Friday, August 03, 2018

Anchorage Youth Court

In Anchorage we have a unique option for juvenile delinquents - if you are a first time offender and have not committed a felony, then you have the option to be tried by your peers through a youth court, and have your record expunged upon completion of your sentence.

The Anchorage Youth Court was new/just getting started *back when I was a kid*... and it is still around!  I really enjoyed being a volunteer with the program when I was a teen, and have been excited to introduce it to my kids as a great service opportunity and chance to learn about the justice system!

Last week Bentley did some training downtown for Anchorage Youth Court (AYC) he's entering 7th grade (YIKES!) and now eligible to join.  I'm not completely sure he was excited about it beforehand, as when we signed up for the training they handed a big book to him and told him to read it before class.  He's a good kid though, so he showed up with a good attitude.  He had a great time and told me the lay is a very interesting field - I told him that I have always agreed, despite the bad press some lawyers get.  We'll see what comes of that interest...

Anyway.  At the end of the training the kids all took the "bar exam" to show they have some core competence to particpate in the system.  Bentley had a perfect score of 105/105 on the test - yay Bentley!  Tonight Matt, Genevieve, and I went downtown to the court house to see him sworn in.  It was fun and I look forward to seeing what he does with the program in the future.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Crochet Girl

Out kitten Tut always seems to be cold.  His favorite place to be his curled up against the fridge, because there is some warm air that comes out the vent at the bottom.  It's cute and funny although a bit ridiculous as we have to push him out of the way everytime we want into the fridge!

I suggested to Genevieve yesterday that he might wear a fuzzy little sweater.  She's tried making accessories for the other cats and they have not grateful or cooperative - not in the least!

She got to work right away (the girl is quick!  and she works without a pattern!).  The beginning looks promising - Tut ignored it when we put it on and he seemed happy to have it.  :)

Lincoln Golfs!

For his birthday Lincoln was gifted with some golf clubs.  He went out with Grandma Karen and gave them a run through earlier this week.  He had a great time - he's getting too big too fast!

(He reports that he *only* lost 5 balls.... !)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Suzuki Institute: Year 2!

At the beginning of June three of the kiddos and I headed out for our second year of Suzuki Institute!  It was a small group, but we had a good time.  The Alaska Suzuki Association brought up the same cello instructor as last year, it was fun to see her again and discuss all the progress the kids have made in the past year. 

It was an exciting week for two of them - Lincoln moved up to a new cello size, and Bentley will be moving up to one in the fall - but that's a post all of its' own.... !

Thursday, July 12, 2018

String Camp: Three Years!

The kid keeps getting bigger.... Bentley is off to string camp again, for fun here are three years of string camp drop off photos!




This is his last year with the elementary group, near year he can join the junior high strings camp.  He has a lot of fun out there, and they always bring up fantastic conductors/the kids learn a ton!

Friday, July 06, 2018

Lincoln and Tut

Our new kitten is much more of a people person than Thea the Bengal.  Tut hangs out with us more, purrs on occassion, and wants to sit near/on us.  Lincoln has a good rapport with all the cats, but in looking through my May photos I noticed a theme - Lincoln is ALWAYS seeking out the cat!  He loves animals/is very good with them/it's no wonder they all like him.  I present the Lincoln and Tut show!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Summer Camp: Dance Intensive

This June Genevieve did a two week dance camp at our new dance school.  It was a bit different than the intensives at our old place, but she had a great time!  They focused on ballet, repertoire, jazz, and modern.  At the end they did a little black box theater show at their school.

In a bit of a parenting fail I have NO PHOTOS.... !  But in my defense we can't film in the theater, and they didn't have costumes for the performance - they simply used existing costume treasure troves.  :)

She had a great time!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Camp: Engineering Engine Fun!

This past week Genevieve went to an engineering camp at our local university.  The camps run 7 hours a day starting at 8 am, so it's a "hard core" school experience for the kiddos!  Some of the students in Genevieve's class were apparently putting off some bored vibes, she tells me that when the teacher quizzed them on how many wanted to be there versus how many were sent by parents and had zero interest, the scale was tipped more than half on the side of forced attendance.


