Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Can't Believe We're There...

There??......or here! :)

We're in Corvallis. In the wonderfully happy home of the Golds. ahhhh..

We're so happy to finally see Corvalis...hang at The Sunnyside Up....(with the Golds and Diana and Hayden!) ...see our amazing friends who have just relocated here...and to patiently contemplate about our future home. Who knows where we'll end up, but this town is sure in the running.

But first...we flew into Seattle and WOW. I remember being at Pike's Market before, but I didn't remember all the amazing artisans that were there! Kyra, Abbi and I were in heaven... 3-4 hours of heaven

And the Non-con has begun...

More to come...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're getting ready to be gone for a while. This weekend we'll all be in the Minneapolis area as my dad is having back surgery. Then Monday the 29th the girls and I are heading out to Oregon. Alec is going to stay back and keep Tim company.

Corvallis is our destination.
I'm sure it'll be an amazing non-con, dianapalooza, birthday celebrating, Amy groovin' time.

Oh yeah... and it's my 40th birthday on Sunday :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Glad for All Kinds of Play


Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder

I came across this book at a homeschooler's blog. The writer at the blog loved it. It talks about the importance of the connection between nature and children. How important it is for kids to get outside. Turn off the TV, breathe the fresh air.



Can't kids have both? Can't they have the outdoors and the indoors? Nature and the computer? I guess I've seen too many unhappy kids who haven't been allowed their own choice in the matter. They're told to go outside, even if they are happier inside, even if it's cold or rainy.

Aren't there going to be people who just want to do something different..who feel fulfilled or inspired by things inside? Is that bad? I don't think so. On that note I'm soo glad that the compuser, Nobuo Uematsu, was allowed to play the piano (I bet it was inside ;) He's the composer of the Final Fantasy music that I linked on an earlier post and you should hear the beautiful song that Abbi is playing from him. (Just listen!)

I love the outdoors. I love the trees, the grass, water, mountains (when I get to see them).. all of that. I love being outside and hearing the birds, especially the loons. Sitting outside with a fire and watching the stars is magnificent. But I also can see emptiness/sadness in some children's eyes as they are told to go outside. Even if the parents are with them, doing cool stuff... people aren't always going to feel that connection. Or maybe they feel some connections, but they feel a bigger pull to figuring out a problem via a computer. Or they want to watch a story unfold on a screen.

I just hope that people will stop long enough to listen to their children. Some people will sit and listen to the birds and the water running down the stream but not stop long enough to hear or see what their children really love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pets are great

We're sad right now. About 3 days ago Abbi's guinea pig, Rosie, stopped eating and drinking. We held her tonight as she died.

She was about 6 years old so we know she lived a long life, but we're still so sad.

We still have Kyra's pig, Sam, but Rosie was our first and she was a cutie--very sweet and pretty calm. Sam is hyper and rowdy. Two distinct personalities, for sure.

We'll miss you Rosie.

She's on the left.

da pumpkin patch

Give ya a cookie if you can guess what we're doing...

Yes, we are....

Pumpkin chunkin' -- the ever popular fall activity that's sweeping the nation ;)

We weren't sure what this animal was..

And we walked the corn maze, after dark..bwaaa haa haa.

OK, so in northern MN the corn isn't as high as an elephant's eye, but we still had fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Aye, Selkies

The girls and I watched The Secret of Roan Inish last night. We had watched the movie years ago but none of us could remember much-- I could remember some and the girls couldn't remember any of it.

The reason I thought of it was because I picked up a game the last time we were down in the cities. It's called Magical Creatures and its basically Clue but the characters within are magical creatures; creatures like: a mermaid, a unicorn, a phoenix, a fairy. In the game you're trying to save the selkie.

Well, The Secret of Roan Inish is also about selkies and I thought Kyra would like it. We all loved it. It's a film chuck full of stuff we love: people sharing stories, the sea, the coast, water, Ireland, thatched roof houses, hope, love and family connections.

This is what a film critic wrote about it.. yeah, he puts it beautifully.

