Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The last two weeks in pictures...........

My niece, Rylee, curled up with her dog, Roxie.

I was a little ba humbug about the holidays this year and Kev was bummed that I didn't make cookies. I came up one night and this is what I found. Kev is vegan so he had to find a recipe online for vegan cut cookies. I think they are beautiful!

Calista's birthday. She wanted ice cream sundaes instead of cake so here are the creations of her and her girlfriends. Maija is missing from the picture because she was in the car driving down from Fairbanks. She arrived a couple of hours later.

Uncle Tony was giving the girls a hard time about make-up so guess who got a make-over? He was a good sport about it and the girls had a great time. The room vibrated with the giggles.

And Maija arrives to a VERY happy Calista!! Calista and Maija, aka Betty and Veronica have been bosom buddies since the womb. Her mom and I are very dear friends and we shared our pregnancy. They have been attached at the hip ever since, at least when they are together. We try to see each other at least every other month. This last spell apart was a long one so they were pretty excited to see each other.

But OH SO SAD when they had to say good-bye. Makes you want to cry!

Our Solstice Party. Tristan is walking on FIRE!! We burned an old coffee table that was really trashed and unsalvageable and Tristan had to walk on it over the fire. Just so everyone knows - it was Martin who was outside supervising!

One of Tristan's Christmas presents. He is a big gamer and spends lots of time on the couch so this was appropriate.

Daddy's "princess".

Martin and I on Christmas Eve.

Kevin and me on Christmas Eve.

Rylee and Calista on Christmas Eve.

I love this picture. I don't know what I was telling them but look at their expressions of disgust on their faces. We were opening some Christmas gifts.

And my HIGHLIGHT of the week- visiting my new baby cousin, Porter, who is in ICU at Providence. Jason (on right) is my cousin. His wife delivered two months early, due to some health issues she has so they knew he was going to come early and were prepared and living at the hospital a week prior to delivery. They will probably be in the hospital until around Feb.10 so I will get lots of visits in before they get discharged and head back home to Fairbanks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I am currently having some computer issues; my fan went out due to the kids leaving it on the couch ALL the time to overheat. I have to order a new fan today so I can replace it. I would like to post pictures today of our marvelous week but I can't because I'm using Calista's computer. Maybe I will post pics next week.

Last Thurs. we celebrated Calista's 10th birthday! Hard to believe that I have no children in the single digits anymore. As the years go by it just speeds up faster and faster. I spent that morning looking at pictures of the day of her birth. My mom was in most of the pictures holding Calista and shshing her as she snuggled her closely. I spent the morning in tears, missing my mom horribly and smiling as I remembered her absolute resolve to be at every one of her grandchildrens births. When Rylee was born she was extremely ill but was determined to stay up through the night with Robin until that baby came. I remember so clearly watching through the window of the door, anxiously waiting Rylee's coming into this world and seeing mom fly through the door with a big grin on her face annoucing to everyone that she was finally here. You would have never guessed that she was only 7 months away from her death. Birth and death..............the cycle of life.

We had a wonderful day though! We took Calista to Chili's for her birthday dinner and gave her our gifts. Friday she celebrated her birthday with the rest of the family and her girlfriends. Uncle Tony was giving the girls a hard time about one of Calista's gifts; a little case full of make-up. So Uncle Tony got a makeover from all the girls (I will be sure to post pics later). He was a good sport and the girls had a blast.

Back up to Thursday night; when we got home from Chili's there was a package in the mail from my aunt. It was two ornaments; one with a picture of my mom and the other was the cancer ribbon. The tears came quickly! Funny how the universe just knows, all that connected energy. I think my mom was just letting me know that she was there.

Sunday night we had a Solstice Party but hardly anyone showed up. We still had a good time with a big bonfire outside, s'mores and all. Sunday we had 5 hours and 28 minutes of daylight so we are definitely celebrating the return of the sun. Fairbanks only had 3 hours and 41 minutes so I don't feel too bad. And Barrow (a village way up North at the top of the state) hasn't seen the sun since Nov. 18 and won't see it's return until Jan. 23 so try to imagine living in that kind of darkness. I would go crazy!!

We were also really excited because we have been working with the dogs on some off leash training, taking them up Matanuska Peak where they can't run off except to go up the mountain where they will dead end eventually. So Sunday night was our first night letting them outside to hang out without any restraints. They stayed right with the crowd around the bonfire and had a grand time. It's finally paying off!

And the best news of all.................................my cousin Jason just welcomed his first child into this world last night!! Welcome to this world Porter Layton Tinsley!! They are in Anchorage so we will be going into town on Christmas to see them and give them big hugs. The baby is in NICU so we may or may not be able to see him yet. Molly has some kidney issues and was a high risk pregnancy. They new she would deliver early and were actually expecting her to only make it to between 26-29 weeks gestation. She made it to 31 weeks so we are happy about that. The baby is 3 lbs. 1 oz so it's all looking pretty good. Baby cried and is breathing on his own and I guess Molly was actually able to hold him for a few minutes before he was whisked away. I'm really glad that I went into town last week and spent the day with them before all this craziness and am looking forward to meeting my new cousin! So exciting!!

Christmas morning we will be sleeping in, being lazy all day and playing our new Wii that we will be opening up on Christmas. We will probably try to make it into town to give the new parents a big hug too. We may even go see Marley and Me. Happy Holidays to everyone! However you celebrate.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Day two of 20-40 mph hour winds with gusts to 70 mph. It sounds like our house is going to fall down. I love the wind!! I know, I'm one of those strange creatures that LOVES the wind. I'm not sure what it is about it; the way it feels when it blows my hair away from my face, or the way it takes my breath away, or maybe it's the way I feel all cozy in my nice warm house while it is banging away outside. I just love it!

We lost some sleds that blew away, probably sitting in some neighbors yard. I'm sure there are a few other things missing from the yard too. The one bad thing about the wind is all the trash that gets blowing around, makes for a big clean-up day in the spring.

So here is to a beautiful, gray, windy day!! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wow, that was a long dry spell! Kelli just posted at her blog about not blogging also, writers block she said. Or is that bloggers block? She mentioned that just because her blog was quiet didn't mean her life had been quiet; ditto!

It seems like we've had a real good balance of busy/fun to quiet/chillax. We have had plenty going on but plenty of down time to wander around in our pajamas.

Kev is busy with his usual activities; swimming, youth court, teen political talk, model UN, etc. He keeps himself pretty busy and all I can say is thank goodness he is driving himself now. I thought it a privilege to take him to all his wonderful activities but driving taxi took up a tremendous amount of time so I'm thankful for the relief.

Tristan and Calista are thankful also, as they were tired of either being in the car or at home waiting for me to get home. They started a homeschool open swimming session once a week. Calista is also doing swim lessons three days a week for the next few weeks. She has decided to join swim team and the coach is encouraging her to learn the techniques of the strokes before she starts. So she is hoping to be on the team within the next couple of months after she gets the strokes down.

Kev, Calista, and I are continuing with our guitar lessons and having so much fun with it! Martin is talking about maybe taking up bass guitar and with Tristan playing drums we might just have a family band coming up:) We've been going to the weekly concerts at Make-A-Scene. Our guitar teacher and good friend, Josh Fryfogle, owns a music venue for local (and some non-local) musicians. He holds weekly concerts that are great fun.

I'm starting two new yoga classes come January; one is a teen/parent partner yoga class - encouraging trust and harmony in that particular relationship, and a kids yoga class for 8-12 year olds. I'm really looking forward to it, especially the partner class. I'm also looking forward to some advanced training workshops that are coming up after the holidays.

Our family vehicle finally bit the dust, for good, here last week. We have a Windstar that has gone through 4 transmissions in the last three years and it gave up again. We aren't going to put any more money into it so we are sharing Martin's car and the Cadillac that my grandparents gave us. Two days after Kev got his license one of his friends backed into him in another friends driveway so that has to go in the shop this next week to get fixed, which takes us down to one car. It's a little inconvenient, especially the days Martin is commuting into Anchorage, but we will manage until there is enough cash to buy a new car. Next summer we will be enjoying our bicycles more than usual.

