Monday, August 31, 2009

Whew! What a weekend!

OK, so I really didn't do anything! Yep, I sat at this silly machine and feel I accomplished... nothing! I didn't write, I didn't scrap (all that much), I did pay bills, well I made sure the money was in the bank to pay bills, but there were no new ones. I mostly cleaned up, the computer that is. There is a new Operating System out for Mac. It's not a big change, but it is a significant change. It will speed things up, make finding files that much easier, and give me a few new things to do with old tools. And best yet, it's only $29. Well, if you pay full price that is. Actually, it cost me less than that. I took advantage of an upgrade set and all my Mac software will be improved at the same time for just a wee bit more.

The boys enjoyed their first weekend away from school. They like school here, but I'm afraid it's for reasons their Dad and I aren't quite sure of. They keep saying that it is the "lack of papers". In other words, the lack of real work. We'll see how this plays out. They brought home a very few things, none of it really looked like work and what did, one boy hadn't even finished. We will be keeping an eye on things. They have P.E. three times per week, go to the library on Tuesdays and have art thrown in there somewhere. I didn't here anything about music, but I'm sure they will be talking about that soon too. They still don't know the names of any of the kids, but one of the boys did holler goodbye to them as we left on Friday.

Well, off to continue "cleaning". The new software shipped today, so I need to get ready.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Having a hard week!

I am delinquent in my writing. I really should have done something by yesterday at least. But I will admit, I'm having a hard time writing this all down. I emailed it to my sister this morning without tears, so I am hopeful that I can do the same here.

My male Sheltie, Chaos is getting older and with that comes difficulties that no one can predict. Although, at 12, he really isn't so old that I was expecting problems just yet. Shortly after the move, he had a really bad infection in some of his teeth. (Seems both these dogs are prone to such problems even with regular brushing!) Well, in order to anesthetize him to do the cleaning and tooth removal, they had to do blood work. For some reason, his kidney levels were high. Additional blood tests had to wait until he was off the antibiotics, but even those were not good. So, an ultrasound was recommended. This took a while to accomplish, but on Wednesday we finally were able to get it and another UA completed. And the results are not good.

His kidneys are shrinking. I guess this happens sometimes, but it means that he will never be well again. Right now, we are trying medications and we have to give him IV fluids at least every other day. Two weeks of this and more tests. It is possible that at least part of this will have to be done for the rest of his life. And that will mean a big decision. Besides that, they found a mass of some sort in his bladder. The vet did not give much idea of what this mass could be. She did say, it might even be cancer. For now though, the kidneys are the most important thing. The decision to do surgery to see what that mass is will have to wait.

All of this has been very hard to come to grips with. I have had Chaos since he was 7 weeks old and just weaned from his Mama. He has been a constant companion, who sleeps at my side and wants to know my every move. I plan on doing a photo shoot soon so that I can really get all of this down and dealt with.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Schools Back in Session

Yep! The boys started this morning. I loved the fact that I could just walk them over and not have to get in the car, fasten all the seat belts and drive somewhere to drop them off. And they start so late! Last year they were at school at 7:30 eating a second breakfast with class beginning at 8 AM. This year they don't even let them in the building until 8:50 with class starting at 9 AM. I'm sure it has something to do with winter daylight, but it just seems so very long from when they eat breakfast until they get to school.

Mostly, I was surprised at how I felt as my daughter and I walked back home. I had been looking forward to a little "quiet" around the house, but it was so silent on the way home even with her little voice singing away. Then she played happily on my bed all morning while I "fought" the computer hardly making a sound. I think I was actually a little lonely with just her here. We will have to find some good ways to entertain ourselves. And I will get used to the quiet and appreciate it again soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Boys

Well, it's time for them to go back to school. They start on Tuesday. So, of course, that means school shopping. And this year, that means buying a pair of 'gym shoes'. Boy, if that's not an adventure, I don't know what is.

