Friday, November 6, 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We have had a beautiful fall here in Alaska. All of September and much of October the trees have been vibrant yellows and reds, and the air has been crisp.

We have soaked up as much time as we can outside, knowing that each day brings a bit less sun and a bit more dark.

I got to join Grace's class on a field trip to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. It was a cold but beautiful fall day. I love that we live somewhere that our kiddos can experience nature everyday.

Grace's teacher Mr. Daniels explaining different insects found in the wetlands.

Hockey is back in full swing. This year Steve is the head coach of Noah's team. At the beginning of the season, the UAA hockey team traveled to the peninsula for a scrimmage game. After the game, the players stuck around and let our local kids skate with them on the ice. The next morning they put on a free clinic for the kids. Only around 12 kids attended, so each child had 2-3 hockey players helping them out. It is so great to see these players investing in the next generation. Noah has a new favorite college team!

We have been very fortunate here at Alaska Christian College to have had the support of multiple governors. Our new governor is no exception. He stopped by to tour the campus, and took the time to  answer student questions. I was so impressed with the questions that our students asked him, ranging from subsistence rights, to oil, to hunting and fishing regulations. He addressed each issue and then took pictures with the staff and students.

As the weather cooled off the local animals were out and about trying to fatten up for the winter. This little guy got chilly and decided to knock on my window. :)

Our Paraprofessional Education program at ACC is growing quickly. Our students take advantage of the fact that there are several elementary schools close by, including my kiddos school right across the street. The "Children as Readers" paraprofessional class hosted a reading instruction session in the ACC library for some of our kids. It was a great opportunity for the ACC students to practice their teaching skills, and our kids to interact with the students outside of their normal school setting.

Towards the middle of October the clouds rolled in and it started getting significantly darker. One of the ways that we cope with the darkness here in Alaska is through light therapy. The light (called a happy light) helps to stimulate the cones and rods in your eye in a way that mimics sunlight and tells your body to utilize the vitamin D (which we have to take in the form of supplements) in its system. We notice a big difference when we take our vitamin D and use the happy lights. We are all less sleepy, grouchy, and moody when we stay on top of the "lack-of-sun" issue.

Our kiddos doing their homework in front of the happy light.

Our family got a short break from the darkness when we traveled to San Diego for a family wedding. Steve's brother and his family came back from Central Asia to attend, so we made it a priority to get down there to see them. Since we are in the middle of the semester we were only able to go for a few days, and we had to fly overnight on both ends of the trip to fit it in, but it was completely worth it!

Steve and Chris, after a morning riding the waves
Some of Steve's favorite memories are of surfing with his brother. Not only did he get to surf with his bro again, but he got to teach the kids how to surf! It has been 4 years since he had last surfed, but his love for the sport has not faded one bit! While one kid surfed, the other kids enjoyed boogie boarding, sand-castle making, and playing with their cousins.

It is hard having cousins that live so far away, but when the kids get together it is like no time has passed. The girls really enjoyed bonding through make-overs, nail-painting, and other girly activities.
Noah grumbled more than a few times about how Zak needs to hurry up and grow up so they can do more guy stuff.

Grandpa dancing with the kids at the wedding
The wedding was beautiful, and the time with family was priceless. It was great to re-charge before returning to Alaska to finish the semester strong.

 Shortly after we returned there was snow in the forecast. We have had a few big windstorms and some of the facia board was ripped off of our house. We haven't been able to repair it because there has been quite a bit of rain the past few weeks. With snow in the forecast that evening, and a short break from the rain, Steve and his buddy decided it was now or never on the facia repairs. We are so fortunate to have such good friends!

It was a good thing that they got the boards fixed, because we woke up the next morning to a blanket of snow.

Growing up in Colorado we had plenty of snowy Halloweens, but our kids haven't had to deal with snow on Halloween until now. It was fun to watch my kids try to figure out how to fit their costume's over sweaters and coats.

We had a few friends over so that the kids could trick or treat together. Living in a small town where you know all of your neighbors has its advantages- the kids made out like bandits!

We are slowly settling in to the winter routine. The kids still forget to bring their coats when we run errands, and last night Noah managed to make it out of the house with only one snow boot on (he hopped from the car to our destination.) 

Taylor is probably the least enthusiastic member of our family when it comes to winter. She pretty much spends her days sitting on our heat registers, in front of the fireplace, or wrapped in her electric blanket.

Driving down our street on the way to school.

Winter here is definitely beautiful. It can be difficult to deal with the dark, but our work keeps us busy, and the kids are going non-stop with friends, hockey, and school. We are looking forward to the holidays with family coming up for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stay warm wherever you are, and thanks for checking in!