Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Addition

This last couple of days has just been the cherry on top of an already wonderful week.

The Puppy Rescue called yesterday to confirm our volunteering today. In the course of the conversation it came up that Calista was still searching for the "perfect dog" for herself and, what do you know, the rescue had a "puggle", a pug/beagle mix puppy. So, of course we had to go look! There were actually three of them and Calista fell in love with one of the girls, Dina. So our family just expanded by one! She will not likely get bigger than 15 lbs and is a total snuggle with a cute underbite. The kids think she looks like a baby goat, lol.

We volunteered again, at the adoption clinic, and we had to take Dina with us because she is just too little to be left alone all day. We made a little sling for Calista so she could pack Dina around with her all day. Calista is a good little mommy and people were quite impressed. She got lots of attention and I think because of it we helped get the other two adopted. Her sister and brother weren't at the clinic because they just got over a virus and can't be handled too much and around that much activity. After the clinic two couples went over to the foster home and were looking at them, so hopefully they both went to good homes today too. It was a very rewarding day as 16 puppies got placed in good homes, along with two of the adult dogs.

My kids are REALLY enjoying doing this volunteer work and want to continue doing the clinics every Saturday. They have been a tremendous help; they pitch right in and do what needs to be done, including cleaning pee and poop and bleaching out kennels. I'm really proud of them.

Another side benefit to this new puppy is that Tristan's nurturing instincts have kicked in. He has been SOOOoooooo sweet to Calista and helps her take care of the puppy. I looked out the window last night and watched the two of them walking down the road with the puppy, laughing and talking with one another. Talk about an ah..ha moment!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

great week!

It's been a great week!

The kids and I volunteered at the puppy adoption clinic on Saturday. We transported two puppies and a dog into Anchorage and then helped out at the clinic where needed. One lady gushed how helpful and pleasant my kids were and what a joy they were to be around. The kids loved holding the puppies and watching them go off to good homes. We will be volunteering this Saturday again because the kids enjoyed it so much.

On Sunday Kev and his friends wanted to go snowboarding up at Hilltop. Kevin Sampley's mom went up there with them and we helped haul kids in, since there wasn't enough room in her car. The kids agreed to let Tristan go with them, which is a VERY BIG deal for Tristan. Kev gets to do a lot with his friends because they are old enough, and very independent, to go do stuff on their own. Tristan isn't as independent and isn't really old enough to be dropped off at the theatre and things like that. So he was really excited that they were letting him go with them. They all had such a good time and it was a great way to try and enjoy the cold weather even though we are ready for spring.

While they were snowboarding Martin, Calista, and I went shopping!! Martin finally has steady income coming our way, after three months without. He is pending and closing on properties every week and has things pending clear out to July. It's a good feeling after the uncertainty of a new career. They were having an awesome sale at Penney's; everything in the kids department was buy one/get one for $1. Calista got a ton of clothes for less than I would normally spend on one season. She was pretty excited. Martin got some jeans for buy one/get one free, which was even better.

Since the boys need clothes worse than anyone I ended up taking them back into town on Monday, since it was the last day of that sale. Kev's friend, Sara, wanted to go with, and then her mom decided to tag along too. Calista stayed home with our other friend, Sarah, since Martin was working late. We had such a good time. I just love hanging out with my kids and I get along great with Sharon. Even though Sara is not unschooled, Sharon gets the unschooling philosophy so we have some great conversations. And the kids are very entertaining!! Tristan sits quietly in the background taking everything in and then when you are least expecting it, offers his two cents. The kids got lots of clothes and then we tried to go to a movie but the kids wanted to see a horror, that Sharon and I didn't care to see, and the theatre wouldn't let them in unless we were actually in the theatre with them (free country......right!) so we left and went to a Japanese restaurant. It was just a really great evening and I hope we do it again sometime soon.

