Monday, September 22, 2008

It's been a HARD week but we got UNPLUGGED

:) It really has been a horribly hectic week however we did manage to get a HARD project in, if only for a few moments.

I didn't really know what in the heck to do. I had birthday parties to plan, mommy preschool to get ready for and on, and on, and on.

Anyway, while I was preparing a few things for the party I got Cali up to the bar and gave a baggie full of old hard keys.

I showed her how to make rubbings with a crayon. Some of them were thicker than others and didn't work out so well but others worked OK.

While she was working Grandpa came by to visit and decided to show her how to make Mr. Lincoln appear by rubbing a hard penny. Even though it was a stretch I am grateful we were doing the project when we were. I think Grandpa had just as much fun as she did. I hope she will remember doing projects with her Grandpa. I know I will.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Laser Tag-Cori's Birthday (part 2)

Well, I think we are finally through with Cori's 11th birthday. She was able to party down with friends this weekend at the new Laser Tag arena that took the place of the roller rink in Soldotna. Going in the building brought back many memories for a lot of us. There have been many a birthdays celebrated there as a skating rink, going back as far as Amber Dawn. Here is the majority of the group, but not all.

Laser tag brought new giggles, laughter and memories. It is a fast paced game that offers a lot of exercise as well as fun. We invited many friends from school and some family friends as well. Since only 14 players can be in the arena at a time we played short free-for-all games that allowed us to alternate players often.The parents joined in occasionally and Grandpa even took Cali through once which was "So fun" she tells me.

I was rather surprised at how much the girls enjoyed this game. I knew Cori did but sometimes she presents herself more like a tomboy; I wasn't expecting as much from her more girly friends. I was wrong. In all their pink, cotton candy smelling, jewelry wearing, hair coiffed glory they shot enemies as well as every other player. It was really fun to see the smaller, supposedly less threatening of the group sneak up on a those cocky little everyday gun slinging boys and end their game without a chance of escape. :) GO LADIES!

In a turn to the unusual, this party was very different in that parents actually got to visit each without screaming and falling over oodles of kids. There were usually only about 3 kids or so out of the arena at any given time so things were pretty quiet...on the outside.

We had a private hour in the arena which gave us opportunity for many games. In between games the kids gorged on sub sandwiches, chips, veggies and the most beautiful platter of fruit you've ever seen. My friend Michelle came through for me like only a best friend would and saved us all from eating day old fruit from the grocery store. I wish I had a picture to show you, it looked like it could have come from a Paula Dean Cookbook showcase.

After we settled our stomachs a little bit we dove into the huge carrot cake cupcake most of the family decorated. It was a low key year in the world of cake decorating; Scott got of easy. It was harder to ice with nuts in the frosting but oh well, it worked and they ate it!

Presents were fun and I was surprised at how they just took over the process themselves. They decided it would be more fun to sit on the floor in a big group and although they were reluctant the boys even moved in eventually.

My favorite gift was the card Cori's best friend Alli made her with items she found at the beach. I am a sucker for all things sentimental and all things smelling of salt water and sand. Some of her favorites were a Limited Too gift card, two photo albums and a new webkin frog.

Two of the boys (it is amazing how they think so alike) wrapped her gift a bazillion times so it took a while to get through the wrap. It was pretty funny but took a long time. Especially when you have to unwrap it carefully because somewhere in the middle is a paper gift certificate that shouldn't be torn.

Wren came through like only the best brother would. He sent his Dad into American Eagle (otherwise know to Wren as the store only guys who think a little differently go into) to get Cori a lovely scarf she has wanted for so long. She showed it to him over a month ago when we were shopping in Anchorage and HE REMEMBERED! True love shows itself in the very best of ways!

We handed out a few quarters to play the video games until the rest of the parents showed up bringing the party to an end. I wish I would have had video because the grunts, squeals and screams were too fun not to share. They all ended up playing this crane trying to win stuffed animals and they had soo much fun. It was a great feeling knowing they aren't quite that grown yet!

And to digress on wonderful brothers a moment, Barry didn't get to come to the party due to other obligations like homecoming. (His girlfriend still lives here) BUT, when we got home we found this on the table.

