Oct 28, 2014
Baby names! Such a huge responsibility entrusted to two twenty something year olds. You are giving them the name they will say "here" to on their first day of real school. What they bubble in on their SAT's, what the Price is Right will call out when they get their chance to play. BIG things!! So with this fourth baby we decided to go ahead and let Ace name him or her. How thoughtful of us right? I mean he is four, he has friends at school with some pretty decent names. He has named all his stuffed animals, and little army men. It's just time he starts contributing to this family. So the other night he asked what the baby's name was. I told him we weren't really sure yet, but I would love for him to give me some ideas. He ran so fast to grab his notebook, where keeps all his latest and greatest ideas. So we sat down and brainstormed. This is what he came up with ^^
Not bad right? Pretty gender specific if you ask me. Which by the way we do not know the gender just yet. Making that appointment is on my list of things to-do. Sorry baby numero cuatro, tis your life now. But we should be prepared anyway, I mean we got a 50/50 chance here.
On a more serious note, Ace is not naming the baby. But he thinks he is so we are going to let him continue with that train of thought. But we really do need to think of a name. Ace and Avalon came easy to us. We knew from day one that if we had a boy his name would be Ace. Avalon was of course the girl name we picked out five years ago. Pierce's name became his name 24 hours before I went into labor, and I text Chris while he was in OCS to let him know the change. I mean he wasn't going to be at the birth so I figured a simple heads up would be fine. Thankfully he agreed with the last minute switch and all is well. Now we find ourselves with a little bit of a challenge, we semi agree on a boy name. And we have no girl name....at all. Not a one. See when you give the rest of your children non-traditional names, you have to continue with that theme. Even though we have thrown out the idea of a John. Not a bad name at all, but he might look at us later and say John? You have Ace, Pierce, Avalon, aaaand John? Do you see the dilemma or are we just crazy? -and to be noted still no girl name.
I will admit that I am the one with the most outrageous names, and Chris has to rein me back in and say "you know he or she will interview for a job someday". Now our middle names have always been family names, so we aren't too out there. But I open it up for discussion!! Tell me how did you pick a name? Did you search babynames.com? Did you go off the meaning of a name? Family name? Great great grandfather's sister's name? Lay it on me, I'll have Ace go get his notebook.
Oct 26, 2014
This week officially marks our two years in Alaska!! Kind of crazy for this military family that is used to moving just about every 18 months or less. But I am glad that we have been in one place long enough to explore, have a baby, and get ready to have another one. We have just about a year left and we really intend on living it up. Four kids in tow. But I will admit I wasn't always that enthusiastic about this place. If you have ever read this post, the undertone is quite negative. Which going back and reading now is kind of awful. With that post I get a couple emails a week asking me about life in Alaska. I almost always reply to those emails with "I may not be the best person to ask". Chris on the other hand is a good person to ask on this subject since he has immersed himself in all things the last frontier. So I thought I would try and check in from that previous post. Inquiring minds...this ones for you!
AMH and REI than people I have in my phone book. It has really helped us be able to continue to explore all year around. Last winter was not so bad. Well except for the horrible melting and freezing craziness that was going on for months. But we still tried to get outside everyday.
AMH and REI than people I have in my phone book. It has really helped us be able to continue to explore all year around. Last winter was not so bad. Well except for the horrible melting and freezing craziness that was going on for months. But we still tried to get outside everyday.
Also housing, another huge question. Housing prices are much higher up here. When we lived in Georgia, or even Arizona we had the same square footage, and three bedrooms with huge backyards. When we moved to Alaska our first house was three bedrooms, same amount of space, no back yard (house was on the side of a hill). That house was more than double what we paid in those two states. Then add in your heating bill and you are looking at crazy numbers. Now we were renting, so obviously much higher monthly. Many military families end up buying. Again, is it doable, absolutely.
