Thursday, January 31, 2013


i came across this single piece of paper in a box of my high school shtuffs that also included such gems as: report cards, class schedules (!), friend's graduation announcements and senior photos, soccer medals from the early 90s, even some grade-A english papers.  anyway, i'm not sure where this came from or why i had it.  maybe my own mother gave it to me.  but, i thought of myself way back then and i know i didn't have a clue what this all meant.  really.  it's only been through motherhood, that i've REALLY understood my own mother's love and dedication to our family.  to me.  to her own mother.  i thought this was too sweet to not share.

a mother's advice to her daughter

be strong.  be intelligent.  smile.  know that beauty has everything to do with how you feel about yourself and nothing to do with looks or other people's opinions.  never do anything just because everyone else is if you believe it's wrong.  always be true to yourself.  expect the best from life and that's what you'll get.  learn from your mistakes and failures.  believe in magic and wish on stars.  love and trust and be compassionate.  make faces.  play in mud puddles.  take bubble baths.  turn off all the lights and watch lightning storms.  dance, laugh, cry, and sing when you want.  read everything you can get your hands on.  stand up for what is right even if you stand alone.  don't allow yourself or people around you to tolerate prejudices of any kind.  don't be afraid to try something new.  do something daring at least once a week.  run through snow drifts.  spin in circles and roll down hills.  pet puppies, hold kittens and talk to babies.  take afternoon naps.  wake up early to watch the sunrise.  never apologize for being a woman or for being yourself.  never forget that i love you more than any other person in the world, no matter how far apart we are, you will always be my daughter.


i'm SO thankful that the last line of that no longer applies to my mother and i!  so it's generic at times and may apply to even the manliest of men, but really, when you break it down, it's great words for us all to take in.  sometimes, it doesn't have to be so complicated.

Monday, January 28, 2013

plains bison [bison bison bison]

your chances of drawing a bison tag are to be compared to getting chomped on by a shark or struck down by lightning.  so in other words, my husband is a very lucky guy.  and, he knows it.

the day the names were released online, ben received many, many phone calls full of explicit language from extremely envious guys on the other end of the line.  he laughed it up with every single one of them.  even i was getting phone calls, yes, yes, that's my ben that received the tag.  

it's been nearly a year ago now, (that the names were posted) so this has been something he's looked forward to and planned all year.  i'm so happy and so proud of him - all the guys, really - and all his hard work to make this happen.  nobody wants to hunt in delta junction at negative 40 degrees, wind blowing, piercing through all your layers... but... wait, they DO want to, they're crazy enough, man enough and God bless them for it!

 ben and sean

 ben and jerry

they left on a friday morning and returned on a wednesday afternoon.  it wouldn't matter if it was only a long weekend, i would still have missed ben dearly.  dylan, too.  we were happy to welcome the boys home.  {ok, so dylan was really more excited to see sean, but it had been a while since his move out of state...}

ben was eager to show off his new trophy, calling me from the shop.  with the valley winds blowing (shocker, i know) they quickly unloaded the haul of meat and horns and, well, yuck.  i'm so pregnant.  this stuff never bothers me, and yet, i could smell it a mile away.  my heightened sense of smell is ridiculous these days...

but look - he's so proud.  
as he should be.
 that's bison heart, in the bottom right picture.
"mama, i luf sean."

Monday, January 21, 2013

a saturday in willow

the above series describes my uncle bob without using a single word.  and, as far back as i can remember, he's always been this way.  growing up, we visited his place knowing there would be plenty to do - the latest game system; those racing cars/tracks where you control the speed with a little hand-held contraption (and that you could even shock yourself with - c'mon, you know what i'm talking about!); candy in every corner of the house; rooms with toys still in the box; he even had a drawing table!  he's always been fun uncle bob.  it's so nice to see that overlap with my own children.

with ben out of town on his bison hunt, and with our warmer temps, i thought it would be good to get out of the house and venture up to willow.  after 4 trips to load up the rig with all our snow gear, sippies and snacks, a stop at the grocery store, and a movie playing to entertain (aka to keep the calm), we were off.

