Thursday, December 31, 2009
We had a nice Christmas. Santa brought the boys a real hockey goal. It was in our living room for a few days, now it's outside on the homemade ice skating rink where it belongs. Today Matt's siblings will start arriving for our Annual Wise Clan New Year Gathering. We will exchange gifts and feast on King crab and Prime rib. On Saturday Matt's siblings will all go fishing for Winter King, which is the best salmon on earth. It melts in your mouth like butter! We will be in Soldotna for Chris' first two hockey games. He's going to play goalie! I don't know if his ego can take it. Not everyone is cut out to be a goalie. Our coach is going to rotate several kids through the goalie position. I wanted him to play other positions, too, since it's his first year of hockey.
Maya has been resisting learning to skate. We had our first melt down a couple of weeks ago. Last week she did fine once we were out there. She doesn't like the group activities, prefers to do her own thing. I think I'm going to try her in a dance/movement class after New Year's. We can try skating again next year. Maybe she'll actually be able to bend her arms and legs in her gear! She turns 4 on January 2nd. She decided to have a swimming party with 10 of her friends. We are going to have her birthday party next week, since Matt is on call this weekend.
Sarah leaving for Thailand.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
On the second day of Christmas, we got about a foot of snow. We actually got 2 feet of snow but the day before it had warmed up and rained. On the top of the ridge where it never got warm enough to rain, people got up to 3 feet of snow over two days. We also lost power for a few minutes several times during the storm.
Maya has quickly learned about Santa Claus. She tells Grandma about all the toys Santa is going to bring her when she see the toys advertised on TV. At our house she looks through catalogs and puts an M on all the toys she wants with a marker. Right now she is sitting on her potty chair with a toy catalog.
Today we are going to watch the Nutcracker. It is a local favorite production that has been reborn every year for probably about 20 years now. Every year the director adds something different so it's always fun. For example, the year the kids had a visiting circus school and learned how to juggle and ride unicycles, Jill worked a circus theme into the Nutcracker. The boys enjoying watching their friends who are in the performance. The high school boys are cast as King Rat and his army, Russian dancers, Matadors and Spanish dancers. In fact, our high school football coach's son thinks that performing in the Nutcracker ballet is what football players do after football season is over!
The performance is is our high school auditorium which is a world class auditorium used for lots of community events. And then we have the Nutcracker Fair. The high school gym and commons area is packed with local artists and merchants hawking their wares, so you can pick up some unique gifts while you are there.
Chris micromanaging Maya as they decorate the tree.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Samoset the Indian.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
If you want to see something really impressive, check out my niece in a cross country ski meet at 20 below. She's wearing a respirator and the frost on her eyelashes is so thick she looks like the Fairbanks version of Tammy Fae Baker! For more information about how real Alaskans live at 20 (and up to 40 below), go to the Wise-Edic blog on my list of favorite blogs.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
We've had some dramatic weather around here. First, the longest, warmest autumn that I can remember in 10 years. Then we had several wind and rain storms, one after another. Finally, our first snow in November instead of mid-October. Now, a cold snap we don't usually see until January. It's been in the single digits this past week. Brrrr! I do prefer the cold sunny days to the grey cloudy days, but single digits? Yikes! Matt spent yesterday insulating all our skylights with foam board. My heart goes out to all the families living in substandard housing like leaky trailers, running their heaters day and night just to keep the thermometer above 50, with oil and propane prices they can't afford. I don't know why anyone but Alaskan Natives live here. I don't even know how they've been doing it for thousands of years!
Morning light on a snowy day, it's 9:55am.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
After the hospital, Riley and Chris went trick or treating in the neighborhood with Bradley and his family while Maya and I went to the Senior Center. We ended up at Ly and Bill's house and helped Ly pass out candy for a while. Maya was mad that she didn't get to go door to door with the boys. I hate trick or treating when it's 21 degrees out. It was cold and clear with a nearly full moon. Since it's so cold here many parents drive their kids around to trick or treat. There are a few small neighborhoods in Homer that get the majority of the trick or treating. So the streets are congested with cars idling and kids running across the street in the dark. It's kind of a nightmare for me. I was perfectly happy to take Maya to a few places then go home to eat her candy.
