Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What did I say about spring??

At about 2pm yesterday afternoon, the National Weather Service (who had just recently cancelled the winter weather advisory, by the way) issued a blizzard warning for 4pm until 5am this morning. I'm here to tell you, they got this one right. Holy cow!

By 4, the wind had definitely picked up and the snow had begun to fly! I got to drive home in it around 4:30 or so (thanks to locking my keys in my office and having to wait for someone to unlock my door - yay baby brain!!). I was glad to get home and hunker down for the night. Jason, on the other hand, finished the first round of clearing out the driveway shortly before I got home and then went back out at 8 to do it again. He probably cleared almost another foot at 8, and then woke up to even more this morning - maybe another 6-8 inches actually on the driveway. We're not entirely sure what the grand total of snowfall was because it drifted so much, there's no real way of knowing. I can say that we have packed spots in the backyard that are probably about 8 inches deep, and then giant drifts that are literally taller than me (not that 5 feet is really that tall, but still....). I'm going to leave the commentary at that, and just share some pictures from the past couple days. I think I figured out that I could count on one hand the number of times I've ever seen snow like this. Jason said it made him feel like he was back in Oswego. Enjoy the pictures!

Poor Fred waiting to come in last night!

The front of the house. You can kind of tell how high the edges of the driveway are....

Jason started by cutting this drift down before he busted out the snowblower. Then it grew again...

For those that don't know, Jason is a little over 6 feet tall....

And I'm right at 5 feet tall... yes, the drift is taller than me!

Here's the same drift from right next to it. I was standing on (almost) bare ground.

Here's some drifting in the backyard (sorry it's dark...). The fence is made out of 6' boards!

This is the other side of the house... I'm not sure exactly how tall our shed is, but Jason can stand up in it. Again, the fence is 6 feet tall. Those are some serious drifts!!

Truck full o' snow, anyone? This was downtown this afternoon when we ran out to get a new tow strap (Jason destroyed his trying to get the neighbor out of his driveway) and another shovel (also a casualty... and there ARE no shovels). The big berm in the middle of the road is the plowing technique here - they plow to the middle, then use giant grinding snow throwers to put the snow in the trucks. We saw them dumping some truckloads in the harbor - Jason said they were making icebergs!

This is the middle school. It looks like you're just looking up at a mound of snow, but the drift really was higher than the first floor windows. Crazy!

Finally, there was a small avalanche out past the base overnight last night. They got it cleared up, but it was funny to see a giant mound of snow on one side of the road, and then the rest of it on the other side. This is a road side in the middle of the mound... not sure if the snow crumpled it like that, or if the plows did when they were trying to clear up the road. The giant snow balls toward the top of the picture are the top of the mound. It was probably about 10 or 12 feet. Again, CRAZY!

I took a few more pictures, but these were the best at showing how much we really got. I think they said something about it being around two feet officially, but I think it has to have been more. It's snowing again as I type this, and we're expecting a rain/snow mix tomorrow. There's even a flooding warning in effect since all the drains are covered by snow and they're saying it could be another inch to 1.5 inches of rain on top of all the snow.

And, as if we haven't had enough in Alaska this week, Mt. Redoubt, up on the mainland, also finally erupted this week. So far, we haven't had any effects in Kodiak (any flight cancellations were due to the snow, not the volcano), but we could be dealing with it for up to the next five months!

Just for the record, it is definitely the 5th day of spring. But I'm starting to agree with one of my friends who said that spring is just a word in Alaska, not necessarily a season! Looking forward to our trip to Connecticut to maybe get a small taste of a real spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If this is spring....

.... I'd really hate to see winter!

As I'm typing this, we're under a winter weather advisory until early TUESDAY morning (it's Sunday evening right now). It started snowing at about 4 yesterday afternoon, and hasn't really stopped since. Apparently it's not going to until Tuesday, and we can expect anywhere from 8-20 inches of snow. Yes, 20... 3 days after the official start of spring. The good news is that, on the vernal equinox, we actually had MORE than 12 hours of daylight - 12 hrs and 14 mins officially - so at least we have plenty of light to see all the snow!!
I blame myself, though. We're dog sitting this weekend for Brad and Christina's dog, Tok. When we got the first few inches the other day, I told Jason I hoped it would stay around so we could just keep putting the dogs out in the backyard to play without having to worry about them being all muddy and gross. What I meant was for the temperatures to stay cool enough that the existing snow wouldn't melt. What Mother Nature thought I said was "we need more." As long as it stops before Jason leaves again on Wednesday, I'll be ok. I just need him around for keeping the driveway clear!!!

