Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Celebrations

We have spent the month of December celebrating in all sorts of ways. I think the best way to share our experiences is through pictures, so here's a little picture diary of our last 2 weeks.

This is "Joseph the Shepherd". Last Sunday Dane's preschool performed a little nativity play at the church. They let all the little brothers and sisters dress up too. Dane was insistent on being a donkey and Ty a Shepherd. As they were all getting in costumes the little boy who was supposed to be Joseph decided he wanted to be a donkey too, so we needed a new Joseph. Ty looked somewhat the part, but when asked if he would be Joseph he refused because he was supposed to be a shepherd. We fixed the situation by asking him if he would be Joseph the shepherd and he thought that was a pretty good idea. Their little play was so cute, all the kids were adorable. Mary was holding the doll Jesus through the play and Ty thought the manger was a chair so he tried to sit on it and fell over, then he jumped up and ran off. I wish I had gotten a few better pictures. These are a few picures of Gingerbread house decorating at Grannie's house. I had to keep the boys from putting 10 pounds of candyon the house, and in their mouths.

Last week we went to the Library to see Santa. We waited in line for about an hour. When we finally got to him Ty was busting at the seams and ran and jumped onto his lap. They loved seeing him and even got really cool toys from Santa, an older man in town who makes these wooden toys all year, then gives them out to kids at Christmas. This year he made dogs that you pull with a string and they have hinges so they wiggle as they move along. Make sure to check out how cute the toy is in the picture, it's so nice of him to do that, all the kids there were so excited to get a toy early.

Dane told Santa that he wanted a big remote control truck, but really anything Santa decided would be good for him.Lee took this picture the other day from the living room, we get such a gorgeous view everyday!

Lee is working on remodeling one of the bathrooms in the house and Dane and Ty stepped in to help with the demolition. They are such hard workers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

North To Alaska!

That's right, we moved to Alaska for all who haven't heard yet. As you can tell, we are not very good bloggers and we let a lot happen in our lives before we write about it. Our recent move to Alaska happened really fast. We sold our home in Nibley the end of August and moved into a small apartment in Logan while we transitioned and were deciding where we were headed. We contemplated moving to Portland, Oregon for a while, or to Alaska, or staying in Logan, and even considered Star Valley, Wyoming. Lee was ready to do something a little different for work and was looking into several options when he came upon some opportunities in Alaska. The week before Halloween he flew to Alaska for some job interviews and came home with 3 solid offers. We were really excited about 2 of them and after some contemplation, he accepted a job with The Berry Company in their advertisement and marketing department. The company wanted him in 2 weeks so we decided to pack up and move as soon as we could. We were also trying to leave before it got any colder and the roads got worse. We packed up everything we own, got a trailer, and were on the road 8 days after deciding to move. It was a lot harder to leave Logan than we expected. We have so many great friends there and incredible family. Lee and I both cried a lot that week as we had to say goodbyes, but we're hopeful for what lies ahead, and excited to give Alaska a try for a while.

The route we took to Alaska is about 3200 miles and we were hoping to make the drive in less than a week. We made it about 400 miles the first day and ended up on the side of the road with an oil leak. Thanks to Lee's handy iphone we found a mechanic right away, spent the night in a motel and were on the road the next day. We made it to Portland that night and stayed with our good friends Nick and Michelle. Portland is so beautiful, it made us want to stay for a while. Our next leg of the journey ended up being from Portland to Quesnel, Canada where we found ourselves broken down again. This time it was the same problem, but much worse. We checked into a motel again and found a mechanic on Monday morning. By that evening he had determined that if we were going to make it to Alaska we would need a new transmission, and that would have to be ordered from Vancouver. When the part came a few days later it was defective and a new one had to be ordered. We spent 7 days in that little town holed up in a little motel. It was a little crazy but we tried to make it fun, we went swimming in the pool everyday, went for walks around town, played games, went to a movie, and even discovered some delicious local cuisine. Our favorite was the poutine which is fries with mozzarella cheese and brown gravy. It is apparently very popular in Canada and a yummy little snack.

When we finally got back on the road our Trooper was running great and we were ready to leave our little Canadian home. We drove til late in the night then stopped and slept in the Trooper with the seats all folded down. Even though it was below freezing we stayed pretty warm and were on the road again early the next morning. The next day was our most eventful on the road, we saw so much wildlife. We saw a wolf, moose, caribou, elk, deer, coyotes, and buffalo. It was scary to come around a corner or down hills and see a herd of caribou in the road. The buffalo were all out at night and they were really hard to see, so we had to keep our eyes peeled for their glowing eyes. I have to add that that day we had the worst roads we encountered as well, it was snowing and blowing and in a few places we couldn't even see the road.
Our final two days of the trip were a lot less scary. My parents were worried about us and very anxious for our arrival so they drove 12 hours to Whitehorse, Canada to meet us. We were very happy to see familiar faces and we switched the trailer to the back of my dad's big truck and cruised home to Palmer. Oh- and my parents took Dane and Ty in their truck so Lee and I had a peaceful 12 hour drive home.
All in all the trip was very memorable. We had a lot of fun, a lot of scares, and lots of good laughs. Dane and Ty were so good, they watched plenty of movies and we distracted them from the drive with lots of fun treats and a few new toys.

We made it to Alaska 2 days before Thanksgiving, over a week later than we had planned, but we made it safely and in one piece. Lee and I have traveled that road several times, but it's totally different in the winter and with kids!

Now we're working on settling in to Alaska life. It's very cold here with lots of snow. We are staying with my parents for now in their basement and the boys love being around "PaPa Chuck" and "Wha" as Ty calls them. They also love being around their cousins Andy, Daisy, and Avery. We have spent a lot of time outside sledding, actually mostly Dane, he usually stays outside playing for an hour or two after everyone else has already come in. The other day he said "I wish it could be winter all the time". I told him he was in the right place then. Dane started preschool last week and is really excited about his part in their nativity performance. He chose to be the donkey!
Because of our car trouble, we missed the training for Lee's job, the next one starts in January so for the month of December he is working/playing at the Sportsman's Warehouse. He talks with people about camping, fishing, and hunting all day and is learning all the Alaska hot spots and secrets. He is loving it so much he wants to keep working there part time after his other job starts just for the fun of it and for the discount.
I have signed up to substitute teach and am working on getting my Alaska Teachers Certificate. I have my first job this Friday and plan to work just 1 day each week.
So that's our update! I know we didn't even get to tell a lot of our friends that we were moving, and we certainly didn't get to see everyone before we took off, but we love all of you and hope we get some visitors here in Alaska! We also plan on making it back to Logan once a year to visit!
Ty in the Trooper, we put headphones on the boys for their movies. Then Lee and I were able to listen to books on tape.This is our beautiful motel room!A stop somewhere in Canada to get out and stretch.At a park in Canada
It was difficult to get good pictures of the wildlife, but this is small herd of caribou.
Our trusty, or not so trusty rig!
Can you see the buffalo? We saw well over 100 that night in the dark like this, right on the road and to the side of it!
A postcard view of Teslin Lake in Canada!
More in the car.