Thursday, July 30, 2009

We are now "those" parents...

The parents of a child with a cast. On his leg.

Frankie has a broken leg. His right tibia is broken. He has an Day Glow orange cast 3/4 of the way up his leg. Oh and we don't know how it happened. Yeah, we're those people. I fully except to see the producers of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" show up anytime...


Three weeks ago, Frankie woke up from his nap in pain. Didn't want his foot or leg touched and he wouldn't put weight on it. This freaked me right out because he is a tough, tough kid. He knocks himself around all the time and if he needs anything, it's a kiss and a quick snuggle and he's on his way. This was totally different. So we went to the doctor (not our regualr doctor, the one on call). After his exam, he said an x-ray wasn't necessary. That it is very common for toddlers to have unexplained injuries with no sign of anything. There wasn't any swelling or redness so he told me to watch it and he should be fine in a few days. Which is just what happened. The crawling turned to limping and the limping got less and less until he was fine. He was fine.

Yesterday afternoon, Frank was out with the kids playing soccer and Frankie stepped on the ball wrong and fell on his bottom. He didn't get up and was crying and holding onto his leg. He didn't put any weight on it. We both decided to wait it out until this morning to see if it worked itself out. If he wasn't better I would take him to the doctor. I took him to the doctor.

So after a visit to the doctor, a visit to the x-ray lab, the fastest lunch in a hospital cafeteria history and a second visit with the doctor, we finally found out his leg was broken. We had to wait a couple hours and were then sent to the orthopedist for him to work his magic.

The orthopedist was great; said he can tell from the x-ray that it was broken before and that it partially healed. Great. But the good news is that toddlers heal wonderfully and FAST. The break didn't happen near any of his growth plates. More good news. Frankie has to wear the cast for three weeks and then he will be fine. Two weeks for the healing and an extra one for "just in cases". Outside of the annoying-ness of it, he doesn't seem bothered at all.

Obviously.



Both the kids were champs today. Grace took it upon herself to report the news to everyone. Everyone. All the doctors and nurses, people in the elevator, people in the cafeteria, the lady checking us out at the cafeteria, the gift shop ladies, random people who happened to be walking next to us at relatively the same pace... How it happened, who was involved, all the details. She was very concerned and acted like a great big sister. Frankie did great today too. I snagged a bag of m&m's in the lobby before the casting, which I rationed out as the wrapping was taking place. This worked out great. It kept him distracted and his hands were busy. It wasn't until we were all spooling up when he patted the cast and said, "Off". Frank explained that it was a gaint boo-boo sticker (band-aid in our house) and that he needed it on. For now that was enough to satisify him.

So all is well and bright orange.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We Sold the Boat!

On our first overnighter on the boat, I mistakenly said to Frank that I loved boating so much, that SOMEDAY I wanted a bigger boat.

That day has come.

This is our new boat.




HELLO. NEW. JERSEY.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Halibut Cove and Dip Netting

We went back to Homer for a visit to Halibut Cove last week. We went down a couple days early so we could stop in Kenai. The Sockeye Salmons (Reds) were in and we wanted to do some dip netting. Basically that means you have a giant, four foot wide net you put in the water and wait for fish to swim into it.


I was so excited for this. I had imagined that the fish were going to be so plentiful they would be happily jumping into my net. Here I am; still in my naive state of happiness and anticipation. Morgan, Frank's friend, is attaching a secure line to keep the nets from sinking if we happened to drop them.


Well maybe it is like that sometimes, but not when we were down there. We had two nets in the water and got 18 fish in five hours. Not nearly as exciting as I thought it was going to be. While I was driving the boat at minimum speed, trying to not run us aground, dealing with the currents and the tides, while holding Frankie, I decided a great little side business would be to have a little floating coffee boat out there. I would have paid more than Starbucks prices for a cup of coffee at towards the end...

Look what the tides did to this boat.


This is on the way into the river.


Frankie trying to copy Morgan's rope tying.


Grace simply messing around.


How 'Make Way for Ducklings' is this shot?!


Frank had to work the next day, but in the afternoon, we got to visit with one of Frank's friends from his high school. She has a whole gaggle of kids and the toys that go with them. Grace and Frankie were in heaven.


How cute are my two blond kids?!




Uncle Mark got off his super long hitch and met us down in Homer. This was so great. We all love having him along and the extra set of hands and eyes certainly comes in handy.


Getting into Halibut Cove is slightly tricky, to say the least. You can only access it at high tide due to the water dropping so much during low tide. We pushed it a little bit, going in a little early. At one point, the water was only 3.2 feet deep! Once we got past the sketchy part, it was beautiful. Like a little bit of hidden Alaskan paradise.

