For a couple years now we have talked about getting some kind of off road vehicles but it just never has worked out. Until this year! The stars aligned and we were able to might the jump into the amazing world or ATVs!
We bought them with the thought of having this be our summer and so far it has worked out that way. The weather has been kind of weird the past few weekends but once we get all of our gear on we are plenty warm and don't even notice the wind.
The last two times we went out we took them to the Knik river. It is such a perfect place especially with kids! There is a lot of beach to ride on and explore but also forest with miles of trails to roam. We ended up letting the girls try steering the ATV this past weekend and they totally exceeded my expectations! They started out on the beach so that there weren't as many obstacles to dodge, this was great for building their confidence. After a while on the beach they were able to drive through the trails and honestly they handled it like pros. I'm so glad we let them drive, it not only made it more excited for them but it also helped build their confidence! Now they are sure they have to have their own ATVs haha. Maaaayyybe not yet!
We went back and forth for a long time trying to decide what we were going to buy. We looked at a Ranger Crew, two Rangers, two ATVs and just couldn't decide. After testing out a few options we decided going with a Ranger and an ATV would be best. It really has worked out perfect for us. Here is our pro list:
-two vehicles to drive in case one breaks down
-smaller trailer because it isn't two rangers
-with one Ranger we are able to put Wyatt's car seat in and Kate typically sits next to him buckled in (she also falls asleep just about every time we go out)
-ATV is a little more "extreme" of an experience for the girls
-Ranger has a bed for us to load up chairs, a cooler, kites etc. in.
-install a mountain grab bar on the ATV for the front kid to hold on to.
There are probably more but this is what I can think of right now!
This last weekend we took advantage of the fact that our Ranger has a bed. We took a big lunch, camping stove, kites and paints. It was so nice to be able to pull out the paints while we took a lunch break. The girls were so excited and entertained for the longest time! As an awesome perk I am going to collect them and store them in a big glass bowl/jar so that by the end of summer we have a beautiful colorful reminder of all the amazing things we did. I think it will be the perfect way to get through a long white winter.
I am so excited to share with y'all the new addition to our family. The Logitech Circle 2! This sleek home security camera really has it all and can be my eyes and ears either inside or outside. I am obsessed with it!
Every spring we Alaskans get to experience a unique aspect of life; moose will come into our yard and have babies. During this time we have to be very careful when we leave our house to avoid running into a protective mama and her calves. Thanks to Logitech I can safely check from my phone if they are in our yard before we walk out to the car. The Circle 2 has an amazing range of vision to capture the entire front yard and can even see at night. Connecting it to my phone was quick and simply, in about 5 minutes I had a live feed of everything Circle 2 could see or hear. This is going to be such a wonderful game changer for us.
The Circle 2 does not stop there though, it can also be hooked up in your house to be the eyes in the back of your head! We hooked ours up in the basement to check it out and were both surprised at the peace of mind it provided. While I was in the kitchen prepping dinner I could quickly check on the kids without having to leave what I was doing. Honestly, this was quite hilarious. My husband and I couldn't stop laughing while we watched them play and dance around. Right now Logitech is having a sale on the Circle 2 and I think I just might have to go grab another one to keep permanently down there.
In the picture on the right Kate is getting her work out on. Seriously, I have a feeling Circle 2 will provide hours of entertainment for me. These kids are so stinking funny!
In all seriousness though we will be homeschooling starting in the Fall and I can really see the Circle 2 being a great way to not only make sure they are being safe in the basement but that they are actually getting their work done. I know I will be down there with them most of the time I am teaching but as every busy mom knows we also have a million other things going on. While I run upstairs to put Wyatt down for a nap I can easily check on them to make sure they are making good decisions. But even if you are not a homeschooler, as parents, we all know there is no such thing as too safe. I am so grateful to be able to check in on the kids to make sure that everyone is safe and happy.
Don't forget to head back to my Instagram post and enter the giveaway or check out Logitech directly and pick up your very own Circle 2.
If you don't care to read my, possibly unpopular, truth stop now.
Ever since I shared that we were expecting a baby boy I have heard "aw, dad finally has his boy." Such a simple, innocent statement made time and time again by well meaning strangers. Though the truth is, it hurts. Worst than that it planted a seed in my mind that has been fostering some really negative feelings in me for the past 9 months.
"His boy" "His boy". What? Why is it "His boy". Why not "our boy"? I have heard this statement so many times that it has made me think that maybe Wyatt really is more my husband's, maybe he likes him more than me. Maybe they have a connection that I will never understand or be able to match. Maybe I will be old news sooner rather than later.
