Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Masters Complete!

Today I officially turned in my final two assignments of my masters program and in TEN days I will walk with my wonderful family and professors watching! I also had my final class as a TA tonight. It's hard to believe that only two years ago, I started this journey and had very little understanding about helping kids with disabilities. I've been very tired lately with everything settling down and my body has been quite achy due to my body adjusting to the lack of stress, funny how the body starts to hurt when it's getting better. No I have not been this way for two years, just more stressed than usual since starting a new job, student teaching and living in a new place. After class I was ready for a nap, but instead a friend invited me for a hike and anyone who knows me well knows that I will never turn one of those down. So my friend Jada and I started out on west glacier trail, which is the trail opposite of the visitors center at Mendenhall glacier. We were having too much fun and with such long days this time of year plus little to do for work, we decided to go for it and hike as far in as we could. Roughly six miles and three hours later we ended with some incredible pictures (that don't do the views justice), a spying session on mountain goats, and a great workout! As I drove home I thought to myself, what a better way to complete this step in my journey. I can't explain how amazing this journey has been or much I've blessed by it, but I can say that I will never regret my decision to do any of it or come to Alaska with my amazing family. Thanks Jada for getting me out on a beautiful day so that I could celebrate properly :) T minus 7 days before I see my friends and family!

Scouting like a good boy.

Mountain goats!
Happy kids and mama!
Above the glacier and ice fields!

And Done!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Whoa May is here!

May 1st! Really?! How did that happen? What happen to March? Even when things aren't going perfectly, time seems to fly by. Does that mean we're officially old ;) A lot has happened since spring break and there's still a lot coming in the next few weeks. Tourist season officially starts this weekend with the first cruise ship coming in. Can you believe that?! Isn't it still winter? Who's taking a cruise? Haha. With tourist season starting, the shop that John's working at is getting very busy and pumped for their first tour season. It should be a VERY busy summer for them! We've enjoyed getting to know the folks at the shop and their families; everyone is really fun and chill to hang out with. John has been working just about every weekend there and says it feels more like playing. John recently had his 32nd birthday at the shop after hours, but did not know that it was going on so when his friends came in he started selling range time lol. Em and some friends went downstairs and had their first shot at a fully automatic machine gun. It was actually really easy to shoot and a whole lotta fun! Afterwards, Em threw a shirt at John and said "Happy Birthday", we all kind of laughed and then proceeded to the room where the food and presents were. We ate some deliciously catered food from a local place and hung out for a bit. John was spoiled with some Tommy Bahama and more guns...squirt guns.

The next day after the shop closed up, the NRA had a big dinner(just what the birthday boy wanted) and we got to go to that. It was pretty fun and there were some really cool things that were auctioned and raffled off. The best part was the company and food. Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day with the warmest temps yet and clear skies. So before the dinner, while John was at the shop, Em spent the day outside with a short run at Eagle beach, a drive out the road, and a beautiful hike with a friend up Mt. Roberts for the first time. The views were incredible and it was about 10 minutes from home :) Em tried to take John there Monday night, but couldn't find it up the skinny windy roads so we did our newest trail, the Treadwell ditch trail behind our place. It's great hike and run that takes us straight up and then smooths out to flatter steady incline with water and vegetation everywhere! Next time, Em said she'd look at the map before we go because gps isn't good around here :). With some challenges, she was able to find Mt. Roberts and Perseverance trail earlier this week and enjoyed a lovely hike and run with their beautiful views :)

At the beginning of the month Em got to go to San Diego to return to the annual CEC conference. As always, it was an amazing conference where she learned a ton. She attended sessions on a variety of topics including helping children avoid prison, cool reading materials, some great math and reading apps, and two specifically for new teachers. She's already been able to use some of what she took away from the conference in the classroom and she's super excited to continue using all of them next year. While at the conference, Em had the privilege to present her poster again, but even more exciting was that she had her published article with her. So she got to share all the cool things that she and her professor Alex wrote about and discuss ideas with multiple people who came including swim instructors, adaptive PE teachers, and special educators. The weather was really warm while she was there. Em chuckled when she was sweating at 65 degrees and others were shivering. She went for a run and remembered how much she did not enjoy the heat while running, but loved being able to run to the San Diego Zoo where she has her first memory as a child. She hopes to be able to return to conferences for ever :)

A few weeks prior to CEC, Em defended and passed her Master's defense however she was not happy with her performance at all. She had started the first rounds of testing at school that week and didn't feel good all week in general. After her defense, she felt terrible and cried for a while. Even the pups couldn't console her because she was so disappointed in herself. She was happy to have learned she passed, but not happy otherwise. Overtime she moved on and tried to let it go, but she is still not happy with how it went. She is happy however to be passed that step and to have had a better presentation in San Diego.

Em graduates in 16 days! Seriously where has the time gone? Didn't she just graduate with her B.A.? Didn't John and her just move to the Palouse? Now two years later we're here in Juneau, in our own home, Em's teaching career is starting to peak through and John is a business manager! After 5 weeks of testing with students, her defense behind her, the college courses complete, and the school year wrapping up, Em feels like things are a bit quite right now. However she's not complaining :) She knows next year will be quite different. Just as things are settling down for Em, they're picking up for John. He will be helping out at the dock selling tours for the shop, working the gun counter and still responsible for the business side of things. He'll stay very busy, but is very happy to be a part of the team. Em is going to help out as well when she is not teaching at the summer program. It should be a great summer with lots of adventures ahead!

We are excited to come see our friends and family and enjoy the 70's and 80's that Pullman is experiencing. Only two weeks away! We hope you're all enjoying your spring weather and finding time to be with your friends and family as well. See you soon friends!

 Looking down from Mt. Roberts.
 The tram at the top of Mt. Roberts.
 Mili looked like a puppy in this eagle's nest.

 One of the views from Eagle Beach!
 Treadwill trail, 3 miles in.
 Ammo tried to chase the guy with the chute. Silly pup.
 Em got a new toy for hunting and brought the muzzle a little too far back. She didn't shoot John's bag, but the power off the muzzle didn't care. Whoops! The gun shoots great :)
 Only in Alaska.
 We got to go to an MMA fight with some friends and see a guy from Texas get beat by a local :)
 The view from dinner one weekend!