Sunday, February 21

Birthday Party Time!

We had Kelsey's birthday party Saturday at Arctic Crown Canvas.  She's been wanting to go there since I went with friends a few weeks ago.  We doubled up and partied with a friend of hers who also has a February birthday.  Her friend is also a horse-crazy girl, so they chose a horse picture to paint.

They guide you through the painting step-by-step so it is low-stress and fun.

The kids were so quiet and focused for the first little bit of the class.  Then they were singing and focused.  You could tell when they got comfortable--they started singing and chatting.  None of them had ever done something like this before, so they were all a bit nervous and uneasy at first.

The easels they have are so fun!  It sure makes painting easier.  We had pizza, chips, a veggie tray and cupcakes for the kids to munch on in between painting.  Kelsey made the cupcakes that morning...a good way to burn off some excited energy!

At the end they pose you for a group shot...

It's so fun how each one turned out so differently.  We came to town in two carloads--I had 7 kids in the Suburban.  On the way to Anchorage there was lots of singing--on the way back there was lots of laughter.  It was so good to see the girls all having fun together!  Our carload started out the afternoon at Baskin Robbins.  Not a bad way to start a party, right?

They sure didn't think so!  It was a new thing for us, taking a bunch of kids to town rather than hosting an all-kids party here in Whittier.  Each one has its benefits, but for a working mama the ease of not planning the whole thing was sure a treat!  The kids were so fun--at one point one of the girls asked if they were driving me crazy with their laughing.  I said no--I loved hearing them have genuine fun together.  I remember plenty of laughing at nothing with my own friends way back when!

So...Kelsey was delighted with her party and now Stacy has begun her party planning in earnest.  Stay tuned for what she dreams up for her birthday!

20 Questions for a 10 year old

1.  How old are you?

2.  Who is your best friend?

3.  What is your favorite thing to do?
    swim and ride horses

4.  What is your favorite color?

5.  What is your favorite food?

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

7.  What is your favorite thing (changed from toy at her request)?

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

9.  What makes you happy?
     thinking about summer

10.  What makes you sad?
    when people tease me

11.  What is your favorite show to watch?
     Liv 'n' Maddie

12.  What is your favorite book?

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

14.  What is the best part of your birthday?
     being surprised

15.  Where do you like to go?
     secret spots

16.  Who is your teacher?
     Mom, Ms. Erk, Mrs. C

17.  What is your favorite treat?
     going to camp

18.  What do you think about before you fall asleep?
      gymnastics, horse camp, all sorts of stuff

19.  If you could meet someone famous who would it be?
     Christopher Paolini

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

The answers on her 9th birthday
The answers on her 8th birthday
The answers on her 7th birthday
The answers on her 6th birthday

Sunday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope your Valentine's Day was special!  We are not usually big celebrators...I like the kindness aspect of the day, but the love-y end isn't usually a big deal to me.  This year it seemed a bit bigger--I guess because my honey wasn't around.  The girls and I celebrated a bit without him though.  Last night there was a big Valentine's Day dinner over at the school, sponsored by the Samoan church.  It was so much fun!!  The gym was decorated all fancy...

Kelsey helping mix up potato salad
The girls and I went over and helped with the cooking for a few hours, then came home to get ready.  It was a dress-up event, so the girls wore their puletasis (traditional Samoan wear) and I curled their hair.  K's hair is pretty short right now so she just got the ends curled under. Stacy's hair is longer so I curled it a bit more.  She wondered how I got so good with a curling iron and I wanted to reply that I lived through 1989, but I knew she wouldn't think it was nearly as funny as I did.  I am sure my mama has some photo evidence of my hair back then...I remember scraping the dried hairspray off the barrel of my curling iron.  Oh those were the days! :-)

Stacy made us heart-shaped biscuits to go with Kelsey's gravy on Saturday morning...

...then I made this cheesy toast to go with soup on Sunday night...

Kelsey made a comment about how "cheesy" I was, totally understanding that she was making a pun.  I laughed and laughed!!

We've beenwalking a friend's dog this week so today we took him 2 miles in the morning and 2 miles in the afternoon.  Stacy has been desperate to go on a bike ride, so she rode...

...while Kelsey and I walked.  This is what Kelsey looks like after staying up late and then walking 4 miles...

This was the view at the end of our walk today...still pretty, even on a cloudy, rainy, slushy day!

