Entries categorized "alaska"

Alaska 2016 - A few favorites.....

Alaska

We traveled to Alaska in September to visit family and friends, the youngest two & I. These days we only get up there every other year, so the time spent hanging out is all the more precious. I posted on instagram during our visit - and this collection is my favorite photos from that.

It seemed so strange going with just these two - and also so easy after years of having twice as many kids with me. We managed to pack in so many adventures and so much time making memories with people we love. So many of my friends are having babies or have little ones and I loved hanging out watching them getting their mama groove on. There was a trip to a remote cabin on the beach. Knitting. Baby showers. So many seafood dinners. Hikes. Lots of coffee with mom. Time with my sweet nephews. It was such a good visit and my heart is full listening to my kids tell stories from their adventures to friends here as we settle back into home.....

More soon.

xo,

s

 


alaska in february.......

Joe & I got away last week for the quickest trip ever to Cordova. Yes, just the two of us. My brother chose us as godparents for the newest little one in the family, who we were so excited to meet! We really enjoyed seeing everyone, getting lots of nephew love, and visiting with mom. She's doing amazing..... it was so good to see her.

As quick trips tend to be, the long weekend was a whirlwind. We couldn't land in Cordova the first day due to fog, so we had an impromptu overnight in Juneau where we ate halibut fish and chips and drank good beer while we watched college students sing karaoke. (and we felt kind of old) We ran out to the airport one afternoon to see an old friend who was passing through. He was headed home to Sitka from a weekend of skiing in Anchorage, and the flight makes several stops, one being Cordova. He ran off the plane, we gave each other a hug and laughed, and then he got back on. We celebrated an early 40th birthday for a certain someone (not me). Had a lovely brunch with some sweet friends and their brand new baby girl. Joe got his long expired license renewed at the DMV, which was a hilarious fiasco involving the dismantling of the DMV camera and Joe's mechanic abilities to get it working. Only in rural Alaska would someone come in on her day off to renew someone's license. Lots of nephew hugs and silliness. And a bit of fun chaos chasing four labradors around. (yes, those ones.... they're huge!) It was crazy. But Alaska managed to do that thing it always does to me. Pull at my heartstrings with it's beauty. The mountains. The people. The salt in the air.....

And fifty-degree weather didn't hurt either....... 

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5

And now we're home. Getting settled back into the rhythm of our days.....

xo,

s

 


home........

home........

I flew into Boston on a midnight flight. Home at almost 2 am.

I sat in the quiet with him and sipped a bourbon.

I feel like I've been gone all summer, I said.

You have, he answered.

The next morning the youngest two each awoke surprised to see me here. It was the best day all summer. Both of them squealed and hugged me as tightly as they could, at my hip and under my feet the whole next day. It was beautiful.

These last four weeks were long. More than long, really. Things are heading in a good direction, my mom is healing and recovering slowly. The effects from the brain injury are small.... she has regained balance and mobility, is talking, reading & writing. There are things to work on.... but we do expect her to make a full recovery in the next year. The doctors tell us spontaneous recovery from brain injury occurs in the first 3-6 months (think of this as regenerative or healing recovery) and the remainder of the year is recovery through therapies (speech, physical, occupational). As a daughter, I can tell you the most important part is that she is herself. I cried when I saw a picture of her holding my new nephew, born just 2 days after I left, looking into his face with the same look I've seen when my own each arrived. We are so lucky.

It feels good to be home with my family, but things are not the same.... I don't suppose they ever can be. I think it's impossible to sit so closely to death, day after day.... sleepless, praying, wondering, hoping, without it all leaving some indelible mark on your spirit. And while the mark may not be bad, it is still heavy..... at least for now.

I feel grateful for where we are today, but rattled for the journey that got us here. I need some time to walk softly in-between then and now. It may be quiet here, I'm not sure really...... but in time things will feel normal again, I'm sure.

Thank you all for the comments, emails, and facebook messages during these last few weeks. The thoughts, love & prayers helped us all more than I can say. I have always hoped that sending light and love to people in need lifted their spirits in the hardest of times, now I know it can.

With Love,

Stephinie

 


::just words today::

I have a few minutes to reconnect with the online world this evening and thought I should leave a note to you all here to let you know why I've disappeared.

