Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Collage

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Merry Christmas!

i haven't written my Christmas letter (email) yet (hopefully this will happen soon... maybe it will be a new year's letter!). we've had some fantastically fun several days. on sunday we joined some good friends for a "shepherd's feast" in which we all dressed as kings and shepherds and had a yummy meal on blankets by the christmas tree (i'll try to post a picture of this one later). we also listened to and talked about the story of Christ's birth from the Bible. then on monday we made and enjoyed ethnic foods (tacos and tabouli!) and we stayed up late and opened our presents to and from each other. santa came sometime during the night and that's what we did this morning (tuesday). here's a slide show you can watch of our Christmas celebrating. we love you and hope you're all having an outstanding Christmas, too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

second try for adorable pictures

i like this picture. we were working on trying to get everybody to sleep, but as you can tell, it was a big fat joke. nobody wanted to sleep... just pretend to sleep and pose for pictures instead.

my bonita posing in front of our miniature tree.

here are my cuties on a particularly happy morning. i love happy mornings!

jacob with ziya and abe at our ward christmas party the other night. jacob did karaoke, the boys stood up on the stage a few times but wouldn't sing and i played the piano for a friend who sang a song from forgotten carols. fun times were had.

look at those eyelashes... it's just not fair!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

adorable pictures... read next post for explanation

i guess the adorable pictures will have to wait. i'm clicking the "add image" button and nothing is happening. NADA! i don't have the energy to mess around with this right now. it is, after all, three minutes to midnight.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


gosh, it must be really close to Christmas or something... i mean, only four posts in november and now it's mid-december and no posts yet. i've had many "thoughts" about posting. like on november 21st when jacob had a birthday and i let the boys decorate his cake and we only had pink candles! or on december 1st when we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary by going to sleep early. i wanted to surprise jacob with a special post dedicated to him... but again, it just hasn't happened. he is great though. here he is with his 34 pink candles. of course, he had to have some help blowing them all out!

i also thought about writing a "thankful" post for thanksgiving. health, strength, daily food (yes, sing along if you'd like), family, the Gospel, good friends, free rent, a great job, laughter, turkey, girls' night out, goofy knock knock jokes that don't make any sense... all would have been on my top 10 (or top 12). instead, here's a picture of us just before eating with our friends, the Lines family.

i've also been very excited about sharing my newest endeavor... quilting! yes, i, berenice guadalupe munyer, am quilting!!! well, sort of (except that i'm not actually making quilts). i'll bet that my friend krista didn't think that when she hung her stockings this year she would actually change my life. i saw them and the inspiration bug bit me. here are my efforts... still a work in progress but oh, so much fun. as a matter of fact, on my first night of sewing, i just couldn't stop giggling to myself. jacob was at the computer and must have thought i'd gone over the deep end. i just kept giggling... truly tickled at the fact that i was actually quilting. whoever would have thunk! i'm not sure that the stockings will actually get bound before christmas. a stapler or some tape might have to do the job for this year.

i've also wanted to comment about the weather. shouldn't we be able to enjoy some snow? one would think!!! we live in alaska for crying aloud! we've had a couple of different storms, but the snow has only stayed on the ground for a few days each separate time. it's really weird. everybody is talking about how very, very strange it is that it's almost christmas and there is no snow on the ground. the temperatures did drop this week (our highs for the past couple of days have been about 16 degrees)... but still no snow. i've also noticed that we are truly acclimatized. last year with 16 degree weather, we would have worn coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots... the whole kitten kaboodle, even if it was just to go to the store. but now, we are learning that unless we're actually going to spend some time outside, we are fine to just wear our sweatshirts. amazing. here are ammon and abe enjoying what little snow we've had.

then of course there are the times i've wanted to post just cause i have adorable pictures i want to share. like these:

o.k. so maybe there's a limit to how many pictures you can have on one post... cause i can't seem to add any more. (i'm obviously still learning all the hoops to formatting on a blog). anyway, the adorable pictures i was talking about will be on a separate post.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the holidays are here!!!

