Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The SATs. It's a boy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Seward: Camp, Hike, Dessert

The weekend after our camping trip in Willow and Talkeetna in August we went camping in Seward. On the way down we stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. There they have all of the typical Alaskan wildlife: moose, elk, reindeer, muskoxen, wood bison, etc. This time, though, we spent most of our time watching the bears. In the past we've mostly only been in the winter when the bears are hibernating, so this time it was fun to see the bears putting on a show.

Then we continued on to Seward. We stayed at a little cabin at Miller's Landing, on the shore of Resurrection Bay.

We stayed on a Saturday night, and on Sunday morning we went to church at the Seward branch. The church building there is small but unique. It's not like any of the patterns followed by most church buildings around the country. We especially liked the wood paneling inside.

We then took the short hike up to Exit Glacier, which is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by car.

On the way out of town we stopped for lunch/dinner/dessert at our favorite place: Le Barn Appetit. Here they make giant crepes from an old family recipe brought over from Belgium, and the friendly proprietors always treat us like family. We shared a couple dinner crepes before moving on the real deal for dessert. A good meal was had by all.

This concludes our summer catch-up series. Stay tuned for coverage of our next trip...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Camping in Willow, then Talkeetna & Denali

At the end of August, my high school friend Emily and her cute little baby Reagan came up to visit us in Alaska.  She arrived just in time for the ward campout in Willow.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We got our stuff unloaded and into our cabin and sat down at these covered picnic tables and then it started torrentially raining and thundering (which happens very rarely here in Southcentral Alaska).  It passed quickly and the evening was clear. 

The next morning (the sun was back out), Tom and the girls went canoeing.  Sabrina helped paddle with a stick.

After we loaded up from our Willow campout, we drove to Talkeetna for the afternoon.  We looked around the shops, put our faces in all the cutouts, ate some delicious spinach bread, and got the best views of Denali we've seen since being up here.  (We took a million pictures.)  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sabrina's Birthday (and subsequent party)

Well our big girl turned 3.  She wanted her friends to come and insisted on their big sisters' coming, too.  So, we had 8 kids, 4 little, 4 big (animal pictures were taken before Gabby and Gideon came).  It was a circus animal birthday party (which, of course, meant plastic leis).  Tom spent the time in the kitchen at the homemade pizza station.  Everyone got to make animal pizzas (though I think only the bigger kids tried making animals, the rest just stuck a bunch of stuff on... but homemade pizzas are always a hit).  They bowled in the downstairs hallway, fed peanuts to a cardboard elephant (glad I didn't throw that away from Celia's 3rd birthday party), played Duck, Duck, Goose, Sabrina opened presents, and they all ate pizza and cupcakes.  Sabrina picked the fluorescent blue frosting with fish sprinkles.  Thanks to our friends who helped keep the party running, it was a success for Sabrina.

At 3, Sabrina is still a crazy little kid.  But she's getting more predictable.  She actually does pretty well during the day while Celia is at school.  She does spend a great deal of time saying "What can I DO Mommy?" but when I set her up with blocks, or paint, or a coloring book, she actually has an attention span.  She has hilarious comedic timing and also loves being my little buddy at home.  Happy Birthday, Sabrina!

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference Recap: By Celia

I will try to translate what is happening here for you:
Elder Cook: Don't make bad choices.
Elder Christofferson: Women.  
Elder Anderson: Priesthood (that's a priesthood blessing)
Elder Nelson (which is really Elder Packer, but she got mixed up... hence the arrow): A family reading the scriptures because that helps them. 
President Monson: (My personal favorite picture) - That's President Monson sad about his wife dying and on top of him is the top of the Earth with the Spirit of his wife.  
President Eyring: Baptism.
President Uchtdorf: Going to the temple.
Elder Oaks: The Commandments.
Elder Ballard (in the box of Elder Scott - more arrows) - Sister Missionaries going to Church (I think).
Elder Scott (in Elder Ballard's box) - no idea.   A person with a purple shirt...
Elder Hales: Also not really sure.
Elder Holland: People crying going to the doctor (he talked about Depression).
Elder Bednar: Tithing

So now you know what happened during conference.  Feel sufficiently recapped?  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Grandpa Comes Halibut Fishing

Back in August my dad came up for some halibut fishing and some other stuff. Here we are taking pictures of each other in Homer.

But we didn't actually go fishing in Homer, we left out of Ninilchik, a little town of a few hundred people. We drove down one afternoon and had dinner in Homer (where there's no shortage of good places to eat) and then back up to Ninilchik to stay the night at a little bed and breakfast where the well water smelled like Old Faithful. We got the shore bright and early on an uncommonly cold morning--our guide told us it was 38 degrees, which is really cold for August, even in Alaska. But it was clear and we could see Mt. Redoubt across the inlet, so we figured it would warm up quickly. Well the clouds rolled in as the sun came up, but it still warmed up pretty quickly.

There's no boat ramp in Ninilchik. Instead they have a modified bulldozer with every size of trailer hitch, so we all got on the boat (we were joined by four guys visiting from back east) and the bulldozer hitched up the boat trailer and pushed us into the water.

We drove for an hour until we got to the chosen fishing hole. Then we baited the lines and within just a few minutes I caught what would be the largest catch of the day. Here I am with the first mate and the fish.

We only fished for a few hours before all six of us on board had caught our limit of two halibut per person and we turned around and headed for shore.

Then for the rest of the week we kept closer to home. We went for a bike ride and saw the rock man.

We went up to Eklutna, where for some reason the water was high and had flooded the shoreline, so we got some fireweed ice cream.

We stopped at the Russian Orthodox church, where the local Eklutna tribe has the unique tradition of building "spirit houses" for the dead in their cemetery.

Then my dad went home, and I believe he had fun. This last picture I think we took the day after he left at the downtown weekend market. The girls can never let us pass one of these cutouts without taking a picture.

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