Saturday, July 24, 2010

Alaska 2010 - Day 6

The long ride home...  It was hard leaving this morning...

I'm not good at good-byes to begin with, but this one was really hard.  I love that my sister and her family have moved to Alaska and are experiencing new things everyday.  I love that someday, Fin will have strange memories of moose, touching salmon, roasting caribou hot dogs over the fire pit, and seeing wild horses...  I love that Em and Karlin are learning a completely different way of life - and find joy in the midst of it. I love that they make friends so easily and nurture those close relationships to become their family away from home.  I love seeing them thrive in a whole new world.  And I love getting to visit their home - the love and joy and warmth that makes them who they are.

But when I come home, I miss them.

My sister and I were not the closest of siblings for so many years - that now that I consider her one of my closest friends, I miss her and wish she was here.  I wish we could go out for cosmos and theatre, cook dinners together, visit the farmers market, have family dinners, and tease each other and laugh together on a more regular basis...  I wish I could play in the mud with Fin more often and share our pool with her...

All of these things make it hard to say good-bye...  I love you, Em.  I'm proud of you - of the wife, mother, and friend that you are.  Of the amazing life you are creating.  Of the adventures you're not afraid to have! 

Even as I came home tonight - I'm already thinking of when I'll be able to visit again...  And it can't come soon enough!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alaska 2010 - Day 5

So, today Karlin took the day off of work to spend with us...  So what do we do?  We go fishing, of course!

We woke up, ate breakfast, and headed to the small - and I do mean SMALL - town of Hope, Alaska.  Heck, I would have visited just for the name's sake!

We stopped first at Tito's Discovery Cafe for lunch...  A crazy little local diner with amazing wrap sandwiches and fresh, delicious pies!  Service was slow and a little nutty - but the food was well worth it!

By the time we were all fed, Karlin was chomping at the bit to do some fishing!  While Karlin walked ahead to find his perfect fishing spot, Em, Fin and I meandered behind.  Fin was the first to notice the huge mud puddles... and this is how it went:

"Hi, I'm Finley.  I'm cute as heck and ready for today's Alaskan adventure."
"But before we go anywhere else...  I must tell you about this glorious mud puddle!"
"It's ooey gooey and wet.  And I love it."
"Ok.  Let's go see what other treasures we can find now!"

I wasn't quite sure how exciting a fishing trip would be today...  Seeing as I don't fish...  But it really was a fun day.  The scenery was beautiful, as always, and it was fun watching all the people out there fishing.  They each had their own ways of doing things, their own perfect spots, and there were lots of families with funny kids!  A very cool experience.

Of course, this is kind of a typical family day for Em, Karlin, and Fin.

Playing in the mud.

Daddy catching fish.

Family posing with the fish...  too funny!
(Aren't they cute?)

Fin losing steam and taking a rest.

And to top it all off...  Wild horses.  Awesome.

What a day!  I'm exhausted.  It's been a whirlwind week.  But I'll be so sad to go home tomorrow...  It sure has been fun!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alaska 2010 - Day 4

So, today was a little quieter...  A little more low key.  But that's not to say there wasn't an adventure!

We spent most of the morning lounging around the house.  Em made a wonderful breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes - always a good start to the day!  And Fin cooked several courses for us with her play foods and utensils - pizza, cake, pizza, more cake, and there may have been some cookies... 

In the early afternoon we got the call that I could go up in a plane that day!  We got dressed and waited for Karlin to come home to watch Fin so Em and I could have our daily adventure.  They have a gentleman from their church who has a small Cessna plane and loves to take people up and show them the beautiful mountains and glaciers. So cool!

We arrived to the cleanest hangar I have ever seen!  Everything was neat and spotless - and the plane itself was perfect.  We got to help do the walk-around and check everything out - he taught us all kinds of things about the plane itself.

Then we got in, and he walked us through all the checks he does before take-off.  (I always thought it would be fun to have a pilot's license, but after watching all this, and seeing all the dials, buttons, and levers in the cockpit - I think I'll settle for being a passenger!)

Once we had clearance for take-off, off we went! 

Em gave me the front seat, since she's done this before - so here's the one pic of her in the plane, before I handed her my camera to record the event!

Leaving the airport...  The pilot asked me if I'd ever been in a plane this small...  I hesitated to answer, "Yes. Twice.  But both times I jumped out of the plane."  He smiled and shook his head...  Yep.  I'm a nut.  I promised not to jump this time.


So much to see...



And more incredible glaciers...  We got SO CLOSE to the sides of those mountains.  So cool.

On the way back to the airport, I got to take the controls for a bit!  Oh geesh.  Kind of fun.  Back at the airport, we got a couple of pictures, and then used our big girl muscles and pushed the plane back into the hangar.  Kind of fun to say you moved a plane...  Ha ha ha.

I think I was on an adrenaline rush the rest of the day...  I love going up in planes to begin with...  But this was awesome.  I felt like I was living someone else's life for a few brief moments.  Like I was in an episode of "Wild America" or something.  This was an experience I never would have dreamt of having...  And I'm so thankful  that Em and Karlin made it happen!  So cool.

So once I settled down, we enjoyed a fun night at the house.  We had a fun dinner of roasting caribou hot dogs over the fire pit - even one of the neighbor kids came over for this fun dinner!  (And of course, while the fire was warm, we enjoyed some smores for dessert!)  Then, we played lawn games til 11pm - because it was actually sunny!  Yep.  During the plane ride in the afternoon it was pretty overcast...  But about 8:30pm the sun came out, there were rainbows in the sky, and I swear it felt a little warmer!  So we took advantage of it and played in their backyard til 11pm!
(Playing "corn hole.")
(That's me and Megan from next door - throughout the game we were referred to as Minnesota Meg and Alaska Meg.)
(Fin was having her own fun, playing in the dirt...)
(Even though this evening was the warmest and sunniest it had been the whole time I was there - Fin decided everyone needed their winter hats...  It is Alaska afterall...)
(Em and Karlin... what a nice looking couple, huh?)

Here's a picture of their living room at 10:30pm.  Yep - sun streaming in the windows!  You'd think it was 3pm.  The sun was setting around 11:30pm while I was there.  My bedroom had the blinds closed and a blanket over them - no problem.  I had no trouble sleeping!

Another day down - I'm already thinking I can't wait to come back!
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