The White House

The White House

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Can You Believe It?

Gosh. I've been gone from blogging so much. I can faintly remember the day that it was one of the big parts of my day. Posting, reading other blogs, commenting. Then Facebook happened, but not a day goes by that I don't miss this forum to share. I just find that it is too easy to spend life at a computer while the world passes by. I am going to try to work on a balance so I can get back here. 

So much has happened....

Senior graduation, 8th grade graduation, birthdays, anniversary's, my son's jail experience (the worst), jobs, lack of jobs, farming, progress on the property, travel in state, growing, learning and the most rain in one summer in 100 years (that has been horrible). I could spend months trying to catch up so if any of that or anything else peaks your interest let me know and I'll do a back post... otherwise it's onward we go.

Yesterday I held my first Cub Scout meeting of the year. I am a month late. I'm older, slower and time seems to slip away from me lately. Our first adventure was Geocaching. If you don't know what this is google it and give it a try. You'll be hooked. I'd read Kim's blog for quite some time and always said I'd try it, but never did. Now I'm hooked. My family humor's me, but I haven't found anyone who loves it like I do to join me so I don't do too much. I'm telling you the Scouts loved it. It's just one big treasure hunt.

This was our first.. in the movie theater parking lot. I got to teach them about the muggles and how we had to be sneaky. :)

Then a little trip into the bushes.

Another parking lot.

Under a train!!

 Then we had some time on the playground to run like wild boys.

Snack time and then we went back to me their parents.

Oh... and one last photo...

...always have to do a silly one!!

I'm down three Scouts this year. One moved to Canada, one to North Pole (20 miles away) and one decided to drop out. I sure miss those boys as they were special kids, but I can say that six is a more manageable number.

I'm also going to be leading a Girl Scout Troop. For the first two years Olivia had the most wonderful leader. Then she moved out-of-state. :( Last year the gal that took over was awful. Nice lady, but no organization or imagination and I'm not really sure she liked kids all that much. She had her hands full with 12, but still... it was horribly boring. And they didn't earn hardly any patches. I'm taking over, but with less girls. A few moved and a few quit (I sure hope it was from last year and not because they don't like me). I'm not very "girly", but after my training I am stoked. The Girl Scout program has a lot of fun things to do and patches (that are way cheap... like 3 for $1) to earn so we'll end up doing more than my boys before it is over. I'll be alternating weeks on who I am meeting with. There are holidays, etc. so that's only 29 meetings between now and May (plus 9 Pack Meetings and a few Girl Scout Council things... and camping, in a tent with boys, next weekend at 35*). I CAN DO THIS. right?

Lucas is in 3rd grade and doing awesome. He started running club and did one race. He hates running. I allowed him to drop out as he only did it because I pushed so hard. He starts basketball next week. He'll have two games and one practice per week.

Olivia is in 4th grade. She joined band and is learning the flute. She is also in swimming lessons twice a week and loves it! What a water baby. She was recently tested for the Extended Learning Program (formally Gifted and Talented). Kids usually qualify on their math, reading or writing skills. While she did score on reading (never did do the math or writing tests) she went over the top and qualified on Creativity.  They said that few kids qualify solely on creativity... that's a different mind at work there. She scored 6 out of 4. Off the charts and ranked in the 99% NATIONALLY. I couldn't be more proud. I knew she was a smart cookie. This places her in the program through 8th grade. What a blessing.

Emily is now in 9th grade. No more homeschooling and it's going great. I really miss spending all day with her, but she is definitely loving the social aspect of it all. She made the Varsity Football Cheer team and, of course, loves dressing up, doing hair, being cute. Right up her alley! Emily is also enrolled in a Competitive Cheer Gym where she practices twice a week and goes to tumbling twice a week. She is training for a National Competition in Indianapolis in January. She was gifted a sponsorship to attend this gym as we cannot afford it ($500 just for the uniform!). It will pay her monthly gyms fees, tumbling lessons, uniforms, airfare and hotel (the hotel on the first trip is $1000 for 3 nights - you have to stay where the contest tells you to). All we have to cover is her meals. We are so blessed. It is absolutely killing me to not travel with her. It will be her first event ever and she won't have her mommy for support, but I can't afford it so unless the heavens rain a plane ticket I will be at home. She has a second competition in Hawaii in April. We are putting away money so we can go with her on that adventure. There was a minor set back yesterday. She pulled a tendon in her arm learning to do a back handspring. Of course, we didn't know what it was so I spent all day at the doctors to figure it out. $593 later.... ug!. We're never going to get ahead... just when we think we will something happens. Cross your fingers for no more doctors. I'm crossing mine for a plane ticket to Indiana. ;)

Nick is back living at home. The cost of this world is just stupid on minimum wage. He was unemployed all summer, but has a job now. He does restoration... like if your house gets flooded or there is a fire. Not enough money to move out on, but enough to pay insurance, gas and help a little with food. I do enjoy seeing him more and he's always helpful with the kids and driving. Homer has been working in Prudhoe for 9 days so it has been nice to have another adult around.

