Saturday, December 16, 2006

Base Christmas party (and just random goodness)

I know, I know! Two posts in one week! Ok, are you up off the floor yet?'ve had an eventful week here. Not only did I get to do the Santa to the Villages flight this week, we also had our first Christmas visitor arrive. Makenzie (Zach's sister, for those that don't know) got here after spending 15 long hours in Anchorage. Luckily the Koehler family has friends there (remember Sunny, Jed and the rest of the Hefley family from our travels here?) and they picked Mak up from the airport for a few hours and took her to lunch. We pretty much have spent the first few days just relaxing. She has slept until 11 everyday so far. I don't blame her though. The school she goes to in L.A. keeps her really busy and she also works, so she doesn't have much time to sleep or eat right. She has been able to get plenty of rest and get some home cooked meals. We even special ordered fresh snow for her! Ok, so God blessed us on His own with that, but we were hoping for some.

Friday night we had the Air Station Christmas party. It was a lot of fun. We got to eat and they had a good DJ. They had raffles and we didn't win anything. Oh well, no big deal. I was actually really happy cause there were only a few officers that won. I think it means more to the enlisted guys and girls. And they deserve it! We got all dressed up for it. It's one of the few occasions that we get to dress up here, so I will take advantage of every opportunity. We danced after dinner and then went upstairs to the sports bar where the band Stranded was playing. The band is made up of 5 guys, 4 are pilots here and the other guy is a local. They are actually really good. We were dancing and having a good time. Zach had duty on Saturday though, so we ended up leaving early. He had duty with Kevin Rapp and he was the one organizing the party, so he kinda had to stay late. Zach decided that he should get extra sleep since he knew Kevin wouldn't get to. Good times were had by all.

Today Mak and I went to the base to help with "Pictures with Santa". Zach met us up there after about an hour and we got our picture taken on Santa's lap. Zach didn't want to but luckily for me (unlucky for him) Devin walked in and said he needed to pick up the pics he and Stef had taken last week with Santa. Hah! I got him there...I made him take off his jacket and sit in Santa's lap with me, flight suit and all. We got one just the two of us and one with Mak in it too.

After that we had lunch together at the pizza parlor on base then just came home and chilled the rest of the day. Zach had to stay at work and will be home in the morning, but Mak and I pretty much just sat on the couch, played on our computers and watched Ray. Yeah, very exciting, but I ended up with a headache and she just wanted to hang out. I've really had a good time with her the past couple days. We've had quite a bit of time just the two of us and it's been nice.

Oh! I never did post about our annual Christmas party! We had it on the 9th. It was a lot of fun. We had about 11 people here. Some couldn't make it that we were originally expecting due to extenuating circumstances. We missed them, but we still had a good time. It was a very relaxed party and it was actually the least stressed we've ever been before a party. We had hot apple cider and all kinds of appetizers. The food was great, but the company was better. We said we'll invite more people next year.

It's been really pretty here the past few days. There have been snow showers and I got some pics of our backyard. Let me just say...I love it here. I love the snow. I don't particularly enjoy driving on the icy roads, but it beats sitting in traffic any day. I think I will probably go nuts when I go back to the lower 48 even for vacation with so many people and traffic. Sure, there are aspects I miss, but I like the slower pace here. Plus, you just can't beat the views.

We've got some pics on Snapfish. Here are the links to our other digital albums.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Coolest thing I've ever done

***WARNING*** Really long and picture heavy. Don't forget you can click on the picture to see it larger. If you want to see more pictures, you can visit our page on Snapfish: Santa to the Villages. If that link doesn't work, email me and I'll email you an invitation to see them.

Ok, so Monday morning I wake up to go in with Zach to the base. He was scheduled for a flight and I was volunteering with Santa to the Villages - an OSA program to bring Christmas to the outlying villages of Kodiak. The presents had all been wrapped and organized into their proper locations - seven villages in all I believe - in the few weeks leading up to this and this was the day we got to distribute gifts to the children of Chiniak. You may be wondering how we got the gifts to the villages....well, Santa of course...only he arrived via helicopter with his elves in tow. I was one of the elves. That's right, I got to fly in a helo...not just any helo, but a 60, the same thing Zach flies. Zach wasn't allowed to be my pilot, but he was flying the other helo. We took two out there to carry all of us elves and the gifts. We had to get in flight suits and helmets and go through a brief about what to do in an emergency...basically if you see the flight mec lol

The flight to Chiniak was a short one. Chiniak is located on the main island and is accessible by road, but it just makes more of an impact for Santa to arrive on a helo. It was crazy taking off...we taxied down the runway and then we thing I knew we were in a hover. It was the coolest thing ever! There are really no words to describe the feeling of being in a huge hunk of metal that according to the laws of physics really shouldn't be able to fly and hovering above the ground. It was thrilling!

We landed in the school's baseball field with the children and citizens of the village outside watching. There are 14 students at the school, but 18 kids 0-18 years that live in the community, so we give gifts to all of them. Santa was amazing! The kids loved him and he interacted with them the whole time, from the moment we arrived on scene to the moment we left. He played on the floor with the kids and sat with his arm around the "grandma" of the village talking to her. It was very impressive! The kids were so excited too. Some of the most amazing things happened with the gifts too. There was a girl, probably around 13 or so, who is definitely a tomboy. As soon as I saw her I thought, "Oh, no, I really hope she's not the one who got jewelry or bath stuff". What does she get? Walkie-talkies, which she LOVED! There were a couple of kindergarten girls (one black, one white) who both got babydolls with strollers. Just so happened that they got a black doll and a white doll respectively. The amazing thing about this is that no one KNEW these kids to know what to pick out from our pile for them. We didn't have a wish list for each one, we just have a slew of gifts for kids of various ages and figure out who gets what from there. We didn't know that the one girl was a tomboy...another neat thing about that is that we actually changed her gift last week. For some reason, it didn't "feel" right to any of us to give her bath stuff or jewelry. She was the only girl out of all the villages to recieve the walkie-talkies. We had 10 sets. And the dolls, we didn't know one was black and one white and you couldn't tell by their names either. Very cool experience. There was also a sweet young boy around the age of 13 or so who, when Santa gave him his gift, said, "Thank you, sir, I just hope I was good enough for this!" And then later, when he was putting together his gift (a wooden pinball machine) and I asked if he needed any help. He said, "No, but thank you for doing this [he motioned around the room], it really means a lot. I just hope I deserve this!" I told him that just by him asking, I knew he was good enough. Just makes me think that he probably gets told at home that he's not good, ya know? There were so many kids that I wish I had the time to tell you about all of them. There was a little boy about 9 months that was crawling around and loved Zach. He crawled across the gym to him and pulled himself up on Zach's leg. Very cute! There was only one little girl who was a little disappointed in her gift. Four year old Sienna said that she asked Santa for a kite, not a doll. By the time we left though, she had picked out a name for her new doll...Ashley. She said she wants her mom to have a real baby named Ashley. I told her mom and she laughed and said fat chance. Too funny. It was really neat that the entire community came out to the school for the day.

