January through March 2008

December 31 thru January 6
Papa and Meemaw are here! What fun for Kristofer to meet the rest of his grandparents.

Most of the week we worked together but on Friday one of our volunteers covered our radio duties and allowed all five of us to take a trip to Talkeetna. Even the drive was interesting, here is a dog team we saw running along the highway.

Talkeetna is a historic town about an hour drive North of us. This town is usually the starting and outfitting location for those attempting to climb to the peak of Mt. McKinley.

Papa and Meemaw got to look through the gift shops and we even got to go to one of the museums.

Talkeetna is an Alaskan town with a flavor of its own and it was fun too look all around. We had a good lunch before heading back home.

Saturday we took time to all go out and have fun on the snowmachines. This was Meemaws's first time riding a sno-go.

We rode the trails near our house and got to see this cabin on an isolated lake nearby. With the light snowfall so far this year the lake riding was more enjoyable than the trail riding. Papa and Meemaw enjoyed riding together and each driving their own machines

Sunday after church we were off to the races. First to the finish of the Knik 200. We got to see one team cross the finish line and care for their dogs after the race. Then for a complete change of pace we went through the woods to Big Lake where they were racing motorcycles, ATVs and snow mobiles on the ice.

January 7 thru January 13
Getting ready for work on a typical winter day. Then what we usually find at work, something's broken.

Well the flat tire on the plow truck was an easy fix comparitively. KAGV has some serious transmission issues. Our main transmitter indicates that something is wrong with the antenna. Karl's done some testing and nothing really has narrowed the search down much. In the experiment on the right, two light bulbs are connected to the transmitter instead of the actual antenna in an attempt to isolate whether the fault lies in the cable to the tower or the tower itself.

Here Karl is making a visual inspection of the main transmitter while the backup transmitter runs at greatly reduced power. Three bits of good news though:
1. We are getting plenty of calls from listeners that miss us (it is nice to get the feedback)
2. Art Thompson will be coming down from Nenana later this week to help debug the issue
3. We are here as a family to stick it out together.

January 14 thru January 20
On Tuesday we got snow! It just kept coming! Here is our car, that came fresh from the garage in the morning, with six inches of snow covering it when we took our lunch break at noon. Getting to the house before Karl had a chance to plow was a bit of a challenge.

Art Thompson came on Thursday and Karl and Art got right to work to get KAGV back to full power. Experiments showed that the transmitter as well as the feed line to the base of the tower all were operating correctly.

We tried a different tuning capacitor at the tuning shack and we were able to get rid of the reflections and make full power. Both measurements and listening tests show that we are back at our original performance.

It has warmed up a lot this weekend and things are starting to melt. Here is Kristofer basking in the balmy 31 degree temperature coming home from church. We are enjoying hanging out with Kristofer as he is getting far more talkative and lively.

January 21 thru January 27
This week is another Kristofer week with plenty of Kristofer pictures. Here he is at work with his daddy.

Here are some pictures around the house.

The snow is still coming and we keep moving it around to get to and from work. At work Kristofer is getting more rest than the rest of us. Here he is zonked out on mommy's lap, while mommy works on a designing a new website.

At home again Kristofer is learning new skills. This week he started rolling from his stomach to his back and spinning around(kinda crawling without any of the forward motion or ground clearance).

Chilly and beautiful on the way to church this week.

January 28 thru February 3
We are celebrating a week in which we made forward progress! YEAH! Here Karl is recording the weather to air on the radio while a moose is busy trying to interrupt KAGV's satellite feed.

In Alaska, you can't just leave a car parked outside and expect to sell it without regular maintenance. Here Karl is blowing snow off a jeep that he is helping some VFCM volunteers sell in Wasilla.

Lot's of progress was made on the home front as well (comparatively speaking since Kristofer was born). From wrenching on a broken snowmachine, to filling the heating oil tank at 11 o'clock at night in -25 degrees, To caulking and cleaning windows.

Just so no one misses him, here Kristofer is playing with Daddy before bedtime and getting bundled up for church at -20 below zero.