Speaking of our houseguest, we've had a puppy in the house again, which is... interesting. Especially when the puppy is 75 lbs and actually physically bigger than Fred. Poor Fred has waged a war in his own head between wanting to play, too (he so misses his doggie daycare play time, I swear!), and wanting to slink off into the corner to sleep. He just doesn't have the energy that Tok has. I don't think the energizer bunny has the energy that Tok has!!! For those who don't know, Tok is a husky/malamute mix and comes from the Burnt Paw Cabins/Kennels in Tok, AK. The people who own Burnt Paws have a history with the Iditarod sled dog race (we actually stayed in the Iditarod cabin when we stayed there), and these pups are bred to be mushing dogs. So you can only imagine the kind of energy "little" Tok has. Luckily, we've been able to let the boys play in the backyard, and we've interspersed that with walks in various places. Yesterday it was just on the base since Jason had duty and there was NO way I could walk both myself. But the day before that we went out to Ft. Abercrombie, where we hiked and then let the two boys play a little. Here they are in action!

You can see that Tok is actually taller and longer than Fred, though Fred weighs about 15-20lbs more. I have to say Fred had a bit of an advantage the other day because we left Tok on his lead, and let Fred off his. Sorry, Tok!! They're pretty well matched at home, at least, though Fred does enjoy rolling Tok onto his back and showing him that he's at Fred's house. And, of course, the one major advantage of having Tok in the house is that he's teaching us what parts of our house are not baby/puppy proof. We don't necessarily need the baby-proofing for a while, but his curiosity is funny to watch. Fred just leaves everything alone now, but to Tok, everything is new and fun. The most inane things catch his attention, which is just hilarious to watch!

Oh, and when Fred got a moment to himself at the Fort, this was his other fun thing to do. Actually, this is one of his favorite things to do in any kind of snow.... head goes down and he just starts plowing. Crazy dog. (Oh, notice his skinny spot on his tail? He had a cyst removed over a month ago and it's just now finally healed up completely. Sadly, he had a good chunk of tail shaved, though, and I'm not sure how much is going to grow back. Hopefully the hair around the surgery site will grow over whatever doesn't come through the scar!!! He looks a little silly!)

As you can tell from the pictures of the dogs, I finally brought the camera out with me on a hike. I chose only two lenses to take with me, though, and lightened the load as much as possible! But my extra effort was rewarded with some great shots of the dogs, Jason with the dogs, and, of course, the beautiful Kodiak winter/spring scenery. We were out before the newest snow, on a crisp (less than 30 degrees) day, and it was just gorgeous as long as we stayed out of the wind!
Here are a couple of my favorite scenery shots from the day.

And, finally, in baby news... all is still going well. I overdid it a little last weekend (6 hrs of cleaning out the garage!), and have been having some trouble sleeping, so it was a long, tired week, with a lot of anxiety. It's finally hitting me that there will actually be a baby at the end of this pregnancy journey! YIKES!! Sometimes I still think we're crazy for getting ourselves into this - I'm not 100% sure I ever really thought it would happen - but I'm also still so excited! Now, if only I could stop being so freaked out about the baby part!! Mom made me stay home from work on Wednesday, though, just to relax and take it easy, and that helped a lot. (Yes, she can still make me do things even though I'm almost 32 years old and live 5000 miles away.) I had a hard time just making myself rest (imgaine that... just like my mom!), but it was a much-needed day. We also met with our doula on Wednesday, which, I think, helped to ease the anxiety a little bit. It's nice to know we'll have someone around to help us out with getting ready for Green's arrival and labor/delivery itself. She'll also be around for some post-partum help, which will be wonderful!

Al that leads us to the latest...


This week you get my face and everything. And Jason used the flash on the camera so I look way more washed out than I really was. I swear. Not much change from last week, I don't think. Though, I did get stuck in a chair today. In my defense, it was in what we call the "puff chairs" and the things suck you in anyway. But I sat down to talk to Ryan on the phone and then couldn't get back out again. Not funny.

What is funny is the difference between the very first bump picture I posted, and this next one. If you remember, in the first one I posted, I was wearing a brown Bella band, and said something about needing that because my pants were getting tight. Well, I was wearing the same band the other day (I need it to keep the maternity pants up.... they're a little TOO stretchy), and I had to laugh at the difference. Go back here to see the first one, and then scroll down...

Now it just looks like I ate a big meal in the first one!!! I can't believe I thought THAT was a belly!!! And I still have so much more growing to do... ACK! The good news is that it's all in front, and I'm pretty much right on track for how much I've gained. As long as I can manage the dumb chocolate and sweet cravings, I should be able to stay that way!

That's all from here. I have to go see if Tok feels like comin back inside now! Hopefully he didn't get buried under all the snow... though I think he's probably enjoying it MUCH more than anyone else in the house!

Bye for now!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's been quiet in Kodiak.

It's been a while, huh? Well, not much has been going on around here. Everything's good, just a little boring... work, church, class, hockey for Jason, some duty, dinner with friends... not much to really talk about. It's actually kind of nice.

