Friday, December 31, 2010

daughters... they're like the new sons.

     Just got back from a lovely (albeit a bit chaotic) Christmas in the big city.  More about that later--with some pictures from Christmas, but first I wanted to post some of these awesome wintry pictures I took of Loren and Sadie today.

     Sadie is shaping up to be a total daddy's girl, and can I just say... I LOVE it!    I know that deep down a lot of guys wish for a son to be a mini-them, and to do the "man" things with later in life, etc...  I get it.  I mean, its the same reason women wish to have little girls.  In truth, we would have both been delighted with either one.  We are just so thankful to have a happy, healthy baby. And the bottom line is that regardless of gender, and rosy parental visions of the future, babies are going to grow up into who they are going to be. 

   When we found out Sadie was going to be a girl,  Loren's first comment was something along the lines of, "A girl! Wow! I don't know how to raise a girl." (Ha! Like either one of us knows how to raise a kid. period.) But as time passes and these two silly-heads become closer it just brings such joy to my heart. I am so thankful I married a man who is comfortable being goofy, sensitive, nurturing and loving towards our daughter. It won't be long before little Sadie has her dad wrapped completely around her finger.

     I predict that the intrepid Sadie will love the outdoors, and hunting (like her Dad) but I also wont be surprised if Loren has to attend his fair share of stuffed animal tea-parties, learn to braid hair and co-ordinate girlie outfits :) I think these two are already good buddies, but you can decide for yourself:

Winter photo shoot BEFORE Dad comes outside:
 Then Dad comes outside to play, and its all fun times.

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you.
-Paul Simon

 and here's one of me and Sadie, because Mamas love their girls too.

p.s. Thanks for the awesome snowsuit Great Grandma Sophie!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy BOXER day!

In some parts of the world, December 26th is celebrated as Boxing Day.  I always thought that it was because people boxed up all their unwanted gifts and brought them back to the store to exchange them.  I might be wrong. I don't celebrate that day anyway though--too depressing and materialistic.  From now on I declare December 26 in our house as Boxer Day.

Why Boxer day?
1. Because even if you got your boxer an ugly sweater for Christmas they would never complain or return it.  They would either gently chew on it until it was nothing but threads, or they would subtly push it behind the couch where it would eventually become forgotten.

2. Because boxers are bad-asses. If Chuck Norris had a dog it would definitely be a boxer.

3. Because boxers know how to party.  If you want a dog to help you ring in new year, you couldn't do better than a boxer:

4. Because boxers are loyal friends, and thoughtful sensitive creatures who bring laughs and comfort and lots of love to their families. 

HAPPY BOXER DAY CASH, PIE, KILGORE, LILY, PORTER and AUBREY! (and all the other Boxers out there who like to keep it real.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

happy winter solstice & lunar eclipse!

Tomorrow will be the darkest day of the year.  Since I will be heading south to Los Anchorage I thought I would give Winter Solstice a shout out a day early.  Here is the sun coming up at about 12:30 pm.  The top picture is the lunar eclipse at about 10 pm Alaska time. As much as I hate the dark and the cold, the sunrises, sunsets and moonscapes here are spectacular.
Happy Solstice! xxoo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the power of prayer.

