Sunday, October 29, 2006

Quiet Friday Evening

This Friday I got out of work early to go to the Fall Carnival at Zoey's homeschool. I know that sounds funny, it wasn't at her house. We are in a charter school through the Anchorage School District that supports homeschoolers with sponser teachers and some testing. So Family Partnership Charter School had a fall carnival. The kids had a blast, the parents got to mingle or not.

Tangent aside, I got home before anyone else. Zoey was already at the carnival with Branson, and Vivi and Tom were on their way back from Eagle River. I am NEVER in this house alone. Never. And to top it off, it was a very still evening. Still evenings in winter usually involve subzero temperatures. This evening was in the low 30s, with no wind and no noise. I stood on the side deck for a long time breathing and listening to the stillness. The city stars were just lovely.

My mom, the seamstress

Have I told you how great a seamstress my mother is? Have I told you how lucky my children are that they get really fabulous Halloween costumes and great dress-up clothes all year long? Or that my husband had wanted to be Sam Adams, brewer and patriot for Halloween and Mother Mary made it happen? Zoey is the black kitty she has dreamed of since Sarah and I took her to see Cats, and Vivi is a fabulous butterfly fairy. It was super hard for Vivi to choose her costume from the pattern book, she vacillated between being a pirate princess and being a butterfly fairy. I may just have to make her a pirate costume for Christmas. I promise to get some better pictures in the next few days, I promise!

Creative Kiddo

Zoey wants to be a fashion designer, can you tell? And she has a real live, willing, marginally compliant model. It is often fun to watch them work together. Zoey does not always get her way, but neither does Vivi. Sometimes there is rancor and the girls have to be reminded to be respectful and maybe even quiet. The outcome is usually worth all the drama, though. Zoey also wants to go through the highly competitive and successful University of Alaska Anchorage Air Traffic Control school. She is a complex, creative, analytical kid.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Life goes on...

Well, my lovely desktop computer is in the shop. Sigh....something about a logic board. It will be there for a week. I am limited to using Tom's laptop when he is home from work. Really, it is okay. I will just have no pictures this time. Also, if you send me something and do not get a reply, bear with me as we are definitely having technical difficulties.

The snow is finally here. It has been a warm October. My girls have been disappointed, but I am secretly happy. Fewer weeks driving on ice is okey dokey by me.

Vivi has been on a tear lately. She is having a tough time growing up and yet wanting to grow. Poor thing, more than once she has said that she wished she was still a little baby. Then about twenty minutes later she will argue that she is big enough to do whatever activity her sister is barring her from. I do love watching her mind work, it is fascinating.

Zoey has been learning so much lately, taking on challenges and staying focused. I'll have to figure out how to post her piano playing. I guess Momma will have to learn something new.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The volcanoes across the street

This was the sunset from my driveway a few nights ago. This is looking at two of the five volcanoes I can see from my house. The one on the right is Mt. Redoubt, the one on the left is Mt. Iliamna. Both erupted in the early twentieth century. Both have active vents and steam quite often. One very active volcano is Mt. Spurr. It is the closest one to Anchorage at about 70 miles away. It looked like it was going to erupt two years ago but it did not, which is a good thing. It can make Anchorage a big mess. There is a re-awakening happening south of Anchorage at Four Peaks Volcano. It was thought to be EXTINCT, but has come back to life very dramatically. This could be very interesting. For more information on our volcanoes check out the Alaska Volcano Observatory

Happy Birthday v. Darth Vivi

Zoey turned 11! Holy smoke! Like all parents, I am in disbelief. It wasn't that long ago she was my chunky monkey. Now she is a rock-climbing, race running, biathlete who loves to play piano.

We had her party at the Alaska Rock Gym. It was a grand time. The kids loved climbing, they have no fear and are so trusting of the belayers. A BIG thank you to all the adult belay slaves. We really should have an "adults only" evening at the rock gym so we can climb! Tom even had two former students show up and help out. Beau and Candi are growing into great adults. Zoey received some very nice gifts that she will be sending "Thank you" notes on shortly.

One of the biggest surprises was Vivi free climbing. She got up to six feet on several occasions. Tom was too busy working with the other kids, but Beau and I were awed! She didn't think twice, she just jumped on the wall and started looking for hand-holds. Pretty incredible.

Vivi also really enjoyed Zoey's new Darth Vader voice changing helmet. I sure am glad I am not a cat around here.

Oh and sorry for all the chalk dust on the lens. That was just the way it was rolling on Friday night!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Zoey's Day of Contrasts

Last Friday Zoey had a big day! She got to dissect a female silver salmon at the Elmendorf Fish Hatchery. It was for her Alaska Outdoor Classroom. Her friend, Branson, is in that class, too. They are such good friends and a good mix intellectually. Branson is all boy and Zoey keeps right up with him. They had to take some of the eggs from the female and get ovarian fluid for Bob, the fisheries biologist who led this class. They had to identify all sorts of organs. Who knew how very hot pink the swim bladder is? Zoey even got the heart out while still beating. It was pretty impressive. The only thing that oooged her out was when Branson decided he needed to get the fish's eye out. That crossed a line for Zoey. She is so brave!

Then, that evening she was asked to assist at the Mayor's Diversity Ball. Her godmother, Lupe, works for Mayor Begich. Zoey cleaned up all pretty and assisted folks in finding their tables at the Sheraton Ballroom. She came home with lots of stories and a big boost to her self-confidence. Yea, my big girl!

The Latest Campaign

Convention for the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska begins today. The bishop's budget has zeroed out spending for youth. I am not a happy camper! As well, we are having resolutions introduced that STILL bring up the issue of gay clergy and leadership. Do you know how sick I am of having to re-hash who can wear what? Well, sick enough to foment dissent and revolution. In a few hours folks at convention will be talking about 5% of the diocesean budget for growing our youth ministry. YIPPY!!!! Let's change the conversation and refocus on ministry.

Also, it is now snowing up here. The girls had to go out barefoot and dance in it. Now they are asking for hot water bottles.

Part Time Dog

Cojo is our part-time dog. She is a sweet Aussie shepard mixed with something. Her full-time family lets us have her when they are out of town or fishing in Bristol Bay. My girls adore her; Tom and I think she is pretty great, too. We have had her for almost all of this last week. She went home last night. The cats are glad.

Chore Day

Saturday was my last day of freedom. I had the month of September off and Sunday was October 1st. Sigh....So, how did I spend that day? Hmmmm....with chores! Friday morning we woke up to snow on the ground, so Saturday was spent getting the outside of the house ready for winter. That included the cars. My car now has a fresh alignment and snow tires. Tom's are coming this week. We put some toys away, too. Despite having chores I did get a walk around the house with Vivi in the sunshine, and a look at Mt. McKinley and Foraker to the north.