Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I'm participating! Anyone want to join?

Dec.1 Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?

I got to meet both my sisters and their kids in Portland and have an amazing 12 days hanging out, going to the beach, shopping at Saturday's Market, visiting with my Grandma and Aunt and Uncle on the farm, and attending the Life is Good Conference. It had been four years since we had all been together (Robin and I live in the same town so we see each other often) so it was a very special time. Here are just a few pics:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fall Happenings

I haven't been blogging much lately because I'm always on Facebook! So I will do some catch-up, if I can even remember all that we've been doing:)

September and October are always busy months for us, with highschool swim season in full swing. All of our meets are out of town; Soldotna, Homer, Kenai, Valdez, etc. We only had two home meets this year and two meets in Anchorage, all the rest were out of town. It gets a little crazy to say the least, as we try to attend all that we can. I missed a few this year, as I was in Fairbanks helping my most AWESOME friend, Sheli, transition from the hospital to home after spending a week in Seattle getting a cancerous tumor removed from her kidney. It was a beautiful nine days!! I got to snuggle lots and spend lots of wonderful one-on-one time with her incredible kids!! It was hard to say good-bye when it was time to come home. I miss living in the same town as Sheli when I could pop in whenever I wanted to!

Kev had a pretty average swim season, as he was fighting illness AGAIN!! Every swim season he has been sick almost for the entire two months, either with something like mono or just a constant cold/flu. We see a naturopathic doctor and she has really been trying to encourage Kevin to move just a little away from the vegan diet. Not only is he growing rapidly but he is an athlete, which makes it very hard to get everything you need in your diet. The men that do it are very scientific about it and keep careful track of what they put in their mouths. Kev has a very healthful diet but I don't think he is getting enough of what he needs to grow and be an athlete at the same time. He is slowly opening up to change. BUT, the last few weeks we have been pumping him up with protein shakes, Cultured Veggie's and such. He had the most AWESOME meet ever last weekend so it is making a huge difference! Now that he sees it he is ready to add SOME things that aren't vegan, like egg whites, to his diet so he is getting a bit more protein.

He bested his time on his 100 Fly at 1:00.55, missing his chance for state by .57 of a second. He was a little bummed but fired up to train hard and be at the top of the pack next year. The boys Medley Relay, that Kev swims the Fly for made it to state and got 1st in their region. He also bested his time for 100 back and is really close to a state time in that as well so next year should be awesome!! He will be swimming for club throughout the winter and next summer so he will get lots of training in.

Calista started swimming club two weeks ago and is really enjoying it. She is a hard worker and coach has been pretty impressed with her excitement and hard work. He called her a "beast"! Tristan has decided to try out as well, hopefully by the end of the week. Their coach is also the coach for the highschool so he's pretty tied up with the state meet coming up so it might be next week. Tristan is thinking that he wants to swim for the highschool next year as well, unfortunately, they only allow you to swim as a homeschooler if you are through the correspondence program or Twindley Bridge Charter school. I don't know if he is willing to go through that many loopholes to swim for the school, since it will mean doing curriculum, etc. If he decides that is what he wants to do I will support him 100%, just as I have with Kev.

We also said good-bye to Jared last month, after having him for five months. It was sad and hard to let him go but I think he was getting a bit homesick. We had so much fun with him and I hope he has LOTS of great memories to hold on to. I would take him every summer if I could:)

We still don't have any snow! Tristan is really wanting to get out and snowboard so he is not too happy. He said, the other day, "This winter sucks!", as if winter was almost over:) We have had lots of high winds over the last week or so but no snow. Weather is calling for sun the rest of the week so it might be a while before we see the white stuff. Our temps are hanging out right between 25-30 and I'm not complaining. It's going to make for a short winter.

