It all started near the beginning of a Fairbanks October in 2009. After our post Forest Sports Festival Bonfire meeting, we were able to meet up several more times with mutual friends. Shortly after we began showing interest in each other, Missy left to California for a month! Well distance made the hearts grow fonder, and when she got back we decided there might be something real between us. We had the same favorite beer- Deschutte’s Black Butte, Missy liked Josh’s jeep, and Josh liked Missy’s dog; it probably was a match made in Heaven. The rest of the winter was filled with adventures leading to a spring of even more adventures! That March Josh met the family during the annual Winter King Salmon Derby in Homer. Josh never has been a fisherman, and in the company of the Deimans that is a rarity! Despite his lack of knowledge or skill when it came to fishing, Josh was well received by the family. The adventures continued and as summer neared plans were made. Missy headed to Ninilchik for the fishing season and Josh headed towards Valdez to guide kayak trips. Missy was able to spend quite a bit of time in Valdez, and Josh even had a chance to visit Ninilchik. As the summer ended, they headed back to Fairbanks so Missy could finish her degree, and Josh could teach another year of Kindergarten. That fall brought the brewing of beer, a woodstove, and a Master’s Degree! Missy finished her graduate work in marine biology and successfully defended her thesis late in October. The most notable adventure was a surprise trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving with Josh’s family. The surprise prompted questions like “Are you getting married?” and “Are you pregnant?” but despite the confusion, Josh’s family quickly and warmly welcomed Missy. As the seasons continued to pass, Christmas was spent in Ninilchik. As the weather rose above freezing in Fairbanks- that means it’s almost spring!- adventures kept coming, and lead all the way through the season. With her newly bestowed degree, Missy obtained a biologist position with Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Dutch Harbor. So we were moving. Missy headed to the Aleutians in late April, and as the school year ended, Josh submitted his resignation before heading to Valdez for another summer of kayaking. In the midst of summer, Missy came to Valdez for a short visit before we had to return to Fairbanks for the big move. On our last day in Valdez, on our way north towards Fairbanks, we pulled over in scenic Thompson Pass. At just under 3,000 feet on a super clear and sunny day, we took a short walk off the road. Overlooking the mountains and valleys of the pass, Josh bent to one knee and asked for Missy’s hand in marriage. Obviously Missy said yes! (Otherwise we wouldn’t be writing this!) For the rest of the 380 mile drive- in separate cars- there was nothing but aching cheeks from all the smiling. Once back in Fairbanks we had the arduous job of packing our home into boxes and totes and shipping as much as we could to Unalaska. The rest was stuffed into the back of the truck or the jeep. We headed to Ninilchik to continue the celebration of our engagement before we got on the ferry to our new island home. We boarded the ferry in Homer at 9:00 p.m. and after some incredible scenery, a number of stops, some wide open ocean, and 4 days of living at a table and two benches, we arrived at the dock in Dutch harbor at 9:00 a.m. So here we are, on Unalaska Island in between the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean more than 1000 miles from where we met and last lived. It’s been incredible getting this far, action packed and full of adventures. We are both looking forward to our marriage and spending the rest of our lives looking for adventures together. We can’t wait for the ceremony and we’re excited to be sharing it all with our closest family and friends. If you’re reading this it means you have played an important part somewhere along the way, whether it was before we met, during our first few months knowing one another, maybe you’re a new addition to our growing circle of friends, or maybe you’ve been there all along. Thank you to everyone for all that you have done for us in the past, and like we said, we can’t wait to share this super special time with you.