Elijah is here with us, but not. Typical 18 year old has spent the summer couch surfing. See him maybe once a week. So many of his friends went off to college so now he has to start coming home and work. He has a job prospect tomorrow so hopefully it pans out. Just sucks that it's 20 miles away as I have to drive him. No license (hence jail experience). We'll work through it. Always do.

I'm doing okay. Slowed down a lot this year. Put on too much weight and it's become a struggle. I have to find some time to work on getting it off. Having back and hip troubles that makes it difficult to get around. Hoping if I lose weight it will help.

This has been quite a book for my first post back. If you read it, it must mean you really care. I appreciate that.Time to hit the sack. Only 5.5 hours until the first alarm goes off.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another Week Gone By??

Last Thursday Emily and I were out running errands and found a sale on dog coats. They were $1.50 each! Sophie looks so cute. 

Rusty was just plain mad about the whole thing. It was quite comical.

Mandy even got one, but there wasn't one big enough for Millie. She'd be miserable anyhow as she has so much fur.

Friday was Olivia's Native Program and Potluck. It was supposed to be held back in November, but we got freezing rains and school was closed. She recited her Haiku and that is the drawing to go with it.

Saturday Emily had a soccer game. They were missing three players... one at work, one out-of-town and one is injured. It was their first loss of the season.

Sunday Olivia had to sell Girl Scout cookies at the store. She was very timid at first, but ending up selling 40 boxes by herself!

This time of year we have the most beautiful sunrises. They only last a few minutes, but are spectacular.

Tuesday is a Scout Day. I was missing two of my group.

We went outside and each boy designed an obstacle course for everyone to be timed on. Lucas was the fastest of all 7 times! Being in sports sure gives him an advantage.

After Scouts we were off to has last game of basketball. He's already asking what sport he can do now, but there really isn't anything until summer. I missed the sign-ups for swimming lessons.

Since I started with Sophie that's where I'll end. I'm busy in the plant room already so far behind. I just ordered my petunia seeds last night so they will be about 3 weeks late. Such is my busy life!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Days Fly By

Friday I was supposed to run some errands. It ended up being a day for Emily to get her nails done. She decided on French tips which turned out to not only be more expensive, but took twice as long. 

The sunsets are finally high enough in the sky and long enough that I can see them.

Dinner... I love cooking big meals for my husband and we've had a few good ones this week, but this is the only photo I remember to take. I've never done grilled cabbage, but it was so good!

After dinner a friend dropped her son off for the night. She was called in to fly the next day and had no one to take her son. Her husband is out-of-town with an ailing parent. I kicked them outside for most of the day. I had been watching YouTube videos to learn how to mud and tape. My nephew caught wind of that and showed up to teach me (he does remodeling for a living). He spent 9 hours here that day! I ended up dropping Emily off at her soccer game to get back and help him (Elijah brought her home for me). Of course, she scored two goals while I wasn't there.

Aidan ended up spending the night again and my nephew came back up Sunday for the day to help me. He brought his daughter and all the kids spent a lot of time outside. The weather was beautiful.

Elijah even took Emily for a ride.

Homer finished cutting the fire ring... it's 4 feet across... and we built a bonfire. He spent the day changing oil and working on snow-go's. 

Olivia and I sat by the fire long after everyone else went inside. Aidan stayed again because his mom had to fly really early. I drove all the kids to school Monday morning.

Monday was not such an exciting day as I spent it cleaning. Managed get rid of an entire pick-up load of junk we have, but just don't need.  No photos to show for it, though. Olivia and Lucas had Ski Club after school. I brought Aidan home again and then he was picked up late that evening to give me a little break. 

Tuesday morning I went with Olivia on a field trip to the UAF museum. They had some instruction in the classroom. 


Then a scavenger hunt of sorts.

Followed by story time and then more time in the classroom drawing animal tracks.

