Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jason's Birthday Weekend

We had a relaxing and fun weekend as just our little family, celebrating Jason's birthday. On Friday Ollie and I picked Jason up a little early from work and we headed to the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The Indy Grand Prix was being held there this weekend and Jason wanted to check it out. The main event was on Sunday, but we still got to see some fun stuff. We stayed in Santa Rosa and on Saturday we headed to Bodega Bay. We played on the beach for a little while, but it was COLD. Ollie isn't use to cold beaches and at first he wouldn't stand on the cold sand, it was really funny to watch him (he is use to our nice Santa Cruz beaches...spoiled kid). Eventually he toughened up and had a lot of fun running around. At this point our camera broke :(, BUT Jason fixed it :), BUT not until that night so we don't have anymore pics from the day :(. We spent most the rest of our day in Petaluma. We walked around the cute downtown, ate lunch, visited the farmers market, Jason dropped me off at the outlets for some baby free shopping (such a treat) etc. It was a fun day. Sunday we slept in (even Ollie a little) then headed home so we could make it to church. Here are some pics from the last couple weeks and our weekend.

Last weekend we went on a bike ride and Ollie fell asleep. He was so out and we didn't want to risk waking him up by transferring, so we kept him in his seat and set it in his room, helmet and all. He stayed asleep for about 30 mins.
This kid is entertained by the funniest things. He played with this box for a long time last week. Jason and I just sat and watched, it was hilarious. The funniest part is the last 10 seconds.
Here is another video of Ollie, here he is cooking one of his shoes for dinner.
Auntie Letty came to visit us since she is leaving for college soon, :) for her, :( for us. While she was here we went and saw my friend Carlie's dad's tortoises. This one is only a few weeks old, it was SOOO cute!
This is Al, he is almost my age, crazy huh. I guess they live to be well over 100.

Carlie watches Ollie when I work and she took this picture of him on Gus. These tortoises are seriously so cool.
Ollie at the raceway. It was REALLY hot that day (we have been spoiled in the bay area). His poor little face was so red and dirty from all the dust.
Jason and Ollie, check out the cars "drifting" in the background.
Jason and Ollie watching.
Ollie sitting in one of the cars.
We kind of wanted to get to the race ASAP on Friday so we didn't get gas along the way. So leaving the raceway, we had 8 miles until empty and the gas station was 7.2 miles away. We also hit a little traffic, plus we went up a hill, so when we filled up we put in 18.2 gallons and the flex has an 18.5 gallon tank! Needless to say I was a little stressed. Speaking of cars, Jason's main birthday present was an amp and subwoofer for the Flex. He is excited to do the wiring and install of everything, I am excited to get a little bump in my trunk. So those of you who live near us, if you hear someone "bumping" through the neighborhood, it is me. I have already compiled a playlist solely for this purpose :)
Ollie and Daddy at the beach.
Ollie and Mommy
Token family picture at the beach.
Such a cutie pie.
Running to dad.
Yoga at the beach. I swear he makes me want to actually start doing yoga.
Little footprints.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our Alaskan Adventure

Well, what can I say, Alaska was AMAZING!  We had such a great time.  And we took a bazillion pictures (as your about to see).  The entirety of our pictures can be found on our website  Also, Oliver did great, I don't even think he really missed us much.  And I did great too.  I cried for about 2 minutes after we dropped him off and then not again the rest of the trip.  I love the little guy and missed him like crazy, but it was SO nice to travel without him.  It also really helped that each time I called to check on him (every night) I could hear him laughing and squealing in the background.  He is a very loved little boy and we are very grateful for our awesome parents who took care of him for us, we really appreciate it.  Ok so here we go.
We got in late Friday night.  Marissa and I picked up our luggage and sent the guys to sweet talk the rental car people into upgrading us to a bigger car.  Luckily, we have some pretty awesome husbands who got the lady to give us a $1500 SUV for $500.  It was a good thing too because we used every inch of space. 
Saturday morning we went to the Anchorage Temple.  It was a small one, but still very beautiful.