We actually started out quite early, earlier than I figured the shoe store would be open and with all three kids and Dad as well. But we had some grocery shopping to do so we headed for Costco (nothing that can't sit in the car for a while from there). First problem - Costco doesn't open until 9:00. So Carr's instead. Chris decides to speed shop. That left me trying to entertain the kids. Not fun! In a grocery store and all of a sudden they want every toy there. Done, now back to Costco! Oops, they don't open until 9:30. So we will take the other groceries home and head back. Now, don't rush Daddy, the other store still won't open for half an hour. Kids aren't too bad, but it still is easier by myself. Off to get shoes, or at least to see if we need them. I really don't think the boy’s need new every day shoes just yet. When we find the store, it is small, crammed and has very little selection out where you can see them. The prices are ridiculous on clothes (so only shoe shopping here I’m afraid). My daughter is the only one to walk out with new shoes and I swear the sales clerk charged me $10 more than she read off the box while trying them on. Well, it’s now lunchtime, so home to eat, and then the boys and I can go back out while my daughter naps.

One store, absolutely no shoes in kids sizes at all, at least not for boys, and very few for girls. We did however find winter coats with snow pants that I think will do and for a decent price. Plus we got all but a couple of the things on the schools list. They were out of pencils and the markers I ended up getting the boys will have to just take a few and the rest will get added to the home stash.

Another customer recommended a different store for shoes and that meant going to Dimond Mall. I ended up parking at the wrong end of the mall and we had to walk all the way to the other side, and we were just going into one store! Yikes, not fun! And they had one pair, yes, just one pair of over priced shoes that were totally not what I wanted to send to school for P.E. The boys simply do not need shoes that flash for one hour per week. But the staff was great and they found one pair of simple, white sneakers at another store all the way across town. ‘Would I mind driving?’ ‘No, because I have to have them.’ ‘Well, we will give you a coupon for $3 off since you have to drive to another store.’ ‘Cool!’ Now, what about the other boy? We have to wait for the shipment to come in on Monday or maybe Wednesday. (Sure hope the teacher understands; I did all I could because I’m not going to any more stores.)

Now, back to the other store for pencils, oh, and we need lunch boxes too, because the lunch program here is “questionable”. I can’t get them to understand that we need soymilk for the boys. They figure if they can’t drink milk they will just give them juice. Well, sorry folks, but the kids don’t need sugar with lunch! They don’t get it at home, and they don’t need it at school. Still no boxes of pencils that meet the teacher’s request, but then I seriously doubt the boys will go through 24 pencils each!

Oh, I’m glad to be home!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Going 'Back to School'

Yes, it's that time of year and the boys will be starting soon, but I'm not really talking about them. Instead I am talking about me. I am starting a photography class in September. It's between 10 and 15 hours of nearly one-on-one instruction with a professional photographer. And we will be in the real world with our camera's so I'm sure I will have some interesting photo's to show off here soon. I will be taking my Point & Shoot Canon because it is advanced enough to have a Manual setting as well as my film camera from years and years ago. Maybe if I get good enough with these I will be able to justify the expense of upgrading my SLR to a DSLR. Thanks to my friend Carolyn, I do know that I can use my old film lenses with the new body. Any way, I will be going on Friday evenings and working through the maze of learning.

Oh, and we did meet the boys new teacher yesterday. I'm a bit concerned that her classroom seems awful busy visually. I can only hope that it's not too much for the boys. But I think they did well on the placement testing and things will progress as they are supposed to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Days and days and days....

Seems like forever since I have thought of anything to write. But that's me. Plus life gets busy. I've been doing a fair amount of scrapping, but not tons, I've sent my friend on her way back home (that was sad) and I've considered what I really need to add to this site. Although there are dozens upon dozens of tutorials for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, I'm thinking I need to add a few here too. So in the coming days/weeks you will see some appearing here and there. I want to really start with the basics. The questions I get are mostly about just getting started. I suppose I will need to make things harder as I go, but for now keep your eyes peeled for some "Let's Get Started" tutorials for digital scrapbookers.

And if you have a special request, please leave a comment. I will always try to work in a tutorial that you asked for.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kids really do say the darndest things!

