Sunday, December 19, 2010

Special Olympics Polar Plunge

Yesterday was the 2nd annual "Freezin for a Reason" polar plunge for Alaska's Special Olympics. I personally raised $500 for the organization and in total $275K was raised so I think it was a huge success. Weeks prior I was so excited to do the plunge. As the date came closer, I became more nervous. Moments before we jumped, I was actually FEARFUL. I didn't know what to expect. Our jump time was at 10 am. We got to UAA an hour before, took a shuttle to Goose Lake, checked in (signed our life away w/ our signatures), scoped things out, and tried to stay calm. On the outside I may have appeared calm, but I was anything but calm. It was -5 outside. Wearing snowpants, jacket, gloves, boots, and hat didn't even keep me warm and I wondered how I would survive jumping in freezing water; we heard the water was 14 degrees. It was the first time in my life when I questioned my intelligence and logic. Crews were there hours before breaking the ice away to get to the lake's water. There was a hospitality tent with hot chocolate, beverages, soup, and other food. Another tent housed 3 hot tubs and a men and women's locker room to change afterwards. We hung out at the fire pit for about 15 minutes before we had to change into our jumping clothes. My friend, Heather came to document the whole thing. The best thing we did was leaving our kids home. I thought about taking them, but they would have been freezing and whining the whole time. As you can tell we wore shorts and a shirt. I named our team Lakers so I wore a lakers shirt. Other people went all out dressing up. A man jumped in decked out in a suit, a woman wore a thrift store wedding dress, someone named Toucan Sam dressed up as a Toucan, we saw a group of guys dressed in bikinis, one of the guys was wearing a thong/cup bikini bottom (yucky!.) Over 700 participants jumped. The atmosphere was very fun, festive, and exciting. Jeff and I were one of the first to jump. I think that was the best time to go. It wasn't so crowded as midday and we had fresh hot tub water. We changed into our shorts and shirt and waited outside in line to jump. This was freakin' cold. I was shivering like you wouldn't believe. This is when I actually considered walking away. I became fearful. I guess I was scared how my body would respond to the shock of it all. I was scared that the emergency crew would actually have to help me out and I didn't want to be the "special olympic polar plunge SPECTACLE". I dreaded thinking about being the one and only person who needed rescuing. Leave it to me to be the one who is scared I might and could be the center of attention. I despise having all eyes on me, it's uncomfortable. So there we were, standing on some mats (we had to wear shoes), the DJ was announcing our names and how much we raised. I elected to jump by the rescue diver guy that was in the water. I looked at the water we had to jump in. We had to jump in the water and then walk to the other side where the ladders were to climb out. It was about 8 feet away but I remember it seemed much further. They counted down 3-2-1 JUMP, a semi truck honked his horn, and we jumped in. I just stepped off. Jeff on the other hand, sprang up with enthusiasm (and adrenaline too I'm sure) and jumped into the water getting totally submerged, in true polar bear fashion. I wasn't thinking about anything except getting into the hot tub and warming up. When I jumped in, my feet hit, and I stood up. I didn't think to bend my knees more to get all the way under. I only got wet to my shoulders and walked as quickly to the ladder as possible to get out. They handed us a towel and Jeff and I ran into the hot tub. I definitely worked up the whole thing in my head and got overly anxious for nothing. It wasn't so bad after all. Jumping in the water was the easiest part. Waiting in -5 degrees in shorts and getting out of the water in the freezing air was the coldest part. This would be fun to do every December. I'm thinking my goal next year would be getting submerged in the water and maybe even stay in a few seconds. haha. Here are some pictures and I'm working on getting the video up too so come back for video footage.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ALASKA-winter style

Alaska is like a whole new state to me when winter hits. For some of you, who think I am crazy to live here, let me list the advantages of living in ALASKA in the winter.
1. you don't have to mow your lawn.

2. you don't have to worry about if you're driving in the correct lane, because the roads are covered in snow and you can't see the lane markers.

