Thursday, November 6, 2014

23 weeks pregnant

Walking into the hospital today that is home to my awesome Obgyn's office I had a flashback to 3 years ago when I was leaving the hospital with a not so little newborn Ocoee. 

I remember thinking I should have to take a test or get approval from someone important before they let me leave with this new little human. You would think after 41 weeks of growing her I would be prepared to have her outside, but boy did  I feel overwhelmed. 

Now she is a bigger little human and has a personality, sense of humor and all the things that make her the little girl I so love. I was imagining her arriving at the hospital to greet her new sibling. Wow. Time and life are such a blessing and leave me awestruck. 

Baby boy is due March 5. Our family is growing and it is my greatest joy. I appreciate every day that I get to be a part of this magical life. 


Halloween 2014

For Halloween this year we really had a lot of fun. Ocoee enjoyed carving pumpkins, reading Halloween books and of course dressing up. We practiced trick or treating as a game many times before the big event.

On the day of the event Ocoee had daycare where she dressed up as a scarecrow. She was one of the few girls in the class that was not wearing a princess dress and she looked awesome. The day was pretty action packed for a little 3 year old who was too excited to nap. They trick or treated during the day in the different classrooms at her preschool and then ended the day with a party for parents to attend. I was very impressed with the class party and for the first time ever Ocoee actually wanted to be there.....we last a good 30 minutes before she was ready to go home.

At home we relaxed a bit making some caesar salad for our friend party and trick or treating at the Boxlers. They have a great neighborhood and enjoy hosting all the crazy kids. Ocoee did a quick costume change to her piglet costume, which was warm and fit the family theme. Hubby was pooh (yellow sweat pants and a bear stocking hat) and I was Kanga (brown tights and a kangaroo stocking hat). Ocoee did such  great job trick or treating. She loved seeing the decorations around the neighborhood, especially the scarecrows. She even walked to the door without us, since she had her friend Maggie to assist her. Maggie was a sweetheart showing Ocoee the ropes of getting candy from strangers.

Once we hit about 10 houses we called it a night and left the older kids to switching and trading their candy. It looked like the floor of the stock exchange during a frenzy.

We placed all of Ocoee's candy outside for the switch witch to trade her. She is super good at not eating candy with junk in it. She gets a steady supply of organic candy from grandma who has access to Trader Joes and Whole Foods. The switch witch gave her some dress up masks, the hungry hippos game and a new book. She was so pumped when she woke up!

Here are some photos:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ocoee's 3rd birthday

Since I have had a month to write this you may be expecting some awesome, witty, soul wrenching writing......but you are wrong! Sorry. I will get the basics down and then run out for our packed Halloween day, which will also take me forever to blog. See the theme??

For Ocoee's 3rd birthday we stuck with the tradition of heading south to the ski town for Girdwood for a family retreat. We had friends rent rooms at the Alyeska resort and join us for the fun. Ocoee picked a pirate theme and we had gathered all the fun decorations, party favors and food weeks in advance. It was going to be easy peasy, pumpkin squeezey!

Except, my physically hesitant, cautious child fell on 6 inches of uber safe playground foam and broke her collarbone. It happened at daycare on her 3rd day in the new "big kids" room of preschool. She told us she was going up the slide the wrong way and slipped and fell. This was her trying to fit in with the other kids. Tough lessons there!

Hubby took the day off and took her to the doctor and she had her X-rays. I guess this was really traumatic and I am very happy that I didn't find out about her injury until the end of the day Friday. I was a wreck and don't think I would have helped the situation any. I guess collarbone injuries are very common and she had to wear a harness for 4 weeks. Hubby also broke his collarbone when he was younger, so this seems to be a family trend.

A broken collarbone didn't slow her down. After the doctors office we packed up headed to gird wood and had dinner at our favorite restaurant Jack Spratts.

Our karma seemed to turn around once we arrived in Girdwood. Upon check in we were informed that we had been upgraded to the Royal Suite. This is the nicest room in the hotel that is normally $1700 a night! The room had two separate entrances, more closets than my house, a full kitchen with sub zero fridge, a bedroom, a lounge with floor to ceiling 360 degree glass windows and two bathrooms. Let's just say a pretty jaw dropping place for a 3 year olds birthday party!

The weekend was filled with swimming, tram rides up the mountain, yummy food, gifts and many wonderful memories. Late on Saturday night we all wandered over to moose meadow released our wish lanterns. Ocoee wished for a frog. The lanterns must work because she received a frog bath toy on her actual birthday the following Tuesday.

Ocoee's 3 year stats:

Loves to read and is currently hooked on Winnie the Pooh.
73% for height-38 inches
62% for weight-32 pounds....I am pretty sure that is what she weighed last year!!
Still sleeps with her tag blanket but in her brand-new big girl daybed!

As Grandma said, A perfectly sized granddaughter.

Here are the photos!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ocoee's first hike-April bowl at Hatcher's pass

This weekend Ocoee and I joined some great friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a beautiful fall weekend and we all rented a cabin at hatchers pass lodge. The weekend was full of food, hikes, games and hearty conversation. 

The other kiddos on the trip are older than Ocoee but they do an excellent job of hanging out and playing with Ocoee. She loves playing with the big kids. 

The biggest highlight of the weekend was completing a 2.5 mile hike to April bowl. The trail was narrow with 800 ft in elevation gain. The elevation gain was easy due to switch backs. To motivate Ocoee I used organic jelly beans from trader joes at different milestones along the way. My good friend also told her stories and chatted her up to keep her mind occupied while her feet kept moving. 

It was great to see my little one accomplish her goal and to embrace the beauty of Alaska. Hiking is truly an activity that touches the soul on the peaks here in Alaska.  

Another first for coco bean!


