Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mothers Day greeted us with bluebird skies and almost too warm 70 degree temps. We headed out to the Eagle River Nature Center for a hike to enjoy the weather. It's a very pretty location as you can see below, and the majority of the trails near the nature center are fairly flat, which is a kindness to Becky these days. Henry loved the Salmon Smolt suspended in the water just underneath the wooden observation deck and delighted in the endless amount of sticks everywhere.

As an added bonus, the road to the nature center had a short stretch of construction where we needed to follow a pilot car. Being mere yards from working excavators and dump trucks made it a wonder he didn't bust out of his car seat.

After a dinner treat of Moose's Tooth Chicken Thai pizza we pronounced Mothers Day a success.

Sometimes life is just too easy. A sunny and warm Saturday in Alaska in May is a cause for celebration, but when you couple it with an open house at the Anchorage Fire Department, you can't help but win. Henry held the water hose while knocking down a big orange cone, activated the inflation mechanism to separate 2 pieces of concrete, sat in a fire engine, and finally was able to run around in a uniform for around twenty minutes before plowing through a hot dog and chips.

Naptime that afternoon was as easy as it has ever been. He crashed right out.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I thought Henry's head might pop from all of the joy and excitement last Saturday at the Alaska Railroad open house. Aside from touring some cars, engines, maintenance machinery, and acquiring a temporary tattoo, a 20 minute train ride was on the docket.

The event was scheduled for 11-3, so we arrived at 10:45am only to find the parking lots swelling amid throngs of strollers and preschoolers. I'd be amazed if any less than 75% of the toddlers in Anchorage were there.

We met up with our friends fairly quickly and by 10:50 were in line for a train ride, a train ride that we would not board until 12:30. If that seems downright crazy to you, I would agree. God have mercy on those that arrived around noon -- they must have stepped aboard that train around 3:15.

Thankfully our friends had a stroller. Combining the stroller with 4 adults, we were able to stake down a spot in line while the kids were led around the joyous trains (Henry seemed most fond of the captain's chair in the engine and the microwave in the kitchen car). We were able to tour everything, minimize standing and fidgeting, and enjoy the 60 degree bluebird skies.

We often pointed at the Alaska trains in their bold blue and gold paint and stated, "Henry, we're riding that train in a little bit." His smile led me to believe that he must think his parents are kings. How else could we swing a ride on a machine of dreams like that?

As we walked past the ever-snaking line of parents and toddlers I encountered two story lines on a loop. One, a child sitting on the cement, crying, rubbing their hands in dust, and melting down. Secondly, a parent quietly saying, "Our turn is coming in a little bit. We need to wait our turn."

The whole event felt like a day at Disneyworld, if Disney only had a single ride.

Looking at the picture below you may conclude that we had a great day and did not have a meltdown, largely due to our arrival early enough (next time we'll shoot for 10 am).

Later that day while rocking Henry at bedtime, he was happy to point out that my shirt had a fire engine on, just like his jammies (under the image on my shirt reads "Chicago Fire Department -- Southwest Side").  I agreed and watched his fingers trace the graphics. "Daddy, we are fire engine guys." Yes, we are.