Friday, August 14, 2009


OK, now I get it: The incredulous looks on knowledgeable faces when I admitted I had never been to Alaska, despite the fact my sister had lived there for over a decade. I get it now. All of you - you were right, I was missing out.

It is perhaps the most beautiful place I've ever been.

The kids were in heaven. It is perhaps a kid-vacation paradise. Tide pools, hiking, fishing, kayaking, mud, mud and more mud.

It made me realize just how sterilized our Lower-48 outdoor play space has become. We are a family who spends a lot of time outdoors - we bike, walk, run, swim, you name it. But much of our outdoor time is spent in a yard or at a park or a beach or on a well-traveled trail. Even canoeing on the lake involves maneuvering around motorboats.

In Alaska, there are vast expanses of wilderness. Here in Wisconsin, I've noticed that kids create their own wild spaces. They all congregate around the largest, farthest, most hidden tree at the park, and build forts and find sticks and rocks and cool leaves. Kids need wilderness. (exhibit A: Michael Chabon's article)

How does one bring more wilderness into an urban/suburban life?

As for us, we are already planning our next trip to Alaska.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Headed to Alaska

On Monday, we head out to Homer, Alaska to visit my favorite sister. She's been out there for over 10 years, but we have never visited. ( I know, I know, I'm the worst sister in the universe.)

In my defense, I've been busy popping out (and raising) these:

Two of them in fact - one XX and one XY.

Taking babies/toddlers/preschoolers to Alaska was just not my idea of fun. Frankly, getting to the grocery store in one piece during the baby/toddler stage was some days more than I could handle.

But now, they look like this:

And we've decided they can probably handle the 12+ hours of travel without kicking the seat in front of them or spitting up all over the person next to them. And so we are off for a big family adventure to lands far away.

Now if I could get the boy to stop repeating "I can see Russia from my house," we should be all set.