It has been over one month since my last blog and I feel a bit guilty. Even though it is summertime, life seems to be pretty busy, and my writing has seemed to take a backseat. But with summer surely leaving soon (at least in Alaska) I hope to be blogging a little more often!
Where to begin...
Towards the end of June, the O'Neill family made their way to Alaska! They flew into Anchorage, explored southeastern Alaska, took the Alaskan Railroad up to Fairbanks, and we greeted them at the train station! It was our first time at the train station (we had to make two U-turns to get to it) and when we arrived we were VERY impressed by the gem-of-a-station that was tucked beside the highway. Apparently a 12 hour train ride will yield many interesting stories and sights. They were happy to stretch their legs on solid ground and see their favorite married couple!
We ate a lot of wonderful food, traveled to Denali to camp out for a night, went whitewater rafting, enjoyed the sights of many moose, visited Santa's house in North Pole, took quirky pictures at the oil pipeline, and best of all, had a blast being together.
For a few pictures...
Our hotel for our night in Denali :-)
Carrie and Sam braved -40 temperatures to experience our TYPICAL winter temperatures! They threw boiling hot water into the air and watched it turn into steam, hammered a nail into wood with a banana, and emerged without frost bite!
Flowers are beautiful and bountiful all around Fairbanks!
The O'Neills visit the oil pipeline!
A visit is not complete with stopping at the North Pole Post Office..."Dear Santa" letters really get sent here from all over the world! A lot of letters are posted on the walls of the Santa Claus house and they are hilarious to read!
Never too old to sit on Santa's lap...
We climbed to the top of this rock structure! Carrie and Sam are in this picture, towards the right!
Almost at the top of the rock!
We saw lots of moose during their visit! Mamas and babies everywhere!
Days passed quickly and we dropped off the O'Neills at the airport in the early AM. I then packed my bags and headed out of Fairbanks for a few days to work at a summer camp. The camp was for military children and it was the traditional camp experience. It was nicely situated on a lake with a climbing wall, zip line, arts and crafts, boating, campfires, and lots of water fights. I also managed to set up my tent and I called that bug infested flap of nylon my home for five nights! I was a co-counselor to a rambunctious group of 11 and 12 year old girls and overall, it was a really great experience of sunshine, fun, and lots of mosquito bites.
While Andrew has been hard at work I have been taking two summer classes at the University of Alaska (northernmost college!) in anticipation of a special education certification in my future! I've really enjoyed both courses and I've been working at the summer school program (for students with autism and learning disabilities) to fulfill course requirements. It has been an awesome experience and I know I'm on the right track with my career. Andrew is currently in the field for the week and he has been super busy the last few weeks! We will be celebrating his birthday this weekend along with the arrival of more visitors: my sister on Sunday morning at 1 AM, and my mom on Tuesday morning at 1 AM. We have found out that most planes arrive in Fairbanks really really early (around 5 AM) or really really late (1 AM seems to be standard) so it really just matters if you're a morning person or a night person. Lindy is definitely not a morning person so her choice of a late flight works out well for us! (joking)
Andrew and I are welcoming the less minutes of daylight that we have each day. I actually really miss having DARK night skies but I am sure I will change my mind in January. I have also realized (and i have come to terms with this fact) that I will never be tan as long as I live in Alaska. The bad thing is...my skin will never be tan enough to compliment a nice white shirt. The good thing is...my skin will essentially be 3 years younger than my lower 48 friends who visit the beach, wear shorts, and occasionally bask in the sun's rays. This has been an unusually cloudy and wet summer (from what locals tell us) so we haven't been enjoying the outdoors as much as we would like. I am quite anxious to have this again:
Winter is very beautiful and it will be a great landscape for the upcoming Christmas season! (Christmas-in-July has been on my mind all month!)
Having arrived December 16th, we have officially lived in Alaska for almost eight months and our 1st wedding anniversary is coming up!!! Where is time going?!
Lastly, our good friends just had their first baby and he is an adorable four week bundle of joy! They are wonderful parents and their name pick, Grayson, is the perfect choice!
That is all for this evening! Happy Monday everyone and I hope the heat on the east coast settles down or moves our way :-)