Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday's Five: Lana

Welcome to my weekly feature, Friday's Five, in which I ask another blogger five random questions. Make that FOUR random questions and an inquiry about last night's dinner. Because I need ideas, people!

I am visiting today with Lana from The Kids Did What?! Anyone with children knows that parenting is the toughest job on earth and, while Lana doesn't pretend it's easy, she's able to share the special insights she's gained as a single mom raising her son and daughter in the beautiful province of British Columbia. My favorite posts are Lana's Not Me Mondays, illustrated with her very funny stick figure drawings.

1. What are your children's ages and what are their favorite books at the moment?

Braden is 7 and Mackenzie is 3.

At the moment, their favourite book is Cranky Pants by Stephen Sanzo. (They actually argue over who likes the book better.) It's a story of a little guy who is just having a flat out lousy day, and how his parents gently help soothe him out of it. Basically the overall gist is, Ya know what? You're a kid and you might have a cranky day and it's okay. You can start over fresh the next day when you're feeling better.

2. Tell us about a characteristic in each of your kids that you are happy they inherited from you.

As a child, I was always daydreaming and letting my imagination run wild. Actually, I still do. Before kids, I hoped I never had boring kids (Is there such a thing??) and I most definitely do not! Both Braden and Mackenzie unquestionably inherited the imagination gene. Which I love. Every day I am truly amazed at what these kids come up with, and how they play it out. At times they can get carried away with it, but I will always encourage them to embrace their imagination. With the risk of sounding cheesy, it takes you places.

3. Canada and the U.S. are both huge countries with lots of different groups of people, so this will require a sweeping generalization . . . what do you think is the biggest difference between Americans and Canadians?

Americans have more affection for Dr. Pepper than Canadians.

Seriously, though, I think the biggest difference is how patriotism is displayed. Canadians and Americans alike take great pride in their countries, no doubt. We celebrate Canada Day (July 1st) with great fervor, and some have the national flag flying outside our homes.

Americans seem to embrace Independence Day a little more, and rather than some, a lot of American homes have their national flag flying high. Although citizens of both countries are passionately patriotic, I think it's safe to say (with a sweeping generalization) Canadians can be . . . low-key, while Americans seem to express public spirit more often.

4. I've enjoyed seeing how your blog has evolved over the past couple of months, and I think your writing has found its groove. How would you describe your blogging style?

Thank you! I think it could be described as a "Mommy humor blog, with a smattering of serious."

5. What did you have for dinner last night?

Chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and veggies (carrots, green beans, and peas).

Thanks, Lana! I love that you encourage your kids to be imaginative. And you may have a point about patriotic displays—the fact that I made a gigantic sheet cake decorated like a flag for our 4th of July barbecue seems to confirm your theory.

I'll be back next Friday with five more questions for another great blogger.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Brown-Eyed Girl

After you've walked this earth a while, childhood seems like such a carefree phase of life. It's easy to shrug off an 8-year-old's concerns as silly or inconsequential. I know that some day my daughter will look back and laugh that she got so upset about being seated in the back row of her third-grade classroom next to an empty desk. I hope that she'll also look back and smile when she remembers how her mom took her seriously and let her talk it out until she felt better.

Dinner last night: chicken and garlic pizza

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tax Season

I was supposed to be preparing our tax return yesterday, but found myself taking an afternoon stroll instead.

Warm Chinook winds have melted most of the snow, so I can tromp once again through the woods.

This birch's skin is almost as white as mine.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Legend of Gray Tooth McGee

On Friday evening, I noticed that my 2-year-old's front tooth was gray. I could not believe what I was seeing. I mean, a tooth is not white on Thursday and then gray on Friday. That is impossible. I grabbed my daughter in a head lock, dragged her into the downstairs bathroom where the light is good, forced her mouth open, and examined every tooth. No cavities. No cracks. No enamel spots. Just one pearly gray.

In a panic, I screamed for my husband. He sauntered into the bathroom, shot a glance toward the general area of my daughter's face, said he didn't see anything, then shuffled back out like the world was not crumbling down around my ears. My visiting mother came in, took a look, and agreed with me that the tooth looked gray. Thank you, Grandma! She then asked in a hushed voice, "Kim, doesn't a gray tooth usually mean a dead tooth?"

