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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kindergarten Adjustment

Today Stuey cried his first tears when I dropped him off at kindergarten.

Since school started, I walk him out to the recess on the playground and he stands to the side watching all the kids.  He asks me to stay with him ("don't leave mommy") and I walk him up to his class line when the bell rings. He is the last one to join his kindergarten  line (5 students!).  Fortunately the teachers are ok with me walking in the building with him and off I go, sneaking out to my car.

Today I was walking down the steps outside the school when someone said, "Zoya, your son is coming behind you". Stuey had raced after me and was crying. He didn't want me to go.

Two teachers were close behind him.  Stuey asked, "When will you come back?".
I told him, "at 3 o'clock. After PE". This helped him a little bit, but not really. The tears continued. He said, "Mom, I want to give you a hug and a kiss." I gave him a hug and kiss and then he said, "Mom, I want to watch you leave."

At home we have a routine where when I leave, Stuey says, "I give you hug and kiss and I'll watch you leave." This involves a hug and kiss and then he goes outside to watch me get in my car and drive away. He is VERY routine about it, almost always doing it.

I explained to him that today I would watch him leave, and he wouldn't be able to watch me leave because he had to go into school.  Eventually we got him calmed down enough and he went inside with his teacher.

Fortunately I didn't have a client for the first few minutes at work, as I felt a bit frazzled inside. Not because I was worried about him, but because when I saw his tears on his cheeks, I thought, "My little Stuey. He is often such a brave little guy. He is somehow scared in his new setting."He was trying to take his routines with me into his school setting.

I got through work just fine, but was eager to pick him up. I looked at the teacher and raised my eye brows in a question type of look, asking "how'd it go?". Mrs. N said she had Stuey sit in the office with the office manager for the prayer routine that the kids do in the gym and then he joined his class after. The other teacher, Ms. S, said that Stuey doesn't yet play with other kids on the playground during morning recess. To this Stuey shrugged his shoulders several time and said, "I'm just shy." We all smiled.

Tonight was parent night at St. Marys. When I came home, Nora said, "Mom, Stuey is asleep on the couch!!"

I carried him to bed and laid with him until he fell back asleep. Then as I was crawling out, Stuey awoke and said, "Thank you for laying with me mommy".



This past month there has been quite a bit of meat processing going on at the Saltonstalls. Between deer and a goat, many white packages of meat have been put away in freezers. 
This week Lisa and Gregg came over to process the goat from last weekends hunt. 

Here Lisa and Patrick are cutting apart goat ribs with hedge trimmers. That goat had some serious bones! Them people have some serious muscles!

 The kids, especially Nora, have really gotten into helping with writing on the packages. Below, is a drawing that Lisa did last winter of the sheep meat.

 ...and below,  Nora's version!

This week Nora got even more extravagant in her drawing. She drew Lisa, the deer, sun and mountain (and even Lisa shooting the deer. How cool is it that Nora has a cool Kodiak female hunting "Auntie"?!)


Monday, August 27, 2012

7th Birthday Party

Nora's cough finally improved enough for us to host her 7th birthday party yesterday. 8 of her friends and their parents came over to enjoy hot dogs, salad, pinata and cake. The weather cooperated with 60+ temperatures and a warm breeze. 

Nora got her first Barbie from Auntie Ella...complete with 2 outfits!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Goat Hunt Gone Bad

Yesterday I spent the day hunting mountain goats with Gregg.  We hiked up Friday night and did our usual pre hunt camp out.  On the way up it was raining and we were soaked so a blazing woodstove proved its worth drying out all our gear.  In the morning since we were hunting goats we slept in a bit.  For deer you have to be glassing at dawn because they bed down early and get difficult to find.  But goats are white and generally easy to find.  Hence we did not feel the need to start hiking in the dark.  Still we did get up at 5:30 and were hiking by 7 AM.

Beautiful country and lots of goats - we saw 3 different herds and maybe 75 goats total.  But the country was also VERY scary with lots of cliffs and very steep, slippery slopes - often with cliffs at the bottom.  We did a lot of side-hilling on slopes where you did NOT want to fall down.  I was glad I had brought some crampons for my Xtra Tuffs.

Anyway we found a herd of goats in an accessible spot and snuck up on them perfectly.  It was a beautiful spot.  And that's where the goat hunt went bad.  I made a poor shot on the goat and he ran around the corner and into some ravines and cliffs - not an ideal spot.  But we had to follow him and to do so we had to leave my 'comfort zone' in terms of steep slopes and cliffs.

We finally got to him and cut him up on a very steep slope.  We braced him on the slope by wedging rocks under his downslope side. And then came the hike home.  It was so bad that I did not even take any photos. With the hide and camping gear my pack was in the 140 pound range.  Normally it takes a while for a pack to start weighing on you - but that pack was awful pretty much right away (I probably should have dumped the hide).

