Saturday, March 20, 2010

Learning at its best!

Ethan and Ann Marie are doing a research paper for their writing class with Aunt Theresa.  Ethan chose NASA as his topic.  We found a great documentary by the Discovery Channel called "When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions".  Everyone has learned so much about the history of NASA and space exploration!  I love it when the kids learn and they don't even know it!

Drawings of men on the moon, rockets, space shuttles, and the earth rising above the moon are appearing all over the house!  Paper tube rockets and space shuttles are decorating each shelf!  Kailee, Alyssum, and Adams were also very creative and found astronaut costumes...
Ethan rediscovered the rockets that were in his closet which sparked an interest in everyone to blast off rockets!  Ethan and Tyler cruised through the Estes rockets website to see what they could find.  We made a quick trip to Anchorage this week and while we were there made a stop at the hobby shop to load up on rockets and engines for everyone.  Friday night movie was ousted by building rockets...

Steve has had alot of fun helping the kids, big and little, with their rockets.  He takes a trip down memory lane as he tells them stories of his rockets!

Launch day was set for today, Saturday!  A snowy muskeg works great as a launch area...5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More of the white stuff!!

And the snow just keeps on coming!!  I think the weather man is making up for lost time in giving us the snow we were supposed to get earlier this year...and he is giving it all to us in a week.  We certainly didn't want to feel left out of winter by not getting the snow we most certainly needed!!  Well, something like that anyway!!

We all must admit it is absolutely beautiful outside as we watch the gently falling snow or even to watch a blizzard come up all of a sudden.  We are always so thankful for a warm house and heat when the weather turns cold and nasty!  We have had extreme temperature changes from 40 down to -14 and still the snow kept coming.  Even Ann Marie had to admit the deep snow was a lot of fun as the kids all went diving into the deep powder...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Ann Marie!!

She's 18!!  Ann Marie's birthday was on Wednesday so we had a family birthday party that evening with ice cream and presents from us.  Then on Friday evening we had a birthday party with extended family and friends!  It was an evening of fun and laughter!!

Can't believe she's 18...seems like it hasn't been that long ago since I met Ann Marie for the first time in Sierra Leone when she had just turned 13!  Wow!!   We love you, Ann Marie...our beautiful African daughter!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snow, snow, snow!!

Winter wonderland has arrived for our kids!  They are having so much fun in the snow!  They are a little crazy though...they all seem to think that plowing the snow is THE MOST fun thing in the world to do!  So Ethan fixed up their four-wheeler so his younger siblings could all ride along as they plow the driveway.  I told them with this contraption they look a little like the Beverly Hillbillies!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Snow, swimming, and camping out!!

February was teasing us with spring like was pleasantly warm and the snow had mostly melted away...the kids could play outside and not get freezing cold.  But we knew it was too good to be true!  March has come in roaring like a lion...we got a foot to two feet of snow yesterday(depending on where you live), then it warmed up to 40 and started raining.  This morning it was a bone chilling 13 degrees at our place and windy and it was snowing more!  I'm not sure how much we've gotten least 6 inches?!  Where did our spring weather disappear to??  With the windy gusts we are experiencing tonight we could have some amazing snow drifts in the morning!

Tyler, Kailee, Alyssum, and Adams had a great two weeks of swimming!  They learned so much and became much more confident swimmers.  Tyler's teacher all but got on her knees and begged him to be on the swim team.  She said he has the Engebretsen swim genes (my sister is a great swimmer and swam on the swim team with the same coach).  He loves to swim and enjoyed his time in the water, but said he really didn't want to be at the pool that much!  His first love is spending time outdoors, building and creating!

This week we went to Anchorage on Tuesday to pick up our friends, the Germains, at the airport.  We drove to Nikiski to get their bus(as it was being repaired by a friend there) and took it to Anchorage to get them.  Sounds easy enough?  Well....we left our house at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon, drove the 100 miles to Nikiski to get the bus, the bus had a couple flat tires so Steve spent about an hour getting them pumped up and hooking up the trailer that we were towing.  We drove to Soldotna, stopped at Fred Meyers and found that the bus had a good flowing anti-freeze leak.  Steve attempted to tighten a hose, bought several gallons of anti-freeze, and we were on our way by 7pm!  Not quite driving in the light like we had hoped especially in a bus that has balled tires and towing a trailer. 

We stopped every hour to fill up the bus with anti-freeze, it was guzzling a gallon an hour!  We wondered if we were going to make it all the way to Anchorage.  In the pass we were met with several inches of new snow on the roads and it was snowing and blowing, and VERY dark.  We couldn't see more than the road in front of us!  Definitely makes for a long night of driving!  Steve drove the bus slowly through the pass, not wanting to get stuck or slide into anyone...we made it safely through.

We had made arrangements to stay with my sister in Palmer, but because of arriving in Anchorage so late we made the decision to "camp out" in the Fred Meyers parking lot.  Ever done that with 6 kids in the winter?  Guess there's always a first time for everything!!  Thankfully it didn't get below 29 degrees and we had winter gear and sleeping bags.  We slept fitfully, but we were warm enough with four people to a vehicle.  We woke at 7am and went to the airport to pick up our friends.  Everyone was a little on the tired side, but oh, what a fun story to tell!

The rest of the week was rather uneventful by comparison!  We spent that day with the Germains, unloading their belongings and letting the kids get reacquainted.  Then we got to spend the evening with my sister and brother-in-law...and we were never quite so happy to see a bed!  We all crashed for the night.  Our drive home was in the daylight and we got home in time for Ethan to go to Youth Group.

On Friday the kids had some school to make up and they did a great job of getting their heads into it and making up for the days we had missed!  Now I know what they can do!