On the plus side, our year-long remodel project in the basement is finally coming to a close and if everything goes right the kids should be in their new bedrooms before the holidays. Yay!! It's been a slow project, as Martin only has so many hours in a day, but we are at the end of it now. The kids have a pretty nice setup down there to hang out in, just keeping our eyes open for a decent priced sectional on Craigslist and it will be complete.

We've also been planning a Winter Solstice party for all of our friends. We aren't big on all the commercial holidays and Christmas seems to get worse every year, with all the consumerism, so we are making our own holiday traditions. Getting back to good old pagan traditions, the roots of which Christmas actually grew from. If most Christians new what they were celebrating they would be horrified but then again most religions wouldn't exist if people knew how to think for themselves. Anyway, we are having a party into the night with LOTS of candles and a big ole bonfire. I may even try to talk Josh into some great live music:)

Hope everyone is enjoying life as joyfully as we are!!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

There was an article posted at The Root, on MSN about what white people shouldn't do and what black people shouldn't do, now that Obama has been elected President.

Have we not learned that this just widens the divide? Can we quit separating people by the color of our skin for goodness sakes? We are all part of the HUMAN RACE................period!! What is wrong with people!!!??

And for those of you who just cannot get past the color of peoples skin, what makes the color of your skin so superior? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!! I'm now venting! If we are going to get past this racial divide in this country we are going to have to start looking at people, as people, not constantly separating people because they have more or less pigment in their skin cells!!!

I voted for Obama because I thought he was the better man for the job, I wasn't even thinking about the color of his skin. Can we please move forward?

PS- On the other hand, the open letter to Obama, written by Alice Walker, was beautiful! Worth the read.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I just have to add a short blog about how proud I am to be Kev's mom. He has been at the Begich campaign office for the last two days doing cold calls to get people out to vote and spent 7 hours today doing calls and knocking on people's doors. It is not something I would have ever done, especially not at 16. He is standing up for what he believes and staying informed about what is happening in our state and our country.

Go Vote Today!

I placed my vote today!

I'm really thankful that I have the right to do that, thanks to all those "naughty" women in history! I know some people think it's all rigged, and it could be, but as long as I have the right to voice my opinion, by voting, I will.

And may I say that I'm really proud of Martin for voting his conscience today. Neither one of us is really gung ho about either candidate; I voted for Obama because I would rather have him than McCain and I didn't want to split the vote. Martin didn't vote for either one but instead voted his conscience and told me, "I am being the change I wish to see in the world! If more people voted their conscience we wouldn't be in this mess." Amen. But ouch, since I'm always preaching, Be The Change You Wish to See in The World. Good for you Martin for taking a stand.

I'm listening to NPR right now, all the people calling in and voicing their own opinion and, no matter how we feel about the candidates, it is a blessing to be able to call a radio station and let people know how we feel. Sometimes we get so caught up in being disappointed as to where the country is headed we forget all the freedoms that we do have. I've been watching a lot of shows and reading some on some of the laws of other countries and I begin to realize how many freedoms I really do have.

Because of all the differences in opinions I have been giving a lot of thought to where those opinions come from, realizing that it is all based on our own experiences, filters, the way we view the world. I keep thinking about a quote I heard years ago; "There is no reality, only our own perception." There is always a reason that one feels the way they do about this or that. I have a LOT of my own filters, bad and good experiences, etc. based on how I was raised, my parents opinions and beliefs, societal expectations, etc. My cousin mentioned the other day that we are all actors.....................SO TRUE!! There really isn't a reality, it's just how we perceive our world and how we choose to act it out. We are just in a play:)

No matter who is chosen to be our next President I hope they can veer our country back in the right direction. I will keep voicing my opinion and writing letters to our Senators and Representatives (actually Martin does all the letter writing but I'm vowing to do more) and let them know where I stand; hopefully they will listen. So far Martin has received a reply from every letter he has written and they have voted the way he wanted ,so some politicians do listen to the people if there are enough people that are willing to stand up and have a voice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I did it! My first ever winter hiking/camping trip. My cousin, Jason, and I hiked into a undeveloped hot springs (can't remember the name of it at the moment). It was a 3 hour drive to the trail head and a 7 mile hike in. It was totally exhausting but completely worth it! We hiked in on Friday (the dogs hauled our gear in on a sled), set up camp, soaked in the hot springs, and slept in a tent at 0 degrees or colder! Woke up Saturday morning, had breakfast, soaked again, talked and napped all afternoon long, and slept another night in the tent. Woke up Sunday and cleaned up camp, hiked back out and drove back into town. It was a fabulous weekend!

I've met my cousin lots of times at the coffee shop for a visit and have visited him at his house and him at mine but we haven't done anything just fun together since we were in high school. It was great to just be with him and get lots of visits in! I learned a lot about camping, especially in winter. This is piddly stuff to him since he has done hundreds of these trips in his lifetime, ones extremely more difficult and longer. One of the last ones he did was for 100 days! He is a true outdoors man!

Here are some pictures. I would have taken more, especially of the hot springs but 0 degrees and lots of steam really isn't conducive to pictures, on top of the fact that you don't soak with clothes on. At 0 degrees you don't want to be messing with trying to take off wet clothes and then trying to get them dry, not to mention that there isn't another person around for miles.

Hiking in. Got the camera out to snap a few pics but that didn't last long at 0 degrees.

Pretty pooped out and we still have 3 miles to go!

Finally make it to the campsite and the dogs are just as tired, or more tired, than I am.

Setting up camp, just made it by dark.

Home safe and sound.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World

There has been a lot swirling in my mind lately but something that has taken up a lot of space is how my lifestyle and the things I purchase and eat effect the world, or at least effect my conscience.

Most of you know that Kev is vegan and a big animal rights activist so I hear information all the time about how our choices effect other beings. For some reason this last couple weeks it is weighing on my mind quite heavily. I choose to be vegetarian, partly for the HORRID way that animals are treated, partly for the effect that raising that many animals has on the earth (environmentally), and partly for the fact that it just grosses me out to eat dead animals, especially when we have so many other food choices.

The thing that has been weighing on me though is that even though I don't eat meat I eat cheese and some other dairy products, I have a down jacket, and ewwwwww, even leather furniture. All those choices add up to the same horrible treatment of animals that eating meat does. I just want to become more aware of EVERY choice I make, the products I buy, etc. We quit feeding the dogs IAMS because of their reputation for inhumane treatment of animals, yet I'm wearing a down jacket; just doesn't add up for me. I'm warm, I'll give you that, but at what cost?

Just to clarify, I don't judge others for eating meat but do you know where your meat comes from and how it is processed? I believe that most people would be vegetarian if they were forced to watch their food be processed. I understand that people have been eating animals from the beginning of time but I also believe that every being has a right to live a life free from pain and suffering until they die. I understand that nature can be cruel but to purposely treat another living being so horribly just because they are animals? Do you really believe that they don't feel pain? Do you honestly believe they don't have a right to live a good life just because we are more powerful than they? And it's funny that most people would find it disgusting to kill their pet rabbit or dog, for that matter, to eat but what is the difference? That you have a more emotional connection to them? Maybe spend some time researching where your food comes from and how it is processed and see if it changes how you feel about your food.

Getting back to the vegetarian thing; dairy farms treat their animals just as cruely as the slaughterhouses, so every time I take a bite of ice cream, eat cheese, etc. I am supporting the industry that treats these animals so horribly. I can choose to buy organic/free range- that would help. I could also buy from local farms that farm humanely. I just want to be more conscious of the choices I am making.

Sometimes it seems that the choices I make, as an individual, don't really make that big of a difference and it probably doesn't but I keep coming back to my favorite quote, "BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD." Ghandi I want to make my corner of the world as joyful and peaceful as possible. It might not make any difference at all but I do it because, as my sister once said, "It's the right thing to do, damnit."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Well, we are on to the next phase..................

