Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Talk

Nathan gave his first Sacrament talk on Sunday.  He had been waiting, dreading the call from Bro. Link, who assigns talks and it came!  We worked on how you write a talk and how you practice it and he did well but he was so nervous.  His eyes looked black to me as he stood and began to speak.  He never once smiled or relaxed but I am sure it will be better next time.  No pictures taken but a mile stone nevertheless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vying for the worst Mother record

Today is Mandy’s 10th birthday.  A whole decade old.  For the first time in her school career, I took cupcakes to her school for her birthday.  The whole cafeteria sang to her and she was embarrassed but very pleased.  We had taken cupcakes up to the school for everyone.  She sat and laughed with her friends and I think, enjoyed the attention.  Did I take a camera? No, did I even have my phone with me? No.  I can’t believe she is 10.  10 seems really old.  We are going to have a family lunch on Saturday  at P.F. Chang’s and open  her other presents (she got to open one today) and then on the 21st, she has a birthday party planned.  I promise to take pictures!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our ups and downs of the week

We had a week to finish getting Mandy ready for school.  She is entering a small, private school called Central Baptist Academy and new to us, we had to buy uniforms and school supplies and a new backpack and lunch box.  Anyone that knows Mandy, knows that making decisions of any kind are hard for her.  What do you want for breakfast?, What color are you wearing today?  are hard – making decisions about backpacks and lunch boxes – oh my goodness.  I think we spent our hour in Target looking at the backpacks!  Whew.  Anyway, we got through it and she likes her turquoise backpack with of course, matching lunch box!  The uniforms were fairly easy, in that they were uniforms and there was one store that sold them.  Unfortunately, they’re supply was low and they didn’t have her size.  Never fear, there is an online store and we finally received her blue, red and white plaid jumper with the white, Peter Pan collar trimmed in blue or red.  Seriously.  She does get to wear a school t-shirt and khaki shorts to school on Wednesdays and a polo shirt with school logo and jeans on Fridays.  This entry is about last week but she had her first day today and I took a picture.  She Did Not want me to but I am the Mother and I took a picture anyway.



On Wednesday of last week, Lizzy came to visit.  She brought with her a craft box from her Grandmother Turpin and while here, she and Mandy made a CTR banner.  They had a good time picking out the exact colors and size.  Iroud of Lizzy in that she didn’t like the size of the pattern so we changed it and she decides what size she wanted to make them.  When you make something the first time it is hard to change the pattern.  They worked on it on Wednesday and in between other things worked on it Thursday.


Nathan got into the action by playing on the Wii with the girls.  Why they went into my bedroom – I had stripped the bed to change the sheets – is beyond me.


On Thursday, we woke up and did chores and then went swimming in the Saddle Creek pool.  Much laughter and splashing ensued.  We came home around lunch time, had lunch and then Grandpa, Lizzy, Mandy, Nathan and I went to see Turbo.  It was a really cute movie and we ate 4 large containers of popcorn!  We waddled out of the movie.  Then we took Lizzy home and visited with everyone for a little while.  IMG_0935  and he scores! 

On Friday, Mandy went over to the school for a visit with her teachers and picking out her desk and putting away her supplies.  She seems to have two really nice teachers and the other kids – 5 boys and 3 other girls seemed very nice also.  Nathan and Glenn left in the early afternoon and dropped by Shelly’s.  Glenn has been saying he was going to take Becca out for ice cream for quite a while and finally,they were able to get their schedules together.  After the yummy ice cream, Nathan and Glenn went to an Astro’s baseball game.

Mandy and I went looking for a solid blue cardigan or hoodie to wear in school.  No such luck but we did have a fun time eating at P.F. Changs and checking out the Barnes and Nobles bookstore at the Woodland’s Mall.

On Saturday, Nathan almost burned the kitchen down.  He was tired from the game the night before and took a nap and as a result missed lunch.  I had saved him lunch and when he got up I told him to warm it up in the toaster oven.  He put a plastic plate in the toaster oven with the food on it to warm it up and then came and talked to us in the office.  I looked up and saw flames shooting out of the toaster oven – he hadn’t closed the door and flames were as high as the cabinets above.  We ran in to the kitchen and unplugged the toaster oven and then I grabbed it and carried it out side because of the fumes and the flames.  One ruined toaster oven but other than soot on the cabinets, everything else was ok.

What a week!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mt. McKinley, Alyeska Tram, Exit Glacier, and the Alaska Conservation Center.

Nathan had wanted to see Mt. McKinley (the highest mountain in North America) but we didn’t want to go all the way north to Denali Park so we drove to Talkeetna and hoped for a clear day to see the mountain.  Talkeetna, itself is a pure tourist trap but we were able to get a good shot of Mt. McKinley.


