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Monday, June 29, 2009

Making a Comeback

Before I left for my California/Alaska adventure I was on track with my exercise and shooting pretty straight when it came to my nutrition. This past month, though, I've gone on a handful of walks and started stress eating. Now that I'm back home I'm starting to work my way back to physical fitness with the very doable goal of running 2 miles regularly and walking 3-4 miles on off days. But I have to share with you what happened last week that has refreshed and renewed me.

My sister, Crystal, has been doing the Prism Program for the past 2 months. It combines learning a healthy lifestyle along with attacking food addictions at their root. It helps people realize their true self worth through the eyes of God and bring healing to the areas and voids they have been filling unsuccessfully with food. She's already lost 20 pounds and is going strong. The main things the Prism program cuts out are sugars and wheat (though later they introduce whole grains.) When Crystal told me about the program I balked, how could anyone give up wheat?! AND sugar?! I understand if you're a diabetic with a gluten allergy, but it seemed like overkill to me. I'll fast forward so I do ramble on too much...

In Alaska I met another gal, Beth, who was wheat, sugar AND dairy free. She was staying with the folks Wilder and I stayed with for over a week and I got to see the fun, healthy and tasty options she'd make for her meals. Both Crystal and Beth made delicious foods that were big on flavor and nutrition. Finally, the day before we left Alaska, I decided to try being wheat and sugar free. The first three days were the hardest, but I realized that there was SO much I could eat. My energy level is higher than it's been since I can remember and I never feel like I'm depriving myself. The wheat I used to eat -toast, pasta, noodle-noodle soup- were empty calories and filler that made me feel temporarily full and over stuffed. I just feel healthier now!

I'm not counting calories and I'm not dieting. I'm obsessed with cheese and am getting plenty of protein. Eating fresher foods is creating quiet an adventure in our kitchen as I am on the jumping off point of exploring new foods and ways of cooking. It's pretty darn fun and, man, is it delicious!

I know I won't be wheat free forever. I like a fad or a diversion every now and again and this is definitely doing it for me right now. I'm a firm believer in "everything in moderation" so I'll be eating cereal and toast, baking cookies and treats and homemade bread eventually. But after being so stressed and not taking care of my body the past month I am very happy to feel so refreshed and healthy now. Thank you, Crystal, for all your wonderful ideas, tips, cooking and the example of your dedication. You rock.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Last Day in Escondido

On our last day in Escondido the ladies finally went out on a "girl date." We exhausted Target and made a restful and nutritious stop at Jamba Juice. I think that will be my pregnancy indulgence. I loved their mango drink thing; totally yummy.

After Crystal whipped up lunch like a wizard as soon as we got home she orchestrated a tea and early birthday party for me. Isn't she wonderful?!
Not sure why Zaccai looks like he has a toothache, but I think he was just playing it cool. Wesley and Hannah enjoying their tea delights.
Aravis and Crystal.
Par-Tea on!
I received body lotion and bubble bath of a fragrance Crystal had been sporting earlier that had made me want to gobble her up. Grapefruit and Orange Blossom, I believe it is. It smells just like (well, better, actually) the Satsuma Orange the Body Shop carries which I've always loved. Plus she got me two delicious and beautiful candles and matching reusable tote bag. It was a wonderful early birthday.
Wilder learning a little refinement.
And he likes it!
Wilder and Hannah.
Saying goodbye at the airport. It's never fun. Even though I had nearly a month with this wonderful, energetic crew and I was glad to be headed home, I had to have a good cry before we loaded in the van for the airport. I love this family so much and I hope that we get to have another visit together soon! Hugs and Kisses to all of you! Love, Aunt Jo and Wiley

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back to Texas

We're finally heading home today!!! Hooray, hooray!!

Brian, I love you and can't wait to reunite our wonderful little family! Betty and Barry, I can't wait to get together with you guys ASAP. Katie, Patrick and the girls, let's reschedule our dinner date for super soon!

Look out, Texas, HERE WE COME!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Crystal and I took all but one of the kids on a drive to Seward -mainly so that they'd all get naps in. Eating our picnic lunch "downtown" we had fun playing on the playground and taking a quick tour of the candy store, "Sweet Darlings," where we saw them make their famous homemade taffy.