I am desperately trying to teach my children to turn off the lights in an unused room. This morning I set them down to the table for a snack and reminded them to turn off the light when they were done. I proceeded back up the stairs and waited to see what would happen. Of course, it was the youngest (only 3) that finished last and of course, she forgot to turn off the light. I asked her older brother to go and turn it off and she stomped into my room. "I am big enough to reach. See! See how much I've grown!" (as she spread her arms and pointed to herself trying to make her point). I couldn't help but laugh and give her a big hug. "Yes, honey, you are such a big girl. Next time, remember to turn off the light!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking a breather!

After a near disaster day yesterday, we have decided to take a breather. The kids really just need a little down time. And to be totally honest, so did I. I was pretty cranky myself yesterday. Our outing to the Musk Ox farm was not what I thought it was going to be, and not one of us was really thrilled with it. (I hope Carolyn got some decent photo's from it at least.) Hopefully the trip to the Kenai Peninsula goes better because that's about all I have left that I think the kids will enjoy.

Maybe I can get a few photo's processed and added here to my blog later today. We'll see.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Been having a blast!

With my wonderful friend Carolyn's arrival, life got busy. On Friday, we visited Earthquake Park where we took pictures of mushrooms of a type I have never seen before and many other things. And yesterday, we went to the Alaska Zoo. I think my favorite was the Polar Bear, but we also saw baby musk ox, baby moose, camels, alpacas and more! There were a couple of large moose including one with a rack that had to be 5 or 6 feet across. Of course there were otters and seals; they were very lively. And we got quite close, but could not touch, a red fox that they had on a leash. He seemed quite at ease with everyone with in just a couple of feet from him. The bengal tiger is still there (and still doesn't seem to move much) as are the Eagles, owls and other birds. We even saw a wolverine.

Today was an at home day, where I got a few chores done and then we took the kids to the playground where Carolyn attempted to teach the boys flag football. It didn't last long and they decided they would rather climb and slide on the play structure. Maybe we can try again later this week!

She is also letting me play with her very expensive camera! She owns a Nikon D300 professional series camera and a whole host of lenses. I've now shot with 3 different zoom lenses and a wide angle lens. I have to be careful I don't drool all over it! We also tried my old Nikon lenses on her body and discovered they would work. So we have narrowed down which body I should be looking at that would allow me to buy just the body and save a few bucks up front. Of course, I still need the chance to play with a comparable Canon, but if I don't have to buy new lenses right away, it might make it more feasible to buy sooner. We'll see.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm sooooooo excited!

Today is a very big day for me. A friend from the internet is traveling all the way across the country to visit me. I made a joke one time, many months ago, about her coming and taking pictures of the kids for me and the next thing I knew, she was really coming. Well, that was when we lived in Oregon. All of a sudden, and thankfully well before her travel plans were made, we were moving to Alaska. I wasn't sure she would still come. After all, it is a very long way to go, just to take pictures! LOL! But, like so many others, seeing Alaska has been a dream for her and now she had every reason to come. Plans continued and today is finally the day. Hope the sun we are having right no holds for a week or so, we sure have a lot of ground to cover and tons of things to go and take pictures of.

Say a prayer that we have decent weather! Hugs all!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Afternoon!

Well, I'm slowly getting the hang of this. You would think that having a web design background it would be easy, but that little search box you see took me over an hour to add yesterday! LOL Of course, it doesn't help when the kids interrupt every couple of minutes, but that's life. I guess it will be a while before I do a custom background, but I'm sure I will get there eventually. I'm really hoping to make the background and elements of the blog design myself. I will also be adding photo's soon. There are so many things to show you all. Time.... I need more time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Starting a Blog

I have thought for a long time that I needed my own blog. I read several on a regular basis, receive email updates to some as well. And the list keeps growing for those I find interesting and fun. I'm not big into Facebook or Twitter (at least, not yet!) And a blog will help me better connect to all of you - family, friends and acquaintances made here and elsewhere.

So, here I am! And what to talk about. Well, of course, there will be digital scrapbooking news and probably some tutorials. Life with 3 kids in Alaska. And other interests such as education. No, I won't be talking politics or religion. One I don't know enough about and both are too controversial. Many topics will come from you, my readers. Ask questions, give me ideas. I have never been much of a journaler, so this will be a stretch for me. Oh, and any blaring errors - always feel free to point them out to me.

Hugs to all my friends!