The life and times of the Godfrey ten.

Posts tagged “jake

Our favorite Costa Rican Fish, The Dark Jackson.

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.

Getting ready for a pairs dive

Pairs diving

Jake doing a dive he invented

showing off

more of the same

Can you see the thumbs up? Maybe he is more of ham than a fish.

He always finds the camera

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.

the elusive the Dark Jackson

The ham thing must run in the family

About to be crushed by a big wave, no worries.

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.

In his element


Iron Puppy

Muscles, bones and brain aching, legs begging to be stretched out as your knees tighten in the blowing snow; The wind whistles through the small crack on the left side of your helmet, right where the ice is building up from the bits of exhale that escape from the corner of your mouth.It is oddly louder than the high pitched whine of the machine. Six hours into your ride and your thumb is aching and begging for a break from the throttle. Every mogul, every turn, helps to jolt you awake, as you laugh to yourself amazed that one could even think of sleep in conditions as this. In the distance you see a moose and unlike the moose at home, this one is not used to the revving of the man made machine and trots off into sickly looking look trees to seek the minimal shelter they provide.  “Only 1000 miles to go” you say out loud to yourself, just to break the monotony.

You are in the middle of the Iron Dog race, the longest, toughest, craziest snow machine race in the world. A race 1900 miles over some of the roughest riding terrain in Alaska. The moguls are true moguls bred from the stumps of the tundra, and often hidden due to the shadowless white world. The trail is new every year, laid by God through the natural weather of his earth. It is a true Alaskan man’s dream, the misery, pain, machine, self-denial, battling the elements, and eventually triumph over all of it, perhaps with a touch of frostbite, locked knees and a right thumb that looks like it has been pumping iron longer than the left thumb has been alive.

I write about the  Iron Dog because it is currently being raced right here in my state. To illustrate the difficulty of such an endeavor, prior to the halfway point, 11 of the 28 teams have already scratched; mind, machines, or body broke and unable to continue. However, I am breeding a new generation of racer, a brother and sister team. A team that will never surrender, that will be mentally and physcially strong. A team that will trust fully in God and fear nothing except losing. Although our training is in the early stages, I have seen promise and I have included a movie trailer to show what the VanMeter’s and Palin’s will have to contend with in a few short years. Soon, their story of victory and triumph and how the beat the odds coming from humble beginnings will be known world wide. But today, only you the select chosen few will get a sneak peek into the dynamic blizzard known only as the Iron Puppies.


The Godfrey Goonies

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:

The Godfrey Goonies, from left to right: Jammin Jerms, Krooning Kass, Bopping Benny, Lovely Liv, and their security guard, Jive Jake.

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.


All I want for Christmas are…… socks!

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?

That present was a day with Jo. The week before Christmas we got to meet Jo at a sledding party for her school. That was the first time we had seen her in weeks. She came running down that hill at full speed, running right in front of a slew of sledders, dodging them like an accidental frogger. She ran straight to the kids and into their arms. She then made her way into Tra’s arms and then eventually me. We spent about an hour with her that day, sledding, swinging, playing, talking and just gobbling up every moment in that 5 degree weather.

Happy to see her bros and sis's

Ben gets one of the first hugs on the way to momma

Finally made it into momma's arms

Three days later she got to come over to our house for the afternoon. When I stopped in to pick her up, she was laying on the couch watching Dora under a blankie. As soon as I walked in, she popped up and started putting her clothes on, ready to roll with her mini doggie. She was quieter than normal, seemingly unsure of what was going on, but ready to go. As I brought her out to the van full of her family, she started perking up and smiling. She had a moment of sickness near lunch time, laying her head on the counter, not eating, not smiling, not talking, just sitting, and we were concerned that perhaps she didn’t want to be home. But a quick trip to the bathroom, and it was the same old Jo, just as if she had never left. Running around, dressing up, chasing, being chased, hiding, scaring, playing with dolls, dogs, rabbits, dad and all the things she always did. Unfortunately the afternoon was far too short, and as hard as we tried we knew of no way to extend the evening visit. Near the end we settled down and let her open her Christmas presents from us watching the overwhelming joy in her eyes, and her painfully slow present opening process.

daddy, Jo, Jake, Kassie busting a move down the hill of death

hurry up, let's do it again!

A couple days later, on Christmas day, Mr. And Mrs. Claus and their kids stopped by her house on their way to church, and dropped her stocking off. Again, she was sitting on the couch watching a show, and again she seemed  a little surprised to see us there. We were out of context. But the longer we stayed the better she got. So three visits in a week, now that is a Christmas present!

paused for a minute to get a pic of the whole gang again

I didn't need a workout after the 47th "I wanna do it again".

Livy and Jo with a little winter swinging, that usually drops the wind chill by about 15 degrees.

They say “out of sight, out of mind”, but I don’t believe it for a minute. Jo has been out of sight for weeks and weeks, yet we think about her every day. Now I can’t say whether seeing her helps or hurts the longing, but I do know that every chance we get to see her, we will see her. And as much as my heart leaps when I see her smile, it sinks even further when we leave, almost to the point of sickness. It is a helpless feeling.