Wilder and Aravis were stroller buddies.
Timmy, Wesley and Kaeli.
At Sweet Darlings watching the Taffy Masters at work.

Seward, Alaska.
Kaeli and Hannah have had so much fun playing at Ms. Gwen's house and have had several slumber parties over there with Wilder and I. Gwen's hospitality knows no bounds, nor does her graciousness. She has given Hannah several piano lessons as the girls have been over to play and it's so fun hearing and seeing her great progress under Gwen's tutelage.
I haven't been able to take many photos since it's been so busy, but I wanted to share a few that I did have. Seeing these pictures one would think we're having a rather grand Alaskan adventure -and we are trying to squeeze in some fun things, so that isn't a total fib. But honestly this is exhausting for everyone -kids and adults alike. This afternoon is Kody's memorial service. Crystal and George have had to shoulder nearly every detail and tie up all the loose ends. George will be doing the service with a little help from Trinity Presbyterian's pastor, Tammy Letts. Crystal and I are singing and Gwen Colliander is accompanying. We've done all the flower arrangements and will set up the memorial table as well as the memory book Crystal put together for folks to sign and then give to Darla and Kelly as a keepsake. It's been getting sadder as the days go by but I believe with the service today and the gathering of friends and family the closure will help relieve some of the extra stress and George and Crystal can finally get out of survival mode and begin to grieve.

I have to say, in a small way I am glad to be able to sing again with Crystal at Trinity. We grew up singing duets there at church and now that we're far apart we rarely get to sing together. So that's one thing I am very thankful for, as nerve racking and emotionally overwhelming as it will be singing for Kody's memorial service.

We're scheduled to leave Alaska on Wednesday; Mr. King will fly us down to San Diego. I booked a ticket for Friday afternoon so that Brian could pick us up that night. I can't wait to be home again and be a family. Brian has been so gracious and patient as our travel plans have changed so much. We'll be home soon, Honey. I can't wait to hand Wilder off to you so you two can have some quality time and I can get some rest.

Thank you, again, for keeping the King family in your thoughts and prayers. They are so greatly needed and appreciated.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back to Alaska

My beloved brother-in-law, George, lost his middle brother Kody in a tragic boating accident Wednesday, June 10th. Crystal and I were ticketed to leave Alaska that day and we headed back to their home in Escondido, CA. On Thursday George's mother, Darla, flew down from Alaska and on Friday we all boarded a plane and headed north.

It's heartbreaking.

Thankfully I am able to be with them, help out with the kids and handle a few of the logistics. Mainly it's just good to be around and lend a helping hand when needed.

I don't have regular internet access, so this is just a quick update. We'll head back to San Diego/Escondido next week -between Friday and Monday. In the mean time we're managing. Many, many thanks to the Colliander family and George's family for there amazing hospitality and love.

Please keep George, Crystal and the kids, George's parents Kelly and Darla, his youngest brother, Shawn, and Kody's long time girlfriend, Sara, in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Farewell Alaska

A very quick update on our travels.  A beautiful wedding, many wonderful visits with terrific friends, fantastic photos waiting to be shared and some fun stories, too.  But for now I'm off to bed to get good rest for our day of travel back to California with Crystal and Aravis.

George has survived watching all of their children (minus the tiniest, of course) and Brian has managed not to kill the dog despite super long runs in the heat of Texas evenings.  Both Crystal and I are looking forward to returning to our families and we've had a terrific, action-packed, social-filled visit here in the Last Frontier.

Alaska has made a man out of Wilder.  Thanks to my Aunt Jean, a dental hygienist, Wilder is no longer being lulled to sleep with his bottle -and he's brushing his teeth regularly (with a little help and wrestling.)  But the super big news is.... Bye Bye Binki!  Sunday morning we lost Wilder's binki.  I was in tears, "How are we going to manage?!  We're going to church and he won't have a pacifier!"  Somehow he pulled through.  The past three days without his faithful plug have been no fussier than usual and though bedtime may have a few seconds longer of protestation (whether it's because of no bottle or no binki or both is unknown) he has been doing great and we will not reintroduce Binki to him.  Better start gathering and hiding all the stray ones around the house, Honey.

