Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Fun!

Time for another update. We are doing well. We are both staying very busy, but that is good! Granger is enjoying his job at Kenai Central High School. He likes working with high school students, it brings him back to his past young life work experiences. I am also enjoying working in the intensive needs classroom, however it keeps me very busy! At night, I am still keeping busy taking 2 classes online.

We are enjoying our little place on the river. The fall is already almost at an end and winter is fast approaching! Our friends Donny and Andi are expecting their first baby boy any day now, so we are anxiously awaiting his arrival.

We continue to meet new people and are developing a great group of friends. We are also still in the process of looking for a new church home. There are many options available, but it is a process and will take time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Address

Our new address is:

339 Kobuk Ct. Apt. A
Soldotna, AK 99669

Sorry, we are apt. A, I didn't add that part before...obviously it's pretty important! We are settling into our new place and we're liking the "big city" life! ;)

Granger's doing well in his new job, and I am starting mine tomorrow! I am an intensive needs aide at Soldotna Elementary.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer fun

We have been back in Michigan now almost 8 weeks. Our time with family is fast approaching a "see ya later" goodbye. We have had a great time visiting friends, family, and traveling all over the country!

Our summer started with a lot of Klunder's scurring all over to make it to two very important baptisms. The first weekend we were home our nephew Luke was baptised. Then we were all able to have a few days of "Klunder family fun week" before we headed to the next baptism in Sioux Center, Iowa. We were all there for Lily's baptism and then headed in our seperate directions. The time with our family was fun, but too short. All summer we bounced back and forth from Caledonia to Spring Lake trying to give each family time.

On our whirlwind tour of the U.S. we were able to make it to Houston, Texas with the whole Nyboer clan to see Jake and Ellen, who moved there recently. We were also able to make it out to Buena Vista, Colorado to spend time at the cabin. We climbed Mt. Yale elev. 14,100 ft! It took us five hours to get up and 3 and a half to get down. All 10 of us (The Nyboer's and Bain and Laura) defeated the hike! After Nyboer's left Granger and I were able to do a great hike and use our fly rods to catch a few trout on a mountain path. To end our journey of the US, we went to visit Kristin, Tanner, and precious Lily in N.W. Iowa. Lily is adorable.

As most of you know, we are not going back to the village this year. We are making the big move to Kenai, AK. It is only 20 minutes by plane from Tyonek, but will prove to be a much faster pace of life. Granger is going to be working at Kenai Central High School teaching Special Education. I am still in the process of looking for a job, but will continue and finish my last year of my Master's program this year!! We have rented the downstairs of a small cabin right on the Kenai river. We are excited to get back and start fishing!

As soon as I get an address I will post it for everyone, but as of now I don't have it. We are exited for our move and welcome the adventures that lie ahead of us this year. We would love to hear how you are all doing and want to try and keep in touch more this year. Please e-mail us updates on your lives when you get a chance!

For those of you we were able to see this summer it was a pleasure! And for those of you we weren't able to connect with, we appologize, but would love to hear from you. I know Alaska is far away, but visitors are always welcome!! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unique Experiences

Living in Alaska has produced many opportunities for unique experiences. Living in a small village has produced even more unique experiences.

Most of you know that there are no roads in and out of the village, therefore a small plane is required to get anywhere (besides the dump). The small planes do not fly in bad weather either, so any snow, rain, wind, or low clouds and you are stuck where you're at. We have had multiple times when we have been trying to get in and out where weather has either post-poned our departure or made us leave early. It can get nerve racking when you want to get out of the village when you have a flight out of Anchorage that you are trying to catch. Luckily, every time we have needed to get out, we have.

Groceries. Getting groceries is a unique experience. It teaches you to plan ahead. To get groceries, we fax an order into Safeway and tell them what time to bring it to the airport to fly it over. We listen to hear the plane coming and take the truck to the air strip. The plane lands and we unload the groceries and bring them home. It is always interesting having someone else do your shopping for you. Sometimes we get interesting things, but for the most part we get what we want. It gets hard sometimes when you want to cook something but do not have all of the ingredients. The store is not just around the corner, so it teaches patience and planning. It is humorous when planes come in to watch everyone scurry to the planes to get groceries. When we were leaving for spring break people were on snow machines, four wheelers, and trucks to get groceries. A few people were waiting to get the fast food they ordered! One family ordered McDonald's for dinner! Pretty funny.

Volcano's. You don't need to worry about Volcano's in Michigan. Here, we have been dodging lava for a few weeks! (Just kidding) We have been worried about ash. Mt. Redoubt has erupted over a dozen times in the last week. Ash, which is jagged rock and glass, has been shooting 50,000-60,000 feet in the air. The wind for the most part has been in our favor. We got our first light dusting of ash yesterday. pretty gross stuff. It has been really cool to watch the sky. We are not too far from the volcano and can usually tell by the color of the sky when it erupts. It has a grayish, yellow tint to it. It looks creepy sometimes because it looks as though it is right over us and should be falling on us, but it is up to 8 miles over us! Here is the website that we look at daily to keep informed on the volcano's activity.