The kids were having a Christmas program that night and were sweet enough to sing us a small portion of a song. Ok, so it was more like yelling it, but it was cute nonetheless. We stayed and had lunch with the kids too. It was a sight to see just as many adults (more probably) as children sitting at the small lunch table eating the school lunch of pizza sticks, corn, apple and milk.

We took off again shortly after lunch and the pilots were nice enough to give us a tour around the island. They could have just taken us directly back to the base, but they flew around pretty much the whole island. I got to see things I've never been able to see before from the ground and places that you can't ever see from anywhere but the air. It was exhilerating! At one point I got tethered and sat in the doorway with the door open and flying around. CRAZY!!! It was really neat to see and experience just a portion of what Zach gets to do every day. I have always understood that he loves what he gets to do for a living, but I got a deeper sense of that during that day. I don't think the smile left my face the entire day. The pilots I flew with were laughing at me because I was giggly and giddy and just smiling the whole time. I saw one of their wives the next day and she said her husband told her that I was a trip and that he loved flying with me because I had so much fun. And I did....I had a GREAT time. In fact, as soon as we landed, I asked for another go round! They didn't let me though, I don't know why!

When we were flying around we saw a cross on top of a mountain that was placed there by the Russian Orthodox Church. The original was wooden, but that rotted and so a 60 lifted the specially made steel one to the top of the mountain and lowered it into the hole dug for it. Only it couldn't be called a is a "historical landmark". You know...the whole seperation between church and state thing. Sheesh...

They gave us one heck of a ride too. They were yankin' and bankin', pulling up, swerving one way, then another. Zach was following in the other helo and said that at one point we crested a mountain at about 40 feet. WOW!!! I think that was the same point that Kevin (one of the pilots) told us (there were 4 elves in the back) to look out the front if we could. We did and saw that we were headed straight for some mountains and going pretty fast. They kept getting closer and closer and all of a sudden he pulled up real quick and you should have heard us all scream! We were having a great time!

We also flew over our house. It was really neat looking at our neighborhood from the sky. I realized we are a lot closer to the water than I thought. I wish there were more ways to describe this experience, but there really isn't. Most of the time I am just speechless when people ask how it went...which for those of you who know me well, know is very rare. All I can seem to say is that it was the coolest thing that I've ever done. I really hope I get to do it again next year too!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Some pics...finally

Zach downloaded some from the base computer and brought them home. We'll upload more later. WARNING: Picture heavy.
This is us at the Halloween party on Friday the 13th. Aren't we scary? We vant to suck your blood...ha ha ha.
Here's what our whole costume looked like and us being scary.
Our friends Devin and Stefanie...they are so silly. You should have seen her tail flopping around from side to side when she would dance. It was so funny.
We also had a dead hippy, witch and a woman from the Renaissance era (Eric and Heather - my belly dancing teacher - and Trisha).
I'd put up more pics, but apparantly I've killed the blogger photo keeps timing out now.
Zach has some AMAZING pics from his flight the other day. Just a hint....he landed on a mountain! So cool! I'll let him post since he will tell a whole story with it too.
Hopefully we'll be getting a new camera soon. Oh! Pray for us, we have an offer on our house that we countered and they countered back. We are going to accept it and finally be done with it! YAY!!! We really hope the inspection comes out ok. I'm sure it will, but it's still a nerve racking process!

Friday, October 27, 2006

It snowed!

It finally snowed yesterday. It didn't stick, but it sure was beautiful! I'm kinda nervous about driving in it though. It was snowing a little when I went to the grocery in the afternoon, but it hadn't accumulated enough to make it hard to drive. I'm going to go to Walmart and get a disposable camera today and I'll take some pics.

Tonight, we are going to the Haunted SPAR (one of the ships stationed here) and then to the haunted hayride. It should be a good time. Cold, but fun.

We went ghosting a couple nights ago. I had never heard of it until this year. Here is the definition according to Wikipedia. I changed some to fit how we do it in our neighborhood.

A new Halloween "tradition" of Ghosting has started. In the days leading up to Halloween someone may drop off a trick-or-treat bag (at night) filled with a few goodies, ring the doorbell and run. They include a rhyme that explains the tradition and a paper with an image or symbol of a ghost. You hang the ghost picture on your house until Halloween so no one else with "Ghost" you. You then have two days to "Ghost" two other people.

It's so much fun! We had to go down a few streets to find a house without a ghost on it already. What a good time though. I think we're going to have to introduce this whenever we move. We didn't ring the doorbell and run though. We just let them find it as a surprise. It's really fun to see all the ghosts on the doors in the neighborhood. We have no idea who ghosted us either! We just did random people we didn't know either. We did one at a known Coastie house (we don't know them though) and then another at a newcomer to the neighborhood.

Happy Weekend-before-Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It may snow!!!

I'm so excited! Zach called from work this morning to tell me that in this mornings weather brief they said it may snow today!!! A few days ago there was snow at the top of Barometer, a mountain near the base, and the mountains in the distance have had snow all week! It's gorgeous!!! It's so weird though. I saw a pic of some friends from Clearwater and they are all in short and tees and still look hot and the pic was taken this weekend! It's so strange to be here with all the cold weather coming in. We still love it though. I don't know if I'll love driving in it though. Actually, it will be the people driving behind me that are hating me for driving so slow. Oh, well, I'll be safe at least.

It's been a crazy few weeks here. It started off with a Halloween/Friday the 13th party. We were vampires. Everyone loved our costumes. We still don't have a camera, but Z is trying to download some pictures from the file at work (it was a base party). Then the next week, I was rushing around working on the Serendipity auction. I don't know if I put it on here, but I was in charge of inventory for it and also creating the program. I will be helping co-chair next year with this years chair (Aimee), so I'll have even more work to do! It was a great time though! We were able to raise a lot of money for the community and Z and I came home with a lot of goodies (probably $500 worth of stuff for $270). I got a new winter jacket, since I didn't have one that is waterproof, two nights for the price of one at a local B&B, and a Harry and David picnic backpack filled with a bottle of Kodiak wine, Kodiak Salmonberry Champagne, and lots of gourmet foods. Oh! I almost forgot the "More Practice" print by Priscilla Messner. It's a limited edition and SO cool!

