26 December 2009
23 December 2009
Darwin has been home more now that it's winter. I think he went to Ketchikan once in the last month and a half (but it was only for one night) and he went out to the Greens Creek mine last week, but was only gone for half the day. This week he is getting a little longer lunches and is home a little earlier because of the holidays, but he has also had duty for the past three days, so he didn't get to go to church this Sunday because a call came in right before church...something about the ferry... Next week we are planning to take the kids hiking out across the lake to the glacier (and maybe do some sledding if the snow cooperates...and it doesn't rain) and having a family outing to the shooting range. I can't do either of those activities by myself, so it will be nice to have him around and not on duty. =)
I have been working my buns off in school. I managed to pull an A- in both my World History class and my Pre-calculus math class. My other two classes (Spinning and Piano Lessons) were pass/fail, and I passed both of them. I really hated my history class. The class covered from antiquity to right around 400?? AD, and should have been called "Evolution and Religion" because that was the main focus for the class. The first third of the class we were taught about evolution...and the last two thirds of the class we studied gods/goddesses and religious origins. It was very "hard evidence" based, and was hard for me to stomach. I had to write two papers that I didn't believe a word of...one was on whether or not Adam was the first man, referencing only The Jerusalem Bible version of Genesis (which was given to us), and the other paper I had to write about how the apostles (Peter, Paul, John, etc.) were just legendary stories to guide the Medieval Christians to be good. There wasn't really a way for me to state my opinion in either case, because I was writing about what I had read, not on what my personal beliefs were. I'm very glad that is over now and I don't have to take another history class (in particular from that professor). I thought I liked history, and I chose to take the early history so I could avoid getting into too much political history...haha! Instead I got too much religious history...and all from a historical facts base. Blah!
My next semester starts on Jan. 19th and I am taking 10 credits again this semester. I am taking Principals of Financial Accounting, Principals of Economics I: Macroeconomics, Intermediate Digital Photography, and Core Conditioning (PE). I think this will be one of the last semesters I will be able to take a "fun" class in my schedule.
Wow! On to Brooklin. Brooklin sang in a concert last week and none of us were able to attend! It was on a Tuesday night, and Darwin has scouts that night (yes...he is the scoutmaster again), and I had the Girls Activity Days with London ( I am the leader of a kind of girl scout program at church for girls ages 8-11. We have it twice a month on Tuesday nights for an hour, and do stuff like crafts, service projects, talent building, gospel teachings, and sometimes just fun.) We dropped Brooklin off on the way to our other activities, and she had to walk home! She is getting straight A's in school. She is also in four advanced classes: Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies and Math. She is taking Choir and Technology for her electives. She showed us a flash media she made. It was really cool but I don't know how to link it...if I figure it out I will post it. It was Snoopy and Woodstalk hopping around. She put Technology down as an alternate elective and wanted to get out of it at the start of the year (she didn't know anyone in the class...none of her friends were in it) but it turned out to be a really fun class. In her Social Studies class they do mock trials where they dress up and re-enact historical events. Brooklin dressed up as Richard Palms (who was a citizen of Boston...possibly a rope maker) and participated in a Boston Massacre Trial between the Boston citizens and soldiers of Britain's 29th Regiment. Again...it was during the school day so I don't have a picture. The teacher has pictures, and I am going to see if she can send me a picture of the group Brooklin was in. There is one in the school newsletter, but it is a black and white grainy picture printed on green paper...so not worth trying to scan...but I didn't even recognize Brooklin in the picture!
Caleb had a band concert the day after Brooklin's choir concert. We were able to go and listen to him play his French Horn. The little sixth grade band is a hoot. He did a good job and we are proud of him for tackling an instrument. Caleb had straight A's as well on his report card...but we just got his progress report and he now has a C in Reading...so we need to find out what happened. Caleb is in one advanced class (Language Arts). He played indoor soccer from September to November and his team (the Renegades) made it to the second round in the finals. He had a good coach this year and he is so much better than he has ever been playing soccer. He still is pretty funny to watch when he over anticipates and starts jumping and waving his hands around... =) He was really good at out running the other team' s player to the ball and is a really good defender. When school starts back up, he is going to try out wrestling. Darwin was a wrestler all through high school, and is excited that Caleb will be able to try it out this year. We'll see if likes it or has a talent for it. =) (oh...and Brooklin said she might try out volleyball. She wouldn't try it last year, but one of her friends told her she had an awesome overhand serve at a church activity, so I think she is going to try volleyball finally).
