Tuesday, May 26, 2009

yeah...I took a break

Posting is harder work than you think. We already have limited time together in the evenings since the girls stay up later because of the sunlight...so when it comes down to making time to post, sometimes it gets pushed aside.

Regardless, here we are. We are still enjoying a phenomenal start to the summer. Today we hit 72 degrees, the warmest it's been at the house in 2 years!! I have to admit as I sit here sweating while I type this, it's a little on the hot side. Most of the time we have a nice breeze going through the house but on warm days like this there is no breeze and it makes it just a little on the uncomfortable side.

Oh well, we are doing great and getting out and enjoying the weather. The girls are going to one park or the other pretty much every day. Just today they came up to work to see me and we ran up the hill and back, then they went to the park for a while, and then when I got home I took them for a bike ride! It seems like every day is that exciting. Who knows what we're going to do when the weather gets ugly again and we have to stay inside.

On one of these gorgeous days, I took off for a half day of fishing with Sam and Nate. We went up to Willow Creek near the mouth of the mighty Susitna River. I'm going to try and include a map from Google. It's near the small community of Willow on the north side of the map.

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Now, how did we do? GREAT!! Well it wasn't all great. I'll give you the short-short version since I know all you want to hear about are the girls. ...nope never mind...you're getting the full version. The previous night we went out with a bunch of people to one of our favorite restaurants. Stupidly, I ordered an entree that had a little pepper next to it on the menu. That's because it was CALIENTE!! Needless to say, my stomach was a little on the upset side the next morning as we drove the hour and 40 minutes and then hiked up the stream. About an hour into fishing, I had the urge. I calmly made it back toward the trail head when I came across a stream that I couldn't cross. I decided it was time and dropped my drawers just off the trail. As I squatted there contemplating my next move, my cell phone rings. I was laughing out loud as I answered it and heard a very perplexed Lisa on the other end. She was quite amused (but not too surprised) to learn my predicament. I asked for her advice. You see, I needed to sacrifice an article of clothing. I had considered my sock or even my hat. Lisa had the brilliant idea..."why don't you use your undershirt?" YES!!!! So I excitedly hung up the phone and quickly stripped off my shirt. It was at this point I realized I was standing in the middle of the woods...buck naked! Only my waders were draped around my ankles, otherwise I didn't have one piece of clothing on my body. Wow...how did I end up in this position?

Well, the end of it was that Lisa's well timely phone call saved the day. What would I do without her?

Back to fishing...I caught up with Nate and Sam and shared my story and we all had a good laugh. BUT, nobody had caught a fish yet! Just as I was starting to wonder if I'd ever catch a rainbow trout, the line tightened and I whipped it back. A small but beautiful rainbow had grabbed my olive green wooly bugger and was fighting for his little life. I gently pulled him in as Sam and Nate rushed to meet me and see the first catch of the day. Sam was the only one smart enough to get the camera out and take a couple pictures. Otherwise, the story would have been something like..."it was the BIGGEST fish I've ever seen in my life!!"

Since nobody was having luck with the other flies, everybody quickly switched over to the same wooly bugger I was using. 2 casts later, Sam caught his first fish!

Then Nate gave us a glimpse into really trout fishing in Alaska. About 30 minutes late and a couple hundred yards upstream, Nate landed this beauty. It is by far the most beautiful fish I've seen with my own eyes. What was especially exciting was the fight the fish put up. If you have seen the movie "A River Runs Through It", think about the scene when Brad Pitt fights the fish and ends up going down the river as he tries to land his trophy. It was very similar except Nate stayed dry and SOMEHOW crossed the creek all at once...still don't know how he did that.

I wish the day could have ended right then. What we didn't know was things would go downhill after that. After releasing the fish and a few high fives, we all decided to cross the creek to go back up and fish the hole that Nate had found. We were joined at that point by another guy who was equally as excited for Nate as Sam and I were. We realized that none of us were willing to cross where we thought Nate had and worked our way downstream until we found a reasonable crossing. Nate went first and made it look easy. The other guy followed Nate through the stiff current, lost his footing and went under water!! Granted the creek isn't very deep but the water was COLD and his waders filled up fast. Sam and I very nervously continued to cross and somehow managed to stay upright. We all stuck around and waited for the guy to wring out his clothes and then finally headed upstream. I jumped in first to hit the same spot Nate had hooked his trophy...only to hook a branch instead. I fought and fought but couldn't get it off. Stupidly, I didn't want to lose that much line and pushed my rod too far and SNAP!! I broke my rod. :( I honestly wanted to cry. I couldn't believe it. Oh well, I'm going to send it in tomorrow and hopefully get it repaired or replaced. We'll see.

