Tonight’s Family Fun Night was at the Haines Pool.

Let me just make one thing VERY clear.  I have a great family. Margaret, the mother-in-law was there to take care of the 3 month old at the water’s edge while Holly was in the water with the two older boys: they were having a great time! 

Not only were they having fun but Mark Daniel (5.5) can swim quite well for a pre-kindergarten kid.  He can do a very quick dog-paddle and also a sort of energy saving back stroke–without the wind-milling arms.  He relaxes and fills his chest with air and can go quite a ways.

Luke is quite a good swimmer too, for a two year old.  He uses a float suit with little bumps all over it, but kicks really strong and makes effective use of his hands.  I know there’s a debate over whether the float suit is actually beneficial or harmful, but for my boys, it seems to work great.  The get confidence around the water and learn to kick and stroke with their arms and also get a degree of mobility they would otherwise not have gotten.  Luke uses the suit that used to be Mark’s. 

The other day, Holly put some flippers on Mark Daniel and he reacted just like you’d expect a person to react: walking like a duck to the edge of the water, kicking too far under water and getting the leg into a place where it’s tough to do a forward stroke, laughing at it all, and describing it in great detail how amazing the flippers were at making him go incredibly fast.

Of course the Juneau pool has a better temperature for the little ones, as they have two different sections of the pool separated by a wall: a wading pool that’s 91 degrees and a lap pool that’s 81 degrees (or there about).  Haines just has one pool for everyone to share so it’s at a moderate 82 degrees.  Luke is so small he really can’t go for very long in the Haines pool before his lips turn blue and he becomes a shivering little blond mass.

If you haven’t been swimming yet with your kids, then get out there and do it.  It’s a great way to have a Family Fun Night.

Moose Rescued from the Chilkat the cowboy way.

My Photo buddy, Ron Horn was in on this Moose Rescue. 

They worked quite a while on this after the moose was sited and nobody knows how long the moose was in the water before it was sited.  The moose was pregnant and quite large with perhaps two calves.  There was a loader standing by ready to help pull her out, but the ledge of Ice was too sharp and they feared pulling her head off before they could get her out, so they ended up pulling her in by hand.

Ron went out there with just his telephoto 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L lens, probably on his Canon 40D. He had to stop shooting to help out with the lassoing so they could get a line on the head of the moose.  They pulled the moose broad-side to the ice and hooked another sinking lie under her rear legs up onto her belly, then were able to roll her up onto the ice.  A few minutes later, she walked off into the woods.  Temperatures were moderate, as you can see from the attire of the rescuers in the photo.  I was in school at the time and heard about it later that day from Ron.

Here’s an article by Tom Morphet that I pulled from the ADN @www.adn.com CLICK HERE!!

HAINES: Six men pull pregnant cow from Chilkat River.

Moose LassoedBy TOM MORPHET
Chilkat Valley News

Published: February 21st, 2008 01:49 AM
Last Modified: February 21st, 2008 02:11 AM

HAINES — The Department of Fish and Game doesn’t recommend it, but six Haines men used rope and a little ingenuity to hoist a pregnant cow moose from a hole in the ice on the Chilkat River, where a strong current was threatening to pull her under.

“We got to play cowboy,” said Charlie DeWitt, a commercial fisherman and lifetime moose hunter, who led the effort. “I’ve killed enough moose in my lifetime and I’ve eaten enough moose. I wanted to give it a chance to make it.”

DeWitt, who works on a state road crew, was driving a loader up the Haines Highway about 7:30 a.m. Friday when he overheard a radio conversation about a moose stuck in the ice near Mile 15.

He figured Fish and Game would handle the situation, but when he arrived 45 minutes later, he found the animal smashing itself against the ice, trying to ram its way out of a hole midway across a 100-foot channel.

“(Fish and Game) didn’t know what to do. I decided to take the bull by the horns. It was right out there in the middle of God and everybody,” said DeWitt, who was joined by other motorists who’d seen or heard of the situation, including Mike Kinison and freelance wildlife photographer Ron Horn.

