11/15/2009 Ken and Maureen Wuollet are here for a weekend of services. Trust was spoken of on Sunday and I had this overwhelming yearning to be at Winter Services in February. I don't want to go alone or even with just my hubby, I want 3 kids coming along with us. I just don't know if we can make this work.
11/23 I spend time hopping on the internet here and there try to see if there happens to be a screaming deal for tickets. I found round trip tickets to Phoenix for 25,000 miles each, but didn't dare buy them until I knew I had the time off work. By the time I got in to check the schedule and back to my computer, they were gone. Aargh! (This has been my frustration many times.)
12/5 The last several weeks around here have been quite stressful, enough that I am nearing desperate to leave for a while. My kids need to leave as well. They need to go see their friends. Often we question ourselves, Jari and I, as to why we're here and think about leaving. I can't say more than that ... they need to be able to see their friends ... the other halves of their hearts and souls. So I trust. I trust that God will feed our family. I trust that He will keep a roof over our heads. I trust he'll supply our daily needs as He sees fit. And I hit the Purchase button at Alaska Airlines. This was after many hours of jockeying around airlines, calendars and price shopping. It is done! We're going ... and somehow it will work out. Trust is what I will do. I have the time off work ... all is good.
12/19 I don't know if we're going to be able to keep this a secret. Jari asked the 3 younger kids tonite what they would like for Christmas if money was no object. They could pick anything. All three wanted a trip to Phoenix. Do I tell them? Do I give it to them for Christmas? Nope, we wait.
1/5 I have this great idea ... at least I think it is! I want to do a Scavenger Treasure Hunt with them. My plan is to start at Hatcher Pass and have clues all the way home. Places they have to stop to get the next clue. All kids would have to work together and find the great reward at the end ... together. Am having fun coming up with clues. Plan to tell them the Sunday before we leave.
1/10 In Minnesota for Michelle & Daniel's wedding which was so much fun. Few moments of guilt that I flew there on someone else's miles ... and haven't said a peep about what I'm up to myself. Dad was leaving to head for Brainerd and said "see you in Phoenix". Wondered if my face showed anything, but I worked real hard not to! "Web cam Phoenix to Alaska!" was my response. Jen drove and we went to meet Riitta and Tarja for coffee in the evening. Jen is planning on coming for Iditarod, but we'll be home in time for her to come. Then Riitta said something about Pekka & Laina wanting to be in MN to help Riitta. WHAT?! They were in MN last time I was in Arizona. The timing is much too close, can't risk them leaving at that time ... I had to tell her. That one should be safe!
1/22 Whew! We own a timeshare in Phoenix that we're never able to use. We did use it sporadically while we lived down there, but have not been able to since then. Last minute Nellie that I am ... we didn't think of trying to make reservations until now. We now have a place to stay for the weekend. Only one night in question now ... and a rental car. I thought it might be very enjoyable to spend some time visiting with Bill & Jane who have been Jari's second set of parents for most of his life. We still don't want too many to know we're coming. Someone will spill the beans and my kids will find out. Bill & Jane welcomed us for the nite on Thursday, have an extra set of wheels that we can use ... and will pick us up from the airport. :) My aching back is already looking forward to their sauna!
1/24 Hit Old Navy clearance racks on the way home from Mother's Camp. Score!!! Anna & Tia liked everything I bought ... and everything was bought with vacation in mind. The big bonus was that they actually liked everything I bought! Thank goodness ... money around here is not freely flowing at the moment.
1/29 This just might work! I have been all for telling the kids several days before we leave. I think we won't have to. Jari has been spinning tales that will have them bringing clothes for 60 degree weather, swimming suits for the hotel pool, workout clothes for the weight room. Maybe going as far as the tanning booth at the hotel is stretching it, but we're hoping for sunshine and tans! I was nearly giddy when I went to sleep. I don't know if I've ever had this much fun giving a gift.
1/30 Ronda called tonight. She had been at Frans and Jenny's visiting and got grilled about whether we're going to Phoenix. Poor gem. Jari had told someone that he would see them in March as he is planning to go down and get a piece of equipment that we left there. Apparently it caused quite a bit of suspicion at the Phoenix Kuoppala house. Anna has posted on FB that she can't wait until the end of February. She hasn't told anyone where she is going, but has denied going to Phoenix.