We headed home shortly after that...a day full of awesome memories. I definitely won't forget that day soon but I wanted to write it all down to make sure.

So here's your reward for still reading...or at least scrolling down.

Lisa and I have been doing this for a long time with the girls but just today they picked it up and started doing it too. We would grab their toes and ask if they had stinky toes, we would smell them and say "EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!!!" ...and they would LAUGH!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What a fantastic day!

It was a long and exhausting day but we had a blast. We got up a little earlier than usual and tried to make the day a little more special by doing their hair. What am I talking about? I had nothing to do with the hair...Lisa tried to do their hair. I have to admit though it was pretty cute.

We headed up to the start area a little later than we hoped but on time nonetheless. We were quickly informed that as an "Ambassador Family", we were asked to say a quick word with the other 4 or 5 families right before Governor Palin spoke. Lisa was second to speak in front of the growing crowd....I'd guess 300 or so. She talked about how far we've come in the two years and what a blessing our girls are. She got a little choked up but she did great. A few moments later, Governor Palin thanked everyone for coming out and said a few things about March for Babies. She had her 1 year old boy that has Down Syndrome with her. Sam and Cindy joined us and probably have some better photos. Here's a quick one that I was able to take while holding a struggling baby.

Our biggest disappointment of the day was that we were unable to speak with the Gov. She came over to the Ambassador Families to thank us for blah blah blah...and the organizers evidently thought it was imparative to start the walk right at that moment. So just as we were about to talk to her, she was whisped away to start the walk. SO disappointed! Not to fear...last year she hung out and talked to everyone that wanted to talk to her. Not this year. We never caught up to her so we JUST missed our opportunity.

Anyway...on with the walk.

We knew that they would have a poster of our girls. I wasn't aware of this until today, but Lisa had sent pictures and our story. These posters that were made up of the Ambassador Families have been traveling to all of the March for Babies walks across Alaska. I couldn't believe what a great job Lisa did selecting the photos and writing up our story. And I must say, we had one of the best spots...right next to the lagoon toward the beginning of the trail.

On with the walk.

One of the highlights of the day was stopping at a park along the trail on the way back and letting the girls stretch their legs a bit.

I can't tell who is having more fun.

This slide was a little too wild for our girls as evidenced by this photo.


Once we got back, we got in line for some hot dogs while the girls pushed the stroller around.

After some delicious hot dogs and good company with Sam and Cindy...it was finally time to say goodbye one more time to the ducks and head home.

...and of course the great shot of the Brown family in front of the March for Babies banner.

Thanks again everyone for making this year a HUGE success. Like Lisa's Dad pointed out, we nearly tripled our original goal...TRIPLED! That's crazy to think about. It is a testament to what a great group of friends and wonderful family we have that we were able to raise that much money.

Next year, we're going even bigger. We're going to make our own incentives, contests, tournaments! We are going to raise $3000 next year!!

I'll post some more pictures as soon as Sam sends them over. Which reminds me...I need to thank Sam and Cindy again for walking with us. I know so many of you wanted to be there with us but couldn't. Sam and Cindy were the only ones that could and I can't imagine walking that without them. They are fantastic friends! Thank you guys!


That is how much you helped us raise! Can you believe it?!?! Today we finished strong with three more donations; one from Nate's Dad, a second from Lisa's Mom in honor of Lisa's grandfather who is very sick, and the last donation this year came from our awesome next door neighbors Steve and Lisa.

We celebrated today by going to see the doctor for the girls' two-year checkup. Well not really celebrated, but I did think it was fitting to see our doctor exactly 2 years to the day from our first appointment with him. It was May 13th, 2007 (Mothers Day) that the girls came home. A few days later we went back to see our doctor for the first time. So today, we returned. It's been several months since he has seen the girls and boy was he impressed. They opened up and were talking and sharing their signs. He was blown away...especially when they started showing him different colors in the room. It wasn't all happy times since the girls needed their final shot until they start kindergarten. It's never fun for the shots but they were SO brave.

