Good Morning!

So here’s the deal. I’ve done a fair amount of babysitting in my life -spent days watching kids, put them to bed and left them for their parents to deal with the following day. I even did a stunt where I put one kid on a bus for school -that was fun when he almost missed the bus over an episode involving a missing sweater. But I digress. A few months ago I was asked if I would mind kid sitting at night for a few nights. Feed kids dinner, get them in bed -then get them up and off to a friends house the next morning. It sounded simple enough, and I am always up for random stunts -so I agreed.

The instructions were simple enough “Wake the kids up at 7am” since they would be starting school in a few days their mom was hoping to have them adjusted to the early to bed, early to rise schedule. I agreed to this schedule and last night was my first night there. It went well enough. Kids were in bed by 9pm and I had the rest of the evening to myself. I set my alarm for 6:52 -thinking I would get up a few minutes early, hop in the shower and then wake them up.

It was all planned. It was all ready. It was going to be fine.

Except I woke to hear foot steps running down the stairs. I blinked and looked bleary eyed at the clock which read: 6:02. That is am. Six in the morning.

Now those who know me best know that waking me up early is not the thing to do. Especially without coffee. Especially before the hour of 9. But these children, bless their socks, were up with the morning sun. Or what I can assume was the morning sun. The sun was up and so were they -so they must have woken together. I laid in bed -silently, hoping they were just using the bathroom and would go back to bed like reasonable souls. But alas -I heard dishes clinking, and breakfast being made and I knew.

These kids were not going back to bed.

I forced myself from the blankets, rolled onto the floor and stared in the mirror at nest that was atop my head. My hair and I agree on mornings -they are not the bees knees. We don’t do mornings. I debated about taking a shower and calming some of the wild morning madness atop my head, but it was all very much before coffee and the clock was still reading the number 6 -so I brushed it down, threw on a sweater and stumbled into the kitchen where pancakes were being made.

Thankfully I had had enough sense to bring along a coffee maker -else I don’t know if any of us would have survived.

I don’t know if this is normal or not. I’m told by various sources that it is very much normal. That 6am isn’t that unreasonable of an hour and gauging by the traffic -others don’t think so either. Their grandparents were wide awake sitting on the porch awaiting their arrival. So I guess I am the only one that doesn’t believe in waking before the sun.

Yoshi

Apparently, Miss E has been stalking my blog looking for new updated pictures of Yoshi.  I haven’t done much in the way of photography lately, but today was sunny and calling me outside -so out we went.  These were the results:

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Under the Sea

We got out underwater camera film back the other day.  I laughed…because these pictures.  They are anything but the amazing underwater pictures I was expecting.

You know the type -the ones that look amazing and completely capture the awesomeness that is under the waves.  I’ve seen them all -I know what I was looking for -and then what I got?  Well, they just made me laugh.  But also because they sort of make me happy.  The time spent snorkeling (while challenging!!!) was awesome.

I am probably dating myself but if you remember using disposable cameras (and waiting for the film to get developed) you will have a general idea on what we were up to.  But you also have to remember that we had big rubber gloves on, so navigating the camera wasn’t exactly what one would call…easy.  There were a lot of shots of the glove!

I kinda want to go back, you know?

This guy was a really cool shade of purple when you looked at him under the water -almost like a neon, glow in the dark color.  Of course the picture just shows a little purple blob.  It was a sea urchin, for those wondering.

13615226_1161818690506533_8770453448368351017_nPatrick Star!

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An attempt at a thumbs up

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Under the sea!  See?

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While the hardly counts as “Under the sea photography” -I think I am going to work on brushing up on my “on land” photography before I attempt anything….well, professional.  So this will have to do for now.

A-Snorkeling We Go

I couldn’t tell you why exactly, but the idea of snorkeling has interested me for a long time. When we went to Australia last year we originally planned to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. After all, that is kind of something you have to do –right? Unfortunately our plans to go to the reef didn’t work out and we didn’t end up going. Still, the idea was there.

Making a very long story short –we got an offer to go snorkeling with a local tour here in Alaska that we couldn’t pass up. When Amanda and David started planning their trip here I knew it was something that would have to go on the list to accomplish this summer. This past Saturday, we checked that idea off the list.

Snorkeling here in Alaska is probably different than snorkeling in other places –one of the main differences is that you have to wear a wetsuit. Having never worn a wetsuit before we really had no idea what to expect.

Getting in the suit was a challenge in and of itself –pulling on a full rubber suit is challenging in the best of circumstances –but I started to panic while pulling mine on –and started sweating…it was a task that was more challenging that I expected! Then we had to make our way to the van and go for a drive –sitting in a wetsuit? Not the easiest challenge!

Once in the water things started to loosen up –but then the next challenge came: snorkeling.

They offered weight belts for those who were more adventurous and Amanda’s hand immediately went up. Thankfully we talked her off that ledge and decided to try it without the first time. It was probably a good idea.

Let me start by saying that the whole experience? Was awesome.

