Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alaska: Air Show

While we were driving in to Anchorage on Friday night for our anniversary I happened to notice that there were some really low fast planes flying around. The Blue Angels were practicing for an air show on Saturday! So we checked it out online and found that it was free and went from about 10am to 4pm on Saturday.


Little did we know that deciding to leave at 1pm just to see the Blue Angels at the end was not a wise decision.  We sat in traffic trying to get in for probably almost 2 hours.


We watched some planes from the road, this one was pretty amazing in its maneuvers.


And then by the time we finally found some kind of parking place and walked in... the show started 10 minutes early so we were barely at the entrance and not near the actual show area.


Of course you can see them for miles so we still got to watch!




They really are amazing!


Then mobs of people started leaving and we heard that they were closing down and were bummed that we had wasted our day, but it turned out that only some of the planes on display were closed and we got to walk through a few of them still!


Checking out the seatbelts.  I think this was a regular C-130 type.


Joy would not even look at me she was so enthralled pretending to fly this plane!  Future pilot!

Noah and Shalom

It's pretty exciting to be in the cockpit of such a big plane!



This one was next in line, even bigger, but closed.  They had flown in from all over for the air show.


This C-5 Galaxy is the biggest plane I've ever seen.  We walked through it, and right out a ramp on the other end just like this one.  I'm pretty sure my entire house would have fit inside width wise, and perhaps 2 times lengthwise!


You can sort of see Dahlia and the kids back under the wing next to the wheels...


Unfortunately the line was quite long to go up in the cockpit of this one and then they did close it down too.  It's up under where the nose is tipped up.


The week was catching up with the girls... after another almost hour home in the car this is how they were!


But they perked up again when we got out some paints for them before dinner.  Princess Sophia to the rescue!



Of course after that day it was the night that we stayed up ALL night talking (just the adults) and it was exhausting, but soul refreshing to actually get to talk to friends about life.


The one and only sunrise I saw in Alaska.  In the two weeks we were there they lost an hour of daylight, half in the morning, half at night, but still the sun was coming up at 5:30am and going down at 10:30pm when we left.  The morning one isn't so unusual, but the evening one really threw us all off!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tea Collection Japan: Exclusive Sale

The newest destination for Tea Collection clothing is out and it's inspired by Japan.  Beautiful prints for girls and fun graphics for boys (and girls too).  I've got my eye on this fun robot tee for my middle son!


Right now only readers of this blog get 20% off all Tea branded items on their site with code JUSTFORME20.  You won't find this code on the site so be sure and enter it before you complete your purchase!


Check out all the adorable dresses for girls and these fun tees for boys.  I might have bought another pair of the cargo pants for my son too, he loved them so much last year and amazingly enough the knees didn't wear out all winter.



The sale runs August 24th and 25th only.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Alaska: Life and Anniversaries

Who knew going to Alaska meant I would get to meet up with a ton of old friends I hadn't seen in years.

Amber and I were housemates in the "casita" 15 years ago when we went to Portantorchas together in Costa Rica.  It was fun having breakfast and catching up on where she is now.

Thursdays are homeschool day at Dahlia's house and between the 4 families we had 20 kids there!  It was high school history so all the big kids were downstairs and of course babies don't do Legos, but all the middle group of kids were here.  How do you catch kids?  Apparently put out a big pile of Legos!

Cory found a book with ideas and created this zip line for some Lego guys.  Later there was even fishing line strung between the porch railing and the cabin down below and/or the garage farther down!


I really really couldn't get enough of this view.


Too bad one of the few days we had nice weather was a school day because most days the view looked more like this.


I failed to realize that Alaska summer ends at the first of August so when we arrived they had had weeks of lovely weather and then it rained half the time we were there.  Whoops!  Will plan better next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time!)


Friday the 29th is our anniversary so the kids stayed at the house while Brian and I drove in to Anchorage for the afternoon.  Or I should say evening since it was almost 6pm when we found a parking space, but the light was still throwing me off so badly it felt like mid-afternoon!

Dessert first at the Cake Studio on 4th St.  If you ever get to Anchorage I highly recommend it! This was my vanilla mousse chocolate bomb.  Then some cool art (it's a special trip tradition) from the Sevigny Studio next door, and finally dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse.



