Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas in Ice


We decided to stop by the North Pole to see what Santa was up to this Christmas season. We saw Santas of all sizes—there’s this one that’s almost as tall as the trees that you see from the highway; Hazel really liked the one that was just her size.


And Xander still did not like the friendly one whose lap kids are supposed to sit on to tell him what you want for Christmas. He has never been brave enough to go say hi to Santa in all of his years of Christmases. Usually we don’t push it. But this year we were in the North Pole, after all, and we thought asking him to be a good example for his little siblings by smiling for a picture wasn’t too much to ask. You don’t have to talk to the guy or sit on his lap, but can you please try not to teach your younger siblings that Santa is scary? I guess not.


The kids definitely preferred the reindeer to Santa.


Especially Hazel, who didn’t seem to mind the cold if she could just stay and watch those reindeer.


If only we had been a bit more prepared for the cold. The forecast (which is usually at least 10 or 15 degrees warmer than what it actually turns out to be) predicted temps around 0, which seemed lovely since it’s been hovering around 40 below for the last week or so. As we were arriving in North Pole, a bank sign just off the highway said it was –14. Hey, that’s decent; kids still go out to recess at that temperature. But when we were looking at those reindeer, it felt a lot colder. If only I had realized how much of the fun was outdoors, I would have taken the time to put my snowpants, which I had brought with me just in case, on. And how could I have forgotten Hazel’s snowpants and long underwear? Or neglected to remind Elodie to bring her thick snow mittens instead of her fleece gloves. What a terrible Alaskan mother. Because visiting oversized stuffed arctic animals and browsing the Christmas gift shop is only fun for so long.



Luckily, I have great, tough Alaskan children. Elodie is super tough about the cold, but before she could even get one of the sleds down the ice slide at Christmas in Ice, she was in tears because her hands were freezing.


Poor little Hazel was so tough about the cold as we dragged her around looking at ice sculptures. She didn’t complain a bit until we got back to the car. I think it took her 2 hours for her poor little legs to warm up! (Oh man, I feel even worse when I look at this picture and see a little bare ankle on this poor skinny toddler!!) When we got back to the car, I checked the weather app on my phone and it said that the current temp in North Pole was –29!! Good thing we thought it was –14 or we might have been smart and missed out on a LOT of fun. We really did have a blast. IMG_0066

I can’t believe this picture was taken just before lunch. It really does seem lighter in person. Isn’t it crazy that this is as about as high as the sun gets on a winter day?!


We spent some time in the warm-up tent where they had beautifully-frosted cookies and hot cocoa. As well as hot dogs and chips. All for free! We totally scored that it happened to be free day at Christmas in Ice! That made it all the more enjoyable for a tight-wad like me!


The warm up tent was nice, but gratefully Aaron came up with a solution for Elodie’s hands of ice that allowed us to continue to enjoy the wonder of the many sculptures of ice. She just needed to stick her hands in her armpits and lose the use of her arms!


It was so fun to enjoy the Christmas season as a family in this uniquely Alaskan way!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Extreme Enough

Wow, the cold got so bitter that they actually canceled school! I can hardly believe it! If only I had checked and discovered that fact before I yanked my kids from their cozy beds and sent them off to the bus that wasn't coming, we could have had a really cozy, relaxing morning. I did check our thermometer, and it was at -42, as it was all day yesterday, so school being cancelled didn't occur to me. They cancel at -50 around here. Apparently the official temp in town was cold enough, if only I had heard the message the assistant superintendent left at 5:50 this morning. Gratefully I didn't walk the kids to the bus as I've done every other day. That would have been seriously dangerous! Aaron is usually at work by the time we leave, but he was catching a few extra minutes of sleep to make sure he'd knocked out the virus that kept him home yesterday, so he took the kids to the bus on his way to work. And waited and waited, making him later and later for work, until a friend drove by down the highway and told him the news. I tell ya, yesterday while I was waiting for almost 10 minutes for the bus after school at -42, getting utterly chilled to the bone, I was wondering why the cancellation cutoff wasn't 40 below! So hooray for a day to snuggle by the fire!!