Sunday, May 31, 2009

Softball mayhem, day two!

mikes catch

Snow, snow, snow! Well, flurries of a sort anyway. Let the record show that we DID have snow on day two of our annual softball tournament, I just didn't capture it on film, as I was PLAYING four games in a row!

Team 2 dugout

Actually, I wussed out, was hurt by a hard throw, broke a blood vessel in my hand, couldn't grip the bat, and was taken out of the last game. :( You know the one...the game where your team wins by a landslide and you can't say you contributed!

mary jane
Yes, we played in winter jackets and carharts!

Once, though, we did have a glimmer of hope that we might get a little sun, but that was soon thwarted by the oncoming fog and teeny tiny snowflakes that followed our tease of a sun ray. Oh well, maybe next year. There was minimal snow on the field, but way out in right someone plucked a goose and left all the feathers for the wind to carry onto the rest of the field. Lucky guy.

Harley, our pitcher who was called out during a game to re-fuel the jet that was on the ground. We stopped and waited for him to return! We're like that.

My kids were smarter (I was smarter) today, and wore snow pants, boots, hats and gloves, then decided not to watch, and instead spent the entire day at the Boys & Girls Club next door. At least if they WANTED to watch, they would have been ready! Right?!

Hubbs, playing third longjohns!

So, bragging rights?! Oh, yeah, that goes to our team...Team 2! We won the first game we played, lost the second, and consequently played the next three games in a row to win the double elimination tournament. My husband was S.O.R.E. this morning when he woke up. Not me...remember I got kicked out of the game (took myself out) for a sick bruise on my hand. But, since we played Elsa's team in the Championship games, I do have bragging rights!

team 2
Yay, team 2! Bragging rights for a year.

I think everyone had a good chance to fire up all their pistons and blow out the cobwebs we sometimes call muscles this weekend. Few people are in shape, and those who are (suck) simply are supplementing their workouts. For those of us who aren't, this will kick start the usual summer weight!

nelsons catch

Hey...don't knock us, remember we live where its fifty below, we NEED that extra "winter weight!" At least I think I do!

slapping hands

In all, it was a GREAT tournament. Great weather (for US). Great teams. Great fun.

Man I think he's hot!

I can't wait till our regular season opens next Monday... GO Borough Bunniks!!! :)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arctic Softball!

Last night the residents of Kotzebue, AK embarked in a spring time favorite! The Annual Kotzebue CO-ED Softball "FUN" tournament in 29 degree weather, with reports of snow in the hills a mile from town.

Joleen and her dog
Everyone comes out to watch. Even the doggies.

Nor wind, nor rain, nor snow, nor fog will keep US away from the softball tournament. First timers were surprised at the temperatures and the competitiveness of the league. Many players, clad in three pairs of pants, three shirts, a sweatshirt, and a hat (maybe that was just me!) enjoyed the seven inning games with minimal complaints.

Kirk Pitching
Kirk Howarth pitching

Teams for this tournament are chosen based on the Luck'O de-irish method. You know, picking names out of hats! A pitcher is selected first to "lead" the team, because one year, we ended up with five pitchers on one team, and none on two other's...we we learned our lesson. After a pitcher is selected, the rest of the names are randomly chosen out of a hat. Women in one hat, men in the other. This year, we have four teams. In prior years we've had up to seven teams, but apparently, the snow and cold deterred some people from signing up.

James hitting
James hitting

Games started Friday, and will continue Saturday. The winning team gets their picture taken and bragging rights. This year, my husband and I are on the same team, so bragging rights aren't as fun as years before when one or the other team beat the other! My sister and friends are on other teams though, so that will have to suffice for each of us in our "bragging rights!"

Cold kids watching
Even people who don't play come watch and cheer everyone on. Its a great community thing.

Today's weather forecast is for 28-31 degree weather, and 8-10 mph winds from the SW, and light drizzle to snow. Yesterday, I underestimated the weather, and didn't take into consideration the WIND I allowed my kids to come watch with simply leggings, and sweats.

Chad running
There is a ball at the top right of the photo. He was running from third to home, and was thrown out...the catcher was a girl, so everyone cheered. There are no hard feelings or arguments during this tournament. We save that for the regular season, which starts June 8th.

Today I pulled out the girls snowpants, and winter jackets, and the boy's winter boots to come watch. No complaints today! Unless you count ME, because even with silk long johns, regular long johns, and sweatpants, uh...two shirts and sweatshirt, hat, gloves and wool socks under my Easton cleats...I was still complaining and cold.

Don't you just LOVE Arctic Softball?! I do...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Goose Soup

As usual, every night of my life, I'm riddled with the same question..."what's for dinner?"

As many of you may well know, we have PLENTY of various game in our freezers to choose from, but you know...that takes planning, and I just don't have TIME for that. (Either that or I'm just lazy!)

hot soup
Its so hot the camera is steaming up!

FreezerS? Yes, we do have FOUR freezers. I have two kitchens in the house, so two regular side by side fridge/freezers, and then two huge 18 sf upright freezers in the shop. Why four?! Well...because we need it to store all our caribou, moose, musk ox, rabbit, goose, duck, seal, seal oil, ptarmigan, and whatever else Dean and the boys decide to bring home. Then we have one for "other food" like corn dogs, and pizza's from Costco.

What? six person table? No way...11 person table!

Last night was no exception. What's for dinner? I thought about making some sort of easy cheesy rice casserole with ground caribou, but when I got home, the kids were ALL at my mom's. And I mean all six of her grand kids! Aana was babysitting! Either that, or the kids went over there because she's nicer than me, and cleans up after them...and lets them play DS, and has a play room just for kids upstairs.

Happy eater that Coltrane.

When I arrived, the smell of heaven wafted upon me! She was making Goose soup! MmmMM.

Yes. Momma made us dinner!

USUALLY, the head and feet are left on...but not this time. Shucks.

Goose soup is cooked for hours on a stovetop, and you can really put anything you want into it. My mom puts lots of veggies, and then ads some spiral noodles and a cut up potato. My aana makes it with rice, and carrots. I make it with plenty of carrots, snap peas and corn. Whatever you have on hand goes into the pot!

the good stuff...

While her soup is slow cooking, she usually makes a loaf of bread. I LOVE ME SOME homemade bread. When I was growing up and we had no money, which was always... my mom made six loaves of bread per week. I don't think I ever had "balloon bread" (wonder bread) unless I was at someone's house. And still today, the texture of white bread from the store grosses me out. It's so pasty and yuck!

Momma's homemade bread. Mmmmm.

My mom (and aana) bake bread without measuring, with no recipe. They simply put in the bowl the same things they always have. Once I tried to learn how to make bread from my aana, and she was saying, "your hands are too put too much ONE hand of sugar...too much flour...adii, let me do it, my hands are perfect!"

Qipchuq-ing...eating the meat off the bone. Your Eskimo word of the day!

Now that my mom works for the school, she makes bread weekly...all homemade, and all from scratch. She bakes about 400 loaves per week. Monday is the BEST day to walk through the school, because the smell of fresh bread permeates the entire place. Our kids at this school eat everything made from scratch...if it can be made from scratch that is!

gather 2
Its a family affair!

So, now that dinner is done for Thursday night...what's for dinner on Friday? Someone, please tell me what to cook for a family of three or four usually.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We don't just eat em...

We raise em too!


So...its two am. The ducklings arrived yesterday morning right before an important teleconference I was supposed to attend.

The Post Office called and said, "Maija, your chicks or ducks are here, and they're loud, go get them!"

happiness cardboard box

So I did.

The kids were not awake yet and were damn near crazy to wake up to the little peepers. Ducks are like kid crack. But, I have something to bribe them with now, so it works out fine for me.


"What? The floor isn't vacuumed? You're not feeding the ducks!"

dean and spike

"Who didn't empty the dishwasher? You can't take the ducks swimming..."

Me and Spike

Yeah, It's like that.

Right now, I'm listening to the sounds of our ducklings impromptu karaoke session. Apparently, they don't realize its 2 in the MORNING, you know, cause the sun is still shining down on them.

According to the kids, happiness arrives in a cardboard box from the Post Office. I also picked up Dean's 4-wheeler part, so he agrees that happiness arrives in cardboard box, but its of another variety!

messy eaters

After he's done fixing his 4-wheeler, he's gonna build them a little box, one with a cleanable floor, and maybe a ramp with room for a tiny pool. We are master rigger's, so we'll figure something out. For now...the kids are happy, the dogs are suspicious, (don't forget, they're DUCK dogs!) and momma needs to sleep!

shockie and spike


Quack, Quack, or as my ducklings say, "peep, peep, peepppppp, peeeeep." Good night!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I am gonna be RICH!

And its not because of anything spectacular that I'm going to accomplish in this life...its because if HER:

She decided that she was gong to be a songwriter/singer. She also decided that she was going to write God a song first. Then me...cause, "you're just my mom, mommy, and God is, you know, GOD."

So she did.


It was a sweet, simple song, showcasing how sweet and simple her love is. And, I guess, she was saved. Yeah, I got that from the song.

Too bad no one here gives piano/guitar/anything lessons, cause I'd definitely invest in that. For now, I guess we'll download some home-school music lessons and her and I can take them together, cause I have NO idea how to read music. Remember, I grew up HERE!

Like I said, I'm gonna be rich. She's gonna make me a lot of money, and then I'll be her manager, and charge 20%! :)

I asked her who she wanted to be like when she grew up, thinking she'd say Miley Cyrus, or Beyonce (Yes, she can sing the "Single Ladies" song!), but she replied, "You momma, I want to be like YOU when I grow up!"


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eskimo Bingo!

Oh yeah, we Eskimo's LOOOOVE us some Bingo. Our family is no exception. Frequent "family nights" we hear the pleading to play Eskimo Bingo ten times in a row.

That's TEN batches of prizes... TEN songs, and about an hour of giggles, and screaming, and kiviting (pouting because of losing).

We also LOVE to play it during Birthday Parties. Especially birthday parties where we have some extra game prizes. Max and Maddie's birthday party was NO exception.
maddie ice cream cake

They wanted to play...and PLAY we did! Even the adults get in on the action!

See that five bucks? That was the big prize during this round. The "Thank you very much" boy won it. He was SO HAPPY!

Until next Birthday Party, or Family night. Good Luck!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yet another Happy Birthday!

Nor wind, nor rain, nor spring snow storms will stop THIS family from having an outdoor birthday party in the thirty degree weather with kids clad in short pants and t-shirts.

Oh yes, I MADE them play outside! ALL our plans were to be outside the entire party, we'd eat outside, we'd play outside and we'd party outside. Then it started to rain. And rain. And rain.

And well, some of our kids aren't "used" to rainy snowy weather, so they complained. So, I did what any other great mother would do. I bribed them. I bribed them with Creamsicle Float's and Prizes, and Eskimo Bingo.

Eskimo Bingo is like crack to these kids.

Quick cap of Eskimo Bingo. Two plates, kids in a circle. Five minute song. Two sets of dice, one on each plate. 5-10 prizes wrapped in the middle of the circle. Start song, kids try to roll doubles, if they roll a double, they get a prize, if they don't they pass to the next person. Once there are no prizes in the middle, if you roll a double, you may STEAL from the next person. Easy, peasy, one, two, threesy! We tend to put simple things in the middle, from the dollar store, cookies, etc. And we always put ONE big prize, usually five bucks rolled into a little cigar!

Back to the birthday party: We started out with a gunny sack race, then moved on to a three-legged race, and finished off our outdoor adventures with a water balloon toss.


three legged

Cathy was nice enough to come over to take really good pictures of the kids outside! (I stole a couple!)

lighting the way

We did manage to make that illustrious ice cream cake with home made ice cream and raspberry jam/butter cream filling. Can I just say, MMMM! It was GOOD! We put a cherry cake under the homemade vanilla ice cream and it was great!

kids blowing

After Eskimo Bingo, the kids thoroughly enjoyed busting each other with punchballs.



Momma needs a glass of big girl kool-aid! (aka, wine)

Max's explaination of the party, " Man this is EVEN better than LAST YEAR!"
Maddie's explanation, "It WAS better!"

Mission Accomplished.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

And...they're here!

drrrrholy cow

The twins and grandma arrived Saturday afternoon with no hitches, and no ex-drama...I'd say it was a good day!

