Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Portage Glacier

Today, the kids and I went with my parents to Portage Glacier. It's about a 50 minute drive from the house, but when you get there, it feels like a whole different world. It's amazing how much the weather can change in what is really, a fairly short distance. When we left Anchorage the temperature was mild and it was mildly overcast. When we arrived in Portage it was rainy, extremely windy, and downright cold (as you can probably tell by looking at our picture).
In order to view the actual glacier you have to pay to take a ferry ride out to it. For all of us, this was our first glacier experience and the trip was well worth it. There was a guide from the National Forest Service onboard who was very enjoyable and shared a lot of knowledge about glaciers in general, as well as the Portage Glacier specifically. It was money well spent, plus, my parents enjoy contributing to the local economy when they're on vacation.

My mom thought we may have picked a cruddy day to view the glacier, but we were told by the ranger that cruddy days are pretty much the norm in Portage. We discovered that glaciers actually have a way of creating their own weather. The cool thing about viewing the glacier when it's overcast is that the ice looks amazingly blue. We learned that the blue color is due to the refraction of light. When it is sunny outside, the ice doesn't have the same blue hue.

I guess we picked a pretty great day for a little Alaska adventure after all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Alaska Experience

My parents arrived for their first visit to Alaska at around midnight on Sunday morning. Considering that Saturday was the summer solstice, I decided to post a few pictures of what it looked like at around 11:45 p.m. Saturday night, on our way to pick my parents up from the airport. Pretty crazy, huh?

Later in the week, maybe I'll have my mom do a "ghost post" on the blog so you can get her perspective of Alaska. So far, we've just kind of stayed local. We spent Sunday cruising around South Anchorage (where we live). Logan had to be at the batting cages for practice, so we dropped him off and headed for the local Fred Meyer store. As you can imagine, it was quite exciting.

After my mom's much needed nap, I drove her around a little to check out some of the nearby views. From our house, if we drive in one direction, there is a fabulous view of Turnagain Arm all the way to downtown and beyond. If we drive another direction, down the coast, there is an amazing view of the coastline and mountains (most with at least a little snow still on them).

Yesterday, my parents, the kids and I ventured into downtown. The Department of Public Lands has a really neat "office" on 4th Street and they have several free presentations that are very informative. We decided to go on a guided walking tour about Captain Cook, that they put on. The walk was easy, well done, and quite informative. It is definitely something worth checking out if you're ever in town.

Today my mom and dad are picking up their rental car. Although I haven't minded chauffering them around, it will be nice for all of us for them to have their own car. It would be great if life stopped because family is in town, but that's just no reality. Even though Nonnie and Papa are here, the boys still have ball games to play, practices to attend, and dental check-ups to go to. Another car will give everyone a little more freedom. I am, however, looking forward to doing some more sightseeing right along with my parents.

We have plenty of places to go to and things to see, so I'll be sure to keep you all posted as the week goes along. Maybe we'll even see a bear!!!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice

After doing a little research, I'm still not sure if the summer solstice was yesterday or today, but I do know that in Anchorage, they are celebrating today! Prior to moving to Anchorage, I had heard of the summer solstice, but didn't pay too much attention to what it was or what it meant to us. Let me tell you, it's not a huge deal even here, but it is a "to do" around town. Several shops in town have been advertising their summer solstice sales and will be open until midnight. Many of the bars are having bands and special events. The zoo will even be open 'til midnight with festivities for the whole family.

There is a "real" definition for summer solstice, but the big deal about it in Alaska is that it is the longest day of the year. In essence, it's all down hill from here! After today, we will gradually start losing daylight and our days will continually get shorter until the winter solstice in December, when we will have the shortest day of the year.

As you can imagine, from many of my blog posts over the past six months, Mother Nature is not cooperating on what is supposed to be one of the longest, sunniest, and most anticipated days of the year. In fact, I woke up this morning to the sound of rain outside. Considering that the weather is fairly cruddy today and that my parents are flying in late tonight, I'm not sure what, if anything, the boys and I will do to celebrate the longest day of the year. One thing is for sure, we won't be boiling to death like many of our friends and family in Southern California are. I certainly don't miss the triple digits!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Best Gift Ever (Almost)

I have received many great gift in my lifetime, from many friends and family members. At the risk of offending my friends and family, especially my extremely generous grandma who follows my blog, I have to rave about the Dyson hand vacuum my in-laws bought me for my birthday last year. I LOVE MY DYSON!!!!! The good news is that we gave my grandma one for Christmas, so I don't feel too terribly bad about raving.

