Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Disaster Update

The trip to Portland was pretty good aside from the morning sickness (that seemed to last all day, everyday for 2 whole weeks) and the stubborn head cold that went around to all family members and landed on Kaia for a Christmas Eve emergency room visit. I swear, every time she gets a cold, her lungs close off and she chokes so hard on the boogies that she makes herself throw up. Nothing like the smell of vomit to accompany a holiday dinner. Anyway, after about 3 hours of observation and a breathing treatment, she recovered well enough to come home and sleep till Christmas morning. On the bright side, we made out like bandits and really enjoyed the family time.
(Here is a pic of Kaia after getting into Grandma's mascara)

Once the festivities ended at Grandma's house, we headed home to a house torn apart by frozen pipes that flooded the entire downstairs and a reclamation team who did their best to rip it up and dry it out. To top it all off, Ben was weathered in in Nuiqsut and couldn't pick me up at the airport or come out to meet with the insurance claims adjuster, so I got to drive home after 10 hours of traveling with a toddler and roughly only 2 hours of sleep all by myself.
(These are the icicles under our house formed from broken pipes in our house)

So it's been a busy couple of days, but I think it will all work out. It sounds like the adjuster will give us all new cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, a new toilet, tub and sink and all new floors! Yae!!! I am going to double check their pricing though, because I don't trust insurance people. They don't make money by being generous. Anyway, I am glad that we have it and they are willing to replace the things that are ruined.

Aside from the disaster, we have been really enjoying our time together and had a good night in a jacuzzi suite while we were waiting for our pipes to get fixed and the water to be turned back on. We still have to get the filtration guy over here because we are pumping up ORANGE water that smells like dirty nickels. YUCK! Not real friendly on the pregnant lady with the sensitive nose.

Things aren't quite back to normal yet, but we have had so me really fantastic things come our way. Ben brought home a new chocolate lab puppy named Pukuk (mischievous one) and we promptly changed it to Nui (pronounced Noo.ee) after the village he came from. He is a sweet little guy, but what a handfull! He gets along pretty well with the cat... it is more of a tolerance thing than a friendship, but the neighbor cat got a hold of him and scratched his eye. I think we will have to take a trip to the vet this afternoon to make sure it is OK. It looks like it is going a little bit lazy and it makes me sad to think he could lose it. He needs his shots and registration anyway, so we will just bring him in and splurge on the puppy.

Kaia sure loves him and I am certain they will be best friends. I came downstairs this morning to find Kaia sitting indian-style with the puppy curled up in her lap while she teased him with a toy. It was obvious they were both having a great time and I and found myself near tears with the awful thought of how hard it will be for her when her little friend grows old and dies. I figure it will probably happen before she goes off to college and it will be a hard, hard day for everyone. Yup, little Nui is already part of the family.

It has been so good to have Ben home. He has done pretty well at getting the place put back together and Kaia is getting a kick out of following him around. Here is a pic of her in Daddy's hat helping him fix the pipes... We tried to get the baby-plumber crack in the photo, but the camera was a little too slow to catch it.

Yesterday was Kaia's 2nd Birthday and we got her a whole bouquet of balloons, a gorgeous cake and a trip to Carl's Jr. (her favorite restaurant because of the big toys) She had a blast playing for about 2 hours with a whole playground full of friends and we had a few moments to decide what we were going to do about the house. There is so much more to say, but I will save it for other posts. For now, I will just leave you with these few pix and this general update.
Hope yall had a very Merry Christmas and I wish yall the best for the New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Random 7 Tag

I've been tagged by love laughs and lavender!
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2.Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3.Tag 7 random people at the end of your posts, and include links to their blogs.
4.Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


My 7 Random Facts About Me:

1. I have lived on 3 continents, experienced all 10 world biomes (northwest rainforest only, not tropical... yet) and even survived an Arctic winter, WITH toddler and WITHOUT automobile.

2. I speak 3 languages (2 fluently) and understand a fourth.

3. I have seen 3 different kinds of bears in the wild in the last 3 years (polar, brown and black bears).

4. I am a sucker for an outdoor adventure, but am quite content to keep toasty in a 4x4 vehicle vs. hoofing it through the hills with everything on my back.

5. I lost the same 30 lbs 4 times and will have to do it again after my 2nd child is born (I think it has something to do with stress).

6. I have a 3rd nipple... Just kidding, but I do want a boob job when I'm all done with my baby making projects.

7. I used to bite my nails to the nubs (too much anxiety I guess) and overcame it by working as a deck hand and tour guide when I was 19. Something about looking down and seeing grit and grime and fish parts under my nails that made it an easy change. Now when I think about doing it, I remember that I just changed a diaper, cleaned a mysteriously sticky substance off the floor and usually head to the bathroom to WASH MY HANDS!

I tag:
whoever reads this and thinks it might be fun to do.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More BIG Changes Coming

Finally we are feeling settled in and ready to call it home. All the Christmas decor is up and cheery, and all the necessities are in place to make it reflect our rugged style and spunk. Just as we are getting comfortable, I realize that I missed my monthly visit from aunt flow. So, the day I went into town to pick up hubby from his first stint in the village, I find out that we are expecting kiddo #2!

If our calculations are right, it should be near the end of July when everything will change again. We have been talking about doctors, delivery options and, of course, how we are going to make room in our new place for a newborn. I think it was all a bit overwhelming for poor hubby.
"SURE! I come home from a month in the village and find my house looks totally different and my wife is knocked up!"

