Our time in Alaska started with a bang. We dropped our luggage and off we went.
I rode with my father-in-law and Brian rode with my husband. It was Brian's first time on a 4 wheeler, so we took some time to get used to it. Eventually we figured out the ideal position, one that would keep Brian's legs off of the hot metal of the engine. If you look carefully you can see where we duct taped Brian's pant legs.
Here we are just getting started. We spent a few minutes in the parking area to make sure that Brian would be okay.
Then off we went...
I hopped on their ATV and took a family photo.
Hmmm, and we were worried that Brian wouldn't have fun...
Of course, I stopped a few times to take pictures of the scenery.
Here we stopped to look at an area that had had an avalanche this last winter. The amount of destruction was amazing.
All in all it was a fun outing for a few hours. Plus it got Brian used to the 4 wheelers. By the end of the day we were all exhausted (having woken up at 5 am to catch a plane and all).
Hi. Yes, I'm still in Alaska. Today I have internet service and a little bit of time to write. So here I am. The rest of the family is off on some adventure. I caught words like "20 miles on 4-wheelers" and "gold panning" and "cabin". So my son and I are staying home. Because there were other words that should have been mentioned (and I'm sure will be when I hear the stories), words like "mosquitoes" and "bears" and "no running water". So I am happy to be left at home.
I thought about not blogging. Though I have missed blogging, I have also enjoyed the vacation too. But today I felt the need to share.
It's not amazing Alaska stories (though I have those) nor is it amazing Alaska photos (I have those too) that has driven me to the keyboard. But a relatively short conversation I had that broke my heart.
I'll start from the beginning.
My husband and I lived in Alaska for several years. We met in Anchorage. Then left for him to finish college in PA. Then came back to Anchorage. Then got transferred to Seattle. Then got transferred back to Anchorage. Finally leaving for Kentucky in 2001 (we spent 4 years in KY before moving to WA).
During the time we were in Anchorage we were part of a church. I have been part of this church since I was 16. The people are very dear to me and I try to visit whenever I get the chance, which is unfortunately not very often.
Today I got the chance to attend the church for the first time since leaving for Kentucky. It was wonderful to see everyone again. They also happen to be having a small going away party this evening, so I returned again for the party.
During the party one of the men of the church sat down next to me to say "hi". He was not someone that I had known well, but in a small church everyone pretty much knows everyone else. He now has teenage daughters and was sharing with me a bit about them.
Last time I lived in Anchorage I had been on staff at the local Crisis Pregnancy Center as their director of Abstinence Education. I loved the job and was often asked to speak at churches to promote awareness of CPC. Of course I had spoken at my home church as well.
This father remembered me speaking over 7 years ago and sought me out to talk with me about it.
You see, what I spoke on was that I had been anorexic, could not get pregnant and the struggles that I faced because of it. Honestly, I don't remember anything specific about my speaking. I don't even remember sharing about being anorexic.
But he remembered because he has several daughters struggling with anorexia.
I am all about sharing my story. Especially if it will help others. Either to avoid or to deal with the pitfalls I've become familiar with. It still breaks my heart though.
What I don't tend to share in public is that the reason that I was anorexic stems from having been abused. Not that I mind people knowing, but it's just not something I share when I'm speaking to a large group.
While I was talking with this father I really felt the need to be open with him about why and how I came to the point of being anorexic.
He made the connection of what I was saying, asking if I thought that was what happened to his daughters. I don't know his daughters. The last time I saw them they were just little girls. So, really I just don't know. But how do you tell a father that there is the possibility that his daughters were abused? Even saying that it's not a given, that anorexia can come from other things was not enough to take away those fears. And I truly hope that with his girls, this horrible disease is not compounded by having to also deal with abuse. Unfortunately anorexia comes from somewhere. Something triggers it. Too often that trigger is sexual abuse of some sort.
I don't think I have ever seen the emotion of heartbreak. Sad, angry, upset - yes. But I don't think I ever realized what heartbreak looked like. This father was heartbroken. All he ever wanted to do was to protect his daughters.
What do you say in that situation? There is nothing to take away the pain. Should I have not said anything? I don't know. All I know is that if I never share my story, then my pain will be for nothing. I really, really don't want my pain to be for nothing. And I pray often that God will redeem that pain and turn it into something good. But I do still wish that there was no need for my story, that girls didn't face abuse or anorexia. That fathers could protect their daughters from all the pain in this world. That would be a good day.
I am heading up to Alaska for a vacation. Um, well, I'm spending time with my in-laws. So, sort of a vacation.
