Sunday, December 30, 2012


A few months back my Mother sent me a book about family traditions. 
I read through it once and forgot about it, then as the holidays approached I reconsidered the book and started to think about our own family traditions.  We don't have many, we've adopted some from our own families which we love, but I thought it would be even better to create our own. So this year we added to our list of traditions and next year I hope to add more. 
Our family acquired a plethora of illnesses over the past week or so, and have been thus quarantined to our house.  Unable to attend church on Sunday before Christmas, Henry and I sat at the computer and listened to our Prophet, President Monson, and his first counselor, Henry B. Eyring (H's favorite) talk about the true meaning of Christmas. 
Christmas is about giving with out the hope of getting.  Serving others and bringing them joy.  Sharing the love of Christ with those around us.  Quarantined to the house we were unable to send out Christmas cookies, go caroling, or do anything else to serve in the community. (I will add that perhaps we will start the whole giving at the beginning of Dec. so if the week prior too is flu infested we will not have missed out.)
H and I discussed that the reason we celebrate Christmas, was because of Christ, his birth and his life and since it's his birthday, what gifts we might be able to give him.  And as we learned through out Prophet, as we serve others we are giving a gift to our Savior.  "When ye are in the service of your fellow man, ye are only in the service of your God."
My dear friend, Mahana, dropped by unexpectedly one morning after discovering our sickness, with a cup of hot cocoa, meant the world to me!  We received an act of kindness from a friend, and Christ was given a gift of love.  Grandma came and sat with kids while Mom went on a quiet, much needed, visit to the store. Another gift received by us and given to the Lord.
So even though we were unable to go out and do more service, we received much from friends and family. One of my favorite Christmas gifts, came from our dear friends R & L, meals in a bag.  Its a food storage idea, but they were put to good use when Mommy didn't have the energy to cook.  Another example of serving us and the Lord.
What we did do....
after being cooped up for so long we had to resort to more sophisticated ways of entertainment...
Henry's favorite
"Now Mom, don't laugh...." as he gives me weird googly eyes..
And then he giggles uncontrollably as I bust out laughing..
Not only can she make the cool glasses...
she can pick her nose at the same time!
What talent we possess!
We may offer lessons to anyone interested. LOL

Okay, one of the traditions we started this year
24 books wrapped
One opened each day and read. 
The kids LOVED it.
I think each year we will fine tune the list of books. Until we have 24 we absolutely love.  Or who knows maybe it will continually change.
Thanks to Auntie Stephanie for her searching at thrift stores!!  You're the BEST!
Second Tradition
A box on Christmas Eve... Christmas Eve is reserved in our family for my awesomely wonderful Sister and her birthday.  We eat pizza and have some sort of chocolate dessert in her honor and we even sing to her (present or not). So On the night of Christmas Eve, I packed a box with new pajamas for all the kids, Christmas mugs, special hot cocoa, and a Christmas Movie. (This year provided by Grandparents) The Original Grinch movie followed by Charlie Browns Christmas.
The kids loved it, and I discovered that E had been wishing and wishing for footie pajamas like L has forever... who knew?  Way to go Me!
(Porter wasn't yet decked out in his PJs... but you get the idea)

A tradition in my family from years past
"expensive cereal" on Christmas Morning
I think we got the pack of small boxes with lots of options
But we just went for the big ones... so we could savor it longer :)
Definitely a tradition keeper!
My husband and wonderful friends and neighbors helped come up with a wonderful home made gift for the kids this year...
They came complete with marshmallow guns and marshmallows to shoot the eyes off the snakes (eyes are ping pongs)
So we spent the days before Christmas hanging out in the garage drawing, painting and creating this fun homemade gift.  Henry B. Eyring spoke about homemade gifts and the meaning they can hold and the memories they can create... while this may not hang in our grand children's houses...  I love the idea of making gifts for family... So my Christmas gift creating will have to begin a lot earlier next year.
After Christmas day
we spent the remaining week here,
on the couch
She's even cute sick!
And when we could manage,
here at that beautiful table playing cards
(a Mattingley family heirloom, that we are holding temorarily for them)
a past time our family LOVED!
And a tradition that will continue in our family.
Now honestly I have to tell you I was a bit cranky because I was home bound for a complete week with little to no contact with the outside world.  After attending a friends Memorial service today I finally realized what a blessing this week has been.  Yes we were sick, yes it wasn't always pleasant, my house was a disaster, Christmas candy is still uneaten (Not necessarily a bad thing), but I got to spend an entire week with my family!!! No interruptions, just us, spending time together.  I don't know what the future holds but I am sure that I will be ever so grateful for this week of family sick time we had together.  My children bring me great joy, so does my wonderful hubby! I am grateful to all who served us, and especially for our precious Savior, the greatest gift of all. With his birth we gained hope that man will live again, that we will be freed from our sins, and that we will eventually be home again with him and our Father in Heaven.  What JOY there is to celebrate at the Christmas season if we look past all the pretty paper and ribbons.
We Love and Miss so many dear friends and family, especially around Holiday seasons, well actually, every day! But we hope that you all were blessed with gifts of service from others, and hopefully opportunities to GIVE gifts of service.  We LOVE YOU ALL!! May the Lord bless you with peace and Joy in the New Year.
The Miner Family

