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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spectacular cross country skiing!

I made it out for a ski this morning which felt so good!! The kiddos stayed at the house with Megan the babysitter.

It has been a year since I've skiied. Patrick and I went to lake Geneve, which is behind Lake Louise housing. We enjoyed the snow with Jeremy Larsen and Karen Bochenstein-2 new friends who recently moved to the island. The snow was good for classic and skate skiing and the sun kept us perfectly warm. Gosh it felt good to get on skis once again!
Karen and I are in the bottom photo together. (ZAS)

Smiling Stuart

Stuey's baby acne is beginning to clear, his baby cold is slowly resolving and he looks around much more now. He is beginning to smile spontaneously when he is awake also. (ZAS)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring is in the air

So its 37 deg. today and sunny and gorgeous and my energy is back today. Phew. That was a tiring few days. Noras spirits and energy has improved and I think she is hitting her stride a bit better as well.

Stuey's cold is on the fix and Patrick is changing night time diapers. YEAH!! That makes a big difference..not having to get out of bed at night.

No big weekend plans as of yet. Just hope to get outside lots....I have spring fever BIG TIME!!! (ZAS)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First Family Photos

Today our friends, John and Jules, came over and took our first family photos. We took some in the nursery and a few outside. John made silly faces to make Nora laugh as Jules snapped away.

Stuart is wearing the hat that my 99 year old grandmother, Nana, knit him and Nora is wearing the kuspuk that my sister bonnie made for her. (ZAS)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

God must Love me

Why else would the skiing still be so good in late March? But it is bittersweet because I know that any day the warmth will kick in, it'll start to rain, and all the snow down low will be gone. My co-workers all will be happy, and I'll be devestated. But at least when the 'no snow down low' day comes, probably sometime in the next month, I'll still be able to downhill ski up high, the ground will be thawed for my archaeological survey down on the south end of Kodiak, and I'll plant my garden. I need to keep an eye on the bright side. Not that I'd mind if my garden got seriously frosted.

And speaking of the bright side - the skiing is great! Today after work I went up the Buskin with Lisa and John Mahoney. After the flood at the end of january cleared out the snow on the Buskin riverbed we have not been skiing up the river, but today we discovered that enough snow has fallen since the end of February to make the riverbed a viable corridor for skiing again. As you can see in the bottom photo, if you look closely, when the river flooded it created a trench through the 3 foot snow pack. So the riverbed is a bit like a canyon with high sided snow banks on either side. We skiied about 2 miles up from the lake and then did a loop back through the woods to where we were skiing a couple of weeks ago on the old over-grown military roads. Sure is nice to be able to ski after work in the sun.


A true test of patience...

Wow the past 2 days have been exhausting. Yesterday was full of Nora crying LOTS every time I fed Stuey, and she was in a bad mood ALL day. From the moment she woke up she was grouchy, even though she had 12 hours of sleep. She has really been testing my patience...doing things she knows shes not supposed to do while looking me straight in the eye. This landed her several trips to time outs yesterday-not sure how much that really helped the situation.

Thank heavens for supportive friends and a loving husband. Yesterday I called Alexis in the afternoon in a state of exhaustion. Today Sara Bruce brought by some Chai Latte Brownies at noon, which hit the spot, as well as her timely words of support ( will get better with time...).

I'm exhausted from Nora crying and needing me in between every 2-3 hour feedings with Stuart. We all have colds, which doesn't make things better.

Its almost as though it is a little known secret amongst parents of 2 kids that it is REALLY hard for a while, then it gets better. I knew it'd be a challenge and the past 2 days have really put me to the test. Exercise with the stroller (and my time indoor biking this week!!) has helped dramatically!!

This too will pass. There are SO few moments of the day where I'm not needed by the kiddos in some capacity. I think thats the hard part. But it will get better as they get older. (ZAS)

This photo was taken several weeks ago....just now got around to posting it!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Radiocarbon Dates

Enough of babies, skiing and the Apprentice - I figure it is time for some science on the blog. Time to present the radiocarbon dates from last spring's Olga Lakes Survey. WARNING - FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Archaeologists use various methods to date what they find. But the best method is probably radiocarbon analysis. Basically this method relies on measuring the ratio of radioactive carbon (C14) to stable carbon (C12) in a sample of organic carbon, usually charcoal. Living organic objects incorporate carbon into their organic structure at a fixed, known ratio between C14 and C12. But once they die the radioactive carbon 14 decays and turns back into Carbon 12. Thus with time a sample has less and less C14 in it. The half life of C14 is about 5700 years - so if you have half the expected carbon 14 in a sample then the sample dates to about 5700 years old. Archaeologists use this method to date what they find. Only problem is that it is expensive - about 400 dollars a date. No cheap dates in archaeology!

