2013 in Review

2013 was a busy year for us (apparently too busy to blog) and a fantastic year. We are barely getting our year review blog post up before January 2014 closes, but better late than never! Also blogging for your own pleasure and a small audience that is mostly our moms doesn't really come with deadlines. So much happened in 2013, that it is hard to break it all down. We will go with segments of life rather than chronological. Professional
The Newbery committee at the press conference to announce the medal winning books. It's like the Oscars for children's lit.

The Newbery committee at the press conference to announce the medal winning books. It's like the Oscars for children's lit.

In January of this year, Elizabeth finished up her Newbery committee journey by a lot of last minute re-reading and critiquing and meeting with her committee members to choose the winners. They lock the committee in a room and there's a complicated ballot procedure and no one gets to leave until we have a medal winner. It's like choosing a pope, but with less burning of things. The committee chose The One and Only Ivan as the 2013 Newbery medal winner and some really great honor books. Then in June, they re-convened for the Newbery banquet and a lot of really fancy meals with authors and publishers to celebrate. It was an amazing honor and experience to be on the most prestigious children's literature award judging committee. In December, Elizabeth accepted a position as the youth services coordinator for Anchorage Public Library. While this is a promotion (with a pay raise and a more family friendly Monday to Friday schedule), it was really hard to leave the Mountain View branch
Hiking Independence Mine in August 2013

Hiking Independence Mine in August 2013

library that she had helped open and worked for three years to build into a cornerstone of the community. However, this puts her back in youth services full time which is really where her heart is. It's all told a dream position. David finished his first full year as a professional engineer and took on more responsibilities at working, including a two week trip to Guam to work with the company's new engineering office. Elizabeth would have preferred that two weeks not come right before the wedding, but professional growth is professional growth. Home Life and Hobbies David continued to do awesome at building things this year, including the raised bedded gardens and some shelves and things we haven't shown you yet. Elizabeth dedicated the first half of the year to wedding DIY project (which someday we really will blog about) and recovering from the wedding and Newbery the second half. She did take a spinning class to learn to use her spinning wheel.
We were the frog prince and princess (homemade costumes) for Halloween.

We were the frog prince and princess (homemade costumes) for Halloween.

There haven't been many home improvements yet beyond combining two households, incorporating wedding gifts, and planning for the future. But oh those future plans, we can't wait to show you! David continues to play soccer and hunt (though this was not his most successful year) while Elizabeth knits and cooks and we enjoy time with our friends and family. Wedding
When there is still snow for your June wedding, real Alaskans put on their boots and go with it.

When there is still snow for your June wedding, real Alaskans put on their boots and go with it.

Obviously the wedding, our wedding, the best wedding ever took up most of our time and energy for the first half of the year. Elizabeth is working on sorting photos for a gallery on here and photo books for that. The fun started with Elizabeth's bridal showers in May which her mother and sister were able to come up to Anchorage for. And then the actual wedding was on June 8, 2013. The day was exactly what we wanted, a joyous celebration with family and friends, a mix of traditional and relaxed, all our traditions and enough of our own touch to keep it personal.
Fishing in Homer, post-wedding family trip, June 2013. So Elizabeth only sorta brought in that King Salmon by herself. David helped.

Fishing in Homer, post-wedding family trip, June 2013. So Elizabeth only sorta brought in that King Salmon by herself. David helped.

We didn't take a honeymoon (because who would leave Alaska in June?) so we are planning that for February. Instead we traveled with family to Homer (a cute Alaskan fishing town) and hung out, took a halibut fishing charter, and just enjoyed our time together. Elizabeth also caught her first King Salmon and my first Halibut! Elizabeth's dad caught his first of both of those as well. Personally 2013 continued to bring more babies into our social circle. Baby James joined Mal and John in April. And many other friends had babies too. Unfortunately the year also brought
In Oklahoma in August, on Elizabeth's grandparents' farm.

In Oklahoma in August, on Elizabeth's grandparents' farm.

sorrow as Elizabeth lost both her grandmothers and the last of that generation in both our families was gone. 2014 Plans Next year we hope to blog more (though I think we said that last year), build several things, various knitting/spinning projects, hunt a moose, and a lot more things. However our biggest plan is getting ready for and welcoming our little baby girl due around Elizabeth's birthday - June 19, 2014!
We can't wait to meet our little one! We've already started knitting and building things for her!

We can't wait to meet our little one! We've already started knitting and building things for her!

Happy New Year!

As we receive more holiday cards, letters, emails, blog posts, and updates, we feel vaguely guilty about not sending our own. Well, I feel guilty, David is more ambivalent. In lieu of a mailed card or greeting, we wanted to share with you some of the joys and adventures we have had in 2012. January began with me (Elizabeth) traveling to Dallas for the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. I was there to begin serving my term as a member of the Newbery Medal committee. It would end up being quite an adventure. Publishers sent me masses of books for consideration. As of last count, I have received 507 books, read 153 entirely and partially read another 75. In the first month of 2013 I will finish up re-reading the finalists for the award, head to another conference to vote for the winner, and cheerfully donate the majority of the books to libraries and schools.

