There have been a lot of surprises since we have relocated. Most of them we expected, a few are shocking, and some are more difficult than anticipated. One of the most surprising has been the kids acclamation to water. Being raised in Alaska, the opportunities to swim outside the occasional visit to the local pool, are daunted by the freezing water, and most often end up being an ankle-deep wade at best. Living with a pool in your front yard, a beach 5 minutes away, and perennial 90 degree Fahrenheit air and water tends to change that a little. None more apparent than our favorite fish the Dark Jackson, whom you may know as Jake. Since leaving Alaska Jake has lived in the water. Jake would sleep in the water if he could.
In the morning, after breakfast, and sometimes before, he is in the pool. Throughout the day into the dark, he is often in the pool. After coming home from all day at the beach, he is in the pool. The kid loves the water, and has become very proficient in it. He can hold his breath longer than me, he can do better dives than any of us, he can swim like a manta ray and no one ever taught him how to swim. He never had a lesson, he was never old enough for us to really teach, he just did it.
Perhaps it is allegoric to our life. Just maybe we need to lead them to the opportunities, or provide the tools for our children, ie. the pool, and let them swim. We can be right there to help them, in the water or on the edge jumping to their rescue when needed, but perhaps if we give them a little leeway and let them go just a little they will swim and they will excel in the way that God intended, beyond anything we could imagine. But then we would have to live with the realization that perhaps what God wants with our lives and our children’s lives is much bigger than anything we could imagine. That makes it much more difficult to let them out of the wading pool, unfortunately with us stuck right by their side. Or maybe Jake is just a natural-born swimmer.
Short video showing some of the kiddos sacrificing boogie boards and getting crushed at Playa Flamingo. I was laughing at them, not with them.
With a family our size, there have often been references to the Brady Bunch or Partridge Family. For those of you too young to recall, these were 70’s TV show icons. The Brady Bunch was cool, and they had some talent, especially in choreography:
But the one that I have often dreamed we were like was the Partridge Family. Here was a family that was a full band. They traveled the world, their misadventures shared through the magic of television. They had kids that sang ( David Cassidy), a kid that played the piano, a kid that played guitar, a seven-year old drummer, a five-year old tambourine player, and a mom that played the keyboard and tambourine. They would make the most wholesome teeny bopper pop music. See for yourself, if you dare.
Why I am writing about the Partridge family? Well, I thought maybe our family could be the next Partridge family. We only have one hurdle, and it’s a very small one; There are only 3 of us with any musical talent at all. Obviously we have other skills, like my surfing. But musically, Tracy & Ben can sing, and Livy can play the piano. Dont’ get me wrong, I sing a lot, and I sing loudly, just not well. Dorian hasn’t sung a note since he was three, Alli, well Alli tries hard, and she is an excellent dancer. Jeremy is learning to play the guitar, with a heavy emphasis on learning. Kassie, she is a very good smiler and gymnast, but I don’t know how much that would help us. Jake and Jo, well they actually sing a lot, but only when they think no one is watching, usually while going potty. So performing live could be an issue.
The reason I bring this up today is because, like they often do, my children surprised me with a performance. Now when they perform, they don’t sing or really do anything, they just dress up come find us, and do their best to look cool. This is the outcome:
So for any of you talent agents out there, you can clearly see we have almost all the bases covered, a large family, a diverse family, awesome attitudes, fraught with misadventures, willing to travel, and THE LOOK! If Milli Vanilli could do it, why can’t we? I, as the manager of this up and coming band, or shall I say musical dynasty, can be contacted via the comments section. We look forward to performing, uhhh standing in front of you.
Quick, what did you get for Christmas this year? What did you get for Christmas last year?
I don’t know if I can name a favorite gift from every Christmas, but I know I can name one from my last two Christmases. I got the same thing, this year and last year but I don’t want it next year that’s for sure. Yet, if I do get it, it will be the best present once again. Have I piqued your interest yet?
Did you ever have a lemonade stand? I did, and I think I made about $ 0.75. But I will never forget it. One of my 2-3 paying customers grilled me, as he was drinking his lemonade, regarding my profits. He insisted, with a straight face, that I must report my profits to the IRS. I giggled assuming he was joking, and he never cracked a smile. I was mortified that they would find out, and promptly closed the stand. When I told my dad that I had to report my profits, hey obviously looked at me puzzled, eyebrows furrowed down and said “what the heck are you talking about?” I told him about the guy. It turns out he worked with my dad, and he and my dad had a great laugh over the encounter. At that time, I thought that was cruel and unfairly affected the purchasing power of my Hot Wheels Racing Set. Now, I can’t wait till I get to return the favor.
Well times have changed. I came home last month to find a fully operating coffee stand in my driveway. NIRVANA! If you know me, you know I love my coffee. The problem with the stand, it was being operated by my children, with my coffee, and it was being sold. No freebies. But that wasn’t the main problem, the main problem was that is was up our 100 foot, away from any other traffic, other than Tracy and I. So their customer base was limited, very limited. Further, once they figured out their customer base was zero, they began serving each other. Taking turns as imaginary customers with imaginary profits. But I applaud their ingenuity, creativeness, and stealing of my coffee goods. So if you are ever driving by Sterling and have a hankering for a hot, luke warm cup of coffee, dark water, then stop on by club K.O. It is only a few hundred yards out of the way, and for only a few dollars, I promise that you will get service with smile,if they aren’t doing school work, or sleeping, or eating, or playing……… Just keep in mind, much like Applebee’s, you are paying more for atmosphere than the actual product.
Twas an interesting day today; sunny yet windy, warm yet slightly cool, and an ever present weather change on the horizon. So we decided to venture out to one of our local annual events, the Kenai River Festival. Basically it celebrates….. well it uhhhh, hmmmm not sure what it celebrates, but it has something to do with the Kenai River, and people sell things.
It is a lot of fun for the kids. They have free face painting by very amateur local volunteer artists. Jo’s butterfly actually looked a little like a butterfly, well done. They also had a lot of FREE crafts for the kiddos. Several of the kids painted a wooden salmon on a stick, and no it was not edible. I have never so many glitter covered purple fish in my whole life. It reminded me of a bad prom theme. Then they went on to make birdhouses, again for free. Now I won’t say who, but one of our kid’s wood working skills resemble Dorian’s ( see previous post wood working 101) but for the most part the bird houses weren’t bad, good enough for the birds in our neighborhood at least; they’re not snobby birds, and not particularly bright as evidenced by the barrage of bird attacks on our windows.
Finally, after two 10 gallon garbage bags full of kettle corn, we saw some rockets red glare blasting through the sky. Immediately the kids honed in on this activity and it was rocket building time. Jo, Jeremy and Ben all built their own rockets and then had a launching competition. Lest you think we let the kids play with rocket fuel, these were air powered rockets built strictly out of construction paper. I must admit, I was very impressed with the elevation those pieces of paper could reach, and yes Jo’s rocket went the highest!
I think the kids, other than Alli on crutches had a good time. I know I had a good time watching the kids, seeing some old friends and eating popcorn, until I got a stomach ache from sugar laced popcorn. Why can’t I ever quit eating popcorn when it is put in front me? Perhaps they lace it with nicotine along with the sugar. I can see popcorn regulations and warning labels in the near future.
There were a lot of unique shops and fish related activities. Perhaps this is a clue as to the purpose of this yearly fair. Next year I will make it my mission to find out, and maybe we will see you out there too, we can have a kettle corn eating competition till the death.