Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ohmer Creek hike with Nikki and her boys

On Monday Nikki and I took all our kids out to do a section of the Ohmer Creek trail. This is a great trail to hike on because most of it is really accessible for even the babies to hike on. In fact, they walked most of the way! And then, when the Little Sweetie absolutely had to go in the backpack again, she protested very, very, very loudly.

Here they are on the trail through the muskeg.
Who knew a field of skunk cabbage could be so lovely?
There are many amazing old trees to be seen on this trail and one of them had a huge section of its center gouged out. The boys all had to climb in it to get their picture taken. O Boy decided to turn it into a sniper's nest.

The floating bridge
Here you'll note I was smiling, but I was sure that one of these boys would either lose a boot or go headfirst into the very deep pond at any moment. Now that would have been a picture to snap. Thankfully, all boys and boots made it safely over and back again. You probably wouldn't see many bridges like this down south, with these huge openings just made for a boy to tip through. Living in Alaska is always exciting!
This tree was completely rotten, eaten apart from the inside by some kind of bug. It was all soft and spongy.
The Little Sweetie pauses to pose while we look for a bug O Boy claims to have sighted.
All 4 Smiths actually caught in one picture.

Look on the top right of this huge root clump (this picture doesn't show how huge this actually is) and you'll notice a new tree growing out of the roots!
At one point along the stream O Boy put his hood up and decided to surprise us all by making it rain on us. Nice!

Good thing E Ward brought his digger along for the entire hike. Here the boys are stopping for a quick "play with the digger break." You can also see O Boy's treasure bucket that I rigged up for him. It was the first hike I didn't return with my pockets full of soggy treasures. He was thrilled, I was thrilled and the bucket was full. I wasn't so thrilled when he unloaded it on the way home and we all discovered that 2 of his treasures were large skunk cabbage stalks.
"C'mon guys! I can't hold this tree up on my own!"

Strange markings made by some creature on a tree
On the way back the boys stretched out our return trip by climbing on and jumping off of just about every third stump.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New church

Since these pictures transfer over to FB, I thought I'd post some recent pictures taken of our new church so that some of you who have been curious can see where it's at!

I won't post any pictures of the inside until they get more of the flooring in (that's being done over the next few weeks) because it's too hard to get a good idea of what things actually look like at this point. Very exciting!

Fire station visit

I'm not sure why it is that preschoolers are always up for another visit to the fire station. Happily, last Friday was the annual preschool pilgrimage to the fire station and it was just as fun as it was the first time. Amazing!

This year Fireman Welde (who did a fantastic job showing them around) got out an added attraction: FIRE HOSES. And he let them actually spray water all around. This was such a hit.

Here's Teacher Barb threatening to turn the water hose on the class.

It's always fun to help Daddy

A new game

One of the pre-math skills that it's important for every child to develop is often called "number spotting." It's what we do when we look at a rolled die and see "fourness" instead of having to count each little dot to figure out that there are four. Mr. T and I came up with a fun game the other day to work on this. It has no name at this time so if you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments.
First, you have to poke a whole bunch of golf tees all over some playdough. This in itself is pretty fun and a bit challenging. It's a good way to learn how to equally distribute items over an area.
Next, you line up your canning jar rings (split them between the players).
Then, toss or drop them on the golf tees. Each time you'll ring a different amount!

The idea is that you have to quickly say how many you got. Then you can either take out the golf tees you won or leave them in for the whole game. If you take them out after each turn then you can include the step of counting up all your golf tees at the end of the game to see who won!

Here's Mr. T counting up his tally (sometimes he has to count each golf tee and other times he can simply call out the number).
Toss 'em, cowboy!

Blueberry bib

Only O Boy could have come up with something like this...

Hungry Point hike with Hill kids

Yep, it's spring and sunny so all the Alaskan mommies are getting out to hike, do playgrounds...whatever is OUTSIDE.

Here are some pictures from a beautiful, fun, sunny day we spent up at the ballfield and on the Hungry Point trail with the Hill kids.

Major traffic jam on the twisty slide!
"Ack! We don't know what that bright, burning ball up in the sky is but it's blinding us!"

I love taking pictures of muskeg trees. They are such fascinating shapes.
And they're off!
Only kids who live in a rainforest truly appreciate all the amazingly different kinds of moss.
To the top! They loved heading out into the woods to clamber over, up and onto all the fallen trees.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Raven's Roost hike with Nikki and kids

One of our new favorite hikes to do is the bottom part of the Raven's Roost trail. It heads straight out of town and begins to climb up a small mountain so you get instant quiet and great views both going up and coming down. The other day my friend Nikki and I took all our kids except for Mr. T (he was in preschool) to do 2 hours of the hike (to the top of the mtn and back it's a much longer hike). O Boy and E Ward were little troopers and, as long as they had sticks in their hands to stick into any muskeg ponds that were close by the boardwalk, they were pretty happy!

This was actually our turn-around point. We stopped here for quite awhile beside this great stream so that the boys could "fish."
It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood!

Little boy, BIG trees. Can you find O Boy in this picture?
Hiking with bare feet (her boots kept coming off so I finally took them off)!
Muscle men at the top of the rock pile! To the side of the boardwalk for part of the way is a HUGE rock road. I'm not exactly sure why it was put there. But of course we had to climb to the top to see what was on the other side.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring decorating

Here's a spring decorating idea...
1. Cut a petal, circle and leaf shape out of a few sponges (depending on how big you want your flower garden to be).
2. Using washable paint (watered down), have your child stamp a few circles on your window or mirror.
3. Help them stamp the petal shapes around to make a flower.
4. To finish it off, make a stem for each flower and stamp a leaf or two (ideally attached to the stem). At least one of our flowers is growing sideways out of the window frame rather than up from the "ground".

A "be prepared" note: you'll notice that at least one of my sweet children (any guesses as to which one?) decided to make a bonanza bumper crop garden (after I had told him to just stamp 2 or 3 circles...) and the huge petals I had made out of sponge didn't work. So we had to paint the petals on his flowers.

This is all very easy to get off window surfaces - just use whatever you normally use to wash windows. Or let your kids scratch all the paint off (which has been happening slowly in my house for the past several days...)

Spring snow

If you are reading this on FB, you'll need to connect to our blog since FB doesn't transfer our videos.
This actually wasn't the last, last snowstorm we had - one blew in a week or so later!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prepping for the painting crew

O Boy got to help out at the new church worksite again the other day. The big task was to vacuum up all the dust from the mudding job and get the place ready for painting. Below you'll see some of the first rooms that were painted. As of today, the entire building is painted and next week some of the flooring will begin to be installed. Exciting!
Hall and entry to nursery (left) and then entry to SS wing (the deeper gold color)
large SS room at the very back of the church
Faithful helper and friend, Ray Fish

Alana Pfundt, who not only worked tirelessly with the decorating team to get the paint colors just right but she came out to help pick up trash and vacuum before the paint went up!