I haven't been keeping up with this too well!! We are officially leaving on December 16!! The countdown has begun and the anticipation is at an all time high!! We need to be out of the duplex, that we are renting, by the end of this month; the movers are coming on the 23rd so that we have time to clean the place after our stuff is out, so we only have three weeks to get packed up. We are beginning to move things into the motorhome and pack up the rest for storage and will be staying at Martin's parents the last two weeks before we leave.
We did go to the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference in St. Louis, Missouri and had a grand time! It was so wonderful to be around so many like-minded people and such unique, fun, amazing children (and adults) that are following their interests and passions!! It was very inspiring! We also had five days after the conference to play as a family; we went to The City Museum (huge, fun playplace for adults and kids along with an aquarium, art center and more), Gateway Arch, The Magic House (science museum), NACAR Speedway (go-cart racing tracks sponsored by NASCAR, which also had rock climbing wall, laser tag, and games), the St. Louis Zoo, and Grant Farms (a huge petting zoo where the Anheiser/Busch clydesdales are taken care of, owned by the Busch family, where we got to pet and feed goats, kangaroos, camels, llamas, etc and we took in a show where parrots and other animals did tricks). You can see that we fit a lot in for the five days!! We had a wonderful time and the kids begged us not to come home! We felt it was a little bit of a tease for what the next year is going to bring us. We reluctantly got on the plane home but not without a lot of complaining, mostly on my part!
The week after we got home was a decompression week from all the fun and comotion, and we spent most of that week on the couch vegging out! The week following Kevin ended up pretty sick (probably from pushing his body to the limits in St. Louis) and on the couch for four days solid and then last week Martin and Tristan ended up with strep throat for which they had to be on medication. Calista and I missed the whole thing, thank goodness, maybe it is all that healthy eating I do!
The kids really wanted to make Halloween big this year, since this is our last one in Alaska, and my stepmom, Nancy, really wanted to have a family party, as they were coming to visit from Fairbanks. The kids spent a few days setting up a haunted house in my sister, Robin's, unfinished basement. Robin spent many hours helping them since they wouldn't let me see it because they wanted it to be a surprise. We planned games, stories, jokes, and fortune telling along with the haunted house. Matt (Nancy's son, my stepbrother) and his fiance, Kelly, came out from Anchorage to join us and Kelly even had real ghost stories to share with us. We had a really good time and I think it was a great way to exit Alaska.
More and more over the last few weeks we are very aware of "last moments" here, in Alaska. It is sad and exciting all at the same time. We are going to miss so many people but we are going to experience so many amazing things and see so many amazing people!