There was a small museum which had a great  room size topical map showing all of the peeks and how they people try to climb Mt. McKinley.  Not something I would care to do but it seems like a lot of people like that kind of thing.  While talking, the quide told us about a site seeing plane that had tried to fly over Mt. McKinley and the weather turned bad.  The plane had to land and the tourists had to stay in the base camp for several days.  Scary.


On the walk down to the river to take the picture.  There were flowers everywhere.  Going back to Anchorage we stopped and ate dinner.  No problems, several hours later we got back to the hotel and found I didn’t have my purse.  Kind of panicked me.  No wallet, phone, ID.  We backtracked in our minds  and could only come up with the restaurant, luckily Glenn had the receipt and they had found it!  Yeah, for honest people.  Glenn and Nathan turned around and went back and retrieved it.  My hero’s.  The next day we headed back south to pick up our fish.  It was our last day and our plane didn’t leave until 12:30 a.m.  We wanted to put as much into it as we could and arrive very tired at the airport so that we could sleep on the way home.  So much for our plans – but that is later.  We headed down to Girdwood, which is a small skiing area. Very pretty and I would imagine very expensive.  We rode a tram up to the top of the Alyeska mountain.  It was beautiful and very peaceful.  On the way up we saw beautiful mountains all around us.IMG_0781


Seen from the air – a mother moose and her baby resting by a pond.IMG_0786 


While we were up there, helicopters were everywhere.  They were removing/replacing chairs lifts and so we had to have pictures, of course.IMG_0801







The Aleskya Lodge.  That is one beautiful building.  I felt like I was in a very, formal English hunting lodge.  IMG_0855


The tram from above.




A glacier from the top.  It was a well worth going up to seeing the surrounding mountains.  Next, we went to see Exit Glacier.  Interesting as it is the same glacier that Asia and Kathie and Glenn and I went to see 13 years ago. 

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The glacier is really a blue color.  It has to do with the minerals it picks up as it kind of slowly crashes down the mountain. IMG_0875

As we came out from the walk to the glacier there was huge rock.  What do boys do, when they see rocks?  Climb them, of course!

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IMG_0884 and

   down  heIMG_0885







The last place we visited before we headed to the airport was the Alaska Conservation Center.  I really forget how young Alaska is.  So many of the centers and museums are new or still in progress.  The Center was the same way.  As we rode around there were plaques of things that were planned.   They take orphaned or injured animals and try to rehabilitate and then release.  They also try to educate  the public.  They are the only place in the United States that have Wood Bison.  This type of bison was considered very endangered, in fact they were thought to be extinct and several were found and since then the wood bison are doing well here.  I don’t think there are any wild ones anywhere. IMG_0909

The herd with little ones. IMG_0910

A close up of one of the babies.




They also had musk oxen.  Which we had never seen.  It is summer and so they are losing their winter coats. IMG_0892 This is a little one, the one below isn’t little!.


IMG_0900 slowly, walking away.










They had several large brown bears that had been orphaned and are being raised here.  They are separated into large, electrified areas.  Reminded me a little of Jurassic Park.

IMG_0908 Taking a nap in the sun.  They also had eagles.  Not sure how they kept the eagle there, as they could readily fly away.IMG_0903 IMG_0911

They also had some fabulous elk and a eagle that was shot by a farmer and lost his wing.



Thus ended our Alaskan vacation.  We drove back to Anchorage, dropped off our rental car and checked in.  The flight went ok, except that instead of being a nonstop flight, we stopped in Seattle.  Everyone had to get off the plane even though we got right back on the same plane and flew to Houston.    We had a great time and would love to go back.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trains, boats and birds, oh yeah!

