Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Goodbye, 2016

This year was a year of change and adventure in our household. We traveled all over the United States and Canada, we moved to a tiny bush village in Alaska, and we learned to live our lives intentionally as a married couple. Much like I did in 2015, I'd like to take this first post of the year to reflect on my favorite moments from the last twelve months.

January... The beginning of 2016 brought big snows to our little island in Lake Michigan. Cody and I enjoyed a couple of well deserved snow days, and we celebrated by getting some much needed r&r and fitting in a couple of hiking adventures. Beaver Island was picturesque in the snow and provided a peaceful retreat on those breaks from school.

February... The weather in February took a nasty turn and it seemed to be endless weeks of temperatures just above freezing. We tried our best to get out and enjoy ourselves as a way to fight off the winter blues that are so common in the north. Thankfully, the dogs kept us outside often and our awesome island friends kept us busy by going out on the town.

March... Unseasonably warm springtime weather crept into northern Michigan in early March and stuck around for awhile. The snow completely melted and it was warm enough that the dogs happily took a dip in Lake Michigan.  We also got to get out and hike Little Sand Bay Nature Preserve, which is one of our favorite short hikes on Beaver Island.

April... At the beginning of April, Cody and I officially made the announcement that we would be returning to Alaska. I had been feverishly interviewing with potential districts for two weeks leading up to our decision.  While we were sad to be leaving our island life, we were stoked for the adventure unfolding before us.

May... One of my favorite trips of the year occurred this month. My sister, after living the last three years in Hawaii, had moved to Virginia (just outside of DC) and I was able to travel to see her for spring break. I had an absolute blast spending quality time with my nieces, sightseeing in Washington DC, and exploring a new state.

June... Our last month on Beaver Island was fairly stressful as we wrapped-up housing, jobs, and said goodbye to friends that we'd grown to love and cherish over the last two years. We did our best to find some time to enjoy life though because the weather was stellar. My aunt and cousins came to visit two weeks before our move and we had a blast kayaking around the inland lakes, watching sunset on the beach, and just hanging around.

July... July was a complete whirlwind. We crammed in as much family time as we could before heading off on our Alaska-Canada Highway (ALCAN) adventure. We left Michigan in mid-July and spent weeks camping our way through some truly spectacular places.

August... As July turned into August we found ourselves still on the road. We traveled to Banff and Jasper National Parks for the first time and were in awe of the views. We also flew to our little village for the first time and I took off for the most incredible teacher inservice ever. Our inservice included flying to a remote wilderness lodge, learning to fly fish, and collaborating with some truly awesome educators.

September... In September we started really settling into life in our village. We began learning to subsistence fish and we frequently went berry picking on the tundra. By the end of the month, our freezer was stocked with 50+ fillets of wild caught salmon and bags and bags of frozen blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries.

October... We started feeling very "home" in the village this month. We hosted two potlucks in October at the school and learned to make aqutak (eskimo ice cream). I also traveled to King Salmon for another teacher inservice late in the month.  While at inservice, I was able to take a class on skin sewing and learned to make fur mittens.

November... Even though our first snowfall was a month earlier, November was truly a month of beautiful fall weather and colors. This was my first experience with the tundra changing colors, and it was absolutely stunning to watch. I also tried to spend more time doing photography with my nice camera, which helped me capture some cool shots.

December... As we wrapped up the year, we began enjoying true Alaskan winter weather. We saw temperatures in the -20's and snow fell more often than not. The students put on a cute holiday performance and then we released them for three weeks. Cody and I decided to stay in Alaska for the holidays, only traveling to Anchorage for a few days near New Years. It was the perfect ending to a busy year.

With all of that said, I am more than ready to start another year of adventures. 2017 is already proving to be a big year for The Middle(tons) of Nowhere. Stay tuned for new adventures and changes as the year begins! 

Your turn...What were some of the highlights of your year? 
Currently listening to... Shenandoah - Trampled by Turtles 


  1. DC is fun, I've only been once or twice but it was enjoyable :).
    I did a lot of traveling this year as well - NOLA for a wedding, San Diego for Yelp Spring Break, Grand Haven/western Michigan for a girls weekend, and LA for BlogHer, which was fun. I changed jobs too and got to travel a bit for that (Chicago and Vegas).

    1. Sounds like you had a big year of travel! Grand Haven/Wester MI is one of my favorite places. My parents live near Saugatuck and going to visit them is always a blast. I hope this year brings you a lot more fun travel! :)

  2. Cool post and nice photos. Looks like you covered some of the same ground we covered this summer. Love the Al-Can! What kind of wildlife are you seeing? I read that Pilot Point gets a lot of waterfowl. Hope we can get over to do some photography!

    1. Thanks! You guys should totally come to PIP for a visit sometime. We have plenty of housing and it's a neat little village (plus, I'd like to come visit your area too). We have a lot of waterfowl, ptarmigan, and loons. We've also had wolves, bears, wolverines, moose, fox, and lynx around the village. Lots of cool wildlife! :)

  3. I really like this idea. I would have to really think back to come up with something for every month. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    1. Glad you enjoyed! I've done a yearly wrap-up in this format the last couple of years. It's fun to look back on the year.

  4. What a great year you have had! I love the idea of this post too. It's fun to look back and remember all of the highlights.

  5. We moved, which was great for us. Now, I want to plant my roots but unfortunately that won't last for long. I love reading your adventures.


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