Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August already?

With fall in the air, yes I realize it's only the beginning of August, but we have entered into our cooler, rainy days and I can't help but to think about the changing season.  No longer do I need my sunglasses to walk in the morning as the street lights are staying on longer.  We even have the typical cold going around right now.  As the season is changing, I can't help but to think about going back to school and the reality that I will not be returning to the classroom this fall.  I truly enjoy my new job as office manager at the church, but it some ways I think I was treating it like a summer job and not a career change.  Well, time to face that reality and embrace this new season.

The kids enjoyed going to a week of vacation bible school at a local church.  I think Papa enjoyed more of having a 3 hour break from parenting each day - ha,ha...  The kids really enjoyed the program and keep asking when they can go back to school.  Sister will be entering 1st grade this year and Brother will be receiving care from a new provider this fall.  Both are equally excited about the start of school and the new routine.  I'm already enjoying the fact that the kids will be able to sleep in until 8:00am if they need to before I will need to get them up and going for the day - that's a huge difference compared to 6:00am last year!

Another new change is that I'm enjoying running and completed my first race this past weekend.  Those of you who know me - I only liked to run if I was on the court - all other running was just painful and pointless.  Well, I'm finding now that running is rather enjoyable as long as I remember to rub icy-hot on my knees before I go - ha, ha,ha.... Seriously, running hasn't been about how fast can I go, but more about the confidence and strength I feel in myself after I've finished.  

Running Free - 4 miler
From the Running Free Alaska website, "Running Free Alaska (RFA) is a non-profit running program for female prison inmates at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River, Alaska.  RFA was founded in 2012 by Anchorage runner Tim Alderson with 25 inmates who volunteered to be part of a graduate research study of the impact of structured running on inmate mental health.  From this genesis the program has grown to provide training services to approximately 150 inmates annually. Our runners participate in training sessions 3 days per week throughout the spring and summer. Each session culminates in race held inside the prison fence at distances from 5k to half-marathon. Additionally, we have built a capable staff of 15 volunteer coaches, who are supervised by a paid professional volunteer coordinator funded through a grant from the Alaska Ski for Women." (read more at runningfreealaska.com 

It was very powerful to be allowed access to run around the outside of the prison and to have women cheering us on from inside the prison.  You could feel the hope and excitement from the women that they too would be running free in the future.  

So, as we enter this new season we also remember to take time to rest.  Summer can be very busy in Alaska as we try to enjoy every possible moment of the long days and warm weather. Dessa has been back with us almost 2 months now - we are still amazed and so thankful she made it home.  

Until next time, be present in the moments that surround you!! Much love to you all <3 br="">

Friday, July 22, 2016

July Activities

After Sister's birthday, we've been up to our typical summer activities with hiking and camping. It sure has been warm for us the past few weeks (80 degrees is too hot in Alaska!)

Momma was able to get a few hikes in with friends.  A new one pictured above is looking out from the North Face of Alyeska. As with any mountain top, I always feel like I could just sit up there for hours and days soaking in the beauty. 

A few friends and I conquered Harp Mountain before I had to go in to work.  The picture in the heading of the blog is a 180 view from the top of this hike. Again, we live in such beauty. I'm so thankful I can literally go out my back door and be in the mountains.  

After a few hiking days, it was time to head to Whittier again to go camping and shrimping.  This time Uncle and his family were visiting.  

Such fun to have all the kiddos together again and 

to spend quality time with family we maybe get to see once a year.

All these adventures sure to make us tired.  Some days we don't nap at all and other days we don't even make it into our beds.  

Until next time - take some time to be outside!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Happy "Golden"BIrthday Sister!

This sweet little lady had her "golden" birthday this year! 

Count the daisies and you will see - she's officially six now - how can that be?

Sister loves her family and has a genuine care for others. She claims she will either be a dentist or a cop president (not sure what that job entails). She loves the chance to get on stage and sing at church and will often pretend she's the music coming from the radio in the car and sing us a song.  In addition to losing her first tooth, she is learning to swim and has also learned how to ride her bike without her training wheels.   

