Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gardeners and Convertibles

It was quite strange to me that all winter long I would see garage doors open and close throughout the neighborhood, but rarely saw signs of real human life. It is even more bizarre to look back on winter now that spring has arrived. I am now hard pressed to go outside, even at midnight, at not see someone! It's almost like the people here are robots and they know exactly when they are suppossed to come out of their houses for spring and summer.

The funniest thing to me is how the minute people emerge from their houses, they have gardening and convertibles on their minds. I grew up in Southern California, not far from Huntington Beach, and I have never saw as many fancy convertible sports cars (particularly Porsches and T-Birds) as I have seen on the road here in just the last month. Apparantly many people in Alaska have enough disposable income to drive SUVs all winter long while their paying to store and probably pay monthly on their convertibles.

There is a beautiful little nursery in town that I frequented often during the winter. It's close to home and it was kind of an escape for me sometimes. The nursery has a quaint little gift shop inside and outside, in a covered and heated area, they have a really neat William and Sonomaesque cooking shop. The gift and kitchen shop keep the nursery in business during the winter months. As you can imagaine, parking spots are a dime a dozen in the winter. Now that Spring has arrived, my "quaint" nursery in now a mad house and parking is at a premium. I am amazed at the amount of money being spent there on any given day. People are walking out with 6-7 hanging baskets of flowers, to the tune of $25-$80 each! They are purchasing flats and flats of flowers and bags and bags of fertilizer and mulch. It's insane!

As I walk through our subdivision, I continue to be amazed by how green everyones grass is and the fact that many of our neighbors literally have flats of flowers sitting on thier driveways, just waiting to be planted. I often go for a walk later in the evening (it still looks like about 5:30 and 10:30) and I see people out planting flowers, pruning, fertilizing, or mowing their lawns. Eric and I laugh at how often some of our neighbors mow their lawns. In California, mowing your lawn becomes a necessary evil and many people put it off as long as possible. Here in Alaska, people can't wait to mow their lawns!

So, for the past month I have continued to wonder what the obsession is with gardens and convertibles in Alaska. I don't enjoy convertibles much, so that continues to be lost on me, but I kind of "get" the gardening aspect. Although I continue to think many of my neighbors are ridiculously obsessed with their lawns and gardens, I guess they can be because they only have to put the time, effort, energy, and money into them for a very short few months.

Long live Spring and Summer!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Secret, Magical Meeting

By nature, I am not really an obsessive person. Sure, I obsess about random little things from time to time, but I obsess and then I'm done. For some strange, whacked out reason, of all the things I could truly obsess about in my life, I choose to obsess about trashday almost every week. What do you think Dr. Phil would have to say about that?

Trashday in our neighborhood is Wednesday. When we first moved here, making sure the trash got put out was HUGE because we had so much rubbish from the move that our garage was quickly filling up. When you need to get two cars, all of your belongings and a bunch of broken down empty boxes crammed into your garage, trashday can't come soon enough. We quickly learned that it was imperative to put our trash out Tuedsay night, regardless of the weather outside, because the trash collector would often be here and gone in the 5 o'clock hour (a.m. that is). As you know from a previous post (see: Trashcanpalooza), I've had trashcans full of stinky stuff blow away in the wind in the name of having my trash disposed of.

As spring approached, people started talking more and more about bears (no, we haven't seen any yet). The HOA has made a huge deal about the fact that you shouldn't put your trashcans out until the morning, for fear that bears will scavenge. So, in the name of appeasing our neighbors, on Tuesday nights I have been sleeping like crap, worrying that I won't wake up early enough to get the trash out. As soon as the clock would hit 4:30 a.m., I was running outside to get the trash to the street before the trash man came. The odd thing was...I would be up at 4:30 putting my trash out, but none of the neighbors were up dragging their trash out! One morning I decided to pay a little extra attention to my neighbors, I was going to see what time they all take their trash out. I noticed that as they were leaving for work, they would just take the trash to the curb and would go on their merry way. They weren't sleeping like crap, nor were they waking up at 4:00! HEY!!!!!!!!!! At what point did the trash man decide to start coming to pick up trash later in the morning? Apparantly when you're new to the neighborhood you don't get that memo!

