Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

While the kids were here we finally visited the AWCC.  We highly recommend it for anyone who hasn't been there! Most of the animals are are there because they were orphaned and some are part of programs to build the herd, like the bison. So the bison can breed in captivity because they are going to be released into the wild. And the deer, musk ox, etc. But I learned that it is illegal for moose to breed in captivity. Don't know why. Forgot to ask. These two little animals were my favorite!
The bison herd.
 Two of the grizzly bears. There is a male and two females. 
A very young moose. 
This adult moose was actually whining for attention.  
 The kids loved the moose.
A young musk ox.  
Caribou. There were quite a few and some babies.  
 The bison. Or buffalo as we call them. Lots of babies. A very ugly and dumb looking animal. Sorry to all my bison loving friends. 
 The bears were very eager to socialize. There is a creek that runs through the property from Bird Creek and the bears can actually do some fishing for themselves!

 This little guy was very friendly!
 More buffs. There was also black tailed deer, owls, a lynx, and eagle, black bear and maybe a few other small animals. They are in the process of building a bear viewing area which will be very nice when completed and allow visitors a much better views. Beats tying to jump up over your neighbor to see what's going on. Especially for kids. 
 I wonder what they will do when they are released into the wild???

Hanging With the GP's: Week 2

Week Two was a little more low key than week one. For starters, Grandma came down with a little cold and we realized if we didn't slow down the trip would be over before we knew it! So on Tuesday we make time for hanging out at the beach and relaxing a little. This is Lowell Point again. With snacks and chairs and shovels and plastic containers for shells and other treasures we were sure to find. 

 That evening Ethan and Grandpa took some man time to contemplate life from the end of a fishing pole. Not the fishes end. This is First Lake behind Dick's office in Seward.
On Thursdays Dick works in Anchorage so we stopped by the Wildlife Reserve near Portage on the way home. I've always wanted to stop here and it was a really nice place. Lots of animals. This herd is being bred in captivity but will be released into the wild in the near future. 
 Friday was more nice walks by the beach where the kids honed their rock skimming skills. We were kind of amazed at how good they were despite the crazy surf!
And Savannah made her famous rice krispie treats from memory! And they were wonderful!
 Another afternoon at the beach they waited for the tide to go out so they could climb up on this rock that was only accessible at low tide.
 The ritual sand burial. 
 It was quite warm in the sand.
 Where the tide goes in and out.
 During this week we had to focus on Savannah's quilt for new baby Stella! It was truly a labor of love. Savannah sewed all the triangles together and I helped with the blocks and rows. We were unable to finish because the weather was just too darn fabulous to keep us indoors enough, so we are going to finish quilting it when we get together this fall for Stella's arrival! Savannah is an amazing little seamstress.
 Friday night Grandpa and Savannah had a date to the movie theatre in Seward to see Turbo! Ethan and I hung out at home but joined then later for a fire on the beach near our apartment. Of course, no fire is complete without s'mores! Thanks Grandpa!
 Saturday morning hike to Exit Glacier, a family favorite. The weather was, of course, glorious!
 You can see the glacier in the background. 
 Go Cougars! Savvy got lots of comments from the other tourists on her sweatshirt! There is always a Utah contingency to be found in the summer time. 
 If rock skipping was a sport, Ethan would lead the pack.
 The fireweek this summer is just phenomenal!
On Saturday night there was a youth baptism in our little Seward branch and Ethan and Savannah and me and Dick attended and it was very sweet. The kids really enjoyed attending church meetings in our little branch and the other kids loved having them there. This week a few of the kids asked where they were and I had to regretfully inform them that they had returned home. 

On Sunday afternoon after church, we drove to Kenai to hang out with Dave and Valli and crew. Here is Lydia, pouring the tea. It's the latest craze at the Kenai Harrells!
 Cousins! Madeline is hard to capture on film but she is for sure here in spirit.
 On Monday we all went dipnetting on the world famous Kenai River.  Grandpa pulled in five beautiful red salmon that morning! Ethan and Savannah bonked them into submission and played along the shore. Grandma filleted.
 Tuesday morning was so lovely. We pulled over along the highway and took some photos of the kids in the fireweed. In a few hours they would be on their way home to Utah. But for now they were all ours!

