Winter Wonderland…

It’s been a winter wonderland up here. We got 14 inches of snow night before last and it’s starting to snow in earnest now.

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The boys build a fort this morning.

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The wood-stack tries to stay dry under the tarp.

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The snow hangs off the roof over the kitchen window.

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The day-stack of wood on the porch, nice and dry under the roof, with mixed remains of Mark’s hatchet work to make kindling.

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The view from the porch: we can’t even see the water, due to the snowfall.

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Snow fort construction.

Heavily snow-laden trees tower over the 7.5 cord wood-shed.

Go little pink clothes! Go!

Holly has been washing clothes for the last few days, as we have finally moved into the new house. After being packed in boxes for six weeks, some of the clothes needed to be freshened up.

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When she poured this pile of pink, purple, and red clothes onto the bed for folding, I just had to cheer for them:

“Go little baby pink clothes! Go!”

In my estimation, these pink clothes are the definite under-dog in the race to which set of clothes will be selected to be on the starting team when the time comes. We already have three boys and the blue, brown, and green clothes are sitting confidently on the shelf.

It’s not that I wouldn’t be happy with another boy. We love our boys. But it would be nice if Holly had a girl, I think.

What do you think?

Moving Day!

Today we moved into the new house—it’s one block from our old place but bigger and has room for the boys to move around. It was a miserable horrible no-good day in many ways, most of them having to do with the weather.

But it was a wonderful day in that we experienced the love and care of so many people.

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Above we see Patrick Henderson in Mark Fontenot’s truck as they move one of the beds covered with plastic in the rain.

We had 30 people show up to help us move with five pick-up trucks and other vehicles, as you can see in the picture:

  • Darwin Feakes who brought a truck and did the bunk bed’s break down and assembly;
  • Lilly, Hannah, and Haley Boron who brought their mini-van and were second on scene. Their van was a huge help because it kept a lot of boxes dry;
  • Arlene Jackson who helped set up the kitchen, the boys room, and the guest room, she stayed about four hours and had a stew for everyone to eat. She arrived about noon and said, “I probably can’t be of much help…” She was a huge help!
  • Jacque Horn worked along with Arlene and donated the supplies to decorate our guest room;
  • Mark Fontenot, Royal & Patrick Henderson brought a full-sized truck and carried lots of large furniture;
  • Jila Stuart & her daughter Willa helped carry boxes;
  • Terry and Bonnie Sharnbroich had a covered bed on their truck and kept many things dry as well, and they helped set up the boys’ room – Terry especially wouldn’t let Holly move anything (since she was 7 months pregnant). He said, “I don’t mind moving furniture, but I don’t want to deliver a baby!”
  • Michelle and Michael Byer brought doughnuts, set up the master bedroom and helped start the first fire;
  • Rene & Rick Martin were a huge help and were their own team as they moved a ton of stuff;
  • Jim, Matthew, and Naomi Green helped move some really awkward things that were left at the end;
  • Karen Henspeter whirled in on the kitchen with Jacque and Arlene
  • Patty Brown (Library director) carried the actual kitchen drawers up in her car and moved the supplies into the drawers at the new house;
  • Jolanta Ryan was a good friend, ‘nough said;
  • Cyndi Buxton, Ross & Eli White helped with getting more boxes and gathering up the odds and ends. (Who knew it takes so many boxes to move?!) Cyndi even ran home and emptied a box of apples she had at her house so she could bring another strong box over to pack up things.

Susan Weerasinghe helped out with the boys so they wouldn’t be underfoot in the morning. Al & Serena Badgley came by near the end to see what else was left to do, and ate some doughnuts as most stuff was done by then (I’m not sure they actually ate any doughnuts, but I can easily imagine Al eating one). also helping out with the boys were Irene Hofling, Lenise Henderson, and Bob & Margaret Plucker.

That night we sat down to eat dinner at the new house for the first time, and Mark said, “Do you think we’ll ever eat at the old house again?”

Holly said, “Well, there’s no food there.”

“What happened to all our food?” Mark said.

“Go look in the refrigerator,” Holly said, and Mark went over to the refrigerator and opened it up. “Our FOOD!”

He was quite happy to see the food.

The boys enjoy the heat of the Blaze King (King model, w/o the catalytic combustor)wood stove. We never had a woodstove in our old house, and the wood heat feels wonderful.

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Can I take out the nozzle, Daddy?

Tonight, Mark Daniel wanted to be the one to take the gas nozzle out of the filler spout after we filled up at the gas station. Luke had been the one to insert the nozzle so Mark was fighting his way in to pull the nozzle out. After pushing Luke aside, he then forgot what he was doing.

He then made the fairly straight forward mistake of squeezing the filler handle to maximum flow and then removing the nozzle from the tank fill tube. Of course the safety flapper in the tank fill tube on the car activated instantly sealing off the tank, causing a huge spraying gush of unleaded gasoline to splash right into his eyes, nose, face, neck, and body, drenching his hair, shirt, and pants with 87 octane. This lead to a great deal of loud screaming, flailing, and panicking amongst all present. It was a huge mess, unparalleled in my experience at any gas station.

We got out a water bottle which quickly ran dry, and held his head back to rinse the eyes, of course he was yelling and thrashing about and I was trying to hold him still so I could pour water on his eyes. He was trying hard to close them. Then I was using both hands to scoop the water out of the courtesy windshield washer fluid station, there on the fuel island to splash it on his face. There’s gas on Mark, on me and on the ground. He’s screaming and crying. I’m thinking, parenting is not for the weak of heart.

Finally Holly threw a towel down on the car seat for Mark to sit on and we raced home and put him in the tub. Two hours later as he went to sleep he was complaining he could still smell the gas, and was pretty sad because he wasn’t going to have any friends any more, since he stank.

