Sunday, May 31, 2009

Man Camp '09

Hello from Cordova! As I'm writing this latest entry I am in the middle of my second two weeks here in Cordova, AK. Seeing that we have the little one coming in July I took some initiative and scheduled myself for all of my summer deployments in May and June. Didn't want Becca to shoot me if I left a few weeks after Green showed up. So here I sit on duty in week three of my four weeks away from home. As you saw in the last entry, while I was home for my two weeks I was gainfully employed getting the house and yard ready.
Since there isn't much here in Corodva for me to do besides homework I have made the best of my time and did the only other thing that I could possibly do from here to get the house ready at home. Catch fish!!! That's right, during the first two weeks here the sockeye salmon were not running yet and we were forced out on to the water to do some halibut fishing. Here is a picture of my work place, I mean off duty time.

I know, isn't it horrible to have to sit on a boat and be forced to catch fish to feed the family back home. I don't know how I did it! It got so bad that we ended up with quite the sun burn after fishing in the sun. To break up the week we were able to participate in the Valdez Bush plane fly-in on Sunday. What a great day for an airshow. We ended up landing and giving tours for about 4 hours, and then demonstrated an SAR case for the crowd. Overall, a great duty day and we got to meet some great people and eat some good food.

Now that I'm here for my second two weeks the salmon have started running I feel like a little kid. We drove out to our secret fishing spot last night and viola, the fish were in there hiding for our taking. The locals here have been complaining that the reds (sockeye) haven't been running yet, and just like last year we are filling our freezers and they don't have a clue. It's not like were not telling them as they drive by, but they think that we are just a bunch of dumb Coasties fishing in a drainage ditch. Hee, Hee! Little do they know that limiting out and they haven't even busted out their fishing poles yet. So like last year, in case you forgot, here are some pictures of our ditch.
In between fishing, we actually have to go flying, the nerve! But the views are amazing, and we get to land at some very cool spots. This one is the Eastern side of Ellsworth Glacier in the western Prince William Sound area. Having to use the little boys room, the crew and I took advantage of this great place and posed with some of the glacial ice.
Well that's all that I have from here. That's were I've been over the last few weeks, "working". Becca will probably be cursing me our after she sees this, and I hope that I don't blow it for any other guys from work who's wives stumble upon this blog. =) I'll be doing more halibut and salmon fishing over the next week and half, and if anything big comes up I'll add another post. Hope you all enjoy, and I'll leave you with one more picture from this year in St Paul. It's me with the crew on Time Bandit from the Deadliest Catch. We got to hang out with them for a while and they let us take pictures with them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Event-ful Week!

Not so much "eventful" as "full of events" and other happenings. It's been a busy week around here!!

(Oh, and I would just like to point out right away that this is my second blog entry since last Monday... that might be a record since the trip cross-country! Anywho... I digress....)

Of course, the week started off with Jason's birthday last Monday. I covered most of that in the last post. It was a pretty good day for him, I think, with the exception of having to get the backyard ready for hydro-seeding. But, he got chicken parm for dinner, and a NY-style cheesecake (my first attempt in years) for dessert. Give him cheesecake and he's a happy man anyway!

The rest of the work week passed somewhat uneventfully. Jason flew almost every night, so I had to meet up with him real quick on Thursday afternoon after I left work for the day, and before he went in, so we were sure we remembered each other! Luckily, Crab Fest - THE event in Kodiak - kicked off Thursday afternoon, so we met there to have some yummy (but TERRIBLE for you) carnival kind of food. For me, it was a Bruin burger, which is basically ground beef, gooey cheese, onion, garlic and whatever else they put in there wrapped up in a dough pocket and deep fried. Mmmmm. For Jason, the only necessary food item was meat-on-a-stick, though he followed it up with a brat. Sadly, my very favorite food from last year, the deep fried oreos, were no where to be found this year. You can't even being to imagine my level of disappointment!! I have been thinking about the stupid things all year, and cravings have only been worse because of being pregnant. I almost cried when we found out they didn't have them this year!!!

