Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My birthday!

Today Seth and I turn 29. 1 year away from 30! Even though Brian was out of town, it was a good day.

My fantastic new office pals at Buena Vista University made me a tasty carrot cake and put signs up all over the office... ...and my fantastic old office pals from the University of Alaska Fairbanks sent me gorgeous flowers!
I feel loved! Thanks to everyone who sent cards, emails, and well wishes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Visiting Seth and Michelle

Brian was out of town this weekend (doing the Tok to Dawson City snowmachine run), so I took the opportunity to visit Seth, Michelle, and the kids. We did LOTS of fun things! (And by lots I mean they are in no particular order.)

1. Cooked some of the shrimp that Mom and Dad had brought with them during their last visit. Yup, these are bona fide Valdez, Alaska shrimp! The kids LOVE them. James and Harmony ate pretty much the entire pot. Here's Seth (my twin brother for those who haven't met him) being the master chef. Beautiful, aren't they?

2. We had a birthday party for Gabby (she turned 1) and Seth and me (we turn 29 on 2/25). James helped to pick out a very large strawberry cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory (good job, James!). It was very, very tasty. Happy Birthday!

3. Michelle, Harmony, Gabrielle and I went shopping (and to a photo shoot for Gabrielle's 1st birthday) while the boys stayed at home. Here's Gabby being her cute self- complete with bear ears! I love little kids in bear ears. And Harmony and Gabrielle chillin' in the stroller. They were very good.
4. We went to an aquarium! Seth had to stay home to do homework, but Michelle the kids and I had a great time. Here's James and Harmony watching a very big turtle heading up for a breath of air. The kids have been to the aquarium a bunch of times, but this was the first time they saw the turtle move (he's a very lazy turtle). I caught James and Harmony hanging out with this funny frog. We watched some river otters play around in their big habitat and be fed dead mice (yuck). There was a bird habitat where they give you cups of sugar water and the parrots will come right down and drink from your cup. Michelle was patient (and brave) enough to get this bird to sit on her finger. I thought she was going to get pooped on, but she didn't. The older kids got a kick out of it, but Gabby preferred to keep her distance. James' favorite exhibit is the shark petting tank. Both he and Harmony were very brave about petting the sharks as they swam by. Harmony was about ready to jump in and swim right along with them!

5. We played some dominoes, hung out, and had some great conversations. Gabby is going to be a great dominoes player- I can tell.
A conversation with James:

James: "Hey Aunt Hope!"
Aunt Hope: "Yeah, James?"
James: "Ya know, Pluto used to be a planet."
Aunt Hope: "Really?"
James: "Yup, but then it got degraded to just being a big rock."
Where do they learn this stuff? I'm pretty sure I didn't know about planets and big rocks when I was four!
It was a short visit and before too long I had to head back home. Thanks for letting me come hang out guys! I'll be back soon!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Catching Up...

Okay, I've been a really, really bad blogger this last few weeks. Thus, I have a lot of things to catch up on. I think the easiest thing is to put them all in one post. So, I hope no one gets whiplash reading this entry. It's going to change to different topics pretty quickly. Hold on!

First, the drifts outside of our house reached their highest point a few weeks ago. Here's a photo of Brian at the summit of an 8 foot drift in our backyard (maybe we shouldn't have cut down so many of the bushes in the we know what they were there for!).
Second, Brian and I are members of the First United Methodist Church in Fort Dodge. We spend quite of bit of time volunteering with the youth group there. Two weeks ago we chaperoned a trip to Des Moines for a Christian music festival called Winter Jam. There were some great acts including Barlow Girl and Toby Mac. Here's Brian and I at dinner before the concert. And here's a shot from the arena. A pretty big crowd! We had a great time.

And finally, our next door neighbors had their granddaughters over to build an igloo last weekend. They had us over to spend some time in it (it was, by the way, very, very impressive) and for hot chocolate and cookies. We couldn't ask for better neighbors! Here's a photo of Brian and I...and one of the two girls and me. It made Brian and I feel like we were back in Alaska!

Iowa Sunset

After Brian left for work tonight, the dogs and I took a walk into the cornfield behind our house to run off a bit of "puppy energy." I took a nice photo of an Iowa sunset. And here's a not so pretty picture of our house from the field. It'll look a lot nicer once spring arrives and everything is green again! Although, it is nice that the snow is melting...look how well the dogs' tracks show in the snow!