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!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ALCAN to Montana July Adventure

July 8, 2014 - August 3, 2014

Are we ready?

Well, fellow blog readers, it feels great to be back. It's taking me all week to go through all the photos but so much fun to relive the memories.  I would end up posting 30 some posts to share all the details of our adventure - so I'm going to do my best to summarize the past month here.  If you want more details - you'll just have to come visit us in Eagle River!

The picture above is the morning of the start to the adventure and shows our home for the past month.  Leif's parents and the four of us traveled in one vehicle (Explorer) and then had the pop-up camper as lodging.  One would think we were crazy, but actually we all had plenty of space.  

We saw all kinds of wildlife...

Elk at our campsite

Stone Sheep 

Brown Bear - we saw 16 in one day!!
and wild wood bison herd.

We were also blessed with some amazing sunsets

Dutton, MT

 Ft. Smith/Big Horn River - MT

Alberta, Canada

However, the focus of our trip was to be a part of the Jacobsen family reunion.  We made the trip down in 7 days- really taking our time and enjoying the trip. 

The kids were absolutely content if they could find a puddle and rocks - no matter where we stopped.

They were also pretty excited to go over all the bridges - this was going over the famous Tesslin Bridge in Yukon Territory which is the longest suspension bridge on the Alaskan Highway.

Let's not forget the fun things that pop up at the gas stations

and at the playgrounds

Of course we had our silly moments in the car too!

We even found creative ways to get our "quiet time" in!

The family reunion was a wonderful time!  Here's our Pope with his siblings.

Only one sister was unable to make it due to her husband falling ill. We were happy to hear he was doing better, but they thought it best not to travel.  Out of Papa's cousins, only 3 of the cousins were unable to attend.  So, we had about 60 people attend the reunion.

It was great to be able to spend the week prior to the reunion camping along side Papa's brother and his family.  Here the Jacobsen cousins enjoyed a 'chilly' swim!

Before we knew it - it was time to head back north. 
We left Montana on a Monday and arrived back in Fairbanks on Friday and then home to Eagle River on Saturday!  We put roughly 2,900 miles in 6 days!!! We were all ready to be home, have some space and use a really bathroom! Ha, ha...  In all sincerity, this was a wonderful trip.  So many memories were made and it was wonderful to spend quality time with family.  We were even fortunate enough to have my mom and dad come over for a visit from Wisconsin.  
(, send me some pictures you took!) 

 Our last camp site at Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory

As we've been home for a week now, we've shifted gears getting ready to go back to school. Can it be that time already?  I know as the craziness of school starting up, I'm going to remember how relaxing this trip was (yes, it was truly relaxing) and keep my focus on what's important in life.

Thank you friends and family that have kept us in your prayers this past month. Truly - your prayers were answered as we had zero car troubles, and 95% positive attitudes by all (okay- we all had a cranky moment or two) but honestly - what could have been stressful and irritating trip, was one of positive and quality time together as a family.   
So, we thank you for praying and keeping us in your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Leinna

Happy 4th Birthday!!

 Wow - where does the time go?

Can you believe I got away with hot pink cupcakes!  Ha, ha - Papa was a little irritated, but I told him that Sister got to chose her own birthday treat.  

We celebrated her birthday early, because we will be headed to Fairbanks on Friday to start our adventures for July - I'll share more about that in just a minute.  Back to the birthday girl...

Sister had a great time baking her cupcakes and then frosting them.

Next on the birthday celebration - was Skyping Grandma Julie into the little party...

Sister had fun opening presents

in her Cinderella dress of course! 
(Oh - Mrs. DillyDally- can you just picture what our Papa was thinking?!? HA!!)

But the best part - enjoying the cupcakes!