My birthday is in November and shortly before that, I saw that Dyson had created a hand vacuum. I knew I had to have it. I have never found a hand-vac worthy of using, but I knew this would be the one. Let me tell you, I wouldn't give my Dyson up for anything. I use it ALL THE TIME!

When you combine a kitten and kids, you get unlimited use out of the vacuum. That hand vac has picked up more cat litter, cat food particles, and food crumbs than I can tell you about. I know plenty of people who own hand vacs, but none of them compare to my Dyson. It picks up the little stuff around my house whether I'm using it or my sons are.

I know this isn't one of my more exciting blogs, but I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't give Dyson a proper "shout out". If you're in the market, don't give it a second thought. Buy one!!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Three Strikes And I'm Out

Today was a nice leisurely Father's Day. We started the day without any plans, but soon formulated one. We decided to go hiking on a popular, local hiking trail. It was all downhill from there!

We were going to stop at Subway to grab some sandwiches to eat on our hike. I made the decision to stop at a Subway that is a little off the beaten path and we soon realized that it is closed on Sunday! STRIKE ONE! We went out of our way a bit, stopped at another Subway, grabbed some sandwiches and were finally on our way.

Before we left the house, I had done a little research to figure out where exactly we were going. As I read the directions, it dawned on me that I have seen signs for the trailhead before and I was confident that I knew where we were going without printing out the directions. Well, because of our little Subway detour, we came in from a different direction and I directed Eric to turn before we actually should have. We ended up at a totally different trailhead. STRIKE TWO!

We eventually arrived at our intended destination. As we pulled in, we noticed a sign that read: FEE. We parked the car and needed to figure how much this excursion was going to cost us. Just to park in the lot was going to cost us $5.00. $5.00 isn't that big of a deal if you have $5.00 on you. Eric only had $1.00 and I left my purse and wallet at home, so I had zero, zilch, nada! STRIKE THREE! Our options were to risk a $60 ticket, to turn around and get $5.00, or to go somewhere else. We left and decided to save that hike for another day.

When all was said and done, the day was not a total loss. After a brief stop at Play It Again Sports to purchase discs, we ended up at a downtown park for a round of disc golf (aka. frisbee golf). We all had a good time in spite of ourselves and we will definitely be playing again. Once you buy the discs, it's fairly inexpensive, it's decent exercise, and it got us outside.

After my three strikes, I needed some alone time in the form of a nap. Once we got back home, I slept and Eric bonded with the kids. It ended up being a fairly decent Father's Day... for me anyway.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On The Cutting Edge

Last week I was literally "on the cutting edge." You see, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to cut into a bread roll with a sharp knife while using my hand as the cutting board. I know, I AM BRILLIANT!

To know me is to know that I don't do blood very well. The instant I cut into the meat of the inside of my left pinkie finger I knew I was going to need some kind of medical attention. I applied pressure to the cut instantly, but the minute I let up on it, the blood started oozing again. I was o.k. with the fact that I cut myself and I was even o.k. with the fact that I was bleeding, but I wasn't o.k. looking into the cut to determine how deep the knife had actually gone.

The boys happened to be on their way home from a baseball clinic and fortunately, our friend Cathy was bringing them home. She happens to be a nurse, lucky me! I called her cell to make sure she didn't just drop the boys and take off. I explained that I needed her to stop in to assess my wound and to offer a prognosis. Needless to say, after checking out my self-inflicted wound, she headed for home with my children in tow and I was headed to the urgent care.

When all was said and done, I ended up walking out of the urgent care with dermabond on my cut and a bill for $126.00 (and I only had to pay 20% of the entire bill, YIKES)! I could have used stitches, but because the cut was in such an awkward spot, the doctor decided to try the "glue" first. It was a success! The glue has already come off of the cut and I'm none the worse for wear. My pinkie will soon be as good as new.

Now for my Public Service Announcement:

After the doctor gladly took my money, he was happy to inform me that in the future, I can purchase dermabond at the pharmacy and can fix myself and my children up for considerably less money. He gave me a whole demo on how to stop the bleeding, clean the wound, and apply the glue. If, after the tourniquit is removed, the bleeding doesn't start again, you're good to go. If the bleeding continues, obviously stitches are the next option.

