Nomadic Dreamers
...our unschooling journey

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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska, United States

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hooray for Breakup

Breakup. The term Alaskans use when the temperatures finally rise and the ice and snow begin to melt away....only to give us impromptu mini lakes and mud! I don't think I've ever been happier to see a "season" arrive. This past winter was incredibly hard. I don't mind the short days at all (actually, I prefer them to our neverending days of summer), but the bitter cold was difficult to handle this time around.

Tristan's most requested activity right now is to grab drinks and a snack and "take a drive and look at nature" while listening to audiobooks. It's wonderful to have clear, dry roads again so I've been taking him up on this! We've been plowing our way through the audiobook series of Harry Potter and are now well into "The Goblet of Fire." Even though we've listened to these tapes countless times, we never seem to tire of them.

Now that it is warmer (it's been in the mid 40's for sometime now), the neighborhood is overflowing with least on the weekends and after school. Tristan's been taking full advantage of this, playing for hours and hours at a time with a number of kids. I think today he played with 10+ kids. And my parents worry about "socialization"? ROFL

The warmer weather has finally awakened our neighborhood moose. We had not seen them in months, and now we've seen them three times in the past week or so, practically walking right on top of her twice and seeing her from the car this morning. Guess I need to keep my eyes open or we are liable to get charged! She's a quirky thing. She's fairly tolerant but has been known to bluff charge and follow folks for quite a distance until they are out of her territory; this happened to us our first summer here. Yesterday one of my friends said she finally spotted last years calf, and he is a bull!! He should be fun to see, but I think momma will push him from the immediate area, as it looks like she will be having another calf very soon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Budding Entrepreneur

You just never know what project may spark new ideas.

Off and on over the past few months Tristan has been working on making his own plaster skulls. Originally, he had an interest in making latex masks (like those that are sold at Halloween). So we jumped on the internet and quickly found directions. Those appeared straight forward enough, but finding the correct materials in the middle of Alaska proved to be a problem, however. Back to the internet we went and found a company that sold several starter kits, including one to make shrunken heads (mini latex masks) and another to make mini plaster skulls.

Tristan decided to start with the mini skull kit. This included sculpting a skull from clay (much more difficult that I thought!), making the latex mold, and then mixing/pouring the plaster to make the skulls. After not being happy with our skull sculpture, Jody came to the rescue while on leave. He helped Tristan create an alien skull. Then came time to make the latex mold...a procedure that included painting 15+ layers of liquid latex compound onto the sculpture. Little did we know that the compound contained ammonia, which made Tristan run for cover. Enter Mom, who diligently painted on layer after layer of this smelly substance. ;o) We then peeled the mold from the sculpture, poured the plaster plaster alien skull!!

What did this lead to? A few nights ago Tristan came up with his newest business plan. He wants to sell his plaster skulls. He's obviously been thinking a lot about this. He'll sit me down and talk endlessly about how many skulls he needs to produce before he officially opens for business, marketing ideas, when the best time of year is to sell them, how to package them, etc. My favorite is his packaging ideas. He'd like to have prepainted skulls, skulls that come with packages of paint (a "paint your own" type of kit), and a skull "3-pack." *grin*

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Back to the Blog...

No entries in over a month??? That's the slacker coming out in me, I guess... ;o)

March was pretty much a whirlwind of activity. The first two weeks were spent gearing up for Jody to come home for his two weeks of R&R leave from Iraq, and then we spent the second half of the month together as a family once again. Jody was indoctrinated into our new unschooling life (and he took to it beautifully, I must say!). It was a relaxed visit....sleeping in way too late, lounging in bed, eating out, playing D&D until the wee hours of the morning, and just enjoying one another's company.

Saying goodbye to Jody at the airport was much harder than saying our first goodbyes way back in August. In August, we could only speculate on what this separation would be like. At the end of March we knew how hard and dangerous the past months have been, and the thought of sending Jody back there?!?! I can't even put that into words... We've seen this war tear apart families and maim (physically, as well as mentally) and kill soldiers that we knew.

This deployment has forced Tristan to grow up all too quickly. No child should have to see his dad head off to war, all the while knowing he may never see his dad again. We know countless kids who have now gone through this two and three times, and we've seen the lasting damage it creates. The very unfortunate reality of being in a military family. Jody and I have vowed to never put our family through this again. Jody filed paperwork yesterday, turning down a well deserved promotion....our first step in becoming a civilian family after he returns.