3. you have one more reason to cuddle up with loved ones.
4. you can walk outside, x-country ski, walk to the mail box and not have to carry bear spray or look over your shoulder every 5 seconds.
5. you can enjoy christmas lights 18 hours of the day.
6. you can see Santa and his real reindeer since the North Pole isn't that far away.
7. schools have snow and ice days
8. if you don't shave your legs for a few days, it's okay, no one will ever know.
9. your snowman you make will last for at least 4 months
10. so many outdoor activities to enjoy: x-country skiing, snow mobile(ing) (here they call it snow machining), snow shoeing, polar plunge, ice fishing, ice skating, down-hill skiing and snowboarding, sledding, watching the iditarod, and so many just gotta get outside.

11. If you run out of room in your freezer, no worries, you can always stick the food outside in the snow to keep frozen.
And yes I had to make a list of the advantages so when I'm feeling disadvantaged about missing the sun and the warmth it brings, I'll remember the advantages....."and then I won't FEEEEEL soooo bad." Shout out to The Von Trapp family for that song.
2 other beautiful pictures of nature. I never get sick of looking out our back windows.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What 3 looks like

Yesterday it was Jordyn's turn to celebrate a birthday. Miss J or JZ (I'm trying to get that nickname to stick), had a fun week and birthday as well. We had some neighborhood friends come over in the middle of the week to sing happy birthday and eat some cupcakes. Yesterday we went to Chuck E. Cheese. It was our first time in 2 years, and if it's up to me we won't go back for another 2 years.This is what a 3 yr old looks like who is seeing one of Santa's reindeers for the first timel
This is what a 3 yr old looks like who discovers that she got a Barbie for one of her b-day presents.
This is what a 3 yr old looks like celebrating her birthday
This is what a 3 yr old looks like in front of her birthday countdown and baby pictures. Jordyn also loved watching her baby video and looking at baby pictures. It really is crazy how fast time passes.
This is what a 3 yr old looks like on one of the small rides at Chuck E. Cheese.
Jorydn is now 3 and we all are happy that the terrible two's are over. Jordyn executed that infamous age of 2, it actually started when she was about 18 months. A lot has happened since then. She has potty trained, we moved, a new sibling, she is able to express herself so much more, napping has ended, she has learned cause and effect, and others. Some people have suggested that the terrible two's is the new terrible three's, but in our experience it hasn't been so. It may be the case with Levi, but so far our girls' age of 2 was rough and it got better from there. Of course we'll have melt downs and she'll talk back for year to come, but Jordyn pretty much knows what happens around here. First: time out. Second: hot sauce, Third: in room until bed time. We've been consistent w/ this for many months now and it's been working. No one has had to stay in their room yet, but trust me, they know it WOULD happen and I guess that don't want that. They get dimes for nice acts: a random "I love you" to each other, helping one another, other compliments, obeying w/o complaining, and doing their chores. This next year will be a big one for Jordyn too. She starts sunbeams, she's gonna start a dance class, she'll start preschool, and maybe even learn to ride a bike.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sydney's 5th bday

Sydney's birthday was as previously mentioned a week long celebration. It's not as extravagant as it sounds. We have a birthday countdown. day 6: watched her baby movies (I've edited them and put music to them so they are actually enjoyable to watch)
day 5. Helped her make a birthday shirt. day 4: made cake pops for family and preschool. day 3: put up decorations for her bday. day 2: put on birthday pillowcase and went to see Santa and his reindeer who came to visit Eagle River. Day 1: HOTEL/birthday party. Her birthday fell on a sunday, she was not happy about that. I can't blame her. I felt the same way when I was younger. We ended up celebrating on Saturday. She had her last basketball game. Later that day we stayed the night at a hotel in Anchorage that had a swimming pool and hot tub. We ordered pizza and ate it in our room, opened presents, went swimming, watched Toy Story 3, ate candy, and stayed up late. It was a ton of fun. This party was also for Jordyn's birthday too which is this Saturday so she opened her presents as well. The kids loved it and I loved it too. I didn't have to throw a party. woohoo! The hotel had a separate living room, so Levi slept well. The next morning the hotel had an amazing continental breakfast, we're talking an omelet bar and everything else you can imagine that was made in front of you. We got ready for church and sadly the party was over. Sydney was excited for all her birthday phone calls that were made to her that day. Thanks everyone for the gifts and kind words you gave to her. We love Sydney more than I can explain. I love to watch her grow, learn, and love life. She is a beautiful little girl and has a joyful spirit.The pure delight in opening a present
Telling Santa what she wants on his sleigh
Indoor swimming at the hotel
The kitchen birthday corner. The birthday countdown in the background. She chose dinner each night: salmon, pizza, chicken nuggets, quesadilla, mac-n-cheese.
At preschool eating the cake pops we made