This isn't all to say that I still don't have my days where I just want an In N Out Burger and a stop at Homegoods, neither of which we have. But I will live. I may still kick and scream every time I have to shovel my car out of my driveway for the hundredth time. I may get a little aggravated when I am 45 minutes late to picking Ace up because someone hit a moose. Or when I find a really great piece of clothing online and they DON'T SHIP TO ALASKA! But I wouldn't change being stationed here. When we leave I know there are so many things I will miss, and I won't be able to find somewhere else. So my advice is to really do your research. Ask a lot of questions. Be open minded. Get ready for a change. But change is good, so embrace it! Most of all get some bear spray, a bear gun, some mosquito repellent and have some damn fun!
*Obviously this is only my experience in Alaska, please don't send me hate mail if you disagree. You can see more of our adventures at the Alaskan Adventures page at the top of the screen. If you have questions I can always try and answer them, or hopefully point you in the right direction.
Oct 22, 2014
bag: michael kors (sadly no longer sold)// lipstick: lime crime
There is no need to adjust your screen, you are seeing this correctly. That is snow! But thankfully it really isn't that cold out. Well not that cold for Alaska maybe? Or maybe after two years of living here 34 degrees doesn't feel so earth shattering. Either way this outfit is on major repeat lately. Jazzed up sweatshirt, faux leather pants, and a pop of color on my lips. Done done and done. Simple yet chic, which is what my pregnant body likes right about now. Also to be noted, regular shoes. No snow boot, or rain boot in sight. Yet. I am going to try and milk my wardrobe for all it's got before I have to pull out my michelin man jacket that will not be able to be zipped. Bebe number four I hope you don't mind a wind chill!
shop the oufit:
Oct 21, 2014
Simple enough right? Halloween is my very favorite holiday, primarily for the pumpkin decorating. We used to be a strictly carving pumpkin kind of family. But then we moved to Alaska and we found out that Moose are quite attracted to pumpkins. So we carve no more. Last year we used some regular old paint to decorate our pumpkins. This year I thought it would be fun to do these. If you have been reading this blog for awhile I am sure you're thinking all this lady does is paint things with chalkboard paint. And you would be correct. I still have SO much paint left from painting the boys' bookcase. Somehow I thought it took gallons? This is why I can also not be trusted at the grocery store, no logical thinking. Anyway...... I love these pumpkins. Best part is we can change them up and put them on the porch, add a little Trick or Treat, Happy Halloween, or Sorry we're out of candy.
we do our best crafting in pajamas
I think the process is pretty self explanatory, but I'll type it out anyway. We cleaned our pumpkins off and threw down a little protective paper. I used some painters tape to section off the one pumpkin. Then I grabbed chalkboard paint from my stash and let the boys have at it. We ended up doing two coats, and I found that when I went back to spot check them that if you paint the pumpkin in strokes from the bottom up you get a more uniform look. Top down it seemed to streak more. Just a little tip from a chalkboard painting connoisseur. But that is it! They dried so fast, and the boys have had fun drawing on them and wiping them off. Endless amounts of fun I tell ya! Much easier than giving my children little carving kits and pretending like they won't try and stab one another.
What does your pumpkin decorating routine look like this year?
Oct 20, 2014
Sunday marked our last hike of the season. We picked the best day to do it considering everything is now blanketed in snow. It was also my moms last day visiting so we wanted to show her the beauty of Alaska. It may not have been her ideal hiking conditions, you know with 30 degree temps and a slight wind chill. But she was a trooper and went with it. I think we single handily set in stone that my mother will retire in a warm climate.
We decided to hike the South Fork Trail in Eagle River, which is not too far from our house. The views are stunning and it is a pretty easy hike for the kids (minus the tons of mud we had to plow through). Every hike starts out the same with the kids. The car ride up they are asking non stop "are we there yet?" "I am so excited to go hiking, are we there yet?" "This is taking for-ev-er are we there yet?". Then they are hard to control as we prepare them for the elements with layers of clothing. They run in every direction looking for the start of the trail, like dogs sniffing for a bone. Their voices are screeching with excitement. We find the trail and they take off, looking for sticks, wondering if we will see a bear or a moose. They keep the momentum for a hot minute until they bust out with the "I'm hungry, I need a snack". Then they slow down to a snails pace while protesting for food, even though we just had lunch.