London has been busy after school this year. She was having Lego Robotics every Wednesday but that is over now and she has Guitar Club every Monday. The guitar club has 20 students and they had their first performance two weeks ago. I missed it... =P ...but Darwin took a picture with his phone. They played the school song. London is doing well in school. Her teacher isn't one to just hand out "Outstandings" but she did tell us that London was an amazing student, and she was very caring and helpful to everyone around her. She just has a way of helping her peers without them feeling like they are being helped. She has been testing over the last week of school for the Extended Learning program. She already participates in the program as a guest, but they want to test her to see if they can extend her more services.
Isaiah is doing ok in school. I don't know how to make it any better for him, but he is definitely left handed, and I wonder if he has some form of dyslexia. He struggles with reading (but I think mostly because he thinks he can't read...and some people have told him he can't read) and it takes him hours to do his homework. He still writes a lot of his letters and numbers backwards and his teacher told me that he just zones out during class. He tells her he is just going to do his work as homework, and then if I don't prompt every single homework question on his homework pages, it won't get done. We have bribed him with some success, but it is draining on all of us every day to get him to do his work. He never has any time to play during the school week, because he takes so long to get his homework done that by the time he's finally sort of done, it's time to eat, do dishes, bathe, and go to bed. I feel so bad for him. He is really smart in other things, but school learning is really hard for him (and it always has been...even for preschool I had to pay him nickles to do the coloring pages the way the directions said to do them). He has been working on earning a gerbil since October. His teacher has gerbils in the classroom (along with fish, turtles, and frogs) and they had babies once and he really wanted one...but the babies "disappeared" after about two days, so he didn't get one. (Pretty sure the mom or dad ate them...eeewww.) Anyhow, we told him that if he could do his homework more consistently, he could earn a gerbil. I made a chart up and if he did his homework (and turned it in) for a whole week he could earn the water bottle. Week 2 was a food dish, week 3 the food, week 4 the bedding, week 5 the cage, and week 6 the gerbil. It took him about 9 weeks to finally earn his gerbil, but he has one now (and London got one too for something very different and a lot less work but we read a book about gerbils and they really do better in pairs and he technically didn't earn two, so we let London choose one also). We have had the little critters now for two and a half weeks and they are really fun! We got two girls (so no babies we hope). Isaiah's is brown and he named her Buttercup. London's is black and she named hers Toto. I will have to take some pictures of them. They are just really cute. We haven't had a pet since the fish in Hawaii, so this has been fun.
Brooklin just came in and said, "How long have you been working on that post?! It's like one of your papers you had to write for school!"...and she right! The two essays I had to write this semester only had to be 1000 words each and this is right around 1900 words! (haha! both essays in one post!)
It is nice that I am able to have a little break from school for a few weeks. I have been sewing a lot this past week and I just started reading a book! I can't ever read anything for pleasure while I'm in school, so this next few weeks are going to be fun. I have three books lined up to read and several sewing projects to finish. I hope you all don't mind that I didn't send out a Christmas card this year, but I never fit a family photo into our schedule, much less a long lengthy letter of all the things we have been up to ...which this sort of is. =) I could have just sent out a generic Christmas card with our signatures on it, but that just isn't me...I need the picture and the letter or it feels like cheating and a waste of stamps. Thank you to all of you who did send them! I really appreciate hearing from you. I will try and do better about keeping this updated...mostly for me...but so you can know what we are up to also. I made part of my blog into a book a few months ago, and it was so awesome and I want to do it again soon to have a sort of hard cover family journal.
And now I really am done typing!
21 December 2009
- DS game(s)
- Rest of Scuba equiptment. (gloves, hood, boots, etc.)
- Unlimited Supply of candy
- itouch or ipod w/ a screen!
Caleb's Wish List.