I survived, though, which was good because I had my last baby class that night, followed by my last EFM (Education for Ministry) class. As I sat outside for an extra 5 minutes before going into the church for class, trying to finish up the reading I didn't get to, my group was inside putting together a small surprise shower for me! I walked in to a bunch of balloons and a table that was soon covered in all kinds of food and some gifts. The ladies (and Fr. Paul) made me feel so special and it was just a wonderful surprise! And, although I love everything they all gave me, I'm especially excited about one gift in particular.... Yes, those are her first pair of XtraTufs.... next to Jason's so you can get a sense of scale. They're a size 5, so it'll be a while til she grows into them, but an Alaska-grown girl has to have a pair of those!!

The next event of the week was our anniversary. Amazingly, because it doesn't seem like it could possibly be that long already, Jason and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary on Friday. I really am amazed that we've been married for 10 whole years already - it seems like it was just yesterday! To celebrate, we headed out to the Buskin Riverside Restaurant at the local Comfort Inn. We'd heard there was a new chef and that the food was pretty tasty for being a hotel restaurant. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was totally hotel restaurant, but the food WAS really good. It was nice to have a different place to go and we both really enjoyed our meals. Sadly, there's not much else to do in Kodiak on a Friday night, so, home by 9pm, we changed into sweats and finished up our anniversary Kodiak style - comfy and on the couch!

This weekend we had a bunch of work to get done around the house, and we had hoped to spend some time down at Crab Fest. But, Mother Nature had different ideas for us, so we mostly hung out inside, working on the long list of things to do before the baby makes her arrival. I have to use Jason for manual labor when I can (he's scheduled for some more time at "Man Camp" this week), so he got to work hanging the 6 new light fixtures and ceiling fan we bought while we were over in Anchorage. We took a quick break to run to the brat booth at Crab Fest and run back to the car to eat the brats, but, otherwise it was a busy day of work! It's amazing what you can get done inside when you absolutely don't want to even TRY to step outside!

Sunday brought the final event of the week at church. We had a visiting Bishop come to our little corner of Alaska, so he was available for Baptisms, Confirmations and Receptions. After 13 years of going to church at an Episcopal Church, Jason decided he was definitely ready to be Received. Since he'd already been confirmed in the Catholic Church, Reception was a fairly easy process, and now he's officially an Episcopalian.
Here are all the candidates for Baptism, Confirmation and Reception. I don't think Jason's just looking out the window over there to the right, but you never know....

This is after the actual blessing from the Bishop - Jason is getting his certificate and a small cross from our Priest and the Bishop (behind Jason).

And, finally, this is everyone after the service. They're all laughing because the pregnant lady decided to stoop down to get the picture and someone made a crack about whether I'd be able to get back up again....

After church, with the skies the clearest they'd been all weekend to that point, we decided to skip out of some work and head back to Crab Fest while we could! Luckily, we scooped up the next batch of yummy food and got to watch the bed races before the rain moved in and we gave up again! Here's my favorite bed from this year. I don't think they won, but they were having fun!!

We wrapped up the Crab Fest fun with a show way outside of town at a local bar last night. Friends of ours called last minute with extra tickets to see Hobo Jim's show, and we couldn't turn it down. We're so glad we went, too!! He puts on an amazing show, and I had to quit before he did! He started at 9pm and didn't take his first break until about 12:15. As much as I wanted to stick around to hear some more, it was getting tough to sit in a folding chair, and the weekend of work was catching up with both of us. But I can honestly say I think that's the first time we've stayed out til 1am (by the time we got home) since we've been here. Sad, I know, but also exciting (bringing new meaning to the phrase, "You don't get out much, do you?")!

And now, at 9pm on Monday night, the sun has finally come out, though it's fighting with some fog, and my crazy husband just came in from puttering (his word) around in the yard. I think it killed him to stay inside all weekend!

So, that was our event-filled week! I'm super excited about the progress we made inside the house, including in Green's room. It's almost ready for her, and we'll still have about a month to finish up once Jason gets back from his last summer deployment. Where I was flipping out on Saturday morning, I'm feeling MUCH better now about being ready! We'll see how many time that changes over the next month and a half!

Speaking of Green... I almost forgot we took a picture tonight just because I was going to blog. So....


