Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well, last week we finally received our much wished for snow. Across two days we poked into the 20's and about 11 inches of snow fell. The roads were pretty nasty but the warmth was wonderful.  Becky and Henry decided against running some non-pressing errands and instead suited up for a walk around the neighborhood.

Henry loves the snow. He loves watching it fall with his face pressed against the window and he loves tracing his mitten  through the drifts. Occasionally he'll face-plant into a drift and that will bring a slight fuss, but it passes fairly quickly.

Becky let him lead the way through our complex, and predictably he made right turns toward Baxter elementary school. Considering that school was in session, Becky and Henry couldn't check out the sledding hill, but they had plenty of fun climbing on the large hill of plowed snow.


After a little while Becky knew the chill and nap were approaching and that it was time to head home. Henry only knew that left turns took you home, and home is not where he wanted to be. As mommy directed him left, the fuss and tears broke out. He did finally get wrangled back home, was quickly unlayered, and descended into a nap minutes later. He's a fulfilled, snowy guy.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

After snapping some 17 month photos of Henry and adding a few more fun pictures while sledding on Sunday, our camera decided to start complaining about a memory card error. We're still not sure whether the card died or if the camera has problems. We do hope we didn't lose that handful of new photos though. I'm sure it will sort itself out, but for now we have a "17 months + 4 days" picture of Henry. When Grammy and Grandpa Turek make it up here in a few weeks there will be plenty more sledding photos to take. All is well.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saturdays With Daddy ended at noon as always with goodbyes, waves, and promises to come by next week. Henry always has a good time and it flows nicely into lunch when we get home. The temperature had made it to a few degrees above 0 and the sun was clearly shining across the Chugach range.

I turned off of UAA drive and onto Northern Lights and headed east. There were not too many cars on the dry and slightly glazy road. Across the road to my left I quickly noticed a large cow and bull moose trotting directly towards me. They were in the median when I marked them. I let off the gas, pushed the brake, and quickly noticed the moose calf sprinting ahead of the other two. I gave the brakes all I had and hoped for the best.

It was not to be.

The calf line up perfectly with the driver's side door and hit my 5mph traveling 4Runner. I yelped, "Dammit", as what sounded like some 2x4's clunked into my door. I slid ahead and began rolling again as I watched in my mirror the moose rise, place 4 legs on the ground, and then limp into the woods. Traffic resumed, all moose vanished, and Henry remained silent.  He's a tough guy.

I ended up denting Becky's door and chipping some plastic off the running board. The moose looked shaken up, but would be fine.We were fine and are stuck with only cosmetic repairs. It's annoying, but could have been worse in many different ways. Welcome to winter in Alaska.

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December Doom

We knew it was a possibility when we left the house on Sunday, but we hoped it would not come to pass.

We attempted a slow meeting with Santa while we held Henry and stood with him, and that did go well. Our guess was that there was a rapidly ticking clock once Henry hit Santa's lap solo, and we were correct.

Here is the best photo:

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And then we quickly hit the wall. More here.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving at Randy and Kelly's in Chugiak is always a warm and festive event. Aside from bringing green been casserole and pumpkin pie, we were tasked with bringing winter clothes. There would be a fire and the highs for the day were slated to be 9 degrees.

In what is becoming an annual tradition, we end up snapping the Turek family Christmas picture on Thanksgiving. The picture below was part of that effort, though it did not make the final cut. However, we do look very happy in the single digit temps. Hey, the sun is out and the roads are dry so there is little to complain about.

As for the final picture choice, keep an eye on your mailbox.

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They key in taking the Henry show on the road is being dynamic and flexible. We brought the pack and play along with the high chair and arrived at noon where we promptly fed Henry to maintain his eating schedule. Dinner was slated for 2:30 or so which put us in the sweet spot for Henry's 2pm nap. Henry went down on time at 2:15 but thanks to the new surroundings, he woke up right in the middle of dinner. Fair enough. He didn't want to miss the big dinner. Full set of pictures are here.

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Thanks to the remnants of an old dog house and a plethora of varnished trim, the fire roared with warmth and crackling noises that effectively killed the 3 degree temps for a comfortable 10 foot radius. Henry didn't even develop rosy cheeks.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sometimes Henry is a bit overzealous when it comes to helping Daddy. He's not old enough to have a filter that properly balances desires, abilities, and teamwork. He lets it flow when the spirit moves him.

