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Sunday, May 31, 2009

North to Alaska

I don't have time at the moment to inject these photos where they belong in this post, and I have more to upload, but Wilder's awake and I need to skeedaddle. More later!

It's been nearly two years since I left Alaska and the return to my home has been phenomenal. It's in my blood and after the longest of my absences I finally understand the Alaskan mentality I sought to escape -and now cherish. Duct tape, polar fleece, rough edges -it's what Alaska is all about. It makes it charming, as well as perplexing and slightly ridiculous. And today, as I drove around the mountainsides and reunited with wonderful friends, I felt my soul pulse with life and resonate with this place I called home for 27 years. My parents grew up here from their childhoods onward and chose to remain here to raise our family. The significance of this place has knocked the wind out of me several times since we arrived less than 24 hours ago. I am here and I miss it. How blessed I am to have been raised in the great state of Alaska, which, consequently, is celebrating its 50th year of statehood.

We arrived late last night and were met at the airport by David and Gina Murrow -a truly beloved couple of mine. They lent us a vehicle and we will later be spending half of our visit at their home which they graciously offered us. Wilder and I arrived at the Pichon's house -one of my best friend's from high school's parents- and quickly settled in for the night. Wilder did pretty well, though he thought 4am was the perfect time to start the day. Fortunately after a little playtime and a bath he was ready for a nap and we were able to snooze soundly until 8:30am.

We headed out soon after waking, no plan for the day except perhaps drive around and see my old stomping grounds. Driving up to the Chugach State Park I couldn't contain myself any longer and called Erica. "Hi!!! I'm here!!! Call me, call me, call me, I want to see you soon, best friend! I'm up by Flat Top!" Within a minute she called back.
"We're on our way to Trinity for church. Do you want to join us?"
"Absolutely! We'll meet you there." Only prepared for driving and hiking about (and NOT for church) I shrugged at convention and happily joined Erica -and Joseph her fiance, and nearly the whole Colliander crew- at my old church. Wilder was a dream for the folks in the nursery (praise the Lord) and it was incredible seeing so many well-loved and familiar faces. These were many of the families who have shaped my life and touched my heart since I was 5 years old. Oh, my delight was indescribable.

After church and a considerable time socializing (we were the last to leave, if that tells you something) Erica rode with Wilder and I to run an errand and then head to her folks house for a big, family brunch -as only the Collianders know how to do. This was house I spend countless sleepovers at, ate wonderful family meals and received many backrubs and hugs from my 2nd mother, Gwen. Erica and I have dreamed aloud together about our future husbands, educational goals, life ambitions and who we'd become as women. Walking up the steps and through the door was just another very welcome feeling of stepping back home.

We enjoyed wonderful company and fellowship over brunch, then we ladies hurried off just up the street to Erica's hairdresser who was doing a practice run on her bridal up-do. Erica tried on the wedding necklaces I made and it's obvious she's going to have a tough time deciding on one -she loved them all (hooray!) What a marvelous time getting to see Erica done up as the stunning bride she'll be in less than one week -she looked gorgeous.

We parted ways and Wilder and I headed back to the Pichons where he played and napped on and off. Wilder became rather restless and it was clearly time for another adventure. We hopped in the car and caught the tail end of the Sunday Market downtown and snapped some pictures while perusing the booths as they were packing up. Definitely a spot to hit up next weekend.

Dinner couldn't have been more perfect. Barb cooked salmon steaks with delicious sides -the epitome of Alaskan fare. I loved getting to chat with her, Kristen and Wayne as Wilder went nuts playing with all the toys they have for their grandkids. It has been wonderful getting reconnected and caught up with the Pichons -I even got to talk to Katie (one of their daughters and my very dear friend) when she called at dinner.

Obviously I'm thoroughly enjoying myself, and Wilder is doing an excellent job traveling along with me. I am so very thankful for this opportunity to be home and rekindle so many very precious friendships.

Alaska rocks.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Escondido Update

The big kids are playing a card game in the living room and Wilder is chasing the boxer, Diego, around while holding onto his blue puppy. Life is good. And life is very active here at the King household. Wilder fits right in with the other six kids and I have no worries as he galavants around the house with them -as long as he stays out of the toilets. Wesley (3) and Timmy (2) have embraced Wilder (19 months) as a younger brother and cohort, though it comes with a price. Crystal asked, "Does (Wilder) bite?" No, I said. "It's a helpful skill." George babysat Wilder and the crew yesterday while Crystal and I enjoyed some grown up girl time. When we came home George reported that everything went fine, but Timmy bit Wilder on the foot. "Guess he hasn't learned the kick reflex yet," he said, "don't know how he let Tim get his foot."

It's a riot over here. Always action, always playtime, always lots of love. I am so glad that Wilder can play with his cousins -and they are all having so much fun!

We leave this afternoon for Alaska, I am hoping Wilder will sleep for at least half the flight. Fingers crossed!

I love my sister and her family so much. What an absolute joy and how very precious to get to have this time together.

Note on Pregnancy: I got the blood test results back from my OB/GYN who I visited on Wednesday. They said my hormone levels looked wonderful and I was 4 to 5 weeks along (as I had calculated.) I have my first ultrasound the Wednesday after we return to Texas -so in about 2 1/2 weeks I'll have my first pictures to share of Honey Bun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Teeth Whitening and Toddler Travel

I am nearly packed, just the last minute items to be thrown in the bag in the morning and double check the carry-ons. I have been nervous about these flights with Wilder and hope I am as prepared as I can be. He has a slew of treats, new toys, crayons, and devices that make a lot of racket to keep him occupied and hopefully happy as we fly to San Diego and Alaska -and back, of course. I plan on surviving and being as patient as a saint. Dear God, HELP.

