31 October 2009

Halloween 2009

We had a good Halloween this year. We made a few new costumes, used one old costume, bought one costume, and compiled the last costume. haha! We went to our church's trunk-or-treat, and had lots of fun. This year for the first time, Brooklin went out trick-or-treating with her friends instead of hanging out with us...she is getting too big!

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: "Do ya know what you remind me of 'cause you're a cow?"

Me: "What?"

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

Quick Congratulations

Brooklin sang in a choir concert on Tuesday...and did a great job. Sorry...No video, no pictures...

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

Outdoor Skills...teaching Alaskan 6th graders how to survive in Alaska

I think this is one of the coolest programs...one that you won't find anywhere else, but in Alaska. Caleb is participating in the program this week, and I really wish Brooklin could have...and that we could live here long enough for the other two to get to do it...but we probably won't be here, so Caleb is the lucky one.

Kids learn firearm safety from Fish & Game employees

"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 maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.

12 October 2009


Since I am writing this blog and not Darwin...I will not do these stories justice. Not on purpose, but because I wasn't there and don't get as excited about fishing and hunting. Darwin has been getting up at 4 am and going fishing with people from work. The first picture of two salmon were caught this morning. The next fish picture (a salmon) is from Oct. 5th. The last picture of two salmon were caught on Oct. 7th. On Oct. 9th and 10th, Darwin and Bud went out hunting for moose. They saw plenty of "sign", but came up empty. Bud did kill a mouse...when it surprised him and he stomped on it with his boot...but that was the only kill of the trip.

The boat at the dock at Amalga Harbor.

The beach they went to, to go hunting.

Bear tracks in the mud

Moose tracks

Moose poo.



He said there were all these tracks all over the place...not sure what they were ever for, but they weren't being used anymore.

A stellar jay.


04 October 2009

West Glacier Trail

We walked part of the West Glacier Trail this evening. We didn't leave early enough to do the whole thing, but it was nice to see a new trail. We want to go back, because Caleb said there is a way you can walk right up to the glacier from the beach...but we didn't go the right way, so we didn't see the glacier up close. I warded off any wildlife with my noisy bear bells...but we did see one squirrel. Isaiah spent the first half of the hike whittling a stick with the pocket knife he won at the food storage fair two weeks ago. He was told that he wasn't allowed to use it unless dad was around, so dad let him use it while hiking....?? It slowed him down a lot, and finally we had to tell him to put it away because he was carrying like three sticks, and whittling, and walking VERY slowly.

Darwin and the kids

Melissa and the kids

London found this root knot that looked like Jabba the Hut. She put it in her hiking purse and brought it home.

I took this picture with the camera on the ground...I love the angle and how it focused on the pine needles and blurred out Isaiah.

There were a lot of mushrooms on the trail...this is just one of several pictures I took of them.

The first part of the trail was pretty wet and muddy. Good thing we all have boots!

Another angle shot...my hiking stick and boot.

There were lots of little waterfalls on this trail. I got to play around with the shutter speeds on my camera again...it is more fun to do when it isn't for an assignment... =)

I love the composition of this shot. The bike was just sitting there, and paired with Brooklin and the slower shutter speed, it made a nice reflection shot.

My favorite of the wispy waterfall shots. This one was taken underneath one of the bridges.