Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Arctic Thunder only comes around every 2 years nowadays, so it's a big deal that draws pretty big crowds. Given our daily nap time, it seemed wise to plan on getting there right when it opened knowing that we'd have to leave in the middle of the air show. We beat the crowds, saw all of the exhibits, and only missed the Thunderbirds in the end. Henry was beat at the end of the 3 hours and it was probably just as well that we missed the ultra loud F-22s. Even with earplugs those are tough.

Henry seemed to enjoy everything he ran into, and the lack of crowds for the first few hours made it very easy to crawl into anything his heart desired. His favorite plane by far was the AWACS. We waited in line for about 10 minutes, all the while allowing Henry to fixate on the spinning disc above the plane.

"What is that?"

"It's a big satellite dish," I replied about a dozen times.

The slow burn as we inched up the staircase had him more than ready to walk through the plane and enjoy chatting with the staff at each 15 foot interval. The enlisted men are exceedingly polite.

"How are you today Sir? How are you young man?"

"I have a tow truck, a garbage truck, and 2 tractors!"

"Good for you!"

That exchange happened with each staff member in the plane -- 6 times.

He had a great time. When asked what his favorite part of the day was we usually get one of two answers -- the AWACS or the model train sets that were tucked into one of the hangars.

Saturday Becky headed to a friend's house on the Anchorage hillside for a baby shower. From the gifts and boxes that came home, it's clear that everyone was far too generous.

Full set of Arctic Thunder photos here.

Full set of Shower photos here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Use all of the adjectives and date filled explanations you'd like, but you'll still end up concluding that Henry had 2 birthday parties. We had decided to give him the presents from Mom, Dad, and Grammy and Grandpa Turek on the Monday of his actual birthday. Given that Grandpa Barnes was in Alaska for a visit, we quickly shifted that evening into a family dinner. Uncle Randy and cousin Nick soon jumped in and before you know it, it's a party.

The following Sunday was the formal party that included Maggie, Anne, and most of the folks that had been there on Monday. Speaking as someone responsible for the food, beer, and room prep, these 2 events were both full blown parties. If there was a difference, I guess you could note that Henry received more gifts on Monday night, though that's a little like declaring that you ate more on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day.

Our cozy townhouse buzzed with family, toddlers, potty breaks, crock pot scents, and oodles of hot wheels and plastic trucks. Perfect all around.
Looking at the pictures now, I see that we put Henry in the same shirt for both parties. The rule of thumb is that Monday was ice cream night, and Sunday was cake day.

Full set of birthday photos here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Melanie's wedding found us heading out to Wasilla on a Wednesday night to the Lake Lucille Best Western. It's a nice hotel with a gorgeous view of the lake, though on this night we looked out at a continuous downpour. The ceremony was moved indoors, the new couple seemed extremely happy, and Moose's Tooth pizza was on the menu.

Henry's potty training was hitting it's stride and we made many successful trips to the restroom with zero accidents. For being such a good boy he was given a Roy Rogers, which he promptly inhaled.

Alaska is a huge place that feels like a small town, as proven by the best man -- Trooper Simeon from the Alaska State Troopers show. If you count the fact that Sarah Palin's place is right across the lake from the reception, you'll notch our celebrity counter at 2 for the night.

Grandpa Barnes is finishing up his Alaskan visit this week, but when he first arrived we all high tailed it down to Seward for a Salmon and Halibut fishing trip. The weather and seas were just fine, we limited out on Silver Salmon very quickly, worked much longer to limit out on Halibut, and were mildly annoyed with the new Halibut regulations (1 of your daily fish must now be below 29 inches).

Looking at the picture below you'll conclude that we were happy with our fish pile, and that I was the only member of our group that kept bumping his head on the ceiling of the boat's cabin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's been way too busy around here this summer. When the dust settles this fall and we look back on the summer months, we'll be pleased to list all of the activities we squeezed in before baby sister arrived. We still have a month to go and Grandpa Barnes is still visiting, but looking back at mid June shows just how well we are taking advantage of the long days.

While I hiked the Crow Pass Trail in mid June, Henry helped decorate my Father's Day Cake. Most of the sprinkles did not make it to the cake, and the ones that did were concentrated in a pile in the center. After a 26 mile hike with a single night of camping, being presented with a delicious yellow cake with chocolate frosting was just fine. We treated ourselves to Moose's Tooth pizza for dinner and had an enjoyable night after I brought a smile to everyone's face by taking a long shower and safely stowing my hiking clothes in the washing machine. It is a great trail and I would happily hike it again.

Henry has been out and about all over Anchorage thanks to an active St Elizabeth's toddler playgroup. Between meeting up at playgrounds and trail heads, Hank is hiking and sliding his way through summer with a large extended group of toddlers. The only challenge is having 8 month pregnant Becky keep up.