Winter is almost over, and we are sure looking forward to summer coming. We have some super exciting things planned that we can’t wait to share with everyone. (No we aren’t having a baby) STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION!
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Winter is here. Sadly, it arrived early and in September, this year. It’s not that I don’t think it’s beautiful, I do. It is extremely beautiful. It’s just that winter here is soooooooo long already that I would have loved having a nice long fall before it arrived. We usually get a little bit of snow the end of September, but real winter usually doesn’t arrive until the first or second week of October.
Well, so far, we have already had 2 record-breaking snow storms, both before October first. The first was last Friday. We got over 6 inches, which broke the record for the most snow for this time of year. It stuck around for 3 days then the the rain melted it away. It was enough for the kids to get really excited about winter, and enough that they were able to have a snowball fight and roll big giant balls of snow that were supposed to become snowmen.
Then on Tuesday, we had another record-breaking snow storm. This time we got around 12 inches in 24 hours. It was heavy wet snow and trees came down all over the valley. 15,000 people were without power and as of last night, 48 hours later, there were still around 6,000 people without power. Schools closed down, and the roads were dangerously icy. It was a crazy reminder that we still live in Alaska, Alaskan winters are long, and Alaska is still wild and untamed.
(After the first storm)
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KateLynn is the child in the family that keeps a close eye on the few wild blue berry bushes in our yard and alerts us the second they are ripe and ready to be picked. They were ready earlier this year than usual, by about 3 weeks. I think it is due to the warm spring we had. It is a good thing she has been keeping such a close on them or we could have missed them altogether.
I know I am looking forward to making a smoothie with these juicy, balls of deliciousness really soon.
Current Time: 3:07 PM
Current Temperature: 30* F
Current Weather: Snowing
Sunrise:7:46 AM Sunset: 6:20 PM
Daylight Hours: 10 hours, 34 minutes (+6m 45s)
This time of year, I crave being outside. I try to get outside for a walk when it’s above 10* which helps, but I sit and daydream about the grass being green and about going outside without boots and a coat on. BFF Amy once said that she is a plant. That’s how I feel. I need light and lots of fresh air or I start to wither and die. This time of year is hard because everyone else is starting to post their spring pictures and I know we still have 2 good months of winter left. It makes me nuts to see people on T.V. swimming, camping, or even just walking down the street with the sun shining, no snow on the ground and the grass beautiful and green. I think all pictures of people outside in warm climates should be totally banned from facebook and instagram from now through the end of April. It is a slow painful torture seeing those pictures for those of us still suffering from winter.
This time of year the weather is fickle. It’s 30* above right now and in 5 days it is supposed to back down to 30* below zero. That’s a 60 degree difference. Last week, it was so warm we had rain, but as soon as it hit the ground it froze and the world became a giant ice skating rink. Driving was extremely dangerous and church was canceled on Sunday and school was canceled on Monday. It’s funny that school doesn’t get canceled for 40*below, but if it warms up to 40 above everything turns to a sheet of ice and activities are canceled.
I can tell that the days are getting longer, though. When I dropped Hannah off at her gymnastics class the other night at 6:00 it was still light outside. It was awesome! At least that’s a sure sign that things are moving in the right direction. We are on the downhill side of winter, hopefully, with spring in view. Here’s to hoping we have an early, wonderfully warm spring.
Time: 9:00 am
Current temp: 23*F
Sunrise: 8:46 am Sunset: 5:25 pm
Total Hours of Daylight: 8 hours, 38 minutes (+6m 49s)
I can not tell you how excited I am that it is supposed to be close to 30* ABOVE zero today. The last few weeks have been rough, with temperatures as low as -47*f. For those of you who haven’t experienced temperatures this cold I did a little break down of how things change as it gets colder.
