Monday, December 31, 2012

Weekly Update 12-31-2012

Christmas morning in front of Jaedyn's Christmas tree
 Tuesday, Christmas, we woke up late, for Christmas (after 8) and had pancakes and yogurt-berry parfaits with gluten-free granola.  We opened presents around Jaedyn's homemade Christmas tree (she is so creative).  I decided not to go to the trouble to put up our artificial tree since she had so lovingly and creatively made this one out of a laundry basket, a stick, green plastic wrapping stuff, and construction paper.  She made the angel out of a stuffed sock.  She had made it when she finished her own Christmas gifts and we didn't have a tree put up yet the previous week.  While Tim and Jaedyn were gone to Anchorage I had asked Ciara to help me put up the other tree, and she wasn't interested in the work of it either, so we decided not to do it at all.  Anyway, we spent the rest of the day playing games and hanging out together as a family.  It was nice not having the stress of going anywhere.  Tim cooked up steaks on the grill for our Christmas dinner!  Yum.
Tim, Eliana and Josiah enjoy a Christmas gift from family in Illinois
Wednesday through Friday I was back to work with my usual full-time schedule.  There is a lot of influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) on the peninsula right now, and I saw a lot of sick people.  On one of those days I took advantage of Eddie Bauer's semi-annual sales to order 7 new tall winter clothing items.  Looking forward to getting some new clothes to wear to work!  Mostly they are sweaters and a blouse.  I had wanted some new skirts too, but there weren't any left in my size.  Jaedyn and Ciara had friends over one day during the week too.
A moose came to visit on Saturday. 
He had a friend with him, but the other moose
stayed out of range of a picture.
Friday night/Saturday we celebrated Shabbot and went to MoAdim to fellowship with our friends.  On Saturday we also spent the evening with some new friends, the Engebreitsens, chatting and having dinner.  My son had a friend there, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

One of Josiah's fish likes veggies.
 This was a cucumber he'd chowed down. 
See the spokes it left?
Yesterday, Sunday, we all slept in and hung out at home.  It has been in the upper 30s around here, so the snow is melting and it feels warm outside.  In the evening, Eliana and I played "Seafarers", then I played with Josiah, Tim and Ciara.  I barely won both games.  It is fun seeing how my two youngest can learn to strategize with this game.  Eliana had 12 points at the end of her game with me (13 wins).  She wanted to have a "Mom and Daughter" time, and it was fun to do something with just the two of us.

Tim and I have been watching some episodes that he picked up at Blockbuster of "Northern Exposure".  Uh, this is definitely not for families!  I don't think we'll be watching any more.  It is erotic at times and definitely amoral!  It may be about Alaska, and there is some good humor about Alaskans, but, ahem, yikes!

I think I will be at work for just a short time today, then will get tomorrow off for New Years.

Have a Happy New Year, Friends!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It is interesting that I post that this week when 10 days ago I was posting about Chanukkah...  For some of you it may seem odd, but for me it is right.  I think Chanukkah came first - without it we would have no Messiah, no Savior, no remnant of Israel, perhaps.  I don't really say any longer that we wouldn't have any Christmas, but perhaps not even that.  Why do I distinguish this?  In the past few years I've come to learn that the origins of Christmas really didn't start with Yeshua's birth.  Christmas started as the holiday of other religions and got molded by our western cultures to become what it is today.  It isn't in the Bible, and Yeshua likely wasn't even born that day.  This used to bother me, and I had a time of considering not even wanting to celebrate it because I didn't want to "accidentally" be celebrating a "pagan" holiday.  This year, I am realizing, and trying to come to terms with the fact that I am an American Gentile Christian as well as a grafted-into-the-Abrahamic-covenant-Yeshua-follower.  I don't even know what that really means half the time, but I'm seeing that there is, indeed, a difference between who I am, and the Jews.  It is actually a welcome word for me, as trying to be grafted into a people who don't even know I exist, or let alone want me, was quite confusing to say the least.  I do think that one day we will all be one, and love one another, and until then, I will continue to love and pray for everyone, but for now, I am caught somewhere in between.

