It is my hope that through this blog I can share experiences and challenges from day to day life.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tinted Poodle

This past weekend was a blast!  We started Thursday night going to the theater and watching a performance of BLAST!  They were a group of musicians and if they come to you neck or the woods do go see.  The kids and us enjoyed the performance very much.

Friday with great excitement the kids helped to pack their suit cases and the car for our 3 hour + drive up to Palmdale, CA for our weekend at Painted Turtle Camp.  This is a camp for kids with special needs.  What is even more amazing is they not only engage the "special" kids but also the siblings who may seem left out because so much is done for or with the "special" kid.

We arrived and were greeted by our PAL Annie for the weekend.  Annie like many of the PALs is a medical students and volunteers at the camp for experience hours.  The camp puts a pal with each family to assist with getting around the camp.  Shelby took to her right away.  We had our picture taken and then had dinner. relaxed start getting to know other people and signing up for activities for the next day.

  Saturday was a busy and full day.  We had the choice of sitting back and enjoying the quiet while Annie took the kids to and fro, but as this was a first for many things was wanted to be part of it all.
 Also because we had 2 kids we were given another pal--one for each kid.  Nick turned out to be a lot of fun for Josh--he could imitate Yoda's voice and knew a ton about Star Wars-Josh was excited.

Shelby was not older enough for some of the activities but had fun hanging with Annie and do a ton of crafts, walking, running and skipping all over the camp and just being silly with someone who gave her undivided attention.

In the end, between the various activities on Saturday and Sunday, the kids went fishing--but did not catch anything.  Both go into a canoe with me and went around the lake.  Shelby even got in a paddle boat with me around the lake; a first for all.

Josh rode a horse for the first time and climbed the ropes course and went down the zip-line--amazing to watch.  They both had a lot of fun and tried many things for the first time.

Saturday evening we enjoyed skit night performed by all the kids.  Ironically there was another Snyder family there with 2 boys who like Star Wars and who like to play music. And as we sat and ate breakfast their skit came to life.  So for their skit, one played the drums, one guitar, Josh played lead and sang while Shelby danced.  What did they sing you ask??? Only Josh's favorite song--thanks to dad:  "Cheeseburger in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffet.  They were saved for last as the finale'--Snyder Rock  and rock it out they did.  

Saturday night after dinner the pals came to our cabin and played with the kids while we went to the dining hall which the staff had transformed into a romantic hide-away.  A fireplace and only candles lit the room.  Rocking chairs were brought in and the cozy atmosphere gave couples a few hours of quiet.  Something many have not had in several years.

One highlight, I enjoyed, was watching Shelby engage wholeheartedly.  The first night as they kicked off, the grandpa type MC welcomed everyone to the "Tinted Poodle" and without regard Shelby blurted out "no! It's the Painted Turtle!"  The MC said oh the "Tinted Poodle".  And to my amazement, she stood up from her seat walked up to the MC who leaned down to her, took his face in her hands and looked him in the eye and corrected him once again that it was the "Painted Turtle." This banter continued throughout the weekend.  I was surprised again on Saturday when the MC stopped by the art room and once again started the debate with Shelby and she again face in hands instructed him to repeat after her as she showed him phonetically how to say the words.  He in turn repeated after her exactly and when  instructed to repeat the whole thing again said it wrong. (But now I know she is listening in school.)

In the end, Jody and I came away feeling very blessed.  We have been through some hard times, dealing with doctors and surgeries, insurance red tape and struggles finding people who can and will watch our children, but in spite of it all we have been very fortunate.  We found many families have had to hire lawyers to help fight those battles, and many we felt did not have or did not know the hope that Jesus can bring.  It is the one thing we seemed to be missing among many we encountered.  It is our hope that as we make friends and return again we can bring that light and hope to those we touch--something Josh has been doing since he was born.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mushers home in Nome--part 2

The excitement grew as each musher got closer to Nome.  Sadly my kids still do not understand snow.  We had hoped to take them this year but there did not seem to be much of a winter here or nearby...maybe next year.

On with the race.  We had to figure out how much food they would need for the race and how much they would have to pick up at each check point.  We learned about Alaska's history and how people got to Alaska in the first place.  Shelby built a bridge to get from the USA to Russia.

The race started with 66 mushers in Anchorage.  At midway 8 mushers had to scratch either for their own health or that of their dogs.  The weather was brutal averaging 23* to -25 and lower with the wind chill.  There was also a great concern for moose, as they are known to attack or hold their ground on the trail.  (The trail is easier to walk on the the powdered snow.)  Dogs can loose life with a single kick from the moose.

