Our Family

Our Family
Liberty, Heather, Glade, Ryan, Kim

Sunday, September 27, 2009

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

Upon arrival in Skagway, we discovered a very expensive town that basically caters to cruise ships. There were three in port the entire time we were there. The people that come on boats sleep on the boat, so there weren't many hotels to speak of and the ones that were there ran about $200 per night. We were fortunate to find one in town that wasn't quite that much. It was kind of a neat place, but everything was geared for people with LOTS of money. You wouldn't believe how many jewelry stores there were, like 2 or three per block. We tried to go to a Robert Service poetry reading, but were told that children weren't invited. Pooh! So we went down by the stream and watched the spawning salmon instead.

We also saw this really cool train. It is basically a snowplow. Really huge and neat.

We decided to try something a little more kid friendly the next morning and drove to nearby Dyea, a rival of Skagway's during the gold rush. Skagway ended up winning out because of the railroad. There isn't much left of Dyea now, just some artifacts on the ground and one false front.

Then we went to Slide Cemetery. Turns out there was an avalanche during a time when a lot of people were trekking over the Chilkoot Pass and it killed about 50 people I think. They are mostly buried in this cemetery. It was a bautiful, quiet place.

On the way back to Skagway, we did a little wildlife viewing. We saw our first grizzly bear catching salmon in a river on a one-lane bridge close to Dyea. We stopped several times and looked through the binoculars at bald eagles and other birds. The kids had fun sitting in the Jeep.

Ryan spotted some dark shapes in the water (The part were the river comes into the ocean, I can't remember the name of it) which we figured out were sea lions also catching salmon. There were at least five or six of them and it was really fun to watch them.

Then we had a picnic by the river and the kids enjoyed playing on the rocks.

Ryan at the White Pass Summit. It was really foggy and kind of fun to drive in. Goodbye Skagway! Hello Yukon, Canada!

We spent two nights in Canada. The first in Whitehorse, which we really liked. The second in Beaver Creek. Kind of a fun little town that was about to close down for the season.

The Yukon was beautiful! We really loved all of the mountains, lakes and beautiful scenery. Here is a turquoise lake with an impressive mountain behind it.

Back in the US in Delta Junction for a picnic lunch. Just 100 more miles to our destination! Kimberly LOVES her little sister. She takes good care of her and loves to hold her.

We finally made it. We didn't try to drive too far in one day, so it took a little longer, but it was nice since we had two vehicles. We met a couple in Beaver Creek that had driven all the way from New York with their two kids! Far!

We were happy to finally get to Fairbanks and get to know it a little bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On The Road, Kinda

We rode the Alaska Marine Highway coming to Alaska. We figured it would be a lot easier than driving, especially with a newborn and since we wanted to take both vehicles. We traveled up the Inside Passage which is mostly protected from ocean swells. There were 2 open water crossings (the longest was about 2 hours). We got a little sick during those, but mostly it was a fine, easy, fun ride.

Us in front of the boat before boarding the M/V Columbia (Motor Vessel)

Goodbye Washington!!

We spent three nights on the ship. We were lucky enough to get a cabin with 4 berths (bunkbeds) and a sitting room. We picked up a few groceries on the way so we wouldn't have to eat out the entire time.

Not everyone had a cabin. The number of cabins was really limited compared to the number of passengers the ship holds. People camp out on the deck, sleep in the Solarium (a heated area on the top floor that is open in the rear) and also sleep in chairs located in the lounges. Looks kinda cold for camping, don't you think? This is when we were stopped in Ketchikan. "All ashore that are going ashore."

I thought the view from behind was neat. I love the flag and the wake of the boat.

We explored the boat for a while on our first day.

Our first taste of a main mode of travel in Alaska. It was a really neat kind of water airport. The planes were constantly landing and taking off right next to the boat as we travelled in this area.

The view from our window.

The kids enjoying the deck.

There were some beautiful views.

It rained quite a bit and Glade found a big drip from a lifeboat and was really enjoying the water coming down.

Someone was nice enough to take a picture of our family.

Ryan was the usual photographer, but I managed to get a few shots of him.

Kim in the Solarium under the heaters.

The only bad thing that happened is that Glade fell and hit his head in the play area of all places. I was there and calmly walked over to him when I heard him cry. Then I saw that there was blood, a lot of it. I had Liberty in the sling, so I laid him down on the floor and pressed my hand over his forehead, where the blood was coming from. Someone went and got some paper towels and Ryan got back from our cabin after a minute or two so I had some help, fortunately. They even stopped the boat to make sure we didn't need to get off, since we had just left a port about 5 minutes before. The Purser (a liaison with the passengers), a passenger who happened to be a nurse, and Ryan bandaged him up with some butterfly bandages, but now he has a nice scar about an inch long from his hairline straight down. Ryan says it's too bad it isn't lightning shaped so he would be like Harry Potter. Oh well, we're just glad he's okay. You can see his big bandage in this video.

It was a really fun trip and we enjoyed being able to spend so much time together. That was just the beginning of the fun!

Welcome to Winter

Well, here in the far North we have already experienced our first snow. It's melted now, but it looked like a postcard yesterday. Far cry from the 100+ degree weather that my sister-in-law has written about in Mesa!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goodbye Washington

My last playgroup. I really loved living in Yelm. I don't think I've lived anywhere that felt as much like home since I actually lived at home. Hope we can find a place that I like as well when we finally settle down.

Thanks for a wonderful year, ladies! You won't soon be forgotten!


I think not.

(This issue of the Friend arrived days after she was born.)

Liberty's Blessing

We wanted to bless Liberty before we moved since we wouldn't know anyone after our move. I made the dress before she was born, since I knew things would get crazy.

Me with my parents and Liberty

Me with Liberty and the blanket I made for her


Our complete family

Fun Visits

My dad, who is a hard-working farmer, doesn't like to take much time off. We talked him into coming to Washington for a week before we moved though. He was there over his birthday and we really enjoyed having him and my mom. My dad is a great guy and we love him very much. The kids, as always, love grandparents.

Home at Last

Well, it doesn't quite feel like home yet, but we're getting there. The movers brought our things about a week ago, but with kids and all else happening, I haven't gotten everything unpacked yet. We are slowly but surely getting there.

We really like the house, as you can see it is a cabin-style house. It has four bedrooms and three stories. It is on 5 acres and includes part of an airstrip. We were lucky enough to have an airplane there over Labor Day weekend which Ryan and Glade got to see take off. The barn is a garage with a huge loft above it for storage. The garage is nice and big for working on cars and other things. Also, since it gets to cold around here, the garage is heated in the winter. Although it is out in the country, it is only 8 miles from Ryan's work, so it is close to go to work. Also the town is named North Pole, which is kinda fun. They have lots of fun street names here. I'll have to post some when I get a chance.

On a different note, I saw the Northern Lights one night this last week, but since then it has been too cloudy. It was really neat to see. I've heard September and March are the best months to see them, so hopefully we'll get to see them again before the end of the month. Kim asked us to get her up and so I took her outside to show them to her. The next day she said she didn't remember though, so that's too bad.

The leaves are all yellow here, but autumn seems to be a really short season. The air has a bite to it today and I've heard they usually have snow before the end of the month, so the race is on to get warm clothes for everyone. Lucky for Ryan, he was given everything he needs by the Army.