I also have a second interview scheduled for the loan processor position. I'm really hoping I get it and will hopefully find out by weeks end. Another fun thing I've done is start belly dancing classes. They are twice a week and SO much fun! And I'm not terrible either! I've got to order a skirt, veil and hip scarf soon though. I keep using the teachers. She is a member of the OSA and just moved here this summer too. She's great. I've really come to like her a lot. It's funny though, I've realized I have a very eclectic group of friends. Z says it's funny to see me talking and genuinely enjoying talking and hanging out with such diverse people. I love it though. It's the spice of life!

Zach just flew over the house again. It's so neat that they are always flying over the neighborhood on their way in or out on a flight. He had duty last night and will again Thur/Fri, so I'll have chick flick night....again. Oh well, he likes the flying here and I like that he's happier.

Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A little nip in the air

It's starting to get colder here in Kodiak and I'm loving every minute of it. Last year it snowed the day before Halloween, but I'm not sure that will happen this year. I'm certain it will before Thanksgiving though. I can't wait. Everyone here is hating that I'm so excited about it though. I'm just going to have to learn to drive in the snow. I think we've decided not to get snow tires. They are over a grand and we've been told that as long as we drive slow it shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure some of you are thinking I'll have issues with that, but I actually don't speed here and if I do, as soon as I realize it I slow down fast. It's hard b/c it's a small island and there are a lot of cops for so few people and they like to keep busy by stopping people. Plus, we are the only ones on the entire island with our car.

It's funny actually. We had to have our burner cleaned out last week and when the guy came to do it, he saw our car and said, "Oh! So you're the one who drives this car!" Yeah, small island. That's why I no longer get road rage or speed. If I did, everyone would know and it wouldn't be too hard to find us if a call was made.

The days are getting pretty short now. Sunrise was at 8:36 this morning and sunset will be at 7:16. I've noticed it's been harder for me to wake up the past week or so. My body will wakes me up around 7:30, but I keep trying to go back to sleep b/c I think it's earlier than that since it's still dark. Zach actually had a night flight this morning. He's not used to that either. It sure is a change from the night flights they had when we first got here. They were at at 3 am then b/c that was the only time it was dark. Pretty soon the day flights will have to be at 3 pm b/c that will be the only time it's light.

Not much else going on. I've applied for a job and I hope to hear back from them soon. It is for a Loan Processor position at the local mortgage company. They are a great company (Alaska based) and local. We used them for ours when we bought our house and they are as nice as can be. There are only 3 people in the entire office: the branch manager, loan processor and receptionist. My neighbor is the loan processor now, but she wants to be at home with her son and they are transferring next summer anyway, so she's putting in a good word for me. Say a prayer for it to work out.

Miss and love you all!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Getting on my Soap box for a minute

I'm not one to normally post my opinions in this large of a way, but I feel the need to get this out there in case some of you are not aware of this new product. I'm sure you have all heard of this already, but I just want to make sure people are aware there is a new "energy" drink on the market called Cocaine. Here's an article that was published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 22. Bold print was highlighted by me.

Latest energy drink gets some bad buzz
Newhouse News Service

In the competitive market for "energy drinks," the aim is to advertise more caffeine, more buzz, more attitude.
Even more controversy.
The latest drink to bust from the pack promises the euphoria of drugs — but legally. And it's receiving buzz — especially from anti-drug advocates.
The Cocaine Energy Drink, created by a Las Vegas beverage maker, contains no narcotics but boasts on its Web site, "Instant Rush. No Crash!"
Drinkers are told they will experience the "highest energy content of ANY energy drink on the market today! 350 percent greater than The Bull!" — a reference to Red Bull energy drink. Drinkers will experience "possible feelings of euphoria," all, apparently, from sugar and caffeine.
Jamey Kirby, the drink's inventor, said the Cocaine Energy Drink contains 280 milligrams of caffeine and costs about $2 a can. An average cup of coffee contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine.
Drug experts are appalled, and so are nutritionists, who say young people use the stimulating drinks to help them party through the night.
"Kids get hopped up on drinks called Cocaine and Xtazy and then what happens when someone offers them a line of real cocaine or an Ecstasy pill?" said Joseph Califano, president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
The beverage Cocaine joins other energy drinks using provocative names and edgy advertising to make a splash in the crowded field of sugary, highly caffeinated drinks. With names such as Xtazy Energy, PimpJuice and Tantra Erotic Drink, most are aimed at young people and advertised heavily on the Internet.
"I can't believe they would name a drink after a street drug," said Andre Emont, director of pharmaceutical services at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-University Hospital in Newark, N.J. "They are associating this with a drug people abuse."
Kirby responded that the 8-ounce energy drink does not promote or glamorize drugs.
"Kids already know what's out there," Kirby said. "Maybe this can help by making parents and kids not afraid to talk about drugs."
Kirby said he expected controversy, "but we were not prepared for this insane media blitz."
Industry experts seem less alarmed than drug experts and say marketers for energy drinks merely are trying to take on a "street attitude" and stand out from the crowd.
"They are going after the savvy, sophisticated 20-something male. They used to show extreme sports, like skateboarding. Now they are taking on a street attitude," said Sarah Theodore, editor of Beverage Industry magazine.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Ok, so WHAT IS THIS COMPANY THINKING???? I mean really...couldn't they have named it something else. And WHY would anyone need this much caffeine anyway? I remember being sick for 3 days in college when I took NoDoz and coffee together to stay up all night to write a paper. It makes you high. It should not be legal and if it is, you should have to be 18 to purchase it! Can you imagine the kids walking around school saying, "Hey, I'm on cocaine!" I agree with Mr. Califano when he asks what are kids going to do when they are offered the actual drug? I think they will be more likely to try these drugs since they will be expecting the same kind of rush. I'd never heard of the drink Xtasy either and that makes me just as mad. I've heard recently of other risque named drinks that I don't even have the gall to print! These companies should be ashamed of themselves!!!

Mr. Kirby (and I use Mr. very lightly as he is very unlikely to be deserving of that title) states that he did not expect this much media...please!!! He knew exactly what he was doing. If he didn't, his marketing team sure enough did. They are getting what they want, but hopefully with more people aware of this drink, parents will make sure their children do not purchase their products. And I seriously doubt that the 20 something male is really their target market. Most of the people I see with drinks of this type are teens. A lot of people also mix these drinks with alcohol. I shudder to think of what that does to the body.

I encourage everyone out there with children or anyone that has influence on children to please discuss the affects this drink could have on the body and also use it as a way to discuss drugs with them as well. Mr. Kirby did have that right, it did make me want to talk to children about drugs, but in my opinion, this drink should be considered a drug.

The FDA needs to step up and require warnings be placed on the labels of these drinks stating the possible side effects like they do with cigarettes.

