Saturday, November 29, 2008

Enjoying the Snow

We went over to the sledding hill in our neighborhood yesterday and watched Brandon have some fun. It's nice to have such a great area so close to home. There isn't a lot of snow on the ground yet, but it was enough for the kids to play. Hopefully we will get some more in the next few days.

video video

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It has been a great one. This year, both kids helped me prepare our big turkey meal. Brandon (the muscular one) cracked the eggs and made the Broccoli Cornbread. Not just any wimp can crack an egg, you know. It takes brawn as well as brain. Jess helped make the cornbread dressing as well as clean up. (And occassionally posed well for pictures.) Both kids are growing up so fast. It won't be long until they are out in the big world and cooking for themselves. (Then Russ and I can just show up and eat!)
Russ did the dirty work for me and helped clean up my mess after dinner. Definitely the most valuable job today. It's hard to come out of a turkey stupor long enough to wash dishes. In case you think it was all good times and merriment, there is a dark underworld in out Thanksgiving holiday. You know, the relatives that always fight throughout the meal. This is what was going on under the tablecloth.
I told them that Santa wasn't going to bring them anything if they didn't try to get along a little better. I'm not sure they believed me. Time out for these two. And no pumpkin pie!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winter Fun

Time to crank up the snow blower! We got around 3 or 4 more inches of the white stuff last night. We are excited, because that means more winter fun. My son loves Calvin and Hobbs cartoons. I have to admit it, I enjoy them too. He brought one of their books home from school not long ago, and was showing me some really funny snowmen cartoons. I was inspired. Maybe the kids and I can get out and build a snowman soon. It will give the neighbors something to talk about. :0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alaska Aces

Once again, four guys from the Alaska Aces hockey team came to our school and had some fun. They come by each year to read to the younger classes, encourage the kids to exercise and eat right, and then play a rousing game of hockey against some of the teachers. This year, the game was very exciting. Our teachers made them work to score those goals. In the end, the score was 3-0. They did spend a little time clowning around as well. The kids loved it. The Aces are really great about playing games with the kids and giving out lots of prizes like autographed t-shirts and gift cards to local restaurants. It was a lot of fun for everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finally More Snow!

Mother Nature has decided to play nice and dumped a few more inches of snow on us yesterday. Finally! It's hard for the kids to sled down a hill covered with only an inch or two of snow. Trust me, they try. We are expecting more in the next couple of days. Hillberg opens Thanksgiving weekend, so we are keeping our fingers crossed. We are ready to go skiing and tubing! Only a few more days until Turkey Day! I have a nice bird thawing out in the fridge and am ready to go. I plan on spending "Black Friday" laying on the couch in a turkey induced coma, rather than fighting the crowds at the stores. I've learned my lesson from past years. No sale is worth that torture. I hope you are all having a lovely Thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finally Friday!

I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I woke up, looked in the mirror, and my hair was all gray. Not a pretty silver color. It was stone gray and white, course, Brillo pad, sticking out everywhere, wicked witch, oh my gosh what did I do??? gray. Someone needs a time out and a latte. I'm just saying. Instead, I'm off to the school to decorate bulletin boards and take pictures. I think I might go with a polar bear theme today. I haven't decided yet. I hope everyone has a lovely Friday! (I might want to pick up a box of hair color- just to be safe!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday

A wild cat crept out of the shadows and lept on a moose here last night. It drug the moose out into the open and proceeded to rip it's head right off. It was a pretty vicious attack. The moose never had a chance. OK, it was a die cut moose and Tink stole it off of my scrap booking desk and ripped it up, but it was vicious just the same. Darn cat! She had the nerve to bring it over and rip it up in front of me so that I got the full effect. That was about all the excitement around here we could take. Have a great day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Alaska Aces Hockey Game

video

We went to see the Alaska Aces play last night at the Sullivan Arena. It was a blast. The Aces beat the Utah Grizzlies 4-1. This was also a Toys For Tots game. Fans brought new stuffed animals to the game, and when the Aces scored their first goal, everyone threw their stuffed animals onto the ice. The Marines were there to gather them up. All toys will stay in Alaska and be given to needy families here in the state during Christmas.

The Aces are very involved in the community. Each year, they visit local schools and read to the younger kids.


