South Pacific Vacation Weekend!


Vale picked me up inna great, big jet.  Wow!  There were all sortsa buttons an’ knobs an’ talky things.  She sat inna big seat an’ wore headphones.  She hadda land a bit away from the house, so there was room for the jet, but it was so cool!  An’ the jet flies super super fast.  I kinda sorta fell asleep, I think, while we were onna way to gettin’ Pip.  I couldn’t sleep none the night before, cuz I was so excited.  But Vale said it was ok an’ I outta get some rest now, before alla vacationing started.

My nap was perfect.  I was wide awake again when the jet stopped in Washington.  After we got Pip, Vale gave us two clues ’bout where we were gonna go.  The clues were images an’ coordinates:  28°25’N latitude and 178°10’W longitude.  We  hadda use them to try an’ figure out where we were goin’.

We spent some time pokin’ through files an’ usin’ the jet’s logs an’ lookin’ at maps an’ stuff, tryin’ figure out where we were goin’.  But we also just watched outta window an’ chatted, hopin’ maybe Vale’d let somethin’ slip.  She was good, tho, an’ kept it all a secret.  Vale said she’d teach us how to use coordinates to find places onna map someday when she wasn’t flyin’ a jet.

When we landed, she told us we were at Kure Atoll island, a coral reef place inna Hawaiian islands.  It’s a nature safe place, so there wouldn’t be loads of people, but it’d be perfect for us!


It was super pretty.  An’ so warm!  Home was cold cold cold when we left, but this was just nice.  I kicked off my boots an’ ran around inna little tank top an’ shorts I brought for a swimmin’ suit.  We did a little explorin’ first, tryin’ figure out what was onna island, cuz we hadda forage for our food.  There were some coconut trees, an’ I found stuff washed up onna beach to make a fishin’ pole.  Saw loads an’ loads of birds.  Wondered if they’d make good food if we caught one.

Silly birds were awful funny, though.  Seemed wrong to eat ’em!


Vale hadda goal in mind:  she was here, vacationing, so she could learn to relax some.  Pip’n’me were gonna help her get it done.  Since we were all super excited about bein’ there, we  just went an hopped inna lagoon an’ swam around, enjoyin’ alla warm an’ swimmin’ with fishes an’ lookin’ at the pretty coral reefs.

We lit up a fire an’ sat round it, talkin’ an’ watchin’ stars an’ singin’ some.  It was super pretty with the moon all bright an’ the waves so quiet inna lagoon.


We slept out under the stars.  Vale said weather was gonna be nice all weekend, so we didn’t worry bout rain or nothin’.  An’ it was super warm.  Oh my gumdrops!  It was nice.

Inna mornin’, I did some explorin’ afore everybody got up.  The island was fulla seals an’ birds an’ insects an’ crabs an’ starfish an’ stuff.  I saw dolphins out inna lagoon, too.  There were some really weird ants crawlin’ onna plants.  They looked like aliens.


When I got back, I put my pole inna water for catchin’ fish (cuz havin’ somethin’ to eat seemed like a good idea).


Vale was workin’ on relaxin’.  She was doin’ a mighty fine job of it!


Pip’n’me joined her for a bit, then we all talked bout goin’ down inna rock pool.  Pip asked bout sharks, though.  Vale did a cool scan with her arm part an’ checked round the lagoon area.  No sharks in sight!  So we went down an’ splashed around some, bein’ careful bout the coral.  Tiny fishes came up an’ nibbled on us, an’ we giggled like li’l girls.  The water was warm warm warm!  Then a couple dolphins came over too, splashin’ at us some, an’ we swam over to see what it’d be like swimmin’ with dolphins.


I checked onna fish pole now an’ again, pullin’ up caught fish an’ keepin’ ’em inna rock pool til we were ready to eat.  Once we got outta water, I did a li’l more, an’ it seemed we had enough.  Vale found some nice big leaves, an’ Pip found some sweet herbs an’ fruit.  We wrapped up most of the fish inna leaves an’ roasted ’em inna coals, but I stuck a few on sticks an cooked ’em straight onna flame.