Halibut Lagoon

The dock is off to the left and you can see one of the cabins to the right.



In the Halibut Lagoon, there are three public use cabins that are available for rent from the state of Alaska. The term "cabin" here is used very loosely. I thought it was great, but they are basically a shell of a house. Sleeping platforms, a table and a wood burning stove. End of list. No running water, no bathrooms. There are outhouses with friendly tips on how to make the smell tolerable... The funny part (not so funny actually...) about our cabin is we chose the West cabin over the East and Overlook cabins way back in February. I think we chose this cabin because we thought it would be more secluded from the other two cabins. Ahhh, Hello. It was a MILE HIKE from the dock. There was a pretenda-beach at the bottom of a monster flight of stairs where we unloaded all of our stuff we would need (because only NEEDED items were going to be hauled up and then subsequently back down the stairs) for the next two and a half days.

Ramp leading up from the dock.
Another reason to come in at high tide.

Frank and Mark were not happy having carried up full coolers and totes of firewood only to find out this was not the right place...


Frank at the dock



The pretend-a beach and the bottom of the monster stairs


View from the top of the stairs

Lovely when you're not carrying things up it.



My view while I cooked up dinner on the deck al fresco.

Beautiful, wish you were here!


After we got everything up the stairs, we set up and then had dinner.

Here's a bad shot but a peek into the craziness. Frank and Mark were playing poker to see who would be making the walk back to the dock to get the boat...
Grace has deemed this "the money game"



Then bed for the kids and campfire for the grown ups. S'MORES! Yum.

The next day we chose to hike to China Poot Bay to see the tide pools over going halibut fishing. It was a mile and a half each way. Frank carried Frankie Pack, Mark carried Grace pack and I carried all the food and water.

Here we are at the beginning of our day. Before we knew better.
Are you sensing the theme to this entire trip yet?




It was an up, up, and up hike then, back down. I would have liked to look around more and take pictures but we needed to pay attention to our footing. Also we couldn't stop because of the bugs. Grace has developed this completely irrational fear of all things bugs. This makes being in the great outdoors (and using outhouses!) difficult. About half way there, we saw a bear close to the trail. This caused the pace to pick up a little and even more paying attention. Long story short, we never saw the tide pools. We couldn't figure out if we were in the right place or what, but we waited around for almost two hours for the tide to go out, ate lunch, looked around at the shells and lifeless bodies of crabs past and then begrudgingly hoisted the packs back on and took off back to the cabin. No bears this time. We were all too glad to see the cabin and take it easy for the rest of the night.

Uncle Are (as Frankie says) and the kids messing around in the top bunk.


Now forgive me, but I couldn't decide between these three shots, so I posted them all.
I think mostly naked kids in ExtraTuffs is possibly the cutest thing ever.


Frankie skipped his nap that day and was a mess at the end of the night. Literally and emotionally. I don't know how it happened but he was covered in dirt after dinner and needed a quick rinse off in the dish water before bed. He missed out on S'mores again, but Grace got her's.

This is my precious little girl. I love when her sweetness is captured like this.

The next morning, we packed up, made our way out of the tricky lagoon and out to the Halibut grounds. Another long story short, the waves were about four feet so when we stopped Grace got sick, then Frankie got sick all over me and with all this sick going around, I started to not feel so fantastic so we called it a day. The one upside to that afternoon is Mark got his first two halibut ever. The second was tiny and the first one was it's baby brother. He only kept the second one.

I think the best part of it all was pulling up to the fish cleaning table. There was this other boat there of people who had hung all of their large and in charge halibut up in preparation to clean them. Mark walked up to the table with his maybe 13 lber, visually ready to withstand the inevitable berating of his little fish. It turned out that these guys were really nice. Between the two cutters and Frank, Mark got going on his fish. By his third fillet, he was doing really well. One of the men who was cutting fish, tossed a HUGE fillet over to where Mark was cutting. He said, "Add that to what you have and you can have a nice lunch." The other cutter came over to Mark's fish and cut the cheeks out (these are supposed the be the very best part of the halibut); they were about the size of a fity cent piece. Ha ha. Mark took all the fish (or lack of fish) jokes very well. In the end, he has eight lovely sized halibut fillets sitting neatly in this freezer.

So although pretty much everything we attempted ended up medicore, it was still fun.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fun on the Fourth, Minus the Fireworks

You'll never guess what we did on the Fourth? We went BOATING. Shocking, I know.

