Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Eggs with plant-based dyes and a sick baby (again)

I don't think I've dyed any eggs for the past couple of years, but when we were kids it was one of the highlights of our Easter weekend. So when I saw this pin on Pinterest for naturally dyed easter eggs, I decided to try it out this year. I picked up some kale, cabbage, spinach, and carrots, and then used some tea I already had at home.

I boiled each item in about 2 cups of water for an hour, that had the house smelling pretty funky. I happened to be staying at my parents when I tried this out, so thank you Mom & Dad for letting me stink up your house with my little science project! Next I strained the veggies/tea and threw away whatever non liquids were left - all the nutritional value was now in the colored water after being boiled so long.

I put each color in a mason jar with a little vinegar (this helps the dye 'stick' to the eggs better), the mason jars were the perfect size because each one fit two eggs each. Riggs helped me drop the eggs in the jars, and then I left them overnight so that the dyes would really have a chance to work. 

In the morning I pulled them out of the fridge and drained the liquid form each jar, leaving some pretty funky looking eggs. I wish I would have taken pictures of them before I dried each one, each one had a pretty thick, slimy film on it. 

Despite the weird, slimy film, I am pretty happy with how they turned out! Riggs thought they were pretty interesting too, although he's sick right now with a bad cough and his first fever ever, so he wasn't as enthusiastic as I know he normally would be. 

I just have to share some pictures of Riggs, showing how sad and pathetic he was nearly the whole time we were doing the eggs. He just felt so bad, and my heart hurt for him. He's a little better today, although he still has a fever. I'm praying he feels good enough tomorrow that we can make it to church!

Friday, March 29, 2013

film friday :: january - march

I've been trying to capture little bits of video showing Riggs as he grows and changes. This video represents life with Riggs from January on through March. He is such a little sunbeam, so full of light and laughter and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Palmer Public Library: hitting the stacks with a toddler in tow

Yesterday I wrote all about taking Riggs to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

Today I wanted to share my experience with taking Riggs to the Palmer Public Library. Although the Palmer Library is much smaller than the Loussac Library in Anchorage that I grew up visiting, I have really grown to love it.

We go to Baby Lap Sit on Tuesday mornings, which I love because it teaches Riggs that he has to sit through something, and he gets to see other kids his age sitting and listening and reading and singing. We also go to the library pretty often just to let Riggs crawl around in the sunny and open children's section. Lots of fun things to explore:)

Wedgits Table
these are definatley Riggs' favorite thing at the Library.
Wedgits are a pretty awesome toy, I think Steve and I both
spend a bit of time 'playing' with them whenever we take
Riggs to the library;)
Usually I build towers and Riggs knocks them down, but
in the last couple of months he's started to build things too.

Magnetic Puzzles & Mazes
Riggs loves these, which surprizes me becuase they take a lot of patience!
He will use the magnetic pen to move the little pieces around for
five or ten minutes usually before moving onto something else.

there are lots of little nooks to sit in child-sized chairs to
rest and read a good book. Riggs loves gathering board books
from the baskets to 'read' out loud.

These are kept behind the counter, probably so the pieces don't get
lost, but if you ask the Librarian she'll get them out for you.
Riggs loves this one because you have to match up the pieces to make shapes.

The way the children's area is set up is great for toddlers crawling or toddling,
as they can't really escape very easily but there are plenty of places for them
to explore. Riggs loves to crawl all around through the shelves of books.

I highly recommend a visit to the Palmer Library if you live in the Valley - there are lots of books for adults too! I have such good memories from visiting the library as a kid, and I want Riggs to have his own Library memories too.

Did you visit the Library as a kid? Do you take your own kids to the Library? I love feedback, so be sure to leave me a comment with your own Library experiences:)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

visiting the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center with a toddler

I mentioned a few months ago that we signed up for a museum membership this year at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, and it has been so fun taking Riggs to explore the toddler area and then to bundle him up in his stroller and look through the galleries while he sleeps. It has worked so well! We try to get there right after they open, around 10:30 or 11am, and let Riggs play and get all worn out before eating lunch at Muse. After lunch I tuck him into the stroller for his nap so that I can enjoy the rest of the Museum at my leisure. Sometimes I even sit in one of the galleries (usually upstairs where it's quieter) to read, it's such a treat.

