Monday, July 31, 2017

"Kids" Arrive in Alaska

The 31st of July - we're still houseless - but big things are happening. We received this photo early afternoon.  Izaak's parents, my parents and Krista were at the airport to see Arielle and BreZaak off to Alaska. 
Krista, Bre & Gideon, Arielle
Izaak's folks, Dad, Bella, Izaak, Mom 
 Michael opted to stay home. Nolan drove us through Anchorage to the airport. With the Jeep and Cory's Tahoe, we were ready for luggage and passengers. Finally, we saw them come through the hall. I did what Gemma's do....I began to run to the babes. The boys began to say, "Mom, mom!"

"What?"

"Let Cory go first."

"I don't even see Arielle!"

Bella has been calling me on hang out several times a day. "Hi, hi!"  This is the moment when I leaned over the stroller and said, "Hi!" She looked so perplexed. Her phone had come to life.
BreZaak and me on the left - CoRielle on the right



Izaak, Arielle, Nolan, 


Aunt Larissa meets Gideon 
Back the park, everyone settle in.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Baby Quilts

G.G. (Great Grandma) has been busy making quilts for Gideon and Baby Boy S.  These little men are ready for Alaska! Mom has done this for all nine of our children and all "many" of her great grandchildren. 

Today, Nate and Heather are home in OR. They had a big family dinner to say God speed to Arielle, BreZaak and the kids. Tomorrow afternoon they will fly to Alaska. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Glimpses of Saturday

In Alaska, Nolan and I had a slight laundry emergency. I put the soap in. I have no idea how we got so much. When it got worse than this we HAD to interrupt the machine's program. We scooped out soap and water. Michael removed Yuuki's blanket and rinsed it wrung it out. What a mess. 

Cory and Michael continue to bond in a manly way! 

Meanwhile, back in Oregon....the family has a few days left before hitting the road to Alaska. 
Gideon - my man
Gideon and Baby S meet up 
 Bella is such a good big sister.  

Aunt Krista meets Gideon - so glad she and the girls overlapped a few days. 

Jamin receives a pair of marine boots to break in before OCS. 

These have potential for the game/entertainment room 

WHAT? Butter cream frosting by the gallon! 

We did not receive the appraisal before the weekend. We hope to receive it Monday and be able to close next Friday.....

Friday, July 28, 2017

#WYFF Fish, Friends & Uhaul Trailers

#WYFF Stacia and I made 3 trips to Eagle River and back.....6 jaunts on the Old Glenn Hwy in one day.  This convince me we will need to "plan our errands" now that we live out in the "country." The guys' feet were in the Kenai River.  

This is Cory's Dad's last day in Alaska. He wants to see the Kenai Peninsula. He'd like to watch some fishing. In prep for the day, Cory purchased his non-resident fishing license.  Michael and the boys went along. CORY CAUGHT HIS FIRST ALASKAN SOCKEYE - RED - SALMON! Alas, there are no photos of the momentous event. I was told they were all fishing - I guess there is a reason for me to go along sans license. 🐽 This, was the only fish legally brought in the rest of the day. 
Michael released him....no idea how he was caught
Stacia and Julia (Rob and Dollie's daughter) have been texting. They asked if they could get together today. 0900 found Stacia and I  driving up the Old Glenn to meet Dollie and girls at JITTERS. ☕☕☕ Being in Jitters brought back memories of old friends, even as we nourished new friendships. 
Stacia and Julia scored their own table during the lull between breakfast and lunch
The girls simply hadn't had enough time when we Mom's were ready to move on from the coffee shop - the lunch rush was beginning. The only thing to do was bring Julia back to the RV. The girls seemed to enjoy themselves. I read and may have napped off.  Our second trip up the Glenn was to meet up with Dollie and send Julia home.  We drove by their soon to be home and will be 25-30 min away when we all get moved to our real homes. That beats the trip to base at 45 min. 

Stacia and I ran into 3 Bears and checked out the Kirkland supplies. We bought a cute little sleeper for Baby S, snacks and pizza for the night. We knew the men would be back late - when the sun went down. πŸ˜…πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜š A note - Stacia told me she continues to want to fish, "But not every free day." The pull of people was greater than the pull of the fish. 

As we pulled into the RV park we noted this in front of our trailers...and the incessant baying of Yuuki.

Josiah and Jamin are here with BreZaak's household goods. BreZaak family can't be far behind. The men  were ready to go home and rest. Our 3rd trip up the Glenn was to drive them home. 

We watched a movie, talked, and went to bed. The others got home around mid-night. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Exploring the Area

We had a couple of hours this morning and so we began exploring the Matsu Valley. The Palmer visitor center seemed like a good place to start.  We picked up a TON of biking, hiking, tourist maps. They have a little museum.  They also have a 1.5 hour movie about the Colony experience.  We will go back to watch it. We do know  in 1935 the Federal Relief Emergency Administration began an experiment to known as the Matsu Valley Colony.  The story is fascinating and I plan to learn more.

We were amused to discover we are closer to Tokyo than Tallahassee. 

