Burning

Alaska is huge. Like, super huge. We have lots of fires burning all summer, every summer and usually the plan is to let them burn. They  are healthy for our forests: plant and animal life. Usually most are slow rollers,  hanging out underground for a while, popping up to eat some trees… they are dangerous, but generally left alone to burn out.

We also, in most of  Alaska, are used to some pretty mild temperatures and weather. To have the temps climb into the 70’s is insane. A week worth of highs into the 80’s is unheard of. I can remember most of the times  it has been in 80’s (in our area)because it is so rare.

So you take people who aren’t used to the extreme dry we’ve had (lack of snow, hardly any rain), an attitude of ‘that won’t happen to me’, mixed in with what must be stupidity… and what do you get? A raging, uncontrolled fire in one of the few populated areas in our State.

In 12 hours the fire has consumed over 6500 acres and destroyed 45 structures. It’s spreading towards more homes, cabins and lives. The area it is in has is a popular recreational area with hundreds of family cabins, dog mushers and families.

Last night I watched my Facebook blow up with friends who are watering down their properties hoping to make a difference in the fate of their memories and dreams. Watching videos of the devastation unfolding… pictures of homes on fire, the highway consumed with flames on either side, firefighters trying to defend homes… and hoping this is the only night I’ll be glued to the computer for updates.

My husband was stuck waiting for the highway to reopen so he could get up to work. The fire is surrounding the highway making travel, at times, impossible. When they started running pilot cars through the fire around 2am, he left to try and make it through. Hearing him report that it was ‘bad’ was a big deal as he’s usually very sound and calm about tough situations.

What happens next? More homes will be lost. The communities are coming together to relocate people, pets, whatever belongings they can gather. Donations are being rounded up to help those displaced. Strangers driving from hours away to loan trailers, kennels, tents, etc. It’s amazing how so much stupidity can create so much destruction, but also love and kindness.

Keep us in your prayers as this battle blazes on. Our cabin is about 35 miles from the north end of the fire… But my son says ‘today will be a good day’, so I’ll put some faith in that.

Allergies to What?

I read this article today about allergies. And what we are really allergic to… maybe? These types of things sort of make my mind go ‘BOOM’ these days. I feel like this should have been on the news YEARS ago and people should shouting it in the streets (or at least telling people in a moderate voice in the store). *On that note… I had to restrain myself from telling a lady not to buy Eggos the other day. Jeez.

I have thought for years that there is no way there has been such an increase in allergies to our food. How is that even possible? If anything our bodies should be adapting and getting more compliant with food types over the generations, not more sensitive. Obviously there is something more going on.

Definition of allergy (just so we’re on the same page): a damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive.

An Immune Response!?! What? I never really thought about what that meant… your body is interpreting a substance as a THREAT and is responding appropriately. Green peas? A threat? Apples?? A threat? What? And these aren’t genetic allergies… parents allergic to nothing have kiddos allergic to EVERYTHING!

Is it a coincidence that the rise in allergies coincides with the GMO revolution of our food?? Interestingly enough the rise in cancer also coincides with this timeline… but that’s another thought process. Have to focus on one at a time.

Gluten sensitivity?? Or allergy to glyphosate (Round Up) in your food? Wheat, soy and corn are the main crops sprayed with Round Up. It doesn’t kill those plants because they have the pesticide built into their DNA and are immune to it. Which means you are cannot rinse it off. Not only is it sprayed on the plant, but it is INSIDE the plant and is part of what makes it what it is. DNA. Scary. Who would want to put that in their body?? Nobody. Which is WHY these companies have put so much money into anti-labeling laws. Which is WHY we need all food containing GMOs to be clearly labelled.

Watch this video and educate yourself. Nobody told me what was going on until I met this amazing lady on a plane last Fall. She opened my eyes to how big of an issue this was… and motivated me to find out what I was feeding my babies. And exposing my family to. This is a BIG DEAL!!!! Don’t live in the dark anymore!

http://robynobrien.com/monsanto-and-roundup/

Raining and Pouring

June isn’t going well so far.

Woke up this morning at 5:45 because my sweet girl was calling for ‘help, help, help’ in her room. Turns out she needed more water. She had two water bottles, one full, one empty… but they both needed to be full. Duh, Mom.

Popped back in bed and my son (who had snuck in there during the night) announces- ‘uh-oh. I went potty in your bed’. Luckily the only area damaged were his undies and jammies and ‘ankie’. He threw them all onto the floor for me to take care of later. Sweet.

Finally time to get up for good. Super excited to wash my hair and brush my teeth after our cabin trip where I forgot my toothbrush and was too tired to shower last night. Go to open the door… and guess what?! My sweet boy locked the door last night and then closed it. Locked out. It’s a knob that takes a key, but we haven’t had it since we moved in.

