Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Letter Lover

I decided to introduce Lucas to letters about three weeks ago and they are currently one of his favorite things to learn! He is doing FANTASTIC at recognizing them and especially loves to point them out anywhere and everywhere we go! Although definitely random, his favorite letters to identify are: C, M, I, and X. As I'm typing this I turn around to find him looking through one of my magazines pretending to read. Love it! He never fails to surprise me or daddy every time he comes home =)

On another toddler learning note, I downloaded a game onto my iPhone called Shapes (from Toddler Teasers) and we let Lucas play it in the car last night on our way home from dinner. (Sushi, yum!) I knew that he new his shapes very well but I was not prepared for him to do SO good! They show anywhere from 3-6 shapes on the page at a time and an instructor asks for you to identify one particular shape. After five answers you can pick a sticker to place on your page- very cute! He LOVED it and got almost ALL of them correct...20+ right answers in a row! GO LUCAS! This is a wonderful app for the little learners and I highly recommend it to anyone with toddlers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Fishing Trip!

We were given an amazing opportunity to go halibut fishing this last Sunday and we had an absolute blast! I was very nervous about taking Lucas out on a boat, but as usual, he exceeded my expectations!There were only 2 brief unhappy moments,but beyond that, he truly enjoyed himself! This was my first trip to Whittier and the drive there was absolutely gorgeous! There is a tunnel that you have to pass through in order to get there and I swear it was almost a mile long! Lucas was yelling "Yay, tunnel!" and we couldn't help but laugh.

When we arrived I took one look at the boat and my heart nearly sank into my chest. I thought "oh boy, this is NOT going to be very fun." But in all reality, it was much bigger than it looked! There were quite a bit of us on the boat, but space was not an issue. After filling up the tank we headed out to the open water. The first thing I noticed was a beautiful glacier off to the side! While driving to Whittier we saw a brief glimpse of Portage Glacier and Levi was telling me how it's continuously drifting, and pretty soon it wont be in the same location. I'm not sure if this is the same glacier or not, but the way that it stood out from the surrounding mountains was breathtaking!

We immediately went to go check on the shrimp baskets that the captain had set the night before. I had never seen a live shrimp before so I really had no idea what to expect! UGLY! We caught close to 120 the first collection (6 baskets total) and fairly close to the same number when we circled back around that evening. We also caught a few crabs, but we weren't allowed to keep them. But they were fun to play with at least! Levi made a delicious batter and we deep fried the shrimp that night! YUM! They were so sweet and delicious and I would definitely rate them Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. quality! I usually leave the sea food prep to Levi because it always turns out so delicious!

After collecting the shrimp we were on the hunt for a nice fishing spot! We LOVE halibut... salmon gets old FAST. On our journey there we saw a large fin sticking out of the water and as we got closer we realized that it was an Orca whale! Now I must tell you, I think they are absolutely beautiful creatures, but since our first Hawaii trip I always have nightmares about them attacking me. So it would figure that we'd see some right off the bat! There was also a pod of porpoises swimming at lighting speed around our boat. Lucas was so excited and kept yelling for the "dolphins" and it was so cute that I didn't correct them. Heck- I don't even know the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise. Do you? We also saw some blue whales, sea lions, otters, and puffins! It was quite the wildlife adventure!

Levi was the first one to reel in a fish and luckily for us, it was a nice little halibut!We had little luck with the first spot so we rode around for a bit to a better location. We hit the jackpot because it wasn't long until we were catching fish left and right! You are allowed to keep 2 halibut per person so we walked away with 6 fish for ourselves, and a total of 14 for the boat. I hear that it's sometimes difficult to max out on your limit but we ultimately had to toss some back because we were having such good luck.We also caught 2 rock fish and 2 cod...excited to see how those turn out! I was so proud of myself for reeling in my own fish!I must say, fishing is SO much harder than it looks. We were fishing at a depth of 330 ft so I suppose it shouldn't have come as a surprise that my arm muscles ached so badly the next morning. But it was all worth it because we have enough fish to last us a year...seriously!

Lucas was very intrigued by the fishing poles but he kept his distance when we pulled the fish onto the boat. I don't blame him though...have you ever seen a halibut? They are flat and both of their eye balls are on the same side of their head. FREAKY! He seemed very concerned that Levi would knock them out with a bat and then open up the hatch to throw them in. He kept asking me "Where'd fishy go?" Let's just hope that he doesn't pick up this habit of knocking out animals with a bat!

By the time that we looked at a clock we realized that it was 7 o'clock. I couldn't believe that we had been out for so long but I suppose the saying is true, "Time flies when you're having fun!" We still had to pull the shrimp and rush to get out of Whittier before the tunnel shut down for the night. I was really worried that we were going to be stuck and have to get a hotel, but I suppose that wouldn't have been so bad after all. We got the boat out and drove through the tunnel with barely any time to spare. The guys still needed to fillet the fish, so we pulled off on the highway and let the guys get to work! Lucas and I walked around and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and of course, found tons of rocks! (My toddler's favorite past time!)

We didn't get home until 1:30 and we still had to package up all the fish before it went bad. I was EXHAUSTED, but the trip was well worth it! It was a wonderful Father's Day and my boys got to spend lots of quality time together exploring something that we had never done together as a family! Nothing makes me happier than these boys right here, and it was great to see them having such a good time together. I'm definitely going to have to come up with something amazing next year to top this one off!

Friday, June 11, 2010's all about the babies!