Just after the twins were born, we moved to our house in the woods. We left behind paved cul-de-sacs, cable TV, and fluoridated water. I've been a nervous wreck since. I usually let the twins brush their teeth first, and then I take over. But, as anyone who has ever tried to stick a toothbrush into a toddler's mouth will tell you, brushing the teeth of a large octopus is easier than trying to clean the mouth of a 2-year-old little girl. Could the gray tooth be all my fault?

I put the girls to bed and went straight to the computer. Thank you, Google! I typed in "two year old gray tooth" and got 5 million pages of results. Shut UP, Google. I refined my search parameters and began researching the overnight appearance of a gray tooth in a 2-year-old. Here is what I learned:

1. I am not a bad mother. Gray-toothed children are a common sight in these 50 United States of America.

2. I am a bad mother. A gray tooth is almost always the result of trauma to the tooth.

3. Wait, I am not a bad mother. Kids are kids, and "trauma" can mean a simple bump to the mouth sustained during normal play.

4. I am an ignorant mother. A gray tooth will usually show up a few weeks after the initial injury. My older girls were playing with their baby sister on the wood floor about 3 weeks ago. They pulled the play mat out from underneath her and she pitched forward onto her face. At the time, I was concerned about icing her bloody fat lip and calming her down. I never thought for a second about her teeth—they weren't loose or anything—but in retrospect, that cryfest had to have been when the trauma occurred.

5. I am a preemptively-praying mother. I will know after 6 months whether this gray tooth is here to stay. Sometimes a gray tooth will return to its normal white color. My husband provided a glimmer of hope when he revealed to me that he once had a gray tooth that turned white again. I've been married to the man since the beginning of time and this is the first I've heard of his gray tooth? Let's hope my daughter has her daddy's tooth-healing DNA.

6. I am an obsessively-compulsive tooth-checking mother. Even if the gray color turns out to be permanent, the tooth itself should be normal in every other way until it loosens and falls out at the proper time. Unless it develops an abscess. I'm to look for a small pimple on the gum—ew, grosswhich is a sign of infection. Fortunately, the likelihood of an abscess developing is rare. Unless you're a hick who lives out in the wilderness and drinks water from the well.

If you prefer your information about gray teeth to come from someone with a teensy more pediatric dental knowledge than some weird woman in Alaska, read Dr. Brandon's blog.

Dinner last night: a big helping of guilt and misery

UPDATE: I am exceedingly happy to report that about 6 weeks after the injury, my daughter's tooth has indeed returned to its normal white color! Have faith, moms. Your child's gray tooth may not be permanent.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Five: Lisa

Welcome to the second edition of Friday's Five, my weekly feature in which I ask another blogger five questions.

Today I'm interviewing a mom to three precious little boys, Lisa from Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. Lisa works full-time outside the home, in addition to pursuing her interests in professional photography. She is an avid blogger whose heart for children is evident in her niche blogs, which focus on ADHD and pediatric cancer. She is one busy woman, so I really appreciate her taking time out of her schedule to answer Friday's Five.

1. What are your children's ages and what are their favorite videos or TV shows at the moment?
My boys are 6, 5, and just shy of 1 year. My older boys love things like iCarly! The baby loves anything with music but isn't really watching TV.

2. Describe something that you've learned recently from one of your children.
I just blogged about this [last] Friday, but my six-year-old is always taking the lessons we try to teach them and then teaching me how to live out those lessons. The most recent example was about watching out for others and how my son thought to do something that should have been so hugely obvious to me to do.

3. You're very honest on your blog about the highs and lows you've experienced while juggling work, family, and other responsibilities in life. What word of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who's struggling to balance it all?
Although I hardly feel like one to give advice here, for me the thing that I let guide my choices each day is what would matter if it was all over tomorrow. If I didn't have one more day with my family, would it really matter if all the dishes were washed? Of course, there are still things that I HAVE to do, just like everyone, in order to provide food, shelter, and clothing for my kids, but in the areas where I have a choice, I try to use that as my guide.

4. I'm impressed at how many readers follow your blog. Please share a tip or strategy with new bloggers who want to increase their site's readership.
What I've found works for this is pretty much the Golden Rule . . . do unto others. If you want followers, go and find blogs you enjoy and follow them; if you want comments, make sure you are leaving comments. I actually have a list of 200 blogs I follow through Blogger and now have had to start finding those that I can subscribe to other ways since Blogger only allows you to follow 200 blogs.

