Friday, December 30

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, December 29

My Quilt...Done!

It's finished!  I have posted about it here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and finally right here!  This is the first quilt that I have made for myself and I must say, I have loved every minute I have worked on it.  Now that it is done I smile every time I see it...I really love the colors, the pattern, the quilting, the back, the binding...I love it!!

Bear with me...I also love all these pictures of it! :-)

the binding

the whole thing

up close

even closer
  
at home on the couch

Wednesday, December 28

Coming Soon...

...to a blog near you!






I am going to be working on this Photo a Day Challenge in January.  I've seen lots of people doing their 'Project 365' which involves taking a picture every day for a year.  Yikes!  Talk about setting myself up to fail.  I don't know how many days I would make it, but I for sure wouldn't stick with it for 365 days.  I figure my chances are much better at taking a picture every day for 31 days.  So stay tuned and check in on Sunday to see how it starts off!


Sunday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, 
every time we give, it's Christmas. 
-Dale Evans

 
We had a wonderful Christmas day today, and hope you did as well!  We celebrated (via Skype) with my side of the family today and will celebrate with Scott's side of the family tomorrow (also via Skype).  Technology is wonderful on days like today!

As we ponder all that we have to be thankful for and the many gifts we have been given I'll share this photo of our sunset today.  Truly a gift!



Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 24

Christmas Eve

We had a fun Christmas Eve around here!  I went snowshoeing with some friends out to an area known here as Second Salmon Run.  It's part of the road to Shotgun Cove which is big doings around here!  It was an awesome hike...beautiful morning!  And we were gone for exactly the right amount of time, too!  Just as we got back to the car the wind kicked up and by the time we arrived back at the BTI it was snowing and blowing.


The above is the creek at Second Salmon Run.  It is fed by a waterfall that is amazingly beautiful in the summertime.

Later that evening we heard a whole lot of honking and such.  We dashed to the window and saw the fire truck headed up this way.  A little elf had told this mama that Santa would arrive via firetruck, so we dashed downstairs to be a part of the festivities.  Santa did arrive with his elf!




Santa and his elves distributed gifts and goodie bags to all of the kids in town.  The girls were *slightly* more comfortable around Santa this time.  I find the whole situation quite funny as the guy in the Santa suit is a close family friend of ours!  Of course the girls don't know that, but still...cute!





Then we were off to bed, visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads!

Friday, December 23

The Eve of Christmas Eve

We had a pretty busy and very fun day!  We've been working on baking up lots of goodies for gifts bags for our friends here in Whittier.  We wrapped up the baking with sugar cookies.  The girls were very excited to help out and we tried something new for decorating them, egg yolk painting. 


It was really easy, just separate out the yolks, add some food coloring (I used 4 drops) and paint away!


When you bake the cookies the egg yolk cooks up too, making it all safe to eat and coming out with very vivid colors!


One pan apiece was enough to paint apparently though--we put sprinkles on the next round.  The painting was fun enough that we saved the paints and have another batch of dough to chilling in the fridge to make more to keep at home today.

After the morning cookie baking we took advantage of the lovely weather and the four of us headed down to the skating rink.  Scott chose not to skate, but instead was our official photographer of the afternoon.  It was an afternoon right off of a Norman Rockwell painting!

An outdoor rink, no wind, snowflakes drifting gently down...it was lovely!




 Then we loaded up all of our gift bags and went delivering.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon--enjoying the beauty around us and celebrating the spirit of giving!

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, December 22

Moving Right Along

The weather today was atrocious! The worst blizzard of the season so far. And we're dogsitting, so I got to go out in it three times, lucky me! The good thing about the weather is that it seems to have jump-started my Christmas spirit a bit! The girls and I are working on some last-minute gifts for friends here in Whittier. We had a nice first day of winter break--the girls both napped, so while they were napping I got the binding sewn onto my quilt. I had quilted it while Scott was at fire meeting last night. Now...on to hand stitching the binding down on the back side!

Wednesday, December 21

The Holiday Program--a Video

This video shows the heart of the Holiday program last night, the dramatization of Snowmen at Night.  It was so sweet!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  And for those of you out there in cyberland wondering...yes, I cried!  Kids performing (and movies, books, commercials, and parades) always make me cry!



If you'd like to see the videos of the kids singing in the program, hop on over here!

Why I Blog...

image source
From time to time I spend some time going back over old posts.  It is fun to read the stuff I wrote a year or two or three ago and remember what was going on back then.  I also notice that the purpose of this blog has shifted a bit over the last three years.  I have always entertained this romantic notion of being an author one day--writing a fabulous romantic novel that makes people long to be one of the characters.  Unlikely, as I can't remember the last time I wrote a fictional story.  But I recently realized that through this blog I have become a writer.  A real live writer!

