Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Think I'm Losing It

When I decided to go back to school, I wasn't really worried. I figured I would have all day to do what I needed to and life would be good. Yeah, right! Now, in addition to playing dad when Eric is out of town (which he has been quite a bit lately), helping the kids with homework and special projects, doing laundry and housework, and playing taxi, I get to do my own homework and study for my own tests. Needless to say, I've been a bit stressed out and overwhelmed lately. I know it's life and that this phase will pass, but right now, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking.

As luck would have it, I ended up getting stuck with a survey type math class, (which encompasses algebra, geometry, and other yucky stuff) as my first class! Math is bad enough for me when I'm learning it in a classroom setting, but it's a whole 'nother ballgame when I am having to essentially teach myself. Fortunately, I am almost done with one math class and have only one more to go. Thanks to my brother-in-law, who lives all the way in California, I may just be able to pull it off. I love my brother-in-law!

Don't get me wrong, even though I think I'm losing it sometimes, there is a silver lining. One of the upsides to my current situation is that, now that we have lived in Alaska for close to two years, I actually have some very good friends I can rely on to pick up some of the pieces for me. I finally feel like it's not just Eric and I against the world. I have friends to go to the gym with, friends to drink and have dinner with, friends to shop with, friends who rely on me to help them out in a pinch, and friends I can rely on to help us out in a pinch. In that aspect, life is good!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Hiatus Is Over

After a long hiatus and a little soul searching with regard to whether or not I should continue with this blog, I am back in action. I had a severe case of writer's block over the summer and quite frankly, my life just isn't all that exciting on a daily basis. Friends and family have asked about the blog from time to time and have wanted me to continue posting, but it started to feel more like work than like fun. I suppose I just needed a little time to reflect, refresh and regroup.

So, here I am, the kids are back in school (Logan is in 7th grade and Kaiden is in 5th) and so am I. Yep, you read that correctly! After many years of talking about it, I have finally decided to go back to school to finish my degree. After doing a ton of research on universities, I decided to take the non-traditional approach. I am attending the only accredited, fully-online university in the country. It is based out of Utah and is called Western Governors University. Not only is the learning structure non-traditional, but the tuition structure is as well. By attending WGU, I should have my degree faster than I would in a traditional program and I will save thousands of dollars. I started school on September 1 and someday, when I'm done, I'll have a Bachelors Degree in Inter-Disciplinary Studies. In a nutshell, I'll be able to teach if I want to. I am excited to be back in school, but overwhelmed as well. I know I'll be fine, I just have to figure things out and get into the groove.

I can't believe we have been in Alaska almost two years! The time hasn't always flown by, but I still can't believe it will be two years in December. I also can't believe that I am already stressing out about Christmas! I have spent many evenings recently on the computer, pouring over the Alaska Airlines website, stressing out about how I can please everyone during the holidays without going broke in the process (and I'm not even referring to gift giving). There are some amazing advantages to living in Alaska, but air travel is not one of them. I am finding it incredibly difficult to justify using thousands of frequent flyer miles and still paying $1000+ to get the four of us to Southern California for the holidays. On one hand, it wouldn't be bad staying here for a White Christmas, but I don't know if I could deal with the guilt. The family isn't pressuring us (they don't have to, the pressure is inherently there), but I'm still overwhelmed by the whole notion. We have the only two grandkids on Eric's side of the family and the only other grandchild on my side of the family is just over a year old. Since the boys have been old enough to "get" Christmas, the family aspect of the holiday has always been an awful lot about them. I feel like if we aren't with the family for the holidays I have single-handedly robbed both sets of parents of that joy. Let me tell you, that's A LOT of pressure for one girl to take!!!!!

As I'm sure you've gathered from reading this, unless you have a ton of money, you've lived here your whole life and/or your family is here, life in Alaska doesn't really get easier. Aspects of life certainly get easier (I now have a great support system, some wonderful friends, a Kohls, and the third Target in the state, opening near us soon), but there are constantly new and different challenges. I know Eric, the boys and I are better for our experiences here, but it certainly isn't always a day on the river fishing!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sleepless in Montana

Last night, probably because my dear husband was flying on a red-eye, I didn't sleep very well. I know it's weird, but when Eric is flying over night, I don't sleep well until I know his plane has landed. He didn't text me when the plane landed, so needless to say, I was up at 2:00 a.m., again at 4:30 a.m. and then I was up for good in the 5:00 a.m.hour.

The upside to not sleeping is that I was awake during the sunrise here in good ol' Big Arm, Montana. It was beautiful and the old saying, "the early bird catches the worm" was definitely true this morning. By the way, these pictures were taken off the deck of my in-law's house, AMAZING!!!!

Then, later today, mainly because Logan would most likely never get out to exercise unless by cohersion or force, we ventured out to the Kerr Dam. Some of the gates were open and it was pretty tremendous. My favorite part about observing this dam is that it is wild when the gates are open, but just above it, the water is calm and serene.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where Do I Even Begin?

