Happy Easter from bush Alaska

We woke up this morning to fog and sparkly white snow everywhere.

I had a late night over at Susan & Leah's giggling with the girls, but Josh is sick with the nastiest cold.  So I told him to go back to bed this morning, handed the kids their Easter presents, unwrapped and without fanfare, and we headed downstairs so Josh could get some more sleep.

I got the twins little digger sets and a Crayola Color Explosion marker kits.  For Wyatt I got an alphabet and a shape puzzle. The three of them played all morning with their new toys.

By this afternoon the fog had lifted.  Jack snapped this shot as he stood in the doorway saying hello to Susan.  It was nice to have the sun streaming through our windows this afternoon.  We hit a high of 33 degrees. If that continues tomorrow we're going to have to go out and play!

We've had some really amazing luck at the store lately. Josh found some frozen chinese food (beef & broccoli  yum!), fresh orange juice, sour cream and whip cream.  But by far the most exciting things he found were bananas, lettuce & tomatoes!  We had sliced tomatoes on our pizza Friday night, and I am looking forward to a chicken salad for lunch tomorrow.

The twins will drink the orange juice, but let's be honest-- 
they were MOST excited about the whip cream!

Yesterday the boys and I made banana bread.  It turned out fabulously, which felt lucky. Usually it comes out doughy in the center.  
I may or may not have had three slices today!

The twins really enjoyed helping make the banana bread. I let them really do everything themselves. I am normally a bit more hands-on, but for some reason yesterday, I just let them have at it.  Jack was mashing the bananas within an inch of their lives and Logan was so excited pouring in the sugar he had measured.  I hope as they get older to let them experiment more in the kitchen.

Another special treat we had recently that both twins loved were Cuties. (Jack kept calling them "kitties".)  They both loved that they could peel them all on their own.  Joe brought them back from Mountain Village (they have an AC store) and shared. So nice!

Little one is still adjusting to no binky and the dark in his room.  In the middle of last week Josh put foil in the boys' bedroom window to block the persistent daylight that is lasting longer and longer each day.  Now when we go in there, Wyatt remarks, "So dark. So dark."

Finally today at nap time, I put a nightlight in there in hopes it would ease his concerns with the light in there.  I'm not sure it did the trick, though because he woke up after only forty minutes.  Let's just say it was a long afternoon!

For dinner, Josh, who had also bathed all three boys this afternoon, managed to make ham & homemade macaroni & cheese.  The twins love his mac'n'cheese.  They ask for it all week, and then eat the leftovers for days after he's made it.  It's your traditional homemade macaroni, but instead of breadcrumbs, he puts crumbly goldfish on top.  This makes it a big sell with the kids!

While he was bathing the boys, I was researching Montana. We will be spending some of our summer vacation there so Josh can attend his masters degree program orientation.  It was fun imagining the road we will journey, the sights we will see and adventures we will have.  I also got a few other summer-fun items on the calendar. I think I might just be starting to get excited!

We have been doing lots of creative play with the boys. Trying to make old things new. This is one thing Logan thought to try.  I was terrified for the danger of falling, but they assured me they were being careful, and they played forever!

Friday afternoon I swept the kitchen floor and mopped as well. When I sweep & mop, I move all the kitchen chairs as well as Wyatt's high chair onto the rug in the living room.  You would think it was Christmas morning. The boys come flying out of the playroom, "Are you going to sweep, mommy?!?"  Immediately they climb onto the row of chairs and it becomes a rocket, a school bus, or an airplane. It makes my mommy heart proud as they encourage Wyatt to join in their imaginary play.  And I love that simply moving furniture around creates such excitement.

While I enjoy watching all of them play, lately watching this one play is my favorite. He's coming to that age where he has a clear idea of what he wants to play, and how he wants to play it.  Saturday morning, this was how he was driving his monster truck.  Back and forth, back and forth. Totally focused on what he was doing.

I am looking forward to this week. I did a lot this weekend to prepare for it. I cleaned house Friday, planned school for the boys, and laid out our dinner menu for the week.  State testing begins Tuesday for Josh's students, so I know that's going to be stressful for him. I figured having everything under control at home would be nice for him.  And me.

I hope he feels better in time. And I hope he doesn't lose his voice! That would make implementing the test really challenging. For me, I hope that I find not blogging during the day helps me focus on working with the kids, giving them my attention and having more patience.
And just because I love it so much- you have to see this Luvs commercial.


please, mommy

The boys have been in the forefront of my mind lately.  
I feel such a desire to spend time with them, to protect them, to do right by them.
I was nearly in tears last night at bedtime, thinking of how heavy that responsibility is.

{real life, cunningham style}
Their birthdays are coming. I'm party planning and making invitations.  This always causes me to look back at where we have come from. And to reflect on how much shorter the years get as time marches on.  

