Friday, July 30, 2010

Best $3.50 I've ever spent

I've been neglecting my blog again. Sorry. I should have some posts stocked up to run while family visits and we go camping and I get too busy to write, but every time I write a new post I have to put it out there. It's a compulsion that I have.
Here's a quick little one just to keep some of you happy and not wandering off to someone else's blog about moose and stumbling through a cold life in AK. But if you do want to read about someone else's life in Alaska, check out Gullible's Travels. She is a Sourdough, while I am a mere Cheechako, so she actually knows what she is talking about.

I'm a thrifty person, I like to think. Or perhaps frugal is a better word. It sounds much better than stingy, tightwad, or in my case, just calling someone Dutch means the same thing. Sonny Boy played baseball this summer and the first place I went was the good old Salvation Army to look for cleats. I'm not really big on spending a bunch of money on something that he only wears for a short season. I found these for him for 3dollars and 50 cents. It was the best money I've ever spent. He wears them everyday. Sonny Boy can bust through shoes like nobody's business. I don't know how he does it, but usually after a month of having a  pair of shoes he has ripped through the toe and the sole is tearing away.
They make baseball cleats a bit more sturdy.
I wonder if they would frown upon these in school? They might actually survive the whole school year.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Budding photographer

Oh if only I were talking about myself.  I wish I could use photographer and my name in a sentence together. The best I can hope for is the label of picture taker.
I am talking of my daughter. Everyday she begs me to use my camera. She takes five hundred pictures of my dirty house and then hands the camera back to me proudly. If she keeps it up, she may actually be good by the time she is grown. The sheer quantity of pictures has got to lead to some good shots.

Let me take you on a tour of my house courtesy of Princess Blondie.

Armoire. This is where they watch cartoons on PBS while I sleep in. It's summer, I'm allowed to sleep in.

Our new flower garden. I had to give away the Monks Hood to the neighbor because it is really, really poisonous and it made Sonny Boy really, really nervous to know that we had a poisonous plant in the garden. (Sorry Mom! I know our neighbor will take very good care of it.)

My truck. Other moms get minivans. I got a truck with flames. It makes me happier than it should.

The other side our flower garden and the muddy birdbath courtesy of Sonny Boy. He doesn't seem to understand that the birds were prefer water instead of mud.

The front porch. 

The front of our house.

Our driveway.

Our culdesac.

Our grass. Yay! No more dirt pit!

A photo shoot would not be complete without a self portrait.

Flower pot number one.

Flower pot number two. And a carpet rake. It came with the house. The kids confiscated it from the pile destined for the Salvation Army. Now it lives outside. Who rakes their carpet anyway? I don't even vacuum mine. It's overrated.

My walkway! I gave up on flagstone and we settled with brick. I LOVE it. Much less dirt and gravel in my house now.

She took a picture of every single stair to the upstairs. 

I'm going to show you every single one. 

Just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you. 

When she made it upstairs she took a picture of my laundry waiting to be folded. It is now three days later and I still have half a pile there. My kids have to fish for clean underwear from the pile. Just being honest here.

Stinky Beagle in her seat of honor on my couch. She spends a great deal of her time here. There were many more pictures of my dog on the couch. I thought one covered it.

She also takes a picture of her hand every time. I like to think she is playing with depth of field. I may be wrong. She might just like her hand. 

My cream colored walls. Every wall in my house is this color except for the kids rooms. Someday I will paint. I need to buy a new rug first. It all hinges on the rug. I need help convincing DH of this fact. 

This is the part where I am wondering where the picture of Sonny Boy's bottom is. I think he was in time-out. If he were around there would have been a picture of his bottom, his tongue, and the toilet. 
There always is.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flashback Friday, er... Wednesday.

I know it's not a Friday, so my chances for alliteration are shot, but I thought I would share a flashback anyway.This flashback doesn't go back too far, just a few years. Someday, if I ever figure out how to hook up and operate our scanner I will share some lovely photos from before the digital camera age. I spent my formative years growing up in the late eighties and nineties, so it could be quite scary. You are warned.

Today I thought that I would share one of my favorite memories of my daughter.
We were living on base in North Carolina and we were all playing outside in the evening. Sometimes it actually cools off slightly in the evening so that being outside is bearable, unlike during the day. I found Princess Blondie laying in the yard checking something out.

She had plopped herself down to watch an ant hill.

I kept an eye on her though after I discovered that she was watching ants. Ants are vicious down south. Fire aunts are not to be toyed with. It hurts and then itches when they bite. The bites turn into little blister/pimple type things. They are just not fun. In Michigan, there were never any ants that bit. They were just a nuisance, but they didn't cause any harm.

I remember once when Sonny Boy was about 2, my dad took him out in our yard to play. He was showing him all the ant hills, because he didn't know that these were fire ants and they bit, until Sonny Boy started crying. 

 His poor little hands were covered in ant bites and my poor dad felt awful. I feel worse for my dad than I do Sonny Boy. Sonny Boy doesn't remember a thing.

Princess Blondie was at a safe distance though. She sat there for quite a while, just watching them.
Oh the simple things in life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

America's favorite pastime

Sonny Boy just finished up his first season of little league baseball. He played T-ball two years ago, but that was the extent of his baseball experience. 
Now first let me say this about baseball. I have no desire whatsoever to watch it unless I am a) actually watching it in person, and b) I know someone who is playing.  Luckily for Sonny Boy, both a and b were true.
Watching 7 and 8 year old boys play baseball is a comedy of errors. Especially because the fathers take it so seriously. If I had one word of advice it would be to just chill out, relax, shut up, and let the coach handle it. With an emphasis on the shut up part. These are 2nd and 3rd graders. Their baseball skills will improve someday. It doesn't have to be today. 
I'll step off my soapbox now.
Anyhow, if watching little boys play baseball is a comedy of errors, then our team is the court jester. And we have the record to prove it. I think they put every kid with ADD on our team. No lie. I'm beginning to think it was a conspiracy. The one good thing about that is that Sonny Boy was most certainly not the only one building castles in the dirt, spinning in circles in the outfield, chasing bugs, watching other games on the field next to ours, and just sitting down in center field when tired or bored.

