Friday, October 31, 2008

We made it Home!

The landscape in Hooper Bay changed in our absence: Three awesome windmills, set to be functional sometime in the coming months. Hooray for wind energy!
We got back and settled in to Hooper Bay just in time to celebrate Halloween in style:

Esther is a mermaid, and I am the princess and the pea!

Even if the costume did induce her world-famous pout (seriously, did you ever see a child's lip stick out so far?) :)Esther doing a beautiful mermaid dance in her gorgeous costume......and here's how we managed to fit her out for trick or treating in it, over her snowsuit -- good thing we got it one size too big!
Here are some pictures from our trip back, which took us briefly through Seattle and Anchorage.Here we are arriving in Seattle, no worse for the wear after our first solo flight, the three of us -- we fared well! Esther is SO in her element when we're traveling; she was so much help. (picture courtesy of Melissa)
Jodi, Bob and Lucas stopped to see us in Seattle at Joyce's house -- Joyce was so awesome to host our whirlwind day visit and allow all our friends to descend upon her house to see us, too -- as well as a bunch of other folks that it was fabulous to catch up with. Here is a picture of Esther and Iris with Melissa and Dana:
We had a great meet up with Jill in Anchorage (also where Tuluk joined our travels to help us out)Here we are being cultured at a "Chocolat" shop -- yumWe checked out a cool Korean grocery (Esther and the crabs match in their lovely shade of blue) next to an awesome Indian restaurantAnd even had time for an awesome afternoon at H2Oasis, the totally fun indoor waterpark, meeting up with the Greniers. Esther & Simon are sliding out of the watery pirateship, in this picture.

Our trip from Anchorage to Hooper Bay, on Monday October 13 (otherwise thought of as "D-Day", since we were traveling with Esther and Iris, all our insane baggage -- they still let us check 3 bags per passenger within Alaska, and it's just too tempting to resist the opportunity to take advantage of that! So we end up with a ridiculous amount of baggage -- AND the dogs, Fancy and Draco, reclaimed from Jill & Jeremy's doglot, spayed and neutered as well as mange-free & healed up -- yes, we had quite the situation and I felt it would be my greatest travel achievement yet!) actually went smoother than could be believed, with only a few bumps regarding the dogs in Anchorage, but we all made it home by the evening! Here is our whole baggage situation piled up at Hageland Aviation, the small plane company who took us from Bethel to Hooper. When I checked in, I said, "Hello, I'm with this circus over here" and I'm thinking they knew they'd need a bigger plane...:)Tuluk grooving to his country tunes and Iris sleeps away her time while waiting for our flight home at Hageland.

We got home to an intact house and a cold wind -- going from Indiana October to Hooper Bay October was a chilly transition -- but actually, there is more light here, longer in the evenings, than there was in Indiana, so it kind of evens out No, I'm not flashing you -- there's a baby inside my coat! This is Iris's first honda ride, the day after we got home, over to Aana's (grandma's) house. Aanas, aunties, and cousins were all overjoyed to reunite with Esther and enamored of Iris.Here she is, zonked out on Aana's bed (rumored among the Hale family to be where the babies get the best sleep) in her Qaspeq (traditional shirt) and Piluguqs (booties I made for her, which got the approval of Aanas and aunties, thank goodness).

Back at home, everything is settling down as we are settling in. Here are Ping and Iris getting aquainted.
Draco & Fancy are doing great -- they remembered their routines and everything! It is so good to have them back; they have grown into such beautiful dogs. I am so happy with them, and grateful to Jill & Jeremy for taking such good care of them. Here they are enjoying their outside digs -- though they still get to sleep in the porch at night.

Going back to work has not nearly been as traumatic as I thought it would be -- Iris has been doing fabulous, and thanks to Jodi who loaned me her pump, Iris can still breastfeed exclusively. Esther has been having a harder time with me going back to work than Iris, but she's getting OK about it, now, as I've been back to work for two weeks. I love my new position as a reading specialist, and even though I am installed in kind of a wierd room overlooking the commons area of the school and so it gets loud, I have really fixed it up to my liking and I kind of love it. It's dubbed the "Treehouse", and it does feel like one, up high overlooking everything. I love the rafters, and all the natural light, even if it does get really loud.

Tuluk has been working nights and it works out great for us -- we have been able to have Tuluk's niece babysit most days to let him get more sleep, but it's a lot less stressful than last year regardless. And then he grabs naps through the day:

I'll end with some of the many expressions of Iris -- including some of the first smiles -- who is a full two months old, now!
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