Our Great Adventure!

You’re going to WHAT???


That’s what Mom said when I told her our plans to drive to Alaska. Yes, Alyeska, the greatland, the last frontier. An awe inspiring 3,7000 MILES from here!

I know what you’re thinking, “No, really . . . what are you doing this summer???” And you are right in questioning both our plan. . . and our sanity. But, we’re going.  Not only will this be a grand adventure but it will likely be our last chance for a long vacation with Rebecca as her school schedule really kicks into high gear next summer with rotations.

Something like this.

alaska trip

In a nutshell, we’re going to drive from Arizona all the way to Alaska and back. We’ve talked about it for years but it’s so far and Bob never can take enough time off of work. Until I figured it out. The kids and I will drive to Seattle and Bob will fly in to meet us then we’ll drive up and back, dropping Bob off at Salt Lake to fly home. Maximize our travel time and it will all be doable. Why didn’t I think of this before?

Oh, and did I say tent?


We decided we’ll try tenting at least some of the trip. Yes, tenting is new to our family. Other than sleeping in the back yard neither of the kids has had much desire to live the wilderness life, let alone use an outhouse… One of my friends recommended we do a test run. That would be smart, but I don’t think we’ll try. Still, after reading about bears though Bob says if we should encounter one it will be hotels the rest of the way…and price won’t matter.

Okay, so here’s where you come in… if you are in line on our route either via Seattle or the return through Yellowstone  area we want to see you. Just let me know. Also, if you have advice or recommendations we want to hear from you. What’s the best bug spray, bear repellent, leech remover??? I’m not planning to take my snake bite kit but what else will we need?

I did already buy this year’s Milepost (for you non AlCan travelers, this is an annual book with mile by mile details of the road, attractions, lodging etc.) The last time I traveled the road I was six and my biggest memory is not of the AlCan but of crossing into Michigan on the Mackinac Bridge while twisting a comb into my hair effectively snarling my hair so much that Mom had to cut it out (hence my bangs in second grade).

The top picture is Matthew, who quickly claimed the Milepost and apparently has been waiting for just this opportunity as he has been pouring over the book since it arrived. You are probably asking how Matthew will do on the trip. Honestly, I can say, I don’t know. But I think he will adjust. We have traveled far before. But never slept in a tent before. We will all be together and I am certain Matthew will see that all his most important treasures are packed.

So that’s my news for today. Of course, I will take you along with us right here, though to save the house from burglars most of the trip may well be tape delayed. But if you are on the route we hope you will speak up so we can stop for a short visit!

More details soon!

More Teeth News: Trying Teeth Varnish

I forgot that I talked about teeth last month. But around here, it’s all about teeth.

After a second lecture from the dentist I promised to do a better job brushing Matthew’s teeth. I know you are asking, “Why can’t he do it himself?” And the answer is simple. He does but…and as you are reading this just say out loud: One. Two. Three. Done. Yes, that is how long Matthew brushes his teeth when left to his own devices. (He does the same shaving too.) He is always pleased that he has done it himself but the thoroughness is lacking.

So we bought the Oral B with a timer and I brush in the morning while Bob takes the night job. We’ve been using the prescription toothpaste for a year too. Still according to the dentist, brushing is only part of the solution. At the his recommendation we purchased fluoride varnish. The hygienist was going to track down how to order it but after some research we discovered it was available for purchase online without going through the office.

This tooth varnish is called Duraflor. It comes in a box of 32 little brushes and dabs of varnish. It’s not inexpensive, I think I paid $65 for the box. But if it helps Matthew’s teeth it will be well worth while. (Did I tell you we already take Matthew for a cleaning four times a year instead of the normal twice?) I don’t know why his teeth are so bad. Is it genetics? Is it the Celiac Disease or just diet? Is there some connection to Autism?

In any case, it’s his lot in life to have very weak teeth that are more prone to decay. (And remember, Matthew is like a cat when turned on its back when he sits in the dental chair… lots of wiggling and worry that doom is impending…) so we want to limit the amount of work he needs and strengthen his teeth as much as possible. We limit sugary drinks and candies but to date that has not been enough.

Which brings us back to the tooth varnish. Today was our first use. The varnish is…well, varnishy… it has some kind of nasty taste and smell, though this box is labeled spearmint. It stays liquid until it hits moisture, including saliva, so its important to paint it onto dry teeth. As soon as I started I realized Matthew’s salivary glands went into overdrive so speed is of the essence. We got it on. Since there was a little leftover I painted it on my own teeth and I can attest to the flavor. Yumm…not…and it has a lagging aftertaste that is equally unpleasant.


This picture really doesn’t show the effort needed to paint it on. I need at least four hands and a tongue pusher. I am hoping we figure out a more smooth way to do this. But I’m not expecting any miracles to put it on because after all these years of teeth brushing it’s still a daily struggle.

Back again to the varnish. Hey, the stuff is gluten free. The hygienist recommends we use it once a week. I also read several reviews from people who had used it weekly initially, with great success. Eventually, they transitioned to monthly use. Oh, and here is my disclaimer: Taking fluoride has risks, as well as benefits, so does having no teeth; there are possible reactions to the varnish and there are disclaimers on the box; and you should only use on the recommendation of your dental professional.

That said, I feel hopeful that the dentist will see solid improvement at our June visit. I’ll keep you posted.