Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More monkeys

They are monkeys 99% of the time, but for a small moment, they were my Christmas cuties.


Mister, Mister

Super Coop


Meet the Monkeys

Christmas came early for me this year. We have a gift exchange at Dr. Hicken's office and these last couple of years we've written down a couple of things we'd like to help give our giver some ideas. This year, I wanted a pair of sweet sock monkey slippers. I couldn't justify buying them for myself, but boy, they'd be fun (and comfy) to have.

Two days before the office party, I was at Target and went to visit the monkey slippers and they were ALL gone! Either that or they had been moved. I didn't have time to hunt for them so I just told myself they were sold out. I was so sad.

Guess what I got at the party??? It was the first thing I opened in a stack of gifts Elizabeth got me. She was much too generous! But I've been doing the happy dance ever since.

I'd like you to meet my left monkey: Liz.

And my right monkey: Beth.

Together they make: 'Lizbeth!

They're the bomb and I love 'em.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A change of plans

This would be a mission change.

My parents flew here for their last visit with us for Thanksgiving before they went on their mission. We had a great time with them. It was too short as usual, especially since it's going to be a year and a half before we see them again.

A good portion of their time with us was spent on the phone with former missionaries and secretaries of missions and the missionary and family history departments in SLC. My parents got word that their visas to India were on "back order"so to speak and no one could speculate how long before they'd be issued. My parents had their hearts set on leaving now for their mission and didn't want to wait around, twiddling their thumbs, for the visas to come. Their newly bought home was packed up. Their suitcases were packed. They said their good-byes and were ready to get rolling.

When speaking with a secretary in the family history department (I believe) my parents were given a couple of options for alternate destinations. One country was French speaking, so that was out. Another option was the Dominican Republic. Jared about burst into tiny pieces, he could hardly contain himself. That is where HE served HIS mission and has always wanted to go back and take me with him. Unfortunately, that was short lived because there is a Spanish language requirement, understandably so, for that mission as well. My dad can speak Spanish but wouldn't call him fluent and that's what they needed. Although, we got our hopes up because it was mentioned, during one of the umpteen phone calls, that my parents might be able to get Spanish language training at the MTC. That was a very exciting possibility....and then the big let down came shortly after. (Sorry, Jared).

Another option was Hyde Park in London, England. My parents were all over that, however, did you know that this is the MOST EXPENSIVE mission in the WORLD? The secretary helping my dad had asked what his finances were like because they have a hard time filling that spot. My parents' finances are good, better than most, actually, but it was MORE than they had budgeted so that got nixed, too.

This issue was, of course, compounded by the Thanksgiving holiday and apparently the Church department (or the persons my parents needed to speak to) takes the Monday AFTER Thanksgiving off, too. It's all well and good for people to enjoy an extra day off from work to be with their families. It's just inconvenient for those senior couples who are 13 days away from serving their mission and they still don't know where!

By the time my parents flew back home on Dec. 1st however, we had it on good authority that they would be serving in the Slovenia-Croatia mission...with no language requirement with the expectation they will be doing family history work and other assorted responsibilities. The First Presidency approved the mission reassignment (phew) just days before my parents left. Just enough time for them to REPACK their suitcases for an area of Europe with 4 seasons, instead of two as they had prepared for.

Mom and Dad reported to the MTC two days ago on Mon. Dec. 14th. They will only be there a week and then will go to SLC and live in a hotel for 2 months, working at the family history building until they get their visas.

It will be interesting to hear about their experiences in this part of the world that they weren't planning on going to. Those are usually the best kind of experiences.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rude awakening

At 6:15am, because there was no school due to the federal holiday, Jake and I went to our neighbor's house so he could learn the morning feeding routine for their animals while they're way this weekend.

We got home around 6:40am and I told Jake to go back to bed because that's where I was headed. And if he didn't go back to bed, to be QUIET!

I actually managed to sleep in a little bit longer before I had two little ones climbing on top of me. Sweet Jake had gotten the "babies" out of bed and fed them breakfast. Niiiice.

When Jared got home from work tonight he told me that while Jake and I were down the street this morning, he dutifully went in to wake up Cooper. He related the following:

"Cooper, Man, c'mon it's already 6:30, time to get up."

A moment later, Cooper barely lifted his head off his pillow. Partially whiny, mostly groggy, he informed Jared, "Daaaaaaad. We don't have school today."

