Barrett, my oldest, started camp this week. It’s a day camp. I’m not sure I can handle more at this time. He was up very late the night before unable to sleep. He was more excited then the first day of school! If school instructed with BB guns, bow and arrows, horse rides and all the other camp activities he’d be a full time, life time student.

As we drove to the camp yesterday morning I found my mind reeling with scenarios to warn him about and random pieces of advice. In the end I kept my mouth shut and warned him of the usual; manners, listening, following rules… He annoyed me to a point of murder while we registered him and got his paper work in order. “Can I just go? Are we done yet? Hurry up mom!” He’s lucky there were witnesses once again. His behavior did make it easier to push him off to camp. He might have done it on purpose. I met his camp counselor Gummy Bear (I don’t understand it but it makes perfect sense to Barrett so I just go with it) and Barrett ran off and found a hula hoop to show off his mad hooping skills. The counselor was authentically impressed. Well played Barrett!


At that moment I realized he was his own person. No longer connected to me full time. He is making his own decisions and boss of himself when I or Scott are not around. He makes his own friends not just the kids I place in front of him. He’s…A BIG BOY! That feeling is a slight relief of pressure but brings about a whole new fear. All these “what if’s” start playing themselves out in my head. I know that in the future my fears will change as he ages and enters different stages of development. That doesn’t make me feel better. I left him amongst fellow campers and pulled a whiny 4 year old “I’ll miss Barrett” and a back arching toddler who wanted to walk through the parking lot back to the car. Quickly I dropped Barrett from my concerns and focused on keeping the other two alive.

When Barrett’s first day concluded I was there with bells and whistles to pick him up. I was excited to hear about his first day at camp. The next scene played out like an old western film.

“The sheriff traveled to the town over to collect her convict. She knew he frequented the area and knew she’d find him amongst his own kind. A simple flash of her badge and the town elders backed out of her way. They knew of her reputation and knew she was there to collect what was hers. As the elders dispersed wanting nothing to do with what was going to happen next the sheriff locked eyes with her soon to be prisoner. His eyes shown brightly through his blue rimmed glasses that were shaded by his camo hat. Dirt smudges covered his face, arms and legs. He might be needing a dip in the ‘ole whiskey barrel before slop time. Through the shade of a large pine tree she could see the gleam of excitement riddled with something she rarely saw. Defiance. Or was is an air of confidence? It reminded her of a man preparing himself for battle. With a can in hand he slowly approached the sheriff. Backpack slung over one shoulder he stopped two feet from the sheriff. The Good The Bad and The Ugly whistled though the yard as the boy planted both feet firmly into place.

“What’s that in your hand?” the sheriff asked nodding slightly to the object in his right hand.
“It’s a soda and I get to have as many as I want. And for snack guess what I had?”
“SKITTLES! BLAHAHHAAHHAHAH” the parolee laughed diabolically. Knowing the sheriff couldn’t take what he had already consumed. He was escorted to the sheriff’s vehicle and transported back to prison.


(Aunt Vicki, I was not driving)

This morning he discussed his plans of Gatorade and Starbursts. I guilt tripped him into pretzels instead. I doubt he’ll follow through. LORD help me! Going to camp is better then going to a grandparents house if he gets sodas and candy for his two snacks a day! So to make it clear to all my kids I’ve given up, Merrick got to have 3 sips and Kierran even got one. Addicts they all are. Sugar ADDICTS I SAY! On a positive note he’s proven to me that he is still in need of me. He is not ready to make his own decisions about proper snacks so I have a bit more educating to do. Not ready to sever the umbilical cord completely I smile and drive him home.


For the last 4 years Scott has participated in the Alaska State Trooper Adventure Relay (ASTAR) which travel across the state roughly 500+ miles in support of the charity Wish Upon A North Star. That charity gives wishes to very sick children here in the state of Alaska.

For the last two years our family has tagged along on the adventure. This year I didn’t think we were going to make the trip because of trailer issues. We couldn’t get our hands on one to borrow. Gratefully one day after we were suppose to leave the camper we were going to borrow originally became available again. A HUGE THANK YOU to Kristina Howard and Mr and Mrs Jernstrom! Within 3 hours we were on the road headed out on a 10 hour drive from Fairbanks to Seward.