Anyway, where was I going with this?  I think this year, I can embrace Christmas again as a cultural holiday.  It is part of my American upbringing and part of my Christian culture.  I don't agree with everything about it, but it is part of who I am, so therefore I will let it be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day Before Solstice

Time flies when you're busy.  Having 4 kids is just nuts, especially when 2 are sick.

Jaedyn had her procedure last week and came through okay.  It took her about 5 days to get any sort of appetite back, which is hard for a mama to watch when is already so underweight.  I've spoken with the gastroenterologist a couple times this week.  She is still leaning towards Crohn's disease as a diagnosis, although the testing has not been conclusive so far.  Today she is undergoing another cleanout, and tomorrow she and her daddy will fly to Anchorage and do what is called a "capsule endoscopy".  Essentially this procedure is where she swallows a dime size capsule that has a camera inside it.  Is a camera goes throughout her GI system it takes thousands of pictures.  This enables the doctors to see inside her small bowel.  On her colonoscopy Jaedyn had one small area that was suspicious for Crohn's.  The gastroenterologist thinks that she probably has much more widespread disease in her small bowel, and feels this test may be helpful in nailing down the diagnosis.  They will come back tomorrow night.

My son, Josiah, has had a cold since the beginning of the week, and a swollen left lower eyelid for 3 or 4 days.  Yesterday he came home from school early with an earache, and today both ears are hurting and he is running a fever.  He has pretty much slept most of the time since he came home from school yesterday afternoon.  He watched TV for a little while last night, but then asked to go back to bed.  Today we brought him to the doctor, who is, along with me, puzzled by the swelling under his eye and the redness of his conjunctiva on that side.  He thinks it may be a cellulitis.  Now he is on eyedrops and antibiotics for the eye and a double ear infection.  I'm hoping he has a quick turnaround and can get back to school tomorrow, otherwise I may have to stay home with him while his daddy and sister are in Anchorage.

Sorry, no new pictures today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jaedyn and I are in Anchorage for a few days while she sees a gastroenterologist and undergoes some testing for failure to gain weight and delayed puberty.  Yesterday she saw the doctor who is suspicious of Crohn's disease. 

This morning she had an MR endoscopy (nasty contrast didn't go down well).  Tomorrow she will have an upper and lower endoscopy (scopes).  Today we are doing the prep.  She had to take two little laxatives and now is having to drink an entire bottle of miralax split up in two 32 oz bottles of yellow or green gatorade.  Already her stools are clearing up.  I didn't think it would take too long since she hardly eats.

After she recovers tomorrow from her procedures, we will head back to Soldotna.  A storm is coming in tomorrow but I am hoping to beat it.  Our test got moved up from 1:00 pm to 10:30 am, which will be helpful to keep us from missing it... 

Thanks all for your good thoughts for Jaedyn and for your prayers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dark is our Winter, Long is our Night

Sunset in Kenai
The words from that song just popped into my head to describe what is happening in Alaska these days, but it isn't that we're in a dark place spiritually... just geographically!  Our sun rises around 10 am and sets around 4 pm.  Days will continue to get shorter as we near the winter solstice on the 21st.

Sunrise in Kenai
Jaedyn has been homeschooling about a month now, and I must say it is going well.  I love the Beautiful Feet curriculum and books that go with it.  We've decided on Apologia General Science since I last posted, and I think that it has gone well too.  Jaedyn is loving being at home and not having the stress of the social circles in junior high.  She is so motivated to make homeschooling work that she does her work cheerfully and completely without any complaining.  This is a big change from her schoolwork at school and homeschooling last time.  She knows, however, that if she gives us grief she will be put back into school, and absolutely does not want that!  By Christimas break, she will finish her first semester of junior high, and I am very proud of the young lady she is turning out to be.  She is doing Home Ec for one of her classes, and has been planning and helping to prepare a few meals (including Thanksgiving), doing knitting, took a SafeSitters class at the hospital, and has made some desserts.