He learns new things everyday and we praise 99% of them. For the 1% of things that garner a "Mommy and Dad say no" response, he merely stops and tries those things again later with a more sneaky approach. The good things are encouraged and tend to make random appearances in Henry's repertoire.

On Wednesday night I cinched up the kitchen garbage bag, announced that I needed a helper to get the bag to the door, and then promptly handed the bag to a smiling Henry before watching him pull it to the door. It was 0 outside and even though I was in a t shirt, I decided not to put on a jacket -- it's only 30 feet to the garbage cans. 

I shuffled to the cans, dropped in the bag, jogged back to the door, and found it locked. Henry can reach the doorknob and knows that when the door closes, Mom and Dad lock the door. So he locked it. Becky soon realized the issue and we had a good laugh as she unlocked the door.

Henry can now lock the doorknob, quickly. Duly noted.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

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It is all about pointing and helping here.

When I arrive home I crack open the door and barely peek my eyes into the room as I hear Becky prepping Henry with numerous "Who's coming?" questions. I step in confidently, smile, and say, "Hi Henry!" He may or may not smile in response, but he will certainly point. This pointing is often in a random direction -- the snow outside, the stereo, the kitchen light, etc. He notices something and needs immediately to share it. He'll then walk up to me, smile,  let me give him a hug and a kiss, and finally point to the smoke detector above the door. He loves anything that beeps.

Yesterday he sat sweetly in my lap, paid close attention to the story I was reading (fifth story in a row actually), and then turned up to me with a warm smile. It was extremely charming. He then reached up with his finger quickly and aimed in such a way that it went right under my glasses and nailed my eye cleanly. I flinched and was fine. Thanks, Hank. His world is getting more identifiable and he wants us all in on the journey.

He's also a big helper these days, though often helper is defined as touching and getting in the way of as much as possible. It's the price of doing business. Anytime we are cooking, have tools out, or are even paying bills at the table, Henry is an integral part. He's involved and 99% of the time that is great. As shown below, if I empty and cinch up the garbage and verify that nothing is leaking or apt to tear the bag, I simply tell him to take the garbage out. He quickly drags it to the front door.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Becky kept asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday -- anything special, a certain food, a certain cake perhaps? We were in the midst of a glut of leftovers and Halloween candy, so I pushed a birthday request for yellow cake with chocolate frosting to a following weekend. As for an activity, I chose sledding at the small hill at the neighboring grade school.

The sled was new and needed to be broken in. Also, Henry's snow pants aren't getting any looser, so we need to use them as often as possible.

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The hill is very mellow and he loved it. After about 6 runs it became obvious that the hill was very smooth and steady, so we decided to push our luck. We laid him flat in the sled, gave a gentle push, and watched him zip solo down the hill. Call DCFS if you'd like, but he smiled the whole trip down.

After some time on the swings and the slides at the playground, coupled with endless pointing at the planes buzzing through the sky, we called the hour complete. After having his gear stripped off back home, within minutes he had his burp rag in hand and a finger pointed up the stairs. His nap demand was quickly met.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

There were many ways to measure success on Henry's first Halloween (we're not counting last year because it consisted mostly of Henry drinking his bottle while wearing a bear suit as The Thing From Another World flickered on the tv). At a base level, he kept the spider suit on, did not try to eat any of it, and refrained from jerking on any of the legs. He even ran around Randy and Kelly's home wearing it with a certain spring in his step. The evening began with some momentum.

As much as I was enjoying watching Son of Frankenstein on TCM on the HD tv, dusk was threatening and we soon found ourselves gearing up for our march through the Chugiak subdivision. It was 20 degrees outside yet completely wind free -- as comfortable as it will get for an Alaskan Halloween.

As we shuffled up snow patched driveways we settled into a routine. I would set Henry down in front of the door, Becky would thread his arm through his trick or treat bag, I would then step back in support of a teetering Hank (his boots, while warm, are currently a little large), and finally Becky would give the doorbell a poke.

"Trick or Treat!," the proud parents said. Henry stared up politely.

"Oh you are such a cute little spider." Henry stared up politely.

"Thank you," we would say. Henry just continued his gaze up towards the new, smiling adult.

