Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy Hiking Days and First Day of Kindergarten!




Rabbit Lake

Yes, yes... I'll get to the more exciting story of how Sister's first day went - but first let me share a little bit of my adventures.  As you all know, I truly have fallen in love with hiking this summer. With the school year starting and Papa coaching football, I was sadden to think my hiking days were done until next summer.  So thankful for my dearest friend to point out hiking wasn't over yet - we just needed to schedule more strategically.  

August 23rd was the day marked on the calendar for us ladies to enjoy this beautiful hike. It's about 5 miles in to the lake and about 2 miles to go around the lake.  We enjoyed every view and found ourselves in just awe of the beauty surrounding us. 

I love spending time with this amazing person. She fills me up with positive energy and encouragement every time we are together.  So thankful for her special friendship! 

More hiking stories?... I know, I know - I'll save Sister's story for the end.

After my hike last Sunday, I thought for sure that was probably the last of my long hikes and will try to squeak in shorter hikes.  Nope - Papa asked me what I wanted to do on Saturday and without really thinking I said I really wanted to go hike and see if I could make it to the summit of Mount Magnificent.  He looked at me and said, "then go."  Seriously?!?  He's been so busy with coaching I thought for sure he wanted the day to just relax. I doubled checked with him and he was serious. He wanted to spend time with the kiddos and knew that I needed a break after solo parenting much of the week.  So - off I went! This turned about to be another 10 mile hike round trip.  

On my other adventures this summer, I had made it to Tucker Mountain, which is not pictured but just to the left of where I was standing. I was so excited to explore new terrain and the fall colors on the mountain side was breath-taking.

I wasn't 100% sure if this was the final summit or not, but this was the last peak I was going to climb for the day.  I was ready to sit and soak up the view.

The view from the top was amazing! This is looking to my right or southwest over the full ridge line I hiked with Eagle River and Anchorage in the background.

The view to my left and below of the Eagle River Valley. 

I was beyond excited to make it! Although I wasn't sure this was the true summit because there was no official marker and true of any mountain range- there are peaks after peaks after peaks.  However, on my way back down, I ran into a fellow hiker and he confirmed for me that this was indeed the summit of Mount Magnificent.  This will probably be one of my all time favorite hikes.  I could have sat here for the entire day! 

However, it was time to return home. Surprising the hike only took me 4 1/2 hours and that includes the time I spent soaking in the view at the top.  I did not feel like I rushed at all and truly enjoyed the fresh air, birds chirping around me, the fall colors in the fireweed and the stillness of the mountains.  
Okay, okay - you've waited long enough... 
How was Sister's first day of Kindergarten?

It was awesome!!!  
Funny enough, having me stay home in the morning so I could take her to school kind through off her routine a bit.  But she was happy to indulge me in a few 1st Day pictures.   I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up and wrote that on her poster.  She said, "I want to build stuff and help people." It will be interesting to watch her grow and learn of the course of her school years.  
We took Brother to day care (he was excited to be going to his 'school' all by himself) and then off we went.  She was a pro- remembered where her cubby was, put her lunch up and found her seat right away. 
As she sat down, I gave her a quick hug and kiss and wished her a great first day.  She said, "Bye mom." and that was it - no tears or anything - just sitting there quietly ready to learn!  I had leave to return to my own classroom and found myself with no tears either.  I was excited for her and thankful for the amazing people who have cared for her and helped prepare her for her first adventure in school.   
So, what was her favorite part of her first day?  "Mom, you're not going to believe this... We had quiet time today and I got to pick a butterfly to snuggle with. And I even fell asleep at school."  Ha, ha... we gave up having her take a nap during the summer because she would have a hard time falling asleep at night.  Who would have thought she'd been so excited about sleeping at school?  She also shared how fun it was to play with two other girls that she had met at the Back to School night.   
What a week it has been!!  Between not one but two hiking adventures and then Sister's debut with Kindergarten - it has been amazing. Looking forward to another full week of school, watching Papa coach, and wrapping the week up with a nice long 3 day weekend.   
Happy Adventures to you all - wherever your journey is taking you!







Friday, August 21, 2015

First week is in the books!

 First day of school picture - ha, ha, ha...  Yes, we officially returned to school on Thursday last week with in-services until Tuesday and then our students returned Wednesday.  It was great to be back in the classroom with my 'normal' students. After my summer school experience, I will be forever thankful for the teaching position I have. 



I can hardly believe that I will be taking Sister's official first day of school picture on Wednesday.  She had her kindergarten screening this week and her teacher said that she's more than ready for school.  Umm... you think! This newly five year old is sounding out words, doing addition and quickly figuring out what i-c-e c-r-e-a-m spells when Papa and I are trying to be sneaky.  While I was a little concerned about Sister's class being 23 students (and expected to grow) and she has two teachers who job share the position... I was happy to hear that the teachers each have over 5 years experience with kindergarten and over 10 years of teaching experience.  So, that gave me confidence that each teacher will find ways to keep little miss smarty pants engaged during the day... I hope...   Honestly, I'm nervous for her, but excited too.  Sigh... new stage of parenting - right?