We then stopped at Costco and loaded up on groceries for the trip.  Here is Marissa and I.  Look how full the car was...I'm sure that is some kind of safety hazard.
We drove to Healy, about 5 hours north of Anchorage, which is right outside of Denali National Park.  This is the adorable little cabin we stayed in while we were there.
This was a cute little area outside our cabin.
This is the view from our cabin.
You can't really drive a car very far in Denali, so on Sunday we took a bus ride to Wonder Lake.  It was a 12 hour bus ride, which sounds really long, but the scenery was beautiful and we stopped every time we saw wildlife, and at a few visitor centers along the way.
This is us with Mount McKinley in the background.  It is the highest mountain peak in North America, 20,320 feet.  It takes 3 weeks to hike to the summit.  A guy on our bus tour had done it 3 times, and he loved to talk about it.  It sounds like quite a feat.  Normally the peak is only visible 1 in every 10 days, but it was visible all 3 days we were there.  It was beautiful.
Here we are at Wonder Lake.
We picked and ate lots of wild blueberries.
Here are some bears we saw along the way.  There are three out there.  They are Grizzly bears.
This is a little wolf cub that got separated from his pack, he was crossing over the bridge as we were passing by.
Jason and I with the mountain.
Cool shot that Andy got.
Me and Marissa modeling Caribou antlers, they were so heavy, I don't know how they carry them around on their head.
This is a bull moose (male moose).
Me and Marissa hanging out on our little deck.  It was so nice in Alaska because it didn't get dark until around 11:30pm.  I didn't think I would like that too much, but I loved it.  You could do so much.
We made tuna melts on the grill, here is Jason showing his mad flipping skills.
The second day we hopped on the bus again, but got off after about an hour and a half and hiked around.
We saw more bears the second day, this is a mama bear and two cubs.
A bald eagle.
We saw this caribou up close and personal while we were hiking around.
Marissa loved picking berries.
On our hike.
Leaving the park.
After Denali we headed back south to a little town called Ninilchik.  Along the way Jason spotted this huge bull moose on the side of the road.  It was so cool to watch them in their natural habitat.  We weren't the only ones who stopped to see him, we caused quite a traffic jam.
Us with the Ninilchik sign.
We got to Ninilchik late Tuesday night.  On Wednesday morning at 4am we went fishing on Deep Creek, no luck :(  But later that morning we went halibut fishing, where we were a little more successful.
I caught a stingray, which we let go.  That thing was so hard to reel in because it was so flat, I had to call in reinforcement, luckily Andy used his big muscles and helped me. 
This is me with my big halibut.  They are seriously ugly fish, but taste SOOO good.
Jason with his fish.
We also caught a little shark.
Here we are with all our fish, we estimated it was about 300lbs.  We had a father and son on the boat with us, so when we divided the fillets it ended up being about 30lbs per couple.  I guess that isn't very good, but it seemed good to me, our freezer is full :)
Marissa and I with a couple of our fish, for a while every time we put our line in we were pulling up a fish, it was crazy.  Although I think the most amazing feat of the day was that Jason didn't get motion sick, it was a miracle (he did take lots of medicine and tried these SeaBands).  
Thursday morning we got up early again to fish on Deep Creek.  Marissa, being the amazing fisherwoman she is, was the only one to catch a fish.  Even when we didn't catch fish, it was so beautiful out there, we loved it.
After naps, we went clamming.  This was SO fun.  You go when the tide is low, and look for little dimples in the sand.  Then you stick a rod in the dimple down through the sand.  Then you start digging, once you reach the end of the rod you use your had to dig around for the clam.  This brought a lot more satisfaction that fishing because almost every time you would get a clam.  Clams are pretty much the nastiest looking thing, but once again, they taste soo good.
The only problem with clamming is that you have to cut all the meat out and clean it really good.  Luckily there were 4 of us so it wasn't too bad.  We made the most delicious clam chowder with our clams.  That same night we ate some of our freshly caught halibut.