That wraps up our weekend--unless you want to hear the details of our cleaning or my paperwork filing fest...which I assume you don't!  Hope you had a good weekend!

Thursday, February 11


The girls and I are reading The Alchemist at the recommendation of a friend.  It's not really a kids book, but it is full of really one liners that get you thinking; we've had some really great discussions as we've gone through it.  The other night we read this bit, "As he mused about these things, he realized he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of the thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure."  Just before this, the boy has lost all of his money to someone who had promised to help him, who had then run off with his money.  As the realization of what has happened to him sinks in, he recognizes he has choice in how he looks at his circumstances.

This week I am on my own parenting here on the home front, and there have been many moments where I have felt overwhelmed, frustrated, irritated, and where I have worried about things.  As I was driving to Anchorage this morning for teacher inservice and mulling over the fact that I wouldn't be participating in an outing with my teacher friends this evening that I had really been looking forward to, I realized that I was in the same position as the boy--but on a much more materialistic level!  I have worried this week about having too much food (grocery shopping the day before Scott was called out of town unexpectedly), about getting laundry done, and about a messy home to name just a few.  This morning as I was driving in I had a moment of clarity when I realized how blessed I am to have these simple worries.  I am worried about having too much fresh food (a problem easily solved--share!) while other mamas worry about having enough.  Other mothers worry about dressing their children while I worry about getting behind on laundry.  My messy home means that I don't have to worry about a safe place to put my kids to bed each night.  I have so many blessings right in front of me and yet I have the audacity to view them as somehow being burdens.  

All of this made me think about this blog post I read a few years ago.  She does a great job of saying basically the same thing...she says, "I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have."  Isn't that the truth!!  There are so many people in this world who cannot even imagine the plenty that I enjoy.  Heck, there are plenty of people here in my own zip code for whom plenty seems constantly just out of reach.  God has a way of pointing these things out to us if we listen.  When this showed up (again) in my Facebook feed I realized that maybe He was sending me a little reminder.  So.  Here I am, choosing gratitude over senseless worry because in truth I am blessed.  So very, very blessed.

Sunday, February 7

Sunday Painting

The girls and I did some painting this afternoon.  I found this website that has free videos that guide you through paintings step by step like all of those painting party places that are so popular right now.  My lady friends and I went to Arctic Crown Canvas a few weeks ago and we had a blast, but sometimes I like to have fun without driving 120 miles round trip!

If I am being totally honest here I'll say that I loved the experience, but I don't love this painting. It's so dark!  What I loved most about the experience was how empowering it was!  Although I don't love the finished result I still feel quite a sense of accomplishment at the fact that I did it.

Here at home the girls and I chose A Walk in the Park to paint while the rest of the world was watching the Super Bowl.  It was fun and it was really neat to see how differently each one turned out!

Amazing phone pic! :-)  Stacy's painting is on the left, Kelsey's is int he middle, and mine is there on the right. 

If you've ever considered doing one of those parties but haven't, give this website a try!  They do a great job of breaking the painting down into chunks and giving you a place to pause while you paint.  They paint on 16x20 canvases.  The kids and I had 8x10s so that's what we used along with cheapie brushes I bought for a birthday party several years ago and whatever half-empty bottles of acrylic paint we already had.  A great way to spend and afternoon and they're not even paying me to say it...I promise!

Monday, February 1

A Weekend...

Scott and the girls headed up to Trapper Creek last weekend and I stayed behind.  There's always that moment when you're first alone and you don't know what to do with yourself.  I managed to figure it out, though!  I started by painting.  It's a project that had been on my to-do list for a long time, but it is hard to paint a bathroom with 4 people always wanting to use it.  No fancy new color or anything, just a couple of coats to freshen it up.

The problem with having such a TINY bathroom is that painting it is hardly worth getting the roller dirty for.  As long as the roller was wet, I went ahead and painted the hallway too.  It needed it pretty badly--lots of little hands over the years.

And long as the roller was still wet...I tackled a small wall in my kitchen.  As if there is a large wall in my kitchen!!

Saturday afternoon I went to town.  I went mattress shopping, ran some errands and went out to dinner with some friends.  It was a beautiful drive to town!!

Sunday I wrapped up the painting and moved on to sewing a little something for a soon-to-be 10 year old!

Scott and the girls arrived home just before bedtime, full of stories and smiles.  They had lots of fun with our friends' grandkids--ice fishing, playing outside, entertaining a 3 year old.  I think we all had a good weekend!