Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kodiak Island, Alaska


Since we're leaving Alaska by the end of the summer, we thought we'd use up our frequent flyer miles and take a trip to Kodiak Island. After an eight-hour layover in Anchorage (courtesy AlaskaAir for not making exceptions to their frequent flyer policy and refusing to allow us to hop on a later flight in Fairbanks) , we made it to Kodiak, snagged a rental van for under a $100 and drove to our hotel.

I realized this weekend that, after three years in Alaska, I'm no longer phased by restaurants and hotels that would be called "dumps" or "holes-in the wall" in the lower-48. You just can't judge a "book by its' cover" in Alaska. As we drove up to the "inn," Matt, who'll sleep just about anywhere, looked at the place and scowled at me with uncertainty. I didn't have to ask what he was thinking. The place looked sketchy. But, when we opened the door to the room, it wasn't too bad. Maybe Motel 6 or Super 8 quality. And the room we had the next day had a living room, kitchen and bedroom.

Olivia's pediatrician recently told us that Olivia is not ready to sleep in a toddler bed. Well, she was right. We could not, for the life of us, get her to bed at night. Matt made her a small bed made of quilts and pillows on the floor and she could have cared less (there was no crib at the Inn we stayed at). Each night, she cried herself to sleep around 10:00pm. It was torture. Fortunately, Lila slept in her pack and play peacefully through all of Olivia's protests and commotion!

The following morning we lined up in front of our hotel to watch the CrabFest parade. As parades go, it wasn't too bad. But, they have some weird traditions.

We never figured out what that was all about. They even did a choreographed dance with the lawnmowers.

Olivia looks up at a "float"

Saturday afternoon, we walked down to the harbor where the Crabfest was taking place. Matt took Olivia on some rides. We ate delicious Alaska King Crab. No butter necessary! You can't go to a festival and not eat fried dough. It's a rule. Despite the drizzle, we had a good time. Later in the afternoon, we drove to the Kodiak Winery and purchased mixed berry and raspberry wine.

I had agreed, Friday evening, that Matt could go on a half-day, open-water fishing trip on Sunday because he found out that the Alaska kings (salmon) were running. Matt went down to the harbor to book a half-day charter and came back to the inn and informed that they didn't have any half day charters left and that he had to book a full-day. Even though I wasn't too happy he was gone all day, he did do well fishing and we have a lot of halibut to eat this summer! If you haven't had fresh Alaska halibut, you are missing out. I don't love fish - but, this fish doesn't have a "fishy" taste and, therefore, is delicious! It's being FedEx'd home and there are a few recipes I'm excited to try out.

After Matt came back from fishing, we went out to eat with the girls and then drove around. I spotted this young bald eagle. The older eagles have white heads. They seemed to stay further away from people. The eagles were everywhere on the island. I can't even count how many I saw. The locals call them "sea rats." Whatever. This one isn't so beautiful. But, the older ones, with their white heads and white tipped feathers, are so beautiful to watch. Unfortunately, I didn't get a close up of those.

Once again, Olivia has been saying and doing some funny things. The other day, Olivia stood up in front of the toilet and told me she was "...peeing like daddy." That was a hoot!

As we were trying to put her to bed later that night, she leaned back on the bed, wiped her brow and said, "It's been a long day!"

Last night, a couple hours after a particularly long nap, she said, "I'm exhausted!"

Olivia has been becoming even more motherly to her dolls. She informed me, on Sunday, that her doll at thrown up on her after she fed him. I told her she needed to burp him better. So, she grabbed him and burped him. Later, when we were at a restaurant, she got up several times to bring her doll to the bathroom. Since he was a boy, Matt had to help her bring him to the boys' bathroom.

I forget, sometimes, that she's only 27-months'. It seems like everyday, she's coming up with a new phrase or a more mature way of arguing. But, she's still just over two and it's still impossible to reason with her!

Overall, we had a good weekend. We may head to Denali National Park next weekend to do some biking with the girls. Weather depending...

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