As most of you already know, I have had a strong passion about working in healthcare since I was young. I am currently completing my final courses to be eligible for the bachelor program and will be submitting my office application to the School of Nursing in a few short months!! For a while there I had really begun to question my path, but I am proud to say that I am now back on track and happier than ever about my decision! I have ultimately decided that there isn’t a better place to start off my nursing career than in the Labor and Delivery department. Ever since I had my son I have been drawn to pregnancy, babies, and birth stories and I honestly feel a calling to help bring these little miracles into the world! I just hope that I don’t get too annoyed at these women…I’ve been there before myself and it’s not really that hard! Maybe I just had a wonderful experience, but I feel that the yelling isn’t really necessary and that having an all natural labor is ultimately the best way to go. I think that women are a lot tougher than they allow themselves to believe and that ultimately, you just need to have faith in yourself and your body’s natural abilities.

But more importantly, I have decided that a second form of nursing is in my future…breastfeeding. I am a firm believer in nursing babies and it is something that I am very passionate about. Not only it is a beautiful bonding opportunity for mother and baby, but it offers so many health benefits that cannot be manufactured. I am very proud to say that I nursed Lucas for an entire year and the only time he ever even touched a bottle was when I was in the ER. There is nothing more amazing than knowing your child depends solely on you for survival. I miss the countless hours of comforting Lucas and staring into his eyes as he leaned to me for support, nutrition, and love. I am currently researching what it takes to become a lactation consultant and would love to incorporate that into my nursing career! From the brief research that I have done, I have found that lactation consultants are subcontracted out by the hospitals and/or families, so I believe that will suit my needs perfectly! As I mentioned before, I wish to start in labor and delivery, but as my children reach school age I would like to transfer to becoming a school nurse (so that I will have a similar schedule to them.) My love for children goes hand-in-hand with my passion for healthcare and I honestly don’t see a better fit for myself. It is extremely important for me to find a career that allows me to be mommy first and I feel that both of these will give me the flexibility and freedom that I am looking for.

I am very happy about my decision and I know that it is something that I will genuinely enjoy doing. Breastfeeding is something that I am extremely passionate about and I would love to help other mothers see the benefits as well. My goal is to have the flexibility to offer in-home visits to mothers and their newborns in addition to a hospital based nursing career. I am so excited for my career to get going and if you can’t tell…I’m getting impatient! Nursing applications are due Oct. 1st so I will know by mid November which semester is reserved for me to begin. I was devastated to learn that ALL applicants must wait a mandatory 18-24mo waiting period, but I’m confident I will have lots to keep me busy until then. (I was told however that those with the best grades are likely to be bumped fingers crossed!)I am currently 1/3 of the way completed with my psychology minor so I plan to utilize that gap to finish my remaining courses, work on becoming certified as a lactation consultant, and to enjoy everything that life throws my way! =)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We've all heard the saying "pictures speak a thousand words," but what about the frames that show them off?! I absolutely love picture frames and I have a difficult time finding ones that I really like. So what's the easy fix to that???



I'm pretty certain that an ENTIRE wall in my house is going to be dedicated to my new frames because I just can't stop making them!! I have so many ideas in my head and the time it takes to make them gives me a nice little break from all of my other duties! Suggestions are welcome...Enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Balancing school, work, and money...

I have a little over 2 weeks left in my women’s study course and my organic chemistry officially started on Tuesday of this week! I was completely devastated when I realized that we were starting the semester on chapter 10 and even more worried that I hadn’t taken chemistry in five years. Five whole years? Seriously? Where in the world does the time go? So to ease my mind and enter into the class as prepared as possible, I spend 2 weeks literally reading and studying the first 9 chapters of the book. Talk about a lot of information! Granted it was all review, but you’d be surprised at how much you actually forget when you’re not using the info on a daily basis. I am so proud of myself for doing that and I am now a lot more confident in my ability to pass this new class. My third and final summer course, philosophy, is scheduled to start in just three more weeks and I’m ready to bring it on. I have to admit…I’m kicking butt at this school stuff! I’m taking more units during the summer semester than most take during a standard one, and I’m surprisingly not over whelmed like I worried I would be. I was really concerned that I would have a difficult time adjusting, but in reality, it’s been just the opposite. I have been able to stay nearly a week ahead of the syllabus in my WS course and chemistry has been even more impressive. Who says a woman can’t do it all?!

I will admit though, I don’t think my brain functions quite as well as it used to! I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sleep I’ve had over these past two years or if I’m just getting older and my brain wants to be lazy. I am one of those women who absolutely swears by the phrase “mommy brain.” It begins during pregnancy and because of all the hormonal imbalances, it’s said to be perfectly normal if you space out and forget what it is you were trying to do in the first place. But now I think it’s even worse! I often find myself reading and afterwards wonder what the heck I just read because my mind is at 50 other places at once! I suppose that’s a part of being a wife and mother. THERE IS ALWAYS MORE WORK TO BE DONE!

I just lost a daycare child and I’m back on the hunt to find another little guy or girl to join our daily fun! However, this week has been FANTASTIC and I have been able to spend more quality time with Lucas than ever before. (Well, at least in these more adventurous toddler days!)I’m really starting to re-evaluate if daycare is actually something I want to do while finishing school, but I honestly don’t see any other options. I will under no circumstances put Lucas in alternative care, and the only way I can see to make money from home is by doing this. Don’t get me wrong…I love watching children, but I think I’m loving my freedom even more! Can’t we just live in a world that DOESN’T revolve around money?! I know that I am a wonderful hands-on mother who tries to give my son everything he needs, but I hate feeling confined to my home. Alaska is such a beautiful place and the explorations are endless. I know Lucas is still young, but I really want the freedom to take him anywhere I please without having to plan it out with other parents. I wish I could find a happier balance to staying home and being a student. I suppose we would be just fine without my income contributions, but I feel more secure ensuring we are at a stable level and don’t need to stress about the basics. Does money really equal happiness? In my case I'm leaning more towards the "yes."