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The Johnson Family’s A to Z’s of 2016

Another year full of gratitude and blessings, one of which is your friendship. We are so thankful for each and every one of you, who has touched our lives and become a part of who we are. A heartfelt thanks to you, especially, for reading my blog. It has been suggested to me many times over the years to keep one, but honestly, I was scared... of the committment, of not following through, of no one reading it. A couple good friends finally convinced me to go for it in 2016, and although there were many articles I wished I had gotten around to writing this year, looking back and seeing that this is my 29th post is pretty cool for this little writer, mom, and teacher from Homer, Alaska. Here's to writing those posts in 2017! Thank you! XOXO

Blue Crest Energy is Nate’s new employer. He is enjoying working as an oil field electrician in Stariski, only about 40 miles from home. These three stinkers sure love that!!

Commercial salmon fishing in Bristol Bay (#momsspringbreak) was a blast for me this summer! I got to sneak away for 11 days in July and jam out on the back deck of a friend’s boat. We love wild Alaskan salmon!!

Duck hunting is still a favorite adventure for Nate and our Chesapeake Louie. In addition to a great hunting dog, Louie (age 3) is also becoming a patient and sweet family dog. She loves running with me and is adored by Selma, who crawls all over her every chance she gets and yanks on her ears.

End of the Road Inn, our new vacation rental on Rangeview Ave. in Homer, opened in August. We are so excited to be on Airbnbn and VBRO! Come stay with us anytime!

First steps! Selma started walking just a lil’ bit about a week after turning 1. Her favorite activities are pulling things out of cabinets and off shelves, sneaking up staircases, bath time, and laughing wholeheartedly at her brothers as they bend over backwards to entertain her. Her personality far surpassed her physical size. She’s vivacious, opinionated, and sweet. We couldn’t love her more!

Grandparents. The boys anxiously await their Tuesday afternoon visits with Nate’s mom, Grandma Kathy, and are spoiled rotten by Grandpa Arn , Great Grandma Dorothy, Great Grandma Betty, and Uncle Eris regularly. We enjoyed visiting with Uncle Rayce this summer, and Aunt Rani and her family over 4th of July as well as during a few other camping trips. Attending Salmon Stock and playing in Homer for almost 2 weeks this summer with Tutu, Popeye, and Aunt Chani was an absolute blast!! And we can’t wait to see them again when we travel to Oregon right after Christmas, as well as Great Grandma Virginia and Great Grandpa Bill and our aunts and uncles! We are so lucky to have such a tremendous extended family, both locally and around the country. This incredible network provides us roaring belly laughs, constant tips and tricks, endless support, and great conversation. We love you all!

Half ironman! I raced my first one outside of Fairbanks at the end of July. We also visited Chena Hot Springs, the Pipeline, the Santa Clause House, and Denali National Park. It was a wild whirlwind of a camping trip with good friends and loads of kiddos - an unforgettable experience.

Ice skating … Sawyer is taking off on the ice this winter. He also loves biking, climbing, sledding, and target practice with his new bow and arrow. He’ll start Micro Bells Hockey and Jr. Nordic Cross Country Skiing for his first time in January. Wish him luck! He’s very excited to be trying new sports!!

Jars = happiness at the Johnsons’. We just really love gardening, berry picking, hunting, and preserving food! Wylder and I also had fun teaching a few canning workshops in Sawyer’s kindergarten class this fall with local fruits and veggies. Volunteering in the boys’ rooms is an invaluable perk of working half-time.

Kindergarten! Sawyer, who turned 6 in November, has a fabulous teacher at Paul Banks and couldn’t love it more! His favorite subject is math (after recess, obviously) and he loves puzzling, playing cards, and Magic Treehouse books. This fall, he participated in two class performances. We’re so proud of this enthusiastic, energetic, perseverant, and joyful little boy!

Learning letters! It’s so fun watching both the boys as they absorb the literary world around them. What an amazing thing it is, learning to read!

Moose hunting… Nate and his dad, Arn, took their annual trip across the Inlet this September to harvest a handsome moose. They brought their boat, skiff, and a canoe!! Lots of adventures to be had. We are grateful.

New home! We signed the papers on a new house off the beaten path in September. Moving and unpacking is a total blur, but we are finally feeling settled. Although we definitely miss our Rangeview neighborhood, we do love the wide open space. (We kept the same mailing address).

(snow) O’clock is what Nate is waiting for now that he finally got his fancy new (to us) snow plow hooked up on his truck. Every morning he texts me from work wondering if there’s enough snow to plow yet. Nope, not yet… Still not yet…

Parent-tot swim on Thursday mornings with Wylie and Selma is one of the many joys in my life this year now that I am working half time as an intervention teacher at Paul Banks Elementary. I love my students, colleagues, and job; and spending mornings with our two youngest kids is really such a treat!

Quintessential family moments… Raspberry and apple picking, stickleback fishing, sandcastle contests, UNO and Candy Land, movie nights, haunting the neighborhood on Halloween… So many sweet memories! Although there are plenty of bumps in every road, we choose to focus on the positive, search for balance, and love forward.

Riding the waves! We had a fun summer with our new inflatable paddleboard and took it out every chance we got! At the Reservoir, across the Bay, midnight under the full moon on the Spit, right up to Grewingk Glacier… Both boys are fearless adventurers, leading the way on hikes and always jumping on the front of the SUP in search of more minnows and snails. “Faster, Mommy! Get that ‘nail!”

Salmon fishing on Anchor River and in Kachemak Bay continues to be one of Nate’s favorite pastimes. This June, he helped Sawyer catch his first king. They were both glowing for days.

T-Ball – AKA chasing butterflies in the outfield, drawing in the dust, begging for more snacks, and occasionally hitting the ball… It’s all good! We enjoyed the boys’ first t-ball season, swimming lessons, family bike rides, and endless trips to the beach this summer.

Un-ending fascination with bugs, baby animals, sea creatures… Wylder, our little entomologist, was in “bugtopia” again all spring, summer, and fall. He raised lady bugs, watched caterpillars transform to butterflies, farmed worms, and fostered countless beetles. His raw and unbridled passion for everything that moves is inspiring.

Valley of 10,000 Smokes and Katmai National Park was an amazing, bear-filled birthday trip for Selma and me this fall. We feel so blessed to live in this incredibly beautiful and vibrant place, and are grateful everyday for all the adventures we have here.

Wylder is 4 and in pre-school at Paul Banks. He loves his teacher, classmates, and all the routines they have together. In addition to bugs, Wylie is crazy about remote controls, drawing, climbing up everything in the house and then jumping off, and playing with his siblings. He is a dotting big brother, and he regularly has me on knees laughing… especially when he starts talking about humans. “Mom, remember that basketball human we saw the other day?!” I love him so much it hurts.

X-rays (just a quick chest x-ray when Selma got pnemoinia), Xeroxing (lots at school), xylophones (too noisy!), xany (yup, that's us!)… Help! What else starts with X?!?

Yakkity yak… constant yapping, yammering, yowling. From sun up to sun down, our house is a very noisy place! And although it is definitely trying at times, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

ZzzZZzZzzZzzzz Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! We wish you good health and abundant happiness in 2017! May wondrous sights, radiant lights, and cozy nights be yours this holiday season and always.

XOXO The Johnsons… Nate, Lila, Sawyer, Wylder, and Selma

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