Jared, confused: "You don't?"

"Noooo." (If his eyes had been open, they would have been rolling). Extremely inconvenienced, head limply hanging down, he pointed to the wall and grumbled, "Look at my calendar. It says Veteran's Day. NO SCHOOL!"

Bummer for Jared. It's bad enough waking Cooper up when it's necessary. It's even WORSE when you could have let the angry bear sleep longer. Darn those sneaker holidays!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jake's testimony

Sunday, Calvin woke up in the early hours with a fever. The kid is sprouting about 8 teeth at once, including molars. But he's been doing this for a while, so we suspected the fever was related to something else. Fortunately, Jared was able to check his ears. Both were red. He sent in a prescription, we dosed him up on Motrin, and when it came time for church, I hunkered down with Calvin and Karcyn. (I kept Karcyn home to make life easier on Jared).

I really HATE missing church. Not because the kids are sick, but because I HATE missing church. I HATE missing choir practice. I HATE not being able to take the Sacrament. I HATE not being able to sing the hymns. I HATE not being able to feel the spirit. I HATE not being able to learn something new. I HATE not being able to hear the testimonies of others. I HATE not being able to see my friends who share the same beliefs and perspective I do. I HATE not being able to serve someone.

With that said, however, it was a "good" Sunday to miss in that I didn't have any big responsibility to attend to that day. I wasn't teaching or conducting and didn't need to speak to anyone.

Turns out, after several months, Jake got up to bear his testimony in Sacrament meeting. He mentioned it to me casually in passing after church. He's been doing it off and on for a few years now after we learned about how to appropriately bear a testimony and practiced in family night.

Jared said at dinner that Jake gave a really great testimony. Jared related that Jake had shared that he got up early that morning around 6:30am (he was also fasting) and decided to watch the church movie "Praise to the Man" about Joseph Smith. He said it was very quiet, no one else was up yet, and as he watched the account of Joseph Smith's life, he heard a voice speak to him that said Joseph Smith was a true prophet. He even looked around to see if Cooper was the one whispering to him. Jake had gained a witness of the divine calling that Joseph Smith restored God's gospel in its fulness to the earth and that he was the one who translated the Book of Mormon from ancient records.

Apparently Jared got some playful flack after Sacrament meeting because he was sleeping in while our 9-year-old was watching church movies at 6:30 in the morning. Our kids never sleep in when you want them to. But I'm impressed he chose to watch a Sunday appropriate movie in the quiet of the Sabbath morning and not take advantage of the lack of parental supervision.

After Jared recounted what Jake had said, Jake nodded in agreement then added, "Yeah---I just need to really work on crying while I say my testimony. I don't know how to do that yet."

Gotta, gotta, gotta

Having sold their house in Anchorage, AK, after 17 years (sniff, sniff), having bought a new house outright in Santa Clara, UT, and having spent about 18 months in the U.S.A since mission #2, my parents are ready to serve mission #3.

Our mailbox serves as "home base" for my nomadic parents. So their mission call came to our house on Sept. 30th. Jake got the honor of opening it up and reading where they would be going (practicing for when he gets his own call in 9-ish years). We weren't surprised when he read that Elder and Sister Lee have been assigned to serve for 18 months in Bangalore, India. They were more or less recruited, as they were for their mission in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it was still exciting to get the official word knowing that the Prophet signed off on this location as THE place where my parents need to be. They are to report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT, on Dec. 14, 2009 for about a week. Most their training will be done in the field. Wow...Christmas in India.

Dad reports that they will be the FIRST family history couple to serve in India. There is a Family History Department employee that serves there, but they believe he travels and isn't a native to India. Dad and Mom hope they will get to set up family history centers and teach the Indian people how to do their own genealogy as they did in Ukraine, but they aren't sure what the Asian Area Authority has in mind for them. Whatever it is, however, they will be fabulous! [While serving in Salt Lake City on mission #1, Dad was the Zone Leader for a zone that didn't exist. He had to create it!]

We're looking forward to hearing about their adventures as family history missionaries in an area where the church is relatively new and about the culture and other "things" they will have the opportunity to experience. We're also looking forward to all the blessings that become yours when a family member, especially parents, leave everything behind to selflessly serve more of God's children in a distant land. It's like your life is lifted to a higher level where blessings and protection from on high are much more concentrated than where you were before. We're so grateful for the example my parents are to our own children.

