July 2009

Monthly Archive

alaska

Posted by lynn on 22 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina, travel

Hubbard Glacier from Ship

Hubbard Icebergs

We returned from our long-awaited Alaskan cruise on Friday. We traveled with my parents, my sister and her family, and some long-time family friends through perfect weather (sunny nearly the whole time!) and some crazy kid (and adult) moments.

We took loads of photos. I’ve posted some here, but be sure to see our full album of favorites.

Our Favorite Trip Memories, Verbatim

Hubbard Calved BANG!

Hubbard Glacier Calving

Kai – The plane ride. (Really?? It took us over 12 hours to get from San Jose to the ship in Seward!) The “moving” dining room. Getting dessert every day. (Big surprise.) Spending time with my family. (Yay!) Oh, and the glacier was pretty cool.

Melina – Big ship. Big ice. Play. Cows. (Me: But we didn’t see cows in Alaska.) Oh, no cows. (Pause) Why not?

Our Dining Table, First Formal Night

Family, First Formal Night

Joey & Me – (It was so cool we’d be hard-pressed to find a different highlight.) Kayaking near Hoonah alongside a baby humpback that literally played peek-a-boo with our whole kayaking crew for over 90 minutes. At one point he slapped his flippers on the water, over and over, for a good 10 minutes. Even our Hoonah-native guide said she’d never seen such a show.

Cousins on Ship Bunk

Uncle Bob's Game Room

He also got as close as 50ish feet from us and burst his huge open mouth out of the water, straight towards the sky. Watch the video. (And yes, we were a little nervous that he might accidently hit one of the kayaks.) Another whale moment: A few days later we, along with my sis, German, and Melina, saw 2 orcas jumping gracefully in the waters just below our balcony. Our parents were jealous.

Some Funny Moments

Family, Mendenhall Glacier

Hoonah Kayaking

After we put the kids to bed in our teensy cabin each night, Joey and I would usually hop the balcony railing to my parents’ room, where we hung out with Stacie and German, and usually a bottle of wine and extra desserts. On one of the first nights, Kai saw us head out to the balcony after he was in bed. 30 minutes later he decided he “needed” something from us so went outside, and we weren’t there! We heard him crying in the hallway from two doors down. As usual, he hadn’t listened when we said where we were going. He thought we’d fallen overboard.

Skagway (Kai took this)

Bear, Skagway Salmon Bake

One night our parents offered to keep an ear on the kids so all four of us could go “out” on the ship. After a few cocktails Joey and I headed back to the room, where the kids were sound asleep. But when Joey leaned down to cover Melina with a blanket, he saw her bare naked butt staring up at him. Apparently she’d decided it was a bottoms-free night. We did wake her to diaper and jammie her up again. She just looked at us blankly and didn’t say a word.

All in All

Totem Bight, Ketchikan

Cousins, Totem Bight

Alaska itself was fantastic. Spending time with my extended family and the Hindmarshes – and getting to see Uncle Bob for a full day in Juneau – was loads of fun. Traveling with two little kids in such tight quarters, and without a ton to entertain them (especially Melina, who didn’t have a little ocean camp she could attend) was tough.

Fancy Ship Stairs

Dining Room Getaway

And cruising wasn’t really for us. It’s probably one of the most reasonable ways to see Alaska, which has a ridiculous amount of land but very little road system. But I felt like we spent the majority of our vacation on a big floating hotel (because, well, we did) and not immersing ourselves in and amongst the land and people we had come to visit.

happy fourth 233 years of awesomeness

Posted by lynn on 08 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: family, friends, melina

A guest post by Joey

Melina's little flag

Mama and Meli

We had a wonderful fourth of July, marking the 233rd year of this wonderful country. Kai went camping with his mom so the three of us were on our own. Melina met her 2-year old friend Lily at Memorial Park in Albany where other patriotic citizens partook in bouncy castles, rock climbing walls, Polish sausages (sorry hot dogs), and pony rides.

'No pony dada!'

Smile, Dalia!

Melina, excited to ride the ponies, waited patiently in line for about twenty minutes, only to change her mind when daddy tried to hoist her onto the dwarven beast. However, that didn’t stop Lily from enjoying several, 1-mile per hour, 360-degree travel. For some reason, the pony-keeper wouldn’t allow me or James to ride the ponies; something about weight restrictions. Maybe next year?

Look at all that food

Mmm, smoked pork-butt (it's actually cake and ice cream)

Later that day, after Melina met with the sandman for her day-time slumber, we treked back to Albany to Lily’s house for a good ‘ole American fourth of July BBQ party. James and Tracy get gold medals for their BBQ-hosting skills. James smoked a pork-butt and it was ono (delicious in Hawaiian)! Very reminiscent of Hawaiian-style kalua pig that made me a wee bit homesick. For libations he had about four different homemade beers including a black IPA, which tasted like a bitter Guinness, only better.

The kids played, the adults talked, and America is still awesome. We hope your fourth was as awesome as ours.

Connor, Ron, and Meghan, we missed you guys.

new beginnings

Posted by lynn on 01 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: family, friends, melina, work, writing

Cute

Two Tall Chairs (w/ Lily)

The first half of 2009 has been absolutely ridiculous for our family. It started with Joey’s job loss on his first day back in January, and ended with my pregnancy loss just last week. In between we had an insanely expensive pipe break under our house (it was made in 1914 of terra cotta – tree roots finally broke through); a jumbled re-fi (lucky for us, it ended up working to our advantage); Joey’s four-month stint working for a narcissistic madman and his ensuing second job hunt in the worst economy in two generations; uncertainty about my own job; intermittent violence in our neighborhood (at least it’s brought us closer to our neighbors); and lots of little everyday craziness to fill in the gaps.

Corn (w/ Lily)

Nomad Cafe

I’m still dealing with emotions surrounding the miscarriage, and those are either for another post or another medium altogether. But I can guarantee this: The feelings would be infinitely harder to deal with if Joey and I hadn’t both found job stability (and dare I say happiness) in the last month. I realized this over-arching need for security – of both finances and routine – when talking to a friend right around the time our pipe broke and the dishwasher failed. Things break, especially when you own a home. It’s an inconvenience on many levels, but you deal and move on. When you don’t have day-to-day job security (or are miserable in the one you have, or at worst don’t have one at all) everything feels exponentially worse.

Buckets

Two Sibs in a Bed

Overall, things have started to go right for us again. It’s a trend I hope to continue. New (good) jobs, a trip to Alaska in just one week, happiness at preschool, and a more solid conviction that we do want to expand our family (and as a result, likely our house too). To a certain extent, all this is to the future to decide. As long as we’ve found our grounding again, we’ll be fine. And we have. The timing couldn’t be more perfect: The second half of 2009 begins today. Because I’m a firm believer in new beginnings and am slightly superstitious with marks on a calendar, I hereby declare this a special day.

Happy new half-year, to all of us who need to start anew.

Party Hat

Joy's Flower Girl Dress

The photos have little to do directly with this post, other than our children, bio and step, are always new beginnings. One relates a little more directly to special starts. Melina recently received a late birthday present from Linnea and Joy: the dresses they wore as flower girls at our wedding. Melina felt that instead of pink cowboy boots or sparkle shoes (which Joy and Linnea used to accessorize on the big day) she needed Mama’s new hiking hat. Just look at my lovely little girl.