The circus gave us a great and entertaining week, but now they have packed up and are moving on to their next stop.
In other words, my family has come and gone.
Last Friday night, Jonathan and I caught a ride to Anchorage with Scott, Jonathan’s boss. The only catch was that Jonathan had to help call a hockey game in Wasilla that afternoon. 😉
The plan was for us to go to a hotel in Anchorage, then when my family landed, they would catch the shuttle from the airport to the hotel and meet us there. We would spend Saturday in town (the men skiing, mom and I grocery shopping), then head to Glennallen on Sunday.
Scott dropped us off at the hotel where we claimed a bedroom, called for extra blankets and towels and a cot (keeping seven people in one hotel room is actually kind of complicated!), and settled in to watch TV.
The gang wasn’t supposed to land until midnight, so they expected us to be in bed by the time they made it to the hotel. But we decided to go on to the airport and surprise them! We rode the shuttle (with a very gleeful Indian driver) to the airport and waited for them to land… and waited… and waited.
We were sitting in a position where we could see people walking down the terminal through some restaurant windows, just before they turned a corner and came out to where we were. I was watching through the window so that we would know when they were coming. FINALLY, I caught a glimpse of my mom… then Tyler… then Caleb. Super excited, I jumped up, ready to yell, but they never came through the door! They just vanished.
“Just watch,” said Jonathan, “Josh was hungry. They went to McDonald’s.”
Sure enough. About 20 minutes later, they emerged, McDonald’s bags in hand, very shocked to see us there.
The next morning the guys hit the slopes and mom and I hit Fred Meyer. It was an exciting day; since neither of us know the layout of Anchorage, we made trips across the city a few times to get to where we wanted to go.
We finished the day with pizza in the hotel room, and the next day we loaded up the giant 12-passenger van that Mom & Dad had rented and made our way to Glennallen.
A thrilling week ensued, filled with intense games of ping-pong (no, my family isn’t competitive at all), tours of Glennallen (which only took an hour or so), and an attempt at cross-country skiing. The skiing only lasted an hour or so, since we couldn’t decide if we’d taken the right trail or not. The REAL trail makes a loop and dumps you back out where you came from, but this one seemed to just take us deeper into the woods. After a while, Jonathan declared that we should just go back, and after a rousing rendition of “Give Me Forty Acres and I’ll Turn This Rig Around” from Josh, we retraced our steps (er, trails) and headed back.
My family did not appreciate the cold like I thought they would. Granted, when we woke up on Thanksgiving day, it was thirty below, but still. =)
There were intense games of Mario Kart, which mom even got involved in. (She drives with her whole body.)
We made a trip to Valdez one day, which meant driving through Thompson Pass which is famous for it’s bad weather. There were a few spots along the road where all I could do was close my eyes and pray, since the wind was blowing the snow so hard that we couldn’t see at all. Driving the big van through that was intense… but we made it. We were in Valdez for about two hours… enough time to get out and look at the water and eat lunch, then made the 2 1/2 hour drive back… and we saw a moose on the way home!
Oh, and we celebrated Jonathan’s birthday… and THIS cake was wonderful in almost every way! =)
Mom helped me prepare the turkey, for which I was quite grateful since I have never attempted such a thing before. With a coupon, we got a free 20 pound turkey from Fred Meyer. Mom soaks her turkeys in Tender Quick Salt for a couple of days, which posed a problem since there was NOT room in our fridge for the five-gallon bucket we had put him in. So, for two days, Dad would haul Fred (Jonathan named the turkey after the store from which he was bought) outside for a couple of hours and get him nice and cold, then bring him in for a few hours so that he didn’t freeze. He alternated like that the entire time, until early Thursday morning when Fred finally landed in the oven.
We wanted pie to go with our Thanksgiving dinner… reasonable, I would think. Mom uses a system where she makes a ton of “pie crust crumbs,” and freezes them. Then, you add a certain amount of water to a certain amount of crumbs and it makes pie crusts. Well, I knew that at school once, I had cut her recipe down quite a bit to only make a coupe crusts, so I figured we could do that again. It is a HUGE recipe, so I needed to cut it down to 1/10 of the recipe to make only two crusts. I sat down with the recipe and did the math… and it wasn’t until I was done that Mom pointed out that I could probably find a website to do it for me. I didn’t feel too terrible about checking my math, so I did… but the website gave me it’s results, and the first ingredient was “2 3/4 cups plus 7/8 tablespoons plus 3 drops of flour.” What on earth is a “drop” of flour?!
I decided to just go with my math (it felt right in my heart)… but the crust was… well… strange. Almost as if the bottom of the pie absorbed the crust… and the rest of the pie was super chewy and sweet, and just strange. Very strange.
(see the hesitancy on his face?)
And, oh, was Fred yummy! And there were LOTS of leftovers, which means turkey sandwiches for Lacey for the next couple of weeks! Hoot!
This morning, though, the party ended. Everyone packed up all of their stuff and loaded into the big van and drove away. =(
So, in order to distract myself from being sad, I put up our Christmas tree… which means I carried our very tiny (but oh-so-cute) tabletop tree from the bedroom to the living room and set it on the table. =)
Sherrie Hursh, a friend of ours, gave us some Christmas decorations as a wedding gift… which was one of the coolest gifts we got. There were lights and ornaments (a “J” and an “L”!) and ribbon and even a little manger scene. And my Aunt Rhoda gave us two ornaments… a couple of shoes that looked just like the ones we wore in our wedding. =D