Mom and Dad thought they had a lot to do to get ready to go. So do I!!

Gotta get my web cam set up so we can skype each other online.

Gotta figure out the time difference.

Gotta take advantage of this opportunity!

Gotta start saving our pennies.

Gotta get my passport.

Gotta get a visa.

Gotta eat more curry.

Quiz: Do you know which temple district my parents will be in?
(The winner gets to be really smart :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catch-up, Mustard, Mayonnaise

"Catch-up, Mustard, Mayonnaise." That's one of many fun sayings Cooper's teacher tells her class. She's so creative.

And that's what I'm going to do...attempt to "catch-up" this blog and get through the rest of July.

1) After I got back from Alaska, Jared (as first counselor in the young men's presidency over the teachers quorum) was gearing up for his week of High Adventure (July 13-18th) with twelve of the teachers and priests (14-18 year old young men) from church. They embarked on a 175+ mile biking journey down Highway 101 of the Oregon coast starting at Cannon Beach and ending at Honeyman State Park. It was an awesome experience--definitely one for the books! The "stats" were as follows:
*Near death experiences--7
*Lost bikers--8
*Flat tires--13
*Mental walls--26
*Blood injuries--9
*Puking--5 (15 rounds--this was not caused by biking, but from the rocking of the boat on the chartered fishing trip they took one morning)
*Run-ins with cars--2
*ER visits--2
I think they were very grateful to have a health professional with them!

When I first heard the YM were planning a coastal bike ride for High Adventure last November, I was horrified. We actually went to South Beach with my parents last year and I was looking at the lack space between the white line on the road and the cliff. Hardly enough room for a bike tire in many places. Not to mention all the curves and blind spots. Totally scary for a wife whose husband still has a lot of student debt to pay off, dead or alive! However, as the planning continued and the group prepared, I was completely at peace with this by the time July came around. I knew it wasn't going to go without a "hitch" because this was, after all, an "ad-ven-ture," a process the young (and older) men could compare their journey in life to. PLUS...they were a fluorescent traveling group of priesthood holders who could administer to anyone at anytime! Throw some faith in there, and that's all you need.

Part of the group, refueling with lunch one day.

Some of their scenery along the way...

Jared trying his hand at sand boarding.

And Jared wiping out. Way to try something new, Honey!

Next year's High Adventure is already in the works....hiking the Eagle Cap Mountains!

2) Each July 4th, give or take a week, since Jared graduated three years ago, we take the kids to a Mariners game up in Seattle. We spent the night up there last year, so we decided to alternate the years we stay overnight and made it a "day" trip this time around.

This was our "before" picture. It was already warm at 8:15am. This was also the weekend prior to our MAJOR HEAT WAVE.

We ate sandwiches on the drive up, but you can't NOT get food at the ballpark. That's 90% of the whole experience, if you ask me. Some of our top faves at Safeco Field are garlic fries and Dippin' Dots.

The boys' favorite....nachos and for Jake--chili nachos.

There's a kids area at the park and tucked back in there is a concession stand where you can buy what I call a "bucket special." Your choice of a hot dog or PB & J sandwich, popcorn or a pretzel, plus cracker jacks and a drink. That last option is the clencher because it's the only place in the park that has MILK. All of that comes packed in a cute little bucket for $6. Sweeeeet. It's a lot of food, our kids are addicted to milk and it's cheap. I LOVE that the park has that option. A Happy Meal, Major League Baseball style.

Woooo doggie! It didn't take long for it to HEAT UP. We lathered everyone in sunscreen (from the waist up) when we got to the parking garage, then left the bottle in the van. soon as the sun came over the field I realized, like an idiot, that we never put sunscreen on the kids' legs or knees. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Mental note #1) Always bring the sunblock. I could just SEE them baking! I was so full of regret I couldn't concentrate. As I was about to go spend $20 on 2 ounces of sunblock, I spied the mom next to me reapplying sunscreen on her little ones. I leaned over to her and asked if could use some. I told her I forgot to do the legs. She was happy to share and I was so grateful. I felt a little more relaxed after that. Though I still worried about the little kids, especially Calvin. He just LOOKED hot. I was convinced he would fry, sitting in the sun like that with his delicate baby skin all exposed. I actually took him and Karcyn for 30 minute walk under the covered walkways to get them out of the sun and bought Calvin a hat. He was the only person without one. $15 well spent. If only he would keep it on his head.