To top it off I had to stop nursing sooner than I would have liked. Whether I like it or not that severed a bond that wont ever be there again between Wyatt and I. Don't get me wrong, I know we have a different bond and that I am not less of a mother because he is formula fed. My husband can help with feeding Wyatt now which is both wonderful and sad. I am not his only source of life anymore. His father has a special place in his heart, mind and life. A place that once only I filled. Some times it doesn't phase me, I am filled with a sense of pure and complete love that I can't even imagine fading away.
But really, after looking through all the pictures, as we can all see, even if it is true, even if they have a bond I will never match, Wyatt is pretty lucky to be "His Boy".
I mean, really, look at the smolder...
As most of y'all know I was sick for about 3 months straight at the beginning of this year. It was exhausting to say the least. Once it was all behind me I couldn't wait to start refining my nutrition. nourished babe has been such a motivational and educational tool! Unlike most nutrition trackers it didn't put all the focus on the amount of calories you have eaten in a day. It is so much more than that! It focuses on the quality of the food you are consuming and helps you stay on track with vitamins and minerals. I have always struggled with drinking enough water. Some how I am always behind. (Maybe it is living in Alaska, I am cold so I don't want to drink more cold water...) nourished babe has my water intake front and center on the app allowing me to quickly and easily see if I have gotten enough water for the day.
Now, I did not know about this wonderful tracker while I was pregnant but I know it would be a huge blessing to any expecting or nursing mother! Nutrition is so incredibly important when you are growing and sustaining the life of your child. I read this on their website and it stopped me in my tracks:
44% of pregnant women do not reach key nutrition requirements during pregnancy. That’s a scary stat when you consider that nutrient deficiency can have lasting negative effects on health and wellbeing for both you and baby. We’re here to empower you on the journey of involved and impactful parenthood throughout every stage of baby’s development.
I am so proud to be working with a company that is striving to change this and create a better future not only for pregnant mother but for the wonderful babies they are carrying.
To get started on a healthier you is very simple, just go to the app store and download the nourished babe app, use invitation code NCL and you will be off and running!
I am very excited to share with y'all that if you download the app you will have the chance to win a $100 gift card to Pottery Barn Kids. The person that uses this app the most in the next 30 days will be the winner and nourished babe will contact you directly!
Let me know on my recent Instagram post if you are going to give it a shot, I would love to keep in touch and have some friends to help keep me accountable!
Ever since moving to Alaska I have been looking for some kind of bean sprouts or micro greens. Unfortunately they don't sell them in the store up here. Maybe it is weird of me but I would look just about every time I went in hopes that the all the sudden started carrying them. No such luck.
Now enter Hamama Greens.
I was so stoked to find their company and learn how I can easily grow my own! I'm pretty sure I did a happy dance right then and there when they arrived. They are so easy to grow and even my youngest daughter was able to help me set it up. (Check out my Instagram Hamama_Greens highlight to see how it is done)
The micro greens come in this really cool seed quilt, all you have to do is add water to the tray and watch them grow! It is so fun to watch them get bigger every day.
There are different greens you can choose from. We have tried a few and love them all! I seriously put them on everything! They are such a perfect topper and are packed with so much goodness.
To get started with your own mirco green goodness click here. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Since the beginning of January I have gotten strep 4 times and a stomach virus. This has meant a lot of time stuck in bed while my husband takes care of the kids. At first I'm not going to lie, being trapped in bed watching tv and sleeping whenever I felt like it was kind of nice. Weird, but nice. Then the days wore on and it happened again and again. As I am sure you can guess the "nice" wore off really quickly. My baby decided his Dad was his world, the girls learned to use the microwave, pack their own lunches, and even put themselves to bed. (insert my heart litterally breaking) The next huge change was not nursing Wyatt anymore. After going to the hospital once and almost landing there again it was very clear to us that nursing just wasn't an option anymore. It was r.o.u.g.h
BUT a surprising blessing came from it all.
I was blessed with the testimony that I love being a mother. I love being surrounded by my children no matter how messy, loud and overbearing they can be. I love that my life right now is spent raising them, loving them, and being immersed in their spirits. I love that I get to wake up every day and help them learn and grow. They teach me to be more patient, care free, flexible, protective, compassionate, and confident. Through teaching them I am learning to be the best version of myself that I can be.
