Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wrapping Up The Summer And Heading to School

Well, it has now been about 2 1/2 months since I last posted. I sat down about 3 weeks ago to start a new post and ended up stuck only half way through downloading pics. There are lots of pics to share in this one, so I hope you all enjoy.

So, Noah came home to Alaska in mid July. He had a great time in MN with family and friends, but we were ready for him to be back home with us. He was home for two weeks and then it was off to Ranch Camp at Camp Li-Wa. He attended Camp Li-Wa last year, but was not old enough to be in Ranch Camp, so he was very excited to have that opportunity this year. In Ranch Camp you learn how to care for and ride horses. He even got to sleep out like a real cowboy.

During the week that he was at Ranch Camp, he turned 9 (2nd year in a row). So, we headed out to join him for dinner at camp on his birthday and brought him a few cupcakes to celebrate. It's Mommy's way of breaking up the week so it doesn't seem so long. (Shhh!!)

Noah, his camp counselor and the two other cowboys that he had Ranch Camp with.

Happy 9th Birthday Noah!

Noah's camp site for the week.

(I won't share the pic of the inside of the boys tent, let's just say hurricane.)

Noah riding his horse (for the week), Chuey at the program they did the end of the week.

The tack room.

(All the ranch campers were responsible for keeping it clean.)

Noah & Chuey

Noah & his counselor, "Leatherman".

Since his birthday was while he was in camp, we held his party with friends after camp. He decided he wanted a MN Vikings birthday party this year, so that's what we did. As a surprise, when he came home, he walked into a newly decorated MN Vikings room. He was very surprised and excited. I was happy that I got the comforter, pillows and curtains done in time.

Skol Vikings!

Noah & Paige being sweet to one another before Noah's birthday party.

Thank you Grandma Pauline for finding and sending the Vikings balloon.

The beginning of August brought the Tanana Valley Fair. It is like the county fair here in Fairbanks. We took the kids for an evening and had a good time riding rides, eating yummy fair food and seeing all the animals.

Noah & Daddy on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Paige & Mommy on the big slide.

Noah stuck in the "fun" house. Don't worry, we got him out. ;-)

Paigey loved the kiddy rides . . .

. . . especially the Merry Go Round.

I'm glad Jerry finally has someone to ride rides with him. We'll see how long it lasts.

Sometime in the first week of August, we got a call from MN informing us that Jerry's grandma was not doing well. So, we made the arrangements and made the trip back to MN for the second half of August. It was a good and not good two weeks, but I think we are both glad we made the trip back to see Grandma Holtzbauer.

We had the opportunity to see family and friends while we were back. We had a nice cookout at Jerry's aunt's with his cousins and another uncle and aunt.

Jerry with his Aunt Barb and cousins, Jason & Josh.

We spent a little time up north visiting my family. My brother Aaron & his family came up to my mom's for a day and we enjoyed seeing them, since the girls are growing so quickly.

Samantha, Aubree, Noah & Paige - Cousins

Paige with Uncle Aaron.

Sammy & Paige.

Me, Paige, Mom & Noah.

Grandma & the kids.

We even got a chance to relax one evening out at the lake with my best friend, Kelly, and her family. The kids got to play in the lake and go for a boat ride and enjoy the fire.

Love the lakes of MN.

Paige & Will playing in the "sand box".

Paige, Lucas, Will & Noah. - Those are some cute kids!

Kelly & Will & I - not our best pic ever.

Since we were up north, it was important for me that we spend some time with each of my sets of grandparents. I am so blessed to still have all four of my grandparents, and I want so much for my kids to have memories of their great grandmas and grandpas. We spent a bit of time with Grandma Bea & Papa and also saw them at the Itasca County Fair, since they were working there.

Papa, Paige, Me, Noah & Grandma Bea.

We also spent a day up at my Grandma & Grandpa Wirtz's place. My dad and Carrie joined us for the day there, so it was nice to be surrounded by family. Of course, you can't get out of Grandma's house without having eaten something. She is part of the reason I love cooking and hospitality. Thanks for the great new pumpkin (squash) bar recipe, Gram.

