Friday, December 30, 2011

How to De-Wuss-ify yourself

J- I just finished reading about the Shackleton Expedition to the South Pole. If you are not familiar with this expedition I would suggest you read one of the many books about it. Basically it began around 1915, an expedition attempt to reach the south pole. Unfortunately the expedition got stuck in ice and over the course of a few months their boat was crushed and sank by the ice flows. The crew then went on to survive almost a year and a half floating on ice flows, through the Antarctic winter in sub zero temperatures with little more than the wool clothes on their backs and reindeer hide sleeping bags. They survived on what few rations they were able to save and a diet of penguins and sea lions. They eventually had to take to the water as their ice began melting into the sea the following summer. They crossed hundreds of miles in open life boats in the worst ocean in the world. They landed on a remote uninhabited island of rock and ice where most of the crew remained while 6 men boarded one life boat and continued 800 more miles crossing the Antarctic ocean finally reaching a Whaling station where they organized and later rescued the rest of the party.

So over the last few years I have come to slowly slip into the pit of being a Wuss. For those of you who do not know, a "Wuss" as I see it is a weak, lazy, or cowardly person. You see in the last 6 years or so I have been focused on things like building a house (now 2), work (the never ending, go so you can get a paycheck kind of work), family medical issues, and general laziness(not that the first 3 items listed are not important). In fact even though we have chosen for personal reasons not to have television/cable in our home, I somehow convinced L to let me buy a flat screen TV which I told her would be great for SKYPE but really it was for the MOVIES I like to watch on almost a daily basis.

Well to get to the point, a good friend called me last week inviting me to go dig ice caves and go camping in them. I declined the invitation knowing with the holidays I could not get time off work. I declined saying I wanted to but couldn't, due to my work schedule. As I got off the phone I asked myself if that was true, not the work part but the "wanted to but" part, and I took comfort in thinking about my warm bed and flat screen TV (for SKYPE right?).

It was at this point I realized I had hit the bottom of the Wuss Pit. 6 years ago this was not the case, a person would haft to be careful what they invited me to do.

So my decision came slowly, I have not been sleeping well for the last couple years. Not-so-much insomnia just never seeming to get enough sleep, and always waking up tired and sore. I asked myself, J when and where have you had the best sleep of your life? To myself I replied, while camping duh! For some unknown reason regardless of the sleeping conditions, when I go camping I sleep better than anywhere else. This does not mean I don"t wake up sore while camping, but I cannot remember a time I went camping and at least didn't sleep well.

Why is this? Any Ideas? Why is sleep that much better when your camping?

So I decided to give it a try and experiment. Also this would serve to De-Wuss-ify myself.

This morning I woke up to -8 F, my second night sleeping outside.

Night 1 - 6 hours, sleep woke up to -2 degrees F, sleep was good, slightly sore muscles/stiff no more stiffness than sleeping in the house in bed. Need face mask or cover for head, thick frost built up around head of sleeping bag. Didn't know we had SO much traffic in our dead end neighborhood late at night.

Night 2 - 8 hours sleep woke up to -8 degrees F, Sleep good, again stiff and a little sore, probably because I try not to move all night cause when I do I discover new parts of the sleeping bag not kept warm by my body heat. Found a use for old baby blankets! used one to cover the head opening to my sleeping bag, this worked well tempering the air for ease of breathing, only down side, the baby blanket gets heavy as frost condensed from my breath, the blanket then drips, only a few drops, but very cold drops on my face.

Not sure how long I want to keep this up. I believe the better sleep derives from cool crisp clean air, and maybe the body focuses on keeping warm and may allow a deeper sleep(better sleep) so it can focus on just staying warm. Not-Sure, I believe more experimentation is necessary, furthermore, I need to know if it is just the "new bed phenomenon". To rule the "new bed phenomenon" out I need to do it a while longer until the sleeping conditions are not "new".

I am welcome to suggestions or theories. At this point the sleep is nice.

Just to clarify for those who might have seen how long this post was and skipped parts, essential parts required to understand the main plot......

L & J are not having marital problems, L thinks J is crazy but L knew this when she married J and therefore says she will support J in this sleep study experiment.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catch Up

Our Computer has been on the fritz, so now I'm playing catch up, four posts in one day :)

And I have been really bad about taking photos of the new house as everything goes up... so here, after it's all framed up...

The dinning room... taken from the door into the house via the garage

And the kitchen...

And the out side look...
with out the main entry way
which includes a nice deck and covered porch :) be continued as windows, doors, and such are installed.


