Monday, July 30, 2012

A string of nice days

In Alaska a beautiful sunny day seems infinite. So this past week when we had a string of sunny, hot (for Alaska) amazing days Ocoee and I took full advantage.

We walked the Chester creek trail with two friends and their kids. We are all doing the lost lake 1/2 marathon so getting 6 miles in on a nice day helped us to prepare. We ended at the peanut farm to enjoy some outside dining while the big kids played happily in the creek that runs along the restaurant patio.

On another day Ocoee and I walked te coastal trail and then met hubby for lunch on the Delaney strip park. We had fresh bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes ( a real find in Alaska), mozzarella, sea salt crackers and in season figs with goat cheese-yum!

I have also been so lucky to have daycare over the summer. Ocoee gets a few hours of play with kids her age, is getting to know her new providers before school starts, and mommy gets mommy time. I have gotten to meet friends for lunch, hike Arctic valley , and work out consistently. It has paid off too- I am 2 pounds from my prepreggers weight. It took about 2 months for most of the weight to come off but the last 10 I have dropped this month by hitting the gym consistently, walking and eating less calories.

Over the weekend the weather was so nice I broke out Ocoee's splash mat we bought for Tennessee and since we have hot water on demand hubby was able to hook the hose up to it via the garage-tadah! An Alaskan pool, all heated and ready to go. Ocoee loved it. I was so warm I wanted to climb on and splash too. She still really likes being in water, as long as it is warm.

We made some homemade figs and goat cheese pizza and hung out in the backyard watching out baby splash, our dogger doze in the sun and out chickens pecking happily. These ate the days that make me feel so lucky to be a teacher with summers off and to live in Alaska with hubby and baby.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Wifi is back!

I officially have wifi and cable again. We cancel every spring and summer because we are on the go so much we don't use it...but boy am I happy to have wifi again. My blogging from my phone or ipad with sloooooowwww 4g was not cutting it. So now I can post more.

Check out Ocoee's latest photo shoot here.

She is upstairs not sleeping during her nap now....even though she is rubbing her eyes and tired she is just not interested in sleeping. So I will go rescue her....


Monday, July 23, 2012


We had another camping weekend here. This time we headed to copper center. There is a great lodge there we have been wanting to check out for when hubby's parents come up next summer and the reds were running up the Klutina river so fishing was on!

The drive and weather were great, except Sunday so we just packed up and headed home. Hubby caught a few nice sized salmon. We bought caught a cold from baby-who played how filthy can I get all weekend. It is really hard when every instinct you have wants you to keep them warm, clean and dry to let your baby get dirty and wet!

The lodge was awesome. We drank Alaskan beers on the patio overlooking the Klutina river. Baby tried her first taste of Alaskan crab and ice cream. Both I believe are on the "not until 1 year list" buy we figured, hmmm hundreds of miles from home in the Alaskan wilderness- sure why not try it. Maybe the stunning view of Mount Drum and beers clouded our judgement. Baby thought the crab was yummy and oh my gosh did she love the Matsu creamery ice cream!! She was eating it so fast and would scream because we couldn't shovel it in fast enough. I guess treats are good in moderation. We better never stock this at home or she will find a way to climb into the freezer.

We are enjoying the last few weeks of summer.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Reading the paper with dadddy

A few shots I snapped one morning while hubby read the Economist and Ocoee climbed all over, wanting to be in on the action. He read her a few articles and she was thrilled to have her daddy time......hopefully she doesn't grow up to be an economist based on this subtle brain washing :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Slower pace

Since Ocoee has arrived in our lives we do things at a slower pace. Getting ready to leave the house used to be an epic undertaking when she was little bitty, now it takes longer than just me but not too bad. We have the diaper bag always ready to go and that helps.

My hubby likes to point out that 6 trips in 6 months isn't really slow pace but other than travel we are better at Chilling and enjoying family time than we were as DINKS-double income no kids. And we are planning on scaling back in the travel category this ear since I will be working part time. Even our summer Alaska style has been less hectic. Two summers ago we would be in Homer or Seward fishing on our buddy's boat every weekend. This year we pass up epic fishing trips to just relax and hang out with Ocoee.

We now actually camp just to camp. Not to sleep in a tent in between fishing, hiking or some other adventure. The funny thing is that even my fast paced, adventure driven, restless soul seems happy to just chill.

Soak it all in.

I am already fretting that the first year of her life has buzzed by in such a whirl. How can she have two perfect little baby teeth and want to stand already. A blink ago she couldn't even hold her head up or roll over.