Honestly, what an amazing and divine calling it is to be a mother. We are raising the next generation of adults. It is just amazing to me. I hope if you have lost that flame of excitement for motherhood you can take a step back for a moment and see the reality of your calling in life right now. I hope you can see those sweet faces of your children and remember that you are not just mom, you are their rock, they comfort, their support, and their haven. YOU are there to catch them when they fall, lift them when they struggle, and celebrate with them when they soar. You are not just mom, you are their world.
If you are a mom you probably know that a key component to finding a good hotel is whether or not they have a pool. My kids go NUTS over a pool. Maybe that is just because we live in Alaska, or many it is a universal kid fascination. This past weekend we went on a stay-cation to Seward and stayed at the Harbor 360 Hotel. We passed so many cool things on the drive, endless mountains, the ocean, wildlife, etc. but what did we hear the entire drive? "Can we go to the hotel now?!" "I want to swim" "Where is the hotel?!" Lucky for these kids they had a pool AND a hot tub. Basically everything we needed for a good weekend.
With our "big" family we have decided to start getting joining rooms instead of all cramming into one room. Perk for the parents is getting to watch tv or talk easily after the kids go to bed and perk for the kids is they feel awesome having their own room. Right when we got to our rooms the great freaked out because there was a dresser with "three drawers just like there are three of us!". I love that it is the little things about hotel living that kids get excited about.
In the past when we have gone to hotels we let the kids stay up late, eat snacks and watch a movie. This always sounds like such a great idea before-hand but by 11:00pm my husband and I are frustrated that the kids haven't "peacefully fallen asleep while cuddling each other".
We finally wised up, brought books with us and decided to treat bedtime like we do every night. Honestly, it made more of a difference than I was expecting. We all cuddled on the queen beds, read books, said a family prayer, tucked each of the kids in then my husband and I crept into the other room to have some adult time. When morning came the kids were refreshed, excited for the day and my husband and I had the energy we needed to be good parents.
Something else that I love about the Harbor 360 hotel is it's location, it is right on the water so when the kids get a little wild we can go out for a walk along the harbor and look at all the cool boats. The last time we were here we lucked out and got to watch an otter playing in the water about 20 feet in front of us.
The Harbor 360 isn't in "downtown" Seward which is something I really like. There are still plenty of things to do and places to eat but it feels a little more connected to nature. Not far from the hotel is a really great beach you can play at and find all kinds of cool sea life. Things like this are wonderful for families because it is free and you don't have to worry about your kids are being too crazy. Really it's a win win. If you are more into shops and indoor activites it is just a short drive to the heart of Seward where there are plenty of stores to walk around and a really nice Sea Life Center.
If you are planning a trip to Alaska or live in the area I would highly recommend planning a weekend trip to Seward and the Harbor 360 Hotel is a wonderful place to call home on your stay-cation.
Also, I am a sucker for murals and looks how amazing these two are on the outside of the hotel. Swoon!!
This post and our hotel stay was compensated by Harbor 360 Hotel but all opinions are mine.
This is our second year as Yukon Charlie’s ambassadors and it has been so rewarding seeing how much the girls have grown in just a year. Last year our 18 month old would try to walk in the snowshoes but she had a really hard time keeping up with sisters, this year she was trucking right along side of them!
With three little kids to get in and out of snowshoes it is really important for the process to go as smoothly as possible. The tightening system is so smart, with just one pull of the straps we can have their shoes secured to their feet! I always knew this was a great system but it wasn't until this week that I learned just now much it sets Yukon Charlie's apart from other brands. We went snowshoeing with my daughter's kindergarten class and my job was to help the kids get in and out of their shoes. The system on the school's shoes had three different straps you had to tighten like a belt buckle. After doing 25 pairs it was extremely clear to me how much easier Yukon Charlie's has made my life!
The other day my girls we out in the back yard to play and asked to have their snowshoes on. It was so funny to see the winter version of games they play in the summer. I was a little nervous that my 2 year old would get frustrated with her snowshoes but she had a blast and exceeded my expectations!
It didn’t take long for them to outlast me in the cold but even after I headed inside they happily played in the yard for a very long time. I had to laugh because at one point I looked out the window and my two year old had climbed, in her snowshoes, on top of her play house. I honestly would have never guessed that she would be that agile in snowshoes. Yukon Charlie’s has really done a wonderful job of making their youth snowshoes light, secure, and functional for even the youngest of snowshoers.