Once upon a time in a land about 1000 miles from where we now reside, there was an epic competition. The exhibition was held once each year, and reached Paul Bunyon-esque proportions. In the past both missy and josh had been involved in this performance of skills of the saw, peavey, axe, hands, and feet. Logs were thrown, sawed, chopped, burnt, floated and burled. But in this year- year of the blue ox- Missy was unable to rear her groggy head and defend her truly Alaskan reputation from the defending Belle of the Woods known only as Shake. Shake was big, burly, and boy could she hurl a double-edged wood splitter. The day was in the beginning of October- a time when snow is not unusual, but not expected. The birch were barren, the ground was hard, and the air was crisp, but the smell of sawdust and wood smoke filled the air. Despite the ending of autumn and the nearness of winter, paired with the excitement that has become synonymous with both, the sauce got the better part of missy that day. On the other hand, josh, he was in his prime. And by in his prime, I mean quite possibly the best shape of his life. He showed up ready for one thing and one thing only- the demise of his competitors. Partnered with a lumberjack like fellow who goes by Cocoa Puff- yes after the cereal- and his mangey mutt named after the Alaskan town of Paxson, Josh was ready for the day of Alaskan forest sports and all it could provide… or was he? Along with Belle Shake and her stud Nelson, Josh and Cocoa met the rest of the proposed team. Now for those of you who do not- or did not- know Josh, he was not very keen on meeting new people, let alone teammates. The day presented it’s challenges- remembering names being one of them- Amy, Amy, Hogue, Pat- it’s a good thing one Amy was tall and the other short and they conveniently went by their generalized height. Hogue and pat, though close, were easily discernable by their general demeanor. The events of the day went on as expected, with the team competing with the best that those parts of interior Alaska have to offer. Logs were sawed in under 5 seconds, fires built in less than 11 minutes, and axes split bull’s eyes. Truly a day to be experienced. As the end neared and brats were washed down with hot chili, a new face showed. His head was large, his body larger, a tail that could take out a telephone pole, and more hair than the Himalayan Yeti. It was the dog known to many as a killer in the green ford, but to us, he was Mr. Pruhdoe- the Mr. that is now common to his name came much later. Josh didn’t even see it coming- he couldn’t have- but a girl whom he thought he knew owned the large relative of the Newfoundland breed. He was not pleased, but unbeknownst to him, he had never before made the acquaintance of the brindled beast’s owner- her name was Missy. Her late arrival- a sure sign of her copious consumption the prior night- was nothing short of timely. Just as the day’s events were drawing to a close, Hogue- who was somewhat like the ringleader of this motley crew that had been joined with josh and his gang- invited everyone present to an evening of celebratory festivities. A festivus for the rest uv us as some might say. After a picture of all participatory member of the team, they dispersed, only to converge on the sight dictated by Hogue as his home in progress. Later that evening, near the time that had been set, Josh and Cocoa sans Paxson arrived at the homestead. The two were greeted by none other than Missy, her large dog, and a companion who was more reluctant to speak. As the night progressed, drinks were drank, wood was burnt, and a competition brewed between the most unlikely of participants. The large pruhdoe was put up against the miniature Azalea- some type of Jack Russell terrier, maybe even a miniature version! Despite the intense canine competition, everyone was able to imbibe and socialize around the fire. In their minglings, Josh and Missy met, and found that they enjoyed each others conversation and company. The night went on, and the two continued their talking not knowing that a seed had been planted. Over the next few weeks the seed began to swell and grow, eventually sprouting into the beginnings of a relationship. Even though neither were in a spot or time for a relationship, it somehow became so, and it was. After repeated meetings in social settings, josh decided that if pruhdoe were included, he could handle their being together. Missy on the other hand, she felt that if pruhdoe was accepted by josh, that there might be something brewing. With josh giving pruhdoe a firm 80% (and missy about 20%) and missy deciding that she might be able to handle the great white north for a few more months, the relationship began. Now, with pruhdoe being a slim 9.4% of the relationship, josh and missy are engaged to be married. After almost two years in the making, their love has become one that is never ending. With the approval of family, friends, and on lookers, the two have become almost inseparable, and developed a love and relationship that only two so perfect for each other could have.
We’ve settled in to our new home, and everything has found a place- even Pruhdoe (he likes the couch). Missy’s job with Alaska Department of Fish & Game is going great. She’s enjoying the work- getting to go on the different boats, counting and measuring crabs, and even some community outreach. Josh is getting to know the Elementary and High School as a substitute teacher while he takes some graduate classes towards his master’s degree. The view from our house on Haystack Hill is nothing short of stellar. Looking over Iliuliuk Harbor and the fishing boats, we see Amaknak Island where we can see some of the town of Dutch Harbor. Past Amaknak Island is Unalaska Bay surrounded by steep mountains and a dormant volcano. As we look further north Unalaska Bay opens up to the wide open Bering Sea. It is not uncommon for us to see the spouts of humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, seals, or Steller’s sea lions from our window. We get some awesome weather, with powerful wind gusts of over 100mph! There’s plenty of rain, but it just makes the Island a nicer green! We enjoyed the salmon berries and blue berries this fall, and are looking forward to some skiing once the snow appears! We really enjoy the uniqueness of Unalaska, but most of all we’re happy to be living on the water!
