Monday, March 23, 2009

She Erupted! Mt. Redoubt, That Is

I've received a couple of emails from friends and family wondering about this crazy volcano, so I thought I'd type up my observations from today. Yeah... we're pretty close to the volcano. We can see it right from our kitchen window. It's about 50 miles west of us. Here's what has happened (feel free to skim... it's not that exciting!).

Maybe Redoubt is a boy and this post should be titled, "He Erupted!"... I don't know. But yes, last night at about 10:38 p.m., Redoubt did her/his thing. The volcano erupted four or five times spitting out ash clouds that reached about 60,000 feet. Jacob and I were up, but we didn't even know anything had happened until this morning (actually, I probably still wouldn't know except for the fact that Jacob called from school to tell me!). We're all safe and well and even the sulfur that we smelled earlier in the morning is gone now.

To add to our excitement, I was getting ready to take Ammon to school when the power went out. Apparently, the entire Kenai Peninsula lost power for about an hour or hour and a half?? (I wasn't watching the clock). We quickly put our batteries in our radio and found out that a transmission line from Anchorage that provides power for the Peninsula faltered. The last I heard (I haven't been listening for updates on this), Homer Electric officials weren't stating whether it was related to the volcano's eruption. Probably not though, since I just read that there were also brief power outages in different parts of the Peninsula starting yesterday.

Anyway, with the volcano's news and then the power outage, Ammon, Abraham, Ziya and I decided to say a prayer and listen to the Holy Ghost telling us what we should do. Our main question was whether we should still take Ammon to school. I'd already called his school and was NOT pleased to hear that they didn't even have a computer up and going to keep them updated. They also hadn't heard anything from the Central Offices. So I called the Central Offices and they said the schools should have been operating on emergency generators. We opted to turn to prayer! After the prayer, Ammon said that his heart was beating fast so that means he should still go to school (today was the first day back after spring break and he was excited to see his buddies again!). I, on the other hand, felt more comfortable keeping my little family as together as we could be. We all agreed to have a "home school" day.

A home school day was just what we needed, since we didn't pull out Ammon's stuff from school until late last night and we realized that he was actually supposed to do some work over the week-long spring break (oops!). We're all caught up now. We did a bunch of math pages, then some reading and now Ziya is napping and we've just finished "indoor recess" (a Disney math video that we picked up at the library last week!). It has been really fun. Ammon probably would have been totally fine to go to school... but sometimes it's good just to have a stay-at-home day!

Tonight for Family Home Evening, I think that we'll work together to make a couple more preparations for emergencies. We've been buying all the stuff for our 72-hour kits, but they are not yet assembled. Seems like a good time to do that!

p.s. I don't think anybody has published any pictures of last night's eruption (since it was pitch black outside)... but the picture I posted is from Alaska's Volcano Observatory page. The picture was taken on the 15th of this month. It was the day that we were out on a walk admiring the lonely cloud that was hanging around Redoubt!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Feel Like a Dork plus Kicking off Spring Break

We took a very long family nap today (Sunday) because we knew that we'd all be taking Jacob to the Kenai airport tonight at 10:00 p.m. and we needed the kids to still be awake. Well... as I've written before, long Sunday family naps DO NOT work in our favor. Our kids wake up totally energized, hyper, crazy, etc., and Jacob and I wake up groggy from sleeping too long... all of which happened today. We all bundled up and decided to go outside to let the kids release some of their energy. Besides this, I'd talked to my sister in Utah earlier in the day while she was out on a family walk and I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice to go out on a family walk?... Wait, who cares if it's only 20 degrees outside? WE CAN DO IT!!!"

We had fun climbing our very own snow hill (we have a knack for claiming cool things around us as OURS! i.e. the beach is also ours!). We snapped some fun pictures and video. We ended the outing by walking through the RV park to get some Redoubt pictures. "Cool! Look at that cloud behind Redoubt! It makes it look like it's erupting or active or something, but it's not! It's just a cloud!" would be an approximation of the dorky narration I made on the video (which I realize now is even dorkier than I originally thought since there wasn't another single cloud in the sky!). Then I came in and saw on a couple of people's facebook accounts that Redoubt is actually stirring again and back up to ORANGE and WATCH levels. Ai, ai, aieeee!

Anyway, this is how we've kicked off our spring break. Now I'm flying solo with the kids for three days. We did take Jacob to the airport. He's headed to Spokane, WA to a teaching job fair. More news to come... WE HOPE, AND PRAY, AND HOPE, AND THEN PRAY SOME MORE!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Movie Night

A while back, we made a new "Munyer Family Rule" -- no TV Monday thru Friday night. In some ways (not all), it has made life a lot easier. I don't have to fight with the kids to turn off the morning cartoon and hurry and get dressed for school and the day. And after school, I don't have to fight with Ammon about getting to his homework instead of watching a show. I occassionally use my veto power and make an exception to the rule during the day when it is just Abraham, Ziya and me (it's so much easier to clean floors, for example, when both kids are happily sitting on the couch!).

