Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Air Show

Maddie took a four hour nap today.  FOUR hours.  That's unheard of.  I'm thinking we wore her out too much this weekend.  She was a trooper since we weren't home much.  All her naps were in the stroller, car or Ergo.  No wonder she's so worn out.

Anyways...Every two years the air force base in Anchorage hosts an air show.  Anchorage is home to 2 military bases.  An air force base and an army base.  Basically when new people move here there's a good chance they are in oil or the military.  

At the air show all their planes, hummers and equipment are on display and they entertain with an air show containing fly-bys and fun aerobatics.  It was hard for me to watch the little planes come inches from each other and made me a bit nauseous as they flew straight up in the air and then free fall until they came within seconds of hitting the ground.  Those people are crazy.  I'm glad that's not me.  I get scared flying commercial.

But Maddie had a great time!  We bought these earmuffs so we wouldn't permanently damage her precious little ears with the planes zooming by.  She didn't put up a fuss at all wearing them!  I loved how they pushed her chubby little cheeks together. 
It was quite hilarious as she didn't make a noise the whole time they were on.  A rarity since she's very talkative these days. Maybe she couldn't hear herself?  Or she could hear herself too well?  Who knows, but we are considering putting them on her during church service. :)
She even pretended she was on her way to a mission while aboard a big plane (I'm sure Matt could tell you the technical name of it...all I know is it had 2 gigantic wings and we could push the stroller up the back ramp).
Matt couldn't keep her still long enough for a picture she was so excited.  Hence the blurriness...and the fact that all I had was my phone for photos.
It was awesome to see all the high tech planes and fighters.  A small glimpse into the military.
The planes were much bigger in person - a photo just cannot justify them.
As we were leaving 40 troops jumped from a plane.  Again, I'm glad that was not me.
Reminds me to be thankful for all the men and women who dedicate their lives to keep us safe and free.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bird to Gird

I love bike riding.  It's probably one of my favorite things to do up here on a sunny summer day (or rainy, I can't be too picky considering where we currently live).  I love the trail system around town and that it connects just at the end of our street.  Maddie and I often will take a ride mid-afternoon together (though sometimes I do get a bit scared of the moose and occasional crazy folk I pass along the way).  But my favorite is when Matt comes with me in the evenings or weekends.  

Such as this past weekend when we loaded up our gear and headed to a trail that rides along the inlet from Bird Point (a lookout/town area/point on the map about 20 min south from Anchorage) to Girdwood (where the big ski resort is).  It is 13-miles round trip to a strip mall that has a bakery, ice cream shop and pizza.  So you can negate all the calories you burned along the way.
We were uninformed that you basically bike straight up to this ridge and back down  - just to do it again on the way back.  And since it's on the inlet, the wind was ridiculous!  Matt took the chariot on the way there (thankfully) while I carried the bear spray and led the way...
...while I took Maddie on the way back.  We certainly worked those donuts we had for breakfast off...and possibly those burgers we had for lunch.  hah.

But the views were beautiful.
 And Maddie had a great time nap.
3/4 of the way there Matt realized his break was sticking.  Made the last mile seem super easy. :)
 Enjoying our treats (and the sunshine) before heading back.
Other than the bear scat we saw on the trail - which made me slightly freak out and sing at the top of my lungs the whole time to scare them away - I loved it.  Maybe we can do it again before summer ends...that gives us approximately 3 weeks...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dip Netting

Matt's parents just left after coming to visit and see Maddie in all her cuteness.  We drove to Homer (a fishing village about 4.5 hours south), played golf (I drove the golf cart and watched), did a little shopping, played cards and went dip netting.
As Matt's mom put it, did I ever think that three years ago I'd be asking Matt to take me fishing in Alaska?   That'd be a resounding no.  However, I had to practically drag Matt out there.  All you catch is pink salmon and he doesn't like salmon, so I can understand his lack of desire to get all nasty and tired for little reward.  Dip netting is only open to Alaska residents for about 2-3 weeks during the summer while the fish are running.  There are all these rules about how non-residents cannot handle the fish or even touch the cooler we use.   We had to get permits and could only catch as many fish as this year's limit (25 head of household and 10 for each additional member = 45 fish for us).

