Friday, July 31, 2009

Homerun KING!

This weekend the Kotzebue Softball Association is hosting the Annual Youth tournament here in Kotzebue. There are 18 teams from the villages, yes, EIGHTEEN teams from the surrounding villages who have been flown in to participate this year.

determination

The softball association partnered with Maniilaq Association's Diabetes Prevention, Tobacco Control and Healthy Lifestyles Departments to host this year. In order to be eligible to play, you must be at least 8 years old by June 1st and not older than 15 years old by June 1st. The ages are grouped into Minors (8 -11) and Majors (12-15).

keep your eye on the ball

Today will host the skills competition at 10:30 am. Skills including running the bases, pitching into a bucket, and throwing home from the outfield will be tested. Keep in mind, our "field" happens to be an old dump site filled in with gravel of varying sizes, this is the Arctic, we don't have grass!

three girls hair

So far, I've seen teams with different colored shirts wandering the town, buying pop and candy at AC and enjoying the "big city" feel of Kotzebue. All the visitors are shacking up at the school and Boys and Girls Club throughout the weekend.

rounding third

Last night, Koy's team played the Buckland Majors. By far, the best play of the game was my SON's homerun!

sliding into home

He stood there, with grace and determination, and swung. Me, of course, I was snapping photos, embarassing him. I had laughed to my sisters that if he struck out, he'd be on restriction. No such demise for Koy Boy.

three girls

His hit flew, and flew and flew well over the head of the left fielder, who saw it coming, turned around and started booking it to the fence.

Koy continued running, rounded third, and the throw came in from the shortstop, who was cut-off for the outfield. He threw it home.

The pitcher caught it, Koy turned around and ran back to third. He threw it to the 3rd baseman. She caught it.

Koy turned around and started back home. She threw it. He caught it. Koy turned around.

SAFE at home

He was stuck in a pickle. Very fitting, because up until he was about 9 or 10, he thought his middle name was Pickle. Koy Pickle was what he was called. Koy Pickle was caught in a pickle.

Finally, the catcher caught the ball, and threw it to the thirdbaseman, who dropped it. That was enough time for my lightening fast boy to run home and hurl himself toward the bag, head first!

Safe!

score

Homerun.

good game

Just like his momma!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer is almost over...boooo hoooo

The end of July marks a few things up here in the north.

funny faces

Berry Picking season. Softball tournaments. Dead fireweed. Wind. Hunting Season (for non-natives). And the end of the midnight sun.

nubby pin toy

We're experiencing about three hours of twilight here, but the sun is yet to set completely. I believe August 8th we will have two minutes of no sun. If you're a romantic, book a flight to Kotzebue in mid August, and you and your sweetie can watch the sunset and sunrise in under an hour. The beautiful pinks and blues and oranges will take your breath away! While you're at it, get a hunting license, cause its time for Caribou!

trampoline
(I still got it! hahahahah)

The kids have all had a long summer, everyone has traveled many times, and we even managed to go on an ENTIRE family vacation once or twice! My dad's cabin is just about finished, and my daughter is ready to stay home for more than one week at a time!

running up the ladder

We have the little boys for another six days, so we've been entertaining them in the evenings here when no one has a softball game.

drawing chalk

Dean likes to have little boys around. I see much of the same playfulness when we have puppies, as when we have little kids. I have a husband who loves little kids and loves puppies, geez, what more can I ask for!?

beating dean up

The girls have been loving having each other around again. For most of the summer, they were not in the same town for more than a couple of days, so right now, they REALLY miss each other. In about a week, they'll need a break, but for now, we're all enjoying them getting along!

getting along

coloring with chalk

chalk drawing

Dean's been getting the hanging room and smoker ready for fish and caribou and I managed to clean out the freezers so we have room for more.

airplane

My experiment of allowing the kids to have constructive playtime, where they had to play with things they made, and use their imagination has been a success. The only exception has been the trampoline, but my excuse is that waaaay back when, the natives used to be bouncing up and down on a walrus skin, so its in their blood. And who am I to deny what's in the blood of the kids?!??

drawing with chalk

I also bought some chalk when I was in Fairbanks for the girls to use. We only have three paved roads in town and one great sidewalk. So, the girls rode the big bikes (Koy and Max's) to the sidewalk and sat out there for hours. Kaisa's big drawing was a ladder, and Clara's, a hopscotch board.

nubbys look

The wind is gusting to 48 miles per hour right now, so we are tying down the hatches, literally. Dean's gone to the airplane at least three times this morning, and Koy's busy tying down the totes and empty junk in the yard.

windy

The girls? Hopefully, they're drawing or something!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Late night sun/fun

Sorry I've been out of the loop lately. I've been traveling, and flying, and crying, and shopping! Probably in that order too!