I would then produce the warm blanket and wrap him up as if he was James Brown himself at the slow point of a big song. I would pick up our little Godfather of Soul and hold him close, warming him up as we walked to the next house. Becky kept a handle on the candy, visited with the neighbors she knew, and praised how good a sport Henry was being.

Overall Henry enjoyed the travel and new faces. He may not have been bursting with glee, but the guy was obviously being a great sport.

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After about 8 homes we found ourselves hitting the 16 degree/ 45 minute mark, so we decided to wrap it up and not tempt Henry's demeanor too strongly. However, the largest test remained -- Uncle Randy.

Henry has warmed up to Randy a great deal and no longer fears the mustache, though I still wouldn't bet too heavily on that phase being gone for good. We propped Hank up solo on the Barnes porch, rapped on the door, and stepped back with digital camera in hand.

Despite the glimmer of trouble in the photo below, Henry did not produce a trembling lip. He ended the evening a champ through and through.

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To the winner go the spoils.

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All the Halloween pictures are here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Even if the snow and single degree morning temperatures were not enough of a sign, the cooking around our home is a clear indicator that winter is here. The Alaskan winter is long and dark, so you ought to have a few indoor hobbies to get you through. We cook quite a bit, but in the winter we drift towards longer recipes and more experimentation.

Becky has enjoyed a few cooking classes here in town and set out to remake the Beef Bourguignon from her Julie and Julia class. The results were fantastic and we enjoyed the dish for several days. It's now firmly in our rotation of meals (though I will continue to pick out the mushrooms, thank you).

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making Christmas cookies is a firmly entrenched tradition at our home. Hailey was involved from the beginning, and Lesley is now part of the team. That all takes place in another 5 weeks or so. This past weekend Hailey came over for a Halloween preseason event -- same cookies, different cut-outs, different decorations, same delicious taste.

Henry loves when the house bubbles with activity and loved the sprinkles Hailey passed to him even more. We carefully kept the frosting away from his reaching hands and lined up the drying cookies on the counter. The Christmas cookie plan is currently slated to double the volume of Halloween, so Henry better get geared up for that one.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Becky's birthday passed with a delicious dinner at Simon & Seaforts in downtown Anchorage and thanks to an early reservation we found ourselves with a window seat looking out towards Sleeping Lady and the chilly, bright sun. Due to our specification that this was a birthday celebration, the staff littered the table with small festive decorations. Henry tried to eat them, which is why they were quickly moved out of his ever growing reach.

Henry wanted nothing to do with Mom's steak, yet he wanted everything to do with Dad's crab and macadamia stuffed prawns. He went to town on the rich, succulent meat as well as the savory rice. He has rejected halibut in the past, but today is a new day. Hank created a cyclone of crumbs as one might expect, but after a tasty dinner and a few spoonfuls of dessert, Mom and Dad pronounced the dinner a success for everyone. Becky did not have to endure a public birthday song and her creme brulee went down wonderfully.

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The snow came this morning ensuring a White Halloween as usual. Henry's costume is not simply a spider, but a "very busy spider." The Very Busy Spider is one of his favorite books, so thanks to Mom's handiwork, he's in business. The dry run went well around the living room last night -- nothing was tugged, torn, or attempted to be eaten. Tomorrow night we'll take the live show on the road to Chugiak for the candy score.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

"Chase Henry" is the number one game around here. This video captures the joy in the game as well as a bit of the Halloween spirit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We're in the middle of October which means that the temperature is dropping, the snow is sticking, and pumpkins are being carved. Saturday Lesley spearheaded an evening of brats, carving, and apple crisp out in the Barnes' garage in Chugiak.  As it worked out I was the speed carver, which was interesting considering I had a great deal of help from Henry in endlessly reinserting the top of the pumpkin while I attempted to cut away at the design. He was very involved and really enjoyed playing with the slippery pulp. The dude was slated for a bath the next day so we let him have at it.

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I opted for a very basic design -- a hand reaching out of a tombstone. In hindsight it would probably have worked much better on a taller, narrower pumpkin, but I danced with the wide date I had brought. It turned out well enough, though the more I glance at it, the more I see a palm tree. Hawaii is closer than we think so we'll call it a harbinger of sorts. What I know for sure is that Hank really digs being able to look onto the deck and see a flickering light illuminating it.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

If there is a happy byproduct of a sad visit to Wisconsin, it's that the Henry was able to visit with family that otherwise wouldn't see him as often (3000 miles is pretty far). Folks from nearby Wisconsin to northwest Indiana gassed up their vehicles and headed to Coloma to visit with and chase the giggling boy through the Wisconsin fall colors. I have never been this magnetic, but then again I am no Hank.

