Monday, September 19, 2016

Extra Curriculars Begin

 Papa and I both strongly believe in being involved with extra-curricular activities. This past Friday, sister participated in her school's Jog-a-Thon and with a goal of running 6 laps in the allotted time, she ran 11! She was one lap short of running 2 full miles.  One of the reasons I switched careers this year was so that the kiddos could be more involved in after school activities.  So - Sister has been participating in running club and her efforts definitely paid off. 

It felt amazing to be able to attend without the crazy stress of having to prepare my classroom to be gone. In fact, her Jog-A-Thon was on a Friday - my day off!! YAHOO!!!

She was pretty proud of herself to be awarded a medal for being the top girl runner from her classroom.  So - seeing how much she enjoyed running, we decide to allow her to participate in a family-fun cross country run. 

She wanted to participate in the 5K, but we settled for a 2K for this first race.

Again - she did great!  Didn't stop once and had a smile on her face the whole time!

Everyone got a medal for this run, but she was still very proud of herself. You can see Papa in the back of the picture- he had a football game to go get ready for - but we just love that he took time to be at her race even though it made him late to his pre-game meetings. 

We've had a busy week this week - with our special friend, Shannon, visiting from Cordova as well.  As you can see by Dessa's pose- it's been hard work trying to keep up with this family!  We won't be able to attend this week's race as the kiddos are continuing their swimming lessons and when given the choice, Sister said there was no way she was missing swimming.  Let's see - she learned to ride her bike without training wheels this summer, is enjoying swimming lessons and loves to run - we may have a future triathlon on our hands!

Friday, September 9, 2016


 Such an odd picture to start with since I haven't written for almost a month. I thought for sure once everyone was back to school I would spend my Friday's catching up on all of my projects (I work Sunday-Thursday).  Instead, I find myself doing a "First" with buying close to 400 hamburger buns as part of our fall kickoff for work!  Crazy- right?!? But so cool to be part of church that truly loves and serves the community.  

Not to worry though - I have been out hiking on the weekends!  So much fun to be at a stage where they can hike right along side of me.  This was a "First" because everyone is actually smiling - ha, ha!!

It's views like this that I'm in awe that I am able to call this place my home!

"First" hike with new friend and her first time on this trail.

A "First" - they actually look like they love each other - ha,ha... We are definitely into the stage of brother and sister picking on each other. One minute having a grand time playing together - next you would think war was breaking out.  Sigh... I remember this all to well with my own brother.  

Happy "First" Day of School!

Ha - ha... I was shocked that she wasn't excited to wake up and actually did this and said, "I need 5 more minutes of sleep before I'm ready to start this day."  What a crack up!

She's growing up all too fast and had a wonderful "First" Day of first grade.  Her picture says, "When I grow up I want to be a cop and when I'm off duty a yoga instructor."  

"First" - Momma being able to drop Sister off at school each morning.  I LOVE having a relaxed morning without the stress of a long commute to work.  I still wake up early to walk the dog before Papa leaves for school, but then I have almost a full hour to myself before I need to wake the kids up.  I try hard not to use this time to do chores or something not done from the night before - but truly use this time to read my Bible, journal and take time to sending encouraging message to people on my heart. So much fun to see Sister off to school each day without all the frustration and stress of the early mornings and commute from last year!

"But I'm not tired Momma."  A "First" for brother is attending his new day care.  WE LOVE HER!! She is absolutely amazing and we are so thankful to have found her.  Brother is learning so much and he is able to go outside almost every day! She's even hung a tarp out so they can play outside when it's raining (which there's been a lot of these past few weeks).   

Fall is upon us with the "first" signs of snow in the higher mountains.  Before too long, we'll be writing about our "first" snowfall.  Until then, we are enjoying the fall season! 
Love and Miss you all!

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 

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