Monday, May 31, 2010

And Your Little Dog Too!

Just a little Wizard of Oz humor...because when I looked at this picture it made me think of that famous line.

I have been neglecting my blog, because I was going to do a long post with lots and lots of pictures of a recent boat trip we went on. But I have been too busy, and then too tired at night when I finally come inside! Summer has arrived, and with it the crazy frantic lifestyle of the average Alaskan..who has seen too much cold and darkness and is out having FUN in the SUN at least twenty hours a day. Its true. Ask any of us. If you can catch us as we roll out the driveway with a boat, a horse trailer, an RV, a pair of jetskis, a four-wheeler, or a Harley. :)

So I am just going to throw this little blog update out there, with one recent favorite picture, and then my guilt for ignoring my blog will be gone. For a bit.

This picture is a result of having eight giggling girls over to play, putting two huge totes of dress-up clothes outside on the lawn, and telling everyone to put their favorite thing on for the picture.

As you can see, not even Dandelion was spared in the fashion frenzy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If Its Called Homeschooling, Why am I Always in the Van?

I saw that on a bumper sticker once, and it cracked me up. So true! We do tend to be on the go a lot, and its always something that I consider a learning opportunity. Well, isn't all of life just that, though? I am a learner, I love to learn, and as a homeschool mom I never stop!

What have we been up to? I officially ended school on April 30th, and we wrapped up our year with a super fun weekend trip to see The Wizard of OZ in Anchorage.

Michael is gone this month, and we miss him A LOT!! So to stay distracted, we have been busy with all kinds of activities both at home and away.

Over the weekend we started this season's riding lessons, and rode quite a bit at home too. We went to our annual 4-H tree sale, and both sold and bought trees. Yeah! It was a ton of fun.

Its morel (mushroom) season, so we have been hunting for them a bit, usually at night. Lots of fun, and something we totally look forward to all year!! I dream about it! Its a real challenge, and that appeals to me a lot, because its like a treasure hunt in the woods. And being out in the woods is wonderful!

Sunday we hooked up our horse trailer, and got it ready to go for the riding season. We worked with Mukluk to get him ready for a Monday trick performance. We also cooked all day, to get ready for our last American Girl party.

Monday we were up and raring to go very early. Penelope had been invited to take our mini horse and do trick shows for the annual Agricultural Appreciation Days at the rodeo grounds. So we brushed him until he glistened, and loaded him in the trailer. Chena stayed home, getting the last minute pies done, house tidied, and decorations up for the party. She had a friend spend the night, so they waved goodbye with aprons on, as we pulled out the driveway with truck and trailer.

It was about 45 minutes away, and we got there right as all the school groups arrived. We did four trick performances, and had between 300-400 elementary school kids. It was a lot of fun! Mukluk did eight tricks we had chosen: "Stepstool" "Wave on Stepstool" "Play Piano" "Get in the Tub" "Chase Target" "Spin" "Rear on Command" and "Bow". He did very well, since it was his first time with such large groups. We let the kids pet him and ask questions. Penelope did all the handling, and it was great for her 4-H project which is minature horses this year, as well as dog training and cooking.

Back home about an hour before the BIG party! We were doing "Molly" as our last one of the year, and boy we had a blast. I will post pics and more of that later.

The party was over a bit after five, and off we headed for our local high school's graduation. We knew quite a few graduates, so we had to go cheer them on and send them off on their next grand adventure. It was a great ceremony, but toooo long and I was tired from the already long day.

Our foster puppy, Carhartt, has a new home and will be adopted by one of our FAVORITE families. They are picking him up soon, so we will say goodbye and keep loving him, albeit from down the road a bit. I can't wait to see how he grows and develops.

Now we are enjoying a few days with my niece and nephew staying with us. The four kids have been playing outside non-stop, riding horses, playing with dogs, helping me plant trees, wading in the lake, hide n seek, hanging out in the tent, playing with bunnies, eating watermelon, and spraying each other with the hose (brrrr, its not that warm out yet!). Now they are making shave ice with lemonade, and I want to head out on a horseback ride myself.