So on our way down to Homer we stopped at the mouth of the Kenai river, in the pouring rain, and gave it a shot.  We borrowed some equipment and got bundled up (while Matt's parents were on Maddie duty).
about to head down to the beach at the mouth of the river in our waders and dip net
thankfully the rain stopped just as we were getting started.
It was a mad house - so many people!
You can see all the people in the water just 5 feet from each other - on both sides of the river.  
That's me in the green jacket.
Don't I look like such a pro as I wait for a fish to find it's fate in my net?
Matt came to help me after I caught one.  I'm clubbing it on the head to kill it.
I couldn't do it at first, but quickly got over it.  Those poor fish.
Where we set up, we had to walk back and forth with the fish in these mud flats.  It was exhausting, especially after standing in the cold water fighting the current with this gigantic net the size of me.
I'm pretty sure Matt is headed up to cut off some fish heads and gut them.  Clearly, that was his job...because I sure wasn't going to.
Some of our future dinners!
Most people go and camp out for a day or two and stay til they catch their limit on fish - which depending on the family size can be 200-300 pounds of fish!  We stayed for about 2 hours and caught 6....all 27 pounds of them.  I take a lot of pride in our 6.  We then dropped them off at a processing place to get filleted, vacuumed sealed and flash frozen.  Much to Matt's surprise, it was actually a lot of fun.  Maybe next year we'll try to catch a few more, depending on how many I can eat or how creative I can get in hiding the salmon in recipes for Matt.  Six maybe all we can hold in our freezer.

I officially feel very Alaskan.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


It's kinda strange being a stay-at-home mom.  I rarely have to be at any certain location on any particular day.  Sure we have random play dates and errands and appointments - but most days are pretty chill around here.  I don't have to shower until noon and if Maddie would let me, I could stay in bed all day (though that hasn't happen since she was a wee little one).  I'm a homebody.  I'm quite content to be home and actually prefer it.  I LOVE staying at home with my baby and am thankful for the opportunity.  Though some days, dare I say it...I get a tab bit bored.  Some days I look back at the day and can't really think of what I actually did.  Those are not good days to me.

So I decided I need to be more intentional.  With my time.  Energy.  Thoughts.  Friendships.  Resources.  Food.  I can't expect things to just happen and happen well.

First and foremost, I was convicted that I needed to spend more time with God.  Sure, I was doing a quick 10 minute devotional each morning while Maddie played in her bouncer, but I long to be a godly wife and mother who reflects Christ to everyone around me.  10 minutes wasn't providing that deep knowledge and wisdom I long to have.  So, right now, Maddie almost always takes a good morning nap (and usually a good afternoon one, but our afternoons have more variety and less consistency).  So now instead of browsing the web, doing laundry or baking something sweet, I'm going to spend that time in the Bible, my journal and prayer.  And I committed to it.  A crucial step.

Beyond that, I'm making lists (I love lists) of what I want to accomplish each day or week.  This isn't  new concept, but it keeps me focused and productive.  I try to make things with my hands and repurpose items laying around, rather than buying new things.  I'm learning how to make my own laundry and dishwasher detergent.  I've been working on baking and cooking with healthier, more from scratch ingredients...though I will admit, I made eggless cookie dough last week and it was delish...which brings me to not snacking all day.  That's a huge weakness of mine.  Intentional food choices.  Because goodness, my sweet tooth can get out of control.  I'm trying to be a better friend and reach out.  It's my tendency to wait for someone to call me first.  I'm trying to be creative in ways for Maddie to get out every afternoon to explore, on walks and bike rides (weather permitting), the library, store, or friends' house.  In basically every area, I'm trying to just be wise with my choices.

On a side note, I realized quickly that the TV was a time zapper.  If I want to get nothing done faster, turn on the tube.  When Maddie was born, I admit that I'd lay in bed with her watching all 4 hours of the Today show.  There was a time for that (you know the exhausted, healing stage), but not anymore.  Instead, I now enjoy listening to sermons (Mars Hill has a great free app) and worship music.  Maybe it's just me, but complete quiet all day makes me a bit crazy.