Kev got his license yesterday morning! It's a strange feeling to have a child driving himself around. I'm not prone to worrying but I have to say that it has crept into my being. The roads aren't slick yet but when they are it's going to be tough to not worry all the time. I guess that is what we are supposed to do eh?

He is a good driver and I'm really proud of him. I'm mostly proud of the man he is becoming.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Life is just grand, most of the time!

Well, another fabulous weekend. I know everyone is probably going to get sick of me singing the "life is grand" song but it honestly is just good!

Friday night we went into Anchorage and had dinner with my bosom buddy, Sheli, who rode a bus down from Fairbanks with 45 or so swim kids. Her daughter is on the West Valley High School swim team (the school I graduated from) and they were down for a meet on Saturday. It's always good to see her!! Calista was a little, no a lot, disappointed that Maija couldn't come with. Calista and Maija have been BFF's since birth and Sheli was just a stark reminder of how much she missed Maija. So we had to listen to her ALL weekend long, scheming how she was going to get up to Fairbanks and visit Maija:) We are going to try really hard to get up there in the next two weeks.

Saturday Kev had the swim meet in Anchorage so after my yoga class we went and watched that. He didn't do all that great ,so he was a little bummed, but they've been pushing the swimmers pretty hard in practice this last week and I think they were all a little broken. This week they are supposed to get a bit of a rest. After the meet we came back to Wasilla and did some chores and then went up for our weekly hang-out at Pandemonium, the coffee shop that I work at. They have music every Saturday night so we go hang out and heckle the musicians (mostly Chris Alvarado) and hang out.

Sunday I had an Acroyoga Workshop. I was very hesitant to go since I don't really care for all these things that people create, based on yoga. It seems like hype, marketing, whatever you want to call it, to me. But I went anyway and surprisingly I had a wonderful time!! It was pretty cool! This couple has taken their love of acrobats, yoga, and thai massage and melted them together. It was so much fun and such a good exercise in trust. There is a "base" who basically flies you like an airplane, they way we did it with our children when they were small. It's a little more technical than that but not much, and instead of just flying you do yoga stuff and then when you come off you get thai massage. If you are interested watch acrolicious, pretty incredible. I've also posted pictures of our group (I'm the one in the pink tank-top and black pants).
After the workshop I met one of my sisters friends, from Pensacola, at Pandemonium for lunch. Bonnie lives in Pensacola where my sister, Ren, and her family lived for eight years. She was up visiting another friend who used to live in Pensacola. She knew Ren's family lived here so she got our info and called. It was fun to get to know someone that I've heard my sister talk about so much but have never met.

This week is going to be a busy week, as I'm filling in for some shifts at Pandemonium; one 2:15-10:15, which is going to be hard on Calista, and one evening shift. The great thing about being a fill-in is that I can always say "no". I won't do the day thing too often, this week being an exception. My yoga classes are picking up also. The studio opened in April and we never did any marketing, just word of mouth, so we have just been chugging along, not knowing whether we were going to be able to keep all of our classes. We did an open house last weekend and, during the month of September, did a 7 days for $7 special. It just took off! I've had 15 people in my Saturday class the last two weeks and my weekday classes have had 4-5 people. Before the open house I had a month of no-shows to my weekday classes so that is exciting. I may not have to cancel them after all.

Hope everyone has an AWESOME week! I know I'm going to, starting with guitar lessons tonight:)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wonderful week, as usual! Lately it seems as life just couldn't get any better!

It's nice to be home again. I forgot how wonderful my life was at home! I'm a little spoiled, I have to say, and I can thank my husband for giving it all to me. He has been so willing to work hard and ensure that I can be home with the kids. I know it isn't always easy and I know it's hard to watch us having all the fun. And kudos to all you working moms out there. I honestly don't know how you do it!! I certainly wasn't able to find the balance. Well, maybe I take that back because I have been filling in for sick people and doing some training with the new people in the evening hours but it isn't anything like working full-time. I don't think it can even be considered part-time at, hmmm, let's see, this week was a total of 9 hours and most of that time the kids were hanging out at the coffee shop with me.

Kev has been participating in a teen political talk, at the coffee shop, every Tues. night. He has been very impressed with how informed these kids are and how respectful they are of each others' opinions. We live in a very conservative area with some pretty conservative, fundamental Christian views so his views aren't always welcomed with open arms but he says it's been very nice. He has done it for two weeks now and plans on continuing.

We've all been continuing with our guitar lessons. My left hand fingers are totally numb at the tips but it's all good:) I'm really enjoying it!! Calista gets a little frustrated at times but our teacher is SOOOO encouraging with her and that helps. Josh is an incredible human being, in my book, and plays into her dreams and aspirations as if they are very real. She always leaves with a big smile on her face!! It helps that he home educates his children and is very relaxed, seems like an unschooler.

Winter is quickly approaching! The snow is coming down the mountain and is going to be on our doorstep soon. We went out, this last weekend, and started gathering up winter gear. We still have a few things to get but we are mostly ready for the cold weather. The kids are excited that I'm all geared up because, pathetically, I've never had really warm gear. I've lived in Alaska all my life and really never got out and enjoyed it. We are trying to arrange for a trip, with my cousin Jason, up to a hot springs in which you have to hike 7 miles to get to it. He brings his yurt on a sled. I guess it is best to do it right after the first snowfall, when there is enough snow to pull the sled but not so much that it makes for difficult hiking. I hope we can arrange to go because I've been dreaming about it for a few years now and want to make it happen. His wife is pregnant now though so we will see how it goes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Subway Commercial

This is the new Subway commercial.................verbatim!

A young girl, 13/14ish is narrating:

"Everything is decided for me- when to get up, what to wear, what to read, and, of course, when to go to bed. But, at Subway I have the power to choose and I EAT IT UP!"

Sadly, this is the reality for most kids. And we wonder why teenagers rebel. I can't imagine how I would feel if my husband tried to make those same decisions for me. Why is it that we think kids feel so much different than ourselves and why, even more, do we feel that kids aren't capable of making their own decisions? Especially when it comes to their own bodily functions! I hear so many parents state that if they allowed their teens to make their own decisions that they won't make good ones. The problem is that these same kids have never been allowed to make their own decisions so they have no self-control or self-discipline to pull from when they are allowed to make their own decisions.

My kids have been allowed to make their own decisions about their lives. The only decisions that they don't have a lot of control over is things like going places when they can't drive, etc. On those things, we decide together so that everyone is happy, at least mostly happy. We try to come to a middle ground on all things. I don't deal with teenage rebellion, thank goodness! True democracy exists in our household and it works pretty darn good.

I'm thankful that, through a series of life experiences, I begin to examine how I was doing things, how it was when I was a child; how I felt when I had decisions made for me and was treated unfairly, and how I wanted them to be different for my family. And, starting with my sister, Ren, thank you to all you wonderful people (mostly unschoolers) who challenged me to think outside the box. Because of you, and my willingness to listen, I enjoy a joyful family life and I REALLY, REALLY enjoy my teens!!!

I'm sorry to everyone out there dealing with "teenage rebellion". Maybe you should back up and start living in their shoes for a day and see how it feels. Remember how you felt when you were a teen and all your life decisions were made for you, down to sitting in that prison we call school when you had to ask to even go to the bathroom, when you were told when to eat, how to learn, when to learn, what to learn, and all those other decisions that the adults in your life made for you. Think how different things could have been for you had the adults in your life trusted you and allowed you control of your life. Just imagine!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Fabulous Week!!

It's been a little bit of a crazy week!