5. What did you have for dinner last night?
BBQ rib patty sandwiches, chips, and corn.

Thank you, Lisa! I needed the reminder to keep the housework in perspective. I find myself feeling so grumpy about the mess around here that I put too much emphasis on maintaining order and not enough on enjoying my kids while they're young and still want to hang out with me!

Join me again next week when I sit down with another fab blogger for a session of Friday's Five. Or slip a little truth serum in their coffee and make 'em talk into the recorder. Same diff.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I have been known to mutter, "They're identical, not clones." I will spare you a lecture on epigenetics, but suffice it to say that although my twin daughters may look the same on the outside, they are very different on the inside. This truth became abundantly clear soon after a horrible gelatinous cockroach made its way into our home.

Or is it a squid? I don't know what it is, frankly, but my youngest girl will not let it go. She lovingly refers to it as "Buggy" and refuses to climb into her bed at night unless it is firmly clutched in her hand.

Her twin sister does not approve. She does not like Buggy and refuses to play with it. She possesses, in fact, a healthy distrust of all insects. The other day, she halted her gallop across the nursery floor to crouch down, squint her eyes, and thrust out a pudgy index finger at something on the ground. She began bellowing, "Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug!" until I came over and removed the offending piece of fuzz. Several nights ago, she awoke at 2 a.m. crying and yelling, "Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug! Mom! Bug!" until I stumbled into the nursery, shook out her blankets, and tucked her back in. There was no bug. She had been dreaming about toy squids and carpet fuzz.

Grandma arrived last week for a visit. At the dinner table, she produced a novelty cup . . . 

Loving, kind Grandma looked at the older twin and asked her if she wanted to drink from this atrocity. My daughter stared at her in revulsion, visibly horrified, and whispered, "No! Yukky!" Grandma lifted the cup to her mouth, took a nice big swig, smacked her lips, and declared, "Mmmm! Spiders!" Sweet, considerate Grandma then turned to the younger twin and asked if she would like a sip from the spider cup. My baby's eyes lit up and she answered enthusiastically, "YEAH!" She grabbed that cup and drank 'er down. 

Dinner last night: macaroni and cheese, green beans, tossed salad with salsa ranch dressing

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hello. My Name is Blog. And I'm a Weatherholic.

I apologize in advance for yet another post about the climate. But you know us Alaskans. We're all about extreme weather conditions.

Just one week ago, the temperature was –14°. Then warm winds left the South Pacific and blew across the Gulf of Alaska. They gathered fury as they approached and wreaked havoc when they hit land . . . trees were knocked over, the electricity went out for 12 hours, and the high hit 46°. Forty-six degrees! Take that, Minnesota! Who's laughing now, Chicago? I'm telling you right now, nights in Arizona are cooler than 46°.

The ensuing melting—freezing—melting—freezing resulted in surfaces that were so icy, you literally could not walk upright. "A friend of mine" stepped out of her car and slipped on the glare ice. Both feet shot up in the air like a bad imitation of Inspector Clouseau and she landed flat on her back, and then proceeded to slide slowly down her driveway as she struggled and wriggled helplessly like an upside-down daddy longleg. Welcome to January in Alaska!

The cold is gone. The moose went bye-bye. The snow is kaput.

We spent the better part of Saturday afternoon gathering up limbs, branches, and twigs that had blown into the yard and then burning them in our little outdoor firepit.

Don't worry. Next windstorm, the trees will send more.

I promise that this is my LAST post on weather. Until spring arrives.

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday's Five: Helene

Today marks the premiere of a weekly feature, in which I ask five questions to another blogger.

Today, I'm interviewing Helene at I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor. She went through the wringer trying to get pregnant, with fertility treatments finally resulting in not one, but two beautiful babies. Helene found herself pregnant again by totally natural measures with a second set of twins. Helene possesses a wonderful way of writing about the joys and challenges of raising four toddlers, never sugarcoating yet always maintaining a healthy sense of perspective.

1. What are your children's ages and what are their favorite toys at the moment?

Cole (4): Anything to do with Thomas the Train.

Bella (4): Her doll stroller (it's a McClaren double stroller and she loves to take her babies, who are twins of course, on walks when I take Garrett and Landon for walks).

Garrett (22 months): This kid is in love with Elmo, so anything with Elmo on it works for him.

Landon (22 months): Like Cole, he loves anything to do with Thomas the Train.

