Monday, December 26, 2011

Dec. 24

This morning we headed to Palmer to go to a Reindeer Farm. We hadn't been there before and when we left the farm we were so glad we did go and will probably make it a tradition while we're in Alaska. At the reindeer farm, we went sledding, did arts and crafts in a barn, sat on Santa's lap, went on a hayride around the farm, and then finally fed the reindeers. There weren't many people so Santa came to feed the reindeers with us. It was so fun to do this and Santa really is a genuinely nice and funny guy.
On Santa's practice sleigh
Feeding the reindeer was similar to feeding ducks at a pond. All the reindeer were pretty excited for food and many reindeer were positioning for a spot. I found out that reindeers i.e. caribou do not buck, their hind legs make a clicking noise when they walk, Santa's reindeers are female because females don't have antlers in the winters (males do), and gestation is 7 months long.
Santa even came out and fed the reindeers with us.
On the hay ride, pulled by a tractor.
Our best family christmas eve photo.

After we drove home, we prepared for our Christmas Eve dinner. We had the Mc Curdy's, Elordi's, Armstrong's, and Shireena over. It was great having friends over and the kids frosted cookies after we ate homemade Cafe Rio burritos (my fav).

The kids looked forward to bedtime and slept in the same room. At 2am I heard footsteps and found Sydney going down the stairs. I'm pretty sure she was sleep walking. The girls ran downstairs at 8am.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dec. 23

The anticipation of Christmas is getting more intense with each passing day. I love the excitement with the kids. I will miss it when they are older. This morning we were busy getting ready for our big party tonight. We moved the furniture around to open the space to accommodate our friends and of course we had to clean our entire house. At 3:30 we left to go to the children's hospital to sing carols to the kids. The Coy family came with us. There were only 6 kids in the hospital at the time. When we started singing the kids came out of their rooms to listen. Most of the kids had tubes and IV's in their arms. One nurse came out with a 1 year old patient. The nurse said he wasn't sure if he would make it. Although sorry for the afflictions this boy has to endure, it was nice to brighten up someone's day. The girls had a fun time singing and hopefully felt joy in serving others. After, we came home just in time to make it to our own party. We had friends, mostly from church, come over to our home to visit, snack, sing christmas songs, and listen to a few musical numbers. It was a nice evening. We guessed we had about 80 people here. Everyone came through our garage door and took off their coats and boots in the garage. By the time everyone left, Jeff and I were beat!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

weird stuff

I'm a list person and several weeks ago when I couldn't sleep I was thinking about my childhood and lists came up. If you're a shrink and happen to fall upon my blog, you'll definitely be "diagnosing" me.
List 1:
Weird things I did as a kid
1. Put a bandaid on my arm while we we're camping for a week to see how dirty I'd get. I'm pretty sure my mom made me take it off and take a bath in the freezing lake, because I don't remember what the results were.
2. I wrote a will when I was 8 years old. That's just so disturbing to even think about and I'm sure that weirded my mom out. I only remember what the first thing was--my cabbage patch kid (aka Walter) and I was giving that to my mom. How did I even know what a will was????
3. I decided to have a garage sale in my own room. Only one person bought something for a quarter. Guess who? my mom. Moms are the best.
4. Refused to go to a Girl Scout event because I thought my mom was hiding another man in the closet. Again, I'm sure that weirded my mom out. Don't know why she didn't put me in therapy right then.
5. Slept and sometimes still do, with my head under the covers. Know one understands how I can breathe.

List 2
My dreams as a kid
1. To be a genius. And when I was about 10 and came to reality and discovered I wasn't a genius, I was sad. I remember driving home from church confessing to my mom this self-discovery. By the way I do have a connection with a genius. I was born exactly 100 years after Albert Einstein (march 14, 1879)
2. To have a $1,000 in my savings acct by the time I was 9 years old. This dream was met.
3. This one is disturbing--to be a 1st hand witness to a bank robbery. Of course I didn't want to get hurt, but I wanted to be the hero and somehow get the bank robbers. I did witness a donut shop robbery when I was in preschool. The guy, wearing panty hose over his face, robbed the cashier at gun point and ran off. I didn't see much because my mom pushed me under the table and then jumped on top of me.
4. To be a professional down-hill snow skier. I sometimes think I pretended I was one when I would whiz down the hills.
5. To win the Publishing House Clearance 1 million dollars. I even filled out all the paperwork, in behalf of my dad, and mailed it for a few years. I lost hope once I started puberty and was interested in having a life.

List 3: Crazy (aka hairball) things I did when I was young:

1. My sister and I tried to out run a cop. I was 10 (I think). My sister was driving a motorcycle (she was 12) on the streets in a small, small town in Wyoming. The cop pulled us (and my cousin who was driving a different motorcycle) over and my sister and I both ran to my cousin's garage. Of course he found us and we got in trouble after him and my parents secretly laughed about it.