I really believe he did it on his own accord but just in case he was coerced, I think it is still incredibly special that he took the time to write it! Life is busy when your 16 and live 3 hours from your girlfriend. Weekends home are jam-packed with things to do and time past to make up for, it makes me tear up knowing he still loves her enough to take just a minute.

When your ready, head this way, we'll get our gear on and take aim! We miss all of you and wish you were here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall is Coming! Fall is Coming!

The last few posts are a little out of order but I really wanted to show you a few things so I am back tracking a bit to catch up.

Last weekend the girls and I took a one day trip to Anchorage. I had been up there the Tuesday night before but I didn't leave until 8:30 pm so I didn't notice all the changes going on.

On Saturday I realized Fall is really coming; to be honest it is HERE! The weather is getting cooler but isn't unbearable. There is a crispness in the air that makes every breath you take feel a little cleaner. We are breaking out our lightweight fleece jackets and relishing in the warm and cozy.

And the leaves are changing. I was so excited about being on the highway with the girls and seeing the multitude of color around us. We don't have as many traditional Autumn tones as there are in the South but we have a vibrant lemon-burst of yellow. Displayed near the never changing spruce, it reminded me of vintage 70's Tupperware. (Come on, most of you remember those green and yellow years.)

When I was around the age of my older girls my mom and step dad would take my brother and I up the road to northern Georgia just to see the leaves change. It was always a fun trip that ended at a park with a waterfall or a small town with an Octoberfest of some kind. I remember walking paths, kicking leaves, hearing the crunch and crackle of so many. We don't really have that opportunity here but we did manage to get lots of photos and spend some time making smoky puffs with our breath along the boardwalk.

We do have reds, as this picture above shows(on the mountain side) but they are often near the ground. There is a small shrub that gets red in the fall but they are so low to the ground they aren't as noticeable.

I stopped several times on our way to Anchorage just to get a couple photos. In Cooper Landing, near the boardwalk we found this little set-up. It was fun playing around with the old prospector.

This tent reminded me of days long past that I am so found of reading about. I've often told the girls I'd like to take them on a wagon train tour. And I love reading to them about the days of the gold rush here in our state. I'd never seen this spot set up like this; I am unsure if it is something new or me just not taking the time to see it before now.

We walked the boardwalk because we always do. It's a good place for my kids to safely run and horse around after being in the car an hour or more.

There is a telescope for better viewing although I always notice more up close than with that thing. It's possible I just don't know how to use it properly therefor can never really see anything in it.

Cassi saw that I had the camera out and took some time to hone her modeling skills. She is also getting ready for the play this year. Do you like her dramatizations?

We left Cooper Landing and didn't get very far before I found my Christmas tree for the upcoming holiday season. This tree just begs for decorations, doesn't it? (The one just across the lake.)

These folks were fishing and I think I made them nervous taking their picture. Dad (or Grandpa) was on the hill where I was planted and didn't look to comfortable with me. I didn't stick around long.
I called Grandma Joanne while I was on the road and told her I hope the leaves hang on until she gets her. (She arrives October 1st) It is such a short season. Its a trip most people visiting Alaska never get to see. I do hope you've enjoyed the ride.

See you soon.

Find Beauty Where Ever You Go

It's a good message that I often forget. You too?

Well, here is what I found the other day hanging in my front door. My very own Charlotte.

She was still there yesterday near the bottom of the door. I know most people don't, but I like spiders. Do You?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

11 Extremely fast years go by...

...And my oldest child is now on the road to 12. I can't talk about this too much because I get rather melancholy about the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, I am happy my girl is growing up and that we've had such a wonderful experience getting here. It's simply, thinking about it makes me realize how fast she will be leaving me.

I talked to Scott about it the other day and all he can say is "See, now you know why I don't want her to leave the state to go to college!" I want her to do all that she wants to do but my heart yearns just a bit, for her to stay small a little longer. And...That's all I got to say 'bout that.

On that note (that she is growing up so fast and all), the birthday fairy came to visit again. But before that, I saw this banner here and decided I really wanted to make one for Cori. I spotted some sticky backed letters in Anchorage last weekend and thought they would work out perfect. Cori is really into lime neon green and orange right now so I figured that was the direction I'd go.