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


 WHAT??!!!! It's almost CHRISTMAS??!!!
Guess we better stop being NAUGHTY!!
Well since the last post.... We did it... We moved in to the New House!!!
We do not yet have flooring upstairs, doors hung, or steps to the front porch, but we are IN!!
 During the process of moving over
 our first dinner in the new house
yep, she's a red head, with an attitude to go with it.. :)
And the two older kids are crazy excited for the new house, but they miss their loft bedroom with the skylight.  Can't win them all I guess.
 This is MY kitchen!
Counters on the left are extra deep, because my  hubby is building me a drawer behind the lower cabinets for my 5 gallon buckets with flour, sugar etc.  :)  And behind the little man on the counter is an awesome range... with a convection oven! (actually it has a stupid button on it... converts it for you so you don't need to actually know how to use a convection oven. ha ha) I LOVE IT!
Cookie making is so much easier!
Now to try the bread
 And our living room, no banister up yet... we have a big cedar chest in front of the stairs now so L can't climb up there.  Even with out the upstairs we are in heaven... so much more space!!!
The far right of the picture shows the door to the "crawl space"  with 7 foot something ceilings, and currently holding our bed and storage room.  Actually down stairs will be the movie room and "Costco room"  Ever see Blast from the Past?  Just imagine going shopping in your "crawl space."  That's what I have... pictures to follow... also housed inside my "crawl space" will be my sewing nook!! 
 Add to the mix an Alaskan Christmas tree, acquired from our front yard :)
Decorating TALL trees isn't easy, may require shorter tree next year.
 All this makes for one HAPPY MOMMY!!!

 The view from our front windows, front yard.  LOVE IT!
For those of you not in AK, we didn't get our first snow this year until the second week of December!
And when it snowed... it really snowed! The kids were playing outside so long yesterday in negative temps that their cheeks were a bit frost bitten... but I couldn't convince them to come indoors... they just wanted more layers. :)
So much has happened this year with our family, mostly it's been another wonderful year of bliss and peace.  This little miracle man has been living life at full speed.  He goes to Preschool four days a week and LOVES it!!
Just a quick update on his status...
We recently had MRIs of his liver and heart to determine the level of iron build up in his organs.  We prayed and fasted much, and were blessed to only have iron build up in his liver.  Heart is still clear and strong!! Because he has build up in his liver, treatment plans have changed.  For those of you that don't know, because of his many, many, many transfusions following transplant his body has a great store of iron.  Which isn't great. Genetically it's called Hemachromatosis which means that his body can't break down iron on it's own.  This disease only presents itself in older individuals though, highly rare for a child to have it. So we are all in agreement that it's probably from all the transfusions.  For the past year he has been doing monthly phlebotomy visits at the PedOnc office.  It hasn't been as helpful as we hoped, so we are going to try weekly visits for a while, drawing more blood... which means: Pokes every week, with possible IV for fluids, with possible swelling (Henry always liked to get bloated with IV fluids in the past) which may lead to a port or something to prevent weekly pokes and IV and swelling... which means germ a phobia again, and fevers taking us back to the ER...
While it's a bit disheartening I cannot help but be grateful everyday that ALL we have to deal with is iron overload!  There are so many more scenarios that I wouldn't want to be living right now.  The Lord has truly blessed us with two years of peace and joy!
H is strong and has done amazing so far, hopefully a big kick in the pants will help his iron deposits decrease and allow him to go back to normal life. 
For now we will enjoy the rest of the year in "normalcy!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

The House...