A quiet Sunday afternoon

Henry fell asleep on the couch.. a some what standing laying position. I think he was either trying to fight off sleep or couldn't decide which position would be most comfortable.

Crazy kid!


Can't get enough of this beautiful girl!

She can make me smile even when I'm in the worst mood!


We carved pumpkins for Family Home Evening a week before Halloween. We were going to have the kids carve one, but they decided to pick the picture and had Mom and Dad carve it out. We had tons of fun!

Then we roasted all the pumpkin seeds, YUMMY!

She's such a beautiful girl!

And our other precious little lady bug....

didn't seem to mind one bit wearing her costume.

We went to E's classroom for the Halloween party

These two boys are such good buds!

Eating some ice cream and watching Charlie Brown.

It was pretty low key compared to other classrooms, but I LOVED it.

E and her friend Spider Man!

To begin the month E wanted to be a princess for Halloween, so at an early Halloween party she dressed up as a princess. For school we created the "ballerina" costume. That night she wore kitty Cat ears and orange leggings with the ballerina outfit. Thus she was a witchy ballerina kitty cat. So easy to please. Love this girl!

There was a parade of costumes at noon and we got to see all the awesome creations. My all time favorite, which I tried to get a pic of but couldn't do it fast enough, was a little girl dressed up like a paper doll. It was sooo cute. Tabs on the dress and everything.

Hope you all had a fun Halloween!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My first attempt at making Mom's bread

Only mistake I made was putting one loaf in the rubber pan... burned on the bottom.. oops.

And I'm still working on getting the loafs equal sizes.

But the fam loved it! I think we went through six loaves in a week and a half.

Nothing quite like homemade bread and freezer jam!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Signs of Fall

The air is crisp and smells wonderful! I am surrounded by mostly yellow trees and red bushes, my garden is almost completely harvested and my yard needs raking. All things considered, I do believe it's FALL!

I have adjusted rather well to a house that sits at 65 degrees all day. If it's too cold in the morning I just bake some more zucchini bread. It warms the body and the senses. However, that being said, I finally broke down and had a fire. So cozy and inviting!

Every morning Elizabeth runs across the street to the neighbors to hitch a ride to school. As she's running down the path Henry yells "Bye Elizabeth!" She yells back "Best friends, right?!" Henry responds "yes, I Love you!" And she yells back again that she loves him. It's wonderful!

Leaf piles

Fall isn't complete without them

Some people complain because Alaska doesn't have the "fall" colors that other states boast. And while that may be true I believe that we do get the brilliant reds and oranges and yellows on the ground, not in the trees. So watch your step or you'll miss AK's beautiful fall colors.

Another sign of fall around here, our dear pet Squeaky the Squirrel, who lives in this tree, spent the summer and into fall collecting food from us, food from the trash, and an assortment of yard variety mushrooms. He's been fun to watch, and I do love his abode.

I LOVE Fall in AK!

Friday, September 23, 2011


So here are some pics from our surprise weekend. It was awesome! Elizabeth cried when I told her it was time for Grandpa and Annie to go. Remedy: "tomorrow is school." No more tears only cheers! Instead of being sad about them leaving she said to me, "It's okay, they had to go back to their mission." She is so proud of her Grandparents being missionaries. We Love you and Miss you two already!

On Friday we played hookie, well Elizabeth did. I had to FORCE her to stay home. She was really upset about missing school and perhaps I should have let her go, however, we only had two days with Grandpa and Granny Annie so I made her sacrifice a little.

Beginning to prefer the back side of the camera. Was NOT excited about getting his picture taken.

Showing off for the grandparents. I am sure she loves wearing headbands!

Mostly we talked, played games and enjoyed family time. Really I should have more pictures of the entire weekend, however, I'm really good at forgetting my camera. Most of these pictures are candid snaps from our family photographer: Henry.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Surprise Visit!!

We had such a fun weekend! My Brother and his wife were sealed to their baby girl and my Mom and Dad received special permission to be here. The kids were sooooo excited!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lovable, Huggable, squeezable kids!

Almost 5 months old! I can not help but smile! She has so much joy to give, what a blessing she is to our family.