I don't think you can see much of a difference from last week, but I definitely FEEL different. It's getting really hard to bend over and I keep running into things with my belly, not realizing where it ends! I also had a doctor's appointment this week and found out the she's head down already, and everything is looking good. Thankfully I haven't been pushing on her head, but on her butt, which she likes to push around right near my ribs. I was a little worried I was causing trauma to her head, so it was a relief to find out it was her butt!

That's all from here for this week... hope it was enough! I feel like it was a non-stop week, but it was fun and productive, so that's good. Maybe the next entry will be from Jason, sharing this year's Man Camp experiences.... stay tuned!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring in Kodiak

Yep, actual spring... bordering on the best of what we saw last summer! Woo-hoo!

As much as we have to do inside to get ready for Green's arrival - and within the confines of Jason's deployment schedule - we had to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather this weekend to get some much-needed outdoor work done instead. So we headed out first thing Saturday morning to see what the garden store had to offer so we could start sprucing the place up a bit.

Last year, Jason built me a small flower box/raised bed in front of the house, which I filled with a few perennials. As the weather has gotten nicer this year, everything exploded in growth, and it needed to be tended to. On top of that, we have this weird second driveway thing in the front yard that the builders used as an access to all the plots around us as they built the neighborhood. We lined it with rocks last year, and Jason built a huge raised bed next to it in an effort to make it look like it belongs, rather than being a building remnant. So between the second driveway and the flower beds, we had more than enough to do!

I put my plants in a little late last summer, so I didn't get much in terms of actual blooms. We've already started off with a bang this year, though, with some flowers bursting out already, and more to follow judging by what I cleaned out this weekend. Here's my handiwork!

And, here's the proof of actual flowers - my thumb might not be really green, but I can at least manage this! This plant has another bloom this morning, and one more getting ready to bloom anytime. It's so nice to see color!!

Finally, on the flower bed front, here's the new bed. We put in 3 rhododendrons and a couple of bleeding hearts. I also planted native Kodiak irises (more purple!), and have a few more plants to put in today. I started seeds inside this winter (which actually turned into plants!!), so I'll be adding English daisies, dahlias and another flower that I'm forgetting right now. Jason also took full advantage of the fact that we're at the end of a cul-de-sac, and all the extra gravel that got put down this winter ended up right in front of our house... he's using it to fill in the driveway!

Those are 8 foot fence sections, so this is a lot of real estate to fill in. Now we just have to figure out how to keep Fred from using it as his own personal outhouse...

Notice the new gravel next to the box there? Yep, that's the stuff from the pile in front of house. Yay!

Speaking of Fred... we joined him outside this morning (taking a day off for Jason's birthday), enjoying some more sun (We're on two weeks almost straight of this. Something tells me it's not going to last much longer...). I don't know, I'm not sure he was enjoying the sun, or the belly rub he was getting from Jason when I snapped this....

He also thoroughly enjoyed the butt/back rub that came next. We're thinking he needs to maybe find himself a new set of owners... I don't think he gets enough love and attention from us.

Yes, Jason's wearing shorts. No, it's not shorts-weather for normal people. I think it's about 55 degrees out there right now, but that wasn't going to stop him. He said it's his birthday so he can wear whatever he wants. Goober.

Finally, because I'm tired of listening to Mom tell me it's been too long since I've posted any pictures of me, we'll finish with that....


So this is 31w6days. I have definitely gotten quite a bit bigger in the last couple of weeks!! I still don't look pregnant from the back (small victory!), but I'm a little scared of how much further OUT I'll be going since she already doesn't seem to have room in there! Recent movements include LOTS of hiccups (which feel like an annoying twitch... I thought it was neat the first time, but not so much when she gets them 5 times a day!), and what seems like stretching as she tries to find more room in there. I'm looking forward to the doctor's appointment this week because I'm hoping the doctor will be able to point body parts out to us! I'm still concerned I've been pushing on her head because I think it's her toosh....

I still owe a baby-furniture building blog... I'll get to it eventually. But I just wanted to share some of our handiwork in the yard instead. Off to enjoy the rest of Jason's birthday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A trip to civilization for my birthday!

I'm a week behind, so I'm going to just blog about our trip to Anchorage last weekend for tonight and then I'll try for the baby furniture building fun later this week. Oh, and just to get it out of the way up front - Jason's out of town so I don't have any bump updates. Sorry!

