All posts by follettesfootsteps

Ben and I have been together for 11 years. We're just homegrown, small town raised kids who fell in love. We currently live in Emmett, Idaho with our 2 kids (Zoey-lab, 7 yrs. & Bella-pug, 2 yrs.) but are planning to take our lives to the Last Frontier- Alaska! For a couple that's never been to far out of Idaho we are excited and nervous at the same time! This is going to be quite the adventure and we can't wait!

Pilot Point part 2-Housing 

Ok so for part 2 I’m going to show housing… Mainly for 2 reasons. 1 .For My family and friends who wanna know where I’m living and 2. For teachers thinking about coming up to Bush Alaska to teach. I know one big thing that was on my mind no matter what village I went to was, “what’s housing like?” So here is what housing is like in Pilot Point! 

My house is a duplex. My part is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment that for some may be small but for Ben and I just coming from our tiny house is perfect for us. There is a 4 bedroom house that my fellow newbie teacher to Pilot Point, Hannah and her husband Cody with their dogs, are living in. It’s pretty huge so we’re actually glad we didn’t get that one.  The apartment next to mine is a small 1 bedroom apartment that is used when the principal, counselor or others from the district come to our school. 

So here are pictures of our apartment. I took these right after we arrived so all our baggage and crap are in the way. After I get it fully set up I’ll try to take pictures of it looking more like home. 

One nice thing is that the apartments are fully furnished, so everything you see here is everything it came with! 

Our house on the outside

Our kitchen, small but perfect
Our bedroom thats actually pretty good size!
Of course the bathroom
Our spare bedroom with exercise bike included!
Our living room and dining table
Us after flying all day!

So that’s it! If there’s anything you wanna know or wonder just ask! 

Until next time! 

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Pilot Point part 1

Ben and I (and the girls) have finally made it to Pilot Point, Alaska! It was a huge mix of emotions before we arrived but I’m happy to announce…. We love it here!! For those that still don’t know where I’m at, here is a picture. 


I’m that little star. Now the cool thing about our little village of 70ish people is its actually not that small! It may be low in population but it’s really spread out and beautiful!! The people also have been super nice and welcoming!! We’ve only drove around (yes, we have vehicles to drive) a little bit I wanted to share some pics of the village. In my next couple posts I’ll post of our home and the school. Here are pics of the village for you to enjoy! 


One thing about Pilot Point is the weather has been very unpredictable! One minute it’s clear skis and sun shinning then next it’s pouring rain, then back to sun. Well there is our village, of course I’ll be posting more as we go.. But right now I’m working on my classroom for post 3. My next one will be on our house. 

My little brother got married!! 

This past weekend was one of the most special days for me… I got to watch my little brother marry his best friend, in Vegas at that! You couldn’t find a more perfect couple then these two and I felt so proud to be a big part of their day! While I couldn’t give any speech with out blubbering with tears, the whole wedding was magical. I could give lots of details but I think pictures really explain it all. 

Some pre-wedding photos first: 


And now the big day! 


The Beauties of Idaho….

While Ben and I have been trying to take advantage of choices while we still have them, we’ve also been enjoying our beautiful state before we head out. There are so many things that we love about Idaho, that we are definitely going to miss!

Of course, the obvious is family…Everyone we love is here. Friends, family, even acquaintances are going to be missed more that we even know right now. Even though I was only gone 3 months, I know firsthand how much you miss people. While I met new friends that I’ll forever be thankful for in Stebbins, and kept busy during most days, it was impossible not to constantly thinking of what friends or family were doing while I wasn’t there. While I am forever thankful for technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with everyone while I’m gone, it’s also really hard to check Facebook, or Face-time with friends to see everyone hanging out at a BBQ, birthday, holiday, or just a simple weekend, and realize I’m not part of it. These were the only times I actually cried from being homesick. Ben hasn’t had to deal with this yet, but I know even though we’ll be together, it will still be hard not to have our friends to call whenever we want to hang out!

The next thing that we will for sure miss, is the state of Idaho itself. Ben and I both love living in Idaho, it has everything we consider to be the perfect home for us. Living in Emmett is great because we are only 30 minutes from being in a bigger town with shopping, restaurants, activities, and just a million options. Then if we go 30 minutes the opposite direction then we will be in the mountains, with trees, rivers, lakes and some of the most beautiful scenery. This summer is pretty much full of activities, but we’re already making plans for next summer to pretty much spend it camping! We love being in the hills, even if it’s just for the day, and with Ben’s work schedule that’s about all we can do right now. I think that’s why Alaska wasn’t such a crazy choice for us as it seems to be for other people. One of the things we love about Alaska is all the outdoor experiences we will get to take advantage of.

 

Have you ever been to Idaho? What’s something you loved about it?

