My family of 5, which included a one-year-old at the time, handled the 5-hour nonstop flight from Salt Lake City to Anchorage quite well. A couple of new ipad games, sticker books, etc. helped us along the way. We were met at the airport by my birth-son Cade and his friend and his mother Lori, who drove us to their home in Palmer. Oddly enough, I had expected to see mostly pine trees, perhaps I was thinking of Montana too much or just what's typical of a higher elevation, but I was surprised to see trees of all kinds, it was very lush!
We arrived at their home and my little ones were eager to explore, I can't blame them considering the menagerie in the backyard; a pet reindeer, 2 goats, a sheep, and a huge friendly golden retriever along with some play equipment and a trampoline. It was a beautiful day and still relatively early so we enjoyed being outside and forming stronger friendships immediately. After adopting three children, Lori and her husband William had three children of their own, so it was super fun to meet them all and be with them, and especially fun for Bailey because she had a playmate just her age.
Cade had a soccer game that night so we headed over to the field. As we were sitting there we had a great view of Pioneer Peak and the surrounding countryside. Over the soccer field small planes kept appearing in the sky. At the time I just kept thinking of how much my Dad would love coming there, he had even recently remarked on how sad he was to finish the "Flying Alaska" series on Netflix. Flying was always his passion and I have countless memories of attending air shows, kit planes being built in the garage, flying magazines, and any small plane paraphernalia you could think of.
Around 8 pm we were at the soccer field and it still felt like mid-afternoon but I knew my kids were tired because it was 10 pm for them based on Utah time. And as happy as I was to be there, watching Cade play his soccer game with his friends, I wanted to be sure that Bailey and Waylon (a one-year-old who hadn't napped that day) were not going to be miserable. So we headed back to the house and started getting kids ready for bed. After they were settled, Tyler and I were up late discussing with William and Lori what we wanted to do and see during our stay. They had tons and tons of suggestions, and stories to go along with some--and they taught us how to stay up late like Alaskans! They are so fun and easy to hang out with though that it's so weird to me that I could've been anxious. I wish I had a picture with William and Lori from our visit!