The kids have learned to look forward to Friday nights, when they usually get to watch a movie. This past Friday night, they really got into it. I think I was in the bedroom or somewhere and when I came out to join them in the living room, this is what I found -- their special movie night setup. Ziya didn't actually last for too long in her designated space -- she preferred to wander on top of her brothers, on sleeping papi's lap, or on top of the laptop with me. It was a fun night -- and a good movie, too (we watched Nim's Island).

Jacob Has a New Pilates Partner!

A few nights ago, I was in my bedroom working on the computer. I knew Jacob was in the living room doing a pilates DVD. What I didn't know is that since I don't join him in this exercise anymore, he found a new partner! I think they both had a great time!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Very Pregnant Day

  • Symptom number 1: I play the organ in sacrament meeting at Church every Sunday. After the sacrament hymn, I always leave the organ to go and sit with my family and then quickly return for the closing hymn and postlude. Well, in order to appreciate the dilemma I had today, you must know that an organ bench is not like a piano bench -- you can't just sit on it and adjust its placement by scooting forward or backward like you can a piano bench. You have to actually get off the bench and scoot it where you want it and then sit on it again. I always gauge where I want the bench on the comfort of my hands reaching the keyboards. I make sure to adjust the bench when I first get to Church and that's where the bench stays until somebody else adjusts it for themselves. Well... for the first time, today I had a hard time getting off and back on the bench quickly and discreetly (I try to be quick and discreet so as not to call any attention to myself since most organ players just stay up on the stand for the entire sacrament meeting)! What happened was that the distance between my hands and the keyboards was perfectly comfortable; what I didn't realize until it was too late, was that my quickly growing tummy was hitting up against the organ, thus making it hard to slide in and out. How embarrassing. From now on I'm going to have to scoot the bench farther back and stick my arms and hands out like a mummy in order to play without my tummy hitting the organ! I think Sister Cooper and I will have to start picking from the shorter hymns - at least until after the baby is born!
  • Symptom number 2: Because I play postlude for a little bit, I'm always late to Sunday School. The only open seats when I got there were right on the front row. The very pretty mauve upholstered chairs are horribly uncomfortable -- they have a weird sitting angle, if you ask me. Several times, I caught myself totally slouching (kind of leaning way back on my chair) with my legs open out in front of me. Each time, I would try to cross my leg or at least tuck my feet back under my chair, but I'd eventually end up in my very un-ladylike pregnant position. I didn't realize how important having a row in front of me is! That chair that's usually in front of me forces me to sit up straighter. With all that free space in front of me today, it was hard not to use it and totally spread myself out. I won't be sitting in the front row anymore... no matter how late I am to class. Needless to say, I moved back to another chair for Relief Society!
  • Symptom number 3: This one may have been magnified because I was already ticked about how uncomfortable I was during all of Sunday School. However, for the closing prayer, I went to cross my arms across my mid-abdomen, as I usually do. The prayer was not unusually long or anything, but I found that just a few seconds into it, I had to move my arms way up across my chest. I felt ridiculous and I'm sure I looked ridiculous, too. Hopefully everybody had their eyes closed like they're supposed to!
  • Symptom number 4: Shouldn't I be past the "want to eat everything in sight" stage? Yesterday, I went to the grocery store "for some milk." $60.00 later, amongst other things, I was unloading a London broil, red potatoes, asparagus and a soda pop (we hardly ever drink soda!) into my kitchen. Not too bad, eh? At least it wasn't a bunch of ice cream or sugar. Even though we had plenty of food at home, I used the excuse that basketball season has ended and we needed to have a special celebratory dinner. I made some rolls and hollandaise sauce and when I served the meal, Jacob made a comment something like, "Wow... it's like Thanksgiving!" I guess that's because it wasn't the spaghetti or bean burritos that we usually have. I loaded up my plate and was ready to devour it all, when I realized that the meat was dry, the asparagus was too soft, and the potatoes needed more flavor. We were also out of butter, so even my yummy rolls weren't up to par. How frustrating. I cleared my plate anyway.
  • Symptom number 5: I could hardly keep my eyes open towards the end of my less-than-satisfactory meal. I pretty much abandoned poor Jacob and the kids and went straight to my bed to crash. I did manage to set an alarm clock (February has taught me that when I sleep for too long on Sundays, the rest of the day ends up pretty messed up!) -- I was going to allow myself to take a one hour nap. Well, three and a half hours later... Umm, what responsible mother does that?
  • Symptom number 6: I thought I was done complaining, but now my feet are swollen (not to mention my already usually swollen bad ankle which now looks like it's deformed) and I swear that the baby hasn't stopped kicking in about three hours. Shouldn't he be sleeping or something?
I put a countdown baby ticker on our blog. It's definitely time to start counting down!