Tuesday, January 30, 2007


We heard in church, at the beginning of our winter season, about how winter puts a blanket of snow on the ground and the earth goes into a state of rest. Our pastor mentioned how God gave us this gift of winter for us to rest too. It is so true, especially in Alaska where, as my sister puts it, darkness and cold rule the winter, that winter does cause us to slow down and rest. Here in Alaska things just sllllooowwwww down in the winter and the minute spring hits there is an immediate buzz of activity. Our family has certainly slowed WAY down this winter, especially after the extreme hustle and bustle of a six-month long RV trip around the country and then coming back to Alaska and house hunting, moving in, unpacking, getting rid of stuff, doing some home improvement/addition projects and then.................WINTER. I have actually enjoyed just being home with my kids, doing art projects, and generally just resting!

Rest is something our society really struggles with and I am glad that my kids are learning from an early age that rest is a good thing. The last couple of weeks our pastor has talked about how important it is to rest one day a week, or even for a few hours a week if that is all we can muster, if we expect to respond to things with grace. He mentioned how he feels that a lot of the irritation in people these days is a direct result of lack of rest in our society. People just don't know how to or give themselves permission to just slow down. I love this because I really don't think we can be good parents, good spouses or just generally nice people if we don't rest. Martin and I have started making a habit on Sunday to do nothing! Just relax and rest. Of course the definition for rest is different for everyone. We picked Sunday because that is the only day of the week that Martin doesn't work, we go to church that day and it is the one day that no one has anything on the calendar. It has been such a treat to give ourselves permission to do absolutely nothing on that day.

So, this thought process all started for me because I took the dogs out this morning and our snow is melting at a rapid rate. We have had 35-40 degrees all week long with a mild wind blowing fairly consistently, which makes the snow evaporate faster. It made me feel like taking a jog or something (which I may just do here in a little bit). It is just funny how that warmer weather, the smells, something about it that makes us snap out of that state of "rest". This is supposed to last for at least another week for us so we aren't going to have any snow left. It is supposed to rain tomorrow so that will definitely get rid of it but make the roads treacherous, especially for all those commuters going into Anchorage.

My kids will probably be a little sad after working so hard and long on those snow forts in our yard. We haven't seen this much snow since we lived in Wasilla so the kids were actually really enjoying it. But you don't hear me complaining because I LOVE the warmer weather. It is funny how 40 degrees can feel like 70 after 0-20 degrees.

Off the subject.................I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about how I ripped out a bit of the wood from our sauna (it's getting changed into a bathroom) and went to my father-in-laws shop to plane the boards down and cut them to make gates. We have been putting chairs up in different areas of the house that we want to keep the dogs out of. They are still at that age where they get into things a bit so we like to contain them in the main living area so that we can see them at all times. So I finished one gate this week, Martin helped me put them together and Merle helped me a little with knowing how to cut them, but I like to think that this was my project. It turned out rather nice, a little country looking and my house isn't country at all, but I like it. It looks so much better than a chair sitting on its side!

My next project is going to be a puppet theatre for Calista, who has been spending the entire week making puppets and giving us puppet shows. Each puppet has a "personality" and she is more than happy to tell you about them - the "mom and dad" have lots of money but they give all their extra to the poor and needy. They only give their kids what they actually "need". LOL!! I wonder if this is coming from the fact that money is a little tight in our household right now and this need to be frugal is a fairly new experience for my kids. It has been good for our family and I think it has been character building in several ways. It has been a little scary at times but we have yet to run out of food, we still have clothes on our backs, we still have a roof over our heads, and we are both driving cars so we are good!! And...........we have each other!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


These two have wiggled their way into our hearts!!

My weirdness???

I've been tagged by Kelli. I'm supposed to include in a blog 6 weird things about me.

Here are the details: Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you're tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means. So here goes.

1. I'm a vegetarian (is that weird?). I don't think so but some do :)

2. I refuse to drink my morning cup of coffee until my teeth have been thoroughly scrubbed.

3.I'm ALWAYS cold! I keep my house at 75 and my bedroom at 80 and I still get chilled!..................and I live in Alaska!!

4. If I get stressed I start painting walls in my house, that is my therapy.

5. I roll my eyes a lot when I talk to people.

6. According to Sara Hajduk it is REALLY weird that I smother everything in honey-mustard sauce. Ren says that this should be #1 on the list, especially when I start dipping bean burritos in it!

There. :)

I'm tagging:

Heather B.

Heather H.





Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dogs, painting, and snow forts

It's been a really fun couple of days.

To start off with Sarah and Tanya came over yesterday and hung out with us because Tanya had the day off. We went for a long walk, had hot tea and did a painting. I brought out a blank canvas and everyone painted one thing on it. The pictures above are of the process and the finished product, in exactly the opposite order that I meant them to be but oh well. It was fun and produced a great memory! I love hanging out with the Smathers!!! It is so good to have a great friend that I can just hang with and she accepts me for who I am, my little strange hippie self, and vice versa.