we left wasilla, a brisk 17 degrees and pulled into the driveway of the cabin at a tropical and welcoming 27 degrees.  it's incredible what 10 degrees can do for you!

like most of anchorage and the valley, willow didn't have much snow either.  lucky for us, thanks to uncle bob's large driveway and his plow truck, there were plenty of snowbanks to sled down, roll down and dig IN.

sledding fun
 tree house fun
 taking turns fun
 she's just FUN to look at!

i kept close to the fire.  i couldn't help it.  even with all my layers - and yep, THOSE extra layers as well - i was still cold.  it must be a corey thing.  {in my mind, i can practically hear my aunt and my mother saying i'm cooold, with a frowny-face expression.}  jack was great about stoking the fire, carrying armloads of logs over, and i even let him throw a few on.

notice uncle bob's "box" lunch?!

dylan wouldn't come near the fire. not sure if it was the heat or the sitting, but she was on the move all afternoon.  at one point, i lost sight of her and when i finally heard her calling to me, i saw that she had trudged through the snow, ALL the way on the other side of the cabin!  that's a lot of work for such little legs.  she's a toughie, that one.

"mama, i over here!"

super fun way to spend a saturday.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

babymoon, last day

our last day, new year's day, was a rainy one.  it was pouring at our bungalow, so we decided to pack our bags and drive until we reached dry skies.  well, that never happened.  midwest-like downpours, to alaska-like misting rain, drizzling on and off - it was pure silliness.  add to it that it was a holiday and most places were closed, and we had already taken in 3 movies because of rain other afternoons and evenings...

can you believe i tried to get us on 
an earlier flight home?!  

but, with full flights, we were stuck with our 9 pm departure.  a drive around the island, some last minute nordstrom rack shopping, one more quiet lunch alone and a last minute beach venture - oh yeah, there are ways to pass the time.   

spotted a funky vw, just for our jackie boy's funny obsession.
perfect bench on the north shore
 sandy beach

a special thank-you and shout-out to our momma's for watching the kiddos - nana lynn (and {great} grandma), thank you for caring for our sweet bubba man.  this trip could not have been possible without your unconditional support and love.  and ditto to you, gramma d - knowing dylan june was in your safe keeping meant a peace of mind for ben and myself.  we are so blessed to have two adoring grammas in our children's lives.  we're forever grateful for your presence.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

babymoon, lanikai & makapu'u

i can't help myself.  look how gorgeous.  waves crashing, birds singing, the warmth of the sun on your face at 7:12 am - it's 10:10 am in wasilla right now, and the sun is still not up...  

our photog friend, who had done a maternity shoot for us the day before, suggested we check out lanikai.  we were sooo thankful for this recommendation.  sugar sand, variegated blue water - another gorgeous beach experience.

 i'm forever indebted to him for carrying countless floral-print bags.

directly behind us, we spotted some hikers along the ridge line.  
i was so envious of their accomplishment and view!  
 ...but, i had a pretty spectacular view from the comfort of my beach towel, too.
plenty of reef for benji to snorkel

after we had our fill of vitamin d, we jumped in the rig for yet another drive.  further on down the kalanianaole highway, we pulled off to check out the makapu'u tide pools and light house in waimanalo.

our new years eve was extremely low-key.  considering our full day in the sun and on the highway, we had dinner by 5, a movie by 8, and we both could barely keep our eyes open during the drive home.  i was asleep by 11, but not before being startled awake by the neighbor's cannon-like fireworks.  what we thought was the start of a civil war, turned out to nye celebrations, well into the 3 o'clock hour.  we found out the next morning that most on the north shore make their own fireworks.  and, we thought the valley was bad...  

another fabulous recommendation: dinner at hale'iwa joe's in kaneohe  
now that's a slab of prime rib

