Kierran Wants a Sister

For the last couple years Kierran has been fond of girls. You might recall him asking me to bring a girl he saw at the park over to him so he could pet her. That was last summer. Scott messaged me the other day their conversation.At library time yesterday an aquintence of mine recently had a baby girl and was at the library with her children. I showed Kierran the baby with her full head of hair and newborn wrinkles and jokingly asked if he wanted to buy this baby. He shrugged and played it off like I was being silly but when we got in the car he says, “MOM!! I really wanted that baby!”

Ohh poor boy. In 20 more years you can have one of your own.

Middle Tennessee

I have family I’ve never met (as an adult, being 3 years old doesn’t count) in middle Tennessee! I have family in Defeated Creek, Smyrna, Lebanon, Watertown, Pleasant Shade and Carthage. Phew! My mom took me on a trip back to Tennessee to meet everyone and to check out the Nashville area. It was a wonderful trip!

The first day we ventured around downtown Nashville. Our first stop was at the GooGoo shop for some Christmas stocking stuffers. There were a lot of tourist shops, bars, live music, good eats and as the sun set very lively people. We walked around for hours but still felt like we did nothing (except eat). We have another list of to do’s for the next trip.

We drove all over middle Tennessee visiting family, touring antique shops and checking out family farms. I saw my moms old stomping grounds when she was young, the house my grandfather built and cafes my grandmother worked at as a young girl. It was really great.

I️ got to try a classic burger joint too!

s introduced to a few Tennessee food's like Allen's beans, fried apples, Dales sauce (sort of like soy sauce and worcestershire sauce) and had enough biscuits to last me a while. I even had cousin Steve's homemade whisky. I wasn't able to really appreciate it since I'm not a big whisky fan and I was driving his parents home that night. I could taste the difference between his whisky and the expensive store bought kind and even being untrained I knew his tasted better.

Before we arrived at Steve’s for dinner and the whisky tasting we almost encountered a tornado. I was excited!! I’ve never seen one or been near one before. It was dark out so I️ couldn’t see anything but the rain was flying sideways and my mom was freaking out. “Melissa Irene stop! We do not want to see a tornado!” We were driving toward her cousin Steve’s in Watertown where the tornado was heading. I was texting with him to make sure we were ok to keep coming his ways when our phones toned out like the radio does during the emergency tests. Then a text appeared on our screens that read “Tornado has touched down near you. Take cover”. Ok, point taken. My heart rate picked up a bit. We made it to Steve’s place just fine.

A couple days later Uncle Billy (my Grandpa Brown’s brother) asked me to cut his hair. I was honored too! Aunt Jean and Uncle Billy let us stay with them and were the most gracious hosts. It was the least I️ could do.

The day I left I️ got to meet a Tennessee meth head. She knocked on my Aunt and Uncle’s door asking for Tylenol. She tried saying the scabs on her face were from lymphoma that she’s supposedly had for 8 years now and her teeth feel out from the chemo. She rambled on for what seemed like forever. Nice try. My Aunt handed her 5 Advil. I guess she comes knocking on their door once every few months. I gave them the talk I️ knew Scott would have given them had he been there. I hope they take it to heart and refuse to open the door next time.

I really had a wonderful time and I was sad to leave. However, I️ was super happy when I saw my mom upgraded me to premium class on the way home! Leg room for miles and free beer!!

It was a great vacation but also great to get home. It is cold here but nice to be back with Scott and the boys. There will be a future trip to TN. Even if Scott is kicking and screaming!

Happy Halloween 2017

So whatcha whatcha want!?

Beastie Boys toured Valdez today!! Their biggest fan (that’d be me) followed them around town with a speaker blaring tunes. It was by far the best Halloween we’ve had in Alaska….ever! 46 ABOVE ZERO! No snow pants, no hats and gloves!! It was great!

Businesses around town decorated and handed out candy. It was great to get out of school, go trick or treating then head home for dinner. I’m not sure how much dinner will be consumed because on the way home I heard, “I think I’m going to puke.” Sweet! Halloween complete! If there is one word to signal Halloween night to be over I’d say that word is “puke”. Gratefully no one has puked…yet.

We did pumpkins this year. Below is Barrett’s.


And Kierran’s

Scott had a great idea for a pumpkin but didn’t have a chance to carve it. I ended up doing it for him and it turned out just ok. Maybe next year he’ll attempt it again so I won’t ruin the surprise by showing you a picture of my lame version.

Barrett is taking Home Ec in school and started the sewing portion. Today he brought home his Halloween pillow case!

He did such an amazing job!! I am so proud of him!


Merr Turns 9

We celebrated Merrick’s 9th birthday this past week. There’s nothing like a child’s birthday to shove time in your face. We started the day with our ritual chocolate chip pancakes.

For dinner he chose Cuban sandwiches, fries and Shirley Temples.

A new catchers mitt for the baseball this summer!