The kids even got the treat of seeing a MN black bear while we were up visitng Great Grandma Ruth & Great Grandpa Herman. They had said when we got there that they had a bear in the yard the night before. It has been visiting them on and off since the spring. Just after we finished eating lunch, we noticed out the window that the bear was back for a mid-day visit. He was quickly scared off, and Dad, Grandpa, Jerry & Noah proceeded to set up the live trap in case he returned.

Grandpa Herman, Me & Grandma Ruth.

Me & Dad

Carrie, Dad & the kids.

Paigey loved riding the ponies at the Itasca County Fair.

During our time in the cities, we stayed with Jerry's Aunt Laura and her family. We had a great time visitng with them, as always. Of course, we spent as much time as possible with Jerry's grandpa and also visit Grandma in the nursing home. As hard as I think it was for him to have people around sometimes, I think Grandpa enjoyed having the kids around for short periods of time. He showed them how to build with some of his building sets, and they thought that was pretty special.

Four generations - Noah, Great Grandpa Holtzbauer, Grandma Jean & Jerry.

Grandma and the kids.

The day before we left MN, the State Fair started, and we were able to go with Jerry's Aunt Laura & Uncle Jerry, as well as his cousin Audry and her two boys, Jack & Alex. Gotta love the MN State Fair.

Alex, Paige, Jack & Noah at the "farm" exhibit at the State Fair.

Jerry and Aunt Laura went on this ridiculous ride that whips you around in circles from ground level up to (I think) 10 stories. Whatever it was, it looked like more than my stomach could handle.

Noah had some fun on the bungee tramps.

Just before flying out, I was able to spend a short (too short) bit of time with Andrea, who is also one of my best friends. Love you girl!

When we left Alaska to go to MN, it was beautiful and warm. When we returned, it was wet and much chillier. However, we did return to some beautiful colors. The next few pics were from our drive back up from Anchorage.

While we were in MN school stared here in Alaska, so Noah missed the first week and a half of school. We did get to do a little bit of school clothes shopping back in MN though, which was nice since there are a total of about 4 stores we have to choose from up here.

Noah was actually excited to get back and see his friends again, and was also very excited about his 4th grade teacher. Yep, I wrote 4th grade. Where has time gone?

Noah's first day of 4th grade.

Fall this year in Fairbanks was quite long (for up here), and we tried to get out and enjoy it as much as possible. One of my favorite places to go and enjoy a good walk in the woods is to Creamer's Field. Paige and her best friend, Cali and Cali's mom, Kristin and I went one day to let the girls burn some energy.

In the spring, summer and the fall there are tons of migratory birds out in the field. These were mostly Canadian Geese, but there were also some Sandhill Cranes and numerous ducks.


Paigey's Best Friend, Cali.

Just about 2 1/2 weeks after we got back from our trip to MN, Paige turned 3. Just enough time to get settled in and start feeling like we were hitting our stride in a new routine.
She loves Diego, so while we were in MN we were able to find some Diego decorations and have a fun little Diego party with a few of her little friends around here. It wasn't much, but I think she had a good time. Where has 3 years gone? She is so much fun (most of the time) right now. She is definitely getting to be more independent and I think soon we will be done with potty training.
Paigey's cake. Go Paigey Go!
She played shy when everyone was singing her "Happy Birthday!"
Blowing out the candles.
Paige and her new Jesse doll. Two little cowgirls!

Before I finish out this post, I wanted to also share with you a few pics that I recently took of the Northern Lights. Now that we are finally getting darkness at night again, they are showing up more and more. I finally figured out how to get my camera to take decent pictures of them, so I am hoping to get a lot more of them throughout the winter. I hope you enjoy seeing them. I love to share the beauty of Alaska with anyone that wants to see it, because we are so blessed with so much of it all around us.