Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Although this not my most favorite of holidays, I do like carving pumpkins.  This year we carved pumpkins at school...fun!  Younger kiddos buddied up with older kiddos and everyone had a good time.  It was so fun to watch them work together to help each other out...I love the sense of community amongst our kids!





Tonight we have a carnival...usually it is held a the school, but due to some renovations in our school gym it will be held this year in the BTI community rooms on the first floor.  It should be fun...and busy!  I'll tell you all about it...sometime...

Monday, October 29

Skating!

 
What wonderful weather we've been having here!  It's been so sunny and even not windy the past few days.  Lovely!  Except for all of the ice everywhere...  Not all of the ice is bad news, however!  Some of it is intentional and quite fun.  On Friday night a group of amazing Whittier volunteers met down at the basketball court and set up our ice rink.  We first had an ice rink in the winter of 2010-2011 and it was fun all winter long.  Last year the deep, deep snow made it impossible to maintain after about January.  This year...who knows!?!  We went for our first skate on Saturday and another on Sunday.  Sunday we hurried outside and got to skate in the sunlight...the rapidly fading, nearly extinct sunlight.







Amazing how quickly the girls got their skating legs back...a bit wobbly and then before we knew it they were hopping and spinning.  It was so great to be able to get outside for some fresh air...and for days in a row, too!  Thank you, Mother Nature! 

Friday, October 26

{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, October 24

On Parenting...

You know...I usually avoid the 'down' moments here.  I don't talk about what makes me sad, mad, angry, annoyed, etc.  There's plenty, but I choose not to dwell there. I choose to look at the glass as half full and I choose to share those moments with you and to record them here for my little ladies to read someday.  But...we had a situation here this weekend that I also want them to read about someday.

...
On our way into town on Sunday the discussion turned to floats...as in the root beer kind.  Except I have a kid who doesn't like root beer and prefers an orange or grape soda float.  Fine.  We hadn't had floats in quite some time, so we decided that after our adventure we'd stop at the store and get the necessary ingredients so we could have floats after dinner on Sunday night.  The girls were thrilled...and quite excited!

You should know that my girls are close...they're the best of buds the majority of the time.  They are very different people, but they love each other dearly and will quite fiercely defend one another if the occasion arises.  They drive me bonkers, make me laugh and fill me with pride.  One of them is more hot-headed than the other...she angers quickly and recovers quickly.  The other is much more contemplative.  When she's mad she's mad for a bit longer and it's a bit more personal.  This weekend the quick-to-anger sister was tired and in her state of tired frustration lashed out in a most inappropriate and unacceptable way.  She was removed from the situation quickly and after some time to cool off and think it through a consequence for her behavior was agreed upon.

Now let's stop here and think about that old line parents use in books and movies, "This will hurt me more than it will hurt you!"  Often it refers to a more physical punishment but the line came immediately to mind as we went about our evening.  The consequence that was agreed upon for the aforementioned offense was the loss of the much anticipated float.  There were lots of tears.  It was a good consequence...it hit where it needed to and elicited true remorse from the offender.  And that's where the hard part for me came in.  I *know* that once we hand down a consequence or punishment we have to stick with it.  We have plenty of experience in that department!  But I found two things interesting...the first was how quickly I felt like my heart had been stomped on for her.  So much empathy and so quickly.  The compassionate mama in me wanted to shield her from the sadness of losing that much anticipated thing.  In some ways I think it may have hurt me every bit as much as it hurt her!

The second thing that struck me was just how deep that sisterly love goes.  After learning that her sister would not be able to have a float that night, the other sister quickly forfeited hers as well.  Later she approached me and asked if maybe they could have floats the next night and I was awestruck.  She had given up this much-wanted thing without even knowing if she would have a second chance, even though she had done no wrong.  Sisterly love.  I cried!

Now granted, 20 years from now it will not matter if they had floats on Sunday night or Monday night, but today it mattered.  Today, in the throes of childhood, someone made a mistake and someone else graciously made that mistake a little less painful.

What if we all did that for someone?

What if we all chose kindness?

Monday, October 22

Videos

After waiting and waiting for my *awesome* internet connection to upload my HUGE video files, it is finally complete!  Now you can watch Kelsey & Stacy rock climbing, too! 

So here's Stacy:



And here's Kelsey:



If the above clips won't work for you, try accessing them directly on YouTube here and here. As long as you're over there you can check out some of our older videos...so cute!  Enjoy!

