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