Despite my severe apprehension, I am sure Wilder will do just fine and I am tremendously excited to visit my sister and her family and head up to Alaska to attend my best friend's wedding. It will be excellent!

So, teeth whitening. You were probably wondering how that was going to fit in. Well, it doesn't really fit in, but I'll make it work. It's a goal of mine, white teeth. But I don't want to pay $16 for a box of gross gooey strips I have to leave on for 30 minutes and stick with it for 14 days (though, of course, they recommend you buy two boxes and go for a whole month. Therefore it's $32 dollars. Plus tax.)

I worked with an actor in L.A. who had SUPER white teeth. His secret? Swish with hydrogen peroxide and brush with baking soda. Easy! So I've taken the challenge and I'm on day 3. My teeth feel like I've just been to the dentist, minus all the scraping, and I can already tell a difference! I'll keep you posted and snap a photo of my (hopefully) bright whites in a few weeks!

I won't be bringing my laptop with me, so it may be while before my next blog, but I'll have tons of pictures and stories to share when I get back!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Water Obsession

Wilder loves playing with water these days. And as Ernie says, "Rubber Ducky, you're the one."He pounds on the backdoor, crying until we let him outside to play in his little ducky pool. He doesn't sit in it, just kneels beside it and plays with toys, bowls, buckets, spoons, ANYTHING. We set up a canopy and put the ducky under it so he won't turn into a lobster from the hot Texas sun. He loves it and we've created a water monster.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Red Lines Rule

Just an update, I took another pregnancy test Saturday morning and the line's still there!

I've had some thoughts on this pregnancy. I really want to be as healthy and active as I can this time. With Wilder (or "Muffin" as we called him before we knew the gender) I was afraid that too much exercise would jostle the baby and cause a miscarriage. And as far as eating went, I basically ate whatever I felt like. Noodles, cheese, cheesy noodles, donuts, ice cream, chips and salsa. But this time -THIS time- I am going to stay active (without going overboard) and attempt to eat healthier. Things you learn from the first time around.

We are so excited! The estimated due date at this point is January 30th, but we'll know more after a doctor's visit. We are so thankful for this huge gift (in a little package) and are overjoyed that our family is growing!

Meet Joseph the IV

It is my great honor and privilege to introduce you to a beautiful little man and our new nephew, Joseph IV. We drove down to Houston to visit the happy couple and their new gift yesterday and had such a wonderful time celebrating with them.
While Wilder wasn't too interested in playing with his cousin -yet- he certainly enjoyed visiting with the rest of the family and put on quite a show all day long.
Beautiful Mommy Brooke and baby Joseph.

Just perfect.

A gathering of love.

Hooray for new nephews!!
MiMa snuggles her new little grandson.
Uncle Bear is such a natural.
Brian, Brooke and Wilder get to visit.
Boppa and his two grandsons!
"My sister just had a baby and I'm EXHAUSTED," Brian says.

What a beautiful little family. Brooke and Joe are naturals at parenting and are utterly in love with their new little man. He truly is perfect. Many, many blessings on this lovely family as Brooke continues to heal and they get adjusted to the new routines of infancy and parenthood. We celebrate with you, Brooke and Joe!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baby Boom

Okay, I peed on a LOT of sticks these past two months. I know what a negative looks like, and it's NOT this. I took this test in the afternoon today, but will try tomorrow morning for a stronger result. Still, it's a line -a thin red line. A thin red line that I really like. And my boobs really hurt. Therefore, though it is still early and I am technically only 3 weeks and 5 days along (according to an online pregnancy calculator,) I'd say it's something to get excited about. I'll call my Doc on Tuesday to make an appointment and get the official test done.

I can check the Goal of the Month off for May, then, right? Sure was fun trying...

Note: Brian doesn't count this as a certainty -quite right, I suppose- but I count it.

Erica's Wedding Necklace: Part 2

Choice #2: An elegant single flower made of prism cut crystal and quartz with a lovely pearl center. Pearls stud the chain at three intervals. Adjustable length.

Choice #3: A simple design, hand chained using sterling silver. Plump pearls, and crystal in various sizes throughout. Adjustable length.

Choice #4: Pearls, cut glass, crystal and quartz elegantly strung on beading wire. Connected to a fine chain. Adjustable in length.

I won't tell you which one I like best. Remember, Erica, I will bring all of these options with me and you can test drive them yourself! If you want something different than the necklaces I've made so far, let me know :) You are going to be a stunning bride, my dear friend!

Special Delivery!

Brian's sister, Brooke, delivered her and husband Joe's precious little boy this morning! New nephew, new nephew!!!

We're driving down to Houston tomorrow to see Joe the IV and visit with the whole crew. Pictures to come!! What a joyous time!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Erica's Wedding Necklace: Part One

For the first time in four+ years, I slipped on my wedding dress JUST to model the first in a series of a few more to come of the necklaces I'm designing for Erica's big day. E, I thought you'd get a better feel for them if I was "in costume." And, I admit, it was fun wearing it again.

It's adjustable in length. This is at one of the shorter positions.

If it's too much, don't worry. Just wait a day or so and I'll have more designs to share. I'm just glad I showed myself I could make this design, one which I've always loved but wasn't sure I could create. Tada!

If you want to see the pictures a bit closer (a LOT closer, actually -these are huge files) just double click on the photo.)


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