2. Thought I could actually barefoot waterski. I was going 40 mph. I got up and then did a major face plant going 40 mph. It took years for my back to recover, if it ever did. I was 16.

3. When I was in 8th grade, I used my bed as a trampoline and attempted a back flip. I didn't make it all the way and fell on my neck. Had to see a chiropractor for several weeks after that stunt.

4. I was bored and clearly not thinking. I thought I could hole punch my hair and it would leave a circle in my hair (doesn't make sense). But needless to say when I hole-punched my hair, it didn't make a hole.

Pretty random things on these lists. It's kind of a miracle I turned out "normal."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New haircuts

If you remember, Sydney cut her bangs last year. So she's pretty much has had a "poor kid she cut her own hair" hairdo for the past year. I've been waiting for her bangs to grow out. So she finally wanted to cut her hair all one length. We cut about 8 inches off. We love it. No more tangles in the morning and I think it's her cutest haircut yet. When we got home she hid while I made a big introduction to Jeff, Jordyn, and Levi, "Introducing a new 6 year old girl with a super hair cut. It's shorter, shiny, and best of all cute. Sydney Kaylin Shaw show everyone your new DO." She laughed and giggled and showcased her new hair cut. She made me do that about 5 more times and even skype my mom and dad and "introduce" her to them.
Jordyn saw all the excitement and wanted to have the same thing so the next morning I cut her hair (about 5 inches). I cut her summer blonde hair all off and lots of curls. "Introducing Jordyn Marie Shaw with her new gorgeous hair do...."
I actually straightened it in this picture.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jordyn's 4th b-day

On Friday the 9th it was your turn for your b-day party. It was at 10am. We invited church and school friends. You wanted a Cinderella party. I asked someone from church (a college girl) if she could come as Cinderella to your party. She was so excited and even told me she had a Cinderella costume so it was perfect.
The princess crown cake I made. It was just like Sydney's cake but with blue frosting.

You and Cinderella. So beautiful. You and your friends anticipated her arrival and when she came you guys got all quiet.

Cinderella sang you songs, read a book, and even painted everyone's faces. You picked a butterfly to be painted on your face.

You and your friends also made your own crowns to wear.
Then you wanted to paint Cinderella's face. She is such a nice princess.

You, Cinderella and your friends. This was your first birthday party and you loved all the attention.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sydney's party

Tomorrow is Sydney's 6th b-day. Our kids are getting so much older which means that Jeff and I are too. Weird. Yesterday Sydney had her b-day party. Every other year they have a party and this year she wanted a "Rapunzel" party. I toiled as to what to do for that party. There are so many ideas, just take a glance on Pinterest. It's pretty overwhelming and so I wanted to keep it simple and not have to do much so....I thought about having Rapunzel come all the way from Disneyland to our home in Alaska and guess what, she came. The real story is that a college girl from the single's ward was rapunzel for halloween and came. When she walked in, Sydney and her friends went bonkers. They screamed and hugged her and then followed her around everywhere. She brought her frying pan and guitar. She sang songs, read the Rapunzel book, talked with the girls, and then painted their faces. It went perfect and I was able to enjoy the party because I wasn't doing anything but taking pictures. We also had a pinata in the basement, ate cake, opened presents, and that was it. The party was a success. Sydney had 10 friends over and gave every girl a hug after she opened the present they gave her.

Today church was cancelled due to icy roads and high winds so we just chilled at home. I filled out her B-day questionaire which she informed me that she wants to be a police officer when she's older, she wants me to make chicken nuggets, peas, and bread for dinner, told me her favorite subject in school is recess and lots of other little things. She mentioned that she'll miss being 5 because she wants to stay little. When asked what she wants to do tonight, the last night as a 5 year old she said, play Guess Who and Hide & Go Seek.

Sydney is a sweet girl. In her prayer tonight she mentioned that she's thankful our family will be together forever and that her best friends are me, Jeff, Jordyn, and Levi. It's hard to believe that she is 6. She'll always be my little girl.
My mom bought her this Rapunzel dress and wig way back in June and she's been saving it for her birthday party.
Aww...the cake. I've never decorated a cake before. Let's just say I was sore the next morning from frosting that beastly crown cake. It took 2 hours just to decorate. But it turned out better than I thought. Sydney loved it so it was worth it and I will be making another one next week for Jordyn's birthday.
Sydney with Rapunzel
With most of her friends
After Rapunzel painted Sydney's face, she painted her face.
About to blow out the candles
All her friends with their face painted.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let's Begin Christmas