 

Do we ever get to relax?

Since coming home from Alaska it seems like it’s been go-go-go. After my returning from California (see previous blog), I went right back to work at Tom’s Cabin (family restaurant my family has owned since the 60’s.)  Mom couldn’t wait for me to get to work. I’ve also been substituting on the days I’m not working at the cabin. Substituting in Emmett does not pay nearly enough ($65 a day) but I figure it’s better than just sitting at home not making any money.

I’ve also been planning for our trip to Vegas in June for my brother Chad’s wedding (I’m the Maid of Honor, so I’m constantly planning), and trying to get things arranged for our big move to Alaska! This actually takes a lot of my time. For Alaska, I feel like paperwork has become my norm for right now. From filling out adult-ing paperwork for the school district (like insurance, retirement and other things that are making me feel old, but equally proud I’m to this point), paperwork for my Alaska Teaching License (I really thought applying for a license would be easier then this) and then there is trip stuff, paperwork for the dogs to be able to travel and a ton of other stuff I have constantly on my mind that needs to be done before August.

Ben also has been working crazy hours so the moment we get a chance to relax together we take that moment and run with it! We’re trying to take major advantage of having choices right now! Once we get to Pilot Point (our soon to be home in Alaska), our choices mainly will consist of what do we want to watch on TV that night and who’s cooking dinner. So while we can, we go for long drives, go to the movies, go out to restaurants for dinner, and enjoy just being able to do really whatever we want while we can! Even walking around the store is something that we will soon miss out on.

So while I complain about not relaxing right now I know, that in a few months, we will have more relaxing time then we will ever want. We might as well keep busy for the next few months and enjoy the go-go-go!

Anything you think we should do before we head back up to Alaska?

Going back to Cali…well went to Cali.

I realized I probably should continue my blog during the summer even though it’s probably not as exciting when I am home as it is when I’m in Alaska. Anyway, so far since being home I feel like I haven’t stopped.


One week after arriving back in the lower 48, my mom and I took off for California. We headed to Palm Springs/Indio, then to Long Beach/Seal Beach. We have gone on this trip every year for the last 4 years, so ever though I was only home for a week. While we were in Palm Springs/Indio we went to the Stage Coach Music Festival, it’s a 3-day country summer concert with all the major headliners. We got to see Eric Church, Chris Young, Sam Hunt, Eric Paslay, Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry, Joe Nichols, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch, and so many other bands. On top of all the outstanding country bands we knew we were seeing, Sam Hunt brought out some special guests to sing a long with. You will never guess who came out….SNOOP DOG! Seriously!! The crowd went crazy! He sung like 3-4 songs, some new and some old. Also G-Eazy X Bebe Rexha came out too (they sing Me, Myself and I, which if you listen to any radio station besides country I know you’ve heard it).   It was an amazing time of course! My uncle, and cousins were also with us. Every day we hung out by the pool during the morning then headed to the concert in the afternoon till midnight or later every night. I can tell you, after 3 months in Alaska during the winter, coffee by the pool in Palm Springs is about the perfect way to thaw out. J Here are a few pics of us at the concert. 

After the concert we drove back to Long Beach/Seal Beach and hung out with Robert and Haley. I only get to see them a few times a year and it will probably be even less since I fully move to Alaska this August. This was amazing because I got to see Haley’s new baby bump!! I got to find out they were expecting the day I got home from Alaska!! I’m so excited to have another niece or nephew. It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had a baby around. My oldest brother Tim and his wife are also having a baby girl, which is due in June, so I’m happy that I get to spend some time loving on her before I leave as well. It was great to be able to spend some time with Robert and Haley though because I probably won’t see them again till Christmas time, hopefully anyway. I’m hoping our Christmas breaks are around the same time and were able to see each other. Especially since Haley is due in October, so I’ll get to love on my niece or nephew the entire break! While we were there we did go to Downtown Disney, which is all the restuarants that are in Disney but you don’t have to pay the Disney land ticket price. Mom and I decided next year we are planning to go to Disneyland. Mom hasn’t been yet and I haven’t been since I was in high school so we definitely think it’s time for us to go. Here are a few pics of our time with Robert, and Haley.


 

Well that’s all for Cali. It seems this summer is packed full so I’ll make sure to blog more.

Do you have any exciting plans for the summer?

Our next destination!