Friday we decided to sleep in, which was probably a mistake since fish were caught on the creek that morning, but it felt so good.  Once we got up we headed to Homer which is about an hour south of Ninilchik.  It was a 'quaint little drinking town with a small fishing problem', haha, that is what it said everywhere.  There is a cool area in Homer called "The Spit".  It is right along the ocean and it has tons of restaurants, bakeries, shops etc.  That is where we spent most of our time.
I don't know if anyone has see the show "Deadliest Catch" well I guess the ship the "Time Bandit" is based out of Homer.  So we visited the store and got to meet Captain John.  He was cool.  
Us with Captain John and the card he signed for us.
Friday afternoon we fished some more with no luck, I guess this is very rare, I think Jason and I were bad luck!
After dinner we headed to the Ninilchik general store and got some ice cream.  As you can see, they are very generous with their 'single scoop' ice cream.
After that we went out to look for moose, and moose we found.  A mama moose and two babies.  It was so crazy to me that all these animals were just right off the road.
Me and Marissa modeling in the Fireweed.  There was tons of these flowers, they would cover whole hillsides, it was so pretty.
Saturday morning we were fishing again, although we got to sleep in a little, we didn't leave until 5am :)
Now we credit the great time we had in Alaska first to Andy and Marissa for inviting us, but second to this guy, Bob.  He lives in Ninilchik and rents out cabins on his property (where we stayed).  Bob is seriously so cool.  He took us fishing, told us all about Alaska, filleted our fish, taught us to clam, let us use his equipment and so much more.  He is totally Jason's kind of guy, he knows a lot about everything.  I'm pretty sure he was ready for us to leave by the end because he was sick of answering Jason's questions :)  But really he and his wife were so accommodating to us and made sure that we had a great time.  Thanks Bob and Carole!!
Here is Jason fishing.
Andy fishing.
Me fishing.
Marissa, the best fisher of us all!
So everyone caught a fish that day but me :(  Marissa even caught two!
Here is Bob filleting our fish for us.
Then we would package it and vacuum seal it so it could be frozen.
That evening Bob drove us around Ninilchik and showed us around.  They have the cutest library (I LOVE libraries).
This is the oldest cabin in Ninilchik, and I can't for the life of me remember when it was built...sorry.  Isn't it cute though.
Sunday we went to church in Homer and then went back down to the spit.
This is a cool saloon that is on the spit.
People put up dollar bills, so all the walls inside are covered, it was really interesting.
At the end of the spit there is an area where people fish for flounder and pollock.  There were seriously so many fish there.  Pretty much every time someone would cast their line out they would get something. Sometimes it was a starfish.  
We thought these were pretty.
On our way back from Homer we stopped at the Norman Lowell Gallery.  Norman Lowell is a famous artist in Alaska.  They also let you walk through their gardens and their old cabin.  This is the little cabin they lived in when they first moved to Alaska.  You still see little cabins like this that people live in.
We left Ninilchik early Monday morning and headed to Seward to get on a glacier day cruise.
Me and Jason in front of the cabin in Ninilchik.
Getting ready to board our boat.
We saw lots of wildlife on this cruise as well, although they were quite different from the wildlife we had seen before. Here is a little sea otter floating in the water.
This is a dall porpoise, they are part of the dolphin family.  They would just swim along our boat and jump out of the water.  They are the fastest sea mammal and can swim almost 50mph.
We saw lots of sea lions.
These little birds are called Puffins.  They are in the penguin family, but they can fly.  They can also dive to depths of over 200 feet.
This is the big glacier we went to.
The glacier caving off.
Glaciers are so cool.  This one move 6-10 feet everyday.  Crazy!
Jason and I with the glacier.
We saw a humpback whale.  It was so cool, we would see it blow air about 3-4 times then he would come out of the water and dive down.  Here is his tail.
Our cruise included all you can eat salmon, prime rib and crab dinner on Fox Island.  It was delicious!  After the cruise we headed back to Anchorage to catch our 1:45am flight...yuck!  
Here is all our baggage, for three people!!  
We had a great trip!  Seriously, we hope we can go back again sometime.  It was so nice to get away from our busy lives and just relax a little.  Thanks for inviting us Andy and Marissa!!