This will continue on for what feels like miles, but Chris and I have learned that if we can push the boys a little harder they will forget about a snack and start moving their feet. But this time as I was stopping and going, waiting for Pierce to catch up, I couldn't help but think about my mom. Even though she was right there with us, hiking the same trail. It was not too long ago that she was pushing me to keep going. It was her that was stopping and waiting while bribing me to move it along. It was her that was holding my hand as to make sure I wouldn't slip and fall. And now it is my turn. With all these little kids yelling "mommy mommy". Now she was here in Alaska of all places, freezing her ass off hiking with the couple who everyone in the family thought wouldn't make it past the first year. With three kids, and one more on the way. Sure this was just an average hike for us. I feel like we spent the whole summer hiking. But this time it was more having her there.
We reached a good stopping point and fulfilled the promise of snacks to the kids. It felt about 10 degrees colder while we stopped and sat on cold rocks to let the kids rejuvenate. I could tell me mom was cold, but she hung in there. Chris said he wanted to go a little further before we started to lose the sun. So we did.
Avalon's little nose was pink, Pierce started to say he was tired. So we turned around. You have never seen a person move faster than when we told my mom we were going to head back. She was ready, but still she stuck it out. Not complaining of being that cold. She was getting muddy while picking up the pace far in front of us. But I couldn't blame her. That was me when we used to hike when I was little, always the first one wanting to go back to the car. I had to laugh as I lied to Pierce over and over again telling him "just a few more steps". His legs were tired and wobbly. So I decided I would carry this 40 pound popsicle the rest of the way. When my mom looked back and saw me carrying him she stopped and said "hand him to me you shouldn't be doing that". She carried him to the end of the trail and he and Ace ran to the car.
It was a good hike, filled with all the dramatics that we are used to. But it was the last hike of the season. It was the last hike with just three kids. Next summer when the snow melts away we will be hiking with four. It will be a new chapter filled with new chaos. I just hope we didn't scare grandma away!
Is it really Monday? It has to be since right now I am probably scrambling to get the kids to eat and get dressed and corral them into the car. But can we get another weekend? Because this one was good.
It started off with Chris and Ace having a Dad and me art class. Which if you thought you saw everything cute in the world with your husband and children think again. Watching them get dressed up was the best, Ace was so excited to have his dad with him at something, since crusty old mom usually goes everywhere. They ended up decorating pumpkins and having so much fun. Guy time is totally a must when it comes to little boys.
The unthinkable happened Saturday night, and Chris and I were granted another meal together without having to race to see who could finish their food faster, and then stop a food fight from our children. This will go down in history since it was two date nights in one week. My mom is a saint for agreeing to watch the kids around bedtime (also known as the witching hour). But we all knew that by the time she gets back up to Alaska I will be in no mood for date nights, and more than likely concentrating on timing contractions. So this was the golden opportunity. Which also breaks Chris and I's streak of having just about one date night a year since having children! I know I know there is a thing called babysitters, but I have yet to reach that comfort level in my parenting saga. Judge hard. We ate at one of my favorite places, Orso, and it was amazing. We are just conditioned to scarf down our food as fast as possible, and the habit was hard to break. Our waiter made note of it since every time he would put a plate down it was gone by the time he walked by again. Oh parenting how you have changed us so....
Another weird thing happened in this house over the weekend, football mysteriously appeared on my tv. Chris is not a huge football person (thank god, sorry to all you football lovers) so it is rarely on in the house. Hockey and baseball are a different story. But my mom made a solid attempt at changing that. So she enjoyed a game or two to the sounds of Ace and Pierce reenacting what they saw on the screen. Hilarious for all involved!
Finally, I was able to steal my own mom away from my children for a little mommy daughter time. It wasn't easy. The kids really could have cared less about me leaving the house, but were more concerned about where grandma was going. Thanks my little minions, not like I don't slave over you every other day when grandma isn't here. But it was great. I took my mom to my favorite bakery in downtown Anchorage. And it was so nice to just sit and talk without three little voices asking for a million things at once. We also went on a beautiful hike yesterday but I have yet to get all the pictures off my camera.
How was your weekend? More importantly how is your Monday going so far?