Ok, I'm finished ranting, but I felt the need to talk about this. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments. Discussion is good, very good!

Stepping of my soap box now!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've created a monster!!!

I finally broke down and took Beth out shooting with our good friends Devin and Stefanie. It was the first time she'd ever shot a gun before and she had a blast!!! Ha ha!! Get it?? She even tried thuggen it for a bit. We went out to this place called Saloonie Creek Shooting Range. It costs about $12 a year to get the key to the gate and it shows. There was a sign on the gate about a bear attack that happened about a week before we got there. That's a pretty brave bear to attack a shooting range where hunters sight in their guns.

Anyway after we got done shooting Beth told me that she wants a gun for christmas this year. We'll see about that. She had this huge bruise on her shoulder when we were done. Of course my shoulder was pretty sore too. I was shooting my 12 gauge and Beth was shooting Devin's 20 gauge. She was a pretty good shot too. We will definately have to go out again when the weather is nice.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not much new

Just wanted to let everyone know we're still around. Not much new in our world right now. Zach was sick last week.

Oh!!! We did celebrate four years of wedded bliss last week though. It's been amazing and I look forward to many MANY more! Thanks for all the wonderful cards! We still don't have our long distance set up so we haven't been able to call to thank anyone. Our phone card ran out of minutes too. Hopefully we'll get the long distance set up in the next day or two.

I'm trying to find a job. I've decided that a SAHW (stay at home wife) is not for me. I will probably try to find something just part time. I am hoping to get a job at the local college in January. I'll call them in a week or so to see what's going on and what I can do to get started.

We are hoping to go camping this weekend if it's nice out. We would have gone this weekend, but the weather was questionable. I did hold out, but we weren't sure and didn't want to get stuck anywhere.

Not much else new to add right now. Hopefully we'll be more interesting soon enough.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Important lessons in walking

When walking down stairs it is imperative that feet be firmly planted on the next step before trying to go down further. If, for instance, only the heel of the right foot is barely on the higher step, you will likely slip down with little to no control. This can result in the toes and forefoot of the left foot bending completely underneath said foot, causing much discomfort, bruising and swelling. A picture of what could result will be posted soon. It is also important to note that flailing your arms wildly will NOT help and will just make you look more foolish. Ask me how I know...

Hopefully there will be no more lessons of this nature to report to you, our loyal listeners, er, readers.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy 216th Birthday USCG!

Today is the 216th birthday of the Coast Guard. Following is a note to my wonderful husband (along with all the other men and women of the USCG) from Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard.

To the Men and Women of the Coast Guard:

Today marks the 216th Birthday of our Coast Guard. This anniversary offers us a moment to celebrate our rich history, reflect on our past and focus on our future. The Coast Guard’s unique legacy as America’s lifesaver and maritime guardian evolved from the selfless courage and unflinching determination of our predecessors. It is in their honor that we celebrate today. In 1790, Congress authorized secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton to build a fleet of ten cutters to secure our freedom and protect our coast. For the next eight years, the Revenue Marine was the nation’s only naval force. Over time, it evolved and acquired new responsibilities to meet the growing needs of a democracy in the early years of a new nation.

The world has changed dramatically since 1790 and continues to change with every day. The global war on terrorism, the Maritime Transportation Security Act, The Homeland Security Act, the National Strategy for Homeland Security, and the National Strategy for Maritime Security have given the Coast Guard additional areas of mission emphasis. Meeting those new maritime security demands, while sustaining the trust and confidence of the public we serve in preserving our maritime safety and exercising our maritime stewardship duties, requires us to continually challenge ourselves and improve the way we do business. By focusing on superior mission execution in all that we do, our active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary men and women are meeting these challenges head on, often times in unique and innovative ways. I am proud of these tremendous efforts and your hard work.

With the arrival of our 217th year of continuous service, we can look forward to the promise of more opportunities to serve America, and even more challenges. I reaffirm my commitment to each of you on this special day to ensure that our Coast Guard men and women are the most versatile workforce in government, equipped with the most capable fleet of ships, aircraft and boats, along with the most effective systems that will support them. We have an extraordinary legacy of excellence as America’s Coast Guard. We will build on that legacy. We will rise to meet the challenges facing us. And we will remain always ready.

Happy Birthday and Semper Paratus!
Admiral Thad Allen


And here's a prayer for the Coast Guard on it's birthday. I found this on the Navy's Chaplain website:

God, we thank you for this special day. It is our Birthday. It is a day to rest from our daily labor. It is a day to share our daily bread with each other. It is a day to challenge each other to a different kind of excellence. May we be refreshed today – in body and soul. May we be renewed today – in mind and spirit. May we be re-dedicated today – in word and deed. Lord, in everything we do, may we please you, may we be all that we can be and may we do for those whom we help what we would like them to do for us. AMEN.

Honey, I'm so proud of you and all that you do for so many people. I can't believe how many lives you have saved or assisted. There are so many people still alive today because of you. You not only save their lives, but they go on to live another day with their families who are eternally grateful for what you have done. Sure, most of them do not know the names of the pilots or crew who saved their life, but you are fulfilling God's work. You are an amazing person and pilot and I am so blessed and proud to have you in my life.

Happy Coast Guard Day everyone! A special thanks goes out to our all of our men in women serving and protecting our homeland. God bless you all!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Ok, I really fixed the posts this time! Finally figured out what was wrong and it was me! lol I didn't see the "moderate comments" tab at the top of my screen. Who knew? I had 20 comments waiting to be approved. I'm such a dork!


Ok guys, I have a confession to make. I think I killed our camera. We went fishing last weekend (and can I tell you I had some amazing pictures?) and when we were crossing back across the creek to go back to the car, I slipped and fell (note: faceplanted) into the ground and rocks. Luckily I wasn't hurt, I thought I had sprained something, but I walked it off. As I'm walking off I turn around and see Zach and Stef looking concerned and Zach holding up our soaking wet camera. Apparently you are supposed to zip the camera bag up when you put it back in there. Who would have guessed. We dried it out and it still won't come on. I'm hoping the memory card is ok, and we are going to take it to Walmart tonight to see if we can get a CD of the pictures. I'm still really upset b/c now that I have no camera, I see all these amazing things I want to take pictures of, but can't. Ugh!!! I'm going to take it to Anchorage with me at the end of the month to drop it by Best Buy - thank goodness for service plans - and will have them mail it back to us.

