no excuses for the lapse in writing. although, i think it is only i who puts pressure on me to write. so much has happened; i wanna catch everyone up on the past few months...
is everyone pregnant right now?! i know i am, and i know about a dozen of my girlfriends are or are just holding their babies for the first, second weeks/months. all these new lives are such blessings! benji and i will welcome our daughter at the end of march. we are incredibly thrilled with the idea of experiencing both sides of the coin. and jack being a big brother?! i have my moments of being terrified and fast-forwarding to the sweet moments of their future where they're the best of friends. we have not yet decided on a name. that seems to be the question of the hour. we have a handful of favorites, but it's a big decision, and we certainly took our time with jb.
the little girl at 20 weeks
working on some nice gams
and speaking of which, mr. jack is two! TWO! i can hardly believe it! nothing has made me feel quite as old as raising a child and watching two years of my life just fly by. i'm that much closer to 30 (a mere 11 months and counting), and he is that much older to telling me what to do (wait - that's actually already started...) he is still incredibly adorable. the terrible twos have slowly diminished and he's returning to his normal loving self. i like to think of it as an alien abduction that occurred over the late spring and into the summer. and fall. he loves tonka trucks, books about trucks and animals, especially fish and is wild about giving smooches and saying "bye!" he accompanied me to my midwife appointment yesterday and even got to hear his sister's heartbeat. is it bad that he laid his head on my chest and said "mine"??? i'm hoping it was a coincidence.
this was the fall of vacations! in september, we traveled down the west coast visiting with family along our drive. we flew into portland, seeing aunt lorrie and uncle glenn and aunt margie. they live within 15 minutes of each other, just outside of portland. we also drove up to seattle and spent a day with great aunt alda and cousin terri. after four days in oregon, we traveled down i-5, with a quick stop in eugene to visit with great aunt helen and cousin cindy on our way to sacramento, visiting with all the jenkins. how great that they're all in ONE place now! (even if it is incredibly hot, sticky california)
terri + auntie alda
i love this one! jackie with big jackie's sister!
aunt lorrie + cousin kevin
uncle glenn + aunt margie
cousin cindy + great aunt helen
uncle jeff + aunt connie
all the cousins!
a few weeks after our return, jackie and i jumped back on a plane, this time minnesota bound. we caught up with my parents and brother and spent some q.t. in the midwest, enjoying a true fall full of colors, 50 degree weather and so many trips to the zoo we lost count! jack got to play with his cousin averee (who is also going to be a big sister in the spring!), visit apple orchards, pick a pumpkin and what became our ritual morning walks well into november. the weather was fantastic, to say the least.
coming back to ak was a rather rude awakening... -17 below from 45 above. sheesh. welcome home, annie and jack! i've said it before, and i'll say it again: there's no place like home. i was so relieved to be back in my own bed, jackie was so excited to see all his toys and we were both so happy to see ben/dada.
It's interesting how days, months, years can repeat themselves. This particular day, rain and gloominess included, my family, friends and I surrounded the graveside of our dear Jack Corey, Grandpa Jack. I can't recall much of what was said, I can't remember all the faces, but I do remember being blessed with a mini air show. Everyone, including myself, all thought the person next to them had arranged this great sight but each head shook only to have a smile plastered moments later. Do signs, fate, meant-to-be's really exist? At that moment, I believed. The best part of it all was that the planes flew over just as the pastor was talking about the kind of character Jack was. This simple act was exactly the sort of person Jack was! Loud, humorous, and ok... occasionally inconsiderate, but really, it made the day a little brighter.
I do believe the hardest part about getting older is that you have to say goodbye to loved ones. It just isn't fair. There are so many things my grandparents are missing out on. Grandpa Jack would have loved to see his grandchildren with their own kiddos: Averee, Lyla and Jackie. And Grandma Pat would have loved to buy the girls matching outfits from Junior Towne, just like Lins and I always had!
Tomorrow is Grandpa Denny's birthday and isn't it so sad when these days come around to celebrate and they're not here to blow out their candles? Grandpa Denny knew and loved Olivia and boy, did she love him. Watching those two together made me sad that Jackie never had the pleasure of siting in his chair like Olivia so often did. So sweet. Quite the pair they were.
I have felt that since saying goodbye to the Corey's and to Denny that you feel this hole in your heart that you're not quite sure if it will ever close back up. When Jack was born, I remember feeling like I couldn't believe that my heart could love so much. So maybe it does close a little. Maybe there is true healing and eventually you can feel back to whole again. I love Ben more every day, thinking that I couldn't love him more than this moment or that moment, and I'm always proved wrong. Same goes for the Bubba. One month I think he has my whole heart, there's nothing more and then, there's an even bigger smile and something even more funny than his last act.
The best we can do is love each other to the fullest because you never know when your last visit may just be your last. That's a tough statement to hear, write and see, but it's the only way to never have any regrets.
So on this very special day, my heart goes out to all of you that have similar days you "celebrate."
jack and i and some friends spent the better part of the afternoon on the hillside of hatcher pass, picking blueberries until our finger tips were stained and our legs asleep from kneeling. i came home with a large basket full of plump, juicy berries and scuffed up knees from two incredible falls. don't you hate falling? i always feel so dumb and embarrassed afterward. thankfully, jack was ok too since i had him in my arms. the path walking in was like a riverbed, full of rocks. i stepped on a rock that had some dirt/sand over it and slid right off, falling forward onto my knee and scraping it up nicely. i managed a controlled fall (ha), still holding onto jack and he came away with a few scrapes on his arm. i think it scared him more than anything, but he did spill a few crocodile tears, adding to my already horrible feeling. regardless, pushing on... ahhh, we could not have picked a better day, either. the sun was so bright, and big, puffy cloud in the sky - and i have the tan lines to prove it, jack too!
yes, he sits.
so now, i find myself sprawled on the sofa, the house is all quiet but a hum, and i feel so incredibly happy for today. spending time with family is so very important and special, but so is the need for friends. i don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but i know in my past, i've always put family first and haven't really made time for friends. but as i've gotten older, said good bye to precious family that has sadly left us, i've felt that pull toward my friends who are usually the ones to get you through the times when you maybe can't share things with family or maybe they're the one's who are upset too and you can't go to them. or maybe they're experiencing something similar in their life. i don't know, none of this is how i'm feeling now or have felt for years really, but i guess today gave me time to think about those people in my life who do feel more like family than just a friend. being up on the mountains, closer to Him and alone with your thoughts (with only mild interruptions of a certain cuteness yelling in your ear) gives you time to think about this sort of thing. and apparently, being on a mountain isn't the only time is happens because i'm obviously still reeling in it...
mandy, her motha, jackie and i went for a walk out to the inlet, in search of some pretty pretty flowers. we were welcomed with typical alaskan august rain. we brought shovels, garbage bags and our smiles and trudged along through the slimey trails and muddy puddles. we found many of irises, chocolate lilies and what we believed to be shooting stars. this all occurred during jack's nappy time, so i'm thinking that may have been why he wasn't more excited about this venture. regardless, the following moments were marked...
just like hawai'i, right?
jack has had enough, already running back to the truck
the rathburn ladies
jack and his manny
this next sequence can only be explained by saying that mandy is an only child...
brown frog friend
he didn't want to hold it, so it only made since...