29 May 2011

Castle in the Sky.

Since I first heard about the Reindeer Farm, I’ve been saying, “We’re totally going there before we leave Alaska.” Days rolled into weeks and weeks rolled into years. Now we’re down to the wire; heading out of the state in a handful of days, and what do you know? We have yet to make it up to see the reindeer. Blast.

I awoke extra early, shuffled my feet out of bed, and tip-toed my way downstairs to a freezing kitchen due to a window that was left open throughout the night. Shivering, I started to brew a pot of cheap hotel coffee that was far too robust for even the toughest of cowboys. I had only one goal in mind for today’s agenda, and that was to trek our way through Alaskan back roads to feed a herd of reindeer.

It was secluded picturesque farm, complete with a big red barn and grazing horses in the corral. It was your typical everyday American farm except for a few special differences that made it distinctly Alaskan --reindeer, caribou, and a moose. We made our way through a tiny one room cabin and onto the back deck where we were given brightly colored plastic cups full of grain to feed the reindeer. We patiently waited as the farm workers opened the gates, and in a school line fashion a herd of reindeer marched out to greet us.

William is a fearless boy. He’s the kid who pets the snake, hugs the alligator, and dances on the ledge of a cliff without giving it two thoughts. He looks danger in the face and says, “Hello, my name is Will. Let’s be friends.” We had to keep a tight rein on him because he goes from zero-ten in 10 seconds flat, wanting to give the reindeer all kinds of loving.

Krysta on the other hand, shivers in fear at just the slightest thought that there could possibly be danger. So, seeing her sweetly feed reindeer --one, two, three-- at a time was a huge deal. They dominated her and her little cup of grain begging for more. She was scared. I could see that her breathing started to quicken, her face turned red, and eyes started to swell, but she kept herself composed; mainly out of fear that if she ran, they would chase her.

I told her that Santa would be so proud of her. She instantly light up and excitedly said, “These are Santa’s reindeer?” I don’t know, but I bet Prancer and even Dasher is here. And that was all it took for her to muster up the courage to continue getting up close and personal with the herd.

And as if feeding reindeer wasn’t enough to send you soaring through the clouds of hey this is the good life, add horses to the mix and you’ve just built your castle in the sky. Krysta adores horses and we’re looking into getting her horseback lessons when we arrive in Oklahoma. But for now, she’s pretty content with rubbing their noses and sweet talking to them in her highest pitched voice, “you’re the most beautiful horse ever, yes you are. You’re a good boy, yes you are”. Pure sweetness coming out of this little girl’s mouth.

On the way back we took a spontaneous detour. Detours are awesome. Detours are what keep us on our toes. Detours keep us adventurous. “Like a flash of lightning between the clouds, we live in the flicker”. ~Joseph Conrad

We quickly veered right onto a dirt and gravel road which opened up to a spectacular untouched piece of land –a rock beach with charcoal sand that ran into a soft colored turquoise river and lush mountains against a bright blue sky. Cue the singing angels because this is exactly what I imagine heaven looking like when Peter stands by those pearly gates. Breathtaking.

My little ones are water babies through and through, and will get it in any way they can. Both of them were in that freezing mountain water, splashing and running up and down the river bed before we could even get the car in park.

And there goes my fearless boy, running straight into the deep end.

It’s the unplanned and uncharted little adventures that make this life so grand. I’m so blessed beyond reason to be able to make these beautiful memories for my babies.

It’s worth it. Family outings always are.

 “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
~Henry David Thoreau

25 May 2011

She danced with heart.

I just sorted through over 500 photos from Krysta’s dance recital. What?

“Click, click, click, click, click, click, pause, click, click, click, click, click, click.” Obviously I didn’t want to miss one second of her performances. After rummaging through the photos, I’ve concluded that I really need to get a better grip on which settings work best for dark awkward lighting with a high speed moving subject that bounces from Stage Left to Stage Right. Despite the motion blur, I managed to capture her, in her moment, doing her thing, and that is what I want to remember.