Sunday, December 5, 2010

ymca basketball

For the last 10 weeks, Sydney has been playing basketball every Saturday morning. She was on a team, the Tigers, with all boys except for her and her friend, Abigail. Sydney did an awesome job. I was very proud of her. I think the skill I was most pleased about was her gusto to go for the ball. She played mostly against boys, but she ran after the ball and would fight for the ball even if 3 other boys were also fighting for the ball. It seemed like most of the other girls she played against were more shy when it came to that. Her shooting needs improvement but I love it! She would shoot the ball as if she was throwing a pass overhand. It would hit the backboard so hard and bounce way back to the free throw line. But, many times it actually went in. Abigail's mom and I coached the Tigers. We have lots of funny memories with this experience. Since only close friends read this, I think I can share one particular story of me sticking my foot in my mouth....not an unusual thing. The first practice I thought there were 4 girls and 4 boys on the team. Perfect, we can break them off into two groups. To my embarrassment I called the girls over to Sydney and Abigail side of the court to practice some skill only to have a mom scream to me, "They are boys not girls." ummm......yeah two boys who both have long hair (longer than Sydney), earrings, and cute little faces. OOPS. Having been a teacher, I should've remembered not to make any assumptions. I'm not the only one who thought they were girls, I think every team we played against, the other coach referred to them as "she" or "her". Sydney seemed to have lots of fun and I think she learned a lot about herself and the game too.

Jump ball
Me, Sydney, Elaine, and Abigail

Sunday, November 28, 2010

man vs. tech

Our direct TV couldn't get a signal because there was too much snow on the satelite (misspelled). Jeff took matters into his own hands and "built" a long pole to dust the snow off the satelite. The poled consisted of a pole to screw in light bulbs that are extremely high (someone gave that to us), the end of a broom stick, a fishing pole, and a flag. He got on top of the ladder (I wouldn't let him climb onto our snowy roof) and would hit the satelite and the vibration knocked off the snow. A few minutes later we had a signal and he was happy watching basketball in HD. Goes to show what is top priority around here
The tip of the fishing pole is above the tree. This wasn't long enough so he then added the flag...hey, whatever works, right?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving week