But, I'm back at home now. One kid is home. One kid to go I guess.

Aside from being in Fairbanks, and eating the MOST WONDERFUL Stuffed Shells (I saved ALL MY CALORIES for that ONE SHELL!) with Jojo and visiting with my mashed potatoes and Gravy, who by the way, is HUGE. And cute. I have simply had a rush, rush life. I'm feeling lonely and helpless for some reason, and it might be because of the lack of sleep I've experienced since Monday. Who knows.

It might be because on Saturday night, at one thirty in the morning, I woke up in a start thinking one of the kids was crying intensely.

"Whooooo hhoooooooo, aaaaaaahhhh, HHAAAAAAAA"

It sounded more like drunks then my kids, so I went back to sleep. Then about five minutes later I hear, "Deeeeaaaaaaannnnn.... Maaaaaaaaaaaaiiijjjaaaaaaaaaaa! Whoooooooo hooooooo. Deeeeaaannn.....Maaaaaaaaaaaijaaaaa, geeet uuuuuuup!"

So, I'm thoroughly scared and intrigued at the same time. Then I look out the window facing the north and I see this:

drunk on a rooftop

A beautiful sunset, I know. Oh, but is that grown men on the rooftop? Methinks it is!

So, Dean does what any great husband would do, Grabs the camcorder and starts recording their shenanegans, until once again, "Deeeeannn....Maaaaijjjaaa, we KNOOOOW you're UUUUPPP!"

So I say to my awesome husband who is topless and holstering a camcorder,"If the police get called, those are YOUR friends."

He laughs. Because that's what husbands do when its two am and TWO STREETS OVER, some fools are yelling your names and telling you that they're having the BEEESST TIIIMMME EVVVER! And their clothes start coming off and flung into the nearby bushes next to the house.

and the clothes come off

So, of course, he says, "I better just get over there, huh?!"

Oh yeah, that's exactly what I want my husband to do, get up, out of bed at 2am and drive over to the place, you know, "just to check on them...make sure they're OK getting off the roof."

So, I snap another photo, and say, "Go for it, I'll call you in an hour."

Cause I'm a good wife, what can I say?!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kidless, sorta

Well, well, well. Today is Friday and I am kidless, sorta. My children have all left the nest.

Not really, but none of our kids are with us, in town, or even less than 500 miles away. Continuing on with my summertime nostalgia, I remember when I was a kid, I too, was shipped off for Summer Vacation. I loved Chickaloon, I loved Sisualik. I was always that half-breed that hung around people and asked a lot of questions.

Why do porcupines follow me?

Why can't I go in the fast water?

Why do we have to carry a gun to go fishing?

Why am I allergic to bumblebees?

Where's my momma?

Koy boy

Now, my children are all gone too. Koy is in Chickaloon, "doing manual labor" on the cabin. A feat I accomplished as well when the New Cabin was being built. Actually, I was like three, so I probably was allowed to play with the leftover wood and my #1 job was to stay out of the way.

I am so thankful that my son has the chance to be there with his grandparents as well and build their cabin. I'm also thankful that my son's 12 and will remember this better than I remember what I did.

Kaikki Menna

Kaisa is in Anchorage spending time with her family as well. I've spoken to some people who've said she's doing great, and I don't doubt it. She loves visiting them. I just wish that kid would call me. I'm sure I'm more worried about her than she is me, but its a mother's instinct you know. She's only six and its been six days since I've heard from her! This trip is a precursor to her "BIG" trip in September when she leaves for ten days to Vegas with her grandparents! She still says "Hawaii" but Las Vegas, here she comes!

Maxi boy

Maddisen and Max are gone for the summer to get ready for school, and do Palmer-ish things for the rest of their vacation. They come to us for about seven weeks in the summer and alternate holidays. I always think its better when they're here...it seems a the void is back when they leave, and I know my husband is not whole until they come back as well. But, thus is life, I guess. Sis has called every day, like she promised her dad she would, and that has made his transition much better. They're talking about coming back to berry pick and hunt caribou, we hope they do.

Maddi girl

So...that leaves my husband and I. Well, and the two boys we're watching. Clara Dawn comes over every day at five PM, for her "job" to help me watch two toddler-sized-full-of-energy boys while I make dinner, clean up after them and just relax. She is earning herself $10 a night, payable in one lump sum, according to her. She and her mom are going to Hawaii in October, and she wants some spending money. For a seven year old, that's pretty ambitious!

Claire B

I hate to admit it, but I feel completely lost without kids in the house. I think I may be co-dependent on children. I am positive that when my kids fly out of the nest, I'll just have more...or adopt more, or something. Maybe my kids will have had kids and I can steal those babies.

Deanie Weenie

I mean, I'm only 32. I still have time, right?!

OK. So the whole point of this post was that a well respected elder has passed away in our town.

Gentians

She was the sunshine after a week of rain,

The rare beautiful purple Gentian flower in a bed of stinkweed,

The song voice we listened to in a world full of ravens,

and That one special person we all grew up with and called Aana.

She gave me the nickname, Halfbreed. She loved the unloveable, and the undeserving. She loved everyone else too. But when you FELT unlovable, she made you feel new. She loved life, and showed it every single night on the VHF when she said Goodnight to every child in Sisualik, Nuvuguraq, Salluq, Anigaaq, and Katyauraq.

Aana Carrie
(Kathy, I took your beautiful photo, and THANK YOU for sharing your wonderful Aana with all of us!)

Every morning and every night, I paitently waited my turn to talk on the CB to Aana Carrie. Somedays, she'd say, "We're having hotcakes, go eat!" And my cousin Grover and I would STEAL gas, siphoning it from the gas cans and drive over! Steal, seriously!

I am at peace with her passing, because I know she is no longer tired, and was ready to Go Home to her Father in Heaven. I will cherish the memories and make sure to spend more time with my Aana. My namesake and best friend who taught me to sew, to make akutaq, and to just be me, Inupiaq.

Aana Katak

So, from your Halfbreed in Sisualik at Doc and Katak's...

"Goodnight, Aana Carrie, from Halfbreed at 2-7-2-2 Sisualik."

And, please say hello to my tatta Doc for me, I hope you two are enjoying your own special Sisualik in Heaven.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last Supper

Right now, I am enjoying, nay, SAVORING what I'm dubbing, my "Last Supper." Its a 10 pm snack of the BEST clear seal oil and nice chewey puugmiitaq (dried seal, soaked in oil). Shoot, I'm even eating the Uqsruq at the bottom! I went to EZ Mart, I ate a burrito, WITH CHEESE, I ate TWO pilot bread crackers, and I'm seriously rummaging through my pantry for MORE things to eat.

last supper

No, I'm not pregnant. Or on my period. (TMI? Too bad.)

Drumroll please...I'm going on a diet. Seriously. Oh my God. I totally blogged about a diet. Am I running out of things to talk about?! All my kids are gone, and I'm taking care of two toddlers who have a simple routine, so YES, I ran out of things to talk about!

But, thanks to Angie (I WILL be calling you at midnight when I'm jonesing for some chips) I'm starting a 30 day program. Now, NORMALLY I would die first, then diet in Hell. I'm. Not. Kidding. I'd rather cut off my left tit than go on a diet. BUT...I've noticed a few things since turning 30.

One...I can't eat whatever the heck I want to. Not that I COULD anyway, but I nursed my kids long after other people do. Hey, I'm an Eskimo, what can I say?! They kept the fat off me, and on the kid. No, I'm not choking your chain here, my daughter weighed 36 lbs at SIX MONTHS old...and never gained weight until age three. See...full fat nursing diet! I was positively skinny!

skinny minnie
(See...pretty gross huh...this was about four years ago)

Two...even though we have been walking for two months, I look EXACTLY the same. This walking for an hour doesn't do crap but give you mosquito bites on your thigh.

Three...simply walking past the workout equiptment and DVD's of all fanny lifting nature, won't help you lose weight. I even tried rubbing the elliptical. It didn't work. Dammit.

playing 2B

Anyway, the REAL reason I'm doing this (Its not cause of the $150 bet my husband and I made to see who could lose the most inches either) is cause I play sports. I semi-enjoy basketball. I love softball. And, if you don't know me, I don't want to sound like a braggart, but I can hit a ball. But even IF I can hit a ball over heads and to the fence...I ONLY MAKE IT TO SECOND BASE. SERIOUSLY! Its quite a sad and pathetic thing to watch.

swinging it

Don't get me wrong, I'm a VERY happy person. I am in a great marriage, I don't tend to compare myself or my weight to others, I simply am happy now. Apparently being happily married makes you fat. I can dig it. BUT, to hit the ball over the head of the left fielder, plenty far enough to score a homerun and make it to second, I decided I needed to get rid of at least ONE of my asses, and this monster truck spare tire. I'd settle for a doughnut spare and one big butt.

Hold on, while I eat a few more bites of this blackmeat....

Hhmmmmmm, mmmmm....that is so good. The only, and I mean ONLY bad thing, is that I ran out of blackmeat in my inside-closest-to-me kitchen and don't want to get anymore from the shop freezers. Yeah, I'm too lazy to get more food to gorge myself on. Sigh...OOOH...another reason to go on a diet. CAUSE I'M LAZY! Yeah, very.

Day one ugh

So, I have been researching diets. Did you know that if you drink a tea made with cow manure and green tea leaves, you can lose 10 lbs in 2 days???! I bet it works too, cause I'd be throwing up knowing I'm eating Cow crap.

I can't do the Atkins cause I'm a meat/potato girl. I can't go all organic, vegetarian or vegan, cause I live in the ARCTIC...people can't just walk on over to the local farmers market, WE CAN'T EVEN GROW TREES, how are we supposed to grow spinach?! I can't go gluten free, or anything like that, well, you know...arctic excuse again. (Another good Arctic Excuse, "I need this extra fat to keep me warm in the winter" Sure it was needed a hundred years ago, but now we pay seven bucks a gallon to stay warm in our houses!)

SO, I have a friend who's been on this 30 day diet with her husband. She is NOT excercising, (I would be, I promise) and he is not either, but together they have lost over FIFTY pounds on it. FIFTY....like my LEG! She's gone from a size SIXTEEN to a loose size TWELVE. FOUR sizes. And if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I'd be completely skeptical. But I've seen the light man, I've seen the light.

(If YOU want to see the light, check out my website and YOU too can be a part of it. Right now there is a special going on until August 10th, membership is free if you order a program. Comment if you have questions!)

OK, this is getting pathetic, I just literally LICKED my plate. LICKED it clean like a starving person. And vacuum sucked the cracker crumbs. I sucked that seal oil down like some broth from some soup and let me tell you it was GOOD!

My plate is clean, my mind is open, and my will power is ready. I've cut and frozen banana's to mix with the cleanse shakes and I'm READY TO GO.

Shake time

Now if only there was no side effect of burping seal oil, I'd be good to go. Oh well, tomorrow morning, Chocolate/Banana Shake with a side of seal oil burps, HERE I COME!

After my first shake this morning, I'd say its a little like this: Aroma's of high chocolate, with a slight waft of banana and a mildly chalky undertone. Pretty good by my standards. Chalk? I LOVE a chalky undertone, I'm a conversation heart, wintergreen mints loving, tums eating girl!

shake it up baby

I thought, "8 oz...that's not enough to sustain me for the day." But after blending 8 oz with about ten ice cubes and my half a banana, its a full on 20 oz drink! And since I NEVER ate breakfast anyway, I'm getting a free meal! It was like drinking a milkshake for breakfast! So far, I'm LOVING day one!

worst enemy

Now, I have to stop, because Angie (the Nazi Weightloss Consultant) is making me take measurements. Lets all hope that measuring tape is long enough!

It takes a village...to be a supernanny!

I've heard that saying many, many times throughout life since the once famed former First Lady Hilary Clinton stated it. It does take a village to raise a child. And I am one of those children, raised by a village.

In Alaska's standards, Kotzebue is technically a CITY...haha. We have 3,500 people give or take, and a land mass of about 1.5 miles by 1 mile, and that's being very generous with our road system here. But, it was all village life for me.

Smiles - shon

My parents were young and in love when they had me, GASP!, out of wedlock! in 1977, and my dark and beautiful mother was one of nine other children in her family. Her family, who all lived in Kotzebue at the time. Most of the kids still lived at home in the small three bedroom (900 sf at most) home they shared.

If you've read my past posts, I've been feeling quite nostalgic this summer. I don't know if that's my version of a mid-life crisis...but I HOPE I'm not mid-life! I hope that my mid-life crisis doesn't happen until I'm like 50!

nubs - on the slide

I think its just the culmination of JUNK, useless junk that sits outside (and inside) our house. Its the fact that we have close family who sit at home ALL DAY and watch TV. We have kids who don't even know how to get their own cereal, let alone gut a fish. And that is simply unheard of for me.

I feel utterly overwhelmed when I think of the childhood I had compared to my children, or that of other children. I'm a little disgusted at all the crap people (us included) have and continue to BUY for their kids at an alarming speed. Especially since Kotzebue is the MOST EXPENSIVE place to live in the ENTIRE STATE OF ALASKA, why would you continue to buy junk? Prices are NOT going down people.

Spiderman

Anyway, to get back to the point of being raised by a village... (getting off on a tangent there), I had the chance to take care of two special little boys for two weeks. Their grandparents are very close friends of ours. Mom is not in the picture, Dad is in jail and Grandpa works (literally) twenty hours per DAY in the summers, some days not sleeping AT ALL. (He also HUNTS and lets the kids go boating, etc. He caught me my beluga in 2007) And Grandma and two aunts were scheduled for a trip to Hawaii for two weeks of VERY deserved vacation.

playing in the dirt - nubs

The call came in that OCS would take custody of the boys if they could not find a suitable caregiver, one who knows them, and who has a safe home, and most importantly, room for them. After a run around with the State of AK, our local IRA contacted me and Dean and I agreed to take them. The only hesitation I had was that I was scheduled to go to a wedding (in Palmer) during one of the weekends and Dean works 10 hours a day Saturday and Sunday.

The Look - shon

When I think of all the things the grandparents have done for us, ALL of it by choice and never having been asked, it was a no decision. I mean, seriously, what's two more kids (age 2 and 3) when you have four (five most of the time) kids, 12 ducks, 2 dogs and 71 first cousins?!

nubs - swing

The grandparents have been so selfless and it seemed like there really was no one who was able to help. Aside from ME and my family they have done so much for everyone else too. Just to give you an example, I'll show you what they've done for me in the past few years alone:

* When I was closing on my house and didn't know there were "closing costs" involved, Uncle (that's what we'll call him) came to my house and gave me $10,000 CASH so I could buy the house. He said, "Don't worry about it, you'll pay me back sometime." No questions asked, and in twenty dollar bills from the bank no less.

* When my 3 year old daughter said that she was jealous cause "everyone has a snow-go except me..." Uncle and Auntie came over and gave her a nice new-ish Red Polaris 120 snowmachine. Gave it to her. Seriously.

* When we found out that people were catching Beluga in the sound, and they knew my husband couldn't catch one, he got one, just for us. (And this is a BIG thing, giving away an entire beluga for consumption...I stayed out on the beach for about 10 hours cutting it up...)

* When our water line burst under the house in NEGATIVE thirty below weather, and the only people who could have come wanted a THOUSAND dollar downpayment to come look at it, I called uncle, and he and his brother came over for FIVE hours, fixed the pipe, and replaced the bad parts...crawling under the house, in negative thirty weather, and in a pool of water. And wouldn't take money...so Dean made him a knife.

shon running away

I mean...these are just a FEW of the things that they've done for us in the past years.

I honestly feel like they deserve more than a two week vacation. They're just great people once you crack the shell! So...we are taking care of two little boys. Repaying my Village Raising and in a SuperNanny way!!!

nubs in the fireweed

I have to say, having them is MUCH easier than I thought and they've forced us on a schedule...to maintain both a sense of sanity for myself and enough sleep for the night!

Thankfully, its the middle of summer here, so playing out is a simple act of putting on shoes (or sometimes NOT according to Nubby) and going outside to jump on the trampoline or chase ducks back into their pen. They get a bath every night, and its a way to unwind, clean the mosquito dope off them, and relax them before bed, and they get "night dessert" every night too. (A long standing tradition in our family)

brothers playing

My husband's having a blast with two little boys around. There is lots of wrestling, splashing, throwing things, and running. Its been over 10 years since we had a little boy running around! Every child we've fostered has been a little girl, so its definitely different, but fun!

Tonight, my 7 year old niece will come over and help me "babysit" (i.e. jump on the trampoline, fetch diapers, get thrown balls) as a way to make money for her Hawaii trip soon! I'm paying her $10 a night to help!

So, I'll leave you today to think about what you've done for other people and how people have helped you in the past.

Its the Eskimo way...that's how we roll!