Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'm 29

I'm officially 29. The last year of my 20's.  I remember when 30 was old.  It still sounds old.  Except I'm about to be 30.  And I don't feel old.  Other than the fact that my knee hurts when I run now.  And I'm starting to see those lovely smile creases near my eyes.  

At least it was a good celebration.  First Matt took me to dinner, remember?  It was lovely.
Then we had a little shindig BBQ at the house with some great friends.  It was really just a good excuse to have a party.  And eat sweet potato fries.  God has blessed us with wonderful friends up here.  We all are far away from home...and I think that makes us closer.  We are our little family away from family.  That's one thing I love about Alaska that we just didn't have in Houston.  The community.
It was supposed to be an outdoor BBQ, but you never know how the weather is going to pan out up here.  Actually, I could probably take a good guess 95% of the time, but I do like to be optimistic.  Sadly, it really was cloudy and cold.  So we hung out inside the majority of the time.
 They even cleaned up for me. :)
Unfortunately, Maddie didn't have as good of a time.  Thankfully that little face didn't last long.  She just wanted to be apart of the party when it was way past her bedtime.  I think she may encourage my eye crinkles...that and the bags under the eyes.
I feel blessed.  It's going to be a good year.  And I'll deal with the reality and denial of 30 next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maddie's first campout

Maddie got to experience her first true Alaskan experience this weekend.  Camping.  Hiking.  Fire.  S'mores (ok, I enjoyed those for her).   Wearing one too many layers to stay warm at night.  Sleeping with bear spray.  Couldn't get better. :)

The end of May really starts the summer off up here.  It's usually warmer (upper 50's/low 60's) and most of the snow is gone.  Well - most.  We were deterred from our first camping location because there was too much snow that cars would get stuck.  Yep.  Welcome to the final frontier.  

So we headed the other direction to Finger Lake praying that there would still be available camping spots.  We met up with some good friends, snuggled around a fire pit and put all our newly organized camping gear to use (remember we did that over Mothers Day weekend).  I kinda felt like a circus had come to town when we rolled up.  Two dogs and a baby (we were dog worries, we didn't get another!).   Especially since neither of our friends had either of the above.  Good thing they were very gracious to us!

We set up our beloved truck tent.  I love that thing more and more each time we use it.
It keeps us so cozy and warm inside.  Maddie loved it.  So much so we stayed two nights!
She spent the majority of her time here.  Peacefully sleeping in her Ergo.
This is how the rest of us spent our days.  Bundled around the fire.  This picture may have been taken at 11pm.  Matt slept with a shirt wrapped around his face.
We even went on Maddie's first hike.  Up the Butte.  It was beautiful at the top.  You can still see all the snow on the mountains behind us.  I'm afraid it might be there all summer.  I've also officially nursed on a mountaintop.  Yep, cross that one off my bucket list.
 All the girls!
Maddie loves her time with dad!
Preparing for dinner.   Nicole is the best cook.  Look at that delicious meat.  We ate well.  We stick with only hot dogs and pb&j when I'm in charge.  So it's a good thing I wasn't. :)
It was a great start to the summer!  A dose of the love portion of my love/hate relationship I have with this state. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

dates and growing babies

Sorry, I couldn't think of a catchy title for this post.  I have a random assortment of thoughts today. 

For starters, I know it's important to put your marriage first.  I've had many people tell me that about after having kids.  It's easy for them to become your world.  But they need a strong, Godly marriage to set the foundation for the home.  Thus, I believe, going on dates is important.  

But I'm not gonna lie.  It's hard to leave this cute little lady!  

We are blessed with several friends who have offered to babysit for us (we don't have the luxury of grandma nearby) we have officially gone out 3 times. hah.  Sounds sad, only 3 times in 4 1/2 months. But since I'm turning 29 this week...sigh, the last year of my twenties....Matt took me to Benihanas.  It was delicious. I'd never been to a Japanese steak house and I loved it!  Since it was my birthday, we got an honorary picture. :)  I told Matt we could only be gone TWO hours since Maddie won't take a bottle.  Even still she acted like she hadn't eaten in days when we arrived back home.  I think she has a bit of a dramatic flare in her.
Another big celebration was my first mother's day.  We had a brunch with our church group that the men prepared and came home to start organize our garage.  What's sad is that's my idea of a good time.

