Saturday, July 25, 2015

Becky, Henry, and Piper continue their rambling across Indiana and Wisconsin. I'd mention Illinois, but they have only enjoyed 294 and the Belvidere oasis, which doesn't count for much.

Even though it was only an 16 hour stopover, the time spent in Indiana was well worth it. Aside from our wedding photos, I believe this is the only other time we've put together a complete grandparents photo. This one has more energy than our 2009 wedding photos -- people aren't wearing stuffy clothes and cute kids are wiggling around.


Henry is at an age where all he wants is to be outside and involved, in whatever is potentially afoot. He'd prefer it if you'd call them chores, but he won't quibble as long as you hand him a tool or give him a job that involves dirt or digging. Below he's picking beans in Coloma, and later Grandpa coached him up on proper hoe usage. The result ten minutes later was a single, well hoed hole in the garden (no worries, as Grandpa had wisely turned him loose in an empty section).


While receiving texts enumerating trips to the farm in Edgar, lakes in Minocqua, playground in Eau Claire, and Coloma library and playground, I'm staying busy in Anchorage buying a new 4Runner, steam cleaning the carpets, and in general cleaning things up with a concentration that is impossible with 2 active kids cruising around. Becky and I are both busy, and before I know it the circus will be back in Alaska tearing up town with their new car.

It's always a sign of a good vacation when you need to unwind from it. It sounds like Becky and the kids are as busy as is humanly possible. I'd better brace myself for a tired bunch that will be filled with endless stories they cannot wait to tell.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Even though I spent a decent 10 days running around the Midwest with our little circus, it was ultimately a drop in the bucket when compared to the miles and time Becky and kids are accruing in their remaining tear between northern Wisconsin and eastern Pennsylvania. They're still in the middle of their month long trip as I type this in Alaska.

Henry and Piper have been doing very well given the long miles on the road. Here they are below, stopping in Abbotsford, WI for ice cream. In the 90 something degree heat the line was predictably far too long at Hawkeye Dairy, though Becky politely snapped a photo in front of the giant ice cream cone for me (As a child I stood many times in front of that same magical cone).


While the rest of the Alaskan Tureks ramble across the central time zone, I'm left uploading photos and sorting through our busy spring. It was a busy and happy time to be sure.

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She's getting blonder everyday.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

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We may have created a monster. Our planned July visit to the Midwest put Henry's birthday at Grammy and Grandpa's in Indiana, so if we wanted any degree of an Alaskan party that would need to be a June affair.

So, a June party was held at Oceanview park, plenty of Henry's friends attended, and it was a great time. Oh, as is the tradition it seems, Mom and Dad gave Henry his presents prior to the park party. It just works out smoother that way (and saves a few extra things to haul out to the park). So before we even set foot on that southbound plane, the kid had already attended 2 parties in his honor.

Even though the Indiana dinner and cake was a small affair, it still was a third event. He's going to think that birthdays encompass a month!

He's old enough to understand why things were that way, so I'm only joking. Still, that's a lot of cake.

Full birthday party photos here.


Summer's bad news is that our 4Runner was totaled, thanks to a younger driver making a u-turn. Nobody was hurt, we are not at fault, but we now find ourselves hustling around for a new vehicle. It's more fun to take your time and pick something out that way, yet forward we must go.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My first camping trip with Henry was a complete success. I planned conservatively and booked a single night at a campground around 60 miles away. If the weather turned poor or something else went sideways, we could chuck everything in the Ranger and be home in a little over an hour.


Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened. As I began digging the gear out of the garage, Henry paced inside the house wearing his hat, windbreaker, and boots. We were still an hour away from being ready to leave, but Henry was ready at that moment. It was very exciting to know he was that pumped about the trip, though it did put the pressure on Dad to make sure I delivered.

We settled into Granite Creek later that afternoon. Henry eagerly helped pitch the 2-man tent, wiggled around inside it, and then headed down to the creek with his excavator and dump truck. I snapped pictures of him and read a book as he dug in the gravel, drove cars in and out of the water, stomped around in his XTRA-TUF boots, and happily got dirtier and dirtier. The blaring sun fooled us into forgetting that 7pm was upon us and we still hadn’t eaten dinner.

With hot dogs in our stomachs we then loaded up the bike trailer and pedalled down the trail towards Hope. Henry dozed off on our ride, but soon perked up when we pulled into camp and his ears caught wind of the word “s’mores.”

The midnight sun was a bit of a challenge for tent sleeping, but Henry did fall asleep somewhat near his normal time. The problem was in waking up at 6:30 thanks to the blazing sunlight. After a few pancakes we found ourselves cleaning up camp and bound for the Girdwood’s playground.

All around it was a victory. We’ve already booked 2 nights in August at another campground, which Henry is very pumped about. Now we need to get a larger tent and get Mommy and Piper out there next summer.

The greatest moment -- the water pump. Over and over again, the water pump.