Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Photo Session

Ok, so to tide you all over while you await our birthday girl pictures, here are the family pictures we had made last week. We used Carol Scott again, the same one who did Donavyn's birth pictures. She didn't take time to crop/edit/touch up since she doesn't know which we'll want to order. Each pose ordered includes one hour of touch up time, so she can make my fly-aways go away (why can't she just follow me around and do this all the time?). Anyway, just click on Beth Koehler under "recent photos" and the password is beth (note that is all lowercase). Man, do we have our work cut out for us on finding our favorites to order!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catching Up - Post 3

Ok, so here's August for you. Not a lot went on really, so I didn't get many pictures. The first week, Zach was still in Cordova. Here is a pic of a view that he gets when flying there. Pretty, huh?
This is the Valdez oil terminal. The big Alaskan oil pipeline that runs from the North Slope of Alaska all the way to Valdez ends right here. This is where they pump it on to big oil tankers to be shipped out.

This is the high speed ferry. If we get to stay here for another tour the kids and I will go over to Cordova at the end of one of Zach's deployments, then we will take the ferry over to Seward to see what's there.

The most important thing of August....we celebrated our 6 year anniversary. It's funny because we are always amazed that it has been that long, but yet it feels like we have always been together. Zach likes to say that he has forgotten what life without me was like and that he hopes he never has to remember. (Cue "aww")

He asked what I wanted to do for our anniversary and I said "have a picnic on Old Woman" (remember our first experience with Old Woman?). Abbie and Jesse offered to watch the kids for us (aren't they great?), so we took off around 4 o'clock. It was nice to not have two kids hanging on our backs. We did each have backpacks though. We had to carry our food, wine and blanket up there with us afterall. Not to mention the camera and plenty of water and dessert. Oh, and we can't forget the wood we carried up to build a fire to cook our food. Zach made foil packets with salmon, veggies and lemon. And tiramisu, it has a very special meaning for us. It was FABulous! Yeah, I am the one that got the better end of the deal in our marriage. I feel so blessed to have him.

Here we are before our hike. Trust me, the pics of us after we hiked up are NOT all that great. Of me anyway. After just a quarter of the way up the mountain I was really wondering WHY I had to choose this as our date. Why couldn't I be a normal person and just go out to a nice dinner [read: Powerhouse or Chart Room]? No, I had to go on a hike up a mountain to cook my food. You know what though? After all the work, it was wonderful and something I will cherish for as long as I live. What an amazing anniversary with my husband.

Here is our dinner. Can't beat the view either.

Ok, enough gushing....for now anyway. Here the kids are standing on the heater looking outside making sure there is no mischief in the neighborhood. I'm training them well in my ways (I'm known as the neighborhood nosey Nellie). They have to take over since I'm always too busy chasing them to keep up with everyone else in the 'hood now!

The kids played with Bronwyn's tunnel while we were at her house one day and loved it. Bronwyn found one at the Salvation Army and got it for them. Wasn't that nice?

Gabriel had his first icecycle.

Gabriel likes to help Donavyn eat.

We had a date night in. While Zach was out picking up our sushi and dropping his stuff off at the base for yet another deployment, I set up the living room. Laying in bed the night before we were dreaming of our pre-kids days and how we were able to go on dates whenever we wanted and I mentioned I wanted a picnic in ______ (don't remember where I said - some exotic country), so I made one for us. I thought this was way better than a regular date night.

The kids enjoying a nice break from the rain while they could.

Donavyn learned that the music table is made for climbing, thanks to big brother.

And she turned 11 months old! Ack!

Isn't he adorable?Oh, and big news....Kodiak now has WORKING lights. Yup, they do sometimes turn red - or so they tell me. I have yet to be stopped by it though.

And finally, we went to the fair and rodeo. The kids weren't all too thrilled and it was basically a waste of money, but we did get to see horses and Becca's pictures that won 1st place (both of her people category entries got 1st and they were both of Miss D). Congrats, Becca!

Ok, I'll really try to get the next installment in b/c I have the BEST pictures of our ONE YEAR OLD GIRL! Can you even believe it? I can't. Let's just say she really is a little princess.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help Kids Like Hadley

Here is something you can do for kids with brain tumors (like Hadley). It takes a moment of your time and doesn't cost you a dime. You do have to be an American Express cardholder to vote...but, even if you aren't you can help out by spreading the word. Thank you SO much.

Project Brain Child is an iniative of the Pediatric Low Grade Glioma Association.

Members Project is a program sponsored by American Express where cardmembers submit innovative ideas for projects that make a difference. Cardmembers vote on the projects, and the winning 5 projects will receive up to $1.5 million in funding from American Express, awarded as follows:

$1,500,000 for the winning project
$500,000 for the 2nd place project
$300,000 for the 3rd place project
$100,000 each for the two remaining finalist projects
The Pediatric Low Grade Glioma Association (PLGA) submitted their project idea to American Express in August. They will use the funds to conduct a feasibility study to create a National Pediatric Genomic Brain Tumor Registry. The information collected in this registry would allow scientific researchers and medical experts to target specific genetic abnormalities with existing drugs most effectively.

