Monday, April 30

Birthday Questions

Here you go!  I asked these questions of Kelsey on her birthday in are Stacy's answers.

1.  How old are you?

2.  Who is your best friend?

3.  What is your favorite thing to do?
     play at home

4.  What is your favorite color?
     red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink

5.  What is your favorite food?
     box macaroni and cheese

6.  What do you like to do with your family?
     go to H2Oasis

7.  What is your favorite toy?
     shopping cart in my classroom

8.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
     I don't really know yet

9.  What makes you happy?
     playing with my family

10.  What makes you sad?
     when someone is not nice to me

11.  What is your favorite show to watch?
     Curious George

12.  What is your favorite book?
    Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower

13.  What do you love to learn about?

14.  What is the best part of your birthday
     opening presents

15.  Where do you like to go?

16.  Who is your teacher?
    Miss Mandy

17.  What is your favorite treat?

18.  What do you think about before you fall asleep?

19.  If you could meet someone famous who would it be?
    no one

20.  What kind of cake did you have this year?
     sprinkles cake with pink frosting and dress up shoes on top

When I told her I was done asking her questions she told me she had one more thing to say, so here it is!  "What I really like is big boats like Aurora and Chenega (two of the ferries that serve Whittier).  I also really like big boats that have swimming pools on them.  I want to go on one!" So there you have it!

Stacy's Birthday

If you know Stacy, you can imagine how birthdays are *right* up her alley!  A day all about her, all attention focused on her...that makes for a happy girl!  She loves being on center stage, that's for sure.

Her birthday fell midweek, so we celebrated by playing outside in the sunshine and having an impromptu picnic.

Originally she had requested "box macaroni and cheese" for dinner, but she when she asked for a picnic dinner in the morning, she also deemed macaroni and cheese unacceptable for picnicking!  We fell back on hot dogs.

On Saturday we had a little birthday dinner here at our place for her.  She was delighted with her cake!

Our menu again included hot dogs (notice a pattern here?) and brats for the adults.  We also had some delicious potato salad...always a favorite of mine!  After cake and ice cream, we opened gifts.  Stacy had a blast posing for photos with her new Barbie doll after the opening was done!

Such a ham!!  Happy Birthday, Stacy!

Friday, April 27

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, April 26

An Amazing Day!

Whittier from the air
Wow!  You know, when I put my name on the ballot for a local school board seat last July I had no idea how much traveling I would do.  It has turned out to be an incredible experience!  I've had the opportunity to work with the dedicated people on our local school board, meet our phenomenal staff across the district as well as our talented students and their families.  In addition, I've met amazing school board members from across the state.  It is so energizing to be surrounded by so many dynamic people!

Yesterday marked another first in my book.  My first flight on a little plane!  We held our monthly school board meeting in one of our village schools--Chenega Bay.  Below is a map of our school sites. A) Tatitlek, B) Chenega Bay and C) is Whittier.  Our district office is in Anchorage.  We also operate a state-wide correspondence program with large populations in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Valdez. 

View Larger Map
One of our goals as a school board this year was to hold a meeting in each of our communities.  The board came to Whittier in September, we went to Chenega this month, and next month we're slated to fly out to Tatitlek.  We are working to be more connected to our communities.

Yesterday's meeting included the usual school board business but the highlight was breaking ground on new teacher housing for our teachers in Chenega.  We are all excited to provide them with housing that is not falling down around their heads!  It was terrific to see the village, meet the kids, parents, and staff at the school.  We all had lunch together...and enjoyed the sunshine as much as we could!

As usual, I took roughly a million pictures!  I'll share a few here, but if you want to see more click on over to Fotki.

Chugach Mountains
Prince William Sound
Chenega Bay
It was the perfect day for a flight and a ground breaking! 