So I'm off to slumber soundly and conquer the morning's chores of tidying and packing.  It's been a great visit and, Brian, thank you so much for allowing Wilder and I to go on this very special trip.   I wish you had been with us, but know that someday we'll have more great adventures Up North all together.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Land of the Midnight Sun

The endless hours of daylight of Alaskan summers are certainly energizing. If only we weren't sick and able to enjoy the countless fun evening activities. But sleep is good and rest is necessary. Wilder and I are battling colds, but still enjoying catching up with people and seeing The Last Frontier.

Tomorrow marks rehearsal day for the wedding. Erica is holding it all together beautifully and it's easy to see everyone is thoroughly enjoying celebrating such a wonderful woman, man and soon to be couple. It's a match made in heaven, to say the least.

Crystal and Aravis arrive tomorrow evening and we head over to the Murrow's house for the remainder of our visit. It has been a sheer delight getting to stay and visit with the Pichons. I am so thankful for their generosity -so thankful that we gave them the gift of our colds. Sorry Wayne and Barb! But seriously, I am so grateful to them and have loved our times of chatting, dining and playing.

So, what have we been up to? Monday we had a lunch date with Rhonda Schlereth, MaryAnne Southam and her grandbaby Hazel. Fabulous time! We later drove to Girdwood so Wilder could take a nap and I could see familiar sights (one of my favorite drives.) Then we dined with the famous Mr. and Mrs. Whitekeys and had a jolly old time!

Tuesday we had a leisurely morning then drove out to Chugiak for lunch with the Murrows. Finally got to meet their lovely grandbaby, Gabe, and daughter-in-law, Kristen. It was an absolute pleasure as Gina dished out her well-know and loved hospitality. Plus the visit wouldn't be complete without sharing a cup of tea and chatting in their cozy living room. It was so fun seeing Gina's art studio and several of her masterful painted scarves . Later in the evening we popped in for a bit of Erica's bachelorette party at her sister's house, but had to skedaddle to put my sick boy to bed.

Wednesday I had a pregnancy meltdown (ahem) and what was supposed to be breakfast with Erica and a few of the girls at her house turned out to be a quick drop off of a dozen bagels, then Wilder (who had his meltdown first) and I zipped back in the car and I decided to drive to Seward. As you do. Man, am I glad I made that choice. We had an awesome day! Wilder napped heavily there and back and we had spectacular weather -I can't wait to share the pictures. He got to paddle his little feet in the ocean waves and loved throwing fistfuls of shale and rocks as the water lapped the shore. We dined with the Pichons and enjoyed a very chill evening at home.

Today we got to visit my Aunt Jean and her son Daniel! We arrived mid-morning and the guys hung out and played around the house as Jean and I started catching up on news. It was so good to be with her again. Just driving to her house I felt such a sense of peace and comfort. Thank you, Jean! Later we joined Whitekeys and Judith on a terrific walk on the coastal trail. I got to see the man in action, binoculars in hand, birding! Hooray! I sure love those guys. Then we popped over to the Collianders for a BBQ, but -again- had to leave soon after to get Wilder to bed. It was fun seeing some faces I hadn't seen in years and am glad we got to stay as long as we did.

So, it's bedtime, but I wanted to do a virtual recap of what's been happening Up North. I am still feeling great, no morning sickness, and can feel that little pook starting to stick out a bit. I know the Doc will tell me it's just bloating from weird digestion that happens in pregnancy, but it's still because of the baby so I think of it as my Honey Bun. I'm still trying to make healthy choices (though I did have a MickeyD's sundae tonight) and have been basically succeeding. Hooray!

More adventures to come! Hold on to your hats and glasses, folks, cause Crystal is coming to town and the party is just getting started!

PS: I love you, Brian. Wiley and I miss you! I'll bring home some Silverhook coffee :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

King Clips

The french bakery and cafe we met Crystal's bible study gals at and enjoyed coffee while chatting away. This place is a favorite of mine. Very unfortunately, I accidently deleted some fabulous clips of their delectable pasteries AND the photo of Crystal and I together outside the back enterace (where the mural below is painted) that the owner himself took of us. Guess we'll just have to go back there again when we return from Alaska!

High hair fashion by Kaeli and Wesley. This is what being an aunt is ALL about.

Baby back pack, anyone?

Blue lollipop havoc.

Sweet Aravis

Wiley No Pants

Zaccai playing with Wilder. What an awesome big cousin!


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