2. Describe one thing that you currently are most concerned about teaching your children.

The one main thing is safety. I feel it's important for them to know how to keep themselves safe, whether it be safe from people who want to harm them or knowing how to get out of the house in the event of a fire. I'm constantly talking to them about not talking to strangers, not to run off when we're in public places where I cannot see them, and things of that nature.

When we do go out to crowded public places, like an amusement park, I tell them if they do become separated from us to not go anywhere, but to stay in that one place. I point out how to recognize the amusement park workers and that those are the ONLY people they should talk to if they get lost. I explain to them that even though the park workers are strangers, they are in a position to help if needed. And we all dress in the same colors and I take a picture of all the kids with my cell phone so if they do happen to get lost, I can show the security people exactly what the kids look like and what they were wearing. I also write our name and phone number on the kids' arms so the amusement park workers know how to find us. Thank goodness, they have never become lost but I always felt it was important for them to know what to do in a situation like that.

I remember getting lost in a toy store once when I was younger and panicking. I left the store and went into the parking lot trying to find my mother until a total stranger came up to me and helped me find the service desk back in the store. I never want my children to feel that helpless. I want them to always be prepared in any kind of situation. Some may say I go overboard but I just feel in today's world, we have to start talking to our children at an early age about safety and leave them feeling empowered that they will know what to do if they're ever in a sticky situation.

3. Everyone has an opinion about staying at home versus returning to work. What have you decided for your own life and why?

I've been a SAHM since Cole and Bella were born. It was a tough choice initially because I worked hard on my education, put myself through grad school to earn a MA in Psychology, and was very happy in my career. I worried about falling behind in my career, which requires ongoing education in order to continue being valuable in the field. But before we had kids, Tim and I agreed that I would stay home with our kids. And I was happy with that decision because I wanted to be with my kids every minute of the day. But no one ever tells you how difficult the transition is from working full-time outside the home to staying home full-time. It can be very isolating at times. I guess I thought it would be much easier than it is. I had fantasies about sitting on the floor every minute of the day playing with my kids and teaching them things, taking them to the park every day, and all that other fun stuff we fantasize about, but it didn't quite happen like that.

Since then, I've adjusted my attitude and my expectations of what being a SAHM is like. I've become more realistic, obviously. Even though being a SAHM is the most difficult, most challenging "job" I've ever had, I still think it's a privilege that I have the opportunity to be home with my kids. And even though I initially had concerns about being home full-time with my kids, it has been very rewarding. I don't regret the decision to stay home in the least. I hope when my children are older, they'll look back at their childhood with happy memories of being home with me.

4. Tell us one thing you wish you had known when you first started blogging.

Probably how to design my blog to have a better look. At first, it was very plain and basic. But after becoming more adventurous with it (I don't like change!!), I've been playing around with it a little more and coming up with fun things.

5. What did you have for dinner last night?

Crockpot chicken (got the recipe from a fellow blogger and my kids love it), orzo with parmesan cheese and basil, and green beans.

Thanks, Helene! You made some interesting points about safety, and I'm going to remember your great tip about taking pictures of the kids on my cell phone before we enter a crowded place where we could get separated.

This was really fun for me, and I look forward to next Friday's interrogation 5-question Q and A session with another victim fabulous blogger!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wait a Minute . . .

I realize that only three days have passed since I wrote an entire post about how cold it is. Forget everything I said.

We woke up to a balmy 36° . . .

. . . and a driveway of water over glare ice.

School's closed due to treacherous roads, so all four girls are home for the day. No problem. I'll send them outside to play.

Um. Moose? Do you mind?

What's this?
A second moose standing guard behind the house?

So much for playing outside.

Dinner last night: sour cream enchiladas, refried beans, corn, green salad

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If I Don't Laugh, I Will Cry

Intestinal distress has come to visit our house. I've written and re-written this post, trying to find the right tone, but I just couldn't bring myself to list Dinner Last Night after "joking" about cleaning up everyone's vomit and diarrhea.

I finally decided to forget about trying to be funny—even though I loved my line, poorly crafted as it was, about "shrieking, nudity, and the smearing of excrement from one end of the room to the other that heretofore hasn't been seen since poor souls were assigned to psych wards during the 1800s"—and will let this picture speak for itself.

