Getting in the Christmas Spirit


It’s Christmas time again, and I’ve been enjoying listing to holiday music in my car.

I find it quite festive! (My husband and teenage daughters disagree. Scrooges.) 

Click here to see last year’s crushing of the Christmas song.

This year is my first Christmas in Alaska, so it’s a new experience; it seems so much more authentic to listen to “Winter Wonderland” or “Jingle Bells” with a snowy backdrop. 


Recently I pointed out to my husband that you could actually ride in a “one-horse open sleigh” around here.

  • Me: Look at that snowy field! I can imagine a horse-drawn sleigh gliding along!
  • Him: That sounds horrible.
  • Me: What?! Why!
  • Him: Are you crazy? It’s freezing!
  • Me: But it says right there in the song, “Oh what fun it is to ride!”
  • Him: It’s below zero out there! And you think it would be FUN to ride in an open sleigh?! Probably catching frostbite?
  • Me: Well….
  • Him: Not to mention the horse kicking up snow. And probably dumping you out of the sleigh in the process.
  • Me: Come to think of it, there’s a second verse to that song where they end up in a snowbank…
  • Him: Oh yeah. Sounds super fun.

Once again, my Christmas spirit is squashed.

image from

Sigh. Let’s all mourn the passing of a lovely winter dream.


The Lost Remote

We recently bought an amazon “fire stick” to use with our TV. It’s pretty great; we can use it to watch Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime video, etc., but there’s one problem with it.


The remote is REALLY small. I think we’ve lost it about twenty times in the past couple of months.

The last time we lost the remote, it stayed gone for a few days. I googled “lost fire stick remote” to see if there was a way to press something on the TV and make it beep or something to help us look. All I could find was a lot of information from amazon about buying a replacement remote.

Hmmm… I guess they realize it gets lost easily. Maybe that’s WHY the thing is so small?

Anyways I ended up having to order a replacement. For a small fee, of course.

Before it arrived, however, one of the kids found the missing remote.

I was in the bathroom and I heard the celebration.

“We found the remote! We found the remote!” Little Boy yelled. “Here it is, Mom!”


Well, thanks. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it in HERE.

Learning what COLD really means

cold cartoon

It’s winter in Alaska now, and that means it’s getting cold.

Of course, I knew that it would get cold.

I just didn’t know what cold really WAS, apparently.

Because it is really getting cold.

Really REALLY cold.

I dropped the kids off at school Tuesday and it was only 2 degrees! I took a picture of the sign outside the middle school because that seemed excessively cold.


Then the next day… it was even colder.

Here’s my car thermometer Thursday.


Yes, that’s right. NEGATIVE SIXTEEN DEGREES! In November! It’s crazy!

But it looks like I’d better get used to it.


The Joys of Home Ownership


After renting for the past ten years, my husband and I are enjoying the benefits of owning our own home.


Here is the latest: A mysterious fridge leak that has gone undetected for who-knows-how-long. Ugh.  


I’m in the process of fixing the water-damaged wall; my husband is fixing the fridge.  

Why did we stop renting again?

We survived our first Alaskan power outage


One of the things I was really concerned about upon moving to Alaska was the idea of power outages.

Since I knew we were going to be living in a place where the weather is cold enough to be actively life-threatening the majority of the year, therefore making electricity even more essential, I asked around if the power went out very often. I was assured that it very rarely does.

(Of course I was also assured that they almost NEVER cancel school for snow in Alaska, and we see how that turned out so far. But I digress.)

But this week on Tuesday, as snow piled up all around, the electricity in my house went out in the afternoon. Then they announced school was cancelled for the next day. The power stayed out all night.

There is a generator that the previous owners left us (THANK YOU!!), and so my husband set about figuring out how to run it. He had some trouble; it kept kicking itself off and having to be restarted, so it was only working some of the time. When it was running, there was only enough power available to run the boiler and the refrigerator.

