Saturday, December 29, 2007

Under Construction Introduction

I am finally getting around to some things I have been putting off.

So, here is my photography website. Well, photo blog. I have seen a few photographers put together a blog for their photos. I am joining in. Please go take a look. Feedback is welcomed and expected!

http://maryjacksonphotos.blogspot.com/

Please remember it is still under construction and your feedback will make my updates more efficient. THANKS!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Any ideas?

What do you do with all the leftovers? Some ppl have this knack where they can whip up something delish from the leftovers and it not be leftovers. These recipes can give leftovers new life. Anyone have any ideas? More specifically, recipe ideas for leftover ham?

I hate to just throw out all these leftovers, HELP!

Ho Ho Ho

Christmas was great! The boys slept in a little, Santa was so very nice, and dinner was delicious. Some highlights of the day were:

*Caleb forgoes the presents and focuses on how many M&M's he can get while mom and dad are not looking
*Noah has no interest in any presents because he saw that Santa brought him a train table
*Caleb then forgets all of the presents and plays with a marker and a drink coozy
*Noah does not acknowledge his other presents until Dec 26 - sole focus is still the train table
*It snowed the entire day, it was truly a white Christmas

Here is a pic of the boys on Christmas Eve in their Christmas pj's



After Christmas has been lousy. Caleb has yet another cold (poor guy). Playgroup today was to go sledding - the boys got a new sled from Santa and Noah is dying to try it out, mommy too! Kevin took Noah sledding for a little bit yesterday and he LOVED it! So, I am so bummed we did not get to go today. My Christmas money is burning a hole in my pocket and I am stuck indoors, another bummer. So, I am working more on unpacking this house and straightening up. The latter is so hard to do. It seems that piles of crap just keep popping up in every corner and I am still in the "I have no idea where to put things" phase. Oh well.



Some cute stories.....
Caleb was messing around in the kitchen the other day and I walk in on him with his hand in the flour sack. Well little mr. man thought flour looked good enough to taste. He had a flour moustache that was a little doughy from mixing with his slobber. Yes I have pics.....


My mom sent Noah these costumes for playing dress up and usually he has no part in dress up. however this day he wanted to be a lion and boy was he cute. He roared around the house for about 30 seconds and off came the costume. Luckily I got a pic or two.

Hope you all had a good holiday too. Oh and...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I am following the example of a fellow blogger and going green with my Christmas letter.


First and foremost MERRY CHRISTMAS. This is an awesome time of year to spend time with family and friends and to remember the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


We have had a very busy year. It all started in January with the birth of our second son Caleb. It has been so awesome to watch him grow this year. He is such a sweetie and cuddle bug. He is crawling, pulling up and cruising, babbling, has 6 teeth, hates baby food, and adores his big brother. Caleb was born with a club foot, but because it was caught early he has had outstanding progress in his rehabilitation and correction. His doctor's have been awesome. You would never know he was born with a "crooked foot" unless you see him wearing his brace. If Caleb sees Noah doing ANYTHING, well Caleb is going to give it a try too! Nothing can hold this kid down.

Kevin and I stayed busy the first couple of months of the year running kids to doctor's appointments and preparing for his upcoming deployment.


