For some time now, I have been planning to post a blog, but I have been struggling to find some way to sum up the year. This has been an incredibly difficult year for Joe and I, as well as our families. (the understatement of the year!) Many of you are aware, but for those of you who aren’t, Joe and I were pregnant with twin girls. They were born very premature, 22weeks, after a long ordeal in the hospital. Isabella passed away at birth and Sophia survived three weeks in the NICU. It was a miracle to get the time we did with Sophia and to witness her feisty little personality. We have been so loved and cared for by our friends and family through this time, there are no words to even begin to express our gratitude. Difficult times show the quality of your friends and family, we were amazed at the beautiful people who kept watch with us during this time. (It wasn’t just us that thought so either, even the doctors and nurses commented on it) I know many of you have been wondering how we are doing now that we are back out at the lodge full time, and the busy season is over. If there was one thing, above all that our time with the girls taught us it was to be fully in each moment, it might be all you get. The time I spent with Sophia in the NICU, with all her complications, became a celebration of moments. We couldn’t look forward to days, weeks, or even years, but we took each moment together as a gift. We always seem to be rushing ahead, eyes on the future, instead of taking in the moments before us. A while back Joe and I were talking about how we have changed through this and what we wanted to hang onto long after it, and for both of us it was being in the moment. Strangely, our grief has come in moments as well, over all we are doing well, but there are moments when the grief is overwhelming. It’s a slow journey, it will be a part of us for the rest of our lives. There will be a thousand moments that we remember, grieve, and even celebrate moving forward. Down the road, as I have had more time to process, I am sure I will tell more of the story and our journey through it, but for now we are upheld by God’s grace and filled with hope for the future.
We began construction on our cabin this spring, the culmination of all Joe’s hard work and planning. My dad came for a month and helped Joe with the framing, which was such a big help. It was almost impossible to get them to quit after a twelve-hour day. I was actually thankful for the rainy days that made them slow down a bit and get some needed rest. The cabin is livable now, but still unfinished, hopefully once we can start hauling in supplies on the trail this winter we will be able to get it finished up. I have never dreamed of a big fancy house, for me this is perfection, a cozy little cabin by the lake, with the kind of view that takes your breath away. (one of my favorite perks of the cabin….wait for it…..flushing toilet!)
Winter is here, kind of, it’s been another mild one so far, which we are hoping will not last. We need more snow to be able to get our winter firewood and haul supplies. It’s been a slow start, but we still have several months of winter left. We are Alaskans, we want winter to be cold with several feet of snow! I want to have to shovel a snow tunnel to the outhouse! (you might need to remind me that I said this later in the winter)
This year brought a lot of changes for our family, one of the more exciting ones was that Zac and Alyssa moved out to the lodge with their girls Chloe and Eiley. They are now living up at the lodge and Joe and I are nestled in our cabin at the edge of the property. Its been a lot of fun having our partners out here and being able to run the lodge together as a team. (This has always been the long term plan, so its exciting to see it taking place) Alyssa and I spent the summer in the kitchen, and it was so nice to share the work load instead of having to take on all the cooking and cleaning alone. (it was also super nice to have the company, its not so interesting talking to yourself. You just end up looking a little crazy) Zac put on a lot of miles guiding hikes this summer, so Joe could focus on getting the cabin finished up. Chloe and Eiley are quickly becoming great entertainers. Chloe is mastering the art of storytelling, though we might have to reign in the embellishments just a little. (Chloe “we saw two moose”….the guests smile, unimpressed. Time to take it up a notch, “they were fighting!” she states emphatically. Suddenly, the guest perk up and are interested. All of us adults look at each other, we did see two moose, but they were not fighting or even in the same spot. I can’t help but smile, as Alyssa corrects her information, the girl has got it, she knows how to capture an audience, she will be a great story teller one day.) One of the girls favorite thing this summer was to pick blueberries, Chloe is a very good at picking and Eiley is very good at eating. Eiley and Howie seem to be competing for who can consume the most blueberries in one season. I saw them both wipe each other out trying to get to some blueberries. It takes some skill to actually knock Howie over, not sure how Eiley managed it. The other favorite activity is wading in the lake and throwing rocks, all of us adults took turns collecting rocks and sitting with them while they played. Its good to be a kid!
Christmas is just around the corner, we finally got out to find a Christmas tree. I think its our best one yet. Zac and Alyssa and the girls are down with Alyssa’s family for the holidays, so Joe and I will most likely have a quiet Christmas out here at the lodge. After a hectic year, full of ups and downs, winter has ushered peace and calm, time to reflect and process, the perfect way to close out this year and gear up for whatever new adventures lay ahead.