Then we sat round the fire, singin’ songs an tellin’ stories.  Vale told us bout a time she was inna bamboo bar in Da Nang, Vietnam.  She was tryin’ teach some people how they outta play cricket.  But she got bored, cuz cricket’s got tons of rules, an’ made up a new game.  “Knock Vale out with a cricket bat an’ winna free drink.”  Gumdrops!  We didn’ do nothin’ like that, but I think (hope!) Vale had loads more fun onna island with Pip’n’me.


Second full day, we did more awesome stuff.  Vale had said she wanna work on painting an’ art, so Pip brought supplies for alla we to work with.  She had stuff called pastels.  They were a li’l bit like chalk, an’ a li’l bit like crayons, an’ we worked on drawing stuff an’ expressing feelings through images.  We shared the different colors.  Pip drew a pretty flower, I worked on a seasketch, an’ Vale tried to put her heart onna page.  It was good an’ relaxin’.  I didn’t bother gettin’ my li’l paints out.  This was way prettier.


We went swimmin’ loads, too.  Some with dolphins, but some just out inna lagoon.  It was nice an’ relaxin’ an’ awesome.  When we got all pruned up, we moved onna beach an’ lay inna sun like some lazy lizards.  I remembered, alla sudden, that my birthday had happened, an’ I felt bad, cuz I’d left Cooper inna cold on our birthday.  So I started searchin’ round, lookin’ for somethin’ I might maybe bring him as a present.

That night, when we shoulda been sleepin’, we went down inna lagoon again an’ lay back onna quiet, still water an’ watched the stars an’ the moon.  We talked some, but not loads.  It was kinda like magic, floatin’ inna lagoon  at night.  Water got so quiet an’ still, you could see stars in it, so then it was like floatin’ inna sky.

We shoulda gone home on Monday, but we wound up stayin’ a bit overlong, with alla swimmin’ an’ hikin’ an’ explorin’ we did.  By the time we dragged ourselves to bein’ actually ready, it was too late at night, an’ Vale said she shouldn’t fly the jet like that.  So we caught some more fish an’ roasted ’em up onna fire an’ made another meal like that.  Did some more singin’ round the fire.  Slept some, but took a dip inna lagoon just afore sunrise, so we gotta watch the sun come up from the water.

When we were tryin’ pack up, Pip lost her purple shoe.  (I thought maybe a seal ran off with it)  She was off, lookin’ for it, when she came across a giant sea turtle!

He was really cute.  But Pip said he was lost, maybe cuz he blew up onna island after a storm last week.  We hadda help him figure out where he outta go so he could find his other sea turtle friends.  He hadda go back toward Hawaii, sorta southeast from the Kure Atoll where we were.  We pointed him inna right direction an’ waved as he slipped down inna ocean water.

We didn’ wanna go home, but we hadda.  The jet would be missed.  Vale hadda job.  Pip’s bean was sick.  I hadda make sure Riley was ok.  So we boarded the jet, an’ Vale drove Pip an’ me back to our homes.  We talked, though, bout alla fun we had.  An’ we made plans to do it again next year!  So maybe this’ll be something we do each year.  It’d be super cool if we could.  I found a video bout someone kayakin’ inna ocean near Hawaii.  For Krissmiss, I gotta kayak, an’ I’m thinkin’ now that maybe we could try somethin’ like that next year!

I’m gonna miss bein’ with Pip an’ Vale (an’ no, those weren’t tears! just some sand inna eye…).  But it was awful nice to see Cooper an’ Wren an’ Meikiko an’ Falcon an’ Sparrow.  An’ the new girl, Lark.  Cooper was kinda mad at me, but only kinda.  I apologized for not bein’ there on our birthday an’ gave him the awesome thing I found:  a shark’s tooth.


He forgave me.  But he said I hadda take him if I left on our birthday again.


I can do that!






Cooper’s Eyes: birthday, 2018

I didn’t really want to admit it, but I’m a little bit sad about today. It is my birthday,  but it’s also Kestrel’s birthday (after all, we are twins). But Kestrel was invited to an isolated South Pacific island by her friend Vale, a cyborg from England (though, to be honest, I’m not clear about Vale’s nationality). Anyhow, Kestrel has an adventurous spirit, so off she went, with only a bag over her shoulder. I believe they intend to camp and forage for several days?