I think he is still in disbelief that we have a new place, a new cat and now that we are definitely adding another member to our little family, it may have simply pushed him over the edge. I am excited; I think he is too. It's a happy feeling in our house and I am a bit surprised that the feelings and excitement about baby #2 is just as unnerving and intense as for baby #1.

I'm just a little overwhelmed with the whole prospect of finding a doctor who can honestly talk to me about my options in delivery. I would really like to be there for the birth of my baby. The last time I was exhausted from 24 hours of labor, a super-crazy drug cocktail and the loss of too much blood from my emergency c-section. And to think I went in thinking I was going to do it a' natural! Actually, I think I am going to have a hard time finding someone up here qualified and willing to do a VBAC. BUT if my insurance covers it and I can find one, I think that is option one. Option 2 is just scheduling the c-section. We shall see.

If there is anyone out there who has had a VBAC, let me know if it is worth it. I would really like to know if there is someone here in Wasilla who will do it. If you know, PLEASE pass along a referral. Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grateful to be back in the blogworld and more

I have had some crazy computer issues lately. I think that it has something to do with the internet browser, but this is the first time I have been able to sign into my blog in about a month! I was feeling so deprived and almost violated. If I wasn't so bussy with getting settled in our new place, I might have done something about it. I'm just glad to be back!

I finally feel like this is home now. I'm settled enough to sit down and resume life as usual. It's been an expensive endeavor, but I think that things should get back to normal sometime in January. Who knew that actually putting up curtains would be so expensive? I figure that if you buy a house figure 5K in closing costs and 5K in opening costs. Well, not quite 5K. It would be nice if we had that kind of money to decorate with, but there are a few things that we simply could not do without... IE a microwave was a must.

I don't know how people fed themselves without one... let alone kids. Times must have been really rough before the microwave. So again, I am grateful for the fact that we now posess the miracle machine of luch cookers and dinner thawer outers. YAE FOR MICROWAVES!!!

Things are comming together really well, and I am excited to show Hubby the improvements when he comes home on Thursday! I can't wait to see him. I gotta tell ya, being the woman AND the man of the house is really tough business. Kudos goes out to all the women who have to do both full-time. I, for one, do not care if I NEVER have to hook-up, back-up or load-up a trailer by myself again. It really sucks... that, and I really suck at it. This particular duty has been and always will be reserved for the man of this household.

I had a fight with the garbage this week and appearantly lost. I think there was a mix up with getting our trash pick-up ordered and so I had 2 weeks of garbage, and packing materials and such piled up at the end of my driveway. Dogs were getting into it, so I took the initiative, backed up to the trailer, loaded everything up and headed for the dump. It took a good 3 hours from start to finish on this "take out the trash" job, and I only lost the garbage cans on the highway once. Thankfully they were empty when that happened. I'm an advocate of "leave no trace" but I actually thought about leaving them there vs. backing up the trailer and reloading/strapping and hauling them home. But I didn't and we all made it home without further insodent.

Well, that';s not entirely true, I did almost hit a tree and a parked truck while backing up before we actually completed the entire adventure. The good news is that everyone was ok. I was just a little dirty, frustrated and cold when all was done and over with.

The problem is: NOW hubby wants me to hook up the trailer AGAIN and go get his tires from Anchorage... Um, I am really not at all excited about that one. The thing that sucks is that he would be all jittery like a puppy ready to go play catch if it were his job. HE LOVES hooking up his trailer and driving around picking up his toys. I just don't get how spending 3 hours on transporting heavy, dirty things that need to be strapped down and run the risk of flying off the trailer into oncomming traffic can be a good way to spend my time.

Anyway, that is why our marriage works so well. I am just hopping that the need to do that kind of thing is really minimized... or at least condenced into the 2-weeks that he is home. So, today I am gratful for surviving the ordeal, for a hubby who likes that kind of ordeal and all the fantastic things that make my house a home. The only thing I am missing is Hubby and he will be her soon. Life is good!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We're Outta Here!

I wanted to blog the exciting happenings for a while now, but haven’t had a spare second where I wasn’t exhausted or too frazzled to think. I’m still exhausted, and probably too frazzled to think now, but at least I have a spare second so here goes.

WE ARE OFFICIALLY HOMEOWNERS!!!

Yippee! I can’t wait to see it and unpack all of our almost-new furniture -- and my BED! I have spent far too many nights on someone else’s mattress… in fact, now that I think about it, 3 of the 5 years we’ve been married have been spent romping on cheap springy junk bought in bulk by organizations that really don’t care if anyone gets a good night’s sleep.

Here is a picture of our latest purchase. We still have yet to walk through this fun gambrel chalet, but I expect that we can make it home pretty quick.

I’m just ready for quality everything. It will be fantastic to be buying equity and NOT throwing away $1000 in rent each month. I am so ready to have a place of my own. I think I will knock out a few walls, paint something a wild color like burnt red or butterscotch yellow and replace that frilly trim with some big beams JUST BECAUSE I CAN!

I have big plans for this little place. On this side of the house I am going to add on a wrap-around covered porch with outdoor fireplace and sitting area and 200 sq feet of living/ dining room space with cathedral ceilings, exposed beams and a giant fireplace… no Alaskan home is complete without a giant fireplace. I believe that is the preferred place to mount the subsistence remains of caribou, moose or salmon that can’t be eaten or turned into clothing. I plan to mount our flat screen TV up there and maybe show a picture of those animals in the wild.