I'm trying to convince Stacia she needs a purse like this.  
Moose Heart Bag 
 Other than picking up pamphlets and maps, we wanted to see what grew in the garden behind the center. This is all part of our research as we dream of landscaping and gardening.

This sculpture represents the giant veggies of 2009. These records have been broken since then. 
 Carrot - 18.99 lbs, zucchini 29.65 lbs, beet root 42.75 lbs and the cabbage was 127 lbs. 

We noted kale will do well here. 

And potatoes....

Cabbage is a given - but there doesn't seem to be much of a center to this yet. 

Artichokes! 

The gardener on duty shared a wealth of info and seemed to be happy we were asking questions. We got tips on making a berry hedge.....and how to compost in the nasty weather....and which types of tomatoes do well here....and we learned about stinging nettle and pushki.  He also showed us where the community garden is and told us we can harvest as we'd like.

Michael joined us in the garden but was over at the Alaskan Bible College while we were inside. He was happy to discover someone who had graduated from Western Seminary, as he did.  He found out info about the college and was invited to consider being their chaplain for a semester next year.

We dropped the kids at Uchi and Michael and I drove in to the VA center in Anchorage.  We stopped by Lowe's to see if we could find a riding lawnmower and a smoker.....still looking.

Cory and his Dad were out exploring Anchorage today and came home with a treat for us all - ice cream, even dairy free ice cream.

Lee, is doing laundry. Michael and Cory went out to buy flies - maybe they'll catch some reds tomorrow???? The kids are playing Pandemic and I'm wrapping up the day's "to do" list.

We just heard Josiah and Jamin are in Tok. Back in Alaska. They will make it here tomorrow with BreZaak's things.

Our Unrivaled Wingman

 They have changed the Chaplain Candidate course since Michael went through it. It was good then; it's great now.  After OTS, Krista moved on to the Chaplain Candidate Intensive Internship program. The entire group of candidates moved from one spot to another. They were at several bases, many services and had some fantastic hands on training. They observed and participated in the chaplain corp and the Cadre observed them as potential chaplains.

Three award winners
 Official proof - our Cocoa Rocks! 

As the years go on, it will be fun for Krista to look back at friends from her training as they cross paths during their ministry. 
Guy #1, Guy #2, KRISTA, Guy #3
Krista's summer of training is ending and she will fly home to Oregon on Saturday. She will have a couple of weeks to re-connect with friends and family, before she drives to Lynchburg to finish her M. Div in residence.

Way to go, hon! We're proud of you. You conquered the Quelf game and came out on top!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Licensed Alaskan Driver

Hitting milestones for Nolan has been a bit challenging as we full-time RV.  He did get his driver's permit and as soon as we arrived in Alaska, he made an appointment for the driving test. 

I know he could have done this about a year earlier if we had been near Alaska, and I'm grateful for his good attitude. Today he passed the test with flying colors and is now a licensed Alaskan driver.

As for those other milestones - first job, taking SAT - we're on it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Moving to the Valley

Across the road - by the picnic table - is site 12....which has been our home at the Black Spruce Travel Camp on JBER for the past 28 days.  I loved the feel of being out in the woods - vs a paved parking lot.  Today, we moved. 

We discovered it is difficult to find RV spots in July/August in the Valley. Caravans RULE in Alaska this time of year!🐽 We needed two spots for the next day.....for undetermined amount of weeks. We needed a 3rd spot beginning on the 30th or 31st.  We had stayed previously in a park in the Valley. They remembered us, and after telling us there was nothing, they patiently listened to my sob story about still waiting to close on a house and our kids arriving in Alaska with nowhere to live. They are good guys. We moved back to "sardines in a can," "Green beans in a jar,"  or "sausage in a pack" camping. (Pick your metaphor.)

Image result for sardine can

Image result for sausage on styrofoam tray
 Yep, that's about right. 
Uchi packed in with folks beside and behind us - but nothing other than goats in front 
WHY did we choose this?  We only had 2 days left at JBER.  We needed more spots for the kids. The advantage of this park is that there are no bears in our campsite or at our picnic table. We may even grill if the rain lets up. I was alarmed by the screaming kids, until I realized we are across from the neighbor's goat pen. Stacia immediately wanted goats. After 24 hours of co-living, we have all decided we don't need goats. Stacia still thinks a milk cow is a good idea - but we don't have space for cows.

Rob and Dollie brought their trailer over and showed us all it's nuances. Cory and his father are very comfortable, right next to us. We are so grateful for their giving hospitality!
Uchi - Cory is in the Coyote
Ian and Becky have offered their trailer for BreZaak and babies until the middle of August. Please, be praying with us that we have closed before the middle of August. Fall schedules are beginning and we wanted a relaxed school year.

Stacia comments, "Since when has a school year ever been relaxed?"

PSssst - we've heard from the boys who are driving BreZaak's stuff up from OR. They have been rerouted due to wildfires. Please pray they are able to make up time and not have any further delays.

