Our Family

Our Family
Liberty, Heather, Glade, Ryan, Kim

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Alaska Night

Tonight Heather noticed two moose sleeping in our yard. We took many pictures of them from our bedroom window. Here is a 15-second exposure of one with the planet Mars.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Tis the Season!

We had a great Christmas together as a family, made bittersweet by the upcoming deployment. The kids are great and make Christmas even better. We started out the day VERY early. After a story from her teacher, Kim decided to get up early and jump on us to wake us up. So up they both came at 5:00. This was a little surprising since she usually doesn't want to get up until 7:30 or 8:00. After trying to get them to lie down and be quiet, we gave up and started the day.

After the gifts we enjoyed a pretty quiet day as a family enjoying gifts and each other.

I just had to include this picture from Christmas Eve since she's just so dang cute! Plus, she managed to sleep through all of the gift part of Christmas morning.

Kim was excited to get this nutcracker on Christmas Eve. She really loved the ballet we attended.

I had the good surprise of a serger from Ryan. I have played with it a little bit and think it will be great to have and fun to experiment with.

Grammy sent a neat gift for Glade. An Army bear complete with beret and tan shoes. So cute! The great part is that Ryan can record a message for Glade on a little box and we can listen to it while he is deployed.

Grammy made this hat for Glade, but I think Ryan was a little jealous! She better make one for her boy next year I think!

Glade did finally get his hat back from Dad and used it riding his airplane. He did turn into a bear later in the day (from getting up so early) and had to have a nap.

I think we have an organizer on our hands. Glade has always been good about putting toys away and wanting things where they go. Here's how we found his stocking and the candy he had left. Yellow is his favorite color so all gold wrapped candy was gone.

Kimberly must be growing up. She didn't get too many toys for Christmas, mostly clothes and things like that. Here's a wonderfully soft blanket made by Grandma. She loves it and Dad has been tempted to steal it. The crib set she made for Libby is adorable too, but I didn't get any pictures of it yet.

Very cute jumper for our Princess.

More handmade creations on our girls from Grammy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mt Aurora

I was tempted to head down to Alyeska ski resort this weekend, but it was threatening about a nine-hour drive and five total days by the time we satisfied all objectives of the trip. We decided to simplify and stay home, so I visited Mount Aurora Skiland, 30 miles north of Fairbanks, this morning. It was to be the opening day of the season. They bill the hill as "The Farthest North Downhill Ski Area in North America!"

I arrived about 9:30, before dawn, and found only a few other cars in the parking lot. Most everybody was teen or college age. We milled around waiting for some sign of life from the proprietors.

Rumors started to circulate that they weren't opening after all, so I walked over to the Ski Patrol shack and chatted with the lone patrolman there. He let me know they weren't opening, either due to thin snow or high winds--he hadn't heard which. I told him I was a dentist and thought I might be interested in doing Ski Patrol. He encouraged me to come back next year, after my deployment.

Disappointed, I considered packing up and heading out like the other people in the lot. But then I thought, "Aw, what the heck. I don't have anywhere to go." So I stepped into my skis and took a run down to the base of the lift.

It was a lot of fun. I would go back when they are open. Of course all the fresh, untracked powder helped.

I listened to Handel's Messiah hiking back to the top, and it made for a spiritually satisfying experience. I stopped to jump off a big rock that was beckoning (sorry, no video; I sure miss my brothers). Views of the sunrise on the White Mountains to the north were really gorgeous. I took another half run after reaching the lodge at the summit.

The moon rose low, near the horizon.

I finished up around 12:30 or 13:00. It was a great morning. Since the lifts didn't open, I got some extra exercise and saved twenty-five bucks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birthday Time!

Glade has been convinced that it is someone's birthday because of the gifts under the tree. He kept asking me whose birthday it was. So on Monday for Family Home Evening, we talked about the birth of the Savior and how we celebrate his birthday at this time of year. The next day I heard him singing "Happy Birthday to Jesus." He is so darn cute!

4 Months Already?

Liberty is getting so big. She is four months old as of December 1st. She grabs onto toys, binkies, and hair (unfortunately for me!). She is also starting to sit up by herself. She is a happy baby and we love her so much!

Sporting her snowsuit from Uncle Reed and Aunt Katie. Love it guys!

I put her in the bouncer and she wouldn't sit back! Getting to be such a big girl!

Hansel and Gretel

We decorated a gingerbread house for Family Home Evening this week. I emphasize decorate. I didn't get around to actually making the gingerbread this year, but I did buy a pre-made house. Cheap, huh! Oh well, the kids still loved it.

It didn't last very long though. Hansel and Gretel ate most of it last night. At least it was gratifying to see that the gingerbread wasn't nearly as good as the candy on it. Homemade wins for that!

Living in the Old Days

I guess we're living in the old days around here. This morning Kim commented that it looked black and white, like an old movie or picture. I had to agree with her.

It's not always like that though. We had this gorgeous sunrise last week. Although it was at 10:45!

Tired Snowman

It is so cold around here that the snow isn't really that great for playing in. It doesn't stick together that well for snowballs, or snowmen. That is Kimberly's biggest complaint.