The reason I'm going to Anchorage is b/c Zach and I are going to enter the next phase of developing our family. Most of you know we have been trying to get pregnant for 2 3/4 years now (but who's counting?). I have a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) that has kept us from achieving our goal. The doctors do not want to keep me on the fertility medicine much longer due to the increased risk of cancer and the fact that I'm not technically obese as many others with this syndrome are - it makes you gain weight and very hard to lose it. In addition to Clomid (the medicine) we are going to also do injectibles. This means I will have to give myself shots. If after two months we are not pregnant, we are going to either try IUI (if you want to know ask or you can look it up) or move on to adoption. I think right now we are thinking we will try one or two months of IUI while also starting the adoption process. We have always known we want to adopt, so it's just another way for us to have a family.

You may be wondering why I'm telling you all this now. I'm kind of wondering this myself, but I felt it was time. We are coming up to our 4 year anniversary - can you believe it? - and we have had to endure way too many questions like "when are you going to start your family" or if I'm holding a baby or child, "that's really fitting for you". Quite frankly I'm kind of sick of it, b/c we both want children so bad that it just kind of rubs it in my face, but I'm also very anxious to let people know that we are looking into adoption.

I've heard many stories of people who have let others know they were looking into adoption and someone knew someone else who had some valuable information. We are really hoping to have a child in our home within the next year or so, but know that it will all happen in God's time. Why we have had to wait is beyond me and to be honest it's beginning to take a toll on me. I'm struggling in my faith, but Zach is such a support. I'm so thankful for him b/c when I'm down, he's there to either put me in my place, lend me a shoulder, help me see things from a different perspective, or all the above. One of the things he's said to me recently was maybe instead of us not being ready for a child (in God's eyes), our child isn't ready for us yet. We are willing to wait for our child, whether it happens biologically or through adoption. Please keep us in your prayers.

I know that this blog is usually really uplifting and light, but I think I needed to get some things off my chest. This may get severely edited or even deleted by weeks end, but maybe not. This is supposed to be a way for us to let our family and friends - all of you - know what's going on in our lives and this is what's going on.

Thanks for making it this far and for all your love and support. Stay tuned tomorrow. You'll have a special treat! It's a special day - for us anyway!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Finishing School for Dogs

That's right folks, we've enrolled Snowflake and Morgan into doggie training. They are actually doing very well. The first night was fairly amusing with about 10 dogs running around this school gym where the training is held and the trainer, Kathie, trying to figure out who was the alpha. Well, our sweet Morgan was that dog, that's right, Morgan is the top dog. Snowflake on the other hand is just a pushover. Is it wrong that we were glad Morgan was the alpha? We were so proud. That doesn't mean she was starting fights or anything either though, she was just letting them know who's boss, and that's why we got her in the first place - to be our security.

They are both doing really well with training and we have been working with them every day, except yesterday. We thought they needed a break too, but we were still working with them some. Zach and I realized most of the issues are our problems (i.e. not being forceful enough, letting them get away with things, not following through). Since last week though, we have been very conscientious about making sure if we tell them to do something they do it. It's amazing how fast they learn too!

On to the other stuff....Zach had a yo-yo week this past week. He would be in the helo ready to take off then be cancelled for maintenance, the be on again and be cancelled for a SAR case. He can't do cases yet, because he hasn't flown all of his area fam's yet (familiarization flights). He has two more to go before he can be on duty. Hopefully he'll get those out in the next couple days b/c he is supposed to have duty on Saturday.

Friday, I went to El Chicano's for dinner with about 10 other people and then to karaoke. Zach decided he wanted some alone time after his week of work. I protested at first telling him I'd stay home and cook him dinner and he could play video games to his hearts content, but he knew I needed to get out of the house too after being here all week. So since Devin is gone, Stef and I went together with 4 other couples. We were joined by quite a bit more at karaoke. It was a lot of fun. Aparently there is a big group of them that go every weekend and when we walked in, they opened the room about 45 minutes early for us. It was a lot of fun! I think we are going to have a girls night on Saturday and go dancing at a place called Mecca. Stef hasn't been yet either so we are going to get Meccanized. Good times.

Other than that it was a pretty ho-hum week around here. We went on a few walks, some in our neighborhood, some around Lake Gertrude, went to Stef's for dinner last night, Zach did more work on the office, I started working on my craft room, that's about it. Tonight we're having Brian, Amy and Sagan McLaughlin over for dinner. They are another couple coming here from Clearwater and bought a house that I can see from my window. Zach is carpooling with Brian so I can have the car and not feel trapped anymore. Speaking of which, if anyone knows of any legit work at home opportunities that look for a degree instead of just HS diploma, please let me know. I feel the need to work, but there's nothing in town I want to do for the hours I want to work. Yeah, I'm picky, but you all knew that already.

Ok, love ya all! Gotta go get to work now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Comments have been fixed...

...I hope. I think I fixed it, so if someone will try it I would be ever grateful. Thanks!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

So sorry!

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I've been horrible about not posting any info or pics. It's been a whirlwind of a month (almost) since we arrived on the 14th of June. We arrived to typical Kodiak weather: cold and wet. Luckily we also arrived to the typical Kodiak friendiness: about 12 people waiting outside in the rain to greet us and welcome us to "the Rock". A couple are from the Coastie spouses forum I found online last fall and the rest were from the Officer Spouses Assn. We received a lot of goodies thanks to the hospitality of said greeters.

We stayed at the Best Western across from the marina for 10 days then moved into our new house on the 24th and slept in our sleeping bags b/c we were tired of being cooped up in a hotel. Our household goods were delivered two days later and most everything was in tact. Much better than I anticipated with the 5500 mile trip it had to make by both land and water. Some of the walls got dinged up while they were delivering, but the company is sending someone out to fix it for us here soon. We have most of the house settled, now we just have to get it organized and the rest of the pics hung.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHere's what we look out to from our deck at midnight. Nice, huh?

We joked and said that we did more walking in the first week we were here than we did the entire time we were in Clearwater. We found some trails and walked around the marina too. There is a big bear statue at the marina that Snowflake likes to attack and terrorize. Let's hope if she ever sees one in real life she'll run and not try to attack.

We've made some good friends here already: Stefanie and Devin who we have hung out with quite a bit. Devin and Zach were in flight school together. He flies "the other helicopter" - the Dolphin. Those guys have it rough, they have to go on long deployments. Devin leaves soon for about three times as long as Zach has to deploy for and his was cut in half because someone took part of his so he could get settled in to the island. Isn't that crazy? We have it so lucky.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMarci and Josh and their son Josh have been great too. She took Stefanie and I off roading in Chiniak (on the other side of the island - about an hour away) the first week we were here. It was a blast. We found an old WWII bunker that we will find again when we have the guys with us. You never know what (or who) may be hiding in there, so we didn't want to go in alone.

We had a GREAT 4th of July. Our cul-de-sac had its annual BBQ and fireworks at night. That was great fun. We met a lot of the neighbors and realized we must be on the safest street on the island. We have a firefighter next door, three other CG families, 2 nurses, and a lawyer on our street.