you've got to watch this!!! it's hilarious! (thanks for the idea, cici). we're excitedly getting ready for christmas! fun times.

i went on the second annual black friday shopping spree with gina, jennifer and tiffany. we left after thanksgiving, stayed the night in anchorage and were standing in line at walmart at 4:00 a.m. we all got some fabulous deals, but just like last year, we wondered if it's really worth it (do we really save that much... or do we actually end up buying more cause of the deals we think are too good to pass up???). oh well, even if it wasn't money-saving, it sure was a blast. talk about an adrenalin rush!

jacob stayed home with all three kids. they surprised me by doing all the christmas decorating - tree and all! the boys were super-excited to show me the tree. our little 3 1/2 foot tree is perfect.

Monday, November 19, 2007

excuse me, i'll be right back!

picture this scenario at the dinner table a few nights ago: jacob runs out of the room yelling, "excuse me, i'll be right back!" then about two seconds later ammon decides to follow him, "excuse me, i'll be right back!" abe didn't waste any time, "excuse me, i'll be right back!" before i knew it, all three of them are rolling in laughter in the bathroom.

what is going on? you might ask. let me explain!

about a week ago i was hanging out with some friends (i respectfully will not mention any names... hee, hee!) who have no reservations about releasing "the excessive gas flatus that is created in their stomachs and intestines" (the real dictionary definition for flatulence!). i came home pretty sicked out only to realize that my own family, excluding myself of course ;0) was not very different. i decided to put an end to this.

the new munyer family rule is this: if you feel a **boomer or a burp coming on, you must quickly excuse yourself by saying, "excuse me, i'll be right back," take care of your business elsewhere, and then return to what you were doing without making a big fuss. if a boomer or a burp accidentally slips out, then you simply say, "excuse me," and continue whatever you were doing without laughing, joking or again, making a big fuss. i explained to my boys (all three of them!) that ziya and i are princesses and don't need to be subjected to such smelly and gross exhibits of what i consider to be rude and disrespectful behavior (sorry to so many of my friends... this is just what i believe!). they agreed to both my reasoning and to the new rules.

my new rule has been in effect for just a few days now, and i must say, it is going pretty well. we've had a few slip ups (old habits are sometimes hard to break, aren't they?), but for the most part, everybody has been in compliance. for a while there, i think i believed that because i had a family of boys, flatulence was just my fate. thank goodness for ziya evening things out a bit. we will continue to be princesses and my boys will continue to be boys... just with a few rules to follow!

**i've never liked the word "fart." it just sounds too gross. we opted to call them "puns" (pronounced poons) and did so for a long time. however, my boys recently adopted the word "boomer" from their little friends owen and tate.

Monday, November 12, 2007

middle child

it seems like not too many years ago when i used to laugh when parents (mine and others' alike) said stuff like, "you didn't come with instructions, you know." i think that in my own naive mind i thought they were just making excuses for not knowing stuff they were really supposed to know (how dare they!). i humbly take back any sarcastic or sneering comment i may have made about those parents who i thought didn't have a clue. here i am with three bambinos of my own... and more times than not, no clue about how to handle stuff that comes up.

like my middle child.

abraham was born just 19 months after our first son. he has always lived in ammon's shadow. not only has he always worn all of ammon's hand-me-downs, but if ammon does somersaults, abraham does somersaults. if ammon talks like a cowboy, abraham talks like a cowboy. his friends have always been ammon's friends (a few times he's gotten really lucky and got the younger sibling as his own friend). most recently, if ammon gets to go off to school every day, then abraham wants to do the same (but can't).

enter princess ziya. at the tender age of three, abraham found that he was not only a little brother, but a big brother, too! all of a sudden, mom is busier than ever and abraham is expected to do chores, to eat all of his dinner without whining, to independently don hat, gloves, boots and jacket (don't forget to zip it, too!), to go to the bathroom by himself, etc. (all things that ammon was not expected to do until he was a bit older).

