Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guatemala Trip

One of the most exciting trips we have taken was to Guatemala this past October. It was the trip that would end with the third member of our family, Harold, returning home with us.

Overall the trip to Guatemala City went wonderfully, better than we ever expected. Harold seemed to get used to us quickly, travel went smoothly, paperwork and meetings went flawlessly.

Guatemala is a beautiful country. I would recommend vacationing there to anyone. The US dollar goes a long way. We were able to stay at a 4 star hotel for $70 per night, we called for room service often and ordered things like steak and shrimp for about $12 per meal. One day we took a guided tour of Antigua, about a 40 mile trip outside of Guatemala City. We had our own tour guide, a driver, we were gone from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and it only cost $120.

Rewinding a little, one of the hardest parts of the entire adoption process was when the foster mom met with us to give us Harold. We had an interpreter with us and she said that she had been crying since 5 a.m.and that she felt like he was her own child. It was very hard on her to give him up, we were so happy, meanwhile her heart was breaking. It's good to know that Harold was in such a loving home for his first 9 months.

Enjoy the video. -- AnnMarie

Home for the Holidays

Well, the holiday season is here again. We all be heading south to Minnesota to see our friends and family. We are looking forward to it and at the same time, exhausted just thinking about it. We start out tomorrow night with a red eye flight to Seattle. After that, we go to Chicago then Minneapolis. We will be traveling for over 24 hours with very little sleep. Here's the schedule:
Sunday: Drive North
Monday: Christmas Eve, stop and see Grandmas Ginnie, then to the Lindulas, followed by an evening with the Jaransons.
Tuesday: Christmas Day, Grandma Ginnie, Duluth to see the Lampi clan.
Wednesday: Morning, visiting Charity and her family, then a day with AnnMarie's friends and classmates. We have a total of 6 boys 3 and under now, should be lots of fun for years to come. We're going to start planning our 10 year class reunion for next summer.
Thursday: Open house at the Lindula's for a bunch of folks who want to meet Harold.

Then about week after we've left perhaps we can rest a little? Seems doubtful.

The past two years we have stayed in Brevig for Christmas. It's been restful and relaxing. Don't get me wrong, going to Minnesota will be a blast, but in a very rushed, busy sort of way. It's tough to decide which is more desirable. Anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Row boat

This fall I built a small row boat. I built it for Henry and Rita, some friends of ours here in Brevig Mission. It will mostly get used for setting and checking salmon nets in the summer. When netting salmon here you typically stretch your net from shore out a couple hundred feet into the ocean. This lets you catch the fish as they migrate along the shoreline. The boat may also be used in the winter for seal hunting. On occasion Henry will snowmobile out across the ice to the open water for seal hunting. The boat would be pulled along on a sled. It could then be used to retrieve seals that are shot.
This first photo shows me starting out on the maiden voyage. The boat is about 9 feet long. it is made from 3/8' ac plywood with 2x4's ripped down to make the chine logs and gunwales. It is all held together with construction adhesive (liquid nails) and drywall screws. The oars are also made of the same material. The construction is the same style as the "instant" sailboats the we race in the summer in MN. The boat has a seat that runs lengthwise down the middle so that you can adjust you sitting position forward and backward to suit different loads. The whole thing was built out of scrap material that I found around the village, even the paint was left over.
The second photo shows me and a couple of kids screwing the oarlocks down after testing out different locations during the maiden voyage. On the beach in front of us is a seal.
There is another village near us called Teller. It is only about 8 miles away as the crow flies, but you can't get there by land. There is a narrow channel of water that you have to cross. The last photo shows the view across the channel from the Teller side looking back towards Brevig. The channel is about 1/4 mile wide. This fall I had some work to do in Teller, so I used our ATV to haul the boat down to the channel. I tossed my toolbox in the boat and rowed across. Just another day at the office.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Extreme Harold

Harold is an active baby, he seems to thrive on movement. We have a few "active" games that we play. Two of our favorites are Crash Landing and Aerial Attack. In Crash Landing Harold practices for a future job as a stunt man. Aerial Attack features Harold's favorite friend Whaley-Pie.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sally Ann Cookies

Someone just asked me for this recipe so I decided to post it here. They're just so good the recipe is begging to be shared. It's a cookie I remember my Aunt Patty making every Christmas. They are a little tedious to make but definitely worth the work. --AnnMarie

Sally Ann Cookies

1 c. butter 1 c. molasses
1 ½ c. sugar ½ c. hot coffee
1 tsp. salt ¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg 2 tsp. baking soda
6 c. flour

Mix and chill dough for 1 hour. Roll out ¼ in. thick. Cut with cookie cutters. (My aunt cut them using the top of a Spam can.) Bake at 350 for 10 min.

1 pkg. (1 T.) Knox unflavored gelatin
¾ c. sugar pinch of salt
¾ tsp. baking powder ¾ c. cold water
1 ¾ c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan sprinkle gelatin on cold water. Add sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 min. Pour over powdered sugar. Beat until foamy. Add water, vanilla and salt. Beat until thick. Frost cookies (quickly, it sets up fast). Stand until firm.

Book Recommendation

I enjoy children's books very much. Which is convenient since I teach young children and now have a child of my own. "Puff the Magic Dragon" is my latest find in the category of children's literature. It is a beautifully illustrated book set to the lyrics of the well-known folk song. There is a CD included in the back of the book with the song being sung by Peter Yarrow. I introduced it to my kindergarten students and they loved it immediately. I enjoy listening to the CD and following along page by page just as much as they do. That is the mark of a great children's book, one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This is a must in any child's collection. -- AnnMarie

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Knack

This was sent to me by my friend Erin and I thought I'd pass it on. This is for those of you who are, know or love an engineer. --AnnMarie

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Flower Lamp

Since we live here in the arctic, flowers are kind of scarce. So I decided to make AnnMarie a flower that would last. It is made from junk that I salvaged from a few local construction projects. The leaves and petals are formed from 24ga galvanized sheet metal, the stem is a piece of 3/4" EMT, and the base on the floor is cut from 1/2" steel plate.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So, I've cut C.O.'s hair many times during our married life. Since we lack a barber in Brevig, I've figured out how to cut hair. I've been nagging C.O. that it's time for a haircut so that it looks good by the time we get back to Minnesota for Christmas. We were busy talking, and I wasn't paying close enough attention and before I knew it . . .

When the clipper extension is on, it's a fool proof system. But when you forget to put it on, *sigh* I hope it grows a bit in two weeks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Harold's Crazy Faces

Once there's a child in the family, it seems they are the center of it all. So, I suppose it is fitting to have a Harold video for our first post to our new blog.