We also went to the base cause there was a big shindig going on at one of the duplex areas. There were tons of people there! They had a fire pit and the kids were running around in bathing suits - or birthday suits as they saw fit - playing in the sprinkler then warming up by the fire pit eating smores. It was a blast. We came back home around 9:30 and the neighborhood party was still going on so we stayed outside to watch them shoot off fireworks. A good time was had by all.

Ok, so yesterday, we decided to hike this mountain with S and D. I've never climbed a mountain before, so I was excited. We had plenty of options, but decided to go up Old Woman.! That thing never seemed to stop. It took us about 1 hr. 20 min. to climb up. Everytime we thought we were to the top, we looked and the trail kept going up, so we'd go up further. I thought we'd never find the top, but we did. Luckily, the dogs helped pull us up. Unluckily, they kept trying to pull me down too, so Z ended up with both dogs. It was a lot of fun though. D carried his shotgun on his back in case we ran into any bears. On the way up we talked to some people coming down who had seen one that morning. SO glad we didn't see one, although it would have been very cool, I probably would have peed my pants. lol

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI think I know why the mountain is called Old Woman too. Some say it's because an old woman could walk up, but I think it's because you feel like an old woman the next day. Man, we came home from church and the grocery, made stoup and fell asleep watching Shrek. When I go up Z asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I don't know how I did, b/c my shins are so tight, but we did and I feel a little better. Once we got back we worked on the garage a little. I actually want to park in the garage for once. We will NOT allow it to get so stuffed that I can't park in there. His Chevelle will have to stay outside.

Ok, folks. Like I said, I'm sorry I haven't updated before now. I'll try to do better and keep up with it at least once a week if not more. I'll try to do more though. Miss you all!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Last day...

...on the mainland at least. We'll be getting on the Kodiak ferry tonight around 10 pm. Good thing the sun will still be up. We made it into Homer day before yesterday after taking Beth on her first fishing trip. We went to Ninilchik and tried our had at catching some salmon and halibut. No luck though. We saw one guy catch a King Salmon though. That's the only fish we saw the entire day. It was wet and rainy too but we had a great time.

Since then we have just been bumming around Homer. It is very pretty here but I think both Beth and I are ready to be off the road. Living out of the car for over a month is fun to a point. And I think we're fast approaching that point. Most of our conversations lately have been about what we're going to unpack first. Beth seems to think it'll be her craft stuff but I've got my vote for our bed. It'll be so nice to hook up that SleepNumber matress and sink down into that soft goodness!!!

So today is just spent packing up our junk yet again and getting ready to get on a boat...again. But this will be the last time and we should be pulling into Kodiak tomorrow sometime. We can't wait. We'll let you know when we get there. Keep praying for us so that we can make it down the homestretch without killing each other.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Living on the edge

We have changed our plans after going to Sunny (Jed's mom's) house for the afternoon. They have invited us to join them all in Soldotna for some fishing. We will are packing up the hotel right now and are going to check out in a moment then eat at Sunny's and head down to Soldotna. We will be camping tonight and fishing tomorrow. How fun is that? I'm really excited since I've never been fishing. After only spending an hour or so with them all I felt like I was part of their family. They are great! I'm excited and will try to update tomorrow night when we check into our hotel in Homer. WOOHOO!!! Hopefully we'll have some good pics and have caught some good fish too! This is the most spontaneous thing we've done this trip. It's been a whirlwind of an afternoon, but so much fun.

Love to all and we will update as soon as we get another chance.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I guess Tok was the last time anybody heard from us. We've been relaxing in Anchorage for the past couple days. We decided to stop here for a couple of reasons. First I wanted to give Beth a little time to explore the city for when she gets a chance to hop on a Space A flight (space available on a CG plane) and come back to civilization for a day or weekend. A chance to find all the good places to spend our hard earned ducketts. Second, I have some childhood friends and my god-daughter here in Anchorage. I haven't seen them in over 5 years and with a few exceptions everything is pretty much the same. My god-daughter is a HOOT!!! She will be 6 in November and is sharp as a tack. We had breakfast with her and her dad, Jed yesterday morning and she had us laughing the whole time!!! When we left she asked her dad if she could "go with these people". She has these beautiful brown eyes that will get her out of trouble just as often as they will get her into trouble.

Anchorage is really quite beautiful for being a metropolitan hub of Alaska. It's a little smaller than Pensacola but seems huge compared to the places we've been to already. We've already discovered the REI store here (its our favorite!) and the local outfitters. We both got some new hiking boots to explore our new island home with and Beth picked up some new chest waders for salmon fishing. Just need to get her some wading boots and a fishing pole and she's all set!! I can't wait to see her hook into a 15 lbs salmon for the first time. I just hope she doesn't let go of her fishing pole.

We had dinner with Jed's dad, Mike last night at this fantastic restaurant: Simon and Seafort's Saloon and Grill. Awesome! I had some grilled King Salmon and Beth had Crab Stuffed Halibut. Both were to die for. Then to top the night off...Burnt Creme and Chocolate Torte. Delectable!!

We'll be here for another couple days. We'll be going to Jed's house for a picnic tomorrow. We'll be able to let the girls run in a yard again. We tried to find a dog park for them but there really isn't any fenced in place that they can run. They'll be so excited. Hopefully they'll be too worn out to bark at every knock or breath of wind. Only time will tell. We'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yes we survived...

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After much tossing and turning and a little heaving we made it safe and sound back to dry land. Actually it really wasn't that bad. Beth didn't even get sick. And the girls were fantastic!!! They didn't mess up the car at all, even though they were trapped inside for hours on end. They were unable to go to the bathroom on the ferry because they are so well trained that they didn't want to go on the hard deck. So the poor things held it for almost 2 days. The were certainly relieved to pull into more ways than one!!!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe ferry was a whole new experience for Beth. We were unable to reserve a stateroom so we did the next best thing and pitched our tent on the back deck!! Now that's traveling in style!! And believe it or not we weren't the only poor folks out there...there were at least 4 other tents on our deck and another half dozen on the deck below us. But at least we had some shelter and privacy. There were tons of people just sleeping in chairs or on the floor. Surprisingly we had really good nights of sleep. The wind blew occasionally and really whipped the tent around but just when we thought we were going to be blown overboard the ferry would change course and the wind would die right down. We had our brand new -30 degree sleeping bags from Cabella's and we were toasty warm. The view along the inside passage was out of this world!!! Absolutly breath-taking!!!