The one thing that surprised me the most was the fact that they used a pitching machine. I suppose you can't expect 7 and 8 year olds to pitch accurately though. 
Please notice how is helmet is nearly covering his eyes. One must protect their eyes, I suppose.

He swings...

and he hits it!!!

Now he runs!

Running is the one thing Sonny Boy has always been quite good at. It must come from DH because it certainly doesn't come from me. 

Here he is chatting it up with the first baseman.

This first baseman is one of my favorites. He always tells kids good job no matter what team they are on. I wonder what his mom would say if I took him home with me?

An example of outfield behavior. Dirt must be kicked.

Other games on other fields must be watched.





 And one final kick.
At this point I would like to direct your attention to the scoreboard. Guess which team is the owner of the big fat zero?
The season ended with a record of 1-18. 

Well, good thing we just play for the fun of it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Enjoying the view...

I just had to share this picture because I love it. 
This was taken on our trip to Denali. As soon as the kids saw the bridge, they wanted to get out and look at the river. I don't remember what river it was. If I were  good blogger, I would Google it and find out what river it is. But I'm not going to, because in the end, it really doesn't matter what river it is and I just don't feel like it. It was just a river the kids wanted to look at.

Anyway, it was right about at this point that there was an area where they took rafts in or out of the river for whitewater rafting. All I have to say about that is... Brrr.
There is not single natural body of water in this state that I would want to immerse my body in. I've been swimming in Lake Superior and I can only imagine that anything here is exceedingly worse than that. Except for the hot springs. I'd be willing to go there. But that's about 6 hours from our house. On the plus side, I never have to put on a bathing suit again. I'm all for the days when the bathing suits were full body suits. Maybe I can start a resurgence of the trend.

(Okay, I couldn't stand the guilt of just leaving you without knowing what river it was. I finally Googled it. It's the Nenana River, I believe, but there is a good chance that I could be wrong.)

So here is my favorite picture. I love the way they are all lined up like notes on sheet music. Plus I just like this view of DH's backside.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Forest Fire

On the 4th of July the family and I went back to Eklutna Lake to go four-wheeling. We got rained out of camping the week before that so we made the trip back when it was a bit nicer out. My brother-in-law changed his mind about going so that meant we got to borrow his four-wheeler and I got to go too. Yay!

I used to ride a four-wheeler around the farm all the time growing up, but it had been many, many moons since I had done that. It's pretty much like riding a bike. It all comes back pretty quickly. Plus our four-wheeler is an automatic so I didn't even have to shift. All I had to do was push the gas and the brakes. A monkey could do it, so I really shouldn't feel so impressed with myself right now. But I am.

The kids hopped on the back of mine and away we went. We drove past Lake Eklutna which is incredble, and I'll show you more pictures of that tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it). 

Just as we came to the end of the lake I noticed that all the leaves had changed color. 

It looked like autumn because all the foliage was orange.

We drove in a bit further and I finally figured out why.

We were driving through the aftermath of a forest fire.

I had seen this area that burned up the side of the mountain from a few miles back and I thought that it was a rock slide.

There had been a forest fire here almost exactly one month before our visit.

This area burned just the ground and the heat killed the leaves, but the trees are still alive.

Other areas were completely devastated.

It was strangely beautiful to me. I was completely mesmerized.

The colors. The smells. The contrast of bright green life and pitch black death. It was almost intoxicating.

It was otherworldly.

Every time I hear about a forest fire, I can't help but think about the cleansing attributes of the flames. I remember learning in elementary school about an evergreen tree that needed forest fires to proliferate. The heat from the fire was necessary for the pine cone to open and release it's seeds. Without fire, the species wouldn't survive. 
And look at the pictures. It is just a month since the fire raged through, and there is already new green life bursting through that couldn't push its way out from all the underbrush before. Clear out the old and make room for the new.

Maybe that's why this scene of a forest fire didn't make me sad, but strangely hopeful.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Slip n' Slide... Alaska style

My poor children are still adjusting to the subtle differences between an Alaskan summer and a summer in North Carolina. Ha, subtle...

For instance, my girl has been dying to go to the beach. I told her that if she wants to go to a beach where she can actually wear her swimsuit and possibly go play in the water, we will have to take a trip on an airplane. They also begged me for the slip n' slide we saw at the store. A new slip n' slide was a staple part of our summer diet in North Carolina. You couldn't go outside for an extended period of time without being immersed in water in some form or fashion. 

It was only 7 bucks so I gave in and got them one, although I had a sneaking suspicion of exactly how much it would be used.

I was right, the answer is once.
Princess Blondie made it down exactly once before she curled up in a towel seeking a patch of sunshine to warm up in.

Sonny Boy lasted a bit longer,

but I want you to look closely at the facial expressions here


Here let me zoom in a bit for you.

It's a wee bit cold.
In fact, my brother-in-law checked the temperature of the tap water at his house once. It was 42* 
That's Fahrenheit, mind you. 42* is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the polar bear plunge. (You know, the crazy people who cut a hole in the ice and jump in?)

Wanna go again, Honey? Pretty please? I want to take your picture.
No thanks, Mom, I'm going to stay here wrapped in my towel and sit in my patch of sun.

The only smart one of this whole group is my nephew. He knows exactly how much body surface area should be in the freezing cold tap water.

Umm, I think I'll just stick my finger in. There, that should do it.