The registry will embody all brain tumor types, not just low grade gliomas.

Project Brain Child was selected from over 1190 other projects to be in the top 25. As of today, September 17, they are in 9th place.

They need to be one in fifth place or better to receive an award. Votes must be cast by September 28.

Any American Express cardholder may vote. If you don't have an American Express card, you can still help by spreading the word to your friends.

Brain tumors kill more children every year than all other diseases combined. Please help this effort.

*Copied from Hadley's page which was copied from Steven's page. Let's do all we can to help these children.

And please continue to keep the Fox family in your prayers. They mean so much to so many.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Update #2!! Finally!!

Hey's my turn to update the blog, yes it's me Zach, and yes I do know how to type and use a computator. It's just been extremely busy at the Airsta but that's a different post. I was told by my lovely wife that I was to share our experience in Cordova.

Well it all started off with me having to fly the helo to Cordova and she had to ride the Herc with 2 kids. Ok...totally do-able. That is until we both get diverted to a SAR (Search & Rescue) case up in the Cook Inlet. So Beth gets to ride in the Herc as it yanks and banks and makes all the passengers airsick and I get to conduct a 6 hour search. We never found anything. I'm not totally convinced anything was there to begin with but I just get paid to drive. So long story short I finally make it to Cordova and meet up with Beth. She has already gotten the rental car and checked into our lodging. The Bear Country Lodges are by far the best place to stay in Cordova. Follow the link to check them out but we really had a great time there...right on the Eyak Lake. Gabriel and I would wake up before Beth and Donavyn and just sit in front of the picture window and look at the lake. This of course would be at around 6 am but I didn't mind. We got to see some ducks and geese and eagles.

I had duty every other day so I normally had a flight and was confined to the base during those days but Beth would bring the kids out and we would play and have some dinner. When I was off duty though we were gone. We drove down the road to see Child's Glacier. When we pulled up there was a big "reserved" sign and a TON of people having a BBQ. We thought it was some sort of private party so we parked in one of the outer parking lots and ate our picnic lunch and watched the glacier. It was SO active! We must have seen at least 6 calvings and heard about a dozen more!! Back to the people, we come to find out after we've been in the car for a while that it's Cordova's annual city picnic and everyone's invited!!! So we walk around a bit more but it was raining pretty steady that day so we didn't stay terribly long. We did get some awesome pictures of the kids with the glacier in the background. I'm really looking forward to looking at them again in the future when they are able to appreciate them more.

It all kinds of runs together since it happened a while a go so my times might be off but one day we went and hiked Haystack Trail. It's a very well maintained trail and the kids loved it. They would squeel and scream just to hear their echo. Beth and I joked when we saw another couple walking with Bear Bells that we didn't need those because our kids scared off all the bears for miles around.

I got to take Beth our hiking on a glacier, yes you heard me right I took her out to walk around on top of an actual glacier. It was a pretty tough hike with lots of hills to get to where you could actually get to the ice but we did it!! The down side is we tromped through a bunch of active Cottonwood and Beth lost her voice because of it. (At least that's what the lady at the health food store said).

Not all of our adventures involved hiking and being outdoors. Going to breakfast was an adventure in itself one morning. We asked around where the best place for breakfast was and she said "Well if you want atmosphere go to the Orca Cafe but if you want really good breakfast go to the Cordova Hotel". We wanted good breakfast so we braved the Cordova Hotel. It's really the Cordova Hotel and Bar and we had to walk through this metal door with broken glass in it and down a bare hallway with a single uncovered flourescent light and plywood on the floor. Then around the corner to another bare door with a paper sign on it that said "OPEN". I thought I would need a tetnus shot just walking into the place but the people were right it was really good breakfast!!

After the week was over I put Beth back onto the Herc. She'll never get on a Herc without me again. This time her box lunch that I requested was eaten by somebody else before they ever started engines and we didn't have time to get anything else to eat. One of the pilots heard about this though and made everyone give something out of their box lunches so Beth and the kids could have something to eat. I guess not all Herc drivers are bad-guys.

Then they had to go to Anchorage to pick up the Air Force Band so they could play during CG Day in Kodiak. It was only supposed to be a stop, pick up and go but they ended up being there for a few hours. Then when they finally made it back to Kodiak it was super foggy and they couldn't land. They had to circle for an indeterminate amount of time before they were finally able to land. And then to top everything off when Beth got the kids home our dogsitter had locked all the doors and taken the only key!!! So my neighbor who was deployed with me and rode on the Herc back with Beth came over and broke into the house so Beth could finally end the madness!!!

And that was our Cordova Adventure!!! Enjoy the pictures!!!

ps: Slide show up tomorrow cause Photobucket is down for maintenance.

***A note from Beth: Whew...okay, finally. It took me a LOT longer to do this than it should have due to problems with photobucket last night and then the html code not being right to just embed the slideshow. Alas, it is finally here. YAY! I wanted to say that I was lucky enough to meet some of my friends from coastiechicks that I have known through the forums for a few years. It was so nice to put faces with names now. I just wish I had remembered to take a picture. I had my camera with me even! Kristy and Mel, thanks so much for meeting me for lunch. I had a great time.