Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring! Spring! Spring!

We went for a hike along the Powerline Pass and it was gorgeous.  I need my sunglasses.  I shed layers and it was fabulous!

They had a great time pulling off the tiny pine cones.  They were "collecting" them.

Duke enjoyed some snow food as a chaser after his chocolate sandwich.

It was so darn gorgeous.  Amazing.

Just look at the town. It might seem to be slanting to the right, but fear not, we are on the level.

Duke is eating another sandwich.  They had a great hike and were happy.  Yipee!  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Greenhouse and Fish Poles

We went to a rather disappointing story time at the greenhouse.  The kids love the greenhouse and I loved how warm it was.  They have a few koi fish and birds.

Kincaid loved the cacti, but Duke got a "thorn" in a finger.  

Kincaid remembered a plastic alligator from a long time ago. We had to search, but finally found it!

This is what I love.  Kincaid asks to hold Duke's hand.  They walk around and it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

By far the best part of the day for the boys was re-stringing the fish poles.  They loved it and got to do some "fishing" with the big poles.

Kincaid said he needed to sell his old and dusty poles to get some new ones, "big ones" like Bop.  Some day kiddo!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This was after about 5 minutes at the park.  They both wanted to go home.  Kincaid declared that he "forgot to poop" so I did feel a bit sorry for him.  He didn't think going in nature was a good idea as it was cold.  Duke was just cold.  It said 27, but was quite windy and really felt cold.  I think they both liked Hawaii and are readjusting to the colder temperatures.

They brightened up a bit, but were still rather grumpy.  These nice twins wanted to swing with Duke even if the swing was about an inch off of the snow.  Duke kept saying, "he is looking at my eyes" in a rather mean voice.  Duke had a bad day with a large fit during the bath due to not getting his shark.  He is at a terrible stage of desperately needing a nap, but vehemently refusing all forms of rest.  Grrr for moms.

The did swing for a while, but we left after about 45 minutes total.  It was not our best outing, but that is fine.  We got out and I got to talk to some nice parents I haven't met before.  Someone told me about the "eye fi card" for your camera so it automatically puts pictures onto your computer with you having to attach a cord.  Might have to look into that one!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taking a Pass...

(This is a post I wrote for the skedaddle blog.  I know it isn't a typical post, but we didn't do anything blog or picture worthy today.  I also had a meeting this evening.  The dog also ate my homework and I had to walk to school in waist deep snow, both ways.)

(The Nine Essential Skills are from an article by Leo Babauta)

The past “most difficult” decisions of which stroller to buy or which pediatrician is best have now been eclipsed by the start of many education related choices.  I have a friend jumping head first into homeschooling and another staunch public school mother who often buts heads with a strong supporter of charter schools.  My “Waldorf” friends tell me their way is the best and books shout another opposite idea.  I can’t imagine what I am going to do when my boy’s enter their senior year of high school!

I came across an article that provided me with a bit of perspective.  Leo Babauta talked about unschooling, but mentioned Nine Essential Skills necessary to prepare children for the future.  No mention of algebra, conjugating verbs or battles of the Revolutionary War.  I was able to breath a bit easier knowing that even if I make the wrong decision about my children’s preschool education, I can at least impart this wisdom and prepare them for “life”.  
My classroom for “life” will be outside on walks, playdates at the park and fishing trips.  Yes, they will still go to school as I think it is an important park of childhood and growing up.  But, when they finish their homework, we will pull on the boots and find some puddles!
Asking questions -> This skill encourages independent learning.  I encourage my boys to ask questions and try my best not to get frustrated (or laugh).  It is impossible to set foot outside without being curious.  What bug is that?  Do salmon eat those bugs?  Can I eat those?  Does Bear Grylls cook those bugs or eat them raw? 

Solving problems -> Nature provides wonderful teaching opportunities.  Instead of immediately “swooping” in at the first sign of frustration, let them try out options and gain confidence.  A too high stick, a slippery hill and prickly berry bush all can teach this skill.  Model by thinking out loud of options, taking a deep breath when frustrated and praising all attempts (That was a good try to use your brother as a bridge, but what else might work better?).

Tackling projects -> Let them see big tasks as a series of small and related steps.  We often tell stories about going fishing and go through the necessary steps of packing, driving, hitching the boat, laying out the tackle... They can see that a big event is accomplished by first completing other necessary steps.  

Finding passion -> Encourage your children to try out activities and foster those they enjoy.  Try fishing, hiking, drawing in the sand, cooking mud pies, tracking animals or painting a sunset.  Nature can tap into every possible passion.