Since the twins have been here we've been busy with seven kids playing out and eating us out of house and home, etc. Yes, I said seven. Koy, Maddie, Max, Kaisa, and AT LEAST three other kids all day every day. Usually, Uyaana, Clara and Coltrane are here with the kids, so that makes us home to a 12 year old, two 10 yr olds, a 9 yr old, a 7 yr old, a 6 yr old and a 5 yr old. Oh, and our two dogs, my 19 yr old sister, and of course, Dean, mom and I. Today, we also had Ally, another 6 yr old.

This is what we do for fun...


Dean is constantly doing SOMETHING with the kids, this time, they took Koy's gas mask and were scaring the girls. Can you say, SCREAMING fits?!

frosting flies

working hard

The girls and I planned the big ONE ZERO birthday party for tomorrow. They decided to do; Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Creamsicle Floats, Ice Cream Cake, Shark Cupcakes, and Butterfly Cupcakes, with a side of Gunnysack races, three-legged races, water balloon toss, and two scavenger hunts!

Here you go


It took ALL DAY to make these cupcakes, and we finally made the homemade ice cream for the ice cream cake. Ambitious? I know. But, its the big ONE ZERO! And we use their birthday party for a welcome back party here in Kotzebue and invite like forty kids, and their parents.

butterfly 1

Oh and, since its always nice this time of year, we use it as the first big BBQ of the summer too.

It's always a good thing when they come, and we always have tons of fun planning the party, and trying to outdo last years!

hard work

Sigh...I'm glad we have tomorrow off, although we need to find aaka's grave and clean it out. I think it might still be under the snow though.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. :)

My Sixth Sense...

Friday was SUCH a busy day, we were in preparation for the twins, and Dean's mom to arrive, and we had TWO softball meetings to attend, just super busy.

At around 10:00 p.m., I figured I was HOME free. Nothing bad could happen right?! I must have knocked on some bum wood, cause holy moley did it start to pour!

Have I ever said that I have a sixth sense? Seriously. I have always just known things, and thought I was weird. Well, my sixth sense kicked me in the ass Friday. And it kicked hard.

Just about five minutes before the kids started yelling, I had a feeling that I should just go. Just get up out of the meeting, and leave. I don't know why. My body wanted to leave. My mind didn't. So, of course, I stayed.

As soon as the kids came running in the door at my friend's house, she graciously lent us the house for our womens softball team meeting, I knew. I knew it was either MY kid, or MY car, or MY shoes...whatever was wrong, it belonged to me.

window breakage

So, the kids yelled, "the WINDOW, THE WINDOW! THE WINDOW IS BROKEN!"

I smiled, and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE ran outside. My car was parked in the middle of FIVE vehicles. RIGHT in the middle.

shucks poor window

I should have left.


So, the window's broken. I walked over to the parent's of the kid who broke it and laughed it off. I knew they were mad enough, so I figured, oh well, its just a window.

Not only did the window break, but we all thought we heard metal scraping against metal when we drove it that day, but of course, didn't do anything about it.

Saturday morning, IMMEDIATELY before we were to pick the family up at the airport, the scraping metal sound stopped. Hmm...what do I do when it stops? I stop the car, and open the hood.

There was nothing different, nothing scary, nothing weird going on, so I stared. Stared and stared at it. I put some power steering fluid in it, and as I was holding the can of fluid. While I was staring, and the car was on, I had a sense of fear that the belt would break and hit me in the face. So, what do I do? I put the can of power steering fluid in front of my face and stared some more.

Can you guess what happened next?

The belt broke, flew upwards, smacked the can of fluid out of my hand, burned a bit of my finger, and screamed. Something else flew off, and I screamed some more, and ran inside the house.

Yeah...sixth sense. I'm not ignoring it again.

All things are not lost and forlorn though. My uncle had the EXACT window in his shop, just waiting for a kid to bust he's putting that on the car on Tuesday. Nice eh?! Remember we live above the Arctic Circle, and it costs an arm and a kidney to ship anything up here. AND...we went to the one and only hardware store here, and they HAD MY PART, you know, the one that flew up and hit me in the hand (almost face). So, we paid for those parts and within five minutes, the car was fixed, and the metal screeching against metal sound was no longer a reality!

Anyway... at least its drivable right?!