30 June 2011

Life is a Highway: Part II {Colorado-Oklahoma}

As we traveled several thousand miles to our new home, I’m reminded of an Eskimo legend on how big the world is. The story goes…

Two couples lived together. One day, the two men fell to talking, "The world is big," said the first.

"How big?" said the second.

"Let's find out," answered the first.

So they took their sleds and set off in opposite directions. Their wives cried at parting from each other, but each accompanied her husband, running beside his sled.

Year after year they traveled. The wives had babies, and the babies grew up. Then they had children, and so on, until there were two whole tribes traveling across the ice.

The original couples grew old and frail. The men could no longer drive their sleds; the women could no longer keep up the pace beside them. But still they traveled.

At last, each of them saw movement in the far distance. They kept on going, and, finally, they met, back where they had started.

"The world is big," said the first man.

"Even bigger than we thought," answered the second

With modern transportation, the world doesn’t seem so big. In fact, with the luxury of cars, planes, and trains, we can now be on our families doorsteps within days, even hours. And so that’s what we did.


Ron’s side of the tracks is Colorado, so making it an extended part of our road trip was a must.

First stop, Casa Bonita for a good time filled with mediocre Mexican food and cheesy entertainment --the cheese is what gives this place its charm, you know. The kids were mesmerized by the array of rainbow lights and Spanish props. And the way they had the restaurant set up made it feel like you were truly enjoying dinner in Mexico while the sounds of trumpets filled the air.

Krysta’s favorite part was watching the various acts, and the mariachi band was a big hit with William. If you’re ever in the Denver area, swing by for some Over the Boarder family fun.

Since we stayed overnight in Denver, we made extra use of our time by hitting up the Denver Children’s Botanical Gardens before heading down to The Springs.

The Botanical Gardens were equal parts beautiful, as well as educational. My babes loved running up and down the dirt paths in search of butterflies and hidden parts of the gardens, like tunneled caves and a tea party full of stuffed forest animals. William was digging the man-ish tea party which was fully equipped with tree trunk chairs and circular wood chips for stacking. We finally had to pry him away so sister could play in the water stream. After a small tantrum, William concluded that Oh hey, the water stream was just as fun.

Oh by the way, the entire botanical garden was built on a rooftop, which earns extra cool points.

We ended our Colorado stay by saving the best for last --visiting Ron’s peeps.

It’s so important to keep in touch, to see one another face to face instead of a phone call or social networking, so I was over-the-moon to be able to visit my in-laws after 4+ years, and to let my children see --in person-- their daddy’s side of the family.

I loved watching my dad in-law enthusiastically talk about their vegetable gardening with all the potential that it holds, along with re-landscaping their backyard with great passion and determination. I imagine their gardens (they currently have about five growing) full of juicy ripe vegetables and flower blossoms that attract various species of butterflies. I can’t wait to see how their backyard transformed during our next visit. They’ve inspired me to do a little gardening myself --you know, once we get settled into our new home.

Grandma’s trampoline was a hit….for ALL of my babes. And of course, Krysta couldn’t jump without brother wanting to jump. Monkey see, monkey do.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Colorado visit. It was full of laughs and catching up, bridging the gap of time between our last visit.

We ended the night with tight hugs and a “we’ll see you later” instead of goodbyes. I love ending trips this way…and tight hugs. They make you feel important and special and welcomed.

Note to self: head to the Rockies more often.

The remainder of this post isn’t elegantly put. Maybe it’s because it was so fast paced and we were aching to arrive in Oklahoma, after two weeks of being on the road.

Here are just a few snapshots from each state:

New Mexico

New Mexico was short and sweet. Just long enough to touch the tip, then move on to the next state. Before we left, we stopped at the giant dipped ice cream cone for chili dogs and to stretch our legs.


I wish we could’ve seen more of Texas. I’ve heard it’s really beautiful there, but the area that we passed through was super dry with spider web-like tumbleweeds and dust that rolled in like storm clouds. Now I know why in western movies the cowboys often times wear bandanas over their mouth. And here I thought it was just for holding up banks…

Now here we are. We’ve arrived at our final destination --Oklahoma.

The page has turned, a new chapter of our lives is beginning, and I can’t wait to create it!

Here’s to new beginnings. Cheers!

24 June 2011

Life is a Highway: Part I {Washington-Wyoming}

When I first got my driver’s license, I’ve always had this fear of breaking down in the middle of nowhere, and that some guy would chase me around in the woods with a chainsaw. Back when I was 16, it was rare that teenagers owned a cell phone, and OnStar was nonexistent, and so out of fear --or the over-planner in me-- I would make a mental note of which house I would knock on for help, if anything were to happen. It was always the one that was brightly lit up with a nice manicured lawn and pretty little shutters, and not the dark weathered one with a dozen “Do Not Enter” and “No Trespassing” signs. I imagined that the brightly lit one was owned by a nice old lady and she would offer me cookies and milk and talk about the “good ol’ days” while I waited for my mom to pick me up. That was my brilliant plan of action.