Anyway, last week I was excited to finally get back the results of the samples from Olga Lakes that we sent in for analysis. One of the dates from a sample taken from the black layer in the profile seen in two of the pictures above dated to around 6100 years ago. The black layer is actually charcoal and it probably represents the floor of a tent where a group of intrepid Alutiiq people lived while they visited Upper Olga Lake to fish for salmon and trout. This is the earliest evidence for Alutiiq people fishing on the inland lakes of Kodiak. We knew that at that time they were fishing at the mouths of rivers, but we had not found any sites older than about 5400 years on the inland stretches of these lakes and rivers. Now we know Alutiiq people were using the interior areas of kodiak far earlier than previously suspected.

In the top photo Mark and Catherine are collecting charcoal from a test pit. We generally dug these pits into the hearths of old houses to collect charcoal samples. In this way we were able to date many of the old villages that we found while on survey. All of the villages we found were less than 1500 years old. It seems that prior to that date the Alutiiq just visited the inland lakes to catch fish and then take it back to their villages on the coast. They did not build inland villages until relatively recently (last 1500 years).

In a little over a month I will be returning to the Olga Lakes to finish our survey and to excavate a 1000 year old house. We know it's a thousand years old because we already radiocarbon dated it;-). Patrick

The Apprentice Discussion

My favorite show, The Apprentice, was on last night.

This is a comment made by one of my family members (who wishes to remain anonymous) regarding the Apprentice

"All I can say is WOW about last night's episode. I don't think anyone should hold it over Tim for not trying to get the girl back or keeping her on their team. It was professional of him to just let James make the decision, instead of putting up a big argument. (I just can't believe James sent her -- i have yet to see alot of leadership out of that other girl on that team -- I would like to see her as PM on a project). The last thing Tim wants to do is look all emotional over losing her, although he is starting to look pretty pathetic. There was a small part of me that wished she would be voted off, just because her voice is so scratchy and she seems a bit hyper, but all in all I don't think Angela was going to be a strong enough leader.
Can't wait for Sunday to see more :)......"

My thoughts-
I agree with my family member...I thought it was good of Tim to be professional about keeping his girlfriend on his team.
At this point Christine or Frank seem to have the best chance at winning. Christine is a sharp cookie and Trump seems to respect her opinion.

Looking forward to more discussion on this! :)

Double Stroller Adventures

This weekend Patrick and I took the kiddos out in the double stroller. Patrick's mom, Emmy, sent us the stroller and it is just perfect. It fits through the front door of our house, which is perfect for when the kids fall asleep in it!

Saturday we took it on the main Ft. Abercrombie trail out to the point. It was a bit icy, however. On Sunday I used it on the bike path with Alisa and it was much easier to push. .

What a fantastic workout it is. Holy smokes. I"m 6 weeks postpartum now and ready to really get back into shape. This week I'll start spinning and going for walks with the stroller. Hopefully the last of the baby weight will come flying off between those two efforts. (ZAS)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

One more time on the Red Cloud

Yesterday, skiing on the Red Cloud was so nice that John and I could not resist going back for another try at Heaven on Earth. Today we decided to go up river into the canyon, and then back down river to the sea. Upriver the canyon walls were quite spectacular in the morning light. But once we left the canyon on our way to the sea we appreciated the warm sun. Quite the contrast to the dark canyon. Having tracks to ski in made our loop much faster and easier. Nothing like a set track.

Tonight we are suppossed to get more snow. But it's still sunny out and I am a bit skeptical. I hope the weather proves me wrong! Patrick

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ski to the Sea

The days may be getting longer and spring time blues are in the air, but winter is not dead yet! The last few days we have enjoyed sun and day time highs in the 20's with little wind. Good snow cover. I'm happy.