Earthquakes. Alaska has dozens of earthquakes everyday. We experienced an earthquake earlier this year. All of a sudden our house started to lightly shake for about 10-15 seconds. It was a cool experience. Here is another website that shows Alaska's daily earthquake activity.

These are a few unique experience of life in the village.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Winter weekend

This past weekend (March 6-8) was quite the exciting weekend. We were blessed with a beautiful new niece on Friday morning. Lily Kay Smith. My sister Kristin and Tanner are doing well.

Also in Tyonek, the Chief Chikelusian Celebration was going on. It started with a potluck on Friday night. There was so much food! It was really good. We had moose meat for the first time! There was moose stew, moose meat in gravy, plain moose meat, all very delicious. After the meal some of the kids in the village did some traditional drumming which was really neat to hear.

Saturday night, we decided to cross-country ski down to the river (which is about 2 miles away). We found a good camping spot and set up. We did not anticipate how big of a job setting up a campsite would be, but because the snow was so deep the moment we stepped out of our ski's we would sink to our knees. After pounding down the snow with our ski's and boots, we set up our tent. We also made an area to have a campfire. Our fire wasn't as big and warm as we had hopped, so we decided to make hot chocolate instead. The night was extremely cold! I even slept in my down jacket! It may have been a premature camping trip, but was fun anyways. Granger also got to shoot his new gun that he got, which is always fun. Once we got home and started to thaw, my feet began to swell! I thought I was going to loose a few toes, but everything turned out ok.

After we warmed up a bit we headed to Second Lake to watch Snow Machine (Snow mobile) races. The kids were ice fishing and playing on snow mounds. They also had a riffle shoot. The kids did an egg toss in the snow! It was really funny to watch because the egg was dropped almost every time but never broke! They had a blast though. We enjoyed the picnic and headed home.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life in Tyonek

When we first arrived in Tyonek, we did not know what the future would hold. We especially did not know what I (Bethany) would do with all of my time. Well, as it turns out, I am overly busy instead of overly bored. I signed up for classes online to start my Master's of Special Education degree. I also started working fulltime as a Title 1 Tutor and a reading teacher. Tuesday nights, I runs an after school program for the kids. It has been extremely busy. Now, for the spring semester, I have doubled up on classes. Granger stays busy with tutoring after school and teaching guitar lessons once a week. He also opens the gym for the community on Wednesday nights.

Most nights consists of me writting papers or doing homework while Granger plays Madden '08 on the WII! We try to get out and ice-skate or cross country ski. We also like to take our gun to the dump and practice shooting at targets!

One of Granger's students has given us 3 rabbits that he shot. I am going to try and make mittens out of the fur! We need one more rabbit so we can both have a pair. Granger's learning different ways to prepare rabbit for us to eat!

Other than that, we like the rare occasion of flying out into a bigger city. We have enjoyed spending time together and building our marriage. However, we are ready to have a bigger community around us of friends and a church.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Drive to Alaska

Drive to Alaska

Our trip "across America to the great north" was incredible. We highly recommend driving to Alaska once in your life! We had many great stops along the way. First, we went to Canada with the Nyboer's. It was a great time. We fished, played games and enjoyed hanging out together. The we made our way to Northwestern Iowa, Sioux Center, to see Kristin and Tanner's new house. They have a great place! We celebrated Granger's 24th birthday there and continued our travels westward. We stopped as we pleased along the way, like the Geographical center of North America, someplace in North Dakota I believe. (Not as cool as it sounds!) We have tons of pictures posted on our picasa website that you can look at. It is There are many pictures from our adventures so far. We stopped at Glacier National Park in Montana, which was a blast. We did an overnight back country camping. We hiked in and spent the night. We caught some beautiful trout with our fly rods!

We headed up through Canada and stayed with Granger's relatives for a few days. We stopped in Banff, Canada, which was very pretty. We headed to Lake Louise and stopped for a horse back ride! It was a beautiful spot, despite the pouring rain and freezing temperatures! As we drove our way through Canada we camped at campsites, or on the side of the road.

Once we hit Alaska, we had cold and cloudy weather. We came through the Northern most land border, which was a tiny building. It was Poker, AK. It only had one house and there was a sign that Welcome to Poker, AK population: 2. We tried to go to Fairbanks, but the weather was so poor there wasn't much to do. We decided to go to some hot springs!

We headed to Denali, but the weather was still bad, so we took a picture by the sign and started heading south. We arrived in Anchorage and stayed with Jan and Bernie Nyboer (Granger's relatives). They have been so great to us. We stayed at their cabin in Girdwood, called the Hobbit house. It is an amazing little cabin near Alyaska ski resort.

We continued south to Kenai and stayed with Donny and Andi Joachim. They let us crash and hang out with them for a week. We were able to make it down to Seward and climbed Marathon Mountain! It was a great time.

Finally, we arrived at Kenai Aviation to head to Tyonek. Our little trailer awaited us. Amazingly, we got everything over to the village. It took a few planes because you can't take that much stuff at a time.

Home, sweet, home. Settled in and the adventure started!