First Family Pictures in Alaska

We FINALLY were able to have time to get us all together and dressed nice enough that we could take our first ever real family photos with the three of us. I hope that by now if you’ve read enough of my posts that you realize I’m a very real and down to earth kind of person. I try to be as honest as I can be while protecting some privacy boundaries but overall, if it has to do with my life, I tell y’all like it is. I don’t leave out the hairy details and make it all sound nice and pretty because that’s just not how life is, especially with a toddler. And that’s exactly what you get to see in these pictures.

William would not stand or sit still long enough for our ever so patient photographer to take a dang picture that wasn’t more like an action shot! I kept telling our photographer, “girl, if you can get the three of us in one picture that’s good enough. We don’t even have to all be looking at the camera at the same time,” and honestly she did such an awesome job. Our photographer, luckily, is a newer mom so she had an idea of what it’s like trying to catch a little one’s ‘good side’, which for Will is usually his backside because he runs away from the camera.

I will admit though that the whole time I was so worried for J because I know in the back of his mind he thought that we were going to be able to get at least ONE too-perfect-for-real-life type picture where we all stand in a boring pose and look like a ‘normal’ family that has a robot for a child. Well that just was not the case, honey. J did pretty well though and quickly realized that his expectations were not the same as Will’s and that we were just going to have to hope for the best.

I, on the other hand, actually love how they turned out and am very much okay with the fact that these are REAL pictures of our REAL family. I don’t know how the hell people get their toddlers to sit still long enough for a family photo but my bribes just aren’t as good as theirs I guess. I love seeing Will being himself and acting crazy like he always does. That’s our family. These pictures show us for how we really are and that’s why I think these are more special than any super pose-y type family pictures that some people have. I love how my family is messy and all over the place. William keeps our lives so interesting (not saying I always love how ‘interesting’ he likes to be) but we are always being kept on our toes with him. I love my family just the way it is.

 

 

I’m brave enough (or dumb enough) to try to take pictures again that I’ll do for Will’s second birthday. We even got the same brave photographer to take the pictures for us! Fortunately, Will didn’t scare her away! I can’t wait to show you guys how those will turn out but that’s still not for several weeks. His birthday isn’t until December! BUT THIS TIME THERE WILL BE SNOW!!!

 

*Not a sponsored post but if you live in the Anchorage area and would like to check out our photographer, her business is called A Silver Lining Photography. She obviously has patience with children.

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First Family Camping Adventure

The weather here in Alaska the past week was absolutely beautiful. We stopped at the Alaska State Fair and the weather couldn’t have been any better. However, I knew that our luck with this amazing sunshine and actual shorts weather was going to soon come to an end. So this past weekend was Labor Day and J had four days off so I wanted us to take full advantage of this. An amazing idea came to me and I thought, “dude, let’s go camping”. We have a tent, I have some previous camping experience, Jacks in the army so he’s useful outdoors, what could possibly go wrong?? 

Well, let me just tell you. First of all, I wanted to go to Denali National Park because if you’re in Alaska, you like have to go there I guess. It’s just a short four hour drive. No big deal. William actually wasn’t too bad in the car and slept most of the time (which later ended up being a bad thing because then he didn’t need a nap or want to go to bed that evening). We stopped at some point to get gas at a sketchy gas station where the pump wasn’t working. The old man who worked there was kinda creepy and came out of the store, yelling at us that we had broken the pump. Now I’m honest and I can say with full faith that we did NOT break the pump because it had something to do with the fact that no gas was coming out. The old man just kept saying how we messed it up and wasn’t trying to fix the problem so I told him, “it’s fine, we actually didn’t need any gas so we’re just gonna go but thank you for your help,” and Jack and I got out of there as fast as we could.

Now, I love my husband and he is very intelligent in most cases, however….for my life, I cannot understand why he didn’t think we needed to pack more than just snacks for our OVERNIGHT CAMPING TRIP. I suggested sandwiches because they’re simple and cheap and easy to pack, I suggested hotdogs because that’s a pretty standard camping meal but no, Jack wanted to eat at restaurants near the campsite 😓 I won’t get much more into the details of that discussion because I want y’all to think we’re perfect but we had a less than perfect discussion about that and ended up having s’mores for dinner 🙃. I love my husband. I love my husband. I love my husband. Repeat until the hanger passes..

We did get the camp set up pretty quickly though. That was one positive. I’ve put up a few tents up in my life so I was able to put this one up mostly by myself. Jack did get the fire started by himself…with a flint….because he refused to buy a lighter but boy was that fire nice and hot after an hour of Jack trying to get it started. Repeat ‘I love my husband’ and be thankful that there is at least a fire now. 