Anyway...I'm getting off target. I wanted to report the girls' measurements today.

Alyssa is 22 pounds, 6 ounces and 34.5 inches tall
Katy is 22 pounds, 8 ounces and 34.5 inches tall!!

Again...can you believe it?!

So Saturday is the walk. Sam and Cindy are going to be joining us. I know many more of you will be there in spirit. We'll see you there...and take plenty of pictures.

Thanks again everybody for making this year an ENORMOUS success!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

THAT....was close

I really thought I wasn't going to get to post tonight and then...WHAM...a late night anonymous donation rolled in. Good thing because I wanted a chance to remind the 30 or so people that check this every day that we only have the morning and then we have to turn in our money. If you haven't donated or wanted to donate more, please do so Friday morning.

Lisa suggested that I post a couple pictures and video from last week when we were playing on the Wii. Lisa discovered a new balancing game where you sit on the Wii Fit board and try to remain as still as possible. The girls of course showed interest so we showed them how to focus...by taking a deep breath and putting your hands together like your praying. They picked it up pretty fast.

I'm gonna do something I haven't done before and upload a video I haven't really watched before. It was done in the middle of the sequence of pictures above so I'm pretty sure it's relavent...but I have no idea if it's entertaining or embarassing or what. So we'll see. Hope you enjoy.

Decided to upload one more quick one...

I think we've done pretty much everything we can this year but if there's anyone out there that still hasn't donated, do it now! We will turn in our money tomorrow afternoon so please...please...PLEASE donate tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2 DAYS LEFT!!!!!

What a great day!!!! It started VERY early when my transition from night shift to day shift did not go swimmingly. One of my little ladies was having a nightmare and cried out for a few minutes. That was enough to wake me up at 4:30 and...that...was it for sleep for the day. So after realizing I wasn't going to go back to sleep, I thought my time would be better spent fishing than sitting at the computer or playing on the Wii. So I met Sam who was getting off his night shift at 7am for a few hours of fishing.

I know nobody wants to see pictures of me or Lisa...you just want the girls but too bad. Here are a couple of pics that Sam took of me the last couple days fishing. FANTASTIC PICTURES!!

The highlight was I did catch a little fish this morning so I didn't completely strike out. The low light was that when we moved to a different lake I realized that I left ALL my good flies back at the first lake. I went back and they were GONE!! Somebody in that 20 minutes came by and saw my flies, picked them up, and left. They even took my clippers! No kidding, it was like $50 worth of flies. I was pretty upset about that.

BUT! I get home and the girls were just waking up so they cheered me up immediately. So after breakfast, Lisa and I packed them up and took them to a new park. Here are some pictures from the park. I know you've seen plenty of these. The difference here is that they actually kept their pony-tails in! They were adorable!

After lunch, the girls went down for a nap and Lisa and I went out to work on the yard. Granted we don't have a big yard but the weather was perfect and it was long overdue. While we were out there, Lisa looks up and sees this.

THEN...when the girls woke up, we hooked up the girls trailer to the bike and took our first bike ride of the summer. If you remember, we sold our bikes a couple weeks ago. We bought some new ones from REI that are sweeeeeet. Anyway, on the trail we came across a very pleasant moose who was nice enough to pose for the girls. Then on the way back, Lisa spots a beaver in the creek!! So we stop and watch the beaver swim up and down the creek. Suddenly, it starts swimming downstream toward us. About the time I started thinking "this beaver has some naughty intentions", it put it's head down and gave us a huge tail slap on the water. It was pretty cool. He was definitely not happy we were there watching him and needed his space. Sorry, no pictures or videos of that but it was fun.

Back home to get ready for dinner...I ran out to the store to begin replenishing by fly supply. After dinner, we played with the girls like we do every night and it was a blast. Here is a video from the previous night when Alyssa does her first flip! It was pretty exciting.

So that was our day. Pretty good day, eh? We also have two people to thank for today's donations. Kawani who is a friend that we met in McGrath, AK that now lives in CA as well as Brooke...another friend in CA. Thank you two for your donations.

Bank day is Friday so be sure to get your donations in as soon as possible!