Thirteen years later, my fear of car trouble never really subsided, so when my husband told me that he wanted to drive from Alaska to Oklahoma, I was a little more than freaked out. It took me awhile to warm up to the idea because as the matriarch of our family I’m responsible of two little lives; I need to protect them with every fiber of my being and do right by them. Over and over I went through the “what ifs”… What if we break down? What if we get into a wreck? What if we get lost? What if William cries the entire time and I lose my mind? After juggling the pros and cons, I concluded with, “What the heck, let’s roll!”

{Queue “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts}

We embarked through eight states, one country (we saw Canada from the ship, but didn't step on land. That counts, right?), three time zones, in twelve days--nothing but open road. And I must say I’m over the moon to have been able to take this journey towards a new chapter in our lives.

Even though I was stuck in survival mode throughout the trip –and still am because after five weeks, we have yet to settle down- we still had a blast making lots of new memories, and checking out our beautiful countryside.

Here are some of my favorite shots:


I loved the busyness and roaring of Seattle, and I loved the stillness and the serenity of the countryside. I’m just saying I would not be disappointed if orders were to drop for McCord.


This state took me by surprise. It was completely different than I had imagined--an endless scene of vibrant green pastures of rolling hills, bright blue sky, topped off with pillowed clouds, with cattle and horses sprinkles in between. It’s heaven, I tell you.


I’m currently obsessed with these clouds, along with sunsets and anything citrus. I seriously want to swim through them with a giant spoon and scoop up extra helpings of fluff. I imagine they would taste like lemon meringue pie, delish.

Colorado to Oklahoma, to be continued…

17 June 2011

The Bridge.

3 am. Wide awake out at sea. I can feel last night’s dinner sloshing around in my belly as the boat sways from side to side. My head and body is twisting and spinning and no matter what I do, I can’t get a grip--it seems like I’ve fallen into a time warp when I when I was drunk as a skunk on a Wednesday night during my freshman year at Mars Hill College. Expect I’m not drunk. I’m horribly seasick.


How was I sick this particular time and not others is beyond me; I was practically born with gills. I was curled in a ball for the bulk of the boat trip, and for nearly a week after we pulled off of the boat, I was still rocking back and forth--my equilibrium was shot. But the spectacular mountain and ocean views? The salty sea smells? It was, oh so worth it. Whenever my head and stomach were stable enough to stand, you could bet your hiney I was out walking the perimeter of the ship with my camera strapped around my neck.

As we made our way over and across the Pacific Ocean on the ship, The Kennicott, it’s just the beginning of our adventurous trip. It’s “the bridge” to the Lower 48. “The bridge” that will lead us to our new home. As the boat pulled further and further away from land and into the open sea, I could feel Alaska slipping from my fingers. I could see her vanishing into the horizon, leaving me with ping of sadness. So many great memories, so many great friends, so much of myself was left behind.

I don’t know what to expect in Oklahoma. Will I love it? Will I hate it? Will my babies be happy?  I’m shaken with the unknown. And when my world is shaky, I take things step by step and try to look at the situation is small groups, rather than a whole. This quote, by Martin Luther King, Jr. it very fitting for my current state-of-mind, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

And so I will have faith. I will have faith that this is where God wants us to be; that this is where we will replant our roots and bloom.

Oklahoma, here we come!

09 June 2011

I'm over here.

We're in Day 9 of our drive from Alaska to Oklahoma. We've crossed the Pacific Ocean by boat, driven through five states, and lapped over three time zones; still we have several more days to go. Right now we're in Colorado visiting with my in-laws, and tomorrow we're planning a cookout, which I'm sure will be equal parts relaxing and fun. It'll be the perfect break in our trip to recharge our batteries and build new family memories.

My blogger friend of mine , My Dear Jenn, is also making a cross country trip from Alaska. During her travels she has lined up guest bloggers, and my story is one of them. In keeping with her travel theme, I shared my most favorite place in the world! Go here to read on...

Happy Trails!

Denver, Colorado



07 June 2011

A farewell to Alaska.

Alaska has captured my heart and soul in so many ways --she has torn down my walls, stripped me down to my core, and then rebuilt me into a better person. However, we didn’t always have a loving relationship; in fact we hated each other for the first year we were together. I wanted nothing more than to fly back to the east coast --a place where it’s warm and sunny, with salt air and sweet tea. Every time I walked out my front door, I was terrified that a bear would trample me, and every time I drove I would white knuckle the steering wheel, afraid that the snowflakes would cake up the windshield and I would fly off a mountain. I lived in fear; I lived in the typical Alaskan stereotypes.

