Friday, July 28, 2006!

Well................................we had our home inspection and there were too many issues with the house so we backed out! The good news is that we found another house two days later and our offer was accepted! I am so glad it worked out this way because I am WAY more excited about this house than I was the other one! This is exactly what we have been looking for; cozy, homey, very unique!!! We should be closing by Aug.25 but we will ask for early occupancy with a rental agreement.

Robin and Richard have been off this week so we have been trying to enjoy the outdoors. Our weather has not been too great since we got home, 70 degree highs here and there but mostly cloudy and gray. We hiked the Butte last week; our favorite local hike. We have been playing a lot of badminton in the yard and walking to the lake down the street from Robin. We may go golfing today.

Tristan had a friend over last night and they spent the night out in the motorhome. Tristan came in at 8:45 this morning wondering if anyone was up because he was bored; he hadn't fallen asleep yet!! He may be a little tired today!! It is so exciting to see him making good friends and having a good time. We have our chipper, happy child back!! He has spent the last several days riding back and forth to the lake on his bike with his two friends, Dakota and Caleb and is so excited, which is why he is having trouble sleeping.

Kevin is spending every waking moment with Sarah and Kevin; hardly see him at all. He finished his Theatre Camp and did a performance on Friday night. They did so good! It was a little strange seeing my normally quiet child out there acting! I was getting a little teary watching him and realizing that my toddler is turning into a young man! He is such a good kid, easy to be around and very responsible and mature. We just love hanging out with him. The director came up to me after the play and complimented me on what a great kid he is and how grounded he is. It made me feel good that other people see what I do.

On Saturday night Robyn and John Harris (parents of another child and very involved in Valley Performing Arts) had a casting party at their house for the kids and their parents. We also know Robyn and John from church so it was good to go and get to know them a little better. I think the adults had more fun than the teens!! We met some wonderful people that we really clicked with and had a GREAT time! We spent most of the evening laughing our butts off; it is all those creative, drama people!

Calista and Rylee are still busy doing their thing. They take two hour baths every day playing with their Bratz and the rest of the time either doing crafts or playing outside. We had a church picnic on Sunday and she was reunited with her girlfriend Ella. They were so excited and played for hours!! Ella and her family go to the earlier service so we don't see them every Sunday but we are going to have a tea party soon!

All I can say is that it is good to be home. I have such a different attitude coming back and realize how full my life is here! And the mountains.........................WOW! I never noticed them quite as much as I am now. I do understand why people that visit here are in awe and we get to look at them all the time!! The weather is far from perfect but I am buying some good, warm long johns and lots of warm gear. I am also going to get cross country skis and snow shoes and really embrace winter. It is also good to see my kids happy and really thriving! This is obviously where they belong right now!! Life is Good!!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chugging along

Well, things are starting to take shape..............a little bit. The third offer we made on the house we were trying to get got rejected so we decided to move on from that. This last weekend we found another one, a little older but fixable. It was built in 1984 and needs some work but it is all cosmetic so we will finish all of that before we move in. It should only take us about two weeks to get it all done and then we will have a couple more projects to work on as we can. The neighborhood is really nice and it is in a great location close to downtown. We will be closing on that on August 18............yeahhh!!

Martin still hasn't nailed down any kind of job or way to bring in some income. He is starting to get pretty stressed trying to figure it out so he hasn't been sleeping well but I am sure things will come together for him soon. We are still at my sister, Robin's house and will probably be here until we move in to the house.

Kevin has been attending theatre camp at Valley Performing Arts and is having a blast. They will perform for us this Friday as a closing to the camp. He starts Youth Court this fall and is REALLY excited about that. They take a class to learn our court system, take a "Barr Exam", and then are sworn into the court. They try real juvenille cases under the direction of a real judge. I think it will be an awesome experience for him and will look great on his resume!

Tristan has settled right in. He is REALLY enjoying his moments of solitude and sometimes has hours on end that he doesn't want anybody around. It has been good for him and I am seeing my regular happy, cuddly kid again. He has made a couple friends in the neighborhood and went bike riding last night with Dakota, who lives across the street.

Calista and Rylee haven't spent hardly an hour apart since we got home. They have been taking 2-3 hour baths daily (I have really clean girls!!) and playing Polly's and Bratz by the hours. They have also been crafting away. Rylee has been begging to go ice skating so we went yesterday and every five minutes she was saying, "Auntie, this is SO much fun!" I think we will be doing that on a weekly basis!

We celebrated Matt's (my stepbrother) 21st birthday on Saturday and also Nancy's 60th, even though her real birthday is not until Sept. We had a blast launching water balloons and playing other games even if it was pouring down rain. On Sunday we met Dad, Nancy, Matt, his girfriend Miki and her friend Suzie (I think that is her name) in Anchorage for bowling.

Good to be back to all that is familiar. It is good to be surrounded by my bio family and my church family again. It is exciting to start over again with a fresh outlook on life and a changed attitude about living in Alaska. I drive around town and just look at the mountains with a sense of wonder. They are SOOOO BEAUTIFUL and I missed the beauty half the time because I was too busy complaining about the weather. I am anxious to get out and hike those mountains again and Martin and I are talking about getting road bikes and taking that sport up. Life is good!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Trying to make lemonade out of lemons

Things seem to be falling apart around us! The transmission went out on the van...................................AGAIN! This is the third time in 13,000 miles, very frustrating. We found a shop in Anchorage that can hopefully fix it right so we borrowed Merle and Lois' truck to tow it in on our dolly. On the way to pick up the van, with the dolly in tow, Martin was in an accident and totaled the dolly. Luckily the truck was fine, just the dolly was destroyed. So now we have a tow truck coming to pick up the van and no way to tow the van with the motorhome.

