5-12-2013 homer sea week (50)

Homer Sea Week

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This weekend was the much-anticipated Homer Sea Week field trip.

5-11-2013 homer sea week (3)

We weren’t sure what to expect when our children’s school group planned a 3-day field trip over Mother’s Day weekend down to Homer, Alaska, which is a 4 – 5 hour drive from Anchorage (depending on road construction and which spouse is driving).

We certainly didn’t expect the majority of the school to make the trek, but trek we all did.  Over 75% of us.

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Duece Moose (+ Mama)

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Few words today – I will let our newborn visitors speak for themselves.  This new family slept next door last night, and wandered around our yard this morning.  What a gift it was to watch them frolic and nurse.  They were close enough that we could hear them too… chomping leaves, cracking branches, and whimpering at each other.  The twins are adorable, but I was also enamored with the Mama, who survived an especially difficult winter pregnant with not one but two healthy calves.  Bravo to her!

Spring in Alaska… a great time to be a moose!


One Fine Day

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If I recall correctly, I typed my last post with dirty fingernails and weary muscles.  Well, tonight I type with nearly severed tendons.  I think that is worse?

It all started this morning when I decided to make the kids blueberry muffins (just from a box, so don’t go all Supermom on me).  I reached into the fridge for the eggs, and somehow flipped a bowl of carrots upside down and all over the floor.  Did I mention the carrots were floating in water?  Water that was now soaking my jeans, socks, floor, and swiftly sliding out of reach under the refrigerator?

As I mopped up the mess, I consciously thought, “This does not have to be my day.”  I made the muffins, and while they baked I tugged the fridge out and cleaned up underneath and behind it.  An opportunity!  How often does one think to clean behind the fridge?  This could count towards Goal #3, and it wasn’t even 10 AM!  Lucky me!

After the fridge was tucked back into its spot and the kids were happily chomping on their muffins, I had the crazy idea to get breakfast for myself.  Honestly, I don’t remember why, but all I know is that I returned to the fridge for something.

This might be a good time to mention that we own some really nice knives in this house.  My husband thoroughly researched brands and types, and ultimately decided upon Victorinox Forschner Cutlery.  He also researched the safest storage methods; as a result, we have this nifty knife magnet mounted to an upper kitchen cabinet:

Safety first!

Unfortunately, all of our knives don’t fit on this single magnet.  We also have a cleaver, fish fillet knives, and other miscellaneous blades.  Because we use them so rarely, and since we don’t know what else to do with them, we piled them in an open Tupperware container and stuck them up high.  You know, somewhere safe from the kids.  Like the top of the refrigerator.

The very same refrigerator I had just struggled to tug out and mop behind.  I was ignorant to the fact that, as I jostled the fridge below, the bucket-o-knives was slowly creeping forward above.  When the fridge was tucked back in its place, I had no idea that the knives were now teetering on the precipice.  That the next time the door opened they would come crashing down upon whoever stood below.

That someone was me.

I jumped out of the way, but not before one blade dove into that little patch of skin between my thumb and index finger.  And there it stayed, completely vertical, lodged deep enough to stand upright on it own.  EEEEWWWWW!  I flung it out and in a moment of panic started to run cold water on the wound, thinking it was a burn or something?  It didn’t hurt until the water hit, at which point I remembered to help my platelets with some pressure.  Of course we were out of paper towels, so I grabbed a washcloth and pinched the gash closed.

I put on a stoic face and turned to face the kids — who were sitting at the countertop island, frozen, mouths full of blueberry muffins, but not chewing.

And that’s when it hit me – how lucky I was.  It could have been one of them, opening that door, and then the outcome would have been very different.  What if I’d started to load the dishwasher, and Maggie had said, “Mommy,. can I get a glass of milk?” and I had told her to grab it herself?  Or Sam had hopped down for the carton of orange juice?  My arms are longer, so I was standing further back.  I’m taller, so I saw the knives falling and jumped.  If it had been Sam or Maggie, they would have been standing directly underneath, practically inside the fridge and completely unaware of the impending danger above.  I shudder to think what could have happened.  (And I’m serious – I shudder.)

It’s ironic that I’ve been so nervous to let the kids play outside lately, since I’ve seen two black bears in the past week and I know the moose are dropping their calves.

Our back yard... May 2011.

Those twin babies look downright adorable, but a friend’s daughter was trampled by a moose last weekend.  Thank goodness the little girl is recovering, but it’s enough to make me want to grab my children and lock them inside.  Don’t think I haven’t considered substituting fresh air and exercise for Vitamin D pills and Wii Sports.

But then the knives fell.  Inside.

