Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alaskan Adventure Part One: Goodbye Seattle, Hello Ketchikan

After all the hoopla in order to make it to Seattle, we left the city nearly as quickly as we arrived.  Early Sunday morning we boarded a shuttle, headed to the dock, and had no problems at all making it on board with plenty of time.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch and a view of the city, and Connor got a chance to check out his new surroundings.

view of the city from the ship while at lunch

our only glimpse of the Space Needle
loving his new home for the week
setting sail for Alaska
The remainder of Sunday and all of Monday were spent at sea, exploring the ship, letting Connor run around (We did have an adorable bat wing "leash" for him which you will see it photos.  He surprisingly loved it, despite it limiting his ability to climb on the rails or leap down the stairs.), eating lots of great food, reading, lounging, and enjoying the onboard entertainment.  Monday evening was a formal dinner, so we were able to get all dressed up and take some family photos.

Vergel, one of our nightly waiters -- Connor loved him.

about to enjoy an onboard show with Cheryl, Andrea, and Aunt Linds

I think he loved the entertainment more than anyone.  He clapped and danced the whole time.

Tuesday morning brought us to our first actual port of call, Ketchikan, Alaska.  Based on the weather as we departed the boat, I was honestly dreading the rest of our Alaskan adventure.  It was cold, raining heavily, and dismal.  We quickly found a free shuttle to take us into town where we looked around at some of the local shops, consulted our maps, and decided what we most wanted to see: Creek Street, totem poles, and lumberjacks, an interesting combination.

greeted by rain in Ketchikan

I was unaware until arriving in Ketchikan that this part of Alaska is a rainforest, and I was pleasantly surprised by all of the beautiful flowers growing everywhere.  Beautiful totem poles also graced the entrances to the park.

Of everything in Ketchikan, the most beautiful to me was Creek Street.  The creek itself was amazing, covered with the brightest moss I have ever laid eyes on.  The shops were adorable, and walking down the wooden walkway above the creek instantly lightened my mood after walking in the rain all morning.

The final outing in Ketchikan was to see a lumberjack show.  It sounds rather strange, but these guys are the real thing, some of them competing on ESPN in some pretty instense events.  I wasn't expecting to be impressed, but all of us (Jason, Connor, Linds, Jordan, Dad, and Randy) walked away having had an amazing, entertaining time.  The skills and strength of the men was astounding, and after each event, Connor would yell out, "Again! Again!"  He was the most enthralled of all and stayed attentive the entire time.  I loved seeing him so excited, but will not be necessarily encouraging him in to the world of lumberjack sports.

By the time we made it back to the ship, got dry and headed to the top level of the ship, things had cleared up enough to truly appreciate the beauty of Ketchikan.

gorgeous Ketchikan

Despite the ominous start, our first real day in Alaska was amazing, preparing us for what was to come the next day at Tracy Arm, truly one of the most breathtaking sights these eyes have beheld.  Lots of photos of the glacier and surrounding mountains in my next post!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pre-Alaskan Adventure: At the Airport and (Not So Much) Seeing Seattle

Normally, I wouldn't spend the majority of a blog post about the parts prior to a vacation, but our pre-Alaska experience was something I knew I wanted to document, and it was certainly not a forgettable day.

I had been, honestly, a little anxious (and I am not a worrier, typically) about the flight, mainly because it was Connor's first experience in the air, and I wasn't sure how he would react and if he would bother the other passengers in such a confined space.  Adding to my stress was the fact that Jason would not be flying with us. (It is a long story that only he can tell, but in essence he is terrified of flying, decided to take an Amtrak train, which was shut down due to flooding, and ended up spending over two days getting to Seattle on several buses...and yet he STILL managed to get there before we did.)  Not having my best bud, partner, and Connor-wrangler there to help out in case of a meltdown was upsetting, but luckily I had lots of family to take his place.

Connor, in his carseat, pre-plane drama

Our flight on Saturday morning was supposed to leave at 6:30 (CDT), so we were up by 4 (Happily, we had spent the night with Jason's parents and were already in Lville.) and on our way to the airport by 4:50.  Everything went smoothly: security, finding milk for Connor, using his Beco carrier so I had two free hands for luggage, boarding the plane, sitting near family in case Connor wanted to move about.  That is, UNTIL we were about to take off.  The plane had a malfunction in one of its flaps (I must point out that I am VERY thankful they found the problem before we took off.) and after lots of waiting were asked to deboard.  The plan would take several hours to fix, and we were all moved to different flights.  Our 7:30 flight was then moved to 2:55, which meant we would be spending the next 7+ hours in the Louisville airport.  Connor ran off some energy in an empty gate area, played with his trucks, napped on my arm (which never fully regained feeling that day), and enjoyed a Starbucks muffin.  He actually handled the wait better than the rest of us, I believe (except for some folks who slept most of the day away on the airport carpet).