Wednesday, April 25

Signs of Spring

It's happening!  Our trip to Anchorage this weekend highlighted that we have indeed transitioned into springtime up here; there's hardly any snow left in Anchortown outside of their giant snow storage piles.  Of course, here in Whittier we still have snow at least 10 feet deep (and deeper!) anywhere that wasn't/hasn't been plowed.  Still, we've noticed some signs in recent days:

:: snow machines coming in and out of Whittier--when the snow melts on the other side of the tunnel, Whittier becomes a hotbed of snow machine activity!
:: boats heading in and out of the harbor
:: lots of boats on the Seward Highway and in line at the tunnel
:: RVs on the Seward Highway
:: longer lines at the tunnel
:: slower passage through the tunnel as folks slow down to take pictures
:: more strangers in line at the the winter you can always get out and talk to someone you know...not so much in the spring and summer
:: fresh seafood again--halibut, shrimp, and octopus in the last week
:: parking at the BTI is getting scarcer
:: Great Pacific is opening the fish processing plant
:: the first of our seasonal businesses opened last week--and the plywood is coming down off some others!

I know that many of you out there see the more traditional signs of grass, daffodils, blooming dogwood trees, etc.  We will see those July! :-)  Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 24

Five Years Old

Wow!  Stacy's 5 today!!  Here's a quick review in pictures...

newborn Stacy

1 year old Stacy

2 year old Stacy

3 year old Stacy

4 year old Stacy

Happy Birthday, Stacy!!

Monday, April 23


Fun times!  A dear friend gave us gift certificates to one of our favorite spots for Christmas.  The kids had a blast, of course, and Scott and I enjoyed watching them...and playing a bit ourselves!

We were ALL tired at the end of the day...that was for sure!

The other highlight of the day was the girls' first official haircuts.  Up until now they've always had mama cuts.  Lately though, they've been wanting shorter hair which shows mama's amateur skills more than longer hair.  So off we went to Great Clips.  They were so excited and had so much was adorable!  Much more adorable than my camera phone pictures show...

On the way home we stopped at everyone's favorite restaurant, Chair 5 in Girdwood.  Yum!  A great ending to a great day!

Friday, April 20

A Visit From the Tooth Fairy

Gosh!  Seems like she just got all of those teeth, but yesterday she lost her first one.  I had finished up the tooth fairy mailbox that she's holding there the day before...just in time!  She lost it in the late morning, so she had all day to fret about exactly where to put the mailbox and whether or not the tooth fairy would and should take the tooth or leave it.  We went down to the Donut Depot to celebrate their first day open of the season and the owner there is the grandma of one of Kelsey's friends from preschool.  She told Kelsey that her former classmate had written a letter to the tooth fairy asking her to leave the tooth and that she had, so Kelsey decided to follow that lead.  Of course by bedtime she had changed her mind, so when I tucked them into bed the plan was to let the tooth fairy take the tooth.  When the tooth fairy arrived however, the note had found its way out of the garbage can!  Here's the note...

The girls also spent the better part of the late afternoon cleaning and decorating their room for the tooth fairy.  Kelsey drew the fairy picture and Stacy wrote the note below...

The note reads "Dear tooth fairy I hope that" and then she got tired of writing!  Gotta love those almost 5 year olds!

Of course, the tooth fairy would never waste a literary opportunity so she left Kelsey a note.  Both girls were completely impressed that she somehow knew both of their names!

Kelsey was delighted with the special coin...and (as usual) Stacy is eagerly awaiting her turn!

More Historic Photos are Up!

I did a batch of 20 last night, so I've got 30 done and 25 left to do...enjoy!

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, April 18

At the Kitchen Table

I have talked before about all of the different types of seafood we've processed in our kitchen.  Scott and I have halibut processing down to a science!  He came home with something new last night though...octopi!  Yes...two!

These beauties came to us courtesy of some friends who went out on Sunday for the first shrimp opener of the season.  The ornery guys worked their way into the shrimp pots!

