21 September 2013

Starting to Settle In

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

Sorry I haven't written any updates in a while. There hasn't been too much to report.

Our big event recently was getting our property shipment on Tuesday! We have all our stuff and have been slowly unpacking and putting everything away. We had maintenance come by to take care of a few minor issues and are now all set up. Wednesday, we had to attend a Newcomers to Alaska orientation. It was pretty informative; not much we haven't heard already. Hubs also got another 10 days off of work! They usually give that time to get all personal things squared away at home. We've taken that time to watch Netflix. So, Hubs really hasn't worked since mid-July and we aren't minding it one bit. He goes back next Friday, the 27th.

Last Sunday, Hubs and Dan went on a mini hunting trip. They drove north and were gone the whole day. When they got back, Hubs said it was one of the prettiest places he's ever seen and that they saw huge mountains. The next day they checked a map and realized they accidentally saw Mt McKinley.

Despite not having to drive far for a beautiful view, Anchorage is just a city. It is more flat than I expected and is somewhat poorly planned. Besides the mountain range to the east, it is just the usual buildings and roads. But we are in close proximity to great stores, restaurants, etc. And it is easy to get around. We definitely do not feel isolated or in the middle of nowhere. We are in a decent-sized city with traffic and construction and airports. Starbucks and Subways are everywhere.

One of my favorite things this week was getting our mail keys. We had the sweetest cards from my grandparents, my momma, and my friend, Michelle, from Florida. It totally made my week getting those welcome notes saying we are missed!

Some days are easier than others, and some days we just miss you guys! But we are excited about our new adventure and all the opportunities to try new things here. Many of the speakers at the Newcomer's orientation echoed the same advice: make a bucket list- get out and take advantage of what Alaska has to offer.

We haven't made an official Alaska Adventure List, but we are already looking forward to:
-getting unpacked and settled in.
-getting to cook and eat dinner at home!
-trying out a few close hiking trails.
-getting plugged in to a church here.
-PWOC (a women's bible study on post).
-ski season!
-the beautiful views and wildlife
-Hubs being home for football season
-no scheduled deployments!
-being blocks from Buckner fitness center
-The Ididarod (Dog sledding)

We are praying for good friends and an active church gathering, good moods on cold and rainy days, and resources for safe and fun adventuring!

13 September 2013

Introducing...The Hull's

Friend & Family Friday

{ Being a military family, you experience real, normal, everyday moments. But you also go through gut-wrenching, priority-shifting, life & death moments when you realize what's important and are found tearfully grateful for those you love and what God's given. So I came up with Friend & Family Fridays for two reasons: First, this one way we can all get to know each other a little better. And, secondly, I refuse to be one who regrets never saying what I wish I would have said. So here's to you, Friends & Family. Happy Friday! }

Hello. I am going to kick-off the first two weeks of Friend & Family Friday by featuring my amazing Florida friends, Krista and Victoria. I met them in a bible study at our church. The three of us connected the first day due to our husbands all being at NAVSCOLEOD. I remember Victoria & I walking nervously down the hall of the church behind Krista to pick up her daughter, Camylle, after the study that day. We went to chik-fil-a, and I was so grateful to be chatting with ladies in a similar season of life. I’m a little socially awkward sometimes, so today I’m so grateful that they kept hanging out with me! Read Proverbs 31, and you'll have a pretty comprehensive introduction to Krista Hull and Victoria Bobo. I'm way outta my league. Back when we lived in Fayetteville, Hubs and I had prayed for months for friends in Florida and that day He answered with these two amazing women.

I wanted to start this series of Friend & Family Fridays off with these girls because (1) I miss them like mad, (2) they both have great blogs and I knew they could help me start this off right!, and (3) so you guys can start praying with these women for the happenings in their lives. They are precious to me, and I can't wait for you to meet them!


Agh! How cute are they? I can't stand it.
When I met Krista, Forrest had only a couple months left at NAVSCOLEOD. He graduated and was stationed at Ft Polk, LA. I felt like I got to know her- and Camylle!- pretty well in that short time. I even cried when they left. They got to take a little trip back down to Destin on his pre-deployment leave, so we got to see them again. Then we took a weekend trip to New Orleans the weekend that they drove down to meet his parents for a mini-vaca in August. Like I’ve said before, two months was apparently long enough for us to feel like we may have made friends for life.