The people sitting behind us (we sit in the non-alcoholic family section) had spray bottles filled with water. A little bit of the mist got on the backs of our necks and it was absolutely divine! When we told them how great their run-off felt, they squirted us down. Mental note #2) bring spray bottles for the 1pm games!

Of all things, we ran into our friends, Eric and Sara (Sara, as in: the co-author of "Our Best Bites"...the greatest food blog out there!) Eric and Jared were PA students together at Pacific. Eric and Sara live in Idaho now, but Sara is from Seattle and they just happened to up that weekend. So fun--even though we only saw them for a few minutes. The boys, big and small, went on a Dippin' Dots run together (banana split all the way, baby!) while Sara and I hung out.

Mental note #3) bring more water for the 1pm games. One water bottle per person was not enough. We did enjoy sharing a rather large lemon squeezy icy thing between the 6 of us. It was a good opportunity to teach children and adults alike how to take turns and what constitutes a reasonable slurp.

As for the game...well, we like to see it through to the end, even the bitter end. Turns out we scored the only 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth. But then the fat lady was singing. The Cleveland Indians took us 10-3. It was okay, though because the kids were soooooo good. I can't believe how well they behaved in that heat and with little action in the game. They didn't complain or anything. We really love bringing the kids to see the Mariners and even wished there was a MLB team closer than Seattle (it's about 3 1/2 hours minimum each way). On the other hand, we also like the special-ness of just going once a year.

When we got up to leave I was all of a sudden very aware that I was wet in places I didn't want to be. Jared confirmed I had "wet spots" on my rear and legs. Alllll sweat, I assure you. But still so embarrassing.

On our way home, we stopped to grab some dinner at Denny's. Major score for the day: the kids ate free!

3) A tradition we JUST started this year, is going to the Washington County Fair. I thought it ran for a week, but it's only a few days. The only day we could go was Sat. August 1st and it was a squeeze AND it was still horribly hot. The only thing about doing something new is not knowing what to expect. Parking was a breeze however. That was a nice surprise. We had a budget when we went and it wasn't much. We bought each of the three kids 20 tickets to use for rides or games. We had to scope out the rides first to see what was available and how much they cost. The decent ones were 8 tickets each.

I wanted us to stay together and watch each of the kids do their ride. Jake went first. He chose the "Sea Dragon." I love that ride. It was only him and one other boy. They sat at the very back of one side of the "ship."

It was so funny watching Jake's facial expressions change. One second he's smiling, the next he looked like he was going to puke--at least from where we stood. He had a blast.

We walked around some more trying to find a ride for Karcyn. We even went to the kiddie ride section and every single ride required her to be at least 1 inch taller than she was. We couldn't even take her on the blasted merry-go-round and sign a waiver unless she met the height requirement. I was sooo sad for her. She wanted to go on a ride like nothing else. We were walking back towards the games and rides so Cooper could have a turn and I spied a bungee jumping thing. It advertised that riders needed to be 10 lbs to jump. Good grief. Even Calvin could do it! Cooper took one look at it and decided that's what HE wanted to do so we paid for him and Karcyn to jump. I still couldn't believe that it was okay for Karcyn to be flung in the air on a rubber band, but not okay for her to sit on a slow moving plastic horse with me standing next to her.

Cooper was cautious about how high he went. He was happy to just do it "medium".

Karcyn's turn! The guy running the jumper was so good with her. It was cute.

Karcyn was FEARLESS. The higher she went, the more she squealed in delight.




And Jake decided he wanted to go too. So...we gave Cooper some extra tickets to make it "even Steven."

Karcyn blew her brothers out of the water. Jake was also a bit tentative about not going too high.

We were dealing with a screaming Karcyn at this point. She wanted to go AGAIN and she wasn't liking our answer of "no."

After that fun new experience on the bungee jumper, we headed back to the games. We mostly played skee-ball. Cooper did a couple other games and won 3 stuffed animals, Karcyn won 1 and Jake won none. So ironic :)

We spent a little time looking at the livestock, but we were mighty hot and tired, so before going home, we bought some snow cones, sought reprieve in the shade under a tent with a periodic misting apparatus and cooled off with our treats.