In March we got word that we were going to be moving, where we did not know yet. Soon we got the word that Anchorage, Alaska would be out new home. In April we made one last trip to Disney World. Caleb just hung out, Noah went crazy! We all love Disney! Our friends who joined us made the trip even more memorable. At the end of April lots happened. First we put our house on the market to sell and then we had to say goodbye to Kevin. He left for an overseas deployment to Al Udeid AFB in Qatar. 4 days after Kevin left the house sold! So, the kids and Mary moved in with some friends in June and made the most of the time away from Kevin. We took a trip back home to Alabama and Tennessee to see family in July. At the end of July we got the biggest surprise, Kevin came home early! We were so happy!
In August we spent most of the time trying to tie up loose ends before we left Charleston for good in September. This was a hard time for Noah because he had to undergo two surgeries on his left leg. He was born with a benign cyst on his leg and his pediatrician said it needed to go since it was growing in size. He did very well and now has a cool scar to brag about when he gets older.
In September we said goodbye to all of our friends in South Carolina. I think this was definitely one of the hardest parts of the year. We will always cherish Summerville and all the great relationships we were blessed with there. We made our way to Montgomery, AL so Kevin could attend SOS (Squadron Off icier School). We spent 5 weeks in AL and then began our trek across the US. From Oct. 12 to Oct 26 we visited Ardmore and Sulphur OK, Albuquerque NM, The Grand Canyon AZ, Las Vegas NV, Corona Del Mar, LA, Vandenburg AFB, and San Francisco CA, and finally Seattle WA. Along the way we saw the petrified forest, the painted desert, The Hoover Dam, Bellagio fountains, The Strip in Vegas, Drove the PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), rush hour in LA, the Redwoods on the Avenue of Giants, The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, our fav In 'n Out Burger - have a double double Animal Style it's the best, Mt Rainier, and probably more.
We finally boarded the ferry in Bellingham WA on Oct. 26. We changed ferries in Juneau, AK. While in Juneau we saw the famous Red Dog Saloon. Upon the ferries we saw dolphins, orca, bald eagles, and the spray of a whale. Also gorgeous scenery everywhere your eyes could see. While in Alaska we have had about 22 cumulative inches of snow. We have seen 5 moose and have been warned of a pack of wolves in our housing subdivision. We have slid on roads and gotten stuck on a hill on a snowy road. We have found a church home and are still unpacking from moving into our home on the air force base. The kids have made their first snow angels, eaten their first snow flakes, and adapted to life in the arctic. We are excited to spend Caleb's first Christmas snow laden and to watch as Noah is truly beginning to see the real meaning of Christmas. He still knows that presents are coming from Santa too! We have been so very blessed to have these two sons. What a privilege we have been given to watch them grow and see the world through their eyes.
We are anxious and curious to see what this ever changing land has to offer now as well as when the snow melts and we begin to explore into the wild! Who knows what this next year has in store for us!

We wish all of our family and friends the best of the holiday season. May the new year hold more joy and love than the one we leave behind. May God bless you far beyond the desires of your hearts.

Much Love,
Kevin, Mary, Noah, and Caleb Jackson

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Picture Time

Whew! Thank me later...........


Noah's first snow angel!

Caleb in his first snow

An orca I caught a slight pic of on the ferry

Noah and Kev in their first snowball fight

The drive from Whittier AK, to Anchorage, AK

Kev driving the car back on the ferry in Ketchikan, AK

sunrise or set? somewhere in AK while on the ferry

Birthday cake for the 3yr old

Noah on his Bday on the ferry

Bald eagle flying along the ferry

That's my sweet 3yr old guy!

Oh my could you be any cuter??!!

From the ferry window


More on the I-5 Northern Cali

Tilt your head - on the I-5 to Oregon

Kev and the redwoods - Avenue of the Giants

More PCH

Holding the camera over a cliff

The beautiful PCH

Yes, that is me on a redwood!

Oh, puhleez!

Gotta love Mickey

Fisherman's Wharf, San Fran


San Francisco Trolley Car (to the tune from the Wiggles)

There is another photographer in the fam!


The Sea Lions, somewhere on the PCH in CA

On the beach in Corona Del Mar, CA

Oh yes, I am Superman (I hope you are old enough to remember the Superman Movie)

Hoover Dam

Grand Canyon

Hello Grand Canyon

Route 66! This is where Lightning McQueen got lost (some of you will know what this means!)
Kevin beside a petrified tree, and yes we stole a piece!
Sunrise in the rearview as we left Albuquerque, NM
Somewhere East of Amarillo, TX. You could see this cross from many miles away.
Got my blanket and my Buzz, let's hit the road!
1st day driving - from AL to OK
Titan Fans #1
Give me that mean face!
Now let me show you how to drive this baby!!
Is that Batman as a baby??