I am very glad that my kids get excited about these fun learning opportunities and have such a great time at them.  Genevieve learned all about engines.  Her team took apart a lawn mower engine and then inventoried all the pieces and put it back together.  They also explored some other engines during the week and had a chance to build an air powered one of their own design.  They had some races on the last day, and the "Pink Scribbles" (her team's name) won and officially became the "Pink Blur."  :)

Way to go, kiddo!  I'm glad it was a fun experience and that she learned so much.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Karate Belt Updates: Lincoln!

Lincoln has been dilligently attending karate for the past few months.  It is a bit rough having big brothers to constantly critique and "help" you.  On the other hand, it is pretty awesome to have two black belts at home that hep you polish technique and answer any questions you have!

Lincoln tested for the purple stripe on his blue belt a couple weeks ago!  He passed.  :)

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Big Apple! Day 1

Genevieve and Matt went on an adventure to New York City this past month.  A bit different than the trips he has done with the boys, it included the ballet, the theater, some stores, and theaters.  It also had the outdoor hikes and monument visiting, of course!

Other than a sunburn that I wish Genevieve had NOT brought home as a momento, the trip was a huge success.  They both had a great time.  Matt tells me Genevieve is an impressive energizer walker buddy, which is saying something coming from him.  I'm throwing a bunch of pictures in to tell the stories of the trip for me! :)

They headed out on a Friday evening, and managed to squeeze in a day of adventures after their long red eye.

I had to laugh at this picture from the airport - a payphone, she says?!  What is THAT?  She has seen them before but probably never really taken notice.  :)

Day 1 was rainy, but that worked out okay since they visited some fun museum exhibits!

In the evening they went to see a ballet at the Lincoln Center!

Karate Belt Updates: Bentley!

Bentley received his black belt in weapons this past month!  This is an impressive feat because not only has he studied and learned to use many different styles of weapons, but these are also some serious "we mean business" type of weapons.  No foam nun chucks or bendy bo(s) at our dojo (and yes, I have seen both of those elsewhere!) - these are some sharp metal scis, thick sticks, and wood nun chucks that hurt when they thwack you.

At our dojo the students study bo, sci, tonfa, and nun chucks. 

I am defintely impressed with how hard Bentley (and Jake!) both work with their weapons classes and how fearless they are compared to me.  :)  Bentley put a sci though his lip (I still shudder thinking about it!) a year or two back as he was practicing a little too zealously.... although perhaps that is the wrong story to share as it implies he's a bit careless.  And he is defintely not 99% of the time!

Anyway.  Great job, Bentley!  And we look forward to seeing Jake get his black belt in weapons sometime next year!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Noon Hour

Here is what was going on during the noon hour at our home today.

12:06  L Reading with Tut

12:10  B Practicing Cello

12:37  V & E Checking out Our New Garden Cat

12:39  Jake Eating Broccoli

12:47  Jake Playing Piano

12:51  L Practicing Math Facts with Tut

12:52  B Eating Breadsticks (which he made)

12:54  E Practicing Piano

12:59  Viva Washing Her Hands
(Time was up. It was this photo or no photo.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Amber Hunting!

On Memorial Day we joined with two rock clubs to hunt for amber in the coal fields near Wishbone Hill near Sutton. We have wanted to join a rock club hunting trip for a couple of years now, but our schedule never works with theirs or we don't have the proper equipment (ATVs).

All five of the children wanted to go amber hunting. (Full disclosure: Evan started to back out of the trip the night before, but I reminded him that he'd get iPad time on the ride up and the ride back and that the snacks were awesome, too.) Opa and I took the grandchildren because we like rock hunting with them.

The Wishbone Hill area is in a huge coal field (Matanuska Coal Field) and it was mined at some point in the past. I think the hill we hunted on must have been created during the mining process--it was a tall pile of black gravel-size pieces of coal. The key to finding amber was to get down really low. The kids crouched, but most of the adults just laid down on the hill and closely examined  a small area looking for a glow, a glint of light hitting the clear amber.

