Saturday, October 11, 2014


As the snow makes it way down the mountains (not in our yards, yet), we are thankful for friendship.  We've been in Eagle River now for a year and are developing friendships with our neighbors, church friends and through school.    I especially enjoy seeing my children develop friendships.  While Sister still asks about her friends from Cordova (When can I see Briggy-Boo or Ms. Ammella again?) or when we can move back to our red house - I love seeing her enjoying her new friends.

We were invited to a birthday party for one of Sister's friends from daycare.  

We had a lot of fun playing at the Alaska Fitness Center - what a great idea to rent out the play room for the party.

We also had fun watching our friend open up his presence.  Brother figured if he couldn't open them, he was going to go play instead.

We really had a great time and it feels good to have "local" friendships in our lives. 

Brother was all party out when we got home - just wanted to lay on the floor in the blanket. He never fell asleep, but for him to lay that still for so long - we knew he was tired!

We also enjoyed our weekend by getting outside for a beautiful fall/winter afternoon walk.  The kids shook the fireweed and it looked like it was snowing in the air.  This picture doesn't do how magical it looked on our walk - so much fun to be had with the simple things in life.

Between the party and fresh air, the kids were ready for a much needed nap on Sunday - I just love how they showed us they were ready for quiet time...

This weekend is kicking off with the theme of friendships as well.  From dinner with friends from Cordova to dinner with new 'local' friends.   We hope you make time this weekend to spend time in your friendships - both near and distant!
We love and miss you all!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

First signs of winter

One of my favorite things about the seasons changing is that I am able to see the sunrises from my classroom.  Yes, our days are noticeably shorter, but the views in the morning are simply breath taking.  At our home in Eagle River, we are surrounded by mountains, so we don't get to see the early morning colors.   This is just one of the many amazing sunrises we had this week.

We also had our first visible snowfall.  Through the trees you can see the termination dust coming down the mountain side and then this morning we woke up to a little dusting of snow actually on the ground! Crazy how just last week I was talking about fall and now there is snow on the ground.

Before old man winter truly arrives, we have been getting out and enjoying the last few days of fall. We love living with in walking distance of an elementary school and frequently head to the park after dinner.  A little family shot on one of our adventures to the park. 

Whether you are enjoying the fall season or if winter has arrived early - we think of you all often and hope that you are doing well.  Until next time...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall is officially here

Hello fellow readers- sorry we missed last week! Papa was out moose hunting (no luck) and we just had a busy but relaxing weekend - before I knew it, it's Friday again. 

Fall is officially in the air in our neck of the woods - but signs of summer are trying to hang on. 

There are a few flowers left on our neighbor's wild flower hillside.  Sister still loves to admire them when we are out walking or riding bikes.

This little flower caught my attention and I couldn't help but tear up a little and say, "Hi Grandma. We love you and miss you. Thank you for sending us little signs that you are watching over us from heaven above!" 

We also enjoyed a beautiful evening rainbow - the photo doesn't do the beauty justice. 

While Papa was out moose hunting last weekend - we had visitors as well. My dear friend and her four legged fur ball came to spend the weekend with us.  I so appreciated the company and help with kiddos!  
I wake up well before anyone in the house does to have my quiet time before the day begins.  Beau kept looking at me with this inquisitive look - I only wish I could read his thoughts. I could imagine him thinking, "Why are you up so early?  Since you are up, want to take me for a walk?  Is everything okay? Why are you up this early? Let's go wake everyone else up..."  Such an amazing dog that we've been blessed to know since he was a puppy.

 He loved being with the kids - and this moment just warmed my heart as I remembered our days of Koda and Bailey watching over the kids.  

We had a wonderful weekend with my friend and welcomed Papa home late Saturday evening. The rain had set in and made hunting miserable, so he came back early.  Fortunately the guys that stayed were able to get a moose the next day. Everyone shares with everyone, so we'll at least have some moose in the freezer for the winter.  

The week was a busy week - but I was reminded that I am in the best career field ever!  My students insisted that I had to stay in the hall during passing period - which I do anyways and my students have a routine of starting the bell ringer and such.  But I noticed they were being very giddy and every time I looked over my shoulder they would yell - NOT YET.  Since it was all happy sounds I kept my 'teacher eye' on them and let them think they were being sneaky - this was what they were up to...