Yesterday was Martin's birthday! We had a party planned for him, with about 15 people coming. We kept it a surprise until he told me the night before that he wasn't going to be home until 8:00. So I kind of had to tell him that we planned something and he very nicely explained that he didn't really want a bunch of people over for his birthday, he just isn't really a crowd person, so I ended up canceling. He felt really bad but he feels like he has momentum going with his job and doesn't want to mess with it. We have to stash before next winter hits :) He did end up getting home earlier than planned and the kids and I ordered Papa Murphy's pizza and had some cakes ready. Calista made some little decorations and put them up all over the house. My sister and niece were over to celebrate too, just right for Martin. The kids picked out the cutest cards that really reflected their personalities. Often when the kids are in negotiations with their Dad he will jokingly say, "Well, I'm the boss." Then the kids will say, "No, mom's the boss." Tristan got Martin this card that says, "On your birthday, Dad, Wear this button to show your position of authority in the family!" The button says I'M THE BOSS and then underneath it says, "But don't forget to give it back to Mom in the morning!"

Anyone that knows our family knows that no one person is "the boss" in our family, but that we all work as partners but it is a funny joke and the kids love it because Martin isn't around all that much, so most of the running of the household is in my court.

This past week was great!! There just seems to be some very positive energy circulating through our house right now and it feels good!! And it is warming up a little bit too. It looks like spring might start this weekend, as it is supposed to be melting temperatures....yay!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another essay from Kev

I'm full of pride over this last little essay that Kev wrote the other day. Not just because I am a vegetarian who believes in these same issues, but because I haven't pushed these ideas on my kids, although we do talk about them at times, and Kev has become very passionate about some of these things all on his own. I'm proud of him for speaking out about the things he believes in and not being afraid of what people say or think about the issues. So here it is, the first part is an article that he copied and then his comments at the bottom. Pardon the french, he is 14 after all and he feels VERY strongly about this....................................

all this. for food.

(copied from people who know pigs compare them to dogs because they are friendly, loyal, and intelligent. Pigs are naturally very clean and avoid, if at all possible, soiling their living areas. When given the chance to live away from factory farms, pigs will spend hours playing, lying in the sun, and exploring their surroundings with their powerful sense of smell. Considered smarter than 3-year-old human children, pigs are very clever animals.

Most people rarely have the opportunity to interact with these outgoing, sensitive animals because 97 percent of pigs in United States today are raised on factory farms. These pigs spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy warehouses, under constant stress from the intense confinement and denied everything that is natural to them.Piglets' tails are cut off and their teeth are pulled out without the use of painkillers.

As piglets, they are taken away from their mothers when they are less than 1 month old; their tails are cut off, some of their teeth are cut off, and the males have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castration), all without any pain relief. They spend their entire lives in overcrowded pens on a tiny slab of filthy concrete.

Breeding sows spend their entire miserable lives in tiny metal crates where they can't even turn around. Shortly after giving birth, they are once again forcibly impregnated. This cycle continues for years until their bodies finally give out and they are sent to be killed. When the time comes for slaughter, these smart and sensitive animals are forced onto transport trucks that travel for many miles through all weather extremes—many die of heat exhaustion in the summer and arrive frozen to the inside of the truck in the winter.

According to industry reports, more than 1 million pigs die in transport each year, and an additional 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.3, 4 Many are still fully conscious when they are immersed in scalding water for hair removal.(end of copy)

I'm sorry, but that's disgusting. As to how someone KNOWS something like this, but still eats meat is beyond me. Is this worth that double bacon cheeseburger you had for lunch? Or the bacon and sausage you had for breakfast?

I'm sorry, but human beings tend to become disgusting selfish monsters when they aren't informed. And the rest because they have too much pride. Also note, this article was ONLY ON PIGS. There's a lot more disgusting shit out there they do to cows, chickens, even HORSES. And you eat all of it. Congratulations.

Not trying to offend anyone, just being brutally honest.

Next time you decide to run through McDonalds for a quick lunch, remember this. Remember that you're the only reason places like McDonalds still exist.

