Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mini Z


Harold got his very own snowmobile today. It is a 2004 Ski-Doo Mini Z. It has a 120 cc engine that is basically like you would find in a lawn mower. As it comes from the factory it will go just a little bit faster than a small kid can run.

The machine that we bought for Harold has been through a few kids all ready and it currently doesn't run, but Harold is looking forward to fixing it up. This photo was taken while the machine was sitting on a sled so we could tow it home. Harold had a great time sitting on it making vroom vroom noises while I pulled it home with our four wheeler.

C.O.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

They Couldn't Keep Me

This morning, out of the blue, came this revelation.

Harold: Mommy, Daddy I have a story.

Us: O.K. go ahead.

Harold: When I was born I had a different Mommy and Daddy and they couldn't keep me. Then, then, then you came and picked me up and took me home.

--A moment of shocked silence--

C.O.: That's right and we're happy we could get you. We love you very much and we're glad we're a family.

Hugs and kisses all around.

Harold: I'm hungry now.

We have never sat down and "told" Harold that he was adopted. In fact, I doubt he knows that word, adopted. But we talk about the concept all the time. We point Guatemala out on maps, always referring to it as his birthplace. We read a book called "Adoption Day" about a couple getting their child after a long plane ride. When we're around obviously pregnant ladies we tell Harold he was never in my tummy, he was in a different mommy's tummy. It's all just a part of our reality. It appears to be all coming together for him, before the age of three! We're blown away by it. Harold continually reminds me that children understand far more than we give them credit for.

We don't want his story to be a mystery to him or anyone in Harold's life. Even before he could understand, we would tell him his adoption story. It's obviously paying off.

Our hope is that the days of adoption being hidden, secretive, something slightly shameful in society is over. We hope that adoptive parents and children will be proud of their past and unique story. They have been loved by so many people, their birth parents, perhaps foster parents, adoptive parents, each doing what they thought was best for these special little people.

--AnnMarie

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Christmas Letter

I was pretty lazy this year when it came to Christmas cards. I sent out photo cards but didn't write a letter about what we've been up to this past year. Instead, I just wrote down our blog address. So, if you're here because of the Christmas cards, welcome. =) I thought I'd link up the highlights from the past year in lieu of an official letter.

January:

Harold turned two


February:

A Trip to San Francisco 1

San Francisco 2
San Francisco 3

March:

The Drifted In Series : Our door way was completely buried in snow.

April:

A round trip snow machine ride to Nome


May:

Touring Southeast Alaska


June:

Guatemala!


July:

At the lake in Side Lake, MN

August:

I needed a change

September:

We moved

C.O.'s Mom came up to help

October:

Views from the beach house

November:

Brother John joins us for Thanksgiving

December:

Starting Adoption #2


Merry Christmas
Love,
The Rudstroms
--AnnMarie

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our "New" Place

This post is long overdue but here's the story of our moving adventure that happened this fall.

A long story short, our landlord passed away this summer, leaving us without a place to rent. We were fortunate enough, first of all, to find THE house in town that was not being rented out. And secondly, the owner of the house agreed to rent it to us.

Once, we had a place lined up, we were relieved but also a bit depressed over our new situation. We downsized from a four bedroom place to a one bedroom house, from 1200 square feet, down to 578 square feet. The roof on the new house leaked, the heat source wasn't in working order, it was (is) poorly insulated and was (is) so, so tiny. But on it had a few things going for it,
1) running water
2) a nice bathroom
3) a great view and
4) very affordable rent.

To prepare to live in the "beach house", as we so fondly call it, we did loads of cleaning, painting, fixing and installing. Thankfully, we had a lot of help from friends, strangers and family during this time. We were blessed enough to have many volunteers help us clean and paint and haul our things from the old house to the beach house.

I thought the best way to share the make over of our new house would be to show before and after pictures. Then it's just like Trading Spaces, or Extreme Home Makeover or something.

Kitchen / Dining Before



Kitchen / Dining After



Living Area Before





Living Area After



Since there was only one bedroom, C.O. removed the half wall you see in the "before living area" photo and put it in the bedroom so we have our own space and Harold has his own sleeping space.

Bedroom Before





Bedroom(s) After

Our area:


Harold's area:


The Bathroom from the start was really quite nice so it didn't require too much work.



Exterior before



Exterior After



We didn't have time or money to do much with the outside of the house. It really needs better insulation, siding and a new roof . . . that's all.

Now, a couple months later, we are settled and comfortable in our new home. It's not perfect, it's a bit chilly and the flooring is pretty beat up. But, we aren't homeless and no matter where we are in the house, we're close to the ones we love most. =)

--AnnMarie

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

The Thanksgiving fun started on Wednesday night when my brother John arrived from Elim to visit for the weekend. Harold is beyond excited to have Uncle John around. Having a guest really makes it feel like a holiday. We're very glad he could make it.

At 2:00 on Thanksgiving Day we met with many of the teachers at the Crockett's home for dinner. It was an all around fantastic time, good food, good company, good conversation.

At 5:00 we went to the school gym for the community wide feast. Over half of the folks in town showed up to enjoy turkey, ham, reindeer stew and salads.



Earlier in the day a few volunteers spent hours and hours preparing the food for the feast. Can you imagine preparing to feed 150 - 200 people? Makes your guest list of 20 people seem like a breeze doesn't it? The people in the photos below are working on the soup and salads. Meanwhile the turkeys and hams were distributed to households throughout the community who cooked them up and brought them to the feast.



When we got home, Harold was a bit upset and demanded that we go to another feast. We convinced him two was enough for one day.

