Whenever we told people we were moving to Alaska their general response was “What a great adventure!” I don’t know about that… so far it’s been something… I have a lot of updating to do so bare with me. Let me go back to where I left off.
August 7th – Connor’s first day of 1st grade!! Even though it was only going to be for a couple of weeks I knew it was important that Connor get into school and get started. He had a great teacher Mrs. Procopio who for some reason never believed me that we were seriously moving to Alaska. She would always ask me if “I was sure”? yes my darling… even though hesitant it was official. Wishful thinking. Connor really loved her and really enjoyed being in her class.
The next couple of weeks consisted of;
Meeting with realtors, Hair Clients, Cleaning the house, Organizing the ENTIRE house etc etc etc. The lists I would make never seemed to dwindle down. Only get larger and larger. I do have to admit at one point I had my very first panic attack. I am grateful my mom picked up her phone when I called and figured out what was going on. I couldn’t even speak only putters of breaths and tears came out. At that moment I was so stressed and overwhelmed I couldn’t breathe and didn’t know how to handle everything. I was having such a hard time dividing my time and worry with the kids and then with the moving. I felt like everyday I was neglecting the kids and it was starting to show.
Thank goodness for Kiel’s Training schedule we had the weekends together. Which we put to good use. One weekend we had a yard sale, I got the kids to sell a lot of their toys and I promised to get them a couple of new things once we got to Alaska. Which I kept of course!! Kiel and his brother Alan helped out with the yard sale which was wonderful!
Along with getting rid of things we had to stock up on Winter gear. So we searched high and low for good deals on winter gear for everyone. We had some really great finds!! They will and are already coming in handy. It was funny watching people watch us shop and try on all these coats, gloves, hats… when it’s 110 degrees outside. I remember only being able to wear a coat in the store for 2 minutes before getting too hot. The kids I don’t think really understood what was happening but they were excited about whatever it was.
Along with preparations to go to Alaska I made sure to get the kids all up to date on their doctor visits. I took the kids to the dentist (Connor and Chloe). Connor did wonderfully. He was loving all the attention from all the ladies.. but Chloe wasn’t having it! ANY of it. She completely FREAKED out and we left without a cleaning and Buckets full of tears. So the next week we tried again. I had an appointment for a cleaning, our friend Sister Dahl was there this time and got Chloe to let her clean her teeth. She would not sit in the dental chair. She would only sit in the Dr. chair. So poor Allie Dahl had to hunch over and clean her teeth like this. Allie was so sweet and loving toward Chloe. I was so emotionally drained at that point I had a hard time keeping it together. I cried to myself just thinking of all these wonderful people in my life that have and are helping me raise my children. I will miss them all so much. Its really true. It takes a village. and I have LOVED my village.
In September my mom was so wonderful and came down to Arizona to Play and Spoil our kids while Kiel and I traveled to Alaska to check things out. Wal-Mart really spoiled us and paid for everything. They have been amazing with this entire moving process. It’s such an expensive, time consuming move and Wal-Mart and their team really took care of us.
We took the one way red eye flight straight into Anchorage and then rented a car and drove the 3 hours to Kenai. It was a long night but it was so nice to just be with Kiel and have that time together. We haven’t been able to have to many vacations and even fewer alone. So it was wonderful to be able to go and not have any worries about the kids. I left my mom with a notebook full of instructions for the kids about our daily routine. She was amazing. And I am sure the kids loved having a calmer, light hearted energy in the house.
Once in Alaska Kiel and I tried to get a handle on the town and where everything was. We of course found Wal-Mart and met Kiel’s boss. He was so nice and warm and positive. Kiel was very excited to be working with him. We met with our realtor and saw our house that we were able to lock down. We signed papers and were done. Quick and painless. The house would be ready for us 2 days after arriving in Alaska so it really was perfect timing.
I really did enjoy driving around and see the beauty that is Alaska. We didn’t get to go to church or meet to many people but it was a great trip and being with Kiel was priceless. During such a stressful time in our lives it was nice to be able to be together. Kiel is my rock and there have been days when I feel like I can’t breathe until he comes home and then over and over reassures me that this is what we need to be doing. I love him for that. He has always been so patient with me and telling me what I need to hear. Even when I don’t want to hear it. It was a wonderful couple of days and then it was back to the madness and now in even faster mode.
We took another red eye flight back to Phoenix, landed gave another tearful hug to my mom with much gratitude said goodbye. We switched places. She was off to Salt Lake and we were off to sign papers for Kiel’s business. It was perfect timing. I dropped Kiel off at the offices and while he did his paperwork, signed over his company and said goodbyes I took Chloe and Curtis (connor was in school) to a Target close by and stocked up on Diapers and Wipes. After seeing prices of things in Alaska I thought stocking up now was a good idea. Kiel called when he was finished and headed home. We rested for about……. 3 seconds and got to work. We had to be very organized because the next day the packers were coming. So we had to make 3 piles. One for Chloe, Curtis and I to take on the airplane and for us to last a week. 2nd pile was for the Trucks that were driving to Alaska with Kiel, his older brother Sean (brave soul) and Connor. and then everything else the packers were going to take care of. Laundry, packing, organizing. That night we got together with Kiel’s family which we tried to do as much as we could leading up to our departure. The next day the packers came and while they were packing the downstairs we finished on the clothes and last minute things for the trucks. We went and picked up the dolly for the trailblazer. Kiel’s Dodge was going to pull the trailblazer. That way we would have 2 cars once we were all in Alaska to save on money with rental cars. Again that night once the packers called it for the day we went over to Sean’s house and had dinner and spent time together.
