Friday, February 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.

Wednesday, February 25

Ski PE Day 2

(to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas) On the second day of ski PE, mama skiied, too!  Good thing we all have experience water skiing, too.  It was a *bit* slushy on the mountain!  Skiing in slush is hard work!

before lessons, Stacy again with the "let's do this already!" expression on her face!
I got in a few runs while the kids were in lessons...although the snow was terrible, the view was pretty!

We stayed after lessons for about 2 hours, practicing what the girls had learned.  It was so much fun to see lots of kids from Whittier trying out new hills, stretching themselves.  We ran into a few friends from Girdwood on the slope as well.  They hung out with us, helped our freshman snowboarders and made everyone smile.  That's what it's all about--making someone else's day a little bit better!

Stacy, the sun and I headed up chair 3
Here's a video of Kelsey's first attempt at the hill.  Stacy wanted to stick with us, even though she preferred a bit steeper hill so she took to skiing backwards while looking through her legs to keep herself entertained!

This run was a trip or two later.  That's apparently all the longer it takes a 9 year old to put 2(!!) lessons into play...

For her part, Stacy's instructor took her group to the terrain park where I saw (from the chairlift, no photo) her catch a little air going over the jumps.  She LOVED that!!  Great way to spend an afternoon and so many lessons to learn from kids...I don't even have words for how much fun I had watching all of my Whittier kids yesterday.  No words--if you know me very well you know what a feat it is to leave me speechless! Since I am out of words I will borrow a few from one of Whittier's long term residents, "Shine on!"!

Kelsey's Birthday

Kelsey's birthday was this past Sunday and as birthdays go, it was a pretty smooth one!  Kelsey wanted to handle a lot of the details herself, so with some help she and Stacy made all 48 cupcakes for her party and she made her own birthday cake.  It's funny...their birthday cakes used to be the big thing for me.  I tried hard to find a fun design that mirrored their interests and I had lots of fun making the cakes.  Let's face it though...Kelsey's been into horses for the last 4 years at least and I have made several different horse cakes and was pretty much out of ideas.  When she wanted to make her own cake I was a bit sad at first, but then realized it was probably for the best.  She'd be happy with it because she chose it and made it and I was off the creative hook.  Not to mention how proud she felt about having done it herself!  Those are two fox figures she borrowed from Stacy on her cake.

 Slightly out of focus, but a closer-up view...

We did the things we do on birthdays.  We opened presents...

This is her face for her present from Stacy.  Kelsey has the best present opening faces!  Stacy made her a felted wool buddy (inspired by this book) at school for her.  We Skyped./FaceTimed/called grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, and cousins...

Kelsey's birthday party was a board game party which turned out to be super-fun for people of all ages!  The dads spent the time playing game after game of ultra-competitive Jenga while kids played everything from Hungry Hungry Hippos to Cribbage.  It was one of my favorite birthday parties so far!

Kelsey got this amazing drawing from a community member who is volunteering at school teaching the kids art.  She is such a neat young lady and this is such a cool gift.  Right away Kelsey saw it and knew which moment from class had been drawn.  

After the party we had a smaller group of friends over for dinner.  The kids played and the grownups talked and played round after round of Apples to Apples.  I love that game!  We ended the night with (more) cake and ice cream.  After all, your birthday only comes around once a year!

Monday, February 23

9 years old and 20 Questions

 1.  How old are you?

2.  Who is your best friend?

3.  What is your favorite thing to do?
    read and write

4.  What is your favorite color?
    lime green

5.  What is your favorite food?

6.  What do you like to do with your family?
     play games

7.  What is your favorite toy?
     horse figures

8.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
     an author or a teacher

9.  What makes you happy?
     lots of things--going for a run, thinking about going to Kansas, flowers and springtime

10.  What makes you sad?
    when my friends get treated meanly

11.  What is your favorite show to watch?
     Little House on the Prairie

12.  What is your favorite book?
     Ponies of Chincoteague County

13.  What do you love to learn about?
     life science

14.  What is the best part of your birthday?
     my birthday party and hanging out with my friends and family

15.  Where do you like to go?
     Grandma's house

16.  Who is your teacher?
     Ms. T

17.  What is your favorite treat?
     going out for ice cream in the summer

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

19.  If you could meet someone famous who would it be?
     Catherine Hapka (author)

20.  What kind of cake did you have this year?
     yellow with chocolate frosting

The answers on her 8th birthday
The answers on her 7th birthday
The answers on her 6th birthday


It's funny how some weekends feel like another far removed from everyday life.  Other weekends...notsomuch.  This weekend fell somewhere in between.  Friday night we had a community barbeque across the street with music and volleyball.  In February!  It was such fun!  These are the moments that make me fall in love with this place all over again.  Where else do you get 99% kid participation in a last-minute game?  Folks brought whatever they had: chips, hot dogs, potato salad, etc. and a party was born!  From preschool to adults, we were all outside smiling and laughing.  No better way to start a weekend!

Saturday Scott and I split the kiddos and did the day.  Stacy and I spent the day in Anchorage attending the UAA Brain Bee.  One of our beloved babysitters was participating and I really wanted to be there to support her.  As she said this morning at school breakfast, "I didn't win, but I had fun!".  That's a successful Saturday!  The Brain Bee was held at the Anchorage Museum, so as long as we were there Stacy and I took some time to explore and play.