Here is the photo dump from that trip.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Henry's journeys through Wisconsin's fall have ended and he has happily returned to his toys and chilly Anchorage. Once returned to our living room, he was immediately shot out of a cannon as he scurried over every inch of the room to dig out, inspect, and scatter about his toys. From his smiles and laughter we knew that all the toys were intact and accounted for. He was happy to be home, though there is no doubt that he loved his visit to Wisconsin.

Henry loves being involved with things, especially when given a job. As much as he loves flinging anything in any direction possible around the living room, if I tell him to hold the mail as we walk it to the mailbox, he will not drop it. Maybe it's because we're outside and the world looks different. Maybe it's because I'm holding him at the time. Or maybe it's because he understands that he has a job, albeit a little one. What we do know is that he has an insatiable desire to be a team player and stay involved. When grandpa enlisted him for a walk down to the road to get the mail, he signed up. Just look at him -- the little dude is about business.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sadly, Becky's mother Arlene passed away last week. Becky and Henry are down in Wisconsin for the funeral as well an extended family visit. Grandma Barnes will be sorely missed, and we are all the better for having had our time with her.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's a fort

Thanks to a wisely purchased warranty on the jogging stroller, the old stroller and its tears and kinks went back to the store for a shiny replacement. We were not deliberately hard on the original unit. It just developed some random tearing on the storage basket and our collective light bulbs went off as we smiled remembering the warranty sitting safe and sound in the drawer upstairs.

So we ended up with a purple rig in place of the old green one. Aside from the joy Henry experienced at helping assemble his new ride, his heart soared at the box left behind. It's a joy that has not diminished over the past 2 months.

Becky beamed that Henry had found a little house.

"It's a fort," I stated plainly.

Becky told a few stories about how she had used large boxes to construct play houses with kitchens and the like.

"Fair enough. But he's a boy and this is his fort."

She accepted this and let it sink in.

"At some point he'll need guns to defend it."

It's currently the home of his fire truck as well as the place he crawls when we let him have the blinking rear bicycle light. So perhaps it's a disco fort at times.

The only certain fact is that if we threw it away, there would be an uncountable amount of mourning time. The fort is staying.

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If Henry eats all his healthy meals like a good boy, he is allowed some sweets. Not many, but some. We combined peanut butter with a small chocolate chip recently and found a hilariously predictable jolt to his system.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

These things come in spurts, and right now Henry is pulling new tricks out of his hat almost daily.  Once he started walking well, he began running everywhere he could. Now he runs, occasionally stumbles into a face plant, quickly rises, and heads off on the next run. He won’t be denied by any rugburn. He has places to go, and he will be running to those places.

I caved into the inevitable and removed my crates of vinyl lp’s from the first floor.  They fit well enough on the third floor and Henry undeniable needs the extra space in the living room. Most importantly, he now has perfect access to the window via the baseboard heater.
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Fall is rushing into our lives with wind, rain, and swirling leaves. Henry loves standing out the window, following the shaking tree limbs with his eyes, and enjoying the birds that pass through. Thanks to the windstorm the insects in Anchorage are all out of sorts and everywhere they normally are not, namely our deck. The birds love this and feast on the deck buffet on a daily basis. While observing the feast with Becky, Henry promptly turned and headed for the bookshelf. Becky quietly watched as he scanned the shelves with his eyes before plucking a single book out and smilingly bringing it back to mom. It was Are You My Mother?, which is the only book we have with a small bird as the main character. Color us impressed parents.

When we carry Henry up to the second floor and pass a photo of 8 month old Henry we always remark, “There’s baby Henry.” Out of the blue last week we passed by without that remark and Henry quickly pointed and blurted, “ Bayyy – Bee.” He’s thrown down that word a few other places as well lately, and we always follow it with an atta’ boy.

