What I Learned While Remodeling Our Bathroom

If you follow me on Instagram you know that my husband Daniel and I remodeled our full bathroom in our 1983 2-bedroom home. Here are a few things I have learned while going through this process.

Constitution Timetables

Keeping on a schedule during construction is super hard! Especially when you are doing all of the work on your own, you have 2 young children, and work full-time jobs.

This project started as a simple facelift to help sell the house. We were planning on only replacing the caulk around the tub, painting, and replacing the bathroom vent. Well, as Daniel was removing the caulk around the bathtub, rotten drywall started to fall out. We could not in good conscience just seal it back up for the next owner of the house to deal with. So, we gutted EVERYTHING! What was supposed to be a 1-weekend project ended up taking us 5 months. Part of the reason it took 5 months was because we ended up taking a 2 month break initially because our kids’ birthdays were coming up but then, we got COVID, and then we had AMAZING weather that we couldn’t waste.

Drywall Texturing is an art!

Putting up drywall wasn’t too hard but, we spent a few weeks trying to figure out the drywall texture. Before this project I had never textured drywall. After 3 attempts trying to match the swooping texture that is throughout the whole house, we decided to sand, then mud the walls flat, and apply a simple orange peel spray texture.

Not everything was hard

Some of the easiest things about this project were painting and flooring. When we moved into this house 9 years ago we had primed and painted the kitchen, living room, and the 2 bedrooms. We also replaced the 1980’s brown calico carpet with laminate flooring in the living room and 2 bedrooms. Needless to say, both Daniel and I have some experience painting and installing flooring. Also, because of that experience and how small the bathroom is I was less intimidated by painting the entire room.

In the end, both Daniel and I were very happy with how the bathroom turned out. Now that we are in our new home we are planning on remodeling the 2 bathrooms because we miss our old one.

Just a Little Life Update

So since I have been super quiet for the last couple of months and May marks 1 year of blogging I think it’s time for a life update. 

As I write this we just celebrated both Natalie and Jason’s birthdays. They are now 5 and 10 years old. Like every year I’m always a little bit nostalgic. It has been a really interesting transition because when Jason turned 5 I was 39 weeks pregnant with Natalie. So experiencing Natalie tuning 5 without being pregnant has been very different. On the other hand, my mind is blown that I have a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old. One of the best things has been watching the kids experience the outdoors through all-new eyes. They are old enough to roast their own marshmallows, and explore on their own. They are also able to play games together collaboratively, and not just Jason playing “baby” games because it’s the only thing Natalie can play that has been pretty rad. 

In March and April, we have also been working on renovating our main bathroom which has been an adventure, to say the least. There will be a full post about it once we have completed the remodel but, as of right now it has been 3 months since we started the project and we are not done yet. I’m hopeful that we can get this project done soon so that we can get other things around the house put back together. There have been quite a few delays in May on this project. First, we had 2 birthday parties back to back, and once that was done the family got COVID. We are still dealing with recovery and I have hopes we can get back to this project and get it done! But, of course, our health is our number 1 priority. 

Since we are close to the 6-month mark let’s take a look at my new year’s goals I posted about in January:

  1. Read 25 books – this is the goal I am doing good at… I am currently reading book #12. Follow me on GoodReads
  2. Post a blog post each month! – I’m not doing too good of a job with this one. The last 3 months have been absolutely CRAZY and being able to sit down and write was a luxury I couldn’t afford. The next 7 months will be better! 
  3. Rekindle connection with my husband Daniel. – Daniel and I have been spending a little more time connecting as a couple in the last couple of months. I think working on the bathroom project has been good for us overall I think.
  4. Reconnect with my children one on one – As for connecting with the kids, I have been trying to do something small with them a little more frequently. This would be painting nails with Natalie and having a good conversation with Jason as we drive into school.
  5. Close my move ring 25 times each month. – Overall I have done a pretty good job. There have been months where I have closed all of my rings and months where I only closed 23 rings but, I am super happy to just keep up with moving my body most days! 

All in all, I think life has been good for our little family. Let’s hope we can enjoy the Southeastern Alaska summer and have some adventures! That’s all for now! 