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowboarding

Kev and I took advantage of a program on base that gives parents a break once a month with babysitting at a on-base child development center. This weekend was to give parents 4 hours to do their Christmas shopping. So Kev and I signed up the boys and instead of shopping, we decided this would be a great time for Kev to teach me to snowboard. I was initially going to learn to ski with the 2 skis and 2 poles, however when I saw my hubby on his snowboard for the first time, he just looked so cool. So, in my head I am thinking I want to be cool like my hubby. So off we go to the slopes. Everything is going great. Got my board, lift ticket, hubby, we are on the lift and I get the worst case of butterflies EVER! I see how steep the mountain is and I am freaking out! I get myself under control by telling Kev that I think I am gonna tumble down this mountain and how this is terrifying me. Bless him for dealing with me the entire time on the lift. So I am gonna try really hard no to be one of those people who fall as they get off the lift and make the lift stop. Kev has told me so many times how annoying that is to seasoned skiers. I begin bracing myself to make this leap, first time on a snowboard or any skiing apparatus to be honest, and I am intently listening to what Kev is telling me to do. Here it comes, my big exit.......Oh yes I am one of those annoying people who fall as they get off the lift. My only saving grace is that my reaction time was quick cause I managed to slide myself out of the way and avoided stopping the lift. Whew. Ok, now lets get to the fun part. I see all these other snowboarders finishing up strapping on their boards, I join in. I so looked like I knew what I was doing. Kev is ready to go. I am ready to go. Kev says now just stand up, swing your right foot behind you, keep your board straight and try not to fall. Ok, ok, I can do this. Thank goodness we forgot the camera. I hope no one else had one that day either. I have been too terrified to check "you tube" for a video of myself as I try to balance on a snowboard and as I take tumble after tumble after tumble after tumble after tumble. After about 1 hour and 15 minutes of tumbling end over end, sideways, and every other way possible to tumble, I am only halfway down this run. I felt like someone had sufficiently beaten me and my ankle was killing me from trying to "just swing your right foot behind you". NOt to mention the falls I force myself to take to avoid going into a tree or the bushes that are FROZEN SOLID! I walk the rest of the way down. And am I ever glad that I did. Because I was only about 4 more tumbles away from a mammoth of a hill that did not have a spot to stop my tumble. I have more bruises than I can count. I have not been this sore since, well I don't remember a time of soreness like this.
I feel horrible cause Kev has had to deal with me and had not been able to get in any fun boarding of his own. And he has been given the "Best Hubby Ever" award for taking off his board and walking down the rest of the way with me. As I lick my wounds Kev jumps back on the lift to get in a good run down the mountain free of a tumbling wife. He calls me at the top so I can time his run. Ladies and gentlemen it took my snowboarding hubby 2 min. let me repeat 2 MIN to get down this run! Can I just say that I struggled BIG TIME! Well, I am not giving up. I saw all these 5,6,7, and 8 year olds out there tearin' it up on their little boards. I will board another day! I just gotta heal up and get some lessons. Oh yes, I am gonna be in the backyard and on the sledding hills practicing until I get this. Don't count me out just yet!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Are you ready to read?

Well, here we go...

Where shall I begin?




Lets talk about the Malaspina and the Kennecott. These were the two ferries we rode on from Bellingham WA to Whittier AK. This was an experience to say the least. We sat in a parking lot for about 3hours waiting to drive our car on this floating car taxi. We were excited. The thought of seeing whales and eagles and all kinds of wildlife made the 3 hours seem easy. We rode on the Malaspina to Juneau AK, October 26-29. It was nice smooth sailing and we did see orca and bald eagles. We even saw the spray from a whale. We just missed it by a few seconds. The room was doable for a few days and we knew this was a "poor man's cruise". So, we are still pumped to get to Alaska. Now onto the Kennecott. I do not have a picture of this boat cause I do not want one. The memory alone is enough. The Kennecott is bigger than the Malaspina, newer too, I think. At least it seemed that way. Anyway, I should have thought something was up when as soon as we got out of the car the crew took over strapping our car down not only to the bottom of the boat but the sides as well. Our car looked like it had a Christmas bow on it. We make it into the room, smaller than the last one, but will do. Only a couple more days and we would be in AK. WooHoo! Then the boat began to move. About an hour after leaving dock the swaying began. I have pretty good sea legs, and I don't get sea sick. Let me rephrase, unless I am on the Kennecott I don't get sea sick. Imagine being stapped to a bed and being rocked completely vertical and then vertical the opposite direction. This is how you would sleep on the Kennecott in 25ft seas. I did not sleep and have never taken so much dramamine in my life. I thought we were going to die! I was waiting to hit the ceiling of our cabin when the boat rolled over. NEVER EVER again will I ride a ferry. Been there done that and puked. Lovely. To make things grand, our son, Noah walks around on the boat going, "Mom! The boat is rocking me back and forth and it is soooo COOL!" SERIOUSLY! I wanted to literally kiss the ground when we docked at Whittier, AK.