 At first we tried going directly downslope and it was looking good until we ran into a band of cliffs.  No way down - so we had to go back upslope and back home the way we came. This entailed a REALLY scary sidehill on a steep slope above a cliff.   Soon after that we got back to where we originally had shot at the goat.  We figure the side excursion cost us 3 hours of extra labor.

From there the hiking was exhausting but not life threatening. Lots of sidehills and steep slopes. It was a long way to the car.  We finally stumbled to the truck at just about dusk.  I had the goat chilling out in the freezer by 11 PM.

On the hike home Gregg and I ruminated on how often goat hunts do 'go bad'.  I think from now on I am only going to attempt 'easy' goat hunts.  Patrick

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Day of School

 The first day of school went fabulously. I took the kids to their St. Mary's classrooms to discover Stuey's kindergarten class has 6 kids and Nora's 1st/2nd grade class has 13 students! I'm really liking that student teacher ratio!

I took Stuey out to the playground and  watched things from the side of the playground together. When I made an indication to leave, he requested, "Don't leave yet mom".

I was the only parent out there and he and I just stood together watching the scene. Kids reconnecting after a summer apart. A few kids on the swings by themselves.  Nora ran over to her girlfriends and they played on the parallel bars. A few hugs were exchanged. The bell rang and it was time to proceed into St. Mary's. I walked with Stuey up into the building, gave him a kiss and hug and left. No tears this year with kindergarten drop off.

Pictures are from posed "first day" photo, straight to some sibling love before the kids got into the car.

 At the end of the school day, I went into the building shortly before dismissal and sat on the entry way bench. I could hear  a chorus of tiny voices singing, "Head, shoulders, knees and toes..." in the distance. I could tell it was the kindergarten class and was so glad that Stuey was singing such a fun song with his friends.

The class was brought out behind his teacher and the kids raced over and told me about their day. I took them for an ice cream cone and bed time was easy tonight, as they were both tired from their first day. And there was no homework today-yeah!


Lisa's Deer

On Tuesday night I went up into the mountains with Lisa and Gregg to help Lisa get her deer.  It was a beautiful evening and we were a little worried that the weather not would hold until morning.  We gathered wood and cooked dinner on the woodstove and did some glassing for deer before bed.

I got up at 4:30 AM to cook breakfast and warm the tent up with the wood stove. The woodstove may seem like a needless luxury but it only weighs 1 1/2 pounds.  Less than my SAT phone!  Tent and stove together with pole weigh less than 5 pounds and all 3 of us fit inside with room to spare.

By 6 AM we were up on top glassing for deer.  The sun was still a little too far below the horizon and it was hard to see the deer.

The light was spectacular.  We were VERY happy that the good weather had held and that it was not raining.

We found a group of deer and while I watched from afar Lisa and Gregg snuck up closer and Lisa took the shot.

Success!  Lisa has her deer by 7 AM.  It looks like Mr Deer (or Billy the Buck as we called him) was grazing on arnica when we found him.  He will be very tasty.  Thank you Mr Deer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kid-isms, On the Eve of Kindergarten, Canning Salmon


Recently Stuey and Nora have had some phrases which I want to capture for posterity sake, so here they are. With some speech impediments to go along...

-Today as I was cleaning the stove, Stuey sat and watched. He said, "Wow. That is so clean, my heart is beeping."

-Nora said something quietly. I asked her what she said, She replied, "I'm trying to make a good quote. Stuey gets all the quotes."

-Today as I was making waffles, Stuey says, "Next beez mine" (Next be mine).

-Stuey was sorting his coins in his purse. He said, "I am sorting this wittle goes with wittle" (this little goes with this little). 

We went into a restaurant. Stuey looked up on the wall and asked, "where'd 'em got those pictures from?"

Stuey calls every type of berry a blueberry. Salmonberries, rasperries, strawberries...they are all blueberries. This continued over from last summer and for some reason I thought this habit would be dropped this summer, but it continues. We try to gently correct him, but he doesn't really notice. 

"I just love these waffles. I want to eat them all day."-Stuey as he eats his chocolate chip pancakes. 

I served the kids chicken. Stuey asked, "Is that chicken he (dad)  hunted from deer?"- Stuey, trying to put together the food source puzzle. 

Below our friend Roxann plays Red light/Green light at a friends birthday party last weekend.

And Canning.  Wow. Did Patrick and our friend Joe ever can some salmon last weekend. All the windows in the living area of our house were fogged up as the pressure cookers whistled away. 
            Here's the STATS: 
            60 jars
            Salmon and types: 10 (kings and Silvers)
            # of LARGE pressure cookers going at once: 3
           Time it took: 6 hours


Its the eve before kindergarten for Stuey, and first grade for Nora. I'm so ready for school to start. SO READY.  I'm done with summer. Its a combination of factors... 
A cold summer in Kodiak, not many days with temps over 60, especially recently. 
Nora has been sick the last 5 days, and the kids have been at each other.  
Stuey is ready for a challenge and a new scene. He is starting to climb the walls a bit. 