Scott cleaned and cut up the first (and bigger) one.  That left the smaller intact to share with the girls this morning.  What fun!  I know some kids wouldn't be into this, but mine are the kids who you have to remind NOT to touch every dead salmon they see in the fall during spawning.  They're so curious!  They were really interested in it...they went so far as to somehow poke a hole in it and discover a tiny little shrimp the thing had recently eaten!

Scott made fun of me when I pulled out their little magnifying glasses for them to inspect the tentacles with.  Apparently he is under the impression that not every household is stocked with kid-sized magnifying glasses!  Either way...the girls put them to use right away and spent a good 20 minutes checking the whole thing out.  For anyone who is keeping track that's now clams, shrimp, oysters, salmon, rock fish, and octopus that we've investigated, processed, and later eaten at our kitchen table!

Now...I'm off to find a recipe for something to make for dinner so we can try it out!

Monday, April 16

Learning to Ski

Finally!  For Kelsey's birthday she had asked for us to take her to Alyeska so she could ski.  The weather in February however, was terrible.  Snowing, blowing, and in general totally nasty so that not only could Scott not get out of town, but the girls wouldn't have had much fun at all.  This weekend however, was great!  Sunny, warm, and lots of fun.

We didn't tell the kids what we were up to, just loaded them up into the car.  First we took them to breakfast at The Bake Shop in Girdwood.  Yum!  We had a little more time to kill, so we went up to the hotel and walked around a bit.  We've been there before, but there's lots of art to see throughout the building.  Finally it was time to head over to the day lodge.

We started out by renting boots and skis for Kelsey, then proceeded to the 'magic carpet' area.  The magic carpet is the newer version of a rope-tow on a bunny hill.  The kiddos ski down the hill, then step onto what is essentially a skiier conveyor belt and they ride to the top and head down again. 

When we first began talking about skiing back in February, Stacy was not at all interested.  She was totally convinced that she would be much happier drinking hot chocolate and watching.  All of that changed however, once she saw Kelsey on skis!  Once she saw her sister and all of the other little kids having fun she wanted in on the action, so we headed inside and rented her a set of skis as well.  Once both kids were skiing there was more watching and helping than picture snapping.  The girls skied for 2 hours straight before Scott and I became concerned that they might fall asleep on the magic carpet ride back to the top, so we loaded them up into the car and headed home.  Stacy slept like a rock the whole way home...somehow Kelsey managed to fight off sleep.

It was a very fun morning...lots of pictures over on Fotki for your perusal!

Friday, April 13

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, April 12

New Project!

This is something I've been meaning to do for a long time now, but I am finally working on it!  I'll share it with you as I progress.  Up there under my beautiful header there's a new tab...'Historical Photos'.  These are pictures that the curator of our local museum has shared with the school.  I'm working on scanning them all so I can share them all with you!  Whittier has a uniquely intriguing history and there are some pretty cool pictures out there.  I hope you enjoy the first 10...more to come soon!

Wednesday, April 11


Oh!!  Whittier has truly been beautiful these past few days! The above picture shows how calm the water was yesterday.  It was 45 degrees which is apparently t-shirt weather for my little Alaskan ladies!

The only problem is that we still have roughly nine gazillion inches of snow left on the ground, so really the only place to play is down at the harbor where the wind manages the depth and there's already bare rocks. And puddles.  Around here kids+puddles+rocks=a really good time!

Even I am not immune to climbing on a few rocks or tossing a few into the water!  There's a kid in all of us, particularly on perfect days like these.

Of course, the pedestrian tunnel is flooded as usual this time of year, so we get to take the longer route around, the girls on their bikes.  Thankfully they're old enough this year that it seems to be well within their ability.  I have noticed that it gets quiet real fast in their bedroom after lights-out though;  nothing like a few hours of good outdoor play to wear a kiddo out!

We are all dreaming of the day the playground is play-able again.  Thus far however, it has yet to peek out from under its blanket (prison?) of snow!  Hopefully by the end of May...if we have to dig it out with shovels ourselves!!