Can I just say, GET YOUR BOOTY UP HERE! Goodness gracious this place is gorgeous and this pic is not even worthy of being posted. Lack of a card reader is preventing me from posting really good ones. I keep the blinds completely pulled up all the time cause I do not want to miss a moment of this scenery. It is completely breathtaking and I have only seen this miniscule amount that is directly around me. Moose are incredibly cool to see. The only way to explain it is a cow with the legs of a horse and they just hang out in your YARD! Or if you are really lucky you just see this HUGMONGO bull moose hanging out downtown and his rack looks as if he could take out 4 cars with a turn of his head. WOW!

The place where we live is called Moose Crossing - yes moose cross here, that is why it is named so. I give a call into the housing office for some repair work and a recording says, "Residents of Moose Crossing please be advised that a pack of wolves have been spotted int he immediate area. Please be aware when outdoors and educate your children about Alaska's wildlife." Ummmmm, ok. Pack of wolves in my home's vincinty, ummmm the trash can go in the garage for the night and we can build a playground in the living room on top of all the boxes we still have to unpack.


video

I am trying this video thing and here is the first, I hope it works. This was in the temporary housing. It is too funny. Hopefully I will get more pics of the kids out soon.

So, there it is. I think that is a good start.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

You know who you are

I just have to send a shout out to this person. I hope this person figures out that I am talking about them :) Anyway, I am having a terrible time potty training Noah and I am about to pull my hair out. This person yesterday only had a couple of sentences to say to me about the matter but it definitely helped. So if you are reading this, thanks. I needed some encouragement.

Moving in is 8 days away!!!! No one knows how bad I need to get into our house. Our little wannabe townhome is so not cutting it.

Thanksgiving was fun. I am getting pics from my friend Regi, the one who grew the turkey they were going to serve! Love it. We went to the Great Alaska Shootout and watched Texas Tech and Gonzaga play.

I am actually getting some Christmas shopping done. All the snow melted here and I am sad to see it go. It is unusually warm and the snow is staying away. I think we jinxed the place. I have awesome photos to post when I actually can work from my own computer.

I am currently typing this from a local community center where the kids can play. Anyway, 8 days, 8 days.

Prepare yourself, the posts are going to be massive when I get setup at home. So much to tell.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In the car

Here we are once again in the car, for a quick blog update.

On Mon we signed the papers for a house! YEAH! We move in on Dec 7. So Thanksgiving is in the TLF, but Christmas will be in our HOME, among a zillion boxes, but in a home, with our stuff. I have met a lot of the spouses here and they seem really nice. My fav so far is a gal names Regi, who actually has her Thanksgiving bird in her backyard. They have given their turkey a name, oh yes, and will be having her on the table in a little over a week. I love meeting new people.
We have had a 7 inches of snow. Makes for interesting driving. Especially for me, who grew up in the south, and has ZERO experience driving in this winter wonderland.
Ok, Caleb is having a fit and we have to drive back to our TLF. We get internet in our home in 4 weeks! Will post again as soon as I can. Oh, and if you have emailed me, I am not ignoring you. It just stinks having to sit in the car with the kids screaming trying to check email and blog. Love you all! Updates soon. Oh, and the kids are doing great. They LOVE LOVE the snow. Just imagine the kid from Christmas story who looks like a star! Love it! Happy Thanksgiving yall!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Short and choppy

we are here in ak
trying to find a home
we don't have internet in our room
we swipe it from a wi-fi connection outside the lodging bldg
yes i am in the car typing this
its beautiful here
frustrated we can't find a house yet
its cold, but nice
kids are great
they want a house too
oh yes i have TIVO hooked up
its snowed 2x, but melts away quick
will write again when we get settled

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No more driving!!!......well sort of



Continuing from the previous entry......