When I first started this blog we had just decided to move to Alaska.  In fact, I had been toying with the idea of blogging for awhile and had nearly started one titled 'YacoltMama'.  Things moved quickly that summer though, and before I knew it I was applying for a leave of absence, packing up a house, and moving my family 2500 miles away.  In the midst of all of this I started blogging to share our adventure as we embarked on this journey to a new life in Whittier.

As we settled in here, I became a more regular poster.  I worked out the kinks in my formatting, learned how to manipulate templates a bit more, and tried lots of different things.  For awhile I posted recipes that I was trying every week.  I kept the focus on our life here, our kids, and our adventures.  Then I axed the recipes in favor of the {this moment} posts and somewhere in there I began to realize that although I rarely post about myself this blog really chronicles my journey as a parent.  We are always evolving and changing--and my outlook on parenting as evolved with me.  I blog because I want to remember these moments.  I try to live very intentionally--I try to choose my reactions to those moments in motherhood where you can smile or scream--I try to live my days calmly, focusing on the positive and with patience.  It doesn't always work out the way I envision it--my kids bicker, make horrific messes, get on my nerves, and drive me completely batty some days.  But I try.

I believe this blog is about all of us--it tells the story of how we spend our days, the highlights of our lives.  But if you read between the lines it also tells the story of me.  How I try to stay on top of things but don't always succeed.  How I try to balance being a mama, a wife, a friend, and me.  How I spend those precious moments with my kids, and how I spend those moments by myself.  How much I love my life, my family, my friends, and our Alaskan experience. 

So thank you friends!  Thanks for being a part of my journey.  I appreciate the fact that you pop by here occasionally to read what I write.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy posting it!

Tuesday, December 20

Progress

Ha!  I bet you had forgotten I had this little beauty in my "in progress" pile!  I needed a big enough place to make the quilt "sandwich" (backing fabric, batting, quilt top).  Finally on Saturday I took it over to the school while the kids were getting ready for the Holiday Program and got it all pinned and ready for quilting.  It's going to get straight line quilting...hopefully sometime this week!  Or next week...


Monday, December 19

Our Jesse Tree

We first made a Jesse Tree last year.  I can't find where I got the set of ornaments we printed and colored last year, but we all loved the process so I found another set to do this year.  Each night we read a bible story (or two if we're behind!) and color an ornament that goes along with the story.  The idea is that you read stories covering 25 (or more if you choose to do it during all of Advent--we stick to starting Dec. 1) major people and stories of the bible.  It is a fun way to teach bible stories, discuss Christmas, and just spend some time together! This year we are using this set of ornaments and we are a bit behind so we still have about 10 ornaments to add--or in our case 20 since the girls each do one.  Stacy pointed out that next year we need a bigger tree.  I think I need to pay more attention next year so I cut out a more symmetrical tree shape!!


A Holiday Program


After *MUCH* preparation, the kids will present their holiday program tomorrow!  It is going to be fantastic, I promise you that!

They are acting out the book Snowmen at Night.  If you've never read the book it is so cute!  One of my all-time winter favorites.  It begins like this:


One wintry day I made a snowman, very round and tall.
The next day when I saw him he was not the same at all!
His hat had slipped, his arms drooped down, he really looked a fright.
It made me start to wonder...what do snowmen do at night?

It then follows the snowmen through the night as they go sledding, skating, drink cocoa, play baseball, etc.  The kids are going to be decked out as snowmen and dramatize the story.  I hope to have lots of pictures and perhaps even a video to share with you on Wednesday!

Friday, December 16

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



Inspired by SouleMama.


Wednesday, December 14

What do you like to do?

Hmmmm...heavy topic here today!  Usually I keep it light and fun around here, posting about the cute stuff the kids do, the fun we have, etc.  Today however, I am ruminating on a totally different topic.  Me.

I have read and heard lots about women and our roles and identity.  We are so many different things, wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and more.  We grow and change with the phases of our lives.  Sometimes that growth is easy, but often it's a bit painful and scary.  As they say, growing up isn't easy...and are we ever really all grown up?

I remember my first days of college.  My dad driving me there, leaving me there. My excitement tempered by fear, tears coursing down my cheeks.   It was hard.  But I ended up having fun.  My first days of teaching--so exciting and yet so frightening.  And then babies.  Oh boy!  The circumstances surrounding my transition into motherhood were nothing if not terrifying.  But still..the excitement as we looked forward to the arrival of that little blessing.  Soon followed by the arrival of her sister.  And the cycle of fear of excitement has not stopped since!

Recently I was asked by someone what I liked to do.  I rattled off my stock answers, "I like to read, sew, knit, and cook."  Then I got a reply that has had me thinking ever since.  "Neat!  What else do you like to do?"  I admit--I wasn't sure how to answer!  I really do like to do all of the aforementioned things...but what else do I enjoy?

