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Ice-Simmons Family

Goodbye, Chasteens & Welcome Home!

Chasteens 12-16-11 (4)-HEAOur best friends, Barb and Jerry Chasteen, were lucky enough to get transferred out of Alaska last month and back down to the states.  They’re in Wisconsin now and boy are they happy!  We got to have them over a few times for coffee and dinner while they were packing to leave, and the kids were so glad to spend time with their 2 little ones.

Pictured above, left-right: Michael Simmons, Danelle Ice, Barb Chasteen, Jerry Chasteen.

Barb blogs over at The Forever Neighbor and it was actually through our blogs that we met before Barb came to Alaska 2 years ago. 

Now, we can’t imagine life not knowing them.  They’re godparents to our children and our best friends in the whole world!

A few weeks ago, Truett got to play Scrabble Junior with the kids:

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And, of course, we got the “goodbye” group photos:

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We can’t wait to go visit them during our RV trek across the country!

Snapshot of Our Life: 40 Below, Temperature Low

It’s the daily life that gets lost and forgotten over the years.  I want to remember these in-between times, not only for the little memories that might not seem significant now, but to be able to have these stories to share with our kids in the years to come.

Some days blogging is hard.  Some days living is hard.  Some days all you can blog about is what you see around you.  That is the snapshot of our life.

Snapshot of Our Life: January 16, 2012

Where are we?  We’re living in Fairbanks, Alaska in the first house we ever bought.  We are moving away and planning to sell the house soon.

What is the temperature?   The temperature in Fairbanks is 40 below zero today.  It’s been between 35 below and 50 below for weeks straight.  I’m cold and I just want it to warm up.   It’s cold and dark every single day…  Every morning we all guess the temperature before we check it.  Truett sings a song called “40 below, temperature low”.  You guessed it- those are the only words in the song!

I took a picture of the thermometer on our front porch yesterday.  It’s hard to see through the snow and ice fog:

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What did I do today?  Today was a holiday (MLK day) so most businesses were closed.  We stayed home and I posted items for sale on Craigslist to get ready for our move.  Grandma Carolyn (Flash’s mom) came over to visit tonight and bring Seven a birthday present.  Here I am with the kids (time for a touch up on the old roots, I know!).   Dnld b 1-13-12 122


How am I feeling today?  I feel down today.  There are only 4 hours of daylight each day and I’m really feeling the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this winter.  I’m tired and not feeling well.  Plus, we called Hannah today and that always makes things a little sadder… lots of crying.  She dumped us.  She dumped our family.  Dnld 1-16-12 004-sml

Poor little Truett talked to her tonight too.  He asked Hannah why she didn’t have a “date” with him.  He used to ask her on a date, which to him meant she would walk down the hallway with him, holding hands, and play a board game together in his room.  The last time he asked her (the week before she left us), she told him no.

After we got off the phone tonight he cried and cried in his room and asked me why she didn’t want to come back.  He asked me why she didn’t want to be part of our family anymore.   He’s still crying in his bed now, and it’s been 2 hours since we hung up.

What does our living room look like?  The floor cushions get reconfigured every day for loads of fun (today they were just for sitting, but some days they are a train track, some days they’re stacked up into “stairs” for climbing).  The supergate around the perimeter still keeps the babies from messing with the baseboard heaters.

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What did the kids do today?  They visited with Grandma when she came over.  Seven opened her presents (a shirt, glittery skirt, and super fancy dress) and modeled them all for us!  Truett was wearing his Scooby Doo shirt for the second day in a row.  We should have just bought him 7 Scooby shirts and left the wardrobe at that!

Prynne is trying to walk.  She stands up with her toy stroller and pushes it along, walking while holding on across the whole living room.  Prynne also “drives her car”, or walks in her walker in the kitchen.  Unfortunately for our cabinets, she can only drive in reverse!

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Seven is daring and practices her balance and somersaults, even on uneven ground.  I love those polka dotted tights!  They’re so cute I wish she could wear them every day!  The windows are also completely iced up, which is why you can see towels in every window sill.  Seven’s talking is better every day.  Her favorite sayings are, “Hep you,  Daddy”, “ope it peese” (open it please),  and “meeeeeee?!?!”

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All three of the kids are able to play together now.  It’s fascinating to watch.  Today, all 3 were playing in the toy tent:

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What is planned for tomorrow?  I plan to get up early and pray a little harder.  A little hard work and prayer never hurt anyone!

Prynne’s First Haircut – The Last First

So many milestones are emotional for us parents but really won’t mean anything to our kids until they’re grown up.  My youngest baby, my almost-1-year-old Prynne, just got her first haircut. 

This event wasn’t something I got emotional about for the other kids, but Prynne is bringing up the end of the parade as the last baby in the family.  Therefore, her first haircut is the last first haircut there will be… until grandkids, that is.


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Prynne still doesn’t have much hair, since she’s only 11 months old.  However, she had grown hair to a point down the center of her forehead which made her look like Kenickie from the movie Grease!  Clearly, it was time for Prynne’s first haircut.