If you've actually read through all of that, good for you. Either,

a) you'll totally disregard it, because OH GOD HELP YOU IF YOU CAN'T EAT THAT CHEESEBURGER!

b) you'll take this into consideration and do some good in the world.

c) you skipped to the very end of this blog because you didn't want to hear the vegetarian kid, bitch to you about killing poor helpless animals. i'm not gonna say anymore. that is all. =)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Well, we got signed up to volunteer with the Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue. They didn't have much for us to do on Saturday but this coming up Saturday they have a bunch of puppies to transport to Anchorage, where they will be adopted out at the PetCo. So we will help transport them to Anchorage and then each of us will be assigned to a puppy to take care of for the day. The kids are very excited about it and Calista asks me every day, "How many more days?"

Saturday night we went to our local coffee shop for some Irish music. We go to Vagabonds every Saturday, in the morning, but we have never went for the local music on Friday and Saturday nights. My friend, Tanya, and her family met us there and we had a good time; ate wonderful soup and pasta and listened to the music.

It is still pretty cold here. It has been around 20-25 during the day. March should be at least 40 degrees and in April 50 degrees is average. I think everyone has cabin fever REALLY bad!! We were dreaming about Palm Springs and San Antonio last night!! The kids were feeling such a strong need to get out of the house that we went for a french fry run at 10:30 last night! We are all just ready to get the rollerblades, bikes, and hiking shoes out. I'm also anxious to get the motorhome out from behind the snow berm.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cold but beautiful!

Well, this cold weather is just not giving up!! It has been hanging around 10 and the wind has kicked up again. The wind makes it pretty brutal when the air is so cold. But, again......the mountains have been SOOOOOO beautiful. I just will never lose my awe for their beauty. It is one thing I LOVE about where I live!! Here are some more pictures from a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I don't have a REALLY nice camera and I am not a photographer so my pictures don't capture them quite as grand as they look in real life. Kevin and I are taking a photography class, starting next month, so maybe I can learn to take better pictures.

I have been doing yoga, trying to go at least 3-4 times a week, have made it three times so far this week. I feel so balance and rejuvenated, it's quite addictive. I am feeling stronger and more aligned and quite Zen-like!! I have been mostly doing the Bikraam yoga, which is done in a heated room (about 90 degrees or more) so that is a big plus for me! I love the heat!! My skin has been really clear and soft too, which I think is probably from sweating out all the toxins and opening up my pores.

I have also been going back to the vegan lifestyle. I felt so good when I was eating vegan and haven't felt the same since I went back to dairy so I am trying new recipes and posting them on my vegan blog. Last night was Thai Lentil Soup and fresh rolls.......Yuuuuuuummmyy!

Calista and Tristan are both showing a strong interest in dog grooming so I have been calling around to the dog groomers in town but none of them are willing to have two kids hanging around because of the liability. So I called the Puppy Rescue to see if we can volunteer our time brushing and playing with the dogs and helping out at the adoption clinics they have every week. I hope that it will be enough to fuel their interest at this point. Our dogs have been getting extra attention in that area and Calista has transformed her room into a dog groomers business. I will also have to find some good books on grooming. The kids know how to do the basics but they want MORE.

Other than that, another pretty quiet week around here. We all have cabin fever pretty bad, especially the kids right now. Our local mall is being taken over by Target so all the stores are having big sales right now. Gottschalks will be going out of business here so everything in the store is 70% off. So we went over there yesterday, with our friends Tanya and Sarah. I got some really nice necklaces and earrings for $5 and $6 and a couple of shirts for $6 each, can't beat that. The boys bought tribal pendants (good tattoo ideas) and Calista bought a journal. After that we went bowling, which we haven't done in a while. It's nice that we FINALLY have some income coming in, it's been a few months. Martin has lots of things pending right now, has continued to pend one or two properties every week and has closings scheduled clear up to July so it looks like we are going to be fine! Phewww!! I learned some good lessons, not having money, but it does get old after a while. Definitely nice to not have to continually say no to the kids for everything!