We actually didn’t plan this next part well.  We planned on driving  down to Seward to go on our cruise, ok and the next thing was to go fishing and that also went out of Seward.  It is 3 hours drive through mountains to get from Anchorage to Seward.  Beautiful drive but too long for Glenn and Nathan to take off by 6 a.m.  So, after thinking about it, we decided to stay in Seward on Tuesday night.  The only problem was that July is the height of the tourist season and we called basically, oh the day before!  We did get reservations at a bed and breakfast but then they called us back and said they had double booked the rooms.  Sigh.  The lady then suggested another place and Glenn said fine.  So, after we arrived back in port from our cruise, we looked for some where to eat.  I asked Glenn if we shouldn’t check into our hotel and he said we would do it after dinner.  Umm.  Then we had dinner and I again said “why don’t we check into our hotel”?  Glenn said, “Well, why don’t we go find out where we can get some sandwiches for tomorrow.” Umm?  What is wrong with our hotel?  We went to the Safeway and arranged to have sandwiches ready by 5:30 a.m. and then again I said, “Hotel”.  We had driven by a odd railroad car going in and it hadn’t looked very clean.  Well,  that’s where we were going.  I promptly said – I’m driving back to Anchorage, have a good time!.  Anyway, we agreed to check out the place.  Didn’t look promising as we couldn’t get the door open as it had a number lock.  IMG_0706This is what it looks like from the outside.  The owners had developed it by buying 3, 1945 railcars and putting them in a triangle and building a porch in the middle.  The car on the right, is a restaurant, left is a bicycle rental and repair shop and straightIMG_0707 across the opening is a long railcar divided into two rooms. So, we stayed in the left side of the Whistle Stop Lodging.  Once we actually got to the place and looked at it, we decided we would stay. IMG_0704 Here is part of the railcar – You are looking from the front door.  To the right is the first bed, on your left was a small refrigerator and microwave and heater. To the right, where many is sitting is a table that folds to sit 2,3 or 4 people.  Farther back on the left is a queen bed and then you can see the bathroom at the back.  It was clean, no frills but quite adequate.IMG_0705  One thing was rather neat, when my Mother was little, her family moved into an area where there wasn’t any houses but jobs.  Someone, moved railcars down and that’s where they lived.  No indoor toilets, in fact no kitchen but that’s where they lived for around a year.  So, this was kind of  neat to see what it might have been like.



IMG_0702   The view from our train car.  They had blinds and you could pull them up and watch the harbor.  So, all in all it was a nice place to stay.IMG_0746

There were three families that went out.  Here is their catch.  They were gone from 6 a.m. to around 5:30 p.m.  Two very tired guys but they had a wonderful time.  While the guys fished Mandy and I went to explore the rest of Seward.  Which, by the way, is quite small.  We ate lunch at a place called “Nellie’s Cafe” and went to the Sea Life Center which was very well done.  The Center rehabilitatesIMG_0709 injured otters, sea lions, birds, etc.  It was neat to see there wall of released animals, after they had recovered.



Outside the Center.







a guillermot  and a duck in the outside area for the birds.  IMG_0733



Mandy’s first picture with our new camera.  Aye, Aye Captain!


Sailing away.  Another fun day in Alaska.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our cruise on the Nunatak

We decided to take a cruise out of Seward.  It cruised around Resurrection Bay and stopped at Fox Island, where we had a yummy salmon and prime rib dinner.IMG_0279

Seward harbor  in the background, right before we boarded our ship, the Nunatak.


Views as we headed toward Resurrection Bay.




IMG_0325My favorite picture of Mandy on the trip.  she thoroughly enjoyed being on the ship.  It was cold as the ship cruised along but she stayed out most of the time.IMG_0333   Our first sighting of whales along the ship.  The ship captain was very careful about slowing down and not bothering the whales.IMG_0337 IMG_0341





We stopped at Fox Island for lunch.  IMG_0371IMG_0364 It was a very nice buffet and I believe Nathan went back 5 times!  The cheesecake for dessert was delicious.IMG_0376


Our ship docked and waiting for us.  We were on the island for an hour.





We had a Ranger give us a talk after dinner and they had an orca skull (above) and other selected skulls.IMG_0367





IMG_0379 Looking for stones to skip on the beach. Across from the dock.









a glacier seen from the ship.  We asked how many glaciers are in Alaska and the answer was that they haven’t been counted but close to 100,000.  Next we went to Emerald Bay, named because the water is this dark green.  It is full of nutrients and the bird and seal populations come there to eat.  Picture below – at the top you can see a WWII bunker.  Alaska was actually quite involved in WWII.  They have bunkers that soldiers climbed up and stayed for a week at a time.  They watched the bay for enemy planes and boats.

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The birds had nests in all of the little coves and crannies.



puffins swimming on the water.  They are water birds and aren’t very graceful while flying.  Puffins on the rocks. IMG_0426



Seals sunbathing.  The taller one toward the back is the male.  The others are females.


IMG_0430The captain said the number of seals, otters, and whales were down a lot from the past. 




My camera doesn’t do justice to the scenery.  I understand how many could live here – although I surely don’t understand how they can.  The prices are unbelievable.

IMG_0525 As we headed back we saw a little otter just floating along.  They float on their backs with they little paws out of the water.  I couldn’t get close enough to get a wonderful picture but there he is. 







Nathan on board.  He spent most of his time on board talking to the captain and asking a million questions. 


IMG_0460 Heading back to port.  We saw our only eagle.  He/she was sitting on a nest high in the tree tops.  IMG_0553 IMG_0551













We all really enjoyed the cruise and seeing the beautiful creatures and mountains.