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 9

A Fun-Filled Day

What a wonderful Easter!  Easter is such a hard day to teach kids about in my humble opinion.  Christmas is easy...Jesus was born--it's pretty much a G-rated happy story.  Easter...not so much!  There's a lot of heavy stuff around Easter that is challenging for me to explain to the girls.  And yet it is important to me that we try.  I know their understanding will be built over years of hearing the stories, but sometimes I struggle with how much to tell and when to tell it.  Last year we tried the resurrection eggs and that went really well...but for some reason I didn't dig them out this year.  Instead we stuck to the various kiddo bibles that we have. Reading and re-reading, talking and re-telling. 

So, back to the wonderful-ness!  It really was a great day!  We kicked it off with the our community pancake breakfast and egg hunt held annually at the school.  Scott was again the head chef for the breakfast and the kids of the community had a blast hunting eggs.  30 minutes to hide the eggs, 3 minutes for them to find them all; 30ish kids and 500 eggs!

After the egg hunting, we cleaned up and headed home for some quiet time.  Mama *might* have squeezed in a nap!  The afternoon was filled with playing with all of the goodies found in the eggs and then we headed off to have Easter dinner with friends.  The girls and I had made cupcakes and a bunny cake on Saturday, then I made Grandma Paul's rolls and a salad as well.

Anyone who went hungry had no one to blame but themselves!  The menu included: ham, lamb, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, gravy, rolls, salad, chips & dip, deviled eggs, cake, and cupcakes!

It was truly a wonderful day full fun with friends and family! 

Sunday, April 8

Happy Easter!

Wishing you all the best on this day of celebration of hope and promises!

These are some of our tie dye eggs with glitter!  If you haven't tried dying eggs this way, you've got to!  You put the eggs one at a time in a bag and then drip in the concentrated coloring.  Squish the egg around in the bag and shezam--you have tie dyed eggs and hardly any mess!  Sprinkle the glitter in the bag and that mess is mostly contained as well.  Hooray for egg dying innovation!

Friday, April 6

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, April 4


:: we watched the amazing sunrise featured up there in my April header
:: sunshine has been making me smile
:: the smell of fresh bread has filled our home
:: the laundry has been trying to overtake far I am coming out ahead!
:: we've had breakfast for dinner twice this week
:: snow has been melting
:: we have beautiful flowers on the table
:: we're looking forward to dying eggs
:: I've been reading good books...more than one at a time, a new skill for me!
:: I watched a movie made from a book I was great!
:: the girls have been making my bed for me while I exercise in the sweet!

It's the little moments that make the day!

Monday, April 2

Juneau, Round 2

It's been quiet around here, hasn't it?  Sorry about that!  I made a return trip to Juneau last week to continue to lobby our state legislature for additional funding for our schools.  It was a very busy few days, followed by a very busy few days here at home.  I'm just now finding the time to sit down and write about it all!

Like my last trip, this one consisted of two days of training and two days of lobbying.  I was trying to explain to someone the other day the adrenaline high I find myself on during these trips.  I feel like I'm always a bit short on sleep and then there's the high of meeting with the movers and shakers of our state.  When it's all over I always feel a bit like I've hit a wall and I collapse on my couch at home and the girls crawl all over me!

When I left Whittier I was being chased by a blizzard...when I arrived home there was bare pavement in places!  There were crocus blooming in Juneau.  Since arriving home I've been for my first outdoor run of the season and the girls have been out for a springtime bike ride.  While we know it could (and probably will!) snow again, we are still enjoying this bit of spring!

crocus in Juneau
first ride of the season
Now we're settling back into our routine, though I don't know if things are going to slow down much.  It's getting to be that time of year when the pace of life picks up a notch or two!  The ferry schedule is picking up, summer folks are starting to return to town, and it's just a few weeks until the cruise ships will be back.  Spring is in the air!!