I took on the huge project of the 1-snip baby bangs trim!  I combed her hair point together:

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Next, daddy took pictures while I made the first and last snip of the baby haircut:

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With her greaser hairstyle gone and baby bangs finally where they belonged, we jazzed up her hairdo with a pretty pink headband!Prynne's First Haircut 1-2-12 (9)-HEA

Ta Da!  Prynne shows off her new bangs for the camera!

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Of course, Prynne took the headband off right after we snapped the pictures, but now she has bangs and not mis-matched hair lengths growing at different speeds!  And now that the last first haircut is behind us, we’re dreading the emotions of the last first birthday next month!

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Prynne’s First Haircut: The last First is linked to 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, Saving with SaveOne, Shasher’s LifeTerri’s Little Haven, Thriving Despite Us, Toronto Teacher Mom, and Tots and Me.

{Mobile Lifestyle} There’s No Place Like Home, But…

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There’s No Place Like Home, But…

The saying goes that there’s no place like home, but does it really matter where home is?  I feel that no matter where I am, as long as I’m with my family, that’s home enough for me.  So what if our home has to become the open road?  Let me explain what’s been going on over the last 4 months, and why my mindset has shifted to living more minimally and happily.

Takedown #1:  Goodbye husband’s income.  In September 2011, my husband and I got the shock of our lives: he was laid off from his job of 11 years with no warning.  After months of working 12-15 hour days, 7 days a week, he was just let go with no reason and, even worse, no severance package.  We were completely unprepared, but figured we could live on my income until he found another job. Not so fast, Ice-Simmons family…

Takedown #2:  Goodbye my income.  After 4 years, my company’s biggest contract (which 90% of our income came from) was cancelled.  This shocking news came just a few weeks after my husband lost his job!  Again, this loss of income was with no advance warning and no reason given.

You can imagine that at this point we started to get worried about how we would make ends meet.  Even though we’d been praying a lot about our financial situation, we started praying even harder!  We had so many questions and sleepless nights.  “How will we pay our house payment?”  “How will we buy groceries?”  “What if someone gets sick now that our health insurance is gone?”

Above: You can see me getting mobbed by my children as I tried to make a quick run to the grocery store!  It’s nice to be wanted!

Whenever I start to feel like everything is going wrong, my mind always turns to Job’s trials and misfortunes and I think of how much worse things could be.  I also remind myself that the worst has probably not come yet, and that sometimes we have to lose everything we think we need to find what we are really supposed to have.

Takedown #3: Goodbye child.  For the last 7 years, we have split custody of my step-daughter.  A few weeks back we found out that her other custodial parent was going to sue us (for a 3rd time) for full custody, and at 12 years old she can legally choose the other house (where chores, homework, and bedtimes do not exist).  Since the attorney fees would cost so much that we would certainly lose our home to foreclosure, we had no choice but to give up custody.  So she left our house for good a few days before Christmas.

IMG_3557-HEAIn the end there was nothing we could do but accept the facts: We’ve lost a child and we will lose our house if we can’t sell it at a discount first.

Turning Over a New Leaf: Mobility

So we’re going from a family of 6 to a family of 5, we have accepted this.  We can definitely get by in a smaller house.  We’ve already gone mostly minimalist and are cutting down even more by extreme decluttering and selling unneeded items on Craigslist.

Our most shocking decision was this: we’re going to sell our house and travel the country in a motorhome for a year!

In our American culture, so much importance is on “putting down roots”, focusing on “security”, and length of time at one address, job, or career field.  Credit applications and employers consider these factors as part of the complete picture of you as a ‘reliable’ person.

However, the Bible talks about ‘seasons’ in life and I believe our family is entering a new and completely different season of life.  We are going to become totally mobile, toting our little ones with us through all the small towns and over the interstates until we find the perfect place for us.  Maybe it will take longer than a year; I have no way of knowing what this adventure will look like!

Teresa asked me if we’ll be blogging about our trip, and the logical answer was, “Of course”, since my whole life is public through my blogging anyway.  We’ll both be working on the road (my husband with freelance technical writing and me with my work at IS World Media and Home Ever After), and chances are we’ll be coming to a town near you during our Mobile Lifestyle expedition.  My husband even found that there are already families doing what we plan to do, so we’ll have a support group online to help us with our learning along the way!

We’ve turned some major setbacks from the last year into the makings of an exciting new leaf to turn over for the new year.  2012 might just be alright after all!

Overheard From the Dining Room Table

Tonight the kids were eating at the table with daddy while I got caught up on some work.  Suddenly, I heard the wailing whining voice of my 4 year old son, Truett.

“Oh NO, Dad!  We didn’t get ANY VEGGIES!” 

Truett’s my stickler for balanced food groups. *sigh* My legacy goes on without me! 


But seriously, they have a great time with Dad when I’m working, and since he’s been home since being laid off from his job in September, they’ve gotten so used to him being home that I don’t know what they’d do without him!


Overheard from the dining room is linked to and 5 Minutes 4 Mom.