Monday, January 25, 2010

Blast from the past

I was looking through old photos today and I couldn't resist posting this photo of Brian with long hair. This was taken in 2003- the summer before he met me.

Blizzard Video

I wanted to take a short video of the blizzard that was going on outside today. This doesn't really do the wind justice, but you kinda get an idea of what the backyard looks like with all our snow. video

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who would have thought?

I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes....a Republican senator in Ted Kennedy's seat! It will be very interesting to see what November holds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More snow pictures

With temperatures on the rise this weekend, the dogs and I spent a lot of time outside yesterday taking pictures of the snow. The light was just beautiful.

A snow branch. Beautiful, clear blue skies. Wind tracks. Our windbreak of trees on the edge of the property. Taking a break from fetching. (They're standing on top of my seed-starter box...a couple of feet below the snow.)How Dawson generally looks when there's snow outside. Happily snow-covered. Mattie takes a break, but keeps an eye on her tennis ball. Mattie snoozes after a hard afternoon of play.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Blizzard

Last week we had another blizzard here in Iowa. The college where I work was closed for two days, so I had a very long weekend. Brian, of course, had to work and took on the elements during his commute. Thankfully we didn't lose power, but our Internet was knocked out for the better part of a week.

Here's my car getting buried by a drift.And Brian being a sweetie by digging my car out of said drift after he got home from work. Once the storm was over I wasn't sure how I was going to get out of the driveway (with Brian working and my car being much lower to the ground than his truck.) However, our awesome neighbor Ken came and snowblowed me out with his tractor and then this nice state snowplow came and pushed back all the piles at the end of the drive. I thought he was just being nice, but it turned out the snowplows wanted to turn around in our driveway. Since the storm ended and the -40 wind-chill temperatures are gone it has been very nice outside. The dogs and I have had fun playing in the snow. Here's Mattie and me posing on top of a snowdrift in the backyard. Our puffin, as you can see, is also enjoying the snow.
This is Dawson not wanting to cooperate. Mostly he just wanted to run around and burrow through the snow- not have his picture taken. This photo does do a nice job of showing how high the drifts are- about 12 feet and solid. One a final note, here are a few brief letters addressed to the next season:
Dear Spring,
As much as we like winter and snow, please feel free to come early and chase away any additional blizzards. They really are lame.
Thanks,
Hope and Brian Bickmeier
---------------------------------------------------
Dear Spring,
Please don't listen to Hope and Brian. We love winter! Snow is great- and when you get thirsty you can just eat some of it. We found a frozen bunny this week in the field. Guess it wasn't strong enough to survive the cold. We brought it to Hope, but she didn't seem to want it. She kept hiding it from us, but we always managed to find it and bring it back. What a fun game! We're hoping to eat it one of these days when Hope isn't looking.
We also like all this snow because the drifts are higher than our dog fence, so we can escape whenever we're let out. This works well, because then we can go find the hidden bunny. Granted Hope and Brian seem to get mad and call our names a lot, but they are always happy when we come back, so I guess we're okay.
Anyway, stay away as long as you'd like. We'll keep our owners busy playing in the snow while you're gone. Sometime we have to whine at them for hours, but eventually they always take us outside to romp in the snow. What would they do without us?
Sincerely,
Mattie and Dawson

Friday, January 1, 2010

More Christmas Visits

On the way home from Seth and Michelle's, Brian and I stopped at Grandma Baylor's house to visit her, her husband Steve, and Brian's parents who were down visiting from North Pole.

Brian and his Dad spent some time re-stringing Grandma's ukulele.Brian was getting pretty good by the time we left.
One thing on Brian's "to-do" list was to eat at Monical's pizza. He remembers eating there as a kid...which might be why he's such a pizza-hound now that he's all grown up.
Brian was a little nervous that he would be disappointed and that the pizza wouldn't be as good as he remembered it. Thankfully, it was delicious.Steve and Grandma. Brian's Mom and Dad. I didn't take any photos, but we also spent an afternoon with Aunt Sharon (Don's sister), her husband Chuck, and their daughter Christy. Christy just bought a new house, which we got to see. Its really nice. We also did a bit of antiquing with them, which was a ton of fun. We have to do more the next time we're together!
A very nice visit- we hope to be back soon!

Christmas 2009

For Christmas Brian and I headed east to visit Seth and Michelle and their kids. Mom and Dad Platt flew down from Valdez, so it was a special visit. Brian and I hadn't spent much time with Mom and Dad together since we left Alaska, so it was really good to see them and catch up.

First, we need to introduce the newest family member- Rosie, Seth and Michelle's dog. She's a sweetie (even though she ate the kitchen floor while we were playing cards). They rescued her from the Human Society a few weeks before we arrived. If anyone asks, she's a boxer mix.
One of the first items on the to-do list after we all arrived was for the girls was to do a bit of shopping at the outlets close to Seth and Michelle's house. We had a lot of fun having some girl-time. Here's a self-portrait of Mom and me. Gabby didn't make it through the entire shopping trip and had to take a little nap. This photo shows off her gorgeous eyelashes.
Harmony and me posing for a portrait in a dressing room mirror. Harmony and I have a lot in common (besides spilling our milk), so we like being together.
Brian got a new chainsaw from Santa. Michelle gave him plenty of opportunities to try it out in their overgrown backyard.
James even got in on the action! On Christmas Eve James and Harmony were in a play at their church about the Christmas story. Harmony was a lamb and James was a donkey. I didn't get any good pictures of Harmony, but here's James in his costume. They were both adorable and did a great job! Of course we had to have meatpie for dinner on Christmas Eve.The kids let us sleep in until 7 o'clock on Christmas morning. They were very excited, especially James. This expression says it all. Dad on Christmas morning (just a nice photo). Brian and I brought a prime rib from Iowa with us (the meat capital of the country) for Christmas dinner. It was lovely. Dad carved- he's an expert.
The day after Christmas we took a trip to a museum nearby with all the kids. James, Harmony, and Gabby love museums and this particular museum had lots for them to do.
30-million years ago and Brian would have been toast!
I re-enacted a pre-historic battle in the kid area. James, Gabby, and Harmony riding a (fake, but very realistic) camel in the Egyptian room. Seth and Dad scope out an extremely large tree cookie. James, Harmony, and I spent a lot of time in the kids' water area. They got pretty wet...I managed to stay much dryer than they did.
Mom and Dad said they would babysit so that Seth, Michelle, Brian and I could go out. We went to the Melting Pot- a fondue restaurant. It was nice hanging out- just the four of us...and the food was terrific. Seth and Michelle, across the table. Another highlight of our visit was fossil hunting. James loves fossils and there is a great place to go fossil hunting close to their house. Dad climbing to the top of one of the cliffs. (Notice the "no climbing" sign). What can you say- he's an Alaskan. Brian contemplates some 300-million year-old shells. The guys digging for trilobites. Seth found some really nice specimens. Before we left there were a few inches of snow, so the kids all bundled up to play. Gabby got all suited up, reminding me of the movie A Christmas Story. She was only outside 10 minutes before she came back in because her fingers were cold. She hasn't yet made the correlation between leaving her gloves on and keeping her fingers warm. Maybe by next winter. Thanks for a super fun visit!