Friday, September 25, 2009


This is my child who didn't learn how to read until he was 11 1/2 years old. There were a few people that were ultra-concerned. I wasn't concerned at all. I read to him lots, he was exposed to many different, wonderful experiences, he looked at books, and he went about living his life. I knew he would learn to read on his own time and in his own way and I was grateful that we didn't have him in public school where he would be put in special classes and ostracized by his peers. He wasn't stupid, far from it! Phonics was always a mystery to him; the rules always changed and that frustrated him to no end! That's just not the way he learned. And he certainly didn't learn by sitting at a desk. I don't think I've ever read him a book and had him sit still. When he was quite young he would be doing flips off the couch, cartwheels around the living room, or flipping something around in his hand and I would ask, "Tristan are you listening? Or do you want me to stop reading?" He would usually say, "I'm listening! ______ and _______ just happened." I was always amazed that he was hearing anything I said.
So you want to know how he learned how to read? Video games! Hours and hours of video games. I would sit for hours and hours with him, reading the captions at the bottom of the screen. And when I got tired of sitting and reading to him, Martin and Kevin would take their turns. No one got mad at him and told him that he should really learn how to read, they just patiently read to him knowing too that he would learn on his own time and in his own way.
Then one day, it seemed he just woke up and he knew how to read. He reads books now that are considered at "his level", whatever that means. You could have him read you a book and then have another 14 year old read that same book, that maybe learned how to read at 6 years of age, and you would never know which one learned how to read at 6 and which one learned how to read at 11 1/2.
NOW you will most likely find him as you do in the above pictures, with his nose in a book. I often think how much he would like to read if someone had tried to force him to read before he was ready. I know my husband was a late reader too, and in public school by the way, and he really wasn't much of a reader until his adult life. Thankfully, I had his mom to reassure me that Tristan would read on his own time, just as Martin had. Not that I needed that reassurance but it's nice.
Tristan bought the Eragon Trilogy with his OWN money and hasn't stopped reading since. I believe he just finished the second book.
TRUST! If we could only trust our children and not treat them like they are vessels that need filling. All they need is for us to be there, available to find them the resources and materials when they get a spark of interest in something and honoring them enough to know that they will learn what they need, when they need it, in their own way and in their own time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pictures from the last several weeks

The last few weeks have been filled mostly with fun and a little bit of sadness. A few weeks ago the owner of the studio that I teach at, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within two weeks of the diagnosis she was in surgery to have a lumpectomy. They were able to get everything and luckily there was no lymph involvement. She will start radiation next week and hopefully she will never have to face this again. She is seeing a naturopath here in town for immune support as well. I'm very lucky to have this amazing woman in my life; she has had a cheerful attitude through it all with a few "F**k's" here and there, as she puts it, and chooses to live in the moment through it all.
A week after she was diagnosed one of the most important people in my life, my VERY VERY dear friend, Sheli, called to say that she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Okay, now I'm saying F***!! At this point there is a 10% chance that it may not be cancer so we are holding out hope for that. She goes into surgery next Wed. to have part of the kidney removed. When she gets home the week following I'm going to head up to Fairbanks to help take care of her and her family, as she will be unable to drive, lift, etc. WE LOVE YOU SHELI!!! Again, so blessed to have these INCREDIBLE women in my life; she is cheering everyone else up that is feeling sad for her, lol. She refuses to listen to the "Oh, poor Sheli" scenario, which makes it easier for all of us.
And now for the fun that has been happening in our life:) The following tells it all:

We celebrated Jared's 16th birthday. Jared is my nephew who has been staying with us, from Tennessee, since May and we have him until Oct.22! It's been a fun summer and such a great chance to really get to know him. I hope he comes back next summer:)

We took the dogs up to Hatchers Pass to let them run. You can see how much room they have:) And yes, we really do live in this BEAUTIFUL state!

Don't they just look so happy!?

Then on to Homer for Kev's swim meet. We stopped here to see if we could see the Beluga's breeching. Unfortunately, we have not seen them this year- such a bummer! It's still beautiful isn't it? It surrounds us!!

Yes, I do believe someone lives in this houseboat. Very eccentric, I would like to knock on the door and visit:)

And yes, there are beaches in Alaska!! Actually lots of them! I know, not the warm, lay-in-the-sun type of beaches but fun to play on anyway. Homer is one of my favorite places in Alaska.

It was just beautiful while we were there. Don't I look happy too?

Jared says, "I love hanging my head out the window. It's SO refreshing!" Especially when it's fresh ocean air!

We found a driftwood playground!

The boys were having WAY too much fun with this bull kelp!

Always fun things to find on the beach. I think she had just found some crabs here.

Oh, I almost forgot, we were here for Kev's swim meet:) Na, I didn't forget, we were just enjoying the beach in between events. The boys won their Medley Relay, so fun to watch. Kev's butterfly has improved SO much since last year- fun to see!

And finally, we celebrated Kev's 17th birthday! 17!! But I can still pass for his sister so we are good:) I can, can't I? Martin says where the heck did the last 17 years go? I said it went by fast because we were having so much fun with our kids!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's blogging weather again:) I haven't posted much in the last several months because it's been summer! We are just out and about too much to take the time to blog. Weather is cool, we are inside more, and things have slowed down quite a bit so it's back to blogging more often.

This is circulating around Facebook today. http://www.onlinebestcolleges.com/blog/2009/50-eye-opening-unschooling-blogs/ My blog made the list! This is a great list of unschooling blogs! Whether you are just curious about unschooling, want to learn more about it, or are thinking about moving towards this philosophy these blogs are some great resources for more information. My blog made it under "untraditional families" because we were living and traveling in our motorhome. Though we are no longer living that lifestyle we still dream of living that way again, and next time it will be more permanent.