I guess on some magical Wednesday morning, on some secret spring day, the trash collectors decide that they will pick up trash later in the morning. Do ya' think somebody could have said something? Now that I have zero faith in my neighbors, I'm presented with another dreadful trash dilema...holidays! You see, Monday was Memorial Day. Back in CA, if Monday is a holiday, your trashday is delayed by one day that week. Today is Wednesday, is there going to be trash pick-up or not? Needless to say, I've been laying in bed with the window open, listening for the sound of the trash truck, obsessing since 6:30 this morning. Was that a trash, it was an airplane. Was that the trash, it was a motorcycle. Was that the trash truck.... I think you get the picture. Finally, at 8:00 I heard the unmistakeable sound of the trash truck, I ran my garbage out to the curb, and now I sit and wait.

I'm sure we won't get the memo about the magical , secret day in the very near future when the trash man decides he's going to start picking up our trash at 5:00 a.m. again! I guess I can be glad we actually have trash service and I don't have to shlep it all to the dump! Maybe they'll even offer recycling services in Anchorage someday. I won't hold my breathe! I will, however, continue to obsess about our trash every Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fish On???

Eric took the boys fishing on the Eklutna River bright and early Saturday morning. I wasn't going to fish (we aren't considered residents until we've lived here for a year, and the non-resident annual license fee is ridiculous) and I needed my beauty sleep, so I drove out to meet them a little later in the morning. The river is about a 45 minute drive toward Palmer and the drive was BEAUTIFUL! There must be a bit milder climate just a short distance out of Anchorage, because everything was already so green and lush! We're just starting to get a little green around here.

Apparantly, because we've had such a late start to our Spring, the salmon haven't quite started their infamous "run" yet. There weren't too many people out fishing at our spot on Saturday, but out of the ones that were, nobody caught a thing! The boys were patient and enjoyed casting, but their treasures came up short. By the time I arrived, the boys had been fishing for several hours to no avail and the little ones were ready for some carb intake. Below, you will see a vast difference between how dad fishes...
and how the boys fish (NOTE: Grandpa, close your eyes)....
In the end, a good time was had by all!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Schools Out For Summer

I can't believe I just typed those words! School is out for summer and it is only May 22! That's almost a whole month earlier than the kids in Southern California get out of school and they really don't start back to school much earlier. The first day of school will be August 20 here.

To think that I used to sit around just prior to June 20 many years, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my kids all summer. The beauty of being in Alaska is that it is a little different in the summer here compared to many places in the nation. For starters, we will have almost 24 hours of sunlight pretty soon and there are many outdoor activities to participate in that are easily accessible and don't cost much money. I have a strong suspicion that many company's run on almost a skeleton crew during the summer months. I venture to guess I'll be seeing Eric around here more than I would probably like to.

The other nice thing about living in Alaska during the summer (especially our first summer) is that we will have many visitors who will help break up the monotony. My side of the family will be coming to visit in late June. Eric's brother and his family will be passing through for a few days in early July, on their way to cruise The Inside Passage. In early August, Eric's parents are coming to town and after about a week here, we'll all be going on a cruise of The Inside Passage. We figure we don't know how long we'll be here, so we might as well see and do everything we can while we're here.

I'm off to have breakfast with some of the girls from the bus stop (they are all quickly becoming my saving grace) and then it's over to the school for an afternoon bbq. Such is the life of a mom! I'll be thinking of all you moms with kids still in school for another month, as I sleep in, don't have to worry about lunches being made or homework getting done. HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!