Ben and I are very excited to announce that we will be headed back to Alaska in August! We signed a contract to work for Lake and Peninsula School District and are headed to Pilot Point, Alaska. It’s just above the Aleutian Islands. Pilot Point (PIP) is going to be a lot different then my experience in Stebbins, which makes me evenpilot_point_mapmore excited!! A few things that will be different include the following:

  1. Population: Stebbins – around 500, PIP – around 70
  2. Students: K-12 Stebbins- 150, PIP- 14.
  3. Teaching styles: Stebbins, guided teaching a lot like we have here in Idaho, PIP- Standards based teaching, which is not teaching by grade level but instead where they are in the standards, and they are graded on their mastery level of the standard. Which is completely new for me but I’m very excited to learn and figure it out. 
  4. Weather : Stebbins- highs of 60 lows -40 with windchill factor Plus lots of snow and ice, Pilot Point- highs around 70, lows in the teens.

 

Most importantly: Ben will be with me in PIP!!! It’s going to be so amazing to have him there with me! I honestly don’t think I would be able to go to Alaska alone again for the entire school year. 3 months was hard not having Ben there with me. Ben will also be working. The school year has offered him a full time job as well which was one of my main priorities when signing to a new school district. There were several things that I “wanted” when I was looking at new schools and school districts but always at the top of the list was being able to go to a place where Ben could work for the school, or work in the community. I just knew that no matter how great it would be to experience Alaska together, if he wasn’t working he would be going insane with in a few months. There’s only so much you can do in a Bush Village. We also will be taking Zoey and Bella (our dogs, lab & pug), which I’m excited about too! I’ll admit I’m very nervous about them flying and how we are going to arrange everything but I think it will be great in the long run! So there you have it! There is our new home!

 

Leaving Stebbins-A pretty great island

IMG_3188[1]Before coming to Stebbins I nerded out on anything I could find about this small village that was about to become my home. I’ll admit not everything I found was peaches and cream. I knew the area I was going to wouldn’t be anything like any place I’ve ever been. I knew that going into it that alcohol and drugs were largely impacting a small community. I knew that many of the students would have un-diagnosed cases of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. As I was making my journey to Stebbins I got many different reactions when people would as me where I was headed. From everything to “Where is that?” to “Oh wow, brave girl.” So I’ll admit that I was nervous. Meeting the amazing people from my last post helped me push that nervousness down a little but when it came to the community, I have to say I was kind of scared.  I was nervous to walk around the village on my own, I didn’t know what might happen to me if I was out alone.

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This is some graffiti as soon as you come into town….it’s kinda a Stebbins monument haha

So the first week I jumped right into working at the school. We  had a basketball game the first weekend and I signed up to work at it. I started to introduce myself to members of the community, and with every basketball game I got to know more and more of them. They were just as curious about who I was as I was about them.

The students were excited for  new face and constantly asked if I was Raynas sister (she’s blonde) then Catera’s sister (according to them we have the same head haha). They asked me questions about why I was there, where I was from, and they asked all about my life back in Idaho. They wanted to know everything about me. After my first few weeks pretty close to every student 5th and below knew my name and everything about me. The students and I started to develop some pretty strong bonds and every week they won a piece of my heart more and more. 

Suddenly it dawned on me, all my fears and worries were crazy! Now I’m not saying  Stebbins is a perfect village and there are no problems what’s so ever but it’s honestly not as scary as so many websites and people made me think it was going to be. In fact, they are pretty amazing! Once you realize what the village has been through and what they are still dealing with, you realize just how strong of a community they are. While at one time I looked at the village and saw high poverty and run down homes, I now see a village that stands together and tries to take care of their families the best way they know how.

Not to mention the beauty of the island. I can’t count the number of times that I literally stopped everything I was doing because the views took my breath away! I thanked God so many times for the opportunity I was given. I thank BSSD for giving me the opportunity to come here and be a part of this amazing experience.

Leaving Stebbins was very hard. When I decided to take the job in Pilot Point (post coming on that) it wasn’t an easy choice. I fought back and forth about what would be the best choice. My heart often fought with my brain, love over logic.  The winning factor was work for Ben, something Stebbins couldn’t promise, but Pilot Point did. Today, my last day in Stebbins, I took a walk on the beach and I just took in everything that I have gained by being here. The silence of the village, the crisp clean scent of the air, the views of everything around me, it was just a moment of pure tranquility.  If it wasn’t for Ben being so far away from me, I don’t think I would have gone home yet. I know for sure that Ben and I will be coming up to visit! I’m hoping that we can make it to Potlatch this next year, I know that I’ll have student dancing in it again and I’m excited to be a part of it again!

Until I see you again Stebbins!

Leaving Stebbins-More than just coworkers

IMG_3188[1]This week has been such a mix of emotions. I never expected a small village to have such a big effect on me as Stebbins did. My outlook on life and teaching will be forever changed. Not only am I completely thankful for the experiences that I have been able to have in my life but I will be forever thankful for the people that have come into my life, thanks to these experiences. It’s so hard to express how the people in Stebbins have and will always mean to me. It’s not very often that you can only know someone for 3 months but feel like they’ve been your friends for a lifetime. From the moment I arrived in Anchorage, to today when I flew out, I knew that they would be in my life forever.