I am glad she went. I would not want to hold anyone back from an experience like that. After all, I should hope nobody would keep me back if I was invited to an island getaway! But I do sort of wish that I could have gone too. A weekend in the sun and sand sounds lovely.

Instead, I am here alone, surrounded by snow and bitter cold temperatures. Our friends are doing special things to make me feel better, though. Sparrow says she’ll bake a cake soon. And Falcon agreed to a game of chess with me.


Lark watched, having played the game before. She seems an astute player and suggested several good moves during the game. I tried to let Falcon win, but he tried to do the same for me. Lark left us, frustrated by our lack of vigor, and we ultimately called the game a failure as our  kings chased each other slowly round the board without ever making a conquest. We were laughing at the end and finally agreed that we would actually play next time.

oh! And since Kestrel is not here to object, I am going to share a picture of her trying on her bathing costume prior to leaving for the island! I don’t believe she say me take the picture. And I am certain she would not want me to share it if she had a voice in making the decision!


So, happy birthday, Kestrel! I hope you’re having a wonderful time. Catch a fish for me. But leave the birds alone. The Kure Atoll is a nature preserve, and the authorities would be vexed if you ate one. While I would love to visit the South Pacific, I don’t want to do so because I need to bail you out of a Hawaiian jail!


ps: Sparrow’s birthday cake gift! Thanks, my friends.


Pacific Island Vacation?!

This is really happenin’!  An’ I think maybe Vale’s gonna go pick up Pip too.  Cuz I think her jet’s gotta go that way anyway, so passin’ by Pip’s isn’t gonna take too long.

I packed up real quick.  Didn’t wanna take much:  shorts, T-shirts, somethin’ for swimmin’, a ‘puter, an’ some paint stuff.  I don’t got a swimsuit, but I hadda tank top an’ some knit shorts.  I think that’ll cover whatever parts need coverin’, an’ it won’t get too heavy from alla water.  Got everything packed in a backpack as fast as I could.  When Vale moves, she moves!


I didn’t wanna be not ready.  Once everything was packed up, I sat down an’ waited.  I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep.  We’re gonna go paint an’ hike an’ swim an’ watch birds.  Pip’s gonna give Vale tips about paintin’!  We’re gonna be flyin’ inna F15, an’ we’ll be gone four days.  I dunno what island we’re gonna go visit, but it’s gonna be so neat!

Waitin’ for Vale.



Snow Day!

It’s been super cold lately. I thought that was all it was gonna do—be cold!—but then we gotta little change an’ some snow came! It was so cold, I almost didn’t wanna go out an’ play but—nah. I love snow. I hadda go. I left Riley inside though.

i went an’ found our sled, cuz it’s been a bit since I went sleddin’. I’m thinkin’ I wanna try somethin’ like snow boardin’ sometime. Gotta get one first. For now, sleddin’ an’ snowmen is good!



But when I went an’ tried to make a snowman, alla snow fell like powder through my fingers. That was no good. I gave up on it an’ went to make some snow angels instead!


It wasn’t half bad. Not too sure where its head went, tho. I think I was tryin’ to keep snow outta my back, so I didn’t put my head alla way back? It was so super cold!


So cold, in fact, I went inside to warm up then. When I hopped on Facebook, I found Vale talkin’ bout maybe droppin’ Nuclear bombs on herself to test her shields?! Gumdrops, that worried me. She swears she’ll be ok, but wanted ideas bout remote places where maybe it’d be “safe” to drop a bomb. I mentioned some islands inna Pacific I found cuz I zoomed inna Google Maps an’ moved the mouse round the ocean. They’re called atolls, an’ they’re little islands with rims of land an’ a big circle lake inna middle (kinda like a short volcano inna ocean that got filled up with water instead of lava?). An’ now Vale’s talkin’ bout maybe takin’ me on a trip to the Pacific, maybe to an atoll!

I dunno when she’s sendin’ her jet, though, so I gotta go pack an’ get ready! Wow! An island! From snow to tropics? That’d be pretty cool!