We started out the week celebrating Kev's 16th birthday! I feel so blessed to have this child in my life. It's just crazy how fast time just flies by. We were reminiscing about the day of his birth, gets me a little emotional:) He's this incredible human being that I thank God for every day. He has brought balance into this family. Martin and I are both fairly high-energy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type people and Kev is this very methodical, deep thinking, chillax-type person who has to bring us back down to earth on a regular basis. I've learned so much from him. He is also a very passionate individual with a very clear idea of who he is and what he is here for. He is very up on politics and is passionate about the rights of animals, veganism, photography, history, writing, and music. There are a few other things too:) It's hard to keep up with him sometimes. Happy Birthday Kevin!!! We love you!!

For the last two months I have been working at our favorite coffee shop, Pandemonium, owned by some friends of ours. Martin was in between jobs and we were 7 weeks without any income and I really needed to fill in the gap, at least to cover groceries. I had SO much fun working there that I thought I would just keep working, even after regular paychecks starting coming in. I was mostly working in the early morning hours and getting off by 11:00 but the last two weeks I have been putting in 32 hours each week. Calista has been having an increasingly difficult time having me gone and something just snapped last week and I gave my notice. I made a committment to my children the day they were born and they will always come first. The house was also falling apart around me and I just can't function in chaos. The kids weren't getting regular meals because they tend to get a little lazy about eating when I'm not around and it generally just wasn't working out too well. I will miss working at Pandemonium but not as much as I miss being with my kids 24/7. I have two more days, just working a few hours each day and then I am back home full time.

Kev, Calista, and I also started taking guitar lessons from my friend, Josh Fryfogle. If you ever want to listen to his music he is on my friends list on Myspace:) Calista and I bought new guitars last week with our Permanent Funds, the money that the state of Alaska gives every resident each year. So I've been practicing like crazy and can't wait until I can actually play something. I know that I have to be patient, which I'm not so much by nature, lol. We learned a couple of cords this last week so at least it sounds like something:)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Kev, Sarah, and Kevin (K Sam) Dec. 2005

Kev, Sarah, and K Sam Nov. 2006

K Sam, Sarah, and Kev August 2008


I am just completely overwhelmed with gratitude this week! I just have this amazing life that I am so thankful for.

Working at the coffee shop has been just the medicine for me. It gets me out of the house, socializing with people, serving people, and just being in an amazingly positive atmosphere. I love it! I work early, get home just as the kids are getting going for the day, and they don't even notice that I've been gone. It's just been so fun!

I've really been so aware at the things that people sometimes complain about that others would be so thankful for. I wake up every morning feeling safe and loved, I get into my car and have this AMAZING view of the mountains surrounding me, and I have everything I need + a whole lot more. I have these three incredible kids that just make my world go 'round. I am just SO grateful!! Funny thing is that, as far as challenging times, this has been one of the most challenging in our entire married life. We have had a rough year financially and things have not been easy but it isn't even worth comparing to all the wonderful things that surround me!

Something I've noticed this week, that makes me really sad, is this attitude in people now that the kids are back at school. I can't tell you how many people have come into the coffee shop celebrating the fact that their children are back in school. It makes me so sad that more people don't enjoy their kids. I would be so sad if my kids were going back to school. I honestly enjoy being around my kids and we have a grand time together! I don't ever feel that I wish I had my days without them, quite the opposite really. I have moments when I need alone time and that is when I retreat into my bedroom and have my alone time but I can't imagine them being gone all day long. They are often wrapped up in their own projects and games, so it's not like we are constantly interacting, but just having them near me is grand!

"Sometimes we must pause, in our pursuit of happiness, and just be happy."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vegan Blog

So for anyone interested: I've decided to start blogging at my other blog, about being a vegetarian and my effort to adopt a more vegan lifestyle. I haven't blogged over there at all since last fall so I'm blogging once again. If you would like to stop by I would love to have you for company:) http://veganforamonth-snavleys.blogspot.com

Monday, August 04, 2008

Unschooler Blog Carnival; What does an "average" day look like for you?

Hiking the Butte, what we lovingly call the Butt.

After a looonnnngggg night of questing.

Typical Alaskan sunset. We do live in a beautiful place!!

Calista and Maija experimenting with different smoothie recipes.

Teens rocking out with Rock Band!

Tristan's building project.

What does an "average" day look like for us? That is a good question because I don't think we necessarily have an "average" day but..........................

We definitely try to leave ourselves open from day-to-day. None of my kids, with the exception of Kevin, really like to have "scheduled" activities; meaning they don't like piano lessons, organized sports, etc. My kids really just like to ride with the flow of the day. Kevin is VERY community minded and likes to be involved in community activities. He is involved with AYEA (Alaska Youth for Environmental Action), Youth Court, volunteering at the recycle center, etc. He loves to take music lessons, photography class and other scheduled things.

Tristan is the outdoorsy type so he often wakes up in the morning and heads outside and we might not see him until dinner time. He will build things, rollerblade, dig holes, and anything else you can think of. Sometimes I will take off with him on the rollerblades and we will be gone for an hour or so. He likes to do anything that involves working with his hands and likes to tinker. He is starting to take the roof off the barn, as we are going to turn it into my "yoga retreat". For several weeks he spent many hours in the afternoon doing research, online, about parrots, which led to the adoption of a Caique that we have all fell in love with. Lately he has been doing a lot of online games through X-Box live and sleeping all day.

Calista is kind of in between those two. She likes to have weekly schedule events and talks about joining basketball but likes to be outdoors with Tristan too. She tends to need lots of down time, just reading quietly, watching her favorite TV shows and cuddling with mom. She loves to have friends over too! Probably 4 out of 7 days we pick Rylee up in the afternoon and she will be here until 7 or 8 and often spends the night, or Calista will end up at her house for the night.

I'm not really sure how to answer what a typical day looks like for us. I usually get up a few hours before anyone else and answer my e-mails, drink my coffee, and just putz around. Calista is usually the first one up after me and often gets right on her computer to check up on all the games she plays and send e-mails to Maija. She has recently become interested in writing paper letters to Maija and sending them snail mail. We often will go take hikes, walk the dogs, go to the coffee shop or other such things. In the afternoon the crafts will come out, the books, questions come up and we look things up on the computer. As the boys get older things change but Calista and Tristan used to spend hours playing "bank", "store" or other dramatic play. Now it seems the bird comes out to be played with and conversations ensue in the afternoon. The afternoon seems to be more reflective than the rest of the day and our conversations end up on the computer looking up fun facts. Much of our conversations lately have been based around the Presidential Campaign and environmental issues.

We have a very lively household and usually by 4 or 5pm friends start stopping by and often I end up making dinner for a few extras. The kids will come in and start chopping and helping with dinner and usually the "extra" kids will hang out until late in the night. A couple times this summer Randall has brought out the fire poi and given us a show or we build a bonfire and just hang out. On the nights that friends aren't over we always spend a couple hours, right before bed, watching TV as a family. Our favorite shows right now are The Supper Club; a show where several guests have conversation about environmental issues and there is always a cook on the show to cook a "green" meal, Greenburg; a show about a town that got knocked out by a tornadoe and they built it back up "green", Miami Ink; self-explanatory, LA Ink; self-explanatory, Criss Angel Mindfreak; illusionist, Locked Up Abroad;about stories of real people that comitted a crime overseas and got put in jail abroad. We record lots of shows and the fun thing about it is that one of the kids will see something that is really interesting or intriguing and they will record it so we can all watch it together.

We are a very spontaneous family, because we can be with our schedules so free. The kids will find out about a book they want to read and we will just head over to the book store. Or they get an itch to go bowling or something of the sort and we will drop everything and go. Sometimes we just spend the entire day in our pajamas watching movies and we've been know to spend hours at the coffee shop too.

It really depends on weather, work, etc. as to how each day goes. Up until very recently I didn't work at all but now I'm teaching yoga and working very part-time at a coffee shop, which makes us less spontaneous than we have been in the past but we still have enough freedom to come and go as we please and we are still able to put everything down and move onto something else as things come up.

