Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wisconsin 2013 Week 4 Fun and Home Again

 We knew our time in Wisconsin couldn't last forever - with our last week upon us, we really tried to "redo" some of our favorite activities. 

 This is a black and white photo of one of my dad's field on the farm in Wisconsin.  I could spend hours just sitting out in the woods/field and listen to all the sounds of nature - well if it weren't for the darn horse flies I would :o) 

 We also took our nightly 4-wheeling rides - figured I'd snap part of the trail we road.

We enjoyed watching the birds on the feeders in the morning and at night.  Lukkas is quite the bird man - he was just fascinated by them and the birds were as equally curious about him.  In fact, one bird and Lukkas went around and around the feeder checking each other out - it was amusing!

Grandma spent time with kiddos in the morning and Grandpa took Leif and I out fishing.
 Sunrise over Deer Lake - our last fishing trip.

 We celebrated Great-Grandma Arlene's birthday with a special lunch at one of her favorite spots.

 We helped Grandma make a No-Bake Cheesecake!

We made homemade play-dough cookies and pretended to cook them in the oven.

And of course we helped Grandpa feed the cows each night.  Don't misinterpret Leinna's face- that is a huge smile of joy as "Norman" took the treat from her hand!

Lukkas was as equally eager to give the cows treats- check out "Jed's" tongue!  Amazing how animals can sense young children and be a little more gentle.  I think I've said this before but I'll say it again, if Lukkas could have found a way to get into the cow's fenced area- I think he would have been the happiest little boy ever! We couldn't get him to wave 'bye-bye' to anyone but the cows! 

This decorative rock in my mom's flower bed sums up our trip - simply JOY!  
So many great memories and special moments shared.  
I certainly realized how much I miss the "Lower 48" and look forward to the day when my family and I can move back and be closer to everyone.

Now - for the trip home...
As you may recall, our trip TO Wisconsin with our Little Mister was none to pleasant. A short recap - he screamed the entire time and man does he have a set of lungs!  So, I had several friends and family saying extra prayers for us as we made the journey home.  Our drive to Minneapolis Airport was pleasant for the first hour because Lukkas fell asleep - after that - the scream was on. Really?!? This kid loves to ride in the car and he's cranky already?!? 

Thankfully, many prayers were answered and after about 20 minutes of various 'games' on the airplane - he curled up in his car seat and slept the rest of the flight to Seattle.  I was so amazed - I didn't even think to take a picture but enjoyed the time and did some knitting!  

After our 4 hour layover in Seattle, we are at our gate ready to board in about 20 minutes and WHAM! He wasn't even running/goofing around - merely walking over to the window to watch the plane land and tripped and went head first into the window seal which had a very hard edge.  After maybe 30 seconds of cries - he was up and ready to go - showing all the other passengers he is a tough kiddo.  My coaching/teaching training kicked in as I watched for any signs of concussion.   I kept him awake about 30 minutes on the plane and then he was so tired he just curled up and went to sleep again!

  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to everyone who said prayers and thought positive thoughts for our journey home.  I know the prayers were a huge part of our successful travel with Lukkas, but I too prayed for wisdom about how to travel with him.  It dawned on me that his shoulder straps in the car seat force him to sit in one direction and when he sleeps he likes to lay on his side or his stomach.  So I didn't even buckle him in once we were in the air and that way he had the freedom to curl up on his side to sleep  :o)  

Leinna is a great little traveler and was so tired when we finally arrived in Fairbanks - 10:30pm (which is 1:30am in Wisconsin) she curled up on the bench and fell back to sleep while we got our bags and car seats loaded in the car. 

We spent a few days in Fairbanks with Leif's mom and dad.  Leif helped his parents with some projects around house and built us a new TV stand (will post pictures when I blog about rental in Eagle River ). My job was to keep kids busy and out of the way.  So we found ourselves playing at the park and enjoying the sunshine!

Finally, we headed "home" on Thursday.  The kids were so excited to see all their toys and books. Keep in mind they haven't seen these since end of May/beginning of June when we packed up to leave Cordova.  

It's good to be "home," finish our unpacking and settle into our new lives in Eagle River.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wisconsin 2013 Fun - Week 3

Ah, yes... fresh blueberries! YUMMY! I've been watching the berry patches for weeks waiting for the berries to rippen - and oh what a treat! The kids love them too!
Well, without any "official" items to celebrate this past week, it was as quiet as it can be with a 1 year old and 3 year old! We are filling our days with all kinds of fun activities.

Lukkas is quite the flower man! He loves to go around and smell Grandma's flowers. Grandpa let Lukkas pick a flower one afternoon - so now he thinks he can pick all the pretty flowers!
We've had tractor rides and
boat rides.
(Hey - a little help- I can't see where I'm going!)

Big McKenzie Lake boat ride
Grandma stayed with the kids while they napped and Leif and I went fishing with Grandpa - we caught 25 fish (mostly blue gills) and had a yummy dinner the next night.  Leinna enjoyed the boat ride as long as Lukkas didn't try to drive.  Lukkas- he wasn't a fan of the boat.  So strange, because he loves the tractor rides and 4-wheeler.  Maybe he just doesn't like the life jacket?!

He was certainly much happier on shore crawling around in the water!

It's been pretty warm- so we made some play dough to entertain us while we cooled off inside for a bit.

We finally took the paddle boat out for a ride.  Letting the kids do the steering meant we didn't go far and did lots of circles by the shore.  It was still fun!

