Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fishing in Alaska

We had two big fishing experiences in Alaska. One was during the Cousins' Camp. While Allison and I were hosting Cousins' Camp 2013, the rest of the crew were fishing:
Here's Bradley with some fish in the background:
More culturally significant, however, was when we got to go to Kenai and watch the Alaskans dip net fish for salmon.

Each year tons of salmon swim past this beach and Alaskans (and only Alaskans-- we were not allowed to help-- but enjoyed watching!) pluck them out, bonk them on the head and fill their freezers.

This shows the men with their dip nets:
They stand in the water and net the salmon when they swim by. Then the drag the salmon to the beach where the women (and children) "bonk" the fish.

You see two of those kiddos with their "bonking sticks":
It all sounds very innocent enough... but good grief, it's violent! Did you know fish bleed?! I didn't!

Lucy tried her hand at the bonking stick, too:

I'll refrain from posting the more bloody photos... but here's Allison with a hard-earned catch:
And I do mean hard-earned! This was not an easy, relaxing day of fishing for the Alaskans!

Bradley was glad that he couldn't walk yet, so he was able to snuggle up while at the beach:
Later, however, I took him to the car to stretch his legs... and boy was he happy about that!
We had spent the greater part of the Spring eating up everything out of our freezers so we could ship back the Alaskan catches (not the Kenai salmon, but the catches from the deep sea trip). And we've been enjoying the fruits of their (I'll say "our"... even though I did get to actually fish-- the camp counselor helped make it possible, right??) labor ever since!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Market We Go

On our first full day in Alaska, many of the men went fishing, while the women and children went shopping.

Allison took us to an outdoor market where I saw this tent:

We also took some cousins' photos:

I love this one:
Sean was a total ham and loved striking poses for the camera. Maria was a total copy-cat and loved trying to imitate Sean's moves! So cute!

Later, Bradley proved he has my genes and showed off his ability to nap anywhere:
And I tried a moose hotdog!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Bradley!

Dear Bradley,

A year ago I became a mom:
And my husband became a dad:
Your family was here to greet you:
And I couldn't stop staring at you:
I mean... how could I ever look away?
We took you home...
And watched you grow:
Into one HAPPY baby:
So many photos of you smiling!
You are now growing into a HAPPY toddler:
And even though I'll always cherish those moments with my teeny-tiny infant:
I know that the next stage will be "my favorite" just as all the stages before have been!
 I love you Bradley Danger! I can't wait to watch you soar into your second year!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

9, 10, 11 Months

Note the date: Bradley turns one TOMORROW! I did write this a few weeks ago, just didn't post it. Yikes!
*Alaska blogs to resume next week*

Yikes! Major mom fail!

The last time I updated Bradley's monthly photos was at 8 months. He's now 11 months! Oops!

At least I took the photos at the appropriate times.

Here are some 9 month winners:
Bradley had two bottom teeth, but no top teeth yet. Something was going on, though, because this was a phase where he stuck his tongue out all the time!
He was still army scooting, but getting better and better at crawling.
I blinked... and he was 10 months old!
You can see those top two teeth finally popped through!
And he started to really, really move. Full on crawling... and FAST!
Still an absolute joy to watch his little personality develop. Bradley has always been such a HAPPY baby!

Now he's 11 months old:
And still a super happy baby!
Two more teeth up front and this little boy love to eat! He has a banana and an egg each morning (though recently he's starting having TWO eggs). He eats almost anything I put on his high chair with the exception of black beans and lima beans (he'll eat kidney beans, but only if there's nothing else on the highchair).

Bradley is a MOVER! He crawls so fast and "cruises" around all the furniture. I'm pretty sure he could walk if he wanted to, but my smart little guy is in no hurry. He'll stand for quite some time, then plop to the ground and crawl (fast!) to whatever he's going for (which is often the pantry if the door is left open... or mama's arms... LOVE IT!)
I have LOVED this year with my little guy and can't wait to watch him continue to grow into a little man.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Everyone Has Fun at Cousin Camp

On Thursday of our Great Alaskan Adventure, Alison and I rounded up the kiddos and had a day of "Cousin Camp".