Ben has big plans to add on a garage/workshop for all of his toys, also an Alaskan must have. And grandma is coming out to help set up Kaia's playhouse and jungle gym. I’ll let you know how all our plans work out.

One thing I am a little nervous about is that acre of property I have no idea how to manage. The house sits toward the back of the lot, and the driveway is going to be something hellish to shovel in the winter (I heard they already have 2 feet on the ground). I’m just glad we have a monster jeep that can pack it down.

I think I might try my thumb at gardening next spring. I will have to talk to my mom about it and see if she will come up and help me get it going. I thinking about a raised, fenced, veggie garden so the moose can’t get into it and maybe some nice flower beds around the base of the house for color and street appeal. That should be a fun project to keep me busy while Hubby is away.

With all these great house plans, we have also been a little neglectful on moving plans. I didn’t think that we would be moving as much stuff back as we are. But truthfully, I don’t know what we have in storage and there are some things that would be really nice to have in our first home. So, we have been up to our eyeballs in boxes and sorting and trying to figure out what to do with all this stuff. I guess it doesn’t help that we packed up all our pots and pans and have been surviving on Halloween candy and take out for the last week.

I really wanted a plan, a list and some sort of time line for packing and unpacking all of this, but hubby decided that it wasn’t necessary. His "plan" was to “throw the shit in a box and GO!” So that is exactly what we are doing. Some boxes are labeled, some boxes are marked with important contents, but most are just going to be a surprise when we get to our new place.

The good news is that after all this scaryness settles, we will have a hot tub ready to bubble all the stress away… at least until the next day when all of our stuff from storage arrives. dun dun duuuun! Hopefully the peops who committed to show up and help will actually show up and help. I'll let you know how it all goes.

Until then, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chaos and Adventure

Confession: I have been such a slacker on the blog gig lately. I have enjoyed reading and commenting on other blogs, but couldn’t bring myself to note all the craziness in my cold and windy world. There are lots of huge changes all at once and all uncertain.

BEN IS GOING ROTATIONAL!

This is great news, but really, I’m kind of torn between the thrill of adventure and the fear of the inevitable. With this position change, he will spend 2 weeks of each month in a village that was originally established as a banishment community for criminals too tough to manage. That in and of itself is scary, but he will also be ALL ALONE out there. He will be the only officer in the village of 400 with questionable backgrounds. I understand that the emergency call volume is pretty high, and I am sure he is going to see some pretty wild things without any form of backup, but I think it will be great career experience.

Another inevitable is the move. This is what I have been wanting for the last year, but now that it is here, I am getting cold feet (literally and figuratively). Not only am I dreading the packing and moving and unpacking of all of our stuff, I am really going to miss the friends I have made up here. I have even been experiencing some Barrow nostalgia.

This has been a great time to get in touch with who I am and what I want. Even under all the fluff and insulation required up here to survive, this place has stripped me down and taught me a few things. I have even begun to appreciate things that I couldn't see or understand when I first moved up here to this Arctic wilderness.

The whaling boats bringing in their hunt, the community coming together to process the subsistence for their families, the incredible animals that survive here in the wild like the foxes, owls, caribou, walrus and polar bears, the smell of the ice taking my breath away and the sun bathing everything in oranges, purples and pinks, the snow drifts snaking across the tundra and the beautiful ribbons of the Aurora Borealis all inspire me in ways that I could have never known without living this adventure. I know this kind of experience is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, because there is no other place like it.

Our next adventure is off to an amazing start too. We have made an offer on our first house and it has pretty much just landed in our laps. We are pretty much ready to close with the exception of the appraisal and we haven’t even seen it in real life! If the appraisal comes back at or below what we are offering, we will reconsider, but for now, it is kind of like waiting to see if we won the seeds of our dreams on e-bay.

I HATE THE WAITING GAME! I just want to know where we will be moving in just 3 weeks. I want to know if this is the place that we can get our financial boost into our Adventure Resort. It seems an unlikely place, but I am oddly comfortable with the shape of this wild ride. Whoodathunkit?

Anyway, there are no deep thoughts or big self-awareness revelations to report, just a bunch of chaos and adventure. Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Barrow Date Night

Well, it was almost a date night. It sure would have been nice to have a night for just the two of us, but tonight wasn't our night. We decided to head out on the town for a burger and fries (I know, not fitness program compliant, but at least I really enjoyed an ice cream dessert too.) Anyway, we couldn't find anyone to take Kaia for the evening... so it was a decent plan for a family night.

After chasing Kaia around the restaurant and attempting to keep her off the heating stove in the middle of the dining room, we headed out to the beach where we met up with the North Slope Borough Wildlife guy. He was looking for the walrus that was reported to be in the area. We decided to take a drive down the beach to see what we could find.
And here it is:
A gigantic, tired walrus with a huge crowd of about 60. Yes, that is snow in the picture and that girl is wearing shorts and we are all less than 100 feet away from it. It's like the whole town turned up to check him out. He looked around and watched the four wheelers and kids rolling around in the sand. I wonder if he thought we were as interesting as we thought he was.

People crowded the beach and got right up close to where the walrus had hauled out. I was certain that one guy was going to play "slap the walrus" because he ran up to it so quick and got a picture right next to it! Nothing like a marine mammals protection act to be completely ignored in a village Dependant on them for survival.