We've been helping Grandpa with the chores - 
 Here Viking (left) and Jed (right) are nudging heads to see who will get the treat from Leinna. Leinna can just about tell you the name of each cow. Yes, Grandpa has named the cows! I sure am enjoying the cows too!
 The kids love watching the cows and I think if Lukkas could figure out a way to get into the pen with them, he would be so delighted!
Grandpa making whistling sounds with a blade of grass had Lukkas laughing for awhile!
Just love the simple ways of enjoying the summer!
As we head into our last week in Wisconsin, we hope to go fishing again, play another round of golf and of course go swimming each day. We sure have enjoyed the warm, sunny weather and time spent with our family.   We head back to Alaska on Sunday, July 21st - praying for a better flight with Lukkas - we'll see.  We'll spend 3 or 4 days with Leif's parents in Fairbanks and then head home.  It's going to be hard to say good bye, but as we are starting to get emails about new teacher paperwork and start of the new school year, its time for us to make our way home and get settled into our new place and establish our routines! I'm so thankful for this time we were able to spend in Wisconsin.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wisconsin 2013 week 2 fun and Happy 3rd Birthday!

We kicked off our week with more fun at Loon Lake. Grandma gave Leinna her first fishing lesson...

and she caught her first fish! She thought it was great and loved touching the fish. Although after our fishing lesson, she was a bit nervous about swimming in the lake for fear the fish were going to get her.  It lasted about 5 minutes and then she was back to jumping into the water.
Momma and Papa were able to have a golf/lunch date while Grandma and Grandpa watched the kids for us. Grandpa brought out the Tonka trucks that use to be Uncle Allan's. No cheap plastic on these toys- all metal and still tons of fun!  Grandpa taught Lukkas how to build a road.
Next on the agenda (didn't I say last week this week was suppose to be calmer?) we made a trip to Shell Lake. It's about 16 miles from Grandma's house and it's a large lake with a very nice sandy beach. Both kids love to play in the sand and when Leinna saw the sand she said, "Momma, look at the big sand pile!" 
It was a perfect morning full of sunshine and fun!
Happy 4th of July!
Although it wasn't quiet dark enough for sparklers - the kids got the idea.
We did keep Leinna up and Grandma and Momma took her to see the big fireworks over the lake.
So worth letting her stay up a little later than normal!  She loved the sparkles in the sky.
Look whose turning 3!

She was so excited that it was finally her birthday!  It was great to be able to celebrate with my extended family who live here and others who were in the area for 4th of July weekend!
3 fruit butterflies on a jello-cake kicked off the party!
Every birthday princess should have a crown!  Papa was not happy- but I thought it was pretty cute. The  crown was a gift from Leinna's cousin - how could we refuse :o)
Many of our family members understand that we are flying home, so they gave a gift of money so that we could go shopping for some special items when we get back to Alaska.  Leinna would open the card and say, "More money!" Of course the teacher in me made her identify what number was on the bill and then count it out!
Whew - you'd think we'd all sleep for a week after all the excitement this week.  However, we had more in store!
Usually, we'd go swimming in the lake in the morning, eat lunch, take naps and then play in sand or go 4 wheeler rides in the afternoon.  Well, it was so stinking humid and hot that after our naps, we had a lesson in sprinklers. Lukkas wasn't so excited about it, but Leinna thought it was great! 
Lukkas is turning into quiet the gardener!  He loves walking around the house and smelling all of Grandma's flowers.
Okay- I do think this week is going to be quieter.  The only thing officially scheduled is Momma is going to enjoy her birthday gift and get her hair cut and colored!  
For my Alaska family and friends- I'm trying hard to send some warm sunshine your way! 
 May you all have a wonderful week and whomever you call family - create a special memory this week.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wisconsin 2013 Fun - Week 1

What a fun week we had with Uncle Allan and Cousin Oliver and James.  Grandma and Grandpa's house was busy, busy, busy - but so many fun memories were made.

One of our many activities was taking the kids to the Wilderness Walk in Hayward. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a great time checking out all the animals.  I'm relying on Grandma's pictures because her computer isn't letting me download pictures from my camera. 
All throughout the walk there are coin food despensers to feed the animals.
Feeding the camel was probably the favorite spot!
After a fun day in Hayward, we spent all but one day swimming in Loon Lake!
Both of the kids love the water! Mister needs to learn that just because he can touch the bottom of the lake by the shore, does not mean he can touch where the bigger kids are playing :o)
Leinna- pictures says it all! No fear and let's do it again and again!
The one day we didn't go swimming due to on and off again showers during the day- we found ourselves having a blast playing in the "mud" puddle - more like sand puddle! Oh what a mess but oh so much fun!
We ended our fun filled week with Lukkas' baptism. Lukkas' godmother Shannon couldn't make the trip from Alaska, so we had her participate via Facetime during the service. With a 3 hour time difference- bless her heart she was ready to go at 6:30am Alaska time.  The service went great and the kids did exceptionally well.  We had a fun picnic at the farm with all our family who could make it.  It was a great afternoon to see everyone.
This week will be a little quieter since Uncle Allan and the boys had to head back to South Dakota.  We are looking forward to some golfing, a trip to Shell Lake that has a really nice beach, seeing real fireworks on the 4th of July and celebrating Leinna's 3rd birthday.  Did I say this week was going to be quieter?  Hmmm.... Loving that we are able to spend all this time in Wisconsin!