Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ice Skating at Cuddy

I took three kids ice skating, none of whom no how to ice skate. 

Linnea, rode in my stroller.  Completely content.

Oliver held onto my stroller a lot, but ventured out on his own too.  He actually got better after a bit and stopped clinging to me. 

Benton decided to ride in Hilkka's stroller, skates on.  He only got out once to play in a pile of snow.   Benton was the one who made it clear it was time to go home.  One second he was fine, the next, he was crying. After what felt like an eternity, I got everyone's boots on, stroller and skates in the truck, kids buckled in. After a few minutes in the truck with the heat on, Benton stopped crying and I asked if he could tell me why he had been so upset.  I suspected cold hands (he took his mittens off at the end), but he said "I wanted to listen to some music."  Ok.


Thanks to our friends who joined us!  Spike, in full hockey gear, Finley, and Charlie are all great skaters!  We'll have to go again soon.

Ready to Read

Oliver loves all things math related.  He'll add or subtract just about anything.  He counts in multiples (I think they call it skip counting at schools), he loves coins, multiplies and divides simple numbers, all in his head.  Meanwhile, he has shown no interest in learning to read. Now, don't get me wrong, he knows all his letter sounds,way beyond the basics, he sounds out words, reads familiar words etc.  But, if you ask him to read something or suggest that he can read, he scoffs at the idea.

It took me a long while, but I got our playroom organized (finally).  We now have a better rhythm around here.  We have all been spending more time in the play/learning room and Oliver has started asking me to teach him.  He wants me to get stuff out of my boxes of teaching supplies.  I put up a pocket chart with some beginning reading stories.  

As I expected, he didn't real need me to teach him anything.   He really enjoyed reading something that seemed "easy."   He quickly and enthusiastically read 4-5 stories and poems and asked for more.  I suggested we slow down and maybe work with the new words we learned.  Benton was reading along with us, as well.  

 I love giving kids tasks they can feel successful at, instead of making them work really hard and feeling frustrated.  This approach always works well with Oliver.  He is a bit stubborn, so say the least.

So, we stopped there for the day. We read them again the next day and while laying in bed that night, Oliver started telling me about the story he wanted to write.  

All of this leads me to this morning.  Oliver was ready to write his own story.  Instead of him suffering through the handwriting and sounding out words, I went the "reading and writing is fun" route.  I typed up his sentences, printed the pages and then he illustrated them.  

Meanwhile, Benton was painting, his favorite thing, ever.  


Here is a video of Oliver reading his story, "My Favorite Foods," and a hello to Nonna and Papa in Georgia!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Aviation Museum

I am not sure what I have been doing, actually, I do know, but it is not that exciting.  We are still trying to settle into our house here.  I have been doing a lot of painting and I'm still unpacking a lot of boxes.

 We had a great turn out at the museum a few weeks ago.  I can't say that I learned much, because the kids were too busy moving around and checking everything out for me to stop and read any of the fine print.  We did have a great time though.  My boys really enjoyed the flight simulator.  I am sure Oliver could have sat there for a long time. 

There an Alaska Airline plane outside.  You can't go in, but you can look inside.  There is also a big hangar outside the museum, full of different kinds of planes.

 "Jeep alert!"  For some reason, unknown to me, Oliver loves Jeeps.  This one was pretty cool.
We ended our day there with a quick, but super annoying movie.  In effort to make the movie kid-friendly, they added a character that made the movie hard to watch for parents.  I don't think the kids minded, but I don't think they would have missed that element at all.

Anyway, all and all, it was a great outing and I hope everyone else enjoyed themselves too.  Thanks for coming out to play with us!

The Learning Farm

I must have been busy, because I forgot to post about this place.  We went on a cold and wet day in October.  The boys and the other kids who were there that day (a mix of homeschoolers and preschoolers) got to meet all the farm animals and then got to ride the horse and buggy and a horse.


It was Oliver and Benton's first experience with a horse.  They were both so excited to get to ride her and wanted more time on her.   I love seeing how confident they were and comfortable on the horse (wish I knew here name).    

It was planned that we would have lunch there and do a craft, but by the time the all the horse riding was done, there was only about ten minutes left and I opted to head out.  I felt chilled (cold and rainy) and I was sure the kids were probably a little chilly too.  Also, Linnea had been in the backpack the entire time, without a single complaint.

