Mush! Mush!

Day 3 in Fairbanks dawned with great anticipation. The ONE thing everyone seemed the most excited about was on the day’s agenda….dog mushing.

Between our excitement and our jet-lagged, time zoned-zombie loss of time telling, we wound up at Just Short of Magic a full 45 minutes early. Turned out to be a-okay, because it gave the boys lots of time to bond with the dogs. While the boys were off, exploring the cold and connecting with the sled dogs, Judy and I were ensconced in Eleanor’s yurt. Warm and cozy with a fire and hot chocolate, we explored the hearty selection of coats, boots and hats. When it was time to suit up and roll out, they made sure we were all properly clothed…no mean feat considering we were Floridians in Alaska.

Inside the yurt!

Inside the yurt!

Let’s take a moment to remember that my parents were supposed to join us on this trip. My ┬ámother was so excited for this particular portion, she was known to watch Snow Buddies┬ásolo. The most bittersweet moment of this trip, was that Mom didn’t get to go. An unfortunate broken leg three weeks before the trip put Mom firmly on the sidelines. And by sidelines, I mean Florida. So, it was with mixed feelings that I watched my boys gleefully sled off into the distance, all the while wishing Mom was here to witness. At least we managed a snapshot of the sheer beauty surrounding us:

Gorgeous snowscape

Gorgeous snowscape

Before too long, it was my turn. Jon and the boys raced back and quite suddenly, Judy and I were up. We piled on to the sled and, yip yip! we were off. I”m not going to lie, sitting in the sled is a bit bumpy and not the best. But, when we stopped and I got the chance to drive….oh what exhilaration ensued! And yes. I almost fell off. But it just wouldn’t be real excitement without a fall or near fall on my part. It’s my thing, falling that is!

At any rate, here’s the compilation video of the boys riding, and then driving the sled. The dogs are howling in anticipation….they just want to run!

At the end of the day, Garrett wanted nothing more than to come home with Blue, one of Eleanor’s incredibly loving sled dogs. It’s a moment where I wish I could have said yes, but it wasn’t very hard to say no. Blue wasn’t made for house life in Florida, he was made to run in the snowy banks of Alaska.

At any rate, here we are having a total ball!

Jon and the Boys all ready to go sledding!

Jon and the boys all ready to go sledding!

It just doesn't get more fun than this....

It just doesn’t get more fun than this….


Ice Festival

This gallery contains 25 photos.

The kindness of strangers can sometimes simply make your day. One of the best things about staying in a bed and breakfast is that you have other guests at breakfast. We lingered over breakfast with a couple of the other guests, there were two students and a professor lodging here. As residents of Fairbanks, they […]

Why is there no row 33 on this flight?

There party was happening at the back of the plane.

It was us. We had the entire back row to ourselves. Our flight crew was a fiesty, rowdy bunch and they had the right crowd in the back to fully enjoy them.

Now, the boys and I have traveled by plane together in the past, but we’d never before embarked on such a long journey. I’d had a reasonable level of confidence that the trip wouldn’t be problematic, but kids are unpredictable and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Turned out to be fabulous. To be quite honest, I think the trip was easier with them along than if they hadn’t been there. They were fun, cooperative and kept boredom from leaking into our 16 hour journey.

Every new hotel room or space we travel to, Gavin always manages to find some cabinet, drawer or closet to hide. He loves to close himself up into tiny spaces and surprise people by popping out at unanticipated times. This trip, he conspired with our flight attendant, Jordan:

Carry on luggage anyone?

Carry on luggage anyone?

The landscape out our window became increasingly rugged and snowy, but as we approached Anchorage the Captain announced there would be moderate to severe turbulence on landing. Right before descending though, the view was a blanket of white cotton as far as the eye could see. The clouds made a perfect line of fluffy white against a baby blue sky.

The calm before the storm!

The calm before the storm!

As we started our descent, the boys shot me a look that read, “Should we be afraid?” I looked back at them and said, “It’s like a roller coaster! Weee!” We put our arms up and swayed back and forth as if on an amusement park ride. The toddlers in the row ahead picked up on our fun. The rest of the plane might have been terrified, but our little party in the back were totally living it up. Not that you can tell from this shot after we landed:

Landed safely!

Landed safely!

We arrived into Fairbanks well past midnight Eastern time. The boys, fueled from a curious concoction of sheer adrenaline and exhaustion, couldn’t resist the banks of snow piled along the sides of the airport parking lot. Quite comically, they were totally shocked at the stinging cold suddenly needling their ungloved hands.

These white blanked vistas are something entirely new to them. This is a landscape totally foreign and even the smallest details thrilled them. They were excited over everything from snow drifts piled atop unshoveled cars to the icicles dangling from the eaves of the bed and breakfast.

Our home away from home, the Alaska Heritage House is an interesting historical building, built in 1916. Upon arrival, the boys instantly dispersed to explore all the nooks and crannies. The innkeeper, Van started to tell us all about the history, but I was far too tired at the moment to digest anything of value. That will be a task for another day this trip.

It took the boys a very, very long time to settle down. This “Best Day Ever” was just too full of adventure to be allowed to end. Despite the exhaustion and lateness of the hour, they still needed to go outside and throw themselves into some snow and ice.

Now about that row 33, no one was able to tell us why our flight didn’t have a row 33. Do any of you know?

Alaska! Ready or not, here we come!

The bags are packed by the front door, while children still slumber in their beds. We’re up early, the keen edge of anticipation providing an early shock of adrenaline. You see, today we hop on a plane (or 3) and trek up to an icey, snowy adventure in Fairbanks, Alaska. Aurora borealis viewing, dog mushing school, and the World Championship Ice Festival are all on our agenda.

Mom and Dad were supposed to join us, but Mom’s unfortunate broken leg means they’ve had to cancel. So, it’s just Jon and I, the boys and Jon’s mom now. Still a fun group, but bittersweet at losing two. My mom and sister have requested daily posts to keep the abreast of all our adventures. Daily posts they shall receive!

Today is going to be a long one. We don’t land in Alaska until close to 9pm (past midnight our time!). Tablets, Kindles, DSs are all charged. We’re prepared and ready to go! See y’all on the flip side, our Alaskan Adventure beckons.

Ready to Go!

Me and Coffee

2013-09-22 08.37.11

This cup is a lie. It looks tasty and inviting. It isn’t.

I’ve long maintained that one who has not yet had coffee should not be responsible for preparing coffee.

You see, the thing is that I am not able to prepare coffee even should my life should depend on it.

My pre-caffeine shenanigans are intense. This morning I zombie-stumbled out to the resort kitchen and filled a pot with water, thankful I was able to successfully pour it into the coffee machine without spilling. It wasn’t until I’d fully emptied the pot that I glanced down to the coffee packaging and read “4 cup packet”. Yeah, full pot of water for only 4 measly cups worth of coffee grinds. I stared at the machine in confusion and just decided we’d have weak coffee this morning.

When my husband joined me he said, “I keep thinking there’s no possible additional way to mess up coffee, and yet you still manage it.”

What can I say? You put me in a new location, with a strange machine and the inability to think without caffeine and this is what remains. A tempting illusion that yields weak and tasteless results.

Thank goodness the resort restaurant served us a good cup.

Ravine Vineyard

This gallery contains 6 photos.

While honeymooning in Niagara-on-the-Lake we made plans to visit Ravine Vineyard for a private, reserve tasting. Scheduled for 2pm, we arrived early and snuck in to their attached restaurant for lunch. Lacking a reservation with only an hour or so before our tour, they still cheerfully seated us in the waiting area and offered to […]