Oct 18, 2014
Ask and you shall receive my friends! The other day I posted this picture to instagram of our comfort food dinner of chicken and dumplings. It just happens to be one of my favorite soups, so now I pass it on to you to enjoy!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 thin cut chicken breasts (or butterfly two large ones)
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 large carrots, chopped (about 2 cups if using baby carrots)
1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb green beans cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
For the Dumplings:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dried parsley
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
( if you don't have heavy cream on hand just use 1/2 cup of milk, the dumplings will still be amazing)
1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat, cook chicken until almost done, and browned on both sides. Remove to plate and cover with tin foil.
2. Add 3 tablespoons butter to pot, once melted add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and peeper. Let cook about 5 minutes. Then add 1/4 cup of flour, and stir until flour is absorbed. Let cook another 1-2 minutes. Add in chicken broth and bring to a boil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then reduce heat back down to a simmer. Cube or shred chicken and add to the pot. Stir in green beans.
3. Make your dumplings. Stir together flour, baking powder, dried parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cut in butter. Stir in heavy cream and milk. Drop spoonfuls of batter right on top of the chicken and green beans. Cover pot and continue to simmer over medium heat until dumplings are cooked. About 12-15 minutes.
You won't be able to wait a second to eat it, so have bowls ready to fill!
Oct 16, 2014
The last couple weeks I have bought some pretty random things. I will blame some stuff on my pregnancy brain, and the rest on my compulsive shopping habit. But to my surprise I have ended up loving a lot of the randomness. I thought I would share some of the things, some are totally new to me, and some would make great presents or even stocking stuffers (too soon for a christmas reference? sorry).
Barr Co. Lotion- I have mentioned this on the blog before, but the last month I have been using this more and more. You know, belly getting bigger, skin stretching, getting itchy. This lotion is so moisturizing, and has a very light scent. I use it three times a day for optimum moisture capabilities.
Lipstick Holder- This thing is a beauty. My bathroom is so tiny, with little to no counter space. The bulk of my makeup is stored in organizers in the hall closet. But I was looking for something to keep my go-to lipsticks handy. This is so great. It fits right on my counter and just looks pretty too. Only downside is, it does not fit some of my lipstick tubes. It won't fit really square ones (duh Kelsey circular holder, square lipstick) like Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, or Nars. But if they have slightly rounded corners it will work. Highly recommend this thing to my lipstick lovin ladies!
Pumpkin Souffle Candle- Throw all your other pumpkin candles away people, nothing will come close to this one I promise you! When I worked for Anthropologie I couldn't wait for these candles to roll out every year. The first shipment would almost always be bought entirely by employees. Now I have to settle for ordering them online, but man, I still stock up. They have a smaller version as well in case you aren't sure about it, but I can guarantee you will go back and order the big one. I also bought a couple Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon ones for Christmas time.
Loreal Boost it- I am all about this root lifting spray right now! My hair is very straight, and very heavy. So it is hard to get a good voluminous lift to it, but this stuff is like pageant hair I tell ya. You just spray a little at the root, tease it, and shake it out. Big glorious hair for days!
Clairol Hair Food- So unlike the masses of pregnant women who gain pounds of hair from day one of the positive pregnancy test, I am different. I lose so much hair in the first trimester, I have with all my pregnancies. Many hair thickening treatments are not safe during pregnancy, but this one happens to be. I have been using it for about three weeks now and I really like it. It gives a little tingling feeling at the scalp once applied, but nothing crazy. I plan on using this for awhile, and keep using it through the dreaded hair loss post baby.
Eco Tools Face Sponge- Once again pregnancy does crazy things to me. Mainly it makes my skin very dry and sensitive. I am incredibly loyal to my Clairsonic brush, but even the low setting was too harsh on my face in the first trimester. I saw these facial sponges at Target and thought why not? Now I love them. They are so gentle, and soften with water. You can reuse them and they don't lose their sponginess (??) even Chris stole one from me. Totally worth the $4.