- Moterized Bike
- DS game(s)
- Lego sets
- A good book
- Nerf Guns
- Lab top
- A trip to the Cinima
- Galatic Hero
- Motorised bike
- Jabas skif
- DS game(s)
- Wii game (s)
- a good book/lot's of good books
- pants (no holes!)
- pencil sharpener
- Lot's and Lot's and Lot's and lot's and Lot's of candy!
- New pet shop
- More Dress up Dresses !!
- 5 or more presents
- Motorcycle w/ a mowlawner engin
- Ds games (a good one...)
- Bakugon 6 pack
- Motorized toy car you can sit in
- Whole bag of jolly ranchers
- 10 min w/dad @ piano w/ dad singing
- Ticket to go see a really good movie
- New board game
- New card game
- TV 4 room
- Pencil Sharpener
- Mini refrigerator
- Funny book
- Math book
- Fake Mouth
- Fake Nose
- mini pen
- a cd player
- a cd
- Jack in the box
- Galactic hero
- Bug detention level
- Bug playground
- Bug vaccume
- LAMP (NEW)
- Biology book
12 December 2009
I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful place. We took the kids on a hike on the East Glacier Trail late this afternoon. The sun was pretty low in the sky when we started and before we were half way through, the sun had officially set. There was ice over much of the trail, but only Isaiah and I ended up slipping and falling. =) After our hike we went out to eat at Little Hong Kong, and now we are watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with the big kids. This weekend has been great!
09 December 2009
Caleb and I went to the pool for a scuba intro dive. It was awsome. Caleb is not as good at swimming so I was a little worried if he would have fun. He had a blast. We spent an hour passing a diving torpedo to each other and swimming around the deep end of the pool. He was so excited when we were done and asked when he could go again. These moments are the best in our lives.
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23 November 2009
As we were going through the papers the teacher had to show me, this one stood out. Most of it is just cute, but two or three of the answers she gave made both her teacher and I laugh out loud...literally!
- The thing I do best is piano and reading.
- The thing I do not do very well is painting.
- The part of me that looks the best is my hair.
- The part of me that I would like to change is no glasses.
- My worst habit is stealing candy. (what! is that where all the Halloween candy is going?!) =)
- I am glad I am my age because I can ride.
- I will be glad when I am 12 years old so I can shave my legs. (!!!hahaha!!!)
- I am proud of me when I go down the ploe (pole) with one hand.
- I work hardest when I am in school.
- I am a little bit brave.
- Most people think I am weured (weird) in a nice way.
London's mission was to have her car (carrying a family of 4 Lego people) through a kind of obstacle course and then have the car grab a ring...all without harming the family (meaning they didn't fall off). From the first picture, her car started on the right on the 3M label. It had to follow the black line up and then curve to the left, make a sharp right turn, go under the bridge, rotate 90 degrees to the right, then go forward set the family down, and then back up away from the family. It is hard to explain, so I put up some video of her on one of the test run tables. Her team didn't win...but they also didn't loose.
Her team had three different missions, and each mission was worth a certain number of points. They got points for how many of the objectives they completed. I didn't get her mission in the actual competition, because we also had two soccer games to be at on Saturday, and her tournament went from 9:45 am - 4 pm!
This time was so close. It got all the way to where is was supposed to go, but the family fell off at the bridge, before the ending...lol!
18 November 2009
15 November 2009
Jon Schmidt CD's and music from Brooklin and Toy Story toys from Caleb
What the heck! Why?!
Darwin's present was wrapped really well. He covered the entire box with black duct tape and then wrapped it in wrapping paper. He got me two books and a black sweater.
14 November 2009
09 November 2009
This week marks three years. Three years since we started our adoption paperwork with LDS Family Services. We have grown by leaps and bounds in these three years in our understanding of adoption. It is definitely a lot more emotional then I ever imagined. There have been days when I wasn't sure how I was going to take care of three infants at once, only to find out the next hour that none of those children were meant to be ours. It is hard for me to not be skeptical of each new situation we are presented with...because for three years, nothing has ever worked out. The thing is, I don't want to be just any baby's mother...I want to be my baby's mother, and if my baby isn't here yet, that's ok. I can wait for my child. I can wait for as long as my child needs me too. Some days I won't be as patiently waiting as others, but I will wait...because I know that that little person is meant to be here. That I am meant to be their mother. Darwin is meant to be their father...and they are meant to have four awesome siblings...and they are meant to come to us through amazing birth parents. I can wait for that.