Jaedyn in her new coat showing a hat she knitted for one of the infants in our church.
Ciara is thriving at the private school.  Socially she hasn't made any close friends, but academically she is shining and, I think, loving the challenge of high school.  I am happy to see her happy and doing so responsibly.  Last weekend she and I went to help at a camp called Cristo Vive.  It was for children with disabilities.  We had a great time and I was very proud of the responsibility Ciara took on with this camp.

Ciara on left with her "friend" from camp, who, as it turns out, was a perfect match for her.
Both loved to draw and do crafts, etc.  Both are also beautiful young ladies.
Eliana is having issues with grumping about anything that she doesn't want to do - be it school work, going to church, or wearing socks.  You name it, if she doesn't feel like doing it, she is going to give me grief about suggesting it.  This attitude is affecting her grades in attitude and behavior at school.  She too is getting all As, like her sister, Ciara, but it makes me sad that she is not getting As in attitude and behavior.  She is asking to homeschool as well, but I don't see us doing that with an 8 year old with an attitude when I am working full time.  Besides, she is a very social girl, and I think this would make her lonely for other children.  She doesn't get along very well with Jaedyn either.

Eliana is on the bottom of this sledding pic, and Josiah in the back in blue.
 This was Josiah's 6th birthday party.
Josiah has been having trouble with behavior in school too.  He even got called to the principal's office this past month for having his name on the board.  He is trying to rectify his behavior and is getting his name on the board less.  He doesn't do anything mean, he just doesn't listen well and tends to get out of his seat without permission.  He isn't ADHD, just has trouble with impulse control, I guess.  Academically, he still shines. 

Josiah (in front) playing with a buddy on his 6th birthday.

We came across a math program for Jaedyn called Life of Fred.  I bought the elementary books as well and am thrilled with how excited Josiah and Eliana are with doing math when I get home from work.  They run up to me and say, "Can we do math now, Mom?!"  I'm loving it!

Monday I will be taking Jaedyn to Anchorage for a visit with the gastroenterologist and to have some testing done on Wednesday.  We'll have to stay in a hotel for two nights.  She is extremely underweight, but finally, in the last week, has started some of her female pubertal changes.  I'm very glad to see this happening as she is now 13.5, and this has been delayed.  Keep us in your prayers.  This is hard on Mom to see her have health problems, and even harder to watch her do invasive testing.  I especially am praying that she won't have any seizures from the stress of it all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Curriculum Plans

Jennifer asked what I'll be using.  She probably remembers that I used to be a Sonlight user when we homeschooled until 2010.  We won't be using Sonlight this year.  It really is too much stuff and overwhelming.  We want to keep things simple this year so we are doing this:

History:  Medieval times (by student request).  Beautiful Feet medieval history.  This will provide us with a good spine and lots of good reading (not too much).  It has projects to do and links to further learning resources on the internet.  I've also ordered one or two Usborne books to go along with it just for fun.

Science:  Right now we have a science program, but I think it may be a little too hard for Jaedyn to do as an independent study, and her daddy isn't going to have a lot of time to do other stuff.  So this subject is still up in the air.  We may depend on internet sites a lot and let her study stuff she is interested in until we figure it all out.  She has an interest in geology and rocks, so we'll start there.

Math:  The Life of Fred Math.  She will be doing PreAlgebra, but may start earlier just to get the hang of it.  Last week she did the Teaching Textbook tests to see what level she is ready for, and she could do either preAlgebra or 7th grade math.  We didn't try any higher.  Perhaps she could have been ready for Algebra, but again, I don't want any pressure this year.

Home Ec/Art:  She is planning and will prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I will teach her other household skills and her dad will do things with her in the kitchen.  We'll also enroll her in an art class locally if we can find one.

English:  The Beautiful Feet history program will offer suggestions for vocabulary development.  She'll also do some writing projects with her history program.  For grammar I'm looking at "Caught Ya" but I'm not completely sold on it.  Any suggestions you've liked for 7th grade?

Typing:  She is learning to keyboard with Mavis Beacon.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A very full week

Following another crisis of returning to school, my husband and I decided to make the plunge and take our 13 year old out of school and try to homeschool her again.  This week has been filled with pouring over curriculi, planning and researching, etc. 

