Friday, March 27

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, March 25

I Went to Washington DC! {part 2}

If you're just joining me scroll down or click over and read part one of my adventures covering Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday morning we had some meetings and then we walked a few blocks to the National Geographic Museum.  This was the only paid attraction we visited the whole time we were in DC!  It was pretty cool though.  We learned all about Spinosaurus (they 3-D printed the skeletal replica on cool is that?!?!) and saw a really cool exhibit about Nat Geo's project, 'Photo Camp' which I now want to attend!

Walking back to the hotel we wandered around the DuPont neighborhood a bit and just looked at the buildings.  My neck hurt by the end of this day from all the looking up we did!  My legs were exhausted too by the end of it...we put on some miles!


We accidentally stumbled upon the Patterson House which among other things served as a temporary residence for President and First Lady Coolidge while the White House was under renovation. 

After lunch and another gathering we hustled back down toward the mall to visit the National Holocaust Museum.  I took one solitary picture while I was there...

It just didn't feel right to take pictures.  We didn't get to visit the main museum; a fixed number of passes are distributed each day.  They did have a couple of side displays that we visited that were very moving.  It's impossible to stand in front of an actual yellow star bearing the word 'Jude' and not be moved, I think.

After the Holocaust Museum we really hit the pavement.  We visited the Jefferson Memorial...

The FDR Memorial...

The MLK Memorial...

The Korean War Memorial...

The Vietnam War Memorial...

and the Albert Einstein Memorial...

The we hopped back on the metro and grabbed dinner at a totally average Chinese place close to our hotel.  We ended the night with hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  I had never bothered to try them before since I don't like doughnuts (I know, I'm weird!) but I will say that a hot Krispy Kreme is pretty darn tasty!  We were up the next morning at 3:30am to catch our 6 am flight to Chicago.  I slept most of the way...the sunrise over Chicago was beautiful though!

The flight from Chicago to Anchorage was long...I slept, watched a movie, read, entertained the two year old sitting next to me, wrote letters, walked the aisles, etc.  That's my longest flight so far and it was challenging for physically hurts me to sit that long! We arrived home in Anchorage to sunny skies as well.  Stacy came down with a tummy bug that day, so I came home to a pretty sad little girl.  She's feeling much better now, which is good...I am off to Juneau tomorrow night!  So much traveling of late!

Monday, March 23

I Went to Washington DC! {part 1}

I don't live the kind of life where I envision this sort of thing happening, which is why I was *SO* overwhelmed (later excited!) by the whole thing.  Let's back up a bit...a group of folks from our school district was headed to Washington DC last Tuesday AM to participate in a group of folks working to re-imagine education in United States.  We had been invited because we do a lot of things that are 'outside of the box' of traditional public education in the United States.  The team consisted of our Superintendent, our Principal, a teacher, and a high school student from Whittier.  The weather was totally crummy last Monday though, and the teacher who was supposed to go was weathered in in the village.  Somehow my name came up as someone who might be able to go at the last minute.  So at noon on Monday I agreed to leave at 2am on Tuesday to be the female chaperone for the student and school board member fill-in for the teacher.  I'm so glad I said yes!  It was a very busy afternoon, packing, arranging childcare, doing last minute chores, etc., but I am so glad I said yes!

I had never been to DC before...such a lot a of flying for someone who likes to move around like me!  I survived the flight (via Seattle on the way there) and even managed to sleep a bit on the plane...something that usually evades me.  We went to a group dinner shortly after arriving and then our Superintendent and Principal took us for a little 'get acquainted' walk so we'd learn how to ride the Metro and figure out what we wanted to see.

view from our hotel room
It's no secret that big cities are a foreign language to me, and the metro system...well, it's a good thing we had that little orientation!  We would have figured it out, but it was sure nice to have someone who knew the ropes!  Our Superintendent worked in DC a number of years ago, and our Principal has been there numerous times.  Our first stop was the mall, and we headed toward the Washington Monument.  It was pretty windy that night, as you can tell from the flags!

The capital has scaffolding all around it, which looked cool all lit up!  From here we hopped back on the metro to see union station.  It was so pretty inside!  You'd never know what a scary place it was 20 years ago.

By this time we were all exhausted from flying half the night and most of the day, so we headed back to our hotel and crashed.  I don't know about anyone else, but I am pretty sure I was asleep in less than five minutes and slept like a rock all night long.  It felt good!  The next morning we attended some gatherings, then in the afternoon we visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and made a brief stop at the Smithsonian Museium of American History.  I could go on and on about each museum, but it would probably bore most folks.  Instead I'll go with my favorite part of each.  At the Museum of Natural History my favorite part was the minerals display.  I wouldn't have guessed that it would be, but minerals come in so many cool shapes and sizes in nature!