Post note: I wrote this blog yesterday so I could come back today and maybe add a few things. This morning they gave me a permanent work schedule that has me working every day from 6:30am-11:00am, maybe just until 10:00 am in a couple of months. So our typical day is changing quickly. No more slow mornings, sipping coffee and putzing around for me:) Although, I work in a coffee shop, that isn't too busy the first hour, so I get to sit around and sip coffee anyway! Martin works from home now so he takes me to work in his gas efficient car:) and stays at the coffee shop for a couple of hours working on his computer. I'm really enjoying having the extra money without the kids really noticing that I've been gone. When I move to 10:00 am they literally won't notice that I've been gone because they usually wake up between 9 and 10.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Unschooled V. Schooled Comments

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of your wonderful comments on Kev's blog about his experience with public school, after being unschooled his entire life.

He is completely BLOWN AWAY by all the positive comments, as he thought that the essay was more for me than anyone else. He had no idea that many people were going to be reading it. He is a little embarassed because he just typed it out real quick and never even read through it a second time, so there was absolutely no editing and not a lot of thought put into it.

He is working on a more in-depth essay that is well written and edited, starting from the process that he went through, to decide whether to go to school or not, to his current feelings and what he has decided to do this next year.

Stay tuned:)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yoga Girls Camping Trip

Had a blast with the yoga girls, this last two days, camping! My first camping trip of the summer because of the stinky weather. We decided to do it rain or shine; we had shine the first day, rain the second but still had a blast.

Sat around by the fire the first day, shooting the breeze (literally) and playing that crazy "bang,bang" game. One of those games that you have to "figure out" as those that already have it figured out play. It was driving me insane! BUT I did figure it out!! One of those great games to play with a big group of people so you can drive them insane trying to figure it out:) When the sun was setting it was sending a reflection on the lake that was stunning and the clouds were following the silouhette of the trees. We took a bunch of pictures of us doing yoga in front of the lake.

On Sunday we spent the first part of the day doing palm reading from a book that Joanne got. I find it all very fascinating and, for the most part, right on. I loved that the book she had was able to separate the "superstitious" part of palm reading from that which is actually real - well, I suppose that is all open for interpretation like everything else.

Sunday night we sat around by the fire, drinking wine and playing truth (haven't played that since what? 16 years old, lol). For some reason the wine didn't sit well with me and I ended up very sick last night and wasn't a whole lot of fun. We went skinny dipping in Nancy Lake (again, haven't done that since, hmmmm, 6 years old?). So refreshing and liberating!

Packed up this morning and headed home. Fun, fun, fun! It was a great weekend!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back to Work

Well, I just took my first "real" job in 16 years.

I started teaching yoga last fall, and I guess that classifies as a job but for me it is more about sharing yoga with others and it is really only a handful of hours during the week. I guess it was a good transition though. What started out as half a joke, kinda, turned into a job.

It's been a rough year financially, with real estate being pretty flat and we have struggled through it like troopers. Martin took another job, that will start on Aug.3, a good job that allows us to breath and not have to worry about money anymore. The problem is that he will probably only be getting paid once a month, which means that technically we are about 7 weeks without any income. So I thought that maybe I should take a job part-time, to at least give us groceries every week. Some good friends of ours just opened an uber cool coffee shop in town, called Pandemonium. In passing, a couple weeks ago ,I told them that I might be looking for a job and then was in the other night when one of their employees had asked for the night off; he turned to me and asked me if I would like to work and I said, "sure!".

I had a hard time sleeping that night thinking, "what in the hell did I just get myself into", but it is all good. I will mostly be working early morning or late night shifts so my kids shouldn't notice too much that I'm working. I worked a 71/2 hr shift last night, since they are opened until 11:00. It is really fun and doesn't really seem like work. I was pulling shots all night, talking with people, listening to live music, I mean how much better can a job get? And the great thing about it is when money starts rolling in from Martin's job I am going to have a wallet full of cash from my job that allows the kids and I to just play with! And shop with:) And maybe put away some for retirement, haha.

The great thing about last night also was that all my good friends, my husband and kids all hang out there for a few hours, listening to the live music. It's not like I could sit and visit or anything but just having them there was awesome!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kev's Blog

So, everyone seems to enjoy Kev's writing as much as I do so I thought I would post a link to his blog. He was laughing because he really didn't think the following essay was that great; he said he didn't edit or spend much time on it, but it did a good job of expressing his feelings about his experience. Warning to meat eaters: He is a STRONG advocate for animals! Just so you know ahead of time:) He does post some great stuff though so enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unschool v. School

I've been asking Kev, for a few weeks now, if he would write a blog about his experience with school, after being unschooled his entire life. This last year was his first year in the public school system, as a freshman in highschool. So the following is his perspective on the matter. I regret that he felt that I talked about public school as a "bad thing" because I really didn't mean to portray it as "bad". I often countered (or defended) my stance to unschool and often mentioned some of the negatives about public school and he took that as my thinking it was ALL bad. But, in the end he made his own decision anyway, which is exactly how we expect him to live. We honor and support our children and know that they are capable human beings and can make their own decisions.


Education From the Free Eye
Written by Kevin Snavley

All my life I have unschooled. The only thing that could be remotely considered school that I attended was pre-school, and of course, that was all fun and games. That was just life, how things were. I always wondered in the back of my head what it was like to be there, in a school building all day. How horrible it was to sit there for hours on end being lectured by crazy teachers and doing hours of homework. And then somewhere in between most of my friends going to school and me wondering, I got caught up in "catching up" to everyone else. For a while, around age 12, I always wanted to be on-track with the kids at school. It was probably because I felt stupid or less intelligent than them, which really wasn't the case. They just knew more meaningless facts than I did. It took me until last year to finally realize that, and to truly understand the reasons and joys of unschooling. Why it really is so much better than public school.

For as long as I can remember I have had friends that have gone to public school. Always. I've never actually had true unschooling friends aside from my cousins. So in a way, I sort of grew up with slightly hybrid thinking. One defending or longing to be in public school, and one completely against it all with pro-unschooling opinions. My parents always told us why public school is bad, but of course as a kid I'm not really going to understand. I never had the experience to. So I just kind of accepted that it was a bad place that I shouldn't be until I was about 14. Because I didn't go to school I always thought I had horrible writing abilities, and a bus load of other things. I finally made the decision to go to my freshman year of high school so I could figure it all out. Why is public school widely considered better? Why do my parents and unschooling parents everywhere preach it's a bad place to be? Why is unschooling so much better? I got all of my answers.

I would be lying if I said I went 100% percent for personal reasons. I had one friend in particular who was pro-school completely and thought I was wasting my life. In a way, I wanted to prove to her that I could do it, and if/if not it was better than unschooling. I guess up until I started writing this I had forgotten about that completely. I kind of kept the fact that this whole thing was an experiment in the back of my mind. I mean, it did feel nice to be "normal". But is it best? For the sake of writing this I'm going to skip through the school year and spare you the details of explaining the entire 9 months. School was exactly as I expected. Well, the whole face of it was anyway. It wasn't as close to as horrible as my parents said it was. The days went by pretty fast, it wasn't horribly boring, and I got to see my friends. The one thing I noticed the first day though, was how little "socialization" time there is. That's one thing all the kids say, "I get to hang out with my friends!". Definitely not the kind of "hanging out" I was used to. At that point it seemed like a stupid reason to want to be there.

After being there a few weeks, I started to realize the being I truly am. I wasn't stupid, not even close. If anyone was stupid it was the other 90% of the kids that were there. Everyone raved about my writing, my honors English teacher included. I did good in all my classes despite NEVER having a formal lesson in anything. That's when I realized that me, an unschooler, never been "taught" anything that these kids have, is doing better at the game than they are. Pretty ironic, no? Some of my favorite classes were Honors English 1, Japanese 1, and Jazz Choir. Those were the best.