The other nice thing going on these days is that we're getting more and more light every day! We're at the time of the year when we gain about 5 mins of daylight every day, which is a welcome treat, especially when it's actually sunny! We're now seeing sunrise around 8:30am (thanks to daylight savings time... we were seeing it at about 7:45 right before that!), and tonight, at 8pm it was finally dark enough to have to turn some lights on in the house. Unfortunately, the weather is not paying attention to the calendar, and we've had temps in the 20s (you saw that right... 20s) the last couple of mornings, with some pretty brisk winds. "Brisk" is relative, by the way.... we were gusting to 55mph today. That's brisk! I've heard a rumor that some crocuses are popping up around town, but the lingering snow (and the snow in the forecast this week) says it might be a while til we see actual spring. *sigh*

Luckily, we have EXACTLY the thing we need to stay warm through the rest of the winter. It arrived in the mail this week after spending some time up in Anchorage at a furrier. That lovely piece of fur is the remnants of this year's caribou (the rest of which is in the freezer!!). Jason sent it off to be tanned up in Anchorage, and now we have a tanned caribou hide....... though I have no idea what we're supposed to do with it! As I told Mom, my decorating sense goes more toward Pottery Barn than "hunting lodge" so it could be a while until the hide finds a home, but we have it, and Jason seems to be happy about it! Maybe the next house will have a man room and he'll hang it on the wall or something! For now, it's mostly freaking Fred out (he MUST go check it out everytime he walks by one of the spare rooms, where the hide is currently laid out on the bed).

That's about it around here this week (or so). My camera has been staying at the house during hikes and walks because it's enough to haul around the 15 lbs of baby I'm carrying so I've left the extra 10 or so pounds of camera equipment behind. I might have to start bringing it in the car with me again every day, though, since we've heard rumors of Orca sightings in the channel and the eagles continue to amaze me!
And, finally, the camera's one main use these days - documenting my growing belly. Here's the next installment of


You get another headless shot this week because I have to say I looked TERRIBLE by midweek when we took this picture. I'm not sleeping very well and I just looked tired! But, this is me at 22w1d. I'm now WELL over the halfway mark, and actually approaching 6 months! It's amazing to me how fast the time is going... which also helps cause the sleepless nights with the shear terror of the fact that there's a baby at the end of this part of the ride! Everyone says everything will come to us once she's here, but I'm not fully convinced of that yet!!!

That's all from here for now! I'll try to bring out the camera a little more often and share some of Kodiak's beauty again soon!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Green's a GIRL!!!!!!!!

Maybe I just used one too many exclamation points considering the fact that I kept telling everyone I really didn't care whether we were having a boy or a girl. Hmmm, maybe I really did care after all!

I was so totally and completely convinced that this baby was a boy. I had no other reason for believing that other than the fact that I have had a girl's name picked out for longer than I care to admit (luckily Jason agrees with it), and we have spent the last 20 weeks trying to come up with any boy names at all. So I figured we'd end up with a boy just based on the fact that we'd be driving home from the hospital, post-delivery, still trying to come up with a name!

Imagine my surprise when, about an hour or so into the ultrasound last Wednesday, the tech declared the baby is a girl, at least in the 90+ percent accuracy range. Her actual words were, "If it IS a boy, he's doing a really good job hiding his parts." My next words were, "Alright, Jason, I'll buy you lunch." Why would I say that? Because, as convinced as I was that the baby was a boy, Jason was equally sure Green's middle name would be Pink. He was right and he got a lovely Japanese food lunch out of the deal!

As far as we know, everything else looked good at the ultrasound, too (the hospital didn't send the results over to the doctor in time for our appointment on Friday). She still has all her arms and legs, is measuring just about right on, and, eventually, the tech was able to get all the pictures she needed to get. Little Miss Green was as squirmy as ever (she was moving all over at our 11 week one, and regularly kicks the doppler monitor at regular visits when the doctor listens to her heartbeat), and made it more than a little difficult for the tech to get all the measurements. We heard a lot of "Ok then... we'll come back to that one again" as the appointment went on. She was being especially stubborn about letting us know her gender, daintily keeping her legs crossed at the ankle to prevent any peeks. Her daddy is happy about that already!

So, without further ado, here are Miss Green Pink's latest pictures!

So, do you think that nose is small? Maybe not hooked and Italian looking like mine?? Have I mentioned yet that we're hoping for Jason's nose and my ears, and not the other way around?

She kept her chin firmly tucked into her chest for a good part of the scan. She make look all cute and peaceful here, but I can assure you that she was kicking and punching the whole time.

Finally, this one is my favorite. This was after I got up and moved around a little, and we were finally able to tell she was a girl. She got a little more active and started moving around a TON. See those two bright white lines directly over her head? Yeah, that's her leg. She slid down and kicked her legs up over her head for a few minutes. We had a good laugh watching that, and luckily the tech was able to grab a picture. Apparently we have a gymnast on our hands!

There she is... Miss Green Pink! And before anyone asks... we will NOT be sharing her name until she's born. Since we couldn't manage to wait til 12 weeks to share the pregnancy, nor could we keep the gender from anyone (including ourselves), this will be the one surprise we'll have after she's born.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Bump Watch 2009 - coming sometime this week if I get around to it!