Sarah loves animals and she brought over a dog book, turned to a page and said, "Heidi, I don't think Billie is a heeler, I think she is a Catahoula Leopard Dog." Funny thing is that we have been commenting lately about how Billie doesn't really look like a heeler, except for her coloring, and she doesn't act anything like a heeler. Our dog trainer has made several comments about her looking like a leopard dog but I passed it off because the puppy rescue 'said'. So anyway, I looked at the pictures and read the description and, ya, she is DEFINITELY a Catahoula Leopard Dog!! I did some more research this morning and definitely no doubt about it! Something else we have made a lot of comments on is how she would make a great rescue dog because she is awesome with sniffing things out and very aware of her surroundings, kind of a sixth sense that is greater than most dogs I have seen. They apparently use these leopard dogs for search and rescue quite a bit because they are so easy to train. We were very excited to learn this new information and I would like to work towards training her for search and rescue, going to do some more research on that :)

We are continuing to get a TON of snow, seems like it just won't stop. Plow trucks cannot keep up and our road is more like one lane now. If they don't actually remove it we are going to have issues soon. This morning Tristan wanted to go out and work on a snow fort that he started yesterday so we all went out to dig. It felt good to use my body and wear myself out. He has a pretty cool snow fort started. We came in for a rest, lunch and some warm tea and then we are going back out to dig some more. I have a feeling that it is going to be hard for me to roll out of bed tomorrow:)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Transcending Culture

The following is Scott Noelle's Daily Groove for today. I just love this because I try very hard to not let societal expectations dictate my thinking or behavior. It is a tough ambition for sure!! So much of what we label 'good' or 'bad' is nothing more than culture, and nothing to do with what is actually good or bad. I believe there really is no reality, only one's own perception of things.


:: Transcending Culture ::

Imagine you're visiting a strange culture where people's perceptions are quite different from what you're used to.They're offended when you shake their hands, and they're honored when you spit on their feet. They believe that a broken mirror brings good luck, and they compete over who gets the privilege of cleaning the toilets.

After a while, you cease making any assumptions about the goodness or badness, rightness or wrongness of*anything*.

Now you see a little girl start to hit her mother. You await the mother's reaction... Will she be offended?Will she be delighted? Will she be indifferent?In that moment, you yourself have not assigned anymeaning to the hitting. It just *is*.

Congratulations! You've transcended culture and connected with Reality. As you observe your child's behavior today, pretend you're a stranger in a strange land who doesn't know what s/he is supposed to think about each behavior.Then *choose* an interpretation based on how good you feel when you think that thought.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's been pretty quiet this last month or so. We have been hanging out at home for most of the last few weeks. The weather has actually been quite a bit warmer, hanging right around 30 degrees. It continues to snow off and on, which I am sure is nice for all those Alaskans that enjoy snowmachining. Personally, we are dreaming of warmer weather without snow.

Kevin's computer quit on him a few weeks ago so we have had to share my computer. Then Tristan got into playing World of Warcraft and last week got the expansion pack. He wants to be on the computer all the time, especially since his cousins, Sierra and Jared are usually on there playing too. We have had to work out a computer schedule so everyone gets their time. It has been a little challenging but the kids worked through it and its turning out okay. I don't get much time on it but oh well, kind of comes with the territory sometimes.

I've been wanting to get some gates, for different areas of the house that we want to keep the dogs out of. My friend, Connie, made some for her house that look really nice so I decided that maybe I would call around to some of the construction companies and see if I could scrounge up some scrap wood. The other day when I was downstairs doing laundry it dawned on me that the sauna wood would work great. We had already decided to rip the sauna out so that we could have a bathroom downstairs so what great timing! So this week I ripped some of the boards out and went over to my father-in-laws shop and planed the boards down, cut, and sanded them. Now they are just ready to put together and voila, I have my gates. I have found something that I really enjoy doing too; something about being in the shop and working with the wood, listening to the hum of the machinery. I just really enjoyed it and look forward to some more projects. I have a lot more wood to use up too!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ice Age

That is what it feels like anyway! Yesterday's official temperature was -31 degrees. We broke a record! We have been indoors for an entire week and the dogs are getting more restless than the kids. Today the temp.'s are climbing back up and are supposed to be back up to 15-20 by tomorrow night. We have never seen it this cold in the almost five years that we have lived here and everyone else, that has lived here longer than us, says the same thing. The record for today hasn't been broken since 1955 so I imagine the record for yesterday was pretty old too. I want to get out and take some pictures today because the snow is still stuck on the trees. This area is so windy that the snow rarely sticks on the trees for very long. The wind is supposed to start up tonight so I better get out there and do that today.