Really, there are no guarantees.  No fail safe method of ensuring accidents won’t happen to those we love most.  So I hold my breath and let my children go, bear bells jingling, to play with the neighbor kids.  To teeter totter and swing.  To ride their bikes and scooters.  It would be hypocritical of me to limit their screen time and then make them watch the world through a window.

You know, I hope my wound from today leaves a scar.  It will be a good reminder of how lucky I was on this fine, fine day.

Big Wild Week

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Week 1 of summer is down, so it’s time to check in on some of those lofty goals I set.  Let’s recap:

Goal #1.  Relish my children, and dedicate special time to them every day.
Success!  I took the kids bowling, biking, hiking, and swimming.  One day Sam was off playing with an old preschool pal, so I surprised Maggie with a visit to that ripoff ceramic painting place she has been begging to visit.  We played with legos, built circuits, and colored whacky pictures.  We let Maggie’s butterflies free.  On Wednesday they had two friends spend the night, and we all stayed up until nearly midnight watching Nanny McPhee.  On Thursday they had one friend stay over, and on a rainy Friday morning we all watched Cheaper by the Dozen.  (For the record:  both are complete tearjerkers!)  The rest of the nights it was just us, so the kids and I closed in on the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Only 40 pages to go!

I’m not proud to admit it, but we also spent an afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese.  The kids loved every minute, but that place feels like a children’s casino of sin.  When we left I felt an overwhelming urge to cleanse them of the experience, so we stopped by the library and signed up for the summer reading program.  I’m hoping the damage was minimal.

A few random snapshots from our week:

Picnic on the deck

The boy loves to bowl










Goal #2:  Exercise every day
Success!  (Actually, I missed Thursday but did two things today so it’s a wash, right?)  Must admit, this one nearly killed me.  On our first walk Maggie and I ran into this cute little guy:

Snowshoe hare... turning brown!

Now that kind of wildlife I can handle.  But on Wednesday, while the kids were safely at piano lessons, I walked along our mountain road solo.  It was an invigorating and uneventful few miles, but less than an hour later I drove down the hill and encountered this guy:

See him?!?

Okay, an admittedly anti-climactic photo.  But if you look carefully you will see a black bear that had just strolled in front of my car and hopped over the guard rail… at nearly the very spot I had been walking less than an hour before!  (You can just see his back behind the rail and above my mirror.)  That was the last of my outdoor walks for this week.  I profusely apologized for nicknaming our treadmill “The Dreadmill” and hopped back on that beast instead.  And liked it!

Ironically, the day before I had taken the kids to Sportsman’s Warehouse to buy bear bells for their bikes.  Sam lost a tooth while we were there!

Tooth fairy time!

Continuing with the exercise and wildlife theme, today we took a little family bike ride and encountered a bull moose on the trail.  As all good mothers would, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and tried to snap a photo.  I missed the moose, but you can mentally Photoshop him behind Maggie here:

Maggie! Quit looking at the moose or you will ride into the creek!

Goal #3.  Clean something every day.
I have determined that this goal is in direct conflict with Goal #1, but I did my best.

Goal #4.  Prepare healthy meals for my family.
Let’s just say the lettuce isn’t rotting around here lately (thumbs up!) and I tried a new crock pot recipe (thumbs down!).  Its leftovers are still in the fridge, where they will probably remain until trash day on Tuesday.

I must also admit that one night we didn’t call the kids in for dinner until 10 PM.  You have to realize that the long daylight hours mess with us this time of year, and it’s no secret we can all use a little extra Vitamin D.  But the real reason is the amazing neighborhood kids.  They are all running and romping in a pack these days, and it is an absolute joy to watch.  The freedom to run off to someone else’s house is new for our children, and they relish it.  They are too busy riding bikes, kicking balls, swinging, wrestling, and learning new games to bother with food.  The neighbors have taught them all about “cops and robbers” and “toilet tag” (apparently when you are tagged you have to squat with your hand out, until another player comes along and flushes you free).  When we called them in at 10 it was still light out, and their complaints had nothing to do with hunger.  But they did happily gobble down their reheated meals once they were inside…

Two houses down, but we can still spy on them!

Goal #5.  Drink more water and less beer..
Water intake, along with decaf iced tea, definitely increased.  I take the fifth on all other points.

All in all, not bad for Week # 1!  For next week, I’m adding a new goal.  Write more.  From here on out, I vow to quit waiting for something profound to happen.  And I vow to quit spending too much time trying to write profoundly.  Live it, blog it, got it.  Ordinary is okay.  Brevity is good.  It’s time to hit my stride.