Sunday, September 14, 2014


Fall is a time of transition and letting go. We say goodbye to summer and all it entails and embrace the change of the seasons. 

Yesterday was a special day at our house. It was my mom's birthday. Our beloved dogs, Brodie and Love also shared this birthday. Since we lost Brodie and Love we have been waiting for this day to have a memorial to pay our respects and celebrate the joy they brought to our family. 

We had little brass plaques made an found a favorite tree in Russian jack park. They are side by side on the tree like they so often were in life. The walk in the park reminded us of hundreds we shared with the dogs over the last 5 years. The rain stopped and the sun shined, making it a lovely day to stroll through the birch trees. 

On the way to the creek where we wanted to spread Brodie's ashes we walked through the tunnel, like many times before. Our tradition is to yell and hear our echo. This time we yelled, Brodie! Love! Words that so often spilled from our mouths before but we hadn't said much of lately. Then Ocoee whispered, we miss you. My eyes were filled with tears. 

We reached the creek and let Brodie's ashes fall in the creek. The creek gurgled and bubbled along on a perfect fall day. Brodie loved to sit in the creek and cool off, drinking from the fresh cool water. He was the typical lab who could not resist water. 

I really don't have the words to describe how much our dogs meant to us and how much they gave us during their 15 years on earth. Most of you have owned dogs and know. It is something I will always treasure. 

RIP Brodie dog and Love dog. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer 2014

Summer was so great and busy that I didn't even blog! I was a total slacker. The highlights were time in Nebraska with grandma and grandpa, family in from Arizona to visit and lots of cousin and Uncle DD time in Tennessee. It was truly magical to see Ocoee forming relationships with her family members so far away. She is old enough now to really engage with everyone. She even got to meet some of my former Journalism students. We were busy the whole summer and had so many wonderful moments that I am bummed I didn't take the time to catch them in writing. Ocoee grew more adventurous and talkative this summer and now seems a bit more like my personality than hubby's......but she can still be reserved and a watcher.


A few picts......

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I wanted to document an interesting habit Ocoee has had for several years now. She loves tags. I mean adores them. She checks out all clothes based on how nice the tag is. Scratchy or soft.....she especially likes ones that have her name on them. She holds these tags in one hand as a comfort item. She has a special tag blankie that is an old swaddle blanket that she drags around the house like Linus from Peanuts and she also sleeps with a tag.....could be blankie or could be a favorite fleece or shirt.

I found her in the entry way holding tightly to a tag on her fleece that was hooked on the coat rag....literally purring. Who knew something so silly would be so soothing to her.

We are very loving and affectionate so I am not sure why she needs this extra security, but it works for her so we just roll with it. It has become the norm and makes even her laugh. I remember when she started because a boy at daycare had the same habit. They were great buds and she really picked it up from him. She is also a thumb sucker so this fits that mold as well.

I am sure years from now she will have no memory of this little habit but for now it is very important to her!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day weekend! Closing up homer cabin

We spent the weekend basking in Alaska's glory as we prepared to shut up the Homer cabin for the winter. The sun shined, eagles flew, fish were caught and summer went out in style. 

Ocoee caught her first fish deep sea fishing. We were telling her the story of my first Alaskan deep sea fish where I caught a cod that was being eaten by a ling cod. It was awesome. Two in one cast. Two minute later Ocoee reeled in her double sculpin! She was most excited by the rainbow fishing line. 

It was a purely spectacular weekend with great sunsets and sunshine every day. The cabin accommodated 3 extra adults and one more dog easily. We finished with yummy pizza at Finns. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homer weekend-June 2014

We were finally able to make time to visit the Homer cabin. I have dubbed it the H3C, Homer Hesketh Hill Cabin. As we approached in the water taxi there she stood on the top of the hill with eagles soaring by her, so lovely against the sky.

Ocoee and Hubby stand down by the cliffs with the cabin in the background.
We dropped no essential gear on the beach and headed up the hill for the strenuous but short hike that was our trail from last summer. Seeing no clear trail or road we went up the steepest but shortest way. Many curse words and tears were spilt on that first bushwhacking hike and I am sure the road to hell is paved not in good intentions but instead in Devils Club.

This time though the path was in much better shape due to the boys coming a few weeks before to do some chainsaw work on the main trail on the back side of the hill. We were happily almost there when we saw another tree had fallen in the last few weeks. UGH! We spent the 10 minutes climbing through a spider web of limbs and branches just steps from the cabin.

Once we made it though I was happy to see the boys left the place in good order. Mike figured out how to deal with the tree that had fallen on the roof and miraculously missed the chimney. He had it off with brain and brawn....very manly moment. Patched the roof and then spent time working on the back trail. The 5 year goal is to make the trail an ATV road so we could move more gear and people can access the cabin easier. But to be honest I am happy with the meandering trail that is there now. It needs more work for sure but I most anyone in ok shape can make it up in 30 minutes with very little strain. Supplies have to be backpacked in but that is why it is such is remote. At the end of the Kenai peninsula, down the Homer spit, across Kachemak bay and then up the HILL. Don't have to worry about locking the door!

My projects for the cabin included, two indoor outdoor rugs for the living room and lower bedroom. Curtains for the lower two windows, a little sink curtain to hide the storage area, some blackout curtains to divide the bedroom from kitchen and some fresh organic sheets for the loft beds. We worked, read, ate, drank wine and played on the beach. Mike went to bed every night really tired from his more arduous work. Eagles swooped by often and the wood fire stove kept us all cozy.

One day we had amazing weather and spent the day kayaking, beach combing (Ocoee found dozens of jellyfish) and sipping beers on the beach. I even took a nap in the sun laying against a piece of driftwood. Hubby fished and caught a few pinks and small cod...nothing we ate but fun all the same.

It was good to get away.

Here are some pictures of the weekend.