Friday, December 18, 2009

Sorry have been offline...

Glass art on the bridge to Tacoma Glass Museum in Tacoma, WA.

Hello from Oregon's coast. As I sit here trying to type I can here the thunderous sounds of the waves crashing into the rocks outside our lodge windows. It was a beautiful drive and hopefully we can explore more tomorrow.

I am sorry I have not been online. We were on the ferry for 3 days with no internet. I used a lot of that time to start organizing my folders in picture folders and work on some of them but the rocking of the boat made certain moments nauseous. The first days were not bad but the last day we rocked all day and it took Bo and I a couple days to re-acclimate to level ground once we were in Washington. Once we docked in Bellingham, WA we went straight to my brother and his wife's place in Seattle. We spent 6 days with them and was busy sightseeing and just spending quality moments with the family. We enjoyed our time with them and places we visited.

We left Seattle today and headed down the coast of Oregon. We are very tired from driving all day and trying to deal with days of rain. So this will be short but I just wanted to let you all know we are safe and no there is no snow here. :) The coast is a beautiful area. I wish we had more than just one day to spend here.

Well my eyes are growing heavy and I still have to download pictures so goodbye for now but hopefully I can update more sooner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Haines, AK

We came into Haines, AK this afternoon. But the sun started setting early at around 3pm and it was pitch black by 4pm. So we tried to take some pictures before the darkness set in. We plan on taking more tomorrow before we board the ferry. The roads here were not that bad but we did pass into mountain passes with fresh snow.

Crossing the border back into the US was good. The Customs Agents were really nice to us. The temperature here is pretty warm and the scenery is just amazing.

I just wanted to share a few pictures so far.

The sun setting behind the mountains in Haines, AK.

Glow of the setting sun on the thinly iced beach of Portage Cove.

The lodge we are staying at overlooks the Chilkoot River. It is a very comfortable room with a walkout deck. The owner Fred was very friendly and welcoming to us. I wish we can come back and experience Haines in the summer.

Here is the view from our deck and window of our lodge room.

Another view of the Chilkoot River.

As I have more time I will share more pictures of this small but beautiful town.

We are in Canda! :)

We are in Canada!

We woke up early and just started loading up our vehicle. I was so stressed that we brought so much stuff but at the same time we have to think of things we have to live on for the next couple months. After packing up the truck-boy it is loaded, we hit the road and headed out. We had our late lunch and early dinner at Fast Eddy's in Tok, Alaska then kept on driving to the border of Canada.

We made it to Haines Junction in Yukon Territory Canada tonight and are exhausted from a long drive here. Tomorrow we will be heading out to the Haines Highway which uncharted territory for us and spend the day there before we board the ferry.

No matter how long I have lived in Alaska I am always amazed on how it can be pitch black by 4pm in the winter time. It felt like it was 9pm. So the window of opportunity to take pictures of the scenery was limited but I did catch a few on the road.

Wrestling the day before went good but ended up emotional. It was hard for the boys to say goodbye to their teammates and friends. It made it even more emotional when they had a meeting after the tournament for the coaches to give both the boys their high school letters for wrestling(Both were Varsity 103-Jared was the first until Nick came in and wrestled). We will not be here for the State finals or the banquet so it was a nice going away present to them. We have a great set of parents, kids and coaches and they will all be missed. They all have impacted our lives and we hope to keep in touch with most of those that we made great friendships with no matter how far away in miles we are.

Nick on his match

The boys getting their letters. (It looks like now we have to order their Letterman's jacket.)

The team carrying the boys and doing their little group chant.

Nick and Jared with their Coaches, Osborne, Jamison and Bockert. Thank you so much for such a great season.

Our Lathrop Wrestling Team taking Regionals!

Our season may be over with our high school here in Alaska but the boys will continue on with this sport. Bo and I are so proud of both of them, they have really shown us their dedication and their true character is shown when put in situations. We are so proud to be wrestling parents. :)

I found this poem and thought of all the parents that shared the bleachers with us this season. :)

A Wrestling Parent
Dr. Bill Welker

Parents in wrestling are courageous -- it's true,
They feel all the pain that their child must go through,
At home, when he diets, they wish it could stop,
Yet know he must do it to stay at the top.

Excuses for losing they will not endure,
"Don't blame the ref, son, because of the score,
The coach, he will show you the best way to move,
Keep working in practice if you want to improve."

At dual meets, you'll see them breathing a prayer,
As their boy must compete with no one else there,
Whatever the outcome - mom cheers with deep pride,
While dad -- you will notice - stands right by his side.