High School Sweethearts – Then and Now

So here we are, Valentine’s Day! Ever since I started this blog I have been planning to write about Daniel and I’s story. At this point, we have been together for 15 years and married for 12 this year in June. I honestly didn’t know what I was starting when Daniel asked me to be his girlfriend in the high school parking lot but, I am glad I did!

2006 – high school sweethearts

Daniel and I met while I was dating his best friend Caleb my freshman year. Now it’s not as bad as it sounds, Caleb was the one to push Daniel and I together. My sophomore year both Daniel and I had free periods at the end of the school day so we would drive around until school got out when Daniel would drop me off back at the school where I could catch my bus to go home. During the drop-off on December 12th, 2006, Daniel asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes.

2009

We had planned that we would both move out once I graduated so that neither of us had to deal with the roommate situation. In 2009 I graduated and I’m the same day Daniel and I moved in together after dating for 2 ½ years. There were definitely some major bumps along the way since neither of us had been on our own. There was a lot for us to learn both about having our own household and living with someone else that’s not your family.

2010 – Here come the wedding bells!

Daniel and I were married on June 26th, 2010. It was completely unplanned & spur of the moment. Honestly though not for any reason but impatience. We ended up having a 1-week engagement and couldn’t have gotten the wedding together without the help of our parents and amazing friends who helped. For years now we have thought about having a big blowout for one of our anniversaries but that has yet to materialize. We’ll see if that happens one of these days.

2012

We welcomed the birth of our son Jason on April 27th, 2012. He has been such a joy to our lives, and I am truly grateful to be his mom. After his birth, we had a huge adjustment and I struggled with postpartum depression and the physical recovery of both laboring for 24 hours and an emergency c-section. It took some rough times, but I was able to pull myself out of my postpartum depression with tons of help from my family and friends. Jason was an amazing baby and he helped to pull me through.

2013

At the start of 2013, Daniel and I had the crazy idea that we should buy our first house. This all started because the attached home connected to Daniel’s parents’ house went up for sale but, then we decided it would probably be a bad idea. So, we kept on looking and found our starter home only 3 streets away. We honestly shouldn’t have bought it because it was only a 2-bedroom house and Daniel and I knew we wanted more than one child and this house needed some work! But we bought it anyway and it has been such a good place to continue and grow our family for the past 9 years.

2017

We welcomed our daughter Natalie into the world on May 5th, 2017. Due to the complications of Jason’s birth, we decided that a planned c-section was best for our family. I am so glad that we decided to do that. My recovery was much easier this time since I didn’t labor at all and Daniel was able to be home for a couple weeks until I was healed enough to easily get around on my own.

2022 – Where are we now?

This year we will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. Jason will be 10 and in 4th grade. Natalie will be 5 and headed into kindergarten in the fall. Not to say we haven’t struggled through the past 15 years together and 12 years of marriage but, we have chosen each other through it all and for that I am truly grateful. 

Our Next hurdle will be selling our current home and hopefully buying our forever home. I am determined to make this year the best year Daniel and I have spent together yet. 

Until next time, 

AK-Abi 

2022 New Goals, Not New Me!

Me with my first halibut in August 2021

As 2022 begins I am looking forward as most people are with the excitement and anticipation of the new year has in store for us heavy in the air. Of course I hope COVID will calm down and we don’t have to hear about it in the present tense any more. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about what goals I had for 2022 and I decided I wanted to go about it in a different way. This year I’m not going in with the attitude of “New Year, New Me!“. What I mean is, I think the person I have become over the last year is pretty good, if I do not say so myself! I have gone inward and found hobbies, compassion for myself, and I’m sure something else but I can’t quite think of anything.

I have listed a few of the goals that I have made for myself for 2022 and by publicly posting them here I hope to have some accountability. 

  1. Read 25 books – since reading was a hobby I picked up in 2021, I am hopeful I can keep going with it! Maybe there will be more book reviews in my future? Who knows at this point. You can follow or add me on Goodreads!
  2. Post a blog post each month! With starting this blog last year, I hadn’t realized the importance of banking posts for those months where the inspiration is low or life gets in the way. 
  3. Rekindle connection with my husband Daniel. – this isn’t as scandalous as it may sound but, 2021 has been a rough one on our marriage. Mainly because both of us have gotten lazy. My hope is to schedule date nights monthly. 
  4. Reconnect with my children one on one – this would be with mini one on one date nights with the kids. Not a huge or grand experience but mostly a chance to have time with only one child at a time. 
  5. Close my move ring 25 times each month. – over the whole pandemic I have gained around 15 lbs. But this goal is more than just to shed some fat. My hope is to have time to clear my head. Get those happy endorphins going! Also, to be more comfortable in my body. 