My husband was sick at the beginning of the week with what was probably strep throat.  Around Wednesday we got him some antibiotics and he got better quickly.    Until then I was working all day, then coming home and doing what I could to nurse him, help the kids with homework, come up with something to eat, etc.  Thankfully Tim had mad up a lot of left overs that we were able to use up during those days!

About Thursday I started with a little scratchy throat.  Determined to use essential oils and have an experience myself like everyone raves over with the oils, I opted to not use antibiotics or traditional meds.  I drank lemon oil in my water or Slim and Sassy blend.  By Friday night I was shivering with chills in bed with a fever of 102.5.  I was gargling a nasty oregano-lemon mixture, applying eucalyptus and melaleuca to my swollen neck glands, and diffusing different things into the air to breathe.  Peppermint for my fever.  Nothing was working.  I woke up Saturday morning early and my kidneys were inflammed.  Ugh!  I opted to keep doing the oils but also started tylenol and ibuprofen for the fever, now terrible headache and inflammation.  This gave me the added side effect of wet sheets from breaking the fevers, but didn't keep them away for good.  On Saturday my husband picked up a box of more oils I had ordered last weekend and I started the much acclaimed "On Guard".  I continued the nasty gargles of oregano and lemon.  This continued until this morning when I was just getting worse.  I was miserable and aching all over, my throat ached, and I had a fever again of 101.  I called my colleague and, praise God, she was willing to call something for me in to a pharmacy on her day off!  By 1:30 I took my first amoxicillin, and as of about 2 hours ago, I am feeling better than I have all weekend!  I haven't stopped the oils altogether (still using some on my wart, swollen glands and cold sore that is trying to erupt), but have come to the definite conclusion that for me when an antibiotic is known to treat something effectively, why do all the hocus pocus of essential oils?  I could have been better Friday night!

Yesterday I went to a meeting with Ciara regarding a camp for disabled children that we are going to be helping with in two weeks.  Fortunately I was feeling okay enough for that meeting during all my sickness, but went home drained and hit the bed again.  We are looking forward to 3 days of serving in this way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Josiah learns to ice skate

This is the week when the ice finally froze solid enough that we could go and have some fun.  On Saturday we went out and my oldest daughter and my husband worked hard to clear the tall grasses in a place that we could play on.
Then Josiah decided to go get his ice skates that he had gotten from a garage sale this summer and put them on.  He has never ice skated, but he picked it up pretty well.

I've heard of people using chairs to help people learn to skate, so I brought an old desk chair out from the house for him to use.  Unfortunately it wasn't as heavy as it needed to be, so it would fall over if he fell backward.  It did work to have the kids ride on across the ice though!

After a while we pulled an old milk carton out of recycling and played a form of soccer on the ice.  That was fun!  I only fell a few times...  Our other daughter, Eliana, was out there too, but for some reason I didn't get any pictures of her sweet little self.  I was pretty comical because I went out in my dress and boots, so it was probably a good thing no pics were taken of me!

The next day my 13 year old came down with an upper respiratory infection that has sore throat, fever, runny nose and aching all over.  She's still sick.  It is hard to get that girl fattened up when she can't eat, or to keep up her school work, for that matter!  Sigh. :(

Another thing that has been on my mind are essential oils.  I joined up with DoTerra as a PVC (whatever that stands for) so that I can get my oils discounted.  I've got Jaedyn taking vitamins for her health, oils for her infection, oils for her seizures, and now I also have a diffuser for aroma therapy.  Here's hoping for a great turnaround in her health.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Out with the Fall, In with the Winter

Ciara worshipping during one of our Sukkot feasts

Ciara starting the new Torah cycle
Our family celebrates the Biblical holidays prescribed in Leviticus.  This month Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) came upon us October 1-8.  We celebrate this with a nightly feast, building a sukkah (a temporary shelter), and doing special activities throughout the week.  We finished the 8 days of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) on the 8th of October with a special holiday called "Simchat Torah" (Rejoicing of the Torah).  This is my first year to celebrate Simchat Torah, which we were able to do with our fellowship.  Traditionally Jewish people have a Torah reading cycle that begins and ends with Simchat Torah.  We read through all the "Torah" (first 5 books of the Bible) in pre-prescribed sections throughout the year and then start again.  In our fellowship we have a "real" Torah scroll that is stored in a special cupboard that we get out on Simchat Torah that we allow each person to hold while blessings are said over them regarding the Lord making the Torah a blessing to them throughout the new year.  Everyone takes it very seriously, and there is much rejoicing and dancing following a feast.  I was very blessed by this, and I know my children were also.  My daughter, Ciara, did some of the Torah reading before the fellowship, which was also very special.

This is what might happen if you fall asleep during Sukkot!
On Friday night, my husband stepped out the door and about 11:45 PM to go pick up one of my daughters from a school function.  He was immediately struck by the awesome aurora borealis lights that were there and called me and my other 2 daughters to come and watch.  We watched the lights swirl and careen across the sky for 20-30 min.  It was the best northern lights I've ever seen!  Unfortunately my camera is not good enough to take pictures of these.

The weather temperatures dropped this week and we have had 2 days of snow.  Today it is sunny with a couple inches of snow on the ground.  On Monday while it was snowing, I walk to the bluff in front of our clinic and was able to watch 3 otters swimming in the river for a little while between patients.

This is our yard with our new lake during our first snow.  Unfortunately you can't see the lovely snow falling here.

A prayer request:  My second daughter may have had 2 mild seizures this morning.  We really don't want to have to put her back on medication.  I know God can heal her.  We will be trying to improve her nutrition and use natural remedies.  Please pray with us.

A shot of Mount Redoubt on a lovely fall day

I was caught by the beauty of the clouds hanging low with the Kenai boat port in the foreground

Saturday night my two youngest and I went to McDonald's to celebrate the first snow of the year with ice cream.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Introducing Susan Stevenson Photography

In case you haven't noticed, I have a new blog template.  It was time for a makeover.  I went through what pics I had at home, but couldn't make any of mine fit my template, so I decided to turn to one of my favorite Alaskan photographers for help.  I have been following Susan Stevenson's blog of her photography for several months, and always enjoy what she posts.  You can go there and see some of her stuff.  I'm sure she'd appreciate it.  She also is making up a calendar for sale if you are interested.  Go to her blog and enjoy:  Susan L. Stevenson's Photography.

Thanks, Susan for your wonderful gift that you share with us, and for allowing me to use your picture as the header of my blog.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall update

   Over the past couple of weeks there has been rain, rain and more rain.  Finally, this weekend, the rain settled and we started seeing cooler temps (frost on a couple mornings) but dry skies for the most part.  The property next door to ours, an empty lot, has again filled with water (the low point on our hill), and we have a lake-front property.  Funny thing is, I kind of like it!  I know it took most of the summer for the snow melt to disappear from there, and in the meantime we got to enjoy watching sandhill cranes and other water fowl nesting there.  Tim said he saw 8-9 ducks there this past week too.  Personally, I'm looking forward to the temps dropping and having a place to ice skate.  There are a lot of grasses sticking up out of the water, but I think if we play on it enough, those will disappear and we'll have new ice form on top and create a nice surface for ice skating.  Anyway, here's hoping.

   Having teenage girls has been very stressful for this mom.  I have one in high school and one in junior high.  My 9th grader is an amazing student, and she is holding her own very well in this new academic arena.  What worries me most is her loneliness.  I had hoped that going to high school some of the junior high antics would be outgrown from the other girls in her private school, and that she would find at least one good friend.  So far that hasn't happened.  Whenever we watch movies about teenagers, it always makes her sad, because they almost always have friends.  No matter their personalities, they have friends who accept them for who they are.  Ciara is awkward socially but beautiful physically.  She is an introvert, and she spent the majority of her childhood secluded from other children outside of our family living on a YWAM base in a remote location.  Add to this, her mother was socially awkward and just like her.  I'm not sure I understand the dynamics of going to a private school or how to be popular.  She isn't the only new kid in the past 2+ years that she has been there.  Other new girls don't seem to have the problems making friends that she does.  She hasn't ever understood cut-downs or been able to discern between good-natured joking and rejection.  Not being there, I can't help her to know whether her classmates are being mean to her, or if they really are just joking.  Her stories are painful to hear.  I don't know how to help her.  On a good side, we are getting close again.  We've always been close, but I think she is seeing me as a friend who cares.