to summarize, abraham is not the big kindergartener who has new and exciting news to tell every single day... nor is he the adorable baby girl who wraps anybody she encounters around her little finger. he's the middle child.

in the past couple of weeks, abraham has put his little size 12 foot down. and boy has he put it down! it's hard to pinpoint examples, but to put it mildly, he has become A BIT DIFFICULT. he hits, he yells, he name calls, he poops in the closet... he also loves to cuddle, to be called a "handsome gentleman," to be listened to (with undivided attention), to pretend to continue sleeping while i softly tickle him at the end of his nap, and so much more.

i finally did something right today. i ignored the fact that in order to have a happy evening, dinner should be served at 5 pm (which means it needs to be prepared before picking ammon up from school). the five loads of laundry did not get done. ziya's blowout diaper mess got wrapped up and put aside instead of completely cleaned up (gross, i know!), and the pile on top of the computer desk did not get sorted.

instead, i did play dough with abraham... for a really long time while ziya napped. we both smacked bubblicious bursts sour cherry storm bubblegum and i actually let him pop my bubbles. i made him a buzz light year teddy bear. abraham was "buzz 1" and i was "buzz 2." we had a war, and we had to dodge bombs that the bad guys threw at us. we then had to make our own mega-bombs to throw back. we also made a little dog cause there's a dog in the movie (ours is the good dog... not to be confused with sid's bad, scary dog). we had a great time. several times, i found myself laughing - the guffaw type.

our late dinner caused a few problems and there were a few disastrous moments when ammon tried to recreate the buzz light year game (he wasn't doing it just right). but the play dough date i had with my abraham was a real treasure and worth it all.

i'm learning. i'm thankful to have an observant husband who has noted some little things about abraham. i'll probably enroll him in swim lessons this winter (something to call his own). jacob and i are both going to try to spend more quality one-on-one time with him. and for sure, i'll schedule another play dough date. maybe we'll make woody this time.

i love my middle child.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Star Wars Halloween

halloween was a huge success! i started out the day by volunteering in ammon's kindergarten class. whew... talk about some excited (and hyper) 5 & 6 year olds! they carved a pumpkin, decorated their own pumpkins (rice cakes) with cream cheese frosting, "bobbed" for apples on a string, made crowns, did a cookie walk (like a cake walk) and lots of other fun stuff. it was fun to see how halloween could actually be educational! (shapes were reviewed for the pumpkin carving, numbers for counting seeds, science hypotheses for apple bobbing, art for the crown decorating, etc.) i was glad to be able to spend some time with ammon for his first school holiday.

later in the day, i took abe and ziya back to the school and we watched the costume parade. ammon looked like he was having lots of fun. as a matter of fact, he was so excited, i couldn't get him to slow down enough for a good picture!

after school, i forced ammon to take a nap. he wasn't very happy with me, but it made for a much more pleasant evening! we finally got everybody dressed (Darth Vader, Yoda and Princess Leia) to go to our ward's party. it was great. the kids' costumes were a big hit. there were tons of games and activities for the kids to play - toss the ring, duck pond, decorate a cookie, cupcake walk, spook alley (actually created by jacob and some of the young men), a trick-or-treat alley, and lots more. put all of this on top of a pizza dinner and we were all happy campers. the best part is that we didn't have to go outside at all! trick-or-treating in 30-35 degree weather? no thank you!
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Monday, October 29, 2007


The rules:
A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

so heidi says if i don't do this tag thing, my dog will die (i don't own a dog and if it weren't for the fact that my kids love dogs, i wouldn't even care to own one... ever) and i won't ever find true love (too late... already did!) and a swarm of mosquitoes will take over my lawn (the apartment lawn??? hey, that could be interesting!) and i'll have a bunch of years of bad luck (you know how many emails i've never forwarded to 10 of my friends and the threat of bad luck never came to pass?)... so i guess i don't have to do this! just kidding! actually, it's been fun to try to think about 6 interesting facts about myself. here goes...