I realized that I am in one of those times of growth again.  My kids are growing.  They are both in school this year.  Not all day--we still have our afternoons.  Afternoons often marked by tired kids, running back and forth here and there, and general chaos.  A far cry from our comfortable routine of two years ago.  As I sit here my identity is shifting once again.  No longer am I the mother of two babies.  Nor two toddlers.  Not even two preschoolers.  As I look into the future I see these years of being a stay-at-home mom drawing to a close and me moving (not so gracefully) into the next phase of life.  I am not sure exactly what it will hold, but I can tell you that right now it has me thinking about getting to know myself a bit better.  What *do* I like?  Right now I can think of a few more things...

:: Spending time with my family!  I love Saturdays at home, spur of the moment picnics, and fun family outings.

:: Being outside!  Not vigorous hiking for miles on end, but I do like short hikes, meandering walks, snow shoeing, sledding, boat rides and reading books in the sun while the kids play at the park.

:: Dressing up on occasion!  Not going-to-the-prom formal, but every once in a while a girl likes to get dressed up and go out to a nice dinner.

:: Taking pictures!  This is probably not news to anyone who is a regular reader here, but when I think about how I really like to spend time taking pictures comes immediately to mind.

:: Hanging out with my girlfriends!  I love swapping stories, laughing, and hanging out with the ladies.

:: Museums!  Whenever we go some place new, I always look up where their museum is.  We don't always get to go, but I am prepared just in case.

It is fun to think about all of these things...I might just keep adding on to this list!

Monday, December 12

An Early Christmas Dinner

For the past few years we have been the ones traveling at Christmas time.  This year is a bit different though--we're staying here!  Some of our friends are traveling though, so we decided to have an early Christmas dinner yesterday before they leave.  The weather yesterday was atrocious, so our crowd was a bit smaller than we had planned.  Scott had to make an emergency run to town and another friend's husband ended up having to to go help shovel snow off a sinking boat in the harbor.  In spite of all that, we had a great time!


We had delicious smoked turkey from Indian Valley Meats, a fabulous sweet potato casserole, yummy broccoli rice casserole, homemade rolls, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, cornbread stuffing, and both apple and pumpkin pie.  It was yummy!


And everyone had fun!



Friday, December 9

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, December 7

Merry Christmas, Girls!

This past weekend, Scott and I gave the girls their Christmas present.  A trip to the fabulous H2Oasis in Anchorage!  Oh what fun!  And a little shout out to Groupon...thanks for offering passes for half price earlier this summer!  We first visited H2Oasis at the end of last winter when we were given a gift card to the place.  Basically it's an indoor water park complete with big slides, kiddo slides, wave pool, lazy river, and hot tubs for adults.  The perfect way to totally exhaust kids!  We loaded up our new Suburban with life jackets, swimsuits, and towels and headed off to town.  It pretty much goes without saying...the kids had a blast.  And so did the adults!

Usually I try to be pretty even in the number of pics I post of each kiddo, but since Stacy wasn't too hot on having her picture taken, there were fewer of her to choose from.  And Kelsey just had so many cute ones!


Stacy comes down the slide

 Kelsey splashes me at the bottom of the slide!

Kelsey waves to a friend watching from the observation deck

Kelsey under the mushroom waterfall





Monday, December 5

Snowshoeing with the Girls

Our first winter here, Scott bought me snowshoes.  I had some friends here who were into snowshoeing and I really got into it to.  Last winter I bought a pair of used youth snowshoes, but the weather never really cooperated--crazy winds and not much snow!  I only got out once myself last winter and only Kelsey got a chance to try it (Stacy chose not to try).

Saturday was a rainy day here, but not so bad for kiddo snowshoeing.  Goodness knows we have *plenty* of snow (about 90 inches have fallen so far!), so I strapped the snow shoes on the girls one at a time and off we went.



We just did a little loop around town--nothing far away or difficult.  Stacy's loop took an hour and went like this: step, step, stop, chat--repeat for an hour.  She certainly had a *lot* to say yesterday when she was away from her sister!



Next it was Kelsey's turn.  That girl was on a mission!  Her loop took half and hour and we stopped once.  For, "Just one minute Mom.  I'm having too much fun!".


It was a great way to spend a drizzly morning!

Friday, December 2

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.


Wednesday, November 30

Sometimes...

You know how sometimes you want to do something, but for 101 reasons it never quite gets done?  Interruptions, too many steps, more interruptions, and so it goes.  This is the story of my Cricut and the quote on my door.  In January I used my Cricut to cut out a little quote for my door.  It looked like this..


Nice quote (or is it more of a saying??), but a little crooked, eh?  But it was hard to do and I got frustrated.  I always meant to redo it, but...

