Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 03-31

Well, not really wordless (I'm not very good at that am I).  This is my sweet Aunt Diane.  She has MS. She lives in NY, very far from most of her family.  Her boys and one of her brother's live nearby but are busy with their own families.

My Mom loves her so very much and it makes my heart sad that they don't live closer.  My mom visits Aunt Diane as often as her own busy schedule allows but it's never enough.  Sister's should live close, don't you think?

Aunt Diane is pretty much confined to bed or wheelchair (and even this isn't easy) and yet she almost always wears a sweet disposition in the smile on her face. I'm posting this picture as a forever reminder that when things seem bothersome, frustrating, irritating, and annoying I really need to take a step back, dig deep for a sunny smile and be grateful to be alive.  If my Aunt Diane can do it, so can I!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last Minute Works for Us

Last week at Cali's Kindermusik class she was given homework. She was responsible for making a boat. She could make it any way she chose out of anything. There weren't really any rules. It isn't even going into water. We had grand plans for getting it done right away but well, if you know this family than it's no surprise that I am here writing about this project being last minute for us.

Another thing most people know is that I collect driftwood and sticks. Because we found ourselves with only an hour or so to get this project done before Cali was off to bed, we poked out head outside and found a piece of somewhat flat driftwood. We had a nice driftwood stick and we even had a few green sticks left from Cori's snowshoe project a while back. That one we bent to help with the mast.

I told Cali she could use fabric or paper, anything she wanted to make the sail. She came back with a couple balls of yarn. I was surprised. We tied one end of the yarn and she weaved in a figure eight pattern between both sides. She chose the colors and decided she would go in a pattern of color. I helped her by holding the boat while she weaved. I reminded her often to pull tight and learned that the shorter pieces of yarn worked better.

She reminded me often not to help; she would tell me when she wanted help! At first I reminded her of the direction she should be going with the figure eight. it didn't take her long to get it down. She even recognized when she was getting wonky.

Before she would consider it complete she dug through a jar of costume jewelry. She claimed she was looking for something pirate-y. She came back with the multi-colored flower which she insisted matched her yarn choices perfectly.

I love this boat and kindly asked her if she would gift it to me after her class. She told me she would and now I just have to find a home for it! I love it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

amongst friends~ Week 21

The Letter R

I was rather proud of my picture this week. I've had it since I put up my Q picture. I think possibly our confidence is growing when we take our pictures. I know personally I am thinking out of the box a little more when taking pictures for this challenge. And I know the same is happening for some of the rest of the group. Feel free to join in anytime!

Scott- Russian Mission- The name of the village he is currently working in.
Kelly- Raindrops
Jocelyn- Ride. (I am so jealous of that little one :)
Christie- Reflection. I loved this picture!
Jenny- Rear view mirror.
Frank- Red

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ingenious? Foolish? Embarrasing? Funny?

You decide.

I thought they were pretty funny. I am not sure I, as a senior in high school, could have stood on a busy street corner holding a sign essentially begging for money. Nope, not me! For that reason, the fact that they had the guts to do it, I thought it was cool.

And yes, I gave them a little money. ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cali Made Her 1st Video- She's a Pro

I was looking for videos on my phone last night and stumbled upon this lovely tour of the middle school made by Cali. Let me first say, I had no idea she knew how to use the phone as a video. And while it is a bit wobbly, she still shows things, turns the camera to herself and gives some dialog. It's a bit longer than you can almost stand but it's funny throughout so give it a look. :)

It's a Wild Ride- Would you Dare?

Do you remember me mentioning Cassi's birthday plans being a bit of a fiasco?  Well rest assured sometimes it becomes very obvious that there is something much bigger out there handling things and lest you forget who's really in control, the truth is thrown at you and it's as clear as a new spring day covered in snow.

Cassi was supposed to have a birthday sleepover at a hotel in town that has a pool.  Turns out there was a hockey tournament in town and the hotel was full.  NEVER happens in Kenai, AK. Then we decided we'd wait for the hotel pool party and have a family get-together bowling. Well go figure, there was a State Tournament being held here too. No Open Bowling!

Sometimes, you have mere hours to pull something together and low and behold, it's the most wonderful thing!  So wonderful in fact that you give up your other plans to do it twice!

Let's talk about extreme tubing!  Out in the middle of nowhere, way up in the hills on Homer, AK there is some tubing going on and it. is. AWESOME!

There are lanes and while you go super FAST and it is really a long way down, and you often spin round and round, you are never really at risk of dumping your tube.  Puking- maybe, peeing your pants, quite possibly but safety isn't really an issue.