I would love to hear what type of goals you have for your new year down in the comments! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

2021 – A year in review

I keep trying to write about this year to try and review it and try to make this post not completely sound fake as all get out. I am having a hard time with that… This year has been a lot of small things that didn’t go as planned and dealing with the day to day of everything. Yes, there were a ton of things that did go well. Like my children were able to have normal birthday parties with their friends from school. Both Daniel and I were able to take trips on our own and enjoy a long family vacation to Washington and Arkansas. As well as the start of this blog, which has been a true mental health saver. 

So, here are the top 3 experiences that sum up my 2021:

  1. Human interaction! – the best thing about this year is that we were able to send Jason back to school full time! We had birthday parties for each of the kids which included friends from both school and daycare. We were able to get together with friends and family which I truly missed and needed for my mental health. 
  2. Natalie got COIVD – Natalie’s daycare had an exposure to COVID in early October and Daniel and I thought almost nothing of it because Natalie was acting completely healthy, not even a stuffy nose. We got her tested and BAM Natalie was positive, and we were in quarantine. Daniel and Jason did not get it but, I was not so lucky. I received a presumptive positive and had to isolate myself in Dan and I’s bedroom for 3 days. I was so glad to be able to test out of my isolation! I’m not sure that I would have made it through the whole 10-day isolation in the same house as my family. 
  3. So much traveling! – just like everyone else we hadn’t done any traveling since November of 2019 which was only a quick 3-day trip to celebrate Thanksgiving with Daniel’s extended family. This year though we had the ability for each of us to do a solo trip and then the whole family to go on an extended vacation to both Washington and Arkansas. 
    1. In early September I went on a girl’s trip with my best friend Katy and her mom to Vegas! 
    2. The next week after I got back from my trip Daniel went to Green Bay with his parents and his uncle to watch a Packers game at Lambeau Field.
    3. The day before thanksgiving we started our family trip
      1. Washington – This was our traditional every 2-year trip to see Daniel’s extended family for thanksgiving! This year was a crazy year where we had around 45 people come to thanksgiving dinner and all of them were family! This trip always does my heart so much good. On top of my kids being able to connect with their dad’s side of the family this trip always reminds me of how truly grateful I am to have married into such an amazing family. A couple of the highlights of this time was when I made 2 chocolate satin pies with my niece Kali (5), Jamie’s daughter Rachel (5), and Natalie (4). Although making the pie was stressful, the connection I felt to each one of them was totally worth it and the pies weren’t half bad either. The 2nd highlight from this part of the trip was Natalie got to ride a horse for the first time! She absolutely loved it! 
      2. Arkansas – Saturday after Thanksgiving my little family (Daniel, Jason, Natalie and I) along with Kelly and Roger traveled to Northwest Arkansas where my family lives. I hadn’t been to Arkansas to see my family in over 15 years and this time was so much sweeter because I was able to bring my own little family. There were a couple Pinochle games played which is a game you learn in my family when you’re about 13 years old because that’s when your hands are normally big enough to hold the hand of 20 cards you’re dealt. The big points in this trip were that we got to spend the entire time with my grandmother, explore Silver Dollar City in Branson MO, explore my parent’s new house since their move from AK to AR in 2019, enjoy my aunt’s bunkhouse in Gilbert (Kelly’s Bunkhouse), and finally I got to visit my grandfather’s grave. My grandfather passed away 18 years ago, and it was really good to reconnect with his spirit while I was there. 

So, overall, 2021 wasn’t all too bad. I have hopes that 2022 things will be more normal, and we get to enjoy more of what life is truly meant for. Time with family that doesn’t involve quarantining, the great outdoors, and our health both mental and physical. 

