Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alaska Guidebook: Hope

If you are visiting Anchorage, but want an Alaska Bush experience, Hope is your best bet. If you drive just a few miles south of Anchorage, you'll be able to see Hope across the inlet. But it takes about 1.5 hours to get there. Hope is a small gold mining town that predated the Klondike gold rush by about 30 years.

I recommend staying in a cabin. It's cozy and homey. The upstairs is great for your toddler. She'll beg to go to bed (though may not actually sleep for awhile). And the little ones will love learning to use the "outhouse potty"!

(Our cabin even came with a sweet fort built in the back. When I brought Celia over to see it, I said: "Look! It's a little house made out of trees." She said: "Yup. It is. Now let's go back.")

Hope has a selection of two restaurants. We chose the Seaview Cafe right on historic mainstreet. The food was delicious and the apple pie was perfect.

This cafe is also where the Goo Goo Dolls recorded Broadway in 2002 for their Live in Alaska album.
Other Dining options include: Tito's Discovery Cafe (pictured by the Hope sign) and a pizza/ice cream shack that seems to be closed most of the time.

Jerky, chips and candy can be purchased at the local gift shop (where you can also get your picture taken in one of these paintings):

For any other food, you'll have to choose a restaurant or cook on the camping stove. Pancakes are always a big hit with the kiddos:

The Hope gas station has also been abandoned. A local woman told us that the 150+ Hope residents drive into Anchorage for everything. Sometimes they run into eachother at Costco.

The Sights
A walk down Mainstreet is quite enjoyable and the views of the inlet and the town are breathtaking.

The Hope Museum is an outdoor collection of original buildings from historic Hope: a bunkhouse, a barn, and the original school.

Then visit Hope's second school just down the road. The kids will love the old slide and swingset. Even the babies will love to play in the grass. (Hope now has a gorgeous school further out of "downtown." Opened in 1986, it just recently became K-12 and graduated its first student in 2000.)

Oh, and be sure to enjoy some of Alaska's famous wildlife.

Hope marks the North end of the Resurrection Pass trail from Cooper landing. Most people take 2-3 days to hike the 38-mile trail in its entirety. With kiddos, we just hiked in a little bit. We saw rock piles left over from the heavy gold mining days. Though there is still gold to be found in Resurrection creek, it takes all day and some heavy machinery to get about ten dollars worth of gold flakes (according to the prospector we talked to along the trail who showed us his $10 flakes in a vial of water... they made a cool "tink"ing noise when he shook it).

For any hike with a baby, we recommend a baby backpack so the baby can enjoy the sights:

Though she woke up with marks on her face, you can tell she had a great time:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Girls: More of the Same

Getting sick of twin pictures yet? Because I'm not. Celia picked out this outfit this morning and I told her that Sabrina had the same one. As soon as we heard Sabrina wake up in the monitor, Celia went running down to her room and found her matching shirt and pants for her to wear. She said something like: "I'm a twin. Sabrina can be one too!"

If you can't actually tell what the matching outfit looks like, here they are individually. Celia's matching outfit includes her dancing skirt and her necklace, of course. Thanks to Nana (the shirts) and Grandma (the pants) for feeding my matching outfit obsession.

Sabrina has started looking pretty hip herself. Here she is modeling her sweet jean jacket and Mariner's hat.

She's in a funk right now. She wants to crawl SO bad. She can move everywhere she wants to go, but she knows those knees are supposed to do something. So lately she just gets into crawling position and screams. She's also a total foodie. She wants to eat everything. She gets so sick of baby food but doesn't have any teeth. She's been eating every Gerber finger food we can buy, chunks of avacado and banana, and plain noodles (which she will eat one of and then look at you like you're crazy for feeding her something so bland). Oh, and she stole Celia's cup and started chugging the water. She knew how to use a straw immediately when I showed her one a few weeks ago. But this toddler cup takes some real sucking power.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Celia: She's practically raising herself.

I have preface this post by saying that on Tuesday, Celia had an accident at Carl's Jr. and screamed for (not exaggerating) three hours after that. She hadn't had an accident for more than a month I would say. Anyway, it was a day where I saw into the lives of people with regular toddlers and it was not pleasant.