Today I drove with Gregg, Lisa, John Mahoney and new KIMA doctor Jeremy Larsen over the pass to the Red Cloud River for a cross country ski to the sea. We started at the bridge and skiied down the river and through the cottonwood trees to the corner of Anton Larsen Bay. There is 2 to 3 feet of snow in the woods and it looks like we will be skiing at sea level for a while yet. The bay is nicely frozen over. Conditions were a little crusty, but once we had a track broken in it was quite pleasant. You can certainly see from John Mahoney's expression that someone is happy with the conditions.

Cathy gone :(

Cathy left last night on the ferry. It was VERY sad to see her go, as we had a wonderful time the past 2 weeks. She was such a huge help with Stuart and Nora and I really enjoyed just catching up and having fun conversations. We saw the ferry pass by Mill Bay and we waved to the boat. She made it to Homer safe and sound.

This morning I got a an e-mail link to an organization where you can donate breastmilk to Africa. (Our local lactation consultant (and friend) Heather Preece e-mailed me the site.)

You don't pay a thing, they send the cooler to you and you ship your milk off. And it doesn't look like there are any minimum production requirements to participate. I applied and will wait to see what they say. I have to take a closer look at some of the storage logistics...make sure our freezer is cold enough and details like that. It may not be possible for people like us who live on an island...we'll see.

Production isn't a concern, as Stuart is gaining weight at a rapid rate and my body will just produce more as it needs. I'm all of a sudden really excited about it! We'll see what happens. The thought of my milk helping a baby near Durban, South Africa is exciting.

The site where you can read more about it is

Patrick and the guys are out skiing today. Its just gorgeous. I"m hoping to take the kiddos out in the double stroller for a walk this afternoon. It is finally warm enough!

The photo is of Cathy blowing bubbles to Nora.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Fever and Baby Growth Spurt

Stuey is 6 weeks old and it appears he is in his 6 week growth spurt. He is eating me out of house and home! Every hour during the day, he needs to eat. A big change from his 2-3 hour feedings.

The good part is that he is sleeping well at night, so I'm blessed with 3 hour chunks of sleep at night. However, I'm beginning to feel a bit worn out, but this too will pass. I just have to remember its a phase.

Patrick is completely bummed about winter slowly ending, but I have spring fever BIG TIME. I'm ready to take the kiddos outside for walks! I've had enough of temperatures in the teens. I NEVER thought I'd hear myself say this... but....bring on the rain!! At least I won't have to worry about Nora's cheeks getting too cold during short walks. It has been a spectacular winter for outdoor sports, however. Patrick has been overjoyed with the weather.

The pics were taken a couple of days ago on a walk to Fort Abercrombie. I had Stuey on in the Baby Bjiorn underneath the poncho. He was nice and toasty!! (ZAS)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Patrick's Birthday Dinner

Patrick is 42!!

A week or so late, but we celebrated Patrick's birthday last night with a simple dinner of rice pilaf, salmon, soup followed by delicious pumpkin pie made by Gregg.

Gregg's trick to the pumpkin pie? Ground up gingersnaps and chopped nuts on the very bottom of the pie. SO YUMMY! Patrick gets Pumpkin pie every year for his birthday, as he doesn't like birthday cake.

Pictures-Mary Jane, Stuart and Lisa McCormick (aka Aunt Lisa)
Grandma Cathy with Stuart

Birthday Dinner Photos

Left Photo-Gregg Rosekranz, Patrick and Cathy
Right Photo-Mary Jane and Nora

Monday, March 19, 2007

Patrick's Springtime Blues

Patrick has the springtime blues. He says I have to take over doing postings on the blog for a while until he gets over being bummed about the temperatures rising (and Wisconsin losing in the 2nd round in the NCAA's).

Stuart slept much better last night-thank heavens! I watched The Apprentice and he fell asleep in my arms. Then off to bed he went-started off in the basinette again and we both slept well.

Speaking of The Apprentice, I think either Heidi or Frank or perhaps Christine will win. The only shows I religiously watch are The Apprentice and Deal or No Deal. Mindless shows, I know, but I'm so hooked on them!

Photo is of Stuart (5 weeks old) and myself. (ZAS)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend Memorial Service

This weekend was the funeral service and repast for Lydia Black. Lydia was a local anthropologist who passed away last weekend. She was a grandmother figure to myself and would give me tips on babies, colic, teething, etc... She translated Russian accounts and taught Patrick and locals a great deal about the Russian colonization of Kodiak. Patrick is still chagrined about the time he gave a talk on Alutiiq whaling with Lydia in the audience-she wrote the book on Alutiiq whaling!

