Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Day Spent Out in the Boat

Juneau has really been blessed with warm weather this summer. Last week it got up to 85 degrees! 

And in our book, that's water-skiing weather!

And that's just what we did:

I know what you're thinking. 

You're thinking, "Emily, I don't see you in any of these pictures!" 

Yep, you're right. That's because I was in the boat, taking pictures and video, with NO bathing suit on. Unlike this new family I have married into, I'm not completely crazy. 

That water is COLD.

To prove my point, here's the face Abigail made when she put on the soaking wet and very cold life jacket before climbing out of the boat. 

That's not a happy face.

Here's Paul getting out of the water, and boy is he happy to do so!

Because of the warm weather, everyone dried off pretty quick in the boat, so they didn't have long to shiver once they got out.

Later that evening, we performed on a Princess Cruise ship. I think the audience was a bit mystified when we told them we had gone water-skiing earlier that day...

Like me, they must have known how cold the water was!

Here's Abigail waiting for us to swing back around with the boat and get her after a fall:

Notice how she's up on the surf board? Yep, it was cold, but I think Abby, Quinn, and Paul would say that the water temperature was worth the fun!

I made a short little video to capture the chilling fun. You'll want to see Quinn and Abby jumping off the boat dock, and Paul's (wearing a wet suite, the cheater) water skiing skill!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Only Fools Run at Midnight

Every summer in Juneau, locals stay up extra extra late one night to participate in what is known as 'Only Fools Run at Midnight.' The race (which is broken up into really two races of either a 1 mile or a 5k) is a fundraiser put together by an organization called SAIL (Southeast Alaska Independent Living), which strives to help elders and people with disabilities live a more independent lifestyle. 

This last weekend Quinn, Abigail and I participated! But I haven't even told you the best part, yet...everyone who runs the race dresses up!

Yes indeed! All the participants of the race dress up crazy and prizes are given to the best costumes. 

Our idea came from my sister Bethany and I thinking about how we could include Abby's mermaid tail (because it's a real show-stopper!). In the end we decided to stick with something Alaskan - a mermaid who didn't want her fish friends getting eaten (with Quinn and I being Alaskan fisherman against farmed fisheries). 

Here we are in all our fishy-glory!

I wore Paul's neon yellow water-proof suit that he uses when going out in the boat. Quinn wore his fishing coat and hat, and of course lovely Abigail was our beautiful mermaid!

Everyone who saw us loved our idea, and no one could help but notice Abby!

Some of my family also participated in the fun! My mother dressed in red and wore a silly crab hat. She hung a sign around her neck that read "Kiss the crabby" and handed out chocolate kisses to everyone! 

When I was little, she kept a wind-up toy crab in a kitchen cabinet and when I (or another one of my siblings) was grumpy, she would pull it out and wind it up and say "Kiss the crabby!" 

I don't think she ever gave me chocolate for being crabby though...haha!

My brother Wesley, my sister Valerie, and their friend Nancy were with us as well! My mom came up with their idea: Alaskan versions of Adam and Eve (wrapped up in giant leaves of skunk cabbage - so named for the smell of skunk the plants have) with Valerie as a snake! 

Oh no Quinn! 

Don't do it!

I'm sorry to say that none of us won anything in the costume contest, but we all had a lot of fun!

Abigail had the best time out of all of us though, she didn't even have to run the race! 

Quinn and I pulled her the whole way on Melissa's garden cart (which we had made pretty with cardboard waves and a fuzzy blue blanket). And no, we did not do the 5k, we only pulled her a mile. 

Everyone had a wonderful time, though we were all really tired at church the next morning...

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Walk Through The Garden

After a month of sunshine, the rain has finally come back (much to the disappointment of everyone). The garden however, is very happy with the change in the weather...

 Rain drops collect on the flowers and leaves, causing the patches of color to sparkle even more against the lush green of Juneau's temperate rainforest. 

Not only are Melissa's flowers and Paul's vegetables doing well, the wildflowers are blooming all over our yard. Buttercups, forget-me-knots, and the white dogwood flowers brighten the patches of yard that Melissa hasn't yet been able to plant garden of her own.