Friday, March 09, 2007


In reference to my blog from yesterday (see below):

Rene Guenon, father of the 20th century school of perennial philosophy, said:

It [dharma] is, so to speak, the essential nature of a being, comprising the sum of its particular qualities or characteristics, and determining, by virtue of the tendencies or dispositions it implies, the manner in which this being will conduct itself, either in a general way or in relation to each particular circumstance. The same idea may be applied, not only to a single being, but also to an organized collectivity, to a species, to all the beings included in a cosmic cycle or state of existence, or even to the whole order of the Universe; it then, at one level or another, signifies conformity with the essential nature of beings,(from Guenon's "Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines").

David Frawley, an expert on Hindu philosophy and religion, comments on Dharma as follows:

A universal tradition has room for all faiths and all religious and spiritual practices regardless of the time or country of their origin. Yet it places religious and spiritual teachings in their appropriate place relative to the ultimate goal of Self-realization, to which secondary practices are subordinated. Sanatan Dharma also recognizes that the greater portion of human religious aspirations has always been unknown, undefined and outside of any institutionalized belief. Sanatan Dharma thereby gives reverence to individual spiritual experience over any formal religious doctrine. Wherever the Universal Truth is manifest; there is Sanatan Dharma—whether it is in a field of religion, art or science, or in the life of a person or community. Wherever the Universal Truth is not recognized, or is scaled down or limited to a particular group, book or person, even if done so in the name of God, there Sanatan Dharma ceases to function, whatever the activity is called.

Hmmmmmm, this is my food for thought today. I think I want to change my name to Dharma. Has a nice ring doesn't it?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My kind of coffee

My friend, Tanya, teasingly calls me Dharma, in reference to the character on the TV show Dharma and Greg. I LOVE Dharma so it is a huge compliment to me. So Martin comes home last night with this bag of coffee, Dharma Beans, "Improve your Kharma, drink the Dharma". At the bottom of the bag there is a little guy that looks a little dehydrated and pathetic and it says "No stale corporate coffee!" Not only are these beans organic but they are roasted in Ketchikan, Alaska. Too cool!! Martin says he just couldn't resist when he saw the name of the roast. I had my cuppa this morning and it was actually really good coffee.

I started doing yoga this week and it feels sooooo good! I took one class that was all about letting go of the stress and was really relaxing. Last night I took a more vigorous class with some difficult positions. I'm a little sore this morning but it is a "good" kind of sore. Tonight I'm taking Bikraam yoga which is done in a room 90 degrees, aaahhhhhhh. I'm definitely going to make this a habit, I feel so much better and centered when I'm doing yoga.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

MY dog!

Okay, is this MY dog or what? Kevin can think what he wants but this is definitely MY dog. Does anyone know a dog that gets cold and wants to nap in front of the heater? Calista has been taking this out at night, during the nighttime hustle and bustle in the kitchen, and lies down in front of it in the kitchen. Billie has decided that Calista puts the heater out just for her. Tonight she even had a blanket in front of it to lie on. I guess I never have to worry about her when we are in Texas or California in the middle of the summer! Yay for me!! And actually Dante is the same way because I constantly find him sleeping on top of the heater vent. And this is in a house with a wood stove going most of the time! I love it!
Wow, yesterday was tough. Not only were we in the middle of a nasty wind storm and temps at 10 degrees but I was doing the "dancin with the devil underground" thing again. Whew, glad today is a new day. My kids happen to be very LIVELY children and normally I celebrate and love it, but yesterday I needed a day to return to Zen mode and there was not a silent moment in the entire day! I was grumpy and not very nice.

