Celebrations in Pittsburgh

A couple days (or maybe 24 hours?) after we got home from Brainard (enough time to do a little laundry and put away sleeping bags…), we boarded a plane (along with cousins, auntie, and uncle) to Pittsburgh for my cousin, Isaac’s, wedding. Isaac was a baby when I first moved out to Colorado to go to college. I guess some time has passed…

Anyway, the wedding fell over Ivan’s birthday and my own, so we got to do some celebrating with family for both. We spent the day before the wedding exploring Pittsburgh – going to a children’s museum, lunch, parks, doing the incline, having delicious milkshakes and then enjoying the Point State Park.

Saturday was filled with the wedding (a beautiful morning wedding):

My favorite part was probably hearing cousin Matthew sing while Mel and Isaac danced the mother-son dance. That kid is so talented.

And that evening there was an after-party of pizza and games at a hotel lobby for all of those who had traveled from afar to be there:

Sunday was my birthday and the day everyone headed home. We opted to have brunch at a famous Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives diner (HUGE thank you to Lauren for saving our place in line in the heat!) and then went our separate ways. We spent some time at the aviary and at the botanic gardens and then enjoyed a delicious taco dinner before heading to the airport. Much drama ensued at the airport, but we did eventually get home sometime after midnight.

Alaska Adventures, Pt. 2

We were only in Valdez for a quick evening before getting on the ferry to Seward. Our crew ate at “The Fat Mermaid” and loved watching bald eagles and baby bunnies all evening. I’m hopeful I can show some of Ethan’s pictures from that spot because they were pretty remarkable.

On Ethan’s special outing, he enjoyed another boat ride. He, Mike and Grandpa enjoyed birding from this boat for seven hours on Father’s Day.

We spent most of this trip out and about, but I did snap a few pictures at various homes we stayed in.

Other highlights included walking part of the first mile of the Iditarod trail, checking out the salmon run, exploring the wildlife sanctuary (and finally seeing bear!), playing at parks, going for a few different hikes, and (on our final day) taking a trolley ride. Our crew also especially liked breakfast out at a place we heard about from Diners, Dives and Drive-ins.

Pictures don’t do this State justice. It’s simply beautiful and worth a visit! We were very thankful to have this opportunity and to spend time with people we love while doing it.

Alaska Adventures, Pt. 1

Our family vacation to Alaska was delayed for a couple of years (can you guess why?) and when the week of the adventure came around, our crew had to delay for a little longer yet as a couple of us were sick.

Day 1: When we finally met up with the rest of the family (my parents, siblings and their families), we were given a very warm welcome: flowers, a card, and balloons! We stayed at a hotel downtown that first night to give extra space and, after playing at a park (or going birding), we ate take-out at a park near where seaplanes were (in theory) landing.