Today I made the dash to walmart to grab the oodles of school supplies on the "St. Marys School supply list" at Walmart. Man its a heap of supplies! Paper towels, hand sanitizers, kleenex, glue sticks, reams of copy paper....
I hate to sound old, but when I was a kid, all I remember bringing was some pencils, box of crayons and backpack. I got some oreos as a special treat for lunch, and their uniform pieces lined up. I think everything fits. Phew. 
Stuey's class only has 9-10 kids in it, which I'm thrilled about. The principal will be teaching his class. Its going to be great for him to be in such a small class for kindergarten!

 Above, Nora and I at cousin camp in Montana. Below, Stuey went fishing at Mill Bay beach this week with Patrick. He casted for an hour and a half on the beach.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Birthday in Bed

Today is Nora's 7th birthday, and she has spent most of it sleeping off a bad virus. At cousin camp in Montana two of her cousins were quite sick with croup and strep, and Nora became ill the day after we returned home. I'm glad the virus waited until we got home to kick in - at least she was  able to enjoy all of cousin camp!

 It was my lucky day, because when I went to Safeway there was a group with a table selling baked goodies. Lo and behold, there was a yellow cake topped with M&M's. I bought it for Nora and after dinner we brought it into her to blow out candles. She immediately laid back down to go to sleep.

Nora's birthday party with friends was planned for today, but we've postponed that to another time when she feels better. She's handled it all quite well...a few tears of disappointment yesterday when she woke up sick yesterday and said, "Mom, I think i'm going to still be sick for my birthday tomorrow."

 Stuey and I enjoyed the cake...Nora sleeps and says she'll have a piece later.

Happy 7th to wonderful Nora!


Green Green Trees

This morning I went for walk in Abercrombie with the dogs and brought the camera along.  The sunlight was coming through the spruce canopy and dappling the understory.  Ordinarily this is bad light for photography because the camera can't expose for both the dark and light areas.  The photographs end up with super bright over-exposed areas.  So this morning I tried something new - I went into the camera's menu and tried the 'DR correction' setting.  DR stands for dynamic range.  I did this once before on a cross country ski this winter and the pictures all ended up washed out.  But this time it seemed to work.  The dappled shadows actually ended up looking good.

At the start of the walk I also noticed that our raspberries are ripe.  Not many yet, and our patch is small, but I hope that in years to come we have a HUGE patch with lots of berries.  Patrick

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cousin Camp Wrap-Up

We are home and unpacking from our trip to Montana. Nora is very sick now with the same illness which plagued her cousins in Bozeman...fever, cough and miserable feeling. Today she slept a ton as I unpacked. She would say, "mom, I want to be where the action is." So as I unpacked in the bedroom, she slept there. And if I was in the kitchen, she would rest on the couch there.
Dan and Bonnie made the most amazing home made guacamole in Montana, as well as so many homemade Mexican dishes. One fun thing about being with family is cooking together, as I always learn so much from watching my brother-in-law Dan cook. Over the years he has taught me how to make many various dishes including omelettes, stuffing...
This trip I learned about how to make aioli sauce, homemade refried beans and a killer mexican scrambled egg dish.

I jokingly called cousin camp "behavior reform camp" for Stuey.  My sisters were awesome with Stuey--giving love and very consistent, firm guidance when he was starting to act up. I learned a lot from watching them with various time out techniques. Being a mom is a hard job, and it was nice to have down to earth conversations with my sisters about the challenges of parenting. Below, Bonnie shows Stuey the countdown on her timer of how many minutes left for his time out.
On the last evening I coordinated a Cousin Camp Talent Show. Most of the cousins did an act, and Nora sang "You are My sunshine". Stuey sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." (with his speech impediment, it sounded like "tinkle, tinkle little star."


Friday, August 17, 2012

Peas Gone Wild

It has been very wet and foggy lately.  Ever since Zoya and the kids left very few planes have left or arrived on Kodiak.  I have heard of several people who have been stuck in Kodiak for a week.  I sure hope Zoya and the kids make it in today!

All that said, I like a rainy day - even a rainy week.  After a hectic summer it is kind of nice to go into hibernation mode.  And it is harder to go into hibernation mode when it is sunny and beautiful outside.  So for the past week while everybody has been complaining about the weather I've been re-charging my batteries.

Photos: the top photo is of the peas - they are HUGE and starting to fall over.  Lots of flowers and small pods, but the cool weather has kept the pods from growing to full size.

In the middle photo the fireweed is practically blooming to the top of the stem.  Pretty soon they will die off and fall will arrive. I can't wait!

Finally the bottom photo is of the trees in Abercrombie.  Since the dig ended, I have been taking the dogs for a walk everyday in the park.  Patrick