Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Toy Airplanes

Harold and I have been having fun with toy airplanes this winter. I'm having fun building them, and he is having fun flying them.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deadly Yellow Snow

Harold's first pee pee in the snow.

"Dreamed I was an Eskimo
Frozen wind began to blow
Under my boots and around my toes
The frost that bit the ground below
It was a hundred degrees below zero...

And my mama cried
And my mama cried
Nanook, a-no-no
Nanook, a-no-no
Don't be a naughty Eskimo
Save your money, don't go to the show

Well I turned around and I said "Oh, oh" Oh
Well I turned around and I said "Oh, oh" Oh
Well I turned around and I said "Ho, Ho"
And the northern lights commenced to glow
And she said, with a tear in her eye
"Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow"
"Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow""

--Frank Zappa

Round Trip to Nome: Part III Nome

There's no place like Nome . . . We just saw the Wizard of Oz so I feel the need to say that now.

Upon arriving at our destination, we were able to see Nome from the ocean looking back toward town, a new experience for us. Here are some photos of Nome from the sea ice, a sliver of color on a great expanse of white.

Nomites are good at creating their own kind of fun. There's the Labor Day bathtub race, the rubber ducky race and the Miner and Musher's Ball. Another clever thing they do each year, on this treeless, barren tundra, is erect the Nome National Forest. "Huh?" you may be wondering. Well, after the holidays, people take their Christmas trees, put them out on the ice and voila, you have a temporary forest. When the ice goes out, so do the trees. No muss no fuss.

Can you see the line of trees on the ice below?
It's practically a jungle out there.
LinkShortly after arriving in Nome, we went straight to the post office to apply for Harold's passport. It took about 15 minutes and our mission was complete. In a couple weeks we'll have Harold's passport and be all set for our summer travels.

We enjoyed a lunch at Subway. It was a real treat after we've cooked ALL our meals for months and months.

It was obvious to us at this point that Harold is definitely a village kid. He was super excited about seeing cars, trucks and trees. "Look, Mommy, look a car, another car, a truck, a blue truck . . . . "

We were then able to see our friends, James and Amy and their beautiful new baby Justice. (Their friend took some amazing pregnancy and baby photos of them so check out the links.)

Harold had the chance to hold a baby for the first time. I was pleased that he was gentle and careful around Justice. What amazed me the most, was that Harold asked to hold Justice without any prompting from us.

Our visit with James and Amy was as enjoyable as ever. They always have good stories to share and are naturally inspiring people. Our favorite story this time was about Amy going into labor and the gas gage on the car they were taking to the hospital was on "E". Ooops. James had horrible visions of knocking on a farmer's door in the middle of the night saying his wife was in labor. (They made it btw.)

I had some business to do at UAF's Northwest Campus. While I was there I ran into my brother John's girlfriend Heidi (phew that's a lot of qualifiers), which was a pleasant surprise. (She works there so I guess it wasn't that big of a surprise.) We talked briefly about our drive into Nome and her and John's upcoming trip to Mongolia. The crazy thing: Heidi and I were chatting away about driving 160 miles on a snowmobile to get a passport, about a vacation to Mongolia, you know the usual . . . IT SEEMED COMPLETELY NORMAL.

After the UAF stop, we saw our friend Roger. He was delivering some live crab for us to bring back to our mutual friends in Brevig. Roger's a real Alaska man. His beard is bushy, his hair is unkept and he wears a lot of flannel. Speaking of Roger's hair, the first time I met him he had come to our house for visit. I was just finishing up a haircut for C.O. and jokingly said, "You're just in time, it's haircutting day at the Rudstroms." "Oh, ya, I do need one," he said. "My wife hates cutting my hair." So. . . I gave this stranger a trim, we're no longer strangers.

Our last few tasks in Nome were to fill up with fuel and drop off some boxes at our landlord's house. (Hence the two sleds full of stuff.) And, once again we were on the trail and on our way home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Round Trip to Nome: Part II The Trail

Along the trail we spotted quite a bit of wildlife. We saw a few reindeer, a herd of musk oxen, some moose including a mama with twins, ptarmigan and a red fox. We stopped near the reindeer so Harold could see them up close. He calls them "ring-ga-deers" and once we drove away, he was adamant about going to see them again. Now, a few days later, he tells his stories about riding them, falling off and other exciting things we can't quite decipher. Such an imagination!

A lone ring-ga-deer

Break Time

Harold did great throughout the journey. He would basically sleep while we were riding, then wake up when we stopped for a break. About every 20 miles or so, we would stretch our legs and have a snack. Our snacks along the way consisted of tea and chocolate chip cookies. This is BLISS in the world of a 2 year old. The day after our return Harold wanted to "snowmachine to Nome, eat cookies and tea."
Life on the trail is good!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Round Trip to Nome: Part I

On Tuesday, April 21st, the Rudstroms drove their snow machine from Brevig Mission to Nome and back again.