Here is a quote from her biography/obituary. (We wanted to put it in italics, but the blogspot won't let us.)

"Lydia was born in 1925 in the Soviet Union. This was a time and place far removed from the American ex-perience. Her family was, before the Revolution, what we Americans would call ‘middle class’ – they were doctors, teachers and engineers. Her “grandmother” wasn’t her biological grandmother – she was, if Lydia-the-child understood correctly, her mother’s fourth cousin; she was the last living member of a branch of the family which had achieved noble rank, and as such, in the Soviet Union, she had nowhere to go but to Lydia’s home. It was Lydia’s grandmother who infused her with stringent standards for personal comport-ment and a respect for the power of knowledge and education. Her grandmother instituted an educational regimen which included two days per week of speaking Russian, two days per week of speaking French and two days per week of speaking German. On Sundays, the family could relax and speak Ukrainian. It was de-creed that Lydia would study English in school. Lydia’s grandmother would take her to the ‘secret church’, hosted by three elderly women – the KGB eventually did arrive to arrest them.

Lydia’s childhood home was maintained by Lydia’s mother Olga, a pedago-gist, who, because of her “bourgeois” credentials, had been assigned work in a hazardous chemical plant. This work entitled the family to one egg, one kilo each of butter and sugar per month. Lydia’s birthday cake was the monthly egg’s yolk beaten to fluffiness with a spoonful of sugar, and even as a successful American academic, her eyes would gleam when she thought of her childhood birthday treat.
Lydia’s father was executed when she was eight years old (the family was never sure if it was because he was a “bourgeois” engineer, the anti-government joke he told at work or his grumbling at a bar about his having “a score to settle” with the government), at which point the Soviet government classified Lydia as an “enemy of the people”. Inadvertently, the Soviet government aided Lydia because by declaring her an enemy of the people, she was forced to maintain straight As from the age of eight on in order to avoid being sent to factory work after the age of 13 – thus, she learned to study assiduously and thoroughly, a handy habit for her adult career.

World War II reached Russia in June, 1941, when Lydia had begun her summer break by staying with her grandfather in the countryside. She made her way back to Kiev, only to have her mother die in a sanato-rium of tuberculosis six months after the invasion. Her grandmother had died several years earlier, and with food hard to come by in the city, Lydia, her aunt and a toddler cousin went into the countryside. Lydia would describe the evening a kindly farmer allowed them to stay in his barn for the night, bringing them each a boiled potato and pickle for supper. Years later, Lydia would laugh and say, “My mouth still waters when I think of a boiled potato and pickle!”

It was in the countryside that Lydia was picked up and conscripted into forced labor for Germany. However, her memories of Germans focused on those Germans who, despite their government’s stated ideology, reached out to help her – the young German soldiers who buried her under their winter field coats when the Gestapo examined papers – she didn’t have any – on the train, the elderly policeman at the train station who, without batting an eyelash, kindly gave her correct directions to reach the safe house address she had been given. She rarely spoke of the drunken German soldier who left three silver dollar-sized scars on her upper arm, the German guard whose displeasure motivated the older women in her labor unit to persuade her to escape in order to save her, and she never spoke of the Germans who conscripted her into forced labor. Her comment on American criticisms of Germans was always, “Americans don’t know what it means to live under dictatorship.”"

Lydia led an amazing life. She came to the US in the 50's, later became professor at Univ. AK Fairbanks.
It is sad to think that Nora and Stuart and I won't be able to go to her house for a visit.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Having 2 kids sure is more tiring than one. No real chance for naps. Last night it took 1.5 hours to get Stuart down to bed and I was so tired I almost started crying. I was determined to get him to sleep in his basinette once again.

Finally at 11:15, he went to sleep. This was after 4 cycles of feeding, burping, changing his diaper. I woke up at 3:30 and he was in the crook of my arm in bed with me. I have no recollection of bringing him to bed, however. Wow I was tired.

At 6:30 or 7:00 every morning Nora wakes up and likes her time in bed with me and Stuart. It would be nice to have some sleeping in time in the morning...but I don't forsee that happening for many years.