So next is some of the good parts finally because of course it wasn’t all bad. We were at a HUGE, beautiful National park! We went on a little hiking trail by some water and it was just so unreal. The mountains are so regal that the view never gets old and take my breath away every time I struggle to see them all at one time. Will had a blast throwing rocks in the water because he has to do that at every. body. of water we see. No matter the size. ‘Oh, is that a puddle?! Let me throw some rocks in it!’ ‘Oh, is that a raging river?! Let’s throw some rocks in it!’ 

I did make another little movie about our adventure and please make sure you keep reading after the video so I can explain something before I get reported to some department and I lose all credibility of being a decent mom.. That said, here’s the video!
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Okay so let me explain, we did leave sleeping Will in the car, while it was running, and we were just feet away from the car to take the picture. I know I’m still going to get some heat for it but it took less than a minute, as you could tell from the poor quality of the picture because we tried to take it as fast as we could. But if I have learned anything from parenting, one things for sure is ‘you don’t wake a sleeping baby unless it’s a really good reason’ and it just wasn’t worth all the hassle of unbuckling him, waking him up, him fighting the picture and not even being happy about it then trying to wrestle him back in his car seat. 

So, if you still hate me, don’t worry..karma instantly got me back. In order to take our picture, I used my selfie stick but my selfie stick wouldn’t work while my phone was in its life proof phone case, so I took it out of the case and left it on the trunk. Jack and I literally ran to the sign, took the picture, and ran back to the car so we wouldn’t be leaving Will for a long time. In the rush, I left my $80 phone case on the trunk of the car and drove off. So I was without a case and out of $80 and still feeling guilty for the minute I had William fast asleep in the car just for a picture. For that I can easily vow that my lesson has been learned thanks to instant karma. 

Now back to the negatives, or lessons learned, from our trip. So I know Alaska is cold, that’s why our tent is weather proof. And I mean of course I had a huge fleece blanket for the air mattress. But never in my life have I slept outside in below 30 degree temperatures. We were miserable all night, especially Will, and very likely everyone who heard Will cry most of the night. One of the reasons we wanted to camp was so we could see the Aurora Boreallis, but man it was so cold by 11:30 that night that Jack was barely brave enough to walk around and see if he could even spot them near by our tent, but my brave, strong man did go out and look but with no luck. So we didn’t even get to see the lights. 

By 5:30 AM, Will woke up again crying and Jack and I were like, “alright time to go!” And we had everything packed up in the freezing morning (there was even frost on the car) and were out of there no later than  6:30 AM. Will and I passed out in the car while Jack drove but while we were on our quick four hour drive home, we did spot a moose (the one at the end of the video) and that was the first animal I have seen in the wild since being in Alaska! 
Lessons learned from this camping experiment that I made while camping:

  • Bring a damn lighter and hide from Jack
  • Bring some damn food, also hide from Jack
  • Bring more freaking blankets. And then bring even more. 
  • Don’t forget about the hammer for the stakes in the tent

And most importantly:

  • DONT GO CAMPING

Ampersand ‘&’ Project

So this project that I’m going to talk about was made for the Master Bedroom which the color scheme is gray and yellow. I’m also obsessed with the ampersand (ampersand is this sign &, don’t worry if you didn’t know what that was called because I didn’t know until just last year haha) since getting married because, to me, it signifies how it’s the both of us. Like Jack & Victoria, Mr. & Mrs., husband & wife, etc. The ampersand is the symbol that we are both a part of each others lives and that we are living our lives together; he & I.

Now that might be just super deep for no reason but that’s what it symbolizes to me and I think it’s beautiful. So what I did with this project is super simple.

Project time

  • 5-10 minutes to paint
  • 30 minute wait for it to dry to apply second coat
  • 5-10 minutes to apply second coat
  • hour dry time (okay, I did it late at night so honestly I just went to bed when I finished it and it was dry in the morning but I’m sure an hour would totally be good enough)

 

Step 1: I started with this awesome  pine wood cutout that I bought from my favorite store, Target and you can get your own by clicking this link and order one yourself! It already came pretty smooth so there was no need to sand it down before painting (thank you Lord). I didn’t feel like this project needed to be painted outside because the paint I got wasn’t smelly and it wouldn’t take long. I just painted this bad boy on my dining room table! Just make sure you put something under it or else you’ll get paint everywhere. I used just your regular parchment paper (which was also bought at Target lol).

 

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Step 2: So as you can guess, this is the step which you start the fun stuff, painting! I used a simple 2 inch foam brush because they’re super cheap and I can do whatever I want. The paint I got is the Valspar brand called Devine Color and the paint color is called Oar. I just got the small sample size because it’s still 8 oz which is more than I’ll use probably. I bought this also from Target and you can get yours here.

I made sure to paint in upwards and downwards strokes so that if any lines showed, they would at least be in the same direction. Now by using the 2 inch foam brush, it was a little tricky trying to get inside the loops to get the paint all over but it wasn’t impossible. If I weren’t so lazy, I could’ve used the 1 inch foam brush and had a much easier time but I’m planning on using that brush for another project soon and didn’t want to go buy more. True story.

 

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Step 3: Let it dry for about 30 minutes and then apply a second coat, if you’d like. Honestly, the paint was thick enough that I didn’t have to do a second coat but I decided to do it anyway since I was there, the paint was there, and it just happened.

Step 4: Go to bed and look at your beautiful creation the next morning because it will definitely  dry by then and you’re probably exhausted because you had to stay up super late to be able to do this project anyway since you had to wait for your kid to go to bed… Or that’s just me.

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Survey Time!

I would love to get to know more about my amazing audience and see how things are going between us! I would love if you could just take a minute and fill out this survey and tell me a little more about yourself and how I could be doing better! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to give more critiques than the survey will allow. Everything you have to say is welcome to be public if you’d like because we’re all friends here and it will only make your read experience that much better if I know what you need from me.

 

Thanks so much and I can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Link to take survey

SAHM & Wife

I’m going to count only the past 17 days as being a true SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) because I’ve been truly a stay at home mom with not working, I’m in my own house, with my husband, for the first time, ever. I did have some preconceived ideas about how it would because J and I have lived together before, but things were way different then. We were living at his parents house and without William so just with those two things I would hardly call it living together. Jack and I have never had to fully rely on each other and be full-time parents to Will together. Jack was always gone doing Army stuff and I had a huge amount of help from my family.

Now that we are alone in Alaska just the three of us, things have really been a wake up call. Not in a bad way by any means and I am here to be honest about that. I’m not saying that everything has been ‘peachy keen’ since day one but they’ve been pretty great. Jack and I are communicating pretty well and have been there for each other when the other needed help. There was one instance a few days ago where we had a miscommunication but it was that we were both trying to help the other one too much; if that makes any sense. I’ve never had to co-parent with William, and I’m not sure if you’re allowed to call it ‘co-parenting’ when you’re married to the other parent but things weren’t always this smooth with Jack and I.

Before we got married, we had a lot of communication problems. It was hard for him to focus on anything but the Army and it was hard for me to accept not getting his full attention. I have always been very supportive of Jack’s career, but he would feel like I was trying to take over his stuff instead of helping him, which I probably was half the time but I always had good intentions. Now what I’ve learned to do is to just be there for him all of the time and he will tell me when he needs extra support. The hard part is just backing off long enough for him to actually need/want my advice.

Something I was so afraid of and realize now that it is a HUGE misconception is that I thought by being a SAHM would mean I’d be so bored I’d have to look for little things to do. By George was I wrong! I’m lucky if I get half the things finished I’d like to by the time Jack gets home from work! There’s always so much to do in taking care of an entire home. But I will say that the house is picked up (almost) every night before we go to bed AND either Jack or myself have cooked every meal that we’ve eaten since my Grandma left.*

*My Grandma was so awesome and flew up with William and I from  and stayed with us for the first couple days so we could get the house set up. She was such a huge help and I’m so thankful that she was able to see Alaska for the first time with us.

 

I know there will be many challenges and trying times that will come in the future, but I really do feel confident that Jack and I will be able to keep things up and taking care of each other and Will. I’d love to hear any marriage lessons you’ve learned that work for your marriage or if you’re a SAHM I’d take any advice I can get on time management or whatever else there is to know about maintaining a home!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

It’s Curtains For You

In Alaska, we go through months where the sun literally is out until after like 10 at night and it’s so bright it’s really hard to fall asleep. I’ve done research and I’ve seen a lot of blackout curtains (curtains that block out all of the light from the outside) and the prices easily can go up to like $40 or more PER PANEL. I wasn’t desperate enough to blow $80 per room on curtains.

Luckily, I found these amazing curtains from Target and I spent about $12 each panel (they were on sale) and they are amazing! The colors are so vibrant and the material is nice and thick and does just as it says; blocks out light! I have some in every bedroom.

Here is what they look like in the packaging and the color is the same for my guest room and Williams bedroom. I have the same brand but in a shade of gray for my bedroom. I highly recommend this curtain for any home, not just those in Alaska.

*I’ve included the link so that you can order them yourselves if you’d like! Just click here and you can pick the length and color you need for your own home.

Here’s also the curtain rods I used which are simple but they worked for all of our bedrooms aswell and guess where they are from…Target, duh!

And if you’d like to check this out, here’s the link for that too! Just click here to see it for yourself!

So here is the room before:

And after!

Simple project but makes such a huge impact on a room by adding curtains. Especially when you need them for blocking out all the light at 10 at night!