home sweet home

 "Would she be able to bear leaving?  
She had no idea.  
It felt like this every time she left: like her heart was being ripped out."
-Chess Cousins 
{in The Island by Elin Hildebrand}

 The final night in Washington was full of emotions.  
Watching the cousins play together one last time, 
I couldn't help but have a lump in my throat.

 Then came the goodbyes.
For Papa from both.

 For Roxanne from Jack,

 and from Logan.

 For Papa from Wyatt,

 And for Roxanne from Wyatt.

Then they had to get some sleep.  
My alarm was set for 3:20am.  
I would be waking them at 4am.
 Tuesday morning we woke up and hit the ground running: 
showering, packing and checking my list.
The kids woke up surprisingly well.
I think they fed off our excitement/anticipation.

 Before we knew it, everyone was there-- my parents, Josh's sister Julie & nephew Ethan-- as well as my sister, to drive us to the airport.

 That morning, I had been keeping my emotions in check, until I read this post from my sister.  Then I let it all out.  I am going to miss her and her boys.  I am going to miss family parties.  I am going to miss driving, sunshine and grass.  I am going to miss restaurants, my parents, my best friend.  

 The weight of saying goodbye is almost too much.

 The only thing keeping me going was the thought that I would be home,  
in my own bed in Marshall, that night.

So we said our goodbyes, hugged one last time, tears streaming down my cheeks, and walked away from our loved ones.
We are blessed to say every single step in the process was smooth.  There has been nothing but goodness since we left Roxanne's house Tuesday morning.

We had a great customer service rep check us in, security went smoother than ever, and we made all of our flights on time the whole day. 

 The first flight, the twins sat side by side without a grown up. They were REALLY good, and I was a proud mama.

 Wyatt sat next to me, and was such a brave dragon.  The first flight (Portland to Seattle) was only 30 minutes.  In Seattle we met up with our friends Krista (plus her four kids-- Aaliyah, Michael, Khaila & Khasia) and Leah.  We managed to catch our flight to Anchorage, where all of our family slept.  

Our flight from Anchorage to Bethel was running late, thankfully, so we were able to grab a bite to eat.  There we ran into Peter, another teacher here in Marshall, and together we all rode to Bethel.  On the Bethel flight, our three boys sat in a row mid-flight so they could watch a movie together. Josh and I sat, side by side, holding hands.  It was so nice.  We are so thankful to have such awesome travelers. 

At the end of the third flight, Jack started to seem queasy, so he joined me once again, and we found some barf bags.  He never did throw up, and seemed relieved to be on solid ground again in Bethel.  Josh suggested, though, that we bring some bags just in case for the next flight.

Our longest wait was probably in Bethel, but this was good because all together (Josh & my family, Krista & her family, Leah, and Peter) had over twenty pieces of luggage to transfer from Alaska Airlines to ERA.  They are in two different buildings, about a six minute car ride, so we had to load everything onto the shuttle bus at Alaska Airlines and then unload it all at the ERA terminal.

We took a charter out from Bethel, which means instead of being on the evening flight with everyone else, we basically "rented" the plane.  So we let them know when we were ready, and (another blessing) they were ready to take us early.  

The day was, by far, the best traveling we have had.

The only hitch was that we flew really low in the caravan (small airplane that seats nine) to Marshall, which was AMAZING for visibility, but made for a pretty shaky flight.  Wyatt slept, thankfully, undisturbed. But Jack and I were feeling pretty nauseous. By the end of the flight, those barf bags we had stowed away came in handy as little Jack Jack lost his lunch.  Poor kid.

We landed in Marshall, a little before 3:00pm Alaska time, and I will admit, I teared up when I saw the school truck & van waiting for us.  

We were home.

On the drive from the airport to the teacher housing, Buster told us that three bears (two brown and one black) had been spotted this last week in and around Marshall.  He said not to leave the house for walking or berry picking without a gun.  That was an instant reality check-- "I don't think we're in civilization anymore, Toto!"

By 3:20pm, we were standing in our very own living room (surrounded by both luggage and boxes from the post office) breathing a sigh of relief.  We had made it.

Josh had his masters class, so he jumped over to the school with Joe & Leah, leaving me to mind the children and find something for dinner.  Both were easily managed, and by the time he got home, they were all in bed, exhausted as they were. 

We followed suit shortly, noting how bright it was outside our window, but falling asleep within minutes nonetheless, because we, too, were exhausted!
Wednesday Josh was off work, so he was able to be home with us, which was a pleasant surprise. We thought he went back Wednesday.  So when I woke up I started baking.  We left some staple items here, but bread and tortillas are an integral part of our meal plans, so I had to get them going.  I managed to make five loaves of bread, 24 rolls, and a pan of cinnamon rolls, and when Josh woke up, he took over making the tortillas, finishing with four dozen of them.

For lunch we had quesadillas, and the kids were THRILLED. It was adorable how much they loved and had missed them.

I had been worried about the transition from real milk to powdered, but not a one of them has complained.  And they are so excited for Daddy's Crunchy Macaroni, as well as his homemade pizzas.  I think we have all been craving routine, and we know that our life in Alaska provides just that.

Wednesday afternoon we went to the post office and the co op.  Everywhere we went, people were welcoming us back to the village.  It was wonderful.  On top of all the packages and mail we collected at the post office, the co op was chock full of wonderful goodies.  Carrots, tomatoes, bananas, avacados, cottage cheese, yogurt, string cheese & even eggs!  I was so grateful.

Today I made banana bread with my co op purchases, and again the house smells divine!  

{Oh, how I missed this view!!!}
Slowly we are unpacking and settling in.  Wyatt seems to be having the hardest time adjusting, especially today with Josh going back to work.  Lots of tantrums and misbehavior. So I am bathing myself in patience and trying to understand this is a lot for him.  The twins, on the other hand, have done really well, and are so happy to be reunited with all their toys.

This morning at breakfast, Jack said we should make a countdown chain, even if it has to go all over the ceiling, so we can go back home to Washington.  It was really sweet.  He knows we have to be here for a long time, but is excited for summer nonetheless.  The day before yesterday, Logan told me this summer was too short, but that next summer would be longer.  I am going to hold him to it!

Sad as I am that summer is over (it's even raining here, as if to make it final), I do feel ready for fall.  I feel ready to tackle homeschooling and ready to work on becoming the mom I want to be.  Who does fun things and isn't a yeller.  I am so happy to have you all along for the adventure.

You, my cheerleaders, who encourage and inspire, and even sometimes send me mail.  You put a smile on my face and joy in my heart.  Speaking of mail... would you believe I already got a care package?  Thanks, Mary!  You all are too good to me!


Rox said...

Ok, the twins look like such big kids and pro travelers in the picture of them on the first plane!
I'm glad you enjoyed my post and weren't annoyed at me for stealing your pictures, haha! I'll treasure them for sure. I was happy to go to the airport, and even though it was a farewell trip, going to the airport breeds excitement and anticipation nonetheless!
So proud of your baking skills, and Josh's!
Also, almond and soy milk don't requite refrigeration, so if you'd like to try something other than powdered, I think that would be a great option for you.

Olivia said...

We're headed back out to our little village next week. Hard to believe summer is over! Wishing you a great school year in Marshall!

Marilynn Raatz said...

oh this post made me cry. I am so happy though that the trip went so well!!!
I have a chain in my head. Months, then weeks, then finally days and because I am 55 (ALOT according to Jack) time goes fast.
I have all the wonderful memories of you and the boys to keep me warm this winter. I can close my eyes and feel Wyatt holding my face to kiss me. I am grateful we get the summer together. Thank you!!