Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flat Top

Jeff trying to protect himself from the hail.

Last Saturday Jeff and I hiked Flat Top for our date. The day before I asked Sydney what Jeff and I should do for our date. She suggested we do "dinner and movie or do missionary work." We figure we can do dinner and a movie when it's winter time; as far as missionary work....we'll have to try that a different date night. We had never hiked Flat Top before. It's a popular hike in Anchorage. It's 3 miles round trip. This was the most painful date I've ever been on. So, as we were hiking it started raining, and rain turned into hail, and then the wind picked up....I would guess 40 mph. So hailing hitting us in the face at 40 mph, didn't feel great. But nonetheless we kept putting one foot in front of the other. We eventually made it to the top, at times I had wondered if forging ahead was the best idea. We made it down super fast, because the wind was pushing us. There were many times I wanted to step carefully and cautiously, but the wind blew me and Jeff into running, thus my several falls. Like I mentioned it was a painful date, but one I will never forget. By the time we made it back to the car we were completely soaked and muddy. We had a fun time laughing at the conditions and getting back into a warm car never felt better.
On a clear day people say you can see McKinley and the Aleutian Islands....not so much today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dip Netting

This past Wednesday we went dip netting. Let me rephrase that, Jeff went dip netting while I tended to the kids. However, I would've loved to dip net myself, but since Jeff went with 3 other guys, that would've been a little weird. We went with a few of our neighbors. One of our neighbors that we went with has a cabin in Kasilof. We drove down there Tuesday night, stayed in their cabin, and the guys went dip netting in his boat the next morning. Jeff had a blast. It was a beautiful, clear, and warm day. Last year we dip netted from shore and it was cold, slow, and crazy (other people lined up on shore are really competitive). Dip netting from the boat is nice because you can get more fish in a shorter amount of time and you're not dealing w/ other people from shore. Last year we spent about 6 hours (from shore) and caught 6 salmon. On Wednesday Jeff and the guys caught 114 in 5 hours. We took home 35 salmon which should be more than enough for our family this winter. While he went fishing, me and the kids went to the beach w/ my friend and her kids and looked for shells and rocks. We also went to a lake and rode their 4 wheelers. When we came home we fillet our fish and now we have a freezer filled w/ red meat. From the beach you could see Mt. Redoubt. Right before we moved here this volcano was extremely active.
The kids playing in the lake.
Like I said it was a beautiful day. When we drove home Wednesday night we saw this sight. It was so beautiful. Keep in mind, it was 11:15 pm and this is how clear it was.
First Jeff cut off the head, then cut a slit on the belly and pulled out guts and any eggs, and then he just cut the meat off on each side, making 2 large fillets.
Lots of bloody fish. We fillet them on our driveway. I was a nervous wreak because just 2 days prior the kids and I were in the front yard when a black bear and 2 cubs were right across the street from our house, and here we were filleting fish.
Sydney with her new eyeball.
Jordyn holding some fish eggs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Prayer Rocks

Prayer rocks have been around for A LONG time. This is the idea behind a prayer rock. When you wake up in the morning, you put the prayer rock on your pillow so when you lay your head on the pillow at night, you remember to say your prayers. When you go to bed at night, you put the rock on the floor so when you wake up in the morning and step on the rock, you remember to say your prayers. A few weeks ago we were throwing rocks at a river near our home and I found some big smooth rocks. I thought about prayers rocks, but the one/s (I think I got a few when I was a kid) teachers gave me were always that gray, bland, rock color. So thanks to some blogs I got the idea to paint them. I primed, spray painted and then personalized each rock, modged podged them, and viola...a super fun, colorful prayer rock.

new projects

After we got home from the lower 48, Jeff started constructing the rock wall in our house. We had to do it upstairs because our basement is mostly made from cement. Jeff secured plywood to the existing wall. We painted the wood the same color as the walls and secured the holds. The holds are pretty small, I've tried to climb the wall and I can't, my fingers and toes are too big, but it's perfect for the girls. Now they have another thing to climb and exert energy (important for winter months in AK). Jeff and I were adding things up. Those "playgrounds" you can buy at Costco are over $1000. We've put in our basement a trampoline, 2 swings, and trampeze thing, plus this new rock wall and it all cost much less that half of a costco playground.
Note: Sydney's bed head. My girls get bed head like no man's business. They must get it from me:) It was 7:30am when I took this pix. My kids play hard so they sleep hard.

This week I made some colorful and personalized prayer rocks that I just wrote more about.

I was also feeling the urge to organize a bit so I came up with this file box that I will put Sydney's finished school work in. I'm only planning on putting her favorite and my favorite school work so we keep some of her work (art, writing, math, etc) but not every single paper she comes home with.

Some other big not preggers is that last sunday I was set apart to be RS Pres. (ummm....okay pick up your jaw now. No worries I was shocked too). So this week Jeff was gone for a few days, I was crazy busy w/ meetings, phone calls, planning, etc but somehow I was able to magnify (or try to at least) my calling, do these two easy projects, AND be a happy mommy. It's been a great week!