Krista is from Alaska, and Forrest is from Alabama. They met while he was stationed at Ft Wainwright in Fairbanks, AK, where she grew up. They have been married over 6 years and currently reside in DeRidder, LA with their two gorgeous daughters, Camylle Marie and Molly Isabelle.

Forrest recently left on a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Krista has this way adorable about her. If you meet you, you will REALLY WANT to be her friend. She is cool and laid-back and completely charming. She is hilarious and discerning and patient and joyful. She is the friend, wife, mom I’ve always wanted to be. She is so beautiful with her dark wavy hair and natural tan and ever-constant grin. You guys. She is that person you meet and totally hit it off. And it’s all her. She is the easiest, most open, genuine, kind woman, and I want her to be my friend forever. Hubs and Forrest kind of did the same thing, but in less of an “OMG, let’s be BFFs” and more of a “What up. You like sports? Cool. You were infantry? Me too, Man. We’re cool, I guess.” kind of way.

Enough about them, let’s talk about their kids. I’m completely in love with my three-year-old buddy, Camylle. That girl is so happy and hilarious and playful. I love every bit of the bouncing and swinging and hitting and running and playing. I love when I misinterpret the majority of what she’s trying to tell me and basically end up having a random conversation with myself. I love that she calls me Miss Warren. I love being completely content making a total fool of myself with her. It’s exhausting and wonderful and directly opposite to my careful approach to her new baby sister, Molly.

This gorgeous, delicate doll seems to be a perfect calm & quiet partner for her wild & adventuresome sister. If I ever talked to a grown-up the way I do with Molly I would be shunned and probably admitted somewhere. It’s not actual talking- just unnatural noise-making. Mostly squeals and coos and gaaahhs. Decibels only dogs can detect. And I even kind of hold back because Hubs and Forrest and Krista are watching me awkwardly restrain from squeezing and kissing this pretty person I barely know. Why are adults such idiots around these tiny humans? I’m pretty sure it has something to do with them being the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and is quite possibly the closest thing we have to it here. Plus, these two are especially perfect.

These are the friends we want to family vaca with. We love them. The end.

Q & A

Where you were born and places you’ve lived:  I was born in Portland, Oregon. Then my family moved for the next 3 years to California, Canada then made it up to Fairbanks, Alaska where I spent the next 20 years of my life before moving away with my husband (who is from Alabama). We have been stationed/lived at Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Fort Bliss, Texas; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and are currently stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Oh and I forgot to mention I lived in Washington for a bit, going to college and then moved back to Alaska to finish my degree (BA Psychology, minor Linguistics). 

What do you do for work/school/fun? This is kind of a funny question because I'm a stay at home mom and my kids are my full time work, I feel like I get schooled/learn new things from them daily and have fun tending to my rambunctious 3 year old and sweet little 3 month old! Does that count?! BUT I would like to continue my education one day (hopefully within the 2-3 years) and get my graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology (SLP). I would love to have my own private practice and dream of working as an SLP missionary in a foreign country :)! Not sure how that last little dream will pan out with kids but...where there's a will there's a way!! We'll just count it as a FEILD TRIP ;)!!! 

What is your favorite childhood memory? For my 11th birthday party (I'm pretty sure it was the 11th one), I had a group of my best friends over and we camped in the backyard. We stayed up all night laughing, being silly little girls and ran around the tent playing tag while slipping on the morning dew. Then that morning my mom made an amazing batch of pancakes for breakfast! For some reason, I will never forget that night. Ahhh the joys of being a little girl and simplicity of childhood fun! 

What is your favorite food/color/book/movie? Food: Potatos (mashed, scallop, hashbrowns, baked, grilled or whatever- just keep the them coming)! Color: Orange (when I was in high school I begged my dad to paint my room orange and after it was all said and done, my dad totally regretted that he ever said yes to the screaming home depot orange room! Shades required :D)!  Book: I'm not a avid book reader but I do love biographies. Growing up I used to love the biography of Helen Keller (yep I'm a werido). Movie: Growing up I used to watch Wish Upon a Star like a hundred times and never get bored from it. My current fav that I saw last week is Now You See Me, so entertaining!

What is your idea of the perfect date? (And you can’t say April 25th) I don't really like the taste of dates, it's a weird fruit to me ;)! Ha, that was especially for you Lauren, bad joke, i know, i know! I think the perfect date would be: spending time with my best friend (hubs obviously) on a bugless 85 degree island, enjoy a long islandy massage, snorkel in clear sharkless water, and finish off the night watching the sunset in a hot air balloon while eating kettle corn (oooo girl, love me some kettle corn!). Perfect. Date. (tag my husband on this question so he knows ;)!)