February 4 thru February 10
This week has been a very busy week at the KAGV radio studios. God has blessed KAGV with volunteers. This means that Karl has been training each individual in his/her radio responsiblities, while Kristan has been working on the new VFCM website. Here Kristofer is giving his mommy website advice and showing the volunteers the finer points of using headphones.

Daddy is taking a break from all the training to play with Kristofer, and then the kid is modeling a Valentine's Day present from his Meemaw and Papa.

February 11 thru February 17
Well Kristofer has been hanging out with us while we do our radio work. As he builds up his muscles he is enjoying new ways to observe the world around him. Here he is enjoying the colorful Valentines day card from his great aunt Jan and great uncle Larry.

On Saturday we all went out for a real endurance snow mobile ride. Kristofer got all bundled up and stayed inside daddy's coat while travelling. Here we are resting at the Gold Miner's Lodge on our way to our destination.

Kristofer can barely be seen with his head sticking out of daddy's coat. This trip was a scouting trip for an overnight adventure we have planned in the Nancy Lake State Park Recreation Area near our home. The state rents out primitive cabins like this one. We hope to go to Red Shirt Lake and stay two nights out there ice fishing and camping in a rental cabin with the Hales family who are regular KAGV volunteers. This was a fun scouting trip out to Lynx Lake. Altogether we travelled 37 miles on the snowmobiles on Saturday. Kristofer seemed to enjoy the ride and stayed warm and cozy for the whole trip.

February 18 thru February 24
Well the temperatures have come up quite a bit recently. That means that all that packed snow has turned to a sheen of ice.

The slick surface means we have to be extra careful but it also means we can play a bit in the sled. Even though that ride was only a few inches of drop it was so slick that daddy had to get down on all fours to get enough traction to get Kristan and Kristofer back up to the top.

Kristofer has a few new developments. One of them is to start enjoying sitting up. While this isn't something he does on his own he enjoys the vantage point it gives him. Another development is that he is very interested in our food. Watching us very carefully as we eat.

When Kristan is cooking he occasionally gets in on the food action. Remember "Eat it or wear it"? Well for now wearing it is the only option but he seems to enjoy the involvement in any form.

On Saturday we went out to Zero Lake and rode around in the sled for a while with the Hales family in preparation for our trip to Red Shirt Lake in a few weeks.. The open air riding has a few advantages over riding inside daddy's coat for the ever curious Kristofer.

Kristofer is coming with us throughout our day, here he joins us while we get firewood from the woodpile.

February 25 thru March 2
This has been a busy week. We started out making a trip to Anchorage to pick up a donated foam making machine that the ministry hopes to use in Nenana to seal up and insulate some of the missionary homes. Kenny Hughes (also a LCCC missionary) lives nearby and was very gracious in unloading and storing this contraption.

On Wednesday we were back in town attending the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race press conference, where we picked up press passes to allow us to cover the event. I'm familiar with KAGV Radio but KAGV RAID0 must be another thing altogether (some sort of personalized hard disk mirroring I guess).

Since we were in town we visited the 2008 Native Musicale in the evening. Last year Kristan did the radio hosting, this year David Horning (former KAGV station Manager) is doing the radio hosting.

This week there were a tremendous number of programming changes on the I AM radio network and Thursday and Friday were spent staring at computer screens to change a few programs and all the news breaks both for KAGV and KYKD.

Saturday morning we were back outside of the station and on to a whole new adventure for us. We went to the ceremonial Iditarod race start in downtown Anchorage to interview mushers. The ceremonial start is a lot more relaxed than the restart and the mushers race 12 miles through town carrying sponsors in their sleds. This part of the race doesn't account toward the competitive results and makes it a lot easier for fans to become involved.
Kristan and I first followed this race in 2005. We were entrapped by the strategy, care and struggle involved in this incredible competition as we followed the race online and on the Outdoor Channel (which provided daily news from the trail in 2005 which kept us riveted to the online race standings for the rest of the day.). Here Kristan is interviewing the two top competitors from 2005, Mitch Seavey and Kjetil Backen. We are not sure if it was simply that Mitch was the first champion we watched or if we have other reasons but Mitch is our personal perenial favorite. Kjetil comes from Norway when he is selected by his kennel to be the musher representing Team Norway for a particular year's Iditarod race.