I felt really bad for that poor walrus. He looked so exhausted and I'm sure he had been swimming FOREVER! The reports say that the ice pack is more than 200 miles away! and that is where he would have had to come from. I don't know where else he would have been. It's a mystery.

I just hope that the Natives don't get restless and kill him. They have already taken 6 this year and one was just poached for his head / tusks. That makes me SO ANGRY!!! Well, I will save that for another rant.

For now I will leave you with a bit of walrus trivia. Did you know that the walrus penis is proportionally the largest of all mammals and has an ivory bone that helps it erect enough for successful mating? The Natives call this piece of ivory an "Oosik", but I would have thought "Guutfaq" (their word for water arrow) would be more fitting.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weak Weekend

So the diet failed miserably! But I am back on it today and doin' okay. I think I may have overloaded my weekend and really didn't have a chance at making it through without cheating at least a little.

My first party of the weekend was a hit and successfully landed me $700 in sales and 2 more parties down the line. I would say this Pure Romance things is working out pretty well despite the fact that my second party completely flopped. I picked a really bad date for my "grand opening" and had a pathetic turnout. Even so, I did book 2 more parties from guests that weren't even able to attend. I may get the guts to go for that again in a couple of months, but am hoping beyond all hope that I WON'T BE HERE!

A fancy little opportunity has presented itself and we may just take it. An officer from the village rotation is looking to leave Alaska before the winter and has basically handed us his house and rotational position for a deal we can't afford to pass up. Hmmm, this could get interesting. I will keep you posted on any progress, but I am hoping to move within the next few months.

Anyway the third party was hubby's work party and it was a lot of work and a lot of fun. It was nice to attend a party where once the food was prepared, I was done entertaining. No pressure, no objective, no sales goals, just good company and lots of great food I had deprived myself of for nearly 4 weeks. It was a good weekend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

PMS on a Diet

Um... THIS SUCKS!!! Ya know, if it wasn't for my goals and schedule, I would be found at the bottom of a Dorito's bag with chocolate on my chin and a doughnut in each hand and my hubby and kiddo would be hiding out under the bed! I am so frustrated with this white knuckling it gig that I am just 1 tantrum away from blowing it.

It's like trying to keep a school of pirhanas off a drumstick. Every time I turn around, there's one more reason to bite the head off of something. The problem is that I used to litterally bite into something to tame that urge... and now I have a conflict of interests.

I've actually been doing great at being ISHI from my last post, but I'm missing my PH because of the danged PMS. My schedule is pretty much holding me together, but I actually feel like I am on the first week of Medifast again, but worse! I figure if I can stick it out through the weekend, I will definitely meet my goal weight by Thanksgiving... yup, just in time to splurge and enjoy the holidays :) NO?

Well, I think that I will reward myself with a fantastic winter wardrobe (as if its going to look great under a gigantic down parka and snowpants ) and allow myself to enjoy 1 great meal each holiday WITH dessert and all the carbolicious sides JUST BECAUSE I CAN!

I am so looking forward to the health and strength and confidence that being in shape will afford me. I am craving an athletic body with everything I got working for me... not against me. I am craving a happy fit into a size 8 jeans and a sexy fit into the long abandoned lingere sitting in my bottom drawer. I am craving an acceptable finish to a mountain foot race in Anchorage next summer, and I am so looking forward to the ease and mobility of all the fun backpacking and hiking adventures in training.

I crave the freedom from the guilt of an undisciplined lifestyle. I crave the freedom from the stereotypes of the overweight. I crave the freedom from the addiction that has plagued me since college and am so ready for the freedom of self mastery.

My prime adventure depends on living each day at my prime. My prime adventure requires energy, fitness and endurance for a long-long life. If I am really going to leave a legacy of love, leadership, integrity and many shared adventures, I am going to have to love myself enough to go for what I want, lead a healthy lifestyle to influence and help others, be honest with myself about my food adiction and STOP CHEATING ON MY PROGRAM, and finally, I need to get fit enough to enjoy my edventures to the fullest.

If I can FOCUS ON THE GOAL, FOCUS ON THE REAL CRAVING and FOCUS ON THE PRIME ADVENTURE, I know that I will be living the life I was crated to live. I will have the peace and freedom that I crave and each day I succeed, I can savor the joy that comes from obtaining that.
YAE FOR SUCCESS!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I've Had ENOUGH!

This summer has been completely chaotic at best as far as developing a routine and structure for the development of our little Kaia. I think my neglect is really starting to show, and I have simply had enough of the incessant whining and wrestling and chasing down just to take care of the routine daily duties.

I finally dug up the old family values that my hubby and I agreed on back before Kaia was even in the picture, and we set up some new house rules so that Kaia can expect consistency and fairness from both of us. I figure that writing it down is a form of commitment so sharing it must take things a step further. It is important to me... one of the MOST important things to me to be a good mother, and this is going to help... A LOT!

I know our intentions are really good, but thus far we have done NOTHING to implement them. So here is our "Hail Mary" attempt as we launch into a renewed effort to be an intentional family.

HOUSE RULES


1

Respect each other's bodies, beliefs, feelings, spaces and things



Things to be respected include:




Guns





Harmful Chemicals





Medicines





Dad's Uniform and Work Equipment



Fragiles, Expensives and Irreplaceables



Table Tops




2

Honor the family values





Honesty: Always tell the truth and follow through on commitments



Unity: Support and defend each other



Neighborly Kindness: Give back to the community and help others



Spirituality: Seek connection to God and Universe



Adventure: See opposition as challenge and play hard



Knowledge: Seek understanding of truth in all things



Excellence: Give 100% to everything you do



Respect: Always respect self and others


3

Live by your best understanding of truth and right



Promote seeking truth and right, even if there may be opposing views.














