Friday, March 28

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, March 27

The Sunshine Awards

I met Amanda a while back through a group of bloggers I follow.  Her blog is so fun and I am addicted to her Instagram feed! She did a post over spring break titled "Sunshine Awards" and she invited me to participate.  I am a bit of an odd blogger, I guess...I am not into "growing" my blog and having a bazillion readers.  I always intended to keep it small, family and friends.  I have enjoyed getting to know a few people through various blogging networks though!

The way the Sunshine Awards work is a bit reminiscent of an old fashioned chain answer some questions and then ask others to answer some questions.  I'm a bit of a fuddy duddy in the chain letter department and I don't know 11 other bloggers to tag, but I'll play along and answer the questions for fun!!

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I was born in Idaho and I *love* potatoes.  Coincidence?  I think not!
2.  My dream job is to be a children's board game tester...seriously!
3.  When I am working on a big project I always hit a point where I want to throw the whole thing away and forget about it.  When I push through that point I feel a huge sense of satisfaction.
4.  I like to pretend I am an artist...
5.  5 years in Alaska and I still love the snow!
6.  I love books and used book stores.
7.  My other dream job would be to run a coffeshop/bookstore/fabric store.
8.  At least once a week I wake up in the middle of the night and have to read to fall back asleep.
9.  I love taking my kids outside--I love to watch (and listen) to them explore nature.
10.  My camera is my third child.
11.  If I were rich I would hire a maid to mop, dust, and change the sheets on the bunk beds.  All other chores I don't really mind. 

11 Questions to Answer…

1. What do you do for relaxation?
          Read, browse Pinterest, craft, bake, go outside.
2. What was the last project you completed?
          Kelsey's birthday dress.
3. What is your favorite thing about babies?
          They are still...and content in that stillness.  As and adult I often feel like I have to be constantly moving and productive.
4. What is your favorite meal you make?
          I don't have a favorite to make--anything I am looking forward to eating I enjoy making!
5. What is your significant other’s favorite meal you make?
          Breakfast's delicious!
6. Have you done any holistic healing?
          Nope.  Not unless you count eating real food. That's about it.
7. What is your favorite season?
          Winter.  I love the nesting and hunkering down at home.
8. Where is one place you want to see before you die?   
          Since I can only pick one I'll be really broad...Europe!
9. Why did you start blogging?
          To keep friends and family up to date when we moved from Washington to Alaska.
10. Who is your idol blogger?
          I love, love, love Meg Duerksen from Whatever.  If I could sit down for coffee with her...
11. How long can you do a handstand?
         0 seconds unless my hubby spots me (read: unless my hubby holds my feet)

Wednesday, March 26

Spring Break Part Two--Amber Lake

A bit later than promised, but here's my summary of the second half of our spring break adventures.  Time at our friends' cabin on Amber Lake near Trapper Creek.  On Wednesday morning we left Fairbanks and headed south.  There had been some snow on the pass, so the drive was a bit more stressful than it had been on the way up.  When we finally pulled into the Trapper Creek Tesoro the car was coated in ice from the trim line down.  I cleared the wheel wells, fueled up, and headed out to the cabin.  Scott and some other friends of our were a few hours behind us.

Over the next few days the kids played for hours and hours outside.  It was our girls and our friend and her two girls who are slightly older...their dad had to stay behind and work.  They were outside as early as 8:30am and we had to drag them inside at night.  Thursday and Friday were warm and beautiful.  Saturday was a bit chillier, but still not too bad.

We sledded, snow machined, skated, picnicked, pretended, and played some more.  Friday night the kids were so tired that we moms insisted on a movie night to wind down before bed.  While they had turned down a movie the night before in favor of shoveling the skating area, Friday night they were quite happy to park it on the couch for a bit!  We headed home on Saturday afternoon...most of the kids slept most of the way.  Kelsey was the only non-sleeper, the little stinker.  She did sleep in the next day...mama might have played a little trick with the clock to encourage that...;-)

Monday, March 24

Crazy Busy-ness

Wow!  Doesn't it often seem that time is either dragging or flying?  That was this weekend (and the days leading up to it!) for sure!  This weekend our church hosted a pastor's retreat.  A mission team from Florida flew up and pastors from small churches around SW Alaska joined in for the event.  Doesn't sound like that big of a deal--until I tell you that weekly attendance at our church is less less than 20 people, half of which are children/youth.  Two of us are available during the day to do this sort of stuff...the pastor's wife and I.  Thus I found myself (with our pastor's wife who has become a good friend of mine!) grocery shopping for 50 people for 10 meals.  Actually, the 50 people was really only 5 meals.  The other 5 meals were only for 20 or so people.  Still.  That's a lot of grocery shopping and cooking for two people to handle.  Our hubbies kicked in as much as they could around their work schedules and our youth missionary helped out a bit as well.  Even's a lot of work!  The good news is that the whole thing went very smoothly.  We did not run out of food and the meals were served on time!  On the down side, we were all exhausted by the end of it.  Whittier put on a great show though...beautiful, sunny weather the whole time!  We escaped to the great out of doors on Saturday and Sunday was so nice to get some fresh air.  Here are a few pictures...