Our time at the fair was short, but sweet. I'm glad we went even though we kind of crammed it in at the last minute. Hopefully next year, we can try some real food and see more of the exhibits.

Phew! July is done. Check, check.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boy's athletic abilities frustrate parents!

Since Sunday we've had some CHILLY temperatures. I've tried my best to keep the furnace off until absolutely necessary, but our house sits between 64 and 67 degrees during the day. Brrrr!!

Tuesday, our day set aside for Family Home Evening (because Jared works 8-8 at the Urgent Care on Mondays), we thought it would be fun to have a fire in the fireplace. That's all I needed--just something to take the edge off the chill in the air.

As I was helping Cooper's little friend Andrew (who is staying with us for a week while his parents are in Hawaii) get settled in, Jared prepped the fireplace with Jake's assistance. As I walked back through to the family room I heard Jared say to Jake, slightly annoyed, "That would have been nice to know before now." Apparently, Jake had informed Jared that he accidentally kicked a soccer ball into the chimney in the spring and thought it might be important to know before the fire was started. However, in Jake's defense, he said he told me way back when it happened and once he said so, I vaguely have a recollection of something like that lurking in the musty corners of my brain. I guess I didn't think it was all that important in the month of April but I am surprised I didn't say anything to Jared about it. Makes me wonder what the priority was at the time! Needless to say, no fire for us Tuesday night. And Jake went to bed wondering if his precious savings was going to be majorly depleted when we said he might have to pay to have the ball rescued.

Jared and I were even more stunned that Jake managed to kick a soccer ball INTO the chimney. The chimney itself isn't all that high. 15...18 feet maybe? Jake's kicked, thrown and hit stuff on the roof before.

But this is what's so amazing and moderately frustrating...the opening of the chimney is just barely big enough for a soccer ball to squeeze through.

Talk about execution. Though I know full well Jake wasn't aiming for the chimney opening. In his words, "I was just kicking the ball and it happened to be accurate!" Sounds like 90% pure dumb luck more than anything else. But still! I can't stop rolling my eyes at the odds.

I broke down Wednesday afternoon and turned the furnace on for the first time this fall. I was hoping it wouldn't be til October or a little later, but at that point, I really didn't care about setting any records.

And now we have a "chim-chim-in-ey, chim-chim-in-ey, chim chim cher-ee" chimney sweeper coming in a couple weeks to get that blasted soccer ball out of there! Oh and Jake's savings has been spared. We told him to consider this his warning. Any more "accurate accidents" and he's footin' the bill!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Last Frontier--one last time.

Now we go back to June. Shortly after my parents arrived back in Alaska after being Super Grandparents and babysitting for us for 6 days while Jared and I were in San Diego, they put their house up for sale. Although I was not giving my "yea" vote on the matter, I told them they needed to do what was best for them. My parents got a cash offer the second day on the market. They had to be out in less than 30 days by July 13th. Holy cow, that was fast! My mind was whirling with all the things they had to do to prepare and the actual move. It's a logistical nightmare moving to or from Alaska, even worse for a couple anticipating leaving the country shortly after selling their house and not sure if they will be able to find another one in another state to buy before leaving, and thinking about storage in the lower 48 in the interim and needing storage in AK until they leave for the summer, etc., etc.

Later that night or the next day, I started wishing I could go up to Alaska to help my parents out. Don't get me wrong. My parents are the most efficient movers you will ever find! They've packed us up, loaded our trucks and helped us move more than their fair share. Which is why I wanted to help. I wanted to give back to them just a tiny portion of what they've done for us. So I started looking at the calendar. And then I started devising a plan. Jared worked the night of the 4th of July at the Urgent Care. However, if I took a flight out that night, I could stay Sunday, Monday (Jared didn't have to work that day!), and then he would only have to take Tues. and Wed. off. I would fly home Thursday morning because Jared doesn't work til noon on Thursdays. That would get me a 4 day trip with the least amount of vacation days used. I proposed my plan to Jared. He was all for it.

I asked my parents what they thought. First of all, Dad wasn't even going to be in town during those days. He was going to be hanging out/fishing off Kodiak Island. So Mom was going to be alone. GREAT! Even more reason to go. An extra adult can't hurt. Their first reaction...they didn't want me spending all that money on a ticket. I was still just outside the 2 weeks advance ticket purchase. But the more Mom thought about it the more she got excited. So I bought the ticket. And under $550. I was happy with that. Especially since I was flying out of Portland.