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My first encounter in Anchorage beginning with Sarah S (counselor) and Robyn (St. Michael teacher), I honestly feel what tore down those walls of awkwardness that you have when you meet someone new was my complete breakdown in my hotel room. We had just finished a shopping trip to Costco, I had my groceries and my totes. Standing in my room trying to figure out how to pack everything (it’s not as easy to figure out on your own the first time). What goes on the plane with me? What do I mail? How do I keep the frozen-frozen, and the cold stuff not frozen? What weight does it have to be? What do I do with my luggage if I’m bringing the tote of food as luggage? I text so many questions that finally the reply was “Do you just need us to come down there and help you?” YES!!! I was so thankful I had these ladies! I don’t know what I would have done without them!! I seriously probably called BSSD and asked to go home. I literally thought to myself “I can’t do this, what am I thinking?” I know kind of crazy thoughts over just packing food and such but it was just the straw on a scary adventure I was doing on my own. As soon as Sarah and Robyn came to my rescue it was an immediate calm. Of course not till I cried and freaked out. They will never know how much their words helped me realize I could do this! All they told me was not to worry, they had been in my shoes once before, and they would help me with everything, we could do this. Then the calm set in and I knew from that moment on that I was doing the right thing. This is where I was supposed to be at the exact moment.

IMG_2837[1]IMG_2841[1]IMG_2843[1]Arriving in Stebbins was slightly a train wreck as well but I wasn’t as stressed because I knew everything would work out now, after all I was here and I knew they wouldn’t leave me in the streets. When I first got there my house wasn’t ready and they were asking a couple of the teachers if I could stay with them until it was ready.    Little did I know how close we would become in just a matter of weeks. Enter Rayna and Catera. These girls were soon not only going to be my friends but pretty much family while in Stebbins. They not only let me stay with them but they were wonderful and we had so much in common. Even after moving into my own house, if I wasn’t home you could find me at their house. We cooked dinners together, binged on movie watching, spent weekends not getting dressed all weekend and eating junk food, it was honestly like I never moved out. On the occasional weekend that I didn’t go to their house we seemed to always talk on Monday about how weird it was not hanging out, and it usually resulted in dinner that night. It was honestly crazy how much we had in common. We all broke out in song at the most craziest moments, and couldn’t get through a movie or TV show without researching what other shows the actors have been in or where they were now, and a good youtube video was always welcome during commercials.

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With in my first few weeks a majority of the staff became not coworkers but friends. Sarah  (3rd grade), Braxton (4th), Brenna (1st) , Catera (K), Rayna (2nd), Jamie (high school), Chris (Sped) and Sarah (counselor) excepted me into their tight circle. We did shadow hunters night, game nights, potlucks, hung out at community events, made plans for walks and weekends. The best part was just when we would get together and laugh and BS until late into the evening while snacking on food we all brought.

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I can’t express how much every single one of them meant to me. While I always missed my home, family and friends I feel like they became the family I needed to keep me sane in a small village.  I honestly feel like with out them I wouldn’t have made it. I became home sick and missed Ben so much but they were always there for me and able to “distract” me with lots of laughter and memories.  I don’t think I could every express to them how much they mean to me.  They always say that God brings people into your life for a reason, whether they are in your life for hours, weeks, months or years, there is a reason for everyone you meet.  Even though we were only together for 3 months I feel like they were brought into my life to be a part of it forever! I mean were already making plans to meet up a few times next year, and I can’t wait till I can see them again.

 

If any of the Stebbins crew is reading this, then I just want to say “Thanks! …….Thanks for everything!!”

NYO-Native Youth Olympics

This weekend we had the a practice game of the Native Youth Olympics against St. Michael, a little Battle of the Islands. When I first saw them practicing for this I was super excited but then found out they wouldn’t be competing here in Stebbins. So I was excited again when I found out I was going to be able to see a small competition between us and St. Michael. The Native Youth Olympics are where students compete in an array of different skills and strengths that are a part of their Alaskan heritage. Some of the events include the Alaskan High Kick, Arm Pull, Eskimo Stick Pull, Kneel Jump, One Foot High Kick, One Hand Reach, Scissor Broad Jump, Seal Hop, Two-Foot high kick, and Wrist Carry. It was amazing watching these Athletes compete. I’m posting some photos from last nights event. I know I’m not explaining each event but it would take forever to explain each event, so you can always go online and get more information if you want.

Eskimo Stick Pull, the Wrist Carry, and the Seal Hop

 

 

The Alaskan High Kick, Kneel Jump, One Foot High Kick

 

And of course the amazing fans!

 

 

Every time we sit down it becomes beauty parlor 😉