Two Grim Reapers, a Faerie, a "Mint Witch" and Darth Vader. Bethany's costume bag said "mint witch", meaning green. So she carried a bag of mints around and passed them out.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Both my daughters are girly-girls who like to do boy things. Sarah has always had more male friends than girl friends. She was a femme fatale from the get go, picking out leopard print skirts before she was 12 months old. I started to really worry when she started preschool at Montessori and her two best friends were twin boys! My mom said she was super easy to babysit because she just carried an old purse around and filled it with things. But she played dentist instead of doctor. When she was in high school, she wanted to be a marine biologist. I could imagine her, the only marine biologist marching around the research vessel in high heels and a mini skirt. I feel guilty telling her that most marine biologist end up categorizing plankton, not swimming with dolphins. But maybe the real reason she went into psychology was because high heels are not practical on a marine vessel.
On Tuesday Maya had playdate with her new friend E. They are both high energy girls so I was prepared to be on full duty. After feeding our neighbor's horses carrots and broccoli, running through the woods and swinging on our playset for 30 minutes, we came inside to play where it was warm. E. asked if we had any dress-ups. I pulled out our little chest of poorly stocked dress ups: several Chinese and Vietnamese outfits, an old lion costume and an old dalmatian costume. None of them fit E. but she managed to squeeze into the dalmatian outfit which barely covered her tummy, her tights and panties visible underneath. Maya changed into a pink Vietnamese outfit, not the au dai but the pajama style. I carefully hid the fairy costume knowing no amount of diplomacy would save the playdate if E. spied Maya's only girly costume. They started to play doctor.
I was strict about leaving the bedroom door open. They told me they didn't want me to see what they were doing. I said that's why we have to leave the door open. I was agreeable to them practicing any kind of medicine except gynecology. Maya lay down on the bed while E. pretend to cut her tummy open with a plastic knife from the play kitchen set. I reminded them to leave their clothes on and no surgery on private parts. They assured me they were not going to do any such thing. Then they fed each other medicine from wooden spoons. This went on for some time.
Then Maya pulled out her favorite dress ups: sports gear. She put on the boys' old elbow pads and knee pads for skateboarding. I helped E. to do the same. They both wanted the fingerless gloves and they each had one on. I talked Maya into wearing the wrist guards and letting E. have the other fingerless glove. I told her, you can wear the gloves when E. goes home. In classic 3 year old fashion she said what we as adults have learned to keep to ourselves: "I want her to go home right now." But we got past the glove incident and that is when E. father arrived to pick her up.
He could not stifle a chuckle as he asked "My, what are you wearing?" I told him we were seriously lacking in the dress up department so she had to settle for a dalmatian costume 3 sizes too small and skateboarding gear. Like a true doting father he whipped out his cell phone and snapped a photo. He suggested next time maybe E. could bring over some of her own dress ups. Maya can't wait for E. to come over today and give her more medicine.
This picture sums up the spectrum of our boys and our girls.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Fastforward 5 days: I'm now home with the kids. Chris stayed home from school yesterday with a stomach ache. At first I thought he was just suffering from MDD (Mommy Deficit Disorder), but last night he actually had a fever. So today he is home again, even though he is feeling better. After Riley and Maya left for school, he got bored and wanted to go for a walk. He seemed fine so I packed a lunch and we went for a short hike. It's a gorgeous sunny fall day. He held my hand and we walked and talked. I really enjoy being alone with Chris. Being a middle child, so much of his (bad) behavior is influenced by reacting to his older brother and younger sister. But when it's just him, he has no need to define himself in the context of his siblings and is free to just be himself. I never believed in that sibling theory stuff until I had three children who are less than 4 years apart.
Now we are home with Maya and he wants to make a parachute. Yesterday he wanted to know if earthworms can see. So I googled "can earthworms see?" and we got the answer to our question (Earthworms do not have eyes but they have light sensors and can tell light from dark). It worked so well I decided to google "how to make a parachute". I got some directions, it seemed pretty straight forward. Since I am too lazy to read the directions to him (because I'm in the middle of blogging), I look for a video. I click on a video and we start watching it. After about 15 seconds I realize the guy doesn't seem to be making anything that looks remotely like a parachute. There is rock music blaring in the background. I look back at the description of the video and realize I'm showing my 7 year old how to make a homemade pipe for smoking pot. Okay, one more reason why I should NOT home school my kids.
