Saturday, July 25, 2009

Life in the Last Frontier!

I hate titling my blog entries, especially when it is just normal everyday stuff that I am blogging about. That being said, here is a quick update of what we have been up to lately. Nothing too exciting, just normal life.

Well, Jerry's niece, Sydney is getting ready to leave us today, and we have truly enjoyed her visit. Although, I think it is time for her and Noah to have some time apart. They have gotten along so well until the past few days, and if you didn't know any better you would think they are siblings. They even fight like them. They do love each other though!

We have had a beautiful summer up here! From what the locals tell us, this is the nicest summer since 1993. Yeah for us! So, we headed to the local lake a week or so ago. The kids had a great day at the beach. The water was a bit chillier than Hawaii, but just as clear and fun to play in.
Noah & Paige burying Syd!
Last weekend, we opted to be the tourists and we went gold panning at a mine just a few miles outside of town. It was a lot of fun! We didn't strike it rich, but we all came home with a few flakes of gold. On the way back into town we stopped by the pipeline so Sydney could see just how big it is.
Hopefully those little bags are holding "PAY DIRT"
That's what it looks like before you pan it all down.
True gold miners.
We struck it rich! ;-)
The Alaska Pipeline

Noah has been keeping busy with soccer again this summer. He is really getting to be a good little player. Although his team hasn't won too many games, he continues to improve his skills and have a great time playing.

Paige is chatting more all the time and continues to explore her personality options. I'm pretty sure she will be my tough one, but I am praying that she is a gentle tough. ;-) We'll see!

Check our my shoes!
Yeah, that's right, it's Cutie!

One of our favorite things to do this summer is to go out picking wild berries. There are tons of wild strawberries around post, and Paigey now recognizes them. She loves them. We also discovered just recently the wild raspberries have started to be ready to pick. We hear the blueberries are out in full force now, but we have to go off post for that and you have to pack a loaded weapon when you pick blueberries around here. So, not sure if we'll be doing that this summer or not. Maybe next year.

Mmmmm . . . stawbair

Well, that is our life in the Last Frontier in a nutshell! Noah heads to camp for a week on Monday and is very excited about that. He will turn 8 while he is at camp, and Grandma Pauline will be here to share it with him. Looking forward to time with her and hearing about Noah's adventures at camp. Check back in on us again soon and see what we're up to.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer in Alaska

Well, it has been over a month since I last posted. For those of you that check on our blog regularly, I am sorry I am a slacker. I know you'll forgive me though.

Since Noah finished with school, we have been enjoying our first summer in Alaska. At first, we weren't sure that it was going to come, but it came just as the calendar says it should around the 21st of June.
Alaska is just as beautiful in the summer as it is in the winter!

In early June we didn't do too much that was all that exciting. The kids and I tried to find our new summer-time routine, while Jerry was busy at work preparing for a change of Command in July.
For about a week and a half through the middle of June, I took a trip (completely solo) to the lower 48 to be present at the baptism of my brother's new baby girl, Aubree Nicole, who was born in March. We were asked to be her God-parents, so I was happy to be present for the ceremony. I then traveled to Ohio to surprise my dear friend, Mallory. She is a young woman that I mentored while we lived in Ohio ('05-'06) and she graduated from high school at the beginning of June. Her party was the 20th, and I had made arrangements with her mom (who was my mentor while we lived in OH) to surprise Mallory and spend about a week with them catching up and helping out. I had a great time seeing old friends. I missed Jerry and the kids, but it was a much needed break for me; and Jerry and both of the kids and even the dog were alive and well when I returned.
Chad Sutherland, Me, Pastor ?, Melissa with Aubree & Aaron
Mom with Aubree, Me, Melissa, Samantha and Aaron
Aaron, Me and Dad
Before I flew from Minneapolis to Chicago on my way to Ohio, I was blessed enough to have lunch with my two best friends from childhood, Kelly and Drea.
Me and Mallory
Shelly, Mallory and Me

The day after I flew back up to Alaska, Jerry's niece, Sydney, flew in to visit us for a month this summer. So, we have been trying to help her experience as much of an Alaskan summer as possible. She seems to be having a good time, and is doing great since this is her first time this far away from Mom and Dad for this amount of time.
Syd and Noah with Mt. McKinley in the background.
The clouds are actually almost perfectly outlining the contours of the mountain.
Syd and Paige playing on the playground behind our house.
We took a visit to the Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK. What a Jolly Man!
Of course, Santa's House would not be complete without the reindeer (caribou).
Over the 4th of July weekend, we had planned to go salmon fishing and camping down near Anchorage. Unfortunately, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game decided to close salmon fishing in the area we were staying in and the camping was not the type of camping we are used to. We managed to salvage a few fun times out of the weekend, even though some attitudes were permanently battered from the blow by the Department of Fish and Game.
Can you see the very large King Salmon we could not catch? One guy we talked to said they looked to be about 30-40 lbs. Yet, I have no salmon in my freezer. ;(
The KIDS playing in the water!
We found a couple lakes near where we were camping that we could fish at.
(Fishing had only been closed on rivers and streams so you didn't accidently hook a salmon.)
We rented a canoe for a couple hours one day and took the kids out. It was fun!
Of course, you can't camp without making a fire and some s'mores.
Even if it doesn't really get dark at all.
Gotta love living in the land of the Midnight Sun!

We have done a bit of geocaching up here, and it is proving to be fun no matter where you do it. I am looking forward to finding some this winter that should be more easily accessible once the ground is frozen.
Jerry and the kids out ahead of me trying to find a cache on our way out to Chena Hot Springs. The backpack is Paige.
We still manage to see wildlife now and again, even though it is summer and they really have no reason to show themselves. Still no bears to be seen, but that doesn't mean we haven't seen the signs.
Syd & Paige and I came across this Mama moose when we were out walking some trails at the end of our neighborhood. When we walked back along another path later, we saw her and her two calves.
So, that is our life in a nutshell right now. Noah is gearing up for another season of soccer. School starts in just over 5 weeks, and we can't wait to get out and play in the snow again this next winter. Hopefully I will be able to get back to updating every other week or so. Hope all is well with all our friends and families. We love you and miss you all!