This has been a great week, and it's not even over yet. The main reason it's been good is because Jeff took the week off work. He was planning on volunteering at Sydney's preschool, but this week has been warm (I say warm, but I hardly call mid 30's warm). It's been warm enough to rain and melt the snow and then at night it's been in the 20's so all the rain and melted snow has created an extremely, dangerous ice on the roads. So dangerous that they closed schools and Sydney's preschool. Unfortunately Jeff couldn't volunteer (he was looking forward to it), but he did manage to steam clean the whole upstairs, clean the garage and cars out. The girls and I decorated for Christmas. Wednesday we made it outside to see the movie Tangled. Thursday, we had Thanksgiving at our house. We had 3 families in our neighborhood over and the sister missionaries (11 adults, 10 kids). It was the perfect amount of people, any more and it would have been mayhem. It was my first time cooking a turkey, a 21 pounder. It turned out good, not great, but good. I'm glad it's over, it was causing some anxiety. I can't say everything I'm thankful for because the list is infinite. So I'll write down 3 things I'm thankful for, actually 4: 1. my family. 2. my God 3. my health and 4. my freedom. (In college I went back East and went to many wonderful places, but one of my favorites was visiting Lexington and Concord, places were the Revolutionary War was fought. I'm not much of a history buff, but being there was powerful for me. Standing on the grounds where men were killed for the future of America caused the hairs on the back of my neck to raise and a lump in the back of my throat made it difficult for me to swallow because I feel much gratitude and respect for those people who fought in that war, people I don't know. Did they realize the impact they were making on our country? Because of their vision, pride, and bravery I was able to sit down and have a peaceful Thanksgiving with people of different races and religion. I'm grateful for my freedom and grateful to live in a place where people of different ethnicity and religion are treated equally).
Then in the early hours of the morning, I woke up to experience my first Black Friday shopping. Yes, I actually sacrificed sleep to wake up and spend sister would be so proud. (FYI--I love my bed and I love to sleep. I often describe myself as neither a night person nor morning person). It was crazy, but perfect. I got in back of a loooong line, probably behind at least 500 people. But right when I got in line the doors opened and the line started moving. I got what I wanted and was out of the store within 25 minutes and back into my nice, warm bed not long after. It snowed all day on Thanksgiving, literally. It's awesome because now the ice is buried and we can play outside. The rest of the weekend we will go skiing and sledding and I'm sure hot chocolate will be involved too. Outside on our back deck
Me and my friend Elaine. We're team coaching for Sydney's and her daughter's b-ball team.
Jeff w/ the turkey and Jeanette. She's also our pediatrician and has saved us many times already. We like playing Cities and Knights (if you know what that game is) with her and her husband.

Monday, November 15, 2010

the latest

Before the hectic chaos that the holidays bring, and with our family this include two little birthdays in December that need celebrating, I thought I should give a brief update of what we've been up too. I'm warning you that this isn't exciting stuff either, but they are the little things that I want to remember. Let's begin with the youngest.
1. Levi turned 8 months a few days ago. WIth every month that passes, I am in awe how quickly the time is going. This past month is no different. His 7 month should be called the Month of Mobility. He learned in one month to sit up by himself and mastered the art of crawling. As if that wasn't enough, he's learned to climb upstairs and furniture walk. He's a busy boy now exploring all the details of a house i.e. the water comeing out of the refridgerator into a cup, the vacuum, the dishwasher, outlets, remotes, and door stoppers are just to name a few. Last Saturday, I had my scentsy thing on, and he yanged on the cord, spilling the liquidfied wax on his head and onesie. Luckily he didn't not get any burns, but he still has wax stuck on his head. Not sure how to get that out. The good news, his head smells like cinnamon.

2. Jordyn has stopped taking naps and her and Sydney go to bed no later than 7pm....of course they wake up earlier than I would want. Jordyn's 3rd birthday is coming up in less than a month. She will start sunbeams in January and I hope to get myself in gear and sign her up for a dance class.

3. Sydney is almost finished with basketball. I love her aggression on court. She goes after the ball and if that means falling and sliding on court to get the ball, so be it. I secretly hope for her to score every game, because that's all she cares about. When she doesn't, I praise her for an assist, rebound, good pass, cheering for her teammates, her tenacity to get the ball, and trying her best, but all she cares about is seeing the ball go in the basket. She recently was whipping a belt around and whipped the end of it on her eye, thus her black eye. She is also looking forward to her 5th birthday coming up, also less than a month away. We're planning on spending the night at a hotel, swimming in the pool at the hotel, watching movies, pigging out, and opening presents. That's what they want to do and I'm looking forward to it. She is pleading to do gymnastics. I've been delaying the inevitable since we've moved up here. Mostly because it's quite the drive to the gym, but deep down I think this could be a talent of hers. Her favorite toy is our pull-up bar. She actually does a full pull-up. She walks up the door posts and stands up in the door way.

Sydney hangs out on this pull-up bar and the ledge to the side 50% of the time. Always has been a climber. Seriously, I'm thinking her future will include circus acts.
4. Since my kids are going to bed early, I've been doing some projects. Here are a few. As mentioned in other posts, we've also started to x-country ski, Jeff and I are raising money for special olympics and will participate in the polar plunge, I'm also planning on competing in a 5K snowshoe race with a friend the end of January (never thought I'd ever say that).
Thought our home could display the creative work of our children.
Finally put up some pictures of our family.