We also made an offer on a foreclosure, here in Wasilla. It needs a LOT of work but it has a great floorplan. We made a very low offer because of the amount of work it needs and they rejected the offer. So we are back at square one, not finding much of what we are looking for. We are close to renting but afraid to get into a lease when we are so unsure of the future. Martin doesn't yet know what he wants to do to bring income in and things just seem very "up in the air".

I'm not feeling stressed.....................................really! Just kind of going with the flow but feeling like the answers don't seem to be coming to us. I find being in limbo a very hard place to be. I am also finding it hard to "get back into the swing of things" and start LIVING again. Our lives were so full on the trip and now seem a little empty, in that we aren't doing much besides errands and phone calls but, then again, maybe we just need some time to sit and let it all digest for a while.

Meanwhile, Calista is having a grand time with Rylee and glad to be back home. Tristan has made some friends in Robin's neighborhood and seems to be walking lighter on his feet. He is also enjoying the many hours of solitude that he is getting at Robin's, which he was so desperately craving while on the trip. Kevin has settled right in and I think is contemplating moving in with Kevin Sampley (just joking but spends most of his time there right now). He starts Summer Theatre Camp, at Valley Performing Arts, on Monday. He is pretty excited about it and is also planning on trying to get in with Kids Court this fall. I'm feeling like we are meant to be back home and just hope things start falling into place for us.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We are home!

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted because we haven't had much internet. We drove into Palmer almost two weeks ago, it is hard to believe we have been home for almost two weeks!! It has gone by extremely fast, I am sure because we have been so busy cleaning out the motorhome, looking at houses, and catching up with friends.

We left Rapid City, and our wonderful time with the Buxcels, on Sunday afternoon (June 11) and drove to Deadwood, which is only 45 minutes from the Buxcels. We parked at a KOA there and on Monday morning Karen and the kids drove up to spend the day with us there at the pool. We had so much fun and then we had to say good-bye again. We are determined to talk them into coming up to Alaska next summer!

Kevin and Martin went into downtown Deadwood and checked the place out on Monday (while Tristan, Calista and I were at the pool). On Tuesday we drove up to Polson, MT, just a few short miles from Craig Skinn's lake house on Flathead Lake, with a stop in Helena to have lunch with Lou (Craig's business partner) We stayed there for two nights getting caught up on laundry and planning our drive up the Alaska Highway. On Thursday we went up to Craig's lake house and spent the weekend four-wheeling, sea dooing, hot tubbing, and generally having a GREAT time!!! Craig also took us for a boat tour of part of the lake and some of the houses around it. His daughter, Malorey, gave us a four-wheeling tour of the hills behind their house on the old logging roads. We had a great weekend and it is definitely up at the top of the kids list for best times they had on the trip!!

On Sunday night we decided to go ahead and at least get to the border, which was about 100-150 miles from the lake house. We crossed the border at midnight and then found a rest stop to sleep for the night. Monday morning we started our marathon drive through Canada. We had 2500 miles to go and wanted to drive it in three days! The weather cooperated for us and those three days were absolutely beautiful. Some of the lakes apppeared to be in the Bahamas with their bright aqua colors. The kids were great through that long trek, probably because they were so excited to get home. We pulled into Palmer at 2:00am on Thursday and parked at Martin's parents. Calista said she was going to cry because she was so excited!!

I had some mixed feelings coming into town; feeling like I might regret our decision but when I started seeing the familiar and all my wonderful friends and family it just felt like we did the right thing. Robin met us at one of our favorite spots, Vagabond Blues, for soup and bread on Thursday. Rylee had no idea that we were back so I quietly walked up to her and tapped her on the shoulders and asked, "Do I know you?" She stood there for a bit just staring at me like I was a total stranger! Took a while for it to set in. I have been getting lots of "Auntie, I love you!" and lots and lots of hugs and cuddles!! I think she is afraid that if she lets me out of her sight I may leave again!

We have been going to all our favorite spots and seeing all our friends. Homecoming is great!! I really have felt how much I am loved and was missed and it is great to be back! One of our friends asked me if it felt different or the same and I told him that my attitude was different. It feels good to feel total contentment; something I learned on the trip. Being happy and content is a choice and I have made the choice to simply be happy, life is to short to spend it otherwise!

We have looked at a few houses, trying to decide what to do in that regard. Martin meets with our realtor (and great friend) this morning to make an offer on a foreclosure we found. It needs a LOT of work but it is a great floor plan so we will see what happens with that. If they don't accept our offer we will probably end up renting until we are a little more settled. Martin still doesn't know what he will be doing for income but he has a few things floating in the air, just has to decide which one to grab. We believe things will fall into place the way they are meant to and we are in no big hurry. If we get this house it will actually be good that he is not working because it will give him the time to finish the house so that we will have somewhere to live. Meanwhile, we are at Robin and Richard's camping out until they get sick of us.

This last 6 1/2 months has been quite the experience! We have had our highest highs and our lowest lows and learned so much! This trip won't soon be forgotten! We have learned so much about each other, a lot about ourselves, and seen and experienced things that we thought were only in our dreams. We wish we could have gone longer and seen more but now we have something else to keep our dreams alive. We have decided to keep the motorhome and possibly take a trip every year; focusing on a smaller area each year and in a shorter time period. Thank you to everyone that took us in for a night or two or just a visit. It was so good to see all of you that we hadn't seen in so many years and such a great reminder that the thing that is so important in this life is our relationships with people. We get so caught up in the go, go, go that we forget about people and our relationships with them. We love you all!