Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year everyone, may your year be filled with joy!

Here are some holiday images...

Before opening gifts on solstice~

Kyra eagerly awaiting gift opening.

Alec and Abbi got gaming t-shirts :)

Have a safe and happy new year~

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yes, is it Blessed.

My friend Mary posted this picture on her blog titled "Blessed Winter Solstice"
I love it. :)

I had how blessed I am driven home yesterday . And funny I should say driven...
Kyra and I were driving home from our friend Patty's house and decided to go a different way. I'm not as sure about the road there and it was dark and I suppose icey. I think I must have looked down momentarily, but when I looked up I saw a sharp curve that I struggled to make and then a stop sign that I didn't make. I ended up crossing a pretty busy highway, missing oncoming cars, and going into a ditch and taking out a no trespassing sign.

I yelled to Kyra "hang on!" and I'm not even sure how the front right corner of the Highlander got smashed. As I hit the little sign right square in the front. I know I saw an electrical pole and knew I had to miss that our we would of been in trouble. I might have grazed it.

Anyway, we're OK. The airbags didn't even go off, phew. Kyra was in the back, scared but ok.

We were sad that our new hybrid truck was damaged, but we feel so blessed and fortunate that we're OK. So, more money out for repairs, but our wonderful blessed lives are intact.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


We've started our holiday celebrations. Last weekend we had my family's get together. Kyra with her cuz Brenna.

Me and my honey. :)
Grandma and Grandpa

And even Saddi!

More to come!

~Happy Holidays everyone~

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I've always been a morning person.
This is my view from my computer this morning.

the trees were covered in fresh fallen snow.

Here's out front:

Then just a few hours later.

Kyra IMing with Sierra.

And Abbi IMing with Devon.

Its all good.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WOW part 2

Destinycloud, Abbi's roleplaying character on WOW. She's close to level 55 now. ( I had to say that ;)

OK, so lots of learning takes place while playing World of Warcraft. I guess I knew that. What I didn't know was how people learn different things. Or how different people find different things to do and learn with the same game.

Alec totally gets into the strategic side of things. He contemplates the armor he wears from the stats (attributes) it has, would it benefit his hunter's performance. He reasons with a very strategic mind.

Abbi, on the other hand, enjoys the game in a totally different way. Her way is a more imaginative way. She did start out on a regular realm. Meaning you talk to people just like you are,, a person at a computer. :) Yet, she quickly found out she liked a role-playing realm better.

When she picked her race,, what type of character she wanted, she picked an elf. She (and I) thought the elves looked pretty cool. And you get to be a druid as an elf. A druid is a cool class for several reasons. First off you get to turn into animals! :) How cool is that if you do role-playing??? You can turn into a bear, cat, porpoise type of thing , moonkin (which kind of looks like a bear standing up with horns) and now with the expansion introduced a healing druid can turn into a mystical tree. :-D The druid is a cool spiritual natural type being,, anyway, she and I were both drawn to the druids.

So, Abbi plays mostly on a role-playing server and has met many friends there. Its pretty interesting, I didn't really understand how it would work but here's how it does:

On your character you can indicate that you are a either a serious or casual role-player, also you indicate if you are looking for contacts. People can then send you a message or just start interacting with you. Some people will just start talking with you (in character,, of course ;), others will read about you if you have rsp. RSP is an add-on in which you can write up some type of description about your character.

An add-on is something you download to your game to enhance your game playing. Abbi's add-ons will help her to remember details about other people's characters or help others to read about her character, oh and one cool add on is she can click on something and it will change her whole outfit *g*. Of course Alec has that add-on too but he does it for different reasons, his armor changes would be for possibly fire resistance or frost resistance changes. Abbi's outfit changes would be ones like --her pretty purple dress or her all black outfit or her silly outfit. Alec also has some add-ons that help him with group play. He's doing raids now with up to 40 people and they all have to have add-ons to help them manage all the people. Examples of the use of add-ons in this case would be you can see everyone's health and mana, or you can see who is doing the most damage or who has the most aggro (aggro being the monster is attacking that person).