We were all pleased with our experience at the Learning Farm and hope to go back.  It is a little expensive, but they did offer a discount for siblings and it is right here in town, so no long drive involved. 

Check out, if you get a chance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another gorgeous day out at Eagle River Nature Center

Alaska Zoo - Hands On Detective Class

We had a small turn out, but the zoo held the class for us any way.  The instructors were wonderful and enthusiastic teachers.  They had several tubs full of animal pelts, horns, antlers, quills, and feathers.

My kids are still new to Alaska, so although they have read a lot about Alaska's animals this was the first time the got to touch most of the items.

Linnea, who is just barely one, loved all the fur!  It was kind of funny how much she wanted to feel the furs and did not want to pass them back.  :)

It was the first real snowfall in the city, not just up on Hillside.  So, the zoo, was practically empty.  We only saw one other mom and daughter the whole time we were there.  It was so lovely to walk through the quiet zoo.  Many of the animals were out to see us.  The wolverine came over several times to check us out, the foxes were very social, the tigers were enjoying a cool spot and didn't seem to notice us at all.

The falling snow soon changed to rain and luckily, we had already visited everyone's chosen animal so we dashed home to warm up and have some lunch.  

Another great day spent learning with my kids.

Hatcher Pass

At an elevation of 3000 feet, Hatcher Pass usually has snow before the rest of the area.  Although we had snow at our house, it was super fun to head out to Hatcher’s Pass with the Bolds (Bruce, Hilkka, Finley, and Kira) for the weekend.  Our family did not quite have it together to get on cross country skis this weekend, but the Bolds got out on skis before we got there.  We were prepared to do some sledding.  So, we got a little in before dinner.  We had fondue and dinner at the lodge, followed by a little time in the sauna, with a creek running underneath, and a night in the cabin.  The cabins are nothing fancy, but they were clean ,warm and served the purpose of a get-away spot for outdoor adventures. 

It is always nice to get away for a bit.

1 Comment Manage Comments for this Entry

Reading your blog makes me miss you guys all over again  :-(

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 05:33 AM

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We woke up to 4 or 5 inches of snow this morning.  I loved watching the the boys reactions when they noticed the snow out the window, so full of surprise and excitement.   Oliver has been kind of a pain about the cold lately, so I wasn’t too sure how easy it would be to get him outside, but as soon as I said “let’s go,” he and Benton were dressed and out the door within five minutes.  Linnea and I were a bit slower, but we made it out and spend a couple of hours playing in our own yard.

I got to pull everyone around in our new sled, endure snow balls and shovel the walks and the driveway.   Fun, but not as much fun as the kids had.  It was so nice to have all three kids enjoying themselves.  We were all ready for some snow.  It felt so refreshing.

They all enjoyed sledding down the hill in the front of the house.  Oliver and Benton both wanted to help shovel, so I let them.  Oliver and Benton both used some snow related birthday gifts, the snowballer and snow block maker (Thanks, Cousin Erin!) 

There was a lot of figuring stuff out.  Like how to put mittens on, when to take them off and where not to leave them,  It was mostly Oliver who had to figure this stuff out, but our snow fun ended when Linnea took a mitten off and didn’t want me to put it back on.  It was naptime, anyway.

Eventually, we all came inside, had some hot drinks, and then Grammma Kathy came over to help with the playroom and fold laundry (Thanks, Gramma Kathy).

All and all, a good day at home.

1 Comment Manage Comments for this Entry

That's more snow than you saw the entire time you lived in ATL!  So glad the kids are enjoying it.
Friday, November 5, 2010 - 08:35 AM

Playroom Before

This is where my computer has been located for the last three months.  That is a kid sized table and chairs.    You have probably guessed by now, I haven’t sat there much.  But, I have a new desk and I think I am almost ready to show a few pictures of our playroom.  I actually hung some artwork today.  I can’t believe we have been in this house for over 3 months and this is the first time I have put anything on the walls. 

So, I’ll get a few photos of the playroom in progress soon.  In the meantime, I may do a little catch up on my blogging, including birthdays, halloween, and our real first snow (today)!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The boy in the purple coat

I drove 35 miles today for an outdoor (20 degrees) Halloween event, only to discover that Benton’s coat was back at the house.