Something I really began to hate about the school days was waking up at 6:30 am, staying there for six hours, then swimming for another 2, before going home to do meaningless homework. The first semester I got pretty lazy, and ended with a 3.3 GPA. Still, better than most kids, but not my best. Second semester I ended with a 3.8. I couldn't stand the fact that I was surrounded by unmotivated, stupid (not the academic way, the general manner they acted) people. Another trend I noticed was "can't". EVERYBODY used that one. The whole 9 months all in all were good for me. Negatives and positives. I learned that what I was doing before was BETTER than what kids at school get, I learned that what my parents told me wasn't completely heresy, I experienced something that I had never done before, the mystery was gone, and best of all, I can now defend the unschooling philosophy without any doubt in my mind and be credible at the same time. I also understood why public school kids act like they do. It's called loss of motivation.

I quickly realized that if I had to endure that shit for 9 years, I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. Friends have told me "you would have been a complete honors student!". I say no, I would've have been a lazy ass bum that wanted nothing more than a couch in life. (Which, I might add I learned a lot from TV. But you get my point. ;P) The thing that made me responsible, smart, and motivated was my unschooling life. And as stupid, annoying, unmotivated, whatever most of the public school kids are, you really can't blame them. While the other public school kids that can relate to me somewhat complain about them as well; they don't understand either. You never really can unless you have lived a free life. (Something else that I realized were the people that I was already friends with, were some of the most intelligent people in the building. How's that for coincidental?) Some personalities are different and can endure 12 years of school plus college, most cannot. Between teachers telling them they're not good enough, and wasting years of their life on something that doesn't really matter, they get fried. Most of the time it goes unnoticed too, you just kind of evaporate. I started to feel the same thing happening to me just in those nine months. Every thought you have, dream you want to fulfill, inspiration that strikes you, it all goes on the back burner, and eventually you just forget how to live any other way altogether.

Would I recommend sending a kid to school? Absolutely not. It's much too easy to lose your way. One thing I would advise though is to find unschooling friends. Would I recommend any other unschoolers go to school? If it's going to do them good like me, sure. If they want to see what it's like, sure. Otherwise, it's going to be a shit hole. Plain and simple. It would be beneficial for everyone to see what it's like, but not everyone can go through it with the same view point. So like everything else in our lives, it's up to us to make that decision. But now here I am, the year I thought would never end completed, and I have to decide what I want to do for the remaining 3. Over the last few days I've really been reflecting about what I truly want. Is it to finish high school, deal with everything I don't like, and benefit from the things I do? Or stop and go straight to college, and focus on what I want with life? That's something I'll be thinking about for a while.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wow, I just don't seem to be inspired to blog for the last six months or so. It seems like I just blogged and I look to see that it is always 2-3 weeks or more in between blogs.

Everyone seems to have adjusted to Socky being gone. It seemed very ghostly downstairs for the first week. He used to pop off the couch and meow at anyone that came downstairs and now when you go downstairs there is just a hush.

Our weather continues to be cloudy and gray. We had a few days around 70 degrees but that is it! It's tough when you wait all winter for this beautiful summer and then you don't get one. It still feels like spring around here. We've hardly done any hiking although, it's not because the weather, because this is great hiking weather (besides the mosquitoes coming out when it is cool). We are talking about maybe hiking up a few miles up Pioneer Peak today with the dogs.

So, I am on day four without coffee. I've done this before for up to a week and just couldn't stand it because I really enjoy the ritual of coffee drinking. I've decided that I have a "jacked up" personality without coffee and I'm just getting tired of the constant ups and downs throughout the day. I feel "jacked up" all the time and just felt the need to be a little more even keeled. I do feel a lot better, a lot more centered and mellow. I'm trying to replace my coffee ritual with a tea ritual and so far I feel fine without the coffee. I had a terrific headache up until yesterday but today I am headache free. It actually really scares me when I experience a headache like I did on Tuesday because you realize how addicted you are to it and how toxic it really is.

So, not a whole lot of excitement around the Snavley house. We had a 4th of July party and bonfire. Debbie bought a bunch of fireworks that we lit off - fun, fun! It's always fun to hang out with friends and the teens always come to hang out too. They like hanging out because we are "chillax", according to them. One thing that was really enjoyable for me this summer was when Randall, a friend of Kev's, came over and gave us a fire poi show. I didn't know anyone here did that. I just happened to have a pair, that I got as a gift a few months ago, and gave them to him so at least someone is using them. I don't know when I would ever use them! The following is the video of him doing fire poi. It would have been really fun if it was dark. We don't get dark here in the summer though so it definitely puts a crimp on things like fireworks too. This video was taken around 11:30 pm, just to give you an idea of Alaskan summers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer, you call this summer!!???

I'm really, truly trying to stay positive here but apparently, in Wasilla, summer has decided to not make her appearance. I'm not entirely sure what we did to her to deserve this kind of treatment but we haven't had but maybe three days over 60 degrees. It's the end of June for goodness sakes!!! I've never, in my 36 years of living, experienced a summer like this. I was so cold at music in the park tonight that I had to come home so I could take a hot shower. Aaarrrrgghhhh!! I know, I know, at least we aren't having any tornadoes or floods but there are lots of places in the US not experiencing tornadoes or floods but at least they aren't shivering their arses off!!

Breathe......................breathe........................inhale, exhale...............................OMMMMMM. I will survive but I'm sure going to be complaining when winter decides to hit us. I think I will go stay in my aunt's guest house, in San Antonio, from August until November when my grandma gets there and kicks us out. At least I will feel like I got a summer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Exhausting Weekend

Well, we had quite the weekend!

Grandma Sally came down to Anchorage to have her Pacemaker replaced so we spent three days in Anchorage with her, keeping her company. On Thursday Martin and I went in, after all of her pre-op paperwork, and took her shopping. She wanted to go to the furniture stores so that's what we did. It's always fun to have a look around! We went to dinner and then got her back to the Hickel House, where she was staying, on the hospital grounds.

On Friday Robin, the kids, and I went in again and was with her at the hospital while she came out of recovery. The awful thing was that they left her in the recovery area ALL DAY LONG!! There really wasn't enough room to sit and visit so we mostly sat and waited, going back to the room every so often to make sure she was doing okay. They didn't get her a room until 6:00PM!! What a drag! The kids were getting pretty cranky by the time we headed back home for the night.

Friday morning, before we left for Anchorage, Kev had brought the cat up to me, concerned that something was wrong with him. He set him down and Socky wouldn't walk. I was afraid that maybe he had a stroke. I went to pick him up and I could feel every bone in his body. Something was seriously wrong. I told him to lay him down in my room and if he was still looking bad when we got home that we would take him in. When we got home at 8:30 he hadn't moved an inch. He was in the exact same position as when we had left at 7:00 am. We rushed him to the Animal Hospital where they confirmed our worst fear- renal failure. They could have done diuresis but in the shape he was in he probably wouldn't have pulled out and even if he did it would have just bought him a little more time and hundreds of dollars in cost. The vet said that either way he would die, there is no cure. So we had to make the awful decision to put him down. I called Martin to bring Tristan and Calista down since Kev was the only one with me. It was absolutely heart breaking to see my 15 year old sobbing so hard that Socky was literally soaked by the time we even sedated him. And then to have the other two come in, uugghh! They all snuggled around him as the doctor sedated him and then gave him the injection. We got home at 11:00 and, of course, no one was going to sleep. We all snuggled in my bed until there were no more tears to cry.

We paid the extra money to have him privately cremated and they will give us a little print of his paw. Each of the kids will have a little urn of their own with a copy of his paw print. It may seem ridiculous to those of you who don't own pets but it's HUGE for the kids. We have had that cat for 13 years and they really just become part of you. It's a tough, tough deal, losing a pet.