To capture this beauty, Quinn and I made a video tour through Melissa and Paul's lovely gardens. We hope you enjoy a close-up look at the pretty flowers and the large leafy greens they've been working so hard to grow. 

Our crosses from Easter are still firmly planted in the crook of an old stump.
But since summer has come, dogwood flowers have grown up around them,
making the sight an even prettier and happy reminder of Jesus's love for us.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Tasha Tudor Day

We have started a new tradition in our household: 
Tasha Tudor Day! 

Tasha Tudor is a world renowned American children's book author and illustrator. Many of her books can be found on Melissa's book shelves, and Abigail, Quinn and Laura have fond memories of reading them when they were young. 

She is very much Melissa's hero (and mine too, since Melissa introduced me to her work), residing in an old new England farm house with goats, chickens, and many adorable corgis. She believed in hard work, imagination, and the beauty and joy that could be found in making things with your own two hands.

Because of our love for Tasha Tudor, we decided to celebrate a day in her honor! We would dress and go about our lives in an old fashioned way. 

And let me tell you...we had so much fun!

The day dawned bright and sunny, and us girls put on our favorite old-fashioned dresses. 

Mine is a vintage German dirndl dress that fits me to a T! This was my first time wearing it, and I couldn't have picked a better occasion. 

I started out my morning by raiding Melissa's table cloth stash..

Quinn, being the helpful husband, had already hung up a long clothes line for me to hang the tablecloths on.  He had helped me plan a special picnic for everyone that day, and it required the perfect setting!

Tablecloths are one of Melissa's favorite things (right up there with dishes, ovens, chocolate and coffee), so we had plenty of beautiful floral printed cloths to hang up.

They would create the perfect backdrop for our picnic!

Abigail came out to help us then. She wore a lovely dress Quinn had gotten her as a Christmas present several years before. Paired with a pretty white lace apron, she looked simply stunning!

Together we hung paper garlands in the blossoming apple trees. I had sewn them all up the night before so we would have them ready. 

Melissa came out then (wearing a dress patterned all in spring flowers), and together we grabbed our trugs and flower clippers and headed down to the flats to find flowers. 

The flats were a-glow with green sea grasses, shimmering in the sun. The mountains looked wild and far-off as we skipped around with bare feet. 

Buttercups, shooting stars, lupin, and sweet pea flowers covered the ground. 

The beauty that surrounded us was amazing, we could have spent our whole day down there!

We filled our baskets to the brims with flowers. 

It was hard to leave the beauty of the flats, but the flowers needed to be put in water and we needed to start on making lunch for the picnic!

We may have stopped on the way back up to the house to take a ride on the swing though...

Once we were back up at the house, we laid down a quilt under the apple blossoms and started cleaning the flowers. 

I had extra cones from my May Day gifts, so we filled them with flowers and hung them in the apple trees. We even had enough for two vases as well!

I used a bundle of extra sweet pea blossoms to make Abigail a flower crown.

Now she looked even more fairy like with that flowing golden hair of hers!

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Melissa had started the soup for our picnic lunch. Abby and I looked through her Tasha Tudor cookbook and found a bread recipe to try.

The recipe was for a large batch, making four loaves of white bread all together! 
But I have a large family, so we decided to make the full recipe and share what we had left over.

Abigail and I took turns kneading the bread (which is always the funnest part). 

It came out of the oven looking absolutely beautiful! And let me tell you, we ate every last bit of it with honey and jam and butter (all except for the loaf we gave to my family of course). 

Our picnic was the prettiest picnic I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of, and I think everyone else would agree with me.

The apple tree blossoms smelled so sweet as we sat underneath them. 

The tablecloths blew in the breeze...

And the picnic food was beyond yummy!

We all sat together on the quilt we had brought out. We ate, talked, and basked in the warm sunshine.

Melissa remarked, as we stretched out on the quilt after all the food had been eaten and put away, "Yes, I think Tasha Tudor would have been proud."

I think she would have been, too.