Friday, July 26, 2013

Our drive north to Marshfield for the Barnes Family Reunion started under some overcast skies and random drizzle. The tour of the Marshfield firehouse was our first stop, so there was plenty of time to hope for the clouds to pass. Brian's tour was well worth the early morning start in Coloma, the facility was beautiful, and Henry could barely contain himself-- run, run and touch everything.

For the adults the highlight may have been their 9/11 memorial, which consisted of the largest piece of the twin towers currently on display. For Hank the cherry on top of he tour came 5 minutes into the event.

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As we were chatting in the lobby and waiting for a few stragglers before beginning, the intercom clicked on and a call was announced. Brian pitched his ear towards the ceiling, digested the codes and address that were rambled off, and then quickly told us to walk outside as the machinery would be making a hard left to yield us a perfect view. We scooted outside and I elbowed my way towards the front of the Barnes group and held up Henry. He smiled, squealed, and I had all I could do to keep him from leaping towards the screaming, blinking, groaning, red machines of joy.

Thankfully the sun burned off the clouds and sent us digging into our bag for Henry's sunscreen by the time we found ourselves in Hewitt, WI for the reunion. As always, it was great to see everyone and our only regrets were in not visiting enough with the many good folks. Plenty of photos here.

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Wisconsin with family is always a great time, as Henry is learning.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Now that life is settling back into day to day Anchorage, our return from the Midwest and Henry's second birthday party seems like a blur and an amazing achievement. We traveled back to Alaska with the following (to list it is the only way to believe it): a jogging stroller, car seat, 2 fish boxes filled to the brim (not with fish), 2 adult suitcases, 2 adult carry on bags, and 2 Henry carry on bags. Thankfully there was no layover.

Henry was in a happy mood throughout the entire flight, though he is getting wigglier by the second. Personally, I classify a toddler as a bad flyer if they fuss and keep the plane at attention with crying and whining. If they only wiggle and kick their parents while chowing down on snacks and playing with stickers, that's a victory. Ultimately, I'm looking forward to a long time passing before we fly again -- a time when Henry will have his own seat and a little more ability to lock into his own activities. Slowly but surely it all moves forward.

Once we arrived home a very tired Henry hit the carpeting as if shot out of gun and seemed to express endless joy at the safety of his toys. Becky and I shifted into a quick unpacking mode, generated our Costco list, divided up the tasks at hand, and then set to them. Becky focused on the birthday cake and cupcakes while I headed to the store for buns and a few other perishables that just couldn't have been purchased before we traveled south. It was the second leg of our Saturday marathon and by 8 pm we had an exhausted Hank and a home fully prepared for our birthday guests at 10:30 am the following morning.

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It may seem odd to the uninitiated, but toddler parties are usually around 10 am. You're essentially building your schedule around playtime, snack/lunch, and then a goodbye when everyone retreats home for naps. Evenings and late afternoons just don't swing it. By 1pm Bella, Maggie, Ann and all the adults had headed home into a beautiful Sunday blue sky, something which was in question at 9 am when storm clouds loomed. Everyone had a nice time, the dark clouds happily drifted across the party's playtime in silence, and Henry's Mom and Dad relaxed into a wonderful night's sleep that evening.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Photo Links

I'll certainly have more to say about our 3 week trip through the midwest, but for now here are the photo sets.

The Barnes Family Reunion.

Travels in central Wisconsin.

 July 4th in Indiana.

Hanging out in Indiana.

Henry's 2nd birthday.