Once I overcame my fears and realized that the stereotypes were comically bs, it opened up a whole new world for me. I got to see Alaska for all of her beauty and wonder. Not only did I live day to day in The Last Frontier, but I embraced her and soaked her up for every drop she’s worth. I witnessed a bald eagle soar over the mountains and moose grazing in my yard, I’ve seen where the snowcapped mountains kiss the sky and where they dip into the ocean, I’ve smelled the Springs first shower and Winter’s first snowfall, I’ve experienced the Aurora Borealis as she danced across Winter’s night sky.


I’m now in survival mode, so the fact that we’re actually relocating from Alaska to Oklahoma has yet to hit me. I’ve had the lump-in-the-throat and the pit-in-the-stomach, but I haven’t had the breakdown moment, the “Oh Dear God, I’m pulling up our roots I’ve grown and created for my babies and sending us halfway across the country”. I’ve been very uneasy. Everyone feels the need to give me their opinion on Oklahoma --some negative, some positive, some scrunched up their face like a troll and shake their head, but most just smile and say, “You’ll enjoy it!”. Though everyone’s opinions differ, I do know this… I know that I want to hop back on that boat and hightail it back to Alaska, but at the same time, I want to trek into the unknown and see what’s in store for our future in the southwest. Going back and forth between happy and sad, excited and reluctant, optimistic and pessimistic has left me completely scatterbrained. But I’m sure the longer we travel to our destination, the more everything will fall into place. We’ll be creating a new chapter in our lives, and I can’t wait to write it.

leaving the Whittier Port and into the open sea

Before I turn the page, I want to wrap up our last few days in Alaska.

Park Days

Since living in a hotel over the past two weeks, we’ve shifted our schedules to fit our living out of suitcases and sleeping in strange beds traveling lifestyle. Summer brings extra doses of sunshine, so we’re basking under the rays into the double digits of the night… 10pm. You heard right, we’re at the park enjoying the Midnight Sun along with many other families who had the same great idea.

 My Daydreamer and Explorer

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

The last school field trip of the year was to the Alaska Zoo. And Krysta was over the moon about this one. For weeks it was all she talked about. “Mom how many more days until Zoo Day?” she would say.

Bear Exhibit

William and I tagged along as chaperones. He stared wide-eyed at every animal we crossed and very kid that raced by trying to be the first one to spot the various animals.

Llamas were hands down our favorite exhibit. Mainly because we could practically reach out and touch them or maybe it’s because when I look at them I think of the Disney movie Emperor’s New Groove and laugh. You know you the part where he’s quivering his lips and cries out “Llama face!!!” --yeah funny stuff.

Anywho, moving on...

The Market

The Saturday before heading out, Krysta and I took some Mother-Daughter time to venture out to the Farmer’s Market. We didn’t get anymore $10 strawberries, but we did pick up a few other treasures to remember our Great Alaskan Adventure.

As we were zigzagging through the white tents, Krysta spotted the horse rides. We hightailed across the parking lot so my girl could take a few laps on Fireball’s back.

It was love at first sight...

Best Friends 

I’m not the type to gush over my relationship with my husband because it comes so naturally, so normal, like breathing, but I felt like I should mention that Ron and I celebrated our ninth year wedding anniversary. That’s right, we've been married for almost a decade! *Applause* And it’s true what they say, “time really does fly by.” We’ve grown together, learned together, and have become stronger through building each other up. We’re each others better half, a wing-man of sorts, and a right hand man.

We got all gussied up to dine at Simon and Seafort’s --a restaurant with an amazing view of the Sleeping Lady, delicious food, a wait staff in black and white uniforms, chandeliers that hang from the ceiling, and huge paintings and old photographs of Anchorage adorned the walls. It was a combination of Old World and Alaskan lodge, and I loved it.

I couldn’t imagine a better evening bringing our ninth year to an end and a kickoff to our tenth year, around a table full of laughs with our babies. It’s like the Superbowl, but for married couples only.

Knik River

Since we had such a blast at Knik River last week, we had to go back and get a double dose of goodness; this time we were armed with swimsuits and flat rocks for skipping. We weeded through the camp goers and the kayakers, and nestled ourselves into the perfect little river bed spot, where it was just us and the sky with mountains and water in between.

It was a gorgeous day and the perfect way to fill our remaining time in Alaska.


Remember here, when Krysta was so upset because she couldn’t skip a rock?

Ladies and Gents, without further ado, Krysta proudly skipped her first rock. Multiple times, she skipped one right after the other, going bop, bop, bop, bop gliding across the water. Each time was just as exciting as the first. You could see the happiness pouring out of her.

Krysta declares this day as being her favorite memory while living in Alaska, as do I.

 Alaska has been life changing. I can only wish upon a thousand dandelion's and all the stars in the sky that Oklahoma has the same soul stretching effect.

I'm anxious to find out.

I selected this post to be featured on www.militaryblogs.org. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!