   My daughter in junior high is struggling socially, but also struggling to adjust to the new style of learning that is expected of a 7th grader.  She has a few friends from our fellowship, so I tend to worry more about her academic struggles.  She can't seem to grasp the whole thing of getting an assignment and keeping up with due dates, especially when it is a multi-due date assignment.  She can keep up with assignments assigned one day and due the next - no problem.  She totally forgets about the journal assignments due weekly, or the assignments that are due in the future.  I've gotten her a student planner.  She doesn't use it.  I've explained its use to her time and again.  Still I face today where she had two major writing assignments due today and she didn't know it.  What is a mother to do? I'm so glad that this is junior high, so we have two years to get this ironed out before high school begins!

   The following are some pics from fall around here... some are the new lake we have, and some are just random fall shots.

The new lake beside our house
Isnt' this swing pretty with all the fall leaves?  Tim made it this year.

Our hoop houses were flooded too.  This ground didn't get wet like this with even the spring flooding.  We were glad they were raised beds.  I don't think anything got ruined.
This is our street with the leaves in full color.  Most of the leaves have fallen now.

On one of the fall holidays down by the river is my son, Josiah

At school the kids had spirit week this week.  This is my 7th grader and 9th grader being "twins"

Elly and Josiah were twins that day too
Elly pretending to be a mermaid on a rock!

Tim and Josiah celebrating one of the fall holidays.  I sure appreciate having a fellowship that does these that we can celebrate together with.

Friday, September 14, 2012

More fall pics

The colors in my front yard are amazing.

Here are some of the colors up close

I wish you could have seen this sunset over Mount Redoubt with me.  The clouds were all highlighted and the hills at the bottom were all outlined in light... my cell phone just couldn't do it justice!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random fall pics

Some pics from this week.

Yesterday I saw these two caribou on my way home from work.  It was rainy.

On Saturday afternoon, the Ciara, Eliana and I took Heather and Hannah geocaching.  For some reason this is the only pic I got!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fireweed has finished blooming - fall is officially here

There are three kinds of berries in this picture - on top the dark red berries are the cranberries, the dark blue ones on the left side are moss berries, and I'm not sure the name of the pretty ones in the center, but they aren't edible.
In the past week, the fireweed has finished its blooming.  There has been a lot of wind for the past couple days, even to the point of closing down some businesses and knocking down a lot of trees in Anchorage.  We didn't get the 130 mph winds they did up north, but we have a tree in our front yard that is partially fallen, being held up by a neighboring tree on the other side of our driveway.

Doesn't this egg dish look yummy?  Tim saw one of our friends hinting on facebook to her husband that she would like him to make her some, and decided to treat me with some too!  It is sliced tomato with a fried egg, chopped red peppers and melted cheese - and it was delicious - especially served in bed!

I have been fighting my second cold in the past month.  So much for the wonderful immune enhancement of vitamin C and vitamin D :(.

We had a short week due the the holiday on Monday.  I enjoyed having an extra day to play.  We went geocaching and picked some low bush cranberries.  On Tuesday or Wednesday evening we found a large patch of wild strawberries about a block from our house and picked a small basketful.  It was nice to eat them with ice cream.

Elly displaying our harvest of wild strawberries.  (She didn't get new glasses, she's wearing some safety glasses she found in a geocache).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Modest swimwear

I just ordered one of these swimsuits for my dear daughter Ciara from  We've had a time lately trying to find a swimsuit that will cover her appropriately.  She has become a woman in body and her old swimsuit just won't do any longer.  We've been disappointed with what was still on the rack at Fred Meyer and Walmart (our only options for new suits in this area), and didn't have much luck used either.  We got online today and found this lovely suit (top picture below) that we both really liked right away.  It is more modest than we'd hoped for, but we are more than pleased with it.  I also bought a pattern so I can make more for me and my other daughters too if we like it.

