October through December 2008

September 29 thru October 5
Since we've been back in Houston we've been doing a lot of preparations for winter. Here we are installing our back door. Maybe someday it will actually be useful with a deck and such.

Kristofer is growing. Now piggyback rides are getting quite comfortable for all involved. Kristofer has developed an obssession with the refridgerator. Just the sound of the door opening and he comes madly crawling to get a peek inside.

Hey you, back to work!(pointing is a new hobby) With John's help our woodshed is full.

Some of our last winter preparations include installing snow brakes for the new chimney that is for a future woodstove in our basement. These snow brakes will hold the snow on the roof so that the snow won't slide off suddenly and damage the chimney.

With some friends coming in November to help us with drywall in our basement, we are working to get the last bits of home functionality shoved into ceilings and walls before they are covered up. Here Karl and Kristofer check the list and then get back to pulling more wire.

Sunday afternoon brought the "Termination Dust" that has been descending for weeks. Summer is over.

October 6 thru October 12
We are still making progress on the house. This week we got the individual heating zones wired up and functioning. Kristofer is practicing his leatherman skills.

John had a birthday this week and we celebrated together. The fire induced glaze was delicious.

The snow has come and gone a couple of times this week.

Sunday we go into town and usually do our weekly shopping. Shopping can wear on any guy.

October 13 thru October 19
With a little more snow this week Kristofer got out to explore. Still some time before he can reach the pedals but this driving thing looks like fun.

OK why exactly did you guys get me up at 6AM? To get on a plane.... huh.

After some time waiting at the Cold Bay airport we are back into the plane and headed for Sand Point.

Where is Sand Point? Well this sign pretty much clears that up, the middle of no where. This town is down in the terrirtory of "Deadliest Catch". From our room at the bed and breakfast you can see the cannery that is the main point of commerce.

Our room was very comfortable. Kristofer enjoyed learning 52 card pickup from his mom.

With the FCC eventually granting us a license, now we finally got down to put the translator back on the air.

The antenna was out of tune but we didn't discover this until the nice sunny day was gone. Even with plenty of rain coming down on the slick metal roof we managed to get the antenna tuned up and broadcasting efficiently.

On Saturday we were headed back. A nice lady gave Kristofer a small chocolate chip cookie on the plane. He managed to get maximum coverage.

Well we are back home to a roaring fire in the fireplace and a chance to get into the dishwasher again.

October 20 thru October 26
We have now caught up all of the missing updates in August and September. Be sure to check the Pictures section to catch up if you've missed some of the weeks we were late in posting.
Here Kristofer and Kristan try a new method for getting to work. With his snow suit Kristofer can now get up close and personal with the snow.

You've seen plenty of evidence before but here is some more views of Kristofer working along side us.

Opening a little present to find some socks that were made in Korea, just like mommy.

The pond is frozen. Here Kristofer is out walking on the ice just a few weeks after walking on ..... well anything.

Making some progress in the basement getting the last few wires routed.

With all the wires shoved into the ceiling John and Karl got to work getting all the insulation stuffed in.

Sunday afternoon we went out to get some more firewood.

Hauled back home and chopped up. Not bad for an afternoon.

October 27 thru November 2
Kristofer is growing ever more curious about how life works by the day. This week he learned many things by observing Daddy walk through the everyday tasks of life. Here, Karl is changing over to snow tires on the mission truck and Kristofer is learning about lug nuts.

As we prepare for two friends to come up next week and help hang drywall in our basement, Kristofer is peering over our shoulders.

Our son seems fascinated with the woodstove and is wondering where Nenana is and why we are going there.

Beautiful winter Alaska sites on our drive north for VFCM Board Meetings.

November 3 thru November 9
This week started out in Nenana for VFCM Board Meetings. Here Kristofer is visiting with friends who he does not often get to see.

On the fifth of the month, Kristofer had his first birthday. Here he is enjoying opening presents and playing with all the gifts! YEAH, I love this birthday stuff!.

Friends (affectionately known as the Bobsey Twins) are here and drywall hanging has started in earnest. WOW! What great progress.

November 10 thru November 16
This week started off with more construction work. With the Bobsey Twins working on drywall in the basement, Karl, Kristan, Kristofer, and John were able to continue working on insulating and building the "sheer" wall in the garage.

With Don and Dewey (A.K.A. The Bobsey Twins) any time is a great time. However meal time seemed to have the most laughs. Don is shown here eating a miracle whip sandwhich while Dewey is making friends with Kristofer.

