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