The cow’s thrashing expanded the size of the hole and eliminated thin ice, giving rescuers confidence in the strength of the ledge that remained. At first, the moose rebuffed help attempts, swimming away when rescuers drew near. Eventually, she seemed to warm to resident Bud Stewart, lifting her head up out of the water to his outstretched hand and allowing him to pet her several times on the nose.

Using a rope Stewart brought from his house, the men lassoed the cow’s snout and eventually got a line around her neck. Horn put down his camera to help and state road crew workers James Sage and Matt Boron joined the effort, but attempts to pull the animal out by the neck failed because the moose could get only one hoof up on the ice.

In the water for at least two hours, the cow began to tire, twice dropping her head under the water, DeWitt said.

“I don’t think she would have lasted another half hour. She was plum tuckered out.”

Holding the cow up out of the water with the neck line, they lowered a second line into the water parallel to the ice edge, and by pulling from either end of the line, snagged the animal’s rear end. The rope slipped around the cow’s belly, but the purchase was sufficient to get enough of the moose out of the water to wrestle the rest of her up onto the ice.

“She never made a peep or a snort or gave us a foul look or nothing. She just laid there as peaceful as can be,” DeWitt said.

They untied the lines, and about a minute later the cow got up and walked onto an island on the west side of the channel.

Horn, known around town for dramatic wildlife photos, missed a shot of the rescue climax, but said he had no regrets.

“The shot that was the great shot was the one of us rolling her out on the ice. But if I’d stayed shooting, the moose would still be in the water. Under those circumstances, you pick up the line and help.”

DeWitt said he hadn’t seen the moose since the rescue, but figured recent mild temperatures might have allowed her to dry out and recover.

“Hopefully, she’s still alive.”

Fish and Game assistant area wildlife biologist Ryan Scott said the rescue was “great,” but that he’d caution residents to keep a safe distance from distressed moose.

“We probably wouldn’t encourage it, just out of concerns for human safety, but I’m thankful they did it. It’s unfortunate that a moose would fall into the river but it probably happens a lot more often than we know about.”

A Barrow memory: First fight….

Fights are things best forgotten…

A long time ago when I was in third grade and we lived in the school at Barrow we needed to go to the ten-plex for a potluck.  I think ,back then, the teachers had a monthly potluck that moved around from house to house and it was potluck night (perhaps one of my siblings will fill in some details here).  I always liked the monthly staff pot-lucks as it was a fun time to get together with the other kids and play games like tag or eskimo baseball.

Barrow We lived in the end of the school that was the second to last house from the primary (which has since burned down) and the ten-plex was at the opposite end of the school, which meant we had to walk through the section of the school that was open to the public for open gym.  This was not a problem as we had the keys we needed to get through the doors.  Keys were a big deal up there because they were necessary to get into the heated sections of the world.  I was in the lead that day by a few paces, as mom and dad were probably carrying Betty, as she was  just a youngster, I have no idea how or why I was ahead of the two older bothers.

HS I went through the doors that led to the gym and ran around the corner trying to get  to the safe haven of the adult monitored section down where the locked doors were near the HS.  As I ran around one corner, Leo Kaleak punched me in stomach and knocked the wind out of me–he was a 6th grader and quite a bit bigger than I.  Oh that hurt.  I thought I was going to die and started to cry as soon as I could get some wind.  I’d never had the wind knocked out of me before, plus it was so unexpected. 

I went limping back through the doors where Jack and Andy were playing and told them what had happened.  Jack was not happy.  Leo was in his class.  We stuck together as we walked along looking for Leo so we could balaqtak him.  There’s safety in numbers.

When we saw him, Jack went right up to him and punched him right in the face.  He bent over to put his hands to his face and Jack kicked him right in the stomach.  Then he fell to his knees and vomitted right on the floor.  Then we all ran off to the HS doors so we wouldn’t get in trouble.

There were other fights I saw up in Barrow and other fights I was involved in, but this was the first real fight I saw that Jack was in that I can recall. 

At times, I wonder how life would have been had I stayed in Barrow or gone back there to raise my family there. 

Life would be different.  It would not be the same.