Birthday Booty

In case you were wondering, here's the birthday booty breakdown:

Calvin and Hobbes books
Pirateology Set
Trail/Mountain Bike
Remote Control Race Car

and, drum roll please............

a Tempurpedic type memory foam mattress (he claims that he slept like a baby last night)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Party Time


May is a crazy month for birthdays in our family (my grandma, Eric's grandma, my sister-in-law, my dad, & Kaiden plus Mother's Day)! May 21 is usually extra fun though because not only is it Kaiden's birthday, but he is lucky enough to share his birthday with his Papa (my dad). It's funny because I know some kids wouldn't want to "share" their birthday with a family member, but for Kaiden, sharing the day with his papa seems to make it extra special for him.
I have an admission to make, I am a terrible daughter! This is the first year we aren't going to be with my dad for their shared birthday and I didn't even send a card! I feel guilty about it, but the mail isn't real fast in Alaska and with everything that's going on around here I neglected to get a card in the mail. I know my dad loves me anyway and we'll make it up to him at Mooses Tooth when they come to town in June.

Speaking of everything that's going on around here, I'm not really even sure what we're going to do to celebrate Kaiden's birthday. Heaven knows he has enough presents (you'd almost think it's Christmas around here), but both boys have baseball games tonight and Eric left to go to Cold Bay overnight on business. Kaiden wanted me to take him out to lunch, but tomorrow is the last day of school and they have a field day planned for today and I don't want him to miss that. The good news is, Eric is taking Friday off and we have a long Memorial Day weekend without any obligations. I think the new Indiana Jones movie is in the cards for us on Friday morning.

Tomorrow I will post a breakdown of the birthday bootie, stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What a Bunch of Hooligans

This past Sunday, we took a family hike and then we drove to a small fishing town called Whittier. We had never been to Whittier and decided we should take a drive down there before family comes to town. Whittier is the closest place to go out on fishing charters, day cruises, and the major cruiselines. In my humble opinion, the town is rather sleepy and not very impressive, but it serves its purpose.

The thing I found most fascinating about our trip to Whittier was not the actual town, but rather, what we saw on the side of the highway on our way there. As we drove down the main highway, with the ocean just to our right hand side, we noticed a line of cars parked on the shoulder. I could not for the life of me figure out what the big draw would be. As pedestrian ran across the highway in front of our car, my eyes followed them. It didn't take long for us to realize that, just over the guardrail, people were dip net fishing.

I'm sure you could have figured it out, but in case you didn't, dip nets are big nets on the end of a long pole. At certain times of the year, in certain areas, while fishing for certain types of fish, people use dip nets instead of actual fishing poles. When you see all these guys lined up in the water with their waders on and poles in hand it all seems very surreal. It's the kind of stuff you definitely don't see in California, but would catch a glimpse of in a movie.

The whole experience definitely gave me a new appreciation for the "stupid" things some people do at times. If you were to pull over on the side of the freeway to fish in Southern California, people would think you were crazy and you'd most likely get a ticket. Here, if you don't pull over on the side of the freeway when the fishing is good, people think you're crazy. It's all a matter of perspective I suppose. I'll certainly think twice before I get mad at someone for being "stupid".

Fishing, camping and gardening are about all anyone in Alaska talks about during this time of year, so I didn't really put much thought into what these guys were fishing for. I opened up today's newpaper and there was a small write up on the front page about the hooligan running. Apparantly they fish for hooligan on Twentymile River where it empties into Turnagain Arm along the Seward Highway. Commonly called hooligan, eulachon are oily fish that were traditionally used as candles when dried and fitted with wicks. Until the 1900s, large groups of Native Alaskans gathered along rivers to dry the fish and extract their oil using simple presses. Today, they are important as a subsistence species and are frozen, dried, and smoked mostly for human consumption.

I came across a little visual of hooligan fishing for you all on YouTube. I think it's about 3 minutes long. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, I would at least suggest you watch the first 2 minutes. It's crazy how many fish they come up with in one quick scoop.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And The Winner Is...

This weekend, our homeowner's association hosted a chili cook-off. My dear husband is fairly competitive and it wasn't good enough for him to just show up to enjoy some chili, he wanted to compete. With a little help from his dad, who provided the recipe, Eric took home the blue ribbon. He actually took home something far better than a blue ribbon. He was awarded a $100 gift card to a local nursery/gift shop, called Bell's Nursery. There are a million and one things I would like to buy there, so I'm very excited about his winnings.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the winning chili wasn't just your ordinary, everyday, run of the mill chili. Eric's chili was caribou chili (compliments of his most recent trip to Adak) and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!! In the unlikely event you ever have some caribou you need to cook up, I'm sure Eric would be happy to share his award winning recipe with you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My New Best Friend

I know many of you will be happy to know that I now have a new best friend. My best friend is not a good listener, and is of few words. I even had to pay my best friend $40.00 to agree to be seen with me. I figure $40.00 is a small price to pay if my best friend has to save my life or the lives of any of my family members, so I willingly forked over the cash. As you've probably guessed, my new best friend isn't even human. It's Counter Assault Bear Deterrent!

During this time of year in Alaska, the locals swear by bear spray. I'm not yet convinced that we actually need it, but when it comes to bears and the safety of my family, I'm not going to be a nay-sayer. Before we go on a hike or even a walk in the neighborhood now, we grab the bear spray. We haven't seen a bear yet, but we did see three moose just off the trail we went hiking on this morning. We didn't bother them, they didn't bother us and we all went on our way.

Basically bear spray is a very strong pepper spray. Recent studies claim the spray is 98% effective against bear attacks. In theory, the spray has a range of 32 ft. and the canister can be emptied in 9.2 seconds. That's pretty crazy! I do admit, because I'm not convinced I will actually have a close encounter with a bear, I do feel silly carrying the spray while I'm on my walk. I figure many women carry pepper spray for other reasons, so I'm no better or worse.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How Do They Do It?

I often wonder how single parents do it. I certainly don't envy them. I am married, stay home and I still have a hard time keeping the house clean, laundry done, everyone fed, and the taxi in service.

I don't know how anyone does it when their children are in multiple activities. Both of the boys are playing Little League and just this one activity is quickly becoming overwhelming. Logan was drafted into the majors and Kaiden is on a minor team. We couldn't be fortunate enough to have practice for one kid on Mondays and Wednesdays and one kid on Tuesdays and Thursdays, no, we have practive for both kids on Mondays and Wednesdays at exactly the same time at two different places. Logan will actually have practice everyday this week and both boys have games at exactly the same time on Saturday, of course, at two separate locations. In between all of this, the boys still have homework, need to eat on occassion and Logan has to memorize The Gettysburg Address.

I know most, if not all, of you have had a similar experience with your kids or something else in your life. I'm not crying the blues or seeking sympathy, I'm really just wondering out loud (so to speak). I honestly don't get how single parents and parents with more than two kids do all that is required of a parent. My hat is off to them! I'm blessed to have the support of a husband and I'm smart enough not to over-schedule my children, but just the minimum can still be a lot to handle.

I will go on the record for just one moment and say that I don't get paid enough and I think I deserve a raise.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Pop of Color

We finally have a pop of color in one of our flower beds. I get so happy when I wake up in the morning, pull open the blinds, look out my kitchen window and see a little punch of color staring back up at me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

Our oldest son, Logan is just finishing fifth grade. Fifth grade has been an amazing learning experience. I feel like he has learned more this year than he has in any other single year of school. I of course understand that vitally important stuff has been taught to him each year he has been in school, but this year he has really learned a ton, particularly about U.S. history (and Shakespeare's works). He has memorized all of the states and their capitals, he has learned about the Revolutionary War, about Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail, he studied about life in the Colonial Days, did reports on a president (John Quincy Adams) and a state (Oregon), memorized the preamble to The Constitution, and they have just finished learning about the Civil War. As a matter of fact, Logan is currently pacing around the living room working on memorizing The Gettysburg Address. He's making me dizzy, but considering the fact that he has always been a kinesthetic learner, I'm not about to tell him to sit down.

I have never been required to memorize the Gettysburg Address, nor had a I ever read it all the way through, prior to Logan bringing it home. When I read it, it really struck a chord within me and the words were quite powerful. I don't want to get too deep and philosophical, but if you haven't ever read Lincolns' Gettysburg Address I thought you might find it worth your while (it's short):

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Kaiden's Birthday Wishlist

I have to post Kaiden's birthday wishlist for you all to see. As you review the list, keep in mind he will be turning 9 and he neglected to put the iPod he has also asked for on the list. For the sake of anticipation, I have listed his wishlist in descending order. Get a load of the number 1 item on his list!

