Friday, February 17, 2012

A Frigid New Header

So ... what do you think? You did notice our new header; didn't you? My brother-in-law, Philip Leclerc, took the picture while he and his wife Esther (Tait's sister) were visiting after Christmas.

It was 10 below outside, and we wanted a good picture without everyone so bundled up you couldn't see their precious shining little faces. So we rushed the little guys outside for a whirlwind photo shoot. Five minutes later, we hustled the red little cheeks and noses back inside the cozy warm house, hoping that Philip had been able to capture at least a few good shots. I think he did! : )

Honestly, after growing up in South Carolina, I'm sometimes surprised at how little the Alaskan cold bothers me. In fact, I absolutely love it! And this winter, my fourth winter up here, has been my favorite so far. It's brought both record snow and record cold ... an interesting combination, since it's rare for it to snow when the temperature drops below the teens.

By the middle of December, as much snow had fallen as we usually have in an entire winter ... about 8-9 feet. Our average temperature for January was the coldest average ever recorded, at just 2 degrees. All of the fresh snow, combined with plenty of 20 below weather, has kept things so beautiful, crisp, clean, and clear.

As much as I love the cold though, I'm not sure I could have handled Fairbanks' 50 below temperatures for weeks on end. And as much as I love the snow, I'm not sure I could have handled Valdez's 25+ feet of snowfall. Yes, it's been an extreme winter all over Alaska this year! : )

Take a look at a few of these pictures from a friend of ours in Valdez, and be amazed. ;D

A blue school bus (actually, it's a picture of snow ... with a blue school bus underneath) :D

A store's side entrance

That yellow building is actually 2 stories tall! Looks pretty small compared to that impressive snow pile!

My hometown of Charleston, SC has had a warm winter so far, with regular temperatures in the 70's! I'm looking forward to seeing some of those temperatures up here in Alaska in about 4 months! : ) How has your winter been this year?

My hubby and me (photo by Philip)

Coming soon: How we keep our sanity, cooped up inside with energetic toddlers all winter. : )

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"My Need to Get Strong!"

Quote of the day:

Tait Jr. (3): "Mommy, my have my egg now, please?"

Me: "Oh, I'm so sorry honey! You said you didn't want it, so I ate it."

Tait Jr.: "But my need my egg! My need to get strong! My need to grow up!"

I assured him that he'd grow up just fine without that egg.

Especially since he'd already had 
a whole big waffle 
and three other eggs.... :D

Showing me his strong muscles : )

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Brothers, Best Friends...

(...and sometimes worst enemies.
But that's not what this post is about.)

After pretending to feed his brother dinner in the high chair (with imaginary food), Tait Jr. (3) pretends to put his little brother Miles (2) to sleep in the rocker.

"Yours ting a tong."
"What song?"
"Yours ting a Jesus God tong. No, yours ting a David tong.
'Bout David kill da bad duy."

Then I heard a soft sing-songy (or is it "ting-tongy"?) voice from a little boy, singing his brother to sleep:

"David kill da bad duy.
David kill da bad duy! 
David kill da bad duy...."

These little guys melt my heart at least fifty times a day!


I won't even mention how long it's been since I posted last. (And don't you dare look back to see.) There are a million and one things to post ... which is probably why I haven't posted at all. :D There are four posts in the works right now, and now that I feel like I have a handle (more or less) on all of my wifely and motherly duties, you'll hopefully be seeing more of me. : )

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Fun and No Degrees!

We don't make it outside much during the winter. With three little guys, it can be kind of hard. They get cold quickly, and all of that snow is just a little hard for them to navigate! But, little guys turn into bigger guys, and the snow seems just a little less daunting. Yesterday, the older boys and I ventured out into the just-above-zero temperatures for some winter fun!

We threw snowballs and went for a stroller ride as far as we could down the driveway ... which wasn't very far. Those 15 inches of new powder made me feel like I was pushing a hand-held snow plow instead of a stroller!

We've had a beautifully snowy winter so far. Fresh snow nearly everyday has kept everything so clean and fresh looking! I love the winter wonderland that we're so blessed to live in, and look forward to more and more cold, snowy winter fun with my little guys!

Our driveway, coated in clean white snow - Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Growing too Quickly *sniff*

A day of milestones for this sweet little 5 1/2-month old. First tooth, and first crawl! Guess he's trying to catch up with his big brothers....

Slow down, little guy. Mommy needs to enjoy your babyhood for just a little while longer....

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Monday, November 7, 2011

From Mommy to Her 3-Year-Old on His Birthday

Today is always a special day for me, full of special memories surrounding Little Tait's birth. While it's sometimes difficult looking back at his rough start...