I'll send you a bill if you try it and it works.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


In the next few days we are going to start getting ready for the madness that! The beauty of having moved to Alaska recently is that the whole family wants to come and explore the Last Frontier. Don't get me wrong, I am actually looking forward to everyone coming to visit, but regardless, there's still work to be done in advance. My parents will be here from June 21-July 5, my brother and sister-in-law will be here from June 26-July 5, and my brother-in-law and his family will be here July 3-July 5. Whew! We will have an empty house for close to a month and then Eric's parents will be coming to visit.

In anticipation of all of our company, the boys and I have had a fairly mellow summer so far. I figure with the cost of gas and the expense that will be involved with sightseeing, it would be better for us to wait for family to get here before we set out to explore Alaska. Needless to say, I should have a lot of good stuff to blog about in the near future.

Now for the potpourri part of this post:

  • For those of you wondering, we haven't bought a convertible yet (nor do we ever plan too), but I did give in to the gardening frenzy and purchased two hanging baskets for my front porch. Word on the street is that they will be crazy huge by the end of summer. I'm optomistic, but I won't hold my breathe! The good news is that Eric received a gift card to the local nursery for winning the chili cookoff, so no harm no foul.
  • For inquiring minds, I have yet to actually do anything about the bird "spot" on our bedroom window. I will someday soon, but for now, I'm just prolonging the inevitable.
  • As for the wild life, we haven't seen or heard anything in the past few days. I take that back, we did see a lone moose yesterday and a rabbit on our lawn. We see moose and rabbit so often they don't really count anymore. Are we jaded or what?
  • Last but not least, I will address the topic of weather. Our weather simply SUCKS! Kelli recently posted a comment that her friends from Washington thought our weather was nicer than theirs is right now. Their weather must be really terrible, because it has been cold, windy and down right dreary here in Anchorage all Spring. I think we've had two real days of sunshine since winter has ended, but don't feel too bad for me, I've had a good cry about it and now I've moved on. I have to look at the bright side, my in-laws had snow in Montana yesterday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where The WIld Things Are

Yesterday was one of the nicest, if not the nicest days, we've had all Spring. Of course, I had to open up all of the blinds and all of the windows to take full advantage of the day. When we went to bed last night, Eric closed the blinds and didn't close our bedroom window. No big deal, until......2:00 this morning.

Was it a cat fight? Could it have been a lynx? An unhappy baby bear? I unfortunately don't have an answer to that question and, of course, my imagination is running wild. At about 2:00 in the morning, we heard an animal yowling out our bedroom window. It sounded like the start of a cat fight, but I've only seen one domestic cat roaming around the entire time we've been here and the yowl was so incredibly loud and primal. I obviously know we don't have lions or tigers in Alaska, but if I didn't know better I would have thought I had one in my backyard last night.

Reality tells me it was just that one random neighbor cat on the prowl in the middle of the night, but if somebody told me it was a lynx, I would not be shocked. I know people around here have seen them from time to time. My other thought is that maybe it was a mama bear and her babies passing through and it was the babies causing a raucous. Too bad I'll never know for sure.

I wasn't able to catch a glimpse of the "wild thing". Although it isn't really "dark" outside at 2 a.m., it was still pretty dusky and by municipality ordinance, our backyard is the forest (read: kinda' jungly and overgrown). I heard the yowling and did what any good Alaskan would do, I closed the window and went right back to sleep.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's For You

As my children quickly become "tweens" (I think that's the new phrase for pre-teen), I knew it was inevitable. I knew that one day the phone would start ringing for them more than it would ring for the adults in the family. Considering the fact that I only have boys, I wasn't sure at what point this phenomenon would actually start occuring. I can tell you now, that the time has come!

I AM SO SORRY, MOM AND DAD!!!!!! At least in this day and age we have caller id and we can quickly tell before we even pick up the phone if the call is for us or the kids. I now understand that for my parents, it was a craps shoot everytime they picked up the phone. Until yesterday, my children rarely paid attention to the phone when it would ring. After my tirade yesterday, it is now their responsibility to look at the caller id and to decide if the incoming call is for Logan or for somebody else.

The up side to all of this is that at least we don't have girls calling the house yet!!! Logan is a video game junkie and apparantly his friends are too. Logan has one particular friend who will call to encourage him to login and play some online game (don't worry, I know what game they're playing and what they're doing. It's all on the up and up). They'll then hang up the phone. Once Logan starts playing the game, Dustin will call back several more times in a very short period of time in order to discuss the latest happenings in their online realm. Logan has another friend who calls. They will have a very brief conversation, they hang up the phone, and the minute Logan walks away from the handset the boy calls back. I don't get it!

Yesterday was the final straw for me! It was 11:00 in the morning, my boys were laying up in bed still, playing a video game and the phone rang. It wasn't for me. I answered it because I knew the boys wouldn't it. I proceeded to holler up the stairs for Logan. Being the prince that he is, Logan chose not to even acknowledge me. He has a way of tuning me out under the hospice of not hearing me, so I assumed he didn't hear me. I was I walked up the stairs, hollering at him once more, it quickly became apparant that Logan has my "number". He knew that if he ignored me long enough I would bring the phone upstairs to him. Needless to say, that is the last time he'll play me for a fool (for a while anyway)!

After a long rant and rave, I made it quite clear that since the phone rings more for Logan these days than it does for anyone else, he is now in charge of looking at the caller id. If the call is for him, they need to answer it, if the caller is someone they don't recognize they need to holler for me or the answering machine needs to pick it up. Their slave is officially on strike!!! I guess the moral is: let me know if you need my cell phone number.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We're On the Prowl

It's official, the bears are on the prowl, so we are now on the prowl! You see, my in-laws spend a lot of time in Montana and in years past, they have been fortunate enough to share their yard with a female bear and her cub during the spring and summer. When we have gone to visit we've kept our eyes peeled, but we have never seent he bears in person. When we moved to Alaska we were all excited by the prospect of seeing moose and bears. We've seen the moose, but we're still patiently waiting for the bears.

On Monday night we got a phone call at about 10:00 from our friends who live about 2.5 miles away, telling us they just saw a bear run by their house with it's fat flapping side to side. The day before that, I ran into someone I know who lives in a neighborhood adjacent to ours, they saw a bear at their house on Sunday. Yesterday morning I received a call from our friends who saw the first bear on Monday, and she had just had the pleasure of seeing a Mama and her three tiny cubs just outside of their yard!

The boys and I are sooooo jealous although I'm sure we'll freak out when we do actually see a bear in real life. Apparantly the bears are out in full force around here this season because it is taking so long for the salmon run to begin. They are sticking around the local woods in hopes of snagging a moose calf (which have also been spotted by several of our neighbors and friends) and where there is still plenty of water. I guess our best strategy is to just take our camera with us everywhere we go and to wait quietly and patiently. I'll let you all know how it works for us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Where's My Pixie?

I've noticed that my Weather Pixie has been MIA for the past several days. When I try to logon to their website there is no server! I've tried to find a replacement for her until I can figure out what is going on, but there really doesn't seem to be a comparable replacement. My Weather Pixie had so much character. I'm going to give it a few more days before I remove her from my blog. I hope the sight comes back up and we don't have to bid her farewell!!!!

Out Damn Spot

A few afternoons ago, I walked into my bedroom and was baffled by the big "spot" that is now on the outside glass of our picture window! My best guess is that a bird flew into the glass! We have yet to find remnants of a bird and from what we can tell, the smudge is not guts. Hmmmm! When I first noticed the spot, however, there was another little spot nearby and there were a bunch of fine little feathers stuck to the window. The little feathers have blown away and now we're left with this big spot in the middle of our beautiful view.

Of course this had to happen on our second story window, so the question now is.....what to do? Do we stand on the ground and use a high powered nozzle to spray it off and then have streaks all over the window? Do we plunk down a nice chunck of change for an extra-long ladder so I can clean the window? Do I just suck it up and call someone to come out and clean all of our windows???????? Hey, maybe I'll put up a poll and you can all participate. In the meantime, has anybody tried that Windex window stuff that you attach to the hose and spray? Does it work?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

It has been a few days since I last posted, so I thought I had better get on the stick today. I'm happy for me, but sorry for all of you (because I haven't had much to report lately), that it has been a verry mellow start to summer. I promise I'll come up with something good to blog about tomorrow.

For today though, I'll tell you that because it never really gets dark here anymore, the whole familly has been staying up until around midnight. The good news is, we have blackout shades in all of the rooms in our house. The shades make for an interseting phenomenon, because without them we wouldn't be able to sleep, but with them, even the kids have been sleeping in every morning until 10:00 or 11:00! Poor Eric, he's the only one with obligations right now, so he still has to get up to be out the door by around 7:45. I feel for him, but not too much, after all....somobody has to bring in a paycheck, right?

As I sit in my robe, typing this blog at 11:00 a.m. I am reminded what a luxury it is to be stay-at-home mom.