Taken November 15 at 3:30 in the afternoon
The winter solstice was Sunday, and it’s a pretty big deal around here. We even celebrate it with fireworks. It marks the shortest day of the year, with only 3 hours and 42 minutes of daylight in Fairbanks. The sun rose at 10:50 am and set at 2:42 pm here on Sunday.
We look forward to the winter solstice for months, because it means that the day after the solstice we are no longer loosing daylight. From here on out we are gaining daylight! Hallelujah! (even if it was only about 9 seconds yesterday and 28 seconds today.) Whenever anyone comments about the increasing darkness during the day, we crazy Alaskans always say something like, “Well, just think, in only ____ days we will be gaining daylight.” And then we laugh because the winter solstice marks the first official day of winter and the difference in the light won’t really be that noticeable for a good month and a half. But, some how it makes us feel better to say it anyway.
Taken at 12:30 pm
This time-lapse video gives you a great idea of what our days are like here. This was taken at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.
I have the best family in the whole world, and the hardest part for me, about living in Alaska, has been that I’m so far away from everyone. I am the oldest of 9 children, 6 girls, 3 boys, with 2 sets of twins in the mix (yes my mom is super woman.) I also have 6 terrific brothers and sisters-in-law, and close to 30 nieces and nephews. They all live within 2 1/2 hours of each other and are always doing fun things together. I miss them terribly, especially, during the holidays when I can’t go to all the family get-togethers.
On Sunday my sister Tricia, texted me to see if I had been getting any surprises in the mail. I told her no, but I hadn’t checked the mail for a couple of days. I would be sure to check it tomorrow. Monday came and I was so excited to see what we would find in the mailbox. When I was finally able to get to the mail box, (it’s about a 1/2 a mile away) I was thrilled to see we had two packages. The kids opened them up to find that my family was doing the 12 days of Christmas to us! Latter that day the mail lady brought 3 more packages to our door and they have been arriving 1-2 every day since then. I have been just as excited as the kids waiting everyday for the mail to come.
Gifts include: (Sorry family if I’m forgetting something)
- air fresheners
- 2 card games
- hot chocolate
- sugar cookie mix with icing
- colored pencils and notebook
- red box gift card
- an elegant faux fur blanket
- Christmas Book
- Pizza Hut gift card
- Cheese and flavored milk
We feel spoiled, and loved and incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family. Thank you family. I love you. Thanks for making our Christmas brighter!
The kids had so much fun making the sugar cookies!
Current Time: 7:55 a.m.
Current Temperature: 6*F
Sunrise: 10:45 a.m. Sunset: 2:43 p.m.
Daylight Hours:3 hours, 57 minutes (-3m 16s)
When Shawn and I got married and I moved to Alaska, I was not concerned about what the winters would be like in Alaska one little bit. In fact, it was one of the furthest things from my mind. I grew up in southeast Idaho at 6,000 feet and we were known to have the most severe winters around. We even got out of school a couple of days a year when the temperature reached -20*F. I thought I knew what harsh winters were, and I was not bothered in the least.
Let’s just say I was completely unprepared for winters in Alaska.
The first year I was here, I pulled out my winter coat in the fall, which was really more like a jacket. I loved that
coat jacket. It was bright red, it was sleek, it was stylish, and Shawn said, “Is that your coat? You are going to need something much heavier than that this winter.” To which I naively replied, “No, I don’t think so. I wore this all last winter and I was fine.” I was confident that since my coat had served me well the previous winter in Utah, we had had snow after all, it would serve me well in Alaska, now.
A few days later, Shawn showed up with a coat that he said his mom was letting me have. I looked at that thing and I was mortified. “Did he really expect me to wear that?” It was a dull hunter green color, was two sizes too big, had some company’s logo embroidered on the front, and it had a hood with fur (I had never worn a hood with fur and I was not about to start.) It came complete with an emergency whistle tied to a string in the front pocket, just in case you got lost and had to blow a blast to be found. The worst thing about the coat though, was that it was incredibly, for lack of a better word, poofy. It was like a winter coat on steroids. I had no idea how many geese had given their lives to line that coat with down feathers, but it was more than a few. To add to my humiliation, if you pushed on the coat just right, feathers would puff out of a hole by the zipper and waft into the air around you. It, most definitely, was not stylish. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that,” I thought to myself.
“Ummm, no thanks” I said. “I’ll be fine.” To which Shawn just smiled and hung the coat on the hook behind the door with the other coats. And as soon as it got cold I wore that coat, and I wore that coat every day for the next 8 months… and for the next 3 years after that.
The rain just keeps coming and coming. So far, we have had the wettest June in recorded history, and the 2nd wettest July. We are desperately trying to do summer things every chance the sun pokes it head out from behind the clouds even if it is just for a moment.
Alaskans cherish their summer like no people I have ever met, because there is so little of it. We need the summer to stock up our vitamin D and to get outside and see that the world is still alive, and that we are still alive.
I was hoping that August would be nice and sunny and warm, but alas, it looks like it is not to be. It’s raining now as I type and should continue for the next few days. Sunday and Monday were nice, but our church camp-out was canceled on Friday because of rain, and Logan played his first football game in the POURING rain on Saturday.
I dread winter coming this year. The thought of it makes me want to curl in the fetal position and hibernate until next spring like the bears. The fall chill will be in the breeze in the next couple of weeks and the leaves will be changing and falling from the trees before the end of the month. Noooooo, I’m not ready yet.
Because of all the rain we have had, we are starting to get toadstools/mushrooms popping up all over the yard. I have never seen anything like them before. They are surprisingly tall at around 10 inches. Now, we are just waiting for the Smurfs to arrive.
Few things in life compare to a summer BBQ at your favorite swimming hole with your cousins. Am I right, or am I right?
More pictures from our trip to Anchorage 2 weeks ago. We decided to drive the Glen Highway there and then to take the Parks Highway home. That meant we had not just 7, but 14 hours of stunning views. It is easy to forget how rough and rugged Alaska is, but the second we take an excursion out of town I am promptly reminded.
Leave me a comment and let me know which ones you like the best. Thanks!