Kristofer loves his noodles and well . . . Don is trying hard to open the plastic wrap that holds his tamale.

The week ended with another quick trip to Nenana so that the Bobsey Twins could also encourage the other VFCM missionaries including the Eldridges, the Blair Family, and the Bennetts.

November 17 thru November 23
Since the Bobsey Twins have returned to Washington, Building Inspector Kristofer Thieme appears to be happy with the drywall work underneath the stairs, but rather unhappy with the materials left on the job site.

On a relatively warm day for Alaska winters (-5 degrees), Karl is replacing the snow plow pump solenoid on the mission truck after it burnt up. Kristofer looks on from the warm truck cab.

Again we were headed north to Nenana to prepare to go to the VFCM translator village of Hughes at the beginning of next week.

November 24 thru November 30
On Tuesday Karl and Brian flew out to the village of Hughes to repair the translator there.

The satellite receiver there had died. Karl and Brian replaced the receiver and did a repeak of the satelite dish to get the best possible signal. Hughes is back on the air.

With some snow in the air, the air taxi chose not to land for the afternoon flight so Karl and Brian got to spend the night in the gym at the school. It was fun exploring the different amenities at the school and getting to spend the night in Hughes.

Once back on the road system, another drive of the Parks highway to get back home and then.... getting ready for another journey, this time a couple weeks of vacation back "outside" (not in Alaska) to visit family and friends.

Off to the airport. With all the airline cutbacks, it no longer gets any better than beverage service.

Together with family in a world we haven't seen in so long.

Then for a complete contrast to remote Alaskan villages, straight to downtown Seattle for the big Macy's parade.

Next Auntie Sara came and we got to have Thanksgiving together! (a few days late)

December 1 thru December 7
Enjoying our first full week of vacation. We got to go out to Pho Vietnamese soup with family and some friends from Intel. We also got to restock at the asian food stores in Tacoma.

We enjoyed visiting with friends new and old.

Lots of Christmas tree decorating with friends and family.

Any good trip away from the snow and the busyness of Alaska just begs for a motorcycle ride!

And what a motorcycle ride! Kristan got to ride in the annual Olympia Toy Run with her Papa and Kristofer got to watch the big parade of more than 8000 motorcycles.

December 8 thru December 14
Well Monday saw us headed south toward Karl's family. But before leaving Washington we had to check out the new Cabela's in Lacey, WA. Definitely a fun store, Kristofer enjoyed the aquarium and the many displays but we didn't really see anything that couldn't have been purchased at home.

First stop in Oregon, Kristofer gets to meet his Aunt Anita! We enjoyed the quick time we had together.

Tuesday we had a get together with friends from OSU and Intel at the Cheng's Mongolian grill that Karl used to frequent in his early days at Intel in Portland.

Here we've made it to the farm. Many of you may be wondering exactly why the URL for our website is firstfruitsfarm.com, well this is the place. Grandpa Tom took us out into the orchard where we could check traps. Here Kristofer checks out a nutria, they are an invasive species of water rat that digs tunnels that harm the apple trees.

Many wonders on the farm, from riding the 4-wheeler to being able to eat delicious apples right off the tree.

Plenty of fun time with Grandpa Tom and Grandma "Neen".

December 15 thru December 21
As we prepared to head back home to Alaska, the Pacific Northwest made an attempt to disguise itself as Alaska. However a few key details just weren't quite right. These "moose" appear severely under-fed. Then this Porsche all chained up, who are you guys kidding? This isn't Alaska.

Off to the airport to get back to our real Alaskan home. After close to a 3 hour delay where we made a few new friends we are finally headed home.

Well here it is. Just a few more opportunities for Kristofer to play with John's phone before he starts his drive back to New York on Sunday.

Well Christmas time's a'comin and we've got to get ready. OK dad I got the garage all cleaned up, let's go, let's go!

Go to get the Christmas tree. This is the one! OK, now hang on while we tow you home daddy.

December 22 thru December 28
More Christmas preparations. Cookies, cookies and more cookies.

After a couple of days in the garage thawing out, the Christmas tree is ready to come inside.

Christmas day! Two of our traditions: Following the Star and Cinnamon Rolls.

OK guys I'm ready for another tradition, let's open presents.

After the celebration of Christmas, some of the realities of living here in Alaska. A white Christmas means more snow to plow and the plow mount broke on some of the snow that set up in the warmer temperatures while we were gone. Here Karl is getting on the job training, mostly from YouTube welding videos and trial by fire. This was the first of three welding experiments before the plow bracket was sucessfully repaired.