The Tote Kidspace, which is designed for children under 5, has so many different things for kids to do, like puzzles, train sets, coloring areas, marble mazes, a painting wall, and a book nook. I think a 3-5 year old could easily spend two hours in there playing if they weren't tired or hungry. For younger toddlers, like Riggs, there are plenty of fun things too.

Smart Floor
this is one of Riggs' favorites...he loves to crawl back and forth
across it to see the changes. water ripples, plants grow, and
dragon flies fly past as children put pressure 
on different parts of the screen. so cool!

Tree House
this seems to be a big hit for all kids (duh) and it includes an
area for puppet shows, a slide, and plenty of little hiding spaces down below.
Riggs basically just climbs up the stairs, crawls around up there, stands up
to look at kids playing below him, and then crawls down the slide and does
it all over again.

Water Play Area
a river flows around a mountain range and is filled with Orcas 
and boats and splashing kids. they have lots of little waterproof aprons (in three sizes)
to keep clothes dry and a kid sized handwashing/drying station nearby too.
Riggs wasn't getting too crazy so I didn't put the apron on him.

Mountain Playscape
there's another playscape for kids to climb on with a tunnel
and another little slide. Riggs loves this to look in the window
to the little funny!

Snapping Turtle
there's also a snapping turtle named Chomper that kids love to watch
as he s l o w l y roams around him little habitat.

Have you taken your kids to the Imaginarium Discovery Center at the Anchorage Museum? If not, you should go! Better yet, email me [ lifealaskanstyle @ gmail . com ] and we can meet up there!

Monday, March 25, 2013

a boy and his dog

There's a spring blizzard keeping us inside today, and my boys spent lots of time snuggling on the couch together this morning. I never imagined how much more love I'd feel for my pup when I see him being so patient and gentle with Riggs. They are truly best friends! I can't wait to see their relationship grow even more over the years...

Hope these adorable pictures make your snowy Monday a little bit better:)

it's hard work to be a mom

Sometimes it's so hard to be a mom. It's not like the other things you do in your life, there's no one to tell you if you're actually 'doing it right' (of course there are plenty of people who like to tell you what they think is the right way to raise your children, but that's not what I'm talking about here). You just have to make choices and hope they pay off in the end, because the decisions you make don't just affect you the day you make them, they affect you and your child for years.

There can be so much self-doubt as a mom, especially during those harder times when you have to decide what 'method' or 'philosophy' you're going to go with. When your baby cries ten minutes after you put them to bed for the night, you have to decide what to do, and it just might be one of your most over-analyzed decisions ever. Will you let him cry for two minutes, ten minutes or more? Should you go right in to soothe him, or maybe send dad in to tuck him back in and pat his belly? You'll worry and stress over what you're going to do and the possible outcome. You'll think, is this one time going to mess up his 'routine', forever?

When your baby whines at your feet for the tenth time, and you pick him up, the worrying starts again. Am I giving into him? Should I have stopped and tried (for the tenth time) to get him to ask nicely or to try and redirect his attention? Did I do the right thing?

The worst part is, you won't know for a really, really long time. You probably won't actually ever know, but you'll always wonder. I loved sleeping with my baby when he was younger, but would he sleep better now if I hadn't done that?  Would my baby be less clingy if I hadn't held her so much when she was a newborn? There's really no way to ever know. Every single parent could do something differently and have a different outcome as a result. But you only get this one life, there are no do-overs, you only have that one moment (or second) to decide, and in the end I think the most important thing is to embrace the path you've chosen, if that's what your heart is telling you to do.

Could Riggs have slept by himself instead of in our bed? Of course. Would I have it any other way? No! I can never get back those moments of snuggling him so close and watching every little breath he took, not ever. Would he go back to sleep in the night without me breastfeeding him? Yes, he eventually would. But again, I would never change it. When I think back to even a few nights ago, when he woke every hour wanting to nurse and cuddle, I don't think of how tired I felt or the sleep I missed out on, I think of how sweet it felt to hold his warm little body and to be such a comfort to him. Soon he won't be breastfeeding at all anymore, and no matter how hard some of the moments have been during our breastfeeding journey together, the exhaustion, the biting, the tears (his and mine), no matter how low I felt during those moments, I'd never ever trade them in for getting more sleep or weaning him sooner. Instead I look back and am thankful to have even those 'bad' moments, to be able to experience that bond with him, when there are some people who don't get that chance.