The players also sign some shirts and collector cards to give to the kids as prizes for games that they play with them. The Aces came to our school last year, and the kids really loved it. They showed off some of their hockey skills, encouraged the kids to get out and get active, and then finished the visit off with a hockey game against some of out teachers. They are an awesome team!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Alaska Ferry 2

This is what it looks like in the bottom of the ship. You are allowed to visit your vehicles when you are in port, and at other specified times. People who brought their pets with them had to leave them in their vehicles, so they used this time to feed and exercise them.
This is one of the halls in the ship. If you wanted to travel on a budget, you could bring your tent and camp out on the upper deck. They used duct tape to attach their tents to the deck, because it was really windy up there.

At dusk one day, we saw a family of deer on the bank. There were lots of star fish on the shore near the docks.
There was always something interesting to see, whether it was the beautiful scenery, or the boats and planes that passed by us on our trip up the Alaskan coast. This was our first glimpse of a glacier. We saw this on our approach to Alaska's capital city of Juneau. This pair of humpback whales welcomed us in the harbor at Juneau. Juneau Alaska. This was the last city that we saw in the daylight. We arrived at around 2 am in Haines, Alaska, the next day and got off of the Malaspina. It was sad to leave our floating home, but very exciting to be that much closer to our new home in Anchorage.

The Alaska Ferry

I haven't been getting out and taking a lot of pictures lately (work, school, etc. tend to get in the way), so I thought I'd share pictures of our move to Alaska the first week of August, 2005. We drove from Eglin AFB, FL, across the entire United States to Bellingham, Washington. That was a fantastic adventure that included a few days in Yellowstone National Park. If anyone is interested in those pictures, I will share them as well. We arrived a little early at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, and had some time to check out the terminal itself. The terminal was very nice, and even had some gift shops. I restrained myself, and instead checked out the fliers for local adventures and activities.On the wall, they had a huge map of Alaska. It was really interesting, and we could track the route we would soon be taking on the ferry. This is our ferry, the Malaspina. If you ever have a chance to take a trip on the Alaska Ferry system, jump on it! You won't regret it. It is like a cruise ship, but with a small town atmosphere. The crew is made up of Alaskan Natives from different tribes throughout the state. They are very friendly, and are always willing to share stories and information about their home towns and culture. It was really interesting loading into the ferry. It's amazing how many vehicles fit into the ship. They had the routine down, and it didn't take much time at all to load everyone up and get us checked into our rooms. The kids LOVED our room. We lucked out and got a room with a bathroom. Some rooms shared a community bathroom down the hall. We had two sets of bunk beds, a small sink area, and a shower/toilet room. We also had the luxury of a window. Bellingham, from the back of the Malaspina.As we left the port, we realized that our real journey had finally begun. The shore of the Lower 48 slowly faded away.They had a nice cafeteria on the Malaspina, with a great variety of food. You could have anything from sandwiches to home cooked meals, and the prices were very reasonable. In the area outside our room, they had a display that the crew referred to as the "Dead Eagles." It was entertaining to be given directions like, "Go down one level and take a right at the dead eagles." This was our first Alaskan sunset. It was a beautiful end to the first day of our journey.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Morning

Things have calmed down up here now. We got a little more snow this week, so it is starting to look more like winter. I'm ready for a big dump, so Hillburg will open and we can go tubing. They normally open Thanksgiving weekend, so it won't be long (if Mother Nature does her part). I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this lovely November day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

It seemed fitting to share pictures of our trip to Washington DC to help celebrate Veterans Day. It is a day to not only to remember those who died while fighting for our freedom, but also to thank those who are still protecting that freedom and who serve our country every day.

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife, I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:
That I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
-Lee Greenwood

Sunrise on Elmendorf AFB

I love this view. When you drive around to the back side of base, this is what you see just before you hit the treeline. This is Elmendorf (with Anchorage in the background) just before the sun rises. Yes, Gretchen, it is around 8:30 or 9 am. :0) The days are getting shorter. Once the ground is covered with snow, it looks much lighter, but for now it is peaceful and dark. The sunrises are the most beautiful in winter. When everything is covered with a thick blanket of snow, the early sun bounces off of the mountains and they look purple. They call it Alpenglow. I don't have a picture of it yet, but I hope to get it this year. My other goal is to get a better picture of the Northern Lights.