Out of Town

Make no mistake, I absolutely love Whittier, but sometimes you just have to get out.  After the rainiest September in collective community memory, snow and ice on the ground since October 15, and howling winds it was time!  Although Scott and I had each been to town a time or two recently, the girls hadn't left since we took Scott to the airport on September 21.  We all needed a little change of scenery!  We packed up our snacks, books, my camera, etc. and piled into the suburban to head to lunch a the Peanut Farm and then on to the Alaska Rock Gym


Now...I have rock climbed exactly once.  Scott may have gone a few more times than I, but suffice it to say, neither one of us are experts!  Luckily, our kids don't care so we rented them shoes and they went 'bouldering'. Before today I had never heard of bouldering, but after our adventure I can tell you that bouldering is where you are not climbing very high and you are not roped in.  In the picture above, the bouldering area is on the right side.



Not surprisingly, the girls loved it!  Kelsey is so strong...she just goes for it.  Turns out she wasn't a big fan of heights however, so she chose to practice lots of horizontal climbing.  Stacy, on the other hand, just took off for the top.  She is a bit more methodical about things, so she was able to easily pick routes and scaled the wall in no time!  A good confidence booster for a girl who spends a lot of time living in big sister's shadow.



The girls would have climbed until their fingers bled, but Scott and I stopped them after about an hour and half or so.  Stacy was sooooo tired at that point--she was asleep in minutes on the way home!  So...if you have a little cabin fever and you're in the neighborhood, hit up the Alaska Rock Gym.  We'll be going back for sure!

Friday, October 19

{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.


Monday, October 15

Aurora

The northern lights (aka aurora borealis) were out here in Whittier on Saturday night, lucky us!  A few of us bundled up, piled into the car and headed out to see them.  Here's some of what we got to enjoy...(click on the photo to advance through the stack)



Some of them I ran through Photoshop to intensify the light some...others are straight out of camera.  I like both.  The lights are funny...because you use such a long exposure time, they always look cooler in pictures than they do in real life anyway, so photshopping them is not only super-easy, but also easy to get carried away with!

Look closely...there's at least one where I got not only the lights, but the big dipper, too!

Sun, Snow, Crafts and Chocolate!

SUNSHINE!!  We had a mostly sunny week last week, bringing us some views out the window like these...







My husband went to town last week and came back with all fabulous dark chocolate of this for me! 


And I've been making some things!  These were fun!  I water colored some paper, then used my Cricut to cut out those states and hearts.  Stacy and I painted the canvases and then I decoupaged the state cut-outs to the canvases.  All the states we have lived in.  Except that Scott has also lived in Hawaii.  Oops! Guess I'd better make one more!



I learned to bead!  It's really not that tricky, but I had never done it.  A few weeks back a friend taught me some basics and now I'm in business!  I have a few other things planned but need to pick up a part at Michael's next time I'm in town.  I made the green one all by  myself.  The multicolored one was one I bought in Juneau last March but it was a bit too tight, so I took it apart and added those round metal accent beads when I put it back together.  Now I love it!


This weekend I finished piecing the top of this beauty!  There is absolutely no place in my tiny apartment to lay it all out, so I was grateful to my friend Kathy who invited me to her church ladies' retreat down at the Inn at Whittier on Saturday.  I met some very nice ladies, enjoyed some wonderful fellowship and got to work on my quilt in a place I could lay it all out.  Yippee!  It's a disappearing 9 patch design...and very bright and busy!  I've never made anything quite like this, but I love the way it turned out!  Now...to get it all assembled into its finished duvet cover self!  Sorry about the wonky picture...I had to stand on a chair and hold my camera on the ceiling to get this much quilt in the photo, so you also get my pillows, bedroom door, bedside fan, etc.  Lucky you!



Funny how often matching squares end up next to each other, even though the piecing was totally random!


Finally...I guess I have to admit it here...it snowed this weekend.  And it stuck.  Earliest snow yet since we've lived here!  The kids were super excited (How do they forget how long winter is?  I need to figure that out!) so once it started sticking we geared up and went outside.  It soon turned to rain and was gone by the next morning but we made our first snow angels of the 2012-2013 winter!



Stacy

Kelsey
There!  I think you're all caught up now, dear reader!  If you were here, I'd share some of my dark chocolate with you but since you're not...I guess you'll have to go get your own! ;-)

Friday, October 12

{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, October 10

Fun Stuff for a Good Cause

image source

This weekend I attended a fundraiser for an incredible organization, Solace International.  From their website:

     Solace’s Mission Is… To integrate education and economic opportunity at the community level
to those who are in need.

    Solace’s Goal Is… To provide the infrastructure, planning, management and design that helps         communities find solutions to their own problems of poverty, disease and lack of education.

