Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays

Wishing you all a wonderful winter season and upcoming year. Thank you for following along on our journey and for continuing to read my blog throughout the years. We can't wait to see what adventures 2017 holds.

Happy Holidays!

The Middleton Family (Cody, Hannah, Specks, & Luna)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday Potluck & Performance

Holiday performances are a staple of public schools everywhere.  Poems, skits, songs, and dance are all part of the normal routine. Here in Pilot Point, things are no different. The students practiced endlessly for the two weeks leading up to Christmas Break.  They prepared three songs, two poems, and we even invited the crowd to join us for a quick verse of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The students looked adorable, and helped design their own cute costumes. Their performance was a hit!

Following the performance, we invited everyone to join us for a potluck, which is a very traditional part of life in the bush. Members of our community brought spaghetti, casserole, dinner rolls, veggies, fruit punch, cupcakes, rhubarb pie, and so much more.  The families really turned out and provided some great dishes to help us celebrate.

As a part of our performance we also ran a food drive. We collected food for the two weeks leading up the the event, and then families could sign-up to receive it at the potluck. Enough food was collected that we ended up passing out food to many families.  It felt so good to give back to the community for the holiday season!

After the performance, it was time for the adults to celebrate. A couple of our local friends threw a Christmas party and we headed over to their house following the potluck. It was so fun to get out and socialize with some of the adults in the community.  We tend get stuck in a routine of going to school and then heading home, but being able to get out and enjoy drinks, laughs, and good food with other adults from the community was a perfect way to wrap-up the school semester. 

Your turn...Are you participating in any holiday events this year? 
Currently listening to...Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter is Here

Winter has officially arrived on the Alaska Peninsula. The snow arrived about two weeks ago, and it seems set on sticking around for awhile. With the snow, comes the cold - and temperatures in the -20's have been making regular appearances. Despite the cold, winter has always been one of my favorite seasons. I love celebrating the holidays with my family, watching fresh snow quietly settle over the landscape, spending the afternoons ice skating on frozen lakes, and snowshoeing through the hills.

With winter in Alaska also comes the darkness. Sunrise is now at nearly 10am and sunset is at 4:45pm.  The shortened days make me feel like a hibernating bear, sleepy and ready for a long rest. I'll admit that winter always makes me sleep more, which I don't mind at all.  I also spend a lot more time indoors doing little projects, watching movies, cooking, and reading.

When the sun does show its face, I try my best to find my way out into it for awhile.  After school, I rush out the door to make some time for dog walks out on the frozen tundra.  The weekends are no different, except for the fact that we load the car and drive the dogs to different, farther locations to add some variety to our explorations.

While winter is beautiful and relaxing, it can also be a season for cabin fever and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  It's really important, especially in such isolated places, to find ways to keep yourself entertained.  SAD is an especially big issue in Alaska's far northern climates.

Last weekend, Cody and I were feeling particularly cabin-fever-y and just couldn't stay inside and watch one more movie.  The temperatures were in the single digits and the sun had been set for hours, but we didn't care.  We called our neighbors (the other teacher and her husband) and asked if they'd like to go explore the frozen lake. They agreed, so we all bundled up and walked the short distance to Loon Lake. The next hour was spent with all of us laughing, slipping, and sliding our way across the extremely frozen surface.  Within ten minutes of being out there, a Honda (4-wheeler) burst to life and a posse of our students showed up.  They'd apparently seen our headlamps and wanted to come out to play too.

Winter is a beautiful time in Alaska, but it's a harsh time too.  Finding hobbies, staying busy, and maintaining relationships with those around you are all important aspects to staying happy in the bush, especially this time of the year. As winter continues to settle itself fully in the area, and we spend our days locked in hours of shrinking sunlight, life continues to be an unforgettable adventure.

Your turn...Has winter begun yet where you live? 
Currently listening to...Paint the Silence - South