Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lounging around

I finally caught up on the laundry and some of the cleaning.  I have made 3 loaves of bread in as many days, been on playdates, signed up for classes with a homeschooling group, ventured out to the children’s museum and taken the dog to the vet.   So, I haven’t posted to this little blog in over a week.

Our family dog, Jasmine, is spending a couple nights at the vet’s to see if they can make her feel better so she can come home again.  I’m really not sure how things will go for her, but we are hoping for the best.

Anyway, not much to share.  I’ll add a few funny pictures of some of our down time at home.  I’ll write again soon.


Monday, August 18, 2008

My laundry is piling up...

I have been too busy watching the Olympics to blog and it seems the boys have been having more fun with Daddy this week than me. 

The first picture is Dan building his new computer with his two helpers.  They were both being pretty cute.  They each got out their tools and worked on the computer with Dan.  I was watching the Olympics during all this, but eventually thought to snap a photo.

Earlier in the week Oliver decided he wanted to build a birdhouse.  He seemed to have a pretty clear idea about how it would it should look.  So, to help Dan out I searched for a free bird house plan and somehow I stumbled on these backyard forts.  While I was googling and watching the Olympics I went from a free birdhouse plan to trying to convince Dan to spend thousands of dollars on one of those awesome forts.   He was not convinced.   So, instead I requested a few books from the library so we can build our own treehouse. 

Anyway, Dan ended up picking a bird house plan and they built it together on Saturday while I watched the Olympics with Benton.  I did not get any pictures of the actually building process because I was apparently busy.  Oh, Benton and I did make some ice cream (we had ingredients leftover) and then watched the Olympics.

Did I mention I have been watching a lot of the Olympics?  Yea Phelps!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yipee!  I made it to 36.  I said to Dan the other night, that 35 was the year my wrinkles showed themselves, but other than that I have no complaints and will be growing older as gracefully as I can.  Life is good.

The boys and Dan made the cake.  Just kidding, but they did sing to me.  I made the cake myself.  I wanted to try something new and why not make my own birthday cake?

The inspiration (and directions) came from my favorite cake book, The Whimsical Bakehouse and the various pieces of Polish Pottery I drink my cocoa out of on a regular basis.

I am collecting various patterns of pottery, because I couldn't decide on just one. Dan got me 2 more place settings for my birthday.  I love all the blues and various patterns.  It is fun to see what pattern you’ll pull out of the cabinet.  I think I have a few favorites, but I use them all.

I wish I could have made the cake more of a cobalt blue, but the buttercream starts to taste a little funny with too much color in it and if it doesn’t taste good, who cares how pretty it is?

I need to work on my piping skills, I am much better at the chocolate decorations (i.e. butterfly cake, farm cake, etc).  I have other critiques, but overall the cake turned out better than I thought it would.  About half way through, I wasn’t so sure.

Oh, yeah, the yummy details: the cake was layered chocolate and freckled mocha cake (basically coffee), buttercream frosting and espresso chocolate glaze on top.  It was not quite the cake I set out to make, but delicious, if I do say so myself.

Yes, Benton has a black eye and a split lip from 2 separate incidents.  Poor guy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ice Cream Day

 Today would have been my Papa Oliver’s 90th birthday. He passed away not quite two years ago.  If you don’t know me well, you can still probably guess that I was close to him and loved him dearly. 

I told him, long before I had any real plans to have children, that I wanted to name my first son Oliver.  His response was something like “Oh, why would you want to do that?”  When we called to tell them our first baby was a boy and his name is Oliver,  I am pretty sure my Papa got a little choked up and he said something like “that’s neat.”  He didn’t give me a hard time at all.  He always referred to my Oliver as Little Ollie.  I liked that a lot.

Anyway, I could tell a hundred stories about my Papa, which is why I decided to celebrate his birthday every year with my kids.  I want them to know about him, even if they can’t know him.  Papa Oliver loved ice cream, so his birthday is now Ice Cream Day at our house.

My Papa was in the hospital when Benton was born and I heard he said something kind of funny about Benton’s name, but I think it was the morphine talking.  He was a funny guy.  He died about six weeks after Benton was born and I was not able to go to the funeral.  Thankfully my brother read something for me.  I wanted to share it, but maybe another time.

Anyway, we made a batch of vanilla ice cream and a batch of blueberry.  We plan to share the vanilla at Papa Frank and my birthday celebration this Sunday. 

So, Happy Ice Cream Day.  We miss you Papa!

To the rest of you, go eat some ice cream today!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Catch and Release

So, it is August, which means summer is winding down in Alaska. 

Somehow, I made a very logical decision to not spend $4000 on plane tickets and rental cars to go home to Alaska this summer.  I am seriously regretting it now. 

This will be the first summer in 35 years that I have not spent time in Alaska.  So, I guess I am feeling homesick.  Our family really needs a vacation together too.   

Worse than feeling homesick is the guilt I feel.  Being homesick is essentially feeling sorry for yourself, which is unfounded in my case.  So, I feel guilty too.

The above picture is from last August.   That was a great day.  That day, Oliver caught his first fish.  Uncle Kenny got him all set and helped him reel it in.  

The trout was a “catch and release” fish, so he didn’t come home with us.

That day reminded me of so many days from my childhood.  Playing in the creek and reeling in fish.  Kenny and I would count of all the fish we caught and released.  Back then, I always caught more, but now Kenny is the expert fisherman.  Just look at him.  He is a natural.  :)  What a day.  Oliver was wet and Benton was dirty.   After a picnic dinner, we headed home.   It was wonderful to share that experience with my kids.  That is the life I want for them.

Living in Atlanta is a different life indeed.   I’ve been here for almost eight years, but I still feel like a fish out of water.

Alaska summers are filled with outdoor adventures, but I also miss the last minute dinners with friends and family, grillin’ fresh salmon and drinking Alaskan Ambers (or Jim’s homebrew) and retelling all the adventure stories.  I guess we’ll get there next summer.

Most Alaskans are adventurous to some degree and many are eager to share a story.  Through a close friend,  I knew K2 climber and Irishman Gerard McDonnell and have heard a few of his stories at the dinner table.   I was deeply saddened to hear he did not make it off the mountain.  Rest in peace, Gerard.
Click here to read more about Gerard