Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photos from trip

More shots from the trip. Hubby and grandma are in town! Off to the lake tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer days!!

Lots of fun in the sun ( with lots of sunblock and hats of course)!!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rocky top you'll always be home sweet home to me

We are back in Tennessee. After a long over night flight we arrived in Nashville yesterday. Immediately my mind noticed all the differences between Alaska and the south. So different but each has a spot in my story and heart.

Ocoee had a decent flight up. It ease the longest and latest flight she has done. She had one cry spell but otherwise did well. She was a little crabby after we landed because she didn't get her usual 12 hours of sleep.

She loved her uncle Dale almost instantly. She laughed as he did all sorts of tricks to get her to giggle.

Once we got to dales house he took care of her while I napped since I had not slept since the previous day. We had planned a BBQ but I was do exhausted we just did a small family dinner. I was thrilled when an afternoon summer storm rolled in. The sky light up with lightening, crackling across the fields by my brothers house. Thunder rumbled over head. It was a perfect welcome home storm. In Alaska we don't get rain that is heavy, I have never seen lightening or heard thunder there. Ocoee smiled and laughed delighted as well. Dale took her out to stand in the rain and she laughed and smiled. She was a very happy baby.

She also learned something new-she can wave. Not sure where she learned this, but now she waves all the time. If she gets real excited she waves with both hands. At the airport she sat and played waving at everyone. It was pretty dang adorable.

My best friend and roommate from college came over for dinner with her son Owen who is 4. It seems just yesterday she was pregnant. He is such a Boy! We had fun hanging out and Owen showed Ocoee her first dolly poley bug. She also saw her first kitty. She loves animals and the kitty was so soft for her little hands.

After a bath we laid a blanket in the grass and air dried. She had happily plucked grass and enjoyed the warmth.

It is good to be home.


Monday, May 14, 2012

What a weekend

The weekend started off with 3 bouquets of flowers from Hubby. One for my bday, one for mother's day and one for our anniversary. He worked very hard to make all three events special.

We grabbed some poboys from the Gumbo House, downtown Anchorage. Man are they tasty. Being from New Orleans I can be picky about my poboys, but these are impeccable! We grabbed the last minute items, loaded Ocoee and were on the road to Trapper's Creek.

Hubby rented a cabin for the weekend. It was one of the best stocked VRBO's we have stayed in. The lake was still frozen so hubby couldn't fish....he actually looked and the frozen lake and sighed, saying..."I didn't really care that much about fishing, I just wanted to spend the time with you." I almost peed myself laughing so hard....yea right!

After the 3 hour drive baby went right to sleep in her peapod in her own room and we made a nice fire over looking the lake. We drank a bottle or two of wine and talked. You know the kind of talk you have when your drinking vino, a fire hisses and crackles at your feet, filling your nostrils with the sweet smell of birch wood and your nearest neighbors are miles away. We had nothing to do, nowhere to was bliss.

Saturday I woke up to two birthday cards, one from hubby and one from baby. I will have to put Ocoee's in her baby book because she grabbed it and ate the corner....she is loving paper these day. I fished the paper out of her mouth, much to her dismay. We had lunch at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Ocoee had her first bite of pizza (she loved it) and we are learning she does really well in resturaunts. She likes to look at people and feels part of the fun in her high chair. Car rides on the other hand bore her to tears (literally). Just a few months ago she snoozed so easily in the she fusses and chatters away non-stop.

After lunch we walked around Talkeetna and hit a trail where we saw our first fox in Alaska. Now I just need a polar bear and a wolverine and I will be set! Back at the cabin there was more food, wine and chilling. It was so relaxing and I was happy to spend my birthday with my two favorite people. On Sunday I woke to more cards for mother's day and another fire while baby napped. We had a late lunch at the Denali Brewing Company and Twisted Sister cafe. Best veggie burger I have ever eaten.

Then came the big first flight lesson. We arrived at the airport and were happy the skies were clear. As pilot Lance went over the instruments with me, Hubby snapped some pictures. I will post these soon. He was so awesome and supportive, taking baby and tons of pictures too. We climbed into the tiny plane with me on the pilots controls up front and the pilot in the back, directly behind me, where he had controls as well. After take off Lance, handed the controls over to me. He taught me to do left and right turns and explained some basic aviation things to me. He then asked me if I liked roller-coasters, which I replied a tentative, "sure"....right before he started doing tricks such as the up and down of a roller coaster. We experienced 2G+ free falling!

He also cut the engine to show me that the plane would still glide and that we would have time to do a landing...he had 4 emergency landings due to losing engine power, 3 in the same plane and one in the plane we were in...crazy!

I loved being the in the plane. I was nervous and excited to be in control of the plane...even with Lance right there I was still amazed to be able to fly a plane. We were up for a little less than an seemed like mere minutes. Lance controlled for the landing and it was in heavy cross winds. He nailed it and breathed a big sigh of relief before telling me that the winds were very strong and about as much as the plane could handle....I would have never know, he did an excellent job. Back on the ground I received my flight log book. Only need 39 more hours to get my private license! I hope to take a few classes over the summer. It can be spendy, but it really is something I enjoy.