But getting started was a bit rough. My mask leaked, and I kept swallowing water. Combine this with the fact that I am 2 inches shorter than everyone else means I can’t always reach the bottom where others can and the flippers that kept flipping me onto my stomach and it was a rough start. But once the mask was sorted and I realized you shouldn’t open your mouth under water and waves going over your snorkel pipe are not good –it was all good.

It was quiet. And amazing. Seeing everything come to life under the water. To be completely honest –I didn’t think I was going to be that blown away by what we saw, after all –I have seen all the starfish and sea like animals from my 25+ years of living here in Alaska…but seeing the water from under the water? As odd as it sounds was completely different…and amazing.

When we first took off I was thinking “I never want to do this again” and by the time we got out I was thinking “I can’t wait to do this again!” It was a lot of fun, wetsuits and all…and now? I kind of want to go back to Australia and go snorkeling in the reef. Who wants to come!

We turned in our underwater disposable camera and have to wait a week for the pictures to come back…until then, here is proof we were, well, in wetsuits!

Amanda told me to stop making this face, but I feel it sums up the whole wetsuit ordeal fairly well!

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A much better selfie

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Summer Bucket List: Kayaking

A few years ago I signed mom and I up for a “ladies night” kayaking paddle.  We had a blast and has left me wanting to go again and again.  Things have never lined up for us tho, and we haven’t been back until last night.

When we started putting together a list of thing to do this summer while Amanda and her family were in town we knew that kayaking had to be done.  David didn’t seem convinced about going -so we went forward with booking the ladies night paddle again.

It was as much fun as I remember…we spent two hours out there -and it only seemed like 15 minutes max.

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Our new attire.

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This Alaska.  This is something I will never grow tired of.

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It was fun to get out and get a fresh perspective.  Ketchikan always seems more manageable from the ocean.

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We went under the bridge and had a quick paddle around Creek Street.

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Made it back safely.  No one flipped over -bonus!

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Here is to another fun time kayaking -and many more to come!

Summer Bucket List: Ziplining

When we first started planning the epic adventure, 2016 edition, we compiled a list of all the things we hoped to accomplish during the short few months Amanda and her crew would be here.  Among the work related tasks, we sprinkled in some fun things we really wanted to do -one of those things was ziplining.

We were able to score a real deal for the tour and had an absolute blast.

A few years ago we were on the same tour, and Amanda somehow managed to spin herself around and almost slammed into the tree.  She was a bit worried about doing it again, but we are happy to report there were no spin outs and no tree slamming either.

It was an amazing time -and one that we hope to do again sometime soon!

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Only Fools Run at Midnight

Ten years ago, we did what any good fool would: We ran a fun run. It was the first official race that we had ever been in and was something that excited us beyond belief. Since it was a fundraiser, we went around the neighborhood collecting money and making our speech. That night we ate what any good runner would: A high carb meal that would make us sick later on, donned our pajamas and ran our hearts out.

Fast forward ten years.

I had casually mentioned a time or two that we should “relive old times” and go on the fools run once again. No one seemed that interested until one night I went in the grocery store and saw this gem:

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What is a fools run, you might ask? I think this pretty much sums it up best: Over one thousand “fools” will take to the streets with hundreds more to cheer them on…

Basically you show up at midnight in a costume and run through the town. It is great fun. So long as you don’t pass out (it has happened before!)

Rushing out to the car I spilled the news that the run was “THAT NIGHT” and “WE SHOULD SO GO!” Amanda was game. David on the other hand, could not understand why would want to wait up until midnight before running downtown in our pajamas…better yet, why would we pay for this with money?

Once again, we did what any good runner would do: Ate a high carb mean that would eventually make us sick, don our pajamas and run our hearts out.

We waited until 11pm before loading up in the car, driving to town, pay money to get our bibs and free shirts, took a few pictures and the gun went off. We ran. We beat our previous time by 3 minutes. We had fun.

We ran downtown while those who were still up (read: Mostly those in bars) cheered us on and gave us high fives. We saw just about everyone we knew, and had no shame –running downtown in our pajamas. It wasn’t until the next morning did a little bit of embarrassment start to sink in. Not embarrassment for running in my pajamas, or being so slow…oh no, the embarrassment was for not HAVING any embarrassment!

To quote the lady who was cheering us on: Run you fools, run!

What can I say? Some run to get in shape. Some run during the day. Some run for fun. We run at midnight. In our pajamas. We run with our fellow fools.

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My look in the bottom picture, and Amanda’s look in the top pretty much sums out how we felt about that night.

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Up to Speed

I have a confession to make: I am a terrible person. Well, no, that isn’t exactly the confession I was hoping to make, just that, well, I have been slacking –big time on the blog front. You see, almost one month ago mom and I took off for a weekend trip. It was supposed to be “Just the two of us.” If you have been following any length of time you know that Amanda and I love surprises. Probably close to two years ago we started plotting and preparing for this surprise to take place. But since it was a surprise, and mom has been known to stalk the blog (Hi ma!) I couldn’t say anything about it…and well, writing anything else seemed pointless.

