Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Very Juneau Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Cody and I had a fun Christmas Eve full of baking cookies, watching movies, opening gifts, and playing games.  In Cody's family it is tradition to watch the original version of The Grinch on Christmas Eve.   So, we popped some cookies in the oven and settled in to watch the movie.  After, we followed my families tradition of opening a new pair of pajamas and playing a board/card game.  Cody got me silly old lady pajamas (they were sooooo cozy) and I got him Chicago Bears pajamas.

Our teeny, tiny first Christmas tree. 

Modeling pajamas! 

Christmas morning rolled around and Cody promptly woke me up at 8:30am.  He repeatedly shook me and shouted, "WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP!!!!"  So…..I did.  We made coffee and cinnamon rolls and tucked into present opening.  Cody and I had the best gifts!  We felt so thankful that our families and friends sent us such wonderful presents. Our families rule!

Cody opening a Kurt Vonnegut book (one of many). 

My new blu-ray player (finally I can watch NetFlix!) 
Specks doing tricks for his Christmas bone. 

After presents and all of that excitement we geared up (using new gear-thanks to my parents!) and took off on a hike. We went out quite a ways into the woods today.  We stumbled across an abandoned car at one point and stopped for some pictures.  It was very Into The Wild-esque. We hiked for about an hour and then walked down to the beach (well, the one in our front yard) and stuck our feet in the water.  Together with Specks we played out in the ocean for another thirty minutes.  It was so nice and relaxing to have the day to spend as a little family.

Abandoned car on Bonnie Doon Trail.

Christmas hiking as a family. 

Christmas views from our house. 

Matching XtraTuff's in the ocean. 

All in all, it was a great Christmas.  We miss our family and friends a lot but we ultimately got to have a great adventure this year.

Merry Christmas from the Thompson-Middleton family. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Recipe for Hiking in Alaska (Winter Edition)

Hiking in Alaska requires a plethora of gear.  You need summer gear, winter gear, rain gear, and snow gear.  Cody and I have actually purchased an extra dresser just for gear.  It is a little ridiculous.  Today, it took me thirty minutes just to put on enough gear to go outside in these single digit temperatures.  For all of my lovely friends and family living the lower 48, here is a guide to what you must wear to venture outdoors (for any length of time) in the winter.

1 pair of long underwear (shirt and pants)
1 regular knit long-sleeve shirt
1 pair of fleece or heavy material workout pants
1 pair of insulated, waterproof pants
1 fleece jacket and/or vest
2 pairs of wool socks
1 pair of leg warmers
2 pairs of knit gloves and/or 1 pair of waterproof gloves
1 pair of waterproof winter boots/hiking boots
 1 pair of removable boot liners (good to -25)
1 scarf (preferably wool)
1 hat and/or earmuffs
1 winter coat (heavy insulation)

Additionally, you may want to take: 

1 backpack 
1 cell phone (for emergencies and picture-taking) 
1 water bottle (purification system optional) 
1 whistle
1 first aide kit
1 knife
1 set of cleats for your boots/shoes 
1 dog :)
Food (packaged-enough to sustain you if you get lost for a little while!) 

And….your set to leave your house for anywhere from 30minutes-3 hours (pending you don't get lost).  If any of you plan on coming to visit you may want to invest in anywhere from one to several of these items.  We like to hike and we want you to all enjoy it with us!

Barely able to use my eyes! 
Trail off of Bonnie Doon Rd. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

White Christmas?

This week in Juneau it has been…sunny?  I haven't seen the sun in so long! I had almost forgotten what it looked like (ha ha).  But, we have had a few days of reprieve from the snow, rain, and clouds.  However, the tradeoff has been incredibly cold temperatures.  We have been ranging from zero-fifteen degrees with chilly Taku winds ripping through town.  I wish we could find a happy medium with this weather!  And, I am a little disappointed that there isn't any snow in the forecast for Christmas, I mean we live in Alaska!! There is no way all of our leftover snow will melt between now and then with these temperatures.  So, it will be more of a leftover-White Christmas.

View from my office-couldn't ask for a better view! 

In other Christmas news, we are ready for December 25th! The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, and it generally looks like Santa threw up in our house.  I couldn't be more thrilled!  I am still working on wrapping some presents but I think I can get them ready in the next two days.  Cody and I are happy to be spending our first Christmas together here, in the last frontier :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dandelion Jelly

Christmas is nearly here and I couldn't be more excited.  For the first time in years I know without a doubt that we will be enjoying a white Christmas.  The best part about the holidays this year is that Cody and I have two days off together.  We never get time off together so I am extremely excited for our time.  We are planning a trip to Eaglecrest Ski Area and a trip to a local shelter to help distribute meals on Christmas Day.

In the meantime, I am enjoying my kiddos at work and all of their wonderful projects and plans that they have been doing to honor the holidays.  They have been thoroughly covering the school in glitter, beads, ribbons, and tissue paper.  We are celebrating with a Holiday Pajama Party tomorrow.  Everyone will come in the pajamas and we will eat sweet treats and enjoy watching The Polar Express (a personal favorite!)  

Dandelion Jelly (homemade).  Courtesy of a lovely kiddo at my center. 

In housing news, our oven is broken.  The broiler and stovetop work great! But, the oven won't heat.  So, while we wait patiently for the repair man to fix up our source of cooking-goodness.  We are stuck improvising and making some very random dishes.  Here is a picture of our stovetop veggie wraps and rice with peas.  It was a pretty tasty improvisation.  

Veggie wrap (sauteed vegetables and beans) with rice and peas. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pretty Pictures

We are enjoying another snowy weekend in Juneau.  Last night I walked around at the Juneau Gallery Walk (aka First Friday).  This happens on the first Friday of every month.  They open all the shops downtown and feature local artists.  All of the shops have yummy free food and adult beverages as well.  Tonight we went to my company Christmas party.  Cody and I dined on some tasty treats and then headed home.  So far, it has been a fun weekend but pretty low-key.

 I haven't done much picture-taking this week.  But, I did snap a few good ones of the view from our new place.  Enjoy :)

Oceanfront views from casa de Thompson-Middleton. 

Our house-This is the distance from the ocean to our front door. 

Another beautiful view.  

Side view of our little blue home. 

Front of our cute, little home. 

I hope everyone has a happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Snowstorms and Christmas Spirit

It has been a little while since I have written in my blog.  But, we are alive and well up here! We are surviving our first bought with Alaskan snowstorms.  I am sure by standards up here, it has been a teeny, tiny storm.  But, to those of us who are unused to the snow, it has been a bit of an adjustment.  We have also been hearing rumors that we are now in avalanche country.  So, I think our snow fights could get more intense as the season continues. For now, Cody and I are enjoying the change :)  

View from my schools playground. 

We have also been getting into the Christmas spirit.  This is pretty easy to do with a foot of snow on the ground!  It has been nonstop Christmas music, baking, and decorating at Casa de Thompson-Middleton.  We went for a small tree this year but it is still awfully cute (and real, my favorite!). 

Our first Christmas tree! 
Finally, we have been busy moving!  As I posted before, we found a house with ocean-front property!  Granted, we share this property with the other three people living in our complex.  But, still it is a peaceful little place.  We can literally walk out to the water.  Specks is loving being next to the woods as well.  It has been wonderful so far! 

One of my amazing ocean/mountain views.