Monday, July 28, 2014

Travel Plans

A lot of our family and friends have been asking about our travel plans and even though I will be posting and updating on Facebook during our traveling, I figured I would go ahead and let everyone know what our plans are before hand.

We leave Sitka on Tuesday- July 29 at 5:45pm.  We will be getting on the ferry a couple hours prior to that.  Our close friends, Kate and Cooper are also going to Clearwater and they will also be on the ferry with us, which will be nice.  We have three nights and two days on the ferry and arrive in Bellingham, WA on Friday- August 1st at about 8am.

We will be spending the weekend in Washington, first in Bellingham and then driving to Seattle.  We have to get new tires on the truck and we will be looking for a travel trailer to buy.  We decided that it would be much more convenient for us to have a little house on wheels that we can pull behind the truck rather than staying in hotels.  This way, we can leave all of our stuff set up, hop in the truck and drive, pull over for lunch and then find an RV park in the evenings to stay at.  We can cook dinner and breakfast instead of eating out three times a day and we don't have to worry about trying to find hotels that allow dogs.  I'm excited about not having to unload luggage into a hotel room to unpack only to spend one night there and turn around and pack it all back up and then load it into the truck again.  Plus the reassurance of not having to worry about someone breaking into the truck and stealing all of our stuff.

After we get a trailer we will be heading to Yellowstone National Park where we will be staying for about three days.  We are super excited about this since neither of us have ever been.

We will be taking a couple days to drive to the Grand Canyon but we don't plan on staying there very long.  We just figured, we will be passing through anyways and it's kinda lame that Kolt and I are both from Arizona and neither of us have ever been there before.

We plan on arriving in Tucson on August 11 and will be staying for roughly ten days.  There is a possibility that it could be a couple more.

From Tucson, we will take two days driving to Abilene, TX where we will spend a few days with Kolt's best friend from the Army, Dustin Zumwalt and his family.  They have two little girls, one who is very close to Brinleigh's age and I can't wait to see them play together.

When we leave Abilene, we will take a couple days to drive to FL where we will stop in the panhandle for a day or two.  My cousin Ryan and his wife, Amie just moved there with their two daughters and we will be passing right through the town that they live in.  I've already scoped out some RV parks near their house and I am soooo excited because they are right on the beach.  We can go to sleep and wake up to the sound of the ocean waves and seagulls.

From there, it will be about a seven hour drive into Clearwater, where I have no idea at this point where we will go.  We do not have a house yet and we will stay in the trailer at an RV park somewhere but I haven't looked any up yet.  Kolt reports on September 2 and will then get ten days of house hunting leave and we will begin looking at rentals.  The plan is to find a rental to live in for about a year and while renting start looking for a house to buy.  I will keep everyone posted on that though. 

So that's our schedule in a nutshell.  I plan on taking a TON of pictures, especially on our ferry ride back to the lower 48.  Our cell phone service will be limited as we will be traveling through Canadian waters but we will check in during our port calls and a lot more once we arrive in Bellingham.

Our first stop on the list of places to eat when we are back in civilization:  Olive Garden. 

A Week Later......

Ay yi yi.  Where do I begin?
The mover's called last Sunday evening to tell us that they were still working on another job and, therefore, wouldn't be at our house until noon on Monday IF they were able to make it at all.  Otherwise they would be there Tuesday instead.  "Don't worry, we will get you all packed and loaded by Wednesday."  Monday was busy with errands, shipping my car, last minute packing of things that are going in the truck with us.  The movers never showed.
Tuesday morning the movers arrived to start packing.  OH! And to tell us that the previous job ended up being a lot bigger than anticipated and so they had to load an additional trailer.  The trailer that was reserved for us.  Another empty trailer wouldn't be available until it arrived on the barge Wednesday night at 10:30pm.  So they said they would load us Thursday, which was my cleaning day.

After spending all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday packing and loading our house, we had only Thursday night to clean.  We got it done, but with no time to spare.  Friday morning we had our housing inspection at 10am and we were still loading things into the truck when they showed up.