5. Flat Screen TV

4. Snowboard

3. Ripstick

2. Bike

1. Temperpedic Mattress

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Simple Life

For the record, I am not one of those moms who claims she has only been to the mall twice since she's been in Alaska. I grew up loving the mall and I still love the mall. I'll admit that I don't go to the mall as often as I used to back home, but I do still go once or twice a month. If you don't go to the mall here, you are in and out of the same few stores over and over again. We buy our clothes at the same store we buy our toilet paper and deodorant at.

I don't think I realized how pathetic our shopping is here until recently. The boys' Little League season is starting and we had to go out and purchase a few items such as cleats, socks, sleeves, etc. There is really only one place to shop for said items and that would be at Sports Authority. If Sports Authority doesn't have the size, color, or style you need you better start looking online. Literally, when it comes to specialty type items, we have one store with only one location. We have one Sports Authority, one REI, one Pier One, one Toys R Us...I think you get the picture.

Aside from the lack of variety, I find that because competition is lacking here, prices are sometimes higher. For example, if you need baseball pants, socks, cleats, etc. you have to pay the price Sports Authority is charging. We don't have the luxury of going to the Chicks down the street or to Target (there's one coming soon though) to see if they have the same thing for a lower price. A dollar doesn't seem to buy much in this neck of the woods, but then again, where does it these days?

I do have to say that because we lack shopping variety, it has simplified our lives a bit. If we went to every store in town looking for a particular item, we would only have a handful to choose from. If the kids are looking for something special and we can't find it, we can't find it. Driving to another store isn't always an option. The kids know, if you see something you like at Wal-Mart nobody will care that you bought it at Wal-Mart, just buy it. We're all in the same boat.

The next time I call and ask you to go to the local store to see if they have something specific, please take pity on me. The amazing thing is, although there aren't many places to shop, I still manage to spend plenty of money. Go figure!!!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Proud Member of the Rocket Club

Yes, you read that right, you are reading the blog of one of the newest members of the Elton John Rocket Club! I want you to know that in the name of entertaining you all, I am putting my head on the chopping block. If my husband reads this and finds out I spent $40 of his hard earned money to join Elton John's fan club, I will never hear the end of it. Let's just hope he has been too busy to keep tabs on my blogging.

Before you think I'm totally off my rocker, let me plead my case. As I mentioned yesterday, Elton John is coming to town and his concert sold out quickly. Eric and I went online last night and as we can all imagine, ticket prices are already out of this world on Ebay. People are getting upwards of $500 for one ticket and are selling pairs for close to $3000. There is no way I'm even gonna' go there! Lucky for me, good ol' EJ decided to add another show, on May 30. Tickets will go on sale Monday morning.

Always being the one looking for another angle, I decided to check out to see if they offer any special way of getting pre-sale tickets. What I found was that if you pay $40 to join his fan club, you get the priviledge of purchasing pre-sale tickets to his concerts. The site claims that the tickets are generally quite good (my words, not theirs) and each member is limited to 2 tickets. According to the newspaper this morning, out of the 8,000 seats in the arena, about 1,000 are set aside for promotional purposes and fan club members. Considering that each member can only purchase 2 tickets, my chances of getting tickets as a member of the Elton John fan club could certainly be better than those of the general population.

I figure at a membership price of $40, if I am in fact able to purchase tickets, I will have only paid a mark-up of $20/ticket. That's a far more reasonable mark-up than what people on ebay are paying and a portion of my 40 bucks goes to charities that Elton John supports. If I don't get pre-sale tickets I'll probably be pissy for about a day, I'll swear at myself for throwing away $40, and I will have made a charitable contribution.