2/2 Have I written about the "Jar for Juneau"? We have a change jar that is collecting change for this little expedition of ours. Borrowing quarters from there for school lunch brings out major protest. "Not the Juneau Jar!". :)
2/10 I'm having second thoughts about not telling these munchkins of mine where they're headed. How on earth is Anna going to have the appropriate clothing, jewelery and matching shoes. I've had no luck getting called in On Call ... so no extra money in the next paycheck at this point. I was sort of planning on that to have a few extra bucks while we're gone. Hopefully something turns up between here and there. I feel horrible. Elaine asked me on Sunday if we were headed to Phoenix. Instead of saying, "we'd love to" I said "no". I'll have to beg her forgiveness for lying to her when I see her down there. Just can't let the cat out of the bag yet. Countdown is on! 13 days 'til we leave!!
2/13 Took the kids shoping today. Yippee!! We managed quite a bit today. The kids all have "appropriate" clothing to wear on this expedition of ours. They needed them anyway, but now we've added a few dress clothes to the pile to pack. My swim suit (have been wearing the same ones for about 8 years now) has been ordered from Lands End Online Clearance .. hope it fits!
2/17 We told the kids last night. They are under strict orders not to tell anyone!! Let's see if they can keep the secret going. They know the game plan ... where we plan to be when. My heart just melted at some of the comments ... and the shrieks. Was quite fun to share the surprise with them. Now my darling daughter will pack the right shoes and jewelery ... and my son will pack his shorts. Might need to dig through flip flops around here and see what fits feet. The temp in Phoenix hit 80 degrees yesterday! I'm hoping to get some sun!!!
2/19 I am thrilled. The tax refund hit the bank today. We may have a few pennies to spend while we're gone. And most importantly, be able to pay the bills before we leave. Tonite I told Alyx where we were headed ... then went out to eat. Talk about good giggles. I told Alyx not to let the others know that she knew ... and we went to eat out at the Noisy Goose. She was making comments, trying to pull off that she has no clue what is up. At one point she had a serious giggle session going on and couldn't stop. Excused herself to the restroom and I told the rest of the table that she knew. So for the rest of the evening, we tried this one. 3 traveling kids knew that Alyx knew ... and weren't going to tell her that they knew she knew. Are you with me? I think we're letting the cat out of the bag once in a while without intending to. Ryan & Amber came over visiting after we got home. Anna was modeling a coat that Alyx had picked up for her and said, "I can wear this in Phoenix on Sunday." I tried to do a real quick save ... but I don't think it worked. We'll find out after we're gone!
2/20 Brock & Anna worked like dogs today. They were just awesome. My job list before we go was a bit long. They worked it hard for me. Off to Target for a few more things. I'm not sure I need money for while we are gone, but money for getting ready to leave!!
2/21 We're counting down! Tia says that after tonite we can say we have only one more day to go! This nasty cold has caught Brock quite nicely. Heal quickly kiddo! (It's lasting forever!!)
2/23 6 1/2 hours to flight time. I think we are packed. We're trying to check only one bag at the airport, the rest we're carrying on. They are full. They are tight. Let's hope we aren't forgetting anything. Jari had to do another fibber today. Doug Forstie called ... he'd really love some salmon from next summers catch. (We're hoping there IS a catch next summer.) Dear hubby took a package of salmon out of the freezer, some jelly jars (out of other canning jars) out of the pantry, the pressure cooker ... and set to work. At least Doug will get a wee taste of it! FB today was really fun. Jenny is in a tizzy ... I'm beginning to doubt she'll be surprised. She has been rather convinced we're coming and on multiple occasions. Wonder if she'll believe us when we show up!
2/25 Thursday and here we are in Prescott. Sorry that we led some of you astray, but wanted to keep things a surprise. Looking forward to seeing many in the next few days! Have been enjoying the visit here at Mummu & Pappas ... heading to Phoenix soon.