...really, what I mainly remember are all of the precious moments of early motherhood.

Little Tait's 1st Birthday
If I look tired, it's because I also had a 5-week-old. :D

Dear Little Tait,

You have grown into such a big boy overnight! It seems like just yesterday you couldn't even put your own shoes on, and now not only are you slipping into your boots yourself, but you're even helping your little brother with his!

Yes, you are certainly my little helper. And what a wonderful helper you are! You're always ready to run an errand or do a job for Mommy ... throwing away the baby's dirty diapers, fetching the wipes, searching for a lost pacifier, comforting Matthew when he cries, cleaning up the toys, wiping up a spill on the floor, putting away the clean silverware in the drawer, setting the table, emptying the waste baskets ... and the list grows longer every day.

It melts my heart to see you interact with your baby brother. You are so gentle, sweet, and loving; and when you talk to Matthew in that high-pitched voice that you reserve only for babies, it always makes me smile.

Your fascination with snow, airplanes, tools, hymnbooks, computers, and all "workin' trucks" is so much fun, and we enjoy seeing everyday events transformed into exciting new experiences as we watch them through your young 3-year-old eyes.

I feel like Daddy and I have gotten to know you on a whole new level recently. It's so exciting to actually be able to carry on conversations with you, and your constant chatter brightens every second (yes, every second) of every day. You are like a little sponge, absorbing every detail of what goes on around you, even when we think you aren't paying attention. This was never more evident than the other day, when we were talking about God's creation.

Me: "Taiter, God made Mommy and Daddy, and you and Miles and Matthew. What are some other things God made?"
You, looking out the window: "God made the trees..... My not eat apples from there."

It had been months since Daddy read Genesis to us during evening devotions, and we had no idea you even grasped what Daddy was saying. What a good lesson for Daddy and me, reminding us how much you pick up on!

We look forward to seeing what God has in store for you in your fourth year of life! Daddy plans to take you to work with him more, as you're getting to be such a big boy now, and Mommy looks forward to helping you learn more colors, letters, and numbers! I think potty training would be a good thing to wrap up sometime soon too. :D

We love you, and constantly pray that God would give us the wisdom, patience, and perseverance to train you up to serve Him!


With his brothers and great-grandfather,
who was a bomber pilot in WWII,
flying more missions
than nearly any other pilot

Head over to the Little Tait Foundation for Preemie Aid for another blog post in honor of Little Tait's birthday, and some thoughts from my hubby!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Boy and His Fans

Love this happy little guy!

Matthew with the toys his adoring fans piled before him

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Friday, October 14, 2011

Potty Training Conversations

Overheard in the bathroom....

Little Tait (an old 2): "My goin' potty!"
Miles (a young 2): "Good job!"

Later that day...

Little Tait (sitting on the potty): "My makin' gas!"
Miles (watching): "Makin' gas?"
Little Tait: "Yours makin' gas? And Mommy makin' gas, and Daddy makin' gas...."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

MIA: Eaten by the Laundry Monster

If I ever go missing, just check the laundry. You'll probably find me buried beneath towering mountains of clean, unfolded clothes.

Hey, at least they're clean clothes! Dirty clothes wouldn't smell as nice, and I'd probably be joined 'neath my mountain by spiders and mice, which wouldn't be fun. But I digress....

Getting the clothes washed is easy. As the dirty laundry is created by our super efficient dirty clothes factory (boys), I sort the clothes - baby clothes, socks/undershirts/underwear, and gentle wash - into my super handy laundry cart. That cart is the best laundry purchase ever made, by the way. It's easy to get the clothes washed now ... just wait until one of the sections is filled up, and throw the whole load into the machine.

Miles transferring laundry for me
last winter, at 15 months old
My little helpers work to transfer the laundry to the dryer once it's clean, and then the dry laundry is carried into the living room ... where it lives for the next two weeks, joined by the subsequent ten loads of laundry that follow over that same time period, searched through repeatedly each day whenever a clean article of clothing is needed. Finally, when the mountain reaches its maximum height (usually when it is overflowing the armchair, ottoman and laundry basket, or when I am finally sick of going on an extensive scavenger hunt for a pair of matching socks every time we head out the door) ... it gets folded at 3am by a bleary-eyed me.

Last night's work
Keep in mind that each of those piles
is about 18+ inches high
At least, that's what happened last night. The final straw was attending a family friend's birthday party yesterday with the two older boys looking like little ragamuffins, wearing the first articles of clothing that happened to be extracted from the laundry mountain, and sporting some rather interesting mismatched socks. At least the other moms could sympathize; I'm apparently not the only one to postpone those late-night folding marathons.