We also took some photos.  I have so many pictures on my computer of Maddie.  Like a ridiculous amount.  My goal is to go through, narrow down and edit the best.  I read somewhere that if you won't frame it or put it in a scrapbook, then go ahead and delete it.  No point in having 50 photos of her 2 month pictures, right?  Sometimes it's overwhelming to me.  Does anyone else have this problem?
Today we had our 4 month appointment.  I stand affirmed that my little girl is growing big!  She is 15lbs 6oz (75th%), 25 1/4" (75th%) and her head is 44cm (99th%).  She's got some big brains going on in there. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I officially quit my job.  Or I tried.  Maybe you didn't even know I was working?  Well a couple weeks before my maternity leave began, my boss asked me if I'd be interested in working from home (because I had made it clear that I didn't want to send Maddie to childcare, so I was probably not going to return).  Sounded like a great opportunity to keep myself challenged and make a little extra money on the side.  So six weeks after Maddie was born, I started working from home.  Nothing crazy, but 5-10 hours a week.  Problem was, I wasn't enjoying it.  And at times stressed out.  I felt burdened to work during Maddie's irregular naps when I really just wanted to read or make dinner or actually shower.  Sometimes I'd get up early on a Saturday morning to get some time in.  Matt doesn't really care if I work.  Thankfully we are blessed and agree to sacrifice some things for me to stay home.  So after MUCH prayer and debate, I decided to call it quits.  Matt said it could be a birthday present to myself.  I went in to give my notice.  Then they offered me an even better scenario.  Why don't I take a couple months off for the summer and if things get less crazy, I can start up again.  Seriously?  God is good.  Perfect situation.  I feel blessed to have them so flexible with me - I know that doesn't happen often.

Anyways, since that happened just a couple days ago, I feel relief.  Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  And I guess as a celebration, I realized my craftiness bug has been building up.  And Maddie took an unusually long nap today.  Of course all was made with materials I have in my "craft bin", because a quick trip to the store doesn't happen anymore. 

I first made this to hang in this empty space we've had in our kitchen.  I was reminded of this quote from Jim Elliot recently and I feel like it's so fitting.  Especially since Matt and I just found out that it's going to be another couple years in Alaska.  So often (especially in Matt's current work situation) I live dreaming of what/where we'll be one day.  I look forward to being closer to family and old friends, but I'm actually overwhelmed with contentment about staying.  And by all means, I want to be living all here not wishing it away.
 I also recently made this spring time wreath.  Winter is WAY too long up here.  So this was my glimmer of hope each time I opened the door.
 Then I finished my coffee from Costco (I love Costco) and decided to make a toy bin for all of Maddie's rattles, pacifiers, etc we have floating around.  She's not really old enough for big toys, so it's nice I can contain most of her things in this little tin.  I know to enjoy it while I can. :)
 And what is that sitting on, you ask?  Garage sale season has begun!  I love garage sale-ing.  And our first Saturday morning out we found this beauty.  Sure Maddie can't exactly sit by herself in it yet, but I figure when that time comes around there won't be any garage sales to hit up (because there will probably be 10 feet of snow on the ground again).  It's the planner in me. :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I wanted to frame a couple baby pictures of Matt and I for Maddie's nursery.  I thought it'd be fun to compare what traits she has of each of us.  So our parents passed along some pictures they had.  I thought I'd share a couple and let you be the judge. :)

Matt at 3 1/2 months:
 Me (I would guess 3-4 months, it wasn't labeled):
 Maddie at four months:
I love when people comment on how she looks "just like me" when we are out and about.  I take it as such a compliment because I think she's the most beautiful little baby.  It's amazing to see how she takes after both of us in different ways.  It will be exciting to see her grow into a little lady.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Our well-rounded daughter

We want Maddie to be a well-rounded, flexible individual.  And we are doing what we can to not completely alter our lives/isolate ourselves at home (which at times seems like it would be so much easier).  So she comes with us to everything (especially since at the present time she won't take a bottle - so she literally comes with me everywhere right now).  

Such as for her first bowling experience.  A Big Brothers, Big Sisters fundraiser.  Unfortunately the bowling balls weigh as much as she does.  But you can tell she was enjoying it. :)
This past weekend she also experienced her first 10K race (Matt's first too!).  Matt came up with the idea that we'd train for a half marathon together this spring, to stay in shape and help me get back into shape.  We run together when he gets off work before dinner and decided weekend races would be a fun way to complete our long runs.  This weekend we got second place in the stroller division!  Okay, we kinda made that up, but we did only slightly get beat by this other guy with a stroller.  I think we should have gotten an award.
Running has turned into a family affair since Maddie always joins us, so once I found out that none of the half marathons up here allow strollers, I was pretty bummed.  We might end up just signing up for one to get the medal/T-shirt and then running it on our own another day.
All finished!  Maddie slept 95% of the time...
the other 5% I was rattling her toy while running next to her to lull her back asleep. :)
She also experienced her first dodge ball tournament.  Our church group signed up for a dodge ball tourney to help support Young Life.  We would take turns sitting out corralling all the kids while the others played.  Good thing the games were only 3-5 minutes long each.  That's a lot of young kids for two people!  We were by far the oldest team.  And guess what? We won! hah.  Here are all the dads with their kiddos awaiting our turn out on the court.
Matt and I are excited about this summer...which is filling up so fast!  Last summer I wasn't feeling well the majority of the time, so we didn't get out to do much.   But this year we have lots of camping, hiking and biking plans coming up.  We just pray Maddie enjoys them as much as we do (or that could put a damper on things)!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vegetable Garden