Penitent and Pitiful

This is my kinda sorta potty-trained daughter. She's in a diaper, because she was having a horrible bout of diarrhea. She's in the corner, because . . . well, I told her to "go sit over there" while I cleaned up her . . . um, leakage . . . all over the carpet. I didn't yell at her, and I certainly didn't tell her to put her nose in the corner. I just needed her out of the way so she didn't step in . . .  er, it . . . or bend down and touch . . . ack, it . . , as she is wont to stick her index finger into anything gross that she happens to come across.

She has a little friend whose mom uses the time-out method, so maybe my girl is giving herself a time-out in the corner? I'm not sure what she was thinking, but she broke my heart with her sweet little apology. She stood there so still and quiet, rubbing her fingers together in distress.

Being the good mom that I am, I rushed right over and gave her a hug to grab my camera and take this photo. You're welcome.

Dinner last night: sorry, I still can't bring myself to mention food in this post.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snap, It's Cold

We've had a record-breaking cold spell these last many days. Every morning I shuffle down to the kitchen and open the blinds to check the outside thermometer, hoping that this will be the day the mercury has warmed up past zero°. Nope.

I went to university in Fairbanks, Alaska, where each February the temperature drops to –30° for a solid two weeks, so I realize that I'm a wuss for even suggesting that our current air has a chill to it. If you've never walked out in –30° weather, you don't know the meaning of cold. Heaven forbid you have earrings in your lobes, because those posts will feel like tiny rods of liquid nitrogen. And you better pray you can see without your glasses, because wearing frames across your nasal bone at –30° will give new meaning to the phrase, brain freeze

If there's one thing I learned from living through Fairbanks winters as a broke college student, it's gratefulness. As I sit here, many years removed from those times of suffering, I am immensely thankful for a heated, attached garage that allows me to transfer the babies from house to car without exposing them to the harsh elements. After years of living in apartments, sometimes lucky enough to score an assigned space (but most of the time having to park on the street), I so appreciate my husband parking out in the cold so that I don't have to plug in my minivan, scrape its windows, and warm it up for 10 minutes before driving. Speaking of minivan, I don't care that it's a frumpy, low-status mommy mobile. I love her reliable engine, heated seats, and handy cupholders for our mugs of hot beverages.

I feel incredibly blessed also for our house—sturdy and comfortable and toasty warm— and our woodburning stove—crackling and cozy and helping us save money on our heating bill. I recall, oh so clearly, living in married student housing where we had to wear layers of clothing and 2 pairs of socks to stay warm, close the curtains over iced windows to keep the cold air from wafting into the room, and place a rolled towel underneath the door to block the freezing draft.

Sitting here in my soft fleece robe and fuzzy slippers, sipping my cup o' joe, I am one grateful blogger. And thinking about all my bloggy friends makes even my heart feel warm * awkward pause * I've gone too far, haven't I? Moving right along . . .

I hope you got a chance to check out the full moon over the weekend, or even over the past week, since it seemed to keep getting bigger and closer over the course of several days (I'm pretty sure the moon can change its size and location). Up here in the frozen north, we actually saw it best in the daytime! I wish I had some awesome pictures to show you, but all I've got are these:

taken at about 4:30 in the afternoon

taken at about 10:00 in the morning
(to get an idea of how ginormous the moon looked,
check out Sleeping Lady to the left—that's a very large mountain)

Dinner last night: chicken-rice-and-mushroom soup, cheesy ranch bread

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't Get Me Started on Arial

The other night, I opened my laptop, turned on the TV, and clicked over to the public television station. Big mistake. A documentary on Helvetica was on. An entire hour dedicated to a font. I could forget about getting any work done.

At one point, this German typographer started ranting about his dislike for Helvetica, so incensed that he dropped an F-bomb. On public television! About a typeface! I couldn't look away. Another woman discussed her theory that Helvetica is immoral. She has actually researched which horrible events in history are somehow associated with the Helvetica font. Biographies of Hitler are printed in Helvetica or something. I rolled my eyes at her, snapped my laptop shut, and settled in to watch more of the fascinating discussion. You think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not.

Several people defended poor Helvetica, but they weren't nearly as compelling as the haters. One guy warned, "There's a very fine line between simple, clean, and powerful . . . and simple, clean, and boring." Type designers are an opinionated bunch. Here I thought my decision to go sans serif demonstrated my professionalism and uncluttered sense of aesthetics . . . turns out I'm just another bland, tasteless know-nothing.

