Sea Otters and Whales

Obviously, I am behind in blogging. But instead of trying to catch up and tell you everything we've done since July, I will just start with something more recent...we went on another wildlife cruise! This one was a fundraiser Andrew was doing with the scouts, and it was in September. It was actually our second cruise, the first one was in Seward in July and it was amazing and exhausting! It was a 7 hour cruise, but we saw humpback whales, orcas (all three types), sea lions, sea otters, puffins, porpoises, and one eagle. After that, Jessica talks a lot about going on a boat, seeing whales and otters, and says that she needs her noculars (known as binoculars to the rest of us).

This is a random tidbit, but it shows how much Jessica now loves whales and otters. In Andrew's family growing up, his mom would often let them play with some bread dough and make whatever they wanted, and she also made alligators. So, one day, when we were making rolls, I asked Jessica if she wanted to make an alligator out of dough, and started making one. Then, she told me she wanted a sea otter and a whale. I kept working on the alligator and showed her how great it looked and let her help decorate it. Notice the white heart sprinkles on his face? Those are cheeks Jessica added. Even after that, she still wanted a whale, so I made one, and then, she asked for an otter. She is one lucky girl.

Anyway, so, when we told her we were going on another boat, she was pretty excited! This one was in Whittier, Alaska, and to get there you have to go through a  2.5 mile tunnel (which is the longest highway tunnel in North America and the longest tunnel used for both cars and trains...yeah, both cars and trains use this! Crazy, huh?). We were early, so we had a great time exploring a little in the rain. It is beautiful there! We saw glaciers, boats, a gigantic cruise ship, ran around and had a great time...and that was before we even got on board.

this wasn't our boat...we wished it was

Jessica loved it again! She wanted to climb up the side of the boat too. We sat with some friends we went to church with, so that was fun. But, the funny thing was, we didn't see much wildlife on this wildlife cruise. One otter...that was it. And it disappeared pretty quickly. But we did see a lot of glaciers and an amazing waterfall, and really, we were on a boat in Alaska, so it was great. But next time, we're hoping for a glimpse of another whale.


Two Years Old!!!

That's right...we have a two-year old in the house! Unbelievable! 

trying to hold up those fingers to show she is 2...it is a hard skill to learn
Our birthdays are all back to back...Andrew's in May, Brianna's in June, and Jessica's in July. So, with all of these celebrations we've had lately, Jessica learned how to sing "Happy Birthday to you..." And then, we got a book from the library that mentioned a birthday cake, and she kept asking us about her birthday cake. One day I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, brown or white; her response was, "chocolate." Her requested frosting was pink. And she got it! For the record, I would love to know how to decorate cakes; it looks so fun and I get excited about it. But, we don't eat much cake, so, I don't practice much, and this cake was an adventure that I was very worried about. It didn't look so great, my cake pans are horrible, and the cake was lopsided. But, the cake was delicious and Jessica loved it.

Jessica's birthday is on the 4th of July, but we really didn't celebrate much of that holiday this year. We had gone on an all day wildlife cruise the day before and we were exhausted! We slept in, opened presents, skyped with Jessica's birth parents and birth family and enjoyed hanging out together. 

This was the first time Jessica really enjoyed opening presents and then actually wanted to play with those presents. That was fun.

Skyping with Jessica's birth family. She didn't sit still for long. Instead she wanted to show off and go down the slide and race down the hallway.
We ate a delicious birthday meal and a delicious birthday cake and ended the night with some fireworks that were actually all poppers. We bought a pack at the store and didn't realize until we were getting ready to light them that none of them were the kind you can light...just pull the string and pop! It was a little bit of a disappointment, but we pulled out some bubbles and all was well.


May 2012

I wanted to give this post an exciting title, but I couldn't think of anything clever except, "May we tell you about our May?" and that just sounds weird, so May 2012 it is. May was a busy, busy month and I can't believe it is over. We've already posted about a few of our adventures, but here is the major synopsis of the month.

We had our first Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) Activity! Andrew and I were involved with FSA when we lived in Colorado, but they didn't have a group here in Alaska, so we volunteered to start one. It will be a smaller group, but we are really excited to be involved! We started out with a bang...and a pinata to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I made this, and unfortunately only took pictures when I was building the pinata, and none of the finished, un-destroyed pinata. Anyway, pinatas are a lot of work...but it looked awesome.

Jessica and Brianna seem to be outside every day...except when it is too rainy. But our Spring has been great so far and Jessica loves the toys at the parks and playgrounds near our home. Anytime we walk or drive past some toys (in a park or backyard), Jessica wants to play on them.

Or, we just stay at home and play in the backyard. Playing with water is a lot of fun...and much better than digging up mom's flowers.

Brianna got a haircut...and Andrew did too, although his are pretty regular occurrences, so now, Jessica says she wants to get a haircut all the time. We appeased her with a new hairstyle. I love it! She looks so dang cute! (Ignore the cracker crumbs on her face...it was snack time!)

For Mother's day weekend, we got to do video chat with Andrew's siblings, Hillary and Robbie, who are both on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was fun to see them and chat! Jessica loves making faces on the computer.

Andrew had a week long training in Colorado, BUT, about two days before, he found out he didn't have to go! We were all thrilled! Instead, we enjoyed each other, and helped some friends move.

And, Andrew had Memorial Day off work, so we decided to tour Anchorage. We went to the Alaska Wild Berry Park to see the world's tallest chocolate waterfall...which had around 3,000 pounds of chocolate, but wasn't as big as we thought. (Sorry these pictures are not great quality. We didn't realize our camera had been changed to .03 pixels...)

We also saw some reindeer, got a few mosquito bites, and enjoyed some ice cream! Jessica has been getting spoiled with ice cream lately. The other day when we were coming home for lunch, she looked at me and said, "ice cream time!"