Thankfully, the housing warrant was pretty impressed with the condition our unit was in, smeared paint from magic erasers and all.  So, after the inspection we headed to base so that I could finally get a new ID.  You can't even really see my picture so I'm sure they are going to make me get a new one in Clearwater.  But, I have one and it's not expired, and that's what is most important.  With the truck packed full, and I mean FULL, we went to get gas and then weigh the truck.  We are carrying almost 2,200 lbs!!!  After getting our weight ticket we dropped some stuff off at our hotel room and went to lunch.  Oh and had to track down the movers to retrieve our cable box that they packed.  I mean, in their defense, we only told them about five times NOT to pack it.  After finding out it was gonna cost us $450, Kolt was not having it and made some calls.  Thankfully, they were able to find the box and get it out for us.  Brinleigh and I went back to the hotel room to take a nap and Kolt had to go back into work to do some more check-out paperwork.
Saturday we woke up and took our time getting ready and then we headed to the Coast Guard bar on base for a baby shower for some of our friends.  Then we went to our lovely Boston/Quincy neighbors house for a homemade fried chicken dinner.  It was amazing!

It has been an exhausting week to say the least.  There have been so many emotions and headaches.  At this point we are just trying to take it one stressful situation at a time.  For my praying friends, please pray that we have patience.  We really need it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quick Update!

It's crunch time people!  My house is complete chaos right now and the movers aren't even here yet!  We have approximately ONE day left until the movers arrive to start packing up the house.  I have been going non-stop, selling random items that I come across, organizing things the way I want them packed, packing our suitcases and separating things that need to go with us in the truck or that can be packed by the movers.  My to-do list is a mile long and I swear I'm busy all day, yet I have nothing crossed off my list.
The movers will be packing our house on Monday and Tuesday and then loading up everything on Wednesday.  On Monday I have to take my car to the barge lot to be shipped.  Brinleigh has her two-year check-up on Tuesday.  We check out of our house Friday morning and then Gunner has to go to the Vet's office Friday afternoon for his health certificate, which is required for him to get on the ferry.  This will also be my last week of the GRIT workout program that I've been doing so I will be going to the fitness studio every evening for an hour.  
As if I didn't have enough stress, I also realized a few weeks ago, AFTER our YN transferred out, that my military ID expired in May!!!  The new YN doesn't have her Captains approval to make ID's yet, therefore, I can't get a new one until she gets approval.  Cross your fingers that it happens this week, because I need a new ID before we leave Sitka.
With everything going on, Kolt and I have been super busy, however, we are both pretty emotional about leaving Sitka.  The move to Alaska has been Amazing for us, as a couple, as individuals, and as a family.  We are excited for the next adventure we are about the embark on, but we are also a little sad about leaving this one behind.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brinleigh's 2nd Birthday Party

This past weekend we had Brinleigh's Birthday Party / Our going away party, even though she doesn't turn 2 for another couple of weeks.  But, we have A LOT going on these last two weeks in Sitka and we get on the ferry the day after her actual Birthday so we had to do it early.  The same as last year, I have been planning this party for a few months and spent hours and hours making the decorations.  And, as always, I went a tad bit overboard.  I have really enjoyed planning her parties and being able to make everything myself these last two years so that they are very unique and authentic.  I only hope that when we get to Florida I will still have the time to continue this tradition.

I went with a baby bird theme this year and of course used Pinterest to plan it all out.  The weather hasn't been that great lately and it was cloudy and raining on and off the day of the party.  So, Kolt spent the majority of the day putting up tarps in the backyard so that we had a large covered area for our guests.
Our wonderful friends, Kate and Cooper, came over early to help Kolt with the tarps and to help me decorate and get everything set up.  Thank God for them!

A few of the decorations that I used were from Brinleigh's First Birthday party, like the wreath on the front door and the glitter "Happy Birthday Brinleigh" banner.  I made all the little felt birds myself and had Kolt and Cooper collect the tree branches for me.  I ordered the birdhouses from hobby lobby and then painted them and added some lace and pearl decals.

For treats, of course I HAD to make my white chocolate covered pretzels and added some sprinkles.  At Easter time I stocked up on peeps and also bought a giant bag of whoppers that looked like bird eggs.  ( I told you I've been planning this party for months!)  I made peeps on a stick and filled an extra large mason jar with the whoppers.  I also made some colored chocolate lollipops using a birdhouse mold that I ordered from hobby lobby. 