So yesterday, Celia went down for her nap. I had the monitor up here and listened the whole time. I heard the usual songs, stories, made-up stories, etc. but she didn't sleep. When I went down to get her, she was wearing different pants and here was our conversation:

Me: Celia, are you wearing different pants?
Celia: Yeah, I am.
Me: What happened to your other pants?
Celia: They got dirty a little bit.
Me: How did they get dirty?
Celia: I don't know.
Me: What got on them to make them dirty?
Celia: Some yucky wet got on them.
Me: Like from your bum?
Celia: Yeah.
Me: Did you have an accident?
Celia: Yeah, but I didn't cry at all!

Keep in mind I listened on the monitor the whole time... there was no indication of an accident. But apparently she had a little accident and changed her panties and her pants all by herself and left a nice little pile of the dirty ones by the door in her room (while continuing to sing and make up stories involving her "teeny tiny friends" so I had no idea what was really happening). I'm convinced if it wasn't naptime, she would have just put the clothes in the wash and then maybe cooked herself some dinner...

Monday, May 16, 2011

After Afters: The Bathrooms!

Tom finally finished the bathrooms this weekend. Other than the beautiful dining room table he finished in October (the night before Sabrina was born, so I have not appropriately bragged about it), the bathrooms were our winter home project. These things used to go so fast with both of us working on it together in the evenings and on weekends during nap time. Turns out with two kids, I was remarkably unhelpful and Tom only got to work on them a few hours a week. I did, however, paint the painting in the downstairs bathroom. My contribution. Again, we only have "before before" pictures taken by my cousins after we bought the house (sight unseen), so the *stuff* in the "before" pictures is not ours. So, here you go:

The upstairs bathroom:


The Downstairs Bathroom (the girls' bathroom):


Today, Celia went downstairs by herself to use the potty. She had been eating a sucker and it was all over her clothes. So she used the potty. Then I heard her say: "My panties are dirty. I will put them away. My pants are dirty. I will put them away." When Tom went down a few minutes later, she had put just her panties and pants in the washing machine and started it (no soap). Then she had gotten new pants and panties and put them on. Does she even need us anymore?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celia: Smart Girl

Remember the "patter-in" Celia colored? She's been obsessed with patterns. The other day, she woke up from her nap and I went in there and she said: "Sleep, wake-up, sleep, wake-up. It's a patter-in!" Then she was playing with a toy with pictures and letters on it and she turned them and said: "letter, picture, letter, picture, letter. It's a patter-in!"

She likes to get into Sabrina's bed after Sabrina wakes up. They like to cuddle and then Sabrina likes to watch Celia play with her fishie mobile.

Celia pointed to Sabrina's sheets (which, incidentally are original to Tom's family with the blue port-a-crib from the 80s... still family favorites) and said: "open, closed, open, closed. It's a patter-in!" (referring to the babies eyes on the sheets).

Oh, and yesterday, Celia was drawing on newspaper and said: "C-E-L-I-A. I drawed my name!" Sure enough, there it was in a perfect column going up (drives me crazy because she decided to add a little squiggly right there in the middle before I could picture it in its perfection). This came out of nowhere because, although she signs all of her artwork with a C, she has never attempted her whole name (nor did I know she was capable of drawing an A intentionally). I'm. So. Proud. Moments like these make me realize that I'm not failing completely as a mom (or Celia's smarts make up for my shortcomings... but I'll stick with the former option).

Sabrina starting saying "Mama" yesterday. Another proud moment. She just stares at Tom or I if we talk like she does, but when Celia does it, she whips her head around to watch and cackles like crazy. It's hilarious.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celia's First Haircut

Last night, after dinner, we rode our bikes to Great Clips where Tom and Celia got haircuts. Celia was so excited all day. She said "yeah! I'm gonna get a haircut like Sabrina and Papa" (both are pretty bald). I had to explain to her that her hair would still be pretty long. We watched Tangled to get ready. Above is the "before" picture.

I was so nervous that her curl would leave. Tom and I don't have any curl and I love that she does. Celia did so well. She sat so still and smiled in the mirror the whole time.

The stylist said that she has deep curls and that they would stay. They may go away when she grows up, but the haircut wouldn't cut them off. And they didn't! They brought them out even more! Yay for curls!

Oh, and isn't Sabrina so cute in her little Mariners hat? What a cute skater baby ready to ride in the bike tent.

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