Critic Stephen Holden, of The New York Times, liked the film's direction. He wrote, "The Secret of Roan Inish is the first film directed by Mr. Sayles that could be described as visually rhapsodic. Photographed by Haskell Wexler on Ireland's rugged northwestern seacoast, it is a cinematic tone poem in which man and nature, myth and reality flow together in a way that makes them ultimately indivisible."

"Visually rhapsodic, cinematic tone poem.. man and nature, myth and reality flow together" *G* nice.

I told Kyra as we were sitting there. "ya know, my Grandpa Ray was from Ireland. And he was really dark like that. We could be descendants from those people" ;) As I smiled at her.

We don't know much about my maternal grandfather's history. He came from Ireland but not much else.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Abbi is playing more piano. We had printed out some sheet music from Final Fantasy X, titled, To Zanarkand. It's quite beautiful. Here's the song, thought I'd share a version with a concert orchestra playing it:

So first she plays "Mad World", now "To Zanarkand". At first I was thinking.. she should really go through those beginner books and learn to read the music better. But why? Why not help her do what she wants to do. She is learning note reading while she's learning music she really likes. Isn't that cool?

Now more cool stuff. She also likes ragtime music so I've found Joplin stuff to play for her and I have a simple version of Entertainer that she's learned some of.. and I've always wanted to play Maple Leaf Rag but I've never had the music. So last night I decide to look for it online. I find it at a free site and print it out. I'm going to learn it. She loves listening to it.

After printing out the music I decide to go through my e-mails, besides receiving Daily OM messages I also receive Daily OM music. Guess what yesterday's was called? Piano Starts Here: Art Tatum

I've never heard of Art Tatum so we listen to the sampling. Here he's an amazing jazz/ragtime pianist. Very cool.

Here's a clip of him playing. He's mostly blind, from birth.

I had never heard of him before... took piano lessons for 10 years. But didn't have a computer at my disposal or YouTube. What a resource!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Got chills?

I do.

To get us through until the next season of American Idol :)

He's a mobile phone salesman..
not for much longer I bet...beautiful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Learning all the time

Me included.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This morning I couldn't sleep. It was early and I knew Alec would be up, he's been back on more of a night schedule lately. I thought I'd go down to him and see how Half Life 2 Episode 2 was going. He was already done with it and was reading some wikipedia stuff about it.

I've been feeling like I haven't been able to spend much time with him lately so I asked him how the game was, he answers, "good".

hmmmmm... I'm thinking. So I ask "was it fun?" He says, "yes".

That's all he says. I'm feeling like, here I'm trying to talk and you're not wanting to...grumble, grumble.... I leave him alone a bit.

Later we go upstairs to get him some food and I ask, "so what was fun about it?" He kind of thinks and says, "I don't know, it was just fun. It was more fun than Portal. If that's what you want to know." OK, he's probably getting annoyed with me now. But do I stop? ugh, no.

I reply "well, I just thought maybe you would want to elaborate on the game. Why you liked it, why it was fun. I just felt like we hadn't had much time together lately and wanted to talk with you about what you had been doing."

He doesn't know what to say. Here, his mother is obviously the needy one in this scenario, and he's probably just wanting to go to bed. He kind of shrugs. We exchange a few more comments and he understands, but I'm sure, is annoyed with me.

So I pushed and pushed him and he felt pressure.

Not a good morning for me as a mom. I don't do this as much as I used to, but it still comes out. I think it's residue of the controlling parent I'm hoping to leave behind. I hope he went to bed OK, I apologized and I think he shrugged me off, but I truly wish I wouldn't have pushed. I should have just been happy to listen to what he had to say and see that this morning wasn't going to be much of a bonding time. If I would have been up with him while he was playing it, it would have been a totally different thing, but I wasn't. And instead of just accepting that, I forced my agenda..wanting to be in touch with someone who wasn't wanting it at that time.

Always learning right?

And then I get this Daily OM~ spot on. I think it's very relevant to fostering wonderful parent/child relationships and other relationships as well. I know I need to remember it.