08 November 2009
About two months ago Darwin and the kids went out to play in the hot tub. I don't remember where I was at the time, but I wasn't home. Isaiah had found a yellow key chain float in the garage, and took it out to play with in the hot tub. Darwin asked him what he was playing with and he said, "Well, it's a yellow submarine." Darwin told him that there was a song about a yellow submarine and he was really surprised. He told me about it when I got home, and asked me to look for the song for Isaiah.
I looked first on iTunes, and while there were several renditions on Yellow Submarine, none of the versions were original...and I grew up listening to my mom's many vinyl singles and albums...so I wasn't going to purchase the KidsBop version! None of the iTunes versions had the funny banter and noises that the original Beatles Yellow Submarine had. I knew that there were CD's of their music, so I went to the store to see if I could find any of them in the oldies section...hehe. No luck. My next stop was Amazone.com. I was able to locate an album titled "1" that had Yellow Submarine on it, so I used 1-click shopping and began the wait. It took over a week for the album to get here. When it finally did, we ripped off the wrapping, skipped straight to track 15, and had a listen. Isaiah's face lit up. He couldn't believe that there was a song about a Yellow Submarine!
We listened to the rest of the tracks over the week. In fact, it has been almost the only music we have been listening to in the house for the past few months. Brooklin told me this week that there was a song by the Beatles that she liked, but it wasn't on the CD we have...Here Comes the Sun. She even added it to our shopping list for the week..." a CD with Here Comes the Sun" was written in between cereal and notebook paper. Lucky for us, "The Beatles Rock Band" video game came out a few weeks ago, and with that, all of the Beatles CD's are now available at Wal-Mart! We went out yesterday to look for it, but couldn't find the Abbey Road CD at Wal-Mart and were a little bummed...but we did purchase the "White" album, because it had a whole bunch of other songs the "1" album didn't have on it. Last night, we realized that we didn't have enough milk and bread, so Darwin and I put the kids to bed and let Brooklin stay up while we ran to Fred Meyer. We found an album called "The Beatles Love" and it had "Here Comes the Sun" on it. (On a side note, I also found a CD called "The Best of the Monkees" and bought that too! I really loved putting on my mom's records and dancing in the living room with my brothers when we were younger!)
Anyway, we didn't tell Brooklin we found her song. We just put it into the CD player this morning and watched. It was so cute! Her face started out puzzled...and then it just lit up!! She couldn't stop smiling. So we are in full Beatlemania...we haven't purchased The Beatles RockBand yet (we stopped at PS2...no Wii, no XBOX, no PS3)...but maybe santa will smile on us this year... =)
31 October 2009
Moo-Lissa and Dreadlocks Darwin.
I got to be the candy passer-outer this year while Darwin walked around to all the other cars in the parking lot with the kids. One little girl walked up to me and said something really funny about my costume...
Kid: "Well, at my house we have manure. Cow manure. You know, like cow patties? Cow poop? We have that at our house."
Me: "Wow..." (What else do you say to a cute witch who thinks you remind them of manure!! )
Brooklin made her own costume this year. I tried to help her with like 5 other ideas she had, and each time we would get going on one, she would start doing the silent attitude thing. I'm not sure what was going on, but I got tired of it and decided that she just needed to do it herself. By Thursday night she was really getting grumpy, because we didn't have time to make the slightly time consuming costume that she had decided on, for her to wear to school on Friday. She cried a little, then I tried to help again. I told her she could make her hair big and use the white hairspray I bought her (for another costume that she decided she didn't want to do) and wear tan clothes and be a Q-Tip, (which I think would have been cute) or we could buy smarties and she could be a Smartie Pants.
