Friday, June 29, 2007

Klutina River and Valdez, Alaska

We've made it back from our trip to the Klutina River and Valdez. Tired and bit frazzled. But, once again, glad we were able to enjoy more of Alaska.

We left on Saturday, drove to the Air Force base to pick up our pop-up trailer and headed to the Klutina River (where Matt was fishing for Alaska king and red salmon). Once we arrived at our campground and set up the trailer, we realized that it was moldy and our door didn't close properly. I started to get nervous. We got the heater running, discovered that the Pack & Play did, indeed, fit and went to bed. Well, tried to go to bed. Olivia thought that having her own bed meant she didn't have to sleep. The camper's heater quickly died and Lila and I got really cold. I tried to have Lila sleep with us. All she wanted to do was nurse the night away (if not nursing, she wanted to be in her own bed). Kudos to all the moms who can do that. I just can't sleep and nurse at the same time. So, I added more layers to Lila, put her in bed and, eventually, we all fell asleep.

Matt did a lot fishing the following day. In fact, I even spent several hours fishing myself. Unfortunately, we still had no heat in the camper and that night was even worse because the door would not stay shut. Olivia got bitten my mosquitoes so badly that her left ankle swelled up nearly double it's size and I had to give her a few doses of Benedryl.

On the road to Valdez on Monday, I called up the Air Force base to ask them if someone could fix our piece-of-junk trailer (we had been told they had a technician in Valdez if, by chance, we ran into any problems). I quickly found out that there is no technician. I was furious. Who rents out something is such bad condition? Especially to parents traveling with two small children? I was ready for a fight. However, the Air Force rec department quickly and easily let us park our pop-up and stay in one of their permanent RVs at a Valdez campground. The manager was very apologetic. We settled in quickly, had dinner and went right to bed. Finally, a night of warmth and sleep! Even Olivia went right to bed (the first and only night she went right to bed).

Tuesday afternoon, we went on a six hour sea wildlife cruise. We toured with Stan Stephens ( in Prince William Sound a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. Therefore, we thought Olivia, and the boys of the friends we were traveling with, would really enjoy it. Here are a few pictures:

Sea Lions

Humpback Whale

Matt, sleeping Lila, and I near the Columbia Glacier
Note: We quickly fixed Lila's head after the photo was taken-though, she didn't seem to mind sleeping that way.

Here's a short video made from footage off my Canon digital camera. It's not very good - but, shows a little bit of what we saw on the cruise.

Everyone who knows Olivia knows that she doesn't function very well if she's hungry and/or if she's tired. So, you can only imagine how she's been behaving on our trips. She's been quite challenging and I only hope that by the time we start touring around Europe, her behavior will have improved and Lila will skip the stage altogether (can a child skip the "terrific twos?"). She's testing Matt and I nearly every moment of each day. She'll say things like the following:
  • "Go away. I need my privacy."

  • "I don't like you."

  • "Don't look at me."

  • "Mommy's/Daddy's mean."

  • "Don't touch me."

  • "Ahhhh, give it to me now! I want it!"

Fortunately, Matt and I play on the same "team" when it comes to discipline and, therefore she knows she can't pin one parent against the other. However, we're hoping that when grandma McQuilton comes up in a couple weeks, she can give us a few tips! Sometimes it helps to get an outsider's point-of-view!

Olivia napping on the cruise.

Olivia was very concerned about the whale's parents. She kept asking where the whale's daddy or mommy was. She doesn't like to see animals alone. She's connected the fact that animals, like humans, should have parents with them.

There was a parrot in the office of the campground we stayed at in Valdez. When the parrot's owner would leave the room, the bird would start screaming. Our children don't use pacifiers, but they use mini taggie blankets ( for comfort when they sleep and/or are upset. Still, it surprised us when Olivia said, "Where's him taggie?" She realized he was upset and wanted him to have a taggie so he would feel better. Each day, Olivia comes up with something new that puts smiles on our faces! How quickly she is growing up.

Speaking of growing up, our always-happy Lila is turning into a speed crawler and has begun to show signs of pulling herself up. It's bittersweet. Matt hasn't seen this stage as he was in Iraq when Olivia went through it. Therefore, he's excited to watch Lila. However, it's harder for me because my baby isn't such a baby anymore!

I'm having sinus surgery on Monday and relatives arrive on Tuesday. So, it'll be a busy weekend of getting ready for visitors! Hopefully, by Tuesday, I'll feel well enough to enjoy the company!

1 comment:

Angie said...

Allen was ready to leave, but I really wish that we'd been able to spend another summer in Alaska. We didn't get to do much the last couple of summers with having a baby, extended deployments and such. I would have liked to have visited some of those places again. And, oh the halibut and salmon, yum!