We do have a fireplace, so I was pleased that we were in no danger of freezing to death. Still, there were challenges. There was no way to cook food, of course, and the water in the house quickly ran out since it comes from a neighborhood well that is pumped through –you guessed it!– electricity.

We passed a difficult night, since I need a breathing machine to sleep. I kept waking up gasping for air, and my husband kept going out into the cold to restart the generator. I think he was relieved to go to work the next morning.

So Wednesday dawned bright and early with a whole day of kids-home-with-no-TV stretching out in front of us. (I know, first-world problems, right?)

no wifi no tv


I remained positive, though. “We can play together!” I said brightly to the children. They were not fooled.

Naturally, the day degenerated into me trying to read on the couch while the kids fought with each other and I yelled, “Go play in your rooms!”

“Why can’t we be one of those nice families who play board games by candlelight when the power goes out?” I lamented to GG, my fifteen-year-old.

She rolled her eyes. “Those people aren’t REAL, Mom.”

It was a long day, but by evening the kids had settled down some. The twins had just gone upstairs and were happily engaged in game they had made up called Animal Rescue Hospital. GG and Boo were reading in the living room with me, and my husband had gone out to check on the generator for the millionth time.

Suddenly, the power came back on! “YAY!” all the kids said. Boo and GG vanished immediately to go on the internet in their rooms, and the twins came down to turn on the TV.  

I said to the twins, “You can keep playing Animal Rescue Hospital, you know. I thought you were having fun?””

They looked at me incredulously. “But now we can watch TV.” 

Can’t you just take care of it?

I may have mentioned that I left my husband behind in Hawaii to deal with the whole process of moving by himself while I larked off with the kids to visit the family and have a relaxing vacation.

Oh yeah. Score!

Image from

Anyways, I keep thinking of things I forgot to tell him to do (usually at midnight) and then texting him to do them.

In other words, I’m micro-managing from afar.

Wow, huh? I’m a real peach,

He’s been pretty good about taking care of everything, though.



But he MAY be getting just a little tired of all my texts….



Our Moving Adventure: In The Middle

We are in the transition phase of our move right now, between houses.

Or, putting it less charitably, we’re currently homeless.

Therefore we are bumming off of– I mean visiting –relatives in Alabama.

This is the life, right?
This is the life, right?

 We had some trouble getting our orders processed back in Hawaii. (That’s a long and boring story that boils down to: the Army is no good at pushing paper even though the process of paper-pushing is about 75% of the Army’s actual job.)

As a result of this delay, we received our paperwork for moving late in May, and could not schedule the movers until late June. So the kids and I left my husband behind in Hawaii to supervise the moving process.

We’d been away for a couple of weeks when Little Girl begged to talk to her father on the phone.

 “Aw, how cute!” I thought. “She misses her daddy.” I gave her the phone.

“Daddy?” she said. “Is my room okay? How’s my stuff doing? Did the movers pack it yet?”

 Oh well. She misses her daddy, sure. But she misses her stuff more!


Pack This, Not That

If you’ve never participated in a military move, you might not know about it, so here’s how it goes:

They pack everything for you. You leave all your stuff where it sits and they come in with boxes and packing paper and tape and go to work.

Of course, this is a million times better than packing up your stuff yourself (I’ve done it myself a few times, believe me!) but the process does come with a few little problems.

For one thing, professional movers pack quickly. They don’t have the time to try and see what should or should not go in the box. Therefore, everything gets packed up.

If there’s garbage on the bottom of your trash can, it’s going in the box. That dirty toilet brush in your bathroom? In the box. Don’t even ask me what happened to my neighbor’s cat a couple of months ago during their move!

So the rule is: if you don’t want it packed, put it away! Get it out of the packing area! Preferably in a special “Do Not Pack” room with the door closed and clearly labeled.

packthisnot that

So you can imagine, when I saw the (other side) neighbor’s two-year-old climbing into a packing crate during their move, I rushed over to pluck him out.

You can’t be too careful!