I know another season will bring a crazier schedule.  Goodness, Maddie isn't even moving around on her own yet.  So I realize times will change.  But hopefully if I make good habits now, they'll stick around as the household grows a bit more hectic and the fall brings a bit more schedule to our lives.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family Pictures

I've been wanting to get some family pictures done sine Maddie has been born.  I see all these really cute ones online and get a little jealous that we don't have any.  I know I take a crazy lot of pictures of Maddie, but I want to document our family as we grow.  Matt wasn't thrilled about hiring a photographer (and let's be honest, neither was I), especially since we just purchased a fancy camera.  But it worked out that when my sister, Amy, was in town, she offered to take a few for us.  So her last night, we wondered down to a park by our house.  

I'm not gonna lie...they turned out way better than I imagined!  Sorry if I was skeptical, Amy!  She's quite talented, if I do say so myself.  She has a good eye for posing and our surroundings.  My other sister, Kelsey, helped keep Maddie focused (the best she could).  I know where we are going for family photos from here on out. Hopefully she won't start charging us. :)

Here are just a few of the tons she took.  It's kind of hard to choose...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sister Trip 2012

Growing up with three sisters and one bathroom wasn't always fun.  But now I want to have multiple kids because I can't imagine life any other way.  Several years ago we started a tradition of a yearly "sister trip".  So far they have involved Disney World (Kelsey worked there), a cruise with mom (entitled 'Last Fling Before the Rings' - the spring before 3 of us got married), Galveston (where Caitlin was living) and now Alaska.  It's getting a bit more complicated now that there are spouses and children involved, but not any less exciting and entertaining.  These women mean the world to me.  I am thankful for such wonderful sisters in my life.  

It was an eventful week.  I had to keep them entertained so that they'll come visit me again down the road (wherever we might end up).  Sadly, the weather did not cooperate, but thankfully everyone endured the cold rain with a smile.  We fed moose, reindeer, visited glaciers, camped in the rain, rode bikes, went hiking and kayaking, saw whales, eagles and otters, talked and laughed a lot and of course it included a viewing of The Proposal.  My sweet husband endured a whole week alone with 5 women.   He's a champ - and earned major points when he jumped my car in the middle of nowhere in a monsoon (I take the fault on that one, gotta turn those headlights off).

Without further ado, here is our week in pictures (it was hard to narrow it down to just this many):

I think I may have worn them out a bit.  I love you ladies!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Six Months

All three of my sisters just left after a week of visiting.  I held back the tears as I dropped them off at the airport.  I'll need to go through the 500 pictures we took during our week of adventures and relive the experience again.  

But during their visit Maddie turned SIX months old!

She's half a year.  That's crazy to me.  Just six short months ago, we brought home this little girl...
...and now I get to spend every day with this munchkin...
She is getting unbelievable big.  It takes some serious back muscle to get her in and out of the crib, car seat, name it.  I won't know the exact measurements until her appointment though.  She is not a big fan of solids quite yet.  Her faces when she tries something new are hilarious.  Great news is she decided that she'll take milk out of a sippy cup and a bottle.  A whole new world of opportunity has opened up to me.  But who am I kidding, it's not like I want to ever leave her!
She is so full of joy.  Her giggle is possibly the best sound I've ever heard.  I love watching her little personality develop.  She smiles at any and everyone.  And is quite content to just hang out in someone's arms.  We are still working on sitting up without tumbling over after a few minutes.  I am blessed that she is usually a decent napper.  She's fallen into a routine of two naps a day - on average 2 hours long each.  I often have to go rock her back to sleep half way through each one.  But I'm ok with that.  I've learned if she wakes up crying, she still needs more sleep.  At night she still enjoys waking up about every 3 hours.  On the nights she goes longer than 4 hours, I may wake up slightly panicked.  One day I'll see 8 hours straight again.  
She loves to blow bubbles with her mouth and chew on her tongue.   And she still loves her bouncer.  that was a great purchase.  As long as I'm in sight, she can entertain herself on the floor with toys for a while.  I'm learning this is a great age.  More independent, but not yet mobile.
 My heart just smiles when I see her.  What a blessing God has given Matt and me.