I am glad that we are older and have had time to live it up prebaby because I am ok on missing the adventures because it seems I have this amazing adventure that thrills my soul, right here at home.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cool stuff-baby toy reviews-Eco-friendly

I have gotten quite a few cool things for Ocoee lately. The first things I am really excited are the art supplies from Wee Can Too. The company makes veggie based all natural art supplies. They are literally safe for babies to eat-because we all know that babies will eat everything they touch anyways.

The website at has all sorts of cool art supplies. I ordered the finger paint that is a powder so you can mix small batches and only use what you need, veggie sidewalk chalk made from real veggies and an Easter egg dying kits. I love that they are a small company that parents started to make sure their little one wasn't eating gross dyes.

I also picked up a small pack of markers from whole foods in Portland made by Clementine arts, another Eco friendly art store where I plan on getting some soy crayons soon too. That website is They are Colorado based and have great quality products.

I also picked up a few reusable bags a few weeks ago from our local home goods store,Habitat. The bags are adorable fabric bags that take the place of ziplocks. They can be hand or machine washed and have a waterproof interior much like our big diaper bags for our cloth diapers. The company that makes them is called itzy ritzy and you can find them at or amazon. We use them for travel snacks such as crackers and yogurt bites and the fun colors and zipper makes them very kid friendly.

The colorful tights and pillow sack dress came from Hannah Anderson. Katie and I stumbled across the store while in Portland and I did a little dance of joy right in the street. It worked out perfect because both kiddos were snoozing in the strollers and the store was going to close in 20 minutes. That saved me a lot of money! I stocked up on tights since they are the best quality, ridiculously cute and essential for Alaskan weather. The dress and a SPF swim outfit were on sale and a great deal. The tights also were buy one get one 1/2 off. Love a deal. Katie snagged Eddie some cute dude gear and then we were off for happy hour!

Also below is one of Ocoee's favorite toys, her art flash cards. The colors are rad and sophisticated with lovely art pictures for the animals a-z. Found these at anthropologie in Nashville and love them. Since they are heavy duty cardboard and big Ocoee can easily grab them while we say G is for Gorilla! Anthropology has really fun and different kids stuff that I covet so much!

Also in Portland we visited Powell's book store which is my favorite book store ever. It is the largest independently owned book store in the world and takes up a whole city block. I could easily spend a day roaming it's many rooms. We have made a family tradition of buying books from cities we visit. We found Larry gets lost in Portland and Pete's a pizza at Powells.
Larry is really cool and has many of the highlights of our trip like Voodoo donuts, the Oregon zoo an even the elephant statue I snapped a photo off while catching some shade in a park.

The last new goodie was from Powells as well and über cool. It is an alphabet garland upcycled from old kids board books. I strung it along Ocoee's stairs so she can learn her letters using it. One day at least :).

All of these new cool things were really affordable and most were ecofriendly. I feel better about my consumerism when it involves anything green or educational and I can never turn down books!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strollers in the city

The beautiful sunny long weekend in Portland was a success mainly due to he awesomeness of strollers. Ocoee has a majesty purple Maclaren stroller that we put many miles on this weekend.

When we arrived in the city we met Katie and Eddie at the Marriott and headed out to explore. We found a little bistro that had patio seating in the pearl and our theme was set. We ate every meal outside. Not only was the good for people watching and enjoying the weather but turned out to be very kid friendly as well. Things fell on the ground and Ocoee ate her fair share of fresh ruffage from close by planters. Thankfully Portland has tons of outdoor seating at cafes and brewpubs!

We hit voodoo donuts for a dozen bizarre sugar creations which kept Eddie in good spirits. We grabbed snacks and wine at whole foods hotel friendly chilling. Those that know me know I love to visit whole foods no matter where I am traveling.

The strollers were workhorses at the Oregon zoo when we visited and had a great afternoon checking out all the animals. I felt pretty snobby in the northwest section that had many animals that we find in our backyards in Alaska. Bears-meh, one just ran through my yard. Guess Alaska makes you hard to impress. All joking aside the zoo was really nice. No Omaha Henry Doorly but top notch anyways.

The city of Portland also gets an A plus in my book for their great recycling, lovely parks and fountains as super clean, fast light rail. All make visiting with kids fun and easy.

Ocoee and I squeezed in a little shopping after Katie and Eddie headed to the beach. Now we are riding the redline to the airport. Ocoee is showin off her impressive baby yoga moves that have received many comments all weekend. Several people have also looked longingly at her crashed out snoozing in her stroller, saying that is the life!