Rimmel Mascara- Okay, this was an accidental buy. I didn't even know I bought it. Pierce grabbed it and threw it in the cart one day, and to my surprise when we got home it was in the bag. I checked my receipt and sure enough I paid real money for it. I thought well, I own it now, might as well try it. I did, and I like it as a base to my normal mascara. The wand is thick and contoured which is great for lengthening and separating. It has since been added to the beauty routine!
Josie Maran Milk Moisturizer- As mentioned above, my skin turns into a crocodile when pregnant. I had heard amazing things about this moisturizer since it came out. And since I already use the Josie Maran Argan Oil, I thought I would try this too. Blew me away! No joke! This stuff makes my skin feel like silk. I use 3-5 drops morning and night, and it took about a week to see some glowing results. Best part, no smell. I will for sure be repurchasing this forever!
Loreal Privee Collection Lipstick- Another random find in the beauty isle. These lipsticks are a limited time thing I guess. They are pigmented shades of nude, which I love. There are about six to choose from, but I went with the darkest for Fall. They are very pretty, and I think I may need one more.
Banana Republic Blazer- This is definitely an investment piece, which I would say most of my blazers are. You want them to fit just right, and this one is so perfect. It tapers in right at the waist, and the shoulders are pinned to fit. Plus those elbow patches just get me. Not to mention I have been on the hunt for a grey blazer, and when I saw this one in store I knew I had to have it. It also comes in a beautiful camel color which I had a hard time walking away from. Add to the wish list!
Old Navy Striped Dress- Can a person have too many striped pieces in their closet? I think not. This sweater dress is so cute. I have so many outfit ideas for it, with and without the bump action I got going on. It fits true to size and has a good amount of stretch. Perfect for Fall, and winter with tights and boots.
Old Navy Plaid Shirt- When I saw this shirt on Refinery 29 I knew I had to hunt it down. It is so different from all the other plaids I have seen this season. I went to my local Old Navy since it is right next to my beloved Target, but they didn't have it. Online shopping to the rescue, and it is now nestled happily with it's plaid friends in my closet. Oh the possibilities, I just can't wait to wear it over and over again.
That is the round up for this shopping rodeo. Have you bought anything really great lately? Do share!
Happy Thursday! How are you? One step closer to the weekend, can I get a Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho! It has been a little bit since I have tortured you with the off the wall things my kids say, so let me do you a solid and catch you up with their ever evolving vocabulary. And cookies, we decorated cookies yesterday so why not throw in some pictures that do not correspond what so ever.
Ace showing his friend around the house for a play date:
Ace- this is the live-in room. This is my basket of trucks. This is my mom she's crazy.
A normal afternoon:
Ace- Mom can I make a fort with the cushions? I will clean it. I put on my own clothes now so I can clean it up.
Me- sure but you have to put the couch back together.
Ace- (struggling to get a cushion off) Whoa! These are heavy. Can you just make the fort and then clean it up for me? Thanks.
Pierce- mama I broke you candles.
Me- what!? why!?
Pierce- betuz you a good mommy so I break them and now der are more pieces.
Me- how thoughtful, thank you.
Ace playing with the iPad:
Ace- mom we have a huge problem.
Me- what's wrong?
Ace- I need to buy this game but I don't know your password!
Picking Ace up from school:
Me- how was school today?
Ace- I am not so happy with you.
Me- me? why?
Ace- you have never given me a corn dog!!!
Me- what are you talking about?
Ace- we had corn dogs for snack today and they were soooooooo good, And you never give them to me. I am just mad.
Me- I'm sorry. I didn't even know you wanted a corn dog.
Ace- uhhh. I am so frustrated.
Random conversation at dinner:
Ace- so mom, what does the new baby eat? your spit?
Me- well that is one way of putting it, the baby eats what I eat.
Ace- hmmm the baby wants you to eat some donuts.
Me- you think so? That is great news!
Pierce just woke up and is coming down the stairs:
Me- yes Pierce.
Pierce- I need my underwears dis pullup smells like rotten meat.
Me- (laughing so hard) That sounds awful, let's get you some underwear and hose you down with sanitizer.
On our way to school:
Ace- mom I need a coffee. I don't have energy for this today.
Me- energy for what? school?
Ace- no just being awake.