After a lengthy wait, the second plane was boarded and took off with no issues.  It turned out that my fear of Connor's reaction was completely unfounded, because he LOVED flying.  His ears never seemed to bother him, and he was mostly content to look out the window and say "clouds" and "wing" over and over again.  I can't say enough about what a trooper he was that whole day.  I was so proud of him, as well as relieved that I wasn't "that" mom with the screaming kid on the plane.

enjoying a snack before his first flight
totally relaxed in mid-air

The only upside to the delay was that this is what was awaiting me at the airport:

After such a long day, Jason surprised Connor and me at the airport with flowers and gifts.  It was the best sight.

The other main downside to the delay in the airport was that instead of arriving in Seattle at 12:55 and having the entire day to sightsee, we instead arrived at after 8 p.m. and were unable to see anything but the airport and our hotel.  After doing research on the city and knowing how many wonderful things there were to do, it was a big disappointment.  Instead, we ordered pizza and cheesesticks and went to bed.

Jason, however, was able to spend the entire day touring the city, and he showered me with a few goodies out of pity:

Jason definitely knows the ways to my heart.

chocolate, coffee, and vanilla macarons from Le Panier in Pike Place Market
 So, as you can see, lots happened before we even made it to the ship.  Upcoming posts include: Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, and Vacation Food.  :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I have been a bit absent from the blogging world for the past week or so...but I have a good reason.

Jason, Connor, and I, along with both our families (my parents, his parents, both our siblings, my Gran, Gma and Gpa Egnew), as well as some church and local friends and acquaintances, were on the trip of a lifetime.  We started in Louisville (LONG airport story to post soon), headed to Seattle where we boarded a beautiful boat for Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia.

There are way too many photos, stories, and memories for one post, so I'll probably space it out over several, but as Jason is still on his way home (another story) and he has the camera, I suppose the best I can do for now is steal my favorite picture that my sis took to give you a little preview of what is to come.

Tracy Arm Fjord
 This was easily the most breathtaking vacation I have ever taken. While it was certainly not the typical beach-lounging summer vacation, I feel blessed to have seen the beauty of God's creation, untouched, it in many places, by human hands.  It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so thankful for our families for helping to make it possible.  Jason, Connor, and I shared a very special vacation with some of our favorite people, and I cannot wait to share the photos and stories with you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Facts and Photos

This week has felt like the first "real" week of summer.  We have spent much of our time this week at home, enjoying our little family, and it has reminded me how blessed I am to have this time off with Connor and Jason.  Here's a little recap of our week:

Much of Saturday was spent around the house, playing outside with Connor, playing inside with Connor, doing laundry, etc..., but that evening I went (without Jason and Connor, but with my parents and Linds) to a wedding.  It was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the decor was lovely (as you will see below).  We spent much of the evening with Aunt Mary Beth and Uncie (my name for my Uncle Alan) and we had a great time, especially during cake time.  Aunt MB, Linds, Mom, and myself are all pretty big fans of a good wedding cake, so with our skills we were able to try all four flavors.  We may have overdone it a bit, but it was worth it.

Sunday was spent enjoying our time at church, especially since it was Youth Sunday at RSUMC.  Each skit, song, and testimony was special and heartfelt.  It s always refreshing to see a service conducted by young people, with their endless energy, creativity, and transparency.  Several of the students shared very personal stories of difficult times in their lives; it was inspiring.  Sunday afternoon was spent relaxing and playing outside...Connor's favorite spot.

Monday was another day simply spent at home.  Jason spent much of the day beginning the packing process for Alaska (Connor and I have been packed for about two weeks now.), and I'm not sure whether Connor and I hindered or helped him, but we had a fantastic time together as a family just hanging out.  A HUGE milestone was reached on Monday.  Connor, who has seemingly been boycotting food for weeks, ate THREE entire meals and TWO snacks, all without being coerced or forced.  It was amazing, and as a parent, so relieving.  I know that he will "eat when he's hungry" but it's nice when he actually does eat and seem to enjoy it without being threatened to stay in his high chair forever.  Maybe I should have figured this out sooner but the biggest revelation has been that even though it takes WAY longer and is often messier, Connor really prefers to feed himself.  He is pretty coordinated with a fork at this point, but any foods that need a spoon usually end up everywhere.  (On a side note, he doesn't like for his hands to be dirty, so I am constantly wiping them for him. Who knew I would have such a neat boy on my hands?)  It has been difficult at times for me to hold back and let him do things himself when I know I can help him do things faster, but he needs that independence, so pray that I can continue to let this process happen, and that he will continue to eat well.

Also on Monday, Connor enjoyed a play date with Gavin, while I enjoyed some girl time with Lindsay and Elizabeth.  They met me at Mom and Dad's house, and we spent much of the afternoon lounging in the pool.  Despite applying sunscreen, I managed to scorch my shoulders. It is Friday and they still hurt.  Despite that, we had a great time.  The kids loved the water, and I loved chatting it up with two of my best and oldest friends.

Tuesday was a special day, because it was the aniversary of Jason's and my wedding.  We have now been married for eight years.  I love him even more today than I did all those years ago, and I wouldn't trade one second of being married to him.  He is a wonderful partner and friend, and it has been extra special to see what a wonderful father he is.