1. i have an addiction. it's 24, the kiefer sutherland series about the anti-terrorist unit in los angeles. somebody loaned us five seasons on dvd, and we watched all five seasons in about 3 months' time. i'm a bit embarrassed to admit to this (that's a heck of a lot of t.v.) but it was lots of fun. i don't recommend doing it though... and i'll never do it again (until the next 24 season comes out on dvd, that is ;)

2. i don't spend money on music and i don't own my cassettes from high school anymore, but if i did either of these, i would listen to a-ha, tears for fears, thompson twins, and depeche mode.

3. i've been known to cry at sporting events, the kind that require serious training (ironman in coeur d'alene, idaho and the beginning of the iditarod in anchorage, alaska). to tell the truth, i sobbed almost uncontrollably. i think it's because somewhere deep inside of me is a girl with an unfulfilled dream. i have a lot of commitment issues that i need to overcome right now, but one day, mark my words, I WILL RUN A MARATHON.

4. since moving to alaska, i've become quite a domestic diva. i now patch my boys' jeans, sew buttons on jacob's shirts instead of shoving them to to the back of the closet, grind my own wheat and bake five loaves of bread every week or two, and sew or crochet baby shower gifts. i guess you could say that last winter was extremely looooong and i needed stuff to fill my time! it's been fun.

5. i love holidays. this past week, my boys and i made paper mache spiders (see posted picture) and we decorated our door for halloween. i think i had more fun doing it than they did! i was the only one who kept checking the paper covered balloons to see if they were dry and ready for the next step. i'm also learning to make clay tree ornaments for christmas time. i can't wait until we can put our little tree up!

6. even though my hair is going gray, my family is what brings me the most intense pleasure. the other day ammon proclaimed that he is going to get married in the temple so he can live with his family forever... my heart melted. abraham is doing a new little dance that involves shaking his skinny little leg... and my heart melts each time he does it. and ziya, well, all she has to do is smile at me... and my heart melts. and as for jacob... well, he owns my melted heart.

i'm now supposed to tag six more bloggers... but i don't think i know six bloggers! (and two of the ones i do know are already tagged). so i tag rho-bean, vero, cici and russ.


Monday, October 22, 2007

just trying to be safe...

i hate that i have to worry about crazy stuff... but i do! so this blog is now "invitation only." email me with addresses if you know somebody who might like to join our cool people club. no weirdos allowed :)

moose, moose, moose

the other day on the drive to take ammon to school, we saw a mama moose and her twin calves. i think they live in the woods near us. they'd crossed the street when abe, ziya and i drove back so we counted that as a different sighting (we were up to six). then after school we had to drop a letter off at the post office and there was another mama and her calf (eight). we drove all the way back home to get the camera for that one! then saturday we spotted the neighborhood mama with the twins just about a half block from where we live... that's eleven sightings in just three days (o.k., o.k. so they're mostly the same moose over and over... but it's still exciting for us!). and for all you non-alaskan friends... the coolest thing about all of this is that they are right in the middle of town!!!
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

six months old!!!

ziya turned six months old today. i didn't even realize this until after church jacob said we needed to take her month birthday picture. gosh... wasn't i just giving birth to her like yesterday? it's going by so quickly. she's such a doll. she likes to stick her tongue out and she blows raspberries constantly. she has a beautiful personality to go along with the great looks! she loves playing with ammon and abraham. she's quite the eater now (i made a vegetable soup a few days ago and froze some for her... it's now her favorite!). what a sweet blessing she is! here's a little slide show of all her "month birthday" pictures.

