Thursday, June 29, 2006

Visitors :)

We have Diana, Hayden and Britanny (Diana's niece) visiting us now. :) We're all happy to have them back here with us. So fun to be with our unschooling buds.

Last night we had fun playing Halo, toontown, listening to new and old music, working on all of our My Spaces. :D Several of us have My Spaces now and we're really having fun with them. Abbi continues to amaze me with her abilities to create, figure out and communicate. She's been helping Diana and me figure out the whole layout process and such. Adding music, videos,, all sorts of stuff.

Diana and I sit in awe of these cool little people,,(some not so little anymore ;) We also sit and miss Hannah. We still have such a hole amidst us, and it will always be here. We try and remember the happy and fun times,, how can we not, she was such a fun, happy kid. I love the picture above, wanted to share. :D Its Hannah, Hayden with the most awesome grin, and Kyra

Today we're hoping to hit the lake if its warm enough. Some other things we're gonna do while they're here: sculpture walk, pick strawberries at a local farm,,(you get to eat as many as you want while there ), do more Mehndi (henna painting on the body), watch movies (we always have list that we want to watch together, Crash is on that list, we watched it here last week but we want to share it with Diana) Tim is going to hang Buddhist prayer flags in our woods, sit, enjoy a fire, go on the rides at the water carnival,,, Life is Good :)

Ohh and remember our babies? (the caterpillars) we now have 3 chrysalises and 1 very fat caterpillar. :) We'll take pictures of them when they come out, about 2 weeks. The 2 that were always by each other have made their chrysalises right beside each other.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Twin fawns

Just wanted to share a pic of the twin fawns that have been hanging around our yard the last week or so. Wish I could have gotten closer.

They're so cute. Saddi our dog goes wild in the house but they just calmly walk around.

Here's one thing we love about being back in Bemidji.


We just love henna. :) (Above, Kyra is looking at all the patterns for ideas.

We've been doing henna tatoos for the last year or so. Ever since Diana introduced it into our lives. thank you Diana!

Today we're attempting to apply some stencils that I got in a henna kit. Beth gave me a gift certificate to the local co-op and I got this cool kit with it.

We're having some difficulties though. Can't quite get the prints to come off on us. Tried oils and fingernail polish in the attempts but still no luck. I'm thinking we might need to get some tracing paper or something.

The henna stuff has been so cool for us. Just as were doing our first ones with Diana, last year, we also had watched the movie Kingdom of Heaven. And right in that movie the princess' maids were doing henna tatoos! So its been very cool to read about the history of henna and all the customs that include henna. We never knew that henna was an important part to so many different cultures.

I'd love to be able to do some of the more intricate work that we've seen in books and on people. For now we'll just stick to the simpler patterns and freehanding it. We are getting better all the time though,, learning to use our pinkies to steady our hand. ;)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We have our babies! The babies we have every year. :)

OK,,, so they're caterpillars but they ARE babies.

Every year we go out and hunt for milkweed plants to bring home some Monarch caterpillars. We all love them and sometimes we get a bit obsessive with them. :) One year we had to bring them over to a friend of ours to babysit them while we were gone. ;) We've raised them, several times, from egg. :)

This year we cut a plant off and got 3 pretty good sized ones (about an inch long) and then one tag along I didn't see til we got home (about 1/8 inch) lol

Every morning we go and find some fresh leaves for them and then also squirt a bit of water on them to imitate the morning dew. (I don't quite get out there that early,, the dew it dry.)

The picture above isn't very clear,, sorry, couldn't get the camera to take a very clear one that close. On the left there are actually 2,, looking right at each other, you can't really see the one under. Then on the right is the little one and another big one. It was funny, this morning I went to take out the old leaves to replace them and 3 of them were all on 1 leaf. :) Awwww,,,, togetherness.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Busy, but not..

We have 3 extra boys staying/playing at our house right now. My 2 nephews and a friend of Alec's have come to stay for a few days. Its so much fun having them here. Everyone is excited and bubbly to have the extra personalities around. :)

For me its extra busy sometimes,,short spurts, but then it will be followed by long periods of quiet. Whoa,,,

Then I kind of sit back and wonder, "what should I do now?"