Of course Holly looked at the bright side: at least nobody caught fire! We could have had an explosion and killed everybody. It’s a good thing we don’t smoke…

Proper Nouns

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Holly has been doing summer school with the boys at the dinner table each morning. all summer with some books she got.

P1050621Mark is doing the third grade book, Luke is doing the Kindergarten book, and John Caleb is doing a pre-school book. This morning Holly was teaching our Mark about proper nouns and how they should always be capitalized. “Proper nouns are things like the Grand Canyon, Haines, and names like Mark, or Luke.” And Luke cheerfully chimed in, “Or things like Fat Watermelon.”

I was making biscuits.

He Turns Three!

Two birthdays today: John Caleb turned 3 and John Charles (the oldest of my sibling’s offspring, so the oldest 1st cousin of the boys) turned 13. John Charles was up in Anchorage at the ACS tournament wrestling at 130 pounds.

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We asked J.C. (Jaysee) who he wanted to have at his birthday party and he said, “I want to have Blackie, and Papa, and Mama, and Daddy, and Uncle John, and Mark, and Luke… But Uncle John is working in Norway… He is working, isn’t he?”

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We got him a sword and shield of his own (by Schylling, made of wood, and highly recommended), so he could fight with his brothers. Blackie made the pumpkin spice cake, which was pretty good, but not as good as carrot cake. JC LOVES his superman shirts, and you can see him here wearing what must be Luke’s shirt. Sadly, we rarely find Superman shirts when we go to stores, they usually have some other shirt like a CARS shirt, or some horrible creature that I think is cool, but Holly disapproves of.

I suppose that later on when JC is in school, he’ll insist on having parties with lots of kids so he can get more presents, but he was really happy just being with family.

If you look closely, you can see my pride and  joy—the ten foot (diagonal) 16×9 projector screen that pulls down right in front of the picture window. Of course I say that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. PLUS–Still no projector. Haven’t used it yet. Stay tuned.

Multi-Tasking

So we had a busy weekend of playing house. Holy cleaned and straightened (the house looks wonderful—thank you Holly), while I worked on the straightening out the electrical system. We now have the light at the end of the walkway that Holly wanted me to put in last year, ready for the coming dark winter months.

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I put a motion sensor in the lamp but it didn’t seem to work, perhaps it only works in the dark and stays of during the daytime. I’ll experiment with it later. I split up a circuit that we had in the house. The outside lights were on the same circuit as the interior entryway hall light, which was really lousy when we wanted to leave the outside lights on at bedtime. To put in a new light switch, I used the Fein Multi-tool to plunge cut a hole in the log cabin for the light switch. I strongly recommend the Fein tool.

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The photo above was shot with my LUMIX DMC-ZS7 at ISO 125, f/3.3, and 1.6 seconds, handheld believe it or not. I find it amazing that a picture like this can be handheld for 1.6 seconds with image stabilization. Of course, there is no need to be shooting at ISO 125 after dark.

Then we went out to Chilkoot Lake to see the bears. We saw the sow with the radio collar and three cubs. You can see the mother bear multi-tasking in the picture below.

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After viewing the bears, the boys wanted to get a drink at the green fountain near the lake so we had an impromptu photo session with some eager posers.

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Mark had fun showing his guns, as did Luke. Be sure to check out the photo album below by clicking on the View Full Album link.

This photo album above is not really of my design. It is automatically generated using Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer. I recommend that anyone wanting to write a blog with photos throughout use Windows Live Writer as it really makes it easy to put photos and text.

First day of Kindergarten!

Today was the big day! Margaret came over to take a few shots of us as we headed off to school on 8/30/2010. It’s about 1.25 miles to school from our little cabin.

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Luke was all excited, “At school, I think I will learn many neat tricks! I will learn a lot of things. At recess, I will stay on the swing the whole time!”

It’s interesting what kids think about school. Luke is pretty sure he knows all about kindergarten, and how to find just about anything in the classroom, as he spent quite a few days there when Mark was in Kindergarten.

First day of School!

Today was the first day of school for grades 1-12. Kindergarten starts next week. Every year I try to take a photo on the first day of school. This year, I missed the walk to school, so I had to take a picture at the playground where the boys were playing.

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Here is the first picture I took. The boys waned to flex and show off their guns, but when I told them that I wasn’t going to take a picture like that right now, John Caleb started to melt into tears.

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This is the picture the boys wanted to be have taken.

I told them I’d take a ‘muscles’ photo after we shot the regular photo, and John Caleb cheered right up.

JC just learned to take off his shirt, so he’s always looking for a chance to take off the shirt, so whenever he gets the slightest bit warm, he smiles really big and says, “I’m getting hot!” to warn us that he’s his shirt is coming off!

I suppose we’re all like that when we learn a new skill, we want to show off.

Dr. Seuss ABC book reading by Holly

Holly likes to read to the boys like this as she puts them to sleep.  My favorite method is to grab a pile of books and get them all under the covers in the big bed and read nice and slow until they all drop off, then take a nap myself. My method isn’t as video worthy as hers, in my opinion, but you be the judge as to which is more soporific.

I shot this with my new Lumix Point & Shoot camera, DMC-ZS7, in 720p HD video and uploaded to YouTube.  I should probably be out fishing at Boat Harbor, but I wanted to come home and do stuff like this for a couple days.

I strongly recommend the Lumix ZS series cameras—the only thing I don’t like about them is that you must still switch back and forth between playback and shooting mode by moving a slider, rather than half-way depressing the shutter release button.

I think Holly does a GREAT job reading to the boys, and to the kids at the library. This video can be played in full 720p HD resolution on Youtube, so if you want to really watch it in its best form, Go to Youtube hit the high resolution button and let it download the whole thing before playing.