And after you get to the bottom, they pull you up again. And while you ride up you get to see a Heaven's-eye view of what can only be called, God's Country! I tell you, it's awesome!

The girls took a friend each time. The first trip Holly and Wren were with us and AJ and Lil' Rachel met us down there. The second trip the girls each took a different friend and that time Grandpa and GiGi went with us too.
On our second trip it was actually so warm the girls stripped down to short sleeved shirts. Cori and Grandpa even took off their snow pants. The first day was so beautiful, you couldn't have convinced me it could be better. Who knew?

What do you think, would you go for a ride? Then come up and go down again? Click on the pictures and have a look around. I am willing to bet whether you would actually go or not, you will want to!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sweet Surprises

Cali had a nice little surprise awaiting her this morning in the p.o. box.  She'd been asking me repeatedly to check the mail, she must have had a feeling. :)

Sam, her faraway Georgia friend sent her a sweet book in the mail. It's titled Milo, the Really Big Bunny. When I showed her the package she set to opening it right away. She was so surprised and delighted that Sam would think of her for no reason at all.

We read the book immediately and she also took it straight away to her Kindermusik class and they read it again!  She *hearts* this book.

She even wrote it in a note. (Do you see the *heart*)
Here she say's:
Sam Thank You!  I <3 Milo the
Really       nny
Big Bu   

Thank you so much Sam (and Dina).  It was a sweet surprise and made our day!

Wordless Wednesday 03-24

Cali painted this and told me the labels. Very Sweet!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old-School Playtime

I grew up in Florida. I remember visiting my Grandpa's house, he lived in a mobile home park. My cousins and I would run out in the woods and build forts out of anything and everything we could find out there.

The other day I was thinking my kids have never really known the kind of freedom we had back then.  Not only do we live in a different world today but living in Alaska creates even more outdoor freedom challenges. There are always moose, bear and other wildlife concerns. Seriously.  Last year we had 5 bears, yes I said 5 in our yard with in a half-hour. Fortunately it was late, after the kids were in for the night so we had no actual child-scare, but it was still frightening. And truthfully, we had a DLP that night with Scott being charged so when I speak of them, I assure you the risks are real.

 Back to forts. While we don't get to just let them wander for hours on end like I grew up doing there are ways to incorporate some creativity and freedom into their exploring.  They get to do it at school.
How awesome is that? Too Cool for School if you ask me!

I was invited to take pictures. The 6th grade went out to a trail behind the school and the teacher let them loose. My only instruction was to leave them be and let them have fun.  They built caves in snow, under trees, out of trees.  It was so wonderful and seemed so old-school to me.

I heard kids laughing, making furniture for their forts and decorating. Their communication was often unspoken. Some kids turned into little worker bees, you could sense there were kids destined to work with their hands. There were some who felt the need to direct. And some who just loved exploring, noticing things around them and creating something from it. Even the kids who are typically quiet and more withdrawn were inviting me to take a walk-through.

 Lest you be worried they aren't learning, this was all tied into a component on Explorers. There was a lesson here on the best options for building shelter. And at the end of two days of building all the kids shared what they learned and experienced. It was good ole' fashioned fun and imagine this, wait for it...hands on education!

This is my favorite picture from the day. It looks like my mind's eye view of my childhood. Doesn't it just make you wish you could build a fort? Me too, I'm off!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

amongst friends~ Week 20

The Letter Q

I thought this week would be hard for me. Sometimes things just happen, if only one is willing to notice! Cassi and I stumbled upon our pictures; they were just meant to be! Be sure to go back and look at the connections from the previous weeks. Some of them are quite funny. You know what else? I ALREADY have my R picture. I was taking a photo because I liked it and all of a sudden it was clear to me. Maybe, if you let it, a picture will just jump out at you too.Keep your eye out for an R photo and join us next week.

Jocelyn's picture was a bit like a puzzle- her Q was quarter.

Jenny's picture was pretty creative with Quiet.

Frank used the reliable Q-tip.... See More
Kelly was rather necessary with Quilted TP.

Cassi's was a last minute entry with Quest Dr.

And mine was an odd little Q lapel pin that came from my Aunt. It was fate as she had no reason to have that in her possession but yet she did and she mailed it to me not knowing about my Q quest this week!

Friday, March 19, 2010

It was a busy Birth-Day

Cassi woke up early; I felt her stirring. She slept with me last night.  I did my best to talk her into going back to sleep.  I don't think it worked.  It seemed like only a minute later and she was saying to me, "Come on mom, get up, it's my birthday!"
Of course the Birthday Fairy made a midnight visit.  And she brought great gifts. Like earphones for all the girls and a soccer blanket for Cassi. And really cool mini travel pillows that are really, really soft.