For instance, tomorrow will be our second Easter here in Marshall.  There's at least an inch of fresh snow on the ground and it looks like a winter wonderland.  I am still shocked sometimes to look out the window and remember where we are.

I think this is because I am so focused on what is happening inside our house, that I often neglect to notice what is happening outside.

I have been feeling very deeply lately the need to slow down. Perhaps it is because the next two months are going to fly by and before I know it summer will be upon us, which means finding a place to stay, packing, and traveling.  Perhaps it is because I have so much to do, that slowing down is quite appealing.  Or perhaps I am just learning that each day is meant to be treasured.

I spent some one on one time with Jack yesterday, up in his room, while Logan had "special time" with Wyatt. (Special time usually consists of jumping off the trampoline onto the beanbags, little brother mimicking big brother. The twins and Wyatt love their special time.  Mommy loves it because it gives me the chance to focus on each one of my older boys individually.)

{jack's work station}
While we were upstairs Jack said he is happy most the time. When I asked what makes him sad, he said it's when he misses a TV show for timeout. Then he told me the foil Josh put in their window makes crinkle noises at night. And that he thinks we should only bring one santa bubba (his favorite stuffed animal) with us back to Washington.  Nothing he said was that outstanding or funny, it was just him. Just Jack, having a moment with mommy, all to himself. I loved hearing what he had to say.

All day, they are asking for me. 

Mommy will you play Candy Land?
Mommy can we watch a movie?

Mommy are we doing school yet?

Mommy can you wipe me off?

Mommy will you read with me?

They want more of me. 
More time, more patience, more love.
And they deserve it.

So I have committed for the next week to only blogging when they are asleep.
This means I may be blogging less often, but I know that our boys will benefit greatly from this change.
And it will do my mommy heart good to know that I am really putting them first.


bye bye binky

 On Sunday night we bid adieu to our sweet friend "the binky".

I snapped pictures along the way... Him finding it on the bedside table,

and popping it in.

 Then, as I read his bedtime stories, I tried to mentally record the suck-suck sound that it made, cradling him in my lap, knowing the next day he would be a "big boy."

 I prepared him over the weekend. Telling him that on Monday he would wake up and throw away his binkies. He would say, "Ohhh," in the saddest, most disappointed baby voice ever.

 I told him once he threw them away, he would be a big boy.

 He was pretty excited about that.

 So he gathered them up, 

 and one by one, threw them away.

He was so proud of himself when he was done.
The adjustment has not been pretty. It took nearly two hours to get him down for bed on Monday. Then an hour Tuesday. An hour and a half on Wednesday, and then, last night, a breakthrough-- only twenty minutes! I hope that means we are on our way out.

{fingers crossed}


Super Wy is four

When you ask Wyatt how old he is, he says, "Four," in his confident, tiny voice.
(This may or may not be because I ask his brothers 800 times a day "How old are you?!?")

When you ask Wyatt what his name is, he says, "Super Why," and his eyes twinkle.

And when you ask Wyatt to identify letters of the alphabet by sight, he can correctly name 16 letters (see above). When given three options, he can correctly identify the spoken letter 90% of the time.

The kid is amazing. 
Unlike any 21 month old I have ever met.
He adores Baby Einstein, Buzz Lightyear, Lightening McQueen and the entire cast of Super Why.  He likes to read and be read to, sing and be sung to and play chase with his big brothers.

He can play hide and seek, counting to ten (or sometimes twelve if the mood strikes him) before shouting, "...not, here I come!"
Overall, I am just blown away by this kid. Whether it's social play, problem solving or his amazing sponge of a brain soaking up everything we say, his abilities are awe inspiring.

Tonight, as we showed Daddy that he knows letters of the alphabet, even the twins were saying in syrupy sweet voices to him, "You're so smart, buddy! Good job!"

He may not be four, 
but he certainly is our little Super Wy!


Little sister,

Today is your birthday.

You are turning 26.

I'm not sure how that's possible, as I'm pretty sure it was yesterday that we shared a room in our house on 93rd Avenue.

Playing flood, tornado and motorhome on the bunkbeds 
with our humongous collection of Cabbage Patch dolls,
all of yours different ethnicities, and mine with  names like Brett-Alan & Mary-Rose.

wearing matching Hanna Andersson dresses,
and coordinating pajamas mom made,

and then years later, in a different house, 
no longer sharing a room, 
but wearing matching swimsuits just the same.

... But it's true. We've gotten older.  
I met Josh.
You met Blake.

I had the the twins.
You had Ferris.

I had Wyatt.
You had Milo.

Little sister, we've grown up.  
And now together with our families, 
we're creating the memories that our kids will treasure forever.