A week later, the contract on the sale fell through. We suspect the buyers got spooked by the renters next door. Oh well. I told my mom the ticket was non-refundable, non-transferable. I was coming whether she needed me or not.

The 4th of July was a HOT day. I got everything cleaned, organized, labeled, sorted, and outlined for Jared. Menus were planned, groceries were bought, bills were paid, laundry was done, fireworks were purchased, the house was spotless. All Jared had to do was make sure the kids didn't kill each other or burn the house down.

My friend Celina took me to the airport while her mom (my friend Cheryl) watched the kids for the 45 minutes when I was gone before Jared got home. What lifesavers they were!

I was stunned when the plane backed away from the gate. It was half empty! I have NEVER been on a flight to or from Anchorage where even 1/4 of the seats were available. They cram you in like sardines on those limited flights. I had a whole row to myself.

It was fun to see the fireworks dot the sky below us as we left the city. Once we reached cruising altitude I settled in and stared reading a book I had with me. You know you're going to Alaska in the summer when you leave one place in the dark and it gets lighter the later it gets. I soon became obsessed with the what was outside the plane and started taking pictures. Because the flight was so empty, I moved from one side to another and from one row to another getting as many different shots as I could. It was incredible.

I had the moon behind me.

The midnight sun in front of me.

Mountains, snow, glaciers and rivers below me.

Goodnight Moon!

Hello Anchorage! This is the Sleeping Lady or Mount Susitna (located about 30 miles northwest of Anchorage across the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet).

It was an awesome flight! I feel so blessed for once-in-a-lifetime views. I arrived around 12:30am which is when the above picture was taken prior to landing.

It was about 2:30am before Mom and I turned in for the night. We couldn't stop talking. She had another offer on the house already and ironically enough the renters that scared the first sale away, packed up and moved the week after! Oh well. Their loss. My parents would sell their house. It wasn't if, but when. Mom had countered on the second offer (because Dad left her in charge while he went gallivanting around Kodiak Island with his brother and friend). She was waiting to hear back from them, but was still showing the house.

The next day was Sunday. We walked to church and entered a very WARM chapel. Apparently the air conditioning was out (yes, some buildings have A/C) and the Bishop welcomed everyone to the "Honolulu North" ward for the day. Anchorage was experiencing some unusually high temperatures while I was there.

Because the house was still being shown, we couldn't do a garage sale or pack or paint as I had anticipated doing, so we played instead! Darn.

When Mom asked me what I wanted to do Sunday night, the first thing out of my mouth was "climb Flattop." I think she thought I was kidding. I assured her I wasn't. She double checked. I continued to assure her. I wanted to climb it last year when we were up there with the kids, but we just didn't have time. Seeing as how this was my last hoo-rah, I wanted to do it one more time. Mom had NO desire to climb the Glen Alps, but because she loves me, we did it.

Our goal :)

Downtown Anchorage on a hazy afternoon due to a couple of forest fires.

Going up...

The parking lot is the light thin strip beyond that second hill on the right. (Mom, you're the best! What a trooper!)

At the top...

The views...

See? It really is flat!

Going down...MUCH harder than going up! Woo--we were tired at the end, but what an accomplishment.

After cleaning up we got dinner at a Mexican restaurant and rented Mamma Mia!

Tuesday we went shopping in Wasilla for the "Original Poop Moose." I own one. But Mom wanted to get one and in looking for one for the Hickens last year, we discovered the guy that makes them sells them in one store only in the valley. There were only 2 or 3 large ones and a couple of small ones. And they were on sale. Sweeet!Mom got hers and I bought a baby one for my "other mother" Vickie. She holds Calvin (often a very squirmy Calvin) all through Relief Society for me (and has for the past 9 months since I was called to the Relief Society Presidency). She very much deserved a collector's item that you can only find at one store and only in Alaska!

On our way back into town we stopped at a theater and watched the new Ice Age movie and then we had one of my favorites for dinner: spaghetti.

Wednesday morning we went to the temple. Such a special place.

I packed up (boy those 4 days went by fast--not sure Jared could say the same, however) and then we headed to the Sourdough Mining Company for dinner and the Alaska Wildberry Company for souvenirs for the fam. And then it was time to go.

Goodbye house.

Goodbye Silver Spruce Drive.