Update on Maya: Maya is loving school. Her speech teacher wrote me a note telling me how impressed she is with Maya's progress in speech. Yesterday she used a 6 word sentence. She told another child "You should get back over there!" Then the bus driver called me because Maya told him to drop her off at Grandma's house. The bus drops her off at Grandma's on Mondays when I am at work. On Wednesdays it brings her home. She was trying to pull a fast one over on the bus driver. On Monday she told Grandma "Grandma, if you that again, I going to kick your butt". I think she got some time out to think about how NOT to talk to grandma. We are obviously still trying to establish the pecking order around here.
Update on Riley: Riley started band this year and chose to learn how to play the trumpet. We dug Matt's old trumpet out of the closet and he was able to make noise with it right away. Now he is working on making music. It's neat to see him excited about something besides sports. It seems music is not his only new interest. Monday he sheepishly said to me "Mom, Bradley is trying to get me a girlfriend." I answered "Why? You don't like to talk on the phone, you can't go on dates yet, why do you want a girlfriend? You tell Bradley I said you are too young to have a girlfriend." He walks downstairs with a smile on his face, looking mildly embarrassed. Then Chris says in classic deadpan, nonchalant Chris fashion: "I have a girlfriend." I said "You do?" He said "Yes." I said "Who is your girlfriend?". He answered "Quinlan". I have learned from past experience that teasing Chris about girls is off limits. So I just say"Okay" and drop it. From downstairs I hear Riley saying "See, Mom? Even Chris has a girlfriend".
I'm not ready for the boys to have girlfriends. I want Chris to keep making parachutes for a long time. He has now finished a plastic one and a cloth one. Now he's busy making homemade ice cream. I better get dinner started!
I can't seem to get the black birds to land in a yellow tree on a sunny day with the blue sky in the background. Matt suggested I hang lunch meat from the branches!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It was lying on it's back with it's wings spread out. It was such a beautiful specimen, if you didn't look at it's head. We think it might have been hit by a car. The neck appeared to be broken and the head was kind of smashed. One eye had been pecked out (probably by ravens) and the other looked like an ogre sucked the jelly out of it. There was some dried blood on the head and just a little on one of the wings. But if you ignored the head and just looked at the wings, it was an incredible creature.
I took it home and showed the boys when they got home from school. At first they were not very impressed. They barely gave it a second glance. The next day I took it to Chris' class and asked his teacher if she wanted to see it. She was absolutely thrilled and asked me to bring it into the library. I spread it out on the lid of my tote for the second graders to see. Most of them were duly impressed and there were only a few "ews". Some of the children touched it's leathery feet and long talons while Ms. Boone said "Can you imagine being a mouse being carried away inside that foot?" While the kids crowded around to admire the beautiful feathers, Chris gave me a hug and said "Thanks, Mom." Then I took it to Riley's school and showed his class. Riley's teacher from last year is really into science so I showed her class, too.
Next, I had to figure out what to do with the owl. I wanted to have it stuffed and mounted but Matt informed me there might be laws making it illegal to possess an owl. So I called every scientist in town that I know but kept getting voice mail. Finally, someone called back and told me I needed a permit to show him around and then I needed to turn him over to Fish and Wildlife. I had already taken him to show and tell without a permit. It was kind of exciting to think I had broken the law! I could just see the headlines: "Homer Mom Imprisoned for Illegally Showing Dead Owl to School Kids". I secretly hoped that I could served my sentence in the same prison condominium where Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton stayed, instead of getting thrown in with the hardened criminals.
I brought it to the wildlife refuge research center here in town and the bird expert took the owl from me. I confessed I had taken it to two schools and she said "That's okay. Thanks for turning it in." That was it. The anticlimactic ending. I didn't get so much as a slap on the hand or a fine. It was really cool to have been able to see such a magnificent animal up close like that. I do kind of miss it and wish that I could have had a skilled taxidermist restore it to a fraction of it's previous glory to keep in my home. After it gets tagged and registered, it will be turned over to our local museum. I forgot to take pictures of it so I uploaded some photos from the Internet for the blog. I wonder what manner of creature will wander into our yard next week, perhaps a porcupine?