 Today we are a bit further along, but this is where we have been all summer and fall and heading into winter now....working on our house.  It's so close to ready for us.... :)
This is my blue accent wall, it's actually dockside blue, with a beige on the other walls, white ceilings.   We are planning on adding crown molding and white trim. (I loved the cruise so much I decided to make our house a beach side getaway... :)  Not really) We started laying flooring but haven't gotten any pictures yet, soon to come. Imagine a dark brown wood colored flooring.
 Our resident model showing off the stairs, gone are the days of ladders to the bedroom. (well eventually) 
 The front door, and kitchen area.  So excited about the cabinets, had the made and they are beautiful!!! Can't wait for pictures of them once they are in.
 Finishing the siding, on a crazy windy day, it was quite the adventure to watch the gusts of wind swirl through the tops of the trees.  J wasn't convinced it was enjoyable... but I was having a blast... I was up there with him, had to get down to take pictures. :) 
 Siding is done, gutters are up, and we are working as hard as we can to get cabinets and flooring in, etc..  J might have injured his back doing it... but we will soon begin pressing forward.
Beautiful in floor heat
Ever need a good plumber, I know one! 
The heating system is awesome in this house, we have a few fires in our awesome GARN and the house is at 85 degrees and too hot.  Not complaining, I love it! 
We are all really excited and are anticipating the finished product, just thought I would let you all in on our progress and where we have been all summer.
A few side notes...
Henry is in Preschool now, attending at the high school, so when they walk around the halls they are explorers among a sea of legs. haha  But he loves it, he even gets to ride the bus from the elementary school to the high school. 
Elizabeth is loving 1st grade, and is developing into quite a lover of the arts.  Every spare moment she has is filled with drawing or writing her own books ( recent book about her family included a page about daddy's amazing ability to do tricks and Mommy's ability to clean the house.. I know I'm awesome.. hahah)
Lydia is still determined to be the baby and is quite a red head, but still brings joy to my life.
And baby Porter is sweet and adorable and talking about as much as Lydia... he is determined not to be the baby, and demands more attention. haha  Tall and skinny with BIG feet. 
Henry has been informing everyone that we are soon going to have another baby girl, while his intentions are sweet they are untrue!!!  Mommy wants a break for a bit.... :) 
And that's where we have been... onto a month full of thanksgiving!! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Favorite Place

 This is one of our very favorite spots.
A small hill by the Palmer Library
On this particular day the sun was shining, it was warm and the grass felt like plush carpet.
Why do we love this spot so much?...
 the warm, soft grass...
 the trees to climb..

 and rolling down the hill, over and over again.  (they even get Mommy to do it a few times)

 Even Lydia tried to roll down the hill... it became more of a scoot your butt down the hill, but she tried it , and loves it too.
 I was just having fun with my kids, worrying about nothing and experimenting with my phone camera. For whatever reason this spot is peaceful. It may be the history we are surround by, or the quiet, but this piece of grass will always be our favorite.  
 E and I always race from the hill to the bushes by the Borough Building, and we always do it bare foot.
Perfect capture of the hill rolling! Ah to be young and carefree.

Family Time

All the
 We got to see our cousins one last time before they move out of state, and it was a great weekend!!
E LOVES her cousins and was so excited to see them. 
Saturday we went up the butte
it was a BEAUTIFUL day!
Best part of the hike was on top when we all sat in the grass ready to eat lunch.  Auntie M had prepared sandwiches for everyone and put them back into the bread bag.  However, atop the butte we pulled out the bread bag only to realize it was a bag of bread... sandwiches were back at home one the table.  OOPS!  We had a good laugh and ate the sandwiches when we got home.
 The cousins, minus the two babies, ready to head up the trail!
 The half way point, everyone was hot and sweaty!
 These two boys ran up the entire butte.  In fact it was one of those situations where they probably climbed it twice, with all the back tracking, running ahead and back tracking again. (if that makes sense)  They were so excited to be first!
 And kudos go out to who ever is responsible for these stairs.  The trail kept getting washed out and wasn't really very good for little kids, the last half of the climb is ALL STAIRS like these ones.  It looks like a ton of work and I am grateful to them for their work.  The kids love it.  And Mommy gets a great stair work out.  haha
 You just can't beat the views from on top of the butte.  I think that's why I enjoy climbing it so much.  Eventually I will work my way to other trails, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying this one.
I actually got a break this time, I was only carrying ONE baby instead of two. Thanks Uncle T for carrying baby #2. I think I might have perspired this time with two on board. 
It was a wonderful weekend and we will really miss the cousins.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012


