Wednesday, December 19, 2012

sunset. and a sunrise.

i'll say it again:  the only nice thing about clear & cold days are the colorful skies.  that's it.  as of late, the kids cabin fever has me at my limit.  here's to some warmer temperatures and the countdown to ben and i's babymoon - in one week, we'll be touching down in 80 degree weather!  here, here!  

on december 16, ben & i had a day-date to celebrate our first date, 9 years prior.  before our lunch at evangelo's, i wanted to capture some of the sky's beauty.  ben asked if we could just do it after lunch.  i explained that it wouldn't be the same sky.  {insert ben's funny face at my comment.}  since it was a special day, and we didn't have "demands from the backseat," he happily obliged.  and, he was even the one to say we should probably capture more sky pictures after our feast.  so, you'll notice the space in time.  pretty nice to have a chauffeur at my request, as i hopped in and out of the negative degree temps!

this first series goes in reverse.  kinda like my pregnancy brain...

hope you enjoy, like i have been.

4:02 pm
4:00 pm
 3:59 pm
 3:56 pm
 3:51 pm
 3:48 pm
 3:47 pm
 1:32 pm
 1:28 pm
 1:26 pm
 1:23 pm

on december 11, i caught the most perfect pink & lavender sunrise from one of my favorite bluff views.

10:07 am - looking north, toward the talkeetna mountains
10:06 am - looking south at the chugach mountains

mobile pics - disney

for me, it's a love/hate relationship with my camera phone.  on one hand, it's a brilliant and handy invention, but on the other, it's crap quality photos.  i do appreciate how quick i can capture a moment but for the most part, i'm irritated with what's produced.  why bother! is what i think of most camera phone pictures.  but, here i am, posting some of the memorable moments of our disney holiday.

i can't even express the ease of traveling with one child, one "grown-up" child.  (and, i use the term "grown-up" extremely loosely...)  it was actually fun!  yes, remember when traveling wasn't a total pain in the neck?!  yeah, me neither!  but, without dealing with strollers or car seats, shoe removal at security - shoot, security in general, chasing a loose baby, entertaining 24/7 on an airplane, nursing an infant to keep ear pain at bay, let's not forget changing a baby in the smallest restrooms invented - oh, all of the hassle to get to a fun destination... we didn't deal with any of those frustrations!  i love 5-year-old bubba! 
waiting to board
on board
 jackie with the emergency procedures: 
"i'm readin' directions to fly the airpwane"
gorgeous day to be in the air... 
(but, sure wish we were on that plane with the lei!  you know where those travel???)
the valley!
mountain peaks above the clouds

we landed in seattle and had 90-minutes to waste.  we grabbed bagel sandwiches, popchips and flavored waters and made our way to the gate.  i left the boys and grabbed a quick 15-minute massage in one of those up-right massage chairs.  then, i joined jb to finish what was left of my sammich (!), while ben enjoyed his 15 minutes of relaxation.  whatta treat.

i had booked a disney vacation package through alaska airlines, and i was crossing my fingers that our airplane would be decorated with disney characters - when dylan and i flew to mn last january, our layover in seattle had us admiring a jet with mickey, minnie, donald, goofy and pluto!  i was hoping our flight to lax was on a similar jet.  well, you can't always get whatchu want!  but.  we were NEXT to tinkerbell on the 50th anniversary addition jet!  and actually, i think it worked out better because had our plane been decorated, we wouldn't have been able to see it once we boarded.

there was yet another gorgeous sky for us as we left seattle.  

after our insanely dangerous cab ride, we arrived at our hotel.  within seconds, jb had shed his jeans and socks and found his way to his bedroom.  we had room service within 20 minutes and a snoozing jb within 40 minutes.
 breakfast in downtown disney, day 1
best hot chocolate i've ever had.
and, cousin sammi surprised me with orangina.  love that girl!

since we've never been a co-sleeping family, i rarely get to see my sleeping babes.  long truck rides are the exception, but they prefer to nit-pick at each other over an afternoon snooze!   jb is fairly easy to wake but not on this vacation.  we had to roust him every morning - and it would be after 9!  (back at home, the kid rises before 8 a.m.)  disneyland was a workout for us all, as you can see...

time to go home.
dada pulling jackie on the trunki makes me swoon.  and giggle.
best coffee chain.
good bye, cali!   

more beautiful skies at 30,000 feet
first glimpse of ak!  
love those mountain tops welcoming us home.  
not 2 minutes from landing, and jb leaned his head on dada and conked out.  

ok, that's it.  no more disney posts.  until dylan turns 5, that is...  