This is the material hers will be made from

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Deuteronomy 22:1

Deuteronomy 22:1  "You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them.  You shall take them back to your brother."

This verse came alive to us today in an interesting way.  I read it in my Bible reading this morning, then  I read an interesting story about some others who tried to live this out concerning a goat they saw out of its pen on a roadside.  Then this evening after I got home from work, my 5 year old son was coming from the neighbor's house where he had been playing, and forgot to shut their gate properly.  Their dog got out and the neighbor had to go after it.  When I heard this, I didn't immediately get up and go help look for the dog to make sure they got it back in the yard.  Honestly, I didn't even think about it until supper time.  I remembered the story about the goat and was telling it to my children when it hit me like a brick in the head:  the dog!  My son and I went to the neighbor's right after supper and he apologized for leaving the gate open (he was very brave and did a good job).  I made sure the dog had been found, which it had, and apologized for not coming to help find it sooner.  I am hoping that this experience helps me to be quicker to do what is right in the future, and I know that our visit helped heal relations that were strained by this with our neighbor.

Here is another fun puppet show regarding this passage:
It is taken from a Jewish story about Rabbi Chanina who took literally Deuteronomy 22:1-2.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sea Kayaking

Mt Iliamna was out on our way to Homer the morning of our trip.  I also took the picture of Mt Redoubt from my last post at this same time and place.
I am so proud of myself for being able to post this.  I used to be afraid of kayaks, but was very interested in hearing about other people's experiences sea kayaking.  This year for a belated anniversary celebration, Tim and went down out of Homer and experienced a day of sea kayaking with a man and his wife and a group of 5 others on the other side of Kachemak Bay.  I hope this won't be our only experience... I'd love to get some of our own kayaks and do this more, and even get the kids into it!

That is me at the back of our sea taxi ready to go over the Kachemak Bay to our island kayaking adventure.
Tim on the back of the sea taxi
That is the only pic of us together that came out :(.  We were exploring a little grotto and also got to see some cool little red birds on the cliffs.
My faithful partner and kayaking buddy.
Our guides behind a natural arch of rock near the grotto
Here our guides are displaying what will be part of our lunch - bull kelp
They also showed us some other edible plants on a little island which they chopped up and added to a salmon chowder that was quite tasty.  They served it with homemade bread a butter.  It was delicious!

Summer has come to an end officially

This summer was wonderful and busy with the kids being home, three families coming to visit, and working in between times.  Tim started a raised bed garden with hoop houses that did fairly well for the first year.  Jaedyn and Eliana played soccer.  Josiah and Ciara took swimming lessons.  All the girls went to camp.

Abby and Elly at the bow getting the full experience

Laurie, Josh, Jaedyn, Abby and Elly

Josiah, Ben, Bob, Jaedyn and Jessa

I am posing before Alialak Glacier

Now school has begun and the kids have finished their first week.  Josiah is in kindergarten.  Eliana is in 3rd grade.  Jaedyn is starting junior high, and Ciara is starting high school.  It was not a hard transition to put my youngest into school this year, as he has been chomping at the bit to do it for over a year now.  Even now he is asking me to go talk to his kindergarten teacher to "give him more challenging work".

I started a new job at the end of May, and that has been a good transition.  I work with great staff and we keep very busy.

In July my sister's family came at the beginning of the month.  You may have read about that in my last blog.  At the end of the month Tim's sister's family came out.  (Pictures above on a Fiord Glacier Cruise with them).  We did some of the same activities, but with a bigger group of kids, but also went on a wildlife cruise out of Seward and went to see the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage.  Our time with them went wonderfully and we hated to see them go.

At ANHC Ciara, Josiah, Jaedyn and I

Three of the kids got to ride on a cart pulled by the Iditarod champion dogs

Last weekend Tim's brother, Andy, and his wife Monica stopped in for a couple days at the end of their tour of Alaska.  It was great to connect with them again, although I had no time off to take.  We did get to hike to Russian Falls and see the salmon there with them, which I never have been able to do before.

Russian River Falls...and salmon trying to climb these things!
Monica and Andy at Russian River Falls
Josiah and Ciara on the way
A cool, albeit poisonous, red mushroom