We haven't quite agreed on a form of punishment and the spanking thing bothers me a great deal... besides, it's not working. There has to be a better way to enforce the positive behavior without threats or anger. When yall find the cure for that, let me know.

Anyway, I figured that it would be good to be more specific in our family goals and objectives and came up with this:

GOAL: Be PHISHI

OBJECTIVES

Progressive

Dedicate at least 1 hour/day to personal study and

development time

Happy


Maintain a balanced daily schedule by weighing activities
and prioritizing weekly

Inspirational

Dedicate at least 1 hour/day to achieving personal goals
and 1 hour/week helping others do the same

Strong


Dedicate at least 1 hour/day for physical activity, family
recreation or team sports

Healthy


Eat natural foods in healthy proportions by taking time
each week to plan and shop for meals.

Intentional


Dedicate at least 1 hour/day to meditation, mission-
oriented development and visualization.

Once establishing this, it was much easier to set up a schedule that meets my needs, Kaia's needs and stays in line with the family rules, values, goals and objectives. So, I came up with a great schedule to intentionally implement traditions and healthy habits into our daily routine.

At first it seemed like a crazy thing to attempt, but if I give a little flexibility to allow a 15-20 minute activity to take place anytime within an hour of it's intended time, things really go a lot smoother for everyone. I actually began implementing the week before we went on vacation and it worked out really well for everyone. Now I must re-dedicate myself to this so that I can keep my sanity and prepare for the long winter ahead.

Now I am looking at how to best fill the toxic hour between 5 and 7 with something that is meaningful to me and gives me a break and transition from my day. That time should be fun bonding time or simply recreational and there are some really good options.

There is a FREE open swim at the high-school during that time that was actually a lot of fun for both me and Kaia. I think with the child-care kids, she feels a little needy for mom at the end of the day and that is a great place and time to play together on Mondays and Tuesdays and Ben will even be able to join us every other Tuesday.

On Wednesdays, I think I will give to Daddy for a Daddy/Daughter date night and hit the open Gym for serious, uninterrupted weight training with a friend. Thursdays are really our best night to do a Date night, so I think I will try to arrange a baby sitter for that night and see if hubby would be interested in hitting up the lap swim, the open gym or see if there is a couples team sport we could do together and maybe even have dinner or a "treat" before or after.

Friday nights work best for our social nights as Hubby will sometimes have poker, and I may have Bunko, a Pure Romance Party or hit up the bingo hall for some wild and crazy girlz night goodness. I haven't quite figured out what to do with Saturdays yet. Maybe they will be floater days for Pure Romance Parties, the rare outdoor adventure (yah, while the temperatures are above 0 degrees anyway), or even my guilty pleasure... scrap booking/ play dates. Sundays are good for church and planning the activities for the following week.

I think that about covers it. Wish me luck on maintaining my determination to stick to this and regain and maintain my sanity as my two favorite addictions (mountain adventure and junk food) are not options with my current location and goals. Hey, If I can stick to it, I figure there won't be time for an addiction anyway and all that will be left is exactly what I want.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Awesome Week in Anchorage

We flew down to Anchorage on Tuesday morning, retrieved our Jeep from storage and ran all over town celebrating our anniversary, visiting friends, shopping for houses and stocking up on supplies to bring back to Barrow. By the time we got to the weekend, we were completely exhausted, but couldn't help ourselves. We headed into the hills for some crazy off-roading, hunting, berry gathering and camping.

Now for the weekend confession: I cheated quite a bit on my program with tons of great dinners. I did stick to the (mostly lean) and green meals, but got a little reckless with the fats and even had 1/2 a piece of bread with my anniversary dinner. I snacked on cheese sticks twice and didn't get all of my medifast meals in... I also got so dehydrated my lips almost fell right off my face. The kick is that I was able to stick to my weight-loss program reasonably well staying under my calorie limit and staying in ketosis. Now that I am fully hydrated again, I actually lost 3.5 lbs last week! That is 15.5 total since starting Medifast 3 weeks ago, and 89 lbs from my heaviest. I still can't believe I survived all of this chaos and still kept on target. I think the mountains are my new addiction... well, they have always been my addiction, but now they are even more so.

Now I'm back in Barrow, with no mountains for hundreds of miles and heading into a weekend of 3 parties. If I can make it through this weekend, I will be temptation free till Halloween. Wish me luck!

Here are some great pics of all the fun in the beautiful Alaskan autumn:
*****
The sun kisses the mountain tops in Hatcher's Pass, just north of Anchorage. You can see another rig winding up the dirt road to the left. This is an amazing trip you must take if you are ever in Anchorage. A stock, rental car could make it over the dirt road, but I wouldn't take it off on any trails. *****
Kaia got a kick out of the rugged ride. She only got scared a couple of times with the crazy articulation of the jeep and one deep river crossing. It was hillarious to see her get such a kick out of Ben's aggressive driving, but I did feel bad when she sat forward in her seat with eyes as big as pumpkins and mouth as tiny as a pea saying "oooh, oh, WO, WAH, WOAHHH!" as we headed into the rushing water up over our 35" wheels... I guess that would be pretty scarry as she is only about 28" tall.

