Well, I'm back! After a long and wonderful winter vacation, Tyler and I are safe in Newhalen. Although our break seemed busy with things to do and people to see, we feel rejuvenated and ready to start the second half of the school year. I can't believe that we only have about four more months left to go!
Tyler and I spent the first half of our 3-week vacation in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Once we arrived, we immediately commenced the Christmas rituals of mass eating and sleeping. Tyler's grandparents made the most beautiful Christmas. Picture home-cooked feasts, plates of cookies and Christmas goodies, a warm fireplace, and the company of extended family under the roof of the most charming cabin-esque abode. Above is a picture of Grandma serving Tyler a heaping plate of Shepherd's Pie.
Grandma also has a Christmas tradition of displaying porcelain Christmas villages in her house. She has collected individual pieces for many years and now has two fully-fledged, quaint communities. The villages make for such a relaxing holiday setting!
On our second day in Idaho, the family decided to go on a sleigh ride. Since I had never been on a sleigh ride, I was giddy to go. I'm happy to report that it was simply delightful! If you ever find yourself near Sandpoint, Idaho, don't pass up a chance to visit Western Pleasure Ranch for charming winter festivities.
One of the most fun nights in Idaho was when the family sat down and played the silliest game called Hedbanz. Essentially, the game is a version of charades wherein players need to act out the words on each other's cards. If players can guess their own cards within a set amount of time, they get points. Tyler documented the game on video while playing. After a few glasses of wine, this game is pretty darn fun.
After ten wonderful days in Idaho with Tyler's side of the family, we flew to Seattle to spend the last half of our break with my side of the family. We arrived on December 31st and went out to eat at a little French restaurant called Gainsbourg to celebrate New Year's Eve with my mom and stepdad.
Later on in the week, we met up with my dad and younger brother for a couple of intense bowling games. I couldn't believe how much my younger brother had grown since last year. He's 17-years-old and as tall as I am now (5'8'')!
Shown above (from left to right): Tyler, me, Jessica (step-sister), Daniel (brother), Joshua (step-brother), Mom, and Ken (stepdad).
We finally returned to Anchorage on January 11th after many wonderful days of sleeping in, visiting, and running errands. After packing a tote with groceries, we ventured to the most adorable bed and breakfast called Maria's Creekside Bed & Breakfast. We stayed the night for only about $75 (tax included). If you're at all familiar with Anchorage, you'll know that's a fantastic deal. The next morning, we awoke to an oncoming snowstorm. Hoping that it wouldn't effect our travels, we boarded our bush plane and flew out. However, after about a half hour on the flight, our pilot turned around because of inclement weather. After that, we re-rented a car and booked another night at Maria's. We weren't too disappointed to enjoy another day of restaurant meals!
It turned out that waiting an extra day paid off in multiple ways. As you might have seen on my Facebook page, I was asked to hold this sweet little puppy on the flight to Newhalen! The 7-week-old yellow lab named Louie traveled to his new owners in my village.
Tyler and I had a fantastic Christmas vacation and are so excited to greet our students tomorrow on their first day back from break! I can't wait to see what these next few months hold in store for us!