Monday, April 27, 2009

Just Call us "the Yoda Family"

Today I really, really, really wanted to take a nap... but Abraham really, really, really, really (one more than me, I guess!) wanted to draw a bunch of Yodas. He won. He was so excited to go and pick Ammon and Jacob up from school so that he could surprise everybody with their very own picture of Yoda. Oh, and I guess I did get a 30 minute nap after he finished drawing, so I suppose we both won!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Abe DID turn 5!

Way, way back on March 24, my little Abraham turned 5 years old. A few days after that, he turned 6 (that's because we had a party for him on the 28th and he thought it was his real birthday all over again!). Now he keeps asking me why I won't let him go to kindergarten at Kaleidoscope. His reasoning is that he has fulfilled all the necessary requirements -- i.e. he went to the health clinic and had 5 shots (and didn't even cry!) AND he had his 5th birthday. In his eyes, I'm just not letting him go yet. I try to explain the whole scholastic year thing, but he just thinks I want to keep him at home forever. He's a funny kid who is totally enjoying finally being five!

He started his birthday morning with memory loss. He didn't even remember that it was his birthday until Ammon reminded him. Well... then there was no stopping him! It was immediately to the first gifts of the day - all Star Wars, of course! He got an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure and an outfit to wear for his special day.

That night, we had Mardi, Marissa and Victor over for Abraham's birthday dinner. The menu? Chicken and pancakes! Weird, I know, but this was his request... and he ate all of it!!!
We sang to Abe and he blew out all his candles. Then he and Ammon had fun sticking their faces in the cake. I've failed at trying to explain that we usually only encourage one-year-olds to do this!

On the 28th, we combined with Abe's little friend Sydney and had a joint birthday party. This is the "Barbie meets Star Wars" invitation I made. Abraham had some reservations about his invitation having Barbie on it and about the whole concept of sharing his party with a girl, but we convinced him that it was alright and he ended up having a fantastic time.

I worked hard to make a clone trooper cake to fit the Star Wars theme of his half of the party. I was pretty proud of my own accomplishment (I should know better!), so I was flabbergasted when I showed Abe the cake at the party and he had a hard time figuring out what it was! I also heard one party guest (an adult female, I should add) wondering if it was a tuxedo of some sort. My only redemption was that the adult males knew exactly what it was. Come on, it even had a voice box on it!!! Anyway, I had fun making it!

The party games were a hit. Abe's extremely talented cousin, Marissa, drew a poster of Anakin Skywalker and the boys played "put the light saber on Anakin" while the girls made beaded bracelets. Then they switched and had a great time all the same!

Anybody who knows Abe knows that Star Wars is an obsession for him right now. So he was ecstatic to find so many new and very cool Star Wars gifts. He got lots of other cool gifts, too (for which I am extremely grateful... since they break the monotony I sometimes feel about S.W.!).
We all had a great week helping Abraham to celebrate his birthday. He is constantly reminding me of all the cool things he can do "because I'm five now, you know!" What a magical age this is for him. I'm grateful for the blessing that this little five-year-old is in my life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Looked Out the Window...

I looked out the window, and what did I see? A great big steaming volcano staring back at me!

This is the volcano again, after dropping Ammon off at school.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Celebrating Easter

We had a crazy busy day on Saturday and by 8:00, I was ready to crash... but the boys kept reminding us that we had to color our eggs. So we did... and it was a lot of fun. Even Ziya really enjoyed it. My favorite is one that Abe decorated. He drew a picture of the two of us holding hands (I'm the one on the left... the one with the big stomach!).

Sunday morning was hectic, as usual, as we tried to get ready for Church (I've learned that sponge rollers really must be done the night before!). These pictures were snapped as we ran out the door.

Ammon was asked to give a talk in Primary. In preparation, he and I read a story about Christ's Resurrection from the Friend magazine and after talking about it, we sat at the computer and I typed as he dictated his talk. Speaking in front of others is not his favorite thing to do, but he did a great job and bore a sweet testimony of the Resurrection. He said that even though Easter is fun because of the Easter Bunny, the eggs and all the candy, the most important thing about Easter is remembering our Savior and the tremendous Sacrifice that He made for us. We were very proud of him. I'm grateful for the extra-special opportunity to remind/ teach my children more about such a special Event as Christ's Resurrection.

