Sunday, April 6, 2014

Catch up list vs Conference list

While there is a lot that has happened in the past year
*military hops to Hawaii with beaches and burns and sleeping on a terminal floor and a flight to California with crazy connections to get to family
*Utah fun and then a day trip back to California to hop on a military flight back to Alaska
*family visits
*Kindergarten with a first day fiasco
*beautiful long Alaskan fall
*Complete house rearrangement including moving sofas up and downstairs solo
*return from Deployment
*holidays and birthdays
*Hosted my 2nd Turkey Trot
*dog sledding
*Callings and Releases
*Ice Fishing
*Ice Festival

I think today I will start with gratitude for General Conference.  I really resonated with almost every talk which hardly happens for me.  I felt strengthened and chastised in the most loving way.  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when Elder Bednar shared a story of a man trying to convince his wife of the necessity of a 4WD truck for emergent milk runs in snow storms.  I don't want a truck, but have told Fernando that if our Alaskan stay is more permanent than the one year we are set to have--I NEED a 4WD vehicle to help prevent all of the times our minivan has become stuck in snow even with snow tires.

The kids were great.  I can't begin to tell you have lucky I feel to have found that blog post (pre-pinterest days) to have gifts per Apostle who would speak.  Even though I have been doing it for years, I still wait until the very last minute possible to decide what to do.  Thank heavens for Talia's birthday party coming up.  Many of the activities were for the sole purpose of assembling the parts of the goodie bags the kids would receive.  (I have serious issues with just putting in candy that I don't even let my kids eat.)  So the night before conference, I headed to Walmart to wander the aisles in search of possible activities.  My list this year:
1-3 Puzzles (I meant to have this just be for one talk, but I ran out of ideas)
4-painting bird houses
5-Yarn balls (for a snowman corn hole-like party game) which turned into Pikachu balls
6- Elsa ribbon dolls and "Olaf" snowman ribbon dolls for pen toppers
7-Sven and Elsa foam head dress 
9-3D Snowflakes (which was an epic failure. . .every time I cut it wrong)
10-Easter egg (didn't attempt.  The yarn balls were a bit too exciting and I was glad not to start this mess)
11- Easter Egg II  (also was grateful not to have to attempt this feat.  What was I thinking?)
12-Melting Beads which turned into Joaquin scooping and dumping all over the place
13-Picture of the Salt Lake City Temple with legos to make a small scale version
14-Ballon Animal Maker (again, what was I thinking?  Thankfully, the Elder Oaks spoke at the Priesthood Session  because that would have been a noisy, frustrating experience)

We also had note pages that the kids were supposed to use to write down their thoughts and impressions they had during each Apostle or Prophet's talk.  Bingo cards and a word search were waiting for them as well.  Over all it was very successful and now I have Talia's party pretty much ready for next weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Talia Bought Her First Set of Wheels

Talia has been constantly asking for a new bike.  We sold her bikes when we moved from San Antonio because she just grew too fast.  After watching Mia and Tiago pick up the ability to bike ride so fast and on their own because of their scooters, I was really hoping we could have the same success with Talia.  Mia and Tiago literally walked up to some kid's bike and hopped on and took off.  No assisting the kid while they wiggle on their training wheel-less bike and build the kid's confidence and then letting go as you cheer.  Just watching as they speed by on a bike you don't really know who it belongs to.

Fast forward to the other day when I saw a bike for sale from some local person for $10.  Talia used her birthday money and purchased the pink wonder.  I told her she could get training wheels, but suggested that if she really wanted to learn to ride, training wheels would just set her back.  I hate that the training wheels are always making kids lean to the side!  She agree reluctantly.  When we first tried, she was terrified, which made me regret the pep talk about the ability to learn without the training wheels.  But she persisted mainly because I told her that she could either try to learn or forget about it and on ride her scooter.  A few minutes later we had this:

She rode around for hours.  Everyday she can't wait to get out to ride.  Another funny aside which made me feel kind of good was that her friends came to ask me to teach them how to ride their bikes.  To be fair, the whole learning to ride the bike is totally up to the kid.  I think the parent is just there to pick up the kid and encourage them to figure it out.  I found out that Talia had been watching the friend's mom try to teach her when Talia interrupted with "you really should have my mom teach you.  She is the best teacher."  So even though I didn't get to teach my two oldest, at least I had the chance to do the whole stereotypical bike learning moment with a neighbor's kid.  I even ran down the block with her yelling "your doing it!  That's all you!"  Good work out.  Great feeling.   video

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cancelled From Your Calling

Fernando was out of town in Ft. Lauderdale for his Oral Boards last week and happened to miss the announcement that he was released from his calling as the Ward Executive Secretary.  Not to worry, Tiago made sure to fill him in on how it all went down.  Tiago said matter-of-factly, "They cancelled you from your calling, daddy."  Good to know that callings and cable subscriptions can be handled so effectively.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Have you done something with your hair?