Kevin has been busy doing Youth Court cases every week, he seems to really enjoy it. He starts up choir rehearsals again, starting tonight, with concerts both this Sunday and next Sunday. In February the choir goes on a tour through SE Alaska. Tristan has been busy playing Fantasy Star Universe, a new game he got with some of his Christmas money. He found Sierra on WOW last night so I imagine he will be playing that quite a bit over the next couple of days. Him and Calista have been most effected by the cold weather because they like to get outside. I took them to the lake the night before last and they made it an entire 10 minutes, it was even too cold for the two of them!!

Calista has taken a liking to prom dresses and has found thousands on e-bay. She bought one for her Halloween costume and wears it quite a bit around the house. The other night she found a beautiful white one, that almost looks like a wedding dress. She bought it with some of her Christmas money and is now asking me several times a day when it will be here. I think we are going to have a little "bride" around the house for the next few months.

We are working on our little projects around the house. We finished the main part of Kevin's room and got it painted. We still need to get the floor in and the trim up. He is sleeping in his room now so I'm sure it is nice for him to be off the couch and at least have his privacy. The next project is moving the laundry area to the area by Kevin's room and then turning the existing laundry room into a full bathroom. Most everything is in place so the only thing we have to purchase is a lavatory and a bathtub; the plumbing is all there. The main problem is finding the time because most of Martin's work hours are in the evening. Money of course is a little bit of an issue too since Martin hasn't had a paycheck since November; a little scary to be on this comission thing. He has one that is supposed to close next week, cross our fingers. December was pretty dead, with the holidays and everything, but they are starting to pick up quite a bit and he has quite a few things in the process.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cold Week

Been a pretty quiet week around here. Temperatures have dropped below zero!! I know, you are secretly thinking, "Why would anyone live in Alaska?" This week has been the coldest or at least one of the coldest times we have seen since we moved to this area. Along with the really cold weather we have also gotten a TREMENDOUS amount of snow. It seems we are shoveling every day. This is definitely the most snowfall we have seen since living in Wasilla. We will have a wet, muddy breakup for sure.

Calista is back in the kitchen today, experimenting away. She made a snickerdoodle, cookie-like batter and put it in the bottom of a bread pan. I said, "This is very interesting." She replied with, "That is what I am all about, being INTERESTING!"

I have been putzing around getting rid of a ton of stuff. We are going to have a great garage sale this summer! I'm determined to get the house the way the motorhome was, with just what we need, no more- no less. I'm starting to feel centered again, just getting the clutter out of my life. I think it would do me some good to learn a little about feng shui.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Holidays

We had a very quiet, simple holiday season this year...........just the way I like it! We woke up Christmas morning and the kids opened their stockings and the few gifts that they got. In the afternoon we went to Martin's parents house for dinner. Uncle Tony took Martin and the kids out snowmachining for a while, which was a treat since we don't own snowmachines.

New Years was just as simple. Our friends Allen, Tanya and their daughter, Sarah came over to ring in the New Year with us. We ate, played a game and watched the ball drop. Kev had his friends Kevin and Sara over and they were on a mission to do an all-nighter. Kev passed out in the early morning so I fed Kevin and Sara crepes around 10:00 and then they quickly passed out.

Tristan, Calista, Rylee, and myself went to Fairbanks last week for a few days. My cousin, Jason had bought a compost toilet off of Craiglist and since it was in Palmer I picked it up for him and took it up to Fairbanks. We stayed with our good friends, the Hajdukovich's, more like part of our extended family. Thursday we spent the afternoon with Jason and his new wife, Molly. It is always such a treat for me to hang out with him at his house. He lives more the lifestyle that I dream of living; simple with just the things he needs and just the amount of space he needs. It just seems when I leave there I feel centered, the way I felt when we were living in the motorhome. It was good to meet Molly and to see Jason so happy, not that he isn't all the time but he just had an extra "sparkle". Friday night Sheli made one of her BIG meals and Jimmy, Michelle and their kids and Kelly and her husband and kids came over. Always fun to hang out with that very large Hajduk family! We found out on our way back home that Jonna came down with the chicken pox so we could have a fun week next week if our kids catch them! I guess I would rather them have chicken pox now than when they are older. Kevin had a light case when he was young (we think) so he may be safe.

While we were at Jason and Molly's, Sara took Tristan out for a little dog mushing. Sara has been taking care of some husky dogs for a friend and in exchange she gets to mush them. Tristan had a good time and it was something different for him that he had never experienced before. Friday the kids spent the day jump roping and sledding while Sheli and I spent almost the entire day watching back-to-back episodes of Law and Order. We had to crawl out every so often to turn the jump rope or put some food out but it felt so good to just veg. I desperately needed my Sheli fix, especially since we haven't seen them for over a year!! That was a record for sure. We usually get to hang out with them every couple of months. We did get to see Maija when she flew down several weeks ago but she came alone so it was good to see the rest of the gang.