Mr. Gingerbread Man on the Move

What could this mean? I've been hanging out with Arielle (and the other women from the female Gingerbread competition team). She seems to think I want to perch here....
Should I ride to Alaska THIS way? 
I know CoRielle bought a new car, but this doesn't seem to have the comfort features, to which  I'm accustomed.

Come to think of it, their whole apartment is in an uproar....I know you'll find this hard to believe, but there is NOTHING.LEFT.IN.IT.  I'm not one to complain, but I do think I had more fun in Mexico, than riding on this wheel guard....

Ah, shortly after this picture was taken Cory and the Tahoe/trailer LEFT.  Arielle moved to BreZaak's apartment.

I've discovered oddities here as well. Arielle is a bit sad. The apartment here is aflutter. Boxes EVERYWHERE.....and then Josiah showed up. A few hours later Jamin "flew in." I'm not sure about this "flying" stuff, but that's what I heard. Do humans fly? I can tell you Gingerbread men DO NOT FLY. We are sensible that way, if God had meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings, so they say.

What? Izaak is loading a MATCHING trailer.  Josiah and Jamin have left. They've taken 95% of the things from BreZaak's apartment with them.  I hear a lot of talk about Alaska, I see a few tears and lots of laughter. I'm not sure what it all means.

And wonder of wonders - look what I discovered in THIS apartment. They have one of THESE small human models. He seems a bit worried about me, but I have decided I'll protect him. If I stick close to him in all this madness, I'm sure won't be left behind.
Gideon (2 months) & Mr. Gingerbread man
BTW, I've spent the year with FEMALES as they were the winners of 2017 Gingerbread Competition, I'm happy to have contact with this young male.  I'm a tad bit worried about where I will be taken next.....I feel safe next to Gideon.

Stay tuned...for more Gingerbread man exploits - click the "Gingerbread Competition" category in the side bar.

The Boys Make a Quick Trip

Josiah flew out of Anchorage early yesterday morning for OR. 
Josiah and Gideon 
 Jamin flew out a few hours later and arrived later last night in OR. 
Such a smile! 
They did have a purpose to the trip other than meeting Gideon and having breakfast with my parents. They picked up BreZaak's household goods and began driving them up the Alaska Highway this morning.
Image may contain: outdoor

They hope to be back here on Friday. Meanwhile, Cory and his dad arrived in the Valley this morning. Arielle, BreZaak and the kids will fly in next Monday.

Dear friends are loaning us trailers for each of the kids' family's to stay in until we can close on the house.....things are moving right along. 

I wouldn't say the plan is being flawlessly executed,  but none-the-less we are thrilled as family trickles in. 

Semper Gumby!

Monday, July 24, 2017

WooHoo, Jamin!

Some things in life require a lengthy interview process. Some goals take a long time to reach....such as entering the Air Force Chaplain's corp....or entering the MARINES.

Step one was passing some tests.

Step two was a physical and various records. 

Step three was a PT test....Jamin broke the record on the running portion...at this point we realized he was probably going to be selected. πŸ˜‰ He worked on the pull-up portion.

Somewhere along the line he had leaped over several hurdles and was sworn in to the Marine Corp - but not really. He took an oath and then had to take another PT test and then his name/package was submitted to a board which would look at all who qualified and determine whom they wanted to move to the next level of the "interview." 

We were all taken aback at how fast this moved - and none of us were there for this part.....he graduated from A & M and took this oath the same day. 
Oath one in College Station 
 Then he waited. The next board was 20 July. The Officer Candidate School he would qualify for would start in September. In the other branches you enter the Officer Training - already an officer - and unless you wash out - you're in. In the Marines, OCS is part of the interview process. He isn't really a marine until he passes OCS and is sworn in at graduation. There is a high wash-out rate from OCS - what I'm saying is, it's not a given to be selected or to pass all the phases of the process.  Truly, "The few. The proud."

Today, 24 July, Jamin received word he has been selected to attend the September 2017 Marine Officer Candidate School.  And we were with him.....He  was told he was one of very few selected from the area. I believe the total number nation-wide is 108.
On the phone with leadership from College Station, TX
 Still on the phone....as we pulled up to the airport, prepared to say goodbye to him, he took notes on all he needs to get for the Marines ASAP. Multi-tasking at it's best.

We are proud of Jamin. He will be in Alaska until 9 September when he will fly to Quantico, VA for Marine Officer Candidate School (OCS).  He hopes to use his graduate degrees and be assigned to something or other in the spooky field.  That's all unknown at this point.

Jamin's Grandpa was a Warrant Officer in the Marines during WW2. As we drove off, Michael and I couldn't help comment on how proud Grandpa would be of Jamin following in his steps.

When you've asked if all the kids are moving to Alaska, we've hedged. Until Jamin received the call yesterday, we weren't sure if he would be staying here or moving elsewhere. It's ironic that the military originally brought us to Alaska.We've all found our way back....except for two the military will call away....Jamin, in the Marines and Krista, in the Air Force. Michael and I will have lots of places to visit Space A as the  years go by!

Well done, Jamin.