So- woke up early, potty in the bed, no shower before the kids get up and now I get to figure out how to pick a lock. Happy June.

The good news is I got it done with the help of some Facebook friend advice (the internet is a saving grace sometimes!). Used a screwdriver and wiggled it until the lock clicked and let me turn it. Good to know! Still wasn’t time for a shower if I wanted to take on by myself… but there’s always tomorrow.

PS I’m writing this at 10am. My lavender latte has perked up the day and my kids are now each playing nicely on their own in the living room. I’m sure our troubles o’ three all were taken care of early this morning and the rest of the day will be smooth sailing. That’s totally how it works, right?

Sunshine and Paddleboards

Jeez. It’s summer in Alaska!! Week three of my summer break and we’ve been checking things off our to-do list. This weekend we enjoyed two days of 80^ weather (which is rare in the part of Alaska we live in) at the lake.

We purchased a paddle board at the world’s second most dangerous store: Costco. I have put off trying it out because I knew I would fall hard for the sport. And… I was right. It’s AMAZING! There’s something so surreal and peaceful about walking on the water. Well… peaceful when you do it by yourself.

I have two small people who are now proud addicts of ‘lake surfing’ with me. Also one other big kid: my hubby. My son is so awesome- he sits on the front of the board while I paddle- today he stuck his feet of the edge and played in the water while looking for ‘lake monsters’.

My daughter hasn’t gotten quite as confident as her older bro. She will sit very still and carefully, while she faces me and look for ducks and fish. Her main concern  is how deep the water is, so we stay near the edge when she’s on board. She’s just two- so I can only imagine the adventures to come. I wouldn’t say she is braver than her big bubba, but she definitely is more adventurous.

My husband would like me to hook our SUP to the jet ski and pull him on it. Yah… pretty much a motor addict… that man.

Turns out our cabin neighbors also love to SUP and we got to check out their inflatable ones today. Next stop, Play It Again Sports to purchase two of those for our travels. I knew I should have never gotten on that board!! I am in love!

sup

Alaska Paddleboarding!

Bottom line- if you haven’t tried it and would like an activity that allows you to enjoy nature in some peace ‘n quiet- this is a good one. Boards can be rented- but if you’re like me and know this is a match for you, just buy one. $370 at the Costco. Have fun!

Home to Alaska!

I found this amazing blog where the blogger wrote about why she stays in Alaska. Her wording is perfect! . Here is her link:

http://onehotmessalaska.blogspot.com/2015/02/why-i-stay.html

It made me think about why I stayed. I was born and raised here, so no fancy story about being relocated to Alaska or stepping into the wild on an adventure. Being born was the start of my adventure. Me, my husband and two kiddos were all born in the same hospital (not at the same time, of course). All grew (or are growing up) in the same town .I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The longest I’ve left the state was 3 weeks for vacation and that was about two weeks too long. The people in this state are unparalleled. Alaska is so big and so small at the same time. Instead of 7 connections away, you’re more like two… maybe three if you didn’t grow up here.

I have had lots of friends who felt the pull to move away. I grew up hearing people talk about how they can’t wait to ‘get out of here’. I never could ‘get’ that… or identify with it. I already knew that I lived in the best place in the World… and had no need to test that out.

The people, the adventures around every corner, the ability to slip into the woods right outside our door is amazing. People here are self-sufficient (well, for the most part) and skills like sewing, gardening, wilderness first aide, farming, small engine mechanics, internal gps (not a skill I have, but my hubs does), canning and preserving food, hunting/fishing, construction,etc… those are things that are celebrated and desired.

I want my kids to grow up learning to love and respect nature. I want them to know that while it’s our job to be weary of strangers, it’s always our job to help those in need (whether we know them or not). I want them to think of others ahead of themselves, but always be prepared to take of themselves. These are values and life skills I feel like can be emphasized anywhere on a small scale, but are community attributes in Alaska.

Also… I cry every time I hear the ‘Home to Alaska’ song. So there’s that.

Graduation from the Prek 2015

The time has come!! Some of my sweet preschool friends are moving on to the ‘big school’ next year. To celebrate we have graduation… imagine it like a wilder version of the traditional graduation scene. People in gowns, hats and tassels, nervous parents and siblings seated in the audience, speeches given by teachers who prefer to not talk in front of large groups of adults, and students being bribed… with bubbles … to sit nicely and listen.

It’s a impressively organized (not to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!) and well put together event. I might be jinxing myself… maybe I should have written this the morning after graduation.

Watching a group of five year olds march down the aisle to ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ (in an actual line without poking or running into anybody) will make any teacher tear up with pride and joy. Viewing our slideshow of the last two years they’ve spent with me generally has the parents pulling out the Kleenexes. But the best moment has to be watching them all march out at the end, holding their diplomas and bubble wands, smiling their biggest smiles at their parents.

