Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perfect Travel Kicks for Kids

Well, now that TSA has revamped their security screening procedures for kiddos 12 and under, I suppose this won't make as much a difference as it would beforehand.  But here it is anyway...

Fam Och travels frequently and the children are well-trained on airport procedures. (It doesn't hurt that psycho Missus Och holds a drill or two at home on security checkpoint actions before the flight.) We've received many impressed/surprised reactions when the girls plop their backpacks/hoodies/shoes in their own tray and push it down the conveyor belt all by themselves. The only hiccup that hasn't been perfected is the chaos involving the whole fam struggling to re-don their shoes and get out of the way of others passing through...someone needs their laces tied or a sock gets bunched up towards their toes that the heel won't fit inside the shoe...Well, Crocs (I know many of you think they look hideous) are the answer! BUT, since TSA has ruled little ones need not strip their shoes off going through security....well, it shouldn't be an issue anymore...

Except, my kiddos will more than likely want to kick off their shoes once settled in our two thousand hour flight across the Pacific Ocean, get cold, put them back on, kick them off only right before they need to put them back on again because they need to go potty.  And the genius of the slip-on shoe is worth the $30 bucks again.  

What I like about this particular shoe for this particular trip:

  • The removable fluffy fleece lining.  This is perfect for dual-weather trips like this. The kids need warm and cozy kicks to keep the piggies toasty during traveling time (it is expected ANC will be hovering around 5 degreed Fahrenheit)...but they will also need breathable, lightweight, sockless ones for the 85-90 degree temps awaiting us in tropical heaven. Two-in-one slip-ons mean less packing space needed! Yay for more space!
  • The adjustable back strap.  It can be shoved aside for hurried simple slipping on, or if you are trekking across to another terminal, the strap can be put in place to keep the shoe more secure.
They are available at, or if you're local to ANC, Fred Meyer has a whole section devoted to them.  Anything to make this trip or any trip less stressful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So Very Soon...


In less than two weeks, baby. Less than two weeks. 
(And no, this isn't a pic I randomly grabbed from Google Images. I will be in THAT particular infinity pool very very very soon.)
Eat your hearts out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Anticipation...


...of Shark Week...

Disclaimer: for all of you of the five limbed gender, you may opt to stop reading right this post is certainly of the TMI sort, and you may never think of me the same. Why, you say? This seems harmless enough, right? The Discovery Channel's show special is universally liked! Well, us females deem our...errrr....most...ummmm...hormonally active week as for your sake...the little red X button is on the upper left corner for Macs, and upper right for PC's. Thank you and have a good day.

Okay, ladies, obviously my monthly SW extravaganza is stalking me around in circles, ready to pounce once the calendar hits that number circled in blood red. In all actuality, this isn't about the actual event, it's more about the week-long pre-awards show. 

It effing sucks. Most times, it sucks more ass than the arrival of my great white. For a week prior, I have an out of body experience. My sane composed self sits on the leather armchair in the corner, observing the evil incarnate taking over my body and making my head spin in circles.

During this week, my children wear earplugs and flip me the bird whenever we cross paths and the Mister dons his hat in the form of an ass and elicits random urges to give his nutsack a good heartfelt kicking. (No, my kids would never really do that...they are normal respectful children...and my husband is only an asshat in my mind.) See? I am fully aware my mind is certifiably bonkers during this time...yet my foot wants to meet the Mister's crotch in such violent ways regardless! Oh, goodness, my poor family.

This is the week the entire household floor is magically smothered in eggshells like some perennial curse. This is the week I nitpick and forbid other members of the fam to do the same. 
As in:

"What was THAT look for? What do you mean NOOOOTHING?!?! It doesn't mean NOOOOTHING if you apply that type of intonation to it!" Eyes as big as saucers and steam puffing from ears and target of nitpicking slowly but purposefully moves towards the hall in the desperate hope of escape.