*****
A great picture of our good-friend Brian crossing the river in his suburban he so lovingly calls 'Big Sub' ... hummm, wonder how he came up with that one. He'll try to cross anything and I've seen him swamp it once and come really close 2 other times!
*****
Here is an awesome picture of our new friends Dean and Jesse on the rocky trail we played on for 8 hours. Check out the vibrant fireweed and the amazing contrast in the fall foliage! I. LOVE. MOUNTAINS!!!
*****
Here are the boys and their toys. Jesse, Brian, Hubby, Dean and Justin. I'm a little biased, but I think our Jeep ROCKS! It's by far the best looking and has the creature comforts that most off-road buddies don't get to enjoy as they are rattlin' along the highway or bumpin' through the woods.
On a tastier note, all the red you see in the mountain carpet are low bush blueberry leaves. We had a great time helping ourselves to hundreds of the billions just chilling in the crisp fall air.
SO TASTY SWEET!!!*****
Hubby (on the right) shot his first Ptarmagain with one shot. That is Brian (on the left) with his feathered prize. I am proud to say that we had Carribbean-Style, Dutch-Oven Ptarmagain for Dinner that night and it was super yum... hummm, I wonder what ptarmagain ranks on my weight-loss program? Tastes like chicken, but I'm guessing LOTS leaner and definitely organic!
*****
Here's the campsite our last day out. It rained all night and snowed on the tops of the mountains we had just been up trecking around and picking berries in.*****

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gratitude Sunday: A Ticket Outa Here

I am so excited about our big trip to Anchorage. It is partly our anniversary celebration, but mostly a recon mission to find a home and PLAY. I have learned to appreciate things about Barrow, and I will probably miss parts of it when we move, but right now, I'm just grateful to have a ticket outa here.

Tuesday Night is our anniversary dinner. On Wed., We are doing the shopping thing then going out with friends. On Thurs, we are house hunting and probably getting stuff ready for the weekend which will be spent trecking and wheeling through the mountains. YAE!!!

I've got big plans to stay on my program, and it might just happen. I will give myself one night to indulge in the buffalo chicken salad I have been craving, but I am really going to try to avoid the carbs so that I don't undo the 12 lbs I have worked so hard to lose... again. Hopefully, I will still lose a pound or two next week, but we shall see.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yae For Hubby Time!

It has been a really long time since Hubby and I were able to spend some quality, uninterrupted time together. Most of the time we just replace each other in the bed and kiss each other a quick 'love ya' before one of us heads out the door or off to sleep. But last night was a much needed chance to just snuggle and laugh and wrastle like we used to.
It was the first night in what seemed like months that he didn't have to work and once we put Kaia down for the night, we were surprised to be alone together. Despite my new side job, it wasn't as much ‘sexy’ as it was fun and bonding (although there was definitely a sexy chapter of our evening). We were able to talk about how things are going, how we are feeling psychologically and what our big hopes and dreams are for the next step of our amazing adventure together. I had forgotten what that was like; we hadn't done it in so long.
We used to take a bath together almost every day. We would sit in there for about an hour and just talk. This continued right up until we had Kaia. Now it is just really hard to find a way to do that with out our little blonde-haired cutie poppin' in to see what we are up to. It's funny that I had forgotten how good it felt to bond like that. We stayed up till 2 a.m. just being together and I had forgotten how much I needed that.
You would think I would resent Kaia for robbing us of that, but the truth is that I forgot I even had it. Now that I found it again, I can put it out of her reach. There IS time in our lives for just being us and spending time together, we just have to make sure it is a priority and build it into our daily, or at least weekly traditions. There IS alone time for each other, we just have to keep from getting distracted.
I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such an amazing guy love me like he does. It was so great to be reminded of that and enjoy that time together without the T.V., internet, phone or kids distracting us from what we really want... each other. Yae for Hubby Time!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Weekend Confessions & Gratitude Sunday: My Side Job

With temperatures now in the 30's and losing 45 minutes of light each day, I was starting to get a little depressed about the upcomming winter. Then I really started to consider getting a job... but I didn't want to abandon Kaia, or be stuck in a job I didn't like. So, for my big weekend confession:

I signed on with Pure Romance, a woman-to-woman company selling relationship enhancement products!

I wasn't sure if I was the right make and model for this kind of side job, but Saturday night was my first Girls Night In and we had a BLAST!!! I couldn't believe how fun it was to share the benefits of such intimate accessories and even more surprised at how profitable it was. My first party grossed nearly $2000 in sales! I more than made back my investment and am excited about the new friendships and opportunities that come with such a crazy job.

I have already booked 3 more parties, and it looks like the business is off to a good start. The problem is that I am still a little nervous about how it will be received by some of my more conservative friends and family. I still haven’t told my mom and am not quite sure how best to do that. Um… yah… so… I um… uh, I sell sex toys mom. The truth is that it is more than just sex toys, it is confidence and creativity in the bedroom. It’s a fun way to feel beautiful and sexy and enhance the most important relationships in a safe and supportive environment.

I am really grateful for finding such a great opportunity in such an unexpected place. I am really going to enjoy helping the women of Barrow get their sexy on! I am excited about reaching out beyond the confines of my small social group and the parameters of this Arctic village to inspire others too.