The best part of a girls/mommy weekend with the Paniskos is that Katie and I can push the strollers an jut chat. We caught up on each others lives and discussed being moms. Our kiddos got to play and hang out. We burned quite a few calories walking all over Portland which we quickly consumed at lunch and dinner.

Ocoee's eating has changed on this trip. She is over her Ella's purred foods and only wants what I am eating or things she can feed herself. So she ate lots of crackers and yogurt bites. Many ended up stuck all over her stroller but she has really mastered the whole eye hand coordination thing.

Ocoee once again travelled like a champ. I feel really, really lucky she does so well. Part of it because she loves to people watch and traveling is the perfect time to do that. She is quite nosy really. She slept well in the hotel and liked seeing Eddie play.

And now we are off!

Back home to see hubby and enjoy the remainder of summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

All grown up!

Ocoee has come to think of herself as all grown up. She only wants to eat food that she can feed herself and has starting using her sippy cup. She has had the skills to use her sippy for awhile now but has refused because she would rather mommy and daddy hold it-who can blame her.

We have been eating a lot of crackers and Dave's killer bread dipped in puréed foods to feed her. I am proud at her for venturing into this new area of food eating but also worrying she isn't getting enough. There is something satisfying about shoveling tons of peas and spinach into your baby's mouth. Now I sit and sip my tea and watch her pick up her pieces and eat. The dogs also get their share of her meal so she has quite the audience at meal times.

We are off to get ready for Portland. Fly out today around noon. I am excited since Portland is a short flight at a little over 3 hours! Much better than the 9 to get to Tennessee.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Ocoee's 9 month stats

Today was Ocoee's 9 month appt. she weighed 18.15 pounds, is 28 inches long with her head still in the 95%. What can se say, she has some big brains up there.

She has 2 bottom teeth that are almost in all the way. She still only army crawls and has begun to pull herself up to standing. She takes steps between daddy and I so I am thinking she might skip real crawling and move straight to walking. She is in to everything. Her favorite play toys are my keys, the dog bowels and measuring cups.

We have Enjoyed our first full week at home. We have met Kendra and Kathleen for lunch and Ocoee loves to people watch. On Thursday we leave for Portland to meet Katie and Eddie and we are both exited. It will be Ocoee's first trip to Oregon. We will be back in February. I love Portland and beyond ecstatic that it will be sunny and high 70s! That is hot to these two Alaskan girls. Though I have been getting reports from down south of 109 in Tennessee. Oh holy hotness.

This will be Ocoee's 5th airplane trip and I am hoping she will keep being an awesome flyer. She has been staying up later until 7 and sometime even 8 or 9 if we have been doing things. She still sleeps great though is beginning to need less and less.

How on earth did 9 months go so fast. Today we heard at least 5 times- what cute curls! Her hair is getting longer, thicker and curly. Very adorable.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

A perfect Alaska weekend.

We just spent the perfect camping weekend in Alaska. We drove a little over an hour south in the Kenai- seeing gorgeous views and Dall sheep hugging the cliffs along the way. Found a great little campsite at Bertha creek campground. The glacial creek was polar with locals trying to pan for gold. No one seemed to find much. Brodie on the other hand felt that the entire creek was gold. He loved laying in the icy water. It must have invigorating effects since he acted like a pup again. The waterfall over he creek was beautiful and the sounds made for the ultimate sleep machine.

We woke up early ( or the baby woke us up) and headed for summit lake to try out our new 2 person kayak on the flat water. It was Ocoee's first voyage by kayak and she did well. I wore her in the ergo while mike did the paddling. The kayak glides quickly across the surface and it was a peaceful paddle.

After paddling we hit the near by lodge up for lunch, gobbling down our food and beers while watching float planes land. Ocoee was tired so we all took a nap in the car at the trail hard of Johnson's pass. The sun made the car so warm and sleepy- it was the perfect after lunch siesta.

Once we all woke it was time to hit the trail. Hubby wore the Kelty backpack with Ocoee while we hiked for a few hours. The trail was spectacular. Not steep, lots of pretty creeks and waterfalls and wide open views. We stopped several times to gape at the view.

Ocoee loves the Kelty. She bounces up and down, smiling and waiving the whole time. She babbles and screeches doing her part to stay bear aware. We also found that the tent is a favorite or hers. We are all zipped up and safe so she can crawl and climb all over us. A little slice of heaven for her.

On the way home we stopped in girdwood for sweet rolls from the bake shop. Yum! And my favorite thing after a weekend of camping. That and a long hot shower.