Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More teenagers

Yes, it's true. There are two more teens in this house. Moriah and Susannah celebrated their 13th birthdays today...and officially entered teen-dom.

They awoke to crepe paper streamers at the bottom of the stairs, the number 13 made out of crepe paper on the windows and chairs festooned with crepe paper. Unfortunately, the crepe paper didn't cancel school for the day.

It wasn't an easy day, schedule-wise, to turn 13 because of all that this family had going on. Jim had to go to Anchorage, Samuel had DDF Club after school, I had to work and then had class, the girls had X-C running and the end-of-season pizza party and then piano right afterwards, Jim and I had play rehearsal and then Bible study at the church.

I had found time to make a delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS) apple pie cake for the X-C party (I stayed up insanely late last night/this morning after finishing homework to get it ready for baking), using up the last of my energy reserves and the flour and sugar. But my lack of time, energy and basic baking staples meant I couldn't make their 'official' birthday cake in time to have it for dessert, which was to be Texas Sheet Cake.

After Bible study, though, I had a little brainstorm and suggested that Jim get ice cream for a little celebration. That worked well and the girlios enjoyed (I think) being sung to over Goo Goo Cluster ice cream. They each got their own song and each got the chance to blow out their candles. Samuel insisted on helping light the candles and thankfully didn't catch anything on fire.

Here is a photo of the two 13-year-olds with their birthday ice cream:

Happy Birthday, Moriah.
Happy Birthday, Susannah.

I love you more than you could ever imagine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boat trip with the fam (warning...pic heavy!)

Here is part two of the boat trip from the end of June, the part of the trip that includes picking up the kids and Jim's folks and heading back out into Prince William Sound.

Anyhoo, here's a refresher on the setting: after spending an evening away, puttering around in a little bay and getting shrimp, Jim and I and our hosts boated back to Whittier to pick up the rest of the family. Betsy and Tony had gotten all five kids loaded and unloaded and they were waiting and waving up at the top of the 'marina' area.

After getting the babes safely down the pier and life-jacketed, we headed right back out. The little girls got to 'drive' the boat for a bit and enjoyed playing Captain. Abigail took it very seriously and moved the wheel back and forth. Bethany seemed happy to simply hold the wheel in place.

The boat had an upper deck that was wonderful to sit on, especially since the sun had come out. It was a little breezy but I got some nice photos.

There were even some photos taken with me!

As we traveled, we were treated to the sight of a raft of otters. The little girls were thrilled and insisted on waving goodbye to them.

The kids moved around on the boat, taking in the sights and trying to steer from down in the cabin. It wasn't until we were all the way home that I realized I hadn't gotten many photos of the other three adults in our family. I guess I was focused on the kids or something. Weird, huh?

We reached our final destination, Blackstone Bay. WOW! Beautiful and chilly, all at the same time.

We listened to the ice shifting and saw a few small ice chunks calve off. Our host also brought some glacier ice on board but I didn't get any photos of it. I'm still enchanted by the hue of glacier ice...that soft, misty blue.

Eventually, the boat had to return us to reality. After a lovely dinner and some more breathtaking scenery, we headed home. I think it's safe to say that all five of our kids would be happy to go back out into the Sound someday. Sooner rather than later, of course.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Boat Overnight 2010 (way overdue)

Jim and I were blessed to go on another overnight on a friend's boat back at the end of June. We arranged to go over night on a Tuesday to somewhere cool and then to meet up with the rest of our family on Wednesday to do a shorter 'tour' out to Blackstone Bay.

Tuesday's weather was less than stellar (read: rainy and chilly) so we ended up not going out as far. Our lovely hosts apologized about that, but I assured them it didn't matter how far out we went, we were just thrilled to be out on their boat.

When the power went out after an ill-fated attempt to hook up a new shrimp-pot-puller, our lovely hosts apologized again, this time from the depths of the engine room. And again I assured them that Jim and I were more than content--we didn't have to be anywhere until the next day, we had no email or cell phones demanding attention and most of all we had no children running around, needing us! (Plus I was certain they'd figure out and fix the problem, although being stranded on a nice boat with food and good company is definitely not the worst thing I can imagine!)

So, Jim snoozed and chatted, I made a couple of duct tape wallets and read, our hosts worked on the boat and visited with us, we all contributed in some way to a delicious steak dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed our night on the boat.

The weather was better in the morning, which encouraged Jim and I to take the dinghy and explore. There was a beach near the little cove we anchored in that is known as Kayaker's Beach. It has walkways and platforms for tents and an outhouse and looked like a neat place to stay.

Here is the view of the boat from the little dinghy:

'Captain' Jim:

One of the many wonderful views as we puttered around the little cove (note the teeny bit of blue sky peeking through!):

And the Kayaker's beach from a little ways out:

Once we got to the beach, we got to see the smooth stones, wooden steps, beautiful foliage and an outhouse perfect for clowning around in.

Here is a partial view of a platform and the view to the left from the platform:

We left the beach and kayaked back to the boat, so we could leave in time to stop by and haul up the shrimp pots before the rest of the family met us back in Whittier.

I perched on the bow, helping to run the motor that pulled in the rope and getting the rope coiled into a large tub. I believe there was at least 600 feet of rope to pull up. Might have been a couple hundred more. I was just grateful the winch was working this year. Anyone who read my post from last year might remember that we (read: mostly the two men) pulled the pots up by hand. Not an easy feat.

As the pots came into view, they were hooked and pulled over to the side and brought on board. Then the shrimp were dumped into a waiting bucket.

The kids and Jim's parents were waiting for us when we got back to Whittier and we pulled in just long enough to load 'em up and we headed back out.

More on that part of the trip in another post. Lots of cute photos of little girls 'driving' the boat and photos of Blackstone Bay. Stay tuned....