    Not so long ago I received a lecture from someone about NOT letting them know the exact time of a certain difficult event so that they could be praying for me... at the exact time it was happening.  To tell the truth,  I found this very puzzling.  In my way of thinking, if the outcome is already determined by God, why do they need to know all the direct details for prayer purposes?  Does praying really need to be that organized and scheduled?
     That event got me thinking about prayer, and how it can mean so many different things and take on so many forms.  It made me ask myself the question: Why do we pray?
      Now don't get me wrong.  I appreciate it any time when any of my fellow human beings are caring enough to put in a thought or request on my behalf to the Higher Authority,  but it is so strange to me how some people go about it.  I guess for discussion purposes maybe we could divide prayer into two categories, altruistic prayer and selfish prayer.
     Selfish prayer takes on many different forms. Take for example the control freak prayer.  This is the person who believes that the whole world will fall apart unless they know everyones' bizz-nass so they can act as a direct go-between for all their acquaintances and God. These prayers are usually asking for specific outcomes (what the pray-er personally believes the outcome of the situation SHOULD be). I think this prayer must inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration on the part of the pray-er when things don't work out to their plan. 
     Then there is the prayer of disapproval. This type of "praying" is when a person disapproves of something you are doing and they punish you by stating in a pitying or judgmental tone, "I'll be praying for you."  And you know that they are mentally tacking the word "sinner" on to the end of that statement.
     The third type of selfish prayer (and I am DEFINITELY guilty of this on occasion) is the bargaining chip prayer.  This one is the "dear God, if you just make _________ happen, then I promise I will never do____________ again."
     It is easy to pray selfishly, given our human-ness, and I think God understands that--she/he designed us after all.
     I often find myself praying when the universe seems to be spinning out of control and I need to focus and meditate.  When I pray for a person in difficult circumstances I try to focus directly on them and send them love/healing/strength/courage... whatever it is that may be appropriate to their trial.  Frequently throughout the day I think of my family and loved ones and send a quick message of gratitude to the creator for blessing me with such a rich life and so many people to love.  When I am outdoors I feel like I am inadvertently offering a continual prayer of gratitude.  The beauty of nature never ceases to make my soul feel overflowing with joy. Sometimes my prayers are selfish, due to my limited world view. My prayers are always very informal.  
     But to get back to my original thought about how God has a plan, and can we really change his plan (aka the outcome) by praying hard enough?  I don't think we can.  In spite of our most heart-felt prayers, good people still die, horrible things still happen in the world, sometimes it seems like evil wins.  Do our prayers even matter?
     I think they do.  I think part of the Creator's bigger plan is that we as humans lift each other up in love.  That is altruistic prayer, I believe.  Maybe the collective love that exists in our prayers for each other is enough to lighten the load, and light the way on this long and windy path that all humans walk on.  Someday, I hope we all get to see what the grander scheme really looks like, but until we have that perspective we should continue to lift each other up unselfishly, in mindfulness and love, regardless of our race, credo or religious affiliations.  Maybe that is the TRUE power of prayer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the big FIVE.

Tomorrow will mark the five-month anniversary of Sadie's time in the outside world.  To celebrate this milestone here is a list of 5 things that are amazing about her:

1.  THE CURIOSITY--always watching, staring, looking around with those big starry eyes.  She loves to study people, the dogs, her toys, the world around her. Her sense of wonderment is contagious.

2. THE SOUNDTRACK-- Many things Sadie is, but a quiet baby she is not.  She fills our house with delightful shrieks, babbles, coos and sometimes fusses and cries.  She talks to the dogs, says things like HA! at the contextually correct moments--which for all the world sounds like she is saying "hi!" Her snores sound like a distant flock of geese flying south for the winter--and she talks in her sleep in a series of melodic squeeks and growls that sound like whalesongs.

3. THE SNUGGLES--Sadie loves to snuggle. She gets that from her dad, I guess. :) At night she wont sleep unless she has an arm/leg/foot/all of the above snuggled up against a parent.  She is never happier than when being worn around in the Moby Wrap/ Ergo baby carrier-- she just loves to be close to people.

4. THE SKILLS--It seems like every time we turn around she has learned or done something new!  Sadie now sits unassisted, grabs at her toys, reaches for things one handed, rolls over, pivots, scootches and does push-ups.  She grew a tooth this month, and it looks like another one is hot on its heels.  We have gradually been introducing solid foods, so Sadie has tried some bananas, carrots, apples and brown rice.  She still likes milk the best.


need I say more?
We love you Sadie Mai!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

thank you Santa (aka Loren)!

Well, I must have been extra good this year because I just got my Christmas present early. Can I just say, IT ROCKS! (and so does my thoughtful husband who knows how much I have been wanting a real camera--sometimes the cell phone camera just doesn't cut it).
so of course, I have been playing with it this morning. Unfortunately the best pictures I shot later this morning were in RAW format which I have no computer software to open (thanks for mentioning that disc tutorial guy!)But here are some of the first ones I took anyway, just for fun.

... today's post has been brought to you by double chins. xxoo

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sourdough bread... for cheaters.

I would consider myself a decent bread baker... after countless lessons from my mom, and the Tassajara Bread Book (AWESOME cookbook by the way) I think I can hold my own in the bread baking arena. With one exception... The Sourdough.
Historically my sourdough bread is, well, not so good. In fact many of the loaves would have worked better as weaponry to be hurled at the head of  foe.

Loren took out the sourdough a few days ago to mix it up and feed it.  But after doing so there was a lot left over and he suggested, "why don't you make some sourdough bread?"  ARG.  So after doing a bit of recipe searching online, I came up with one that looked promising. And you know what? Its good.  It does have some yeast in it... so if you are a sourdough bread purist, you can turn your nose up now... but this is the first and ONLY sourdough loaf I have ever made that is not only edible, but delish!