I thought I was doing pretty well.  I had managed, with a little help from Dan, to get 3 kids, 3 costumes, boots on everyone, 4 sets of hats and mittens, a camera, snacks and water for all of us, into the car and all the way out to the boonies by 11am.  And the road was icy. 

Then I realized I  left one coat behind.

Thankfully, Hilkka has a big circle of friends, who have welcomed all of us in.  Several of these families were attending the party and one mom had an extra coat in her car.  Actually, turns out, more than one mom had extra coats, and I think all these moms were driving subarus, by the way.   I felt a little foolish, but I think it really helped me maintain my “not-a-super-mom” image.

One dad said to me, “oh, aren’t you from Florida?”  “Uh, no, I am not from Florida.  Georgia, kind of.  I am from here, actually.  They (pointing at kids) are from Georgia.”  And, as the rest of us know, Georgia, is not Florida.

I used to have a duffel bag of extra clothing, coats, mittens, hats, etc, along with a sleeping bag and snack bars, matches, sterno and a cooking pot.  I guess it is time to gather up the supplies.  When I grew up, we were not allowed to take our coats or boots off in the car, just in case we went off the road or got in an accident.  Today, Oliver, with snow on the ground, left his coat and boots in the car and walked barefoot into the house.  Arg. 

My little cheechakos are going to be hard to retrain, but I hope, that as it gets colder, they will realize it is in their best interest to be responsible for their own warm clothing.

But if something gets left behind, I will be the kind of mom that has a spare or two in the back of the truck.  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Potter Marsh

As we were getting ready this morning, I was talking with Oliver and Benton about the marsh.  Since they hadn't been there before, I was telling them a bit about a marsh and what they might see there.  Oliver sounded interested and was excited to spot birds.  I added, "Maybe we should get a book about marshes."  His response, "sounds boring."  Thankfully, it turns out that actually going to the marsh wasn't boring at all.  

It was a great fall day, lovely colors and not too cold.

We looked for and spotted fish in the creek.

We saw cranes fly by and then watched ducks land.

Read the informational signs.

and only used the binoculars for the intended purpose.

Spotted an eagle.

Watched birds fly over our heads.

Enjoyed the company of friends and fellow homeschoolers!
I am excited that we had such a nice turn out today at Potter Marsh!  Six families came, with a total of 13 kids.  There was a lot of running down the boardwalk, but also a bit of learning about the marsh and its wildlife.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First day of Kindergarten

I took this picture on a sunny, fun-filled day when I realized it was the first official day for local Kindergartners and Oliver's first official day as a homeschooler.

It is a rite of passage, the first day of school.  I have seen so many pictures lately of friends' kids going off to school.  Cute outfit, new lunch box and backpack, big smile.

My son won't have that, but  I hope to give him more.   More sunshine, for starters.  It was finally sunny after a month of rain.  Seriously, a whole month of rain.   My little kindergartner was livin' it up.

At the sand table durning centers?  No, on the beach on the Turnagain arm.

Sitting quietly during a read aloud?  Nope, taking a break on the coastal trail to admire the mountains and hear the story of the Sleeping Lady.
No uniforms, no shoes, even.

No limits to what he might learn out in the world.

I like that.

I am pretty sure he does too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making it ours

I feel like I haven't really committed to this Anchorage house.  Even though we bought it, it is not my house yet.  Our other house, in Atlanta, is not really mine either.  It is under contract and should be closing soon, but every time I see the buyers name with my address, I feel a little tightness.  I truly am hoping everything goes smoothly and we close, as scheduled, but I really do love that house.

I am trying to make this house, our house, but it is so much work, and really, I don't plan to live here forever.  I would almost rather daydream about the next house than do the work on this one.  I looked around this evening, and noted that I have not hung up one piece of artwork, except the new one in the playroom, and that one is not really hung up, but rather placed on the ledge.   I haven't unpack any books, or my pretties, like my vases, lamps, or even the wine glasses.  For one, there is no safe place to put them, and really, not one room feels close to being done.  You know, at the end of the home decorating shows, they bring out all the fun stuff?  That's the part I want to get to, but it is going to be awhile.  Making over this house is going to take months.