We arrived in Seward at 3 am. We were to be up and ready by 9 am. So began the treacherous battle of sleep schedules. I threw in the towel and Kierran slept with Scott and I the first night and everyone but Scott and I were very perky at 7:30am.  The members of FLEAT (Fairbanks Law Enforcement Adventure Team) were happy to see us which made the memory of the rough night not so bad.

When the first leg of the relay took off on their run we went to the Seward SeaLife Center. What a cool place to visit!


After the SeaLife Center we took off down the road for Scott’s first leg of the race. We dropped him off somewhere outside of Seward and he ran for some time. Then we picked him up and all drove up to Alyeska to park the camper. Scott caught a ride back down the Sterling Highway only to bike back to the Alyeska Resort. The kids and I made good use of our free time at a great local park.


There wasn’t much use putting the kids to bed at a good hour that night because all the other kids in our party were still up and running around and when Scott would finally roll in around 12 am there is no being quiet in a camper. So this was our first midnight bedtime. I let the older two wait for their dad and ride their bikes in with him to the end of that leg.


The next morning we had a little time to hang out while others hiked and biked. After lunch a quick sewer dump, gas fill up and water refill we were off to Mirror Lake. By this time my kids had adopted themselves into the Lindhag family. Barrett and Merrick were smitten with Caden and Kaylee and Kaylee was smitten with Kierran. Gratefully Jeremy and Dianna (mom and dad) weren’t bothered by my kids and actually found Merrick entertaining rather then burdensome. My two boarded the Lindhag RV outside Anchorage and drove around with them for a while. Before getting car sick Merrick pulled a famous Merrick stunt.

“My mom wouldn’t mind if you gave me a popsicle.” he says to Dianna
“Oh, would you like a popsicle?” she so kindly responds
“Why yes I would! Thank you for asking”

That turd! Before leaving my side I gave them both a talk about being polite and not asking for things because I packed them snacks in case they were hungry. He finds loop holes whatever the situation. Jeremy and Dianna found him hilarious and got rather concerned when he grew gravely quiet and rested his head on the table. I’m so grateful he didn’t get sick in their camper. Oh the smell! I had him ride with us the rest of the trip for fear he’d puke riding sideways or backwards in the camper. He was upset but enjoyed not having a sick belly.

Our next few stops were Mirror Lake, Byers Lake and a few stops in between. I can’t remember the names of the places we stopped but I CAN tell you what transpired at each stop. There was the dead fish event, the bike wipe out, kids all asleep pull off…



This is the dead fish event. The kids found a dead fish and the parents were able to talk the kids out of grabbing it. Well Merrick caught me in a moment of confusion and I said “Sure. Grab it.” He didn’t hesitate. He had fun and a few others were interested in the fish too. Have you ever yelled this at your child across a parking lot…

“Merrick, share the dead fish! If someone wants to hold the dead fish you let them!”

No? I have. I even caught him moving the mouth up and down making him talk. Pick you battles right?


We stopped at the most beautiful golf course to pick Scott up from a bike ride. The hills of thick green grass was amazing and the sky was so blue and the temp was nice and warm.

IMG_5724  IMG_5726 IMG_5729

These were taken at the Susitna River. We camped out over night there with the Lindhag family. Most other caught up to us around midnight or 1am.


A random pull out I don’t remember the name of but I remember it as chalk pull out.


This is my FAVORITE part of the trip. For the FIRST time in Merrick’s life minus infancy he fell asleep in the truck and I was able to move him into the camper without waking THEN I was able to move him back into the truck after a few hours STILL ASLEEP! I took photos because I was amazed!


Matt Soden and Eric Hoffman


Scott and Eric Jewkes riding into Ester weight station


The boys running in to FPD parking lot to the finish line!

Nicole Lockwood and I made paper plate awards for the kids and handed them out. They were cute and I think the kids deserved some recognition after a grueling 4 days. We decided the kids group is call FIT (FLEAT In Training)

FLEAT donated $11,000 to Wish Upon A North Star this year. Isn’t that great!! After everyone ate we hosted a “Screw Cleaning Out The RV” party. Most everyone showed up and we all had a great time reliving the race, joking, teasing, celebrating a 40th birthday and learning to fold fitted sheets. It was such a great trip! I’m excited for next year.