Mother Nature has been blessing us with some amazing cloud action...

to finding a simple grasshopper...

Grasshoppers are not very common around here. So when I squealed with delight and caught this little guy, my kiddos looked at me like I was crazy.  Oh, you sweet Alaskan babies... 

And of course with the start of school it also means that start of coaching season for Papa. Adding football to the schedule this year (wrestling and then track) will leave the kids and I on our own often. However, watching Papa enjoy coaching is worth the semi-solo parenting.  The kiddos also enjoy watching their Papa in action.

(What a back drop for a football game - right?)

Half time and they were in the lead and kept the lead to win the game.  So happy for Papa's successful start to the season. 

Looking forward to this school year and what it has in store! Happy Back to School everyone!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to Wisconsin and now back to school



 Loon Lake - one of the most peaceful places on Earth!

After finishing up my summer school teaching job on July 31st, the kids and I boarded a plane for Wisconsin at midnight!  Yep - it was time for Momma to have some fun with the kiddos. With the school year fast approaching, I need a little vacation. So off we went!


It was great to spend time with our cousin do all sorts of activities!  Swimming was number one on the to do list every day possible. 

With multiple lakes to choose from, we never got bored.  We even had a chance for a fun boat ride with Grandpa. 

Driving lessons included of course!





We also had fun having picnic lunches...



tractor rides...





play time at the park...
 
 


a trip to the Wilderness Walk in Hayward
 
 
and a trip to the homemade ice cream store!
 
 
So much fun packed into one week!  The kids had a wonderful time and I've been asked all week when can we move back to Wisconsin.  



Kids didn't make it long for the campfire, but it got dark enough to see the flame changing pine cones go to work!
 
 
By far my two favorite pictures from the trip...


 Sister makes the best mud pie ever!

AND



Brother goes to jail - face expression totally his own personality shinning through!  HA!!

It was a wonderful week but was time to head back to AK and get ready for the up coming school year.  Kiddos headed back to day care this week while Momma and Papa get their classrooms set up. We officially start with in-services tomorrow - yikes?!?

We hope you all are enjoying these last days of summer. 














Monday, July 27, 2015

Perspective





 This summer certainly has been filled with many great adventures which has given me much to think about. Between hiking alone or with friends, to day trips with the family, to my summer school teaching position, to whatever else may come I have grown and changed into a stronger woman this summer. Facing challenges can be a very difficult time, but when you break through and can see the positive growth on the other side, it makes the journey memorable.





As the seasons begin to change in my neck of the woods, I plan on walking forward with a new found strength not only in myself but in my relationships with friends and family. 



Before fall fully takes over, we are making the most of every last day of summer!


We enjoyed our local "Bear Paw" Festival 


especially the cotton candy after having two very good listeners and no complaining about what rides they were not big enough to ride yet!  I definitely have some thrill seeker children as they wanted to ride the "Zipper" 



We've done a couple more camping trips to Whittier hoping to stock our freezer with shrimp and halibut.  I couldn't resist snapping a photo of their early morning snuggles. 




Enjoying sunshine and just running around - I love that these two can make any situation fun. Papa and I were busy helping our elderly friend with her garden and house projects and I over hear these two making up a game about the store was by a big tree and they were pretending to grocery shop with the different things on the ground.  I love their imaginations.



We also had a visit from our cousins! Nothing serious with them of course - great to see family!

All this time this summer with Papa's family, has me missing my family.  So, with summer school coming to an end this week, the kiddos and I will be boarding a plane late Friday night to head to Wisconsin for a week!  Crazy!?! A bit - yes... but looking forward to one more summer adventure before we settle back into the regular school year.  

I hope you all are enjoying your summer adventures!






Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Girl!

Can we say that someone is very proud and exited to be 5 years old! 

Yes, our sweet little girl is 5 years old today. She is full of life. It doesn't matter if she is working on a project, practicing her school work (because you know she's going to be starting school this year - just ask her ;) ) or being outdoors - she is always giving it her very best. 

She was surprised this morning with opening her big gift from both grandparents and Momma and Papa - a bike!  A little adjusting with the length of training wheels and handle bar position and she was off...


maybe a little to quick for my heart.  
As I took this photo with my phone, I couldn't help but tear up a bit.  My babies riding away from me... each day a new level of independence is gained, which should be a celebration and is... however, this Momma's heart just wants to hold on a little bit longer.  


After a fun morning of riding her bike, we had a special lunch at her request... Carl's Jr. (Gag, blah.. who's child is she? ha,ha,ha)   Papa and I could recall one other time we had been to Carl's Jr, and for Sister to be so confident that is what she wanted for lunch.  Papa and I just laughed. After lunch, we burned some more of that 5 year old energy off at one of our local parks...


You'd think our day was done, but we invited a few friends over for a taco dinner, birthday cake and presents of course.  

(Taco dinner in the lawn of course!)

(Sister made the 5 and then supervised Momma's position of the other decorations)


The grand finale for the evening...

holding a real baby!  She's held this little guy many of times, but just loves it every time!

I'd say this sweet girl had a wonderful day of turning 5! 
(She was asleep before her brother - which almost never happens! HA!)