The joy in that moment, for all involved, is what I hope they carry with them. The love, pride, sense of accomplishment (even if all it really amounts to was surviving preschool!) and feeling of community is one I hope transcends our hour long celebration at a random point of their lives in Alaska. It’s something I think a lot of people forget to give themselves: a moment to celebrate.

So tomorrow at My Favorite Preschool’s Graduation in Chugiak, Alaska- We Will Celebrate!!! And then eat cake.

There He Goes.

My sweet, sweet hubby left for the work season today. We were blessed enough to have him home for four whole months- which  is more time with us as a family since before I was pregnant with our first little buddy. Maybe my pregnancy scared him away.

Four months home was amazing. I had a partner in parenting, someone to laugh with about the ridiculousness of our days, a date for random date nights and my best friend here. During the next year he’ll be home about three months if we’re lucky… at least we made a lot of memories to keep with us.

Five more weeks of work and we will be adventuring off to visit Daddy at work. It’s going to be awesome! My predictions about this summer were solidified when we were walking across a parking lot last weekend and Gracie popped down to pick up a pine cone she spotted. Then carried it around with her the entire day. My kids+ mom not working  + Alaska nature= memory making!

GM Diet/Cleanse

Day One: Just Fruit. Only Fruit. Seems easy, right? Don’t be fooled. I seriously underestimated the fruit thing. Result: Lost THREE pounds  on day one.

Day Two: Only Veggies. Much easier than fruit for me. Made roasted cauliflower for dinner with the magic soup. Had a baked potato with a tiny bit of butter for breakfast. Snacked on peas, carrots, broccoli. Not as great without Ranch, but more variety than fruit.  Result: One more Pound GONE!

Day Three: Fruit and Veggies day. No bananas. No Potatoes. A million glasses of water. Best day so far since we can have both fruit and veggies. Result: Another pound bites the dust!

Day Four: Bananas and Milk. Gag, right? Not so bad. I found I wasn’t really as hungry as I was the first few days and cravings were pretty much non-existent. We could also have the wonder soup in unlimited amounts. Result: Two more Pounds!

Day Five: Beef and Tomatoes. Who came up with this day? My husband had a HUGE smile on his face (that meat eater!!) this morning, while I’m thinking… I’m going to turn into a tomato! By now downing water is nothing. The first day I struggled to get my water (three of my water bottles) done, but yesterday I drank five, no problem. Result: .5 pounds

Day Six: After my weigh in this morning, I’m feeling pretty down about the rest of the days. I think it being the weekend and not a normal routine contributes to the trickiness of following the plan. Although today is vegetables and beef and soup. As long a I can skip the cupcake at the birthday party today, I should be good! Result: No weight loss. Sadness

Day Seven: Fruit, vegetables, beef and soup. Combining it all up for the last day! Result: Two pounds gone

End of Cleanse Result: 9.5 pounds weight loss!!!

Interesting to see what my body processes well (fruit and veggies) and what it doesn’t (meat, namely beef since that’s what we ate). My husband lost 13.5 pounds and his big weight loss days were the meat eating ones. I wonder if this is more about how our bodies process food types differently or if it’s due to our preference to food types (meaning we ate more consistently during the day and kept our metabolism going) or a combination of both.

Overall it was well worth the effort for the diet! I think we will do it again at the beginning of next month!

Let Me Tell You

Obviously everyone I met this weekend knows way more about parenting than I do.

Dear Alaska Club Gym Childcare Lady,

I do not care if I don’t have my ‘card’ that you did not give me when I dropped my kids off. No, you are not keeping my kids. I do not CARE if your policy (which obviously was not followed when I dropped them off for the first time ever at your location) is to not release kids to anybody without their special ‘card’. Know what special card I have that should work: MY I.D.

Clearly the child who ran up to me screaming ‘mama’ and crying when I walked in the door- belongs to me. Clearly the other one who ran up yelling ‘dada, dada’ to my husband- belongs to us.

Clearly me turning and walking away from you with MY children is a clear indicator of my opinion of you and your ‘always’ followed (except this one time) policy. And yes, your manager will be hearing from me.

Sincerely, Mom of Two who will not be back at your gym.

Dear Check Out Lady,

Yes.My two year old is having an epic meltdown because she wants cookies. No. I don’t think a nap will help. No, i don’t think the girl scouts have anything to do with it. When I said the problem is she is two, i meant it as the explanation for said meltdown. That is it. And nope, doesn’t make me feel better that you can hear another screaming kid, so its not just me.

What would help is you ringing up my groceries without the commentary and with a quickness. Its embarrassing enough to have a screaming, kicking toddler in the store, nobody needs a breakdown analysis.

Sincerely,
Crazy mom hanging on by a thread in your checkout line