Alaska – Part One! (4.5 months ago)

The kids and I went to Alaska in August.  Yup, 4.5 months ago.  We had a GREAT time and I ended up with thousands (yeah, thousands) of pictures.  I cut that down to my top 500.  And then cut, cut, cut.  Here’s what’s left.  I refuse to cut any more!

I’m going to do this in two posts.  Post one is travel, Eagle River, and hiking.  Post two will be camping pictures!

Traveling to Alaska takes a long time.  And if you happen to be traveling on the day of the Delta computer malfunction, it takes even longer.  Here are pictures of the animals hanging out with our luggage at 4am, Jace waiting to check in with allll our luggage (stroller, two car seats, two huge suitcases, diaper bag, food bad, toy bag, Jace’s backpack, and two kids – not exactly traveling light).  This was Luke’s first time on an airplane and he did great.  Our kids are such good travelers!

We ended up with over 9 hours in the Atlanta airport.  We rode the trains.  A lot.  We’d been up since 4am, and when Jace started to fall asleep on the train, we realized we needed to mix it up.  So we played with toys on our blanket.  A lot.  And rode moving walkways and elevators and escalators.  And watched planes land and take off.  And finally, both kids fell asleep and I got to go to the United lounge for a snack!

We had a direct flight from Atlanta to Anchorage (over 8 hours!) and the kids did GREAT.  Luke napped on and off, but Jace stayed awake until we began our descent.  Of course.  He also refused to watch iPad the entire day.  We made good use of all the toys we had packed!  The kids were really happy and made the 22 hours of travel so much easier for me.

We made it to Alaska, headed to my parents house, and went to sleep.  The next day the kids were still a bit tired.  Luke took several naps and Jace fell asleep in the stroller on our walk.  But we still did a lot of playing too.  Jace got to play with the mini pinball machine Grandpa bought him, he played with the dump truck Grandma found him, and Luke had a great time playing on the blanket outside.

Our sleeping set up was perfect – a double mattress and a twin mattress on the floor, side-by-side.  Perfect!  I wondered if it would be difficult to get the kids to sleep since it was so light outside, but it wasn’t a problem at all.  We were so active the whole trip – and spent so much time outside – that the kids were exhausted by bedtime.  Plus, they slept hard and woke up cheerful each morning!  Hurray!

Most of my pictures are from our camping trips (which will be the next post), but there are a few from around Eagle River.  Jace had fun playing with Uncle Casey.  Jace took several trips down the banister (the “fire pole” – video below).  Jace and Grandma used Grandpa’s binoculars to go “tesploring” in the front yard.  We went to a fun literacy event with tons of free books – and Jace and Grandma ate fudgesicles in the rain (ha).  And Jace was suuuper excited to help Aunt Bailey blow out her birthday candles (and eat the cake!).

Sliding Down the Banister – video

Jace and Uncle Casey had a conference under the rug (?).  Jace and Grandpa played some pinball.  Grandma took us to a new park.  We had a picnic lunch with Uncle Casey at my old elementary school (with an entirely new playground).  Jace showed Tiffany his new pinball machine.  Luke and Grandma hung out while I did a tiny bit of souvenir shopping.  Bailey and I got our nails done – in SUPER AWESOME color-changing nail polish!  And Jace and I did some puddle jumping.

Between camping trips, we headed to the Eagle River Nature Center for a little walk.  It was great weather.  We walked the short loop to the viewing decks and took a tiny detour to stand inside the hollowed out Cottonwood (just like Casey and I used to do all the time as kids).  Jace was “sooo tired” on our walk back, so he conned Grandpa into giving him a lift!

Another day we went for a hike with my mom’s friend, Karen, and her granddaughter, Jenny.  Jenny likes to hold hands.  Jace resisted at first, but soon he and Jenny were friends.  It was a very pretty setting for a hike.  Jace and Jenny ran all over the place, checked out the lake, shared snacks, threw rocks, found sticks, and did a lot of laughing.  They had to navigate a few wooden boards on muddy parts of the trail.  Jace did NOT want to hold hands – notice Grandma walking behind him, with her fingers-crossed (literally) that he doesn’t fall in!  We were about half a mile from the car when Jace and Jenny both sat down in the middle of the trail.  After a short break – and a little snack – they were ready to go again.  They both walked over 3 miles.  Such good hikers!

After the hike, we hung out at the house.  Luke had been in the carrier most of the day, and he was ready to move on his own.  AND HE DID!  Check out the first “crawl”.  He was so proud of himself!  He immediately flopped back onto his stomach and didn’t try crawling again for a few weeks, but it was still exciting.  And now he’s a super fast crawler who is into everything!

After a full two weeks in Alaska, it was time to head back to Pennsylvania.  We left on a red-eye.  I thought Jace would sleep, but he was happy to play with toys.  We made it to Seattle and headed to the play area.  Jace – and the three other kids at the play area – were WIRED.  It was insane!  The four of them sprinted all over the place, climbed things, jumped off of things, and literally bounced off the walls (see him running in that second picture?!).  We got on our next flight and Jace was out right away – and slept almost the whole flight!  He played with toys the third flight and was happy and awake when we landed.  He made sure to toss his backpack on the baggage carousel – because he likes seeing it come back around and picking it up.  Very cute.  Adam picked us up and we headed home.  And then the travel caught up with us.  Luke slept most of the afternoon.  Jace fell asleep at the table around 5pm.  The next morning, Jace woke up, got out of bed, then lay on his floor and went right back to sleep!

Traveling to/from Alaska is hard, but soooo worth it.  We had a wonderful time!  Camping pictures in the next post!
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