He’s simply progressing along like the healthy, normal dude he’s becoming, but it’s happening in such a quick spurt lately that it is hard to hide the excitement.  He’s a happy guy and seems to delight in expressing words, sounds, and pointed fingers with the interconnected world around him. We’re delighted as well.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I guess it all started Tuesday night. The winds gusted as we returned from Hailey’s birthday dinner and as we stopped by Fred Meyer for Hank’s vitamin D milk we watched as the interior lights flickered and even went out for a few seconds. They were back on for enough time for me to make the quick purchase though. Something was blowing in and it was time to lock it down so we scooted back home.

Henry played around the living room as always, delighted in the swirling leaves and rain on the deck, and settled into his 9pm bottle, all while the lights inside dimmed and fluttered every few minutes. We pulled the flashlights out and put Henry down at his normal time.

I clicked on the tv at 10pm to catch the news and did not even make it to the weather. We were without power at 10:18 and the forecast was obviously for hurricane winds and random showers, and the hope was that a tree wouldn’t fall on our house. Becky and I peered through the blinds at the trees in amazement at the arcs they now bent. Hank kept sawing logs.

Becky slept poorly all night and I remember waking up several times in the hopes of seeing a flashing alarm clock. No luck. After my cell phone alarm woke me up I was in the shower at 6:15 with a flashlight balanced perfectly on a towel rack, giving me just enough light to move forward with my day. The power thankfully came back on at 6:30, though the phone, cable and internet would not for another 5 hours.

The circular road through our complex was blocked in most directions by downed birch trees, but thankfully my truck was untouched and I was able to find a path out to the street. The litany of downed trees and dark intersections continued all the way to my office, where I found a building with only generator powered emergency lights – no work here today for sure. After heading down the street to my home office I found even less – all darkness and no way to even get in via door card access. No work there either.

I ran a quick few quick errands (Walmart was filled with silly people buying flashlights and 20 packs of C batteries) and was home by the time Henry woke up. He was happy to have mommy and daddy for the whole day and even happier when we strapped him in the backpack for a hike as soon as he finished his bottle.

The bog behind our home was a bit of a warzone and the city was a symphony of chainsaws. Plenty of pictures here.
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Many folks in Anchorage are still without power thanks to the 130mph winds, so we will certainly not complain about daddy’s random day off.IMG_3824 (Large)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As you can see with a careful eye, Henry is wearing his “I voted today” sticker. This is not Chicago, so he was not able to actually vote or have someone vote on his behalf. Our primary on Tuesday was a ballot with 2 issues and a handful of candidates running unopposed – a 30 second voting experience.

Given Hank’s interests, he would have been swayed by the burp rag and cracker lobbies and surely would have pulled the lever for Raggy McRaggerson, Crackers Raginowski, and Fred “Town House” Johnson.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I don’t know if we are raising a bibliophile, but at this moment in time it seems that way. He’s always enjoyed playing with and thumbing through books from an early age (often for 30 minutes at a time), and we have made every effort to read to Henry multiple times each day. Lately, it is a full blown addiction for him.

If you sit and play with him on the floor you will soon have a book almost flown into your lap, hands, or face. He knows the books he likes and knows that you are the one able to read them. He’ll then shift patiently into listening mode, pointing at images if you ask him to, and smiling the whole time. As soon as the ending approaches, you’ll have another book headed your way. Honestly, you really need to be aware or you’ll catch one in the mouth or face.

After some googling it appears that many babies enter into this phase, which is great. In its own way it is normal, yet it is also very rewarding. We introduced him to all of these books, he now loves these books, wants to be read to all the time, and we happily oblige. Now if we could just get him to expand his all time favorites beyond Cars, Cars, Cars, 10 Tiny Puppies, and Where’s Spot? we would be set.IMG_3785 (Large)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This kid is growing up by leaps and bounds every day. Henry went from walking slowly to drifting endlessly around the living room within 10 days. He’s a confident, growing guy.

If you watch him push around his cars and trucks, listen to his revving noises, or observe him as he finds joy in roughly chucking toys and blocks about, you’ll immediately recognize that he is very much a boy. With this in mind we had to trim away his curls and give him a more manly haircut. He doesn’t need a high and tight, but he does need to pull it together a bit.

During bath time on Sunday we did the deed. Becky carefully isolated the longest curls in the back, made the quick, permanent snip, and solemnly placed them on a paper towel where they could dry before finding their way into the baby book. I jumped in at the end to pick out a few stray clumps, and we pronounced Henry done.