Both of our mushers worked hard and yet 220 from Nome Josh's mushers had to scratch due to concern for his dogs.  Two days before scratching we had noticed his team slowing down. Josh was sad but here is his report:

Shelby became hopeful that she would win in spite of the fact that she was 35th in position.  Tuesday evening march 13th came -- 9day, 4 hours and 29 minutes after leaving the starting line the first musher crossed the finish line in Nome.  He was a rookie (first time to run the Iditarod), but from a long line of past mushers and he also claimed the youngest to win.  Shelby was not too happy but allowed us to talk about good sportsmanship.

The kids had fun and we watched until the last musher crossed the finish line: Monday, March 19, 2012, after 14 days, 11 hours and 57 minutes. We learned the race is not over until the last musher comes in and blows out the Widow's Lantern; which was lite after the first musher left Anchorage announcing that there are mushers on the trail.  It stays lite during the entire race until the last musher blows it out signifying that all mushers have come home.

The race is over now.  The mushers are in Nome and they will celebrate with all and return home and most will begin preparations for next years race.  If you want to follow all the excitement you can check it out at the following link:  http://iditarod.com/.

HIKE! (They don't say mush...)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mushers home in Nome--part 1

A much needed rest in the sun after
crossing the finish-line in Nome.
Well it has been a grueling and exciting race for the 66 mushers that started the Iditarod race on March 4th.  As part of our lesson on obedience we decided to follow a musher and see what it takes to care for the dogs and what was needed to cross the finish-line.

Both Josh and Shelby chose a musher to follow.  We read books about the Iditarod and watched a few movies to get an idea of what it would be like.  The movie Balto tells the story of the first run across the Alaska terrain to Nome to bring much needed medicine to the children of Nome sick with a deadly diphtheria epidemic in 1925.
Today, the Iditarod runs the 1049 miles from Anchorage to Nome commemorating the run with the medicine, helping to keep the tradition of dog sledding alive and encouraging good sportsmanship and care for the animals.

During the race the kids would check-in at each check-point as their musher arrived.  They had to hey would read an email "from their musher", and then answer questions to help their musher to the next check-point.  The had to figure out how many times the city of Kink fit into their town; how many skyscrapers it would take to reach Mt. McKinley and then make a banner to welcome them to Finger Lake.  

The made their own igloos.

They had to figure out what would be needed if their teacher were to run in the race next year and make a list or write a story about their teacher on the trail.  We looked a Inuit art and they had to sculpt their own carvings.  (They made cameras to take pictures of their musher crossings the finish line.

Josh constructed a sled.

And everyday they checked on their musher.....

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friction and then some

Although I am not surprised, I am often amazed when you focus on specific character qualities no matter how minute, that you then seem to struggle more significantly with those qualities.  So this week we studied about friction and learned about Newton's 3 Laws of motion.

Actually a lot of fun.  I think the kids had more fun with the projects and not real sure if they understood the relation of the project to the concept--then again maybe subconsciously they did get it.  The science side of friction I think they got.  They had fun seeing how fast an object dropped from one point to another when gliding down a fishing line, piece of yarn and a rope.  This is where the project was more exciting and the concept seemed lost however, I caught them later trying to re-enact to experiment.

When it comes to motion Shelby had fun with the motion concept; for when she took a bath one night she called me in to show me how she could make motion.  Moving her body back and forth she then proclaimed she was "causing motion because even when she stopped moving the water was still in motion."

Science side not too bad... spiritual side---that has proved more challenging.  When we started our experiment on friction they seemed to catch on real quick and then as the moment was right I transferred the examples to their attitudes and they were very quick to follow giving appropriate responses of understanding. And yet this week there seemed to be more than usual friction and less obedience.

However, I am somewhat hopeful about mid-week we went outside for some PE. time and I suddenly got a brilliant (so I thought) idea to play Mother-may-I?  They actually did pretty good in that they understood the rules, although they had difficulty in remembering to "Mother-may-I?"  Therefore causing them to have to go back to the beginning--let's just say it took a long time to play the game.

Today (Friday) was a rather long day even though a short school day.  Both kids were in a state of testing their limits.  Despite their attitudes near the end of the day Shelby seemed to be more polite that usual and responded like we want her to.

Funny how when a child acts the way we want in the manner we want, WE suddenly look at them with skeptical eyes as though they are up-to-something; which the may or may not be.  I have found that it is hard to believe the manner being portrayed is in fact a true manner they are showing and not a ploy to get something they want.

In any case, we move from Newton and his wonder laws of motion and all the friction to a few weeks on a favorite subject of mine--HORSES.  To bad I am not in a place or position to have a horse and be able to go deeper into the subject.  Oh how I wish we were back in Colorado now.  (Someday maybe...)

I am hoping they have some fun during the next few weeks.