Left to Right: Cleta, David, Elizabeth, Ray at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. Anchorage, Alaska, 2012.

February brought Elizabeth's parents up to visit Anchorage for their second winter Alaskan experience. They got to meet David (and Ray and David had a very serious dinner, but we'll get to that later), watch the Iditarod and participate in some of the Fur Rondy festivities. At the end of February, on Leap Day, David purchased his first house! Buying it directly from Mike and Kristen made the process easier for a first time home buyer. And it meant lots of friends to help with both their move and his move. March marked David turning 28! A very nice, responsible age, for a nice responsible adult home owner. He especially celebrated that it brought the last of the snows of an epic winter, 134.5 inches of snow, a new Anchorage record. It is entirely possible that no one was more excited about breaking the winter snow record than him. This spring also brought babies to some of our good friends. Mike and Kristen welcomed their daughter, Samantha, and Chris and Hilary welcomed their son, Arthur. We've had lots of time to play and bond with the little ones and discovered that David has a secret power. His fantastic body heat lures infants to sleep.

Baby Arthur in the sweater Elizabeth knit him.

David lures Samantha to sleep with his radiator like qualities.

  Most of you know that on May 5th 2011 David and I met at a friend's party. This year on Cinco de Mayo David allowed me to believe we were going out to dinner with a friend. Instead I discovered rose petals leading to him sitting at a candlelit dinner of Moose's Tooth (the same as our first date) surrounded by vases of my favorite flowers. After an amazing dinner, we drove to Point Woronzof, one of our favorite  places to take walks, went down on one knee and proposed. I was so excited to say yes that I didn't notice the friend who had hosted the previous party hiding in the parking lot photographing the entire thing. Thus we have beautiful professional photos of one of the best moments of our lives. (And why yes, that was what David and Ray were discussing at dinner.) June brought my 30th birthday. I don't feel old. Not really. But it is very weird to be 30. The summer also brought a unique career opportunity for me. Because of staff turnover, I managed 2 libraries, one of which had no other professional librarians. It was hard work and stressful but a great learning experience. In June I also went to the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim to learn about librarianship and attend more meetings of the Newbery committee.

We ate ALL the fair food, especially the funnel cake. Alaska State Fair, August 2012.

Summer brought the usual fishing experiences and David stepped up and filled the freezer with salmon to keep us going through the long winter months. Hunting was less successful this year due to heavy rains cancelling trips and moose scarcity after the difficult winter. However we had all the usual Alaska summer fun: hiking, the State Fair, and staying outdoors as much as possible. We also took an opportunity this summer to get away for a couple of days and drive the old Denali highway. I got to see the pipeline for the first time and we enjoyed the first of a lifetime of camping trips. Fall had both of us working especially hard. I continued to plug away at reading juvenile fiction while David studied furiously for the Professional Engineering Exam. The last week of October was a nail biter as a confident but still nervous David took the exam. It wasn't until mid-December before he would learn the good news - he passed! David Nicolai is now a PROFESSIONAL MECHANICAL ENGINEER! He is ready to build all the things for you. Unfortunately the fall also brought sorrow. David's family lost his beloved Nana. Angelline Gamache departed this world after 80 years surrounded by generations of family and love she had created. Her legacy will live on for years in the many friends, neighbors, and family members she touched. Aside from the large moments, our life continued in small ways as well. David is still with Coffman Engineers and still playing and refereeing soccer year round. I didn't have as much time to knit this year with my reading duties, but I found a few moments. I also gardened a little, crafted a bit (discovering Pinterest might have been a problem) and baked a lot. We tortured the cats, walked, biked (we both purchased bikes this year), hiked, and enjoyed the company of family and friends whenever possible. We have a lot of plans for 2013. I have a new spinning wheel I can't wait to learn to use. David has a brand new PE license and plans to build. Next year might be the year we both go hunting and we'll see who brings home the moose (or bison or caribou). And of course we'll be planning a wedding for June. We hope you enjoyed your 2012 and especially the 2012 holiday season. Happy New Year from us to you. May your 2013 be amazing, blessed, filled with love and laughter, family and friends. - David and Elizabeth

Happy Holidays - Coffman Engineers Christmas Party, December 2012.

Oh look! Another blog!

So I've started another blog. I should say we, but I'll have to admit this isn't David's favorite project. We've not just started a blog, but an entire website. It started with my weariness with out of the box wedding site options. I have a librarian blog, but that doesn't entirely cover what I want it to. Mostly I can't use it to go on and on about knitting, crafting, doing stuff to the house, travels, etc. A few conversations, facebook posts, and emails later here I am thanks in large part to the generosity of Josh who is hosting this, set it up, and seems not to be afraid to be my first person to call when I get stuck. So here is a new blog. And a new website. It seems fitting as we start our new life together to have this new place together. It's a way for people outside of facebook to see photos, and for us to control or create a digital brand. There's a possibility that David will also post, but I wouldn't hold my breath.