I made Brinleigh her own smash cake and then also a larger birthday cake for everyone else.  Her smash cake was a three layer strawberry cake (boxed cake mix) with cream cheese frosting (from a can).  I used a cookie cutter in the shape of a 2 and filled it with sprinkles on top of her cake and then I literally tossed handfuls of sprinkles all the way around the sides of the cake.  Such a mess!  The large cake was a confetti cake (boxed cake mix) with a butter cream frosting that I made from scratch and then dyed pink.  I used the same "Happy Birthday" cake topper that I made for her first birthday party.

 We grilled up hot dogs and some deer burgers and then fried up some fish the Kate and Cooper brought over.  I found a delicious pasta salad recipe on pinterest and made that along with some baked beans and bought some potato salad.  A lot of our guests brought side dishes as well so we had a ton of food.
Brinleigh got a few gift cards which will be spent on new clothes or fun water toys once we get to Florida and she also got a few cute summer outfits with two new pairs of sunglasses.  

For most of the party, half the guests were outside and the other half inside, so when it came time to sing Happy Birthday to Brinleigh we had everyone pile into the house.  Brinleigh just stared at all the people standing in front of her and she did not know what to think about it.  After Kolt and I blew out her candles I stuck her hand into her cake and she immediately started crying.  She was not happy at all about having cake all over her hands.  Once I wiped them off and gave her a fork she was as happy as can be eating her strawberry cake.

Kolt and I were very happy with how the party went and Brinleigh had a great time running around with all the kids and playing.  I love watching how excited she gets and hearing her squeal and laugh when she is playing with them.

Thank You to everyone who came to the BBQ to celebrate Brinleigh's 2nd Birthday and to hang out one last time before we are off this rock!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4th of July

I'm only almost a week late on this post, but really, all of my days are running together right now and there are not enough hours in a day.  But that's a whole other story.

Kolt had the day off on the 4th of July, so we woke up and decided to go out for breakfast.  However, the restaurant was closed.  In fact, all of the restaurants in town, with the exception of McDonald's (Yuck!) were closed.  So, we did the next best thing- Went to the grocery store to buy the essentials for breakfast burritos.  Oh and a couple donuts for Brinleigh. (Don't worry, I was good and didn't eat any.)  During this grocery shopping trip, we decided to let Brinleigh explore a little and stretch her legs and we had showed her the kids shopping carts and how to push them around the store.  The first 5 minutes were a little chaotic because she realized that she had free reign of the store and she didn't understand how to turn the cart without tipping it over sideways.  But once she got the hang of it, she was a shopping fool.  She was grabbing bottles of water, snapple drinks, sausage, anything on her level that she could put into her cart.  She loved it!

Brinleigh went down for an early nap and shortly after Kolt had to leave to go get ready and line up for the town parade.  I was able to wake Brinleigh up and get her ready and out of the house in record speed (15 minutes) and we headed down town.  Brinleigh ate her lunch in her stroller while we waited for the parade to start and she was fascinated by all the people and dogs lining the street.  Technically, I have taken Brinleigh with me to the town's 4th of July parade every year since we have been in Sitka.  The first year (2012) I was nine months pregnant with her.  The second year (2013) she was just a few weeks away from her First Birthday and did very well with all the noise and commotion.  You can really see the difference a year makes when you look back at the pictures from last year's parade and then at our pictures from this year.
Brinleigh absolutely LOVED watching the parade!  I had soooo much fun watching her facial expressions and listening to her get so excited over everything that was going on in front of her.  She had candy thrown to her and someone even walked over and handed her some snacks that they were throwing out to the crowd.  Same as last year, she wasn't bothered by the loud noises of the sirens or the gun shots.

Usually, during this parade, the Coast Guard helo's do a fly over during the parade.  Last year it was cancelled due to budget cuts or something, but this year.... It. Was. Awesome!  The way it was coordinated and with where we were standing along the street, the helo's flew right over us at the same exact time that the Coast Guard Air Station members were walking right in front of us.  I actually had to steal the helo fly by pic from another Coastie wife (Thanks Shannon!) because I was too busy taking other pictures and missed my opportunity. 

