Saturday, April 27, 2013

Family fun!

Random birdhouse from a home we visited in Anchorage.  Isn't it neat?
It's time I posted some pics from this winter...  It's almost over and we've been having us some good family times!  I'm intentionally going out and doing active things with the kids like hiking, taking walks and playing soccer in the street.  It gives us sore bodies and good memories, and hopefully will help me shed the extra pounds I've put on this winter!
Jaedyn, Josiah and Eliana in a tree in Anchorage while we visit Tim's Aunt who came to Alaska.

Jaedyn (front left) and Eliana (back left) brought some friends to a tea party.

Tim and I took the kids to Skilak Lake in February to beat the winter doldrums.  We made snow angels on the lake, found a kind of slope to slide down (sorry I didn't get pics there), and played a game where I went to hide in the woods next to the lake and everyone else came to find me.  It was a beautiful sunny day.

Jaedyn, always trying something a little uniquely...

Jae's angel


Elly's angel

Joe's angel
Josiah and Elly decide to make a tent and sleep in the living room one weekend, or perhaps over spring break.  The pics are deceiving because  it is actually a dark room before the flash goes off.  The white curtains are going across three dining room table chairs on which Josiah is sleeping, and the pink comforter is hiding Elly.

Oh to be five again and sleep on kitchen chairs in a tent as comfortably as if it were my own bed!

Elly says, "Really mom?  I'm sleeping!"
MidApril we took everyone to Homer to enjoy the great weather and to explore a hiking trail at Wynn Nature Center above the city.  There were beautiful views along the way, a great view of the town and the spit from above, and Josiah found a dried up starfish at the end of the spit.  The hike ended up being quite challenging as the snow was sometimes knee or hip deep (the kids were mostly able to walk on it, but Tim and I broke through frequently).  After the walk, the kids argued over who was going to get the heating pad when they got home.  Ciara's back ached a couple days.  Jaedyn's hips and knee hurt a couple days too.  This is another reason we're getting out and exercising more.

The family on the lookout tower

View from the lookout tower...that is Kachemak Bay

The kids needed frequent breaks

After the hike we went to this place I've been wanting to try out in the old town of Homer.

The Mermaid Cafe (B&B and bookstore).  Very neat place!

See, I really am a part of this family!  Josiah took the pic this time at the Mermaid Cafe.  We had pizza (very good) which even gave us the option of gluten-free crust (also pretty good!).  While we waited for the pizza we went and explored the used bookstore too.


Haircuts - pics from 2 months ago!

Jaedyn before

Jaedyn after

Ciara before

Ciara after

And even more a month later!

Eliana before...

Eliana after

Yep, I got mine cut short too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring is Here!

Spring is finally here on the Kenai Peninsula and in our household!  The snow is melting, the streets are clear of ice, soccer season has started, field trips are happening left and right, and the end of the year testing days at school have begun!  We still don't have our taxes done (I guess we like the government to continue to get the interest on our money...), but my honey has been diligently working on getting our energy efficiency updated in our attics and crawl space before May so we can get the rebates we need to recuperate the money we've put into these projects.

Josiah and Eliana are playing indoor soccer this year.  It is so cute and frustrating to watch them.  Josiah is really enjoying it, but Elly not so much.  She isn't one who enjoys running sports or anything that makes her work too hard :(.  Her first game didn't help encourage that either as her team didn't score at all and the other team scored around 20 against them.  It was devastating.  Thankfully, they don't officially keep score.

We have several field trips scheduled with the kids in the next month.  Josiah will be taking swimming lessons with his class and go to Halibut Cove (a boat ride to a beautiful cove with a great tide pooling beach).  I'll be going with them.  Eliana will get to do an overnight trip to the Seward Sea Life Center and will also go back to Seward for a trip on a Kenai Fjords wildlife viewing boat.  We're not sure if Tim will be going with them or not.  Jaedyn has a trip planned to do another Kenai Fjords trip through Connections Charter School with a science program attached.  We're hoping that her good friend Abby will be able to do this with her.  Also in May is another trip planned for her to go to a science station on the Katchemak Bay overnight in a lodge to do a science workshop with Connections.  Tim will be doing both of these trips with her.

Elly did testing three days last week for Connections (a homeschool charter school she uses in addition to her regular school at Cook Inlet Academy).  This week she'll do another 3 days of testing at Cook Inlet!  I guess she should be getting pretty good at testing by the end of it all.  On Friday she went to Anchorage with a group from Cook Inlet Academy and she competed in a competition of private Christian schools called Math Olympics.  She got 3rd place amongst all the 3rd graders!  Today she and I will celebrate by going to go watch "The Croods in 3D" at the theatre.

Jaedyn did testing last week with Connections as well.  This was especially challenging for her as she had to be in a room of kids (most she didn't know) with her NG tube in place.  She felt conspicuous and embarrassed, so she wore hoodies each day to cover half her face :( .  She felt the testing went fine otherwise.  This also got her out of a lot of schoolwork!

We recently found out that a new Charter school is forming for middle schoolers (7-8th grade) in our area with an emphasis on physical fitness, outdoor sciences (teaming together with the Kenai Wildlife Center) and the arts.  I'm getting really excited about this as I think it could be a great fit for Jaedyn!  We know one of the organizers of the school Teresa Moyer, and the new administrator will be Jaedyn's old 5th and 6th grade teacher, Mr Shields!  He is awesome.  The school counselor will be Mr Shields' son, Noah, whom I've heard great things about.  They are all great Christian people and committed educators.  I think Mr Shields knows Jaedyn well and will know if this will be a good fit for her or not.  I'm hoping that this school works out perfectly for her and that they add high school grades on as she gets older...

Speaking of Jaedyn, I'll give a short update on her health.  She is doing great.  She is done with her 8 weeks of exclusive enteral nutrition (only getting formula feedings) and has transitioned out of her NG tube!  She is still getting most of her nutrition from Ensure and another formula called Peptamen Junior (by drinking 8 cans a day), but now we have the job of slowly reintroducing regular food back into her diet.  So far she has had apple juice (didn't work so well) and beef broth (worked very well).  She has no abdominal pain, no diarrhea, no joint pain, has gained over 5 lbs (in 2 months) and has much more energy.  Yesterday we took a walk outside and she didn't ask to stop to rest once!  Yahoo!  I'm really proud of her.  I think her schoolwork has improved tremendously since getting off of her seizure meds last August (her testing in January showed that she was above average in almost all areas - she used to be average or below average in most subjects!).  I'm so thrilled with how things are looking up in her life!

I don't have much to report about Ciara.  Her schoolwork is excellent and she is babysitting twice a week for a church that has two Bible studies a week.  She has managed to save enough money to buy herself an IPad and will soon be purchasing one or something very similar.  She continues to write stories and draw in her free time, and seems to be reaching out to her family more.  She is frustrated with her lack of social life and is thinking about how to improve it, and will perhaps join a youth group or find another way to meet more young people this summer outside of school.