If you are interested in getting your sexy on, or just curious about what I do with Pure Romance, check out my side job at: sierrahunsaker.pureromance.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Fitness Adventure

I started my fitness adventure on January 2, 2006. My hubby snapped this picture just 3 days AFTER I gave birth to lil’ one. You could guess by my expression that I was NOT amused. I would have to say that this was, BY FAR, the worst I have ever physically looked and felt in my entire life. Granted, it wasn’t all weight related, and that fantastic moo-moo is far from flattering, but I know it would have been a LOT less miserable had I been more fit. You can’t really tell how bad it was, because I never let anyone take photos of my whole self unobstructed. The computer generated model based on my beginning stats was created here.

I was a size 24 weighing in at 278.5 and couldn’t walk around the block, let alone enjoy a real life adventure. I was alive, but not living the way I was created to live. I knew that I would never find happiness in this depressed condition because it just wasn’t me. My life had tragically derailed somewhere, and I needed to get back on track.

I assessed my habits, activities and obstacles in the way of living my PRIME adventure and even had to reevaluate that adventure all together. I discovered that my fitness was only a small part of the bigger problem. I found more than one “conviction” that just didn’t work for me anymore and had to make a lot of pretty big changes to jumpstart the life I was designed to live. So, I quit working on someone else’s agenda and started working on my own.

I joined Weight Watcher’s and was back to the pre-pregnancy at 4 months on my fitness adventure. This was the only picture of that timeframe where I wasn’t completely hiding. I was thrilled to feel good enough to travel, shop and accessorize, but I still felt lost and out of control. I wasn’t confident with me. It wasn’t about the appearance as much as it was about feeling trapped in a body that didn’t match my adventure.

I plateaued here for a few months before joining my mom at the Metabolic Research Center for weight loss. I received some great coaching and worked with the program for about 6 months and dropped down to a size 12 weighing in at 175. This was a fun time of many adventures that were meaningful, fun and in line with my true self. I wasn’t ashamed or afraid, or hiding from anything! I felt sexy, confident and in control. I wasn’t invisible anymore; and I really liked the freedom of fitness.

However, I want more. I want fitness on a higher level, maybe even competitive. I want to compete in adventure races, but more than that, I want to be able to have my own adventures with ease and comfort. I was built to live an adventure in the mountains and that is always more fun when you’re only packing stuff that can make your life more enjoyable.

I think an athletic 160 lbs would treat me really well and would be more in line with my PRIME adventure. It would be great if all I had to lose were those pesky 15, but I lost my vision in the dark of Barrow and gained back a whopping 40. I was able to shed another 15 when I trained to pace my dad on the Hardrock, but gained 10 back when I returned to Barrow. I am tired of the yo-yo gig and need a little help to get the progress to stick.

So, I joined my mom on another program called Medifast. They requested that I take a really good “before” picture, but I am a big chicken and am going to refer you to the computer model for my “before” and “after” pix for 4 more months until I can get you a real life “after” shot.

I am SO ready to have my prime body so I can optimize my PRIME Adventure. This is something completely under my control, and I am no longer going to make excuses about my difficult environment, or why I can’t make it happen; and I'm even considering registering for an adventure race next summer to keep me on track and maintaining the success. YEEHAW!!!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

On My Health Kick Again!

OK. That’s it! I got on the scale and saw that since my fantastic health kick back in July, I have gained a whopping 10 lbs! That really sucks because now I know that if I am ever to gain and maintain my happy state of health and fitness, I am going to have to WORK at it every day! However, I am feeling a real frustration with where I am and have decided to jump start my health with Medifast.

I plan to lose 40 lbs and would really like to do it before Christmas. I am certain that it must be done and convinced that I can do it. So here we go! I started the program yesterday with a nasty head-cold issue and really haven’t been all that hungry. Go figure. Anyway, I can’t tell if the headache is from the sinus stuff or from Medifast but am really leaning toward the sinus stuff being the source of all my problems.

Anyway, I have done some soul searching into why I have such an addiction to food and what I can do to overcome it. I know that just not eating any is not a good long-term fix, so I am definitely going to have to get to the bottom of this sometime quick.

I talked about this before here. But since then, I have realized that I use food as a treat for everything. If something good comes my way or I have success at something, I treat myself with food. If I had a hard day, am worried, bored or feeling sorry for myself, I treat myself with food! I don’t want to overlook the chemical dependency aspect either. If I am sick, PMSing or just dragging ass, food is a quick and inexpensive way to pick up the endorphins and serotonin in the system.

The problem is that I am realizing that it really isn’t all that inexpensive. The $ value is deceiving because it really doesn’t take into account the damage caused to my self esteem and confidence, the “larger” wardrobe I have to purchase, the medical bills for increased health problems that will only continue to rise exponentially and of course the cost of all the diet programs I try in desperation. So, really, when I treat myself with food, I am spending literally thousands of dollars on CRAP!

So, as a wise financial maneuver, I am going to treat myself with pedicures, weekend get-a-ways, hair highlightings, fun hobbies and adventures. When I am triggered to “treat” myself with food, I am going to “treat” myself to something much more valuable and much less costly. The problem is that it is going to take more work and planning... especially here in Barrow where resources are scarce.

