Friday, July 9, 2010

Anniversary Gifts

Yesterday Brian sent me anniversary flowers at the office. I love having fresh flowers on my desk! Today we decided to go and look at new cars, being that our 2006 Equinox has been giving us problems recently and the warranty just expired. This 2010 Equinox followed us home! Well, it isn't brand new- it has 5,000 miles, which makes it a used car, so we got an excellent deal. The last owner brought it back after having it only a few months and traded it in for a Camaro. Lucky for us! We really like the body style and leg room (for Brian) that the Equinox offers, but they're so popular that they're kinda hard to find. Our timing was perfect to get this one! *joy*
Pretty, isn't she?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 Years

Today is our 4-year anniversary! July 8, 2006 was such a good day! Thank you to everyone who helped make it so special for us!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quick weekend at Seth & Michelle's

After getting in from Alaska, I hopped a quick flight over to see Seth and Michelle for the 4th of July weekend. Brian stayed home to work and take care of the dogs. My flight got in about 11:30 am, so after everyone picked me up we went to Friendly's for lunch. I haven't been to Friendly's in years. The ice cream was just as I remembered.

Gabby thought it was pretty tasty. James got a huge "volcano" sundae!Harmony and I got the same kind of sundae- that girl has got good taste. After lunch we spent a quite day hanging out at the house, which I almost didn't recognize. Seth and Michelle have been going nuts with projects. They've landscaped the front and back yards, put in a patio, put down a new dining room floor, painted, built a closet, took out a fire place, etc., etc.. The list is almost endless. I was impressed to say the least.

I think my visit gave Seth and Michelle a small excuse to take at least a few hours off from their projects. This is Seth taking a break- something that hasn't happened much in the last 8 months since purchasing their house. Seth and Michelle just got back from a trip of their own to Niagara Falls where they spent a few days with Mom and Dad, Becky and Noah, Lily, David, Megan and Michael (their cousins). Everyone had a great time at Niagara. There Harmony got her new best friend "Peachy" the Raccoon. The weekend weather was almost perfect, so we spent a lot of time outside. Here James found a robin learning to fly in one of their peach trees. The little bird was resting before taking another quick flight. He didn't seem to mind James getting a close look. Seth and the kids on their outdoor swing.
Gabby. Harmony. Look what James learned to do in gymnastics! Gabby on the swing.
For lunch (when Michelle wasn't looking), Seth made banana sandwiches. Yum! A taste of our childhood on par with the Fluffernutter. White bread, butter, banana, and a bit of sugar.
There were also some tasty pina coladas. And a water balloon fight... ...that turned into Michelle getting thrown into the kids' pool... ...and Seth going down with her!Everyone got wet... ...even Aunt Hope. The weekend went so fast. It seemed like I just got there and it was time to go home. But before I left we took a few family photos.

Say cheese! Hugs for Aunt Hope! Still don't look much like twins, do we? Seth and Michelle. Oh yeah, and on the way to the airport we stopped at the store and picked up...FLUFF!Thanks Seth and Michelle for a great weekend! Wishing you all the best in the year ahead...and plenty of prayers.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Goodbye Equinox

On our way back from the Minneapolis airport my car began to have electrical issues. We barely made it home around 11:00pm. When we tried to start it the next morning (yesterday), it wouldn't even turn over. So, we called the local dealership and had it towed in. Hopefully we'll get it back today. I'm within 100 miles of my warranty expiring, so I was glad it decided to have issues sooner rather than later. This truly is a sad photo, isn't it?

Back to the North (Part IV: Fairbanks)

One of the most exciting things we did in Fairbanks was spend time with our new nephews Connor and Wyatt (sons of Jen and Dave). The boys are adorable and good natured.

Here's Wyatt.
and his big brother Connor.
Their mother is as delicate as ever. Here she is daintily eating a falaffel.
Although we got sick during our time in Fairbanks and weren't able to do as much visiting as we wanted, I did make it to a Family Funday Sunday dinner (just like old times when 3 of my siblings are my parents were living in Fairbanks). My sister-in-law Tammy made a kicker dinner complete with baklava. Impressive!Our niece Bethany (Nate and Tammy's daughter)...and her brother William. Both had gotten so big in the two years that we've been gone!
The two days before we left, Brian's brother Jeff, his wife Laura, and their daughter Ada arrived from Boston. It was great to spend some time with them before we left. Laura, Ada and I went to the Large Animal Research Station (LARS) at UAF to visit the musk ox and caribou.Laura and Ada walking down the path to the animals. A friendly musk ox munches on willow. A hungry caribou does the same.Ada playing in the grass...
...and on a tractor.

Our last evening while staying at Don and Patsy's (Brian's parents) we make coconut shrimp for dinner (that Mom and Dad sent up from Valdez). The shrimp was mighty tasty when pared with an Alaskan White......and some exceptional blue cheese provided by Jeff and Laura. What a tasty way to end our visit! Thank you to everyone who showed us hospitality! We were sorry that we weren't able to visit with everyone, but we will be back again before too long. See you all again soon!

Back to the North (Part III: Cinnamon Rolls, Trees & Bears)

For Father's Day I made Dad my (non) award-winning cinnamon rolls. The next morning Brian decided it would be a good idea to slice them... and make french toast. What a clever man I married. They were delicious! (Please note that real maple syrup was available for Brian's use, but he declined). After such a hefty breakfast we went for a short walk on the Portage Glacier trail. There Brian found this massive tree. I appreciated Brian allowing me to photograph him for scale (he was kinda being goofy and was thrilled that we were going to turn around after this photo was taken...the mosquitoes were really bad and we didn't bring bug dope).
On our final day in Valdez, Brian, Bolt, and I hiked the Salomon Gulch trail up to a lake created by a hydroelectrical dam. This is where Valdez gets its electricity. Here's Brian at the top- an incredible view.

One of the main reasons I wanted to do this hike: to take a photo of Bolt and me. I have this same photo taken in 2000 with my father's last black lab Spring. So much has changed in the last decade. I hope to come back to this spot in another 10 years.On the way back down the mountain we ran into a black bear. Here he is under the pipe that brings water to the hydroelectrical plant. See him?

We brought a sidearm with us, so we weren't too worried about the bear. We talked to him a bit and he decided to go the other direction. A closer look. Been a while since we've seen a bear, so it was kinda exciting! We were both sad to leave Valdez the next morning, but were excited to head up to Fairbanks to see the rest of the family and many friends. Thanks Mom and Dad for an exceptional week!