Monday, September 03, 2007

Ship Creek in Anchorage, Alaska

Ship Creek in Anchorage, AlaskaIt's been a habit for Andrew and I to occasionally reward our children with special individual activity nights. It happens once about every six or seven months and part of the fun is that the child gets to decide what we'll do during our few hours together.

We've gone to movies (I think that was how Andrew was trapped into seeing The Princess Diaries), to dinner, bowling, swimming, Discovery Zone and Tastee Freeze. Have I ever mentioned our theme song for Tastee Freeze? We made up this song that's just brilliant and one of these days the Tastee Freeze people are going to get wind of it and we'll be famous, the next spokesperson or spokes-family or something like that. But where was I?

Oh yes, Date Nights. So with four children it can be a month-long affair, with one child every Friday night but it's fun to spend some one-on-one time with each of them. Whenever we get one of our kids alone they're always well-behaved. Always. What is it about having siblings or other adults around that brings out the worst? Not that I'm saying we should have stopped with one, I'm just saying that Date Nights are a great time to focus on each other and not let distractions interfere.

Ship Creek in Anchorage, AlaskaLast month David requested that we go out to dinner at the famous Arctic Roadrunner. Think of the best burger place you've ever been to, then give it the best onion rings and blackberry shakes on the planet, put a creek running out back with aquariums and stuffed animals inside and then put in a burger-bar spot inside with all the extras you can pile on your burger in case it didn't have enough calories to begin with. I get to stand there and eat my weight in pickles while I wait for my order to come up.

I ordered a smoked turkey sandwich, thinking I'd be a little healthier, right? What arrived was the King Kong of turkey sandwiches. Four inches high, it had everything anyone had ever devised for a turkey sandwich, including several onion rings, and had then been grilled in glorious transfats to perfection. Fabulous.

Salmon in Ship Creek Anchorage, AlaskaIt was a beautiful night and we sat outside at the tables by Campbell Creek, watching people tube down the creek. David's only regret was that he hadn't brought his swim suit. Just pretend you're an eight year-old boy. Is there anything you'd like better than simultaneously eating the world's best hamburger and swimming in a creek on a summer day?

When we were done the weather was so nice, and guaranteed to still be sunny for hours to come, so we took David downtown to Ship Creek which runs through the port area and is home to several species of salmon. I think it must be the only place in the world where one can leave the 10th-floor office and be fishing for King Salmon within ten minutes. Top that New York City.

Segway Tour of Anchorage, AlaskaThat day was the start of the annual Ship Creek Salmon Derby which meant Combat Fishing and wall-to-wall men in hip waders. We stood on the bridge, watching them cast, feeling full and contented and at peace. It's something I take for granted--to live in a place where in the middle of the city you can get away from it all and relax and see salmon swimming upstream (that's some of the salmon in the photo above).

And if the high-rises of downtown Anchorage above the salmon stream weren't enough of a contrast, on the other side of the bridge beyond the fish ladder was a beaver building a dam. We stood quietly for ten minutes, watching him paddle back and forth with his load of sticks, admiring his glistening pelt and the slap of his tail on the water as he dove. While we were staring over the side, a flock of Japanese tourists came out of nowhere riding through on Segways on a "Segway Tour of Anchorage." They stopped long enough to see the beaver who quickly disappeared with the noise of so many guests. Segways and beavers--where else are you going to see that?

Technorati tags:

27 comments:

Robin said...

It sounds absolutely perfect. All of it. Especially the smoked turkey sandwich.

We do dates with our kids too, but usually just with one parent. I like your idea of having both parents go sometimes, too.

Heffalump said...

I think it would be great to do a night out with both parents and each kid individually as well. We have always done our one on one time...one parent, one child, switch. It saves on babysitting that way, but I bet its a thrill to the kids to have you both to themselves.

jeanie said...

I had no idea what Segways were before I saw your picture!!

Tammy said...

What a nice idea! Do you both go with each of the kids, or sometimes solo? I remember my dad taking me on "dates" a few times when I was a teenager. I always enjoyed them so much!

Sandy said...

Wow! That sounds like about the perfect date.

chelle said...

Sounds like an amazing evening. I like the idea of spending individual time with each kid :)

Coach J said...

I think I would like to visit Anchorage. My hubby loves to fish, and loves salmon, and what would be better than to fish for fresh salmon in Alaska? And Ship Creek sounds like an awesome eating place.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Please tell David that there is a mother in seattle who seriously envies him. I've never thought about doing kid nights with both parents. I think I'm going to steal your idea. Now, if only I could steal your burger joint.... =)

Pieces of Me said...

I like the division between choice from family and kids done in a very thoughtful way. You guys sound like great parents! Can I have you as my parents?

Babystepper said...

The whole evening sounds interesting, but the Japanese on Segways just seems too surreal.

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

hi michelle, my fellow alaskan sister :)

okay, you know why kids are so well behaved when you have them one-on-one. because for that brief break when they are the center of your focus, they do not have to compete for attention with one or more other siblings!

i know, ours do it, too.

you captured a beautiful picture of our ship creek. for a moment, i thought it must be a different one here in anchorage or outside of anchorage. i see it everyday when i drive to work.

nice peaceful post. enjoyed reading this one.

good day to you sister, kathleen

Lisa said...

Hey, I was just at Arctic Roadrunner last week and I think I read that they were now trans fat free! Better news all the time.

Wacky Mommy said...

What a cool story! And what fun you guys have.

Daisy said...

Segways and beavers? I'm glad that wasn't your post's title. I wouldn't have known what to expect!

luckyzmom said...

Wow, that was amazing! What an amazing place.

crazy working mom said...

What a beautiful idea! That is lovely. :)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

What a great date with your son. We have considered beginning to arrange this as well, but were thinking of each parent taking a turn. (which I like too some of the time) BUT, I really like this idea of both parents with a child. Do you just pick one month and do each Friday night? I wasn't sure how we would schedule it consistently. I guess we just have to make it happen :)

micpro said...

Michelle - What a lovely way to carve out memories! Thanks for sharing : )

Lei said...

The one on one time is so fun, isn't it? We find that we enjoy our children much more this way. Lol.

The Estrogen Files said...

That's a serious juxtaposition of things there. (Like my $2 word?) Somehow, Segues and beavers should never the twain meet, ya know?

Terri said...

We have dates with our kids, too. I love the one on one bonding time, and it makes them feel special, too.

By the way, the more I read your blog the more I think Alaska must be the perfect place to live.

gwendomama said...

sigh.


i was REALLY hoping to see pictures of that turkey sammich.

allrileyedup said...

Sounds like a fune "date." I am one of four kids and when we were young, during the summer, my mother would bring us one by one to my dad's work to have lunch with him. Every one of us was behaved when we had the parents to ourselves out in public. Don't even know why. Oh wait. Yes I do. My brothers and sister picked on me. A lot. Painful memories... must suppress...

Erica Douglas said...

Your kids sound like they have the best parents ever! It would be so easy to use that time for yourself, but instead you focus your energy towards them, I bet you're rewarded with amazing children :)

erica@littlemummy

Lisa said...

Every time I read a post about Anchorage, I want to come and visit. We've talked about a cruise, but it sounds like a gorgeous place to live!

RandomGirl said...

Sounds so nice. I love a great dinner. Especially when it's a nice night instigated by your son!

Jörn G Punkt said...

Now i'm hungry, would like to have one of these smoked turkey sandwichs