This one just got his tonsils out on Wednesday. The Doctor and Anesthesiologist called them "impressive." His adenoids were almost completely blocking the back of his nasal cavity and his tonsils were "kissing," a technical term.
The recommended recovery says for the first day, Liquids. What did Henry want everything! He got popsicles but was really ready to eat. He's been hungry every five minutes since he got his tonsils out. I am pretty sure they were hindering his ability to swallow. He usually doesn't eat very much at all... not anymore, I can't seem to feed him fast enough.
They call in a few prescriptions for you before hand, some Tylenol with codeine and antibiotics. First of all Tylenol and codeine don't do anything to him, he's a little too used to the hard stuff! And secondly it burns his throat so he always says, "Mom my throat hurts I need some medicine, the pink one." (Pink one being antibiotics) What a crazy life he leads!
We have success! We had his tonsils removed because he was having issues snoring and not breathing at night. Wednesday night he slept with out snoring but woke up a few times needing some pain meds. Thursday night he slept wonderfully! I am pretty sure those dark circles under his eyes are going to disappear quickly. And he may start to gain a lot of weight at the rate he's eating! All good things.

While Elizabeth is in school these days Henry impatiently waits for her to come home. It has been an adjustment for him, which has lead him to strongly desire Lydia's mobility and greater qualities as a playmate. When E IS home, they play and play and play!

I just LOVE them!!

Birthday & Parade All in One Day!

Since Elizabeth's birthday fell on a Monday this year, I decided to celebrate it on the following Saturday. And because it was such a big year, 5 and starting school, I thought I would throw her a big birthday party with friends, cake, games and such. As it turns out I am NOT a birthday party expert, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I am truly impressed by my neighbor and her ability to throw multiple parties (some including 30 children) and have them turn out wonderfully! So while it was fun, it may be a while before I throw her another party, unless I solicit some help the next go round.

On top of a birthday party, we had the Alaska State Fair parade in the morning on Saturday. Such fun! I truly believed there would be multiple melt downs by the end of the day, however, my dear Elizabeth just had a wonderful day!

Brad & Madilyn! I can't get enough of her, she's too cute for words!!!

Getting extra time with Auntie Stephanie. I can't believe how fast this little red head is growing! She brings me such joy... even during moments of pure frustration with my other kids, all I have to do is look at her and she warms my heart.

Place candy here...(he was so adorable everyone gave him extra!)

Then seal it off so no one can snatch my candy...

Okay too long of a break in the parade, whats in here anyways...

It was LOTS of fun! I love parades not only for the goodies, but for the time we have to spend with family! I love this tradition and I hope it never stops!!!

Okay here are some birthday pics.

We began with coloring and painting some wooden dolls

Then we had games outside, it was cold so we didn't stay outside long. And the games weren't very successful... but they seemed to have fun. (Most of them were more interested in the wood pile, climbing it, and the tire swing in the woods)

Then after some "cake walk/prize walk" we ate cake and opened presents.

I love how excited everyone gets and their great desire to help in the present opening phase.
She went through everything so fast I wasn't sure what she got or where it came from.. well not so true, but she did love all her gifts and was sooo excited!

And here are some finished products (wooden dolls decorated at the beginning) Those girls are so cute!!

S0 next time I'll solicit more help and I'll definitely have a larger house, or location where everyone can run around like wild Indians! When the next one will occur... I don't know.. give me a few years to recoup from this one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


For the next however many years... my life will revolve around the school more weekend trips in the middle of the week! No more lazily enjoying the is structured once more. I was having a bitter sweet morning, watching this sweet girl get ready for her first day. I am excited for her to begin school, the learning, playing and making new friends. But I am wondering to myself, did I really take the time to enjoy having her around all the time? Did I teach her enough... well no!... but I guess I can still work on that. E is more than ready to be in school, she LOVES having friends and she loves learning (just not when Mom is the teacher!). I guess I'm realizing that even though most days I wish she would "grow up a little" it happened all too fast. I am not going to be there for the fun moments when she learns something new, or discovers she's really good at something. Separation issues for poor ol' Mom. hahaha
I'm waiting anxiously to hear how her day went.

After going through a million and one outfits she was determined to wear this. It was actually the first choice, I thought I would talk her into something different, but she was not having it! She really wanted to wear one of the necklaces Laci gave her for a birthday present.

It was a quiet morning with just Elizabeth and I, reading and getting ready.

Couldn't leave without saying good bye to Henry! He SOOO loves his big sister. He's anxiously waiting for her to come home too!!

She didn't even notice I was there anymore. Found the coat hanger, put her stuff away, said hello to the teacher and sat down to color with the other kids. I wish I could just sit in the class and watch her excitement! I had to get her attention to tell her I was leaving... more for me than her... but what can I say?!