I think Stuart AND Nora are going through growth spurts. They are eating me out of house and home. The other night Nora ate lots of Sushi at the powerhouse, as well as the black cod appetizer and clam chowder. It is always reassuring to see her have a healthy appetite, as she defnintely has days where she eats very little. Kids are supposed to be very good self regulators with regards to food.

Looking forward to having Patrick back tomorrow-his conference in Anchorage has gone well. I feel badly that the dogs haven't gotten a walk since hes been gone, but its been SO cold....just today it is finally in the 20s.

A few visitors with Stuart...

Chris Jamin (left) and Patty Mahoney (right) with Stuart

When Chris came to visit Stuart, she brought Nora magazines...Nora was in HEAVEN!! She has a magazine fettish. She flips through them and carries them all over the house with her.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Night time parenting

Last night Stuart slept all night in his bassinette! Yeah! When he awoke every 2.5 hours to feed, I would feed him sitting on the edge of the bed and lay him back in his bassinette afterwards. What a joy it was to have the bed all to myself! Wow. I think Stuart slept better as well. We're going to give it a shot again tonight. Gosh I hope it wasn't an accident last night.

I've been feeling more tired lately so I think the basinette will be a good move-hopefully I can catch a few more concentrated zzzz's this way!

Nora is settling into her groove once again. Her personality is coming out once again-her smiles, wit, laughter. It is good to see her more relaxed since the intro of Stuart into our family. She gives Stuart lots of kisses throughout the day and remains quite curious about him.

Photos- nursing while quilting-talk about multitasking! I was thrilled with the opportunity to finish up a quilt for friends of ours.

Cathy and Stuart on her first day here at the house. My how Stuart has grown in one week! He is turning into a little chunker right before our very eyes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Patrick's Birthday Today

Written Wed. March 14th

Today is Patrick's 42nd birthday and he is in Fairbanks for an archaeology conference. He left this morning at 7:00AM and I was barely awake enough to tell him happy birthday. :( When he gets back, we'll do something for his birthday. He was excited about the skiing to be done in Fairbanks.....

It dawned on me the other day that there aren't any Father-son photos of Patrick and Stuart. Heres a good one.

Patrick is still somewhat nervous about holding Stuart (he is worried he is going to "break" him....).
At night I do all the diapers. Not sure how that happened.
The other night I was SO tired and I said, "Please, Patrick...can you change just one diaper?"
He replied, "Ohhhh...Zoya....I'm so warm and comfortable in bed right now...."
Hmmm....not the best exuse in the world, but he has been so wonderful with Nora's evening routine that I didn't push the issue. I reminded him, however, that the whole reason I wanted him to do 1 diaper was so that I could stay warm and comfortable in bed! :) (ZAS)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Ambulance" ride from Kodiak to Anchorage

Yesterday the bills from Stuart's hospital visit started flowing in. We have major medical insurance through Premera Blue Cross/Blue Shield so a major portion of everything is covered, thank heavens. One of the bills yesterday was for 2 ambulance rides, 1 was $10,000 and 1 was $5,000. I was thinking, "1 is for the Ambulance ride in Anchorage, 1 for the ambulance ride in Kodiak..."

As I read further, I saw that $5,000 of these rides was covered. In the AMOUNT YOU OWE line, it said, $10,000. I was in disbelief and promptly called up the Alaska Premera office. The gal on the phone was friendly, but quite apologetic as she broke the bad news to me.

According to my plan (and many of Premera's plans, as I later discovered) ambulance costs are capped for coverage at $5,000 per year per person. The Med Flight from Kodiak to Anchorage is considered an "ambulance" and therefore we have to pay the $10,000 differnce. Ouch.

I am going to appeal. Insurance really milks people for every dime, I tell ya. The reason we got a high-deductible-major-medical-plan is so that in the course of a major medivcal event, we would be covered. Airplane rides included!!

There is no moral to the story except that insurance in our country needs a major overhaul. Enough playing games with peoples lives, finances and health. (ZAS)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stuart-4 weeks+

Time continues to fly by-the days are filled with changing lots of diapers, nursing, doing loads of cloth diapers and finding some time here and there for myself. With Cathy here from Homer, I have been able to work on quilt projects, clean and cook more than I would otherwise have time for. Nora has warmed up to Cathy-it took her a couple of days to realize that just because Grandma is here doesn't mean that mom is going to take off.

