Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Hunter finally got one of his front top teeth out.
(With a little help from Dad!)

First Day of School 2012

School has begun and now Hunter is in 1st Grade.  He LOVES it!!
His teacher is Mrs. Brehmer, she is great- and appreciates Hunter's enthusiastic attitude about learning.
 Hunter says his favorite things about school are the people in his class, and art.
His teacher has figured out that Hunter needs some extra challenging spelling and reading projects.  Some of his spelling words last week were "strategy", "solution", "nearby", and "fright".  These aren't the typical 1st grade words, but he still gets 100%.
 Chance started preschool 11/2 weeks after Hunter started school and he was just chomping at the bit waiting for his first day.  He was so excited to get to go to preschool. He was pretending to be nervous, but we could tell he was just ready to start.
 Here he is standing in front of the preschool.  When we went inside Kelly and I helped him unload his stuff and get settled and then he asked us to leave.  Chance ran off to play as we began talking to a friend, and then he came back again and told us we needed to leave.  I guess he was ready to be on his own.
It is fun to see them grow and learn and gain a little more independence.
But as with anything, it is a little bitter-sweet.

5 Months Old!!!

Natalie is officially 5 months old, and boy is she FUN!!

 She is ALMOST sitting up on her own
 She loves to laugh, especially when she gets tickled or when brothers bark like dogs or snort like piggies.
 Her face lights up with joy when she sees someone she loves.  When Kelly gets home from work- she is so happy and smiley to see him.
 She has started spending more time with her feet up in the air and checking them out.  Although, she has her father's flexibility (hardly any), she gives it a good try.  She also is mimicking any mouth noises that we make in front of her.
 She has explained to us that she is taking her time growing her hair out-- we are all becoming impatient with the process :)
 The boys love to be close to her anytime they can.
 We have had our first frost in the garden, so all the vegetables have now come inside.  We found a cabbage that is just the right size for Natalie!  It was funny to watch her with it.
 She is eating "real" foods now.  She LOVES peaches, squash, and bananas.
She also loves doing laundry with her Momma!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Seventh Birthday to Remember

The First Halibut Expedition for Hunter.

     While we were on our Seward/Homer trip this summer, we were able to get out for a couple of days of But-slaying.  We had to get up early the morning we left Seward so that Uncle James and I could make an afternoon 1/2 day halibut charter.  The half day charters are nice because they cost 100$ instead of $300.  You still get your 2 fish limit and you usually only catch the 25-40 lb fish.  When it comes to pictures the big 300 lb barn door type fish are great, but when it comes to eating them you just cant beat the 25-40 lb tender, parasite free "chicken" halibut.  James and I went out and had a beautiful day.  The sun was out and shining.  There was a little bit of a breeze blowing as well.  James and I caught both of our fish.  Uncle James did need a little help from the deck hands in order to "land" his fish.  :)  It was a little bit of a sore spot for him to have to ask them for some help.  He finally got both of his fish up and on the boat.  

     The next morning James, Hunter, and I were slated for another half day charter.  This would be Hunter's first experience out on the open ocean.  We woke up early and had a little bit of breakfast and then headed for the Homer spit.  We got down there and got checked in.  Once we made our way down to the dock and found our boat (The Jackpot), we started asking hunter if he thought he would be a Salty dog like me or a chunk blower like his Mom.  He was pretty confident that he would be more like Dad.  I think at this point he was a little worried.  To be honest, I was a little nervous for Hunter.  The reason was the rain, wind and waves that were visible in the harbor usually indicate some large seas out where the fishing is done.  Hunter had a little bit of medication on board to make sure this didn't happen.  That is not always a guarantee though.  Tammy had medication on board too the day she chummed the fish all day.  ????  It was about a 45 minute boat ride out to where we would be fishing.  Hunter's meds kicked in and he passed out.  He fell right to sleep in my lap.  The waves were looking a little on the big side.  Even Uncle James was a little nervous.  He played a little tetris to calm his land lubber legs though.  Once we got out there the wind transformed into more rain and the waves seemed to die down a little bit.  The boat was rocking pretty good though.  Hunter and I used the same pole due to the weight of the gear.  I immediately hooked a fish and handed the reel to Huntucky.  The fight was on!  Hunter put the pole through is legs and cranked the reel for all he was worth.  He was sure that this fish was a couple hundred pounds! :)  After about 30 cranks of the reel  he decided he wanted me to reel for a while so his arms could catch their breath.  Bringing halibut up 300 ft off the bottom is a lot of work even if they are only 30 lbs.

     Over the course of the next several hours, Hunter and I reeled up about 7 different halibut. The were all in the 20-30 lb range.  Strangely, Hunter's deep sea 200 pounder was only about 20 lbs upon reaching the surface.  About half way through the charter, Hunter was a little cold.  He asked if he could go inside the boat house.  I knew exactly what the two choices would be for Hunter.  I told Hunter that he could stay outside and fish in the rain and wind or he could go in the warm, diesel fume permeated boat house and rock side to side/up and down and puke his guts out.  Hunter thought about his options for about 5 seconds and decided he would put his hands under his life jacket.  Good choice buddy!  Everyone on the boat found out it was Hunter's birthday and he became quite a celebrity.  The captain said that since it was his first halibut and his birthday, he had to kiss one of the halibut on the lips.  Hunter chuckled and said ok!  This had everybody's attention on the boat.

As they pulled out Hunter's halibut (they had already cut the gills with a knife), Hunter realized that his once pristene emerald green halibut had mutated into a bloody slime infested behemoth in the fish hold.  As the captain held out the primordial ooze covered fish for Hunter to put the moves on, Hunter got cold feet and changed his mind.  He said, " Well maybe not that one! "  Everyone laughed pretty hard.  All in all it was a good day.  Uncle James didn't need any help from the deck hands to catch his fish the second day.  Good job James.  We all caught our limit.  We even saw some sea otters and whales on the way in and out.    

     Once we were back in Homer walking down the spit, we saw the famous "Salty Dog Saloon".  Hunter tugged on my sleeve and asked if he could go in there due to the fact that he was now a "Salty Dog".    

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Alaska Sea Life Center

Part of our family vacation this summer included a trip to the Sea Life Center in Seward.  It was really awesome, and really the only thing we found that we loved about Seward.
The boys even discovered that they should be boat captains, with Uncle James as a deck mate.
 Two Cool Guys

 This big sea lion was so cool to look at, we stood outside for quite awhile to watch him.  We kept thinking he would flip himself down into the water, but he didn't.
The funniest thing about this guy was the noises he made.  Hunter started mimicking him, and about that time some cute little grandma came out with her grand daughter.  The lady hear the sounds and said, "Oh Rosie, listen to that!  The Sea Lion is saying hello and talking to you!"  It was actually still Hunter making the sounds, and not the sea lion at all.  It was so funny, but we didn't say anything.
It is still making us laugh!
 They had these really cool tanks with sea anenomes , urchins, sea stars etc... that you could touch.  The boys both thought it was great.
 The boys both DARED me to touch a few things.
(I don't like to touch creatures)
I DID it because I wanted them to know that I can do hard things that make me want to throw up.
(It wasn't as bad as I thought)
 The Sea Lion finally got in the water and it was fun to watch him swim all over the place.
While Seward isn't our favorite Alaskan spot, I would love to go back to the Sea Life Center again.