30 May 2009

Piano Recital

Today was Brooklin and London's piano recital. The recital was supposed to be last Sunday, but we told the teacher we couldn't come, so she changed it for us! (Good thing too...four of her other students are also LDS, and may not have been able to come either). The girls did a great job. I am so impressed with how far they have come in the 9 months they have been taking lessons here. Their teacher (in the blue dress next to London) is a classically trained pianst from China, and has only lived in the United States for two or three years. She is very strict and it's hard to understand her sometimes, but they are learning so much from her. Her husband teaches Suzuki violin lessons and is an expert violinist. I'm not sure of the names of either of the songs the girls played...the titles were written in Chinese...but they did a really good job.


(she got lost once, but she had the whole song memorized, so I still think this is amazing!)

29 May 2009

Melissa's suprise trip to Idaho

I mentioned in the previous post that I had to miss out on the final hike at the third grade camp, so I could run home, shower, repack a few things, and make it to the airport to catch a plane to Idaho. I decided on Sunday, May 17th that I was going to Idaho. I bought my ticket on Monday, packed for two different trips on Monday and Tuesday, went camping Wed, Thurs, and Friday, and then flew to Idaho from Friday the 22nd to Thursday the 28th. My brother, Micah and his wife Cori adopted a baby boy in Sept. 2008, and his adoption was finalized on Thursday May 21st, 2009. In our religion, we believe that families can be sealed together for time and eternity in the temple. They were taking their son to the temple to get him sealed to them on Sat. the 23rd. The whole family was going to attend (except for me because I live so far away), but I decided to surprise them all. I only told one of my brothers that I was coming and swore him to secrecy. The only reason I told him was he was thinking of not coming, and if he came, all eight of my parent's children would be together for the first time in seven years!

I got into Boise, ID at 11pm. I hauled my luggage out to the rental car parking lot, and my car was in the very last row, very last spot, furthest from the door parking space available. I got to drive a 2008 Dodge Journey. It was fun looking, it was electric blue, and had a place to cool soda's via the air conditioner right inside the glove box...but it did not get up and go when I told it to. I drove to Darwin's brother's house by midnight and found the hidden key by stumbling around in the dark and using my cell phone as a flashlight. =) His brother's family was camping for the three-day weekend so they weren't home, but they were glad to have someone to watch the house and water their garden while they were away.

I woke up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning and got ready for the day. The sealing wasn't until 2:30 pm, but I wanted to try and get two sessions in at the temple before the sealing, since we don't have a temple nearby where I live. On a side note, I have been able to attend four sessions in the temple this year...twice in Seattle, and twice in Boise! I am so excited that I've had the opportunity to visit the temple so many times this year. It is so refreshing and awesome at the temple. Anyway, back to the story. I parked at the temple at 8:45 am, ran inside, changed my clothes, and made it into the 9am session by a hair! As soon as the 9am session was over, I quickly (and reverently) ;) walked back to the chapel and just barely made it to the 11am session. The session ended at 1pm, and I changed back into my regular clothes and went to the temple cafeteria to have lunch. I got done at 1:30, and wondered what I was going to do for the half hour that was left before people started showing up. I ran into a family friend and sat chatted for a few minutes, then I saw Micah and Cori checking in at the front desk. I forgot they would have to be there early to get their kids situated and to get instructions on how things would proceed. I sat and watched them pull out their recommends and Cori was the first to see me. Her eyes got really big, and her mouth was hanging open! Without taking her eyes off me, she started patting Micah on his shoulder and pointing. He didn't know why she was frantically pointing and nudging him for a minute, but then he saw me, and they were both in shock! It was so fun! I got to witness this reaction several more times, as the members of my family came to the front desk, checked in, and then had to do a double or triple take trying to place me. "It looked just like you, but I knew it couldn't be you, because you are in Alaska!" My mom about had a heart attack and my dad started tearing up. It was the best surprise ever! My favorite line though was from my sister-in-law, Lila. She said, (something to the effect of) "This must be what it is like to go to heaven. You check in at the front desk, and then you get to reunite with family that you haven't seen in a long time."

The sealing was very beautiful, and I am so glad that I was able to attend. My younger siblings were not old enough to go into the sealing room, so they waited in the waiting room with their nieces and nephews. I got to do more surprising and it was so fun to see their faces. My mom didn't let me out of her sight, because she was sure that it wasn't real. =) After the sealing, we all went to a bbq at Micah's house.

My trip was amazing. I got to meet my two adopted nephews (Calvin and Teagan), and one niece(Cambry) and one foster niece(N-baby) that have joined the family since last July when I was there. I got to visit with my friend from elementary school and go shopping at Target and Deseret Book. I got to enjoy my siblings and parents and just have no worries for a few days. It was so wonderful, and I owe it all to my amazing husband...who told me to just go and he would take care of everything while I was gone. He did a great job taking the kids fishing, getting them off to school and piano lessons, and generally holding down the fort. I am so grateful for his willingness to let me go and have fun while he took over for me. Thank you!!!! I love you!!!!