New Calling

This is my second time writing about this, the first time didn't work. What I'm getting at is that this post might not be as detailed as my first one. About 3 weeks ago, our Bishop asked to come over. Of course me and Jeff briefly discussed why he might come over. We concluded it was about this missionary in our ward who needs some financial assistance. He came over and we chatted about girls camp and then he said, "well I'm here for Lauren. Before I extend a calling I want to ask how long you plan on being in Alaska" {this is when I knew it was going to be a calling that is more time consuming than others. I immediately thought he was going to ask me to be the YW pres. since I was already in the auxillary}. Well, it wasn't that. He asked me to be the Relief Society pres. I was totally dumbfounded, shocked, speechless, you name it. All I could think of was why I wasn't qualified. About 5 minutes after he left I was over feeling under qualified. I knew/know that the Lord knows all my weaknesses and despite those shortcomings He still wants me to serve as RS pres. Dwelling on my weakness, faults, and shortcomings isn't going to allow me to serve and love the sisters so I knew that I had to focus on what the Lord wanted me to do. That night I prayed...a lot. I had to started thinking about the sisters, my goals, my counselors, and responsibilities. I read the handbook and I read the scriptures. Some topics I read about was revelation (Alma 26) and trust. Most of these scriptures mentioned faith. These three things all coincide together. I need to have faith and trust in the Lord always, but especially if I'm going to receive revelation for my calling, but also personal life. The counselors I prayed about and that are in my presidency is Sarah Rivera-1st couns. KD McCurdy-2nd couns. and Lisa Hullinger-Sec. These women are very strong in their testimony of the gospel, awesome mothers, fun-loving, and trustworthy. Last Sunday we all got sustained and set apart. Last sunday, my first sunday, I conducted RS. I was a little nervous, I've never been in a RS presidency let along Pres. thus the nerves. This week I've had a VT meeting, which we are calling all sisters and the beginning of next month plan on passing out new assignments. Yesterday I had my first presidency meeting, which also went very well. We're going to meet the 1st Monday of the month. I have noticed, and so has Jeff, that my general attitude has been more upbeat. Just an observation. Even though I have been busy this week with meetings, calling lots of people, planning various things, Jeff being gone for a few days, I've been able to get everything I want to get done and even fit in a few crafty things. I can already see the blessing of fulfilling my calling. I look forward to the experiences I'll have. I look forward to serving the sisters. I have felt the joy that comes through service already, maybe that explains the general happy attitude I've noticed that I mentioned earlier. I look forward to the blessings received, the friendships gained, and perhaps some of my weakness made stronger. I'm grateful for this calling that the Lord has entrusted me with and am humbled w/ the sisters who sustained me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fairbanks and more

This past week Jeff's parents, grandparents, and youngest brother, Tyler came to visit us. We did lots of things in just a week, maybe that's why time flew by so quickly. For 3 days we drove to Fairbanks and stayed there. We went to North Pole to see Santa's house, visited the famous Pioneer Park, drove to Chena hot springs, and canoed down the Chena river. Santa's house was a ton of fun. On the way there we sang Christmas songs. The kids sat on Santa's lap, saw his reindeer, sat on his sled, and saw lots of Christmas decorations and toys at his house. Saturday morning the kids loved Pioneer park. They played at the park, rode the train and carousel, went to the aviation museum, and looked in the different stores. That afternoon we drove to Chena hot springs (hour drive from Fairbanks) and went to the ice art museum and the natural hot springs. The next morning me, Jeff, Sydney, and Tyler rented a canoe and paddled down the Chena river. We all freaked out when we saw something moving in the water. It was a beaver. It flapped it's tail and went under water. I'll admit I was a little freaked out it was gonna chew thru the canoe and bite me. We drove home after. Fairbanks is about a 6 hour drive from our house. Seriously the best (non-complaining person) traveler was Levi. He was so good. On July 4th, we went to a parade in Chugiak. Today we drove to Girdwood. Me, Jeff, and Sydney hiked up Alyeska (a ski resort 30 minutes south of Anchorage). It's a 2.2 mile hike up this black diamond mountain. The rest of the crew took the tram up. It was an awesome hike. It was challenging but fun. Sydney walked about 2.1 miles up. Jeff carried Sydney just a little bit. She is a champion. I was impressed that she didn't complain and many times was running up the mountain. It's crazy how much energy kids have. We saw a couple piles of bear poo, but luckily didn't run into any bears. We enjoyed the view from the top, admiring all 7 glaciers and some hang gliders taking off. After we went to the AK wildlife conservation center to see some bears, elk, caribou, owls, bison, musk ox, and eagles. We had a wonderful time with family. We saw a moose in our backyard and a moose and calf on the way to hike Mt. Baldy. I always wish for family to see wildlife when they come to visit so that was also cool. We had an amazing week and have tons of pictures to show for it.
Mt. Baldy hike and temple

On the way to fairbanks we stopped in Cantwell. Love this picture of Levi in front of the train tracks.
North pole, Alaska. Me and the girls loved visiting Santa Claus house.

Chena hot springs

Ice art museum. They gave everyone a winter coat. They keep the place at 22 degrees. It's the world's largest year around ice art museum.

Rowing down the river.
Beluga point

Alyeska. Yay we made it to the top.
Wildlife Conservation Center