Here Kristan is seen interviewing DeeDee Jonrowe in her signature bright colors. Karl and Kristofer take an opportunity to pose with DeeDee's dad "Lord Trapper".

Dog trucks line the streets downtown where the core is blocked off and snow is trucked in for the sleds to run on. The dog truck portals hold surprises behind them: sometimes one particularly yelpy dog, some times two and then sometimes someone altogether different.

Here a team is being led up to the starting line by the team's handlers. The dogs are very anxious to get out on the trail. As went walked back to the truck we found an ice sculpture functioning as a playground slide for kids.

Sunday after church we headed North to Willow for the restart where the real race begins. KAGV volunteer Kristy Hales was able to interview quite a few more mushers before the race began.

Once the race started we made our way down the trail a little ways. DeeDee, this time on the way to Nome (1100 miles to go!). In these continuous shots Karl and Kristofer are watching Joe Garnie head out to Nome.

The race starts on Willow Lake. Families from the neighborhood join the crowds from the cities and make a great atmosphere watching the race all along the chute across the lake. Here Daddy and Kristofer lay down to take a break from all the standing around in the baby carrier.

March 3 thru March 9
Well, weather conditions prevented us from taking our snowmobiling campout trip as we had planned. Spring is coming early this year evidently and the stability of some of the trails to the cabin were questionable so instead we got together with the Hales family for a faux camping trip just about a mile from our house while staying in our respective homes overnight. Here Kristan is cutting holes through the 2ft thick ice allowing us to ice fish. Our site was complete with a life sized snowman and a campfire.

Since neither of us have caught many fish in our lifetime the setting and watching of the gear is most of the fun so not much was lost with the discovery that there were no fish to be caught in this lake.

With our campfire came a good lunch of hotdogs and smores.

Kristofer spent most of the day napping comfortably next to the snowmachine but made an appearance for lunch time. Not to ever be short of Kristofer pictures here is Kristofer shopping after church on Sunday.

March 10 thru March 16
The biggest work "break through" this week was Karl being able to make progress on a Linux computer that should allow us to help the villages of Sandpoint, McGrath, and Port Alsworth operate their own Christian radio station without the expense of radio automation software. This progress, comes at a wonderful time as Karl has been working diligently on this for nearly two months. Another "break through" of sorts, is our ever so slow return to working on our house.

Here Karl is finishing the window trim upstairs, while Kristofer is looking on.

March 17 thru March 23
Kristofer rides to and from work in his little seat. Lately he has taken to pulling his hat down over his face. This is either to get a better taste or shield his eyes from the bright spring sun. This week when returning from the post office there were Easter presents for him. Here he is reading a card from Uncle Larry and Aunt Jan.

All the plush creatures were found to be tasty and the books colorful.

Kristofer is learning to laugh and enjoying the time recreating with his parents.

Karl installed some more trim and we installed the first set of blinds. This set is a test set to see if they are sufficient for keeping the long daylight hours from disturbing our sleep. Spring is here but we are sad to see winter leave so soon especially with so little real snow accumulation this year.

Here Kristofer and his daddy are relaxing together. On Sunday we got to celebrate Easter with "Bob and Dee" and their grandkids "Colt and Michelle". We enjoyed the time together and as well as preparing the big meal.

The many things we do to celebrate Easter really fall short. Fun cards, fuzzy animals, chocolate, colorful books and elaborate meals with good friends are good things we do to mark this day as special and different from the rest of the calendar, but what really can we do in response to the Ultimate Sacrifice that God made to completely redeem us from misdirected and ruined lives? He simply asks that we accept the gift and let Him use our lives for His glory.

March 24 thru March 30
Lots of "work" pictures this week. Here Kristofer is working on his guppy toy. At the office, Kristan is working on her multitasking skills.

Also at the radio station Karl and Mike are working hard at keeping the station running and keeping the computers fed with good music. Miss Joy is working on her power outage procedure skills.

At the house, Kristan is working painting more trim as Kristofer watches on, giving advice and critique.

Karl worked to get the rest of the window blinds installed upstairs. Kristofer worked to manage the excess inventory.