My husband and I have been using our Pro Series II snowshoes this year and they have really been great shoes. I have not had any problem with them slipping off my feet or loosening while walking and they have been light weight so I am able to easily run around with the kids while we are out. These shoes have the same fastening system as the kids shoes which is so helpful. I love being able to quickly pull the on and off while we are on the trail. As a hidden bonus the kids really love that we all have shoes that match.
We are far from extreme snowshoers but I am so grateful to have good shoes that allow our family to get out and enjoy winter in a new way.
I have big news for y'all. When you go snowshoeing with little kids they sometimes want to be entertained by more than just walking out in nature. What the heck, right! Okay, actually that isn't a surprise at all, just like when we go hiking we have to be prepared with an arsenal of fun games. Right now we are kind of in an interesting spot because our oldest is about to turn 6 but our youngest walker/hiker/snowshoer is only 2. They are not only on different levels skill and endurance wise but they are on different levels with games. At first this fact made me a little nervous but then I realized the wonderful side of it; our younger kids get to push themselves to hang with the older girls and the older girls get to be little for that much longer. Lucky y'all I have teamed up with Yukon Charlie's to spill the beans on our not so secret games we play while we are out snowshoeing. (can I get a whoop whoop)
1. Follow the leader: I know it sounds pretty basic but think about it, kids spend just about all of their day being told what to do and following adults around. When we notice that the kids are starting to get antsy we change up who is in charge. The kids get super excited to tell us what to do and where to go and we get to experience walking through trees and over bushes. (because I think it's in the kid rule book that you can't stay on the trail)
2. The Alphabet Game: That's right. the ever famous car game where you have to find something for each letter in the alphabet. This one is a favorite for our girls and honestly I like it to. You can make it as complex or simple as you want. Our two year old gets to just spout off anything that starts with a certain letter but our older ones have to think of things that apply to our category. When we are out we like to have it relate to what we are doing or seeing, this gives us a great opportunity to really pay attention and learn about what is around us.
3. Duck Duck Goose: Our kids are actually the ones that came up with this one and it has been a hit. It is a little hard to play with snowshoes on so this is a great game to play when you are at the half way point in your hike or if you can tell your kids need a little break. And really, what's better than "gently" tapping each other on the head then trying to tackle your sibling as they run away?
4. Contest time: Okay, maybe this isn't technically a "game" but it a one of my favorites. I think it is so fun to challenge the kids and see their competitive side come out. We will do silly things like who can jump the highest or run the fastest and the fact that we all have snowshoes on just makes these simple contests that much more funny. Seriously, next time you snowshoe with your kids have a jumping contest, I don't think you will be able to make it one round without busting up laughing.
So there you have it; a brief look into how the Murdocks keep their littles going even when they start to loose steam. These are not all the games that we have played while out on our adventures but they are definitely our go-tos. Snowshoeing is such a great way to explore during the winter and with the right tools your kids will love it just as much as you do.
So Wyatt still has a really hard time breathing in any kind of wind or in really cold air, for a while this slowed us down big time because we just simply couldn't take him outside. Make My Belly Fit swooped in and saved our winter; their BellyFit Zip-In Jacket Extender and the BabyCover Carrier Cover are two of the best baby products I have tried. I didn't have to buy new jackets or only wear certain jackets, they adapt to the jacket that I want to wear and keep Wyatt so warm & toasty.
The BellyFit jacket extender has become a go to for me. It zips in perfectly to my Columbia jacket and keeps Wyatt completely covered. Something that sets this extender apart from others is the fact that there is no weird hole to stick Wyatt's head through. I can either zip it part of the way and fold it down so he can see or I can zip it all the way up to shield him from the wind and give him extra warmth when he falls asleep. This extender can also be used during pregnancy. There are snaps on it so that you can cinch in certain areas so that it forms to your growing belly. I am not sure I will be testing out these features but it sounds like such a great idea and so perfect that it can seamlessly follow you from pregnancy to having your baby.
The second of their genius products is the BabyCover carrier cover. Let me get this straight, living in Alaska I have had MANY carrier covers. This one is unlike any I have used before though. It hooks to the straps of your carrier and has elastic on the sides so that you can cinch it around your baby, then on the outside of the cover there are clips to hold your jacket closed around your baby. It really is so stinking smart! I only wish I had this cover 5 years ago with my first.
I am so glad that I have had this opportunity to work with Make My Belly Fit and I am even more excited that I get to share my love with y'all through the giveaway on my Instagram page.