All I'm saying is, check your default font.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Gift that Keeps On Giving

Two-year-olds enjoy unwrapping presents—the ripping of paper and the flinging of bows—more than playing with what's actually inside the package. Unless the gift happens to be a book. Then the two-year-olds make their mother read it to them over and over and over. And over. And over again.

Dinner last night: lasagna, steamed broccoli, garlic toast

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hopes, Dreams and Cherry Garcia

See that "Daily Proverb" listed over in the right column? It doesn't come from an automatic generator—I actually select a proverb that speaks to me in some way and type it out. Last week I came across Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." I hadn't thought of it in years, but that particular passage of Scripture reminded me of Dream Deferred.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Now I'm not going to get all Literary Crit on you. Please, it's not even six in the morning and I can barely manage to focus my right eye, let alone deconstruct a Langston Hughes poem. But reading that proverb and then this poem got me to thinking about my job as Mom, and how I'm doing in the Encouragement Department.

My eldest daughter doesn't really talk about her dreams. She lives them. For a stocking stuffer, my husband got her a small plaque that reads, "She believed she could, so she did." That philosophy perfectly describes my daughter's approach to life. She's such a confident little creature, it would be easy to let her go her own way without saying much. Her motivation for accomplishing her goals doesn't seem to rest on my praise, but I give it any way. Which usually results in a huge smile and a big hug, confirming my suspicions that that she does indeed need my support.

Currently she's in a songwriting phase. She's only 10 years old, so her lyrics aren't exactly comparing a dream deferred to rotten meat, but she's prolific. After writing her songs in a little notebook, she sits down at the piano and plinks out melodies until she gets them just the way she wants them, and then makes us listen a hundred times.

I grin and clap loudly after each performance, because after all, who wants a dried-up raisin for a daughter?

Then there's my 8-year-old, who's come up with all these detailed plans for her life. She talks my ear off about where she's going to attend college (Hawaii!), exactly how many children she will have (two!) and what their genders will be (one boy and one girl!), where she's going to live (New York City!), and how she's going to own an ice cream store.

She goes on and on about this ice cream store—how she'll live above the store and how her kids can work in it, too. Sometimes I'm tempted to snort, an ice cream store?! I worked at an ice cream store when I was a teenager, and let me tell you, it's not that great! But I stop myself. Because I know of two young men who once told their parents that they wanted to own an ice cream store.

Those guys were named Ben & Jerry.

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Uniform

Every morning, I dress my two-year-old twins in actual children's clothing and comb their hair. And every morning, they take off their pants, hide their socks, and pull out their pony tails. It should not surprise you that my daughters adore mittens, princesses, . . . and strange facial expressions.

Dinner last night: pork loin roast, roasted sweet potatoes

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Afternoon at the Museum

If you're ever in Alaska, I highly recommend a visit to the Anchorage Museum. It's not too big that you can't tour it easily in a couple of hours, and it houses a variety of exhibits ranging from Alaskan culture to military history to fine art.

Upon entering the lobby, my 8-year-old daughter was thrilled to see . . .

. . . a two-story Christmas tree adorned with dolls!

. . . and a beautiful miniature doll house
decorated with the loveliest, tiniest furniture!

. . . and a huge display of antique dolls (this is just a small section),
in front of which my daughter sat for a good 10 minutes,
daydreaming about what she could do with all those beautiful babies!

We went to see a showing of works by Sara Tabbert, an artist from Fairbanks known for her wonderful woodcuts and detailed mosaics.

While my husband took the older girls upstairs to look at some history, I took the twins into the children's gallery where kids are encouraged to run free and get their hands dirty.

It's full of interactive, fun learning centers. The kids can draw with markers or stack blocks or play with magnets, all while being inspired by child-friendly art like these birds . . . 

. . . fashioned from sharp, dirty nails!

And what child wouldn't be cheered by this series of
half-animal, half-human heads hanging on the wall . . .

You kids shut up down there.

Don't even THINK about trying to sleep tonight,
'cause I'll be hiding under your bed.

Children are brats.

Thanks, museum, for traumatizing my girls. Fortunately, the little stage in the children's gallery allowed the twins to work out their fears with some performance therapy.

"You must pay the rent!" "I can't pay the rent!"

Dinner last night: macaroni and cheese

You might also be interested in visiting the Alaska Zoo