In another two months our bearded dragon Casti’el will be turning two and up until this morning we – along with the council of two different veterinarians – have been under the assumption that Cas was a boy. That all changed this morning when she surprised us with a clutch of nearly 40 infertile eggs. I’d like to point out that a normal sized egg clutch for a beardie is between 16-24. No wonder she’d put on so much ‘weight’ over the last few weeks despite our best effort to keep her active and slim. Thanks for keeping us on our toes little guy… ehm, lady. That’s going to take a little while to get used to.
Knowing we were heading out of Alaska and into Montana for at least a month or so in the New Year my in-laws postponed Christmas until we got to their house. We arrived in Montana precisely three days after leaving our home in Anchorage & unable to wait any longer, my father-in-law declared that night to be Christmas. Although we were exhausted, we happily exchanged Christmas gifts with the family. My father-in-law surprised my mother-in-law and myself with a 12-mile loop through the Stillwater State Forest in the basket of a dog sled. Due to circumstances beyond our control it was nearly a month later that we cashed in our unique gift certificates, but the time spent with my mother-in-law and the dogs was completely worth the wait.
I knew this day would come eventually. It’s been pretty much written into our story since before we even got to Alaska. Eve as the years ticked by here the inevitable goodbyes always seemed so far away.
The day after New Years the movers came and packed up our host. The took most of our belongings to port and shipped them back to the lower 48. Three days ago we packed up the Jeep, hugged our friends goodbye, and set our sights on a place far, far away.
We managed to knock out the trip in less than 72 hours – a feat I would not again recommend – but I also wouldn’t recommend driving in -35 degree temps either.
A few snaps from our last few days in the house and our travels through Canada.
I’m going to miss you Alaska… but damn it feels good to be home.
Shall we sing Baby Beluga together?
What’s that? You’ve never heard Baby Beluga?
Well then, it’s time you turn on your speakers, crank up the volume, and give Raffi a few minutes of your time. You can thank me later.
Go on. I’ll wait.
Mind blown, right?!
Okay, perhaps if you’re not a wide-eyed, animal loving youth sitting in Mrs. Ruppel’s second grade classroom, hearing Baby Beluga for the first time wasn’t as life changing for you as it was for me. There was a lot of magic in that classroom. Mrs. Ruppel had a way with kids and making learning fun. I wish there were more teachers like her in the world.
Moving to Alaska has more often than once reduced me back to the blonde haired, blue-eyes-full-of-wonder girl that sat in that classroom. Building snowmen in Denali, running sled dogs to the starting line of Iditarod, watching wild orcas from the back of a vessel, scaling the face of a glacier, and most recently; singing Baby Beluga to Tyonek the baby beluga.
How Tyonek came to the Alaska Sealife Center is a story in itself. You can read more about that BY CLICKING HERE or follow his upcoming adventures and move to the San Antonio, Texas BY CLICKING HERE.
I’d been following the story of this little guy since his discovery and transfer to the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, which is only about 3 hours south of Anchorage. The Cook inlet beluga population is in critical danger of being wiped out and Tyonek was initially kept out of the public view; a rule set by NOAA standards to protect the precious case. I was beginning to feel like he wouldn’t be released for public viewing before our scheduled move out of Alaska when I finally heard the news.
Three days after Christmas I drove to Seward and spent the afternoon sitting in front of the big windows overlooking the pool containing Tyonek.
Of course, I made two laps around the aquarium while I was there, needing to stretch my legs after they’d fallen asleep.
I’m going to miss you Seward, you’ve been good to me.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the annual Bennett family Christmas card, so without further ado I present to you:
Come to the Dark Side… we have cookies!
My niece, Karley surprised her Uncle Brian (with whom she is thoroughly infatuated with) with this drawing for Veteran’s Day. We, even my seester, had no idea she was drawing such a thing, and all our hearts were immediately melted into puddle from adorableness. Thanks for remembering your Uncle Brian on Veteran’s Day!
Not that I needed an excuse to see my friends Maggie & Chris or their son Ridge, but sending letters from Santa seemed like the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway to Fairbanks.
Thanks to the terrible storm that had rolled in earlier that afternoon, the drive took me a couple hours longer than normal, but I was greeted by a cheerful note and the welcoming sight of a soft bed.
It had been over a year since my last visit to my friends in Fairbanks, so I hadn’t yet met their new little bundle of joy, who is turning one year old later this month. Ridge & I hung out all morning, getting to know each other a bit better before we all ventured out to the North Pole to visit Santa and make a very special delivery.
A few weeks before my planned trip to my Fairbanks friends I’d posted on Facebook about sending letters from Santa to kids belonging to friends & family. I’d done this once before & mailed out around 30 letters ‘from Santa’ in North Pole, Alaska. Expecting around the same number, I was a little more than floored when I tallied my final count and saw that there were over 100 requests to be written.
At least I had good weather for the ride home. Bonus points to Chris for making me the BEST breakfast burrito that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting – complete with reindeer sausage Chris harvested last season.