Mom is a little sad as our baby takes a very visual step forward. He may still be a baby, but he’s looking more and more like a little dude these days.
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The weather has been hot and clear and the forests are lush and green, yet the fireweed doesn’t lie. We are in the second half of summer and the future is rambling down the tracks. You would never have known that last weekend though as the 70 degree heat called us to the hillside of Anchorage for a short hike.
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The Basher trailhead was a new one for us. All we knew was that it was close to home and eventually wound its way to Flat top. Becky snapped the digital camera away at the fireweed and Anchorage vistas and I carried Henry along with plenty of cheerios.

Henry has been a bit under the weather lately (sleepy and not as hungry) so we kept it to about an hour total. The foliage surrounding the trail was very high and bears are fairly common in the area. I whistled aloud and chatted with Becky in the hopes that I would not need to reach for the Bear mace in my pocket. Henry has a way of sniffing out the wildlife so I was wise to come prepared.
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The mace wasn’t needed and the trail was fairly challenging and well worn, so we’ll keep it on the list of places to revisit. Now, if the blueberries ripen soon we’ll get Henry out on his first berry picking trip before he knows it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Creature Walks Among Us

Arms outstretched doing his best Karloff impression, Henry is walking away.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Early on Saturday in Juneau we headed north to ferret out the Shrine of St Therese. A former Juneau resident had recommended it as a truly beautiful place to see (and see scenery from). As godparents we wanted to get Bella something appropriate and an item from a shrine in Juneau itself seemed like a perfect fit. The small gift shop was unattended yet filled with coffee, muffins (a group was using the cabins for a retreat at the time), books about St Therese, medals, and a variety of attractive rosaries. I settled on a rosary, placed some money in the locked box, and headed off to catch up with Henry and Becky.

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It is a truly serene place, within a truly beautiful city. The ocean and islands open up into the background of mountains rising straight out of the water and far away snowcapped peaks. The church is small, charming, warm, and was open and still. We were the only folks meandering around the shrine itself and quickly came to a decision. If we ever decide to renew our vows someday, this spot would surely be high on the list of locations.

We were not as lucky as Randy and Kelly (from the shrine on Sunday they observed Orcas spouting about), but we could not deny how fortunate we were to spend a few moments in a quiet, beautiful place within an already beautiful region.

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Pictures here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

If it’s possible to truly enjoy many nooks and crannies of a town in 48 hours, Juneau might be that town. I’m sure we missed plenty of little, interesting things, but the broad strokes were met. We even capitalized on a few recommendations for local food, finding some of those out of the way charming restaurants filled with locals.

Officially, we made our visit to see baby Bella baptized at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. As godparents Becky and I dressed cleanly, stood straight, and didn’t itch anything inappropriately while standing in front of the congregation. We did not embarrass the proud new parents and Bella sweetly did not fuss and sailed smoothly through the ceremony and mass (Henry got a little wiggly and needed to be plied with crackers).
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Saturday was a dream Juneau day – sunny, mid 60’s, and blue skies. Off we sped to Mendenhall Glacier in the hopes of some hiking and great pictures. You may believe that our luck in finding wildlife can be explained by the fact that we live in Alaska, but I prefer to place my faith in Henry’s abilities. The elevated trail near the visitor center snakes alongside a stream that was filled with spawning sockeye salmon, bright red as they slowly drifting in and out of the current. We approached a group of 6 folks peering into the woods just beyond the stream and Becky and Cody quickly craned their necks to get a look. Cody quickly stated, “I can barely see a black bear on the ground.” The next moment 2 black bear cubs scurried up a tree and gifted us with a perfect photo op. Becky snapped away, the bear’s magnetism drew more folks each passing second, and Hank and I quickly were boxed out. We steered the stroller out of the way, content with our 10 yard close up of the beautiful little bears. We had our fun and yielded to the cruise ship folks hungry for their glimpse.
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After meeting up with Randy and Kelly and viewing a large male black bear cross the road 100 yards away, we headed off for Nugget Falls. The sign said it was a 45 minute round trip, which aside from fitting into our schedule perfectly, was a time we gathered was estimated with the typical cruise ship passenger in mind. Henry in his jogging stroller would do just fine on this one. As we approached the misting, thundering falls Henry came alive, pointing and yelping at the spray. We could not get him out of the stroller fast enough.

