Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If I'm honest, I'd say I love this...

This boy and his daddy together...
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learning to take pictures...

and seeing the joy spread across his face as he discovers something new!

(Thats my backup camera along with my most lightweight lens, and yes, he really can take a picture with it!)

The farm with friends

We recently went on a trip with the playgroup to a local farm. The theme for the week for the pre-school program was butterflies, yet there were no real butterflies to be seen. I don't think the kids cared though. They were more interested in the chickens, goats, sheep, mules, and tractor ride. We had so much fun getting out with our friends we hadn't seen in a while!
Here's Egan feeding the chickens. He kept asking to go back and see "more chickens, please."
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Here are some MORE chickens. They were pretty crazy looking!
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We got to get in a trailer and be pulled behind a tractor. Oh my...

AAAANNNDDD... back to the chickens, of course! That is pure joy on his face. No doubt about it.

Just another fun adventure with Egan's playgroup buddies!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

back to your regularly scheduled programming

I've still got a few more days of Alaska to get on the blog, but life has still been happening, so time for some catch up!
We've crossed one of those big childhood milestones in our house. Last week we started the potty training, and said goodbye to diapers! Egan has done great. Each day gets easier and easier. There are still accidents here and there, but I'm so proud of the progress he's made. He's SUCH a big boy!
Here's what our week looked like (excluding the "gory details").
One of our best friends this week was the iPad. Egan referred to it more than once as "Egan's iPad".

I guess he's got a point.

He's got a whole folder of games that he knows how to open, play, close, and then choose another game. Here, he's building puzzles. He's amazingly good at it!

We took snack breaks outside. Egan frequently requests to "eat outside".

We played with EVERYTHING in our house... more than once... a day. It takes a lot to entertain a boy when we are stuck to our house for days on end. One fun activity? Painting.

I'm now the proud owner of a whole stack of Egan's fantastic artwork.

He had great technique as well. One paint brush in each hand. For a while, he even kept one color on each brush. When he gave up on both brushes, he just used his left hand. At this point, he still strongly favors his left hand.

My little artist at work.

There were several days last week wen daddy had to work late, and by the end of the day, both Egan and I were totally exhausted. (Apparently Maggie had a rough day as well.) A daddy at work + a tired mommy + a tired little boy = time for a movie.

Outside was another favorite place to be. This was the sight I saw as I got dinner ready one evening.

What, you've never had an iphone wielding knight sitting on a potty in your back yard?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 8: a chance of a lifetime

I'm not kidding here. Day 8 of our trip was spent in Juneau, AK. The weather there was absolutely perfect, actually unseasonably so. We couldn't have asked for more.
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Even all the locals were raving about the sunshine. There wasn't a breath of wind, and the temperature was nice yet cool. We had a very exciting excursion planned for this day. It is the only excursion we booked for the entire trip. I couldn't wait! Where were we going? For a ride on one of these, of course!

Here we are all geared up with snazzy life vests and "glacier boots" that fit over our large hiking shoes. We may look like we are wearing our heavy jackets, but they both have hefty zip out liners that we left on the cruise ship.

We got in a helicopter with a family of 4 (2 parents and 2 girls) and of course the pilot. The helicopter was just big enough for the 7 of us to fit inside. We were all given headsets with a microphone built in so we could communicate with the pilot and he could communicate with us. Turns out, it was used mostly for listening to Enya during the flight.
I'm going to share quite a few pictures here of our trip, so feel free to scroll along if you aren't interested.
This was our view shortly after takeoff. Our cruise ship is the one on the left side of the two. The one on the right is the Disney ship I posted a picture of before. As Egan would say, we were "way up 'der."

Most of Juneau is on the right side of this picture. Amazingly, all the land that the town is built on is the dirt that was brought up from mines. It is literally built on the side of a mountain. It is Alaska's capital with a population of only about 31,000. The craziest thing to me is that the only way into the city is either by boat or airplane. There are no roads in or out!
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(The Norris Glacier... I think?)

This was part of the glacier we eventually landed on, the Taku Glacier. The scale here is SO deceptive. From what I've read, the glacier is almost 5000 feet deep at its deepest point.



All of a sudden, as we rounded a side of the glacier, the pilot went in for a landing by this pool.

Then we got out and got to walk around!

Here we are by our ride.

And the pond.





I was surprised by the ice. On the top it wasn't really "solid" ice. It had holes and was actually kind of sharp. Not at all "fluffy".

Our eyes aren't so much closed as it was REALLY bright out there.

We got to walk around a bit, and crossed this crevice. Isn't the blue down in there beautiful?




Look, it's our feet on a glacier!

And the people attached to those feet! Shortly after this we loaded back up in the helicopter and took off to see a few more glaciers and some of the most incredible mountains I've ever seen up close!
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As the glacier moves, it grinds the rock around it down into silt. That is what creates the discoloration in the ice as well as what made the land here.

Here are some more shots from the air of some crevices in the ice.

I was in such awe as we flew that I can't remember which glacier is which. Our pilot told us all the names... My guess would be that this is the Lemon Glacier. I could be wrong though.
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Here's an ice slide on the side of a mountain.


This is one of my favorite shots.

And this is a little closer version of the same mountain as we rounded the top.

A frozen lake.
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We were told that the scenery changes quite a bit as the season goes on. We were at the very beginning of the "tourist season" there, and before too long, these mountains will have a lot less snow. The pilot said that the tops keep some snow, but most of the rest melts.


This is one of the other helicopters we went out with. We didn't land at the same place, but flew near each other.

I guess this is why there are no roads in or out of Juneau. It is surrounded by this...

Alright, so this is getting excessive with all the pictures. I know, but I was in such awe for the entire flight that I just wanted to remember it all.

... and since when have I ever been light with the photos?

Here we are rounding back into the Juneau area.

After we landed, we turned our gear back in and boarded the bus back into town and saw this.

It's a bald eagle right on the top of the electrical wire.
Juneau was having a street fair that we explored a bit. I'm really not sure what was happening here. We only came in for the end of it. I think it was some Native americans welcoming a boat. (Just a demonstration, of course.)

One of the coolest things we saw while in Juneau was this.

It is the main drag in town.
We also got to visit a really cool local Alaskan brewery and hear all about how they started and where they are today. It was a short van ride away, so most of the cruise folks didn't make it out there. It was fun to see something other than the tourist shops there.
Oh, and we also found the coolest board book for Egan with Native American art. I love the art, and he loves that he can find the moose and other animals in the pictures.
After a long yet exciting day exploring, this was the towel creature waiting for us after dinner. He's a bit menacing if you ask me!

And this just might be the longest post ever, and if you've made it this far (Hi, Mom!), you should win a prize. I bought you all a piece of the glacier, but I'm sorry to tell you that it melted in transit. Darn that global warming.