Monday, December 10, 2012

Officially Tizita Rita

Last week C.O. and I had a court appointment to re-adopt Tizita in the United States. While her adoption was final because of the ruling from the Ethiopian courts, having an offical birth certificate housed in the state of Alaska will make it much more convenient for future business.

Since we had a lawyer and were updating her birth certificate, we also had Tizita's middle name changed. She was given the middle name Charles in Ethiopia after they found out C.O. would be the father. But after all this goes through she will officially be Tizita Rita. This will sound a lot better when she is called to walk across the stage at graudation. Don't you think?

Thankfully this whole adoption process is coming to an end but we still aren't quite done. We need to get a social security number assigned to Tizita and there will be one more offical post adoption report completed by a social worker submitted before we are free and clear. It's a long road but it doesn't seem so bad now that Tizita Rita is home.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Artsy Fartsy School

I have been teaching at Sterling Elementary for more than a quarter now and have not had the chance, until now, to share my awesome new work place with you. 'Thankful' is how I feel about where I ended up getting hired. Sterling Elementary has been a welcoming and supportive environment as I learn to navigate a new job. I am excited about the emphasis this school chooses to put on art. It has challenged me to find new ways to integrate art into the curriculum on a regular basis.
First let me share some of the inspirational and beautiful art that is located throughout the building. Most of these pieces were done collaboratively with students and either their teacher or with an artist in residence.

The mod doors also brighten up a traditionally bland space in buildings. I'm a huge fan of sprucing up doors. =)
arstydoor1 by corudstr arstydoor2 by corudstr
 artsydoor4 by corudstr arstydoor3 by corudstr

At the beginning of the year my kindergarten class did an "All About Me" unit. Two pieces of artwork were produced by each student. The first was pointillism type art in which we "dotted" out our names.

The second art directive was to use painting and photograph to describe your personality. They turned out beautifully and the students received many, many compliments on their work.
artsy1 by corudstr 
Many students say that art is their favorite part of kindergarten. I totally agree!
*Student pieces were used with permission from their parents. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What A Stud

Unlike many places throughout the U.S., in Alaska it's legal to drive on public roads with studded tires. Mid-October brought snow mixed with rain to our region so it was time to update the tires on my car.

It felt completely different driving once the new and improved tires were on my car. I love the ticking sound the studs make when I pull out of the school parking lot. The slow tick that eventually grows to a reassuring hum that lets me know my tires are firmly connected to the pavement.

I guess I have two people to thank for my snow tires. Tizita was C.O.'s assistant the evening he changed out my tires. When Harold was little, he spent a lot of time out in the shop being daddy's "helper." A few people asked if our little girl would learn the mechanic trade as well.

Of course! We are all about equal opportunity at the Rudstrom household. Tizita's a mechanical natural. Her cute pink snow pants have been permanently stained with dirt, grime and grease from her time out in the garage. Our sweet little girl loves getting her hands dirty and helping out with dad's projects. 
Here's to driving safe this winter!

Friday, October 12, 2012

We Are Not (Do You Hear Me?) Going to Get a Dog

There is no way we could add a dog to our already hectic life.

Dogs need tons of exercise.

They get hair on the carpet.

Not to mention the hair on your clothes.

Have you seen the price of dog food?

A dog would be such a hassle when we want to travel.

I'm sorry but, they are just too much work!

. . .


Meet Aussie: The dog that chose us.

It is not terribly uncommon for a dog to wander through our yard. We have quite a few neighbors and everyone in Alaska seems to have a dog. About a week and a half ago a very friendly and handsome dog ended up playing in the yard with the kids. Come evening, he didn't go home. We woke up the next morning and found him sitting on the back porch. It was hard not to take pity on him when he sat at the back door looking at us like this:


We wrote our phone number on his collar hoping he would wander home, that his owners would call and we could let them know that he had been spending quite a bit of time at our house. This is sort of what happened. "Our" dog ended up at one of the neighbor's house who decided to look him up on a facebook page which listed local missing dogs. What do ya know? A picture of this dog had been posted. The neighbor called the owners and said their dog had been found. The owners were worried about his well being since he had been gone for over a week but the lady said he looked great and even had a collar with a phone number on it. The owners ended up calling us and asking if we had been taking care of their dog.

C.O. explained the situation and by the end of the conversation they asked if we'd just like to keep him. It turns out, they had been out biking one day when a lady pulled up in her car asking them to take her dog since she was leaving town shortly and couldn't take him along. The family took him out of pity but really weren't interested in having another dog. We learned that he is part Australian Shepard and part German Shepard. He is named Aussie, he's already had his first round of shots, is house trained, knows how to sit, is gentle with children and can walk nicely on a leash. He's just an all around nice dog so despite or intitial misgivings . . . we think we'll keep him.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meeting the Buyse Family

About five years ago we received a call from our adoption agency, Christian World Adoption. They told us about another family in Alaska that was in the process of adopting a child from Guatemala and that they had a few questions for us. C.O. and Montey had talked briefly at that time but we had not kept in touch. Harold came in October, their daughter came the following January. 