Some areas were rich in amber and a hunter could quickly find ten, twenty, or more pieces of amber in a couple of square feet. Other areas the hunting was sparse and the finds were few and far between. The first hour I collected one piece, but later in the afternoon I found a good spot and collected twenty or more in a just ten minutes. The pieces of amber on the coal pile are small. Most of the pieces we collected were 3-6 ml in size (roughly in the shape of sphere or a slab or a drop). A pea size piece of amber was a great find (Jake found two) and the biggest piece of the day was two peas large (another family found that gem).

At the end of the afternoon (three to four hours) most of us had a small 1 dram (3/4 teaspoon) vial filled with amber. Bentley had two vials. Lincoln had a half vial and Evan had 14 small pieces. He spent most of the day picking up coal. I find it best to let the little rock hounds hunt for what they want. That makes them happy, which makes me happy.

In addition to collecting amber we chipped off a few fossils from some larger rocks (Viva damaged her finger because she wasn't wearing gloves) and we hacked away at a large petrified log sitting in the open. (Our rock club buddies told us there are lots of petrified logs that were dug up during the coal mining process, but many of them were later reburied to preserve them.)

We asked the kids how the rate the trip (1-10) and four of them instantly gave it a 10. Evan was not so generous. He said 0 because at the time we asked we were driving back and he was waiting his turn for the iPad. He seemed to enjoy most of the hunt, it was only in the last hour that he started to lag, and, quite frankly, at that point Opa was lagging, too. The rest of us wanted to stay and hunt some more because we were finding good patches, but we agreed to quit the field.

Some of Evan's good finds (large pieces of coal) ended up in this puddle.

There were ten to fifteen others on the hill with us, but this photo is of Opa, Bentley, Viva, Lincoln & Jake.

Evan is coal hunting at this point in the day--hunting for coal on a coal hill. He'd sometimes shout "I found a big piece!" and we'd all stop in envy until we realized he meant a big piece of coal.

Hunting, Hunting, Hunting

The quintet sitting on a petrified log.

Opa helping Evan hack off a piece of the log.

The hill wasn't this steep, but it felt like it at times!!

This is a dram bottle. 
I think it's my bottle after I've washed the amber to help it shine better.

There are way too many photos of Evan in this mix, but as the youngest I was keeping the closest watch on him. Lincoln is a delightful but quiet kid and he slips under the radar. I regret that I didn't get a better shot of him.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Arrival of the King

King Tut, newest member of the household 

Kara took Lincoln and Evan to Michigan last week to meet their great-grandparents. (Hopefully she will post on that trip soon!) On the way home she delayed her time at SeaTac airport to pick up a new kitten.

The plain fact of the matter is two cats was not enough cats for our family of nine. The kids were always arguing over who gets to play with the cats or sleep with the cats. As for the adults, other than Kara (who Thea bonded with), we get little to no cat time at all!

The obvious solution was to get another cat (or two?). We have loved having Thea the Bengal in our home this past year but she's just not as friendly as a Siamese. She's very independent and somewhat dangerous to play with--she's fast and goes all in (i.e. uses claws) when playing.

We opted for a more child friendly cat this time around. We defaulted to our family's tradition--Siamese. We chose a cinnamon lynx point Siamese. Cinnamon means he has light reddish brown markings on a white coat and lynx points means as Tut ages he will acquire well-defined stripes around his eyes, cheeks, and legs as well as a ringed tail. As he ages, his body will gain stripes, too. 

In keeping with our family tradition for Siamese kittens, we gave our new kitten a name from Egyptian royalty: King Tut. Of course, we just call him Tut. Here a few photos of Tut getting to know the family:

Tut is very long legged. 

He really likes to purr which we all love! 

 He likes to cuddle. 

 Tut is patient! 

 He's a great schoolwork buddy! 

 Tut loves long skirts to hide in. 
See the rings (like a lynx) on his tail? 

Tut with Grandpa Mark