Something most people don't know about you: 1) I color coordinate my closet. 2) I have Veinphobia (it's gotta be a term)- an irrational fear of people touching my veins...drawing blood is nearly impossible!  3) I hum when I eat. 4) I have a lazy eye (it took my husband a full year to even believe me the when I told him. It doesn't do it all the time). 5) Every time I smile in a picture I unknowingly stick my tongue out a little. AND  6) I wish I was a hip hop/break dancer!

What are you most grateful for? Most grateful?? The most...I could list my husband, my kids, my parents, friends..but the most...definitely the grace of God and His unconditional love. Without Him I wouldn't even have my husband, kids, parents, friends to be grateful for. I am grateful that He chose my amazing parents to guide me in life. I am grateful that He chose my hunky husband to walk with me in life. I am grateful that He blessed me with my two beautiful girls and I am grateful that He gave me the most supportive/loving friends I could ever ask for. My life would be nothing if it wasn't for God and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Favorite bible verse: "Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23

What can we pray with you? Please keep my husband in your prayers as he is deployed to Afghanistan. This is his 3rd deployment and his first as an EOD tech and his first one with kids. Pray for me, that I remember that my strength is not my own and that I stay sane while parenting my strong willed child while my husband is gone. And pray that the President/Congress makes the right decision concerning Syria. That decision could possibly affect my husband's deployment mission. 

Dear Krista,
I am more grateful for meeting you than you might ever know. Our time in Niceville was so short, but long enough for us to feel like you guys might be "The One's"! You and your family have been such a joyful blessing for us, and we miss you all the time. We seriously considered Ft Polk in our top three when you left. Seriously. You have a grace and a joy that I pray to have in my marriage and friendships. I want to be you when I grow up. Here's to winding up at the same duty station and/or family vacas together and/or just keeping in touch through all of life's little happenings. We pray for you, Forrest, and your sweet girls every day. And I can't wait to see you up in AK soon!
I Love You,

12 September 2013

Moving In

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

We arrived in Anchorage on Thursday, September 5th and stayed in a Midtown Motel 6 for the next five nights. We had to change rooms on the third night because our heater was smoking, but other than that it was a pretty smooth stay. We began the hunt for a house and immediately found two that we liked. One was a little more than we wanted to spend and the other was just a little farther than we wanted to stay. We viewed several others and they all seemed to need some small compromise. We were wanting to be wise in our decision because we are hoping to stay in one house for the whole time we live in Anchorage, which, as of now, is three years.

After checking the last property I had found on Craigslist, I asked Hubs to check with military housing. I must preface this section to say that Hubs and I are those people who most definitely do not want to live on post. There are too many benefits otherwise, including getting to leave work at work, the potential to make money if we stay under the housing allowance, and the usual government response time for things such as maintenance. However, when we drove on post the day we arrived, we saw the newly-built housing and said to ourselves, "If that's the housing, we might could handle living here."

So, on Monday, after a thorough search and an appointment to sign a lease on a 3rd floor apt that evening, I asked Hubs to just call. The only way housing on-post would work for us is if (1) there is no waiting list, (2) they could show us a place that day without Hubs having to checked-in or be shaved and in uniform and (3) we were placed in newer housing on the Ft Rich side of the joint base. And that's exactly what happened. He called at 12:29 and we were driving away with a lease to sign by 3:29.

We qualified for a 2-bedroom house with a bonus room. However, there was no one checking into the 3-bedrooms available, so that's what we were offered first. We accepted. It is a townhouse style in a four-plex unit, three-bedroom with an office (basically a 4 bdrm), laundry room, 2.5 baths, one-car garage, fenced yard with back deck, and a full downstairs basement. (Plenty of room for out-of-town guests. *wink*) It is a couple of blocks from Hubs' work, a newer neighborhood, a short drive to the commissary and PX, five minutes from Tikahtnu Commons (aka Target, movie theater, Sam's Club, Kohl's, Lowe's, Olive Garden, etc.), with a great view of the Chugach Mountains.

We checked out of our Motel 6 room and signed papers for keys to move-in Tuesday morning, September 10th. Hubs went to sign-in to his unit later that afternoon. We got a call from someone with our property shipment saying that the property was in-dock on the 8th and currently in-processing. The shipment website says it will be here by the 20th, but it might be sooner. We have our blow-up mattress, shower curtains and towels, and a washer and dryer, so we are set until then.

