Monday, June 28, 2010

Spring Sprung and Now We Are Enjoying A Beautiful Alaska Summer!

Although it has only been a couple months since I last posted, it seems like a lot has gone on. After finishing up his first regular hockey season, Noah played six weeks of spring league, cross-ice games. It was a good opportunity for him to stay on the ice and get some more playing time. We are really proud of how hard he has worked and how well he has developed in a short amount of time. It may never be his career, but he is definitely a talented player.

The melting of snow and the warming of the weather allowed for outside time, and Paige absolutely loves to be out at the park. If I would let her, I think she would be outside every minute of every day. Good with me, except when I am hungry and need to be in the house making dinner.

Paige swining with her great friends, Mallory and Syndey.
(One thing spring/summer also brought was moving season, so a few of our dear friends have left us to go on to new places.)
At the beginning of May, Jerry and a friend took the kids to see the Globe Trotters, while the mommies attended a training session. Who had more fun?!?! Not sure, because our training was pretty good. However, I do wish I had been able to see the action myself. It looks like it was pretty cool.

Noah & Paige at the Globe Trotters Game.
School got out the middle of May, and even though I was told by most people to wait until after Memorial Day to plant my garden, I just couldn't wait. The weather was so nice, and I had seeded some things inside, so I planted in the last couple weeks of May. I am so excited at the prospect of actually being able to grow something. We'll see how it all turns out.

This is peas and what was supposed to be beans.
(After two failed attempts of planting beans, I have concluded that I had a bad pack of seeds.)

These are old ammunition and weapons cases that my dear friend passed on to me when they moved this summer. They make great garden boxes. One box has peppers, onions and chives and the other has cucumbers. The onions are looking good. My pepper plants are still quite small, but my cucs are finally getting flowers so I am hopeful that I will have some.

This is my token cherry tomatoe plant and I also had herbs planted in there. Unfortunately / Fortunately (?) the tomatoe plant has gotten so big that I don't think most of the herbs are going to make it. So I just recently planted some in another container.

The two smaller ones on either end are strawberry plants, which have already yielded some yummy berries. The two larger ones in the middle are lettuce in one and carrots in the other. They are both looking pretty good so far.

This is one of mine and Paigey's favorite places to be outside, under the tree in our front yard. I love this tree.

Once school got out, we had just a couple weeks to get ready for our first non-family visitors of 2010. Our dear friends the Parkers came from Hawaii to spend a week with us here in Interior Alaska. We were so excited to see them, and we had a great time while they were here and made some great memories.

Our four little elves at the Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK.

Now those are some cute kids, but it is questionable whether they are naughty or nice?!? ;-)

Chachi (Jacob) wanted to know what it feels like at 40 below zero, so Noah accompanied him in the 40 below experience at Pioneer Park here in Fairbanks.

We took a ride on the Riverboat Discovery. This was our first time on it, and it was definitely a great trip.

Stern-wheelers used to be the only way to get to Fairbanks, and there is much local history that surrounds the rivers. What a great way to learn about our great town.

Along the way we were able to stop and see a demonstration by Dave Monson showing how they train the dogs during the summer months. Dave and his wife, Susan Butcher, were both mushers. Susan was the second woman to run the Iditarod and the first woman to win it more than once. She passed away in 2006 from lukemia.

We also stopped along the way to learn about native life in Alaska. We learned about fish camp, trapping and other things that are all still practiced today by the native peoples of Alaska who still subsist off the land.

Our little musher!

Paigey trying to blow it all away.

Noah got to meet Lance Mackey and have him sign his new book. Noah was so excited and almost didn't know what to say. Lance is a local hero and of course well known by many after having won his fourth consecutive Iditarod earlier this year. He is really a very normal and unassuming man.

A trip to Alaska wouldn't be complete without at least trying to find some gold. We took the Parkers up north of town to try their luck at El Dorado Gold Mine. Everyone walks away with a few flakes.
After seeing some of the sights around Fairbanks, we decided to head down to Denali to experience a bit more of Alaska. We spent a day in the park on the bus and saw plenty of wildlife and then we took the "LONG" way home and created some unforgettable memories / stories with our little adventure.

Mr. Dall Sheep decided he wanted to pass our bus, so he found himself some room on the edge of the very narrow road we were on and walked right by.

Mt. McKinley is only fully visible like 20% of the time. We saw her a couple times as we were driving into the park, but once we got out to the visitor center to the viewing spot, it was all clouded over. Denali is beautiful though.

It was a bit windy, so Paige was trying to stay warm and Noah was trying to help Mommy out with a good pic. Aren't they cute!

The Sniders and the Parkers in front of the Polychrome Mountains

Mr. Bear, where are you going? He was so close to our bus, and he really couldn't care less that we were there. He was too busy trying to find a ground squirrel or some berries or something.

After our day in the park, we took a rafting trip on the Nenana River before we headed back home. Jerry was kind enough to stay with Paige and let me go with Noah. We had a great time.

Thankfully we wore dry suits so we didn't even get our clothes wet. It was a bit chilly though.
Well, I am always up for a new adventure, and although my dear friend Michelle is not the happiest of campers on "scenic" routes, the rest of the big people in the van decided to take the "LONG" way home to see parts of Alaska that a lot of people don't see. We took the Denali Highway across and then headed back north towards Fairbanks. Mind you, the Denali Highway is 135 miles of unpaved road and only accessible in the summer. However, it is also some of the prettiest roadway in the state.

It really wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't gotten a flat tire about 20 miles from the end of the dirt road. Actually, it really wouldn't have been so bad if I had a spare tire, but don't because my Sienna came with run flats, which would have been fine if the run flat hadn't shredded. Actually it would have been fine if it hadn't shredded in a place that was a three hour drive from the nearest replacement tire.
Long story short, we spent six hours, many phone calls and a lot of gratitude for the owner and his family at the Paxson Lodge trying to figure out how we were going to get a replacement tire on the van so we could get home. It all worked out in the end and now we can truly say that we have been stuck in the middle of nowhere. I am very grateful for the friendliness of Alaskans though, because without Tony and his famiy we would have been stuck there for much longer.

Having made it home from our adventures in the middle of nowhere, we sent the Parkers off with great stories to share when they got home. The very next day, Noah hopped on a plane and took his very first solo trip to MN to visit family. He has been in MN since June 14th, and will be back on July 11th. He seems to be having a great time and has been able to spend time with family on both sides. It is hard to believe that he is old enough to do that already. We miss him a lot, but are grateful that he is mature enough to trust with such a big thing.
We are enjoying the summer sun. Paige and I took in the annual Midnight Sun Baseball game. It is played every year on the day of the summer soltice and starts around 10:30pm. No artificial lights are used (or needed), because the sun doesn't set until around 1:00am. The local baseball team, the Fairbanks Goldpanners, play and it was a lot of fun.

This was the sun at midnight.

Once the sun dropped behind the hills around 12:40ish am, it was a bit easier to take pics.

We left the game at 1:30am and they were starting the 11th inning tied at 2-2. I heard later that they played until 3:00am and it went 15 innings. Only in Alaska!

Paige is growing so much and becoming more and more fun all the time. She is starting to like to do some girlie things, like paint our nails and stuff like that, so it is going to be a fun difference for Mom. She and I went to a symphony concert the other night and I decided to put her in one of her little dresses. She just looked so cute.
Well, that is about all from here in Alaska. We are excited about our 4th of July plans and will try to post a bit more regularly. Hope you all have a great summer!

These are a few of my strawberries. Darndest thing, the next day I went out to pick them and eat them and they were gone.