All year the girls worked very hard learning the proper ballet positions and the steps to the their routines, and tonight was their big night to shine --to show their parents, friends, and loved ones, just how hard they’ve worked.
And their hard work paid off indeed. They all danced like dainty little swans, full of grace and beauty.

This was Krysta’s last dance recital with the company, Center Stage, so watching her perform on the stage at UAA with the same girls she’s been dancing with for years was a lump-in-the-throat reality check that we really are relocating.

There are a lot of emotions that seems to come out when my little one straps on a tiny pair of ballet slippers and a pink sparkly costume that ultimately results in quadrupling the size of my heart. I did very well holding back tears as she pranced lightly across the stage, forming perfect little arabesques’ and pirouettes’.

At the end of the ballet number, the girls tippy-toed through the side curtain, and with a smile as big as the sea, Krysta said, “Mom we messed up just a little bit, but that’s okay because they still liked us! Do you hear them clapping?!” And the crowd wasn’t just clapping, they were downright cheering. My little ballerina pushed through the minor mishaps and continued on like a pro. I was so proud.

Decked out in sequins and a little bling, for their tap number the girls danced to Footloose --"loose, footloose kick off your Sunday shoes." And man did they ever cut loose. They had so much fun shaking what their mama’s gave em’ and swaying their hips from side to side. Some faster than the beat, others slower, but nonetheless they were heel-tapping like it was nobody’s business.

The girls quickly changed out of their tap skirt and into jazz pants to break it down to Cotton-Eyed Joe. I was bursting at the seams with pure happiness as I watched my shy girl break out of her comfort zone and enthusiastically skip from across the stage, be-booping from the left to the right, from front to back, then back around to the center. She was confident and full of smiles.

I was beaming. And the chick beside me was beaming. I turned around and everyone in the audience had the smile of a crazy-kid-in-the-candy-store planted on their faces. It was a great night. Krysta gave it her best and had a blast doing it. She loves dancing and I love watching her do what she loves. But above all, I’m proud that she’s proud of herself.

She danced with heart.

her dance teachers, Mrs. Karen and Mrs. Chelsey


Happy Mid-Week!

21 May 2011

All in boxes.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end? Or maybe this is the just end of the beginning and we’re turning the page to a new chapter, a new adventure. I’m going with the latter. 

Our house, our life is tightly wrapped in tissue paper and secured into cardboard boxes. I have to admit, it was hard watching them pack up everything we own --all of our memories and the life we’ve created for ourselves. But as hard as it is leaving the house we’ve called home, I can’t help but to wonder what’s in store for our future.

When you’re approaching the hustle and bustle of life, it’s best to take full advantage of the small things, because when rush hour hits, it’s the small things that get thrown under bus. So before our boxed-up belongings gets loaded onto a moving truck, we’re squeezing the bejesus out of the remaining days in our Alaskan Home. And not in the tourist-sightseeing-Alaska kind of way, but in the this-is-our-life-in-Alaska kind of way…

like deeply breathing in the smell of sweet air that Alaska graciously gives us right before it rains. And when she rains, she rains to a slow rhythm that makes your window sheers calmly sway back and forth.

And moose poo lying on the sidewalk when you’re trying to teach your little one how to ride a bike. You see, only in Alaska.

*I do however, want to give thanks to the moose that trimmed ate my shrubbery. That’s one less thing I have to take care of before our housing inspection. So big props to you, Mr. Moose.

They don’t call it "The Land of the Midnight Sun" for nothing! We’re doing our best to stay up well past our bedtime --in the sun-- making cheap wine toasts with the clink of our glasses in the front yard while snuggling with barefooted babies. After a harsh winter, Mother Nature’s way of apologizing is with a cool breeze that lovingly hugs your body, and sun rays that gently kiss your cheeks. I can forgive even my worst enemy any day of the week with an apology like that.

 We’re ending the week by seeing off our moving truck which is Oklahoma Bound.

Over the next month there are some exciting things in store for my little family --Krysta’s ballet recital, our remaining days in Alaska, a four day ferry ride to Washington, a cross country road trip, and last but not least, the begin of our new life in Oklahoma City!

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Have a great weekend!