Who wouldn't miss these little faces!
Till next time. Thanks for coming!     XXXXXXXOOOOOOOO

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Savannah and Ethan's Alaska Adventure: Week One

Savannah and Ethan came to Alaska to visit Grandma and Grandpa this summer! They arrived on Tuesday, July 9 and returned to Utah on Tuesday, July 23. We were so sad to see them go but we had such a great time while they were here. A few of the highlights of the first week were:          Flying to Alaska: sorry about the bad photo. Its the only one we got. 
Shortly after they arrived we all got settled into our little apartment we were staying in at Elmendorf AFB. It was great because we were able to watch the jets fly around!That afternoon we went to see "Monsters University" which was pretty good.
On Wednesday we did some shopping while Grandpa was working for a few hours. We stopped by Central Market, a fun Asian grocery store and found fun things like chop sticks and can coated fennel and other treats.
Had lunch with Grandpa at Pizza Man in Eagle River!  It's our favorite!

That afternoon we hiked (walked through my favorite neighborhood in Anchorage) to Westchester Lagoon and playground. The bike trail was closed for renovation so we went another way.

That evening, Savannah and I had a quick girl trip to the mall to visit the new Sephora store that recently opened and The Body Shop, Nordstrom, and some other must do's! There's just never enough time to shop!

Thursday morning we boarded the Coastal Explorer for Seward. We boarded bright and early at about 6:30 am. We rode in the special Gold Star cars with the glass top view so we could see everything so clearly. We took the train to Seward two years ago and loved it so much that we wanted to do it again. And it was just as much fun the second time! We love trains!

Breakfast on the train is a special treat! Yummy stuffed french toast, bacon, fruit and juice.
We ran into some friends from Anchorage who work for the train and they took tons of pictures of the kids! He writes for the Railroad magazine so maybe they will end up in a future issue!
If that wasn't enough for one day, we decided to hike out to to Tonsina Point that afternoon. It was the most beautiful day and the hike was wonderful.
The beach was a sweet treat! We just love our beaches. It was a very low tides and there were lots of families out there enjoying the sun and the sand.
 On Friday we boarded the Star of the Northwest for our Kenai Fjords Resurrection Bay tour.
Shortly after we headed out into the bay we saw a pod of 8 orca whales! It was quite a spectacular display. Fortunately, they were just swimming and diving and not attacking and eating anything. It was a wonderful sighting. we also saw humpback whales, Dall's porpoises, sea lions, otters, puffins and all kinds of birds, jellyfish, salmon, eagles, and some said they even saw a bear, but that was unconfirmed so it doesn't count. It was an amazing day to be on the water.

We opted to skip the on board Salmon and prime rib dinner because it's not very good! So after the trip we went to Christo's for yummy pizza and salad! A double date night with the kiddies!

On Saturday we went to the SeaLife Center. It's very different now than it was when I worked there over 10 years ago. There are a lot of new animals and displays and it's much more interactive. A big improvement! And here is Woody swimming by Savannah. He's over 1700 pounds now.

Outside the center is a statue of Balto, the famous dog.
Sunday morning was church and a walk around town. The weather was beautiful every day. We had Savannah's favorite salmon dinner that evening.

Monday morning was apple pancakes for the kids!
An afternoon walk with a stop by the ice cream stop!
And the candy store where Jenny worked summers as a teenager. Bags of saltwater taffy were the treat of the day!
That evening we walked to the beach in Seward and played around. It was a very low tide and the kids were checking out something on the beach they had erected the day before. It was still there. Ethan is standing on old pilings from the beach front that were destroyed in the 1964 earthquake.
So this sums up the first week of vacation. I will get busy on the second week asap! It was so great to have them come and visit and we miss them very much!