We also did a lot of walking that day, visited Earthquake Park, and went along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail for awhile. We started the trail at Earthquake Park and noticed that part of the trail was on the beach, so we thought we'd go that way to visit the beach too. Unfortunately, I (Brianna) was looking at the map, and well, I've never been good with directions. Sometimes I forget what way is right and left, so I really can't  even begin to understand North, South, East, and West. Anyway, we went the wrong way...which I realized at the end of the trail. But, it was a beautiful walk, and after we headed back to our car, we decided to drive to another section of the beach instead. All's well that ends well, right?

We love living near a beach with mountains in the background...oh wait, we just love living near the beach!


Family Time!

One of the things we love about Andrew's job here is that he is home on the weekends. Occasionally he has a meeting or event, but nothing like before. We love seeing him on Saturday and having him home during the evenings! So, to celebrate our weekends, we've been doing some fun things.

A few weeks ago, we decided to go check out a park in Anchorage and feed the ducks and geese...and then run around like crazy!

Another weekend, we went to the Anchorage Museum and were there for hours! We were all exhausted when we left, but it was so much fun. We loved learning about the history of Alaska and were amazed by everything we saw. They have a section on the different Alaskan Native tribes and it was amazing...did you know they made parkas out of seal intestines? They did. And they were amazing. Our favorite part was the Imaginarium which is the Kids section and Science section. It was great...we made a lot of huge bubbles, tried some fun experiments, watched some fish and a turtle, and had a great time!

And although it is fun to get out and about, sometimes, we just like hanging out in our yard in our favorite place...the hammock! For those of you not in Alaska, please know that it is still fun to be outside when you need a coat and hat.

Spring in Alaska

I'm a little behind, because officially, Spring started March 21. But, there was a lot of snow in Alaska this year, so things were different. And since it is our first Alaskan Spring, we had no idea what to expect. So far, we've experienced a lot of sun, some mud and dirt (mostly the dirt was experienced inside...I was seriously sweeping multiple times each day and it still was never clean!), puddles, rain, and now, more sun. We love the sun, although we are having a hard time adjusting to so much light! We never know when to go to bed, and Jessica is waking up way too early some days!

But, now our yard is snow free (and has been for a few weeks), but I wanted to share the transformation with you. Dates are posted below the pictures.

April 10

April 16...aren't puddles fun? I think Jessica wished we had more this year.
April 16
April 30...look what two weeks can do!

Oh, one more thing. I love the moss! I didn't realize how much I missed moss, but really, in Washington, where I grew up, moss was everywhere. It is fun to see it again!


In the Zone...the Scrabble zone

We've mentioned before that we love playing different board games, and we still do. A few weeks ago, for our date night, we pulled out our beloved game of Scrabble to enjoy. Now, we both like word games, and although Brianna is the better speller, Andrew almost always wins when we play Scrabble. We are pretty evenly matched in Boggle, Quiddler, PDQ, and a lot of other word games that we have and that most people have never heard of.

But, on this night...Brianna was the champion. And it was all because of one word. And it was a good word...with a lot of points. So good, that we documented it.

Zoned. What a word. A word worth 75 points! It was a double letter score on the z, and thanks to the d, I got a triple word score. Not bad, considering the score word right before it gave me 5 points.

All in all, it was a great game. I actually only beat Andrew by 20 points, but we had some great words and covered the board. We were pretty impressed with ourselves.


Easter 2012

We had a great Easter this year and we had a lot of fun teaching Jessica all about Easter. We read to her from the illustrated scriptures, and we are currently reading the New Testament, and on the back cover, it shows a picture of the resurrected Savior at the tomb, with Mary Magdalene. Now, every night, when we pull out the scriptures, Jessica says, "Easter" and points to the picture. We love that she is understanding pieces of what we are teaching her!

One of our favorite Easter traditions is dying eggs. My family (this is Brianna) dyed eggs every year...and a lot of them! We would always eat deviled eggs for Easter dinner and a lot of boiled eggs that week, which I loved. I am pretty sure we've dyed eggs every year since we've been married, but I am usually the one who gets excited about it. Andrew has fun once we start, but he is usually done pretty fast. Well, this year, we dyed them  on Friday night after dinner. Jessica loved it! She actually thought at one point that the dye might taste good and tried to drink it. Don't worry, it didn't happen. She didn't want to stop, but it was bedtime, so we did. Andrew started dying his eggs before Jessica went to bed...and then, he kept going after I was done.

We bought this tie-dye egg dye, which actually was really a pain and I don't recommend it. But, it made for some potentially fun eggs, and well, we just had a fun time making a mess.

And then, after we finished, Andrew commented how there was so much egg dye left and decided we should use it to decorate the snow outside...so we did.

And it was almost more fun than dying eggs. And yes, this is at night, probably around 8:30. It is so sunny here!

We couldn't wait for Jessica to wake up the next morning and see the colored snow. We knew she would love it and be so excited! But guess what? We woke up to this...

That isn't all bad. That snow was enough for Anchorage to set an all-time high record for snowfall (134.5 inches) in one winter. And plus, it was enough to cover most of the dirty snow that was piling up for at least a day. And, the next morning, Easter morning, we woke up and  it was beautiful and sunny outside once again!

Jessica wasn't really interested in finding eggs at all. We tried to get her excited about it, and I even put jelly beans in them, but she just handed them to dad and asked him to read to her instead. Her favorite part of her Easter basket was the magnetic numbers she got. She loves numbers!

That night, for our Easter dinner, we had some friends over and ate a ton of food! We had a lot of fun, even though they did tell me that the bush in front of our house is NOT a blueberry bush even though the berries looked like blueberries. I'm still a little disappointed about that one. Anyway, hope you had a good Easter too!