For this week, I become the chimp whose food bowl gets shoved into the cage until I tire of flinging shit at the walls. To make matters worse, immediately after all this, I have yet another week to feel uncomfortable and disgusted. Just makes me want to kick a nutsack real bad.

Are there drugs for this? 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Breaking Out the Cold Weather Gear!

 Ooops, it looks like I clicked on "Publish" before I even wrote the post. Gomenasai!

This one was inspired, obviously, by the freakishly sudden appearance of the Alaskan winter wonderland this year. The temps had already dipped and leaves had messed themselves all over my lawn prior to October, but the cold fluffy white stuff was still nowhere to be found. Heck, New England got buried in a storm before we did! BUT, this weekend, it started to fall...

...and for the first time in four days, it has finally taken a break.  All in the span of one weekend, the gray asphalt of roads and sidewalks are nowhere to be seen, a mighty heated discussion of the merits of school cancellation and dangers of bus transportation took place, and the snow shovels took five trips outside to prove their worth.  I suppose this is the Alaska way. She leads you on for weeks and when you've finally given up, BAM! it smacks you right in the face!

And so the frantic digging through the bins for anti-frostbite clothing began. As temps dip into the single digits (as the sun shone at 10am this morning, the thermometer still registered a mere 9 degrees), I am ever more thankful of the judicious investing the fam has made on cold-weather gear.

Back in Utah, (where it also gets mighty cold) a simple wallet-friendly purchase of kiddie winter boots before the hordes of late shoppers whisk them away was a viable solution to outfitting the children for the weather.  Here....well, I suppose there are those here who still do the same...but the smartest thing to do is to purchase a great insulated pair of winter boots officially RATED for negative degree temps. My girls have these:

I love these Kamiks. Waterproof with aggressive tread that will keep those little bums upright and not slamming onto the sidewalk in a slip are great for snowy and icy conditions.  They have a thick wool felt insulator sock (removable) and my little ones' piggies are toasty even when the mercury drops to     -35.  Yes, peeps, it can get that cold up here. 

Another important article is the winter coat. I am a loyal fan of the Land's End 4-in-1 Expedition Parka.  Here's why: It's all about the details. 

  • It has an outer water and wind-proof outer insulated shell.  

  1. The inside collar (that strip that hits the back of your kid's neck is a soft warm fleece (No more of that shudder when the cool satiny lining touches your skin). 
  2. The faux fur portion of the hood is removable (don't you hate those that aren't bc they get ruined when you have to throw it in the wash?).
  3. The hem hits below the hip, and there is a reflective logo (perfect for the darkness here in AK) at the bottom of the hem (even when they're wearing the backpack, it doesn't get covered.
  4. Lots of pockets! There are ones for hand-warmers, inside ones for MP3 players (yeah, my kid has one, don't judge).
  5. Grow-a-long Sleeves! YES, people, these things are pricey! BUT, you can guarantee your kid can wear them for at least two winters. Why? There's a nifty hidden seam inside the sleeves that you can rip off when it seems your kid's arms are sprouting out too much. With the seams ripped out, there is an extra inch and a half of sleeve.
  6. Wrist cuffs that hook onto their thumbs that keep snow from creeping up.
  • The inner jacket liner is a contrasting color with 600 fill down, which can be worn alone, or as a vest with the sleeves zipped off.

  • With all components of the jacket on, it is rated to -15 degrees.  If you suspect it may be colder, base layer, shirt, and fleece sweater should do the trick.

Best Bet: wait towards the end of the season and buy a size up. We purchased Sophie's in late February after discovering that her Old Navy puffy jacket was not cutting it for up to -10 degree recesses at school....and SCORE! only cost us $40 (from $160 at regular price).

I also swear by Land's End for snow pants because of the Grow-a-Long legs that add an extra 2 inches. ..and they have colors to match the parkas.  

Gloves must be waterproof, mittens are much warmer, but kids prefer more dexterity with their fingers. 

The hats we have hang down to cover their ears.

For any of you new Alaska newbies, these are definitely worth checking out.