They'll drive to a tournament many miles away,
To witness a child who's prepared for this day,
Their boy, he has trained, with all of his might,
Having dreams of becoming a champion tonight.

But should he fall short, at his corner you'll find,
A mother and father -- supportive and kind,
They teach that through wrestling he'll learn about life,
Yes, living is filled with both triumph and strife.

Now if you are searching for people who care,
Just look by a mat, they'll always be there,
Such love for a sport is truly inherent,
That's why we salute The Wrestling Parent.

We are excited to drive the Haines Highway tomorrow and visit Haines. I hope some of the Eagles are still around. The only wildlife we have seen so far on this trip was a pair of Moose.

It is late, I guess it is an hour ahead here. I get insomnia though during our trips, but I know I have to at least try to get some shut eye.

We will update as much as we can. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Moving on...

These last weeks have been hectic and hard. First we had movers come in and pack us out then we had to worry about shipping out our Yukon. We have been in a hotel now since the 25th of November and thought we can relax but it just got more hectic. The kids were still going to school and wrestling practice, Bo was still clearing and I had to make sure with Bo to get our house cleaned and turned in and everything set before we leave.

We are moving to Ft. Knox, Kentucky and it seemed like we had all the time in the world before the actual time would come but nope it rushed on through and now we are at our last 2 days here in Alaska. The kids had their last day of school today then Nick will wrestle Regionals for LHS since he is ranked #6 in State. Then we head out(by driving not flying-yes in the winter) early Sunday morning to try to reach Haines Junction and cross the border into Canada. We will not be here for the State tournament because we have a ferry to catch in Haines, AK. I know right now it is stressful since we are still here and it is hard to say our goodbyes and still have events like wrestling Regionals, but once we get on the road it will be a new adventure for us.

Our first leg of the journey will be a drive out of Fairbanks to the Alcan Highway to cross the border into Canada and stay the night at Haines Junction. The next day we drive the Haines Highway to Haines, AK once again crossing a border into the US. At Haines we will spend the day there and board the ferry the next day.

These pictures are not mine but I wanted to share how our travels will look like.

Haines Highway

The City of Haines

Taken from

About Haines
Native Culture - Tlingits

The first people to call the Chilkat Valley home were Tlingit Indians. Originally called "Dei-Shu" or "End of the Trail," Haines is home of the Chilkat Indians whose mother village is Klukwan, located 22 miles north of Haines. Klukwan is recognized as the earliest of the Chilkat villages and contains many reminders of its rich past. Now the Haines Highway into Canada, and previously the Dalton trail used by gold-seekers, the Tlingit trade route to the interior was dubbed the "grease trail' because the most important item carried was oil extracted from the eulachon fish.

Due to the bountiful resources of the area, Tlingits could spend less time on survival and more on developing other skills. Tlingits were the first settlers in the Chilkat Valley, and their traditions still flourish today.

Haines and Fort Seward, History

Haines was named in honor of Francina Haines of the Presbyterian Home Missions Board. Accompanied by his friend, John Muir, S. Hall Young, was the first missionary to the area in 1879. The purpose of their trip was to scout a location for a mission and a school.

The first known meeting between white men and Tlingit took place in 1741 when a Russian ship anchored near Haines and started the fur trade in the area. In 1892, Jack Dalton established a toll road on the Tlingit trade route in to the interior to cash in on gold-seekers and others heading north into Canada. Parts of the Dalton Trail are now the Haines Highway.

In 1902, ongoing border disputes between the U.S. and Canada provided the justification for the first permanent army post in Alaska. The white buildings of Fort William H. Seward still stand and are a distinctive landmark of Haines. Decommissioned in 1947, the fort was bought by a group of war veterans with hopes of creating an arts and commerce community. The buildings are now privately owned homes, accommodations, restaurants, galleries, and shops.

We will be staying at a lodge on the Chilkoot National Park and we will have the Chilkoot River on one end and the lake right by us also. The area is known for bears. But I am not sure if we will see any at this time of the year. I am just anxious to already be there to take in the history, culture and the beauty of the place.

The next day we board a ferry that will take us through the inside passage and end in Bellingham, WA. There we will continue on and stay with my brother for some days in Seattle then the second part of our journey will begin when we leave Washington and go across to the US to end up in Kentucky. I will do my best to keep everyone posted on our trip. We are hoping to enjoy every state we pass through.

Our ferry and the route:

As for now I am just ready to start the first part of our journey since I am anxious in crossing the borders and driving our highways in the winter. I know it will be a memorable drive but I will be happier once we are in Haines.