Happy 4th Birthday!! (almost)

So - my dear blog followers - I posted two entries tonight, Whittier Camping Trip, in case you missed that one.  WHY?  Well, on Friday, we'll be headed to Fairbanks to begin our month long trip.  We'll spend a few days with Grandma Cynde and Pope getting the camper ready and packing up.  We'll probably go out to eat and maybe an ice cream treat to celebrate Sister's real birthday on Sunday - but then on Tuesday we hit the road!   We are driving and camping our way down the ALCAN to Montana for a Jacobsen family reunion.  I won't have my laptop, nor internet connection to do my weekly blog entry - but you better believe when we return in August I'll have all sorts of adventures to share. 

Wishing you all a wonderful month of July and we'll see you back in August!

Whittier Camping Trip

Whittier, Alaska - June 2014

Those of us who have had the pleasure of traveling to Whittier know that the weather is typically, cold, rainy, windy and just not very pleasant at all.  Grandma Cynde and Pope were camping in Whittier and invited us to come down.  We decided to go thinking we'd only stay the night and then return due to weather - but to our wonderful surprise - we had sunny skies and beautiful weather all weekend long!

After setting up camp - it was time to do what we came to do - Go Shrimping!

Someone couldn't hardly wait to go out on the boat!

Pope even let her have a turn driving!

Fresh Shrimp!  Yes Please!!

Brother is just too much of a busy body these days to be safe on the boat - so he had fun staying behind with Grandma and throwing rocks into the ocean.  When we returned - someone would not leave my side.

While our shrimp pots were soaking - we also tried our luck with some halibut fishing.

Again- someone was way too excited to be out on the boat again!
Here's Sister with a family friend - Uppa

We enjoyed the afternoon, but didn't have any luck catching halibut.  

Pleasantly surprised by the wonderful weather - we made a full weekend out of it.  Brother is always sneaking a chance to drive the car - silly boy!

Friday, June 27, 2014

More Eagle River Hiking

 Fireweed is blooming so it must be summer!

We made the most of our weekend and early part of this week, knowing the weather forecast showed rainstorms moving in.  So, glad we took advantage of the nice weather, because we've been experiencing cool temps and rain for the past 4 days.  Okay- my Cordova followers, I know, I know,  I sound like a whiner now not able to handle some rain for few days - but the kids and I really had a great routine going with playing at the parks all morning and then good naps in the afternoon.   Oh well, we are going to go to Whittier this weekend rain or shine and do some fishing/shrimping and camping.

Back to the week...

The kids, myself and some teacher friends hit the trail at Eagle River Nature Center. We took about a 3 mile hike and I must say, Sister walked the whole way!  What a trooper!! 

Half way through the hike the kids needed a snack - Sister's idea was if they sat lower to the ground, the mosquitoes wouldn't bother them! 

Best part of the hike was finding the hollowed out tree - I could have left the kids there for they were so excited to play INSIDE the tree. 

A few days later, our next adventure was to South Fork Falls, right here in Eagle River. Literally about 10 minute drive and 1/2 mile hike from my house is this beautiful waterfall. 

The kids of course did not understand why the railing was holding them back.

But, still had fun listening to the waterfall.

Brother wasn't too happy to squish so close to Sister for a selfie.

I'm reading a book called, The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, which is a movement regarding becoming better neighbors. I remember growing up and my parents knew our neighbors names, lent a hand with projects and just genuinely cared for their neighbors. We've lived in Eagle River for a year now, and I didn't know a single neighbors name.  Well, this was heavy on my heart and then our church pastor is preaching through this book.  Anyways - in the book, it suggests moving to the front yard - be visible so your neighbors can see you and you'll no longer be a mystery.  

So - we did just that - made an effort to play in the front yard. Sure, it's next to the road, but we taught the kids they have to stay in the grass and when they hear or see a moving car, they need to immediately sit down.  One of the vehicles in the neighborhood is a very loud truck - literally sets of car alarms in the morning with its loudness.  Following directions - they stayed in the grass, sat down - but then I loved how they both have their ears plugged as the loud truck went by.  Ha, ha...  maybe not the impression we want to make - oh well.  We tried.

Hope you all can find ways to get to know your neighbors this week.  Can you believe it's the last week of June! Ah - slow down summer!!