Sister enjoys doing her projects still and was very excited to complete this pillow all by herself!

Momma had to work on her special day, but not until the early afternoon. So we did all the birthday stuff before lunch!  It was a great way to spend the morning.  We had a party about a week later as several of her friends were out of town.  

Hard to believe this little lady will soon be starting first grade. 
Happy "Golden" Birthday Sister!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tooth Fairy Visit

So it begins... our first visit from the tooth fairy happened on June 21st!  Sister was beyond excited to have lost her first tooth.  Being a summer baby, many of her classmates started loosing teeth during the school year and she couldn't wait for hers!  

Grandma Julie had given Sister a special tooth fairy pillow and found in the morning her tooth was traded for some money. It was agreed for the first tooth an extra special amount - many friends reminded me of inflation when considering the amount.  

Our summer days are settling into the new routine of my work schedule and we are enjoying the stress free Momma!  I almost don't know what to do with myself without having to worry about grading papers, writing lessons plans, and really when my work day is over, it's over.  I love having more energy and patience to love and enjoy the stage of life these kiddos are in.  

We've also been out hiking of course!  One beautiful day after work, I sent Papa a text and said scrap the dinner plans - pack some sandwiches and snacks and let's go hike.  We went up the Arctic Valley saddle and the kids did great!

Sister was ready to tackle the next peak, however Brother wasn't so sure.  Regardless, it was great to be able to hike with almost the whole family.

If you'll recall, Dessa had the stitches and the cone of shame.  We had to leave her behind on our family hike night and she wasn't too happy about that. She received a clean bill of health on Wednesday and is enjoying being cone free.  She even had a little adventure after the stitches came out, when she slipped out of her collar as I was loading her into the car and off down the road I went trying to catch her.  I'm so thankful she ran into a neighborhood and was distracted with the smells. After successful capture and collar securely in place (1/2 mile down the road), I've decided her morning walks need to turn into morning runs.   Sigh... husky problems...

Kids are also enjoying swimming lessons this summer.

And having fun in the shallow splash park area before and after the lesson.

The splash park is a great bribe reward for trying their best during the lessons.  

Our days are officially getting shorter with summer solstice behind us. We still have plenty of sunlight for late night hiking and other summer adventures, however it won't be long and I'll be writing about the change of seasons.  

We hope you all are filling your summer with many adventures and special memories. 
Welcome July - what will the month bring I wonder?


Monday, June 20, 2016

DESSA is home, camping, Father's Day


At 2:45am on Tuesday morning, we received a large bang on the door. What crazy drunk is trying to get into our house? Not that we've ever had that problem before.  Ignore the bang. A few moments later the bang again only louder this time.  Thankful for a security system, I could look at my phone to see who was at the door.  Why is Anchorage Police Department at my door.  Shake Hubby awake.  Confused and wondering what in the world - Hubby comes in and says, you better come out.  What in the world could be going on...  There's my DESSA girl!!  

Oh the smile on the sweet dog's face when she heard my voice!  We were in complete shock.  A man found her back at the trailhead where I had lost her.  After a week of checking the trail both morning and night, we were in a place of thinking she wasn't going to make it home, so we stopped checking.  Well, thanks to a facebook post on the Lost & Found Pets page, a stranger finding Dessa and posting pictures at the exact time a friend of his saw his post and knew of my post and connected us with each other.  The man who found her contacted APD.  Officer picked her up and brought her to the house! Say what?!?! That rarely happens, but they saw that we had lost her 2 weeks ago and wanted to see if she was our dog.  What an answer to prayers!

Other than being hungry and dehydrated, she did have a cut on her leg that required stitches to heal. Otherwise - she's back to herself and ready to go out hiking again!  What an adventure she must have had - if only she could tell us!

We had plans to go camping in Whittier and do some shrimping this weekend  - so Dessa has already had a new adventure with us!  She wanted so badly to go hiking around, but doctor orders were to limit her activity.  Can you see her sweet head behind to two goofy kiddos?

Always a great time shrimping in Whittier

and become more fun as the kids are able to do more in the process. They have so much fun throwing the heads overboard.