The day started out pretty good though. Yesterday was Tanya's birthday! We went to the Sports Complex and walked the track for two miles, ahhh that felt good. I have gotten quite out of shape and it is time to get back into shape before I get too close to 40! Tonight we are going to yoga. We signed up for 10 days of yoga for $10 bucks, can't beat that. After walking yesterday we went to our favorite pit stop, Vagabond Blues, for soup and some coffee and then headed over to Bishops Attic for some second-hand shopping. Then we came back to my house to relax and have some tea. But there wasn't any relaxing happening at the Snavley house yesterday! Ah well, I'm glad that my kids REALLY LIVE LIFE!! They are a constant inspiration to me even though we aren't always on the same frequency. Part of it is that they are dying to get out and rollerblade, bike, hike, swim, all those "summer" things. And there is no spring around the corner at this point. We are having pretty cold weather for this time of year and everyone has cabin fever!

Calista has been writing songs, she just loves to sing and play her guitar. She wants lessons quite badly so we are going to look into that for this spring and summer. Kevin also wants guitar, piano, and voice lessons; I want to get back to clogging and taking some guitar lessons also...... so, the question is, where is that darn money tree growing anyway?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

This is our week in pictures. We had moose in our backyard earlier in the week, which was a treat because we haven't seen them around the neighborhood since this fall, or at least the kids and I haven't. We went up to Hatcher Pass yesterday, which is a very popular place for snowmachining, snowboarding and skiing, and sledding; we chose to do the latter. We drop the kids off way at the top and let them slide down and then we drive down to the bottom of the road and pick them up (the road switches back). I don't know how long the sledding hill actually is but it is quite a long ride for them. It is always beautiful up there, as you can see mountains for miles! It has been so clear and sunny!
I'm extremely UP right now! I usually feel like the Amy Steinberg song says, "i'm either dancin on a cloud or i'm dancing with the devil underground." Right now I'm dancin on a cloud because it looks like for sure that the kids and I are taking the motorhome down in August to do a three or four month jaunt in the motorhome. We may choose to store the motorhome in Seattle on the way up so that we can do this every fall without having to worry about the 2400 miles through Canada. The only downfall to doing that is that we won't have the motorhome in the summer to tule around Alaska.
On a down note, Martin's car is on the fritz. We will have to get that in the shop this week, which means that I will most likely be without a car. Life is full of ups and downs and you just have to go with the flow!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spring just around the corner?.....NOT!!

Oh boy, we are in for a long week! We are having 0 degree weather at the moment with high winds, supposed to be up to 85 mph gusts. It is pretty brutal out there. Our problem is that we don't have wind directional caps on either our furnace or our woodstove so......the woodstove can't be going because it blows the smoke back into the house, and the furnace blows cold air as much as it blows warm air because it can't prove itself. What a pain!! I will be layered up today and wearing my nice, warm, cozy slippers! This is supposed to last at least until next Tues., could last longer but the weather report only reports that far out.

The Iditarod starts this weekend and the kids are wanting to follow the mushers on the map, as to where they are at and when they are reporting into the different checkpoints along the trail. I am so not into the dog mushing scene but it is part of Alaskan culture. We were hoping to go up to the headquarters today and try to get a map of the trail so we can follow along. There is a museum up there too and we have never been there so I'm sure it will be interesting. I hate driving when the winds are so high though because it knocks you around a little. The joys of living in Wasilla, Alaska!!

On a VERY HAPPY note - Martin and I have decided, if finances allow this fall, that we are going to take the motorhome south again this fall. The kids and I will be on our own most of the time, with Martin flying down twice in the three months that we will be traveling. Our plan is to head to my sister, Ren's, first and attend the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference outside of Asheville and go to the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. Then we are planning on traveling down to San Antonio to visit my aunt and uncle, Martin's aunt and uncle, and possibly Martin's sister, as there is talk of their family moving to that area. Then we will head up the west coast towards home with several stops along the way. I am SO excited!! If we can manage this every fall/winter I can handle the Alaska thing for a while longer. The kids are really excited too, knowing that they are coming home, to their house and the things that are familiar, when it is done.