Ninilchik is a small town of somewhere near 800 people. It is on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula on the shores of the Cook Inlet, about 200 miles or three and a half hours by car south of Anchorage. The closest airport is in Homer, but the best option to get you close is to either fly to Kenai where you can rent a car (the plane is more likely to land in Kenai than Homer) or rent a car in Anchorage and drive south. Just as much else in Alaska, the drive from Anchorage along the Turnagain Arm and through the Kenai Peninsula is incredibly beautiful- one of Alaska’s scenic by-ways. Ninilchik is considered by some as rural, so it is well worth a search on Google maps if you have yet to visit. The closest grocery stores that actually might have most of what you want is either a 40-mile drive north or south (Fred Meyer’s and Safeway in Soldotna, or Safeway in Homer). Ninilchik is home to arguably the best Razor Clam digging and Halibut fishing in Alaska and possibly the WORLD! There is a General Store (very general, and renowned for their ice cream and dog treats), a Post Office, Gas Station, Small library, a few nice shops (be sure to check out The Peddler), and more fishing charters than people.
There are plenty of other towns on the Kenai Peninsula within a day’s drive of Ninilchik. Homer and Soldotna being the closest, there is also Kenai and Seward, along with many other smaller towns. A quick internet search should yield some activities that are right up your alley!
Nathan, or shall we say Dr. Stewart. Missy and Nathan have been put through many tight situations, whether they were in a too small office, or on a tiny zodiac in too big waves. Nathan has recently completed his PhD in marine biology and is spending time with his wife Shelly and dog Tropka in Boston. Nathan will be officiating the wedding ceremony.
Kelsey is Missy’s only sister. Kelsey is one year younger than Missy. Spending her summers fishing with the family she spends the rest of the year in Anchorage where she is in her third year teaching first grade. Kelsey will be Missy’s Maid of Honor for the wedding.
Maria is an aunt of Melissa’s. Growing up across the street, Maria was like another sister to Missy. Maria lives in Anchorage with Kelsey, where she puts her awesome attitude to work with troubled youth. Maria will be one of the lovely bridesmaids for our wedding.
Yukonna has been Missy’s best friend since kindergarten. She has moved up the road from Ninilchik to Soldotna, and lives there with her husband Tim and two beautiful girls, Emma (She’s the flower girl) and Olivia (she’s still working on walking). Yukonna will be one of the lovely bridesmaids for our wedding.
Adam is Josh’s only brother. Adam is two years younger than Josh, and has just graduated with a degree in Music Education. He has started his first year of teaching high school choir and music theory in New Jersey. Adam will be Josh’s best man.
Nelson has been a friend of Josh’s since they were in 2nd grade. Josh and nelson drove across the country to Alaska to attend College at UAF. After graduating, like josh, he stayed in Alaska. Nelson still resides in Fairbanks. Nelson is a Groomsman for the wedding.
Jared has been a counterpart in many of Missy and Josh’s adventures. Everything from brewing beer, touching The Stanley Cup, and intense sledding all have been partially thanks to Jared’s scheming. After completing his MS in Marine Biology he moved to Homer where he is an Observer for Alaskan fisheries. Jared is a Groomsman for the wedding.
Mr. Pruhdoe was rescued from an Anchorage animal shelter by Missy five years ago. At about 6 years old, he enjoys sleeping on the couch, playing with tennis balls, and eating tasty treats. He is ever vigilant on his quest to catch and retrieve all species of squirrels. The ground squirrels of Unalaska have been his most recent challenge. He is the ring bearer for the wedding service.
Emma is Yukonna’s oldest daughter. Being born in 2009, she’s at the age where she’s super cute and ready for anything- and ready to get there! (Not that she hasn’t always been and won’t always be super cute.) Emma will be the flower girl for the wedding service.