Monday, June 28, 2010

Abigail Runs the Household

Several times, before Deborah and I left for Anchorage, I chided Abigail that it wasn't going to be easy with both Deborah and I gone. She let me know that it wasn't going to be any big deal. She was right, she was awesome! She ran the household with great efficiency. In addition to taking care of the seven brothers and sisters and one Dad who remained at home with her, she finished planting the garden and got more than caught up on all of the laundry!

The laundry was a story in itself. Just before Paul and the older kids left for Aniak our front loading washing machine died. Paul took it apart, cleaned it up as good as new and determined he could fix it. But, of course he had to order parts which took about three weeks. We have another washer in the basement that we bought with the house. We normally do three loads a day, but while all my older kids were gone to Aniak I only got a couple of loads done. I told myself that with half the family gone we didn't need to do so much. It did kind of pile up though and by the time Deborah and I left for Anchorage the washing machine parts still weren't in and we were still way behind on the washing!

Abigail worked hard while I was gone and got all of the washing caught up. My mechanic husband did an awesome job as usual on the repair and the day before we got back from Anchorage he put the new bearings, seal, pump and shock absorbers put in the front loader, all while helping Abigail run the household (it helps a lot when you're 15 to have your Dad right there encouraging the little kids to do their chores). The replacement parts were much sturdier than the original so it's better than new and should be ready go another seven years and over 6,000 loads!
The little kids and I didn't get much washing done while the big kids were gone to Aniak, but we stayed pretty busy. The little kids were quite eager to take over all of the big kids chores. The first thing we did was scrub the front door. It was getting pretty bad.
The little boys were especially eager to cook. Caleb did a great job cooking potatoes all by himself.
Sarah and Benjamin thoroughly enjoyed soaking and scrubbing the dishes and handing them to me all washed (or was that ready for me to wash?).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aniak basketball camp and Maryland youth group

Paul took Abigail through Joshua and Josh A. to Aniak for basketball camp. One of the advantages of having a father who is a flight instructor is that if you want to you get to learn to fly. You are allowed to solo when you are 16 so it's Abigail's turn. She has been getting a lesson anytime she can go somewhere with Paul.
They stayed with our good friends the Brueckners. A church in Glenallen comes down every year and puts on a four day basketball camp. They teach basketball skills and put on skits and told stories to present the basic concepts of the Gospel.

Paul spent a lot of his time with Steve Brueckner on the river.  Steve and his oldest son Andy had just spent a week bringing a huge bunch of logs down the Kuskokwim river.  They got home the night before our crew got there and they still had to land the logs on their side of the river.  Paul got to help bring them across the river and then they went up and got a smaller load ready to come down the Aniak river.  It was a great learning experience for Paul as he is much more comfortable in a plane than a boat.
They finished off their week with a cookout and bonfire at the Wilson's house (more good friends from Aniak).  

The Wilson's oldest son is also taking flying lessons so he and his instructor volunteered to take some of our crew home so Paul didn't have to make two trips.  Thanks guys!  
They had a wonderful time in Aniak and came back totally exhausted. They landed in Nondalton at the same time that a youth group from Maryland was landing. This is the fourth year that the group from Maryland has come to Nondalton. They stay at the community building on air mattresses and play games with the kids in the village and teach them Bible stories. They took a day to get settled in, which gave my kids a day to recover from their trip to Aniak.

They all had a great time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trip to Anchorage

Lavonne had an appointment at the eye clinic in Anchorage so her son Josh and Deborah and I went with her. The appointment went great, her eyes are doing very well. It had been over a year since Lavonne and Josh had been to Anchorage so they were eager to go shopping (after a Big Mac at McDonald's of course.) We shopped until almost midnight the first night we were there. It is nearing the longest day of the year so it's light all night.
We keep our motor home in this remote parking area right at the airfield. It is very convenient whenever we stay in Anchorage. On the rare occasions when the whole family comes in, it is great to go shopping in because anyone who is tired of shopping can head out to the motor home for a rest.
Below Deborah opened the gate so we could drive the sidekick to the motor home. we were going to be there for awhile so she shut the gate and locked it. I looked in the rearview mirror and this is what I saw...
I opened the door to have a home schooling moment with her, something about the laws of physics. But, being the independent learner she is, she started laughing and opened the gate again and locked it with her on the other side (It was late and she was tired.) She was good enough to reenact it for me since I wasn't fast enough with the camera.
I wish I'd taken more pictures so you could see the huge pallet of food we picked up at Costco. We order enough at one time that we qualify for their fax and pull program. I fax them an order and they pull it from the shelves for us and load it with a forklift. That is my kind of shopping! Usually it's Paul that picks up the order about every three months, but I got to do it this time. We borrowed the Martin's truck. It's a small truck and the pallet looked quite comical in the back.
It seemed like we were racing the entire time to get all of our shopping done. We did get time to visit with our good friend Regina (in the Costco food court) who lives and worships with us in Nondalton. She is a tour guide during the summer. I also got a chance to slip out while the kids were watching a movie to Kristy's house (another good friend) for a short time of prayer and encouragement along with a hot cup of tea.
Below Deborah, Lavonne and I are in the plane headed home.
In the picture below we are landing at the airfield in Nondalton. Josh was so worn out from the trip that he slept most of the way back. The pilot was Glenn, the owner of Lake Clark Air, the air taxi service that Paul flies for. His landing was so smooth, Josh didn't even wake up.
Sarah was excited to see me (everyone else was too, but she waves so cute!)
When we got back to the house, the kids had an inflatable ball playground set up. It was donated to the thrift store while I was gone.
Paul started throwing balls at us so we returned them to him.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quentin's 13th Birthday

Quentin turned 13 and we wanted to make it a special day, kind of a beginning of manhood celebration. We didn't get a lot of preparations made ahead of time, but God helped us out and orchestrated a series of events that turned it into a special day indeed.
Quentin takes after his Dad and is gifted in all things mechanical and electrical. For his 13th birthday we decided to help him buy the parts to build his own computer. It has been a great learning experience as he researched and figured out all the parts he needed to buy. Once he got all the parts he was able to assemble them on his own with no problems... so far. It looks great but we haven't thrown the switch to see if it works because we are still waiting on the ram (one of the important parts).

One of our neighbors talked Paul into buying their youth sized motorcycle. We ended up getting it the night before Quentin's birthday. So, even though it's not his alone (the rest of the kids wanted me to clarify that), it made a nice addition to his birthday. A new front tire is on order so Quentin got to drive it to park it while it awaits parts. I, being the Mom, hope that it spends much of the time in the shop!
Paul got a call on Quentin's birthday to go with Carlin and Leo, who is an instructor, to get checked out in order to be able to fly float planes. It's something Paul has always wanted to do, so he took Quentin with him and they had a great time landing on several beautiful small lakes.

Father and son, off on a great adventure.
After Quentin had all of the excitement of his first float plane ride, we had cake and ice cream with some friends.
We all gathered around Quentin and prayed for him and asked YHWH to bless him as he begins his journey into manhood.
I can't say enough good things about my number one son Quentin. He is Paul's right hand man. He works hard and usually quite cheerfully. He is a natural leader with four younger brothers and two sisters to practice his leadership skills on. He cooks and cleans as do all the kids, but more and more he gets to skip (or at least delay) his regular chores because he is helping his Dad do more important things.

Below is a slideshow highlighting Quentin's first 13 years.
Pause the playlist at the bottom of the blog first, or you'll have two sets of music playing.