Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Alaska adventure

Tomorrow grandma and grandpa come to town. It is a big deal to have family visit since we live so far away. Ocoee hasn't seen grandma since September when she was up for her birthday and hasn't seen grandpa since she was 3 months old in Hawaii. These moments they will get to be together will be awesome. Ocoee is at the perfect age for building relationships and memories. 

Ocoee has had a fever on and off again which is due to teething. Some of the big back teeth are coming in and they can be a big pain! When she is teething she becomes clingy with me and need more love. The more I give the more she takes.  I am okay with that and have been very patient and I will let you in on my secret. 

Summer off work and an amazing daycare. Ocoee loves to play with her friends at daycare and they do ├╝ber coll art projects. I love the teachers in her room and think we vastly under pay our child care teachers!! Even though this is the most expensive daycare in the state, the workers don't get half of what they should. Our government should subside this very important work just like we do teachers. As a teacher I know how important very young learning and structure matter years down the road  

Ok off my rant. Back to my secret. Having daycare allows me to get errands done, go for hikes, work out or just sleep in a read a book in the summer. This recharges my batteries and allows me to indulge Ocoee's needs and my own. We all are much happier. I know I am blesses to have this time with her and even he time without her. I hope I can provide a good model for her about how to love and take care of yourself and your family in some sort of balance. 

I had some inspiration to revamp my old kitchen table. It has been painted About a dozen times and needed a new cost since the old one was damaged and showing wear. I had some leftover chalkboard paint and used it for the kitchen table. Now ocoee has a place to doodle (tree free) while we eat or make dinner and I can easily clean it up. Also place settings, potlucks-lots of possibilities!

So the title of this off topic blog was Alaskan adventure and we are heading for one this week. Friday we drive north to Denali national park for 4 days. We have a cabin rented and shuttle buses reserved. We hope to get backcountry permits to camp overnight while ocoee stays with grandma and grandpa at the cabin. We have fresh salmon for the grill and plans to hit up a few dining options of the north. Then we are back in town for a few days before headjng south where we have a cabin rented on the kenai river for some fishing with grandparents. Truly Alaskan adventures and exciting to share them with family. 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day 2013

For Father's Day hubby wanted to hang out around the house recouping from the copper river. So ocoee helped me make his favorite for brunch, huevoes rancheros using farm fresh eggs. 

For Father's Day hubby got a new stainless steal growler, a selection of yummy craft brews in cans for our upcoming trips around Alaska, a La Bodega shirt and gift card for their growler bar. A few fancy chocolate bars and cards topped of his goodies from us girls. Of course his mom sent his a super sweet card and gift. She spoils us all!!

For dinner we ate melt in your mouth like butter king salmon, corn, scalloped potatoes and Mexican chocolate cake with cinnamon mascarpone icing! So delicious and perfect for my hubby who doesn't love super sweet treats. I'll post the recipe soon!

I even mowed the lawn for hubs!

Hope everywhere dads felt special and loved. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Anchorage color run!

This morning ocoee and I participated in the color run. Hubby was gone dip netting the Copper (scored 72 reds and three kings!!) so we joined our book club girls and their kiddos for this messy, colorful, super fun event. 

First let me say there were 15,000 people doing the race. No one was worried about being fast, it was all about color and colorful pictures. Ocoee kicked back in her stroller with the rain shield on to protect her from the corn based color powder that the rest of us were doused, rolled and smeared in. 

The older kids loved pushing ocoee and sticking their hands under the rain guard to touch her and make her look like a mini rainbow along with us. 

It was a blast and afterwards we had champagne and nachos (classy combo) and hung outside at the Boxlers playing. 

By the time we got home ocoee crashes. Seeing the events of the day really wiped her out. 

When she woke up daddy was there and she was happy to see him. He gave her the best gift of time. After bath time he napped (dipnetting with no sleep wipes ya out even more than the color run) while she played baby with him. She had all her blanked covering him up. She takes good care of her babies. She is in total baby mode and loves all babies including her baby dolls, our friends babies, and her fuzzy brobro baby. She gives them all kisses and hugs before singing rockaby baby to them. 

After a dinner of copper river king salmon I am really feeling like it is summer and the heat wave of 4 plus weeks of sunshine just keeps on trucking!!


Friday, June 14, 2013

End the mommy wars!!!!

We all make choices in life about how we want to live and as parents how we want to raise our children. It seems there is a lot of judgement between moms about what is right, wrong and just plain awful. These are referred to as the mommy wars.

A new project aim to end the mommy wars through bringing visual images of people with different perspectives together. Pretty cool idea...check out here.

I know that I have very firm ideas about raising Ocoee on some things and others I tend to float around and hope I will never have to deal with. Sometimes my ideas are shattered, other times I nail it. I do know that parenting is hard work and I have MUCHO! respect for all the parents out there giving it their all. I also think many different styles will work, it is about knowing the crazy little genetic makeup that is your child.