Left to right – Kali, Natalie, Me, and Rachel

In the Heart of Paradise – Book Review

Today I am reviewing the 3rd book in the Rainier Series by Jamie McGillen. I was graciously accepted by Jamie to be part of her launch team and I am so glad that I was, because I can read and review this book before the book is available! Now on to the review

Synopsis

Jamie continues the writing style of the second book In Light of the Summit by switching between two stories. This time she of course continues Anna’s story but, also expands on Elizabeth Grayson’s story. Those of you who have read the previous book “In Sight of the Summit” would know that Elizabeth Grayson is the woman who Anna’s brother, Levi, was courting before ultimately marrying Anna’s childhood friend Emily. 

Elizabeth’s Story

In the beginning, Jamie comes out with the heavy-hitting topic of mental health. She enlightens the reader on how women who had what we now know to be OCD, manic episodes, or any other mental illness would be at the mercy of either her husband or father. Due to the ever-present threat of being admitted to an insane asylum women had to keep their mental health struggles a secret. In this story, Elizabeth is one of those women. Throughout the book, we follow Elizabeth’s journey and struggles of becoming a nurse in the late 1800s with the added struggles of having “doubting disease”. We also watch her deal with the heartbreak of her courtship with Levi ending and the prospects of the bud of new love.

Anna’s Story

Now, moving on to Anna’s story. To recap at this point Anna has attempted to summit Mt. Rainer twice. The first time she fails due to her ill-fitting equipment. The second time she succeeds but, not without surviving an attempted murder. 

During the third book, she has plans to hike to base camp to meet with Fay Fuller to discuss the women’s mountaineering group they plan to assemble. But, once she finds out she is pregnant she is confronted with the reality that climbing her beloved mountain may be harder than she thought. We also follow Anna’s rough pregnancy and her struggles with the timing of becoming pregnant. As a mom myself I can relate to what Anna has to endure with her pregnancy and how hard it can be when things don’t go as planned. 

Of course, I knew I would love this book like I loved reading the rest of the series but, I have never read any book in 4 days! I quite literally could not put it down. I would sit while Natalie watched her shows, Daniel and Jason would play video games, and just read. I want to thank Jamie for fostering a love of reading with her amazing books. If you have not read this series you should. 

In Light of the Summit Book Review

Welcome! Today I will be reviewing the second book of the Rainier Series by Jamie McGillen; In Light of the Summit. If you haven’t read the first book of the series, In Sight of the Mountain, you can read my review here. Both books are really good reads! Now on to the review!

One of the things I liked about the book was that it was written differently than the first book. What I mean by this was that two stories were being told; of course the continuation of Anna’s story, and a more detailed story of Anna’s childhood friend Emily. I also enjoyed the determination of both Anna and Emily, they worked through their struggles with grace. This book was such a joy to read, each time I picked up the book I didn’t want to put it down.

Were there things I didn’t like about the book? Honestly, there wasn’t much. The only thing at the beginning was the switching between the two stories, there definitely were some frustrated sighs along the way. Jamie kept the momentum of the stories of both women going throughout the whole book in tandem which now as I re-read the book I understand and really enjoy. 

Synopsis

Anna’s Story

The book starts with Anna dealing with the reticule of Seattle society being less than thrilled about her secret attempt to summit Mt. Rainier. Her family bookstore is vandalized on multiple occasions; once with a brick being thrown through the window. She also has to manage the disapproval of her soon-to-be father-in-law who believes Anna should not be attempting to climb mountains but at home keeping house and raising a family. Through all of the challenges and doubt Anna is determined to attempt the summit once again but, this time with her new husband along for the adventure. 

Emily’s Story

Moving on to Emily’s story; as stated in the first book, Emily is one of Anna’s close childhood friends. She grew up in poverty on her family farm. Though her father made a modest living as the Seattle police chief, they were barely able to make ends meet due her mother’s illness. This is part of the reason Emily decided to marry an established man of society, Charles, instead of marrying for love. When Charles falls ill the doctors decide to use a modern method of anesthesia for frontier medicine which turns disastrous for Emily and she finds herself in the depths of poverty once again.

What’s coming next?

Jamie isn’t done yet with the Rainier Series; the 3rd book in the series In the Heart of Paradise will be released on November 2nd! It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. I hope you all have enjoyed reading this series as much as I have and I cannot wait to hear what you think.

Top 5 Podcasts I love!