I don't believe I'm the best math teacher ever - but these messages let me believe that I am connecting with my students and they are building a relationship with me.  I am falling back in love with teaching this year - which really excites me. For years I'd been questioning if I should go back to school or just take a break from teaching.  
 I love my new school and the students I am privileged to work with.  My co-workers are amazing and the administration is supportive and encouraging.  

Besides a 6.2 earthquake on Thursday- the rest of the week was pretty normal.  Thankfully no damage happened at our house, the kids were safe at day care and Papa and I were safe at school.  We have a busy weekend ahead - but hoping our beautiful weather will hold and we can be outdoors to enjoy it.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and productive week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hike into the mountains

Hiking on a school day - what more could I want!!

I'm really enjoying my new school this year and love that the special education teachers are considered part of the core academic teams.  It's so nice to collaborate and work with an amazing group of teachers.  Our first team efforts came together this week as we took our team of students out hiking in Arctic Valley area.  Our team of students met many social and emotional standards as well as hearing some history of the area from our Social Studies teacher. 

 The students were in awe when we arrived at the saddle of the Arctic Valley trail head.  Many students were content to stay in this area, but we had a group of adventurous who wanted to go up to the peaks.  So, another colleague and I split the kids each of us taking a group up the different peaks - Gordon Lyons and Rendezvous.  

Almost to the peak on Rendezvous, you can see all of Anchorage laid out before you.

Almost to the top of Gordon Lyons - you can see the south side of Eagle River- almost the neighborhood where my house is!

 It was truly an amazing day - while the scenic pictures don't properly display the amazing fall colors in the distance, the colors were just as impressive on the ground!  I'm so excited about working with this team and look forward to many more adventures with the group!

The kiddos had a great week as well - definitely creativity was in the air - 

From making up their own game of bowling

to experimenting with dishes and cooking utensils to make their own music.

The kids just continue to amaze me with the things they think up as ways of learning and exploring their world.   It was a busy week with the hike and then Papa had Open House that night and then I had Open House the next night.  We are looking forward to a relaxing weekend - hoping to recharge from such a busy week.  Maybe we'll take a drive up to Hatcher Pass and soak in the fall colors if the rain lets up a little.  Who knows... whatever the weekend entails - we wish you all much happiness and know that we miss each of you who follow our little blog!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fall is in the air

With Labor Day weekend having come and gone - it truly feels like fall is in the air. We enjoyed our 3 day weekend with a trip to Chugiak park. It's only 10 minutes down the road from us and has a beautiful facility.  The kids love playing on the play ground equipment and enjoy hiking the hills that are near by.  We stopped for a very 'bright' selfie at the top of the hill!

We also had a dear friend out for dinner and enjoyed a short hike to the South Fork Water Fall.  With these shorter days the falls were hard to get a nice picture of because the sun was behind the mountain already.  But this photo of the stream we cross truly shows how fall is in the air with the leaves changing colors.

Our weather shifted to fall like weather with cooler temperatures and rainy days.  You would think the kids are sad about not playing outside, but in some ways they are enjoying just hanging out at home.  Brother has great pleasure in walking in other people's shoes these days...

We allow our children to have some iPad time if they've had good behavior through out the day. Okay- let me be honest - Momma and Papa need the break and it's just nice to be able to cook dinner without little ones interrupting.  They each have their own, but often they end up sharing...

Sister did not want to share this particular afternoon - so Brother quietly climbed up the back of the couch to watch over her shoulder. I don't even think she really knew he was there.   

Our weather is foggy and rainy again today.  Promises to be a good day to play play-dough and maybe watch a movie.  We all have that ''back to school" runny nose- but not really sick - so a day of laziness sounds wonderful! 

We love and miss you all!! Have a wonderful weekend and productive week ahead.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A weekend retreat!

What? A retreat at the beginning of school year?!?

Thus, my lapse in a blog update last weekend.  The Radiant Women's Ministry at the church I attend put on a women's retreat.  We all met a various places and times last Friday and made our way to Sutton and the Victory Bible Camp.  Sutton is about an hour and a half north and east into the mountains.  Friday night was all about hanging out and getting to know the women... well, okay, I did bring some papers to grade so I wasn't socializing too much - but I felt if I graded Friday night I could enjoy the rest of the weekend. AND I DID!

