Wordless Wednesday – Gone Fishin’




PCS to Alaska Week 2.5

Last Friday marked the end of the second week of our PCS Journey from maine to Alaska. If you’re just joining us, my husband is active duty Coast Guard and after three years on the Maine/New Hampshire Seacoast, he has a new assignment at the Aids to Navigation Team at Kodiak Island, AK.

Click here to see the highlights from Week 1. You can also follow our trip on my Instagram , Twitter, and Facebook, or by searching the hashtags #movingtoalaska and #militaryfamily.

Week 2

Week two was mostly spent in or traveling from Wisconsin where we stayed with my husband’s parents. At the end of Week 2, we got to meet the lovely Kym and Phillip and their two boys at their home in South Dakota. Kym writes at Our Crazy Corner of the World, and is a lovely, compassionate advocate for natural parenting, specifically baby friendly birth and breastfeeding.

Kym is incredibly sweet and we got along just like we thought we would: excellently, like we’d known each other forever. It was so kind of Kym to invite us to stay with her on our journey, and staying at her house was so comfortable and fun. The kids had playmates, Jed and I had a relaxing time, and we enjoyed being tourists at Mt. Rushmore, too.




We also had a chance to go sluicing in a sluice pan at the Rushmore Cave, and separated some stones from the dirt. Abbey had a great time sorting them and sharing them with Kym’s son, Andrew.


Andrew and Abbey loved each other so much, they decided they were brother and sister. So cute.


After our adventures and relaxation in South Dakota, we enjoyed camping near Yellowstone National Park in Montana. We camped for two nights, and on our first day, we hiked up to Pine Creek Falls, a beautiful 1 mile hike to a fantastic waterfall in the woods.

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On our second day near Yellowstone, we visited the National Park, seeing the Mamouth Hot Springs, Norris Geysers, and even the famous Old Faithful Geyser (though we had to wait over an hour for it to go off! Maybe faithful, but not timely! haha!).

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For more fun from our trip to Yellowstone (including some great close encounters with wildlife!), check out our PCS to Alaska Week 3.


Wordless Wednesday

Abbey and her new friend. LOVE.

and courtesy of Shannon at Pineapples and Artichokes:

Joe and his new little “buddy”

Mamatography Week 23: On the road.

We are currently moving from Kittery, Maine to Kodiak, Alaska for my husband’s US Coast Guard Assignment.

Some highlights from our trip this week:


Packing Up (Maine)



Hotel Room Hide and Seek (New Jersey)


Coolest Kids at Sesame Place (Pennsylvania)


Daddy and Daughter Amusement Park Navigation (PA)


Vacation Hydration (PA)


“ONE little blonde child, TWO leetle blonde cheeldren. Mua haha!”


Elmo’s Rocket Roller Coaster! Kids loved this one!


Joe was really into the sand, not so into the hanging “bag maze”




Abbey and Nana Playing before bed (WI) Special Effect is from the ToonCamera App.


Daddy and Joe relaxing after a long day at the Mall of America (Wisconsin/MN)




Leinenkrugel’s Brewery in Wisconsin.

More pictures of the brewery and Amish Country WI on my flickr page.

That was our week, moving through the United States on our way to Alaska! How was yours?



Our PCS: Maine to Alaska – Week 1


Today marks the beginning of the second week of our Permanent Change of Station (PCS) journey from Maine to Kodiak, Alaska for my husband’s new US Coast Guard assignment. Since we have two little ones with us and are doing a partial DIY move (meaning we are transporting a certain portion of our own clothing, children’s toys, gear, etc), we are taking our time going across the United States to meet our ferry that will take us to Alaska.


Last Friday, we checked out of our 3 bedroom unit at the privately managed Navy Housing neighborhood in Maine (good riddance to that place!) and headed to New Jersey to ship our Volkswagen Jetta. That experience was super-stressful: Being in separate cars, and fighting against the clock, since the car had to be at the shipping center by 4:00 EST, I told Hubs to go ahead of me and try to get there as soon as possible. His GPS ended up taking him a really roundabout way, but he still got there faster than I and the kids did.

After driving for 4 hours from Maine to Connecticut, Abbey, Joe, and I ended up stuck on the George Washington Bridge from CT through NYC to NJ for . . . get this. . . 3 hours. After we finally got through the mess, we found the culprits: three stalled cars and an accident.

