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Ice-Simmons Family

Are We Ready for Another Baby Already?

Our original plan was to have a lot of kids, between 7 and 10, to be exact.  Along the way, our plans changed for reasons beyond our control.

But, old habits die hard!  Lately, we’ve been talking about the possibility of having another baby.  Watch the video below to see what we decided (with loud illustrations)!

If you don’t see the video below, click here to watch the video.  Want more of my videos? Check me out at SimDanelle.com and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

A Block of Curly Fries

Danelle Ice at the 2011 Tanana Valley State Fair

Yes, folks, that is indeed a block of curly fries!  The Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks, Alaska did a few things that I will miss.  For instance, I’ll miss sticking my plastic fork in a block (or brick, whichever sounds more appetizing to you) of greasy, deep fried French fries.

This picture of me was taken at the fair in August 2011, our last fair in Alaska. 

It’s in the shape of a block because that’s how they fry it- in a rectangular basket which holds just enough curly fries for a serving (but really feeds about 2 people).  They pull the cage out of the fryer, tip it out onto a plate, smother it in cheese sauce, and stick a fork in it!

Bad for the health, but as SpongeBob says, “It’s good for your soul!”…

Her Feet, My Feet: Seven and Mommy in the Alaska Autumn

My Seven was barely old enough to walk around with shoes on when I shot this beautiful photo.  It shows both of our feet in the autumn grass in our old home, Alaska, just as the leaves were starting to fall.  Her tiny pink princess shoes are so small that they barely stick out from under her pant legs!

Since then, they’ve become personal snapshots of our relationship together – these quick photos of our feet together when we happen to be doing something new.

Her Feet, My Feet: Seven and Mommy in the Alaska Autumn

Seven Ice-Simmons and Danelle Ice

Her Feet, My Feet: Seven and Mommy in the Alaska Autumn is linked to Delightfully Inspiring, Wordless Wednesday, 5 Minutes 4 Mom, A Renaissance Woman, A Work in Progress, Barefoot MahalaBe There 2 Day, Brookie’s Baby Bargains, Busy Working Mama, By Word of Mouth, Carrie with Children, Crazy About My Baybah, Create with JoyFrugal Plus, Frugality is FreeGaynycdad, In Him We LiveJaMonkey, Kibitz SpotLetters From Momma, Making Mama Happy, Mama to 4 Blessings, Mom Caboodle, Mom’s Own Words, My Thoughts and RamblingsNYC Single Mom, One Smiley Monkey, Parenting by Dummies, Princesscj HavenSakura haruka, Shasher’s LifeTerri’s Little Haven, Thriving Despite Us, Toronto Teacher Mom, Tots and Me,

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my wedding anniversary, and I’m so thankful to be married to my wonderful husband, Michael Simmons!  Back then, we were a couple of crazy kids in Las Vegas…

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…getting married on the busiest wedding day that town has ever known.

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The years went by.  We had babies, we lost babies, we gained weight, we lost weight, we gained jobs, we lost jobs…

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…but we never lost each other.  Happy anniversary, Flash!  I love you forever!

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From Frozen Years to Golden Years: Leaving Alaska {Part 4}

If you missed the first part of our leaving Alaska moving story, go read it here first:

Frugal Flights

I’m almost always frugal, even when it was time for us to move.  We had originally planned to use our Alaska Airlines miles for free plane tickets and had enough for all 5 of our tickets to be completely free.  That would cost 62,500 airline miles, and we had plenty – or so I thought.

It turns out that when Michael had to fly to Seattle last minute for the job interview that didn’t work out, we had to spend 40,000 of our miles on that 1 ticket!  On top of that, all the flight prices had gone up from 12,500 for a 1-way ticket to 25,000 and more, and none of the flights for cheap miles had seats together.  This was a problem, of course, because on booked solid flights with 1 member of our family in each of 5 rows, I’m sure strangers would not want to take care of our children the whole flight!

Our diminished miles account meant we’d have to buy miles or fly at a time when no one else wanted to go, including an overnight layover in the Seattle airport. 

If we went the layover route, we’d be traveling with 3 children 4 years and younger and keeping them up past their bedtime in the airport with limited sleep and a very disrupted routine.  Indeed, we would have the kids in the airport from 9pm until 6am the next morning. 

My husband tried to discourage me from making this frugal flight choice because of our own sanity!  I knew it would be a very stressful and difficult night of flying by stretching it out overnight.  However, paying for the upgraded tickets would have cost us an extra almost $1,000. 

I asked my husband very seriously if he could make it through the night in the airport (without resenting me for the choice) so that we wouldn’t have to buy $1,000 worth of miles.  He finally decided he could do it, and we both agreed it would be hard, but that we’d rather have the $1,000 to spend on things for our new home in California than for 1 night of flying.

My flight plans worked, and we had 5 airline tickets which didn’t cost us anything… We’d be flying 5 people from Alaska to California completely FREE! 

Frugal Shipping – In Luggage

One of the huge perks of our mileage plan was that each ticketed passenger could have 2 suitcases, a carry on and a personal item.  This would give us a total of 10 suitcases and 10 carry ons which we could use to ship our belongings for free!  Plus, we could bring each child’s car seat on the plane with us for free, as well as gate checking our double stroller for free.

I laid out all the suitcases and carry ons and started packing.  My plan was to fill them up first, then ship the rest of our items through the mail in small shipping boxes.

Here is what my setup looked like in what used to be our dining room:

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I had to have enough baby food, diapers, formula, and snacks to get us through an entire night in the airport.  Plus, I had to have blankets and pillows for each kid to sleep in the airport floor.  Those items alone took up a lot of valuable space in our luggage!

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Since we didn’t know which carry ons would end up by which adult, we decided to put two diapers of each size in the front zipper pouch of every carry on (as you can see in the front of the pink polka dotted bag below).  That way, we would have diapers nearby no matter where the bags ended up.

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I arranged the suitcases in the floor in sections: suitcases to the left, carry ons to the right.  Each suitcase was labeled with a family member’s name on the outside so that we’d be able to find items we needed easily when we arrived.

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Did I mention that the suitcases didn’t all fit in that 1 room?  I had to continue them over toward the bathroom too (below)!

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At the end, I ran out of room and had to downsize some of the kids’ clothes that I thought would be too warm for California.  I also took out some of the blankets and shipped them instead.  Of all the things I did in those last few days, I wish I had found a way to bring all those blankets.  It ended up being FREEZING  in the airport and very hard to sleep on that cold, cold floor.

Don’t worry – I took pictures of us trying to move all those suitcases and even us camping out in the airport!  You’ll see those and more in part 5 of From Frozen Years to Golden Years: Leaving Alaska.