Stu continues to sleep darn well at night-3 hour chunks. Just heavenly.

Nora has her ups and downs every day-just like any toddler would. At times she needs LOTS of mommy time and other times she is fine for an hour or more on her own, walking around the house-playing independently. I can't put any rhyme or reason to when she needs me more. Some times when I'm holding Stuart she barely notices then other times she festinates on it and demands to be held or nursed.

She is learning that she has to wait her turn for mommy and usually she stands there with a pouty look on her face and cries while I finish up with Stu or whatever it is I'm doing. I make an effort to pick her up, play with her, get down to her level as much as I can when I'm not with Stu. I love to hear her laugh and smile-it makes my day.

I'm realizing the importance of taking outings with just her so she can have alone mom time. I think that will be important for her, especically in the months to come. (ZAS)

More Classic Buskin

Another phenomenal day of skiing in the upper Buskin Valley. Today it was me, John Mahoney, Lisa, Gregg, and Mike Sirofchuck. We got an early start that due to the change over to daylight savings time seemed like the crack of dawn. Hills lit up with pink and the sun just barely over the horizon.

Once across the lake and into the trees we found that it had snowed another inch or so over our tracks from yesterday. Gregg and I were both wondering if the skiing up high is also good, and if, perhaps, we needed to double dip and go downhill skiing in the afternoon. We decided that nothing could beat the skiing we had in the trees!

In the top photo we are heading home around the far side of the lake near the Golf course. Earlier in the day we started out on the other side of the lake from the outlet. In the bottom photo we are climbing up the side of the valley to catch some powder tele turns on our classic gear (if you look closely at the bottom of the picture you'll see Lisa and John watching to see if someone will have a really good wipeout). Turns out it is really hard to turn skiis not built for tele turns - even in perfect powder. I went straight through a few alder thickets on the way down - this seemed to please John and Lisa. Patrick

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Classic Buskin

Funny weather lately in Kodiak. It's been clear and cold and windy for a few weeks now, and this week we got a snow storm that hit Juneau and Anchorage before it got to us. Normally storms hit us and then go on to Anchorage and Juneau. Now the storm is a big low just stalled in the gulf of Alaska. So for the last few days we have had intense snow squalls interspersed with sun. Right now it is sunny, but we got two inches of snow this morning. And yesterday we got another 2 inches of snow interpsersed with sun.

This morning when Gregg, Lisa, John Mahoney and I went skiing we had a hard time just driving to the the outlet of Buskin Lake. Whiteout conditions with high wind. It did not make for an auspicious start to our ski. I was worried it would be 'rag on Patrick whose silly idea it was to go skiing' day. And the beginning of the ski across the lake was a little medieval. Big drifts, blowing snow and whiteout. But once we made it across the lake and into the woods it ended up as perfect ski conditions. Very little wind in the woods and about 5 inches of new powder on top of a 2 foot base. We had a blast, and all agreed that it had been a good idea to go for a ski afterall. Patrick

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thrush (its not just a bird) and Circumcision

Ahhhh, what a week in our house. On Monday, nursing began to REALLY hurt and I couldn't figure out what was going on. So I brought the kiddos to the local breastfeeding support group, thinking that perhaps I would have to wean Nora.

At the group, one of the gals was oohhhing and ahhhing at Stuart when she noticed the white patch on his tongue. She said, "Zoya, it looks like he has thrush. Has it been more painful nursing him recently?" I said, "well, yes, in fact-thats the reason I'm here." So a trip to the doctor that afternoon proved that it was in fact thrush so he is on drops and I on cream. Hes doing MUCH better with nursing, thank heavens!! And thank heavens for Nursing support groups! And I don't have to wean Nora. Phew!!

Today he was circumcised....poor little guy. Everyone says, "Oh, normally they do that right before you leave the hospital, right?"....well Stu had an unusual course of events following his birth and we had to wait. Circumcision took back seat to breathing.

He did well with it-I stood there and helped hold the binky in his mouth (and no, Stuart is NOT a binky baby like Nora...hes not a "suck-a-holic" like she was)...I wasn't planning on staying and watching, but it was good to be able to comfort him. He needed 4 shots of lidocaine to numb him up....the doc said normally kiddos just need 1 or maybe 2. It was re-assuring to see that he had enough lidocaine before the procedure. It was tough to see his little pee-pee all exposed and bleeding where the foreskin was. (sorry...probably too much detail for many of you)....Its good to have it over with.