I had to pee so badly, Abbey was getting more and more hungry for dinner, and Joseph, an hour and a half into the giant traffic jam, had a poopy diaper. It was awful. To make things worse, my phone ran out of battery, and I was under the assumption that Hubs had taken my cell phone charger into his car, so I turned off the phone when it got to 1% battery to conserve something should I need to make an emergency call.

After 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours, of driving 10 miles per hour on the bridge, we finally got to the Edison Rest Stop in NJ, used the restrooms, stretched our legs, and I got dinner for the kids. Hubs met us there after I turned my phone back on and called him, but he was really worried that we had gotten into an accident or hurt in some way because he couldn’t get ahold of us on my phone. Then the best news of all: The POV (Privately Owned Vehicle Processing Center) wouldn’t take our Jetta until Monday morning.

After driving all the way to NJ in a day, especially through all the ridiculous traffic jams, we were pretty upset. But we just went ahead with our plan to visit Sesame Place, an hour away from the POV center, in Pennsylvania, and tried to put the stressful first day of our trip behind us.



Like I posted the last week of our residence in Maine, the Silly Bears had actually been doing reasonably well emotionally and behaviorally with packing our house up, leaving our friends, and staying in a hotel.

But when we went from staying in the Navy Hotel (which was amazing) to sleeping in the civilian hotels, and doing more driving than playing, we started to lose control of Abbey’s emotions and her potty language and baby-talk started to get really heavy and frustrating. In addition, she was starting to act out, and Joseph was following suit.

Despite our frustrations with behavior, and trying so hard to keep Abbey and Joseph’s experience as normal and calm as we could, we really did have a lovely time at Sesame Place.

It was just as we expected: expensive inside (for food and toys, etc) but also very accommodating and super fun for the kids and for us. We enjoyed the Elmo’s World section the best, riding the Peek-A-Bug ride several times, and Hubs and Abbey enjoying the swings multiple times while Joseph and i repeatedly rode the Elmo’s Flying Fish ride.

We also enjoyed the wet attractions – the splash pads were awesome, and there were several, so there was plenty of room for all of the children and parents to enjoy their day without feeling crowded. Joseph really enjoyed waiting and waiting and waiting for the water jets to pop up. . . and then giggling when the cool water would splash up like a geyser. Abbey enjoyed the splash pad immensely as well. She liked practicing swimming in the deepest section of the water (which was only about a foot and a half) and was excited to do the water slide, although we only did that once because the wait in line was just short of traumatizing for both of the Silly Bears (and us parents!)


Joseph and Abbey both did well, no outbursts or tantrums, even without a usual nap time. Joseph did take a nap on Hubs’ lap during the Big Bird’s Rambling River ride, and they both slept well and deeply that night. After a fun day of Sesame Place family time, I put the kids to bed and took Hubs’ laptop to the lobby to work on my college coursework.


Monday, we succeeded in processing the Jetta for transport, but the morning was not void of stress – Abbey was again acting out and we spent two hours trying to navigate New Jersey. Did you know that they don’t have regular interstates at all? If you miss an entrance or exit, you’re going to end up paying an extra toll to get where you need to go. . . and a U-Turn could cost you multiple dollars. Without service roads or any left turns to speak of, navigating Edison, NJ was so frustrating. When we finally made it to Ohio that night at around 10:00 after stopping for food and bathroom needs on our road trip, we were so vey relieved to get the kids to bed and get some rest!


Tuesday, we decided to drive all day again to get to Jed’s parents’ (Nana and Papa’s) house so that we could rest, relax, and eat non fast food. We succeeded: Let’s just say, thank you Steve Jobs for developing the amazing iPhone and iPad. The kids enjoyed Tozzle puzzles, Cake Doodle, and other toddler and preschooler games while we drove. Other activities included singing songs, coloring (although that turned into coloring skin and eating markers, so. . . yeah), and watching movies. And car naps.


. . . and. . . we made it! Just in time to bathe the kiddos and get them to sleep.


We have been resting and recouping our strength and patience for the second leg of our trip. We’ll be here in Wisconsin at Nana and Papas for another week, and then we’ll head out again, freshly rested and re-ornganized and re-energized.