Friday, October 19, 2007

mud fight at bishop's creek earlier in the summer

i'm just learning to do videos. this is from several months ago, but i couldn't resist putting it on. be patient... you have to watch for two things - abe going in for the kill and then ammon losing his shorts! so funny. i still double over every time i watch this.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

mothers who know!

yesterday during general conference the relief society (LDS church women's organization) president gave an inspiring talk that will probably be titled "mothers who know." we were at home watching this on our computer, so sister beck was competing with my insatiable nursing baby and my two young boys who were having a hard time with their reverence. however, amidst all the noise and distractions, i did happen to hear the resounding statement, "LDS WOMEN SHOULD BE THE BEST HOMEMAKERS IN THE WORLD." yes, she talked about nurturing, cultivating, teaching, being an example, etc., but she also talked about cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. i felt terrible as i looked around our place. by this point (sunday morning), we'd spent approximately five hours on our living room floor watching the conference proceedings while trying to be creative about keeping our kids quietly entertained and at least partially learning the significance of general conference (this resulted in a lot of stuff all over the place). saturday evening we had dinner with some friends and got home a bit late, so the days' clutter did not get cleaned up. on sunday, conference started at 8 a.m. and we barely had time to have our special breakfast (cinnamon rolls from a can because i wasn't brave enough to try to make them from scratch!), much less wash up all the dishes and mess. the contents of a tote from storage were scattered throughout the living room (my attempt to swap out the winter and summer clothes failed miserably... the boys got to it before i did!). at least 20 sheets of drawing paper and mazes littered the entire front room. i could go on and on describing the mess, but i'll spare the details. needless to say, for that moment, i felt like a mother who does not know! but then, just a few speakers later, president gordon b. hinckley came to the pulpit. abraham stopped what he was doing and turned towards the monitor. "it's gordon b. hinckley. he's the prophet," he said. for just a quick moment, before abe went back to his gallivanting, i was granted the beautiful and warm "you're doing alright" feeling. i'm doing my best to nurture "future fathers and mothers who will be the builders of the Lord's kingdom for the next 50 years." it's an awesome and oft times overwhelming responsibility, but this talk was just what i needed to remind me of its importance and to encourage me to keep trying to be a mother who knows.

Friday, October 5, 2007

is it getting cold yet? you ask

imagine that creepy music from Jaws. that's what i've been feeling like lately. it's that "it's creeping up on you and it's very scary" feeling. i go out in the mornings to take ammon to school and i wish i had a remote starter so i could warm up the car and wouldn't have to feel that cold leather on my backside. last monday, there was ice on the windshield. genius me thought i could just "melt" it off with more water... so i did the little windshield washer fluid stuff and it froze immediately. it just took that much longer to scrape! one of our friends already put snow tires on his truck. the snow plowing company called today to set everything up for the apartment parking lot plowing. on our walk today, abraham was wearing sweats, another sweatshirt over it, a jacket, hat and mittens... and he still cried because it was just too cold for him. all the signs are here. de, da, de, dum, de, da, de, dum... faster and faster (that's my jaws music).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

party of five!

when i look through our pictures, i realize we never have pictures of our entire family. so after church today, we nabbed our neighbor and had her snap this picture. gosh, i remember when jacob and i first got married and we'd fly standby with united airlines. "munyer, party of two" was what they'd call out to us. it's awesome to be a party of five now!

i also don't allow many pictures of myself!
years of growing my hair out only to have it pulled back every day? no thank you! i'd rather have the short messy look like ziya's! i chopped it off and added some punky color just this week. it's a lot more fun.

beautiful girl

this little girl melts my heart... every single day. i couldn't resist posting some of these pictures. no particular reason except that i'm in love with her! i took these pictures the day she turned 5 months old.
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bet you didn't know book of mormon missionaries wore capes!

for family home evening this past week, the boys dressed up like ammon (hee, hee!) from the book of mormon and re-enacted the story for us, chopped arms and all (poor jacob!). it was tons of fun. abe even had a little sheep that he was protecting. i'm not too sure how much they got about being a missionary or a good example, but we'll keep trying!

this was all fun and games, but in church today, our bishop gave a brief introduction to the primary sacrament meeting program. he cited alma 32:23 "little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned."