Back to role-playing. So someone may read your RSP and use that info, or they may just say something to you independent from that. They might totally bring up something random and you can just go with that. I had one person comment on my staff and I went into what I had done with it or how I found it,, some adventurous story. Its very much like improv. Abbi really gets into some elaborate storylines with other people. Where they'll even end up continuing it for days. There is also a way to talk to these people OOC (out of character) They just send messages like this ((this means I'm talking OOC)), so they can tell if they are still role-playing or meaning real life things.

This type of play really fills her need to act and create, its very cool.

Another way her creativity has flourished from WOW is writing on the role-playing forums. Right within WOW's website there are role-playing forums. Its where someone will start a story and then others can make contributions. Its also very cool. She loves to write very descriptively and loves reading other's writings. I've been amazed at her writing abilities. I never wrote anything like that until I was maybe in high school. She now types faster than me and can probably spell better than me. Which is also amazing to me because when she was 9, only 3 years ago she was asking me how to spell everything. Now I ask her *g*.

Some people have asked if its good for such a young girl to be interacting with others in a place like this. We can't say that she hasn't ran into some jerks. But there have been more nice, generous, fun people than the other. I have seen her handle people who make her feel uncomfortable and I've seen her modify what she does so she meets people who she'd like to play with. She now has a very good friend who she met through role-playing. This girl is the same age and is also a homeschooler. :) They've also gotten to know each other through IMing and their myspace spaces. She is very excited to hear about our unschooling. They have slowly been getting to know each other more and more. They don't divulge personal info very quickly, I've seen how this works. ( She's very choosy about what she shares with others.)

We've had nothing but good experiences with our WOW playing. Fun and learning abound!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Living the life of joy

And today's daily groove by Scott Noelle was right in sync. Maybe he explains why it does work. Makes sense to me. Although he refers to it as the pleasure principle or creative pleasure--that sounds good too.

There are 2 parts, they're short. :)

Here's Part 1 of The Creative Pleasure Principle:

Imagine you're in a choir, singing a difficult piece, and it's not coming together. But you persist, and eventually the ensemble achieves perfect harmony, emanating a sound that gives you chills from head to toe!

That's a dramatic example of creative pleasure: the feeling of coming into alignment with your heart's desire.

Creative pleasure is a universal principle. It's related to the Law of Attraction, by which similar thoughts and experiences are drawn to each other. As thought and desire come into alignment, pleasure is felt and creation unfolds.

You could say that atoms and molecules "feel pleasure" when they come together to create higher orders of complexity and intelligence. Thus, the Creative Pleasure Principle informs all of nature, from the smallest flea, to the tallest tree, to the human parent and child.

Today, notice that you feel better when your thoughts are aligned with your desires — when you believe you can have what you want.

And part 2:

Since the Creative Pleasure Principle informs every level of creation — matter, body, mind, and spirit — the most natural way to create a wonderful life is by simply "following your pleasure."

Being pleasure-oriented empowers you and your child to co-create a mutually satisfying relationship. Children are innately pleasure-oriented, but they can become "dis-oriented" by the anti-pleasure aspects of our culture.

Some parents think that if they were totally pleasure-oriented, they'd abandon their children! This arises from confusion between authentic pleasure and pseudo-pleasure — the shallow pleasure of aligning with the distortions of the dominator culture.

One such distortion is the idea that suffering earns you the "right" to feel good. A parent who believes that may feel "good" about attending to personal desires at the child's expense: "I suffered as a child; now it's MY turn to get what I want!"

Thus pseudo-pleasure perpetuates the win/lose, dominator culture. Only the authentic pleasure of aligning your thoughts and actions with your heart's desires can create a win/win, partnership culture: "My child and I can BOTH find satisfaction... I don't know how, but there must be a way."

Today, as you make parenting choices, wait for the feeling of authentic, creative pleasure before you take action.