It has been another beautiful week in Alaska so hence no much blogging going on. Today we had the zoo then walking the coastal trail with friends this afternoon. Yesterday we had our first dentist visit (post coming soon) and a going away BBQ. Hubby is dipnetting the Copper River for some tasty salmon and then we have Father's Day on Sunday.....oh yea and the Color Run tomorrow! We Alaskans take our summer seriously and the never ending daylight allows us to play hard and long.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Not the bear. More like the kind that goes in the potty. Yep Ocoee has officially gone pooh twice in the toilet. Once in Juneau and once at home. Also as a disclaimer she also poohed in the tub for the first time. Not as cool as potty for sure. 

We have had potty books and mini potty and even a potty doll with her own little potty for awhile now. We don't make a huge deal about it just have really started asking her and she will now tell us when she has to pooh. 

He first week home I did you with the idea of commando training. This is where you let them run free and watch for signs and ask all the time about potty. We have tile floors so I figured not too bad to clean up. Them I stepped outside and back in. Ocoee had her potty book out and I asked if she needed potty. Nope. That was because when I picked the book up she had already poohed and placed the book on top. Maybe a sign from Ocoee. 

We are really happy the ball is rolling. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Juneau-the days all blur together.

The governors mansion. Pretty house on a pretty hill. I can imagine how much Sarah Palin hated it. Makes me giggle. 

Cool boardwalk hike that winds through the mountain side of Juneau. Flume trail begins at the top of downtown and is sunny, lush and abundant with waterfalls.  A must do. We even pushed Ocoee in her stroller though we had to take her out and cross a few waterfalls and steeper areas. 

Tracy's crab shack. Best seafood bisque ever! The legs were tasty and sexy! Just a little shack at the end of Franklin street by the cruise ships. Ocoee woofed down a few chunks of king crab and we enjoyed some beers and crab. Yum!

Savikko park is across the bridge in Douglas. Perfect sandy beach on a sunny day in Juneau. We were very content and shook about a gallon of sand out of our daughter at the end of the day. Friends cooked up frag caught king salmon on the grill and we chilled out watching the many float planes land. 

Project Playground is a huge community funded and designed playground at twin lakes about 10 minutes down the road from downtown Juneau. The hosted a family fishing day with activities and a stocked lake for fishing. The playground was a huge hit with ocoee and we visited twice. 

Found a good beach for tossing rocks. The sunshine and weather have been amazing. The wildlife viewing has been great too. Two days of seeing bears. A ridiculous plethora of eagles. 

Recommendation in food:

Twisted fish. Great place to sit outside on a sunny day. Decent food and good portions. Service can be spotty but we had good both times. 

The rookery: very Portland style food and even serve stumptown coffee. The food was tasty but small portions and took forever to get. Noisy in a way I like but others might find annoying. Cute concept and location (next to shoe fly on Seward) and trendy tasty good. Order and spend a lot to get full. 

A good idea is to buy a bag of popcorn from willoughby's gourmet pop corn a d walk the docks looking at the amazing yatches and ginormous cruise ships. I recommend the Juneau flavor. Yum. Get some local brewed root beer also. Great snack!

Back to anchorage tomorrow. Juneau has been a good trip. Can't wait to come back when Ocoee is older and kayak and do some more hiking. 


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Juneau-day 4-all about wildlife!!

Today was the first day that we rented a car and headed outside of downtown Juneau. We started early and headed straight for the Mendenhall Glacier. 

I have seen a lot of glaciers. Living in Alaska we are surrounded by them and we have also visited glacier national park in Montana. I do think Mendenhall is my favorite. The glacier is huge and calves (breaks chunks off) right into the lake. There is a huge thundering waterfall, Nugget Falls, right beside it. The valley offers sweeping views of the glacier and the trails and viewings areas are all well maintained. 

Ocoee loved picking up rocks and tossing them into the lake. We did the hike to Nugget falls and she just enjoyed being a kid and playing with rocks, dirt and water-better than anything at the toy store. 

Today though was all about wildlife. The drive to the glacier led us past a river bed where several dozen eagles sat waiting for some fish to eat. There were so many! Throughout the entire day we say many, many more. Juneau is great eagle viewing country. 

After lunch at yummy Paradise Cafe we headed further down the road to shrine of saint Theresa and eagle beach. 

On the way a big fat porcupine strolled lazily across the road. I had to stop for several minutes while he made his way slowly across the road. He was adorable Ina cartoon like way. 

At eagle beach we were treated with several whales and seals skimming along very close to shore. The whales were so close I felt I could toss a rock and hit them. Pictures do not do the area justice. The snow capped coastal range mountains against the green temperate rain forest and water ways with hidden coves and beaches was truly gorgeous. 

The best treat came as we made our way back to downtown juneau. A Sow black bear and her three cubs were hanging out on the side of the road munching on dandelions. They put on a great show and the three cubs were falling and rolling all over themselves. Ocoee was asleep and I didn't want to wake her so I made video of it to show her later. She has been witness to many wildlife sighting that she hasn't actually seen. Oh well growing up here she will get more chances. 

For dinner we ate at Zen in our hotel. Ocoee was able to see her Buddha and the food was some of the best we have had. I recommend the coconut curry shrimp and hubby liked the black cod stir fry. The whole family gobbled up the fresh and non greasy crab Rangoon!