Sunday the packers didn’t come. So we had one last Sunday in our home ward. At times I wished we could've just slipped away quietly. Saying goodbye is the worst. I watched as the primary kids practiced the program I spent so much time writing and listening to the music that I wanted to be in the program. It was hard listening to them, it just made me cry. I loved my calling in the primary and I love those kids. I wish I had the strength to tell them all that without crying so I just ended up avoiding to say it. I missed seeing the primary program. When they performed the program we went to church in our new ward here in Alaska for the first time. I had a heavy heart and I was so homesick for those beautiful faces. It really did break my heart that I didn’t get to feel that sweet spirit that only those kids could bring to a meeting. And for more selfish reasons I hate that I did all that work and didn’t get to relish in it. But I heard so many great things about it that I was a proud mama!
Back to the move… Monday morning Kiel got up early and made the 2 hour drive to Tucson to get a passport expedited (the only way to get one that quickly). He said it was quick and painless so that was a blessing. He was home early that afternoon and helped me around the house as the packers were finishing up the house. We spent that night with Kiel’s brothers. We spilt up and Connor and Chloe had a sleepover with their cousins at Sean and Michelle’s House and Kiel and I and Curtis slept at Marc and Mikia’s house. They were both amazing to let us all crash for the night and they helped us get on our way. We all loaded up with Sean and headed back to the house. The boys got things ready to go. Kiel and I loaded up the trailblazer and I put it on the dolly (I was TERRIFIED). the night before so it was all ready. And just when the boys were all ready to go the moving truck came. Chloe and Curtis were with a friend so I was able to just focus on the house and getting everything loaded up. I was surprised at quickly those men worked and how efficient they were. Talk about ripping off a band-Aid. I didn’t have a moment to think about everything that was going on..
A special guy came just for our mattress and built a Crate on site for it to go in. It’s a foam mattress (My love) so the crate was to protect it. Crazy right? it all went by so quickly. What a blessing. I will never say that I would go back and do it all again but all I can say is that I am glad that part is over with.
That night Kiel, Sean, Connor and Petey made it all the way to my Grandparents house in Layton Utah. It worked out like magic. My Mom was spending the night there to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday so hopefully my boys helped with his celebration with surprising him and crashing at his house!! Nice birthday gift right grandpa? They were so sweet to my boys and it made me feel at peace at the one and only time of their journey. Just knowing they were with family made me feel safe. Thank you again Grandma and Grandpa Pedersen for taking care of them and giving them a healthy breakfast. By the look at their food recipes you probably fed them the best!! Love you!!!
As for Chloe, Curtis and I, we spent the next 3 nights at Theresa and Mark’s home in Mesa. All we had left were 3 suitcases, a pack and play and the excursion. I spent Wednesday morning with the help of the amazing sisters in my ward cleaning our now empty house ready for a renter. We got it all done in record timing. I set up with one of the ladies to have her son to come and mow the lawn and even take the tire swing if they wanted it.
Thursday we spent at the church at play group with the ladies.. my last hurrah and then lunch with the Famous Sunny. I think the hardest part was trying to fit in everyone. And NOT tearing up every time I said goodbye. I told my girlfriends I would see them tomorrow. Even if it wasn’t true I told them it was easier to just say that then goodbye. There will be a tomorrow. Whether in this life or the next they will always be my sisters and there will be a Tomorrow!!
Friday morning the kids and I were off. We said our goodbyes and we started our 3 flight trip to Kenai.
I decided to split it up so we had some wiggle time and a couple of breaks. But the kids were surprisingly perfect. The first flight to Seattle they played, watched a movie, colored and 2.5 hours later we were there. In Seattle we got a little bit to eat.. that we actually had to eat on the plane as everyone boarded. I gave the kids some melatonin (My new Favorite drug) and on take off they were both OUT!! They both slept the entire 3 hours.
Curtis woke up as we were making our descent into Anchorage and I had to wake Chloe up for her to sit up as we landed. Wonderful!!! Then in Anchorage we had a little under 2 hours to explore the airport we saw all the animals and pictures they had.
We had a little dinner and then boarded our last and Final airplane to Kenai. I didn’t want to make the 3 hours car ride with the kids. Don’t blame me? 25 minute flight versus 3 hour drive. No brainer.
Once we landed in Kenai we got a rental car and headed to the Hotel.. We spent the next day sight seeing a little. I showed the kids the house and around town a little but it was a rainy day so we made do. That night The Boys Arrived!!
