Friday, June 29, 2012

Celia & Sabrina: The Funny Ladies

My conversation with Celia yesterday:
Me: We're going to start a new thing called Mommy time where I set the timer for 30 minutes and for 30 minutes I do nothing else but play with you and Sabrina.  We can do whatever you want.
Celia:  I don't want to do that.
Me: Why not?
Celia: I don't want to do that.
Me: Okay.  It's your choice.  If you want to do that, let me know.
(Long pause.)
Celia: Okay.  I want to do that.  But I want to call it "kid time."
Me: Sounds good.

Dorothy is still alive... which is amazing with Sabrina around.  She loves Dorothy so much.  Twice she has dumped in about a quarter of a cup of fish food (rather than 2-3 pellets).  Dorothy is too high for her to reach, but she moves her little toy car over there and climbs up to be close.  Last night, we had moved Dorothy onto the high kitchen counters to keep him (yes, Dorothy's still a boy) away from Sabrina.  Then Tom was downstairs helping Celia get ready for bed (I was at Young Women's).  When he came upstairs, Sabrina was carrying Dorothy's bowl from the kitchen back to the shelf where he was.  Amazingly, both the fish and most of the water was still in the bowl and Sabrina was so proud of herself.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sabrina: The Big Reveal

Introducing: Sabrina!  Our cute little girl and her new glasses!  

Sabrina failed her initial "eye exam" at the 18-month appointment.  They take a picture of her eyes with what looks like a radar gun and from that they could apparently tell she was using her right eye more than her left, so we were sent to a specialist.  The specialist did a thorough eye exam (like you and I have... eye dilation and everything... except she didn't pass out like I do... but that's another story...).  Anyway, the eye exam was a 2-hour event.  It was like a regular eye appointment, except it was a huge production.  There were automated stuffed animals all over the room that would turn on and start moving, barking, or walking around.  There was a TV that would play elmo, a million popsicle sticks with characters on the top of them, lots of spinning lights, etc.  It was pretty intense.  And she did great.  She sat on my lap in the chair, ate some apple slices, and looked at all the things they wanted her to.  Diagnosis:  Her right eye is 20/20, her left eye is 20/50.  With that big of a difference between the eyes at that age, the brain can just say: "It's too hard to focus out of that left out, let's shut it off."  So that's how lazy eyes happen.  And now Sabrina wears glasses full time.  Today is her third day and she's been a total champion.  The first day was about an hour on, ten minutes off, an hour on, etc.  Yesterday she threw a huge fit after about two hours of wearing them and I kept them off for about 30 minutes.  After that, every time she would take them off, I would say: "Sabrina, where are your glasses?"  and she would pick them up and say: "Oh!  Here ya go!" and I'd put them back on.  And that only happened about three times.  So I think she's adapting quickly.  It helps that I wear glasses.  She points to mine and says: "Mommy's" and then hers and says: "MINE!"

Which brings me to other news about Sabrina: just in the past two weeks, Sabrina has finally hit her stride with talking.  She can mimic anything we say, and we can usually actually understand her words now.  She even says: "More peese" instead of signing (though sometimes she'll do both at the same time) and tries to use words more than screams, which makes us very happy!

Look at my cute little ladies!

Here's how they attach in the back... in case you were wondering how they stay on.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Celia: Kenai Fjords Drawing

Want to know how Celia earned her Junior Ranger's badge?  She completed enough pages in her Kenai Fjords work book.  (Disclaimer: Sabrina scribbled on the same number of pages and still earned her badge... so it's not all that hard, but we'll give credit where credit is due.)  So here are Celia's drawings of what we saw on the boat.  
This one has the spouting whale up top with Mountain goats down below.  The one on the left is the Mountain Goat Mommy with the Mountain Goat Kid.

This one has a sea lion on the right.  Then it has a car driving by a Christmas tree...?

Here's the Spouting Whale again.  He did spout a lot of times.

And this one isn't from the Kenai Fjords.  She did it in Preschool.  But I really liked that sun, and that amazing butterfly.  And those are worms down by the seeds.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Alaska Guidebook: Seward (Kenai Fjords)

On the way out to Seward, stop at Kenai Lake.  This is one of my favorite places.  The glacial blue water is amazing.  