This was the view from the hill that day. Clouds rolling in and as it turns out we got about an inch of snow last night.

I even rode the bus!

After the field trip I had a couple hours to get my things together for Cub Scouts. I took my nine boys on a walk looking for birds.

After the last Scout was picked up it was a mad dash to Lucas' basketball game way on the other side of town. We got there with 5 minutes to spare. He plays so hard the entire time. I am really going to miss it when the season is over (only one more game). 

I dropped Aidan at his house and got home with a couple hours to spare before bedtime. I feel kind of badly as he has to get up so early to go to daycare before school, but it's hard on my kids' routine having a guest on school nights. Today is Ski Club again and Aidan will be back over until his mom is done flying around 7. I think she said his dad might be back in a few days, but really after so many years of raising so many kids having one more isn't too noticeable. 

Lots of homeschooling work to do today plus more cleaning projects that I could ever accomplish. I'm still in need of the 30-hour day, less to do and an attitude adjustment. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

What A Week!

What a busy week! I bet the kids sleep in this weekend. Monday Olivia and Lucas had ski club after school.  It's been cancelled for a few weeks now. First it was too icy (snow melt and refroze) and then too cold (a week of -20 or more) so it was great to go again. 

Tuesday was the Cub Scout Blue & Gold Banquet. Besides leading a Den of 9 Scouts I am on the Planning Committee and I am the Awards Coordinator. Lots of time went into organizing the Advancement for 38 Scouts. There was a little over 100 people in attendance. 

The Banquet is a potluck and so many good things were shared... main dishes....

.... sides and salads....

... Alaska Salmon, Moose and even a whole turkey!

I must have put about six hours into this awards table. Everything is recorded online and then I purchase at the Scout office. Two hours alone was spent writing out the cards and attaching the patch, pin or belt loop to it. The little portion cups have activity segments for the last four Pack meetings. Keeping track of who attends what is a chore! I am the only leader who knows all the kids. 

I won't share all the photos (we took over 200), but each of the 5 dens performed skits and sang songs. My Den sang a grace before dinner that we wrote ourselves. This is our skit "Old Akela Had a Zoo". The boys start out behind the curtain and then move out to the side. The song had actual animal noises... yes, I spent hours and hours creating/editing the music with sound bits found online. I need to purchase more fabric and sew the curtains so it looks nice, but will have to wait until they get some in. 

Emily is an enormous help to me. I couldn't do it without her. She looked so beautiful. I, on-the-other-hand, better get back to going to the gym. I've put on a lot of weight this winter and my knees are complaining. I know I would have more energy, too.

I have a special ceremony for each Den when they earn their Rank Badge. That's the Cubmaster reading the script. The ceremony involves face painting the boys. This is my Wolf Den. Eight of my nine boys met the requirements for their badge. 

Father and son.

At the end of the night we had the Ice cream Trough. This is something we used to do 15 years ago in the Pack. It was pushed aside by the germaphobes. Us old-timers brought it back and the kids loved it (or at least the ones who had parents who would let them join in).

Wednesday the little ones had Ski Club again and then were up late for the season opener of Survivor. Nick took a few hours off of work to be here for that so we could pick our favorites.

Thursday I got Nick and Elijah to carry out the broken washer that has been sitting in the middle of Elijah's to-be-room-if-we-ever-finish remodeling. Then Emily and I cleaned out the whole space so work can begin. Homer has the the corners to put around the sliding door in the craft room and then I can start taping and mudding (after he shows me how). He'll move on to the next room until I am done painting and then come back to build my counters and shelves.

Last night Lucas had basketball practice at a school 25 miles from our house. You take several long, icy back roads so travel time is 45-minutes each way taking up 2.5 hours of the evening for practice! I left dinner for Homer and saw him for a late movie. Between his long hours of work and my running the evening activities we hardly see each other.

Before work yesterday Nick made Olivia and Lucas new shirts for Tie Dye Day at school. They were thrilled when they woke up this morning and saw them. Aren't we a tough bunch? Yesterday it was +30 and Lucas went to practice in his shorts. It is +12 this morning and they sure aren't bundled up, are they? Spring is in the air and the sunshine is wonderful after the long, dark winter.

Speaking of Spring I should be planting my  geranium seeds March 1st and I haven't even ordered them. My plant room turned into storage again this winter and I can't even get in there. I have so much to do and it's been such an exhausting week. Guess I'd better hop to it.