We all went and watched Taking Woodstock the other night. All the kids LOVED the movie! It made me just long for a more simple lifestyle and made me remember how happy I was when we were living in the motorhome. Not that I'm not happy now, it was just one of those times in my life where there was absolute, complete contentment. Calista was reminiscing and longing also. She was the only child that really liked living that way and would like to do it again. She said to me last night that it was hard on her when we bought this house because the motorhome was her house and she was used to it. We've been trying to sell it, off and on, and every time she gets a little teary to think it might not be around, even though we don't use it much. Lots of memories in that motorhome!

Either way I guess we don't really live a "traditional" lifestyle, in many ways, so I guess it still applies:) I've been more thankful than ever this year for our unschooling life and have been posting more on Facebook than I have been blogging. When I watch my kids live the life of THEIR choosing and watch them be so passionate about the things they choose I know we are doing the right thing. It's brought so many wonderful people and experiences into our lives.....................................and JOY, JOY, JOY!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Since I've escaped the grasp of dogmatic religion I've done lots and lots of soul searching and research. It's been an incredibly liberating journey! This is an interview with the author of God Without Religion- Sankara Saranam. I really enjoyed it and it reflects a lot of my own feelings.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

A picture taken of me a few years ago, in between bouts of tanning.

It's another one of those weeks where I am digging deep - trying to get down to my true AUTHENTIC SELF and let it shine through. Not the part of me that I let everyone else see but the REAL me!

This week it has to do with my need to tan all the time. Seems like such a silly thing to spend much time thinking about right? For me it's not about how unhealthy it is or even about how it ages you because I really like being tan and I'm willing for whatever the consequence of that action brings. No, it's about being authentic. It's about the stress of maintaining something that I'm not.

Ironically, I got my Yoga Journal in the mail last night and begin flipping through the pages and one of the first articles in the magazine this month is about a woman struggling with a similar issue- going gray. The last two paragraphs of the article express my same feelings over this tanning issue:

"I like the time and money I save not going to the salon every three weeks. I like the energy I save not thinking about my hair. I think about yogic notions of satya (truthfulness) and santosha (contentment) and realize that I still have some letting got to do: of my resentment that society is ageist, that older men are powerful while older women are invisible.

Going gray was letting go of a way of thinking that had become a burden. Yoga is about letting go of whatever prevents us from being our most authentic self. Just like the experience of yoga, feeling good about going gray has been a loosening of the obstacles to healthy, flowing energy. And besides, how long could I pretend to be someone different from who I am, while teaching others to feel comfortable with themselves."

So here I am, in the letting go process. Celebrating me- pale and beautiful. Accepting it. Embracing it. And when every last remnant of my tan is gone I'm going to do a photo session capturing all the parts of my body that I love so when I feel that discontentment rise to the surface I will look at those pictures and rejoice- for this amazing body and all the hard work it does for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summertime FUN!!!

We've been having so much fun this summer. We've had awesome weather that has allowed us to do lots outdoors. These are pictures documenting some of the fun we've been having.

Had lunch with my good friend, Leslie, and her son, Garrett, who were in town for a few short hours, from Fairbanks.

Jared and Kev swimming at Bodgett Lake. We met a rockin' unschooling family that live on the lake and have had us over a couple of times to enjoy!

The girls waiting for their turn to launch off the rope swing into the lake.

Calista is flying!

Kev let go of the rope too soon and landed in the rocks. Lani fixed him up with some good Spidey and Batman band-aids. She was afraid it might give his identity away;)

We went to the Moose Dropping Festival in Talkeetna and spent some time hanging out by the river. Martin and Calista are skipping rocks.

Calista searches for some good skipping rocks.

Martin creates some obos.

Some colorful people hanging down by the river. I just thought it was a cool picture.

Enjoying my daughter's friendship.

Calista and I doing tree pose on a log. I love doing yoga out in nature.

Calista doing tree pose. She was here for quite a while. She has awesome focus!

More yoga!

And more yoga!

We leave our mark for others to enjoy:)

My sister, Robin, and her husband, Richard.

Rylee and Calista having fun when the wake from the boats hit them.

Richard and Rex launched their boats on Cottonwood Lake and spent the day pulling us on tubes. It was a blast!! This is Rex's boat that he built in two months. Very talented guy!

Calista and I take our turn:)

Richard pulling Calista and I.

Rylee and Calista.

Robin and I. They tried really hard to throw us, without success I might add.

Martin and Kev.

See! Roxie IS a lap dog!

Rylee, Kev, and Jared after hours of tubing.

Jared enjoying a first for him. He had a blast!! We are trying to give him a good time during his summer with us:)

Jared and Kev take one last run before we wrap up the day. What a GRAND time we had!!! Thank you Rex and Richard!!!