Monday, December 22, 2008

Re-Living Life

The girls are having fun with Grandma and Grandpa Bear (my parents) and I get daily updates about how many helpings Saedi is eating. I think my parents were shocked to see how much Saed-Saed can put away. Ell is having a blast with her cousins, Blake, Nathan, & Hailey.
Meanwhile, Riley and I are reconnecting again and re-living our pre-baby, pre-deployment days up in the Land of the Midnight Sun (or in our case the Land of Minimal Sun).
Friday night we got stranded in Minneapolis but had fun swimming, dining, & sleeping in at a fun, modern hotel. We were able to catch a standby flight Sat morning, which we were thrilled about, although that meant we didn't get to explore the Mall of America (yeah, Ry was really bummed over that one). Funny thing is that the guy sitting next to me on the flight remembered me from my teaching days at Clark Middle School (now demolished)..what a small world!
We finally got into Anchorage around 3pm on Saturday just as the sun was beginning to set. We rented some snowshoes from REI & then drove downtown in our ghetto rental car. We shopped for a bit and then walked to our favorite restaurant, the Glacier Brewhouse, and ordered all of "our" foods- Seafood chowder, quesadillas, prime rib and king crab legs, peanut butter, vanilla bread pudding, & long island iced tea. The best food either of us have eaten since we left AK 3 years ago.
Today we slept in, pigged out some more at the hotel's breakfast buffet (this way we won't need lunch, you see) & then headed over to Fort Richardson for a workout. We were impressed that they had bumper plates & kettle bells at their facilities. Did I mention that I spent a good portion of my workout time in the steam room? Ahhh..wonderful! We visited our old church, and then decided to spend our precious hours of sunlight snowshoeing. At noon the sun was up so we trekked up Mt Baldi in Eagle River and the view was as beautiful as I remembered it. Getting down the mountain was quite a bit more terrifying for me...but more on that later. Once we made it down the mountain we rewarded ourselves with a Snickers mocha at Jitters, read our books & and watched the sun set (4ish). We spent some time at REI and Title Wave Books and then headed to the Bear Tooth Dinner Theatre for some burritos and the movie Eagle Eye...both were excellent!
Now it's late and I'm on vacation so I'll give my next update when I feel like it :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Christmas

Riley and I are still figuring out what kind of Christmas traditions we want to create with our kids. We always celebrate Christmas with our extended families since it's a guaranteed time of year to be with them, but it's also important to us that we (the four of us) celebrate consistently by ourselves, too. We'll be heading up North to see family soon so we went ahead and did our four-person family celebration on Saturday.
I feel like this is the first Christmas Ellie is beginning to grasp what Christmas is all about. We've played with her fisher price manger scene over and over, and we've talked about how her birthday is close to Jesus' birthday. As we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus this year she was "getting it." At church all the children had a birthday party for Jesus so I appreciated the reinforcement that brought. She helped me make gifts for other people this year, so we're getting a better idea of how to teach Jesus to our children.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop and get some pictures posted. Ellie's big gift this year was a camera and you can see from the expression on her face that she was ECSTATIC! Saedi's highlight was some hand instruments and a ball that I sewed for her. Riley got me a beautiful garnet necklace that my friend Nicole made and Riley was thrilled about a new book...go figure!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Uncle Kyle-O

Riley's brother flew into town Friday night from NYC and stayed with us for the weekend. I love Kyle so much and the weekend with him went way too fast. Kyle was a terrific sport...he went with us to the CrossFit gym (once, and probably never again), and after some coaxing, even agreed to a male bonding session with Riley outside in the freezing cold around a campfire. Kyle got to meet Saedi for the first time and he became Ellie's new best buddy. He bought Ellie these super-cool fairy light up wings that she was flying around the house in (with her tap shoes on, mind you). He baked Christmas cookies with Ellie and they played with his iphone for hours...literally. He bugabood with Saedi and coddled with her as if she were his own. He cleaned my kitchen, re-arranged my living room, helped me cook, and even supervised Ellie's wacked-out, sugar-fest of a party last night.

When I first met Riley's family (10 years ago) Kyle was the first one I connected with...he's goofy and down to earth. So, I've always had a special place in my heart for Baby Bro. And now, well, we just don't see him enough. I hadn't seen him since last Christmas and it had been a year and a half for him and Riley. Needless to say, this momma's sad to see him go. I tried to convince him to stay on and be my nanny, but needless to say, the girls and I drove him back to the airport this morning. We love you, Uncle Kyle!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ellie Is 3

It's hard for me to believe that my firstborn is already 3! Ellie is my delight and my joyful child. She's rarely down-in-the-dumps, but instead, she's very resistant. I love Ellie so much and I rejoice that God has blessed Riley and I with a beautiful firstborn girl. She's helps to mother her baby sister and she reaches out to other kids in a welcoming way. I admire Ellie's social skills and the way she verbalizes herself.
We had a few of her closest friends over tonight for a casual Super-Readers Birthday Party. I sewed capes for all the kiddos, and while it was a bit chaotic, the kids had a blast running around, opening presents, and eating lots of sugar! Ellie decorated her birthday cake all by herself this year and it was fun watching her pride in her piece of art.
Thanks to all for your cards, phone calls, gifts and Birthday greetings today. Ellie had a FUN day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey Day

On Saturday we spent our "real" Thanksgiving at the Kenney's house out in Dover. Poor Jodi was terribly sick a few days before Thanksgiving so we all took a rain check to celebrate with them on Saturday. Jodi is a phenomenal cook and baker so, of course, it was well worth the wait. Dave deep fried the turkey and the rest of us brought the traditional sides. I must say my personal highlight was eating Jodi's homemade chocolate pie...and then taking a huge piece home!

The girls took turns riding on the neighbor's horse, Tootie & we all enjoyed a hayride bundled in blankets. Ellie devoured her hot chocolate & Saedi fell asleep in Daddy's arms. Our great friend, Adam, made it in from Ft Bragg, so it was exptra special celebrating with him as well. Happy Belated Turkey Day!