We sold one of our cars before we left FL and drove the other one up here. Because we are so close to Hubs' work, we are thinking we will probably wait to get another car for a while. There is just really no need.

We feel totally blessed to be here and, other than the discovery of paper-thin walls between units, are so glad we decided to check out on-post housing. We half-way expect for the "catch" to reveal itself, so I'll let you know if we run into it anytime soon.

Hubs has a buddy. Dan was a class behind him at NAVSCOLEOD and had to sign-in same day. Dan is awaiting his fiancé who is set to arrive with their dog on Oct 15th. He is trying to figure out housing for when she arrives, so he is staying in one the spare rooms here until then. The guys went to get their hunting and fishing license today and have done all the briefings and running around together to get everything in order to start work.

Jessie is loving life. She has a completely unfurnished playground to romp around in. Plus, Dan seems smitten, so she likes pestering the new guy to play fetch incessantly. She is also really loving the backyard. And I am loving getting to just open the door and let her run free. She is starting to get used to letting people walk by the fence without giving them the business, so that's good. We can't wait to get our outside patio set and grill for the next few weekends while it's still nice here!

I'll post again with other pictures once we have our furniture set up. So excited to start getting settled!

View off the Back Deck.

05 September 2013

Day 18- The Arrival

Tok to Anchorage

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20

Asphalt freedom didn't last long.

We woke up late and took our time getting ready. We left a little after 11. We again followed the directions advised by the border patrol officer to Anchorage. "Get into Tok and take a left." That's literally the way.

Despite being overcast, the drive was nothing short of looking like we were in a postcard.

And then the roads broke. Insert flashbacks to yesterday’s rollercoaster ride and Hubs’ too-soon celebration of our American liberation from the devastation on driving on dirt. The ruin and reconstruction turned our trip from what was supposed to be no more than a 5.5 hour drive into almost 7.

But then. You have no idea. Scenery I could only imagine invited us in a gorgeous dance of valley and mountains, the red and yellows and oranges highlighting the fall season of the forest climbing up the sides of giant earths of rock that formed the highest white-capped peaks of black-ridged wonder I've ever seen. The clouds gently graced the points of power high in the heavens as if just stopping by, kindly greeting the stationary stone. A grand gleaming glacier melted into a wild silver water cutting through the curves of each base. It all opened for us, twisting and turning around us, hugging us as they welcomed us home. Just 100 miles from arriving, just when we thought the credits about to roll, as we thought we were descending to our destination, the rocks and hills cried out, interrupting in glorious climax, the finale of the adventure of a lifetime. We rode the range and its river the whole way in to Anchorage. Of course, the pictures could never portray the beauty and majesty of it all.

We had laughed when the lady on a ferry asked where we were going. "Ahhh, Anchorage. The Big City," she said sincerely. We had heard it was about as big as Birmingham, but realize now that's not what she meant. She was from Juneau, so, yes, the city size was vastly different. Also, I have hiked mountains in Colorado and there, they are just a larger, grander construction than the dense detailed colors of the rolling Smokies. But THIS is the Big City.

We talked about how God took care of us. How we made the trip without a hitch and how the only problem was a three-hour oil change. We talked about how several times we thought about what it would be like to be here. Like in Denver- what if we were stationed at Carson and we were home. Two days later- what if we were stationed at Lewis and we were home.

Well, we are home. We are .25 parts excited, .75 parts freaking the freak out. We have been mostly quiet, giving each other off glances, and mumbling stuff like, “We live here” and “We’re here” and “I can’t believe we are here” and “Can you believe we live here”. Lots of variations of that.

We drove in with no place to stay and no room at the on-base lodging. At least not a room that welcomed a chiweenie. I had thought of each detail of getting here, but somehow, what to do after the getting-here part had slipped my mind. Our trip itinerary had been completed. We get to just make this part up as we go, I guess. They would not give us a document required for reimbursement saying that they did not have a room for us because we could have kenneled Jessie and, “we are only concerned about the people.” We decided to get a place off base with laundry for the first two nights and go from there.

We did drive around JBER for a while. Mostly in a tense weirdness of knowing this is ours and it is absurdly unfamiliar. GPS is simply incorrect on military installations, and we could find no one to help us. They apparently were all at home at 7:30pm. Something we will highly appreciate for the next three years, but today found irritating. “At Ft Bragg, people would be doing PT right now and still be at work.” He said this nostalgically, like it was a good thing or something. That put it into perspective for me, so I decided that this was good and we were fine and the view was amazing and we are in no rush. It was then we stumbled upon his company building, so now we know where he will go to work every day. We then stopped by the commissary and PX. That was the most surreal part for me. “This is our commissary, Babe. We live here.”
Hubs' Work
This guy greets us at the PX.