They were exhausted, dirty and ready to eat! I gave everyone a melatonin and we all didn’t wake up the next morning until 9am. We didn’t make it to church that day. We met up with our realtor and got the keys to the house and were able to move in.
I was grateful to be out of a hotel. we unloaded all the trucks, returned the rental car and dolly and we spent the rest of the day driving around and showing the boys Kenai and Soldotna.
We saw 5 Moose in our neighborhood while driving around..
then went to the beach and let Petey Run Crazy!!
He was loving it!! We had to take him right home to bathe him but he loved it! The kids ask almost every day to go to the beach. We have gone a lot. We have to get it in before it starts to snow. Then we went to a fishing dock and saw a guy that had just caught a silver salmon.
The kids thought that it was amazing.
Uncle Sean took the picture but I wish he was in it. :(
The next day was the day Sean left us. so we laid pretty low in the morning and then by the afternoon we were on road for Anchorage. We did a big Sam’s Club run and loaded the trailblazer as full as we could (Kiel doubted it would all fit, proved him wrong) and then we ran around a mall. We showed the kids these crazy animals they have in these casings.. I think it scared them a little.. a little fear is a good thing around here: )
But then came the hardest part. We took Sean to the airport and had to say one last goodbye. I was in shock when Kiel told me that Sean was up for the drive to Alaska. I thought he was crazy but the other part of me was relieved knowing he was there to help Kiel if anything were to happen on the road and just be there as a companion and help. I felt so blessed knowing my boys were safe. I have always felt safe knowing that Kiel’s brothers have always been so close and so willing to help when asked and even when we haven’t. That kind of love and support was always there and felt. I haven’t lived close to any of my family in a long time and to other people I always describe them as “Kiel’s Family” not in a mean way just as a fact. But they have always been My family as well. Sean is that awesome big brother that knows when you need a hug and is so loving and kind. I will never be able to repay him or express my gratitude to him and Michelle for their sacrifice of helping our family with this move. Saying goodbye was so hard. That was our last connection to Arizona and all family. I think I cried most of the way home that night. I turned to Kiel and said something like We’re on our own now. I know Sean thinks I’m an emotional basket case but he just laughs and gives me a hug. Thank you again Sean (and Michelle!! ) we love you all so much and are so grateful for everyone (Theresa, Mark, Sean, Michelle, Marc, Mikia, Alan, and Courtney) and your help in all of this madness.
The rest of the week was just chill… I guess. I got Connor signed up for school, Kiel started working his first 3 day on shift. He works 3 days on (12hrs) and then 3 days off. It makes for a long 3 days but the 3 days off is nice. Something we aren’t used too, for sure. Whenever the weather was nice we went out and explored. We met the neighbors and learned that we have lots of friends around here!! We have already made friends and have been playing outside. We have a new policy. When the sun is out we are out. Have to soak in those UV rays when we can : ) I have a feeling my tan is going to dwindle away and never return : ( boo…. says the esthetician. lead by example. I could do better with that.
But we have had a lot of fun going to the beach, finding trails to walk and exploring more the peninsula. So far so good is what I say when people ask how I feel about things so far. “So far so good”
The next Monday was Connor’s first day at his new school! We had met with his principal the previous Friday so we had a good feeling about the school. And I’ve only heard great things from everyone around town. I was excited but very nervous for him. He makes friends quickly but I just worry (a momma thing I guess) that he’ll fit in and quickly.
Connor was excited and ready to go. The next day he was ready and Begging to ride the bus. He likes it a lot and is doing well. A couple of silly days but overall doing great. I am very pleased so far with the school and am looking forward to the chance to be able to go into the classroom and help out. I left Connor that first day with tears in my eyes but I am so proud of him with all these big changes he has done so well and has been so patient during this entire process. so what did we do when we picked him up from his first day???
Why ice cream? I don’t know… as we pulled away from McDonalds the sign on the bank said it was 49degrees outside… that’s the Arizonian in us I guess. They defiantly didn’t melt as quickly here : ) FaCt.
But like I said.So far so good. We have seen a ton of wild life so far and it’s only been 2 weeks. Almost every day we see something in our neighborhood. Either Moose or Caribou. Every time we get in the car and leave the house Curtis says “MOO, MOO” he gets so giddy when he sees a Moose.
Curtis looking out the window watching the Moose…. Petey was whining but Curtis was a happy boy. (probably because he was naked) Boys will be boys.
But to wrap this incredibly long post up.. we are doing well. Our excursion showed up yesterday and I was just informed this afternoon that our stuff is here in Alaska in Anchorage!!!! YEAH!!!!! So our hopes are to have our things by Friday if not by Monday! They will come unload, unpack and take all the boxes and trash away with them and we will be officially moved it!!! So that’s our story on how we moved our crazy little family all the way from Gilbert, Arizona to Soldotna Alaska. I am glad to say it’s almost over. and how I hate moving and don’t want to do it again for a good while….. but you never know what’s around the corner as my dad would say. But for now. My tears are all dried up and I’m ready to really settle in and make a new life here. #LoveAlaska