Still to come this week; 776 Gals (our FUN friendship club), a boat trip around Ressurection Bay, a cousin's bday party, and a horse show. Summer is already wearing me out. I love it. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Duck, Duck,

Penelope at the annual 4-H tree sale and petting zoo. A new friend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Meet Carhartt the Puppy!

Introducing Carhartt, a temporary addition to the family/zoo! He is a Wolf/Akita/Husky mix cutie pie, and we are fostering him while we find him an adoptive family. Yes, we are in love with him already, but we have a pretty full house around here, so we are not getting any new canine buddies. :) I will just have to love him from afar. I do hope we find a home near us, so I can watch him grow and develop. He is going to be quite a striking, handsome fella. And a nice friend.
Carhartt really is beautiful, with his legs that look like he stepped in fresh paint, his mesmerizing blue eyes, and his "heart" on his chest. He has a sweet temperment, likes to cuddle, and gets along with other dogs. I'm really enjoying the nice puppy fix, and so are the girls. We have had puppies for three out of the last five years, so we are used to it. We are spending some time training him a bit, so that he can be pleasure to his next family, and will be well on the way to being a well-behaved and well-socialized family dog. He already likes to be a reading buddy! :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

River Side Bike Trip

Because Michael wasn't going to be home for Mother's Day, we celebrated early with one of my favorite things. A family road trip! And even better, a family BIKE trip!! I had gotten a brand new bike, and was eager to try it out.

So we put all the bikes in the back of the truck, stopped to get some lunches to pack along, and headed out.

We stopped about half way there to eat a quick lunch at a picnic spot, then kept on going. We knew just where we wanted to be, and it was a couple hour drive to get there.

When the tourists arrive in Alaska, there are a few places that local residents avoid, and Russian River campground is one of them. Its one of the most popular places in the entire world for red salmon fishing. Campsites are reserved at least a year in advance. Tourists arrive in droves, and its combat fishing all along this river. They come with their huge motorhomes, with built in extra freezers to take home all the salmon they can catch. Its crazy. And busy. And Alaskans just don't venture near very often.

But, before the tourists arrive, in early May, and before its even OPEN at all (shhhhhh) we sneak in and find it absolutely blissful.

The campground was totally empty, but clear of snow, and it was a beautiful, perfect day. The scenery around us was glorious, because as you bike you are dwarfed by the mountains on each side. At the end of the campground there is a long set of stairs, leading down to the Russian River, and the boardwalk that runs along it.

Some of the pictures, like the one above, are taken with my blackberry (especially if I was riding and shooting!)

After biking all over the campground, we carried our bikes down the loooong set of stairs and then we rode along the boardwalk next to the river. I really can't describe how free and wonderful it feels to ride along, with the sounds of the river and the sights around each corner. There was a tiny bit of snow on the bank, but the air was warm and we were in our t-shirts.

Can you look closely and spot the victim of a nap attack?

My awesome new this thing.

We reached the end of the boardwalk, which is the mouth of the river, and we parked our bikes and just enjoyed relaxing together. The girls played and waded, while Michael and I sat in the sunshine on the bank and talked together. The girls gave me a Mother's Day gift they had snuck in the backpack, and it was a necklace set they had seen me looking at in the store one day.

Crazy Penelope, wading in some REALLY COLD water!

Later in the afternoon, we carried our bikes back up the stairs, and rode back to the truck, parked on the other side of the gates. We headed to Seward, a VERY favorite spot of mine. In fact, we go there every Mother's a tradition. I had always wanted to bike along the path that runs around the Ressurection Bay, so we parked and unloaded the bikes and took off. We rode all around Seward, and finally stopped and had a late dinner of fish, chowder, and chips. Seward is an absolutely amazing town, with stunning scenery. It sits in the shadow of enormous mountains that rise straight up out of town, and is flanked on the other side by the pristine bay and quaint harbor. I love it so much.

How handsome (hot!) is he?? He was tasting some of springs new grass..hee hee.

Chena riding along the path near the bay

I can't think of a more perfect (early!) Mother's Day. We headed home, stopping for icecream cones and arriving back quite late. I can't wait for our next trip. We have quite a few planned for this summer!