Patrick and I had many circumcision discussions last fall when we found out we were having a boy. We were torn-do we circumcise, or not? I was leaning towards not and Patrick wanted to. After reading arcticles on it, and discussing the topic more with our doctor friends, Julie and Ray, we decided to. I never imagined we would, but after seeing how passionate Patrick was about circumcising Stu, I realized that he had a big part in this decision. All in all, I"m glad we did it. He will have a little bit more pain and fussiness in the next day as he recovers from the pain.

Cathy is here from Homer and Nora is enjoying time with her Grandma. Cathy is a so wonderful with helping hold Stu and play with Nora. More pictures and stories to come in the week to come....

Nora feeding Stuart

Since Stu was in the NICU he has been adept at taking a bottle...I try to give him one a day so he remembers how to take one. Nora likes to feed him too, as you can see. She is very curious about the bottle...she has moved on to sippy cups!

Auntie MJ and Stuart

Auntie MJ and Nora

Mary Jane is my best friend, and "Auntie MJ" to Nora and Stuart. We were in the same high school class-she was a "cool kid" cheerleader and I was nerdier than her. (by the way...she HATES it when I mention this to people...she says, "whatever Zoya...thats SO not true"....)

Who ever would've guessed we'd become best friends later in life! She was there the night Patrick and I met. AND She was there for both Nora and Stuarts births (in fact, she cut the cords!!)

We have a Friday evening ritual of her coming over for dinner, hanging out with us while Nora toddles around the house in preparation for bed. Mary Jane will be the auntie who teaches Nora about cool shoes, accessories and fashion.

In this photo they flip through a PEOPLE magazine together. (ZAS)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cool Ski Photos

Here in Kodiak it has been cold and windy for a couple of weeks now. And the downhill skiing has not been great. The wind has blown away all the soft stuff and we are down to bumpy ice. The kind of stuff that makes your feet numb by the time you get to the bottom of the hill. And heaven help you if you fall while on something steep! It could be a long slide to the bottom of the hill.

To get my hopes up I've decided to post some classic Kodiak ski pictures. Photos that help me realize that Kodiak spring corn snow is just around the corner. We do have snow - and soon the skiing will be great again.

In the top photo Steve Wilebski skiis the bowl on Sheratin Mountain, November 2000. In the bottom photo Gregg Rosenkranz actually drops a knee on a rare powder day in April 2004. Patrick

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Very First Silver - Karluk 1995

My very first silver salmon on a rod and reel. Obviously, I am pretty darn happy. Everybody who moves to Alaska has to have their requisite first salmon picture, and this is mine. Most people just have the taste not to show them to their friends more than 10 years later. God do I look like a goober.

I had actually caught plenty of salmon before this particular silver (starting at Karluk in 1985), but they'd been pink salmon or snagged reds. This was the first fish I could be proud of.

Note the wood planks and posts sticking up out of the beach in the background. These are the structural timbers of prehistoric houses (probably from around 1400 AD). The archaeological site was getting demolished by the river changing course and we were out there to salvage what we could. Since then the entire site has eroded away (including the old cannery and bridge support pylon in the background). Patrick

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Skim Bat At Rose Tead

Yesterday, Gregg, Lisa, John Mahoney and I drove out to Rose Tead lake for some skating. I took the skim bat and for once the wind did not immediately die. I actually got to rip across the lake at high speed. Best part was that a car crossed the causeway, then turned around and drove back just to watch me skim across the ice. The show off in me appreciated the onlookers (it's sad to admit, but last week at Buskin lake with no one watching me I got a little bored with the skim bat and the mindless ripping across the lake).

The skim bat is sort of like a wind surfer sail. But you can also catch air and use it like a handglider. The wing itself is actually quite easy to control and it is not tiring to hold onto. When windsurfing on the water you often need a harness to relieve the strain on the arms, but this is not true of holding onto the skim bat.

The skating was great too - and when the wind died I put down the wing and went skating. It was warm, and the mountains seem to loom up directly from the lake. The same 11 swans were still on the open water at the outlet to the lake. Afterwards we drove to the beach and looked for whales. And then we all drove home in John Mahoney's truck. Nice not to have to drive - I looked out the window and appreciated what a great and beautiful place is Kodiak.