Travel Distance: 160 miles
Drive Time: 7 hours
Time Away from Home: 13 hours

C.O. preparing the sleds for the trip.

Why would we make such a crazy trip?

Harold needed a passport for our upcoming trip to Guatemala. When applying for a passport for a minor, it is required that both parents and the child appear in person. So Nome, being the closest location for acquiring a passport, was our destination. We literally could not have gone one day sooner. To apply for Harold's passport we first needed his Social Security Number and Proof of Citizenship document. (We are still at the tail end of making Harold "official" in the US.) These arrived in the mail on Monday, we drove to Nome on Tuesday.

We could have flown, but a round trip flight costs $250 per person and we decided that a bit of discomfort was worth the savings. We spent less than $100 on fuel versus, $750 in airplane tickets. Not to mention, it was an opportunity for some adventure and a story or two. Those stories will follow soon, stay tuned . . .


Sunday, April 19, 2009

A First Haircut

We weren't in a hurry to cut Harold's curly locks. We agreed that once his hair was in his eyes and bothering him, it'd be time for the long hair to go. Well, that time came this weekend. Harold was continually being annoyed by his hair and wouldn't let me tie it back in a pony tail any more. So reluctantly, I pulled out the clippers and scissors and gave Harold his very first haircut. It was very sad watching his beautiful hair fall to the floor. But I survived and now all that hair is being stored in a zip lock bag. Because for some reason mom's save that sort of thing.



Harold did a pretty good job throughout the process. He wasn't scared or crabby about it. He was, however, a noisy moving target, which kind of scare me a bit since I was holding sharp scissors the entire time. But at last, there was no blood shed, just some beautiful dark curls.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Heart Full Circle Farm

A co-worker of mine had an idea . . . lets make Brevig Mission a drop site for Full Circle Farm boxes. She did all of the leg work and a bunch of us jumped on board to receive these boxes of goodness. We signed up to get a half box of produce every other week. It's the smallest amount you can get but we have found that it's plenty for the three of us.

We were little worried about getting our produce in a timely manner since weather can be such an issue for planes out here. It turned out that the first week we were due to receive our box, the weather was atrocious. Planes didn't fly for days, the freight was backed up and then there was a mix up with our boxes getting transfered from Alaska Airlines to Bering Air. Our boxes ended up being a week late and we were a bit worried about the condition of our food. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised to find that most of the veggies and fruit were still in fine condition. Since then our boxes have been timely and in great shape.
Here's some reasons we love our produce from Full Circle Farm:
1) We are able to add fresh fruit and vegetables to our diet. This is something we normally lack during the winter here in the bush.
2) We eat new things. For example, I had never had bok choy or chard before.
3) I've been able to try new recipes and branch out in the cooking arena.
4) I feel like a good Mom, feeding my son healthy snacks and meals.
5) Full Circle's web site is so easy to use. I can look at what is coming in our next box and make substitutions or additions if I'd like.
6) Best of all our food looks and tastes so delicious!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Conference Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend. It was the ELCA's Seward Peninsula spring conference. During the day, church leaders had meetings, then in the evenings there would be church services that involved congregational singing, choirs from various villages sharing in song, a sermon, more singing, then some requests for some additional songs. It would go on like this until 1 . . . 2 . . . 2:30 a.m. The Rudstroms could generally only make it the first couple hours. After that, it was way past Harold's bedtime and we were tired of wrestling to keep him somewhat contained. (Church has become seriously less enjoyable since Harold started walking.)

There were many visitors in town, which was great. I had twittered that the visitors had brought in "a breath of fresh air." Friends and family from the villages of Shishmaref, Wales, Teller, Nome and even some folks from Anchorage were staying with people throughout the community.

We had our own special guests. Our pastor, Brian, asked if we'd be willing to host the Bishop, Mike, and his wife, Barb, for the weekend. Of course we agreed. We had met Mike briefly a few years ago at the last conference but didn't know him very well. Mike and Barb arrived with a big box of fresh, yummy food. This was a very special treat for us and a great way to start off our visit.

The last day they were here, we took Mike and Barb out for a snow machine ride. It was the first time Barb had been on one and Mike's experience was minimal. (He had gotten a crash course from Pastor Brian a couple years ago.)

We took a short ride through the country side, saw some beautiful scenery and one fox off in the distance. Sunday evening, it was time to say good-bye to our guests and to a refreshing weekend.