Sony kills HD DVD.

It was sure fascinating to see the demise of HD DVD’s this past week. 

Wal-Mart and Net Flix came out with the edict that they were not going to carry the both of the new DVD formats but were only going to stock Blu Ray DVDs, within a week I get this announcement on PC Magazine’s website:  CLICK HERE!!

BLURAY Japan’s Toshiba Corp. surrendered in the high-definition home movie war on Tuesday, giving up on its HD DVD format after losing the support of key studios and retailers to the Blu-ray technology backed by Sony Corp. Go to PCMag.com for more details about Toshiba’s decision and analysis of this breaking story.

Having been in a family with a Betamax through the 80s and watching as VHS slowly won that battle in the living rooms of the consumers while Sony became dominant in professional studios with ENG companies, I’d expected a long protracted battle of the formats.  But it’s not going to be.  Weird.  I guess history doesn’t always repeat itself.

CLICK HERE for more of the news. 

IF I had an NTSC standard definition TV in the house, I’d be looking to get rid of it so I could get an HD TV, so I could buy a Blu Ray DVD Player, so I could buy some Blu Ray DVDs, so I could sit around watching TV.  Nahh…  I can do that later.

I was going to re-plumb the drain for the tub tonight but was stymied when the PVC drain kit I got was 1.5″ and the plumbing under the house is black 2″ plastic.  It happens.

Why are our own kids SO fun to watch?

And why are stranger’s kids not so fun?

IMG_9083Today during lunch, Mark was trying to get Luke to hold his hand during the lunch-time prayer and not having any luck.  So he started to yell and him then he started hit at him and slapped him across the face then spilling Luke’s water across the table and ALMOST into my lap. Whoa!  That was unexpected…  So we sent him off to his room.

And of course we sent Luke too.  Luke WAS supposed to be holding Mark’s hand and praying with us.

It is easy for me to see Mark’s perspective on things: If someone is not praying with you, then it will surely help to yell at him.  And if THAT doesn’t work, start slapping him.  Sooner or later he’ll see the light.  Surely.

It’s this type of mentality that has gotten us where we are today, I suppose.  I’d like to blame society in general for this, and take the blame off myself, but soberingly, I am surely at fault.

Alone at the table with just Holly and John Caleb, I started watching him as Holly held him.  He was staring at the spoon and swatting at it with his hands as if he was interested in it, so I leaned over his way, picked it up and held it in his hand until his grasping reflex kicked in hand he had it firmly in hand.  Then I leaned back to see what would happen.  With a kid that small, I never know what’s going to happen: is he going to drop it on the floor, stick himself in the eye, hit Holly in the chest…? It’s impossible to say without watching.IMG_9889  Eventually, he did swing it around a bit, then he dropped it.

Life goes on, and I can be thankful that my three boys are interesting to watch. I have on occasion watched a video with a proud parent to see nothing more than the child smiling at the camera and asking simple questions.  I suppose part of it must be that we se ourselves in our kids.   I guess another question is this: why are a stranger’s kids so UNinteresting?

Well they aren’t uninterseting ALL the time.  We had a great time at a Birthday party on Friday with the Hansen’s and the Green’s at the school cafeteria and middle school gym.  The school is a great venue for large family or community gatherings, in my opinion.  Our church has been wanting to build a community center lately but I’d like to see how feasible it would be to use the church for social events like potlucks and such before we go taking out a huge mortgage on a secondary building.

John Caleb is Three (months old)!

IMG_9939 cropped We took the John Caleb’s ‘three month’ pictures last night on the big bed. Mark and Luke got behind me, as I took pictures, to get John Caleb’s attention, Holly held up the black comforter, and we got this photo (and a bunch more).

You can see that he’s really coming along!  He smiles and looks around purposefully now and can hold up his head really well.  Also, he can kick himself forward if his feet have something to push against–you know how that is…  He can’t read yet.

Holly has made a baby album, from pregnancy, through birth, and up to three years old, for each of the boys.  The other day when Mark was having a tough time she got out his baby album and looked through it with him and he really was able to focus on all the love and support he has gotten through the years and get in tune with how much he wants to do what’s right in the family.  They like to look at each other’s books too with Holly.