June 14, 2003
Our anniversary started out wonderfully.  Mom had invited me to go with her and my gran to get pedicures, which was a welcome treat (Thanks, Mom!).  We had a great time together, and the pedicure was great.

The second part of the day was more bittersweet.  A young man who is very dear to Jason and myself (and who was a part of Ono, my home church, where Jason was also the youth pastor) lost his mother, and we headed to the funeral home on Tuesday afternoon.  Funeral homes, I am certain, are not anyone's favorite place, but I am always nervous about what to say, being sensitive to the family, etc..., and it is always a miserable experience for all involved.  I understand the concept of being supportive and paying respect, but from all my experiences of losing loved ones, all those hours at the funeral home are very draining, and no matter what anyone says, someone you love is gone.  It was especially difficult because of this young man's age and how much he means to Jason and myself.

Tuesday evening Mom and Dad volunteered to watch Connor so Jason and I could have an anniversary date.  We hadn't actually planned anything because of the upcoming vacation, so Jason picked up some Mexican food for me, Sonic for himself (with a surprise grape slush for me), and we hung out and watched tv before heading back to pick Connor up.

Wednesday was another homebody day for us, which is quickly becoming my favorite type of day.  Jason ran some errands, but most of the day was spent together.  Jason commented to me at the end of the day: "Connor was sweet today."  It was true.  He ate well (again!), he was in a great mood all day, he played all day even though he couldn't go outside because of the rain, and he was very cuddly.  All in all, it was a great day.

Thursday was a busy day.  Luckily, however, Connor decided to sleep in later than usual (7:45), so I was able to get myself completely ready before he even woke up.  We ran errands in Jamestown, Russell Springs, and Columbia before heading to Cafe on the Square for lunch with a college roommate, Laura Dickinson Burwash.  The food was wonderful at the Cafe (as always), and the conversation was fun.  We spent and hour and a half just catching up and making plans to spend more time together.  Connor was, of course, restless after a while and began wiggling, throwing his trucks, trying to grab my water glass, etc..., but luckily Laura has a little boy, too (precious, 1 year-old Ty), so she was very understanding.  :)  On our way home, Connor and I stopped by Expressions from the Heart bakery for a little treat, an almond vanilla cupcake.  It was amazing (see below.) After playing the rest of the afternoon away outside, Gran was kind enough to watch Connor so I could go to kickboxing for some much-needed exercise.  It was a long but wonderful day.

almond vanilla cupcake from Expressions from the Heart

This morning (Friday) was a sleepy one.  Connor, in a very rare occurance, woke up twice last night, screaming both times.  The first time I changed his diaper and put him back down.  He slept for about 45 min., and then woke up shrieking again at about 2 a.m.  This time I took up a sippy of milk, let him have a snack (even though he ate really well yesterday, he seemed hungry), and he finally went back to bed for good and slept until 7 this morning.  While he awoke totally rested, I, on the other hand, have been feeling draggy all day.  I am trying to get in gear while he naps, though, so I can finish a few little odds and ends in reference to packing and organizing the house.  Seattle/Alaksa will be here before we know it!

Random happenings of the week:

- For the first time I can remember, I actually won something!  My friend Melanie, from Sarcasm and Curls had a Mary Kay giveaway, and shockingly, I was the winner (I don't have much luck usually.).  She mailed me three gorgeous eye shadow colors (lilic, darker purple, and a shimmery shade), eye makeup remover, and eye primer.  I had never used eye primer before, but this formula truly has made my shadow colors last longer, so I was very impressed.  I also love all of the shadow colors, and the eye makeup remover has come in very handy, because getting mascara off at the end of the day is always a hassle.

- Connor is no longer just obsessed with tractors, but trucks now, too.  He even wants to take his little Tonka trucks to bed...along with his guppy (blanket), Muno, monkey, and froggy.  He whined when I wouldn't let him, but I had to draw the line somewhere.  It's not like he sleeps in a king bed.

- The monkey (mentioned above) is a fuzzy brown creature wearing a blue and brown striped sweater, and Connor has dubbed him "Monchie." I think it's just a mispronunciation of monkey, but it's adorable to hear him say.  :)

- Jason informed me that when Connor follows him to the bathroom, he waves bye-bye to the pee as it goes down the toilet.  A little weird, but too cute not to share.

- We have been trying to prepare Connor for his first plane and boat rides, and every time we mentioned riding a plane or boat, Connor yells out, "Me too!"  Not sure he'll be so excited when it actually happens, though.

Photos from the week:

mastering the art of using a fork


"By George, I think I've got it!"

wanted to wear Daddy's belt

favorite new trucks -- Gran got them for .25 at a yard sale

vroom, vroom
Daddy and Connor relaxing


almost 21 months old

This has been his favorite pasttime for the last two days.

watching Gabba in bed with Mommy on Thursday morning
Praying everyone has a blessed weekend!