August 2009

I discovered the English Russia blog a few months back while trying to find a picture of a horse and buggy going through a drive-thru. Ever since, I’ve kept up with the RSS feed and it has turned out to be one of the most interesting blogs I follow. The blurb on their “about me” page:

English Russia is a daily entertaiment blog devoted to the events happening in Russian speaking countries, such as Russia (Russian Federation), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, etc. Everyday something interesting happens in the countries occupying 1/6 of the populated world. We are here to inform you about it.

Aside from the occasional photos of young Russian women playing in fountains (and the sidebars advertising Russian brides), I find this blog very interesting. Russia has always intrigued me. In this area of Alaska we have many friends and neighbors who were born in Russia or The Ukraine, and I would love to know more about the Russian culture. I know that reading Dostoevsky and perusing a blog about Russian eccentricities isn’t going to give me the entire picture, but it’s an interesting place to start.

Some of my favorite entries over the past year:

  • The Northern Fleet Submarines – pictures of the Russian fleet based off the White Sea and the Arctic Ocean
  • B-413 Submarine – Pictures of the interior of this Russian submarine, commissioned in 1968 and decommissioned in 2000
  • Vladivostok war mazes – This stronghold was built in the 1920’s and held functioning arms until 1992
  • Amber Room – This room paneled in amber was given to Peter I by the King of Prussia in 1716 until it was taken out of the country by Nazis during WWII, never to have reappeared

With the first pregnancy I craved cheesecake and tex-mex. With the second it was health food. With the third I can’t get enough Thai food and cheap frozen burritos. Forget about the burritos for a second, that’s not how I want to be remembered 🙂 Last night I found myself seriously craving some Thai coconut chicken soup (Thom Kar Kai?) and spring rolls. Lucky for hubby, the restaurant had just closed a few minutes before. This afternoon, craving intact, I remembered a long lost package of rice noodle soup that had lain uneaten for months on our garage shelves. Enter: Thai Kitchen Thai Curry noodle soup. Oh dear. I am happy. This instant wonder isn’t about to replace a monthly date to the local Thai food joint, but it is sure a good thing for a pregnant lady with a craving. Plus, it’s a whole lot cheaper than springing on the real thing too often.

Oh, and so you too can plan your next dinner date, here’s the link to Wasilla’s Mekong Thai Cuisine restaurant. There’s an online menu so you can plan ahead. If you’re going for lunch you won’t regret ordering the lunch special. Spring rolls, soup of the day, and an entree for around $10. Kevin likes the traditional Pad Thai and I love Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles). Yum.

If I could have a theme song for this year, that would be it. Ever feel like you’re battling the same stupid stuff over and over again? I am constantly coming back to my lack of a “clean heart” being the root of the sinful thoughts in my dopey head. Wanna peek? Things might get a bit ugly. Maybe you should cover your eyes a wee bit, just in case.

Thought’s that have run through Janeen’s head:

“Yeah, well, she may have a spotless house, but her kids are terrors”

“What? She doesn’t have a garden? One point for Janeen!”

“Who cares if you grind your own wheat and do a bunch of other “cool” stuff Janeen, SHE does all that and more.”

My biggest help when I’m feeling weighed down by my own sinful heart is prayer. Lots of prayer. All these rediculous thoughts tend to pull me back into the one place I don’t need to be: myself. I’m already obsessed with myself as it is, I don’t need to be putting the spotlight there any more than necessary 😉 Praying desperately for God to help me focus on HIM and to see humanity through His eyes brings me relief. I am so thankful to be the child of a God who desires for us to come to him directly, and often.

I’m finally getting around to posting pics from our July Sitka trip. This was a different visit than usual, as Sitka was just entering a drought. Yep, a drought. Sitka is located smack dab in the middle of the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest. This trip was a scorcher, with temps in the 80’s for several days, and not a drop of rain the entire time. Stop laughing, Californian friend.

Mom&DadThe two people responsible for our uber-relaxing Sitka vacation. Well, they’re responsible for a whole lot more than just that 🙂 This room in their house is just awesome, with windows everywhere allowing light to fill the space.

IMG_2609 copySitka organizes a great little 20 minute parade each 4th of July (well, several times a year actually). Sitkans will take any opportunity to get out and socialize, and the 4th of July weekend is jam-packed with activities.

IMG_2643 copyWhile the rest of the town was busy engaging in post-parade activities (community dance, water-fight, and Coast Guard rescue demonstration) we snuck out to the local swimming spot, aptly titled “Sandy Beach”. The boys enjoyed an Alaskan-style frolick in the waves.

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Little Goat at the beach. Insert the following phrase “Seeeeeee!” Little Goat would have attempted a swim to Japan had we allowed him the opportunity.

IMG_2716 copyFortress of the Bear is an orphaned bear & wildlife education center. Located at “the end of the road” in Sitka, the fortress encompasses two old clarifier tanks abandoned after the closing of the Sitka pulp mill in the 1990’s. One of the tanks houses a bear habitat with a viewing habitat high above the bottom of the tank. The other tank is home to several different animals, including rabits, chickens, goats, pigs, and a lone pony. While he got to hold a rabbit, the highlight of the trip for #1 was getting to see the massive pigs. These pigs were gigantic, and stinky, and nasty. Watching them reminded me of the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. Seeing the filth that pigs live in, and their disgusting food gives new light to the prodigal son’s claim that even the pigs lived better than he.

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Next to the pigs, the barnacles were the favorite creature of the trip for #1. Grammy did a great job explaining all about barnacles and their method of eating. I look forward to when the boys are old enough to fly down for a week of fun/education filled Grammy camp.

IMG_2840 copyAnother highlight of the trip was opening and closing Grampy’s garage door repeatedly. He was fascinated by the fact that he could do it himself without pushing a button (it’s a manual door).

IMG_2870 copyAn Alaskan wading pool. Thanks to my brother Randy for letting us use his inflatable in such a manner.

IMG_2914 copyJimmy’s first trip out on Uncle Randy’s boat. We went out fishing for Kings but got skunked. Jimmy learned how to flip the bale on the pole, let out line, and reel it back in. He called it “casting”. Sure buddy.

For those of you that have tried to access the blog recently and got a “This blog has been suspended for violation of the WordPress terms of service” well no worries, we’ve got things straightened out. WordPress didn’t like my use of sidebar banners pointing to sites like MyPoints and Inbox Dollars so I was temporarily suspended until I removed them. Maybe someday I’ll come back and do a post on some of these sites because I think they’re worthy of knowing about (if my pile of FREE maternity clothes has anything to say about it).

I’ve had a million posts bouncing around in my brain the last few days, so hopefully I’ll get back to my regular posting schedule. But first, I have promised more Sitka pics, so let’s see if I can get those puppies up and running 🙂