Some sounds I hear: "YEAH, YEAH!" from Alec's room (x-box central), "maybe she wants to wear this" coming from Kyra's room (Bratz central) and "click, click, clickety click (Abbi on the computer).

So i can sit back a bit and breathe in the fresh summer air. I love our porch, screened in so i can be outside, yet not be attacked by the squiters. I feel such a calm from the trees around. Love it. :D

I included a pic I took of the table in front of me as I sit in the porch. It shows a lot of my favorite things. :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New link for her movie

OK,, here's a new link for her edited movie. She had forgotten to change the last piece of music transition.

Movie being edited

Abbi's movie link isn't going to be up and working for a bit. She's editing some of the sound right now. Please come back again and check it out!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Abbi's Movie

Abbi finished her movie! Yayyyy!

Its called "Kumal" and its about a wolf. She's been working so diligently on it.

Here's a link to it and I've also put it on the sidebar of this blog. She's loving the movie making process.

Not so joyful, but that's OK

Yes, we have our not so joyful times too. I haven't written about it much, but felt like sharing a bit today.

Stressful times....

Trying to satisfy everyones needs is sometimes a challenge. On Friday night we went to Cars and it was gonna be this whole family thing, Kyra especially likes to do things with the whole family. Well, Abbi really would have liked to go to Da Vinci Code but decided it was OK if we went to that later. And Alec really wanted to play his new Half Life 2 game but also decided that going for Kyra's happiness was OK. We talked about little bits of giving for other people and how much it meant to her and he agreed.

OK, so we get back from the movie and Alec tries to play his game.....grrrrrrrr.....but we can't get it going,,dang game is so demanding that we can't figure it out. It goes a bit then freezes up. We try and try but after a while my eyes are crossing and I have to go to bed, Alec keeps trying and still fails. :( So, he has to wait.

In the morning I get up and start cleaning out old video drivers, loading new drivers, loading all sorts of stuff,,, and still no game! Then finally I find an upgrade I hadn't thought of checking and I get it working,,,, (I think)

I excitedly go get Alec up,, its pretty late,,:D and he tries the game and, and,,,,it freezes up AGAIN! ugh
We were both getting pretty depressed and finally he decided to set all the display and sound settings lower and voila................. IT WORKED!

Good job Alec.


Pokemon has invaded our house again. Alec used to play Pokemon, pre-Yu-gi-O days. But now its Kyra who is getting into it. All from Abbi sharing a funny movie she found while working on hers. I'll share a link to it as soon as she gets up and helps me find it,,,(grrrrr,,, I can't find it.)

This movie was really funny because instead of having Pokemon trainers, its Human trainers. lol With Pokemon using humans to fight.

So that got Kyra to wanting to play Pokemon gold on her Nintendo SP. She's really coming along on her reading. To play this game you have to read about the different Pokemon, different attacks, read instructions and lots more. We've never sat down and done any formal instruction of reading with her. We've read to her, listened to her read and her just living her life has been enough. Its been great.

I was a bit scared of this a few years ago because both Alec and Abbi learned in school. But I read about these other unschoolers whose kids had learned to read on their own time schedules and it was such a joyous existance in the meanwhile. I trusted Kyra would learn to read and now she doing just that.

After playing her SP for a while she wanted to get the Pokemon cards out and play with them. We have a lot of pokemon cards from Alec and she has some of her own too. We sit down and sort, organize and read through them. She says she'd really like to get some new ones and she has allowance! So into town we go, I have to run some errands and she has some Pokemon to buy.

When we get back we ask Alec if he's like to explain the Pokemon stuff to us. He's up for that. Nice.

Over the weekend she plays Pokemon with me, Tim and Alec. She and Alec spend hours playing, strategizing and just plain hanging out together enjoying this common passion--trading cards and strategic play.

It was a really cool time for them to connect.

Other things we did this weekend,, Tim and I actually got some shelves to organize movies and video games on. Yayyy. Tim mowed, I did some searching for some more yarn for a poncho I'm working on for Abbi, Abbi worked on her movie and played WoW, Alec played on X-box live, beat Half Life 2 Episode 1, did the whole Pokemon thing and organized a stay for his cousins and friend from Moorhead for this week.