Monday, December 17, 2012

finally, a snow day.

i'm so thankful for the snow.  not only to cover our icky, brown grass but to bring some relief to the valley.  for weeks, it had been brutally cold, so in addition to the snowfall, we were graced with some 30+ degree weather.  even at one point during the day, my truck read 41 degrees.  i'll take that ALL winter long!  

our antler fell during one of the many wind storms last week.  i'd say we could now get out there and fix it, but our temps have dropped once again... 


i love a nice, thick blanket of snow.  the ol' chevy is under there, somewhere.  with baby 3's arrival in the coming months, we needed to upgrade to a bigger vehicle, so the tired girl is now parked outside.  she looks a little cold, huh?  

meeting santa

we've never done the santa-thing before.  maybe, a little on purpose?  i guess my reservations on hyping up this fictional character makes me a tad uneasy.  i vividly remember my big brother spilling that beans that santa wasn't real.  (i know.  i'm sorry.  but, if you didn't know by now, you probably should...) 

up until this year, it was in my control.  oh, but the kids grow up.  they hear things.  they find out from friends at school, and it's all strangers talk about in stores - whattaya askin' santa for?  it happens.  so this year, we asked jb if he wanted to visit santa.  with a quick YEP! we ventured down to our local toy store to check out this santa personality.  little did i know, we'd be meeting santa himself!

i mean, c'mon - look at him!  check the beard!  and, his excitement in meeting The Miebs Duo, you know, the ones taking up space on his naughty list?!  he was very sweet.  he listened intently when dylan asked for chips.  he even made a written note when jb asked for a blue dump truck.  maybe i can be ok with santa making their 5 minutes of the day.  even ben was tickled to meet ol' st. nick.      


dylan's going to be three in the spring, and yet, it still catches me by surprise - just how different the kiddos are from each other.  you would think after nearly 3 years of seeing them together, i'd be used to their differences, but they continuously make me giggle at what they will and will not do.  

when i picked up the gingerbread kits, i thought they would be a super-fun activity which both kiddos would enjoy.  while jb was excited with the idea of putting together a train, it was just entirely too messy.  his hands were washed and dried moments later, and ultimately, he became general manager over the project.  it's a good thing benji doesn't mind putting in work; my boys make a great team. 


dylan was ALL over these projects.  does that really surprise you?!  she preferred to direct where the icing went, but she wouldn't let me near the candy.  i must have heard "put some wight here" several dozen times, in reference to the icing.  i guess we breed leaders over here!

such focus.

had to share

my thoughts on friday's tragedy are scattered.  i've cried, been incredibly angry, cried some more, sat with my mouth hung open, wiped more tears, read countless articles, praised our president, disagreed with "we need stricter gun laws" and felt so numb that i've caught myself just staring into space on numerous occasions.  
i came across this poem and actually smiled while reading it.  i think in times of tragedy, it's important to cling to the things that provide you with comfort - God, prayer, family, more prayer.  that's my order. 
maybe you'll feel some comfort, too?

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
                             when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same
then He opened His arms and He called them by name
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring 
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,"
in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

studio, last post... for a while

well, the studio project has come to a close.  for now.  builder benji has just about finished the last of the little touches, and gramma d and mark officially moved in last week.  one day, this place will house photog sessions, but until then, it'll house my momma.  i love that she's steps away.  and, the kids do, too.

barn light!  everything about this company makes me smile.  the designs, the colors, the rustic feel with the new age spin... you'd think with all their collections we could have found the perfect light, but like any woman, i like to make things difficult.  i wasn't in love with any one gooseneck (that's the shape of the bar holding the shade) so my amazing-can-do-anything husband made the perfect bend for me.

we ended up buying the shade, the circular-plate-dealie and the wiring from the company, but he did the rest.  in order to avoid matching their yellow with whatever yellow we could find in the state of alaska, we ordered the goodies in white and found a spray paint that made me giddy.  couldn't be more pleased with our end results.  but.  i don't think i'll ever hear the end of this barn light project...

cast iron sink!  so gorgeous.  the perfect choice to compliment the butcher block countertop.  i chose this gooseneck faucet to mirror the light.  it works.  and please, will you notice builder benji's craftsmanship of the trim piece under the windowsill?  he does such nice finish work.  i don't think there's much he can't do.      