My child has already grown so fast and changed so much that in order to keep up I really have to live in each moment and embrace the choices I've made, rather than spend even a second of my time second guessing myself.

If you're a mom and you have the tendency to stress about the decisions you'e made, please, don't do it. No one else knows your child like you do, you are the expert. Trust your instinct, and don't beat yourself up about it when you feel like you've made a mistake. You will never be a perfect mom, but luckily you don't have to be perfect to be a good mom. Your child is a blessing, a precious gift, chosen just for you by a perfect God. Trust His judgement and be confident in your ability to mother your child the way you see fit.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

these two melt my heart

these two guys
my heart is so incredible full of love for them

Saturday, March 23, 2013

surprise doctors visits are never good

It's always lovely when your baby, who was completely fine the night before, wakes up in the morning with red, puffy eyes that are nearly swollen shut. That's what happened to us this week, and it freaked me out! I texted a picture to my sister, who quickly texted me back those two words I had been dreading, 'pink eye.' Yuk!

I took him into the doctors office just to make sure that was it, and, of course, it was. Poor baby had the most red, swollen, itchy eyes ever for a few hours until we picked up the eye drops from the pharmacy and got them (surprisingly easily) into his eyes. They actually made quite a big difference right away, which made me feel a lot better. 

not having fun at Fred Meyer while waiting for his prescription
Other than the pink eye (I shudder every time I type or speak those words), the doctor said Riggs looked very healthy, no ear infections or anything like that. He is still 22 lbs (61%), but has grown quite a bit since his 12 month checkup, and is now 32.5 inches long (97%). 

In other much more exciting and less gross, I got my hair cut. I asked her to give me shorter bangs that I can wear straight across if I feel like it and to give me a lot more layers to add volume around my face. I just love getting my hair cut, it always makes me feel so pampered. Except for the part when my hairstylist tells me that I have even more gray hairs than last time, and then laughs really hard and says "You have twice as many gray hairs than your mom does!" Not so fun to have more gray hairs at 26 than my mom does at 50-something.

a few hours after getting it cut
after sleeping on it and restyling it
I was very impressed with how well it looked after sleeping on it, I literally just had to move my bangs to where they were 'supposed' to be, curl a few sections, and then hairspray. It took less than five minutes, which is what I was hoping for. I only wash my hair 2-3 times per week, so I spend a lot of time styling it on the day I wash it so that I won't have to spend as much time on subsequent days. Just spray a little dry shampoo, add a few curls and I'm usually good to go.

One last picture to leave you with before I go enjoy my weekend
Riggs was rummaging in the baking cabinet and then it was quiet...

...except for the sound of plastic crinkling...

Happy Weekend!

Friday, March 22, 2013

in my bag

I meant to post this earlier in the week, but I've spent the last two days away from home, dealing with a sick baby, so it got pushed back until I was finally able to finish typing it up today. Sorry for the blog silence!

Going back and forth from our home in Palmer to visit family and run errands, I spend a lot of time making sure I have everything I need in Riggs' diaper bag. I was packing it once again earlier this week and thought I'd go ahead and share what I pack here on my blog! 
1 | Diaper Bag: I have the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Glazed diaper bag, in the print pictured, which is no longer available. I love that it came with a detachable & washable changing pad that folds right into the front pocket. It also came with a cute little wipes case and it is full of pockets and has either backpack straps or an easily adjustable strap for carrying cross-body or over the shoulder. It easily fits everything I need for Riggs and has an inner zipper pocket so nothing falls out and gets lost. I don't love that it doesn't fit a laptop, which was especially frustrating when I was traveling and trying to fit everything in that one bag as a carryon. I also don't love the velcro, so loud (bad for being stealthy around a sleeping baby) and worst of all, it catches on my clothes and scarves and pulls the fibers! I actually wouldn't recommend this bag because of how annoying the velcro is, but luckily Petunia Pickle Bottom must have been informed of how horrible the velcro was because they now use a magnetic closure which I imagine is much much better.