Independence -> Let your child gradually walk the trail on their own.  I am trying to let my boys pick the hikes, stand closer to the edge of a river and gather sticks for the fire.  I want confident children, able to stand on their own (and then come home to mom whenever possible).  

Being happy on their own -> Instead of “needing” me to be happy, I want my boys to find other ways out of a bad mood.  I am learning to not interfere with their fort building and not jump into the fun of puddle jumping.  I am trying to encourage them to do what makes them happy and giving them space to explore by themselves.  

Compassion -> My Master’s thesis was on empathy and I don’t know how many times a day I ask “how do you think that makes your brother feel?” I want them to understand how their actions effect others.  We try to be kind to nature, leave flowers for others to enjoy and help friends up a hill.

Tolerance -> Exposure to different situations and people helps children understand the variety in our world.  I want my boys to not blink at children with a different color skin or accent when talking.  Summer in Alaska is wonderful with the rich influx of tourists speaking new languages, having different smells and wearing strange hiking clothes.

Dealing with change -> Children need to roll with changes instead of fearing and resisting it.  The days when we plan to go fishing and can’t or when the park with the great hill for rolling down is closed (darn weddings) can be made into lessons.  We express our frustration and brainstorm options.
    I am in love with this list and look at it every morning, as it is taped to my bathroom mirror.  Instead of focusing on the alphabet, numbers and colors, I try to use these skills as my guide.  Nature is an amazing classroom for learning these in ways that my children don’t understand as education.  A simple walk out the front door will prepare my children for life if I take the time and energy.  The schools can focus on making my boys book smart, but I will take the reins on making them “life smart”. 
    A big thank you to Leo Babauta for writing the article.  Please follow the link and read the entire article as he has many other suggestions and ideas!

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    A Mooning Moose and a Mystery

    The moose had to climb up and over this HUGE berm.  I took this from the car, so you can imagine how tall it was.  He then had to lean down to chew on a tree.  Poor guy.

    Now the mystery.  Look at these pictures.  No prints to and from this area.  

    There is an eagle around the yard that is feeding on ducks, so perhaps an Eagle?  

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Sunny Skies

    We "walked" with our group today.  I put that in quotes as we didn't make it that far.  Kincaid screamed on the way out and then Duke on way back.  Kincaid was cold and Duke was upset.  He wanted me to carry him and when I put him in the sled screaming he kept flinging himself out, again and again.  Good Times.

    Look at that scowl.  He screamed about wanting to go to the chair and then yelling.  Eventually, I figured out he just wanted to touch the chair and not sit in it.  Silly me.

    There was dry cement under there so all the sleds had to portage.  It was rather amusing.

    I love this part of the trail.  There are silver fish along the fences.

    The stamps in the concrete are great with fish, bears, moose and this wonderful eagle catching a salmon.

    We all loved the pixie lure lamp.

    Both kids were screaming as I stopped to take this picture.  I just thought it was amusing to see a No Swimming sign with all the snow!  I should hope no one would be swimming.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

    It was a bad day, but this was a high point for me.  Kincaid has never been into drawing, but he will make maps.  Today, he wanted me to trace him on big paper.  He then drew hair, eyes, a nose (the dot), ears (near the eyes) and a mouth.  I was in utter amazement.  He then drew bones in this body (the scribbles).  

    I wrote his name and asked if he could write it too.  His K is hard to see, but he did a perfect "I" and the "N" has the bumps, the "C" is darn near perfect and you can see the other letters around the big flying potato (I don't remember exactly what that was...)

    Brilliant child, just need to work on his behavior and that of his brother... and maybe their mother as well.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Sluggish, like a wet noodle.

    I was tired and filled with cold medicine so we didn't venture outside today, the first day of spring.  Instead, we celebrated by me allowing the kids to fish from the wagon and "paddle" it around the "river" (made with masking tape on the floor).  You get creative when tired with two wild boys.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012


    More Hawaii pictures as I have the cold now.  At least I didn't get the tossing of cookies both of my boys had.  Not much sadder than a 3 year old throwing up, except a 2 year old throwing up, or maybe the not yet one year old that threw up on the airplane to Hawaii....

    We did feed Bex solid food.

    Kincaid a bit chilly after a swim.

    The Banyan Tree.

    A great Koi pond in Lahaina.

    Wind Surfers in Hookipa (guessing, near the town of Paia)

    Kincaid and Duke hiking through the "Mangrove forest" (a little green area near the surfers).

    Friday, March 16, 2012

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