Here it is.

I recycled newspaper to make it. And for some reason we all think using the blue with lime green polka dot ribbon helps make it pop. I actually made it the day before her birthday and hung it up that afternoon before she came home from school. She and Cassi both thought it was awesome. I see another tradition coming on. I hung her name over her door.

Cali, seeing me work on this banner, got a little excited about Cori's upcoming celebration and went on a hunt amongst her things to find something she was sure Cori just couldn't live with out. She came up with a lovely little PINK and fluffy box she used to store some tiny tea cups in. And even though Cori DOESN'T do pink or fluffy, she LOVED it.

In fact she giggled the whole time, reading the card and opening the gift. I think it was her first foray into loving another person so much you just want them to feel all the happiness they are searching for inside. Cali was thrilled(just look at that face) that Cori loved her gifts and it was really special for this 'ole mom to watch.

Cori opened Cali's gift and Cassi's too, the night before her birthday. (Cassi got her a memory card for her phone because a girl has to have room for LOTS of songs you know.)

Since Cori has to be to school so early for band, it makes the whole waking up to the birthday fairy thing a little challenging.
What ever, Cori was ready and woke us up early because the fairy had come and she wanted to open presents!!!

Daddy and I ended up getting her the camera she really wanted.

She wants to do more blogging but insisted she needed her own camera to make it easier. I am hoping it turns into another form of art expression for her. She seems rather creative so far and I am hoping to keep her interests in art alive by adding new things all the time.

She got lots of other do-dads too, all of which I think she liked. I bought her a book we'd seen not so long ago. It's called My Feet Aren't Ugly-A Girl's Guide to Loving Yourself from the Inside Out. I think she has so much more confidence than I remember having at her age but just in case, I hope to surround her with positive thoughts. I pray for the best for her; for all of my girls.

I overheard to ladies talking in the grocery store the other day and decided to look into the restaurant they were talking about. Saint Elias Brewery. Strange choice for an 11 year old's birthday, I know, but it is new and that doesn't happen too often around here. It turned out it was a great choice. They cook the pizza in a brick fire oven.

Cali and GiGi were talking with the girl flippin' the pizza and learning all about how to make a pizza.

We took Cori's best friend Alli with us and they and Cassi sat at a table by themselves. See growin' up too fast!

Grandpa came and told Cassi what he got Cori for her birthday so Cori had to get opening.

Have you ever smelled a vanilla scented pillow. Nice really.

We had ice cream cake (don't worry-Cake decorating Daddy will be doing his thing on Saturday when we go play laser tag with her school friends). Cori took a while blowing out her candles one by one. I am thinking she was trying not to spit on it.

We headed home after dinner, it was school night. And now we are looking forward to playing laser tag with friends on Saturday. I am glad she still agrees to invite boys and girls. She has several close friends of both.

Wish you all could be here.
Here is the invite her Dad(I helped just a little) just made for her to pass out tomorrow. What do you think;
will she love it or hate it?

I'll keep you posted. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

In case anybody is wondering...

This is what I want for Christmas (and birthday, anniversary and any other day I can include to help get the point across).

I read this blog fairly regularly; I go there to look for family fun ideas and activities.

They are giving one away. If I post about it I get extra entries into the contest. And even if I didn't, it's still nice to show you different kinds of things (besides the beach) that make me smile.

The thing is a tote lovers dream, in one tidy little box. If you know me well, you know I should have taken stock in Rubbermaid a long time ago. If you don't know me well, suffice it to say, I own a lot of Rubbermaid.

What do you think? Would it help tidy my crafts or give me reason for more. :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Check out this craftiness (unplugged-soft)

OK, so I am totally cheating, well maybe. We did at least do a project but it wasn't really original or anything. That's OK, right? :-) I have been perusing blogs of late and going through old posts in search of new ideas for gifts the kids might make for Christmas for their friends.

In my search I ended up at this blog which I adore and loved the cute idea for the easily made pillow. I told my girls all about it and the next day we were off looking for a placemat. That is what it started out as, a $3.99 placemat! Don't you love it!

Again this week, I didn't get pictures of us in the process (stuffing away) but mostly because we were laying in bed around 11:00 at night and I didn't feel like heading downstairs to find my camera. I didn't know about this tip previously but we followed the advice in the post and stuffed it with small bits instead of large clumps. What a difference it made. Our first attempt came out so darn cute that we are saving it to give to one of the girls' teachers for Christmas. Our plan is to add some holiday tea and a book to go with it.

We don't have a lot of choices for places to locate placemats but but we are headed to the big city soon and we will spend some time looking there. If we can find some tweeny looking ones we will give these to friends too.

I also read about this cute little pom-pom letter book over at Teaching Tiny Tots at Mommy School.

It was actually the Pom-Pom Number Cards link that I followed but it basically lead me to this wonderful site. Cali has enjoyed her new book with the brightly colored soft pom-poms so much. I laminated each page, put a Velcro dot on each spot and the corresponding Velcro half on many pom poms. The only things she has asked of me is to STOP taking her picture and make her more pom-poms. She likes the letters to have all the same color pom-poms.

I am struggling, thinking about next week's sand theme; can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Catching up- The Alaska State Fair

I haven't been able to catch my breath really since school started. I am trying hard but life is just a little busier than I'm used to at the moment. Summer was pretty busy but more by choice than necessity. School time is a little harder for me to accept.

When we were in Anchorage last weekend we made a quick jaunt to the Alaska State Fair. We only make it there every couple years. I think that is enough to tide us over. We went with Alli and her family. Wren went with us too.

After the soccer tournament we stopped by Wren's house so the girls could change out of their soccer clothes and Scott could put on a shirt that would assure we could find him anywhere in the place. There was a glow all around him. It was a warm afternoon/evening with bright sun so he made sure to bring along his hillbilly hat which made finding him all the easier. We just had to listen for the laughter.

We went straight to the farm animals which was a BIG hit with Cali. The big girls thought it was a little stinky. Cali checked out the little chicks. She told me all about them in a very high-pitched voice. It made the story so much clearer.

We found a little bitty goat that made her giggle out loud-repeatedly. I had more fun watching her than I did the goat! She wanted me to buy him! : ) And honestly I would have done it!

After seeing all the cows (all of being meat eaters) we made our way to the FOOD! Man, the stuff is pure garbage but it is so worth it. Maybe that's also why we only allow ourselves to go every other year or so.

Following the heart attack on a stick we made our way to the rides; makes sense right? We stuck to some fairly simple stuff since my girls aren't real daredevils and neither is Wren!

They wanted to ride this kite ride that is much like a hang glider that travels in a circle going up and down. Cori and Wren were a little uncertain however so I told them I'd ride with them. The line was long so that made it longer to think about and more time to get nervous. And that is what happened.

As we were standing there Wren says to me, "Hey, what is that thing people do" and he motions his hand across his chest. I grew up catholic didn't take me long to figure out what he was talking about. I asked him if he meant The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. He did! When it was our turn, I looked over at him and sure enough, he wasn't taking any chances. : ) Man, That boy makes me smile every time we are together!

I don't have any photos of us on the ride since I was on it and Scott didn't think to take any but it was fun. Wren got a little adrenaline in his system because he was ready to stand in that 45 minute line all over again. He said, "that was awesome! Let's go again!"

The kids rode the Jerk-you-to-heck-and-back roller coaster too. Michelle (Alli's mom) rode with the kids this time. That is her in the front with Wren, Cori is with Alli two seats behind them and Cassi and Cait are behind Alli and Cori.

All the kids also went on the big slide.

Scott took Cali up. She started out walking up the stairs on her own but the higher she got the slower she walked. About the last third of the way Scott had t carry her. She insisted they should just walk back down. He forced her to go down the slide because there was now way to force themselves past the other riders. She survived it and by the time she got to the bottom she even had a smile on her face.

Here is one crummy little scenery photo. I just wanted you to see the back drop of our fair. Nice huh?

We didn't leave until nearly 11:00 and we were all exhausted but it was a grand 'ole time!