as we read the scriptures tonight and then asked ammon and abe questions about what we'd read, i was confounded by what they understood (not that i'm calling myself wise or learned). i don't doubt that even little ziya is absorbing understanding. what an awesome responsibility i feel towards these three little angels!
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Monday, September 17, 2007


4 1/2 month old with pigtails!

just having fun

ammon loves carrying his little sister!
ziya loves it, too!

abe's favorite part of his new pre-school is "kidzercise!"
he's pretty pooped by the end!


this week was a loooong one, to put it mildly. there just seemed to be LOTS going on. i was at my wits end one night and was really close to losing it when something very special happened. let me explain.

there’s tons going on at the apartments we manage (huge carpet install—i’ll post pictures when it’s completely done for those of you who wish you were still here!, remodeling, painting, renting units, etc., etc.) and just because it’s the way things work, i end up dealing with most of it while jacob is at work. so it had been a day of dealing with all of this on top of my own home and family responsibilities. i was ready to just jump in bed and hide under the covers for the rest of the night by the time jacob came home. not so fortunate! i forgot it was wednesday. i fixed a quick dinner that he had to gobble down before going to his weekly young men’s activity. that left me to deal with the three kiddos on my own. no big deal, right? i do this all the time. well, within a matter of about three minutes, chaos ensued.

· just as we said “amen”, one of the maintenance workers came to the door to complain that the wrong kind of flooring was delivered. “it doesn’t match what i’ve already started the floor with. i hate to say it but I TOLD YOU SO!!! call and get the right stuff NOW so i can continue my work!”

· while i was at the door dealing with the irate maintenance guy, two cups of sticky apple juice managed to spill themselves. abe had to switch to a different chair because his was all wet.

· in my now very flustered state of mind, i accidentally put jam instead of honey on abe’s toast. “it’s wrong! it’s wrong! it’s wrong! i need honey! i need honey! i need honey! change it! change it! change it!” i’m still not sure why he thought repeating everything in three’s was necessary. i just hope he wasn’t imitating one of my newest strategies adopted from dora the explorer (short, simple, clear phrases repeated two or three times [”socks, shoes, backpack, door... socks, shoes, backpack, door”]... a great strategy, except when it’s used against you!)

· ziya had tried her hardest to be patient during all this madness, but she’d had it. she started to scream. i tried to focus my attention back on her and continue feeding her cereal but she couldn't calm down enough to eat more.

· let us not forget about ammon. this whole time ammon was playing what i call “the monkey eating his dinner” game. he takes a bite, sprawls on his chair, touches the floor, comes up for another bite, scratches under his arm (just kidding), lays on the floor under the table, etc. but at least he was eating his dinner!

· the phone rang... i should know better than to answer while we’re eating! while i was trying to take care of yet more apartment business (i swear, people spy on me and save their phone calls for meal times!) abe was nagging about something. i ignored him and then scolded him for talking to me while i was on the phone. so he peed on his chair. here’s the conversation that followed:

ABE: it’s your fault mami. i told you i had to go.

ME: sorry i didn’t listen, abe, but you can go by yourself.

ABE: no i can’t.

ME: yes you can.

ABE: no i can’t.

ME: yes you can. (this probably went on a few more rounds, but don’t judge me! i was already weakened by the entire day’s events)

even though i was annoyed, i thought the immediate solution would be simple: just switch chairs! meltdown number whatever happened next because the only other available chair was already wet with juice. with more juice on the table at this point, i wasn’t about to get out any of the “nice” chairs (ha, ha!).

· now ammon had bumped his head with a table leg and ziya was in a high frenzy because the cereal had stopped coming… not to mention the fact that i’d only managed to sneak about two bites of my own dinner.

this was the point where i was ready to lose it and just start yelling at everybody. my head was literally throbbing and one of my eyes was actually twitching! but earlier that morning i did manage to pray for patience. He who knows the very details of my life sent an answer. laughter. i started to laugh almost uncontrollably. my kids were confused at first, but as soon as they realized that this was for real, they started laughing with me (even ziya!). tears and all, we were all doubled over in pure, wholesome laughter. it felt sooo good.

my days are hard. and with growing kids and busier schedules, i'm sure they'll only get harder. i'm just thankful for a Father in Heaven who found a fun way to help me get through this one.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

room with a view

this is what we saw outside our balcony this morning - a mama moose and two calves. pictures aren't the greatest (it was still a bit dark and our camera is pretty basic). i love seeing this kind of thing. see pam? we really do have moose in kenai!

