image available for licensing at http://www.stocksy.com/470050
We had the chance to play with puppies a friend is fostering for the Alaska Dog & Puppy Rescue. I'm really not sure how we managed to NOT bring one home. The boys were smitten. I believe both of these have already found homes but two litter mates are still in search of a good home, if you're tempted...
The month of May already seems like a lifetime ago, but I only just now had a chance to go through the images from the joint birthday party Jack had with his dear friend Izzy. Her favorite color is pink, Jack's is red. They both love airplanes, which is not at all surprising given their fathers' occupations. Armed with these details and a whole lot of talent, Izzy's mom Amber whipped up the most darling airplane birthday party you ever did see. (You're not even seeing the half of it here.) She hand folded over one hundred paper airplanes and made (and packaged and hand labelled) the bulk of the food for the party. She hung paper lanterns and blew up beach balls and rearranged the furniture inside and out. She had a vision, and well, it rocked.
Ah, I miss Amber. She has a killer sense of style and knows how to shop like nobody's business. Throughout our time together in Virginia she'd send me a text about a sale I couldn't miss, or a pair of jeans or a bookshelf that I absolutely had to buy. She loves to bake and would often swing by with a (perfectly packaged) sample of her latest creation. She often showed up to play dates with my favorite coffee in hand. In short: everybody should have an Amber in their life.
Amber has talked of setting up a party-planning shop, and if she hasn't already, we'd love to be her first customer -- Dylan has already requested an airplane party for his birthday in January!
I've had a number of requests from friends here -- new and old -- about when I'd be available for lifestyle photography sessions!
How about now? Consider me open for business in the Anchorage bowl.
Give me a call so we can meet to talk about your story -- growing family? graduating? recently engaged? Every story is unique and I want to learn about yours.
Call me at 208-761-6113 or use this contact form.
I learned last week that this image is going to be included in the Plus One Collection iii. The irony, of course, was that this image was taken over a year ago as we were unpacking our household goods in Virginia. Meanwhile here were are again, buried in boxes, this time unpacking in Alaska.
This is the third year of this amazing collection of images put out by the Photographers for Good foundation, but my first time submitting an image for possible inclusion. I was too nervous to submit any images the last two years and am completely honored that my image made the cut.
The Plus One Collection is always a beautiful book of images but more importantly, it highlights the spirit of community that I've so enjoyed on Google Plus. The Plus One Collection iii will benefit Eliza O'Neill. Eliza is the same age as my Dylan, but because of a degenerative genetic disease called Sanfilippo syndome, may not live into her teens. If she doesn’t get the treatment she needs, she will lose the ability to speak within 6 months and suffer irreversible brain damage within a year and a half.
You can help!
Purchase a copy of the Plus One Collection 2013 Photography Book. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/plus-one-collection-iii
Learn more about Eliza, Sanfilippo syndrome, and be a part of the cure. www.curesff.org
The million dollar question has been: when do you leave? Bosses, landlords, family, friends ... have been on indefinite hold because making plans is near to impossible when you can't pin down dates like, oh, When will the house be empty for the new renters? What day should I take off from work so I can see you when you visit Minnesota? What day do you actually start driving to Alaska???
Sorry Charlie, we just don't know yet. This has been the constant refrain.
As of last night, the answer to that question is Friday.
We start driving early Friday morning.
T-minus 3 days.
Want more numbers?
- 21 driving days. 1 of those is more than 7 hours. 4 are just over 6. The rest are less, at least on paper.
- 5 National Parks. Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier in the US; Banff and Jasper in Canada.
- 12 States. Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska
- 2 Canadian provinces + one territory. Alberta and British Columbia plus the Yukon territory.
- 4846 miles.
- 80-something driving hours. According to google maps, but google maps goes a little fuzzy in the Yukon territory. So does wireless coverage in general.
- 4 time zones.
- 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage on average in July.
It seemed like I needed a ukelele for this trip. The boys gave me one for Mother's Day but haven't let me touch it much since. Toddler rules (which are the same as preschooler rules) clearly state: what mine is mine and what's yours is mine. Mine, mine, mine. And so it is. I don't really mind. They've been crooning sweet little songs about our pending adventures which offer me a little bit of insight into the state of their little beings as we gear up for some big changes.
Alaska Kenny, our camper, is looking good. Not renovated airstream good, but good nonetheless. My late uncle Ken always dreamed up greater adventures than his body could ever perform. He talked about buying a boat (and naming it the Christara after my sister and me). He wanted to float down the Mississippi but couldn't ever quite conquer swimming. He dreamed of visiting castles in Europe, but gave up air travel when cigarettes were banned aboard. He always wanted a dog, but. There was always a but. His home was wall-to-wall books and he watched more movies than anyone I've ever known. He rarely left his house. In lieu of ever actually going to the places of his dreams he resigned himself to a life lived vicariously. To that end, he was a great benefactor of the adventures of his nieces or nephews, slipping us an envelope of "fun money" pre-departure. He left us each a small sum of money when he passed and I think he would be happy to know he was able to help fund the camper that will be our home away from home on our drive to Alaska.