Me- I feel ya!
And there you have it, my offspring!
Oct 14, 2014
shoes: nike blazers// sunglasses: ray-ban
I never thought I would love a trend more than the track pant right now. In other words an entirely acceptable way of wearing glorified sweatpants out of the house. Truth is I only own two pairs of sweatpants. One from college, and another from J Crew. But then they started calling them "track pants" and all of a sudden they are trendy....and dare I say fashionable. My growing belly is saying hell yes! They are so easy to dress up or down, I would totally pair this outfit with a pair of black leather pumps if I was going to lunch, or dinner. But I happened to be running errands with three wild children, so sneakers were the only acceptable footwear choice!
What do you think of the track pant trend for Fall?
shop the outfit:
Oct 12, 2014
It's about time we start celebrating the closing of fall right? Oh you don't live in Alaska and are going to experience the season known as Fall for more than three weeks? Weird! Well here in the North we are waving away the falling leaves and are gearing up to welcome snow. But before we start trekking through the fluffy white stuff we thought we would head out to the fall festival to see what trouble we could get into.
The weather at my house was freezing rain with little to no visibility. My mom (oh ya my mom is here visiting!!! Hallelujah!) kept saying, "We are really going out in this? Is this thing outside? I mean this can't be normal". Totally normal for Alaska. I assured her that even in a short 40 minute drive the weather would be completely different. As we were driving Chris started to doubt my party planning activities as well. But I rapid fire checked my weather apps every five minutes to make sure where we were headed was cloudy, cold, but not rainy. I will not be proven wrong. Ha! But thank goodness I was right, when we showed up it was indeed cold. But no rain.
I also learned a thing or two about my children when it came to pumpkin picking. They will work as a team to stock pile the biggest, heaviest pumpkins, if it means that no other person in a 10 mile radius of them will get a pumpkin. Don't mind me.....just over here raising a basketball team of hoarding dictators. Carry on.
Horse back riding, and a surprise appearance from my peeps from Frozen!!! I mean this Fall/Winter fiesta is no joke. But my children can't be fooled. Ace said, "uh this isn't real there is no Queen Elsa". Boom! The reindeer was super cute though.
The hay maze was so entertaining to watch. We let the boys do their own thing, while grandma, Avalon and I took our time to get through the whole thing. The boys were just wild! Running in every direction, trying to climb the hay bales, running into each other. But not Avalon, that little 17 month old has quite the sense of direction. My mom and I followed her and somehow she led us weaving in and out, and slowly but surely getting us out. So note to self, follow Avalon, not Ace.
On to where I found my true calling in life. Potato launching. Now we don't have pictures of me launching some spuds. But let me tell you, if I ever need a side job, this is it! Are you reading this potato launching recruiters, I am your girl! The boys thought this was hilarious and wasted no time in asking if you could have a large sling shot in the backyard, ya NO! Oh, and Avalon was not in the carrier during the making of this photo.
Fiesta fiesta!! Valuable lessons are always learned when you are the parents of toddlers. In our years of going places with these children we have made the mistake of thinking that we can leave on our own terms. What were we ever thinking? The only way it is ever acceptable to leave is when your children start making their own way to the car, and look like this! You know you wanna party with us!
I am so happy my mom was here to experience Fall in Alaska, much different than her 83 degree temps in Vegas. You can check out last years Fall fun here!
I hope you all had a great weekend!
Oct 7, 2014
I love overalls. There I said it. I loved them as a kid, and I love them as a mama! To me they are pretty versatile, I know most people don't think so. But I have found so many different ways to wear them. You can see how I styled them for the summer here. And now in the fall (semi-winter in Alaska) they are great to layer a turtleneck under, throw on a jacket, and dress them up or down depending on your footwear choice. We went out to lunch and then hit up the park for all of 5.5 seconds because the kids were like nope...it's cold. So I changed into some chucks for play time. Not to mention they hide a baby bump like a boss!
I am hoping to get a few more wears out of them before I am too pregnant and just look ridiculously frumpy in a bunch of extra fabric. But for now you can call me farmer Kelsey....in heels!
shop these pieces: