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Friday, May 30, 2008

Garden Times







The past few days have been a bit rough with Patrick gone. Nora has been crying and whining more than normal and at times I I reach my maximum capacity for whining. Stuey has a molar or two coming in, so he is crying more than normal also. When it rains, it pours here in Kodiak.
The past few weeks, Patrick and I have been working to lessen the whining Nora does when she wants something--some of it is normal two year old behavior but I think some of it is learned-as she has had to cry/whine to get what she wanted before she could speak. She is in a pattern of going into whine mode when she wants something and is at all tired.
Sigh. A true test of my patience, as I've said many times before. Her stubborn tendencies don't help matters either. But, this too will pass. My mantra as of late.

To alleviate the tensions, I have discovered that watering the garden works wonders. Nora LOVES watering the garden. I'm a little worried that the potatoes have been OVER watered, because at one point there was a little lake in the potatoe bed. I have to remind Nora to walk around with the hose. Tonight she was doing a most excellent job with moving the water all over the garden and she has such a huge smile on her face. Its quite fun to see her enthusiasm. Patrick's excitement for dirt and digging in the dirt is contagious to the rest of us. I rather enjoy watering the garden while he is gone as well. It just feels good to be putting energies towards our food coming up in the garden beds.

We have a kayak guide, Casey, who is staying at our place right now. She is a great person--good sense of humor, easy going and great with the kids. She is staying at our place until her rental becomes available in mid June. I have quite enjoyed having her presence here---especially in the evenings to eat dinner with and chat. She is from the Carolina's and is here all summer working as a guide for Orcas Unlimited.
(see http://www.orcasunlimited.com/ her bio is on the bottom. Thats Casey!)

Last night it was a balmy 60 degrees and when we were watering the garden, Stuart gravitated to the big puddle and began playing in it with a broken croquet stick. I decided to just let him get all dirty-nothing a bath couldn't cure! Same went for Nora and the kids had a good time laughing and watering the garden. Nora started to get the hang of how to hold the hose and how to pull it along the ground.

This is the most quiet, relaxed moment of my day. So peaceful and reflective.
Kids were in bed by 7 tonight, as their naps today were non-existent (or very short).
Casey is in her room trying to sleep a cold off. Poor thing.
The winds are picking up a bit outside as a low pressure system moves in. As people have said in the past few days, some rain might be good right about now to help control the dust.

Looking forward to the weekend.

Zoya

Top:Casey and Nora last night.
Nora aka garden girl
Stuey and his croquet stick in the mud.

Monday, May 26, 2008

They're Off!





This morning Nora, Stuey and myself dropped the crew off to the float plane dock for their survey of Karluk Lake. They'll be gone 10 days and the weather forecast for the forseeable future is gorgeous. Nora and Stuey were both in their jammies as we watched Patrick et al weigh their gear (and themselves). They barely made the 1250 pound cut off. Close one. I think they made it by 10 pounds. As I write this a float plane flies overhead and Nora says, "Bye Daddy!".

Last night Mike, Roxann and Cecilia came over for a farewell-to-the-Karluk-crew feast. We shucked some King Crab, Grilled Elk Roast (or was it deer? I really can't keep track...all I know is it tasted good), Brownies, fruit salad and roasted broccoli. Just yummy and fun. The air was a crisp 50 but we sat outside for the meal and the kids crawled around on the lawn.

Now 10 days to clean, organize and catch up on various projects. Patrick said he will call in the next few days via satellite phone to touch base. It was a good send off this morning.

Zoya

Photo:
Top: From Left: Chase, Roxann, Zoya, Patrick, Mark, Mike...in front MJ and Rose.

Middle: Stuey checking the scene out via the doggy door before making his arrival for dinner.

Bottom: Everyone eating.

Bosches' Beach-May 2008






Today MJ and I went to Bosche's beach for some R&R time with Karen. The sun was out and the beach was sheltered from the cool afternoon breeze. The kids played on their own for most of the time. Stuey sat in one spot, digging the sand with Karen's yellow plastic shovel. Meanwhile, Nora played indpendently by the rock wall which forms the border of the far edge of the beach. There were pools of water in the rocks and she enjoyed washing her hands in the water and digging in the sand.

It was lovely to be able to hang with MJ and Karen on the beach, and just enjoy the conversation for an hour. Nora didn't make a dive for the water like she did a year ago at Bosche's Beach. The kids were just content quietly hanging out.

Karen brought down a snack of coconut cake which was well received by all of us! So yummy.

Good times at Bosche's Beach!

Zoya

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dumbo Ride!





Today MJ and I took the kids down to Crab Festival. Nora was in sensory overload- her jaw dropped open wide and eyes were big as we walked by the booths and rides.

I was excited for Nora to go on her first carnival ride. The one that looked the best for her was the dumbo elephant ride where the dumbos go up and down and around in a big circle. It was filled with joy that Nora was totally up for the adventure of the ride and didn't show any hesitation in marching up the steps to the other ride. She saw the other kids and was curious.
I walked Nora to her Dumbo car and helped her get strapped in. I was surprised that the straps weren't more substantial. I just thought of Little Nora sliding out mid ride and wanting to climb out. I put those fears to rest after talking more to the guy who ran the ride.

Me: So this is her first ride.
Carnival Ride Guy: Oh, really? She hasn't even been on those little rides in the grocery stores?
Me: No, they don't have those here. (Or if there are rides like that here, I haven't taken her on them).
Carnival Ride Guy: Oh she'll be fine.
Me: Will you stop the ride if she starts crying?
Carnival Ride Guy: Oh Sure.

The kids were all in their places and the ride began. I stood there in amazement as Nora went around and around and was happy. She had a smile on her face for a lot of the ride. She held on to the little handles in front of her and really liked it when the Dumbo went up and down. I had way more fun than I ever imagined. After her one ride, she climbed back into the stroller and Mary Jane and her enjoyed a banana fritter.

Gotta love Crab Fest!

Zoya

Nora Word of the Week - 'No Diii'




NORA WORD OF THE WEEK
Yes, we've been delinquent in doing Nora word of the week. Perhaps because it should be changed to Nora PHRASE of the week. She is putting 2 words together now-articulation has a long way to go, but nonetheless, we're thrilled about her language progress. As I tell people, Nora is "finding her groove" and discovering that language is a LOT more effective than screaming.

Nora says "No, Diii" for "No Stuey". She says this when he is doing something she doesn't want him to do, or if he is getting into a cabinet he isn't supposed to.

BABYPROOFING
Speaking of cabinets, Patrick and I resort to non-traditional methods of babyproofing the house. We have a standard lock on the chemicals under the sink, but aside from that we resort to rubber bands. In the picture above, Patrick jerry-rigged a "lock" for the cabinet to the left of our stove. We didn't have string, so he made string out of duct tape and used a rubber band. Stuey kept getting into the cabinet and throwing our potatoes everywhere. Potatoes No More. After Patrick was done putting the "lock" on he said, "Stuey, try and get into that now - make my day!" :)

HOW OLD IS 'SHE'?
STUEY RAY CYRUS NO MORE????
A topic of disucussion amongst my friends/family is Stuey's hair. I like his "Stuey Ray Cyrus" look, but Ella and others think he is in dire need of a haircut. I, personally, have loved his long locks. I told myself that as soon as people call him a "she" I would cut his hair. That moment came last night. At a museum dinner, a gentleman said, "Wow, what a big girl!". Its time.
As I examined his hair today, prepping myself for the big cut, I noticed his hair at the bottom has curls in it and tears welled up in my eyes. I was going to cut his curls off. But it really is time. Our houseguest, Rose, agreed.

Zoya

Friday, May 23, 2008

From the Top




With Chase in town I have been skiing runs I had not done in years. Yesterday we skiid off the very top of Pyramid. I found myself booting it up half way up the front face wondering what exactly I was trying to prove. It got worse as I contemplated the way down knowing there are cliff bands and rocks below but not able to see any of the run below because it is so steep. It felt like jumping off of a cliff. Huge rush of adrenaline when I went over the edge and a surge of relief when I completed the run safely. It felt good to break up the normal routine and do something different. I definetly broke out of a rut on that run!

Photos: top 2 photos - Chase on the face of Pyramid heading into the south bowl. Bottom - Chase admiring his handy-work, looking back at the run.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Roger




This week we enjoyed the company of Aunt Kathy and Uncle Roger. Uncle Roger is my dads younger brother and my memories of him and Aunt Kathy go WAAYYY back...to the days when I would spend a night at their Anchorage home on my way to and from the East coast to visit my mom. Aunt Kathy would always have yummy cookies ready and the visits were often brief (6-8 hours) but full of good times. During my college days, visits are full of memories of wonderful memories of seafood feasts and visits to their greenhouse in Homer.

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Roger live in Florida during the winter and this summer they are in Alaska doing volunteer work in Homer and St. George Island.

Aunt Kathy is SO FANTASTIC with the kids. She is a baby whisperer by all accounts. She knew when the kids needed help and jumped right in. She didn't mind (or didn't let on that she minded...) at dinner when Stuey would snag food from her plate and proceed to throw it on the floor. She was such a trooper. I was apologizing all over myself. She is full of smiles and saying, "no problem, its fine..."

Uncle Roger got good Nora-time as he watched Nora on the playground while I was in a meeting about Nora's speech therapy plans. He helped her go up and down the slide, the playgym, etc.... I enjoyed seeing the photos he took of their time together.

During the visit we enjoyed one meal of fresh halibut (delivered to our doorstep by a friend), One meal of Prime rib (delivered to our doorstep from a different friend) and a dinner of King Crab Caeser Salad. Aunt Kathy and Uncle Roger graciously shucked the crab (see photo!).

It was a sad goodbye last night as they got on the ferry back to Homer. Such good times were had. But more good times to be had in the future years to come! Here in Kodiak and in Florida when we visit them someday!

Zoya

The Crew Arrives




Yesterday Mark and Chase arrived to help me with the Karluk Lake archaeological survey next week (more on this in another post). But before we fly off to the lake for 10 days of roughing it and dodging bears all the while finding and mapping sites - there is the Like A Face exhibit opening here in town and plenty of skiing.

The exhibit opening will be huge - 40 masks that were collected on Kodiak by Alphonse Pinart in the 1870s are back in Kodiak for the Summer! The museum has created a traveling exhibit in collaboration with the Boulogne-Sur-Mer Museum in France who owns the masks. Needless to say, but everybody is excited about the up coming opening.

I think Chase is most excited about the skiing. Ostensibly he came up for the survey, but I think the opportunity to go skiing had a lot to do with it too. He's from New Hampshire and helped run a dog sledding operation near Mount Washington all winter. They lost all their snow in mid April. After the survey is done, and Zoya and I and the kiddos head out East, Chase will be dog sitting, watching the house and Skiing to his heart's content. It seems I am not alone with my infatuation with snow.

Photos: Chase skinning up Pyramid yesterday afternoon. Middle - Chase ripping it on the way down. Bottom - the museum and town in the morning. All ready for the exhibit opening! Patrick

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Car Talk

video

Big things have been happening with Nora and Stuart as of late. Nora is babbling up a storm and Stuart is (finally) walking. He took his first 1-2 steps on my birthday and since May 6th, has been getting more and more confident with his steps.
Yesterday was the first day he walked more than crawl and it continued today. He has a BIG smile on his face as he treks ahead unsteadily. He also is a little climber, trying to scale the window sill in the large picture window in our living room as well as the fireplace. Stuey is a little accident waiting to happen---between the climbing and his infatuation with toilets. Needless to say, Nora has become adept at saying, "No, Doo." Translation: No, Stuey.

Stuey enjoys making different babbling noises and a moan noise when he gets tired (accompanied by twirling his hair). In the attached video, Nora and Stuey mimick eachother!

Zoya

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ski Date



Patrick and I have been long over due for a date together and today we did a ski date. Some of our most wonderful memories together are outdoor adventures-hikes and skis in the backcountry. Before kids, doing outdoor adventures was a no-brainer. We did skis together quite frequently. Since kids, however, it takes more strategic planning-time of day, babysitters, etc. We make it happen, its just a bit more planning.

The day was gorgeous one- and once Hannah arrived to be with the kids, we took off to Pyramid. The conditions were 50 degrees, clear, sunny and slight breeze to keep us cool as we hiked up. Occasional breaks for water, chatting and rest on the way up were welcomed. (I don't go up Pyramid nearly as often as Patrick and need more frequent rest stops.)

The ski down was a good workout for my legs. The snow up high was quite easy to ski but as we got lower it transitioned into deep slush. Killer quad workout!! Lots of snow plowing for me! Patrick's words were, "point your skis down the mountain, let loose and don't snow plow." He would look back to check on me and find me snowplowing. I couldn't quite "let go" like he wanted me to in the slush.

We came across a couple of snowmachining-snowboarders (I didn't even know snowboarders went through such lengths to go up the mountain. Seems like so much more work to haul a snowmachine all the way out there)- who had snowmachined half the way up Pyramid and were snowboarding from there. The tracks that a snow machine leaves is quite large, and when it freezes is hard to ski over. Snow machiners typically stick to the ski chalet area, across the valley. Their presence today was a bit disappointing, to say the least. Patrick asked them about staying on the other side of the valley and they got a bit defensive saying "This is our mountain, too." There is SO MUCH wild open space for snow machiners to go, that it seemed silly for them to be going up and down Pyramid which is the high ski traffic area. Nonetheless, the interaction with the snow machiners made for good discussion for Patrick and I on the ride home. I was so proud of Patrick for saying something to the snow machiners, because I knew it would bother him if he didn't. The conversation with them went as well as it possibly could have and they left saying that they would continue to try to stick to their one snow machine track as they went up and down because they understand how hard it is to ski on snow machine tracks.

What a fun ski date with my husband. Patrick is my ski guru, trip photographer, husband....how I enjoy a couple of hours with my best friend.

Zoya

Road Trip


Spring is in the air and it is time to work on the garden. So this morning I started to weed the garden beds, and get the soil ready so that I can plant the garden next week. This entailed a trip out the road to Middle Bay for a truckload of 'beach peat'. Beach peat is ground up alder leaves, eel grass, and other detritus that piles up in the corner of Middle Bay at the top of the beach during the winter and composts in place. Potatoes love it, and every spring it is an essential ingredient for my garden.

So into the truck and out the road I headed - two big black labs behind the seat and Nora strapped into the front seat. Nora loved it when Roxy the dog tried to crawl into the front seat. The dog obviously did not fit! Out in Middle Bay I collected the peat and Nora and the dogs explored the tall grass behind the beach. The dogs chased rabbits through the alders while Nora fell into holes. Eventually we ate our lunch in the grass and then headed home with a load of peat.

On the way home Nora decided to test Daddy's limits and repeatedly change the radio station - Daddy snapped when she partially slipped out of her seat restraints and tried to use the gear stick. The trip ended in tears, no radio, and Nora tightly strapped into her car seat. But we did get the peat and now Nora can help daddy with the garden. Patrick

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Snow Report



Today I drove up to Pyramid to go skiing and as I was getting my gear together a guy drove up on a motorcycle with all of his ski gear aboard (top photo). Brian admitted he usually drove up in his truck, but he thought he'd try to save gas with the motorcycle. Wow! Gas prices have lead to conservation! I am annoyed by my 17 mpg Chevy truck - I realized it costs me about 8 bucks a pop to go skiing at the pass (around 15 miles each way). Still, it's better than a gym membership.

As regards the snowpack, one word - Unbelievable. Last year by mid May we could barely ski to the road. This year there is still 5 feet of snow at the road (bottom photo). During the last week or so we got another few feet of snow up high on the mountain. All of my usual snow bench marks (trees and bushes I check from year to year) have long been buried. It's a whole new world up high - the snow has totally changed the landscape. I doubt we'll see this much snow on Pyramid again for a long, long time. Patrick

Stu Grooves

video

Stuey is warming up his dance moves for the 80's party at Patrick's reunion. Maybe Stuey can teach his dad a thing or two. :)
Be sure to turn the volume up on this one--
Zoya

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

80's Zeitgeist


Good Lord it's the 80's. There is a reason I don't like to dance - all those awkward dances standing against the wall terrified I'd be forced to dance. Terrified of women, terrified I'd look like a geek (and when I danced I did look like a geek). The whole 80's zeitgeist appalls me to this day. Big hair, George Michael, skinny ties, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' - all prompt immediate, and distasteful flashbacks.

And now I am going to a 1980's dance that will be populated with the very characters I knew during the 1980's. Worst of all, my wife will want me to dance. She'll probably get drunk at the open bar, seek me out, and drag me out onto the floor. Horrors! Secretly I wish someone had dragged me out onto the dance floor in the 1980s.

Photo is of all the roommates except Eric Broderson immediately prior to our graduation. That's me on the lower right - 20 years Ago! Patrick

80's music, here we come!!!

I am SO EXCITED.
I just signed Patrick and I up for his 20th college reunion (in June in Boston) and the description of the reunion dinner says "dinner, drinks and dancing to 80's music all night long." I am so happy, I want to cry.
80's music-my FAVORITE music to dance to--my idea of heaven!
Tears of excitement swell up in my eyes when I think about it. I can't wait.

June 7th can't come soon enough.

Zoya

(I love you, Patrick, for graduating from college in the 80's!!!!! Go, Go Class of 1988!!!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

50:46




50:46 No that's not the score of some family competition from the wedding - that's the hours spent traveling versus the hours spent at the wedding. The whole trip turned out to be about 4 days and more than 2 of them were spent on the way there and back. Nonetheless, I'd do it again. It was worth seeing the last sibling safely hitched. Top two photos are of the wedding and need no explaining.

The trip there and back was so bad it's funny. It's a story all of its own. Kodiak, Alaska to Greenbrier, West Virginia - you'd think it would take maybe 15 hours each way, tops. Afterall, it only took Zoya and I 36 hours to travel to South Africa. I needed 31 hours to get back from Greenbrier! The bottom photo shows my company (George, Ella, Dicky and mom) at the beginning of the trip home in the airport lobby.

I should have known things were not going to go right when the check in lady begged me not to check my bag but to carry it on the plane instead. She explained that she could not fit 5 destinations onto the baggage tag (from Greenbrier to Atlanta, to Chicago, to Seattle, to Anchorage, to Kodiak). I grudgingly agreed and we rooted around in my bag and took out all the carry on contraband (toothpaste and shaving cream).

I started the trip with my Mom and George, Dicky and Ella, and my cousins the Willis's. Getting through security George's 'hips of steel' set off the alarm, and when he tried to explain, it quickly got ugly. Small time airport, and they gave George the wringer. He was talking back and it quickly went from bad to worse. They went through all his bags and even strip searched him. Inside security we were all watching the show and laughing so hard some of us almost wet our pants. It went on for a good half hour. When he finally did get through and join us, George did not think it was all that funny (it turned out he had to go through security again because his plane was cancelled!).

Anyway, I flew on to Atlanta and Sunday's newsworthy thunderstorms and tornados wreaked havoc on the flight schedules. After numerous 'OJ Simpson' sprints to various gates and many long waits, and fruitless discussions with ticket agents I finally missed the penultimate flight to Alaska from Seattle at 11:45 PM by 10 minutes. I spent the night on the chairs in the 'C' terminal hearing all about the earthquake in China on CNN while I tried to get to sleep. I finally got to Kodiak at 3:30 PM the next day! Patrick

Patrick is Back!!


It has been wonderful having Patrick home. Looks like we have a day of nice weather to enjoy-some MUCH needed sunshine is with us this morning.
I"ll take Nora to her speech appointment in a few minutes then perhaps the beach later today. Last night MJ and Karen and I went out for a drink then a movie, which was SO FUN. I'm known for either falling asleep at movies or leaving half way if I don't like it-and last night I stayed for the whole movie! I think Mary Jane was rather pleased with my new-found movie endurance. We went to a late show and it was still a tad light in the sky at 11:30 when we got out. Summer is in the air.

Zoya

Photo:
Emmy (Patricks mom), Patrick, Polly (Patrick's sister), Andrew (groom), Dicky (Patrick's brother) at Andrew's wedding

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day Musings



Today was a lovely Mothers Day! And I didn't even mind the weather...
We woke up to horizontal rain and winds, which got stronger as the day progressed. Perfect day to huddle inside and hang out with the kids. Melissa and Fisher came over for Omelets-mushroom and cheese. Very yummy. Melissa and I took turns making them (or trying to make them!) and by the 3rd one, we had it down. (Thanks to my brother-in-law-Dan for his omelet making lesson when he was here!!)

This afternoon while at Safeway it was Mothers Day Land. Everyone seemed to have flowers in hand, or looking for a card and people where saying "Happy Mothers Day" everywhere I turned. It was quite nice-sorta like a big "Happy Birthday" to all the moms. The checker chimed out "Happy Mothers Day" as I took my reciept. It was almost like I had won a prize-for having kids. This is the first year mothers day has seemed "real". Part of it may be that Stuey started walking--10-12 steps--yesterday which is a big occasion. And this mothers day I'm rested up-on prior mothers days I've been sleep deprived with smaller babies.

This weekend went very smoothly. I think a big part of this is the kids ages. I don't have to hold Stuart all the time-he and Nora play together and I really enjoy being home with them. The past two days I felt like I was in the kitchen most of the time-cooking up new creations. Nora always climbs up onto the stool in our kitchen with curiosity when she hears any bowls clattering or measuring spoons being taken out of drawers. Tonight she flipped though my cookbook and pointed out all the pictures of food and vegetables being chopped. She loves watching and helping, which I adore. It is such good time with her and the cooking and cleaning up gives us something to do together and builds her confidence. Stuey also is making small attempts at helping as well. He'll crawl over to the dishwasher when Nora and I are unloading it and he'll take out a dish or two and hand them to us.

Yesterday Mary Jane and I took the kids to the beach which was actually quite relaxing-until having to leave. Nora is never ready to leave the beach. I need to bring a timer or something of the sort to help her know when its time to go.
Mary Jane would build a little sand sculptures with the spoons we brought from home and Nora would promptly run over and knock it over. Stuey just sat digging in the sand-fascinated. Lots of the rocks made it into his mouth. Same with Nora.
Now that Stuart is walking, I look forward to lots more beach trips in the months to come. I can see many, many hours spent at Mill Bay beach. Patrick and I both love taking the kids down there.

Tonight I watched The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. Wow. Good movie. Hauntingly good. I read the book in college and wrote a report on it. Makes me want to re-read the book. Beautiful cinematography and amazing, true story.

Zoya

PHOTOS: The only two photos I have thus far of Andrew and Tamara's wedding. Ella was kind enough to forward them to me this evening.
Top: Tamara and Andrew at their wedding in West Virginia yesterday, May 10th.
Bottom: Ella and Dicky at Tamara and Andrew's wedding.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Andrew's Wedding

Patrick's young brother, Andrew, is marrying Tamara Schulman tomorrow in West Virginia. Patrick flew out there yesterday and will be attending his wedding tomorrow. We talked tonight after he came back from a dinner and I asked him the standard questions.... about what they ate, who was there, had he met Tamara, who did he talk to, what was Ella wearing? He could remember everything except what Ella was wearing. He replied, "I don't know, Zoya. I don't notice those things."Being her twin sister, I am extra curious about her fashion choices on such a big wedding weekend. :)
I am glad Patrick was able to make the trip and I can't wait to hear more details about the weekend!

The weather has been pretty crummy in Kodiak-windy and rainy non stop. Patrick interpreted this weather system before he left. He said, "Usually when it is like this for all of May, it rains all summer." Great. At least I can prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised when the sun comes out. I don't mind the storms but our driveway/walkway area is so saturated with water that it is turning into a pond. At least this weather makes staying inside huddled up with the kids kinda fun.

Zoya

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Good to be 32






Yesterday was such a fun 32nd birthday. Friends came over for a barbeque in the evening and Mary Jane made a fabulous cake (see photo!) It was a checkerboard cake with Barefoot Contessa Buttercream frosting. SO DECADENT!

For a day or two before the party, Nora walked around the house saying "Happy Mommy, Happy Mommy"...then she would laugh and say "Happy Daddy? Nooo!!!!!". She was pretending it was other peoples birthdays then would say, "noooo!!".

Other highlights from yesterday include....
Rose Kinsley made a crab quiche and a salmon quiche (both absolutely delicious).
Mike and Roxan brought smoked salmon and cheese for appetizers....
Patrick was in and out grilling reindeer, deer and goat sausage burgers and grilled peppers-he is getting good at grilling veggies.
Katie and Matt brought Sawyer and Natalie and we got some newborn baby time!! Natalie enjoyed romping around with the kids...
Fisher read stories to Nora at bedtime. He climbed right in the crib and read her Babybug. She LOVED it.
I got wonderful cards from my girlfriends-several were very funny and made me laugh!
Melissa D. came over-she is leaving soon for LA and it was so nice to have more time with her.
The kids all ran around the house playing together and Fisher had fun taking photos with Mike and Roxann's camera. Roxann was so wonderful with explaining her camera to Fisher.

The quote of the evening occured when I was nursing Stuart.
Fisher asked, "Why do you nurse Stuey instead of giving him a bottle?". I paused, thinking of how to answer. Before I could say anything he replied with "Oh, I know. Its because your milk is better for him than any other milk. I know that because I study rocks and science." Very cute answer, Fisher!


I love being 32-and am blessed to bring in my 32nd year surrounded by my family and good friends!

Zoya

Chowderhouse Birthday Lunch




BIRTHDAY LUNCH!
Patrick, the kids and myself went to The Chowderhouse yesterday for a birthday lunch. Going out with both kids is getting easier and easier as they get older. It is almost enjoyable! :) They are both such little "foodies" and love trying all the food we order. Nora gobbled up the last of the clam chowder and Stuey loved watching all the action in the restaurant. Nora saw Stuey in the high chair and insisted on sitting in one as well! Lots of times she thinks that "baby" things are cooler.

Zoya

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Phew!

The library books weren't missing afterall. Phew! I called the library to just double check and the cheery librarian said, "no, you don't have any books that are overdue." Yeah! They must have slid off to the side for a while and didn't get signed back in for a day or two.

So we went to the library and got more books. Nora digs the library. So many books, so little time.

Zoya

Zoya's Birthday


In honor of Zoya's turning 32 I thought I'd throw in a little blast from birthdays past. This is a photo from Zoya's 28th birthday party at Mary Jane's house. Lots of wine that year and things got a little goofy with everyone trying on the goofy white sunglasses. Later on we clipped the little medallions that fit onto the wine glass stems (and mark whose glass is whose - see bottom of glass stem to Zoya's left in photo) onto our noses and ears as part of an informal body modification contest. They made great nose rings. A good time was had by all.

Generally on Zoya's birthday our traditional outing is to drive out the roadsystem with the spotting scope and look at all the new spring migrants. Zoya's birthday falls at the peak of the annual bird migration back north, and many of these birds pass through Kodiak. Some of those birds have pretty amazing colors when viewed up close through the spotting scope. I see it as very apropos that Zoya's birthday marks the return of life to the north country after the hard winter. Patrick

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Missing Library Books

Right now it feels like I"m the only one on earth who has ever lost a library book.

Two library books are missing and I'm horribly bummed about it. I SO DREAD having to go in tomorrow to tell them we can't find them.
I'm hoping there was a library computer error and when I go in, the library people will say, "Oh, we found those two books. No problems at all!". But, that probably won't happen.
We are good about keeping our library books in a certain canvas bag, so they don't get mixed up amongst our other books. Our house is relatively neat (hold your comments, Ella) and not terribly disheveled...I like to think there is a tiny bit of order where things go.... So when the librarian said that two were missing, I was quite surprised. That said, I figured we'd find them right away on a shelf at home.

A week and several thorough searches later, they are no where to be found. The only that we found were some MAJOR dust bunnies under beds/couches and odd small plastic objects in the couches. I know that someday the books will turn up, because the they never left the house. But they probably won't turn up before the Tuesday May 6th due date.

My friend Marias said, "Zoya, don't let this get you so down that you don't take Nora to the library anymore to get more books. It is such a good experience for her." I agree with Marias and after discussing it with her, I realized that from now on Patrick and I will have to be even more diligent with keeping tabs of the books in the canvas bag.

Zoya

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Shoup Family Visit






Anne, Dan, Sonya, Katja and Talia all left yesterday after a wonderful 6 day visit. It was so fun to be Auntie Zoya to the girls. Everyone stayed here at the house, and Dan, Anne, Patrick and myself would stay up late laughing, talking and drinking a glass or two of wine. I had a cold which got progressively worse, but I didn't care because I see Anne so little. It was worth losing much needed sleep for a few days to catch up on our lives. Anne and Dan live in Michigan and I haven't spent time with them for many years.

Sonya, Katja and Talia got along well with Nora and Stuey-there was the occasional "no!" or crying but with 5 kids in the house it was less chaotic than I would've expected it to be. Sonya and Katja play well together-they would disappear for a long time playing dolls or pretend play. Sonya is the oldest one (6), Katja is the middle (4) and Talia is the youngest (18 months). Katja enjoyed being older than Nora and telling her what to do. Nora would follow her around in awe. Stuey and Talia basically followed the older kids around and they are both into hitting, biting, pulling hair (Stuey more so than Talia).

Last night Patrick gave a public talk on his hike to Shisaldin Volcano in 2005 as part of Island Trails Network presentation. I wanted to go so badly but really needed an evening of rest and sleep, so I stayed behind. I slept for about 10 hours and am starting to feel rejuvenated.

I miss the Shoup family here at our house! :(

Zoya

Photos
Dan and Stuey
Sonya and Katja building a block fort on a table so the little kids couldn't get to it.
Anne reading a book to the girls
Katja with her doll.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chief Cove





Yesterday I caught a ride to Chief Cove with the USF&WS and Alaska Department of Fish & Game. I checked out archaeological sites for the Wildlife Service and helped Fish and Game with their deer mortality studies. Basically checking out how many deer died this winter out there. Walking around looking for fur piles and bones in the bushes. Then we'd do a little forensic archaeology and determine to the best of our ability the sex and age of the critter and how much fat was in the bone marrow. Pretty cool stuff actually. They compare this year's results with those of year's past to get an idea of how the deer population did this winter relative to year's past.

While out there I even found a previously unrecorded archaeological site. A 2,000 year old village. Chief Cove was a pretty nice place to live. Lots of seals. whales and cod.

Photos: Top - the team prepares to depart on the survey. Alaska Peninsula on the other side of Shelikof Strait. Reflection of a mountain in a pond. The team preparing to depart in the floatplane - Tanya, John, Brandon and Willy the pilot. Patrick