A rainbow of minerals and precious pretty!!

At the Museum of American History the Greensboro lunch counter was my favorite.  There was much of this museum that we didn't have time to explore...I would love to spend a whole day in each Smithsonian!

image source

We also trekked down to see the Washington Memorial in the daylight before meeting up with our group for dinner. 

After dinner we headed out to see some memorials after dark.  We saw the Lincoln Memorial...

The Vietnam Memorial (we visited again the next day in the light to better see the wall)...

The Vietnam Women's Memorial...

And the WWII Memorial...

We walked around the blocks near the White House and saw all kinds of cool architecture.  There are so many cool buildings!  This one was one of my favorites, though I can't recall what its purpose is...

And no visit to DC is complete without a photo of the White House, right?

Then we headed back to DuPont Circle to our hotel where we fell into bed...and I lay awake until 1am thanks to my strong internal clock! ;-)  I'll stop here, and tell you about the next two days in a separate post...kudos if you've hung in through this l-o-n-g post!

More photos here if you're interested...I took a *whole bunch* which probably comes as no surprise!

Friday, March 20

{this moment)

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, March 18

Family Ski Day

Scott and I took the girls to Hilltop this past weekend to ski.  We figured that since they have spent so much time at Alyeska through ski PE that a change of scenery and terrain would be good for them.  We all had a blast--and took some silly selfies, too!

First up, Scott and I.  He *loves* selfies so much that he's silly whenever we take one!

Kelsey and the parents...

Stacy and the parents...

We convinced the kids they could ride on the ski lift in their own chair...

We skiied a half day (noon-5pm) which is a bit more than the girls usually do.  On lessons day they do a two hour lesson and then we usually stay another hour or so.  They were tired at the end.  When we came in to return our skis this is the position Stacy assumed...

Not surprisingly she fell asleep after dinner on the way home!  Kelsey managed to stay awake, but she had to work at it.  It was a great family adventure day!

Monday, March 16

Spring Break in Fairbanks--Children's Museum and Ice Alaska

Fairbanks Children's Museum has moved since our visit last year.  Last year they were in a temporary home on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.  Now they're located downtown in a bigger space with some new features.  They have a great 'maker space' where you can make almost anything you want from fabric, paper, ribbon, yarn, recycled items, wood, nails, etc.  If we lived in Fairbanks we'd have a membership to this place for sure!!

That afternoon we hopped on over to Ice Alaska.  The high that day was -2, but it was sunny so it didn't feel too bad.  Cold in the shade, though!  We did our usual loop--single block carvings, multi block carvings and then the ice slides.  As in years past we came back for a brief night tour.  The sculptures look so neat all lit up!  Next year we are hoping to plan it so the kiddos can see it in the dark too.

It was a great trip and we are so thankful to our dear friend Nana Diane for hosting us each year!  It is so fun to visit with her and her family and see what fun Fairbanks has to offer!

Friday, March 13

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, March 11

Spring Break in Fairbanks--Iditarod Start

In a typical year the Iditarod has two starts: the ceremonial start in Anchorage on the first Saturday of March, and the official restart in Willow.  There's nothing typical about this year though, so the official restart of the race was moved north to Fairbanks because there is literally no snow farther south.  Snow (slush) was trucked into Anchorage for the ceremonial start festivities, but there just wasn't enough for safe mushing from Willow.  The race has started in Fairbanks once before, in 2003.  We were so lucky to have already planned our annual Fairbanks spring break trip to fall on the day of the restart, March 9.  We were even more lucky to be invited to a friend of a friend's house right along the route to watch the mushers go by. There is just nothing like seeing those fully laden sleds race by!

One of the things that struck me as the teams mushed by is how friendly the mushers are.  Flip through the photos below and see how many smiling faces and waves there are!  They are truly grateful that people are out there watching and supporting them.  Even if temperatures that day barely rose above zero!  We had a blast...and they're having a blast too, doing what they love!

Monday, March 9


Flashback to last Wednesday for a minute when I got this text message.  Whales in Passage Canal?!?!  I did what I had to do; grabbed my camera, tripod, and my pal Debra and we headed off in search of them.  What followed was a morning of laughs as we chased the whales around town, narrowly missing their awesome appearance several times.  Finally we all ended up in the same place and we got to watch them play for a bit.  One of the teachers from the school brought kids down to see them too!  Some more friends had walked down by this part and we all headed over to the coffee shop for their opening day.  Great morning and a few decent pictures as well!

This is one of the things I love so much about this town...our common love for where we live and our commitment to enjoying it!  Find me another school that drops math for whales!  Not just whales though, whales in the front yard.  We are so blessed to live here in such a beautiful corner of the world!