It was a beautiful day, so while I made sandwiches after Church, I sent Jacob outside with the kids to try to get some "sunny" pictures. This is what they came back with... Even though the sun was shining brightly, it was still quite chilly, Ammon was dying to get to the bathroom and the wet grass smelled like moose poop.

But Ziya still managed to look beautiful!

And Abe was only pretending to be grumpy when they came back inside.
The Coots family invited us over for Easter dinner with the wife and daughter of another firefighter friend of theirs who had to work. Charlotte and Pete made scrumptious deluxe fish tacos and we contributed Spanish rice, beans and salsa. We should have taken a picture of the table spread. It was as delicious to the eye as it was to the palette!

Their daughter, Katie, did all the prep work for the Easter egg hunt. The kids had a fantastic time and the adult company was excellent. We were grateful for the wonderful invitation.

Love Notes From Ammon

Ammon likes to be a rough and tough little boy, but he has his cute and sensitive moments, too. Like when he surprised all of us with love notes (and one phone message for papi). He wrote one for Abe, too, but hopefully, it's stashed away with Abe's secret treasures... 'cause I can't find it anywhere!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April already?

I hate it when it turns to a new month and I realize that I have soooo much that I didn't post about for the last month. Lots happened for us in March. I've attempted to catch up, but it's now 11:40 p.m. and that 6:30 a.m. alarm I've set is in danger of getting slammed against the wall in the morning if I don't get to bed SOON! So yes, my posts are all very late and very out of order. And I still haven't finished Abe's birthday... but happy April anyway! and happy March-in-the-life-of-the-Munyers reading and viewing!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Break Trip to Anchorage

I took our niece, Marissa, and the three kids to Anchorage to pick Jacob up from the airport. It was a quick trip, but as always, we managed to cram pack it with lots of fun and adventure. We left early in the morning because I wanted to caravan with the Maws, who had to be there for an 11:00 appointment. This left us the whole day to fill with fun and entertainment.

I got a tip that H2Oasis, an indoor waterpark, was having a special admission for kids up to 5 yrs. old. We've been once before and it was loads of fun, but it's also a bit pricy for our budget. Well, for these couple of hours during the day, their admission was only $5.00 and adults were free! Fortunately, I'd packed the kids' swim gear so we took the plunge. Marissa and I rolled up our jeans and sat on the edge with Ziya, who was being very reserved. Ammon and Abraham, on the other hand, dove right in (literally) and played for two hours straight! They did get a few looks from some of the other moms who were in the water with their very young children (yes, Ammon is 6 yrs. old but we didn't conceal this information and the employee let us in anyway!), but I ignored them - my boys were having so much fun! By the time we left, Marissa was also fully immersed in the water (what a great cousin she was!) and had Ziya jumping and splashing and having a super time. My only regret is that we didn't have the camera (Jacob had it with him for his trip).

From there, we tried to join the Maws in going to the Imaginarium, an interactive science type of museum, but two of my three kids fell asleep while we were looking for it! We opted instead to go back to the apartment where we stayed and take a nap. Then it was on to Costco (always an adventure) and back to the apartment for the night. I picked up Jacob late at night and the adventures continued the next day.

Marissa and I got to spend some get-away time at the mall, which was fun, and then we all went to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and hours of entertainment. This was Ziya's first time where she actually got to play (last time she was there, she was still little in a carseat). Once again, Marissa was a lifesaver in this respect. My big pregnant self was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the trip at this point... so I sat and mustered up energy for WalMart while Marissa entertained Ziya and Jacob played with the boys. Fun times were had! Jacob and the boys spent the majority of their time upstairs playing (or waiting their turn to play) a Star Wars game. Marissa followed Ziya around as she shouted, "Money, money!" and went from game to game (ai, ai, aieee!... what is she learning at such a young age?). She really just loved putting the tokens into the games! I made a quick getaway and did the WalMart shopping across the street... alone! Aaahhh.

Then it was gasing up and heading back to Kenai. We are always amazed at how the Inlet is so different every time we drive the Turnagain. This time, it was all ice chunks. Amazing. Also amazing was the ominous Mount Redoubt reminding us of her then Orange alert (I think it was just two days later that she started her long series of eruptions).

This is what you call a frozen solid Inlet!

Anyway, it was good to at least get off the peninsula during our spring break... and the kids had lots to share with their friends when we returned!

It's Official... We're Moving/ Jacob's Trip to Idaho and Washington

It's amazing how quickly news travels in a small community like ours. Jacob met one of Ammon's soccer teammate's moms at soccer practice tonight and she said to him, "Oh, you're the special ed teacher from the Kenai Ward that's moving away, right?" Most people already know this, but yes, it's official. We plan on moving back to North Idaho soon after the school year is over.