Now for the pictures. I so didn't want to download 50 something pictures on here, since it will only let me do 5 at a time, so I am going to try it this way. I have an album on facebook of my trip, and it says that I can share the album even if you all don't have a facebook. The link is below, and if it doesn't work, will someone please let me know? I can upload them here, and normally I would, but I wanted to try it this way this time.

Oh, there was one more surprise at the end of my trip. I was supposed to come home on Wed. night. I got to the airport, turned in my rental car, got my boarding pass, went through security, got a snack and went to wait at my assigned gate. No sooner had I sat down and started enjoying my fruit/granola yogurt, than the desk agent gets on the intercom and announces that anyone on flight (whatever my flight number was) had to come and see her. Turns out the plane I was supposed to get on had raditor problems wherever it was coming from so it was going to be an hour late getting into Boise. I only had an hour layover in Seattle, so there was no way I was going to make my connection. They gave me two options that involved a lot of sleeping and waiting in different airports, or I could stay in Boise an extra night and fly out in the morning. So I got to spend an extra night with my family before flying home.

22 May 2009

3rd grade camp out

This week I went on a field trip with London's class. It was a 3 day/2 night camp out (in cabins) with 45 third graders! We left the school around 9am on Wed. morning and drove out the road, to the Southeast Methodist Camp. They have cabins, a lodge with a kitchen, and working toilets and showers. I didn't take a shower because the floor was kind of gross and the shower heads didn't work very well, but it was nice to have sinks and real toilets.

I was not happy (initially) about this field trip. First, we don't do "spend the nights"... period...and this was sleeping over for two nights. Second, it was a $40 field trip. Third, I don't really even like camping (tent camping to be more specific, and this was going to be cabin camping so not too bad, but still...) The only way London was going to get to go was if I went with her. (Yes, I'm that protective... =P )

I ended up really enjoying myself...and London had a ball. There were a lot of activities that kept the kids engaged and active all throughout the day. I was in a cabin with 16 third grade girls and four other moms. The first night the girls WOULD NOT settle down. After getting their breakfast last the next morning (for bad behavior) they didn't make a peep the next night.

This was just a REALLY funny cart. They shortened the name of the camp to make it fit...but they didn't think about what it said on it. We took the 3rd graders to the "SE Meth Camp"! I told one of the moms, and she joked "Yeah, next time we should take them to the Pot Farm"!

The first day the kids played several games. In this one, the kids were predators, and they had to sneak up on a sleeping kid who was the prey. The "prey" had on a blindfold and had to point if he heard any sounds, and the predator he heard would have to go back to the start.

Wednesday night, we walked over to Eagle Beach and had a BBQ. I hadn't ever been to Eagle Beach, and it is really beautiful. Incidentally, that night during the BBQ was the only time it rained the whole three days! We have had such a wonderfully sunny spring...more sun than rain, which is amazing.

Thursday, the kids cooked their own lunches. They were given a hobo stove made out of a coffee can, and a can of heat made out of a tuna can filled with cardboard and wax. They cooked hamburger patties on the hobo stoves, and had chips and a drink to go with it.

The parent helpers got their hamburgers cooked on a grill, since we were all needed, to make sure no one got burned and had fully cooked hamburgers to eat.

London and I roughing it! ;)

During the day on Thursday, the kids were broken up into four groups and had four, hour long activities to do. One was weaving, one was locating mosquito larvae or bugs and inspecting them, one was learning about survival, and the final was a nature hike. Me and one other mom, along with a high school student volunteer, took the kids on the nature hike. The other mom and I thought it was quite ironic that the two moms who were most afraid of seeing a bear, were assigned to lead the nature hike! We taught the kids about beavers, an alluvial fan, nurse trees and had them do a "micro-hike" with magnifying glasses. We (the moms) also learned about "dancing with devil's club", but I will explain more about that in a different post.

London and I in the devil's club

I am explaining the micro hike to the kids.

London on her "micro-hike"

She found mosquito larvae...but you can't really see it in this photo.

The last day was spent cleaning up camp and then going on one more hike. I helped clean up, but didn't get to go on the hike, because I had to run home to shower and catch a plane to Idaho to surprise my family. I had way more fun on this field trip than I ever thought I would, and even found myself getting excited that we would still be living here when Isaiah is in 3rd grade, and I can go again! (It actually startled me that I was excited to go again!)