New Places, New Faces?

I was sittin’ there, watchin’ alla Littles play again today (cuz we still ain’t taken ’em back to Nim, but we gotta soon, cuz we’re kinda sorta out of food) when Hazel came in, all pink an’ outta breath.  It’s cold as ‘cicles outside! She said she had somethin’ she wanna show me.  I tucked my new sword inna belt loop an’ found a hat an’ followed her out.


Oh, gumdrops, I dunno if ‘cicles is cold enough to describe the weather.  Was more like alla air was frozen, an’ we hadda swim through it!  But there was no snow, so it was cold without a good reason.  We walked through the woods a ways, down a path I don’t use so much, an’ down a trail I always thought deer made.

Partway down, there were some noises from behind.  I pulled Hazel offa road, an’ we hid behind some bushes.  I pulled my sword outta belt an’ got down inna fighting stance.  Then the thing makin’ the noise came inna view, an’ I stood up straight, steppin’ back out onna road.  Things were ok.  It was just Falcon.  I wasn’t even mad he made me worry.

“I wanted to see it too,” he said.  An’ the three of us kept goin’.

Not too long later, the trees opened up inna clearing.  Inna middle was a big white house.  The windows were boarded up some onna first floor, though, an’ there were lotsa dead weeds round the place.

“It’s a nice house?” I said, waitin’ for Hazel to lemme know why were were here.

“It is,” she agreed.  She walked through the weeds an’ up onna porch an’ pushed the door open.  It swung in.  The door didn’ squeak like I thought it might.

Falcon an’ I followed her to the door an’ peeked in.


It was a nice room, with a li’l bitta furniture covered by sheets.  Falcon an’ me came in a bit further, lookin’ inna corners an’ stuff.  “Why’re we here?” I finally asked.  “It’s a nice house, but somebody else owns it.  We ain’t supposed to go inna other people’s houses.”

Hazel smiled.  “No, we’re not.  When Vega and I found it last month, she tried to research the property records, but we got stuck.  Cooper helped us find its owner.  Turns out the house belongs to Gramma Happy.  We talked to her.  She said she didn’t realize this house was so close to our Home but that, since she didn’t have anybody using it now, it was ok for us to use it.  Cooper is working on getting the Government to recognize this as an extension of our Home so they can send Gramma Happy some extra money too.”

Grammy Happy is so super nice!  I was feeling really excited now.  What else was in the house?  We could clean it up an’ have plenty of room for the whole Flock now.

Upstairs, we found another big room like onna first floor.  It had some chairs an’ a nice long table an’ some benches.  An’ a bookcase.  Falcon’s eyes lit up when he saw the long table.  He started talkin’ bout gaming an’ science an’ all sortsa things we could do there.  It sounded pretty cool.

We kept goin’ through.  We came to a room with lotsa little-sized yellow furniture, an’ Falcon started talkin’ bout how Meikiko would love livin’ inna room that had stuff her size.  An’ there were two beds, so she could always have a little friend over, too.  I hadda agree: it was perfect.


Hazel said there were some issues with the place.  It couldn’t never be its own stand-alone Home, cuz there wasn’t a kitchen.  But it could be a sorta overflow place, where kids could come an’ play an’ maybe sleep, cuz we were sorta runnin’ outta room–or at least runnin’ outta beds.  I was really glad, tho, that we couldn’t make it inna its own second house, cuz I liked our Flock bein’ together.

We stepped inna last room.  It was a bedroom for big kids, with nice bunkbeds an’ a li’l dresser table.  There was a window facin’ out to the woods.  It was cozy an’ friendly.  But there was one small problem…

“Who’s that?”


There was a girl sleepin’ inna bottom bunk bed.  She woke up alla sudden an’ stared at us, her eyes big like moons.

“I don’t know,” Hazel confessed.  “She wasn’t here before.”

She leaped outta the bed an’ stood afore us.


“I–I–I’m sorry,”  she stuttered.  “It’s so c-c-c-cold.  I just wanted to sleep somewhere warm.  I’ll be going now.” An’ she turned, like she was gonna just walk out inna cold.