I know it seems crazy but I have a pumpkin pie in the oven right now. We ate so much today that we just couldn't fit in any pie. So, I decided we'll just eat pie tomorrow for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let the feeding frenzy continue.

Quote of the day: "I'm thankful for Thanksgiving" --Harold Rudstrom

--AnnMarie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Charades

A lot of times people ask what we do up in a little remote village to pass the time. We can never quite explain but we're always, always busy. We also happen to be good at making our own fun.

video

Thanks to Tim and Amy for hosting such a fun evening.

--AnnMarie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Got Me Some Bangs


C.O. cut my hair a while back and gave me some bangs too.
--AnnMarie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Good-Bye Autumn

When our friend Mollie was visiting, she took some amazing(!) photos of Brevig and the surrounding areas. I didn't get much of a chance to highlight her pictures during her visit but they're too good not to share. So, as winter is slowly taking it's grip on us with it's snow and wind and darkness, I'll take this time to say good-bye to fall. It was a good one. Beautiful weather, many visitors and memories to cherish.

good-bye to berry picking and jelly making . . .




to fall colors

and bonfires on the beach



good-bye to migrating cranes and spawning salmon
that will feed us through the up coming months



We'll see you again next year. Until then we will endure our winter white landscape, fierce blowing winds and subzero temps with comfort knowing you'll be back.
--AnnMarie

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Big Brother Practice

Last week, C.O. babysat for a little guy who's mother had some work to do at the school. Harold loved helping with the baby. He is so ready to be a big brother.


--AnnMarie

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adoption #2

Did you know that today is Adoption Sunday? I really didn't either until this past week. I've started following an adoption advocate on Twitter, which is where I first heard about it. Perhaps some of your churches mentioned it this morning. Adoption Sunday a chance to bring to light the millions of children living without one or both of their parents and those that need a home and loving family to care for them. I hope that the information and stories that are shared across America today are touching people's hearts and moving some toward adoption or foster care.

Being that it is Adoption Sunday I thought it fitting that we share our exciting news publicly today.

The Rudstroms are adopting once again.

We've been thinking about starting our second adoption for quite some time. In fact, we had been saying, "as soon as Guatemala opens again, we'll start." Unfortunately, Guatemala is just not getting their ducks in a row and it looks like it'll be quite some time before the new adoption process will be complete. It would have been nice to have our kids from the same country so we could take them back more often, but it was obviously not meant to be. So, based on that information, we began looking for another country. We sorted through the information on a few different places and finally decided on Ethiopia.

Ethiopia was the best match for us for a couple reasons. Since we have the most perfect boy in the world, we would like to balance the household out in the gender area and get a little girl. There is a much higher need for boys to be given homes in the international adoption world so some countries don't allow couples to request girls. Ethiopia, however, does allow us to have a gender preference. We also want an infant that has been cared for in a quality system from birth until we take our baby home. Ethiopia has all of this, so . . . here we go. Our very first piece of paperwork will be sent on Monday along with the first agency fee.

We are trying not to get too excited at this point. The gestation period for adopting is a lot closer to that of an elephant than a human being. We won't be parents for the second time for 12 -1 8 months most likely.

It won't be an easy process. It will require much paperwork, a load of money and a lot of patience. And we also know full well that at any time something could go wrong. Adoptions from Ethiopia could be closed, something with US policies could change, etc. I could think of a million scenarios but we just go forward hoping for the best.

We are once again working with Christian World Adoption. They believe that God is in control of their agency and our adoption. We agree, whatever happens in these next few months, God is in control and has a plan for us and hopefully for a little girl in Ethiopia. We rest in that and look forward to sharing our ups and downs with you over the next year or so.

--AnnMarie

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ocean View

This August we moved into a different house in Brevig. The new place is located right on the beach. After we got settled into the new house I moved my workshop down to the beach also. I haven't taken any photos of the house yet, but I do have some of the shop.This is the view of the ocean when I open the shop doors.

Here is another view from outside.

I haven't measured it, but I think that we are less than 200 feet from the waters edge.

C.O.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

St. Michael's In-Service

This year's Bering Strait School District in-service was held at the village of Stebbins for some sites and at St. Michael for the rest of us. I was really hoping my brother's school, Elim, would be at St. Mikes, I was glad to find out we were at the same location and I got to see quite a bit of him.


In-services are a bit different for bush teachers. We stay at a school, sleep on the floor with co-workers and shower in locker rooms for four days. Some parts stink, but for the most part it's quite a bit of fun. Who else gets to do this with their coworkers?



Like last year, the organizers of the in-service week had some evening activities for all of us. This year's feature was the band, Landbridge Tollbooth, from Nome and a "caller" from Fairbanks to teach us how to Contradance and Square Dance. It was a blast!


I think this picture of John and my co-worker friend, Amy, learning some new dance moves sure turned out cute.



The following night we were treated to the performances of the Stebbins dance group. (Stebbins and St. Michael are only a few miles apart and are connected by road so they just drove on over.) Eskimo dancing is a lot of fun to watch. I enjoy seeing the ladies sport their colorful kuspuks and dancing in unison.

Brevig Mission Staff getting cozy.


Oh, and we did attend professional develpoment sessions as well. But that's just details. =)
--AnnMarie

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall

It's that time of year,

Time to go out and retrieve your snowmobile from wherever you left it when the ice melted in the spring.

C.O.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ice Skating

The lagoon behind our house froze nice and smooth this year.
We took the opportunity to start Harold out on ice skates.




Listen carefully and you can hear Harold sing as C.O. takes him for a ride.

video

--AnnMarie