Saturday, January 12, 2013

babymoon, hale'iwa & waimea bay

we decided there had been enough time spent on the other side of the island.  we drove a few miles up the highway to hale'iwa for breakfast at kono's and some shopping.

across from ted's bakery, we walked through a neighborhood and fell onto this gorgeous beach.  ben thought i was being venturesome, but i had been to the beach before - with jb when he was 15 months old.  i wanted to bring ben here with thought of being on the exact beach with both my boys. 

doesn't the sand on my fingers and the sand on baby jack's face look similar?

ben could not get over the chaos of the power lines in hawai'i.  we never drove far without him commenting on the utter mess and lack of organization.  i had to capture at least one of the poles because it was very much a discussion during our vacation.  the man is a lineman through and through.

within the hour, the weather changed.  more clouds rolled in, and the sky opened up.  we were thankful for our early start to the day - to enjoy the little blue sky we were blessed with during our morning.

on this day, there were to be 30-40 foot waves, and therefore, the annual "eddie would go" surf competition could take place.  well, the waves didn't appear (at the desired height) so neither did the eddie - 2009 was the last year the competition was held.

it was rather blustery, but still, dudes were out in the surf, hoping to catch something.  we watched for a while, but eventually succumbed to the rain.  i think we went to the movies (twice) on this day.

waimea bay 

 a dozen surfers, waiting for that wave

Friday, January 11, 2013

babymoon, hanauma bay

there's no other place like it.

2 of the 7 reefs were closed due to such rough currents, but we were able to snorkel back door lagoon, keyhole lagoon and sandman's patch.  benji went to channel by himself because i wasn't quite as daring to venture so far out.  it's a good thing witch's brew and toilet bowl were closed.  i'm sure he would have pulled me way out there.

we saw SO many fish.  and, we were only in the water for 10 minutes when a turtle swam right in front of us - i nearly screamed in my snorkel!  we also saw butterfly, parrot and sturgeon fish, moorish idols and tangs.


after two 2-hour snoozes, we were fried and ready to seek some shade.  and after-sun lotion.  but man, whatta day.  whatta experience.

here's a real doozy to end our amazingly-fun day in the sun.  as if my pregnancy brain hasn't been kicking my butt enough, it didn't cease on vacation.  upon reaching the entrance to hanauma bay, i noticed the parking lot was full, and they were flagging people to drive on.  quick thinking (ha.) i noticed 3 other vehicles parked directly across the street and - lucky us - there was one space left!  i swung in and thought nothing else of it.


can you imagine our surprise, after 6 hours in the sun, totally burnt to a crisp, ready to get back to our bungalow and whatdoyouknow - no rental car.  no cars on the side of the road, period.  $#@%!!!

we. got. towed.   

first a call to 9-1-1 (because in HI, that's who you call when you get towed...) and three other numbers before we reached the correct tow yard... a 15-minute wait for a cabbie... then the fun really started.  

we jumped in this newish minivan, eager to find our vehicle.  immediately, i could tell the van hadn't been in for a tune-up or an oil change since it left the plant.  this thing smelled like the engine was gonna blow.  and at 45 mph, it should not have been ferociously shaking, right?!  ben was peeking at the dash, trying to spy if the temperature was in the red; i had my beach towel over my face because the smell was so rotten (sorry about the fume ingestion, baby 3!).  ben and i were silently laughing so hard, whispering our exit strategy if this thing were to blow up.

after a $46 ride, we realized we didn't even have exact change and cabbie wouldn't take a card.  but - he was sooo quick to dismiss the issue, really just telling us "you get out here.  you fine."  standing in the middle of chinatown, with a friggin cooler, snorkel gear and beach crap, we realized there wasn't a tow yard in sight.  after our nervous laughter subsided, and we noticed we weren't in the greatest area - but yet, we were THE perfect targets for mugging with our arms full and sandal-clad - i spotted a tow truck race down an alley a block away.  

needless to say, after $180, we were able to escape chinatown in our ford escape.  this experience would end any decision making on my part and commence benji in full-charge of anything else to happen during our 4 remaining days.