Friday, October 16, 2009

Birthday Campout

Ethan and Tyler's birthday tradition is a campout with friends. With all the boys' birthdays being in September and October they have found it fun to share their birthday celebrations. Adams birthday is also in October so this year he got to join the boys in their campout with his friend.

Ethan, Tyler, and Adams are great friends with brothers Brandon, Jordan, and Clayton...what a fun group of friends!Even though it is October in Alaska it has not been too terribly cold, yet. We have had a good frost, but then it warmed up. Actually the evening that the boys were camping it was unseasonably was 56 degrees even long after dark. It was rather windy, but the boys still slept out in their tent. The tent was aglow with light sticks!In the morning the boys cooked their own breakfast over the campfire and propane stove. Pancakes and bacon always taste so much better when eaten outside! And when they've been cooked by boys!!The boys spent the morning playing flag football and then cleaning up their camping gear. They also got to do some target practicing. BB guns and 22's are such fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In the Philippines... where Steve is at the moment. Steve took off last week Sunday with a team of guys from our church to help with some clean-up after the mess made by the typhoon in the Philippines. They went over to help RBI(Resources for the Blind) staff and families with blind children. So much that needs to be mucked out, cleaned up, and rebuilt.

Here is a short story from Randy Weisser about one family they helped...
"Lina is a widow living with a blind son, (Jorin), her teenage daughter, and her widowed mother, near a river that flooded in all the rains. One project was to shovel out the mud left behind, but also to replace part of the roof that was lost in the flood. The team was able to accomplish both in one day, which was more that what I expected and I am sure more than what Lina expected." Here is the team from Alaska with Lina and her family...
After their week of relief work in Manila, Steve and my dad stayed an extra week to head down to Palawan to visit missionary friends, Dennis and Jeanie. They live on a remote island in southern Philippines.

Here is part of a letter that Steve sent after their arrival last night...

"Just a quick hello letting you know we made it! It was quite a trip! Not as daunting as I imagined, but it was as long as we've been told. The van ride was fast on the paved spots, but much of it was being worked on and was broken up. So those areas slowed us down. We started driving at 4:30am and got to Rio Tuba at 10:30am.

We ate a delicious lunch and then headed to the boat. The boat was similar to the outriggers we took to Paradise Island in Davao. The boat stopped at a couple islands to let people off.

We arrived in township just as the sun was setting. Dennis dropped us on a little canoe type boat that was about 20 foot long and 2 and 1/2 feet wide! Your dad called it a tippy canoe. We scrunched on the floor and hoped it would not dump us out. Thankfully it was an absolutely beautiful and calm evening.

We spent about an hour in the boat. We went through a school of jumping fish, hoping that one would jump in. We watched the stars come out, and watched the fires start along the beaches. Occasionally we saw motorcycles running parallel with the beach, Dennis was probably one of those lights we saw.

It was totally dark when we arrived, and we could see two lights on the beach that was Dennis and Jeanie. We stepped out before we reached the beach because of the shallow coral. Ahh warm seawater! We beached the boat, and made our way up the airstrip between the carabao. There are so many insects outside as well and inside- no screens on the windows, because of mold that grows on the screens.

We had a dinner of yummy sandwiches, and pinyaram (Molbog donut) for dessert. I am about to take a shower and hit the sack. Hard to believe we are here!"

Please pray for their remaining time in the Philippines and as they travel back to Alaska on Sunday. I'm sure there will be many more stories to come!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Out in the Hills...

Going "out in the hills" has been a place of mystery and intrigue for four of our six children. They have heard so many stories about Grandpa's cabin, a place called Table Top, jeep swamp, long swamp, and the spring, great moose hunting stories, bear stories, and then there is the story of me rolling a four-wheeler. The stories kept building and with it the greater desire to..."go out in the hills"!

So last weekend the long awaited and much anticipated four-wheeler ride out in the hills to Grandpa's
cabin finally took place! Ethan and Tyler had been out to the cabin several times for moose hunting, but the rest of our kids had never gotten the privilege. So we borrowed a couple four-wheelers from my dad, loaded 'em down with gear and kids, and headed out. Eric and Theresa with their three kids came along too.
The trail was great for the most part, long swamp was really wet and muddy, but I suppose the guys would all say it was great too! Everyone got stuck at least once, some more!

We arrived at the cabin at dusk, unloaded our gear, and explored around a little bit. We soon had
a blazing fire going in the stove so the cabin was warm and cozy as the night air was getting nippy. We all wondered if snow might fall in the night, but it didn't.

Even though Grandpa wasn't there to serve his traditional dinner of monster chili burgers, we thought we better keep it up. Ours weren't quite as monsterous, but delicious anyway!

Grandpa's cabin has 6 bunks and two bench seats that can be bunks as well. Hmmm, 13 people...where are we going to put everyone...thankfully the floor works great for kids! Before we went to bed we talked about how it can get cold in the cabin in the middle of the night as the fire in the stove burns out...but we certainly didn't have that problem. I think 13 people just create alot of their own heat...we certainly didn't need those extra warm mummy bags!!

The kids were so excited to be staying at the cabin and were still excited the next morning to see what adventure awaited them. After breakfast we went to check out the fresh water spring that comes right out of the hillside...what amazingly cool mountain water. We then hiked out to the point where they often look for moose during hunting season. What an amazingly beautiful spot on this earth!

More hiking and playing, eating lunch, and watching an owl watch us as we packed up to leave. On our way out we drove up to Table Top to admire the view and got to watch a bull moose make tracks across the hillside. The fall colors were breathtaking!

Was the trek "out in the hills" everything they imagined? I think it was probably more than they could think up and now they can all share the memories and stories of going "out in the hills" to Grandpa's cabin.