But she didn’t have shoes.  Or a coat.  Or anythin’.

“Wait,” I said.  An’ they all turned an’ looked at me.  I knew I shoulda kept my mouth shut.  Now I’d be the one makin’ decisions.  Oh boy.


But I knew it was wrong–like, super-duper wrong–to send a kid without shoes inna cold like we came through.

I took a deep breath.  “My name’s Kestrel.  This is Falcon an’ Hazel.  We live inna house nearby…an’ maybe now here too.”

“I’m…Lark,” she said, all quiet-like.

“Do you have a home or parents?” I asked.  This felt strange.  I’d heard Wren ask questions like this, but I hadn’t done it afore.  She just shook her head a li’l bit.  “Maybe you can stay with us, then.  Alla we are orphans too.  We all work hard to keep it goin’, but there’s always somethin’ else needin’ doin’.  We gotta talk with Wren first, but wouldya maybe wanna think bout joinin’ us?”

Lark smiled super big then.  She didn’t hafta say a single word.




Merry Krissmiss!

For Krissmiss, Wren wanted to give Nim a special gift.  She wanted to give Nim a li’l break an’ offered to take the Littles for Krissmiss Eve.  A few stayed with Nim (Rosy an’ one kitty), but we had most of ’em over.  Lotsa floor sleepin’.  Littles don’t mind.  After we fed ’em dinner an’ read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, an’ hung up a couple stockings, everybody got ready for bed.


We were all cozied up an’ most of the Littles stopped whisperin’ when Meikiko gasped an’ hopped outta bed an’ went runnin’ for the main room.  She forgot to get Santa’s cookies an’ milk ready.  Real quick, she got out some cookies an’ poured a mug of milk an’ set it out onna side table.


Then back to bed an’ sleep an’ sugarplum fairies an’ eight tiny reindeer an’ kerchiefs an’ alla that.  (I couldn’t get alla them in one picture.  There were just too many!)


Inna morn, the Littles woke with such a ruckus an’ a bluster, cuz it was Krissmiss an’ all!  Oh my gumdrops!  I never knew Nim hadda handle so much at Dolli Lane.  Halloween ain’t seemin’ so bad now.  We all trooped out to the main room an’ found Santa had visited inna night.


Oh, the noise! the chaos! the happiness!!  The Littles were all sortsa crazy, divin’ inna things left under the tree.  There was no blood, so we kinda let them have at it.  There were dollies, an’ bears, an’ li’l toys here an’ there.  There was even a picnic basket (which Aqua squealed over, so I think maybe that was her biggest wish-for), an’ a kayak!  I dunno if the Littles keep the kayak, or if maybe that’s for one of us bigger dollies.


There were some presents left for us bigger kids too, like the kayak.  There was a sewing machine too for Wren an’ a kitty cat that immediately hopped inna Falcon’s lap (it wasn’t a sweet black kitty but a li’l striped orange kitty).   As noise as alla Littles got, though, it was awful fun to watch ’em playin’ with their toys!


There were some little wrapped gifts too for the Flock of bigger dollies.  I gotta shiny new sword, an’ Wren got a pretty li’l heart box from Nim.  The boys got a fun science kit, an’ a chess game.  Sparrow an’ me asked if they’d teach us to play chess, cuz we dunno how.  Cooper promised he would.  An’ there were some dice for a game.  Sparrow says the game is about tellin’ stories an’ makin’ characters.  We need a book first an’ some pages, but she’s gonna teach us all how to make it happen.  The dice are very pretty an’ green an’ all sortsa different shapes.

I gotta say, it was nice gettin’ an givin’ gifts, but the best part was actually watchin’ alla Littles get so excited an’ happy.  We all kinda got a li’l bit overwhelmed by the Littles an’ their energy, but it was pretty awesome inna end.  If Nim’s ok with lettin’ us host ’em next, year, I hope we getta do it again.  Meikiko was so happy havin’ all sortsa li’l friends over to share the day, an’ it was nice for us too.  Wren hadda really good idea.

I hope alla you hadda really great Krissmiss too, an’ gotta spend time with family an’ friends!