The picture above was the view Saturday morning as I was heading out for a walk, all by myself.  Yes, I truly felt this weekend was about some time for me.  Of course I wanted to get to know some of the women I always see at church but always felt like I didn't have time to make connections; but I also felt this weekend was a gift of rest. 

So, I enjoyed my peaceful walk and felt my body just relax.  I wasn't walking because I needed to exercise and it was the end of the day and my mind was racing with all the things I needed to still do.  No, this walk was peaceful.  Just me, the crisp morning air and sounds of nature.  To my surprise, I happened upon this little waterfall.  

After my walk, it was time to start the day.  Our guest speaker for the weekend, Gwen Adams, gave 3 amazing sessions surrounding the topic of "Who am I?"  So many wonderful points were made, but the greatest thing I took away from the weekend was reevaluating where I spend my time.  Yes, I have my quiet time with God in the morning - but then what.  Gwen pointed out that we will see and hear God when we invest in our relationships that hold promise; spouse, children, friendships/spiritual partners, parents and church family.  I really reflected on what sucks my time away that I don't always realize that whatever it is takes me away from relationships.  So, I made a plan to make some of these adjustments.  One of them was doing a house hold chore every night so that the weekend was free for me to hang out with Leif and the kids and not be busy all Saturday morning cleaning the house.  I'll admit, it feels weird to sit here Friday night and realize the laundry is already done and bathrooms are already cleaned.  However, I'm excited to have basically all of Saturday morning to hang out with my family - doing nothing else, but enjoying our time together.   

 I loved seeing this little flower at our camp for the weekend - it just brought a smile to my face!

After our session with Gwen, we met in small groups and then had at least 2 hours of free time.  So, what did I do?  I took a nap!! Then went to 2nd session, had dinner and free time again - and guess what I did - went and finished a book and was asleep by 8:30pm!!  All you mothers can appreciate the idea of not having any demands on you and how your body just screams- rest!  So I did!

Sunday morning was a very reflective morning for me as I've been struggling with making friends here in Eagle River.  I was blessed with a very powerful moment as I sat in front of this lake early in the morning.  A lone loon was sitting on the lake just swimming around occasionally calling out to anyone who was listening.  I sat there and watched and realized that was me.  Just sitting calling out to try to make friends, but not really making the effort to fly off and find a group of friends to join.   Partly, it's my personality - I just don't do well with large groups, but much better 1 to 1 or even a small group of 3, but I'm never going to get to that place of finding a close group of friends if I don't make the effort to join the larger groups first.  Needless to say - this weekend was emotional and life changing - but also relaxing and refreshing.

As we headed home, it was amazing to see how in just 2 days the way the leaves are changing. Surly a sign that summer is ending and winter will be here before we know it.  

We had a busy week of school and events but looking forward to enjoying a nice long 3 day weekend.  We kicked off the weekend by sending Papa to go watch the high school football game to support the students he works with and to give him a break as he was amazing with the kiddo while I was at the retreat last weekend.   The kids and I took advantage of the break in the rainy weather we had this week and headed to the park to soak up some last days of summer.

Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back To School We Go

This isn't the picture you'd expect to see for a "Back to School" title for this blog entry, but it is a reflection of how we are enjoying the last few days of summer.  In our neighborhood, a family sprinkled the hillside with what we thought was grass seed this spring.  Much to our surprise when we returned from Montana, it was a hillside full of beautiful wild flowers.  It soon became Sister's favorite spot to stop on our nightly walks...

Sister is really getting the hang of her Strider bike and it's a good thing because she's grown so much these past few weeks that she's almost too tall for the bike.

We've enjoyed our evening walks to the park and have tried to soak in every last bit of bright sunlight before our days grower darker.  Brother sure is enjoying his freedom at the parks these days - particularly the seated swings...

While we enjoy the last few days of summer, we have been going back to school for teacher inservice days and getting our classrooms set up.  I'm so thankful for a willing husband to help decorate my room at my new school this year.



Hard to believe students will be filling these seats on Wednesday!
I'm looking forward to the new school year and so is Leif - he's very excited to be back at the high school level.  Here's to a new school year!!