On Nov. 30th, we have a tradition; the kids open up Christmas pj's to wear in Dec and afterwards. This year I added to the tradition. I wrapped up the book Elf on a Shelf. We read it and named our Elf, Jack (but that's being debated over so his name may change). The girls found Jack the Elf this morning placed on our mantle keeping tabs on the girls' behavior. There is one rule to Jack the Elf. #1 you can't touch him or he'll loose his "magic." He won't be able to report back to Santa and tell him if you were good. The girls wave, blow kisses, and talk to Jack the Elf, but no touchy.
Last night we also had a treat to go with our new jammies and book...snowmen doughnuts. The girls had a great night eating their dessert and reading the book. Everyday the girls will open a Christmas book until Christmas day and we will read that book. I think I have just enough Christmas books to get me to Christmas Eve. I'm looking forward to this month and we had to start if off right, right?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas tree

My friend, Carrie, told me that their family cuts down a tree every year for Christmas and I've ALWAYS wanted to do that. Since I've always lived in California that wasn't a realistic dream to fulfill. Since we live in AK though many people do this. I was very eager and passionate about experiencing cutting a REAL Christmas tree. To be honest we've always been one of those "fake" christmas tree family. By the way, pine scented candles do not smell like the real deal. Now I have both a real and fake tree and I love it!
So here's the story...we first had to get a tree permit. A friend got us one on base. Friday morning we set out to get our tree. We were on a time schedule because Jeff and the girls had to come home, eat lunch, and get ready for the Nutcracker by 1:30. We left our home at 9:30am. Pretty sure that was going to give us plenty of time. When we were driving we quickly realized our heater, radio, clock, seat heater were not working. The heater not working was a major problem because the windows got so foggy you couldn't see outside and ice was beginning to form on the inside of the window not to mention the snowy road conditions on top of all that. When we got to a different friend's home to help us figure out the problem, all that stuff started working again. We finally got to the tree site an hour and a half later, got out of the car and Levi threw up. So far things weren't working out if you can't tell. Remember we're in a time crunch. We spent the next 5 minutes finding and cutting down what we thought looked like the perfect tree. I was expecting that part to be the longest. I wanted a small tree, since we already had a fake one up, and we found what we liked and Jeff sawed it down in like a minute. He strapped it on top of the car and we were off.
The tree we fell in love with at first glance. Jeff is our hero. Look at him carry that huge thing. Okay so it wasn't THAT heavy, but the needles sure were razor sharp.
When we brought through the front door, I started laughing in disbelief. Remember that I mentioned I wanted a small tree. We brought it in our home and realized it was about 14 ft tall. It looked so small in the forest with all the other gigantic trees. We cut a few feet off and placed it in our dining room. I love it. We got done just in time for Jeff to take the girls to see the Nutcracker.

If that doesn't invite you to sit down w/ a good book and cup of hot chocolate, I don't know what else would.


I was sad this morning when I woke up and knew that Jeff had to go back to work, Sydney had to go to school, and we were back into our routine of life. We had such a fun Thanksgiving week. Jeff took Wednesday off and him and I went x-country skiing together. It was my first time this season so needless to say I was winded after my first small hill. We skied over 5 miles and by the end my legs were exhausted. It was fun to finally be out there skiing (we had a week or two of temperatures in the negatives--don't good for skiing or much else outside).
Thursday I cooked all morning while Jeff took the kids skiing. We ate at our friend's house w/ other friends. It was a lot of fun to stuff ourselves with yummy food and then play some games. Thursday night a friend and I did the whole "black friday shopping" thing. We went to Toys R Us and then to Target. Both included waiting outside, lots of people, and waiting in line. It was fun despite all that and the cold. I was in bed by 3am. With only 5 hours of sleep I wasn't cranky the next day either. Pretty impressive for someone like myself.
Friday we cut down our first real Christmas tree (that deserves a separate post) and that afternoon Jeff took Sydney and Jordyn to see the Nutcracker in Anchorage. The girls loved it, most of it; the last 1/2 hour they were antsy. Saturday we hung out and finished decorating our home for Christmas.
Our home on Thanksgiving day. It's hard to tell but we do have christmas lights on our home. They've been on since October. Can you imagine trying to put them on our house right now? We will not see the black of our drive or the green of our grass until April or May.
My girls on Thanksgiving. We also saw Breaking Dawn that Monday.
Our November tradition. One of my faves "I'm thankful for dad because he lets me watch Pink Panther" Jordyn wrote. As you can tell Levi tried to write some stuff too.
Jeff and the girls in front of our real tree, before we decorated it.
This is my favorite room at night when the garland and tree are lighted.