17 May 2009

Darwin's birthday

Darwin turned 37 this week. He had a really great birthday...he got a boat. What I know about it is, it's an 18 foot Alumaweld SuperVee. It has a 75 hp, four stroke Yamaha motor. There is a live well in the front, console steering, and each of the four seats is bolted to the lid of its own storage box. I also know that the trailer is new and the boat is a 2000 and the motor is a 2006. Other than that, you'll have to ask Darwin. =)

He got to bring the boat home the day before his birthday, so we all got him things to go with his boat for his other presents. He got a fire extinguisher, flares, a paddle, and a first aid kit. We also bought him two new pairs of Levi's because he really needed new pants. He also wanted a cheesecake for his birthday...but he likes the no bake kind.

16 May 2009

Mother's Day loot

My family loved on me for Mother's Day. I got some fun gifts, and after church Darwin cooked hamburgers over the grill and then we roasted marshmallows for s'mores. It was a great day!

New mouse pad and lotion/soap

A new cell phone and a shirt

A game and an Anne Geddes book.

Boats and a float plane

Brooklin driving the boat out to Excursion Inlet (Doc Warners)

Float plane landing

Float plane ride.

Pictures from the tram

We went up Mount Roberts on the tram last weekend. It is normally $27/person, but last weekend it was only $6/person. These first four are of downtown Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. The next two are the tram. Next are some funny signs they have up there. Darwin and Isaiah measured their hands with a brown bear track, and Isaiah also did a black bear track. There is a tree up there with native carvings on it, and then the eagle. She was shot through her beak (I think with an arrow) and when she fell to the ground, it detached her retina so she is blind in one eye and can't be released. I got a shot of her "good" and "bad" sides.

They're awake!

When Darwin got to work on Wednesday, there was a little bear in the trees near the parking lot. He had his camera with him, and the bear posed for him.

13 May 2009

Retro Day...A Blast from the Past

I know that I haven't posted the tram pictures, or the boat/float plane video, or Mother's Day, or even the pictures of the bear Darwin saw on in his work parking lot yesterday....but these were the funniest pictures and I had to come home and post them!

Brooklin is having Spirit Week at her school this week, and today was retro day. She wanted to dress up in her hippie costume again, but the pants don't really fit her anymore and she was bummed. She couldn't think of anything else that would be retro, and was stuck. I told her she could dress up as a late 80's teenager, and that I still had my yellow high top converse from high school. She was all over it! She was so excited about dressing up in bright colors, with pegged pants, two pairs of scrunched socks, and the prize yellow high tops, she almost couldn't sleep last night! =) This morning we did her hair like I did mine in high school...she was laughing so hard! She couldn't believe I did that to my hair EVERYDAY! She said, "Mom! My hair feels like glue! You really wore it like this!!?!" It was creepy how much she pulled it off! Anyway...enjoy this fun blast from the past!

09 May 2009

A Teenager in the House

Brooklin became an official teenager this morning at 3:22 am (MDT). She had an awesome day. She got up early and we made her one of her favorite breakfasts...homemade egg"McMuffins". (a toasted english muffin topped with a slice of cheddar cheese and scrambled eggs with bacon.) After breakfast, she got to open her presents. She got a new dress (made by me!), 4 pairs of knee-hi picture socks, and a Nintendo DS, an accessory pack and a game called SimAnimals.

Next, she left with her dad to go out to Auke Bay to go on a boat ride. There is a fishing tour operation near here that ordered new boats for their business, and needed help driving the boats out to their place. Darwin is friends with the owner's son, and gladly volunteered to help out. It just happened to be on Brooklin's birthday, so she got to go too! I hear she even drove the boat for awhile! (Darwin took some video, but I haven't seen it yet...I will post it as soon as I get it downloaded). After they got out to the lodge, they had lunch, and then got to ride in a float plane back to Juneau. (I need to get Darwin's camera so those pictures can make it here too).

After they were back in town, I went and picked them up at the airport and we headed downtown. There is a tramway here in downtown Juneau. One day a year, they have a sort of local appreciation day. Normally, the price to ride up the side of the mountain is $27 a person...but today only, it was only $6 a piece! We have all been up there once before (last time we lived here) but I don't think any of them remember it (except maybe Brooklin). They have asked to go up on it several times, so I am glad I completely stumbled across the message on facebook telling about it. (thanks to Kathy for posting about it!!) I will also post those pictures in another post. We got to ride up the tram, which goes up to 1800 feet from 6 feet. There is a theater, museum, restrauant, and gift shop up there, along with a bald eagle. The eagle comes up for the tourist season. She was injured and is not releaseable, so she is now a star attraction at the Mount Roberts Tramway.

When we got home, we sang to her and had her birthday cheesecake. It was called chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. It ws a regular cheesecake with dalops of chocolate chip cookie dough in it. It was sooo good and sooo rich! After that, Darwin and I let her stay up to play her DS until midnight....because we went out to see the new Star Trek movie at 10 pm...which was awesome. Here are some pictures of her birthday.