Busy day today:

Today I had a list of things to do:

  1. fix the tub’s water mixing valve or replace it.
  2. shoot a basket for the Sheldon Museum
  3. fix the door to the carIMG_0130
  4. get sand on the drive
  5. shoot the triple threat tourney

The photos of the basket for Sheldon Museum went well.  Here’s a sample to the right.  It’s a very small basket, perhaps four inches high and five inches wide.  I used two little scotch tape boxes behind the lid to prop it up for the photograph and used butcher paper from Simon for the continuous tone background and one 47″ Octobox: exposure was ISO 100, 1/80, f/8-16, depending on the distance to the light which was at a 45 degree angle to the subject to camera right.

The tub is going to be better than it was before.  We’ve never tub spout in our tub, just a shower head, PLUS the tub itself has always been very very cold on the feet.  Now we have a tub spout, plumbed in, and a plan to insulate the cold from the tub, but I need to do some wood work to finish it off before we used it.  The original plumbing in the house is sweated copper fittings with rigid copper pipe–not my favorite.  I used two Sharkbite couplings to switch it over to CPVC which is much easier for a novice like me to work with.  The shower head and the tub spout are not rigid and strong like they used to be, so I’m going to redo those with rigid threaded copper that I will screw to the wall for a more secure fit.  I’ll include a picture of this later.

The door to the car thawed out on its own and did not require any fixing.

Both Holly and I put sand on the drive to improve the traction, but now it’s covered up by snow–bummer.

I’m off to shoot some of the triple threat tourney now.

Holly played defense all day so I could get the stuff done: Mark went to Dylan’s house and they all went to the pool for showers.

My first Post to my new WordPress.com blog

I’ve been wanting to start  a new blog, that is accessible to more of the family–perhaps this will work.

Here’s a little story from out daily life:

Lately, Mark has been  into reading about mammals.  We bought a number of non-fiction books on mammals (and checked out a very large number from the library from the National Geographic Society that are written for kids and my dad bought the Thornton W. Burgess books.  So we’ve been reading those  lately.

Well, this past Sunday (on 2/10) we had a terrible time getting to church due to the snowfall–not just our driveway was clogged, but everyone’s, as is often the case, plus the roads.  I shoveled for about 20 minutes clearing things out, then out we went. If our neighbor hadn’t come through with his plow down, we might not have gotten out of there with our Subaru.

When we got to church, we were 15 minutes late–and while we’re usually not as early as we want to be to church, or any event, it’s pretty rare for us to be that late.  I’d just sat down when everyone turned and looked at me.  Al Badgley was the most helpful–he held up the program pointed to it with an imploring look, and mouthed something like ‘you’re next!’  Not having a program to refer to, I stood up and started walking up to the front of the church when I thought better of it.  I stopped and asked someone to see their program and read it–turns out I was supposed to do the "Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Pardon."

Well, that’s fine–I’ve done plenty of wrong things and still don’t feel too guilty.

I said a prayer and tried hard to make it sound sincere and contrite.  Afterwards, as I was going around the church greeting folks and making small talk, Shirley (Byrne’s Mother) told me it was a VERY humble prayer.  I told her "I always try to make my prayers more humble than everyone else’s."  Thankfully, she laughed.

Then Mark ran up to me and said, "Daddy, come see this!" and then blazed off towards the basement.  On the one hand, I try to get him to not run in the sanctuary, as it upsets the traditionalist in me.  But on the other hand, I know in my bones that if little boys are made for anything, it’s running around and getting into things.

I set out after him at a jog.

Before long, I caught up to him at the top of the stairs and he was all smiles, "Watch this!"

He grabbed the top of the handrail of the stairs with his hands, then swung his bare feet up and wrapped them around the rail a little lower down and said, "Look daddy, I’m a SLOTH!"

I had to laugh at that.  I guess the mammal books are paying off.  Read your kids some mammal books when you get some time.

Here’s a test post from Live Writer

I’m testing a post after the birthday party…