All of the other adults went deep sea fishing. And since that's not really a place for children, Alison and I volunteered to take them on a "land" adventure. So we had three babies: 11, 18 and 20 months and three kiddos: 5, 10, 10 years. Yikes! To be honest, I was a little nervous going into that day. We had the kiddos from 7am (when they woke up) to 6pm that evening. To add to the challenge-- we were in hotel rooms that needed to be vacated by 1pm!

But, for all my worrying, it actually ended up being one of the most fun days of the trip! I should have known... I love Cousin Camp!

I slept in the room with all three babies the night before, so it was a quite a morning:
Maria kept walking to the different pack-and-plays, wanting to get in. She'd spend some time in hers, ask to get out, walk to Bradley's, ask to get in, spend some time there, then it was off to Lucy's. Then Lucy started the game. Then Maria wanted to be in the pack-and-play with Lucy and found that hilarious! I love baby giggles!

This all went on for quite a while.
Meanwhile Alison was in the room with the older kids. She came down a few times so I could run and get breakfast... and shower! It wasn't too long before all three babies started to rub their eyes. So we had nap time! (Me included!)

Once the babies were awake it was time to pack up and leave the rooms. It was like the old challenge of getting the fox, chicken and corn across the river (seen here). The babies couldn't be left alone, but we needed to get the stuff to the car and the car couldn't be under the port-a-cache for too long... oh! And did I mention that Alison is preggo! So I was very sensitive to not letting her carry anything.

Thankfully, we have great problem solving skills and we got the fox across the river! I mean... the rooms unpacked and the babies/kids securely in their seats.

We headed to subway to pick up some lunch, then had a picnic by the water. With five hours to go and no room to escape to... it was time for some activities!

We headed to the Seward Sea Life Center. Each kid was paired up with a "baby buddy". This was a HUGE help in getting them to stay engaged with us. And it was SO cute to watch them take care of their baby buddy (pushing the strollers, pointing out the various sea life and making sure they had snacks).

The Seward Sea Life Center is great! We played at the boat for a while:
And I got to get up close and personal with a puffin!
(Yikes! I look like I slept in a hotel room with three babies... check out those bags under the eyes!)
(Actually... don't check those out... just ignore them...)

But you can check out these two "buddies":
Love it!

After a few more stops checking out the sea life,
(The girls were NOT impressed.)

we went back to the boat and stayed there for quite some time!

Maria caught fish:
And Lucy handed them to the "boat captain":
At the end of the day, we were all tired (and had the "Cousin Camp Song" stuck in our heads) but it was a good kind of tired. The kind that means you played hard.

Here's our Cousin Camp Alaska 2013 Camp Photo (minus Cousin Counselor, Alison, who was taking the photo). 

And even though we had a blast at Cousin Camp... I was SO happy to see this sight:
That's the boat, with all the parents, coming back to relieve this Cousin's Camp Counselor of her duties! Woohoo!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Exit Glacier

On our road trip from Anchorage to Seward, we stopped by Exit Glacier.

You can see it here, in the background:
We decided to hike a little closer. So I strapped Bradley to me and we started the hike.
Notice how we're all smiles.

We're still smiles here, at the viewing point:

And even here, across a board-bridge:
The others had gone off ahead of us, so we weren't positive we were following the correct trail... until we saw:
The terrain wasn't as smooth as we originally thought... so the little girls' strollers were parked to the side. Good thing, too, as it only got more rocky as we got closer.

Bradley was also getting a little antsy, so we changed his scenery:
That worked for a while... but you can tell, the smiles are starting to fade...
But we turned a corner, and saw a beautiful view and refreshing winds:
Worth it!
 Ok, yeah, the photo does not do it justice...

Thankfully the rest of the family was there and we all took turns playing photographer:
Before we hiked back down together:
I've now seen a volcano in Hawii and a Glacier in Alaska. Isn't there some sort of Facebook check-in award I can get??