We are getting closet organizers on Friday, so I can spend the weekend putting things away with some order.  I am excited about that.  We (mostly Dan, but a little me), took out the old (70's?) closet shelves and then I patched a few spots and painted.  It still amazes me what a little paint can do for a room or closet, in this case.  Next week, we are getting some drywall repaired from places Dan and I did some demo work.   After that, my plan is to continue working on the guest/sewing room and the boys bedroom.  Then turn my attention to the playroom, all while planning a kitchen remodel.  Maybe I will have a few before/after photos to share.  All the painting and sewing should keep me busy for the next month or so. 

Oh, Happy 11th months to Linnea. 

That means it is time to start planning a birthday party.

I suddenly feel tired.

Time for bed.

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry

I know EXACTLY that feeling. I finally after 9 years in this house decided to start treating it like I was going to really LIVE here instead of thinking "oh well we'll be moving eventually". I'm in minimalist purge mode with the thought that the stuff I have left will be more important to me and make me smile more. Treasured things instead of just "stuff" you know?
Hugs to you all and what a beautiful picture of Linnea! Wade saw your view and now he's thinking Anchorage would be a great place to live!
Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 07:53 AM
Ah, yes.  I got rid of so much stuff before we moved.  I lost track of the number of trips to Good Will.  It felt so good to give away the stuff I knew didn't make me smile.  BUT, I still feel like I have too much stuff.  I go through clothes regularly, but I think it is time to do it again.  I rarely give away books, so we have a of those, still in boxes.

Oh, tell Wade, that picture of Linnea was not taken at our house.  So, the view is not ours. It was at the lake we went to last weekend. Although,  it is hard to find a bad view around here.  Come visit!
Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 10:58 AM

Monday, August 9, 2010

Location, Location, Location


A quick criticism of Apple’s iWeb.  You can not update your blog from the web.  You have to do it from your own computer.  Since this computer was in a box for over 2 months, that meant no blogging from me.  Since I opened the box a few weeks ago, the computer has been downstairs and I have been on my laptop more.  Not to mention all the other things I have been doing.

I am thrilled to be in Alaska, but I am not in love with this house.  It has a few issues, particularly the garage, that are too expense for us to fix.  Right now we are planning to update the kitchen, the fireplace and the floors and call it done.  Oh, and add a fence.  Birdie has been challenging, to say the least.  She needs to run, but in our yard only.   I do love the location though!  So, so quiet compared to Atlanta and we have had several wild animals visit, including a black bear, but we didn’t see that one.  Most of the neighbors have kept to themselves, which makes me miss our neighbors in Atlanta even more.

Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, our perfect little house sat unvisited in a super slow market.  We managed to put our house on the market in the first month that had a drop in home sales since last October (I think, that’s right).  So, 2 couples made an effort to see the house, both loved the house, but the 1st didn’t like the neighborhood.  The second were ok with the neighborhood and loved the house so they made an offer.  Not a great offer, but an offer, none the less.  So, we’re in contract and hoping it works out.

If the house sells, then we can work on the next location.  The house I have been daydreaming about for years.  A house we build from the ground up here in Alaska.

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry

Hope the house sells for you, and hope you get your dream. If you are building it yourself, you dang well better blog about it. I am very interested in hearing about it.

Love to you all!
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 06:09 AM
Hey Annie,

I am sure I will blog about it.  Of course, when I say "we build" I mean "we hire someone to build."   Maybe not quite as interesting, but should have its own challenges.  Right now we are looking at vacant land around here and trying to find the right piece.

Did you ever pick a chandelier for your house?
Friday, August 20, 2010 - 10:50 PM

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Great Giveaway

I have been packing and the truck will be here in less than 3 weeks.  We have a few things we are thinking of selling or giving away.  I would rather give things to friends and family than try to sell them to strangers.  So, take a look at the furniture we are not going to be taking to Alaska.  If there is anything you want, just let us know and it is yours. 

The only thing I am wavering on, is the china hutch.  It was my grandmother’s.  It is probably from the 40’s.  I don’t love it.   So, I won’t sell it, but I would give it to a friend or family that loved it.  If nobody wants it, I’ll take it to Alaska.