One day it actually got a little above freezing and I told Kimberly it was her chance to make a snowman. She headed out a little before it was time to leave for school. It was too hard for her to make a standing up snowman, so she made one laying down. I couldn't get out there to help since I was trying to get everything and everyone ready to get her to school on time (a process, let me tell you!). She dropped rocks into the middle part to make buttons (or holes).

Very creative little sweetie! Glad you had fun and could at least build one snowman this year!


Gracious! I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted!

Ryan was nice enough to forgo hunting or skiing to go the the matinee of the Nutcracker with us. The kids really got into the first half (more like a play). I was a little surprised at how much Glade enjoyed it. After the intermission was more ballet and Glade got a little tired. Kim seemed to really enjoy it though. She leaned over in the middle and said, "This is awesome! Thanks for bringing me!"

After the performance, they had a little tea party with cookies and punch. They handed out little autograph books that the kids to take around to the performers and get their signatures. Kim said, "This is my first time getting the signature of a famous person!" She was sooooo excited.

As you can see, she wanted to wear her leotard and tutu. Here she is with the Dew Drop Fairy.

With one of the sugar plum dancers.

Don't tell her, but we got her a nutcracker for Christmas. I hope it doesn't turn into a prince, we're not quite ready for that yet. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kid Smarts

Dad: "Ah, food never tastes better than after you exercise."
Kim: "Or watch a movie!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

This Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my sweetheart. Ryan managed to have his birthday on Thanksgiving this year. He opened presents right after breakfast so he could have the whole day to enjoy them.

We even got to see the sun on that morning.

We skied (cross-country), played with his new soccer ball (from Kim) outside in the snow and ate about 3:30 or so after it was dark. We didn't want to use our daylight hours for that. My turkey turned out really well and even though it was just us, we enjoyed each other and made some good memories. Kim made us some turkey placemats that were colorful and fun.

Then we had cake. No pies for me this year. Did I mention that cake is way easier to make than pie?

All in all, a fun day. It was great to have some family time. Now on to Christmas preparations.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Yesterday we headed to the Tanana Valley State Forest by way of Two Rivers Road, just about 20 miles from here, and cut a Christmas tree. The area is open for noncommercial timber harvesting, and you can even cut one Christmas tree without a permit. Kim selected an attractive white spruce.

I had a lot of fun driving the Cherokee on the snowy logging roads. It does quite well in the snow, even without snow tires.

We discovered that the roads were perfect for kids' sledding. Kim and Liberty had a ball. We even saw a dog sled team a couple of times, with ten or twelve Siberian Huskies pulling a man up the hill. Yes, the man had a bushy beard just like in the movies.

We were so excited to see direct sunlight that we took a picture. The sun doesn't get far above the southern horizon these days. You pretty much get morning or evening all day.

The final product.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hey There Pilgrim

Today we experienced our first family school activity. The Kindergarten has a Thanksgiving Parade. We had two Kindergarten classes of Pilgrims and two Kindergarten classes of Indians. The kids took in a shirt that apparently was dyed and then the kids drew on them. They have a list of other classes in the school that want to be visited and each Kindergarten class has a song they sing. After the parade, we went to Kim's classroom to have friendship soup and pumpkin pie made by the kids. Kim said she got to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie. It was quite fun, although a little crazy with 20 kids running around. (Plus the few extra younger ones from visiting parents.)

Kim in the parade.

Morning and afternoon class all together.

A view of Kim's Indian shirt.

Alaska Sunrises

Here are some beautiful pictures I have taken in the last week of the sunrise from our house. It is easy to see it when it doesn't come up until 10 or 11.

My favorite

Love the way the frozen trees light up.

The neighbor's smoke drifting across.

Naughty or Nice?

Living in North Pole, we have certain privileges. Like being able to go to Santa Claus' House. We did this a few weeks ago when my friend Katie was here visiting. Unfortunately, Santa was having a rest gearing up for the big season to come, but we saw his chair!

Katie, Abi, and Sadie sitting in Santa's chair.

Our family in his chair.

Santa's reindeer were kept out back, getting into shape for the yearly flight.

Also, we were happy to discover that Ryan made it on the nice list this year. If you zoom in, you can see his name there.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween

Since Alaska is pretty much too cold for Trick-or-Treating, we didn't do any of that. Kim's school does a Great Pumpkin Carnival during the early afternoon that we went to instead. They had face painting, balloons (I've always loved those), games, and a trick-or-treat alley. It took a good amount of time and was pretty fun. There were WAY too many kids trying to squeeze through the halls though. Pretty simple Halloween. No fancy dinner, no trick-or-treaters at our house. Oh well, it was kind of nice that way.

Kim the Tooth Fairy getting her face painted.

Making Kim a flower balloon.

Glade the leopard and Kim the Tooth Fairy eating cupcakes from the cake walk.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Country Living

We are really enjoying our new place. This week, winter set in full force. It's a month later than normal, which I won't complain about. We have had snow starting Sunday night until Wednesday. We didn't get too much accumulation though. I have been enjoying the snow tires on the van. They make driving a lot nicer.

I have taken some pictures of what our views look like that I think turned out well. You can see the Aurora from our bedroom window at night when they are out.

I took this one from the Dining Room window the beautiful, clear morning after the snow stopped.

This is a picture from our porch. It shows some ice fog.

All in all, a satisfying and beautiful place to live.