Then on Saturday I had to teach a class, which I didn't think I would get through but it was actually a great distraction and I felt much better after class. After class Robin, Martin and I went back into Anchorage and sat with Grandma until she was discharged. We got her back to the Hickel House and then came home. Some friends picked her up on Sunday and brought her to the airport. It's the first time she has had to do something like that alone, since Grandpa has Parkinson's and is to the point that he can't manage. Auntie Karen stayed in Fairbanks a little longer (she is visiting from San Antonio) so Grandpa would have some care. Grandma is definitely moving into another phase of her life but she has a great attitude. People can't believe she is almost 82 years old because she acts and gets around more like a 40 year old! She is a really amazing human being!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I stole this from Heather's blog. I like this one:

Accent: People say that some of the words I say make it sound like I'm from North Dakota, I guess that is because my grandparents are from there.

Breakfast or No Breakfast: Breakfast. Piece of toast and coffee, every day.

Chore I Don’t Care For: Laundry. Just not my favorite thing. Sometimes I will leave a load that I ran in the washer for days and I will have to wash it over a couple of times to get the smell out.

Dog or Cat: Dogs. For sure. I have a cat but I'm not especially fond of him. I have three dogs that I adore!

Essential Electronics: I really love my computer. Don't know how I got along without it:)

Favorite Perfume: None. I really try to live a toxic-free life. I use Scent of Samadhi, a powdered incense, when I want to smell good.

Gold or Silver: Silver.

Handbag I Carry Most Often: Changes with my mood.

Insomnia: Almost never. I'm at peace with myself and my life and don't stress about things unless I can change them. If I can change them I take care of them before I try and sleep:)

Job Title: Domestic engineer and yoga instructor. Wouldn't change a thing!

Kids: Kevin 15 years old and male, Tristan 12 years old and male, Calista 9 years old and female.

Living Arrangements: Happily married for 17 years, living in a house, on one acre, with my three lovely children, three lively dogs, 1 stuck up cat, 2 cuddly hamsters, 1 talking parrot and 1 fish.

Most Admirable Trait: Very giving and making people feel at ease by my talkative/outgoing personality.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: We will not talk about that. As a young child was not "naughty" (I hate that word by the way) and we won't talk about the teen years.

Overnight Hospital Stays: Tonsillectomy and first two births. The third birth I smartened up and gave birth at a Birth Center.

Phobias: Rodents, yes that includes hamsters. I observe a lot but don't get too close.

Quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Getting ready to have that tattooed by my butterfly.

Reason to Smile: This could be a whole 'nother blog. Mostly my kids, husband, sisters, friends, the sun that is shining today, the liveliness of my house.................................

Siblings: 5 - four sisters and one brother.

Time I Wake Up: 7:30 - 9 a.m.

Unusual Talent or Skill: Unusual? Hmmm, don't know.

Vegetable I Refuse To Eat: Beets. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I am not a picky eater by any means. I eat foods that some people would not even try. But I cannot eat beets. I will gag every time.

Worst Habit: Chewing on the sides of my cheeks. I know, weird.

X-Rays: More than is healthy I'm sure.

Yummy Stuff: Oh..........coffee, Thai food, chocolate truffles

Zoo Animal I Like Most: monkeys

Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Summer List

So last night we went into Anchorage for our nephews birthday and on the way in Tristan and Calista were fighting like cats and dogs. I was about ready to lose my mind! On the way back home they started in again so I distracted them with "What kind of things do you want to do this summer?" It worked fabulously and we came up with a GREAT list! Of course most of this is pending finances:) As always! So here is our list:

* White water rafting in Denali and the kids want to either take a tour bus up or the train. They are feeling envious of all the things the tourists get to do that we never do:)

* Tristan wants to float down a river either in a kayak or canoe and camp out "in the middle of nowhere", it doesn't count if it's a "touristy" thing. He would like to do a 2-3 day trip.

* I want to make wine. We have a place here to do it and you get 25 bottles for every batch. We are going to get together with a bunch of friends to do a few batches so that we all get 5-10 bottles of different kinds. So be expecting wine for Christmas this year!

* We want to hike, of course! But we want to do several new hikes that we have never done before. We live in hiking central and there are hundreds of hikes that we have never done. One that Martin and I would like to tackle is Pioneer Peak but we aren't sure if Martin's hip can handle it so we might have to wait post-hip replacement. It's a 12 mile hike and fairly challenging so it is going to take some training up and down Lazy Mountain and maybe Mat-Su Peak.

* The kids and I decided we are going to go into Anchorage one night and feed all the homeless people we see. We are going to buy like 25 sandwiches at Subway, granola bars and oranges and pass them out. Tristan suggested it might be a nice gesture to pass out blankets. Him and Kev's friend, Kevin Sampley, slept outside the other night (I know, I have crazy kids!) and he said, "Mom, it's cold! I feel really sorry for the homeless people now". So that turned into, well, maybe we should start getting people to donate their old backpacks and stuff them with blankets, food, and some other treats and pass those around. Could be a fun endeavor!

* Martin and I want to get down to Homer for a motorhome camping trip. With the cost of gas we won't be doing much of that but Homer is only 3-4 hours away and a very fun place to go. And they have a beach!! A real beach, not just an Alaskan rocky beach!

So these are our goals this summer. Along with MANY trips to the lake. We have DOZENS of lakes EVERYWHERE here in the valley. You can't drive one mile without passing a lake, literally! So we usually hang out at one of them most of the summer. Both my sister and us have lake accesses in our neighborhoods too and we are on opposite sides of the same lake. We are going to cross the lake to my sister's house a few times this summer just for kicks.

And of course, I need to get up to Fairbanks at least once to see Grandma and Grandpa, Dan and Brenda, and my cousins. And SHELI, of course!!! We haven't been able to go much since returning from the motorhome trip so I'm long overdue.

Happy Summer everybody!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here are the recent "going ons" in our life lately......

Tristan has been talking for some time about really wanting to get a macaw and has done a bit of research and saved quite a bit of money for the endeavor. He (or should I say we) signed up to be a foster family for the rescued birds from the Alaska Bird Club. We got a call a couple weeks ago that a bird needed fostered and, of course, we jumped on the opportunity. They brought the bird to us last Wed. He is a beautiful green, orange, and yellow Caique and if we want to keep him he is up for adoption. He talks all the time, whistles, and laughs. We haven't figured out everything that he says because it is a little robotic sounding, kind of like trying to figure out someone's strong accent. Some of the things that we can hear are "pretty boy", "pretty bird", "I'm a good boy", "what are you doing?", and "hello". I'm sure eventually we will figure out the rest, along with the new things that he is learning in our house. Any time the dogs get too close he will kind of peck their nose and then burst out in laughter; it is quite entertaining. Martin and I have decided that we will go ahead and adopt him, being that it is only $50 and he comes with a $500 cage!

As usual, we had a bunch of friends over on Saturday night for a good time. It seems lately that almost every weekend we all get together somewhere; either here, my sisters, Debs, or somewhere else. It's one of the things I love about my life here- all the wonderful people that surround me.

Mother's Day was fairly uneventful, as we aren't too fond of all these stupid commercial holidays. I tease that Mother's Day is for mothers who aren't appreciated every day of the year, as I am! My kids do special things for me all the time, love to hang out with me, and tell me how wonderful I am so I don't really need Mother's Day. I do enjoy spending time with family though and we went over to Martin's parents for lunch with Martha, Tony and the kids and another couple that are friends with his parents. Martin worked most of the day but sold a nice priced house so that was nice. Lord knows we need it right now!

We've been enjoying some warmer weather, although the last two days have been a little chilly. It's always nice to drive without slick roads, to see the green on the trees, and to spend time outside. The kids are looking forward to some lake weather so hopefully it will warm up a little more soon.

Our basement project is coming along. One more wall to put up (the boys closets) and then we will be sheetrocking. Martin is going to come home this afternoon and spend some time down there getting it done. Tristan is ready to move into his new room and Calista is REALLY ready to have a room, as she has been sleeping in the loft. I'm looking forward to not having to step on Barbie's and clothes on the way into my own room, lol. When it is done I will also have a yoga room so am looking forward to that!

