As of now we don't know for sure when we will be moving but it will likely be in September, only a few short days/weeks after baby boy is born. Logistically, this move is going to be rough. When I think about moving all of our stuff, a newborn, and three cats 4,000+ miles while it's already going to be SNOWING up there I kind of want to curl up into a fetal position. I basically did that Tuesday night. I ate a giant brownie for dinner, sat in a hot bath for an hour, and zoned out on TV.
A part of me is so excited for this amazing adventure and opprotunity. We love the outdoors, and for 5-6 months out of the year Alaska will be perfect. So much hiking, kayaking, skiing, and running to do! The northern lights will be breathtaking. Having a Moose in your front yard is a regular occurrence. Road trips to see visit Anchorage, Mount McKinley (Denali to Alaskan natives) and some of the local hot springs are already on the agenda. During the Summer it is light 18-22 hours a day there. They have 5k's and festivals at 10 p.m. at night since it's totally bright and sunny out. The highs get up to an average of 75 in the summer (but they've hit 90 before.)
However, true to my obsessive personality, I am already stressed over how difficult the winter months will be. I've never driven in snow. I'm not even bothering to bring my car up there as it's 8 years old and would have to be 'winterized' to even survive being parked outside for a night up there. The days in winter do get very, very dark. In December there's an average of 4-5 hours of sunlight a day. The average low from October-February is -15. It's not unusual for it to be in the -40s. I'm going to have to spend a small fortune on winter clothes. I own one light jacket.
While the military will move our stuff for us I've heard enough horror stories about their services that we will be doing the move ourselves. Packing and loading up a UHaul here shouldn't be too much of an issue as I'm going to start packing now while I still can, and we have friends and family to help load. Travis will drive the UHaul and cats up there while I stay with my parents for a few weeks before flying up once he's arrived.
We have no idea where we will live. We'd both prefer on post but have no idea what the wait time is (could be up to a year!) There are so few rentals available off post and almost all that we've found don't allow pets. The off post rentals are so, so, so expensive. They will far exceed his housing allowance (especially when the average winter electricity/heating bill is $600+ a month.) I dread the thought of living in a hotel room with two adults, a newborn, and three cats but it looks like that may be the case for a few weeks until we can find something.
This year was supposed to be my turn for us to spend Christmas at my parents. It's going to be so hard to have my first child, and immediately move away from my family. Obviously I signed up for this when I married into the military, but the timing still stinks. I know our time in Alaska will go by quickly so I do plan on making the most of it. I'm looking forward to living in a place many people dream of visiting. Hopefully, I'll get up there, fall madly in love with the area, and look back at all this worrying I've done and laugh.
Any tips on what I need to buy for a winter wardrobe? Anyone ever lived in/visited Alaska? What other 'must do/see' things are there?