Click HERE to see an album of the stuff.

Other items not pictured include: assorted terra cotta pots, gardening items and chemicals,  household paint and stain, lawnmower, white gas (camping fuel), metal storage shelves (garage worthy), household cleaners, kids tempera paints and glue, Lands End Diaper bag, Tiny Love baby mobile, etc.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

North to Alaska

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written anything in a month.  Admittedly, I have been a little busy.  Most of you know the reason, but in case you haven’t heard:  We’re moving to Alaska!!!

What have I been doing, instead of blogging?  A quick run down:

Packing - The moving truck comes in just over 5 weeks.  We’re on box 76.
Making an offer on a house in Anchorage.  We are in contract to close at the end of May.
Signing and scanning a lot of paperwork
My mom came to visit and help with the kiddos
Shipped Birdie (the dog) to Alaska with my mom.
Hired a contractor to fix up the Atlanta house.  The crew starts next week.
Met with local realtor (a neighbor and friend)
Started taking Benton to speech therapy (that darn frenulum)
Continuing classes with the boys (3 more weeks)
Watching Linnea change and grow and MOVE everywhere (crawling, pulling up, cruising)
Driving loads of unwanted items to Good Will
Still wishing we had less stuff
Trying to exercise and get enough sleep

I am so excited to be heading back.  We should be there before June 21st, which will be our 7th Anniversary, and is Summer Solstice, of course.  Also, Dan will be from working at home, which will mean a lot more family time for us. Yea!

We are shipping everything and flying up about a week or so after the truck leaves with all our stuff.  It will give us a little time to try up loose ends and make sure the house is ready to go on the market here.

By the way, do you know anyone who wants to buy a cute house in Atlanta?

See you soon, my Alaska friends.  And the rest of you can start scheduling your visit.  Our new house has a guest room!  

3 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry

I will be there soon to visit you!  Promise.  You have a link for the new house in AK?
Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 12:37 AM
WOW. Just now seeing this. Very happy for you, and slightly jealous.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 11:41 AM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 03:55 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Homemade gifts

We were planning to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday on Saturday.  So, last Thursday, Oliver decided he wanted to sew something for her.  My first thought was “really? now?”  I have actually never done a sewing project with the boys, but since Linnea seemed content, I thought I ought to say “yes, let’s do it!” 

The only little project I could think of was potholders.  So, they got to dig into my fabric stash.  Oliver picked out green fabrics and Benton opted for blue.   I let them use the rotary cutter to cut strips of fabric (hand-over-hand for Benton), then they laid out a design (a nice ABC pattern for Oliver, random for Benton), then started stitching them together.  The boys got to run the foot pedal and I pretty much guided the fabric.  I trimmed them up into squares got out some batting and made a quilt sandwich.  They really enjoyed it all and then came the moment Oliver has been waiting for, for years.  He (and Benton too) got to pick out the decorative stitches to quilt the potholder. 

I think they turned out pretty nicely.  I forgot to get a picture of the finished product, but the boys made cards and wrapped them up.  They were pretty colorful for my mother-in-law, but I think she like them anyway. 

Uncle Josh and Aunt Elizabeth came into town to visit and celebrate with Toni.   We all (joel and Jeanne too) pitched in and made dinner for Toni.  I made baguettes and those tenderloin sandwiches.  It was a full day for me, but fun too.

Linnea’s first tooth broke through on Saturday too.  Explains all the recent drooling.  :)

*It was Benton day to refuse to have his picture taken.

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As the object of all the attention, I can attest to the wonderful treatment by Kjerstin and her boys.  The potholders are quite lovely and, yes, Oliver was quick to point out the stitching on the back, especially his favorite design.  And even in my "white" kitchen, they hang prominently on the cabinets. (The other day I was washing my regular potholders and had to grab for one of the boys' potholder and it almost felt sacrilegious!) Then there's the food Kjerstin made!  What can I say about her cooking - it never disappoints!  Homemade bread, red meat,and truffle butter!  Doesn't get much better than that.   Thank you, dear, for all you did to make the big 65 so special.
Saturday, April 3, 2010 - 09:56 AM
Ah,  I'm happy to have had a part in celebrating your birthday!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 10:18 PM