I am also no longer teaching at Blue Mountains Wellness Studio. Things got a little weird there before I left and I am sad that I don't have the best feelings towards the situation but it is time to move on to better things. I will be teaching at the new Studio, The Anjali Yoga Room, starting June 2. I'm going to be teaching two Astanga/Vinyasa style classes. The nice thing about it is that there we are sub-contractors so it is our own business. I get to work on building my own classes and making my own money, rather than make an hourly rate. The name of my business is Dharma Yoga- surprise, surprise! For any of you that don't know, there are several meanings to the word Dharma in the yoga world but some of the meanings are "truth", "virtues" , "righteousness", "to fasten, to support, to hold" (my favorite), and "something established or firm". It also refers to the teachings of Buddha, which any person of any religion has to agree that his teachings are beneficial to the human race. Good energy to all those definitions so I think it is a good name for a yoga business. I'm still teaching my classes over at the SportsCenter too. All my classes are on Mon. and Wed. night so I will have lots of free time to play with the kids this summer!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Daily Affirmation

It's been a rough week and it's so easy for me to spiral down to a very low place. I got my affirmation cards out last night and here is my affirmation for the day, written by Louise Hay:

Every thought I think is creating my future.

The Universe totally supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I have unlimited choices about what I think. I choose balance, harmony, and peace, and I express it in my life.

Monday, April 28, 2008

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing "yes" in the sky.

Monique Duval

Friday, April 25, 2008

For the last several months I've developed a passionate interest in dreams and the meaning of my own dreams. Realizing that the meanings and symbolisms of dreams are going to vary greatly from person to person so you can't really go by all those dream dictionaries and such. I've been journaling my own dreams so that I can begin to connect patterns and meanings.

So last night I had this dream that a tattoo artist tattooed an armadillo over the sun on my forearm. He tried to convince me that the armadillo represented the sun so it was all the same. I remember the feeling that I had in my dream - a deep sadness that my sun was gone because I LOVE my sun and moon tattoo's, and that I was stuck with this greenish/bluish armadillo for the rest of my life! I found it interesting that I dreamt about an armadillo since I have only seen a couple in my entire life, and as of the last two years I haven't thought about them, I haven't seen a picture of one, nothing about an armadillo has entered my life.

So I looked up the symbolism of an armadillo today since "when we come across certain animals in our lives it can be an indication that they are put in our path to give us messages from Spirit about what it is that we need to focus on in our personal healing at that moment in time." (taken from one such website). So here is what they say about an armadillo:

ARMADILLO - putting up boundaries. We learn from the armadillo - which, by rolling into a ball, can be completely armored against attack - how to consciously define our own emotional and physical boundaries. Carrying our protection with us and using it when it is necessary for our well being.

I won't get into detail but there have definitely been some things in my life where I definitely need to put up that shield of protection. Very interesting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This will brighten up anyone's day!! Incredible!

korean baby singing hey jude

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Well, I decided to scratch the Meme because I can't think of anything wild and crazy about me. I know some of you are thinking, "what? Everything about Heidi is wild and crazy!" I know, I know, but most people that read my blog don't think those things are so different from their own lives because I have a bunch of wild and crazy friends, lol. I asked Kev's friends what they thought was wild and crazy and they all came up with things such as our unschooling lifestyle, our relaxed parenting style, my funky fashion style (I don't think it is that funky), I didn't look like a mom (translation: you are really cool! :) ), and some of the guys thought I was hot (didn't really think that was appropriate to blog about). So anyway, I guess I will just have to start blogging more regularly for those of you that love to hear what is going on with our family.

So today the thing that is on my mind.......................... I have had several things happen in the last several weeks that has taught me to 1) not make assumptions about ANYTHING 2) Don't judge a person by what someone elses experiences with that person are. There are always two sides to every story, always someone's perception on the situation or the person. 3) Stop talking about people and talk about dreams and ideas. I was reminded again that there is NO REALITY, only one's own perception. I want to remember this as I continue to go through life and just simply LOVE!!! To let go, accept, tolerate (people, not necessarily behavior, as there is a difference), learn how to separate the person from their behavior, to truly understand our connection with one another.

So that said, in the last couple of months some of the things that have been going on in our family life: Martin turned 39. Tristan made an absolutely BEAUTIFUL cake for him while we were at yoga. He is becoming quite the baker. He figured out that if he pours hot fudge over the cake that it is impossible to eat only one piece! So we now eat chocolate cake with hot fudge, forget the frosting:) And Martin has one more year to enjoy in his 30's.

I gave my notice with the Blue Mountains yoga studio. I really want to have a less chaotic summer so I can focus on my kids and there were things happening that caused me to want to leave before I began to feel too much resentment. I still have two classes at the new SportsCenter and it looks like I may pick up two more classes at a new studio that just opened. I meet with the owner today to discuss details. We (yoga teachers) have had the privilege of meeting a Swami that works in an Indian restaurant here in town. He has offered to teach us meditation and we will meet with him for the first time tonight. I am very excited, especially since I have asked the Universe to bring me a teacher. Not sure if he is the one but I am excited to meet with him.

Kev got to go to the Jazzfest in Fairbanks, with the highschool Jazz choir. He had a BLAST and said that home seemed boring after that. He is really enjoying the choir and Japanese at the school. He has competed in two different Japanese speech contests and had a great time. He has decided that he is going to do correspondence next year and just take the choir and Japanese at the school. He still is able to swim on the swim team at the school also, so all the things that he likes best about school. The great thing is that he gets an allotment with the correspondence that will pay for him to take college classes that will apply to both his highschool and college transcripts. Basically, he could have his first semester of college done by the time he reaches his senior year. He is pretty sure that he is going to take English at the college and possibly his geometry class there, as it is going to be a little harder for me to help him in that arena.

Tristan has decided that he is going to get a macaw. He has saved $700 for the endeavor so far and is pretty determined. He has spent a lot of time researching and even learned that non-stick cooking pans cannot be used in a house with a macaw, as it is extremely toxic to them. Wow, wonder what it does to a human. It is fun watching him fix his attention on a goal and go for it. He is a good saver and we have even talked about handing the bills over to him because we would probably have a lot more money if we did. I may start working on showing him how to do everything over the next year and then possibly giving him a small salary for taking care of our finances. Now that is something school doesn't teach them!! I love unschooling!!

Calista used some of her money to buy two hamsters last month. I swear were starting a farm here! She has been taking full care of them so I'm okay with it. As long as I don't have to touch them! I'm not a big fan of rodents, although they are fun to watch. They are a little humanish. She also bought herself a computer, with her Alaska Permanent Fund money, and is learning how to navigate around the internet. She also ended up buying herself a camera so she has her own little setup. It has definitely helped with fights over computers so I'm happy about that. She likes to play Club Penguin, Toon Town, Ty Girlz, and Simms, especially when Rylee, Haley, Jalen or Sierra are on there at the same time as her.

I know I've blogged about Christa before but she is my adopted daughter. We were introduced to Christa back in September through friends of Kev's. She has slowly made her way into our hearts and home. She has been in and out of the house all winter and is now living with us full time. She will be living with my sister, Robin, this summer to be her nanny. She comes from a split home, lots of alcohol problems and mom is completely emotionally detached. I think it is a bit of a challenge for Kev but it seems to be working out okay. Rylee adores her and I'm sure it will be a great summer for her not to have to wake up so early to come to my house in the morning.
Oh, and my sister, Robin, had a big bonfire this last weekend that was loads of fun. Robin invites her friends and people that she works for and then those people invite friends and we invite our friends. It is an eclectic group of people and it just works. We all stayed until midnight and it was full moon, just beautiful!! I'm lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life!!! The picture above is some of us at the bonfire. I'm in the middle, top row, in the tan sweater and my sister is the one directly in front of me, as if you couldn't have guessed. My best friends Debbie and Tanya are to the right and left of me and the others are my sisters friends and friends of theirs.

Well, this has gotten a little more lengthy than I had intended. That is the gist of what is going on at the Snavley household. We are definitely enjoying our warmer spring weather!!