It has been a month since I last blogged....WOW! I guess I can thank Facebook for that! Although I enjoy blogging and sharing the latest happenings with friends and family, I have to have something worthy of posting and then I have to be motivated to do so. Sometimes it's just easier to hop on Facebook and post pictures and/or a quick "status" update and then be on my way. I do, however, enjoy my creative outlet here, on this blog and I like being able to share in-depth about certain happenings. I also understand that there are people who read this blog who are not on Facebook and I want all of you to still be able to know about what's going on. So, in an effort to satisfy goes nothin'.......

The boys and I are currently in Montana (Eric stayed behind to work and enjoy some of Alaska's summer. He'll join us later in the month.), on an extended visit with Eric's parents. After our cruddy summer in Alaska last summer, I vowed to get the heck out of there as soon as I could this summer. Of course, I'm sure it was because I made plans to leave, but the weather in Anchorage has been second to none so far this summer! Go figure! We are, however, having pretty decent weather here (in the mid-70s, but we've had some showers), the scenery is amazingly beautiful here too, and I have two extra sets of hands to help with the kids and mostly, to help keep them occupied. I really can't complain.

If you have never looked into travelling to Alaska, you may not be aware that it is generally crazy expensive to fly there, regardless of where you live. Although we have friends who would love to make the trip, financially, it's not always doable. Knowing that I was going to be in Montana this summer, I thought it would be a less expensive way to spend some time with a few of my girlfriends from CA. I started researching cheap flight options. I knew that there is a low-cost airline called Allegiant Air, that flies in and out of Missoula and Kalispell, so I went online to check it out and to my shock, the rates were only $19 each way out of LAX! I quickly invited my friends Sydney (whom I have known since kindergarten) and Amanda (whom I met 10 years ago when I first started waitressing at Anaheim Stadium)to come for a visit.

The girls arrived in Montana two days after the boys and I did and they left on Wednesday to return home. Their visit was short (at least I was sad to see them go rather than pushing them out the door), but we did quite a bit. We insisted that the boys tag along with us on some of our treks and for others, the boys stayed behing with grandpa and Nana. I think the highlight of the trip for both of the girls was going to Glacier National Park. It is an absolutely AMAZING place to visit. We even had the good fortune of coming upon a moose who was enjoying a little alone time in the cool glacier water. It was something I hadn't been lucky enough to see, even in Alaska. It was also funny to find out that although Amanda is not the type to camp in a tent or to even enjoy hiking, she's a National Park nerd! She even has a little passport book that she is obsessed about having stamped at each park she visits! I think I'm gonna' have to get my hands on one of those.

I have several friends back in California who I talk to on a regular basis and/or chat with on Facebook, but it is really a different experience to spend time with them in person. For me, it was a feeling of still being connected and feeling like I belong somewhere. Although I have friends in Alaska and I am starting to forge closer relationships there, it still feels more like a place we live and not necessarily a place I belong. The longer we're in Alaska the more it feels like home, but I will always continue to value the relationships I have with my friends in California.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Place I'd Rather Be

If you have been following my blog with any regularity, you know that last summer was pretty excrutiating for me. Considering that I'm a California girl, I was not prepared for overcast skies and temperatures below 70 all summer long. Of course, everyone around here was quick to say that our summer was abnormally cold. I wasn't buying any of it! All I know is that I needed sunshine desperately and I didn't get it.

At the risk of jinxing the rest of our spring and summer, let's fast forward to today, April 29. Already, we have had more amazing, sunny, warm (temps in the 50s) days than we had all last summer. I am LOVING it! Aside from the fact that our family and close friends are thousands of miles away, there is no place I would rather be on days like this. There is something breathtakingly spectacular about Alaska when the sun is shining. I can honestly say, that I would take a sunny day in the 60s, here in Alaska over a California day in the 90s or 100s anytime.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Rumblings

Although Mount Redoubt Volcano hasn't been in the news much in the last month, we are still seeing activity. Today, I was coming home from running errands and saw a ton of cars pulled off on the side of the highway. I thought maybe there was an accident and a car had gone over the guardrail. I saw a friend of mine on the side of the road and called her cell to see what the commotion was. There wasn't an accident, Mount Redoubt had a massive steam cloud above it, it was very clear across the inlet, and the view was magnificent. Everyone had pulled over to take pictures!

I ran home to grab my camera and instead of heading back to the highway, I walked down our street. Unfortunately, Eric is in Adak and has our better camera with him, but my picture will give you an idea of what I could see.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's All About Kaiden

Several days ago, Kaiden decided I should post a video of him doing some yoyo tricks. I tried to put the video on, but for some reason I kept getting an error message. Yesterday, I had Kaiden do another performance for me, so I could try my luck again. When he was finished, he decided that I should do a whole blog post about him and it should include pictures of some of his free-hand drawings. Kaiden is far more talented than I could ever hope to be, so how could I decline?

Without further ado, here is a short video of our yoyo maniac:

If you are at all familiar with Sponge Bob, you should have no problem recognizing these guys:

Here is an anime guy and a little Calvin and Hobbs: