Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 181 - June 30

It's June 30th. Know what that means? I've made it half-way through the year! Technically, there are more days in the second half of the year than the first half of the year, but six months are down and only six months to go!

Getting down to business....

(If you're a facebook friend, you've seen this picture already. It's that exciting!)

Ah, sushi. Our Friday nights in Kodiak generally consisted of getting take-out sushi from the Old Powerhouse restaurant and eating it while watching a Netflix movie. Since we left Kodiak, we've had a horrendous time trying to find decent sushi around here. We just haven't been happy with the options. Either the rice is too sweet, the sauces are weird, or the selection just isn't what we want.

Again, while in Kodiak, though, everyone would make mention of Tom-San's (the owner/sushi chef at Powerhouse) other restaurant, "somewhere in Alabama or Mississippi." Everyone thought they knew it existed, but no one knew where it was. Thanks to a friend who was in Kodiak a few weeks back for a visit, I finally got the scoop on the other restaurant... Little Tokyo in Jackson, MS. Tom-San's wife runs Little Tokyo, which was their first restaurant in the US.

Enter a student pilot needing to do a "cross country" flight... and a smart husband who thought Jackson, MS would be a good place to go. Thanks to a cooler of ice used to bring boxed lunches up with them and a crew car to use while they were there, the crew made the trip from the airport to Little Tokyo for lunch, and that smart husband was able to bring back the goodness.

The rolls themselves weren't exactly the same, but they were REALLY good. BUT, the sauce was the same and that's what makes these rolls even more amazing. Good thing I went to Zumba tonight... I needed the extra points for all this yummy goodness!!!

The funny thing was that we've been talking about how we were going to get up there just for sushi, but hadn't made it up yet. Today was Tom-San's wife's last day at the restaurant; she's moving to Kodiak after all these years! Jason told her about how he'd been to Powerhouse MANY times and she was so thrilled that someone came to Little Tokyo after being there - usually people try to go to Powerhouse after going to Little Tokyo!

So much for the crockpot meal that simmered away all day. I had sushi for dinner!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 180 - June 29

Jason brought me flowers today. I needed that!

But here's where the "mom" in me starts showing... instead of taking a picture of all my flowers, I took a picture of just one of the flowers.

This is Michaela's flower. I found one of them broken off when I was arranging them in a vase. Michaela was already asking for one as she was "helping" me arrange them, so this was perfect. I got a small vase for her flower and gave her some greenery to add to her arrangement. She put the leaves and ferns in just so and this was the end result.

I took the little vase outside as the sun was setting tonight to take advantage of the gorgeous light. Oh, and my other eleven roses are just as pretty!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 179 - June 28


I was really excited about the subject of tonight's picture. Against every fiber of my being, I went to Zumba tonight, so I've got all these extra Weight Watchers points floating around to use. And I used this wine to cook with today, so it was just there, waiting to be poured into a glass and enjoyed.

And then I took a sip. And I don't know if it's because it was a little warmer than it maybe should've been. Or maybe it's because I generally only have a taste for whites in the summer. Or maybe it's because I'm not a huge fan of Shiraz anymore when I DO drink red.

Whatever the reason, this glass is now sitting next to Jason and I'm wine-less.

So, *sigh*

But at least I have a picture.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 178 - June 27

Sometimes, you just don't argue with whatever it is your child decides to wear. Today was one of those days. Thankfully, we weren't leaving the house, so it really didn't matter.

When she woke up from her nap, she wanted to open her closet door for some reason. (We keep it closed because there's a green light for our alarm system in there and she's slightly obsessed by it.) Upon opening the door, she spied her lovely ladybug costume from last Halloween.

Who can pass up a Halloween costume, really? So on it went, and, when she got to the living room, she was super excited to see the sunhat that had just arrived in the mail this morning, a hand-me-down from her cousin.

On went the hat.

And, voila.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 177 - June 26

I'm not saying we DO have a hair bow issue, and I'm not saying we DON'T have a hair bow issue...

I'm just saying we've got a lot of hair bows around here...

(And not to make it even worse, but this only includes her clippies... we won't talk about the barrettes and headbands....)

(Oh, and this is the picture for today because I got some crafty time in this afternoon and made two more of these holders - the ones with the dragonflies on them. We needed to expand!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 176 - June 25

About three weeks ago, we were having a hard time getting Michaela to want to dunk her whole head under the water when we took her swimming. She would put her face in to blow bubbles, but she was NOT happy if we dunked her, or if she slipped on the steps and went under.

My, how things can change.... from not getting her whole head wet to jumping off the diving board. In three weeks. Crazy little girl!

And a bonus picture, because I already put it on facebook, but wanted to add it here for those that would want to see it, but aren't on FB.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 175 - June 24


For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a fondue pot. It wasn't a random gift... I asked for a good electric one because the only one I had was a cheap $20 one that worked with sterno fuel. I needed a new one.

Why would someone need a fondue pot? Well, in Kodiak, we had fondue on a regular basis with our friends Dave and Joanne. They had the fancy electric fondue pot, so we figured we'd need one when we got here because they took theirs with them when they moved to Astoria.

Lo and behold, we didn't actually need the fancy fondue pot until this week. We just haven't gotten around to fondue-ing (Is that a word? Can you make a verb out of fondue?) for whatever reason, but Dave and Joanne are here this week, so it was definitely a necessity to bust it out.

Learning from our mistakes of actually trying to do an entire 3-course fondue dinner (cheese appetizer, broth main meal and chocolate dessert) and failing miserably (because the cheese - and everything we dip in it - is usually enough food for an army), we went for just cheese and chocolate tonight.

And it was fabulous. And maybe we'll have to pull out the fondue pot a little more often from now on. Yum.

(And that Chocolate Wine in the dessert picture.... it wasn't nearly as weird as we thought it would be. It sort of tasted like Bailey's. Who knew?)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 174 - June 23

Mmmm.... cupcakes.

Yeah, that's really all I have to say about today's picture. That and it's been a while since we've had cupcakes, and I missed them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 173 - June 22

I don't have anything to say about this picture.

Except, have you ever seen someone so stinkin' cute??

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 172 - June 21

Happy Summer Solstice! It's funny how being in a very southerly place makes you not as cognizant of the solstice as you are when you live in a very northerly place. It's just not the same when your day and night are nearly the same amount of time year-round as when your day lasts over 20 hours on the last day of the year.

None of that has anything to do with today's post, though.

Today's picture is from outside of Pete's Party Castle. We had playgroup there today because, well, it's Africa-hot here, so you have to have playgroup inside every once in a while.

On the way out, Michaela was fascinated by the dragon out in front of the "castle." So I made her stand in front in a classic cheesy pose.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 171 - June 20

We have friends visiting this week. I think both Michaela and Fred are enjoying the extra attention.

Tonight, Fred managed to get Dave to play with him when everyone else was more or less ignoring him.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 170 - June 19

In the interest of full disclosure, and since I'm not ashamed to admit when I'm cheating, I did not take this picture today. In fact, it'll be very familiar looking since I posted a nearly-identical one on Friday.

I wanted to post this one on Friday, but I couldn't because I couldn't let Jason see what we were up to before we moved onto crayons and markers during our arts and crafts time. We started our craftiness with fingerpaints! These are not your average fingerpaints, though... they're Color Wonder paints so this Type-A mama doesn't have to worry about the mess!

Anyway, I had Michaela make handprints and I turned the handprints into a card for Jason for Father's Day. So, although this is a picture from Friday, it still fits for today since it was documentation of making a card for Father's Day.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 169 - June 18

I am a cook. What I mean by that is that I enjoy cooking. I like to try out new recipes and old favorites. I like to tweak things a little here and there to make them mine. I get a certain level of satisfaction out of planning meals for the week and getting home-cooked, delicious (if I do say so myself) food on the table almost every night for dinner.

I am not a baker. What I mean by that is that baking is entirely too constricting for me. I can follow a recipe for pretty much any kind of baked good, but I don't get the science behind baking so I can't tweak things to try to make them better, or different. So, with the exception of dozens of cookies to give as gifts at Christmastime, I probably bake from scratch about five other times a year, give or take.

And, yet, tonight, I decided to bake. I'm blaming my friend, Shelly, who posted pictures of her little girl helping her make these cookies last night on facebook. I thought about them all day so I picked up the ingredients I needed tonight and actually baked. Crazy.

These are my white chocolate cherry chunkies!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 168 - June 17

It was raining off and on this morning, and it was Africa-hot. So, with the exception of a quick trip out to do some Father's Day shopping (nothing like waiting til the last minute), it was an indoor-activity day. (The irony is not lost on me that we spent three years in Kodiak doing indoor things all winter, just to spend our summer inside and our winter outside here....)

So we did some coloring this morning. I love that Michaela can't sit still while she's coloring. She sits up, she lays down, she stands up, she switches from crayons to markers (yay for washable crayons and color wonder markers!!), and she just generally fidgets.

But the laying down is my favorite... it's like she just can't get close enough to the paper.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 167 - June 16

This afternoon was a typical afternoon in the south.... the land of the afternoon thunderstorm. Today's storm started with some wicked wind! The thunder, lightning and heavy rain followed, and some places even got hail. It was definitely a good one!

During a break in the weather, I headed out in the backyard to check out the damage and was surprised to see a bunch of stuff in the pool. We have no trees immediately around our yard, so it's a little surprising to see stuff in there! But, with the wind we had, it's not too far out of the realm of possibility.

I was immediately struck by how pretty the leaves looked floating in the pool and tried to capture that. This was my best attempt.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 166 - June 15

We're heading back to the garden today since our only outside-the-house activities today were Kinder-Gym and a quick trip to Target for fresh dinner ingredients.

But it's fun to visit the garden when other things besides tomatoes are starting to "crop" up (ha!!).

Obviously, this little guy isn't ready for the dinner table yet, but it won't be long until we have some tasty fresh bell peppers! Yum!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 165 - June 14

Jason was scheduled for a night flight tonight, so he came up with the brilliant idea of going blueberry picking this morning. I say that a smidge sarcastically because it probably would've been a better idea about 3 hours earlier before it got REALLY hot. But, even with the sweating to death, we had fun and it was definitely a great idea to go on a weekday!

Michaela got the hang of the picking right away - along with the eating. She had a blast trying to reach up as high as possible to get the berries!

And for those of you (Christina) who want to see pictures of things besides the kid.... here ya go!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 164 - June 13

Michaela is a reader.

We introduced books to her when she was only about 3 months old or so. Of course, back then, it was more about which board book tasted the best, but she got past that and enjoys reading them now!

We have days when all she wants to do is go through her entire (extensive) collection of books, picking them out one at a time and then climbing into my lap to read them.

Today, she did a little reading on her own. Some of you may recognize the Baby Einstein "I See Me" book. For those who don't, one of the pages asks, "Can you play peekaboo like baby?" Obviously, she can.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 163 - June 12

I don't think I even need to say anything about today's picture.

I didn't get a long time to relax like this, but I like to make every minute count.

It's good to have a pool. And a Kindle.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 162 - June 11

We brought Michaela to the beach for the first time today. We almost left within minutes of getting there.

Why, you might ask?

Well, immediately upon feeling sand on her feet, my kid asked to be picked up. I was pretty sure that was going to happen because she does NOT like to be dirty. But I figured we could overcome that by virtue of how fun it would be to swim in the ocean.


Let's just say the first try at the ocean was NOT pretty.

Thankfully, she came around to the swimming part. We just had to give her a floaty and she was all about tooling around on her own, even drawing some admiration from a couple of guys who couldn't believe she's not even two yet!

She did not, however, come around to the sand part. She did play in it a little bit shortly before we left (scooping it into a bucket), but only as long as her toosh stayed on the blanket and we didn't make her put her feet in it.

This picture was taken pre-swimming, when all she wanted to do was play with a bucket of water. On the blanket. As far from the sand as possible.

Maybe we'll skip the hour and a half drive and just play in the pool from now on. Though, she did enjoy swimming in the "lotion," so we might have to give it another try some day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 161 - June 10

I'm a cheater.

There, I admit it.

I didn't leave my house until dinner time tonight (it was a sit-around-and-read-books-to-Michaela-all-day kind of day here - oh, and laundry, too. Lots of laundry.). So I went back to the Alaska pictures since choosing only one per day was a little bit cruel anyway. I'm reserving the right to do this whenever I need to for the rest of the year, too. So there.

Yeah, no old copper mine in my backyard. Wouldn't that be cool, though? I could probably find ways to take pictures of this same old building for days without doing the same thing twice.

Oh, and I love that I remembered that my camera actually shoots in B&W. With my old one, I could only convert after the fact. It's better when you can shoot that way to begin with.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 160 - June 9

I'm finally caught up!

And today's picture gives a little bit of a glimpse as to why it took so long (it's 11:30pm... I've been working toward this since about 2 this afternoon) to get caught up.

It started because I just wanted to edit the pictures. But then I was behind on clearing off cards, backing up files and what-not, and then 7 hours, a trip to Walmart for DVDs and some dinner later, I finally got to where I wanted to be this afternoon.

At least I got a picture out of it.

Here we see my laptop (which had zero memory left on it), the big monitor, a stack of already-burned DVDs, a tower of 100 (minus a few) DVDs, a note pad, a card reader, and an external hard drive. Oh, and a general mess since my desk is a disaster and was in no condition for someone to actually work at it!

I think I have all my back-ups done now, though, so at least I got that done, even if it took that long to edit less than 10 pictures. *sigh*

Day 159 - June 8

Back to reality.

Of course, reality around here is the kid and the pool. She got daring while I was gone - finally letting go of Daddy while swimming in her floaty, and jumping from the stairs. By the end of her swim session yesterday, she was also jumping from the side of the pool.

Apparently going underwater is no longer an issue.

Day 158 - June 7

Tuesday was my last day in Alaska. Which was probably good because I was TIRED by then.

I won't bore you with the details of the day (drive to Anchorage, showers at the Air Force base gym, lunch with our former priest from Kodiak who now lives on the mainland, mani/pedi, and a trip to the museum), I'll just show you the view from the cabin.

Nothing like brushing your teeth outside while looking at this....

Day 157 - June 6

Two picture day!! It has to be a two picture day because we did two completely different things in one day.

Monday dawned comfortably as we woke in our beds at the Princess Lodge at Copper Center. After no shower the day before, 7 miles of walking, and a long dusty drive back from McCarthy to Copper Center, the Lodge was Ah-mazing. It didn't hurt that they offer a military appreciation rate of only $71/night... $24 less than our cabin the night before. Go figure.

From the Lodge, we headed back to Chitina (pronouced Chitna for those of you who would think you'd use all the letters in a word... don't worry, I'm one of you) to try to dipnet in the Copper River. With no Alaska fishing license (or appropriate gear due to not having a license), my role was mostly as watcher - and official photographer. Had Christina caught anything, I was also going to take on the role of chief fish-filleter (at least I'm an Alaska resident so I was allowed to do that). But with no fish in the net, there was no need to fillet (whew! I'm NOT good at that), and we (I) just had fun trying.

About 7-8 knots of current, a dipnet made for the Kenai River, not the Copper River, and Christina having to try to manage it herself meant more trouble than fishing was really worth. She tried REALLY hard, though... definitely determined to get SOMEthing. Now she knows for next year, though.... different gear and bring along Brad for brute strength!

We left Chitina around lunchtime for the drive to the Matanuska Glacier. Our accommodations that night were at another cabin - this one was one of the public use cabins in a state park (click on the link for the glacier cabin). We ditched our stuff there and got our gear together to head out to the Glacier itself... the reason for the stop there!

Yeah, I totally hiked on a glacier. (And that shot is straight out of the camera.)

Day 156 - June 5

I wasn't kidding when I said we headed out for an adventure weekend! We got up to McCarthy (well, just outside of it) late Saturday night and got set up in our cabin at the Glacier View Campground (click on the cabin rental link to see our cabin!). The cabin was a late upgrade from our original intention to tent-camp. For those who know me, you can imagine that I'm the reason for the upgrade. Even with the "upgrade," we're not talking about luxury accommodations!

We got up pretty early Sunday morning (easy to do when you're sleeping in a cabin with no curtains/shades on the windows and it never really gets dark) and, after holding back the puke in the world's stinkiest outhouse, we got put together to head up to the Kennecott Mine. Sadly, we did NOT get up early enough to catch the shuttle we needed to catch, missing it by a half hour. With no other way to get to Kennecott (though Christina tried fudging the truth a bit to get the Lodge to give us a ride up... if only we didn't have Tok with us it would've worked, too!), we walked. Between the walk from the campground to the footbridge, the walk to try to meet the shuttle, and then the final walk from McCarthy all the way to Kennecott, we did about 7 miles. Yeah, 7 miles. (And we were sure to get the shuttle back down later!!!!)

It was worth the walk, though. The views of the glacier at the head of the Copper River were amazing, and the old mine and the old mine town were really cool. I took a TON of pictures up there (and even like a bunch of them), but since I'm supposed to narrow it down to one a day, I'm going with this one. Thanks to the Park Ranger, I got a heads up to hike just past "town" to get the best (she said "iconic") view of the mine from a little outcrop of land. She was right.
(And this only counts as one picture since it's essentially the same thing in color and b&w. I liked the color and Jason liked the b&w.)

Day 155 - June 4


It was weird.... when I got to the airport in Anchorage, even with all the changes since the last time we were there (a Humpy's in the airport????), it felt like going home. It didn't hurt to see my dear friend Christina (and Brad and Tok), the reason for my visit, and one of the "things" I've missed the most about being in Alaska.

After a night of catching up, Moose's Tooth pizza and beer, and a comfy Sheraton bed (and then breakfast on Saturday morning), Christina and I hit the road for our big adventure weekend.

The first stop was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where I took lots of picture of caribou, bear, and a baby musk ox. From there we headed to Whittier, where we took the fast ferry over to Valdez and then headed up toward McCarthy.

Just outside of Valdez, Christina and I both realized at almost the same moment that the lupine was blooming!! That required a fast u-turn so we could get out of the car and take some pictures, soaking up the view and the lupine. I SO miss the lupine!

Day 154 - June 3

I'm going back in time here, now that I've finally caught up with some editing from my trip.

We're starting out with a picture I didn't actually take, mostly because I forgot I DID take some of Michaela right before I left and this was one Jason texted me while I was gone.

A little while ago, we cashed in some Pampers points (finally - we'd only been saving them up since we bought our first package way back in July 2009) to get Michaela the awesome Radio Flyer inch worm/caterpillar. How many of you remember having one of these as a kid??

Surprisingly, the 8-10 weeks delivery wait was only about a week and it showed up the day I left. Obviously, she likes it, and I like to think it was a nice distraction from the absence of her mommy for a few days (or, she didn't really notice I was gone).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Sorry for the delay/my absence for the past few days. I've been out of town since last Friday and didn't have access to the internet since I was basically in the bush in Alaska!

I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep on the red eye last night plus about a three-hour nap this afternoon, so I'm not even going to attempt to look at/edit pictures from the trip yet. But, I'll get caught up tomorrow during toddler naptime (which was mommy naptime today, too!), and get all caught up.

Beautiful Alaska pictures coming... it'll be worth the wait, I promise!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 153 - June 2

Today's picture is just silly. At least to me. I actually laughed out loud when I was putting my shoes on this morning.

I decided to take Michaela to the mall for the morning. I had some things to return and it was HOT out already at 10 this morning, so I didn't want to hit up a playground.

No playground meant I ditched my usual flip-flops and classed up my feet a little. The fact that these shoes were my choice today when only a year ago it would've been Keen hikers or, if I was feeling "dressy," Dankso's, just made me laugh.

What a difference a year can make!

And, because this picture just cracked me up, I had to post a bonus shot. Michaela was trying on all her sunglasses this afternoon while we waited for Daddy to come home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 152 - June 1

Today we started the second session of Kinder-Gym. Michaela LOVES going to "gyn-NAS-tics." Loves it. Mostly she loves to bounce on the trampoline. (Have I shared this before? I feel like maybe I have.)

Anyway, Jason had a night flight tonight, so he got to come to gymnastics with us, which meant I got to bring my camera. Before I share the picture, I can say that my child's face bounces a lot when she's bouncing. Talk about an ugly face! Which is why there are no pictures of her on the trampoline.

Instead, we have a picture of her second favorite thing... hanging from the uneven bar and making herself into a taco. She attempts to do this while holding onto the two chairs in our living room on a regular basis. That would be the downside of Kinder-Gym.

Here's our little monkey....