We checked in, brought in our stuff, went to dinner at Lone Star Steakhouse at 9:30pm (I’ve never felt any connection to Texas until it became a sister state of the lower 48. Solidarity.), and did a load of laundry. I put in a couple of emails to property on Craigslist to begin our search while Hubs caught up on sports highlights. He is in a Fantasy Football League and had one player tie a record score for most fantasy points. “Peyton Manning is good at football.” I am pro-Fantasy Football. Especially in times when it is our sole semblance of normal.

So, we made it.

Through 16 states and 2 territories.
British Columbia
Yukon Territory

Through five timezones.
(Yes, Alaska has its own timezone.)

Through over 4,300 miles in the car and 1,000 on the water.
And I did not drive a single one. Seriously. Hubs drove the ENTIRE way.

Through sun and wind and rain and land and sea and fights and laughter and driving and riding.

We live here and are ready to start this next chapter. I'm so glad you are along for the ride!

04 September 2013

Day 17

Juneau, AK to Haines, AK to Tok, AK

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

Sleep was not good. 

The campsite? Perfect. The blow-up mattress? Super comfortable. The temperature? Just right- upper to mid-50's. The problem? Rain. And a teensy rain fly. 

We had put our trust in the Weather Channel app, assuring us of of 0% chance of rain the entire night. You have wronged us, Weather Channel app.

Also, we were a little freaked out being out of our element. As we lay down for a good night's rest yesterday, Hubs suggests, "I can see how this would be a good time to have a weapon." Gee, thanks for that, Dear. Images of the bear warning signs and proximity to strangers and the walls of our night's accommodations slicing like butter if met by claw, knife, tree brach or wind or slight breath flashed through my mind. 

"Are we the only ones here in a tent?"


"I think so."

Enter my uneasy questioning about every potential quandary and Hubs probably being VERY sorry he said anything. Seriously though, if he's nervous, I'm nervous, amiright ladies? He's supposed to be the big strong un-shaken confident protective oak of a man with his wife and chiweenie tucked under the shelter of his bicep of which no bear or bum can defeat, or even dare try. Or he's at least supposed to act like when we are INTHEMIDDLEOFTHEFREAKINGUNKNOWNWOODWITHRECENTWILDLIFESIGHTING. 

I know this all sounds hours of thought-through fear, but, in truth, it went on for about 2.8 minutes before exhaustion won over worry.

We woke several times throughout the night, so we were not surprised at 4am by our alarm and a steady downpour. The entire tent and everything in it was soaked. The edges of the blow-up mattress and all sheets and blankets were dripping wet. After Hubs flailed around, fighting off several consistent calf cramps trying to pull his watery boots in a tent barely his body length, we designated one bag and threw everything in it to dry out later. Jessie is in there somewhere, I guess. (Joking. She slept like a tiny rock in between us last night. Dry as a pinky bone, she was transferred from the comfort of her snuggled camp-sleep to the comfort of her blanketed kennel-sleep, none the wiser to our plight. Needless to say, she was no help.) Raincoats adorned and headlamps on, we threw the mattress and tent in a corner of the trunk and any other items into floorboards.

We are damp, unshowered, and exhausted. Our hair and teeth unbrushed. Hubs is quiet, hungry, and wet from the knee down. have mats in my hair that makes me consider whether going full dreadlocks might be easier than combing it out and scared to walk to the bathroom in the rainy dark by myself. Or, maybe, simply smart enough not to because thats how scary movies start, duh. 

After hurriedly loading into the shelter of our car and shutting the doors, the sound of the drops dulled on the window. We sat silent for a second, until Hubs turned to me and said,"Happy Anniversary."

In our tired, disshelved giggles, we knew that the last hours of little lives was just part of it. It's already funny, thank goodness. Our stuff will dry or get thrown away, and we don't care. But our trip kind of wouldn't been complete without a hitch. The trip to Juneau proved unexpected and unplanned and this was just the cherry on top.