Our days were pretty much spent doing whatever we wanted to do...reading, watching movies, taking pictures, sleeping, etc...Beth did get a little cabin fever towards the end. But then we were pulling into Haines, AK. Once we got off the ferry we were back in the car heading north. Getting into Canada was pretty easy. We didn't have passports and Beth's birth-certificate got packed in our household goods by accident but we had a really nice Border Patrol that let us through because her name was on my orders. We spent the night in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory Canada. We went to a restaurant where all the locals hang out. The hockey game was on and sure enough a local came in and said "Hockey, eh?" in a true Canadian accent. Beth and I both about lost it. Took everything we had not to laugh. I always thought Canadians saying "eh?" after every sentance was just a joke but it turns out to be true. Who'da'thunk'it, eh??

After Haines Junction we hit the ALCAN for real, and the ALCAN hit back. Even though it is paved for parts of it the frost heaves in the road are killer. Frost heaves are when water seeps down under the road and then freezes. The ice expands and pushes the pavement up in a little hump. It's like driving across an old fashioned washboard. I even let Beth have a go at it. She told me that she was gonna get an "ulcer from driving on that stupid road". I think I'll be driving most of tomorrow now.

Well tonight has us in Tok (Toke), AK. We were able to finally do some laundry and get un-stinkified. There is a really good restaurant here at Young's Motel, surprisingly good. We were able to have a fantastic dinner for very reasonable prices. Tomorrow has us getting to Anchorage for a few days of camping, visiting friends and relaxing. Both of us are getting really ready to be in our own home again and off the road but it has been a great trip so far and we've really learned a lot about each other.

It's now a little after 11 pm and the sun is just about to set so it's time to get some sleep before hitting the road tomorrow. (We're still trying to figure out how to get pictures added. We obviously have been able to add them before so we're not sure what's going on but trust us we'll get them on as soon as possible. They are worth waiting for.)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sleepless in Seattle

We decided to drive straight to Seattle on Wednesday so we could have a break on Thursday. I think the girls needed a break too. I tried to get the pics up, but it's not letting me post any and we can't for the life of us figure out why. We may try deleting some of the pics in previous posts to see if that is the problem.

We went to the Space Needle yesterday. What an amazing structure! It's 605 feet tall and was built for the World's Fair in 1962. We walked around and got some pics up there before going down to the nearby foodcourt for some lunch. Zach hasn't been feeling very well, so we ended up having soup and sandwiches. We headed back to the hotel after that so Zach could get a nap before dinner.

We were invited to Leighanne and Todd....ugh, I can't remember their last name I just remember her maiden name - Presley. I do know it starts with a G. Hmm...Delinda, help me out here. Anyway, they had us over for dinner, but Todd, Cora Lynn and Savannah had to go to a track awards thing for school. Savannah ran track this year and won 10 awards! Congrats! Zach and I really enjoyed chatting with Leighanne. Ok, so we girls did most of the talking, but hey. It was nice to be around her again. I can totally see why she and Delinda are best friends.

Speaking of was funny b/c the first thing out of Leighanne's mouth was, "You look just like Delinda, you are making me miss her more!" Savannah thinks I sound just like her too. I never think about it I guess. It was really funny.

They wanted us to bring the dogs with us and Snowflake and Morgan really enjoyed being in a house with carpet and couches. It was really funny. They were pretty calm for the most part.

After the awards, they brought back ice cream and Leighanne had made a cake. It was so good! I'm so glad we were able to hang out with them. We haven't seen any of them since May of 2002. The girls have grown up so much! They are beautiful! Leighanne and Todd haven't changed a bit. I am kicking myself in the butt too. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures while we were there. I actually woke up this morning mad at myself for it! Oh la vie.

Today we are off to Bellingham to catch our ferry, so it will likely be a while before we are able to get back online. We will have lots to update when we get back on though. I'm a little nervous about the ferry and leaving the Continental US. I've never done that before, but I know that God is in control and He will take care of everything. I just wish the girls didn't have to stay in the car. There are 3 pet calls a day though, but still.

Ok, I must get ready to leave now. We will try to get back on soon!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Finally able to relax

We've updated the blog with 3 new posts including this one, so you can start a couple posts down to catch up. We didn't want to do one HUGE post. Ok, now for the rest of the story...

Now that graduation is over and all the parties are done with we are finally able to relax for a day or two. We spent most of the days getting ready for the rest of our trip. Sierra Trading Post was having a huge Memorial Day sale and boy did we take advantage of it. New jackets, new clothes, new day packs, etc... We also got the girls updated on their vaccinations, got some laundry done and got the car packed. We were able to consolidate a lot of stuff and now the girls have a little bit more room to move around. Whaddaya know; we're getting a lot better at this packing thing. The last night we were in Koehler Kountry we spent basking in the home-made goodness of the wood heated hot tub that my dad built. It was really nice and gave us the best night sleep!!

The next day (Tuesday) we left after lunch with Mom, Dad, Mak, and Brandon. We headed out the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. Named the most scenic stretch of land by Teddy Roosevelt. The highway takes us over the Rocky Mountains. We actually hit about 28 degrees and hail. It was the first time the girls had ever seen snow. We were thinking about letting the girls out to play but figured we wouldn't be able to see Snowflake in all that white. It would have been just two little black eyes and a black nose. It was really beautiful. We even got to assist two ladies who had gotten stuck in the snow. They had driven off the road and lukily a guy with a suburban came by and we were able to tow them out. The rest of the drive was very pretty but fairly uneventful. We spent the night in Bozeman, Montana and are now ready to get on the road agian.

We apologize to all of you trying to keep track of us for not keeping the blog up to date but it's been hard to find an internet connection. Wyoming is on the far side of the universe technologically. As you can see we can't even post pictures but we will as soon as we are able. Hopefully our next stop will be a little more advanced. Stay tuned to find out!!!


I am so proud of my sister!! She is the most talented, open, loving person I know. She graduated with a 3.6 gpa and has been accepted to the Young Americans. This is a 4 year college for performing arts. They travel around the country exposing grade school, middle school, and high school students to the fine arts of music and dance. They take time to talk and interact with the students and then afterwards give a performance. If you have ever heard of Up with People, it's kinda like that. They have also performed for presidents and dignitaries the world over. They even had a special stage that they performed on right next to the French Riviera. During the school year they will have a full load of classes (17 credit hours) plus dance practice plus work. On the weekends they will have about 20 hours of dance practice. I am really excited to see what an amazing dancer she will become. But don't let her know that cause I don't want her to get a big head!!