Or that’s the plan. . .

Keep up with our travels on Instagram with the hashtags #movingtoalaska and #militaryfamily and check back here for updates and reflections on our cross country military move. Thanks to all of you for your support – I truly enjoy sharing our lives with you, and love getting feedback and questions or comments from my readers and fellow parents and military family members.


Mamatography 2012- September Week 1

This week started out with a “last hurrah” of sorts. We broke out the inflatable water slide that we inherited from friends of ours for one last summertime extravaganza with friends over Labor Day Weekend. Here’s Joseph manning one of the squirt guns, and a friend of ours in the background striking a not-so-flattering pose as Hubs jokingly aimed a football at him. Ah, fun times!

Abbey and her friend Abbi warmed up in towels between playing on the water slide and at the park.

After our labor day fun, I got back to work, sewing a custom order of ReUsable Sandwich Bags for a friend.

I really enjoyed making them, and I she was impressed with my workmanship and my lovely woven labels that came in over the weekend! “So professional!” she beamed.

Well, I hardly would call myself a professional because I have a lot of work ahead of me if I’m actually going to succeed at having a Handmade Store, but if I’m going to do Silly Bear Handmade, I’m going to do it right. And labeling goods meant for children appropriately  is a must!

Then on Tuesday, I got a super awful allergy attack. Headaches, drainage, red, leaky eyes – the works!

Yay for a change of season! (said no allergy sufferer ever).

Everybody in the family then caught a cold. So, it’s been a lot of sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and nose-blowing around here.

But, I still had a baby shower BBQ to plan and prepare for for our friends this week. So, I got to work cutting out a zillion (ok, maybe just under a hundred) tiny paper onesies and embellishing them with nautical themed embroideries (I made them embroidering directly onto water soluble stabilizer and then glued them onto the paper). I was not feeling well (still feeling crappy as I write this!) but when you’re a busy mama, the show must go on!

I made a couple lines of pennants in orange blue and white (Coast Guard colors) and went with a loose interpretation of my friends’ Nautical baby theme for the party prep.

I think the Pirate Baby “Ne’er Say Baby” game was a HIT and a fun touch.

But my favorite creation by far was the “Wishes for Baby” cards that I made. They turned out super cute, and I think the idea is so sweet. Everyone at the party filled one out and I hope that my friends (who are expecting their second baby, a little boy) really enjoyed reading them.

And last but certainly not least this week are the nautical jello cups that I made for the party.

The kids LOVED them, and I have to say, they came out pretty cute! This was another Pinterest Success! (I also found the idea for the “Wishes For Baby” cards on Pinterest and pinned them to my boards).

Other happenings for this past week included Abbey’s second week of full time preschool at the CDC, watching President Obama’s Nomination Acceptance speech at the DNC with the Hubs, and chatting with my parents not once but twice over the phone (I think I may miss them a little, huh?)

Next week, I celebrate my 25th birthday, am attending the Ombudsman Appreciation Dinner on base, and will have to say goodbye to Hubs as he prepares to go Underway again soon.

But more about next week – next week. This week, let’s relish in the amazing-ness that is JELLO.


That was our week. How was YOURS?


Wordless Wednesday – Reconnecting

This week, we had the pleasure of visiting with a wonderful mama and her 6 (going on 7!) beautiful children. Abbey and Joseph played with them at this nearby park for hours. Hubs doesn’t understand how someone can have seven children, but they are all so creative, loving, and fun, and Abbey and Joe adore them. I just love this family, and have missed them so much while they have been living too far away to visit on a regular basis. We’re so very happy that they will be living less than an hour away now! M. is one of those friends that I know is true, loving, and authentic, and I can’t wait to have another get-together!

Mamatography – August 2012 Week 2

This post is part of Mamatography 2012, a project hosted by Diary of a First Child. The goal is to document the entire year of 2012 in photos. Paired with my participation in fellow Coast Guard Wife Courtney Kirkland‘s photography tutorials and projects, I am definitely learning more about my camera, my photos, & my kids, and I’ll have plenty of great photos to document 2012. Please visit the links at the bottom of my post to see other Mamatography posts! And if you are participating in Mamatography, click on over to the BLOG HOP going on at Diary of a First Child and join in!