Camping at Cougar, zoo trips, walking to Burgerville from your house (btw, I'd kill for a cheeseburger from there right about now) and playing in Nanny's backyard with our five (count 'em five!) rugrats.

It's hard being apart. I hated not being at your birthday party last night. I could almost taste the lemon bars, including the whole choking-on-the-powdered-sugar part, and I hate that I miss so many moments living so far away.

But then I think of every Christmas growing up.  Do you remember?  We'd put on all the things Uncle Steve had sent us over the year (tourist t-shirts, fancy bangles and jewelry) and we'd march through PDX to his gate to await his arrival.  For me, it was the most exciting night, and it marked the beginning of real Christmas break.

My hope is that even though nine months of the year we are apart, and our kids are separated, our arrival marks the real beginning of summer. The real beginning of good times, family get togethers, Sundays at the Washougal and making timeless memories with our brood.

I love you,
I miss you.

Happy Birthday.


random Sunday post

Susan took this picture from the air when she was coming back from Anchorage a while back. I thought it was so perfect.  You can really see where we live... in the middle of nowhere!  I labeled a few things to show you- the school, our house (ours is the row furthest to the right, and that "road" you see that veers off the photograph leads to the airport) and the frozen river down front.  

Last year, if you remember, we walked across that river. It was really cool, but now that I've seen it un-frozen (is that a word?) I don't think I will ever do it again.

I guess ignorance was bliss.
I was re-reading my blog from this time of year in 2010 and came across this post.  You should read it. I laughed out loud. Then I read it to Josh and apologized for jinxing us. Ha!

I guess it's true what they say--
God knows what's best.
I also came across this blog post:
I was dying listening to the song "Pray For You" that I have on there.  It's a classic.
And an older post of books I heart circa 2010 as well.
I enjoyed reading it, and seeing that some of my favorites are still my favorites.
What Remains by Carole Radziwill
The Birth House by Ami McKay
are two that jumped out at me from that post. 
You just gotta read them.
And lastly,
with this quote:

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."
-D. Markova
Happy Sunday evening!


Saturday Sweetness

Wyatt loves his taggie.
(He has three that were all made by my mom with one silk side and one minky side and about a million ribbons folded in half and sewn in between.)

When I say love, I mean love.
True love.

It's with him all the time. 
Even when he's playing chase with his brothers, he has it looped around his finger, usually the thumb, and it waves like a flag behind him as he runs.

 Today I captured some pictures of him with it.  
(There's just nothing cuter than a big baby in a diaper!)

 He would run, run, run away from Jack, then PLOP down on the floor and find a "good one" to put around his finger.

 It was some kind of game to him.  With its own little rules.

 Once he had switched ribbons, he'd POP back up and squeal in delight as his brothers ran away from him shouting, "Can't catch me, Wyatt! Can't catch me!"
 Yesterday he came to me in the kitchen saying, "Oh no. Fix it. Oh no. Fix it."  I turned from the muffins I was making to see what he was talking about.

 He had a little yellow ribbon in one hand,

and his beloved Owl taggie in the other.

When I told him I couldn't fix it, Jack tried to come to the rescue and started to get the Scotch tape. When I told them both that that wouldn't work, this was Wyatt's face.  

What!?! You can't solve all the world's problems? What kind of mother are you???

I told him he could keep the extra ribbon in his vest pocket, and that seemed to make him feel better.

PS- How cute are his new monkey Robeez?
Every time I put them on him he goes, "ooh!ooh! ahh! ahh!" like a monkey.
I die.
And because I really can't get enough of him in his diaper, these are for you, mom.  
Delicious fat baby rolls and all.

It's just so rare that he run around in a diaper because of the weather here that I've tried to be better about capturing it when it happens.

 On this day last week, it was snowing. 
Big beautiful flakes that floated down for hours.

Every time any of us walked by a window, we would stop and stare. 
It was mesmerizing. 
Apparently, even to a baby!
 This morning I decided to give little buddy a haircut.

 It was getting pretty long on top, and looking rough around the edges.

 It's a lot of work to cut his hair- I use the old bath seat I have so he's stuck, fill the tub with water so he can play, and get to work with a pair of scissors and a comb.  

The end result is a handsome little boy whose fingers and toes are wrinkled as raisins and whose hair is trim as can be. 
 Here are some photos I snapped of Wyatt trying to brush his teeth.

 He can barely stand on the stool and stay upright,

but he always wants to.
Because that's what the big boys do.

In preparation for getting rid of his binky, which I am planning to do on Monday, I have been telling him that "big boys" like Logan & Jack do not have binkies.  Then I ask if he's a baby or a big boy and he tells me with complete sincerity and a lot of effort, "Big boy!"  And I think he really believes it!

I, on the other hand, look at him, with his baby rolls, his sweet tiny chin, his button nose and his heavy cheeks and see nothing but baby no matter how hard I try!