Monday, September 3, 2007

first week (week of firsts)

it has been an exciting week for our family... lots of firsts.

i'll start with ammon. after much deliberation about whether to start our young five-year-old in kindergarten this year (he just turned five a few weeks ago), we decided to give it a try. he was to start on monday, so we spent a little bit of time sunday night making sure that everything was prepared for a smooth morning. smooth it was!!! ammon was 100% cooperative in doing everything i asked him to do (not the usual case!) ... he was soooo excited!! i on the other hand was a nervous and emotional wreck (crying myself to sleep at about 3:00 a.m. didn't help). abraham, ziya and i walked ammon into his new classroom. his teacher is a veteran kindergarten teacher and knew just what to do to make all the new kindergarteners comfortable. we helped ammon go through what will be his normal morning routine (greet teacher, hang backpack, choose book, etc.) and then we just hung out for a while and explored the classroom with him. he got just a tad nervous when i told him we were going to leave, but as soon as i introduced him to a classmate who was playing with little toy animals, he was eager for me to leave.

now one week later, ammon dances around our apartment saying "vvvvvvvv is the sound for vampire and it starts with the letter V!" he also criss-crosses his arms while waving them in the air and says "fox... x says xxxxx." he has already dug his hands into a tub of earthworms, watched and waited with anticipation for the classroom cocoons to hatch, searched in the woods for living creatures either "above, on or under" the ground, played with bombs (i.e. balls) in gym and gone on an amazing watermelon hunt (in two weeks he'll be helping to harvest potatoes from a local garden). in other words, he's having a great time!

abraham refused to be left out of the excitement of the first day of school. while ammon prepared his backpack sunday night, abraham also packed his own and set it next to the front door (finding this at 2:00 a.m. was what started my crying fit). i'd told abe that i was going to get together with some other moms and start a preschool for him, but i had not yet done that. well... he was up and dressed and ready to go even before ammon was! after we left ammon's school, i desperately called a good friend and asked her to "pretend" to be abe's preschool teacher for the day. within the 15 minutes that it took us to get to her house, she had a preschool lesson prepared (handouts and all!) for abraham and her own three-year-old daughter. (bless you, gina!) abe had fun learning about the "very special" letter A. he picked out A's from a group of ABC blocks and he even practiced writing A's on a magna doodle. after everybody was home in the evening, he was excited to show off his preschool papers.

this week abe has also become an expert bike rider. while i go on walks with some friends, he rides his bike alongside us. it didn't even dawn on me the first day he did this, that he was riding close to 4 miles though. when he woke up in the middle of the night crying because his legs hurt, we made arrangements the next day and hid his bike along the trail so that he did not have to ride the entire time!

i did finally coordinate with some other moms and we started a parent co-op preschool at an elementary school not too far from where we live. we already have plans to stencil with apples on the first official day, visit a fire station later in the month and do lots of other fun stuff. now he really does have a preschool to call his own.

even little ziya has had some firsts (hers actually started a few weeks ago, but she perfected them this week!). ziya's introduction to baby rice cereal was a hit. i kept having to stir up more and more because she just kept eating and eating. she ate like such a pro... if i didn't know any better, i would have thought somebody had been sneaking her cereal behind my back!

ziya has also finally started playing with her feet when she's lying down. she's caught glimpses of them before, but was never interested in actually playing with them. now it's the first thing she does when i lay her down to change a diaper or just to hang out.