Hope you had a good weekend, too!  I'll be back to tell you about the second half of spring break soon, I promise!!

Friday, March 21

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Monday, March 17

Spring Break Part One--Fairbanks

Here's how I summed up Spring Break 2014 on Facebook the other day...

Spring Break: 8 days, 875 miles, 15 hours of driving on wintry Alaska roads, 4 books on tape, 2 movies in the car, 4 days in Fairbanks, 4 days in Trapper Creek, temps from below zero to 40 above, a children's museum, the ice festival, sledding, snow machining, snow shoeing, ice skating, kick sledding, time with good friends, countless smiles and laughs. Until next spring break...

I left out the 5 loads of laundry, 1 side of the road potty stop, 1 (completely serious) threat to "turn this car around", 2 new headlights, and a whole bunch of snacks!

It was a great week!  We left Whittier on Saturday afternoon and spent the night in Anchorage with our friends we were driving to Fairbanks with the next day.  Scott did not join us for the Fairbanks portion of the trip this year, so after a Saturday night of lots of playing and pizza he headed home to Whittier on Sunday and we headed north.  Overall the drive was good.  We stopped in Talkeetna for a a stretch break and visited with a friend who lives there, then continued on.  We stopped in Cantwell, and Nenana after Talkeetna.  Finally we arrived in Fairbanks and our lovely friend had her famous tortilla soup waiting for us.  Delicious!!

The next day our host had some prior commitments, so we took her advice and headed to the Fairbanks Children's Museum.  I can't say enough good things about it!  What a fantastic place!!  Lots of fun things to do for a variety of ages.  We closed the place down that day, that's how much fun we had!  With your admission to the children's museum you get entrance to the University of Alaska Museum of the North which contains both a historical museum of the various regions of Alaska and a fabulous art museum.  

The next day we got to visit our host's son at work at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.  He's a biologist there whose main focus is caribou in northern Alaska.  Kelsey was in total awe of meeting a real-life biologist! 

After lunch we headed to the BP World Ice Art Championships to check out the 2014 offerings.  We had enjoyed 2013's ice art so much that we had vowed to make a repeat visit.  We were not disappointed!  First we hit up the ice park area..

And then we moved on to the carvings.  We adults came back later in the evening to see the carvings all lit up, too!

They were spectacular!  We were surprised by how much melting had happened in the 4 hours between when we left in the afternoon and returned in the evening.  It was almost 40 degrees in Fairbanks that afternoon...after it had been -10 the morning before!  We were glad for the sun when we were walking around, though!

We left Fairbanks on Wednesday morning and headed to Trapper Creek...I'll tell you all about that on Wednesday!

Monday, March 10

Spring Break

I am taking a break from this space this week.  The girls have their spring break this week and we have some things planned so I'll be back here next week to tell you all about our adventures.  If it is your spring break this week too, enjoy!

Friday, March 7

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, March 5

Weekend Bliss

Oh! This was one of those weekends that makes you wish that Monday (or in this case, Tuesday) would never come.  So much fun packed into just a few many laughs and smiles!  I wish I could find the words to tell you how great these weekend retreats refreshing and rejuvenating.  That feeling when you can just BE.  You can just relax and enjoy.  It is wonderful!

The drive up was beautiful.  We noticed how much lighter it was than it was when we went in January.  We are gaining daylight fast!  Later that night the aurora were out.  Not real bright or multicolored, but I woke up the girls to go see.  Their reaction (after begging me to wake them!): "Neat Mom.  Can we go back to bed?"

Saturday we took a snow machine ride up the road a bit and found the perfect picnic spot!

I mean really...does it get any better than that?  We met some folks who were setting up for their annual boys weekend golf tournament on the ice.  Sounds like fun!  After lunch we kept right on soaking up that warm sunshine...

Then we were treated to a beautiful sunset...

Sunday was the official Iditarod start.  Last year we went to the ceremonial start in Anchorage and loved it.  This year we went to the restart in Willow.  What fun!  A lot less crowded, warmer, and these folks are actually ON THE TRAIL!  They are really racing at this point!!

Aliy Zirkle--a favorite at our house!

Nicolas Petit--a hometown favorite from Girdwood
Justin Savidis whom we met this summer at Seavey's Iditiaride

The restart starts at 2pm and mushers leave every 10 minutes.  With 69 mushers, it goes on for awhile!  We didn't mind one bit.  It was so fun to watch and it was so warm and sunny that we didn't mind one bit!  The girls played...

And the adults people watched and visited.  These folks across from us brought out their couch?!?!?

They had set up on an outhouse on the ice, too.  Some friends of ours flew up to meet us...

That was one of the things that struck me about the whole day.  We saw 69 dog sled teams, planes and helicopters buzzed overhead all day.  The edge of the lake was lined with small planes!  Snow machines buzzed up and down the lake, and folks were cross country skiing around as well.  There were quads moving folks here and there and plenty of sleds.  No cars though! 

We returned to the cabin that night and watched the moon reflect off the lake.  Beautiful.

The next day we returned to our picnic spot and enjoyed one last hot dog roast before loading up and heading home.  We said bye-bye to our fun weekend with this silly family selfie...

...and returned to real life.  Real life is pretty awesome too, but mini-vacations?  That's where it's at!!