Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bye Bye Dixie Duck

We are very sad to announce the loss of our great friend, Dixie Duck. She got eaten by eagles yesterday evening. I don't think Heathcliff realizes it yet, as around this time of year, it is common for Dixie to leave the yard to nest. He was just calling for her a minute ago, and I went out to talk to him. He is definitely subdued. As we were talking, an eagle started chirping on the other side of the pond, so they haven't left the pond area yet. The cat went crazy last night wanting to go out, but we had to wait until dark to let him out and this time of year, it is only dark from 11:30 to about 5 am. I hope the salmon come soon, so they will go back to the other side of the highway and away from our pond. It is time for the summer migration and we usually have a half dozen different birds on our pond every night for this month. If those big old eagles are sitting there, like our pond is a McDonald's drive-thru, it will definitely ruin our spring.

Alicia found the remains and, of course, is devestated. Dixie had so much personality and was so friendly and funny. Our original ducks hatched her from an egg they laid, and as soon as she entered the yard, the goose decided that she was his gosling, and they have been inseparable ever since. So part of Alicia's angst now is what to do with Heathcliff as he will be very very lonely without his little Dixie, especially this winter. I know it sounds dumb to be attached to a duck and goose, but that's just the way we are.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Moving the date again

We are sort of stuck in limbo here in Alaska. We were asked for some additional information by the First presidency, so we are waiting again. The bishop thinks we will get our clearance in about 3 weeks. ( we have to get a special clearance because Justin was married before). Basically what they are working on is a temple divorce from his first wife- the civil divorce was a couple years ago. Aunt Shirley is coming to Alaska for a month and will be here from the 3rd of May to about the 15th (or 18th or something, I can't remember). She was planning to be here the first part of June, but I think they found cheaper flights if they came the first of May instead of the middle. Uncle Mervin's granddaughter up north is graduating from high school, so they are coming up for that and decided to come see "her boy" while they are here.

Alicia and I saw her in 2003 when we went to Wallowa county, but Brian has only seen her once since we left Oregon. she came up to visit a few years ago for her granddaughter's graduation, but Brian was working out on an island, and didn't get to see her. They miss each other a lot, and will have a great time visiting. They are very close. this is the first time we have met Uncle Mervin - Brian worked with him at the mill, but Sis and I don't know him. Uncle Lonnie died just after we went to Oregon to interview him in 2003.

So back to the wedding plans - we are talking about just setting a date for the reception - we are looking at May 11, but it is 2 weeks from today and I just don't see how that is practical, since we don't have anything done yet and don't have the engagement pictures printed or the invitations, etc. We thought it would be good to just set a date so we could start ordering flowers and food and such, but it is coming up really fast. Alicia would really like to have Aunt shirley here, for Brian's sake, but I really think we will have to move it another week. (I know that isn't what I told Earlene earlier today).

the kids went to soldotna today and bought the supplies to rebuild the basement. They are putting in a nice triangle shower in the corner and putting the toilet next to the sink, like I always thought it should be (they came up with the plans themselves, it was just coincidence that it was the way I always pictured it). Then they are taking out the washroom sink and putting in a vanity, also new fake wood flooring and cupboards. they also got soundproofing. One room is already sound proofed and really not much sound comes up, so that is good for all of us to have some privacy.

In the main room, they are putting in the same wood floor on the kitchen part of the room - new kitchen cabinets, counter top and sink. When we first moved in, there was a full kitchen down there, but the cabinets were built from rough lumberthat covered in contact paper, so we just tore it out. Unfortunately, we had a plug in for a range down there, but disconnected it when we had some electrical challenges. If they decide to put in a range, they'll have to rewire it. For now, they will have a small refrigerator, a full freezer, microwave, toaster oven, etc. but will do their big cooking upstairs and then eat downstairs.

Alicia got her dream mixer - a shiny black Kitchenaide mixer - from Blake and Johanna, so she is excited. she had 2 showers, so far, a tupperware shower and a regular shower. the tupperware shower was online and the other was held by her friends at church. Over 40 people came and everyone, at both showers, were very generous. We have cool presents all over the house while we try to get the downstairs built and the wedding put together and prepare for our summer guests.

Oh, some of you might not know - there wasn't any water at the little house. Apparently over the past couple years of sitting empty and having Bruce put the sawmill on top of the property caused the well to sink into silt and sand and Alicia and Justin just didn't want to put all that money into a house that wasn't theirs and that they would have to move out of in a couple months anyway. Ron is going to be deployed again - this time to Afghanistan, so Lydia and Aranda are coming up here. Last time he went to Iraq, they lived down south, but this time, they see the need to come home and let us all take care of them. It will be good to have them near again. Anyway, Justin moved in downstairs. so we already have a house full - he's downstairs with all his stuff, and she's upstairs with all her stuff and we are moving all the sewing room upstairs and had to rebuild the food storage room and move that. WHEW.

Plus, Brian has been filling in at the school - his boss retired and they are short handed until they fill the vacancy, so he works 1 and 1/2 shifts of work within the time he usually works one shift - he is exhausted. and his welding is picking up for spring and summer, which is good. We thought he would have all summer off to weld, but he only has 2 months off from the school. they do all their heavy cleaning and maintenance when the kids get out and aren't there. He works until June 8 and starts again on August 8. He is hoping to work full time at the high school after next week. Right now, he works half at high school and half at middle school. With his boss retiring, another guy he works with moved up and left a full time opening at the high school.

today was my yearly care review that determines what hours Alicia gets to keep in her job. It went very well, we think. this is the third year we have had the same reviewer. the first year, i was the first one she ever did and she missed some things, but she got it right last year, and is getting much better. I hope that keeps everybody up to date. We had frogs croaking last night and spruce grouse calling for each other. Definite signs of spring. FINALLY. LOVE YOU ALL, Charlotte.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 15

I still don't have any pictures to post - we are hoping to take the engagement photos this afternoon, but it has been so gray here, Alicia doesn't want to take them yet.....but it doesn't look like we will have anything but gray here for a while, so hopefully we can take them this afternoon.

They still haven't got enough water over at their little house. Earl and Justin worked on it all week, but with not much success. We aren't sure what to do next.

Justin's parents - Ruthie and Earl - got called home for a family emergency, so they had to turn around and leave on Friday. We pray for them to have a safe and speedy trip home and are sorry for the illness of Ruthie's brother that called them home.

The wedding is still on hold as we apply to the First Presidency for clearance. Please keep the kids in your prayers.

On Easter Sunday, the ward leaders were asked to all bear their testimonies in church and Brian was the first one up. I had never heard him bear his testimony - he will only do it on days I'm not there. So it was special to hear him. This Easter season, I have been very aware of the "tender mercies" of the Lord and I am so thankful for the atonement of my Savior and the peace that act brings to my life. I LOVE the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST !!! What a blessing He is in our lives.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Justin is Here!

Hi, I just wanted to put on a quick Happy Easter message, and to say that Justin and his parents arrived safely today. They made really good time on the drive up, and got here early this afternoon. We had a little trouble getting the water working, but its sort of working now. We'll have to see if we can get the water running a little better. But so far, everything is good. Its great to have Justin here finally, and to meet his parents and get to know them!

Happy Easter everyone! Hope your day is great and full of the magic and joy and love of Spring. Love Alicia