ziya has also just started playing in an exersaucer and a jumperoo (i'll post pictures in a few days when i can get some good ones). it really is amazing how fast she's growing. her little personality is adorable. in relief society today, she cooed and giggled with the sister who was sitting behind me for at least 15 minutes. she is a true blessing in our lives.

as for me, i've also had a few "firsts" this past week. my neighbor and i went out and picked raspberries one night. i learned how to wash them without destroying them (thank goodness for the internet) and get all the spiders off. the next day, i made my first ever raspberry freezer jam! it feels great to look in the freezer and see something that i've created from scratch all by myself!

just yesterday, a dear relief society sister also brought over a large sack full of rhubarb from her garden. i made rhubarb crisp for dessert (ymmmmm! with vanilla ice cream) and tonight as a family activity, we all worked at the table and chopped it up to put in freezer bags for future use.

another "first" for me is my daily above-mentioned walks with a few friends. we briskly walk about 4 miles or so. the weather has been really cooperative and it has been nice to be outside so much. i push ziya in a bike trailer/stroller and abe rides his bike. the most exciting part about this is that when i weighed myself at the end of the week, i was down 5.4 pounds from my weight just two weeks prior. exciting stuff!!

finally, there's papi jacob. he actually started school a week and a half ago -- his second year of teaching. he has four co-taught classes, which means that he coordinates with four different teachers (and four different subjects, i might add) in finding ways to modify curriculum for the special ed students with whom he works. he teaches in these classes and also teaches one period of his own self-titled "intensive studies" class (study skills). and all this he does in amazingly handsome style! (he's sporting new clothes that actually fit comfortably... being 6'5" isn't easy on the wardrobe!). pictures to come later.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

"sweet" lessons learned

our friends gave us some fresh cow's milk so we decided to try to make homemade ice cream with the cream. we learned a few valuable lessons (besides the fact that we should probably just invest in an ice cream maker!).
  • cream makes ice cream... not milk. because we used the milk for breakfast this morning and shook it all up, it didn't have time to separate.
  • all the recipes we found call for the "double ziploc method" - way too cold for little boys' hands! we ended up putting our ziploc bags inside these chocolate milk powder containers which were perfect with handles and all!
  • always have a back-up plan! cold sugary milk just didn't cut it after all the talk about how yummy our homemade ice cream would be.
but the most important lesson we learned was this one: new experiences/experiments (whatever you want to call them!) are so much fun! the crazy loud noise of the ice jiggling around, the frost that formed on the outside of the container that we could scratch with our nails, and oh, the anticipation... wouldn't trade the experiment for anything!


i guess i have to face the truth as alaskans know it... summer is really over (and there's no talk of the beautiful two-week-long fall season... apparently, we go straight into winter). here's some of the evidence i've encountered just in the last couple of weeks.
  • the other day i was talking to the maintenance guy here at the apartments and he said something about really having to hurry with some new window installations "before the snow gets here."
  • about a week or so ago, ammon and abraham were up at night much later than usual. abraham asked, "why is it dark?" what a question! i realized that because my kids go to bed by about 9 p.m., they haven't seen true darkness in a really, really long time. abraham has recently been complaining about being scared at night. his "enlightening" question made me realize that his young mind may not even remember what darkness is, yet here it comes!
  • one of my friends recently moved into a new house and the heaters are not working. she's stressing about this because it won't be long before the really cold weather comes.
  • jacob was at a church meeting just this morning where the bishop made some assignments for snow removal.
  • while my mother-in-law was here visiting, we had a week straight of beautiful sunny weather. it was incredible. as soon as she left though, the rain came and stayed for another week. i heard several comments (at the grocery store, my neighbor, etc.) about how that was the end of summer and we all need to be bracing up for winter.
all of these comments initially made me laugh... but then i almost broke into tears in the very next breath. i attended a women's retreat a few nights ago and lots of tips were given for avoiding the winter depression. ai, ai, aieeeeeeeee!!! it's only august, people! must we really start talking about this so early?

stay tuned for my reactions to another alaskan winter.

jacob's photo collage... he calls it "end of summer"

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