Seward is another little coastal town.  Home to Kenai Fjords National Park.  This is the main attraction for Seward and worth the trip!  There are several boat options for the Kenai Fjords.  We chose the 8.5-hour trip, but because of weather (10-16 foot swells on the water), ours was cut down to a 4.5-hour trip within Resurrection Bay, which is protected from the wind and waves, meaning we didn't get to see the big blue glaciers falling into the water.  Disappointing, but at the end of it, we decided that 4.5 hours was better for the girls and the boat ride was still amazing.  We saw some beautiful scenery despite the clouds and rain, plus humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, porpoises, a million birds, bald eagles, and mountain goats (as well as hoary marmot that was too small and too far off to photograph).

The otters were being playful, though they look rather vicious in this picture. The ones we saw later were more restful.

We learned that bald eagles don't develop their familiar coloring until full-grown, and when young they look like this:

We saw several mountain goat babies, and plenty more solitary mountain goats.

We got to stop at Fox Island for a prime rib and salmon buffet and to look around.  Celia (and Sabrina) drew enough pictures in their workbooks that they got to take the Junior Ranger pledge and become official Kenai Fjords National Park Junior Rangers.  (Yes, I had to hold up Celia's arm and say the pledge for her.)

As we got out the opening of the bay, we started hitting the big waves that prevented us from seeing the glaciers in the adjacent fjords. For a while the captain asked everyone to stay inside as the waves were washing up over the bow, which Celia enjoyed watching as she colored.

Near the opening of the bay the one glacier we were able to see is called Bear Glacier, which is the largest in the park, but because of the wind direction we couldn't get all that close to it.

On the way back a group of probably a dozen porpoises started racing the boat, popping out right in front of the boat. As we were standing on the bow, they were directly under us.

The only part of Kenai Fjords National Park to which you can drive and hike into is Exit Glacier.  The trail up to the glacier was still covered in snow, but it was fun hiking up to see a glacier so close up.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Alaska Guidebook: Homer

About 4.5 hours South of Anchorage is the artsy fishing town of Homer.  Named after a con man that sold stocks to his nonexistent goldmines, Homer is a town full of everyone.  The landscape is beautiful.  The fishing unbeatable.  And the Homer Spit (the body of land that sticks out into the water... not the kind of spit that involves your mouth, as my kids liked to point out by spitting) is one happening place.

The sights: Do drive all the way up the hillside to get a great view of the spit.  It's worth it.  It's not hard to find picturesque spots in this cute little town with the majestic mountains in the background.  Look around.  Snap some pics.  

Where to Stay:  There are a variety of options in Homer.  Hotels.  Cabins.  B&Bs.  We chose a delightful combination of a cabin and B&B.  We stayed in the upstairs of a cabin house in a lady's front yard.  The view was spectacular and she baked us some bundt cake.  It even had a tiny couch the size of my girls.  So it was a pretty big hit.

What to do: Drive onto the Spit and take a look around.  Leave a shell or nice rock at the Seafarer's Memorial.  Shop the arsty shops.  Take a picture next to the tiny, but super popular Salty Dawg Saloon.  Go fishing (Homer does claim to be the Halibut Capital of the World.  The winner of the 2011 Homer Halibut derby was a 350.8 pound Halibut).  

The Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center is free and enjoyable.  Lots of great information.  Some little films.  Some stuff for the kids.  And they also let you borrow a stroller for free to walk down their boardwalk to the beach.  Super nice perk.

Where to Eat:  Everywhere we ate in Homer was fabulous.  We had very fresh-tasting fish and chips on the Spit at the Fresh Catch.   Their clam chowder was also very different, delicious and light.  The Sourdough Express has an all-organic menu (as far as we could tell) with yummy homemade salad dressings and sauces and adult-quality children's menu flavors.  We only took pictures of the Cosmic Kitchen which was also a great place.  Very fresh.  Very "karmic."  And they took great care of the kids with lots of activity pages and crayons for them to take home (washable crayola!).  Overall, Homer is full of some good eats.

Oh, and on the way out of town, if you happen to have a family member named Sabrina, be sure to snap a picture on Sabrina Road.

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