Christmas Break

This Christmas we were in Anchorage to welcome baby Izzy into the world and we stayed a few weeks to make sure Essie and the baby were okay and also to spend time with family.  Essie’s mom came up the day that Izzy was born and spent about a week with us.

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With the new baby, we didn’t want Kian to feel like no one was paying him attention anymore.  So I took him to play out at the Winter Solstice Party in the park.

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And of course, we had to go see the Zoo again.

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After walking around for a couple hours and seeing all the animals, it was time to warm up in the zoo’s little coffee shop.  Kian said he wanted hot cocoa and ice cream.  Absolutely, that totally makes sense.

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My sister Stefanie and her husband Ben came in a few days before Christmas to spend the holidays with us and to see the new baby.

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We took a drive south down the Seward highway one day and stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  We’ve been here several times but always love stopping.  You can either walk or drive through the whole place.  And if you’ve got a small kid or 2, and especially when it’s cold out, the drive through thing is nothing short of amazing.

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The next day we drove all the way down to Seward to check out the Alaska Sea Life Center.  A big indoor aquarium with lots to see.  Kian loved it.

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But soon enough, it was time for CHRISTMAS!

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In our family, instead of milk & cookies, we leave Santa no-bake cookies & beer.  Essie helped Kian leave a note for Santa on the cookie plate.

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Later that night, Dad Santa Claus had a great late-night snack.  Santa Claus left a note for Kian as well.

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The best present of all:  Izzy!

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I was only in Anchorage for about 3 weeks but somehow I managed to gain 32 lbs while I was there.  I have no idea how this happened.  We ate healthy the whole time…..sort of….

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But there was nothing better than getting a belly full of not-so-healthy-goodness and falling asleep on the couch with a lap-full of kids while listening to the fire crackle and pop.  Aaahhhh, the good life.

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Izzy Grace

Old man winter finally arrived in Nunam Iqua, Alaska.

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The changing seasons also brought with it a change of another sort, a new addition to the family.  Essie flew in to Anchorage on November 11th to await baby Izzy’s arrival, so it’s been just Kian and I for a while.  We’ve been keeping busy trying to make Izzy some baby booties out of fur.  This is my 1st attempt at making ANYTHING out of fur and I’m sure, as with anything, there is a learning curve to get around.

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I made 2 and they both came out different.  I still need to make a 3rd one and hopefully it will be like one of the first 2…..

I ordered the rabbit fur online but the dark fur around the top is from a river otter that I caught last winter and had tanned in Fairbanks.

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As I was failing at making my fur bootie masterpiece, Kian was having hot cocoa and playing with the furs.

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Soon enough it was time for Kian and I to make our way to Anchorage to see Mom and Izzy!  The threat of a 2-3 day snow storm made me schedule an earlier departure with Grant Airlines.

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The little plane took us to Emmonak where we got on a bigger plane for our trip to Bethel.

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After a short stop in Bethel, we were Anchorage bound.

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After a month apart, it was good to see Momma and have some fun as a family before the new baby arrived.  Kian decorated the tree all by himself.

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On the morning of December 9th, about 3:30 in the morning, Essie woke me up to tell me that we should probably get ready and go to the hospital.  Good thing we did because there is a protocol that they have to follow when you’re being admitted; they have to check your vitals, draw blood, etc.  Long story short, Essie nearly didn’t get an epidural because the baby almost showed up before her blood work came back.  I’m so glad she got the epidural.  “I’m not having this kid without an epidural.”

“Honey, there’s nothing I can do.”

“Are you hearing me?!  I’M NOT HAVING THIS KID WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL!!!!”

I made a couple of trips out to the nurses’ station to plead with them.  “Please, for the love of God, give that woman some drugs!”

Her blood work came back just in the nick of time.  As they sat her up to give her the epidural, her water broke.

They said it would be a little while so I took Kian down the street to get him some breakfast.   The closest thing was McDonalds and just as we sat down, Essie called and asked if I wanted to cut the cord.

“Haha, okay.  You’re funny.”  Then I heard the baby cry.  “Oh crap, you’re not kidding!”

Sadly, we couldn’t make it back in time so Essie cut her own cord.  But when we did make it back a few minutes later, we got to see beautiful Izzy.

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Isabelle Grace Beck

May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

 

Summer vacation

Every year we look forward to going back to Arkansas and visiting family and friends that we haven’t seen for awhile.  We love Nunam Iqua and we love Alaska, but it’s nice to get a break and go somewhere else just for a change of pace and scenery, if nothing else.

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 And let me tell you, the ‘pace’ is a drastic difference.  It seems like everyone has somewhere to be and is already late getting there.  I’ll go several months without driving or even SEEING a car.  Then as soon as we land in Arkansas and hop in the car, it’s like we’re thrown into an auto-race.  On the way home from the airport, driving down the interstate after months of only driving a snowmachine down a frozen river with nobody else around for miles, I feel like an old lady hugging the white line in the slow lane, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel as everyone speeds past me.

But it is nice to see everyone and let Kian get in some time with all the grandparents.

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He likes helping Grandma Beck make biscuits, but he loves going to the cabin.  A place where he can garden (play in the dirt and throw rocks) and drive the tractor (wiggle all the levers and switches).

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Even though it was warm, it’s always nice to go somewhere a bit more peaceful.

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My sister Stefanie lives in Maine on Mount Desert Island and works in Acadia National Park as a park ranger.  She’s been after us to come visit for a few years now and we finally decided to hit the road.

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I’m not sure we’d even lost sight of the house yet before Kian was out.

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But we’ve been blessed with a good little traveler.

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4 days and 12 states later, we finally arrived!

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Notice the baby bump?  Yep.  Kian will have a little sister to play with this December.  Due date is December 10th.  I was SO EXCITED that we were going to have a little girl!….Until everyone told me that girls are WAY worse than boys.  I’m afraid to find out, but excited all the same.

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My sister’s fiance’, Benton, took us out on his sailboat.  Kian had been talking about driving the sailboat and having a picnic for weeks.

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But after getting sea sick, he wasn’t too sure if being a pirate was in his future….

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Nevertheless, we still stopped for our picnic and we all had a good time.

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We had fun but we were all ready to get back to Arkansas.  It took us 4 days to get there and 2 to get back.  Yeah, we were READY to get back!

Now it’s back to Alaska for me, so I can be there when the fuel barge arrives to deliver the school’s once a year fuel shipment.  Essie and Kian will get to enjoy the hot sunshine for another month or so.  This summer was fun but I’m ready to get back home and get back to hunting, fishing, and working (listed in order of importance).

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Yesterday we had a great Mother’s Day.  After Kian and I let the Mom of the house sleep in, we cooked her favorite breakfast.  That afternoon one of the teachers put on a Mother’s Day Tea at the school.  Lots of mothers from the village came with their kiddos and enjoyed tea, snacks, and desserts.

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Shortly after that, we were invited to a Mother’s Day BBQ.  Naturally we said Yes.

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After we stuffed our bellies, visited, laughed, and watched the kids play, it was time to head home and get ready for our last week of work.  We may not have access to fancy restaurants, gourmet meals, or 5-star establishments, but we still manage to make certain days very special for those involved.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

~–Sorry, I wasn’t able to take pictures of all the moms since I was banished to the front yard with the other men–~