           This past Monday, we enjoyed some time at the beach after my Co-Ombudsman and I facilitated the TAHOMA Morale Picnic at a local state park. Joseph and Abbey really enjoyed exploring the beach – Joseph and I played together, throwing rocks in the water and watching and listening to them *PLOP* and Abbey and daddy went on an exploration of the rocks and boulders.

We also spent plenty of time at our regular park beside our housing unit.

But. . . back to the BEACH: I can’t believe we spent as long there as we did, especially after a long day at the TAHOMA Picnic. I was exhausted after helping the Morale officer run the event, so to have relaxing time at the beach was so refreshing!

We ALL had a great time, including Raven! She was SO happy!

This week otherwise was pretty eventless – just a normal week in the Willa house! I made my “Veggieful” Spaghetti Sauce again for dinner and it was a HIT (as always). It’s amazing what FRESH ingredients can do for a meal! I love the picture I snapped of Joe after stuffing his face with Veggieful spaghetti. He is getting so big and his mannerisms are so wonderfully hilarious!

I spent most of my non-mothering (erm. . . nap and bed times) sewing.

I finished Abbey’s blackout curtains and documented my process and pattern for a tutorial. I was very pleased with how her curtains turned out! Picture next week!

I also sewed up an embroidered fairy diaper for a neighbor’s little girl. I’m making my final adjustments for a NEW Silly Bear Handmade pocket diaper – and the testers will be open for purchase via my Etsy shop at the end of the month. The new pocket diapers feature a front and back flap opening so that the soaker insert will agitate out in the wash (no need to pull out icky inserts pre-wash!) They will be available in sized (NB-XL) increments and OS (one-size) variations, and the soakers are super absorbent and quick dry. 

I love my AIO (all-in-one) diapers with a sewn in soaker for the convenience of not having to stuff inserts, but these pockets dry so much faster and absorb so well. My beautiful diaper model London went 6 hours in this fairy embroidered pocket diaper and pooped in it without wicking or leaks. I was so happy when her mom reported an excellent review (with a couple suggestions to help the pattern fit chunky babes more comfortably). 



That was our week. . . . how was YOURS?

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year! If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.

Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!


Mamatography Week 26

This post is part of Mamatography 2012, a project hosted by Diary of a First Child. The goal is to document the entire year of 2012 in photos. Paired with my participation in fellow Coast Guard Wife Courtney Kirkland‘s 52 Faces project and her Move to Manual series, I am definitely learning more about my camera, my photos, & my kids, and I’ll have plenty of great photos to document 2012. Please visit the links at the bottom of my post to see other Mamatography posts! And if you are participating in Mamatography, click on over to the BLOG HOP going on at Diary of a First Child and join in!

It’s definitely summer! We’ve been having HOT and HUMID temps here in Maine.
LOVING the backyard – pool, sprinkler, sandbox, garden. .  we’re good!
Joe went up and down his very own “water slide” over and over and over.
Abs, talking to daddy about SOMETHING. Note the silly, stubborn look. Love.
A great (erm. . . lucky?) shot of Abbey jumping from the climber into the sprinkler.
Um, little Silly Bear. . . could you get ANY more gorgeous?
(This was one of my really good shots of this week. SLR-ariffic!)
 Our veggie and fruit garden is growing well. Jed and I had the kids help mulch our front and back gardens this week. I have one “garden salsa” hot pepper that’s already 5 inches long. Almost time to harvest that sucker! And other peppers coming along. . . and our pumpkin plant is doing AWESOME.
 Raven – enjoying the sunny afternoon on the porch
 Our Pumpkin Plant. Seeded into the lawn and won’t let go. It’s going great. Anyone have tips on how to really get a good harvest or help the pumpkins grow?
 Again, little Silly Bear . . . you’re TOO CUTE.
Looking forward to many more sprinkler-joy filled afternoons this summer!!!!!
I used to LOVE playing in the sprinkler with my big brother when I was little. I’m going to have to fish out some good pics of those times . . . maybe in the next couple weeks.
That was our week. How was yours!?

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year! If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.

Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!







Wordless Wednesday

Abbey has been so active and imaginative lately. . .
here, she is singing “Rumor Has It” while playing in the sprinkler with Joe