Thursday, December 24, 2009

Deborah's 14th Birthday

Deborah turned 14 this month. She is growing into a beautiful young lady.
In Alaska when you are 14 you can take a written test and get your driver's license permit that allows you to drive with someone over 21 who has had their license for at least a year. Deborah has been studying the book and taking online practice tests. She and Paul tried to go to Anchorage last week, but is was snowing in the pass when they could go. They'll try again this week so Deborah can get her permit and Paul can get groceries.
Below Deborah is getting a pie ready for baking with help from Sarah, Benjamin and Anna. She is great with her younger brothers and sisters. They love helping her with whatever work is at hand.
We had two cakes for Deborah's birthday. Lavonne's Aunt Dorthy and Alec came by with a delicious birthday dinner.
Later we made pizza and I made some M&M and Sweet Tart cookies Quentin had made into another cake for Deborah so we could sing to her again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Singing Kids

The little kids love imitating their older brothers and sisters who play the guitar, piano and drums for our worship services.
David and Benjamin


Gilana and David

Benjamin singing his heart out...

Sarah figured out that if she babbles into the microphone it comes out the speakers and sounds really cool...

Caleb's on the piano and David's on the drums...
If you want put a big guitar in it's guitar stand, you usually have to move one of the little guitars out of the way. The little kids love putting their guitars in the guitar stands.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sarah's learning to stack wood

With the cold weather comes the fun of going after wood to keep the house warm. There is not enough snow yet for the snowmachines. So, Paul, Quentin and Joshua are loading up the Honda with chainsaws and hooking up the trailer to go after wood. Josh and Lavonne are house sitting Lavonne's Mom's house and the power outages caused their furnace to go out. So, Josh took their ATV and trailer to get wood for his Nana's house too.
They older kids bring the wood to the basement and the younger kids stack it. This is Sarah's first year stacking wood so she still thinks it's lots of fun to help her big brothers. Below Caleb is handing her a log.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Freeze Up

Every year the ice freezes in the creek first. Below you can see the water still flowing under the ice.As the creek flows into the lake, the frozen portion extends further and further out into the lake. The creek has a nice slope to it, and the kids love sledding and even skating down the creek as far as the ice will allow until the lake freezes. For the Grandmas out there, the water is actually quite shallow where it meets the ice and the kids rarely get too wet.
It got quite cold and the ice got thick fast during a time when there was no precipitation. It made beautiful ice. You could walk on it and see fish swimming right under your feet, very cool!
Below, Paul is demonstrating to Benjamin the finer points of spinning the Honda and making donuts on the smooth ice.

Caleb is examining his reflection in the ice as he works to perfect his ice skating form.
Freeze up also allows Paul to land on the lake and park right by the house. It makes it much easier to heat the plane before flying it. Instead of dragging a generator to the airport he can plug an extension cord into the shop.

The pristine condition of the lake never lasts long and the kids have to get out with shovels and clear off a spot to ice skate.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trapping Mice

The boys have been begging Paul to set up a trap line, so they can go trapping. Paul trapped a lot when he was in high school and he really wants to take the boys, but they haven't gotten it going yet. So, when a mouse was spotted behind Paul's chair in the living room and in the basement, the boys seized the opportunity. They set many traps and caught most of the kids (including Sarah :(.
Caleb, setting and resetting the traps.
And, mighty hunters that they are, they caught a mouse behind Paul's chair. Paul was a tiny bit sad because a few times he was able to watch his buddy squeeze big chunks of food through the narrow crack.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Homeschool Volleyball

The school here in Nondalton didn't have high school age kids that wanted to play volleyball. It turned out to be a good thing for us as a family because we decided to make our own team. We reserved a time at the gym and the whole family plus a few other kids get together and play. Sometimes either Paul or I don't make it, but one or both of us usually can and we have a great time.
Sarah is so cute doing her stretching exercises. You can see her below next to me as she tries to imitate everything we do.
The little boys and Sarah amuse themselves with all the cool gym equipment they can find while Paul or I are teaching the older kids the basics of volleyball.
David and Benjamin being cone heads.

Caleb and Sarah
For our older kids, one of the funnest things about playing volleyball with the school was getting to fly to the two tournaments they had for the district teams. They enjoyed spending time with their friends from other villages. So, Paul took Abigail, Deborah and Quentin (they play 3 man volleyball here) to Port Alsworth for a scrimmage game. Then Paul flew them to Kokanok to watch the district tournament. The lake froze over thick enough for Paul to land on the lake to load the kids up for the flight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Name that Country Scrabble

We played a fun game of Country Names Scrabble the other day. We laid out the scrabble tiles so you could see all of them. Then we took turns spelling the names of countries. We allowed the use of our world map, but it took me awhile to realize that the girls were using the alphabetical list of countries at the bottom of the map instead of hunting and pecking all over the world like I was doing. Of course I then made a rule that said you had to show me where the country was of the map before it counted! Being the homeschooling Mom that I am, I had to make it a geography lesson as well as a game!Getting those countries with Xes and Qs on the triple letter and double word spots before someone else did was challenging.

Below Deborah is hunting for just the right country to maximize the points...

Monday, November 16, 2009

16th Wedding Anniversary

We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this month. If you'd have told me 17 years ago that I would be married with nine children and living in Alaska in 17 years I'd have thought you were crazy. Paul and I met in October and we were married a little over a year later in November. A little over nine months after the wedding, Abigail was born and the rest is history. We wanted a big family and the more kids God blesses us with, the more we realize that when it comes to kids, more is better. Having a big family is just a whole lot of fun!
Paul is a lot of fun too!
Since there are no restaurants in Nondalton, the kids have made it a tradition of cooking a fabulous meal for us and decorating for our anniversary.
This year we had T-bone steaks, imported from Anchorage, with a beautifully set table, right down to the cut orange on our glasses.
After the meal was over the kids became the cleanup crew. Below you can see them dividing the spoils of our leftover cake.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

David's First Trip to the Dentist's Chair

David is five now and he was quite excited for his first official trip to the Dentist. Dr. Jane has looked in his mouth for a quick peek before, but this was his first time to take the chair with the lead apron and smile big while his teeth get their picture taken.Every six months Dr. Jane and two or three dental assistants come to Nondalton for a week. She checks the kids and gives them a new toothbrush. Lucy is lining David up while Curtis takes his picture with the x-ray machine and his camera (I forgot mine).
Dr. Jane gave David a good check up and found no cavities, yeah! The dental team stays in our apartments when they come and we have lots of fun showing them around Nondalton and, at least in Dr. Jane's case, introducing them to village life. The kids love towing them on our snowmachine (term for snowmobiles in Alaska).The power is back on. We were only out for most of two days. That was plenty for Paul as he moved the generator back and forth from the house to the apartments to make sure the apartments didn't freeze up and to keep the refrigerator's cool. It gets old fast. The phones were out for a day after the batteries went dead in the phone shack. The phones are supposed to reset once the power comes back on, but they never do. So, Paul has a key to the phone shack and he goes in and pushes all the buttons that are flashing and resets the trays. He's not really sure what he does that gets it going again and that sort of bothers him. He likes understanding how things work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Power's Out

It's a good thing we got the wood stove going. The power went out this morning and it is expected to be out until at least tomorrow. I've got some Moose Bone soup simmering on the wood stove. It should be delicious by supper time. The phone shack for the village is running on battery power and will probably run out of juice this afternoon. Hopefully the phones come back on without a hitch when the power comes back on. We'll check our email and have Skype running when we have the generator going.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chimney Sweeps

After a couple of chimney fires last year (very scary, especially since Paul was never home), we decided we should clean out the chimney before we started building fires to stay warm this year.
Everyone wanted to climb on the roof to help.
Quentin & Paul are running the brush through the chimney.

Quentin cleaning the cap.

Clean chimney.

Getting back on the ladder to go down was scarier than coming up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Moving the Navajo

There is never a dull moment in Nondalton...
When a Navajo landed that needed more work than they could do on it in Nondalton, a maintenance crew came in and took it apart to transport it to a hangar in Port Alsworth 20 miles away.
The kids were eager to help. Below we are loading a wing onto a trailer.The kids hopped on to make sure it didn't slide off for its trip to the lake.Andy and Micah came down with a Lund boat to haul the wings to Port Alsworth. They inflated catamaran pontoons for each side to handle the large load.
The wings fit on just perfectly.
By the time they were lashed down they looked like they belonged there as some sort of experimental speed boat. It was actually the opposite. I think it took them well over 4 hours to make it to Port Alsworth. The unwieldy makeshift barge guzzled up the extra gas they brought along and they had to have another boat bring them a refill before they made it home. The boat that brought them the gas tried to tow them for a little more speed, but that just caused the back end to start swamping. So, they took their time and made it home safely.While they were barging home we loaded the wingless fuselage into a plane that looked like a baby C-130.
As the Navajo was swallowed up, it couldn't have fit any more perfect. They were even able to close the bottom half of the door.
The fog was hanging on the hills as the plane inside a plane took off.