We had dinner with the Whiting's, and had a great time. I saw the most awesome scrapbook room known to man! Tammy has this room ( and oh yes, I took pictures ) that is a scrapbooker's dream. My picture hopefully will help for me to recreate this room or at least one similar. Well, if we ever get a house! Kevin couldn't believe how their children had grown. They are teenagers now, and Kevin first met them when the youngest was in utero. Their oldest really made an impression on Noah, and Noah was his shadow all night long. It was so cute. I could tell that Noah is really craving that social interaction, playing with friends. We left the next morning going to San Francisco. We took the PCH (pacific coastal hwy) most of the way up. It was the most gorgeous drive. I think we must have stopped a zillion times so I could take pics of the coast, the blue Caribbean like water, huge rocks and BIG waves. The edge of the road was a cliff that dropped straight down. It was just beautiful, we did not want to get back on the main road. Anyway, we make it in to San Fran late b/c of the drive and just decide to call it a night and hit downtown the next day. So, we took Napa out of our plans and decided that would be an anniversary trip. We really like San Fran. It was a neat city and of course we had to ride the trolley. Noah loved this. However, the lines for the trolley were HORRID! We finally figured out that it was easier to jump on the trolley a couple of stops up from the original loading point, and avoid standing in line. We went to Ghirradeli sq. and I found this place called Kara's cupcakes. Oh my, oh my! I took pics of these little gems. And three went home in a box. I think it was the best cupcake I ever put in my mouth, and you know my choc-a-holic son loved his too. A trip to San Fran would not be complete without 2 things; a trip over the Golden Gate and a trip down Lombard St. Noah loved the bridge. Kev and I were a little disappointed with Lombard, cause it was man-made. We thought, before seeing it, that is was just part of the way the road was made and the whole length of the road were these twisting tight curves. But hey, we have now officially been there, done that. Oh yeah, we also hit up Fisherman's wharf. Talk about some tired puppies that night b/c upon arriving in the Union Sq garage in downtown San Fran, we realized we had forgotten the stroller and the snugli baby-carrier! So, we literally hauled these kids up and down the rolling hills of San Fran the entire day. So on to Portland on Tues., well not exactly. We started the drive and got caught driving through the Ave of the Giants. This scenic road goes through the giant redwoods of northern Cali. BIG Detour. Kevin and I could not get our eyes full. We made stop after stop and drove so slow to take it all in. It was simply amazing. The trees are so awesome and hopefully our pics will turn out. So, instead of getting to Portland in 10hrs we were looking at 15. So what did we do, stop in a smaller city just short of Portland? Nope, we took on 2 more hours in the car and made it to Tacoma. Oh yes, we are nuts and dog tired today. We took on 17 long hours in the car. However, the payoff is a short 1.5 hour drive to the ferry. No more 4,5,6, or 10 hour drives. One more short drive onto the boat on Friday. Typing that is simply glorious. I think our entire family reached it peak of "Yeah this is a fun cross country trip!". Towards the end of the trip we were deciding what we could not see and be ok with, so we could get here in WA faster.





I won't be able to publish on the appropriate day so......





HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAH!!!!!




On Oct 29 will be the big day. We will be in Juneau, AK. This kid is so awesome and 3yrs has went by way too fast. I can't wait to see how much cooler he becomes in the year to come.




Now on to something funny............




Here is a pic I took of Caleb and as soon as it snapped was deemed blog worthy. Enjoy the laugh.
I couldn't get the video of Noah to load will try again later.


Will probably post next time, from Alaska.