We got in line for the Ferry from Juneau to Haines and boarded our last ship, the Taku. We slept most the way in the viewing area. We were not alone in this. We looked homeless. We were not alone in this either. However, we are actually homeless. I am uncertain if we are alone in this or not.
View from the Ferry
If we had a dollar for every salt-and-pepper braid or bun and every long, full, white, facial fur we encountered from the beginning of our ferry journey, we'd be able to buy a fancy airstream so we can ditch the tent and camp like real Alaskans apparently. Hubs has beard-envy.
Just One in a Sea of Salty, Wintery Locks

"I just have the little man beard. It just needs to get 5 inches longer and white."

We disembarked our journey on the Alaskan Marine Highway System for good at Haines, AK. Even tinier than Juneau, we did find a grocery for supplies and a deli for lunch and coffee. We topped off at $4.68 a gallon. Hubs asked guys at the gas station for directions. They discussed gas stations along the route, saying the next stop would be at Haines Junction, but it would be expensive. Ummm...MORE expensive? There is another one, they informed him, soon after crossing back over into Alaska, but it being closed is highly-probable. Also, these rugged Alaskan fellas added, “Don't veer off any- be careful” as Hubs walked back to the car. 
Canadian Border Patrol and Customs

The border customs was a breeze. We crossed the Canadian border and entered the most beautiful countryside we have yet experienced. In British Columbia and through Yukon Territory, the mountains and trees are taller, the air is crisper, the water clearer, the colors deeper.
Haines Junction
Pickhandle Lake

We almost couldn't enjoy it for all the dips, potholes, cracks, gravel, and dirt that was the uneven Canadian road. We were on this single street the entire time. The paved portions had such valleys and hills, we had to slow to 20 mph. We experienced the nauseous ache of being beat by roller coasters all day. But hey, it was cheaper with a better view. And a longer ride. About 7.5 hours longer. I didn't count, but I'm guessing I could record the number of cars we passed on both hands. 

As soon as we passed the U.S. border station, we merged onto that smooth black asphalt we never knew we would miss so much. "Thank you, Capitalism. This is what Freedom feels like", quipped Hubs.

We did stop to top off our quarter of a tank at Haines Junction. It was $22.78 to fill up 15.942 liters. My "convert units" app tells me this is the equivalent of 4.21 gallons. If my math is correct, that put us at $5.41 per gallon.

We drove all day and stopped to stay 90 miles after re-entering Alaska.

It didn't get dark until after 9:30pm and dropped about 14 degrees in a few hours. We actually went way farther north than seems necessary, except for the fact that Alaska has three highways, and this one is literally the only road that can connect you from the southeastern slice of the state navigated by the Marine Highway System to the rest of it. 

We stopped in Tok, AK. Tok, AK is at mile marker 1,313. Young's Motel was recommended by the border patrol officer. "Newer beds. And go to Fast Eddy's for food." Sounds delish. Unfortunately, Young’s Motel, the office of which resided inside of Fast Eddy’s restaurant, had no vacancies. The town was taken over by visiting hunters. They informed us of the one place in town (using that work loosely) that had a room.

We will begin our descent in Anchorage tomorrow.

If you we're awaiting a romantic 3rd Anniversary tale, you're gonna be awaiting some more.

The idea of a thing sometimes seems more romantic than it is until you look back to find all your dreams might not have come true like you thought, but the daily endeavors, the unavoided dirt, the weathered disappointment, the decision to love and forgive each other after knowing the things you didn't know before and maybe wish you didn't know IS the romance. The normal living that isn't portrayed in movies or before wedding days, when the endearing has long become annoying. The unconditional care of compromise, the surrender for the sake of another, the daily decision to devote, and the continual failing at all of these things. I am blessed to be IN love with my best friend, but the choice to be love to each other better today and grow old together tomorrow is better.

In this life, it’s easy to focus on what you miss. I sometimes wish we had had an engagement. I sometimes (REALLY) wish we could completely redo our wedding day. I sometimes wish we could have spent our first anniversary together. I feel jipped when we miss yet another life event. But would I trade for any of that if it meant not sitting in the Snowshoe motel in my filthy two-day old clothes cleaning the camp off our rain-soaked blow-up mattress while Jessie obnoxiously plays fetch with herself and Hubs brings in our luggage before devouring a peanut-butter, honey, and cheese nip sandwich while watching Jimmy Kimmel? Not a chance.
Snowshoe Motel
Tonight's preparation for arriving tomorrow at JBER.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. I'd do it all again. Here's to as many as God gives us and to His purpose in us to prevail over our wishes for ourselves. You're my favorite.