Tomorrow is a huge day for my son Nick. I wish him lots of luck on his matches and good luck to the rest of the LHS team. We have a great team and of course great coaches and parents, I hate to have to leave at this time but unfortunately that is what we have to do. Good luck LHS wrestlers!!

This week has been exhausting....I am heading to bed...tomorrow will be a long day for us. As everyone is getting ready for the Christmas season we will be trekking across the US. I hope to get on here once in a while and update everyone. As for now good night! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Whirlwind of days....

I don't even know where to begin.... usually things slow down once winter hits here in Alaska but for us it just went into hyper drive.

Weekend after weekend we have been busy with tournaments. One of those weekends Jared stayed here for the Hutchinson Meltdown and Nick traveled with Varsity for duals in Anchorage. Both did well and Jared took 1st in his weight class of 103 for the Hutchinson Meltdown and our team took first out of all the teams. We were very proud of them because they were a JV team in a Varsity tournament and did exceptionally well.

This last weekend we had a John Tobin tournament for two days that comprised of some of the top teams in the state and so our competition was tough. But Nick did not fail to amaze us that despite not wrestling a whole season and coming halfway into this season he beat out some of the best and took 3rd in his weight class 103. Then to make the weekend even better our school took second in the tournament against some of the top Anchorage schools. Some of our wrestlers are now ranked #1 and #2 in the state.

It is hard to have both boys in the same weight class. One is varsity and the other is JV but I do like the fact that they help each other out and are sparring partners. I just hope they don't meet each other on the bracket during one of the tournaments. I don't know how well I can watch that match.

Today and tomorrow is the West Valley Invitational so I will be busy with that and taking pictures of the matches.

Winter has settled in here. And the negative weather has also arrived which makes it hard for us to get things accomplished with our move coming up. Yes another reason I have not been on the computer except to download pictures for the kids. We are moving out of Ft. Wainwright and at first it seemed so long from now but it is around the corner. The movers will be in our house on Monday morning to pack up our household goods. We have been busy with appointments and the kids events and getting this house staged for that to happen. So I am living in what I call a chaotic mess right now. But I know this is the most stressful part of the move then it is over. We will be staying in a hotel until we dis enroll the kids from school and drive out of Alaska through Canada to board the ferry out of Haines, AK. It will be a new adventure for us but it will be a bit scary leaving in the winter and bittersweet to be leaving during the holiday season. Hopefully though this will be the last move in a while. We are hoping to stabilize in Kentucky to be able to graduate the kids out of high school without this kind of stress.

Hopefully with Wi-fi in most hotels I will be able to keep you all posted on our journey. I will miss many people and places here. This is my home state and at times I know I will get homesick. But I think my whole family is ready for a change.

Well I need to head on out of here and get more closets done and get ready to meet the boys at the high school. I hope they both do well, this may be their last tournament since we will not be here for State. :(

Here are some snow pictures for those of you who have none. :)

Sign of a summer past

I wish you all a great Friday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Future art on my walls....

Happy November to all. Halloween was spent with a dinner out to a downtown bistro called Lavelle's Bistro with my family then just a quiet night at their house chit chatting and getting caught up with each others lives. Before leaving the house we gave out candy to all the brave little trick or treaters in our neighborhood that despite the cold still rang our doorbell. I saw a lot of cute fairies and princesses.

I was ready to start this week in full energy ready to attack bedrooms and closets to start de-cluttering for the move when I received a phone call that a dear and loved family member passed away. You don't realize how much you are affected by such a news until it happens. For two days I felt like walking around in a daze trying so hard to concentrate in even the simplest tasks. So last night as I was dosing off to sleep I tried to think of positive things and tried to turn that concentration on our upcoming move and house hunt and how to decorate our new home. I had good dreams, of moving into a beautiful home, gardening, and sunny beautiful weather. I will miss the comforts of my home state, but I think this change about to happen will be a good one.

Today I was looking at things we need to put to the side to take with us in the Yukon (since we are driving out) and a set of posters I bought at a fall bazaar caught my eye. I had it sitting off to the side contemplating whether to already frame them or wait until we reach our destination. Bo told me to just pack it with us and it can be one of the first things that go on our walls besides our family portraits taken by a friend (Susan Stevenson) and a painting I commissioned my sister in law to paint for us.

These posters are prints of a watercolor paintings of some of our local Alaskan animals. The artist is Vickie Rae Pruit. I met her at her booth at the Bad Girls of the North Bazaar. I loved her work and started with buying her posters to hang in our house. Here is a little snippet from her site.