 Ocoee wearing her new onesie, that we dashed to the gift shop to buy due to a little "accident" right before lunch. She really is the catch of the day!

 The fox we saw while on a little hike in Talkeetna.

 Hubby and Ocoee at Lunch.

 Relaxing, drinking wine by the fire...yep still snow on the ground! Trappers Creek received over 200 inches this winter.

Mother's Day lunch at the Denali Brewing Company and Twisted Sisters Cafe.

 Birthday lunch at Mountain High Pizza Pie....lots of climbers on hand getting ready to tackle Denali.

My view during my flight lesson.

I went to be last night thinking I have it all. Thanks to my wonderful hubby for making the weekend so special for me. Best Birthday and Mothers' Day weekend ever!

Also check out this super cool website. I love taking pictures and hope someone does this with some of them in the future.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Cleaning

We finally got some Spring Cleaning done around the house! The backyard as of May 4th is officially free of snow....the last little pile in the shade finally melted. We are happy as can be to see grass...even if it is brown. Our dogs on the other hand miss the snow.....see Guiness's expression below.

We also were able to mulch and groom the back yard. It is still too early to plant anything, but it will now be all ready for when I return from Tennessee....where they have been in summer mode for months now.

This year our raspberries will be back, though we trimmed some to make room for the chicken coop. We get tons of raspberries and can around 40 jars of jam for the year and eat lots of fresh ones.

We also have strawberries, rhubarb and lettuce we grow. For decorative flowers I hope my Peonies thrive this year.....people have said it takes about 3 years to get them established and this is our 3rd year. They are popping up already so fingers crossed! The other flower I am in love with is Nasturtiums. It grows like crazy, can be neglected, is big and showy and is edible....cute little flowers for the salads! I am filling all my flower planters with this gem and calling it good!

I am hoping the beautiful tulips that are popping up in my yard will not become moose food again this year. Sigh. Those moose better be glad I am a vegetarian(ish). At least they leave my iris' alone.

Our new chicken coop looks great and the chicks are getting bigger every day. Brodie seemed to think we built it for him and spent some time exploring inside.

The weather is continuing along a ridiculously lovely streak so it feels good to be spring cleaned and ready for the bounty that is summer in Alaska! Ocoee had a great time yesterday sitting outside with her cool sunglasses on watching the trees sway in the breeze. She is well on her way to being a tree-lover :)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ocoee at 7 months

 This is totally her dad...his right eyebrow goes up exactly like this.

And this one is me, with her little grin and hands up in the air.

Ocoee turned 7 months on April is her update, a few dates late.

Ocoee scoots, rolls, and contorts in ways that have her being called Cirque du Soleil, but she has not officially crawled yet.

She has been doing the "mommy pick me up" hands for a few weeks now. She does this when she is in her high chair and ready for a ride on the mommy train.

She eats solids a lot but recently has been more into her bottle again, this might have been due to a runny nose that now seems to be least for a day.

No teeth yet. She has always been very verbal and she continues with new sounds and babbles every day. She loves to blow raspberries (we talk back and forth like that), and has even developed a new sound that I am not sure how she makes. Her mouth is closed and it is a half snort, half click sound. She seems very proud of this sound and does it often.

She is still a champion sleeper, from 5:30 until 6:30 in the morning. We have to wake her to change her diaper but she falls right back to sleep.

She wears clothes way bigger. Part of this is due to her being a tall/long baby and part is due to her cloth diapers which make bigger close necessary. Most of her pants are 2T from Hannah Annderson and her onsies are 12-18months in some brands and others still 6-12 months.

She does what hubby calls the "hulk smash" where she gets really excited and whacks her hands down. The chicks are often a source of her excitement and we are working on "soft touch" with her so she can pet the chicks.

Laughing. Hmmm, Ocoee giggles a lot. She smiles all the time, but she rarely full out laughs. She will give you a little giggle but uncontrollable laughter has not hit her yet.

The months fly by so fast. I believe that the time since I have brought this little lovely into the world has gone by 4 times faster than previous time.....and 10 times faster than pregnancy which seemed soooooooo long.


Monday, May 7, 2012

7 years!!!

Today hubby and I celebrate 7 years of marriage. When we first married it was sort of a backward start to life....we had been together for 2 years and had already bought a house and lived together. I knew the moment I kissed him I was smitten, we were in love in a few weeks and moved in together after only 2 months. We eloped when we were married 7 years ago.

I remember getting off work, throwing some clean clothes on, watching the Kentucky Derby and then running out to the justice of peace to meet our friends and get hitched. After the wedding we ate at M's pub in of my favorite places to eat. We had planned a destination wedding but the stress of planning that made me abandon the plan. I think hubby was secretly relieved.

We took all the extra money we saved on not having a big wedding and went on a fabulous honeymoon in Hawaii. It was magical and romantic. Our love affair with Hawaii began on that trip. We have returned 3 times since and just bought our tickets for this winter.

I truly can say I am married to the man of my dreams. We, like most couples, had some rough patches. We still have fights and I am sure I drive him crazy often. But I am proud of us. We moved far way from anyone we knew and started a new life in Alaska. We have had many adventures and have survived the first 7 months of having a new has made us closer and stronger as a family. I know in my heart that I will be with hubby forever.

To celebrate we are doing a nice dinner at home. I am hit up pininterest and found the following recipes to cook.

Fresh Halibut is in, we haven't fished yet so we will buy some and make Hawaiian Crunch Halibut with truffled mashed potatoes ( I even bough heavy cream to make them extra sinful! Some fresh brussels sprouts roasted with garlic and parmesan will round off our meal. I have some nice rosemary bread and delicious Chardonnay from Red Car winery that we brought back from Napa....I seriously didn't even like white wine until that trip.

Just to give the night a little extra sparkle I am also making my favorite cake, Dos Layers Tres Leche cake. It basically means 3 milks cake...I think. When I taught Journalism in Nebraska one of my student's family owned a hispanic store, and they would bring this cake to our food days....oh I hope mine turns out as good as theirs!

I also hope I can get all this cooked with love bug helping out...she loves to watch me cook and goes to bed early enough to allow us adult time to enjoy it.....that is her present to us :)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Things to look forward to

May is my favorite month. I was born on Mother's day, May 12th, 1979. This year I will celebrate my first mother's day being a mom. I will turn 33 (my lucky number) on May 12. My husband and I married 7 years ago on May 7th. So it is the trifecta of birthday, anniversary and Mother's day.

Speaking of Trifectas, hubby and I are also looking forward to a big event that is special to us, The Kentucky Derby! We were actual married on Derby day and hope to get down to the derby one year to celebrate. We will be watching on TV from Alaska this year. I haven't picked my horses yet....last year my horse came in second. If you want to see the horses click here. The derby represents some of my favorite things, tasty drinks in fancy cups (mint juleps), betting, horses, and big fun hats. Love me so Derby!

For our anny we will celebrate with a nice dinner and home, since it is a Monday, then next weekend we will go out of town to a cabin we rented on Trapper's Creek near Talkeetna, Alaska. We will be there for my birthday and Mother's day. To celebrate my birthday I am going to take a flying lesson....something I have been dying to do. It will be great to mark that off my bucket list.

Hubby has been busy. This is a big time for him since he has 3 holidays to celebrate with me and he also has his own mom to remember. He has been getting reminder emails from florist for weeks-he is a frequent customer!

He has already made me feel so spoiled by giving me a new iPad 3 with 4g for an early birthday present, got me 2 new pairs of shoes for our anny, and planned the whole out of town weekend. He is a keeper. I bought him a new fishing rod early this spring as an early anny gift, but I have a few other things up my sleeve...shhh, he reads this from time to time.

Also I am looking forward to THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR! If you think students are looking forward to the last day of school, then you should see the teachers. Each morning I think....just 11 more days.

The last day for students is the 17th. My lovely girlfriends have planned a day at the park with kids, followed by mani/pedis with drinks and appetizers served to pamper us, followed by dancing all night....we are all in the education system so this is a big holiday for us!

Then on the last day for teachers I will pack Ocoee and I up, board a red eye flight to Nashville and be home, for the first time in 3 years. My family will get to meet Ocoee for the first time. I will be able to swim in a warm lake. Hug and relax with old friends. Wilt in the humidity. Oh, to be in the South again....Alaska is where I love being, and the South is a part of me, deep rooted, where I always am, no matter where I lay my head.

So there is a lot to look forward to. I will post when I can, to document these wonderful days that I am already looking forward to, but if I miss a few days, know I am out it up.

 My mom

 Me....age 2ish? I am the one on the right back row, beside me is my brother in the blue shirt.

Hubby and I, in Kauai overlooking the Napali Coast on our honeymoon.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


How do we keep our baby safe? It seems that danger is around every corner.

Over the last few days several sad, scary and heartbreaking articles involving babies have been published. I am literally trying to not become a nervous wreck, and even hubby was worried about some people in the neighborhood owning pitbulls....after reading an article.

We chose the safest car seat, best organic food, gear and quality daycare....but how do we prevent the thousands of things that can go wrong? I totally understand why parents are overprotective. No one that knows me would think I am overprotective or a helicopter parent, but I literally have to fight back the impulse to never let her leave my sight.

It is this invisible struggle that goes on in my (and I am sure every parent's) head and heart. Letting the babies explore, live and play means freedom....freedom away from us- the parents.

This invisible struggle is also combined with an invisible cord that  connects us to our baby, any pain she feels, we feel it times ten. That is why I am always seeing danger and trying to make sure this little gift of life is safe!

No wonder I am so exhausted all the time, it takes a lot of energy to worry this much! Good grief.

Also I would like to welcome my sassy friend and fellow new mom, Wendy to the blog world. Check her blog out here. Her daughter Brooklyn is adorable. She also is a fitness coach and overall lovely person!