San Francisco Sourdough Bread
makes one large loaf.
4 3/4 c. flour
3 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. salt
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm milk (I used powdered)
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 1/2 c. sourdough starter
1 egg, beaten (for brushing tops)

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast in large mixing bowl. Add milk and butter or oil. Stir in the starter. Mix in the flour gradually.
2. Turn dough out onto floured surface, knead for 10 minutes.
3. Place in oiled bowl, let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
4. punch down, let rest 15 min. 
5. Shape into loaves, place on baking sheet and let rise one hour. While bread is doing this, preheat the oven to 375. To make a thicker, chewy crust put a pan full of water into the bottom of the oven to create steam while the bread bakes.
6. brush top with beaten egg. Bake 30-40 min.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

goodbye Southeast Alaska

We just got home from a lovely Thanksgiving trip to Prince of Wales Island.  Oh, man. I totally miss Southeast Alaska.  Something about all the trees, and the way the air just drips with oxygen and the quiet woods with their thick blanket of moss just makes me want to stay there and NEVER leave.  Plus, my family is there so Sadie got to meet the rest of the Connolly/Jones clan, and I think she was quite delighted, if not constantly entertained.  It was a good trip, even with the unfortunate flu bug we picked up and the 12 hour travel days on either end of getting there.

To get into the holiday spirit, my mom and my sister Sarah and I went out and gathered Cedar, Hemlock, Spruce and Salal and made some beautiful Christmas wreaths.  I added a few birds and Kansashi flowers for flair.   Even though it would probably last longer outside, I am keeping it inside so I can smell it.  It is probably the last green thing I will get to look at till May. Sigh.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sadie Mai: The 4 month Stats...

Well, as they say, time flies, and our little girl is growing so fast!  She had her well child check up today, and in true Connolly (and Prosser) style, she is off the charts in both height and weight.  27 inches long, and weighing in at a whopping 20 lbs (my left bicept can attest to that) is Sadie Mai the four-month old!
Four months is such a fun age.  Sadie has expanded her repertoire of sounds from beyond the sweet little "aah-goos" to a wide range of shrieks, ooohhhs, and cackles.  She is better at sitting up and can actually balance in a sitting position for longer periods of time now before the inevitable tip over occurs.  She can dazzle a crowd with her dimpled smiles and winsome laughs.  Her big blue eyes check out the world around her with intensity and wonder. Speaking of intensity, Sadie also screams with intensity whenever mom and dad try to sneak away  for more than a few minutes at a time.  The screaming immediately subsides when either of us return. Go figure.

Another awesome skill that Sadie is developing is her reach and grab reflex.  So far she has mostly stuck to toys, keys, and the occasional fistful of mom's hair, but she did successfully swipe a few finger-fulls of grandma Sophie's gravy off of her dad's plate the other day. And it went straight into her mouth.  The last thing we should be feeding our 20 lb four-month old is gravy, but hey--cant blame a girl for trying right?

It is a true joy and delight to watch our little girl growing and getting stronger every day.  We are so happy and blessed to have her in our lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Epic Fail

Product Description

This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught.

WTF were you thinking?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weathering Winter in Western Alaska

Looks like those happy summer days of fishing, berry picking and sunshine are retreating under the blanket of cold that is enveloping our region, tucking us in for a long chilly nap. 

Winter in Alaska can be an isolating time for people, especially here in our region where we become literally isolated by our geography and climate.   Isolation can do funny things to people, and unfortunately it often goes hand-in-hand with a spike in substance abuse, domestic violence, depression and even suicide.

When I think of the long days of darkness ahead and I start to feel my spirits sinking, I like to remind myself that people have been weathering out the winters for hundreds of years on the Seward Peninsula.  What was their trick? I do believe it was keeping busy.  With all the bountiful harvest of berries, fish and meat put up for the winter it was time to get busy with indoor projects.  Traditionally that may have meant sewing a new parky or pair of mukluks, carving ivory, tools and frames for skin boats, and many other projects that kept the day-to-day living and subsistence endeavors alive.  Winter was a time to make good food, good music, tell stories and enjoy the company of family. Many here in our region still use winter as a time to do these things, but many do not.

Unfortunately, with the down time winter presents, many find themselves bored, restless and cramped inside.  They solve this problem by heading down town to drown these miserable feelings in alcohol.  I can’t think of a more isolating substance than alcohol; an altered state of consciousness, and the decisions and actions that go with it, have the potential to alienate us from our neighbors, friends and families. When we finally sober up and come back to reality, we have to face our decisions, the people we hurt, and the fact that all our money is gone. Talk about depressing.