Now ocoee is snuggled up, hubby is bowling with coworkers and I am finally going to begin reading poison wood bible. 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Juneau day 3

We started the day with the best breakfast at sandpiper cafe. Totally tasty! Ocoee had ricotta sourdough pancakes that was simply divine. Everything was yummy!

Another pleasant surprise was how nice the juneau public library downtown was. The views were stunning and the kids section was really fun and appealing to kids. We went for story time and crafts. There was singing and worms!! Ocoee had a blast and rounded up all the huge stuffed animals and ran around enjoying herself. It was so relaxing and catered to kids-my kind of library. 

We hit up Heritage coffee for some caffeine and then headed to the hotel for a mid day nap. It was more successful today and ocoee snoozed while I finished  my book club book-Favored daughter. It was from a few months ago so I am behind on reading. Nothing like a foggy coastal town to make you want to curl up with a big cup of tea and a good book. 

After nap we had a blah meal at Rockwell. Really blah food and terrible service. Ah well, you win some and lose some. Yesterday we had a great lunch at B's bakery and cafe. The owner was friendly and the cupcakes tempting. After a panini ocoee and I split a tasty oatmeal coconut cookie. It was a win. 

We hit up the Imagination toy store where Ocoee played and hubby and I wandered around looking at the cool toys. I could spend buckets of money in places like that. We settled on a set of Melissa and Doug paint brushes to use with a hand me up easel we received. It is really nice and I think bug is ready to start using it. We do "art" time at home since she gets so much at daycare I am tying to keep up! Back at the hotel we painted with the brushes using invisible paint and then had a nice long bath. Hubby is off socializing at a work function  and I am going to do a little yoga and read while bug sleeps. 


Juneau day 2

Day 2 in Juneau and the weather was typical southeast weather. Cloudy and drizzle.  I actually like this kind of weather when I am in a coastal town like Juneau. The waterfalls seem more lush and the green foliage pops against the grey skies. 

Ocoee and I headed to August Brown swimming pool. For $4 you can swim in the huge heated salt water pool that is 4 feet deep and gradual entry that makes it perfect for kids. It was toddler swim time but we were the only people in the whole pool! It was a great swim and we plan to go again. Access to warm pools is pretty limited in anchorage so this was a great find. 

After lunch we hit the Rainy Retreat book store. We got a great local kids book about the famous Patsy Anne dog from Juneau and some books for my classroom about the southeast. They even had a teachers discount. Great store. 

Next we popped next door to Shoe Fly and Ocoee was in nirvana. She loved all the shoes! I couldn't help but laugh as she played with all the ridiculous sparkly high heeled kids shoes. I really hope she doesn't ask for any of these any time soon. We did get some new smart wool socks and hat-or as the nice Canadians taught ocoee a tuke (stocking hat). Ocoee could have played in that corner of the shoe store for hours. Shoe fly is the sister store of Shoezy Q which is located downtown Anchorage. Super cute shoes and great staff. 

After a long unsuccessful attempt to take a nap Ocoee and I headed downstairs to have a glass of wine and see her favorite new thing. Buddha. I think she is tapping into her inner spirituality because she is semi-obsessed with Buddha. She also made friends with the owner of Zen's (the Chinese restaurant in the hotel) son Henry. Ocoee was able to play with him while mommy had wine. 

Dinner was Bullwinkles pizza which was ok. The best thing was the free popcorn that came with the order. It was yummy. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Juneau day one

We arrived in Juneau on a rare clear and sunny day. This did not last long but it was great to see the city for the first time under a blazing sunny sky and blue skies. 

We checked into our hotel after a quick hour and half flight and headed to silverbow bagels for brunch and caffeine pick me up. 

We walked around the water front and gawked at the tourist gawking at Alaska. I thought we had lots of tourist in anchorage but Juneau had 4 cruise ships at the harbor at the same time. Different languages surrounded us everywhere we went. 

Taku is the local salmon processor. After tasting samples we decided it didn't hold up to our favorite salmon copper river reds! Two weeks until hubby goes dip netting on the copper!

Ocoee and I rode the Roberts tram to the top and enjoyed the views. To be honest the views were nice but at $31 a pop it was more of tourist trap than anything. There was still too much snow to use the trails so not much to do up top. 

Across the street from our hotel we headed to the hanger for dinner. They were too full so we went two doors down to the silver gulch and ate a yummy crab boil and fish and chips while watching the sea planes land. 

A few Alaskan porters and deck space to climb around and we were all happy campers!

Good first day! Tomorrow we will swim and see more sightS. 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Family trip to Juneau, Alaska

Tomorrow we head to Juneau. It is our state capital and I have never been. Located along the lovely inner passage it will be rainy and wet but lovely and lush also. Bags are packed and we are ready to go. 

My advice to parents who travel with kids-give up on packing light. Sure but light easy gear (we love our peapod) but bring what you need to enjoy yourself and keep everyone happy! So worth it in the end. This will be Ocoee's first trip of the summer and about the 12th flying trip of her 20 months. She is a pro traveler and we feel lucky to get to travel and experience the world with her. 

Stay tuned for Juneau visitors info!