So just thought I'd share a few of the crafts I've done recently.
This second one is my favorite: the Growth Chart. I love it because it's not permanent; we can move it with us whenever we move again to another house.
The sock snowmen were easy to make and the kids love to play with them too.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Our first time sledding this season. We have a great place to go close to our house.
Levi loved going sledding

Everyone on one sled.
Levi has the best ride of walking up the hill.
The girls wanted to go together and they put their arms around each other to stay on. Love those moments.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

another post about faith

This is going to be the long version of the story (just so you know):
The past few weeks I've been sick like a lot of people. I was feeling better but then I couldn't hear in my right ear. It felt like I had water in my ear from swimming. I thought it was probably an ear infection so I went to urgent care to have it looked at. The PA said it was and like most doctors who have looked in my ears said, "Wow. you have quite a bit of scar tissue on your ear drum. Did you have tubes as a kid?" YES. I have a long list of ear issues including several sets of tubes, ruptured ear drum, and not the best hearing in the world because of these things. See, looonng story.
Sidenote: It's kinda like when I go to get my hair cut or dyed, the person without fail says something to the effect of, "Wow. You have soo much hair. It's so thick." And without fail, I give a token laugh and think to myself "Really? I have thick hair? Yeah, hair lady I do. Thanks for noticing; you're not the first." Everyone has physical traits and one of mine is my hair. It usually attracts attention--sometimes good and sometimes bad. At least I don't get attention for my boobs or a huge wart on my nose.
Alright, back to the story. The PA prescribed antibiotics. I thought that would for sure kill any bacteria left over from my cold or the whole ear infection thing. But it hasn't. My hearing seems worse. Instead of feeling like I have water in my hear it feels like whatever it is has solidified. The ear seems totally occluded (I think that's the word I'm looking for). And it feels like I'm talking in an echoing tunnel (it's hard to explain). So now I'm worried. Tonight is my last night of antibiotics. I'm feeling totally better, except for this ear thing. Yes this post is about faith like the title mentioned....I'm slowly getting there.
I've know for a week that Jeffrey R. Holland was coming to our Stake Conference to speak. He is an apostle of Jesus Christ, for those who may not know. Yesterday I asked Jeff, "Is it totally ridiculous that I might think that Elder Holland might feel the spirit and know that I want a healing blessing from him and that he'll give me one???" Jeff, being very honest said, "YES." My response was, "but anything can happen if I have enough faith, and I believe that can happen. I don't know how, but if I have faith he can give me a blessing." I was thinking of the story (and I don't know the story all that well so forgive me) the women who had sinned and had faith that if she just touched Christ her sins would be forgiven. Jesus felt her gentle touch and said something to the effect of your sins are forgiven. Go thy way and sin no more. In stake conference this morning the stake president talked about that faith can move mountains and again I thought about wanting and hoping for a healing blessing. Elder Holland began to speak and I had forgotten about my wants and desires at this point; I was all ears, or at least one ear (my left one that is good). He was closing up his talk and out of nowhere he said, "I know there is a particular person who wants a blessing, or maybe more than one person and so I want to leave a blessing on each person here: man, woman, and child." His blessing was about 10 minutes long. He said that in ancient times Christ would leave a blessing on everyone who was there because there were just too many people to give blessings to individually. I didn't know that, so that was cool to learn. He mentioned many things, specifically to mothers, fathers, and children. He blessed those who needed healing as well. Jeff and I looked at each other and stared in amazement. I didn't know how it would happen, but it did. I'm again grateful for a merciful Father in Heaven who knows who we are, who I am, and blesses us as we demonstrate our faith and express our righteous desires. I know that the prophet, Pres. Monson, and his apostles are disciples of Christ and are set apart to bless us, teach us, and love us. My faith grew stronger today and was worth writing this long story down. I still am unable to hear out of my right ear. Tonight is my last antibiotic I need to take and then depending how my ear is tomorrow, I may be making an appt. with an ENT.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

halloween 2011

This was my first Halloween experiencing snowfall. After the trunk or treat at church, we went around our neighborhood with some friends. We walked around for 20-30 minutes before going home to drink some hot chocolate. Next thing I knew it was snowing. It didn't stop anyone because there were still tons of kids walking around until about 8:45. It was Sydney's first halloween that she understood the strategy involved w/ trick or treating. She was running to every house trying to get her bucket full. Another first was making a "halloween" dinner. It was easy and the kids loved it so I think a new tradition was born. Here are some mummy dogs.
These are suppose to be mouths w/ teeth and we drank poison to wash it all down.
Sydney designed the pumpkin which turned out looking like the guy Chunk from Goonies. Levi loved exploring the insides of the pumpkin. The girls insisted on using gloves to pick the stuff out of the pumpkin.
This is at our tri-ward trunk or treat. Sydney is a super-hero. It's kinda hard to tell w/ all her snow gear on.
Levi is are lil' stinker aka a Skunk
We went to about 3 or 4 different parties. Jordyn went back and forth with a Cinderella and Rapunzel costume.
Her favorite was the Rapunzel costume. I loved it, but by the end of Halloween I wanted to burn the wig. I'm still finding hairballs from the wig all over the house. She does make a cute rapunzel though.
Moving on to the next holiday.