After carefully weighing my options I decided that I have spent $40 on worse causes and, if nothing else, the drama over these darn tickets has been worth my $40. Who knows, I may even walk away from this whole thing with 2 tickets to an Elton John concert in my hand. Then we'll see who's laughing! If nothing else, I'll have a great Elton John poster to hang somewhere in my house. Are you jealous yet?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sold Out

I was so excited when I read in the newspaper last week that Elton John was going to be in concert here in Anchorage. Elton John is one of those performers I have always wanted to see, but never thought I would get to, because tickets for his performances are always in such high demand. I remember growing up in So. Cal. thinking that if we lived in some out of the way place it would be so much easier to get the hot concert ticket. I discovered today just how wrong I was.

Tickets went on sale at 10:00 this morning for the concert on 5/28. I decided I wasn't going to wait in line with the rest of Anchorage. I was going to sit on my computer, waiting for the clock to strike 10:00 and I was going to be all over Ticketmaster's website. In my warped imagination, I was going to have tickets in my hand shortly after 10:00 and every fool who waited in line for hours would be jealous. Yeah, not so much!!!! I was on at 10:00, but I didn't stand a chance. For the next 45 minutes I sat at our computer typing in secret code words and clicking on the "back" link. For 45 minutes I received message after message informing me that there were no tickets available. In a last ditch effort I even called my dad in So. Cal. for their local Ticketmaster phone number so I could try getting tickets through them, but that didn't pan out for me either.

All of you living in a large metropolitan area can take comfort in knowing that even when you live in Timbuktu, when a big star comes to town, it suddenly becomes as populated as Los Angeles. As I type this today, I wasted 45 minutes of my life on and I still do not have Elton John tickets to show for it. Some neighbors and acquaintances I've talked to fared better than I did and some met the same fate. When it comes down to it though, I have to admit that I am pretty resourceful, so don't count me out just yet!

Baby Bear to Goldilocks...

As I've told you all before, adapting to the parenting lifestyle in Alaska as opposed to California has been quite a difficult transition for me. I have come to the conclusion that you can take the mom out of California, but you can't take California out of the mom. We went from living in a state where many parents are paranoid about child predators, to a state where parents are still paranoed about child predators, only the predators that they worry about here are moose and bears.

As our kids get older, in the name of independence, I have slowly been letting go and have been letting the kids venture a little beyond my personal comfort zone. The "letting go" is gradual though and I don't think we have ridiculous rules or restrictions for our children in the first place. I'll admit that I just can't find it within me to drop my 10 year old son off at the movies without an adult we know somewhere in the building. I know there will be a time very soon when dropping off will be a reality for me, but I'm not there yet. Maybe when Logan is 12 or 13, but not at 10. He still can't even remember our new phone number and address, SCARY!!!!

Although I won't drop Logan off at the movies, I have decided that it's time to allow Kaiden to wander up to the neighborhood park unattended on occassion. I can, after all, see the park from my kitchen window and could actually yell at or run to him very quickly if he was in danger. Regardless, letting him go up there alone is still out of my comfort zone. In an attempt to give myself a little more "control" with the situation, and a false sense of security, I have decided that if Kaiden and I use walkie talkies while he is at the park he can easily call me if there is danger (a moose, a bear, an accident, or a yucky person).

Considering that Kaiden is fairly paranoid by nature, he's okay with the whole walkie talkie idea. The first time he went to the park with friends we turned on the walkie talkies, talked about how to use them, and he was on his way. I figured I would keep my eye on hime while he was playing and I wouldn't hear from him again until he came back home. Well, I was wrong! He was just steps away from the house when over the speaker I hear..."Baby Bear to Goldilocks, come in Goldilocks, do you read me?" I about fell on the floor laughing! Where does that kid come up with these things? So now, on the occasion Kaiden wants to play at the park he knows the drill. He grabs the walkie talkie, walks out the door, and does a radio check, "Baby Bear to Goldilocks..."

If you can believe it, by all accounts, Kaiden is our more "difficult" child. He is also our more "unique" child and as such, he provides us with as much laughter as he does grief. As you can tell from the stories I share, I am grateful for his quirkiness even though he gives us a run for our money. I think my parents call it "pay back".