Lessons Of Reflection

When we care about people, we want to save them from pain by offering them the benefit of our experience. Sometimes we feel like we know what is best for them. Sometimes, like when their safety is involved, we need to step in, but those times are rare. More often we find ourselves becoming frustrated when our close friends or family members do not use our relationship insights or follow our dietary advice, and this is where we find our challenge. We may even find ourselves becoming angry when they choose another path. This strength of feeling is usually a sign that our motivations go beyond merely helping another to indicate that there is a lesson there for us.

First, we need to keep in mind that each of us is on our own path and that we all learn differently. When we trust the universe, we know that there is a higher power at work that knows what is best for our loved one. Since we do not want to deny them experiences of deep feeling that are essential steps in the growth of their spirit, we can instead offer them our counsel. After we have given our gift, it is time to release it, along with our expectations of them and their choices, with love.

Once that is done, we can remind ourselves that our relationships are mirrors that allow us to see ourselves more clearly in the reflection. That is why it is easier for us to see solutions to other people’s problems than to see answers for our own. We can also learn from these experiences when we ask ourselves if we ever do the same thing. Maybe we do not share experiences with relationships, but we do with our finances or our food choices. In being willing to look at ourselves and see why we are being irritated by what other people choose to do with their lives, we can be like an oyster and make irritations into pearls. With these pearls of wisdom, we learn to release the desire for control over others and instead enrich their lives as we enrich our own.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I couldn't leave this picture out :) The "signature" photo from Bemidji MN!

And a couple of me with our guests.

Portal.. wow

Alec found another cool new game. It's called Portal and it comes in a bundle with Half Life 2, Half Life Episode 1 and 2, and Team Fortress 2.

He found it from looking for Half Life Episode 2. They released 'The Orange Box' last night and he had a blast playing Portal.

Here's the description for Portal from their site:

Portal™ is a new single player game from Valve. Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, Portal has been called one of the most innovative new games on the horizon and will offer gamers hours of unique gameplay.

The game is designed to change the way players approach, manipulate, and surmise the possibilities in a given environment; similar to how Half-Life® 2’s Gravity Gun innovated new ways to leverage an object in any given situation.

Players must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals to maneuvering objects, and themselves, through space.


It's soo cool. I had a hard time understanding some of it. Alec explained and that helped. He said it was so much fun playing with physics. His explanations were full of "momentum" and "force".

It's funny too. Some very witty comments from the robot narrator ;)

Take a peek

Monday, October 08, 2007


We also went to Duluth. It was an all girls trip. Alec decided to stay home with Tim.

No matter how many times I've been to this port city, it's always cool to go back.

Sandra described MN as being exotic to her. I think Duluth is exotic to me. It seems almost like a sea side city with the big water right there. We loved all the ships, buildings, bridges, and of course all the water.

We had a wonderful week with Sandra and Holly. It started with the Minnesota Homeschooler's Alliance Conference. Sandra spoke there. It was really cool having her presence at the local conference. I've learned so much from her writings and thoughts. I'm sure she brought around lots of new thinking and examination at the conference.

We were going to go to the Renaissance Festival while she was here but with the wet weather we decided MOA was a much better choice :) Mall of America was fun. Chrissy, Alexa, and Autumn Hall joined us too. They're from Rochester MN. I wish I had taken a picture of us Moms together, but alas, I didn't think of that. This is small town mom, me, trying to figure out parking at Mall of America. Chrissy is in the van.

And there's the rides! Yay!! See the open mouths? That's them *g*

And the lines, of course, it wasn't too long of a wait though.

More fun!

The next day we made the trek to Bemidji. Roadtrips can be fun too. Especially with Holly's hair to play with!

The first Paul Bunyan encounter, but not the 'real' Paul Bunyan. (to us, of course)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Look out for the F.O.U.S.


Yes, we have Fungi Of Unusual Size in our yard. This is the biggest mushroom I've ever seen. We have tons of different kinds around our yard and in our neighborhood.

One even scared our dog last week. It was big and really different looking. We thought it was very cool, Saddi did not.

(I can't get this font size to change... weird, so this post is all big, to go along with the FOUS ;)

Saturday, October 06, 2007