2 | Extra Outfit: I always have an extra outfit for Riggs in the back, including socks and a short-sleeve white onesie. I usually have a long-sleeve one piece romper, but sometimes I grab soft, cotton pants and a long-sleeve cotton shirt. (the picture is of a Splendid romper Riggs has, here is a similar item) 

3 | Diapers: When we're at home or just running errands close to home, we use the Bum Genius Elemental Organic Cotton all-in-one diapers. I love them and tried quite a few other cloth diapers before settling on these. Bum Genius did just change the design of the Elemental Diaper, and I haven't tried the new design, so I can't comment on them. When we're going to be away from the house all day or overnight, we use up&up disposable diapers or Seventh Generation disposable diapers.

4 | Snacks: I always make sure to have a variety of snacks in my bag, especially when we will be driving all the way to Anchorage and running errands there. I pack blueberries and veggie sticks in glass containers from home, but sometimes I also buy Plum Organics products, like Teensy Fruits, because they are so convenient to stash in the pockets of my bag and Riggs loves them. 

5 | Baby Wipes: We use Kirkland Signature baby wipes at home, but they don't fit in the travel wipes container that came with my diaper bag, so I purchase Pampers Sensitive wipes just to bring along with us. 

6 | Extra Lovey: These Aiden + Anais Security Blankets are a lifesaver in our family. Riggs doesn't take a pacifier, but he loves these security blankets so much, they really calm him when he's fussy and help him fall asleep. We have one in the truck, and one extra one in his diaper bag at all times, just in case.

7 | Books: I like to keep a book or two in Riggs' diaper bag for times when he needs a little distraction. These Indestructible Books work really well in his bag, they are small and can be folded up to fit in the pockets, and if they get dirty being toted around or thrown on some nasty floor you can just wash them!

8 | Sippy Cup: We use the Klean Kanteen brand stainless-steel sippy cup in the diaper bag, since it's the most durable. I really love this sippy cup, it's both practical and stylish. It comes in a variety of different colors and in the more simple brushed-steel finish.

9 | Lotion: I always have a small tube of gentle lotion or coconut oil in Riggs' diaper bag since he has such dry and sensative skin. We have used Mustela skin care products since Riggs was just a little newborn and I both love how they work and how they smell.

10 | Wet Ones Wipes: If you were to look in our car or truck, you would find a tub (or two) of wet-ones in each vehicle. Steve has to wipe his hands with these after going in any store, and he is always wanting to wipe down any surface Riggs comes in contact with so we keep the single packs in the diaper bag. 

Not Pictured:
*I often use the diaper bag as a purse too, so I keep a pocket free for my wallet and checkbook. 
*hand sanitizer spray (as if the wet ones weren't enough ha)
*diaper rash cream (Mustela)
*Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser - this is so handy for dirty diapers and wipes, as well as soiled clothes
*nail clippers/nail file

I have been looking for another bag that would hold all of Riggs stuff as well as my laptop, and this Colorblock Storksak seems like it would be big enough for that. I'm sort of in that transition period between Riggs needing less baby 'stuff' in his diaper bag and more toddler 'stuff', and I'd really like to start carrying my own purse again, with another bag packed just for him with room for some of my bigger items.

What do you have to have in your baby's diaper bags at all times? I'd love to hear some suggestions for items that might be helpful to start carrying as Riggs gets older.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

gap fail and some pins

Yesterday I drove to Anchorage with my friend Sarah and her sweet baby girl (and Riggs' future GF ha). We went shopped around at the Dimond Center, and I was hoping to find some springy things at Gap after seeing some cute items on their website. For some reason nothing was fitting right and I was just in one of those moods where I don't feel like spending money, weird! Sarah was feeling the same way and then we finally realized that we were super hungry, oops!

Riggs was really good and gently with baby Lyla, except when he poked her in the eye (oopsie). Despite having no luck shopping it was so fun to have some girl time! I was nearly hoarse by the end of the day from talking so much;)


And now for some pins I loved from this week. What have you been pinning lately? I always find myself going through 'phases' on Pinterest, searching in the same category for a few days straight and then moving onto something else for a few days.