On a related note, I am grateful that Mustache March is coming quickly to a close.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Break

After Hawaii in February, I really didn't expect much for our mid-April spring break.  In fact, the kiddos had all of 4 school days between their Hawaiian paradise and Spring break.

We started out hitting the Anchorage Museum of Art which has a hands on kid section.  We went with some good friends which was nice, but we weren't the only families who thought of such a great idea.  It was too crowded for my taste so after about two hours, I called it quits.
Tiago with friend's making a huge bubble around their bodies

Then we attempted going to the Air Force Base to enjoy the indoor play ground and bounce houses.  It was nice to allow them a couple hours to jump around and waste some energy.  Joaquin had no clue what jumping was all about.  He loves climbing, but the idea of getting both feet off the ground at the same time was a bit undesirable for his taste.  That meant I spent most of the time helping him climb in and out of slippery bounce house entrances.  It was fun!

The best moments came at the very end of the week.  A friend and fellow Anesthesiologist, invited us to their winter wonderland called their house.  The kids got to zipline, sled, get pulled by a snow mobile on tubes, and enjoy lunch cooked via bon fire.

The next day, we headed with those same friends and a few more families, back to the base which is quite a natural wonder.  We headed to one of the many lakes for a little ice fishing.  Someone brought a drill that they rented, that promptly broke.  Luckily, Alaskans are super friendly, and a neighboring group of ice fishers loaned us their drill.  15 holes later, we set up for some fun.  I love the idea of fishing, I just don't like feeling the fish tug on the line.  All I can think about is that hook ripping through the poor fish's mouth.  SO, I just stayed on the supportive side.  It was just for the kiddos anyway.  Our hole wasn't very active and after awhile, we bailed for the holes those kind neighbors abandoned when they finished.  Every 10 seconds, a fish would bite.  I thought it was kind of a funny contrast.  And although it isn't very accurate for standard fishing, it does seem to fit the Alaskan way to fish.  We enjoyed hot dogs, and s'mores there, but the kiddos cleaned and cooked their fish for dinner that night.  Alaska Spring Break saved by the cold weather activities.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kamikaze Skiing (From Presidents Day Weekend)

Kamikaze translates frequently into Divine Wind.  I personally think it an apropos description of how my children fly down the mountain on their skis.  Thank heavens the kids have only skied on the "Hill"berg slopes which fit their name to a T.  It was also helpful that we went on days that were pretty devoid of people.

Friday was a no school day and Fernando was on leave so we got baby sitter for Joaquin, and lessons for the three oldest and headed to the slopes.  It was far more relaxing and much more successful than our Christmas Eve run.  I was surprised that Mia, who was the most hesitant about going and the most frustrated with the first attempt at skiing, was quite masterful in her class.  The classes were a steal of a deal.  They all had private lessons for 90 minutes, with rentals, and lift tickets all for a small total of $125.  Thank heavens for the free rental because the board I had bought the day before was in need of some serious edging.  I ended up using their free rentals for a rental board there.

President's day was an equally beautiful day for skiing/boarding.  We decided to bring Joaquin this time and take turns on the slope.  Fernando took the first shift watching Joaquin.  I had the privilege of riding up and down with Talia.  Her first run was a struggle.  She would slip in an out of confidence--more terrified then thrilled.  I suggested that we take our time and try another time when she felt less scared of the mountain.

Meanwhile, Tiago and Mia had zipped up and down the slopes more times than I could count by this point.  Talia insisted on trying again.  After another painstaking run, I was about ready to throw in the towel.  Then two puffs of pink appeared into view.  Our neighbors showed up to ski and Talia was rearing to go.  The neighbor kids have been in ski school for the season and go every Saturday.  It would be quite the understatement to say their skills far surpassed our kiddos.  But kids will be kids and peer pressure is a real thing whether the kids intended to press or not.  It was quite the metamorphosis.  Talia would barely wait for me to strap in.  Once I gave the "ok, let's take this easy", she was off.  I had to literally board straight down the mountain to keep up.  Hair raising to say the least.

After several intense runs, I agreed to their constant pestering to allow them to ride up the lift together.  My gracious it was more nerve racking to watch them get on the lift and pray they would not fall off while traveling up the mountain.  Every time the lift stopped, I thought it must be the kids, but it never was.  Including the time Tiago really did face plant off the lift right before the point of no return.  It wasn't until I pushed past the orange safety netting into the untouched powder that the lift operator had any clue that their was someone in the danger zone.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A little Bit of Heaven

I am glad we took the opportunity to visit Hawaii for two weeks.  It was a little bit of Heaven.