I think if we breathe and take the time to get to know our kids, it can happen.

Pause, find that mindfulness and (maybe) groove, you can find a joy and so can your child.

We can forge a partnership with our children and I really think joy is the way.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Just making sure

I just wanted to make sure people know that I don't justify Alec's video game playing on the sole reason of how much he's learning. (I actually wrote that out for some people who might like to see the "schooly" or "academic" type of learning that can go on while playing.) I know deep down that what he chooses and what keeps his attention and gives him so much joy is the right thing for Alec. :)

Really, it is the joy. Like Pam Sorooshian said one time "if its not fun, we probably don't do it" . It might sound somewhat flip, but its so true and anything but flip. This choice of ours to live this way was a well thought through decision. What a wonderful gift to give our children right now. This opportunity to find what speaks to their soul.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Learning through World of Warcraft (WOW) Part 1

My mage :)

OK, so just to warn you, this will be a long one *g*.... and technical. This is a hard post to write because there's so much information, but I'll do my best and take it a step at a time. Just like Alec does when he's leveling his characters. :) (Oh and most of this makes sense to me from him explaining it to me)

This is just a touch of what type of thinking/learning goes into playing WOW.

For those of you not familiar with World of Warcraft or WOW, it is a MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Roleplaying Game). Meaning you take on the role of some sort of character. And you also play with lots of other people who are sitting at computers just like yourself.

This will be an extensive explanation of playing the game. You really don't have to play this seriously but I'm going to go into this depth because this is how my son has played it. When he plays a game its pretty thorough, every detail is important to him. I will also touch on other things we've learned from the game in following posts.

First off, you have to choose which type of realm(world) you want to be in, it depends on what style of play you like. These are the types: Role-playing (RP), Player vs Player (PVP), regular (our choice with the characters mentioned later) and RP, PVP together.

After choosing what realm you're going to play in, you get to then pick your character that you want to play. These characters have certain qualities and certain classes that they can be. For example, Alec picked a dwarf because he wanted to be a hunter(class) and dwarves have the highest agility stats starting out. Agility is a good attribute for a hunter. You can also be a night elf hunter but the dwarf will have 24 agility and the night elf only has 20. (I'll explain that later.) I knew I wanted to be a mage so I had the choice between gnome or human, I chose human. She's prettier. *g* Stats aren't as important to me ;) We also have other characters--my priest, hunter and druid are night elves. Alec's warrior is a human and his shaman is a Tauren. The Tauren are a race on the Horde side.

Most of our characters are on the Alliance side, but there is also the option of playing with the Horde side. These 2 sides can battle and you can choose to be on either one. The horde side is a little scarier looking, yet its debatable whether they are the "bad" guys though. ;)

OK, so Alec has a dwarf hunter and starts to level him. Which means you pretty much run around killing things, (different mobs) which gives you a certain amount of experience points. You also do quests which give you experience. Quests can be running errands, helping out a npc (non player character/a character in the game not being played by a person) or a lot of times looking for a lost person *g*. A LOT of map reading, which I'm not so good at ;) my kids help me. :)

So you get experience and you level up. Math coming into play here- you want to know how much exp (experience you need to get to level 2) You have 30 exp but you need 300 to get to level 2. Also you want to know how many monsters you have to kill to get to that next level--lets see you get 50 exp for each kill and you have 270 points left.. do the division, and voila. That's pretty simple but when you get up in the level 50s,, sigh, you need like, (I just looked and I need 173,900 exp to get to level 55 and I'm at 77,992) You do get more exp per kill now but it take a lot of work to level up in those higher levels.