Actually, I'm really looking forward to it.
A little fact about my husband and me...we were both living in Alaska when we met. And I have moved into (and out of) Alaska 3 times!
Since I don't consider myself an A-list blogger, I'm taking time off from blogging and not having any guest bloggers. So this site will be quiet until sometime around the 25th of July. Then it should practically explode with Alaska pictures (assuming the camera techs that are going to clean my camera this week don't break it *crossing fingers*).
Come back and see.
Before you email me and tell me how I'm not supposed to let the world wide web know when we are on vacation, don't worry my internets. The guy that is house sitting and the 85 lb. German Shepherd he is taking care of should be enough of a deterrent should anybody get any ideas. ;-)
When Brian was a baby he was given a stuffed blue rhino. Very cute. Notice the cute yarn tail...
Then Brian attached to it and it became his "Blue Rhino". Oh how he loved that rhino. But mostly he loved the tail. He would rub it on his nose when he was falling asleep. It must have been something about the yarn that was soothing.
Well, he has now had that rhino (and a duplicate, because if your child attaches to something, for the love of Pete, get a duplicate!!! and rotate them so that they wear evenly. We have had a time or two when the rhino was left or lost and we were so grateful for the duplicate) for almost 5 years. Here is what those rhinos look like now...
The faces though a bit faded still pretty much look the same (thanks to regular baths in the washing machine), but the tails have been loved to pieces.
But the cutest part of the whole thing is that when I am sick or down, Brian will bring his rhino over and rub my nose with the tail (which makes me love my washing machine that much more). Because, a blue rhino makes everything better.
The reason I visited this topic (aside from the cuteness) is that the other day I was reading this book You Are My I Love You (if you don't have it, get it - And read it to your child. It's wonderful). In the book the little bear has a stuffed elephant that he carries around. Brian noticed this and asked about it. So I said, "that's his elephant. Like your Blue Rhino". Brian immediately understood the logic and said, while he rubbed the end of his nose. "oh, does he do this?"
This is my first foray into Fussy's Fight the Frump Friday. Though I've lurked for awhile. Find more at Fussypants.
Today is all about a key make-up trick.
Match your lipstick to your nail polish.
I can't stress enough how important that is. It gives you an "I care how I look" appearance. And all us SAHM's know how important it is to appear put together before we walk out the door.
You know how much you like it when the other, not-so-put-together moms envy your style and grace when you walk up to the park. It makes you feel so good.
So here I am the other day, before I put my face on (as we say in TX - where I grew up).
I even allowed a close up, for posterity.
Scary isn't it. I can't believe my son even came that close. He's a brave one, that kid.
Lucky for him, I took the time, just that extra few seconds, to show that I'm not frumpy. I love the results...*
See how the colors really tie together and give that put-together look? It's amazing what it can do for your self esteem. The right cosmetics can even camouflage that facial hair while you wait for your waxing appointment. See? You hardly even notice my gnarly beard.
We had so much fun on Friday the 4th. Last year we moved into our new home just a week or two after the fourth of July, so we didn't know how much our neighborhood celebrated. We got the full experience this year. Starting early in the evening several people were out with small firecrackers.
I have never been one for firecrackers. I love to watch a good fireworks show, but playing with them at home has always scared me. That is why I love that my husband is there to give our son the firecracker experience, and teach him how to use fire safely.
Here they are starting the small firecrackers. At first Brian wasn't so sure about them.
A few years ago we took Brian to see the fireworks in downtown Seattle. They were beautiful and amazing to watch for an adult, not so much for a 2 year old. Since then he has been afraid of the noise.
This year my husband picked out firecrackers that were sparkly and fun, but not loud. (And also the thunderstorm that we had roll through here a few days prior that got Brian used to the loud noise). Brian started to really enjoy the firecrackers.
He still wanted to keep a good distance between himself and the firecrackers. For which I, as his mother, was very grateful.
As it started to get dark the street came alive with several families setting off their own fireworks.
Our street has several families with teenagers. So they were shooting off fireworks that were significantly louder (read: setting off car alarms). But by this point Brian seemed to be doing quite well with all the hoopla.
But the real fun came after dark. I've never lived anywhere that fireworks were legal. It was nice to pull out a lawn chair and a glass cup of wine and watch the show from our own home.
I loved this shot. We were sitting with a few neighbors looking up at the end of our court where most of the big fireworks were being set off. I loved how it shows the full effect of the fireworks, from the ground to the sky.