Last Monday night my mom fell about 30 feet, bouncing off the side of a rock wall and landing on some wooden stairs. I flew to Alaska the next day to support my dad & brother while we waited 3 days to see if she would wake up and come back to us. Finally we have her beautiful smiling face looking into ours and to say we are grateful would be such an understatement. She beat all odds when she survived this..... the doctors in awe, we all are.

She suffered brain trauma among other less severe injuries and we have a long road to recovery ahead of us. She is very confused right now about what happened and where she is, but she does know who all of us are so her long term memory is there. We are currently in Anchorage and I do plan on returning to Cordova and helping her (and my dad) as long as I am needed, even if the weeks turn into months.

I've closed my shop and expect my blog to be very quiet in the coming weeks while we figure out a plan for her continued care. (I currently do not have email access either, just facebook via my smart-phone) The power of love, prayers and positive thoughts from friends and families  in the last seven days have helped us through a very difficult time. Any thoughts and prayers you can send our way would be much appreciated.

I hope to be in touch with you all again soon.

All my love,

Stephinie


on the trail..... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

All of these are snapshots taken on our hikes this summer.... with the exception of the last two which were taken from the airplane when we left. (you can see Cordova almost smack in the middle of the second to last photo, now you can see how remote it really is!) I've wanted to take those pictures for years, but it's either cloudy when we leave or we take off in a slightly different direction and miss seeing the town before we go.

It always makes me cry. 

This year I was doing so well and then Luke looked at me as the plane was taking off with tears running down his cheeks and said, "I will miss Grandma too much." I hugged him. "I know," I whispered.

Two mornings before we left, he crawled into my lap nearly in tears and told me we had stayed too long and he missed home. And daddy. And all the animals.

This life is tricky. When you move as often as we do, you grasp for place. For a tangible home. It's taken us years to create a feeling of home, rather than a place. It works. But to be honest, it will never be the same as knowing a place, or being known in a place. Just a few summers ago, I realized Cordova filled that for us. It isn't home... but it's the place we know more than any other. We hike the same trails summer after summer. Every one of my kids has worn the orange Grunden rain jacket we bought years ago, and it stays hung at Grandma's as an extra. The first day we're back in town, it takes us over an hour to walk down the tiny main street because we keep bumping into people we've known for almost two decades now. They ask how the new place is, how everyone is, remark on how big the kids have grown. Even though we don't live there, we feel like we belong. 

And that's not to paint a perfect picture.

Sometimes the kids don't want to hike and I drag them out anyway. Sometimes a sulky teenager would rather watch cable tv than hang out with family and I have to decide what battles are worth it. There have been dog bites and arguments and friends that drift apart as they grow up. Not to mention the creative fiscal planning my mom & I do to get five or six people from wherever we are at to there. (Companion fares and mileage tickets are lifesavers.) We give up a lot of little extras throughout the year to pull this off.

Last week though, as I sat in the Seattle airport with all four of my children waiting to catch the red eye home to Boston.... I realized something. In a rare moment where no one is tired or crabby, and everyone is fed and happy.... we were all telling stories of this trip and the many before it... and I realized it was beginning to come to an end. One summer at a time the group going up will become smaller. The big kids will be working, or moved out, or (gasp) perhaps even married and just starting out on their own. I hope someday they realize what an amazing gift it was to spend their summers in Alaska.... how lucky they are to call it their place.

xo~

s

 


alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

We had good weather this year. Good in coastal Alaska means it only rained half of the days we were there. It is a rain forest after all, and to stay so lush and green it receives almost 200 inches of precipitation annually. Two hundred, yes I'm serious. Rain jackets and boots are a must and some summers if you wait for the sun to get outside adventuring.... you'll never get out there. If it's misting we call it a good day for walking the beach. If it's raining we drive a few miles out of town in hopes that it will only be sprinkling and go for a hike. You have to.

And as much as I love the sun, I must admit to swooning over the deep foggy photographs I bring home after every visit. No need to try and stand in the shade to get the exposure right... everything is awash in beautiful soft light almost all of the time.

Our favorite rocky coastline.....

xo,

 


alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

Home.