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More Juneau pictures here

Monday, July 30, 2012


Becky’s 6 month dental visit was coming up and it thankfully coincided with Henry’s 1 year birthday. Our dentist wanted to see Henry starting at a year so we put together a swapping plan. I would meet Becky and Hank at the dentist, hold him for his 3 minute appointment, and then take him home in the car seated vehicle while Becky finished her checkup with my truck keys in her pocket. Simple swap.

Henry quietly  absorbed the machines, furniture, and lights all littered around him. When the doctor donned a set of glasses and a head light Henry’s interest intensified. New things were afoot. Moments later Henry had a chart noting his 4 teeth, at which point we leaned back in the chair and prepared for the tough part – watermelon flavored fluoride applied directly to each tooth. I held the arms still, fussing ensued, and then 10 seconds later a happy boy literally smacked his lips between smiles. The goal of the whole appointment is to take the mystery out of dental offices, and the mild fluoride is a bonus.

The doctor even mentioned how well he did. “He’s a real stoic little guy.” I could never guess where Henry gets that.

Hank collected a new toy for his bravery and we zipped home to enjoy the sunny Alaskan day remaining.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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Summer is in full swing and our one year old dude is getting closer to walking everyday. He stands at times when randomly distracted, before plopping to the floor after remembering that he is no longer holding onto something. He’s physically ready to walk, but mentally cannot visualize it yet. The one thing we are certain of is that when everyone chants, “Walk! Walk!,” Henry only wants to sit down and play with a toy. He has his own schedule.

July is ending with a flurry of warm days and Henry has been enjoying them all. When it’s sunny, clear, and in the high 60’s, you need to get out and embrace it here in southcentral Alaska. We’ve even hit the low 70’s once or twice this month. Henry loves moving fast in the jogging stroller with Daddy pushing away or zipping along in the bike trailer as Dad churns down the bike trail. Becky’s knees dictate that her journeys with Henry in the stroller are a more leisurely affair, though she covers the same ground around the neighborhood. Hank loves it all, especially because most excursions end at the playground with the swings and slides (there is often fussing when we have to leave the beloved slide).

Last week Becky rounded a quiet street on the path with Henry in the stroller when an oncoming jogger stopped to remark, “If you keep heading down Patterson be careful. A Sow and three cubs just crossed the street a moment ago.” This was a block ahead in the direction Becky was traveling. Sorry Henry, but mother bears with cubs are strictly on the do not fly list. Becky and Henry turned around and headed towards home. We often get moose in the neighborhood and every year or so we hear of a bear. We once had a black bear at our garbage cans, but this is the new high water mark. Sadly, the bears were too acclimated to humans and garbage so they were put down this week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Since his first birthday last week Henry has taken a turn towards bigger things. As is obvious in the photo below, he's dressing for his new job as Cruise Director.

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As your Cruise Director Henry will be providing the following shore excursions: he'll sit in the backpack for hikes, relax in the stroller while you jog, or doze in the bike trailer as you pedal away. All excursions may be cancelled at any time due to unforeseen naps and diaper changes. The director also reserves the right to fuss if Cheerios snacks are not present at critical times.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Henry can stand for a few moments with confidence and even appears to take a few steps before remembering that crawling is easier. He inevitably flops to the floor and crawls along. He's physically ready to walk but mentally cannot visualize it. This has not stopped him from smiling, yelping, and pushing his plastic lawnmower around the house. He's mobile and wants everyone to know it. This confidence flowed right into his first birthday on Saturday.

Our townhouse is a bit tight for parties so we loaded up the 4Runner and Ranger with food, balloons,  a high chair, pack n' play, and the plethora of gear that Hank needs to get it done and headed for Randy and Kelly's in Chugiak. He does not travel lightly on big days like this.

The Italian Beef (as close to Chicago style as I could approximate in a crock pot) and cole slaw were gobbled up and soon we were off to the big show, which is also known as the ceremonial placing of the cake in front of the birthday boy. The red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting was a bit firm due to its refrigeration, but you can plainly see that Henry muscled through it.

He ended up with plenty of wonderful gifts and the big plastic dump truck was the star. Plenty of photos are here.

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