Friday, June 09, 2006

So Cool!

Abbi has been having so much fun with Windows Movie Maker and a download she found that can record her World of Warcraft character.

After seeing this: (thanks Shannon)

we HAD to figure out how to make some movies! So, she's been hard at it and I'll share it once she's finished.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Latin anyone?

Did you know that playing a video game could lead someone to wanting to learn a foreign language?

Did you know that there is Latin in Final Fantasy VII?

Alec wants to learn more about Latin now. He was playing Final Fantasy VII a couple of weeks ago because of Advent Children coming out. (Advent Children is a Final Fantasy movie that was just released. very cool, awesome animation!) While he was playing that game he really started enjoying the music from it. Then he watched Advent Children and heard some of the same music in that. Now he's frantically waiting for his sountrack from that movie to arrive! :)

He's been carrying around the lyrics to "One Winged Angel" which is this cool song from both the game and movie. The song is sung in Latin, so he was able to print out the words in Latin and also got the translation. And he also had some very cool discussions with his Grandpa A. about Latin. Grandpa used to teach Latin so what an amazing connection for the two of them.

Here's what Alec has been singing the last couple of weeks:

Estuans interius ira vehementi
Estuans interius ira vehementi
Sephiroth Sephiroth

Estuans interius ira vehementi
Estuans interius ira vehementi
Sephiroth Sephiroth

Sors immanis et inanis
Sors immanis et inanis
Estuans interius ira vehementi
Estuans interius ira vehementi
Sephiroth Sephiroth

Chorus I
Veni, veni, venias
ne me mori facias

Chorus II
Glorioso generosa
Glorioso generosa

I'll be looking into some Latin books this week.

Unschooling rocks!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Overlooking Niagara Falls

Our Recent Travels

We're back from our travels.

First to Toronto, then we headed off to Brainerd, MN for Memorial weekend. Phew... a bit tired. And now we're gonna head over to Moorhead for a nephew's graduation party. Wahoo... he's done with high school! We're happy for him.

Well,,, Toronto, lets see. We first headed over to Niagara. Tim picked up the rental car and we drove over. Here's what I wrote as we headed out of Toronto enroute to Niagara.

"As we start our journey, I reach for a little music to calm everyone's nerves, (you know, those driving on an interstate, not knowing where to go nerves) what do I first see in Kyra's cds? Hanna's music disc 1 ! :) So perfectly timed we have Bob Marley singing "three little birds" ~ "don't worry, about a thing, cuz every little thing's gonna be alright" Nice, thanks Hannah!"

So,,,en route to Niagara,,,, we see beautiful countryside, some little towns and Vineyards! Or "Vine-yards" as Alec would say. ;) He starts this amazing interesting conversation about the word "vineyard" lol. Why is it pronounced vin-yard, not vine-yard? He so blows my mind, I've never thought about that, never heard anyone else ask about that. I guess I just always accepted what I heard and that was that. Not Alec, always asking, always inquiring,, awesome! That's why we had to get him out of school so he kept asking those questions!

OK, so we talk about pronunciations, different language origins, French, (because of vin=wine). Nice. I never knew there were vineyards in this area of Canada. Learning all the time :D

Got to Niagara Falls, stayed in a nice hotel right next to the falls. "Look, I can see the falls from my tub!" is what I exclaimed when we walked into our room. Abbi seemed the most amazed by the falls, Alec didn't think they were "that" great, he thought he'd seen others, but I'm not sure what ones. We were a bit miffed at the whole touristy thing there. I know they have to make money though. One example that we were aggravated with was here we were right next to the falls yet we had to pay to actually get down to the falls! There weren't any stairs to just walk down the hill to the viewing areas. Yes we could walk blocks down to a street but no stairs to be able to just walk down there some way from the hotel area. Oh,, yeah, you can pay to ride a lift, but oh, if you go after 6:00 pm you're screwed cuz its closed. :P

We toured behind the falls and Alec did concede that that WAS cool. lol Getting to feel the water on your face was amazing, we opted out of the boat ride near it. Kids were still a bit leary of waves since our whale watching trip in MA.

