjoying our Staycation

A picture from our walk downtown.

It's really a shame that we aren't independently wealthy. I could get used to this life - no work for my husband, no stressful vacation traveling, no schoolwork for the kids. We're just hanging out at home and it's cool.

Today was respite care and we had a relaxing, kid-free day (from 9-5!) It was wonderful. Uninterrupted conversations, lunch at a restaurant, a stroll down by the river, and some shopping at gift shops full of breakables. All things we rarely do with the little ones in tow.

I'm going to be sad when Andy has to go back to work. He still has 2 weeks left though, so we will take full advantage of the time. The kids are enjoying a break from school (and so am I). I am trying to get the first quarter's grades done and doing some prep work for next quarter, but other than that, I'm taking it easy.

Here is the sunset from our deck. Gorgeous, isn't it??

Here are some pictures from our walk downtown. I am really curious about why these silly little ducks decided to stay here. True, we're not covered in snow yet (which is odd)- but the river has started to freeze. You would think that would be the hint to head south for some warmer weather.

I just want to put them on a plane and send them somewhere warm!! :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

I ♥ Faces: Excited!

This week's theme at I ♥ Faces is Excited. Tori is excited any time she is given free reign of the yard. She was especially excited this day, because she got to explore the uncharted territory in the front yard. She normally gets to play in the fenced portion in the back. She felt so free!!!

Check out all the other great entries by visiting I ♥ Faces.

Another Great Day

It was crazy sock night at AWANA and the kids went overboard. I didn't get a picture of Kate, because she's the diva and is always running late. They definitely won the prizes for the most socks!! I HATE matching socks though, so seeing that many of them at one time is a nightmare to me. Truly. They are now all sitting in a bag and I will let the kids deal with them tomrorrow. I refuse to touch them. :)
Andy and I took advantage of the fact that we only had a toddler with us and we took a drive down to the river to take in the scenery. The park was all but deserted and the water was so calm - with gorgeous reflections in the water.

Until Andy started skipping rocks. He's a champion rock skipper.

I am not. I have no excuses. I grew up on an island and around water all of my life. And to this day, when I try to skip a rock, I get a huge KERPLUNK. How embarassing.

We stopped on the way back at a set of steps along the side of the road. I always wondered where they led.
The only thing there was a gorgeous view!

And here are a few pictures of Nick and Tori from earlier today.