Camper interiors are notoriously not lovely. Ours was a hot floral mess of maroon and khaki. My dear friend Amber whipped up these beautiful cushion covers in the week before her own house got packed to go. Did I mention she is a dear? I miss her already.
Probably I need to post more photos of Alaska Kenny. I'd wanted to do a before-and-after reveal of sorts. I'm not sure I can make that happen in the next three days. Three days!!!
Ready, set, .... go! I'm going to be 'grammin our adventures when possible. You can follow along on the hashtag #r2ak
GO! happens to be the theme on which my photography pals are riffing this month. Speed on over to Cherish's site to see her take on GO!
School is out! The school itself is not; the boys' classmates will still attend a few more weeks. Since we thought we'd be packed already, we gave the school notice. Friday was the day.
Goodbyes were said, or not said. The language of goodbye is never easy. Or maybe the language is so simple, it belies the depth of emotion a goodbye is supposed to somehow neatly contain.
Probably I should have perfected my goodbyes by now. In addition to several decades of school farewells and job departures, we've moved four times in the last six years. One of those was merely around the block but the other three crossed state lines.
I come from Minnesota, where saying goodbye is an elevated art form. The Minnesota Goodbye takes a good hour at the door, only to be followed by an hour-long promenade to the car. Even when the car pulls away, both parties are often still yammering their farewells, perhaps a little less so in sub zero temperatures. Still you'd be surprised by the all-weather tenacity of the typical Minnesotan sendoff. Both of my grandmothers were highly skilled in this craft and my dad can rock a pretty impressive farewell. But I could never do it, the painfully extended goodbye. Just rip that bandaid off already! Instead, for many years, I tended toward the the stealth goodbye in social settings. If I hugged you an hour before I left, I would count that as good and slip out the door without another. You may not even have know I was saying goodbye while I said it.
I do everything I can do encourage my boys to express their feelings. But they are still young and invincible. They haven't yet learned to dread goodbyes. I imagine it only gets harder for kids to say goodbye to their friends. At this point they have no idea that the characters of this particular chapter of their story may not ever reappear in the tome of their lifetime.
Dylan has plenty of words at his disposal, but he is an even better reader of faces. He read our faces as his teacher and I encouraged him to give a hug and say goodbye, love. He instead planted himself on the ground and threw a fit about wanting a random carton of milk. Because of course he did. He saw our big moon eyes and knew enough to know this goodbye stuff was serious business. No thanks, I'd just like some milk. He did finally give a hug, so I called it good and we made our way to Jack's classroom.
Jack clearly thought it was weird that his teacher was being so emotive out in the hallway that day. No, I don't want to say goodbye to my class. Okay, fine, I'll say goodbye to my best friend. When his best friend stepped into the hallway he did exactly that. From ten feet away he waved, said Bye, turned on his heel and walked away. That was that. Minutes later in the car, however, he told me he wanted to show her his latest lego creation when he saw her on Monday and my heart sank to the floor.
We just said goodbye and he didn't know it.
Back home Jack delighted in showing his little brother every little pencil, eraser and marker remaining in his supply box. We decided to break out the paints. Painting on paper quickly turned to something entirely else. I fully admit, after seeing Cherish's recent painting-outside-the-box post I'd recently encouraged our own body paint party but I never did capture any photo evidence that day. This time, they were still painting on paper when I went inside to get my camera. When I'd returned, they'd switched canvases all on their own.
Jack likes to follow rules. In his heart of hearts he knew I'd encourage such folly, but there was still that brief deer-caught-in-headlights moment when I stepped back outside.
But he got over it quickly and embraced his wild side.
So we painted, hooted and hollered, wrestled and hugged it out. Perhaps we found a messier way to express some of those not-so-neatly contained emotions that the boys don't yet have context or language for ... and maybe I still don't either.
We move a lot. This is what happens when you're married to a fighter pilot.
I don't mind the moving. Or the pre-move purge of stuff. Or the post-move purge of stuff you can't believe you bothered to move.
I like starting new chapters in our lives, populated with new characters, taking place in new scenes.
The part I don't like is the the part we are stuck in right now. It is the part where this move is one important document shy of being official which means we can't actually get on the mover's schedule. We can't make travel plans to our new home, the new home we don't have because we didn't want to sign anything until this is 100% official.
Minor details that will be forgotten as soon as we get that all-important document.
Any minute now ...