We got another call last winter from CWA that the Buyses were considering adopting again. This time from Ethiopia! They are planning to adopt a sibling set in fact. As we were passing through Anchorage during our bush living days, we were never quite able to connect. But now that we live within a reasonable driving distance, we planned a date to meet for lunch.

Over Labor Day, our two little miracles were introduced. They were so busy being five year olds, I don't think they realized how cool it was to meet each other.

The Buyses are a lovely family with a big heart for adoption. I hope that we will continue to see them over the years as our children grow. It will be valuable for our children to know there are others out there growing up in similar situations. I'm pretty sure we will be the only two families in Alaska with Guatemalan and Ethiopian children calling eachother brother and sister. =) We pray for a smooth adoption process, that the paperwork will go through as quickly as possible and that God will prepare the Buyses for their children and the two future Buyses for their new family.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our New Home That Doesn't Quite Belong to Us

We have finally moved into our new house in our new location of Soldotna. We put a bid in on this three story, three bedroom, two and a half bath place sight unseen while we were still vacationing at the cabin in Minnesota. Fortunately, when we met the house in person we were just as happy with it as we were with the pictures.

We don't have much in the house right now. Our worldly possessions are still in Brevig Mission in our container van waiting for the barge to pick it up. The kids have been keeping themselves busy learning how to do hand stands and making paper airplanes since all their toys are packed away.

The new Rudstrom dwelling is nestled in the woods on a two acre lot on a gravel road less than ten minutes from the business of Soldotna. It's a complete turn around from our 600 square foot house on the sea without a tree in sight for miles and miles.

We have already met one of our neighbors. Iris and family live across the road and invited us over to meet their little goats. They have all kinds of cool stuff at their house, kids and dirt bikes and 4-wheelers and tractors. They seem like great people to know.

There have been some complications along the way of becoming home owners. The bank has not been willing to give us a loan until I produce my first pay stub at my new job. I've started work, I'm under contract for the school year, we have excellent credit, very little debt but they still aren't sure if we are trustworthy enough. Fortunately, the seller was understanding enough to let us move in, rent the place and wait for my pay check at the end of September so we can close in early October. What a relief!

Stay tuned. I've been very busy living, blogging very little, experiencing a lot and I can't wait to share little snippets our life here on the Alaskan road system with you all!


Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Make Your Own Golf Course

This summer, Harold decided he loves to play golf. His swing wasn't too bad to be honest. He can hit the golf balls farther and more consistently than I can, not that that is saying much but hey I was still pretty impressed.

A few years ago we bought a little piece of property, less than an acre, across the road from the cabin in Minnesota. Someday we hope to build a large shop there but we have been looking for a way to use the property in the meantime.

And that's when we got a genius idea . . . let's build a golf course.

As you will see, Harold did a large amount of the work with just a little guidance from dad.

Here's step by step how to build your own golf course:

Start by mowing down a field of grass on a piece of land you are otherwise not sure how to use.

Next cut a few pieces of PVC pipe. A larger one for the golf ball hole and a smaller one to hold the flag poles.

Zip tie the small pipe inside of the larger pipe.

Cut out flags. For this project we used a brightly colored shower curtain.

Dig a hole.

Place pipe in the hole and pack the dirt around the pipe.

Stick that flag in the ground.

And you're all set to play a round of golf at your leisure.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Friend Mollie: A Love Story

This is me and my friend Mollie. We were roommates our freshman year of college.

We became pretty good friends.

We had many adventures and even spent some time traveling in England and Ireland together. We made many good memories.

But as these things go, our careers took us in different directions. Mollie started work as a nurse in Arizona and I moved to rural Alaska. One January, C.O. and I traveled to Tuscon for a midwinter trip to catch up with Mollie and to thaw out for a while.

Mollie then made the journey to Brevig Mission to visit us and to feel some cooler temperatures.

And we made many good memories.

Turns out, Mollie kind of liked the Seward Peninsula so a year and a half later, she pursued a job in Nome.

Mollie settled easily into Nome life. She met many new people, made many new friends but one of those friends was extra special. His name was Steve.

Together Mollie and Steve experienced all that bush life had to offer. As they picked berries, shot guns and took in the awesome beauty of the tundra . . .

they fell in love.

It didn't take long for Steve to ask Mollie to marry him.

Of course she said yes.

Just two weeks ago, our family drove down to Mollie's home town of Ankeny, Iowa to help celebrate Mollie and Steve's wedding day.

And we made many good memories.

The End