Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nature Tour Seward

The DaBells came and visited us this last week.  One of the highlights was going to the temple with them.  It was a great experience and fun to go with them.  The Anchorage temple is small but it is fun to see people that you know there.   The other highlight was our trip to Seward.  We went to see Exit Glacier and then take a wildlife cruise.  It was incredible.  We saw animals from the first moment we left the harbor.  We saw bald eagles, otters, seals, whales, mountain goats, and tons of see birds.  We had a ranger on board and all the kids were able to complete their National Park Jr Ranger badges and were awarded them in a special ceremony by Ranger Rick.  It was an awesome day.  Perfect 70 degree weather and sunny the whole time.

At Exit Glacier just outside of Seward

Before boarding Star of the Northeast

Can you see seals on the rocks behind the girls?

Black bear pelt on C

A bunch of proud Jr Rangers can you see the badges?

One of 5+ whales we saw.  Awesome

Chillin' by an Orca
The only sad thing was that Bryce and Juli had gone to the North Slope the same day so they had their own adventure north of the Arctic Circle.


Alaska is a great place.  We have enjoyed the summer here though having two summers is not recommended for parental sanity.  The wild flowers are incredible.  The sunlight is invigorating.  Wild life is everywhere.  The fish taste incredible.  Everything here is bigger than Texas.  We have seen moose, black bears, brown bears, eagles, porcupines, caribou, arctic fox, tons of birds.  Juli and Bryce are headed to the North Slope Saturday to swim in the Arctic Ocean and see the oil fields way up there. It has been nice to have family nearby.  Bethany and Dwight Weist (who is in the air force) lived very close to us for our first 2 months.  We were sad to see them leave when they moved to Japan.  We are also close to Greg and Sonya Patterson in Fairbanks.  We have seen them every month.  It is so nice to be close to family again!  

We went to North Pole Alaska and we saw the pole.  The sister pole was dropped out of a plane over the pole.

A brown bear (grizzly bear) in our neighborhood
Abby at Santa's workshop.  This was one of his reindeer

Summer in Alaska is incredible.  When we came to look for a house in March, the snow was so deep that the roads were like canyons with snow piled up on the sides.  When we moved here in May, the snow was mostly gone.  The days warmed up and the snow just disappeared!  Spring exploded.  It is so green! And the wild flowers are gorgeous!

Coming back from Australia has been an exciting challenge.  I (Juli) spent the first three weeks walking to the wrong side of the car.  The other funny thing was that I kept thinking I saw geckos!  (Just for the record, we have not seen anything at all climbing up the walls of our house.)  I was so happy I almost cried the first time I went shopping at Costco.   I miss standing at the window by my kitchen sink, with the breeze blowing through.  I miss having all of the windows open in my house.  (It has only gotten over 70 degrees a couple times since we have been here, so we don't usually have the windows open.) We miss our friends in Australia most of all.  I miss hearing people speak with an aussie accent.  We watched a cheesy mermaid show made in Australia and I sat and enjoyed the whole thing, listening to the actors speak!

We had a great visit to our family in Idaho and Utah over the Fourth of July.  It is so much fun to be in the US for the Fourth!  I have to admit that I was happy to be down south for the fireworks!  It doesn't get dark in the summer in Anchorage, so fireworks are a bit anticlimactic.

Bryce has had a great summer, going to youth conference for church, then a high adventure scouting river rafting trip, and finally a week at the Alaska LDS scout encampment!  After being a "Lone Scouter" for three years,  scouting is finally fun!

Emily has made great friends and is serving in her Beehive class presidency.  She is such a helpful girl and has made many cakes and cookies.

Sarah has adjusted well and she spends most of her time outside playing.  It is light until 10 PM even now in August so many times they are out playing extremely late but they have so much fun and the other kids are out as well.

Abby is excited for school to start this week.  She has enjoyed piano lessons and is doing well reading. She still reads almost every night when she goes to sleep.  She also plays outside all the time and has made a fort that she loves to play in with Sarah and Caleb.

Caleb is also getting excited for school.  He has some great friends here and loves to play with the neighborhood kids outside.  I think he doesn't understand what shoes are for since he rarely uses them.  He and Abby ride their bikes constantly.

Juli and Bryce got to go to the North Slope of Alaska and get in the Arctic Ocean.  My company has a lotery for employees and I was able to send two guests to tour the facilities up there.  They had a great visit.  Bryce was most impressed with the camp with all you can eat EVERYTHING including donuts.

Shon got to go on a charter fishing trip and caught lots of fish.  The freezer is full already and we love to eat fresh and smoked salmon as well as halibut.

We all look forward to moving into our permanent home by the end of August.