As usual, the fireworks were the night before the 4th at about 11:45pm.  Brinleigh slept right through them and Kolt and I hung out on the back porch watching them through the trees.

After the parade we went back home and headed over to the next door neighbors house for a BBQ.  I made my delicious white chocolate covered pretzels with blue and red sprinkles and my newest addition to my recipe collection, ambrosia fruit salad.  (I made this dish for the first time a few weeks ago for a wedding that we went to and Kolt loved it, so I made it again for the BBQ.  I forgot to take a picture but one of these days I will get one and post that along with the recipe.)  Brinleigh got to run around and play with other kids, Kolt hung out with the guys, and I didn't binge eat on nearly as much junk as I was expecting to.  Which was a blessing, especially because I had to leave in the middle of the BBQ to go to my GRIT workout.  (That's dedication right there, hahaha.)

With Sitka's traditional 4th of July downpour of rain, Brinleigh didn't get to wear the outfit I had bought for this day.  Instead, she wore a blue onesie with an anchor on the front and some jeans.  BUT, she did get to rock her new patriotic hair bow that I bought to go with the previous planned outfit.  
Brinleigh & her friend, Mary.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

SAR Case

Last Monday night Kolt got a call from work asking if he could go in and stand duty.  The crew that was already on duty had a SAR case in Ketchikan and would most likely be gone all night, so they needed another ready crew on base.  The next morning, the crew that had gone out the night before came back and then Kolt's crew went back to finish the SAR case.  It was an overdue party, an older couple, whose boat ran aground and started taking on water.  They had an excellent float plan set in case of emergencies and were able to wade to nearby land.  The couple had camped out overnight and were in good condition when located the next day by a Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad aircraft.  Since the KVRS aircraft was unable to land the Coast Guard helo was sent to the location to pick up the stranded boaters.  Kolt being the flight mech on the helo, guided them to the ground to land and then assisted the couple into the helo after the rescue swimmer on board made contact with them.  One of the camera guys from the show Coast Guard Alaska was on board the helo and Kolt had his interview with them the following week.  So, in about 6 months from now, one of the episodes of Coast Guard Alaska will be of this SAR case and will show Kolt's interview.  Coast Guard Alaska posted a short video of Kolt guiding the helo down to land on their Facebook page and I re-posted it, so you can watch it on my FB page. 

On another SAR note:  Kolt was on a routine flight while on duty this week and they were diverted for a SAR case.  They had to pick up a fisherman off a fishing vessel who had gotten a fish hook stuck in his eyeball.  Kolt hoisted the rescue swimmer down and then the helo landed on close land and the swimmer brought the fisherman to land.  There was a cameraman on board that flight as well and that should make one of the future Coast Guard Alaska episodes as well.  
Brinleigh and I are so proud of our AET!!!! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

23 Months!

Height: 32.5 inches 
Weight: 28.2 lbs
Teeth: 14! Two of which are currently popping through her gums, making her a tired and feverish crank pot. 
Words she likes to say: "Where'd it go?" - "No!" - "Stop!" - "Stay" - "Bye" -  
Favorite Toys:  She is loving baskets, bags, boxes and purses.  Basically anything that she can put toys in and carry around.  (Sound familiar?) She is also obsessed with small dishes and blocks.  
Favorite Foods: Deer meat, pork chops, A1 sauce, Chips, pretzels, chocolate milk      
Dislikes: Hamburger meat, hot dogs, sandwiches with lunch meat  
Nicknames:  Boo Boo, Brinleigh Boo, Brinleigh D
Sleep Schedule: Wake up is 8am, nap time is from 1pm or 2pm until about 4pm, bed time is 8:30pm.      
Favorite Activities:  Drawing on paper with a pen, Reading books, Blowing bubbles, painting with paint brushes.  Climbing on all the furniture, jumping, crawling over Gunner.    Favorite Song:  "Timber" -Ke$ha  
Favorite Book: I'm gonna be honest here, it's really about Mommy and Daddy's favorite book, since we are the ones who actually read it.  Brinleigh loves all books!  But I think right now our current fav's are our newest additions: Giraffes Can't Dance, Night-Night Forest Friends, and Room on the Broom.