Last weekend was probably my last trip off the island until some time after the baby is born... probably quite a while after, actually. And it was great! We left on Thursday morning and didn't fly back until Monday morning (too early!), and we definitely got our fill of the real world in those four days! Luckily we flew on miles, so we didn't feel as bad about the amount of money we spent on baby stuff (and a few things for ourselves!). How the heck can babies be so expensive and need so much stuff when they're so small!??!?

Anyway, besides the inevitable shopping, we actually branched out a little this time and took in some culture and the zoo! By way of culture, it was a night of theater on Friday with the touring production of Spamalot! with John O'Hurley as King Arthur. He was perfect and it was a blast to laugh our tooshies off for a couple of hours. Plus, it was just nice to get in a show - one of the things we always enjoyed doing when we were in Boston. We also hit our favorite fancy-schmancy restaurant in Anchorage - The Crow's Nest - for my official birthday dinner on Saturday night. Of course, since there's a baby comfortably lodged in all the places where my stomach would normally spread out in the event of a large meal, I got full after a salad and about four bites of my duck, so I didn't really get to enjoy the main part of dinner. I did, however, save room for dessert because they have fabulous creme brulee! I took the leftovers with me and put them on ice back in the hotel room, but never did get around to eating them. What I had was fantastic, though. We definitely weren't disappointed!

I think the highlight of Jason's weekend was our trip to the Alaska Zoo. If I'm being honest, I enjoyed myself, too. Unfortunately, we went early in the day on Sunday, when it was a little damp and chilly. It probably would've been even more fun to go that afternoon when it was gorgeous and sunny. Oh well!

The cool thing about the zoo is that they have mostly animals that are indigenous to Alaska. The one big exception to that would be the tigers. Yes, tigers in Alaska. I'm not quite sure why anyone thought it would be a good idea to include tigers with things like brown bears, eagles, moose, and other Alaskan animals, but there ya go. Tigers. Of course, it could be worse - they could still have the elephant. Maggie was one of the founding members of the zoo, and was recently transferred to a more elephant-friendly climate in California.

But where was I? Oh, yeah... the tigers. Definitely random, and in an enclosure next to the wolves... strange combination, but entertaining anyway! Here's a shot of one of the tigers, and one of my favorites of one of the wolves. We watched the wolves for quite a while... they were really amazing.

Besides the theater, great food, and the zoo we also had an afternoon at one of the local day spas there. Jason had booked me a pre-natal massage and I talked him into making an appointment for himself as well. He went back and forth about it until Saturday morning, and luckily they had a spot open at the same time as my appointment. I can't speak for him, but I can say that I THOROUGHLY enjoyed my massage... if for no other reason than the fact that they had a body support system for me to lay on that let me lay on my stomach! Ah, the little thrills when you haven't been able to do that in about 6 months!

Monday came entirely too fast (especially since I stayed up too late Sunday night), and we headed back to Kodiak and reality. At least it was my birthday, though, so the day wasn't a complete loss! Of course, work held no charms for me that day, but I came home to a flower delivery from Ryan and Gina and dinner and cupcakes made by Jason. Can't beat that! Here are those flowers... so cute!And, the coolest thing about that picture is that it was taken with my new 150-500mm telephoto lens that Jason got me for my birthday. I haven't had the chance to test it out much yet (need a monopod for it!), but I'm definitely looking forward to breaking it in on the Kodiak wildlife this summer. No more having to say "I wish I could zoom just a little bit more on those bears"... because I'll be able to do it! YAY!

So that was the birthday/babymoon weekend over in Anchorage. Now that we're down to just over a couple of months until Green's arrival, we have more than enough to do around here to keep us busy in Kodiak. One of those things was putting her furniture together... more to come on that later this week! And, hopefully sometime this week I'll have Christina come over and get a bump picture - I don't want to miss these weeks while Jason's gone. As the doctor told me at my appointment the other day, "Now's the time when you start to get enormous." I don't want to miss documenting that! (Wasn't that nice of him?)

That's all for now. Oh, and by the way, the picture at the top of the page is the view from our hotel window in Anchorage... not bad, huh?

Stay tuned for furniture fun!