No matter how fun the adventure.... I am always happy to be back here. In my own little space in the universe with my family all in one place. Feathered, furry, and winged members included.

Our trip was beautiful and exhausting. We saw TONS of family, played outside in the woods and on the beach, and bumped into so many good friends. The wedding was beautiful and I am so happy for my brother and his new family.... very good stuff indeed.

The kids & I met an incredible lot of fiber artists at the Net Loft's Fiber & Friends Retreat. I fell in love with weaving. Again. I've actually decided to sell my spinning wheel so I can buy a loom. We all had great fun felting too... more on the crafty bits later in the week.

Thank YOU for being such good company to my friends who popped in here to blog-sit. That was fun wasn't it? I hope you met some new faces among them. I was so happy to be free of the computer for two whole weeks.... it's been hard to get back into it. The break has me thinking hard about balance and value of time. Lots of big decisions on my mind in regards to where I am spending it these days, there just never seems to be enough of it.

I'm going to slowly ease back into this space with a few days of photos from our adventures.

Today, a collection of Alaska wildflowers from our hiking trips.

Enjoy....

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

 

Happy Tuesday Friends~

xo,

s

 

 


north, to Alaska......

friday

friday

At some point today, I'll wander the Alaska coastline with some or all of my young ones. Rain or shine. Drinking in the sea we love (perhaps the most of all).

We'll be away for two weeks.... celebrating my brother's wedding (with a whole LOT of family) and of course spending a lot of time on the trail, in the mountains, and here. I can't believe it's been two summers since we've visited our home away from home......

I'm hoping to pop in here on the next two Fridays with a few postcards from Alaska to share with you.....

In the meantime, I've got an amazing group of house-sitters that are swinging in here to meet you. They've each shared a bit about summer in their own voices, something I'm sure you are going to love....

I hope you enjoy meeting eight, yes EIGHT of my favorite bloggers over the next two weeks. Do say hello to them for me....

See you soon~

xo,

s

 

 


sunset, winter, & the sea

Did you already guess that I might have another post full of Alaska photos? Ahhh, you know me all too well. I know, I know.... you were there with me all summer. But it's winter now, everything looks so different. 

So bundle up, and come with me. On a wintry sunset walk along the shore.....

 

sunset, winter, & the sea

 

sunset, winter, & the sea

 

sunset, winter, & the sea

 

sunset, winter, & the sea

 

sunset, winter, & the sea

me, my mama & my aunt

 

sunset, winter, & the sea


The sun sets and the air chills my bones as we walk along..... puffs of air waft up from my mouth like dragon's breath. My fingers numb with cold make snapping pictures difficult, but I still do. Fumbling with mittens in between bits of capturing the pinks and oranges around us, seeing this place in a different season. I even manage to get the camera perched on a rock and set the timer.... running to find my place next to mom & Aunt Lori. Oh my, we were so cold by then. I turn back to look at the sunset one last time before it sinks into the sea for the night and find myself looking at a favorite rock of my little two, this one here. My heart ached for little hands in mine to share this with. I snap the photo and turn to follow my mom and aunt. Realizing this ache would someday be so much more than a few days vacation.....

Oh that sea, it always has something to whisper to my heart.

 

xo,

stephinie

 


bits of alaska......

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

bits of alaska......

 

These are some bits of my time at the Raven's Nest. We named it this summer. I drew the lettering above the doorway and Joe drew the feather. It was a healing bit of collaborative art the evening before we left for home.

It's hard to believe it had been over three years since I had seen snow. I had forgotten winter, a little. Her bite against your skin, the crunch of boots walking, and the quiet. The sun came up each morning with indigo blue and set with salmon pink. The icy world sparkled in midday, frost and snow covering everything. The cold had turned the recent snow into stalagmite looking crystals, growing from the ground. Some of it even looked like piles of feathers or giant snowflakes. I was reminded how much my soul loves seasons.

In between the wintry walks and time spent laughing with those women I love, some quilting did get done. I learned a few tips and tricks from my Aunt and I sewed up some samples of designs. Loving some and laughing at others. Using your needle to draw requires one to connect differently with hands and feet and sewing machine all working together. I have more quilting bits to share next week.

Happy weekending to you....

~stephinie