Getting sick of bows and clips stuffed in a drawer so made this frame, actually I already had the frame, to clip their bows on. I did however paint the frame a soft pink and glazed it black, glued ribbon to the frame and there you have it. Love projects that I can make in 5 minutes or less.
5. Opps. I messed up the age thing. Jeff should've been number 4, I'm 3 months older than he is. What has Jeff been up to? Work. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of him because he works--ALOT. I'm sure there are lots of work updates I could give, but I don't know all the details and would sound pretty lame if I attempted to explain. He works hard and I'm thankful for all of his hard work and devotion to be the best he can be at what he does. I'm thankful because I'm blessed to stay home with the kids, we're blessed to have the luxuries we enjoy, food in the fridge, heat to warm the house, and good health insurance. When Jeff isn't working he is playing with the kids. He unwinds by watching the Lakers and reading. Of course there are many things he'd want to do, but someone has to work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

brother and sister

Levi started making this face. He usually makes it when I'm feeding him and he wants more.

This is Jordyn in the picture below a few years ago. She made the same face when she was 11 months. She did it for more food too.
I guess they are related. Jordyn is very protective of her brother whom she calls Boo-Bye. Sadly boo-bye is starting to evolve to his real name, Levi. Back to the protective part. One day Jordyn was holding Levi by his onesie so he wouldn't fall down the stairs, and Jeff and I made a big deal about it, calling her a HERO. Ever since then, she has taken it upon herself to watch his every move (literally). Every time he stands up against the couch or anything, Jordyn is right there trying to help him. Little does she realize, she probably causes more falls than preventing them. She also regulates what he does and does not put in his mouth. I love it when she tells him not to put the book in his mouth because he might choke on it or some of the other big, bulky toys we have around.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Freezin' for a Reason

I am trying to fundraise money for Special Olympics in Alaska. Many of you know that I worked with special need kids before having children. I have many wonderful memories of the friendships made with working with this population. As much as I love being a mom, I also love working closely with special needs kids and the Special Olympics organization. Please visit this website. If I can raise $100 for Special Olympics then I can take the polar plunge along with other people that have raised money. Just check out the website. If I take the plunge, you will be sure to see the video. Thanks for your support. xoxo

P.S. In exchange for your donation I will do something of service for you i.e. shovel your driveway, send a postcard, give you a ride to the airport, give you a "bear hug," watch your kids.

More pictures to come when I take the PLUNGE.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

X-country skiing

Last night we all went x-country skiing for the first time. We weren't expecting the kids to last long, but they all did great. We were out skiing for about 45 minutes. By that point, Jeff and I were exhausted anyway. Sydney skied by herself while Jordyn and Levi sat in their stroller turned sled and had a nice ride. So nice that Levi fell asleep. Sydney did awesome. I love how she tries anything and everything without thinking twice. She has such a good attitude. She fell alot, I fell, Jeff fell and we all laughed at each other. Sydney was a little slow so one of us would stay with her while the other went ahead and then we would switch. Jeff and I LOVE that this is an activity we all can do together. I love that this is another activity we are experiencing living in Alaska thus embracing one of Alaska's many winter traditions.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I enjoyed having a superhero, ladybug, pumpking, and Clark Kent in my house for Halloween. I can't believe we went this year without a princess costume. That should tell you the spell or rather the power of persuasion I have on my girls. I made Sydney's super hero costume. I'm definitely a beginner at sewing (as if I needed to explain'll see in the picture). Luckily she doesn't care of my sewing abilities and loved the cape and mask I made her. We did the typical Halloween activities: read halloween stories, halloween crafts involving pumpkins and ghosts, decorating our house, carving pumpkins, making pumpkin bread, the ward's halloween carnival, and trunk or treating. I was the Publishing Clearing House person handing out checks to the winners. After the ward party, Jeff and I went to a friend's party. The kids got loads of candy and now I have to regulate on the consumption of it all. Fiona won
Mickey and Minnie Mouse scored a million
Our friends, the Pete's won
Love this picture of Jeff and Levi