So back on track.

A month ago mom and I headed to Seattle for a “girls weekend” –she didn’t question why I had nearly 50 pounds of luggage for a weekend trip and I appeased her with “A girl needs stuff –even if it IS just a weekend” when really, my bag was loaded to the hilt with random bits…

The day we left home, David, Amanda & their crew were leaving England to fly to Seattle to surprise mom. But the surprises weren’t and didn’t stop there. From there, we bought mom a car, and made a road trip up through Canada where they would stay for a few months. Confused? Me too.

Pretty much every time I told someone about our big surprise they looked confused and asked some random questions about the logistics…logistics smogistics is what I say!

In the end, we pulled off the epic surprise with very few glitches. They showed up at the motel –shocked the socks off of mom and we spent the next four days searching for a car. It was a very long four days but to shorten the story -we eventually found one that fit the criteria, bought the car, and began our trip.

…and then everyone got sick.

I wish I were kidding. But the brand new car endured countless bouts of vomit. The whole way home.

We made it tho, and have been doing our best to fill the time and knock items off our “Summer Bucket List.” Which might explain my absence. That and the fact that these people are some of my favorites. Our days are wild and epic. Fast and furious. But it has been an amazing summer.

…and hopefully I will get around to sharing some of the epicness.

Until then!

Me + Softball

So about a month ago someone approached me and asked if I wanted to play softball. I didn’t put too much thought into it before agreeing to meet once I got a glove.

While this may not sound like a big deal -I should probably interject a little background. I am 26. I have never played sports. I actively run from balls being thrown at me. I played a few rounds of volleyball a few years ago.  I nearly broke my thumb at one of those games. I have never held a bat. Never thrown a ball (except to the dog) and have never been interested in how the game works. In short? I am a rookie that knows nothing about the game except what my mind tells me: Which is to run from the ball.

The first game I went to the coach told me I would just sit out and he would explain the rules as it went along. I sighed relief and took my position as bench warmer. That I could handle. Not two minutes later he called my name “You! Over there!” apparently the other team was short a player so figuring he wouldn’t be losing much -he farmed me out to the other team. My first time ever holding a bat. My first time ever swinging at a ball. My first time ever running bases. I hit the ball. Ran the bases. Scored a point. For the opposing team.

Yay?

I went home later that night and googled everything I could on softball.

Two days later we met for practice where I would spend an hour learning the rules of the game and having it drilled into my head “Run TO the ball” -after 26 years of running FROM a ball I was now trying to retrain my mind to run TO the ball. I was also trying to learn how to catch the ball, keep the ball from smacking me in the face and who to throw said ball to. We only covered about ½ the positions, but at the end he told me I had a great throwing arm and had potential. I assumed that was a good thing, because I really didn’t understand the other softball terms that were being tossed around.

I couldn’t walk right for a week. My hand turned blue and purple -because I had to learn the hard way that you do not catch a ball without a glove. I couldn’t lift anything for days.

…and then I went out of two for two weeks and missed out on a game and practice.

Last week was our third game, and my second.

We were short two players which meant that instead of playing outfield -I was put as catcher.

I will let that sink in for a moment.

Catcher. Perhaps the most dangerous place ever. No one explained the rules to me. No one told me what to do. There was no time for that. They simply said “Crouch there…” Right behind the bat. Right in the line of the ball. Right in the line of fire. Oy.

Last night I managed to hit the ball twice. We lost by one point. But from what I hear -we did a really good job as a whole. Considering the opposing team had all their players (and some really good ones at that) and the empire apparently took two points off our game.

I really don’t know why or how or any of that…I am still trying to understand the rules, the game and the ball. I still find myself cheering on the opposing team and only manage to catch the ball about ¼ of the time. But when the bat hits the ball, something about the cracking noise sends my legs flying as fast as they possibly can. To where? I am really not sure. I just run. Then run again. Then run again. And hope for the best.

There were more people in the dug out that belonged to me than the team last night -99% of the fam was there, cheering me own, squawking out random bits of encouragement to me and the other players. Grinning like bafoons right along side me as I stood at first base after hitting a squiggly ball that gave me enough time to run.

If nothing else, it will be an interesting summer with lots of flying balls -and at the end, at least I will be able to throw the ball for the dog a little further than normal…now if only she could throw them to me so I could work on my catching!

Amanda and her fam are in town for a few months and as a result she took a few…pictures. Of course she didn’t catch me hitting the ball or running like a fool…her pictures are probably the most accurate representation of what I look like 98% of the time.

Not so pro tip: Do NOT catch a ball with the hand that doesn’t have a glove.  Don’t ask me how I know, just don’t do it:

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Wait, where did it go?

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What am I looking at?  The ball that is not?

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Yay!  I caught it…oh, wait, no I didn’t.

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For the record I DID catch a few balls, and did manage to score the team a point…I think.

Thankfully the team is really low key -and everyone is just as happy to hit the ball as they are to make a home run.  Not that I would know -we haven’t exactly had any home runs.  But still!