This winter I would encourage all of us to find a constructive outlet, and do something productive that brings joy to our body and spirit.  Luckily for us, Nome is replete with fun activities to do in the winter if you know where to look.  If you need a physical outlet, head down to the Rec and snag a workout and sauna. Join a city-league team for camaraderie and competition, or venture out to Nome Beltz and cheer on our local youth as they compete. If you want to challenge your brain, consider taking a class at NWC.  Not only are there a variety of challenging and useful academic classes offered there, you can also learn some traditional art forms like skin sewing, beading or carving.  You can tinker in plywood sculpture, pottery, or printmaking or learn how to fix your snowmachine yourself.  Taking a class is a great way to meet and mingle with people from outside your usual social circle. The Nome Arts Council keeps things hoppin’ all winter long with live music at open mike nights, and keep your ear to the ground for cultural celebrations that feature some of the amazing, talented drummers and dancers from the region.  These are just a few of the fun things happening in Nome.  So listen to the radio, check out the paper, and the bulletin boards around town for more info.

Most importantly, use this down time to spend some quality time with your loved ones.  If you know of someone who lives alone and has no family here, reach out to them and make them feel included.  We are a community, lets put the focus on togetherness and shut out isolation this winter.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pecan Pie

I woke up at 2 this morning from a dream about pecan pie. That is just sad.  I made it through 9 months of pregnancy with no particular cravings or night-snacking episodes and now that I am breastfeeding I feel like I am STARVING, all the time.  We eat pretty healthy in this house, but the holidays are coming up and in my humble opinion there is nothing to equal an ooey-gooey slice of pecan pie and a cup of black coffee to sip on a cold winter day. sigh....
I never make pecan pie though because one of the main ingredients is this:

blech. My hippie conscience wont let me have this product in my house, not even for occasional indulgences.  So... I am on a quest for a karo syrup-free pecan pie recipe... are you with me?  If you are, or you know of one, please let me know because Thanksgiving is just around the corner....

The Mother of all UFP's--F'ed!

Don't worry, its not what you're thinking:)  UFP is my mom's term for "Unfinished Project." If there was a contest for queen of UFP's I think I would be in the running!  But this project in particular I started over 1 1/2 years ago. Yup, I found some beautiful upholstery fabric and started on my dining room chairs. I did one. It looked great. Then the project stalled; I don't even know why. But like all good UFPs it just kept getting put on the back burner. for. a. long. time.  Yesterday I got inspired. Maybe it was the thought that soon enough we will have a tot with sticky little fingers running over everything and seriously, WHITE furniture? WHY? Who lives with white furniture in their house and is able to keep it pristine?  These chairs weren't new when we inherited them. They looked like crap--and we only made it worse. See for yourself:

The worst  thing about this particular UFP is that it really isn't that hard to reupholster a basic chair cushion.  All you need are: fabric, hammer, screw driver (for un-attaching/reattaching cushion from chair frame) and a staple gun.  You simply cut your fabric to size and begin stretching and stapling evenly around the back of the cushion. It really only took me about one Sadie nap (1 1/2 hours) to do the rest of them.   Can I just say, it feels MAGNIFICENT to scratch this mother of all UFP's off my to-do list? Here is the final product:
I'm happy with how they turned out--nice and autumnal. I think they will hold up well to the rigors of tot-hood.   Also, this project cost me all of $40, and buying a whole new set of chairs would have been just silly. My next upholstery project will be a little more involved-- this white gliding rocker in the baby's room:
(more white furniture, ack!) But that will be a later post...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

something old to something new... t-shirt upcyle project

We all have those well-loved t-shirts hanging out in the back of our closets and drawers, the ones with sentimental value that just don't fit, or fit in,  anymore. I just finally threw out a  1994 Alaska Cross Country State championships tee that was seriously hanging in rags.  But what about those shirts that are still in good shape but just aren't getting worn anymore? My friend Amy sent me the pattern for this super cute baby sleeper which came from this awesome site:
I had to try it out!
For posterity: the cocoa puffs t-shirt is one that Loren saved box tops for and sent in to get a free t-shirt (and he did this while in college lol! I guess he really is cookoo for cocoa puffs!) The other is a screen printed tuxedo tee that my awesome artsy friend Anne made.  The sleepers were super easy to sew and you can cut the bottoms and sleeves in a way that the t-shirt hems become the baby garment hems.  The pattern actually calls for putting elastic in the bottom, but honestly, if you have a kicky little Chuck Norris like I do, the sleeper will end up around their middle by the end of the night anyway... so why bother with the elastic.  I give this t-shirt upcycle project an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up because...
I want to be formal... but I came here to party!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

After several years of contemplating delving into the blogging world I have finally made the leap! Why, you may ask? I think the birth of our beautiful baby Sedna and the distance between our little family here in Western Alaska and our big family spread out all over the state and beyond may have something to do with it.  This is a way to keep in touch, share thoughts and ideas of course!