We were blessed with some very nice sized shrimp and a catch of 300 after only two sets!  YUMMY!

The view of Turnagain Arm never gets old and 

memories like this fill my heart!

Of course the summer hiking season is upon us too! Yes - I said summer even though we are wear gloves and winter hats.  The wind was howling on our annual birthday hike - but we enjoyed every moment of it.  I originally planned this hike as away to make my favorite trail a positive trail again - as this is the same trail I lost Dessa on.  How wonderful that we were able to hike it the very evening she made it home.  (Trust me - she heard me getting my gear ready and was wagging her tail ready to join me - not this time sweet Dessa - you got to heal up first!)

Happy Father's Day!  Spent the day 'working' by handing out tattoos and Root Beer - I love my new job!  

We hope your summer adventures are in full swing! 
Happy Summer Solstice

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

Oh be still my heart...

this crazy, energetic, stubborn as his parents - yet will make you laugh when you are trying to discipline him - still sleeps the same - four years later. I couldn't help but stare into his sweet little face and think back to the day we brought him home.  Goodness, even though the days may seem long, the years are flying by!

You'll recall last week was our anniversary on Friday, well this week was my birthday! Yes, by design - make it easy on the hubby to celebrate everything at once- ha, ha, ha...

I loved how perfect this dandelion looked on the golf course.  Did I say golf?  YES!!

Its been far to long since I swung my clubs and it felt great to get out and golf around! 

Otherwise - our world has been busy with me starting the new job and Papa finding creative ways to wear the kids out!

Bike riding is definitely a favorite - and it's great during the work week because our cul-de-sac is empty and we are at the end of the road - so kids can ride up and down traffic free!

Sister and I are also having some fun going for walks and picking the wild daisies!

Using some decor from and old bouquet we created this one today!  Love that she shares her joy of wild flowers like the other women in her heritage. 

Next weekend we are finally getting a camping trip in and some shrimping done in Whittier.  I'm hoping Papa and I can take a few hours and go hike the Portage Trail.  

Until next time...

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sad week but ended amazing!

Tuesday, May 31st, Dessa and I headed out for a morning hike to one of my favorite places - Tucker Peak.

I absolutely love the view of the Eagle River valley from this hike.

We made it to the summit and as you can see, Dessa clearly has her mind on something other than taking a picture with me.  And this is where our sad news begins... on the way back down, I was adjusting my grip on my hiking pole and Dessa's leash slipped out of my hand.  Off she went - on the sent of some kind of mountain animal critters she took off running.  I watched her cruise around the other side of the valley for a good 10 minutes before she was out of sight.

With rescue dogs, you never quite know the full story.  As I have wrestled with the emotions of blaming myself that Dessa ran off, I have come to peace.  I believe something was changing in Dessa's temperament and her running off is a blessing in disguise.   We miss her greatly and still hold some hope that she'll come back to us.  The kids are handling it well and I hear them saying, silly Dessa is up in the mountains still chasing those critters.

The very next day was my first day at my new job. I'm now the office manager for the church I attend (ACF Church).  I was greeted with these amazing tulips on my desk.

Then I received a flower delivery sent from my mom and dad.  So beautiful!!

Flowers everywhere!  We finally did some landscaping and put in some flowers this spring. So excited to see our rose bush blooming and the Dalina's opening up!

We ended the week with Papa and I celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on Friday!

A little cloudy with some rain showers during our hike - but still a beautiful day together.

We got married in the "mountains" of South Dakota, so fitting today that we would celebrate 10 years out hiking in the mountains.  I've been wanting to do this hike ever since we moved to Eagle River. It's a pretty flat trail, South Fork, that takes you back to two lakes.  Eagle Lake (picture above) is glacier fed and has an amazing turquoise color to it.  Just to the right (pictured below) is Symphony Lake, which is fed with mountain runoff.  So beautiful to see contrasting lake water with in feet of each other. 

After an emotional week with Dessa taking off on her own adventure, it was great to celebrate adventuring with this amazing man!

Even the rocks were sending us blessings of love for many more years to come!