- Life carries on normally
- must keep car plugged in if you don’t have a heated garage (we don’t)
- start car 15 minutes before going anywhere
- public school kids don’t go outside for recess
- We blanket our horse
- All non-Sunday church activities and meetings canceled
- keep car plugged in, and start it and let it run for 30 minutes, at least once during the day if not going anywhere
- start car 30 minutes before going anywhere
- kids dress in full winter gear even for a car ride
- dead batteries in a car are very common (I had to have my car jump started 3 times this last cold spell)
- Church meetings on Sunday are shortened to Sacrament meeting only
- Our internet and phone stop working (the cable people are supposed to be working on this)
- Things just don’t behave normally. Last week Jarom closed the truck door a little too hard and the window shattered into a million pieces
- School and businesses carry on normally
- Other then school or work there is no reason to go anywhere. Stay home and hibernate next to the fire.
- If I have to go to go anywhere, I try not to take the kids
- Start your car 45 minutes before going anywhere
- If you aren’t going anywhere you still need to let your car run for a couple of hours a day. If you don’t it can be very hard to get started, especially if you have a diesel. We have a big heater we have to put under the car/truck when this happens
- Leave car running when you go into the store or anywhere else
- It’s hard to keep the house warm. We burn a ton of wood and the cold just seeps in under the doors and through the windows.
- Frost accumulates on inside of the door knobs
- Church meetings on Sunday are shortened to just the sacrament
- Lettuce and other grocery items freeze going from the store to the car, or from the car to the house
- Exposed skin can get frost bite in moments
- Your whole life becomes consumed with staying warm and keeping things running properly
Living life at 40 below is just hard, cars don’t work right, its hard to stay warm and you just don’t want to leave the house unless you have to. We are lucky we don’t have problems with our pipes freezing. Some people have no running water for half the winter up here. Welcome to life in the Arctic.
Can you think of anything I missed, or do you have any questions about things I didn’t cover? Let me know.
I told Shawn that New Year’s Eve 2014, was officially the most boring New Year’s Eve I have ever had. Tabetha and Jarom went to a church dance, and Shawn and I spent the evening packing and preparing for our trip to Anchorage the next day. The rest of the kids just ran amuck the whole night. I folded and sorted clothes into piles for hours, and while I hollered, “get me your Sunday shoes,” or “where are your gloves,” the neighbors littered the night with the occasional firework. Around 11:45 pm the kids headed downstairs to watch the ball drop on t.v. and I knew the New Year had arrived when the neighbors shot off their final rounds of fireworks.
Even though our New Year’s Eve was nothing to brag about, it was all for a good cause, because we got to spend the weekend in Anchorage with our cousins and with BFF Amy (@ Adventure Permitted) and her family who are visiting her family for the holidays.
We had a wonderful 4 day trip. It was so nice to get out of town and leave our cares behind for a few days. The highlight of our trip was the afternoon we spent sledding with Amy and her extended family. It was about 5*F out that day, but Amy brought hot chocolate and cookies to help us stay warm. It was Camdon’s first time sledding and he was not too excited about it. I took him about half way up and as we came down I could hear him laughing. I thought he was having fun, but when we got to the bottom I realized it was more of an, “I’m about to cry any second” sort of laugh. All of the other kids had a great time. Mya had fun but she only stayed outside for about 5 minutes. She spent the rest of the time in the car, because as she says, “I’m an insider.” meaning, “I don’t like to be outside when it is cold.” The fact that one of our friends had a movie playing in her car could have had a little something to do with it.
After the sledding party we went to Amy’s sister’s house, ate pizza, and cuddled her sister’s 10 new labradoodle puppies. So ADORABLE! (you can see them here.) There are several still available. You know you want one. Katie got $20 for her birthday from Grandma and tried to buy one while we were there. Fortunately for us, $20 didn’t quite cover it, and so we won’t be adding a new puppy to the family. Although, Katie is still holding out hope that they don’t all sell and that her $20 dollars will get her a new puppy after all.
At the end of the weekend it was sad to leave our cousins, sad to leave Amy and her family, and it was hard to come back home to reality and -30*F temperatures. But, we were happy to get back to Tabetha who stayed home from the trip because she had to work. It was so sad not having her with us and thinking that this is how life will be in a few short months when she moves away to school. I’m glad to report that she did well for her first time home alone. She kept the dog and horse alive, and she literally kept the home fire burning while we were gone without burning down the house, which is a plus.