Cassi also got her very own camera. She's been taking an after school photography class.  She shows a real eye for great photos. I think she is quite excited to have her own camera to take back to school when she returns from spring break. And of course, it's pink.

We had a rather low key day and stuck fairly close to home for most of it. It was a gorgeous day so the girls played outside a little bit, then Amber came by and we went to see the movie,  Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  It was super cute and I think the girls enjoyed it.

After the movie we had a little ice cream cake. It's been a strange birthday week for Cassi because we actually celebrated last week while her Dad was still home by going to Extreme Tubing. (It was a last minute decision and was only supposed to be a small family affair.  It turned into a bit more but not the friend party she had thought she'd have this weekend.
Long story short, all plans have changed and instead of having a party she has decided to go one more time to Extreme Tubing with a different friend on Sunday. Phew. While we usually have a rather big get together for birthdays, Cassi will instead have 3 different days to remember for year number 11.

I was wondering if she will ever remember this day. I remember my 11th year because I moved to Georgia that year. I don't recall my birthday however, in fact I remember very few of them. Maybe because we will have this blogging journal, she'll have a better chance.

Here she is, at the exact moment she turned 11. She was born at 10:16pm.  This is a big deal to her so I am glad she made it to the minute tonight.  She enjoyed the moment. She even sang to herself, "For she's a jolly good fellow..."  It made me giggle because really, she is!

With Love, From Mommy

Knowing how much Cassi loves all things sparkly, I made this for her, for her birthday.
Daddy assures us he can hang it in such a way that it will appear it is coming out of the wall. I am hoping he can 'cause it sounds so cool!

I am into sticks at the moment. This stick was gathered on the last hike Cassi and I made.  I have made many projects from branches recently but this is only the second one of these I've made. One was for Cori's best friend Alli. Her's wasn't quite so glittery but for Cassi it had to be! I am even thinking about using some driftwood and making on ocean themed one for Cori. I'll let you know if that ever bares fruit. (Or starfish!)

Wishing you all things glittery and beautiful.

** The photo's don't do it justice; it's rather hard to take pictures of.

My Birthday Baby- SHE'S 11

Not to worry, I know she isn't the youngest and I didn't forget the one who is. It's just that ALL of my girls will ALWAYS be my babies.  ALWAYS! And today, this one has turned 11!  *tear-drops*

Here is she is on her special day- looking like a little Ice-Birthday Fairy.  Seriously, this is everything she is.
She is all about the glitter and glitz. She carries herself like royalty, with all the class of a true princess.

~Happy Birthday My Baby~ 
~May this 11th Year~
~Bring you all the things dreams are made of~

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seeing Green

No, they aren't jealous girls, but they are green! At least today they were.
Cassi, Cali and I went to our little St. Patrick's Day parade. (Cori was with friends for a while.) It was just as small as it always is but we love it just the same. And besides, I'd feel like I was disrespecting my Grandma if I didn't go. I am sure she'd have something to say about it. She is IRISH after all.  This is her at lunch today in Florida. I can only hope I look so cool at 80!

Once Cori got home the girls gave me about 5 minutes for a lucky photo shoot. I took so many pictures and frankly this was the best I could do at narrowing the amount I post.

(Cali's face in this picture cracks me up.)

(I love this picture but Cassi's beautiful face is all covered up.)

(Cassi is always so into dressing up. She put this outfit together all on her own.)

What do you think? I think green is their color!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I think of my Grandma when I read this saying~

If you're enough lucky to be Irish...
You're lucky enough!

In honor of my Grandma, all the Irish she is and all the Irish she passed on to us, I leave you with this Irish blessing~

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

Wordless Wednesday 03-17

No words needed!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Creative One

I don't really label my children. Well I suppose I do a little. It's kind of inevitable although they sport many of the same labels. :)

Regardless, Cali sees herself as the creative one, she told me so. With what happened just recently, I think she might be right.

We had teacher appreciation week at our school. There was a rainbow made of hand prints cut from construction paper that hung over the entry way into our school. There was also a sun cut from poster board. We happened to be there the day the sun and rainbow came down. While many of the hand prints were saved for the kindergarten class, many of them were tore in the removal. Those along with the sun that was written on were destined for the trash.

Cali wouldn't have it. So for an extra hour that I could have been running errands, Cali sat and cut up all the torn hand prints and glued them all over the sun to cover the writing.

That in turn inspired this project with her sister that evening.

Sadly it is one of the few St. Patrick's Day decorations we have up this year. I hope to do a couple more before the big day but even if we aren't able to do more, this is a wonderful St. Patrick's Day greeting as you come in!