The next day we left Niagara and decided to check out Niagara on the Lake on the way back to Toronto. That was a really cute little town and we got to drive right by some more vineyards on the way. Stopped at a cute little shop that was selling their wine and had to pick some up for us and friends. Felt a bit like "Sideways" and decided that we should make a trip to CA to see those vineyards too.

When we got back to the Toronto area we e-mailed Pam L. , got directions to her house and headed out to visit her the next morning. :D

Ahhhhh,, what fun we had visiting with them. Its always so awesome to visit with another unschooling family. Our families just mesh together. Smooth is the word that comes to mind when we get together with these wonderful of families. :) Its so nice to visit and spend time with people that actually see their children as whole, wonderful beings. And the kids are so happy. Alec and Joseph and Michael did the gaming thang and the girls hung with Alyssa doing their thang. All had a blast,,including moms and dads too. :D

The kids had such a great time that they didn't want to even go to the hotel with Tim and I, so they spent the night with Pam and her family and Tim and I had a night together! Wow, and it was our 16th wedding anniversary! Coolies~

After Pam's house, we thought we would go to Wonderland, go to the zoo, go to a lot of museums while we were in Toronto, but those things didn't happen. The kids were happy with site seeing on our own and hanging here and there. It was a bit hard because we went with Tim so he wouldn't be alone, so we didn't want to leave and miss him when he got off each day. That cut into our touring a bit but that's OK, we learned that we really like to be together and don't want any of us to miss things! :-D

We did get out and see the CN tower and that was really interesting. Before we got there earlier in the week, the girls and I had been out doing something and came back to find Alec reading all about "tallest buildings in the world". Very cool that we had a laptop with. He informed us about the fact that there are lots of locales that claim to have the tallest building. He went on to show us the different characteristics in buildings/towers, freestanding and not. Never knew all that! OH! And found out that THE tallest structure right now is KVLY's tower, one of Fargo- Moorhead's TV stations! So we got a laugh out of that. Here were are in Toronto Canada, thinking we're gonna see the tallest structure and right back in North Dakota it stands! lol

But,,,,, that isn't freestanding ;) (Alec would remind me of that!)

That conversation also lead to a discussion of the 2 towers of NY also, since they were among the tallest too.

We also visited Chinatown while there. Amazing how far something is when you actually start walking there! (Didn't look very far on the little downtown map! lol) But it was worth the walk. The girls and I explored on the way, got a bit lost. But found a cool part of town that was very thriving,, kind of up townish but wasn't up town. Found a Baskin-Robbins for Abbi and sat in a little park area in the middle of a apartment area eating our treats. Kyra found a black squirrel to visit and play with and of course the numerous pigeons to converse with. :)

Chinatown had a lot of shops and a lot of people. Found some cool things, Kyra got a big parasol, like an umbrella you'd put in a drink but about 4 feet long. :D Got some new chopsticks to eat our Ramen with, enjoyed all the Chinese writing everywhere, enjoyed a fry bread type of snack that kind of tasted like warm fortune cookie but looked like little packing bubbles. Oh and found some cool things for Diana and Hayden. We kept saying,,,"ooh, ooh,, Hayden would like this",, or "Diana would like this" lol

We were tempted to go to see the Lord of the Rings play but it was SO expensive and thought we better not. We heard its gonna be in London too so we're hoping to see it there when we go there. Maybe it will be less $$,,, maybe, maybe not. lol

When we got back to Bemidji, Thursday, our stay at home was brief. Next day we left for Brainerd and Grand View Lodge, the Traaseth family reunion was beginning. Tim's family gets together every Memorial weekend. Courtesy mom and pop Traaseth, we get to enjoy a resort. And oh what a nice resort! And we actually got to stay right by the lake this time, Gull Lake. Wahoo!

It was a beautiful weekend warm and relaxing, probably drank too much wine but it was nice. Just hanging, relaxing, and lots of playing- in the sand, pool, cards, video games and visiting.

Now we're home for another day, phew, and gonna leave tomorrow to head to FM for the grad party I mentioned earlier. We might get to see Hayden and Diana, we'll for sure get to see Grandma and Grandpa S. And lots of Tim's family.

Off to pack once again. :)