She taped boxes of Nerds candy to her shirt (and straightened her hair??) and said she was a Nerd. OK...at least she was happy. Friday night, I told her that since she was going to have to wear a coat out trick-or-treating, no one would be able to see the Nerds taped to her shirt, so I showed her some animal hat patterns I found online. She again turned up her nose. I decided I liked the hats, so I bought and downloaded the pattern and made the cow one for myself (because I had cow pattern fleece already in the house). When it was done, she really liked it! I told her that if she could decide on what she wanted to do before noon on Halloween, I would take her to the fabric store, but she would have to make it herself.
As you can see, she picked out leopard print fleece and made herself a leopard hat and scarf. She looked really cute in them, and she was really proud of herself for making them by herself.
Caleb didn't tell us what he wanted to be for Halloween. I again started making suggestions, all of which were not to his liking. I told him, if he didn't decide by the end of the day (last Saturday) he was going to be an octopus. He quickly came up with a hunter. He just went through the Outdoor Skills class at school, and got a 100% on his hunter's safety test. Darwin is taking him hunting next weekend, so they bought him some more hunting gear, and we had a camouflage pop-gun from Cabelas for him to carry around. He actually got the orange hunting vest from the school as part of their Outdoor skills class.
London was a jellyfish this year. I saw this costume in FamilyFun magazine and thought it was really cute. We bought a witches hat, covered it with bubble wrap and tulle, and hung several types of ribbon around it for the tentacles. Darwin said that without fail, every car they trunk-or-treated at told her how much they liked her costume.
Isaiah got to be the scary pumpkin this year. I made this costume for Caleb when he was six. Isaiah kind of wanted to be Harry Potter this year, but we asked him if he could be that next year, and wear the pumpkin this year. He said that would be ok. I'm glad we got to use this costume one more time.
29 October 2009
Caleb played the french horn in a band concert on Wednesday...and did a super job. Sorry...No video, no pictures...
Caleb got 100% on the hunter's safety exam he took at school last week!
It IS still a blog if there aren't any pictures or videos...but I still feel guilty for not posting any. =/
23 October 2009
"How many of you have hunted before this class?" firearm safety instructor Ken Coate asked a room full of sixth-graders.
Several raised their hands.
"How many of you have held a gun before this class?"
About half raised their hands.
Floyd Dryden Middle School's ninth annual Outdoor Skills Program culminated this week with kids shooting .22-caliber rim-fire and air rifles and being tested on firearm safety at the Juneau Hunter Education Shooting Complex. Garrett Mayers, who has hunted before, said he was more aware of the dangers after going through the program.
"It teaches you guns don't just kill for food. They also can kill you," he said.
Student Amanda Bicknel said the course is "probably the best thing to learn about life, because it's very important, and it's dangerous to hold a gun if you don't know how to use it."
A total of 169 kids participated this year in the program. More than 1,700 have undergone training since it began at the school in 2001, said Floyd Dryden principal Tom Milliron.
Instructor and range manager Frank Zmuda, who supervised kids on the range, said safety is "the utmost thing."
"We emphasize firearm safety throughout the entire course," he said. "We want to see them succeed as safe, ethical hunters."
Back at school, kids in one classroom hold their hands out in front of them to learn which eye is dominant. They rotated between four stations, learning about pump, semi-automatic, lever action and bolt-action rifles and shooting positions.
In another classroom, students learned tenets of safety, No. 1 of which is "control the muzzle." In another, they learned about how to prepare for time in the outdoors, and in another, via video, how to clean an animal.
Milliron said the purpose of the program, however, is "not about creating little hunters."
"It's to promote firearm safety," he said.
Coate said students at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School and Montessori school students have also taken the course in recent years.
He said the hunter education instructors, most of whom were with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, have a "heartfelt desire" to see the program expanded statewide. He also said they'd like to have a mentoring program so kids can get hunting and fishing experience.
Twenty-two people gave their time as volunteers for this year's program.
"This is a whole bunch of people sharing their time and resources to make a great success for the next generation," said Coate. "Safety is the forefront."
Parent Darin Jensen, who came to the range to watch his daughter, Taya, said he was "all about" the training.
"I had it when I was her age, and so did her mom," he said. "It's really important. And we've shot together before a little bit, but these guys ... they really instill it, how important it is."
• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.