We also got a free showing of Back to the Moon in the planetarium.  Doubly cool because I am listening to The Astronaut's Wives Club right now.  Great book!  Sparked some great conversation on the way home, too.  Space exploration doesn't seem to have the allure that it did when I was a kid.  Sheesh.  Did I just say that?  I am getting old!! was a good day and I'm a big believer in some 1:1 time for kids.  It's great for my two!  Kelsey and Scott did various things around home and Whittier.  They watched Harry Potter for the first time and Kelsey is OBSESSED!  She's reading the book now in every free moment.  Imagination captured.  I love it!!

Sunday was Kelsey's birthday--a post of its own soon!  Hope you had a good weekend too, friend!

Friday, February 20

{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.
**a blast from the past this week**
The baby in the belly here turns 9 this

Wednesday, February 18

PE Class

I remember both loving and hating PE class at different times during my educational career.  My kids are certainly loving it right now though!  They get to take downhill skiing lessons at nearby Alyeska Resort along with kids from Hope and Cooper Landing.  Yesterday was the first day and I don't think there was a kid in the group that didn't have a blast!  Here are my two just before lessons started.  Kelsey decided to snowboard and Stacy stuck with skiing...

"Got my board, let's go!"

"Mo-om!  Can't we just ski already?!?" 
They sure had a good time and were tired afterwards.  Falling asleep was not a problem!  A HUGE thanks to Alyeska for having the boots all laid out and skiis and boards pulled and labeled.  We appreciated your efforts--it made our afternoon go so smoothly!

Monday, February 16

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays.  Not the Hallmark-y roses and candy part so much (though my love of chocolate is undeniable) but the kindness part.  Being nice to others is an idea I can really get behind!  We started celebrating on Friday night by attending our church's Valentine's Day dinner.  It was hosted by the youth as a fundraiser for a spring break retreat.  It was so much fun!  I wish I had taken a picture of the way they had transformed the Homeowner's Lounge into a cozy restaurant was fantastic!  The service was excellent as well!  Part of the fun was the fact that we all dressed up to attend.  I even curled the girls' hair which they were very excited about!

On Saturday the girls and I baked up all sorts of yummy treats (including some cupcakes not pictured below)...

The girls ran all over the BTI delivering the cookies.  It was fun to watch them so excited to give.  In the afternoon we headed into town to take the girls to a kiddo Valentine's Party.  They got all dressed up in some new dresses and danced the evening away with their friends.  They had such fun and were sooooo tired when we picked them up! 

Scott and I went to the movies while they partied.  We haven't been to the movies in years (not even kidding!) so it was fun.  We saw American Sniper which was very good.  Very intense, but very good. It definitely reminded me of the sacrifices military families make and renewed my gratitude for their willingness to do so. 

Hope you had a nice Valentine's Day as well, however you celebrated!

Friday, February 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, February 12

I'm Back!

It's been a busy 10 days or so around here.  The girls and I spent last Tuesday in town for an eye doctor appointment and an amazing performance (the Jabali African Acrobats...soo cool!) Lots of school board stuff to all day training last Wednesday and a meeting last Thursday in town and then my annual Juneau trip.  I packed my camera along with me and although I didn't take even one picture in Juneau I did take a bunch Wednesday and Thursday driving to and from town.  It was very cold last week and the hoar frost was sooo beautiful!  Here are a few of my favorites...

the moon on Wednesday morning
the moon again

It was another chilly year in Juneau, but I was ready this time!  It snowed every day while we were there...not a whole bunch but a bit here and there.  It was a very busy trip...28 legislative meetings in 2 days and a meeting with the Commissioner of Education.  I got home yesterday at noon and then turned around and headed back to town today for the girls' dentist appointments.  Tomorrow we're staying home!

Wednesday, February 4


This weekend we finally got to go sledding in our own zipcode!  On Friday the sun returned to Whittier.  It's always such an exciting day when it peeks over the mountain again for the first time in the new year!  The sun shines first on the Inn and then works its way up the hill.  By mid-March we are getting sunshine in the school windows!

Friday afternoon we went outside after school and did some sledding.  We don't have a bunch of snow, but we have enough to sled and it has stayed cold so it is still fun to play in.  Yippee!  And it was still light at 5pm...double yippee!

The girls had lots of fun attempting to 'snowboard' on their sleds.  They were pretty good at it and they even convinced me to try it once.  I am sure it wasn't pretty, but I didn't crash!

On Saturday we were out again and again on Monday.  We've been blessed with a stretch of nice weather without gusting winds...we've enjoyed lots of time outside and lots of hot chocolate too!

Monday, February 2


The girls started taking piano lessons this fall from the pastor of the Samoan church here in town.  He and his family have more musical talent than I could ever imagine!  They're really amazing people and he's been a fantastic piano teacher.  As he said at the recital, we often see the kids dancing and singing contemporary music, so part of his goal was to teach them about classical music.  To that end, he encouraged us all to dress up the evening of the recital.  It was such fun to see everyone looking so nice.  We tend to be a bit lazy in that department around here...

Of course...we got a little silly, too...

Back to the music!  There were 14 performers--that's a little less than half the K-12 kids in town!  They had clearly all practiced very hard. Although they may have felt a little nervous, none of them acted it!  They did so well...proud mama/community mama moment!!

Here's Kelsey playing her song, Runaway River

And Stacy playing her song, Traffic Cop

Several community members had gotten together and made the kids all candy leis and small bouquets of flowers.  Such a heartfelt gesture!

Great job, piano students!  And thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Su'e family!!