There was a very long wait unless we wanted to sit in the bar.  Sometimes it pays to be out without children!  I had fresh halibut and Brian had steak.  Once in a long while a very fancy dinner tastes amazing!  Usually we decide we could have made it better at home for less, but not this time!


After dinner we went down to the "waterfront", if the mud flats can be called that!


The train from Fairbanks was pulling in when we hit the Coastal Trail.  My parents have ridden this a couple times and the colors are so different than the trains we have around here that it was fun to see.

Just for fun we sat and waited for sunset and watched the planes come in.  The airport is off to the left, south of downtown.  I really couldn't believe how incredibly flat the whole bay and valley around Anchorage are.


Unfortunately this is all the sunset we got and below the spot where you can see it, it completely disappeared behind the clouds and didn't give us anymore colors.  But I did notice waaaay off in the distance that you could see a snow covered mountain range.  I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me until I used my zoom lens and could actually see defined ridges.  Too bad we never did get a clear enough day to see Denali.

On the way home we saw a moose on the side of the freeway, but thankfully it didn't decide to cross!  And then we got home at dusk... or 11:30pm!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Alaska: True Vacation

The view from their front windows, I simply couldn't get enough!

I'm not sure it's possible to put into words just how amazing this vacation was for me.  We went to stay with some long time friends at their new home about an hour outside of Anchorage.


I have not seen Dahlia or her kids since we went to visit them in 2008 in Arizona, so neither had she met any of the rest of our kids besides Cory (and David only met Noah briefly just after he was born).  But we have talked on the phone off and on for years and she is so laid back it makes it easy to get along.  Plus we have 4 kids in common!

Noah and Shalom playing mini Uno
After day one, which was us ladies shopping expedition to Costco and Fred Meyer to stock the cupboards for 12 people for 2 weeks we were ready... to relax!


The next day we trekked down to the river, you can see it in the top photo, and played in glacier fed water!


That's the Knik Glacier in the distance, in the middle just above the trees.  Funny enough, the water didn't feel that cold, until we'd been out there an hour or more and had to wade back across the shallows from the sand bar.  Then it was cold!



The boys had a blast playing in the silt.  They made dirt bombs complete with puff flower fuses.


So of course the girls had to copy them.


Macaiah is a rugged mountain man and keeps a canoe in the small lake between the road and the river.  I really think Noah would be just like him if he could... nine year age difference, but he was his little shadow.


Cory also got a turn in the canoe and with more paddling and swimming experience they went down around the point to check and see if the salmon were coming upstream yet.

Discussing the merits of skipping stones with David

Brian spent his weeks with one of his best friends, playing games and nerding out with a new 3D printer.

This vacation really had nothing to do with the place (although yes, Alaska is beautiful) and everything to do with the home of our friends and their welcome of us into it.  Three stories for the girls to roam, tons of new toys, outside adventures (even moose in the yard!), and older kids to help keep an eye on them so I didn't have to be "on guard" very much at all.

Plus just having a girl to talk with every night for many hours, yes once we even saw it get light again.  We were very short on sleep (kids don't go to bed when it's light out!), but my mental exhaustion was so much lessened in those two short weeks.  What a treat!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

And Then We Went to Oregon

After driving by for so many years we were actually relatively early this time (does it actually get easier to pack as the kids get older? someone pinch me!) and on a whim stopped at Multnomah Falls.


The kids were happy to get out and stretch their legs.  It was a little cool.  And in a couple more years maybe we will be able to hike to the very top.  I was there once as a kid!


This time we just went up to the first bridge and checked it all out.


First morning at Grandma and Grandpa's house... a tea party with cousin Cassia and our friend Isha.


There are always plenty of takers if anyone will read a story.


Time for snuggling on Grandpa's new couches!  (which seems to have almost entirely cured my allergies in their house, hallelujah!)


Don't forget swimming in Grandpa's pool!


Cousin Cassia floating all around and Uncle Brian trying to teach cousin William how to kick!


This is the crew, six cousins from 2 to 9, all in the pool!



And that was just the first weekend!