Jake and Jo in their current favorite outfits

a little art time making ornaments

Present time! I love my new hat!

Excuse me sir, can I please take your order?

So why you ask, do I not want the same Christmas present next year? Well next year I want Jo home with us for Christmas and I am believing that is in the Lord’s plan, and I will continue to believe. Is it hope, faith, wishful thinking, ignorance? I don’t know, but I will have it, whatever it is I have it. So when she is home next Christmas, then she cannot be my favorite Christmas present. So this year pray with us that my 2010 blog on my favorite Christmas present will be socks!

Location, Location, Location

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.

The world famous Club K.O. Make your reservations now!

The world famous Club K.O. Make your reservations now! (note duct tape for atmosphere)

customers pulling in for some "special blend" java.

customers pulling in for some "special blend" java.

obviously jacked up on some hi octane joe!

obviously jacked up on some hi octane joe!

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.

prepping for opening ( and coincedently closing) day

full house on opening day

Employee of the month, Olivia

Employee of the month, Olivia

all hail Club K.O., the only place to go for a great cup of joe.

all hail Club K.O., the only place to go for a great cup of joe.


Kenai River Fun and Nicotine laced popcorn

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.

You know we could be fishing.

You know we could be fishing.

Complete concentration at the fish painting table.

Complete concentration at the fish painting table.

I can't work under such scrutiny

I can't work under such scrutiny

Kassie, a true artist at heart

Kassie, a true artist at heart

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.

butterfly girl

butterfly girl

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!

That is one brave assistant!

That is one brave assistant!

good enough for Kenai River festival work!

good enough for Kenai River festival work!

that my friends is talent, hammer in one hand hair in the other. She is going to make someone a great wife someday!

that my friends is talent, hammer in one hand hair in the other. She is going to make someone a great wife someday!

Look closely at the bruises on her fingers, all from Ben.

Look closely at the bruises on her fingernails, all from Ben.

Big brother lending a hand to Jake.

Big brother lending a hand to Jake.

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.

Jake's bear. I think it is a black bear.

Jake's bear. I think it is a black bear.

Exhausted from carrying around 30 pound bags of popcorn, we had to take a break.

Exhausted from carrying around 30 pound bags of popcorn, we had to take a break.

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.

Rocket builders unlimited

Rocket builders unlimited

Jo you got some kind of bug on your face, said Jake as he attempted to slap it off her.

Jo you got some kind of bug on your face, said Jake as he attempted to slap it off her.

Ben's birhouse

Ben's birhouse

Jeremy's birdhouse

Jeremy's birdhouse

Livy's birdhouse, for purple loving birds

Livy's birdhouse, for purple loving birds

told you it was Livy's.

told you it was Livy's.


A sno-go Sunday

It has been difficult to blog since we have come home from Costa Rica. It just does not seem as exciting or interesting, and the material has somehow lost its luster. But we will persevere and fight through and together we can get back in the groove. So if there is something you want to know about, let me know and I will offer up a blog on it.

First an update on Jo. Recently I realized that I had not updated all of you as to the status, that is because the status is quo. We pick up Jo on Friday at 5 pm and then drop her off Sunday at 5 pm. This has been going on since before we left for vacation and will continue until????? We have still seen signs that cause us concern, so please continue to pray. 

Her last weekend here we took the opportunity to go out on our snowmachine, a machine given to us by some extremely giving people. I took most of the kids out and let them drive me around, and they had a blast. You may recall, about 4 years ago Dorian had a little “incident” on a snowmachine a few years back and we haven’t gone out much since. 

 

Now hold on tight!!!

Now hold on tight!!!

 

 

Ben tended to get a little throttle happy, and at one point I thought he was determined to jump the Sterling Highway, and not on purpose. His second time out he seemed to have the hang of it. 

 

Ready for takeoff

Ready for takeoff

 

 

Olivia was a natural. She has the touch and went just the right speed for dad’s taste. 

 

Livy scaring daddy

Livy scaring daddy

 

 

Kassie too seemed to have a great touch and as usual her smile never left her face, which in turn made me smile. 

 

Ben waiting patiently for his second turn

Ben waiting patiently for his second turn

 

 

Jake and Jo loved it. Though a little apprehensive at first, they soon warmed up to the adventure and the next thing I knew they had their hands on the throttle and apparently thought that I should go a little faster. 

 

If we are not back in 5 minutes, send out the Troopers.

If we are not back in 5 minutes, send out the Troopers.

march-2009-026_640x480

I thought we were going on a hay ride.

 

The next thing I knew, 2 hours had flown by and it was time to get ready for Sunday night church. Now if I could only get mom to come out for a ride, then I would have accomplished something. She has this “thing” about outside activities in the winter. My true Alaskan woman.

Jo showing daddy how to go faster

Jo showing daddy how to go faster