During spring break, Jacob flew to Washington state to attend a job fair in Spokane. Besides being totally spoiled by my family and eating some fabulous food (he made sure to rub this in every time we talked on the phone!), he also had a great time at the job fair itself. He did get a few job offers, but not from any places where we'd like to live. We expected this because for Spokane's standards (which is where he wants to work), it was way too early for them to have their openings posted. However, he got some really good networking done. He met with several friends, teachers and administrators from the districts where he'd like to work and he feels that he did a good job of getting his name and desires out there. The extreme highlight of the trip is that the entire time he was there, he felt the for-sure confirmation that this is a move we need to make!

When he returned home, he went ahead and wrote his letter of resignation to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (their deadline for declaring intent for the following school year, unlike Spokane's, is very, very early!!). While it was a super scary thing to have to do this without first having a job secured in Washington, we both felt (and continue to feel) that it was the right thing to do. We came to Alaska with the intent of staying for about two years. Now, three years later, we feel very strongly that we need to settle down closer to family (grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins are simply irreplaceable!).

Many people that find out we're moving ask us if the winters are too much or if we simply didn't like it here... NOT the case AT ALL!!! Alaska has been wonderful for our family. Heavenly Father made no mistake in guiding us here and He has blessed us in innumerable ways while we've been here. We constantly talk with our kids about the many, many unique experiences we've had while here and the many ways in which we've all grown individually and as a family. Although it hasn't all been peaches and cream, if I had to do it all over again, I'd definitely do Alaska all over again!

Now for some photos of Jacob with our family (who, by the way, know how to make one feel oh so loved, and welcome and hungry for more!)

Ammon and Abe were especially excited that Jacob got to see good ol' Joe!

This is our little nephew Diego (in the middle) with some new-found cousins Ava and Zara Munyer.

Another trip highlight was finally meeting a new-found cousin, Trent Munyer. We didn't learn that he and his family were in the same area until after we left Idaho. We look forward to getting to know them better. And yes, they are both Munyers!!! (Jacob's great grandfather and Trent's grandfather were first cousins).

My sweet mom and dad.

Cousins Diego, Aitana and Acasia.

My Dax... how you've grown???
Jacob was lucky enough to get to be at Dax's 16th birthday feast at my mom and dad's home.

This is what I most look forward to... the family gatherings!

Budding Artists

In the past, Ammon and Abe have NOT enjoyed drawing, or even coloring, for that matter. Even their primary teachers came to us and asked if something was wrong with them, "Why don't they like to color? All the other kids like to color." It wasn't until our niece Marissa moved here last summer that Abe finally took an interest in coloring. Ammon decided it was alright too, so he started doing some of his own. With Ammon in kindergarten and now first grade, he's had a lot more opportunities to do actual drawings. It's been fun to see him get more and more creative. Here are the latest projects he brought home.

I've also tried to encourage Abe to do his own drawings instead of always coloring, but he says he's just not good at it. Well, just a few weeks ago, Abraham surprised me when he presented me with "a drawing of our family"... his very first real drawing. Here it is.
Not to say that he's drawing all the time now, but he is doing it more often and he's getting quite good! This is his latest, a "Star Wars spaceship."

Mount Redoubt Update

Mount Redoubt has continued to erupt regularly (up to 9 times in one day!). Right now she "continues to emit a plume of gas, steam and variable amounts of ash to low elevations" (from AVO). Several of our friends who live north of us in Nikiski had some ash a few days ago, but at least where we are in Kenai, we haven't seen any (wheewww!!). A few times, the volcano has actually been visible from her throne across the inlet, but we either haven't had the camera with us or just haven't had the energy to go out and snap the pictures.

The other day though, we were at our friend's house having a joint birthday party for Abraham (post is in progress), when we realized that it was time for singing and birthday cake... but both dads were gone with the cameras. They were outside taking pictures of a magnificent ash cloud that moved right over us. We quickly called them back inside to get back to the really important stuff, but we did continue to watch the cloud. It was amazing how quickly it grew from a pretty, fluffy, concentrated cloud into a huge mass of spread-out darkness that just overshadowed everything in its path. I'm including the times when we snapped the pictures (according to our camera... which I don't think is right!), just so you can appreciate how quickly it spread.

3:52 p.m.