    Solace’s Vision Is… To develop truly sustainable projects through income generation, community  support, and a focus on solutions instead of handouts.

 

So Solace travels around the world, teaches them to make various handmade items, then sells those handmade items to those of us privileged enough to have discretionary income.  They have projects going in Ghana, Nepal, Malawi, Colombia, and Guatemala.  It was amazing to talk with the folks from Solace and hear the stories of the people they've worked with in their travels teaching and purchasing.  There's so much hope!  

 

There were so many neat items for sale!  Bags made from burqas, purses made from motorcycle tires, tote bags made from rice bags, jewelry of all kinds, hats, scarves, you name it!  It was hard to choose, but I came home with a couple of lovely items!  

 

The first is this hat...I love it!  It's more purple than it looks in this picture, and as we all know...purple is my favorite color!!  It's perfect for hiding my hair right now...I need a haircut!

The other is this cool bracelet made of Tibetan agates.  Beautiful!

Another benefit of this afternoon was being able to visit with our friends in Girdwood...thanks George and Kathy for being so welcoming!

Tuesday, October 9

Astronauts and Cruise Ships

As I was looking back at the blog this weekend I realized that some pretty cool stuff had happened and somehow I had forgotten to share it here in this space!  Not sure how that happened...I guess life was happening faster than I was typing.

Remember back in May when I posted about how awesome our school is?  Let me assure you, it is no less awesome this year!  A few weeks ago we had some astronauts in town.  Yup!  Real, live space guys (and a gal).  There was a group last fall as well.  They go out kayaking, using our friends at Lazy Otter Charters as their water taxi.  Last year we all thought, "Wouldn't it have been cool if they had swung by the school?".  This year, when they called the Lazy Otter to book their trip, the lovely proprietress, Kelly, asked if they would be willing to pop up to the school afterwards.  They were quite willing, so on the afternoon of September 18 we welcomed a group of international astronauts into our school.  They were phenomenal!  They did an excellent job of presenting information that was relevant to the kids and did a great job of explaining things for the younger half of the crowd.  Some members of the team had been on flight STS-130 (Are they flights or missions?  I have no idea!) and some members were training for the next trip to the International Space Station.  They shared two cool videos with us from STS-130.





At the end they handed out all sorts of goodies to the kids, including autographed pictures.  Each kiddo chose an astronaut who signed a picture specially for them.


It was such an incredible opportunity for our small school!  And such a powerful example of the kindness of people if you just ask!

Crazy as it seems, the next awesome opportunity took place the next day when we were invited aboard the Island Princess during her last visit to Whittier of the season.  It was easily one of the nastiest days in September weather-wise, but we loaded the kids up and headed down the the terminal.  Princess went out of their way to be welcoming...it was so kind of them!  We toured the ship, spending lots of time in the kiddo area where the kids were each given a stuffed eagle and a t-shirt.  The ship was every bit as impressive on the inside as I had guessed it would be. 

up close to the Island Princess
looking up, just inside the entry
a theatre

outdoor pool area in the kids area...apparently they only use this in the winter when cruising south to warmer spots
the HUGE TV we can watch from town

the kids were quite taken with the glass elevators
Whittier from the ship

It was such a fun trip for the kids...so many of them will likely never get to go on a cruise (mine included!), but it was sure fun to see what it looks like inside when we see them tied up at the terminal all summer long!

And just in case the above evidence doesn't convince you, Scholastic recently named Whittier Community School one of the 25 coolest schools in the nation!  We are so proud!  Check out Scholastic's article--click on Alaska when the map comes up and there we are! 

So yes...we do give up some things by living in a small town and attending a small school.  But we also gain some other things...some pretty cool things!

Monday, October 8

By the Hour

An idea hit me yesterday--what if I took a picture or two every hour throughout our day?  Why not?  So here's our day in pictures yesterday!

8am--Kelsey cooking her egg


9am--Stacy cooking her egg, my breakfast






10am--ironing my quilt blocks with my new iron


11am--chopping veggies for a new soup recipe


noon--soup and biscuits for lunch


1pm--I was on the phone, no pic!

2pm--Kelsey on the iPad


3pm--roasting spuds for a casserole for dinner



4 pm--several rounds of Goblet Gobblers with Stacy


5pm--eating dinner...guess I didn't take a pic!

6pm--attending the Whittier Talent Show


7pm--uploading pics of the community talent show



8pm--I guess I didn't take a picture here, either!

9pm--watching the Hunger Games with Scott


10pm--nighty, night (our blurry reflections in the window)!


So that was our day!  Maybe I'll try it again some day...and not miss so many hours! ;)