Next would come equip (how Alec terms it) it would include your armor and weapons and different ways of making your hunter better. As you are killing these mobs (monsters) you will get drops from them. You kill a certain monster and they might drop any of the following: a piece of armor, weapon , a crafting material, money. You might be able to use the item, you might not. A hunter can wear leather, and at higher levels mail. My mage can only wear cloth.Certain classes use certain types of weapons also, like Alec's hunter can use swords, axes and bows or guns. My mage can use staves, wands and can get trained in a sword too, (I just found that out!) So you look for certain things. Also as you are looking for drops you want to look at the stats or attributes on the items. Like right now my wand is this:

Wand of Biting Cold
67-125 Frost Damage
(64.0 damage per second) speed 1.50
Equip Increases damage done by frost spells & effects by up to 16.

This wand is good for me because I'm a frost mage. I raise my frost talents with skill points. (I don't even go into skill points in this blog post ;))

My wand right now doesn't have any added attributes though. I think I could have +Mana regeneration put on it or +Spirit but I can't afford it right now. :)

Attributes would include these things and certain attributes are better for some classes over others. A list of Attributes:

Strength-Modest Improvements to Melee Damage
Stamina-Higher Hit Points
Agility-Minorly Increases Chance to Dodge
Intellect-More Mana, Raise Critical Hit with Spells
Spirit-Improves Hit Point/Mana Regeneration

(Hit points are your health points, and Mana is your magic points. Not every class has mana, but all have hit points.)

A hunter would want agility(having this attribute will raise your chance to get a critical hit, dodge and increases damage done at range and in melee) so you'd look for armor with +agility, or you might even want some +spirit too so you can use your special skills with markmanship. :) This is where it gets complicated for me,,(well there are other places too but this is one *g*) Alec will advise me on what armor is better for me, as a mage. He ends up advising quite a few people on what pieces (armor and weapons) are the best choices. I see him getting tells(messages) all the time, "bro, what piece is better?" hehe..

Here are my mage's Attributes right now:

Strength 29
Increases Attack Power by 19
Agility 33
Increases Critical Hit Chance by 5%
Stamina 93
Increases Health by 750
Intellect 296
Increases Mana by 4160
Increases Spell Critical Hit by 5.82%
Spirit 229
Increases Mana Regeneration by 34 per sec
Armor 758
Reduces Physical Damage Taken by 13.16%

Lots of math here too because you can also alter the stats on your equip with enchanments, enchantments are enhancements that can be added to things. Like you can have +15 agility put on a back piece or you can have +30% added damage bonus on your weapon. So as you are evaluating your equip, all these things come into play and it will ultimately play into how much damage you do or how well your character does in the world of Azeroth. :)

You can get your items from drops but you can also get your items from the auction house (the AH). That is the way you can make money,,oh yeah,,here's more math. You usually will have an amount of money on you, you can find money on the mobs you kill or you can sell items you find to make money. Using the AH is an amazing learning experience. You can put up items, you set the low bid price, you can put in a buy out price, and then you wait. Lots of economics principles going on here. People will put things up for just a bit lower to move things quicker or not put in a buyout price at all, if its really rare,, they'll let people bid it out. You are actually bidding against other players and interacting with these people. (Socializing)

As you get higher in your levels the equip, obviously, gets better-- usually cooler looking too,, keeps you wanting to level. :)

So, lots of math going on,, lots of evaluating, remembering what means what--- it's amazing.

Just a note: Most of this knowledge was gathered by playing and researching online. Alec can spend hours reading about how to make his equip better and also how to bring down the mobs. The stategies to be successful at these higher levels is pretty complicated. You do a lot with big groups, 20 man and 40 man. More on that later...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

W.O.W. what a life.

We've had WOW (World of Warcraft) in our life now for about a year. And its been a blast. Most of our family plays and have thoroughly enjoyed our life in the world of Azeroth!

Below was our set up last weekend. We just got a laptop that has the capability to play it too! :) So Ben, our nephew, is playing there also. Alec is playing his dwarf there and Abbi is probably roleplaying in a roleplaying server. (More details about that later. :)

Alec right now is enjoying the status of level 60. 60 is as high as you can go right now, I say right now because in January an expansion is coming out and then you can level to 70. Wow! And I mean Wow! ;)

Alec's game play has changed quite a bit in the last couple of months. At level 60 you can group with other people and do large group instances. At earlier levels you could do 5 man instances but now at level 60 Alec can do 20 man and 40 man. This larger group activity is usually called raiding. You usually get together with your guild and do these very organized (organized if you want it to go successful) instances. An instance is an area in the game where only people in your party get to participate. Others walking around will not see you or your party members. The experience is created just for the party (your group).