V Rae's startling fusion of canvas, texture and watercolor captures the spirit of Alaska in huge impressions that leap from the canvas to your heart. As one collector puts it, "the personality that inhabits these paintings launch each day with a new smile...a rare return on any investment."

The posters I bought from her depicted some of the favorite animals to me. One was a moose, a bear and an otter.

Here are some of my pictures of these animals I have encountered.

Moose in my yard both front and backyard.

The juvenile Grizzly we met in Valdez that frequented the Salmon Hatchery.

I do not have pictures of an Otter yet. I would love to see one in the wild like I have most the other animals here in Alaska. We bought the poster because of the saying under it.

Here are the posters I bought to hang hopefully on a wall together.

It is a little bright because of the plastic protecting the posters.

The Otter poster has this saying: "I have been known to enjoy an occasional margarita." Margarita is a favorite drink of mine. :)

The Moose poster: "At a distance she looked like any other moose, until she sauntered by my window, nibbled a blossom, looked at me in the eyes and showed me her true colors. We now have tea on Thursdays."

The Bear poster: "Glistening blades of sunlight pierced the emerald canopy as I pad reverently through the old Sitka spruce pondering how life transcends the living. Sensing a kindred spirit, the old Tlinglit grizzly slipped from his Totem, hitched a ride in my soul and quietly emerged from a collage of color. The ancient ones called him Spirit Messenger."

Here is VRae's site to check out the rest of her wonderful original work and her studio exhibition.

I know every time I will set eyes on these posters it will remind me of the great memories here in Alaska.

Another painting that will grace my walls will be from my loving and artistic sister in law Franny. I sent her a picture of a set of kayaks in Valdez and she will paint an acrylic painting of it for us. We are hoping to have it as one of our main artworks in the home. Here is that picture.

A recent painting she did nestled on her fireplace that I fell in love with.

Some of her other artwork.

There is much to look forward to. I hope with the excitement of finding a home and making it ours will inspire me in my own works.

I wish you all a happy Wednesday.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween-Pumpkins of years past


Just take a golden pumpkin
Of quite the largest size,
Cut all 'round the stem, just so,
Scrape out the inside below,
And cut two holes for eyes.
And now fix a nose beneath,
And such a great big mouth with teeth,
And you've a jack-o'-lantern!

Then fix a tallow candle,
Just big enough to light,
And when it flickers, see him blink,
And when it flares up, see him wink
And smile so broad and bright.
This is the jolliest sort of a fellow,
With cheery face so round and yellow,
This funny jack-o'-lantern.


Happy Halloween!

This holiday is one of our favorites and we always celebrated with carving pumpkins and decorating our house for the trick or treat kids to feel welcomed coming by. This year I feel a bit sad. With our upcoming move we don't have the time to decorate since we are getting our house situated for movers to come through and pack us, plus I did not want to fight trying to take frozen decorations off our deck and yard. Our boys are at the age where trick or treating is not the an event for them anymore they enjoy giving out the candy and so I promised them a Halloween party when we move into our new home for the future Halloween to come.

I did want to share some of our pumpkins from the past. We always loved carving them as a family and even when Bo would be gone the boys and I would still put our skills to the test. :)

Here is a look back at some of our pumpkins.


2006- The boys and I were so proud of this set. We carved it without Daddy around since he was gone for a military schooling.


Last year I wasn't able to take pictures of our pumpkins before they became a frozen ball outside since it was in the negatives for Halloween last year. This year we just set up some fall decorations in the house like last year. Plus I have Pumpkin Spice candles burning in the house so the spirit is in the air.

When we get back stateside we will also take part in a tradition of going to the pumpkin farms for their festivals, corn mazes and picking out our fresh pumpkins.

This is Gentry Farms in Tennessee where we took the kids when they were younger.

Enjoy your Halloween. Be safe trick or treating, on the road and at Halloween parties!


The ghosts of all things past parade,
Emerging from the mist and shade
That hid them from our gaze,
And, full of song and ringing mirth,
In one glad moment of rebirth,
And again they walk the ways of earth
As in the ancient days.

The beacon light shines on the hill,
The will-o'-wisps the forests fill
With flashes filched from noon;
And witches on their broomsticks spry
Speed here and yonder in the sky,
And lift their strident voices high
Unto the Hunter's Moon.

The air resounds with tuneful notes
From myriads of straining throats,
All hailing Folly Queen;
So join the swelling choral throng,
Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
In one glad hour of joyous song
To honor Hallowe'en!

-John Kendrick Bangs

Happy Halloween!!