Hello there! I thought I would share some podcasts I love and why. I was never someone who listened to podcasts until after my daughter was born. I was getting bored scrolling social media the hours I spent pumping every day and that’s when Daniel suggested I listen to some podcasts. I honestly didn’t even know where to start. When I started to dip my toes into podcasts I listened to Daniel’s suggestion and started with Dr. Drew. I love Teem Mom and Teen Mom 2 so why not? As time went on I branched out and found other podcasts I love and I want to share them with you!

1. Friendo Podcast with Amanda Muse

This is my favorite podcast! Mainly because I love anything Amanda does from her YouTube vlogs, Instagram stories, and of course her podcast. She is a dose of reality that I believe everyone needs in their life.

 

Amanda has been a vlogger for nearly a decade and had a previous podcast called The Sandwich which she rebranded during the pandemic to Friendo Podcast and I honestly love it!  What I like about Friendo is that it’s short, each episode is normally about 45 minutes long and has a consistent format. Each podcast is broken out into 3 sections: the solo intro with just Amanda, the guest interview, and the recap conversation with her husband Dean who is an absolute hoot!

2. The Papaya Podcast

This podcast is hosted by the one and only Sarah Nicole Landry aka thebirdspapaya. Do I need to say more? No? I will anyway. Sarah is an inspirational and vulnerable woman with all things, mom, wife, and human-related. Her story gave me the idea that maybe someday I would start a blog, and well here I am! 

Anyway, The Papaya Podcast. This podcast has such a diverse group of guests. The guests range from her husband, TikTok star Heidi D’Amelio, to Holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eger. One thing I really like is that Sarah goes into each interview with minimal research as she wants to hear the guest’s story from them at the moment and the listener can hear her raw reaction to the content. No matter what, when you listen you will either learn something or come away with something that will challenge the way you see the world and your way of thinking. 

3. Coffee Convos with Kail Lowery and Lindsay Christley

I found this podcast through being a fan of MTV’s Teen Mom 2 and mom Kail Lowery. Through following Kail on Instagram I found out she was starting a podcast I went and subscribed immediately. What I like most about this pod is that it feels like you are just hangin with the girls and chatting over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I like that they give a basic recap of what is going on in their lives and occasionally have guests that are pretty chill too. I listen to this show mainly when I just want to relax.

4. Almost 30 Podcast

What can I say about this podcast but, it came into my life at the perfect time. I was 29 and a complete anxious ball dealing with the COVID-19 and learning how to manage working from home with my husband, just like everyone else in the world. As the name suggests it’s a podcast that is geared towards women who are going through the transition between their 20’s and 30’s. I found this podcast actually by listening to The Papaya podcast in August 2020. I honestly cannot believe that I’ve been listening to this pod for only a year. Linsey and Krista have challenged all aspects of my thinking in that year. Through lots of therapy and listening to this podcast, I gained the confidence to start this blog.

5. Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe

Kaitlyn Bristowe is so entertaining! She’s fun, quirky, and I can always rely on her to make me laugh. Kaitlyn and her fiancé Jason are both from Bachelor Nation. Kaitlyn was a contestant on The Bachelor and later became the Bachelorette. Jason and Kaitlyn with their golden retrievers Ramen and Pino make me smile and laugh all the time.

Now back to the podcast… Episodes of this podcast come out twice a week.

Off the Vine: Kaitlyn has guests and talks about many topics and various types of guests: therapists, pet psychics, and Bachelor Nation stars, and talk to them about their other projects.  
Grape Therapy: is the Bachelor Nation recap podcast. They are very entertaining but when I am behind on listening to my podcasts these episodes are generally the ones I skip. Mainly because I don’t watch any of the Bachelor Nation shows. So why. This podcast on my top 5? Because this was the first podcast I found on my own. Also, without Kaitlyn, I would not have found all of the other podcasts that have helped me become the woman I am today.

Now that I have shared my top 5 there are some other podcasts that I do listen to on occasion; my honorable mention pods:

  • She Factor Podcast – Host Tori Ganahl started the company She Factor with her mom Heidi Ganahl. This company’s mission is to help women in their early 20s find their voice and live their life with purpose and follow their dreams. They have the podcast, The She Factor book (I recommend as well!), and their She Membership. 
  • I Am All In – a Gilmore Girls pod with Scott Patterson, the actor who played Luke Danes in the series. He goes over each episode of Gilmore Girls and gives the listeners the behind-the-scenes look of how it was while they were filming. He brings on stars from the show and talk about their experiences around the filming. Any Gilmore Girls fan would love this podcast! 

I hope you have a chance to listen to one or hopefully all of these amazing podcasts! 

Until next time! 
Abi

3 Ways I am Fighting Burn-out

Lately, I have hardly been able to focus on anything; the kids, work, or other home tasks. All I want to do was sleep, read, or watch a show, mainly for the escape from the constant lists going through my head. That’s when I noticed I was starting to feel completely burnt out. When I tried to figure out when this all started I realized it was when I started working back in the office full time. I have been working from home from March 2020 until early June 2021 when I came back to the office part-time which I liked a lot. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I was called back to the office full-time a couple of weeks ago. 

Now, pre-COVID I worked full time in the office for years. For a brief couple of years, I could work from home only on an as-needed basis when kids were sick. Being in the office again is making me have to exert more energy interacting with more people, being on the phone, and more outside stimuli and distractions. Also, my house is an absolute mess which totally messes with my sense of calm. Now I have home tasks running through my mind and instead of being able to pop in that load of laundry, I have just made a list that I have to do later. 

Now how do I get out of this funk? That is the big question and honestly, I have no idea. I mean, I  do but, do I have any motivation or energy to do so? Absolutely not, but something has to happen or a full-blown melt-down and depression spiral is bound to happen.

Here is what I am going to do:

1. Keep going on break-time walks.

This has been vital to keeping me from melting down so far. I am super lucky my office is close to a really awesome park which has tons of trees, a beautiful creek, and birds singing. Juneau has also been having gorgeous weather; highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s, sun, and a breeze.

2. Make manageable lists for evening tasks and ask for help.

First, asking for help is one of the hardest things for me. I literally have been going to therapy for YEARS and just now I’m able to ask for some help when I absolutely need it but it’s still really difficult. I am lucky that Daniel is still working from home, so I can ask for his help like getting the laundry started or pulling chicken out of the freezer and it’s been super helpful. 

Have you ever just started to go down your to-do list and just keep adding and adding and adding? Yeah, that’s me too. That’s why I try to keep my list for evening tasks to only 3 to 4 extra items beyond the daily tasks of making dinner, making the kid’s lunches, and putting the kids to bed. Now, these tasks aren’t always my full duty. Daniel is a really hands-on dad and partner so, we share a lot of the household duties which is huge and I am grateful for it!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

3. Remember everything is worse when you’re tired.

This is huge and one of the hardest ones for me. When I put too many things on my above-mentioned list I focus on getting the things done instead of going to bed. While in the short term I have gotten more done, but in the long term, I completely screwed myself for the next morning. And when I do this for too many days in a row I completely meltdown no matter how much I try not to or how many coping techniques I use. My goal is to be in bed by 10 pm and going to sleep by 10:30 every weeknight. It’s a little ironic as I sit here typing this at almost 10:30 pm… Anyway, I am putting it out there so let’s see what happens.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

To wrap everything up, this is my experience. I am not a therapist or trained in any way, shape, or form. I am just a person who has lived through 30 years of trying to manage my anxiety and depression so I can live a full meaningful life. My biggest hope by putting this out there is that someone else knows they aren’t alone and things get better through hard work, determination, and therapy. 

Until next time, 

With love, Abi

Baines Family 4th of July 2021

The pile of stumps we burned all weekend.

This 4th of July weekend was a pretty awesome weekend filled with family, beach fires, friends, hikes, and Juneau sun. Daniel, the kids, and I spent 3 nights down at the cabin. With COVID we have not taken a vacation since November 2019 but this weekend felt like a mini-vacation from the hustle and bustle of life. We got to relax, enjoy time with family and friends, and watch the cousins make memories. 

Here’s a recap of the weekend events.

Friday July 2nd – Let the Weekend Begin!

We came down to the cabin after work. As we took our less than a 10-minute boat ride from the Douglas harbor the sense of calm came over me. It felt as if I was coming home since the cabin is pretty much a 2nd home to me since we spend so much time down there. Kelly, Roger, Kyler, Sydney, and their 3 kids: Kaylix, Kali, and Cambri, were already here and Kyler already had a fire going on the beach to burn some tree stumps that we had pulled out of the ground. As we pulled up to the beach my niece Kali came down to greet us with an excited “Hi guys!” As she almost always does. My heart was happy and I was ready for the weekend to get going.

Saturday July 3rd – Fireworks

Saturday started out pretty mellow and ended up being a fun-filled day of adventures. 

On Thursday before we came down I had made an Apple Crumb Cake that was absolutely to die for if I do say so myself. Once everyone had woken up Sydney and I started to make some french toast, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, more like lunch since it was 11:30 before we ate. I really enjoy cooking for the family but cooking with someone is always nice. 

Once everyone was done with breakfast Daniel and I took Jason, Kaylix, and Kali to get Daniel’s Uncle Gary from the Douglas Harbor so he could stay for 2 nights at the cabin. After we picked him up we pulled the Dungeness Crab pots Kyler had set the night before to see if we had gotten any crab to have for dinner. We were in luck! One of our pots was packed with crab, we ended up keeping 4 huge Dungies and throwing back 6 we could have kept. One of the most impressive parts was that Kaylix and Jason pulled up an empty pot too! 

After we had cooked the crab, the whole gang of us, 7 adults and 5 children headed down to Daniel’s cousin’s cabin a mile down the beach from our property. James and Kelsey and Kelsey’s parents own a cabin a mile further away from town from our property and next to them our friends, Adam and Ashley, have some land and were tent camping for the weekend. Since everyone was down there for the weekend we decided to hike down there and have a couple beers and hang out. It was nice to see their property and their cabin is coming along nicely. 

Let the festivities begin! In Juneau, our city fireworks display is at midnight on the 3rd of July. There are a couple reasons for this: 

  1. If the weather is too bad (the cloud ceiling is too low to see the fireworks) on the 3rd they can postpone the fireworks until the next day and we don’t have to miss out. 
  2. We have to wait until midnight because it doesn’t get dark enough to see the fireworks until then. 

This year though was perfect! We had 65 to 70 degree days with sun and not a cloud in the sky, so there wouldn’t have been a problem seeing any of the fireworks. Some years we like to go out on our skiffs into the Gastineau Channel where the cruise ships dock and watch the city fireworks out on the water but this year we ended up staying at the cabin. Mainly because it is a lot of work and our girls are a little too young to make it to midnight to see the fireworks anyway. So, we ended up having a raging beach fire and shooting off a ton of fireworks on the beach. The boys stayed up and shot off fireworks and the girls were able to get to bed at around 11:00 pm. 

Sunday July 4th – Today is the Day!

Ready and waiting for the parade!

This 4th of July was a weird one for me. I grew up in the middle of downtown Douglas where all of the action happens and for years my parents still lived in the same house so we always had a home base in the middle of the chaos. In 2019 my parents retired and moved out of state and with COVID last year this year was the first year of 4th of July festivities without them. 

Overall though the day was a good one. Since the weather was nice Sydney and I decided to walk back with their 2 dogs. Honestly, the walk was a mental health break for both of us and for me calm before needing to pull out all of the coping techniques I needed to deal with the crowds of people. As for the 4th of July festivities, everything was still scaled down from normal. The Douglas Parade had no more than 10 floats, if that, there were only 3 food vendors where there are normally about 10, and the crowds of people weren’t nearly as big. We were able to spend some time at Sandy Beach, ate ice cream and listened to the band play for a while and just relaxed. Once we said goodbye to Kyler and Sydney the kids, Daniel, and I headed back to the cabin for our last night.

Monday July 5th – The Extra Day

Since the 4th was on a Sunday Daniel and I had the Monday after off of work. We finished the weekend with the classic cabin breakfast of sausage, fried potatoes, and eggs, packed up our things, and cleaned up the cabin.

As I write this I can’t help but feel this sense of gratitude. I am so thankful to have such a good relationship with both Kyler and Sydney and how our kids can grow up with each other. It’s something I never had growing up since we lived so far away from my extended family. The weekend all in all was exhausting but mentally rejuvenating at the same time. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy the cabin property.