And of course the cake. I didn’t put much effort into the cake because I had something up my sleeve. None of the boys have made good friends here yet so while we were in Fairbanks we orchestrated a surprise birthday party at his favorite swimming pool. Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and close friends all came. Despite the planning, the surprise was a dud since our phones have little to no reception in the pool building. Scott texted to say they had arrived but I got it 2 minutes after he arrived. When we walked down to greet Merrick we walked in the waiting area the same time he did. Surprise?? Oh well. He still had a great time with his best buds! He had the coolest cake! Made by my dearest friend, Tana.

His favorite books lately are the Dog Man series. So Tana decorated the cake just like the character in the book. She did such a great job. The creases in the cake came from the transport but it didn’t ruin Merrick’s love for it or the yummy taste. All in all he had good quality time with his favorite people, cool gifts and delicious cake. Not much more to crave when you’re nine.

The Mighty Hunter

Scott has been moose hunting since he was a child. He’s seen his grandfather, dad, and uncle shoot and butcher moose his entire life. As an adult and as long as we have been married he has never had success on a hunt. Well, let me clarify. He’s been in successful hunting parties and has shot a bear which is pelted and hanging on our wall but never killed a moose himself.

Since he didn’t have the best of hunting luck while in Fairbanks we were on the kill list. The kill list is in fact a list that is managed by the state and if a moose is killed by a motorist you’ll get a phone call to collect your moose. We got phone calls in the middle of the night before. It’s not convenient but you get moose to fill your freezer. One year we got a middle of the night call but the state started contracting out to a company to collect the moose for the charity or family on the list. It seemed like a good idea but the person who collected the moose for us in the middle of the night didn’t drop the guts so in the morning when it was delivered the moose was bloated and foul. We weren’t able to salvage anything. That was frustrating for us. Such a waste.

Our family enjoys moose meat. We usually get sausage, burger, roasts, pepperoni sticks and I’ll make jerky from the roasts. If you process the moose yourself you can save a lot of money on food and you know what’s in your meat. No fillers, no by products. Just good ole organic meat. That’s why we were so happy when Scott was successful this year!

Scott and our friend Nick went out and Scott shot a bull within 20 minutes of unpacking. I didn’t believe him. Neither did the boys but minutes later we had proof.

Very early in our texting I made it clear there wouldn’t be another skull in our house. He saved the bear skull and it’s meant for a den or man cave. Not my living room. I really didn’t want to add another skull. They aren’t easy to blend in amongst flowers and pretty figurines. He has his heart set on a European mount like this…

So as a compromise I said that whatever the cost of that mount is, I will get that much money to spend on myself. Fair right?!? It made me happy.

When the mighty hunter came home we got straight to work processing the meat. Lots of burger and cube steaks were made the first night. Our helpers were working in full force. Lots of arguing over who got to drop the meat into the grinder.

Kierran was kept busy decorating the packages. The next day our friends Chad and Cindy came over to help process the rest. We had more burger, roasts, steaks, and pulled stuff aside for sausage and pepperoni sticks and I was going to try my hand at canning! Two friends talked about how great it was so I gave it a go. We have 13 quarts of canned moose meat now. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I’ve been told it’s great for tacos, stroganoff and meals of the such when you forget to take meat out of the freezer or need something done quick.

We have two freezers full of moose and salmon. We are blessed indeed!

Appliance Issues

We didn’t budget for new appliances. We wrongfully assumed all the appliances would be in tip top shape. This is the fourth house we’ve purchased together and you’d think we’d know better by now.

Scott recently returned from a quick trip to Anchorage with a new dryer and my much desired and anticipated dishwasher. Much to Scott’s dismay neither install was easy. We pulled out the old washer and discovered it was hard wired in. Neither of us had seen this before. Gratefully Scott knew how make a plug and I had added white outlets and plates to our last Amazon purchase so we had everything we needed.

After the wiring set back Scott had an issue with the washer hookups. He ran around town trying to create the part he needed cursing Bosch for not including the part with the machine. Turns out the hose he bought for the dishwasher had the attachment piece he needed. He was not happy with himself.

And there he is. All shiny and new. I have no plans to remove the sheet of wrap that protects it. Maybe when we move or the kids move out.

That same night Scott tackled the dryer. The deal with the dryer was that we had to covert it to propane rather than the natural gas it was set up for. We had to take apart the entire machine to get to the part that we needed to change out.

Scott contemplated going to appliance school since this job went smoothly despite all the labor involved. He did good! Everything went back together nicely. No odd screw left over.

So now I have my “not really needed” dryer working perfectly. If you don’t know what I mean about the “not needed” statement you’ll need to read my dryer vent post from a week ago.

So hopefully all the appliances are good for now and I can focus on painting. These vaulted ceiling are taking up some time and paint! I’ll post some before and after pictures soon.



We Took a Break

Scott and I have been working hard lately so today we took the kids to school and headed north a few miles to Thompson Pass and picked some blueberries.

It was a beautiful day!

We didn’t find the mother load but we got a gallon bag filled which is good for us.

There were lots of pretty streams with tiny waterfalls. Those fall colors make my heart full.

We brought Linus with us. He had a great time and found that he loves blueberries!

After berry picking we drove home and rested (I took a nap) before picking up the kids. It was a nice relaxing day. Tomorrow we’ll get back at it.