There have been times when I've felt like I was escaping the laundry monster ... times when only a few loads pile up before getting folded. Here are a few tips that I've found (or heard of) to make my disappearance under that Everest pile of laundry less probable....

1. Sort dirty clothes as they are added to the laundry. Getting around to washing the clothes is easy! We live in a very small house with one bedroom, which makes this simpler, since every room in the house is in close proximity to the laundry room. Once we add on and our family grows some more, I'm not quite sure how this is going to work. Any ideas?

2. Fold the clothes that need to be ironed as they come out of the dryer. My hubby needs fresh, ironed clothes for work several days a week, so the ironing pile grows quickly. Not only does folding them right away cut down on what needs to be folded later, you just might find that some can skip the ironing step and be hung right up, ready to wear! Which cuts down on those late-night ironing projects. But that's another post....

3. Fold the big items as soon as possible. It makes the pile look less intimidating and builds morale. :D

4. Of course, there's the obvious solution of folding the clothes as they come out of the dryer, or very shortly thereafter, but what mom of littles has time for that? Yes, I do it when I can, but that doesn't turn out to be very often.

5. I know of families who buy all the kids the same color socks (or a different color for each child/size), and this is probably something I should implement. I'd just get all of the 12-24 Months in navy blue, all of the 2/3 Toddler in brown, all of the 4/5 in black, etc. Sure would cut down on the sock matching and digging through piles!

6. Teach the kids to help! Mine are all 2 and under at the moment, but I'm thinking the oldest is getting old enough to learn how to fold a few items - burp cloths, washcloths, and such. It's good for families to work together, and for children to understand that they are important, functioning members of the household!

7. Don't fold the baby clothes. Don't remember who, but someone did tell me once that she didn't fold any of the kids/baby clothes. Might work for some, but I'm just a little too OCD for that. ;D

Oh, and the best and worst laundry discoveries I've made?

Best: The playpen contains laundry very effectually. It keeps everything out of the way and more or less out of sight.

Worst: The playpen contains a lot of laundry very effectually. And that makes those late-nighters even later....

How do you do laundry? 
What tips and tricks have you found helpful? 
What is your tactic for reducing the risk of going MIA, 
buried in that insurmountable pile of laundry?

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Tribute to Miles on His 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd birthday to Miles...

...our emotional one...

...our dramatic one...

...our accident prone one...

In the hospital waiting to be sedated
Read this story here,
and another one of his ER escapades here.

...our funny one...

...our clueless one...

...our musical one... 

...our messy one...

...and, of course, our rock thrower. If there is a rock anywhere in the vicinity, Miles will find it and do what every little boy naturally does with rocks.

When I found out we were expecting Miles, I cried. Not because I wasn't excited about another baby, but because I was already so overwhelmed with a newborn. When we discovered that Miles was on the way, Little Tait had been home from the hospital for just 6 weeks (after spending his first 3 months before his due date in the hospital).

I was still in the newborn stage ... up for feedings around the clock, adjusting to life with a baby (a very fussy baby) at home, etc. I was still adjusting to married life and life in Alaska. After all, we'd only been married a little over 10 months!

I wondered how in the world it was possible to handle another baby so quickly after the first one. But, God is faithful, and He gave us the grace and the strength - through 10 weeks of semi-bedrest while taking care of an 8-month-old, and a week-long NICU stay - to welcome a new little blessing into our lives. (Tait's parents were truly a godsend!)

I never could have fathomed the joy that Miles would bring into our home. He is such a little character, and his silly, clownish antics draw countless laughs from us throughout the day. He's always been a smiley guy, which very early on earned him the nickname "S'Miles." He also answers to "Moo-Moo," "Mr. Miles," "Miledy Moo," "Mi," "Mr. Smiles," and "Moody."

He is, of course, best buddies and worst enemies with his 10-and-a-half-months older big brother. They do everything together. Everything. Except ... well, actually there aren't any exceptions.

His high-pitched scream is a signature characteristic, and is released anytime his brother steals a toy or an earth-shattering tragedy happens. Usually, it's because of the former and not the latter.

He is a much earlier talker than Little Tait was, and can pretty much get across whatever he wants to get across. It might take him a full minute to get ten words out though, between all of his stuttering and searching for the right word....

This was one of those
""I can't believe I don't have my camera,
but I'm sure glad I have my iPhone"
moments. :D
Miles provides us with lots of those.

Miles is truly a joy in our home, and we look forward to the great things God has in store for him! May He give us the wisdom to disciple him, the patience to discipline him, the perseverance to train him, and the grace to listen to that high-pitched scream yet again.


His birthday was Sunday, and I've had this post, minus the pictures, prepared since then. Better late than never! : )