Tuesday, January 24, 2012

She walks!

Hazel finally learned to walk! Following in her brother and sister’s “footsteps,” she learned to walk at 15 months. But with the other two, I don’t remember being quite as eager for them to reach this milestone. I knew they’d walk eventually and that they were easier to catch when they were less mobile. Plus, walking late means being old enough to understand a lot and follow basic directions, further helping them stay out of trouble. This time around, with another baby coming so soon, I was really eager for Hazel to hit this big milestone and move from babyhood into toddlerhood so I would feel like it really was time for a new baby. Thank you, Hazel, for pulling through for me. Just in the nick of time—I have just a month and a half left! My tiny girl is now officially a toddler. I love watching her toddle around in that darling, wide-legged, shaky on her feet stance.

For a few weeks, she had been able to take 3 or 4 steps at a time if she really felt like it, but she didn’t usually feel like it. Her favorite time for walking practice was family scripture study or family home evening, when she had a good, supportive audience gathered together. We’d say the opening prayer and start to read, and Hazel would completely divert our attention away from reverently sitting and focusing on the scriptures over to her while she practiced standing and walking amid excited cheers. January 17 was the big breakthrough night for her, when she picked up her favorite blanket (also following her siblings footsteps, she is a total blanket baby and showed clear favoritism months ago for one Aunt Nancy knitted) for security, I guess, and started to walk all around the room. Despite how much the blanket kept tripping her up, she insisted on dragging it around with her. I really try to keep the blanket in her bed, but her siblings are such softies when she wants it!

Hazel can walk if she gets LOADS of attention for it!

The next morning, Hazel was scooting around as usual (for the record, she could do a normal crawl, but she is somehow faster at the Elodie scoot and normally used that as her means of transportation) and I said, “Hazel, can you stand up and walk?!” She looked right at me and did her all done sign. I guess I wasn’t enough of an audience for her. Gradually, every day since then, she’s walked around more and more and now walking is her main way of getting around. Except for stairs, when the feet first, belly slide is by far the fastest (and safest) way to go.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Extreme Alaska

Since Christmas, we’ve only had the full three hour block of Church once. Here’s our stake’s policy for extreme cold temps: if it’s between 30 below and 40 below, you only have two hour church, consisting of sacrament meeting and Relief Society/Priesthood; if it’s 40 below or colder, you only have sacrament meeting and you are encouraged to use wisdom in making the decision about leaving your house. Yesterday we just had sacrament meeting. About half of the people left their cars running, including us. Yes, we just left our car idling in the parking lot for an hour and a half. It seems so weird to me. Xander was pretty worried that we would run out of gas by doing that, but Aaron was more concerned about the car not starting after sitting at 40 below for an hour and a half, even if it was plugged in. When I said something about the waste of gas, Aaron said it was merely using gas, not wasting gas, all in the name of protecting our car from various parts freezing and cracking and costing us loads of money.

I must say, his concerns were valid. Just the day before, Aaron was stuck in Fairbanks where it was 45 below (and yes, these are just straight temps, wind chill not factored in) and although the car was plugged in and we winterized our car by installing heaters on everything that can be heated, the Beast would not start. Apparently it didn’t like sitting outside in longterm parking at the airport for 3 days. Gratefully, he was blessed with an angel of mercy who gave a jumpstart, and gratefully, the Beast came to life with the jumpstart which means the gas hadn’t frozen yet. Phew. And hooray for our heated garage so this is not normally an issue!

We came up to the Last Frontier for adventure, and I guess this is the adventure of surviving an Alaskan winter!

ice worm

We watched a show on Netflix called Extreme Alaska about Denali National Park. The tidbit I found the most fascinating was the one animal that can survive living in a glacier. It’s called the ice worm, and it thrives at below zero temps. In fact, it actually melts if it ever gets to 40 degrees. To that little worm, 40 above is extreme heat! Pretty wild! Alaska is definitely extreme, but hey, so is my husband. It’s a match made in heaven.