We are attempting a new hobby.  To be honest, I'm a little skeptical on how successful it will be.  Especially since I somehow killed every single plant I've ever owned.  But we have been talking about this for awhile, and now that I'm home most of the day, I might be successful in keeping these plants alive.

It started when our friends told us they had an old greenhouse given to them that they didn't want.  Which included these awesome cedar boards that we could have.  So after an afternoon of enjoying lunch and the boys some manual labor, we came home with these.  Matt cut them down to the appropriate size...
 ...and we built this.  A raised vegetable garden.  It's 2.5 ft x 8 ft (it's kinda hard to tell in this picture).  I was very proud of ourselves as it actually only took one weekend to do it all.  That never happens.  Matt even went and got a truck bed full of dirt and filled it up.
You see it right, folks.  That's still snow on the ground.
And I'm well aware it's already May.
Raised beds are much better here in Alaska, because the ground gets so cold. Plus our back "yard" doesn't get much sunlight due to the fence and direction our house faces, so we thought raising it will help it out a bit.  Now we just have to keep the darn moose from eating my precious fruits and veggies.

While Matt filled the bed with dirt, I went to work on planting our future dinner dishes inside.  The last frost isn't until mid-late May (just about when Texas is wrapping up their planting season), so we have to keep them indoors until then.  Yes, that means that we only have about 3 months of harvesting, but I'm determined it will be a good three months!

I did a little research on what to plant and came up with: lettuce, snow peas, squash, strawberries, raspberries and some herbs.  Seeing my little sprouts makes me so excited that I've even gotten this far!  (The middle section is my must be a late bloomer.)
My mom calls me her "hippie daughter".  I'm going to take that as a compliment.  And try not to get too excited about my results until we enjoy the fruit of our labors.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Four Months

Seriously. Where does the time go?  We have our big four month appointment in a couple weeks (I guess I waited too long to book an appointment - who knew you had to call so far in advance?), but we are anxious to see how much Maddie has actually grown.  Sometimes we think she's abnormally large for her age, compared to other kiddos, but that just makes more of her to love!
Maddie officially is a roller.  Front to back and back to front.  I think she surprises herself each time she does it.  We just bought her a bouncy chair and she loves it (and I love it too, because it gives me a few minutes to get something done).  Maddie and I do a lot of our errands during the day in the Ergo carrier, because that car seat is getting way to heavy to tote around with her in it!

She is such a smiley baby.  Everywhere I go people comment on how happy and smiley she is.  Except for those times when she's hungry...or wet...or tired.  But usually she's super happy. :)

She makes me laugh as she sucks on her bottom lip, chews on her tongue and talks to herself during car rides in the baby mirror we have hanging in the backseat.  It's also exciting when I try to expand her horizons by going to baby & me yoga...and she cries the entire time.  It may have lost the calming experience for those others in the room.  Sorry - I guess that's not her thing.

Unfortunately, we have not seen the days of 10 hours of sleep at night lately.  Suddenly she's hungry about every 3 hours again.  I guess I enjoyed it while it lasted.  She's turned into a pretty decent napper, as long as we are home.  Usually 3-4 naps, the longest lasting about 3 hours.  We are transitioning out of the phase that we can sleep anywhere and everywhere we go.  Good thing I'm a homebody at heart. :)  Maddie has also decided that she doesn't like a bottle.  Nope.  Not gonna take it.  Which is going to make date night or girls night (or anything without her, really) a very difficult idea to justify.  I'm praying it's just a phase...

I also think we are starting to teeth that possible?  She has about 95% of the symptoms.  But no teeth have revealed themselves yet, so I guess time will tell.

I've also decided as each month passes, that this is my new favorite age.  I love her so much more every day.

And I think she has no idea how cute she really is.
"You talking to me?!"
"Somebody help me!  Mom won't stop taking pictures of me!"

"Ok, mom, I'm done.  Can I take my nap now?"