 Our Newest Model arrived
June 19, 2012
Porter Wray
weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz.
 21 inches long

It is amazing to me how quickly they change
he looked so much like Daddy when he was born
and each day he looks a bit more like Henry or Elizabeth.

 Enjoying the freedom and space outside the womb

 But NOT the cold.  He is a warm blooded boy, and fusses quite a bit if he's not warm

 Thank you Claudia and Summer's Mom for the adorable booties.

So how are we adjusting to life with four?
I won't lie it's pretty crazy!
Getting out the door requires at least a five hour heads up
Once the baby is fed, mom pumps some awesome milk for the freezer, diapers are changed on baby and Lydia, and kids 1 and 2 are dressed and shoed, inevitably one of the diapers is dirty again or baby has puked on himself.  THEN Mom sees herself in the mirror and realizes that she too must get ready for going out.  Public appearances don't require makeup anymore, just clothes that aren't puked or pooed on, and don't stink from overuse. 

However, I have two gems that help me so much!
I don't think I would survive with out my older two.  They are always retrieving items for Mom, plugging screaming babies with pacifiers, diaper duty (throwing outside not changing, although E is working very hard at changing too) and much, much more.

 While reading books today E told me she wanted to hurry up and grow up so she could have babies of her own.  She LOVES to be in charge and wishes that she could take total control of our family unit.  While I am sure she could do better, I am still hanging on to the reigns for now. Porter is her responsibility she says, I just have to feed and change him, she will do the rest.
How do you convince a child to take on more responsibility with out wanting to grow up so fast? How do you convince them they have it easy and to enjoy it while they can? 

 Henry seems to be indifferent most of the time, but has his moments when he really wants to hold the baby.  He grudgingly does diaper duty most of the time, but is elated that Lydia seems to want to take over.  Mom time seems to dwindle for him and reading time, especially at bed time, has fallen off.  Perhaps that explains the change in attitude.  However a quick plea for the "kind Henry" to come back usually does the trick.

 IF you can't read the shirt it says, "Now, I'm a BIG sister" And her expression tells it all!
Not really! She loves her baby brother and has really adjusted amazingly well.  The day I came home from the Hospital all pacifiers belonging to one, Lydia, had disappeared (as they seem to do when needed). I decided it was a great time to ween her off the "paci." I claim new baby brain! It was, needless to say, a bad idea.  She won that battle and now religiously steals the baby's pacifier.

 Mostly Lydia LOVES to cuddle "her baby"
She squeezes him and rests her head on his head and kisses him
a few gentle pats for the road, getting more aggressive as she goes
She struggles with cuddle time, hates it when she gets into trouble or is in pain and mommy is holding the baby.  Then you see the dreaded "I hate this new baby" look. 
Lydia brings me joy! When I am having a rough day I only need a smile from her and my heart is rejuvenated! She is my peacemaker.

 And I LOVE where I live.
Alaska is beautiful!
This was taken from the Matanuska River bed, down by the old "frog pond"
I used to frequent when growing up. 
We have been exploring and hiking all over this summer
enjoying every sunny day we are blessed with.
Also a new tradition we started this year
And our home town team the "MINERS" of course get hearty cheers from the kids
They have been LOVING it.
I remember going to games with my Grandma when I was very young and loving it then too.

The rest of our time is consumed in this!
Our home that we currently reside in has become a bit "tight" for our family of six.
So we are endeavoring to get this new home done by the close of the year. 
Space we so desperately need.  Our poor Daddy works hard all week and on his weekends gets to work even harder on this.  We love him for his support and his hard work in providing for us!