The graduation ceremony was pretty cool. Nice and short. The speaker was pretty funny too. Makenzie was sitting between two 6 foot something guys (you can click on the pic to enlarge). Her head didn't even reach their shoulders. Afterwards we went to some graduation parties. I got to see my old martial arts coaches (Mr. & Mrs. Gallager). They really whipped me into shape before I went to the CG Academy. Their son, Brian, is a member of the US National Martial Arts team and is a hopeful for 2008 Olympic team for Beijing.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAfter the party we went back home to check on the girls and take a nap because we were volunteered by my mom to chaperone the Senior party at the rec center from 9pm to 5 am. They had all sorts of stuff going on. A dance, handwriting analysis, caricatures, diving for money, a hypnotist, mechanical bull, a velcro wall and inflatable rides. We left about midnight, we just can't hang with the younguns anymore. (We're old.)

The next day was spent pretty much recuperating.

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the sulfer...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting...of the Thermopolis hot springs that is. Zach and I drove from Sidney, NE to Cody, WY on Thursday. We were going to stop in Thermopolis to enjoy a night at the hot springs, but after determining how long it would take us to get from Cody to Bellingham, WA to catch the ferry, we decided to head on to Cody and surprise Zach's parents and sister. We did stop in Thermop to enjoy walking around the springs anyway. Snowflake tried to jump in, but luckily we caught her in time. It would have really hurt her. It was beautiful, but man, did it stink!?!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWe also stopped in the Wind River Canyon and Boysen Resevoir. We just took our time and enjoyed the drive and the outdoors. We were only on the interstate for a few hours of the trip, then on the backroads of Hwy 120.

When we made it to Koehler Kountry we started the hike to the house when Makenzie drove up. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIt was funny, b/c the driveway was muddy and the Magnum didn't have enough oomph to make it to the house (Zach wouldn't get me a Hemi - pbbth), so we had to stop about a 1/4 mile from the house and walk. Mak had to do the same b/c her Saab is low. She started running to us and lost her flip flops in the mud, but kept running up to Zach. I think it's great how close they are and how much she looks up to him.

WPhotobucket - Video and Image Hostinghen we made it to the house, Pops came out with a glass of his homemade wine (good stuff) and mom came out all smiles. She swears she "knew" we were coming, but yet she didn't have dinner ready. (just kidding mom, I know you were busy). Good thing she has a good sense of humor with a daughter-in-law like me, huh?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSince we were a day early we decided to take a white water rafting trip down the Shoshone River on Friday. The river was a bit low but was still rough enough to give Beth a good soaking!! (Zach gave the guide a good tip just for that) Beth was all smiles through the trip. I (Zach) loved seeing the excitment in her eyes. It was a really good time and didn't take all that long. All in all I think we were on the river for a little over an hour and got to experiece some class 2 rapids. Class 5 are the worst class of rapids just to give you an idea.

After the river trip we hung out at home for a bit and then headed back into town to pick up Makenzie's boyfriend Brandon and went to go see X3: The Last Stand. I really enjoyed the movie and it stayed pretty close to the comics. It was even better because Brandon works at the movie theater and was able to get us in for free!! It's good to know people in high places.

The next day is graduation. I can't believe that my sister, Makenzie, is graduating already!! I am so proud of her!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Meet us in St. Louis...and Sidney, NE too

We have had a great couple of days. We took our time driving from Seymour and stopped several times to let the dogs play and us stretch our legs. It's always nice to get out of the car for a little while, even if it's just to get gas. We have taken to stopping long enough for lunch to sit down to eat. That's been a nice break. We didn't really know where we would end up staying on Monday. We wanted to try to make it as close to St. Louis as we could, but didn't know if we'd stop to camp before or after we passed though. We made it easily to the city before rush hour.

We all wanted a break, and Beth really wanted to see the Gateway Arch, so we decided to all get out and enjoy a nice walk down to the Arch and sat on the lawn enjoying the view of the Mississippi River and the people. What a fun way to spend an afternoon. We had all kinds of people stopping us to see our dogs. It was quite funny. It was really amazing to see a structure like that. Did you know that the Arch was designed in 1943 and built in 1962-ish and that in order to set the final piece together (the center) they had to wait for the perfect time, temp and windspeed? That's just amazing! They did all of that before computers were everywhere and before you could just plug some numbers into a formula. They had to do it all by themselves. I think that totally blows away some of the more elaborate structures being built today. I love the simplicity of it. Things so simple are oftentimes the hardest to make. Isn't that so often like life?
After about an hour we decided to trek off to find a place to camp. That was an adventure all by itself! Boy, let me tell ya. It took us a while to find somewhere, but we finally did about an hour outside the city in O'Fallon. We stayed at the Cherokee Campground and it was interesting to say the least. We pitched our tent and set up camp to enjoy our evening. We were surrounded by mostly RV's with a few tents. Our neighbors had just been evicted from the campground (most of the people live there apparently) It seems cops had ambushed the place. Turns our we camped next to a meth lab. Isn't that special?

Tuesday we woke up around 6 am. It was a long, cold night in Missouri and we were up with the birds. Oh well, by 7 we were off. We were trying to make it to Lincoln, but when we hit it at 2 p.m. we decided to go further. We ended up going to our Wednesday goal (Sidney, NE) to spend two nights in a hotel. Camping made us achy and gave Beth a sore throat - yeah, we're wimps. We didn't have good sleeping bags though, so we'll use that as our excuse. We'll camp on the ferry and likely at Zach's parent's house too.

We found a hotel that allows pets right next door to Cabela's. They normally make those with pets stay in smoking rooms, but she said we could stay in a non-smoking. Not only that, but when we asked for the AAA rate and that was only a few dollars less than the regular rate, we asked if they had a better rate for military. Well, she gave us a $120 king room with a jacuzzi for $81! How cool is that? God was completely looking out for us. He has truly blessed us while we have been on this trip and just with this whole move.

Cabela's was fun today! It's huge - I'm talkin' 85,000 sq. ft huge! They have a big aquarium with fish native to the area in it. I also tried on my first pair of waders. It was quite a site, no pic, but I'm sure there will be one from Sierra Trading Post in Cody since I didn't find any that fit me. I'm just too short. I blame that on mom. lol. Zach decided to take a nap while we were there. He got tired of shopping with me. He wanted me to try out some fishing poles and I had NO clue what to do. When they put the reel on the rod and had me practice casting I had to ask what casting was. After they all stopped laughing they decided to not bother with casting and move on to see if I could comfortably reel in with that combo. I seriously thought that when you reeled in that you wound towards yourself clockwise. Gosh, that's the way I've always pretended to fish. Yes, I have pretended to fish, haven't you? They laughed about this too, but the sales guy made me feel better b/c he said I wouldn't know if I hadn't fished before, so there. *sticking out tongue

Ok, enough of that. Snowflake, Morgan, Zach and I are outside the hotel enjoying the fresh air. The girls don't know what to think about the wind and tumbleweed. It's too funny. Just wait til they see Alaska!

Tomorrow we're off for our next stop. We'll tell you all about it soon!