Here's a picture of Alec's guild looking at Onyxia. He did this last night and was sooo excited about it. This group activity(instance) is designed to be done by a 40 man group. Alec's guild is just getting going on the end game instance so they only had 26 people. Which was amazing, they almost brought her(Onyxia, the dragon) down. Their FIRST time! They got her down to 23% of her health before everyone wiped. (Alec's term,, wiped --everyone getting killed)
You can't really see Alec's character (Brincamian) because he's a little guy, a dwarf. His red little head might be up at the top but I'm not sure if that him or another dwarf. They are all just standing in awe of her. :) It is so fun to watch/listen to all of this. The use teamspeak so the members doing it can talk to each other, beside typing messages too. Although they only allow the raid leader, usually, to talk,, you can imagine the chaos that could ensue if all 20-40 people were talking. Its amazing, the organization it takes to do one of these things, the patience and thinking that goes into it all.

Their guild is called the riders of pern, you'll see that below each character's name.

Here's another picture. This is Brincamian, doing his dwarf dance. We love having the character's dance. My character which is a human does the macarana. :P I'll post some more pics later with of all of our characters together.

Oh, and if anyone is interested the game itself is very resonably priced right now, under $20.00. You have to pay a monthly fee, but we are really enjoying it and its been worth the money. I'll post later, all of the things that I've seen that have come from playing WOW. From reading skills to socializing. :)

WE DID IT ! :)

Yep, we got the lights up on it. *g* It was a bit challenging, but worth the work! I just love sitting in that room now. We turn off all the other lights in the house and just stare at the holiday lights. I have lights all over right now, up the stairway and also above a closet with a little tree up there.

Here's Tim working hard.
And the decorating. :) We also got to have 2 of our nephews stay with us this weekend. We love having them here. Matt is helping Kyra in this pic.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What do you do for fun?

I'm constantly amazed by these kiddos of mine. OK, I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again.

I'm amazed.

This week Abbi was voicing her frustration with not being in a play for a while. She so wants to be in one but our town really hasn't had much to offer her lately. There will be try outs for a musical in a couple of weeks but she was feeling like doing something now.

So she starts thinking about maybe memorizing something. Hmmmm,, what could it be? She really likes V is for Vendetta and had memorized his V speech for the Live and Learn Conference,, hmm. I suggest maybe a Shakespeare play, because I have the complete works of the bard right there in the living room. :) She jumps at that. "YES!" she exclaims. *g*

But what should she memorize? She decides on an excerpt from A Midsummer's Night Dream. She likes monologues,, long ones. She can go on and on with stuff that she's memorized, and she does it so quickly. It blows my mind. I've never been very good at memorizing so I am in true awe. :)

This is what she decided to memorize:

Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,--O, is it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What thought I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise.
I understand not what you mean by this.
Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well: 'tis partly my own fault;
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.

Yep, all of that. And we thought we'd maybe do it up good. Have someone record us doing it (I'll do ALL of Hermia's lines *g*) and I told her maybe we could put it on youtube or something. I'll share it once we do it.

I think she had it down in about a hour.

Gotta love this unschooling.

Oh,, and below is the beginning of a poncho she decided to make this week.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas..

We received a tree from my parents. They needed to clear some space around their cabin and wanted to know if we could use a tree. "Sure!" I said.

Little did I know that it was a HUGE tree, we thought it was maybe going to be about 12 feet,, it measured around 18 but after we got it trimmed up its about 14. :)

Yeah, its big, but beautiful! Not quite sure how I'm gonna get lights on it. *g* "Bring in the ladder!"

Grandpa had to take a break after getting it in the house!