Enter Pinterest!  Time suck and idea goldmine!  I found this tutorial and it was my 'ah-ha' moment!  Now I see how this is supposed to work!  I did it tonight and yup!  It is MUCH easier than whatever I did in January.  See!  Here's my new quote...


Doesn't that look nice?  I love it!  And it really was much easier this time.  Now I am wondering where else I can 'decorate'...

Monday, November 28

Weekend


Goodness!  We are recovering from quite a busy weekend here!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday, a nice little blizzard on Friday, more snow on Saturday, and even more on Sunday.  Today the sun has peeked out a bit and the winds have kicked up.  Forecasters are predicting a lovely winter storm for tomorrow night, so we're all holding our breaths to see what comes our way...will it be rain or snow??

On Saturday (while Scott was out plowing...again) the girls and I set up a little amateur photo backdrop in the living room and took some pictures.  I was trying to get a jump start on Christmas cards and such.  I must admit I was quite pleased with our results!  Here are a few of my favorites...as usual there are more over on Fotki...

 

Aren't they adorable??  I will admit I bribed them with ice cream.  Er...I mean I rewarded their cooperation with ice cream!

Saturday, November 26

Sparkly Play-Dough

Lots of posts here lately, huh?  Just wanted to share a quick crafting success we had here the other day.  We had an older friend come over to play (she's 8), so after the little girls were in bed she and I made a couple of batches of play dough; one for her to take home and one for Kelsey and Stacy.  Taking an idea I had seen on Pinterest, we dumped in a little glitter.  FUN!!  Glitter and I are not always on the best of terms since it is nearly the messiest, most impossible stuff to clean up on the planet.  Putting it in play dough is genius though--99% of it is stuck in there!  So far very little of it has shed and left a mess.

Here are my crummy, after dark photos of our pink and purple batches...kind of hard to see the sparkles, but they are there!

pink play dough on the table

purple play dough on my fab kitchen counter!

Happy play time! :-)


Friday, November 25

Playing on Thanksgiving Day



Looking out our window today you would never know what a great day yesterday was!

Today: snowing and blowing--I haven't been able to see Scott's office (2 blocks away) all day

Yesterday:  no wind, snowing--the perfect day to play outside!

We took advantage of the break in the wind and went sledding and ice skating yesterday.  The rink had just gotten set up on Wednesday, so it's not quite smooth yet, but it didn't seem to matter to the girls!  We laced up the skates and they had a blast skating with Mr. Brad the rink man himself, and Mrs. S his wife.  What a great way to get moving after we all stuffed ourselves silly!

I am having a little trouble motivating myself to be productive today, so I fooled around with Windows Live Movie Maker and made this little compilation of videos from yesterday instead!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.
 
 

Wednesday, November 23

Thankful

There's so much to be thankful for!  I did a quick survey and here's what everyone came up with:

Kelsey: I am thankful for sharing.  When someone shares it makes me feel happy.  I am thankful for Mommy, Daddy, Mrs. O'Brien (her teacher) Mrs. S (another teacher), God, and soldiers.

Stacy:  I am thankful for Miss Mandy (her preschool teacher).  I am thankful for Mommy and Daddy, too.

Scott:  The incredible amount of time I get to spend with my family, beautiful scenery, and good fishing.

As for me, I am thankful for awesome friends and family who have helped me out in hundreds of ways over the last year. I am so blessed!

So enjoy your turkey tomorrow, and feel free to leave a comment about what you're thankful for as well!

Monday, November 21

All Pieced!


Look!  My quilt top is all pieced!  I have the backing, but of course I forgot to pick up the batting last time I was in town, so this one will have to sit for a week or two before I take it any farther.  I am so pleased with how it is coming together, though!

A Trip Out of the Tunnel

Sometimes when it is winter and you live in Whittier you just need to get out.  Typically in the winter we just go to town once or twice a month, but sometimes you just need to get out of town and take a little break.  It seemed like a good idea this weekend, so we loaded up and headed off to Girdwood to one of our favorite hangouts, the library!  After the library we enjoyed a nice lunch at the girls' favorite Girdwood eatery, Chair 5.  The drive was beautiful, as you can see!

steam rising off Portage Lake at -9 degrees
view from the Girdwood Library
looking south (towards Whittier) along Turnagain Arm
looking north (towards Anchorage) along Turnagain Arm
We have had an unusually cold week of weather with temperatures in the teens and single digits and winds gusting up past 60mph for the last several days.  It is unusual for Whittier to get that cold, particularly this early.  As a result there have been a number of weather-related troubles in town the last few days.  It has warmed up some--to the 20's--so hopefully the worst of it is over.  Several businesses and the school have sustained damages from frozen/bursting pipes and such.  So it is pretty out there...but messy, too!