But this was the best trip yet. We saw a WHALE. An honest to goodness, humpback whale. I've never put down a cup of tea and a snuggled child faster than I did that day. I had just taken a drink of tea when I saw it off the port side (aren't I boat-y. Pause for you to be impressed...) and I started pointing like a mad man, finally swallowed, and said, "Whale! There's a whale!!" By that time Frank had seen it too and we slowed the boat down and start maneuvering closer to it. I quickly transferred Frankie to my seat and hit the bow. One of the reasons I okay-ed the whole boat thing in the first place was Frank's promise that we would see and do cool stuff. Although we have been seeing and doing cool stuff, this was the big pay off for me and there was no way I was going to miss any of it by sitting in the boat. Both the kids came up into the bow and sat with me. We watched the whale for about 25 minutes, going back and forth along an area (we assumed it was eating). At one point, it came right towards the boat and curled directly in front of us, just about 20 yards away. It was beyond incredible. I'll never forget the sound the blowhole makes. Amazing. It didn't breech or show its tale, but came up out of the water a lot. I am thrilled for all of us that we were able to see such an amazing animal.



The rest of the trip was uneventful and hot. Boy, was it hot. For Alaska standards anyway. Here's a couple pictures of us last year in Whittier for the Fourth. Note all the fleece and the long underwear and the hats... Crazy. This year, it was just about too hot. Frank and I both got sunburned and the kids have a little farmer's tan going on.



We put the shrimp pots in the water again. We have reached a pretty good rhythm with the whole shrimping thing. It's fun. We even pulled up three Tanner crabs this time. The rules are they have to be males and at least five and a half inches wide. The biggest one was borderline, so we tossed it back. Still very cool to be bringing different kinds of (edible!) sea life up off the bottom of the ocean.


Here we are for our regular pull-over-and-throw-rocks-into-the-water. As you can see, Frankie is refining is technique...


And here is Grace "running". She is really into running and racing right now. All of a sudden she'll say, "I'm running" and just take off. She also loves for me to have a race. This means she wants to to say On your mark, get set, GO! It's all so very Forrest Gump.


This is our little overnight cove. A little pre-dinner fishing.


And of course our breakfast company...


And here's our cleaned, shrimp jackpot.



Hope you all had a great holiday too.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fireweed



This is the weed called Fireweed and grows wild everywhere. It is a tangible way to see time or summer I should say, passing. It sprouts up right away when you get all your planters turned and ready for plants. Then it grows taller and taller until it starts flowering with these pretty bright purple flowers. It stays like this for a few weeks and then the flowers, like dandelions, turn to a fuzzy, cotton like seedy something or other. We call this being "spun out". (Picture to come later) When the Fireweed is spun out, it means summer is on its way out and winter is coming. Quickly.

This summer has been such a drastic difference from last year. Yesterday, Anchorage broke the record, coming in at 80 degrees. Now all you people with AIR CONDITIONING saying, "Cry me a river" take it easy. It's warm. Very warm with no a/c. I'm not really complaining. I have a little bit of a tan. I am wearing clothes that haven't been worn in over a year. I already feel fine with the idea of winter and there's half the summer left. If it started snowing tomorrow, I wouldn't feel jyped. I remember the first autumn leaf I saw last year; August 16th. We were driving through downtown and I noticed it out the window. I beautifully red/orange combo on a birch tree. I wonder when I'll see the change this year.

In the Light of Day


Ever wonder what it looks like with all our light in the middle of the night?

I took this picture on June 17th at about 12:30 am.

I thought all the clouds made the "sunset" so pretty.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bears Are So Much Cuter in the Zoo.


As if I don't have enough to think about...

This past Friday night, Frank and I were up too late (around midnight) when we heard some racket outside around the front porch area. Our neighbor can be loud when messing around outside, so we didn't really think much of it. But being the curious (read: nosy) people we are, we wanted to see what was going on. I peeked out the screen door and around the corner, looking up to wear his house is. Then I saw what slightly looked like two legs, about ten feet from me. I thought it was a man, bent over pushing something. I thought, who is stealing what from us? But then after another half of step I saw the rest of it. It was a large BLACK BEAR!! At this point, it heard me and quickened it's step just a little.

Now I'm not one of those people who like to be close to wild animals. I have a HUGE respect for the fact that they are in fact, wild and WILL EAT ME. I came right back inside and told Frank in a loud, freaked out whisper, "It's a bear. It's a big black bear!" We were just sitting there with only the screen door between us and a BEAR. It totally could have came inside looking for food. Instead it ate this juice box and rummaged through one of our recycling bins. We followed it around the house via windows until it finally went looking through the neighbors big dumpster they have for their remodel, got bored and went down the driveway, across the street and into the woods...

We tired to take some picutes, but it just didn't work out. Needless to say, the kids' leash just got a little shorter.

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