To take some of the work out of the equation, I did a little brainstorming to list more cost-effective ways to treat myself and this is what I cam up with:

If I am alone with lil’ one-
Pull out my scrapbooking gear and play
Get on the internet and blog
Wrestle and tickle and play with kid toys
Go for a walk or beach comb
Paint our toenails

If I am alone with Hubby-
Sex is always a good treat
Massage may require some bribing, but it’s worth it
Movie is an easy go-to outlet
Bath Time (where we used to go to chat)
Go to gym and workout

If the family is all together-
um… well, everything I can think of depends on more than one circumstance that we don’t have any control over and rarely work in our favor… We gotta get the hell out of here so we can go camping, hiking, snow mobiling, off roading, fishing, backpacking, snowshoeing, bowling, skating and enjoy sporting events, museums and zoos. I would even go for window shopping at the mall if there were such a place here… but noooo; No such things in Barrow! This place sucks for family entertainment. I guess that isn’t fair, we have had 5 or 6 days where the stars all aligned and we were able to go out and enjoy 4-wheeling, snow mobiling and 2 beach campfires… but my treat cravings are FAR more frequent.

If I am all by myself-
Yah right, like that ever really happens, but if it did, I would go trail running for a good 3 hours, come back and take a loooong hot shower and then get some uninterrupted time on the internet. Now that would be a treat!

If I am out with the girls-
That would be a treat in and of it's self!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Not-so-Interesting Adventures

I have always prided myself on my adventurous life and story telling abilities, but lately, I am having the weirdest feeling that I am not as interesting as I thought I was. The feedback I am getting makes me think I may be quite self absorbed. My adventures really aren't all that meaningful or exciting to anyone but me, and I am starting to think that the emphasis I put on them makes other people feel like I think they are boring.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Any interaction with another person is the most interesting thing happening in my life, and all the other activities are my best attempt to keep from dieing of boredom or self-medicating with junk food. If I have bored you with my lengthy and not-so-interesting stories or implied that I think you are boring, I sincerely apologize. My intent is to inspire not discourage or make anyone feel inadequate.

I have decided that I am going to make an effort to reach out and help other people feel interesting and good about their adventures. I can do this in conversation by asking more open ended questions, soliciting more information with follow up questions when short or incomplete answers are given, and limiting my lengthy monologues to my blog entries.

Sorry yall, I gotta record how fantastic my adventures are for me and my posterity. If my stories aren’t interesting or inspiring to anyone else but me, everyone else can ignore them. But if my stories are discouraging or demeaning to anyone in any way, please let me know so that I can apologize and communicate my intent more clearly.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

PMS BS and TMI

So, I'm not pregnant and I'm starting to wonder why the hell not. Just before the start of each cycle I start thinking I have all the pregnancy symptoms, then like clockwork they all roll over into the crabby, crampy PMS symptoms. I would much rather have the pregnancy symptoms because at least they yield good product. Besides, we would really like to have another baby-- soon.

What does it take to make a baby? I haven't been on birth control since Kaia was born, and I think we are having enough sex but not too much at the right times of the cycle and then some. I was thinking that it had something to do with my health, but Kaia was conceived when I was a good 40lbs heavier than I am now and a LOT more stressed out.

Unless, by some strange irony, boredom causes infertility, I can't figure out why we aren't expecting. Maybe it's just the workings of a merciful God... mercy for whom I'm not sure, but I can't help but feel that we are in the quiet before the storm. Whatever the case, I'm at peace with it. Even though big changes are coming, I am excited about the adventure they will bring.

The problem is that I'm not sure what I am supposed to do to prepare. It's almost like every effort is just spinning my wheels and getting me nowhere. I want action! Less planning, less thinking, more doing... much more doing. I have been ancy to DO and sure enough, the opportunities just came out of the woodwork.

So, in the spirit of doing, I have signed up for a weight loss program to get rid of those last stubborn pounds and finally get control of my fitness. Committed to a workout program with a friend, and even got Hubby on board to get in shape.

I am also doing childcare to supplement our savings for a home. I have 2 great kids lined up and think it will work out beautifully. It will bring in $1200 extra each month and really has potential to do much more. I have already been approached by 2 other moms wanting me to take their kids, but I don't like kids all that much. Yah, I know. Childcare is probably not the best profession for me, but I think I am a pretty good mom and can share that for a few hours a day with 2 more kids for a few months. I do think that more than 2 might push me over the edge though, and you just can't put a price on sanity. Kudos to all you moms out there with more than 2!

I am also considering becoming a health advisor and/or pure romance consultant. These are just a few of the many ideas and opportunities that have presented themselves in the past 2 weeks and all but paralyzed me with indecision. At least with these last 2 options, I get adult interaction and can participate in activities I really like. Who knows, maybe the fitness improvements and pure romance products will inspire some baby making ideas. It will be interesting to see how things all work out.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Decision Drought

I don't know what the hell is goin' on here. I haven't been able to make a decision to save my life and it isn't just big things, it is little things. Do you want to have a diet coke or full octane coke? Ohh... ummm... uhh... Would you like to write about what happened this week, an interesting topic or just not write? Ohhh... ummm.... I haven't written in a while... uhh!

It's even Gratitude Sunday and though I have much to be grateful for, there isn't much that has happened recently to make any one of them stand out above the others. I could write about them all, but prioritizing them would require making a decision... dammit.

It is so unlike me to not know what I want. I am always so opinionated and can at least come up with a preference on an impulse. But lately, it's like I suddenly lost all cognative skills. I don't even remember the last time this happened to me... oh wait... Am I pregnant?!?!

You know the crazy thing, I think I would be happy either way... talk about indecision! Could this be a change of seasons thing a PMS gig or is this all just crazy talk? Ohh... ummm... uhh... I dunno.