Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Party time!

What a bunch of goofy kids! It was time for our annual Christmas party with the Beachy, Miller, and Veldstra gang. We take a couch picture every is so fun to see how much the kids have grown...goodness won't be long before we have more than a couch full, but more like a living room full of teenagers!
The kids went sledding and snowmachining despite the really cold temperatures. By the afternoon it had warmed up to just above 0 so they could last outside even longer without freezing fingers and toes! While the kids were playing the moms got a chance to visit for a few hours to catch up! It was declared a fun day by all!

Freezin' cold

and then some! We have been waking to really cold temperatures every morning this week. It has been -15F in the morning and gets up to 0F at the warmest time of the day. We normally don't have temperatures quite this cold, and thankfully it probably won't last too long...but while it is here we are very thankful for a warm house and a furnace that keeps us warm. The sky is a brilliant blue every day and we watch the sun just barely come up over the horizon, make a small arc, and then dip back down again. We are gaining sunlight every day now, but only by small increments. The last two years at this time of year we were packing our bags and heading for a warmer climate, but not yet this year. The winters in Alaska get long and cold, but I guess we will just enjoy it for now anyway!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas morning!

I always feel like a kid again at Christmas time as I am often the one awake early waiting for morning to appear, but apparently I must be finally outgrowing that as my kids are now waking long before me!! Last year they surprised us as waiters and waitresses with coffee in bed and Christmas carols on the piano, so they must have decided that couldn't be out done this year! At 6:30 I could hear rustling downstairs but didn't go in search of the noise and just closed my eyes...found out later they were hiding our(mom and dad's) presents and we had to go find them!

At 7:45 the kids appeared upstairs in our room and crashed on our bed ready for our Christmas morning tradition of digging in our stockings on mom and dad's bed. I love stuffing their stockings with amazing little's always a challenge to find little inexpensive things to fill the stockings. Then we ate breakfast before opening the rest of the gifts under the tree......Alyssum was so excited to get her first American Girl doll! She decided to name her Molly and loves to dress her each day and get her ready for bed every night. Grandma also helped out with the dolls wardrobe by making pj's and buying a Christmas dress....Ethan is our tool man...he loves working with his hands and creating things out of wood. This year he got these grommets and a hand drill to use in his many projects!
...Ann Marie enjoys the American Girl dolls as well...she loves to create new hairstyles and sew clothes. The sewing machine has been busy since Christmas with the sounds of making doll clothes. Tyler had also gotten Ann Marie a yard of fabric to make clothes for her doll, so she is making dresses for all the girls! Ann Marie also got LOTS of new books to read, so in between the sewing we can find her curled up with a new book!!
...Tyler has a collection of John Deere equipment and we can often hear his motor running as he drives his treasured equipment, so we added another piece to his collection.
...Kailee also loved her new doll and named her Elizabeth. Along with dressing her doll and combing her hair she is also devouring a new series of books about the historical American dolls.
...And then there is our boy who loves to dress-up! Ethan gave Adams this knight's dress-up set, so now we have a sword bearing boy running around the house everyday! He loves to use his imagination and dress as the part he is playing.

We had a fun Christmas morning with the kids of giving and receiving!

Christmas Eve...

...we spend with the Veldstra gang at Opa and Oma's house. We enjoy getting together with Steve's family and sharing in the Christmas Eve traditions. We were missing a few family members this year, but still enjoyed our time together. Lots of kiddos makes for a very busy house as we eat and open gifts, but it also makes for lots of laughter and fun!
Ann Marie, Ethan, Tyler, and Kailee played Christmas carols for all of us, and then the kids also recited Luke 2:1-20 and A Visit from St. Nicholas. They enjoy being able to share what they have learned in school and gives them an opportunity to get in a recital on the piano.

Kailee loved her new Leatherman knives!! She was so excited because we told her she could have a knife when she turned 8...she will be 8 in a couple weeks!

Alyssum and Anneka are the bestest of cousin friends...they enjoy playing together and often getting the same gifts at Christmas time. They are both 6 and soon to be 7!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


...our Alaskan tree! Kind of like a Charlie Brown tree, but maybe not quite so sparse! The kids really wanted a "real" tree this year...its been lots of years since we made the trek in the woods for that elusive perfect tree...several years ago we purchased a perfect fake tree and that has been the tradition for a number of years. So Steve went tree hunting and hiking with the kids and they found a good tree.

After the lights were strung on the tree we set to work stringing popcorn and cranberries...this has become a Christmas tradition. Several long strands later the tree was complete and then we set to work hanging the ornaments. I started a tradition when Ethan was born to purchase ornaments for my kids every year...well almost every year. They each have quite a collection growing, although I took a break from buying o
rnaments for everyone the last several years and just got ones for Ann Marie and Adams, hoping to catch them up a bit. This year I think we have more ornaments than tree, and we actually had to limit the amount of ornaments...the branches were starting to sag! Especially the branches that Adams hung ALL of his ornaments!

We all had fun decorating the tree this we decorate
d we wondered what next year will hold and where our tree hunting and decorating traditions will find us?!


...but amazingly beautiful...Homer, Alaska!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The holidays are upon us, what a busy time of year! I love the holiday season with all the anticipation of time with family, laughter, and cheer.

We spent Thanksgiving with Steve's family and enjoyed the day with family. It was a nice relaxing day of eating turkey, playing games, watching movies, and visiting. We also enjoyed the long weekend and used the time to catch up on stuff around the house as well as just relaxing.

Steve and the kids joined their efforts and made our yard bright with lights in trees and garland on the fence. We are loving the savings of using LED lights this year...our electric bill will not be outrageous with all the lights! On Saturday Ann Marie, Kailee, Alyssum, and I pulled out the Christmas boxes and got busy with decorating. I love to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer! This coming weekend we hope to go in search of the "perfect tree" for our house. We haven't gotten a real tree in a long time and the kids decided they wanted to go looking for a tee this year.

There are several more inches of snow on the ground and now the kid's snowmachine is out and making laps around the yard. They have all decided that sledding once the sun goes down is alot of fun! Ethan and Tyler strung a string of lights down the sledding hill for late afternoon sledding enjoyment. Since the sun barely gets above the horizen for these long days of winter the kids have to find some way to enjoy the darkness. The coldness of winter doesn't seem to bother them much and they spend several hours outside everyday finding plenty to feed their imaginations. They watch the thermometer like a hawk, hoping that it won't rise about 32 degrees so that the snow will stay around for their enjoyment each day. Funny kids!!

We are continuing on with our school each day, but somedays we all have a hard time focusing when we are anticipating the holidays and Christmas vacation! Steve's Christmas Decor season is winding down and we are looking forward to seeing him more around the house. He has had a season better than he was expecting and ws able to keep three employees very busy. We are all looking forward to a time of rest and family fun!