into the bath, the red pendant i was leaning toward cast a red light against the wall.  ewww.  i ended up choosing this shade... because.  just because.  its clean, simple lines are pleasing.  and, i was kinda ready to stop making decisions.  my pregnant brain can only handle so many decisions.  the medicine cabinet is providing much needed storage, but i'm leaning toward ripping it out once the place is back in my hands.  right now, it makes sense.

nothing exciting about a closet cloud light, but i've included every other little detail...  so, the closet holds their stackable washer & dryer (that they'll take with them), but eventually, i'll have built-ins, similar to the ones in our bedroom closet.  for the moment, ben installed a shelf and a single closet rod.

next up, the shop is getting some attention!  our painter-friend is coming back at the end of the week to finish the trim, and hopefully, paint the mezzanine and floor.  ben can hardly wait to start moving the garage over to his space.  (and frankly, i'm excited, too.)  our garage is practically bursting at its seams!  the kid's toys take up so much room, and don't get me going on his hunting/fishing/camping/trapping/work gear/tools/reloading supplies... but then, there's lawn equipment and the countless shovels and rakes - and naturally, all the mini-versions because the kiddos so love to "help" shovel and "help" rake...

i'm just now remembering everyone person older than me, that is a home owner, telling me that house projects are NEVER done - couldn't be more true.

DISNEY - day 3

our final day.  i'd say i was sad to be leaving the next day, but we were all so exhausted and ready to not walk 100 miles in an eight-hour period.  for reals.  we had incredible amounts of fun, but all good things must and should come to an end.  smile.

ben and i agreed this was our favorite vacation to date - including our trips to the islands.  that's saying a lot.  jack was an absolute joy; the weather was perfect; but seeing jack's enjoyment was the highlight of our trip.

jb loved seeing huey, dewey & louie in downtown disney

neon sneaks?  check.

this morning was our "early entry day" into the park.  there were several rides that always had a 40+ minute wait, so we decided to head to those rides first.  sure enough, it's a small world had no wait.  last time i was one this ride (at disney world), i was 8 years old.  i may or may not have had tears well up in my eyes...

all decked-out for Christmas!
mad tea party!
disneyland railroad
sweet thangs.
more dumbo

this was my attempt to recreate the past:  my mother has a picture with my brother at disney world, in front of the dumbo ride, when she's pregnant with me.   

aurora's castle
king triton's carousel
 mickey's fun wheel

this is what has jb all pouty, taking a time-out with cousin sammi - he sooo wanted to go on california screamin' with casey and dada, but he just wasn't quite tall enough.  it's a good thing, too.  ben said it was insanely fast and that is was named decidedly so.  can you spot ben and casey?!  ben's the nerd with his hands up, and casey's mouth is wide open, screamin'.  you inevitably become a child when you're there...   

 "let's take a picture for papa frank!"
 exhibit Q - the sweetest big-big brother-to-be
 splash mountain and the un-impressed lyla
 BUT - a new outfit can certainly turn a frown upside down!
 more of mater's junkyard jamboree
 back in radiator springs

did i mention how much we walked?  or that we were there from open to close?!  it WAS our last day.  we had to make the most of it!  and look - look how purrrty it is at night!  

i'm kinda embarrassed to say how long we waited to ride the radiator springs racers.  but.  it is an indication as to how much fun this ride is!  SO MUCH FUN.  we waited 65 minutes.  ok, so it may have been closer to 70 minutes.  ugh.  it was a long line.  and, considering the time we rode it the first day, when we didn't have to snake through the ropes, we just sped to the front - we had no idea how far back it wound.  just when we thought the line cut to the cars, mere steps away, we would dart down another hallway and another 20 minutes would tick by.  gruesome.  but, we knew how much fun was to be had!  jack was a real trouper.  we were even surprised by concession-type-workers, like the dudes you see at ball games, walking up and down the aisles, selling over-priced treats?!  yep, we paid for boxes of popcorn & sodies and didn't think twice about the funds.  dire straights, it was!

as soon as the racers ended, we high-tailed it back over to disneyland - i HAD to see aurora's castle and it's a small world at night.  i caught a teeny glimpse of small world from where we were sitting at the parade, but i had no idea how incredible it would be front and center.

i captured three pictures, and within 30 seconds, everything went black.  
there was another treat for us...

as soon as the fireworks ended, nat king cole's voice filled the air and "snow" came swirling down upon us.  what an ending to one of my most magical experiences.  i'm so thankful to have shared this moment with two of the most important men in my life.