A SXSW Weekend

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I’m going to make an assumption that when Anchorage Mama set out to write a blog about her new adventures in Alaska, one of the posts she envisioned writing was that of experiencing the Iditarod.  Having lived in Alaska before, she … Continue reading

Not Spring Yet

March 15, 2014 – Sunny, 21°, Sunrise 8:16 am, Sunset 8:02 pm, Total Snowfall 61.5″

Happy Birthday to my brother! 

Remember how I was talking about Spring Fever, being warm in the backyard without a coat. Ha! Apparently Alaska isn’t done with winter. M had mentioned that there looked like there was potential for snow at the end of the week, but the models were having a hard time locking on to it. We might get 2 inches, or we might get 12….well, we got about 16 inches!! Can’t say that I’m actually all that mad. I’m still in awe of actually living in Alaska again, and waking up to a winter wonderland makes me feel like a little kid. I am sad that I did not get out and grocery shop yesterday, because we’re definitely not going anywhere today. 

J and I headed out after breakfast, thinking I might be able to shovel the driveway. Not so much. But he loves just being out there with his shovel regardless. 

He's standing up

He’s standing up

The burn at the side of our driveway

The berm at the side of our driveway

 

He's a shoveling pro already

He’s a shoveling pro already

He loves to turn the shovel upside down and pretend to snowblow

He loves to turn the shovel upside down and pretend to snowblow

Licking some snow off his cheek

Licking some snow off his cheek

He was having fun. This looks to me like he's falling into a crevasse.

He was having fun, I promise! This looks to me like he’s falling into a crevasse.

 

 

 

 

Zoo Day

March 13, 2014 – Cloudy, 35°, Sunrise 8:22 am, Sunset 7:57 pm, Total Snowfall 55.8″

You can tell the season is getting ready to change, but it’s not Spring yet. A couple of days ago the sun was out, the sky was blue and it actually felt warm in the backyard. We went out to play and I ended up taking off my jacket; J was happy as could be in just his vest.

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Feeling that Spring Fever, we headed out to the zoo today, even though the weather was back to winter-blah. The Anchorage Zoo is a great place for toddlers. There is not an abundance of animals, but now J knows what is there, so it’s fun for him to pick what he wants to see and be in charge a bit.

Watching the seals

Watching the seals

Seals

Seals

The walkways are like trails, so he has fun hiking along. Today there were still snow piles to play in as well. And he kept picking up snowballs and wanting to take them to the polar bears.

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My favorite might be the musk ox. They’re just so Alaskan, and especially against the backdrop of snow. They were quite active today, walking up along the fence and interested in us.

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Checking us out

Checking us out

Looking very comfy in the snow and cold

Looking very comfy in the snow and cold

Thankful that the zoo is so accessible. As we wait for real Spring, I continue to be more preggers, and J continues to increase in activity level and energy, it’s a nice place to go run off some of that steam. Now for a peaceful nap time, and do-nothing time for this tired Mama :-)

Iditarod

March 1, 2014 – Sunny, 35°, Sunrise 8:00 am, Sunset 6:25 pm, Total Snowfall 53.4″

It’s the big weekend!

One of my absolute favorite things about living in Alaska is the Iditarod. The Iditarod is a 1,049 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. It starts on the first Saturday in March, and the winner typically arrives in Nome about 9 days later (the last team, or Red Lantern Winner may take as many as 30 days to reach Nome). Each team consists of 1 musher and up to 16 dogs; most mushers start with a team of 16, but as the race continues they “drop” dogs for various reasons. A team must finish with at least 5 dogs in harness. There are checkpoints along the route, but the musher is completely responsible for the care of themselves and the team.

The race has a ceremonial start, which takes place in Anchorage. They start right downtown (cleared snow from the winter is hauled in to line the streets) and run through the city to one of the parks on the south end. Then the teams pack up and head north to Willow for the re-start on Sunday.

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Saturday is a big party in Anchorage. Tons of spectators, lots of commotion and lots of fun! We started the day by checking out the scene downtown. It is amazing to see the energy of the dogs before they get hooked up. They are barking and jumping, and want nothing more than to be pulling that sled! My brother and his girlfriend came for the weekend, and volunteered as dog handlers. They got to run with, and help get the teams to the start line. IMG_5707

We had been hyping the race all week, getting J prepared to take in the spectacle. M was wonderful and carried him in the pack, this way he was up high to see the action, and we didn’t have to navigate the stroller through the throngs of people. Also, the weather was beautiful! Blue sky and mid 30s, downright comfortable if you were in the sun! J helped us cheer “go doggies, go!”, panting and sticking his tongue out in imitation.

IMG_5701Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see my brother and his girlfriend actually run with a team, but they did get to help out two different groups, and seemed to enjoy themselves! Though the energy of the start is amazing, it’s not actually the best place to watch the teams because there are so many people. And you don’t get to see them run very far. We watched a few come through the chute, but then decide to head out to the trails and really get to see the teams do what they do best, run!

IMG_5718Watching the dogs out on the trails was much more family friendly, and more our speed. We got to see a long way down the airstrip and see multiple teams at a time. Watching the dogs run is a beautiful thing!

IMG_5741And with less crowds, J didn’t have to be in the pack. We got to actually watch with him, instead of him being on M’s back.

IMG_5729 IMG_5725And in the lag time between teams, J (and Papa) got the enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the snow.

IMG_5753It was a wonderful day!

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Snow and Pancakes

February 20, 2014 – Sunny, 23°, Sunrise 8:27 am, Sunset 6:01 pm, Total Snowfall 53.1″

The rest of the country probably does not feel the same, but I’m excited because we have fresh snow!! I appreciate Alaska being kind to us this first winter, and letting us ease into life here, but I was missing our winter wonderland. It’s been an odd winter, and we really had not had any significant new snow since Christmas.  Happily, we’ve gotten 9″ this month. And it’s doubly good news with Fur Rondy and Iditarod just around the corner. For awhile there was talk of moving the Iditarod restart up to Fairbanks, for only the 2nd time in history, because of the lack of snow and trail conditions. They have decided to keep it here in Anchorage though.

But on to the real subject at hand…pancakes. Austin Mama posted her delicious Pretty in Pink pancakes (which we tried, loved, and J ate four of!), and threw out the idea of sharing our love of pancakes on here with a variety of recipes. However, another post of hers inspired me with a different take on this idea. I am sharing pancakes, but of the felt food variety.

Seeing Austin Mama’s adorable play kitchen got me thinking about how to encourage J’s love of being in the kitchen with us. He’s gotten really good at dumping and stirring, but obviously there’s limits to what we can have him help with. The sneak peek of her felt food pizza sent me searching Pinterest myself, and turns out, there’s a tutorial for just about any food you would want to replicate. Pancakes were an obvious first choice.

IMG_5673The process was pretty simple. First I cut out two beige circles, then two slightly smaller tan circles. I used a blanket stitch, and embroidery floss, to attach the tan circle on top of the beige circle, repeated with the other two pieces. Then I put a thin piece of batting between the two sides, and used a blanket stitch to close the edge. I couldn’t leave the pancakes plain, so there had to be some banana slices too, and a pat of butter for good measure! I’m please with my first attempt, and excited to add to the play pantry now.

J seems to be happy with the results too, and continues to cook up a storm for us!

Topping his pancakes with "peanut butter" (aka elbow macaroni)

Topping his pancakes with “peanut butter” (aka elbow macaroni)