Monday, September 12, 2016

Alaska {Part One}

Last month, my amazing husband and I celebrated TEN YEARS of marriage!  Most days it feels like it's been waaay longer than ten years, and I don't mean that in a bad way.  I look at everything we've been through together and on our own and at times it blows me away how much life we've lived in just ten years.  I could start listing everything off, but I think I would forget half of it and it would be so long, haha!  Between moving six times and living in four states, finishing nursing school and MBA school, losing jobs three times and finding new ones (plus a new direction each time), heavy callings at church, family dynamics, losing a parent and then a pregnancy, starting your own business from *nothing*, having and raising three kids, home reno projects....those are just some of the highlights!!  I love my husband for continuing to love me though it all.  I feel like I have grown so much as an individual and together with Kristoffer.  Not only do I love my husband, I love my marriage.  It's the absolute BEST thing in my to the Plan of Happiness (which means I get to be together forever with this guy).

So, that said, I had been absolutely *pining* to go on a vacation with just Kris to celebrate these amazing TEN years....and month by month slipped away and it seemed like it wasn't going to happen; for financial and other reasons.  We are great friends with Kris's step-sister, Brita, and one Sunday she was visiting and we mentioned how much we were hoping to have a vacation together, and she offered to come to our home and watch our three sweet kids for us if we wanted.  My eyeballs about popped out of me head and Kris and I looked at each other and we quickly nodded our heads that we would SO appreciate her doing that!

Once the kids were covered, we decided on Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.  It was warm, beachy, and fit our budget.  We were SOOOOO excited!!  And then in June, we found out we were pregnant.  Not a total surprise, but after deliberating and hearing rumors of this whole Zika virus, we decided Mexico may not be the best choice for us.  SO, we changed our plans to a cruise to Alaska....a total 180, I know....and I was having a hard time warming up to the idea, but once the hardcore nausea and icky-ness set in, the thought of cool breezes and peaceful ocean views totally appealed to me.  August 1st, we lost the baby, and it was completely devastating, to say the least.  After grieving that first week, I started to realize how much I needed to be alone with my husband, and I was grateful to be going to a climate where I could wear layers and feel comfortable and not exposed, at least in the state I was in.  The thought of Mexico was very unappealing to me in the moment, and it's not where we needed to be.


We had a veeeery early flight.  Let me tell you why we were so excited:  FIRST CLASS.  Yes.  Because of the flight change from Mexico to Seattle (where we boarded the ship), we had a larger amount to use to fill the flight voucher, so my husband fought tirelessly with the booking agent to get those first class tickets.  It was sooooo amazing.

It's going to be hard to go back to coach, lol!

They serve you food that is actually really good, on real dinnerware with real flatware.  
Mt. St. Helens from the airplane.
Just look at those misty mountains!

It's not Pikes Place without a luchadore mask.
My grandfather used to make these.

Oh, the flowers.  So SO beautiful.

We've missed the northwest.
They had a stand with these adorable donut cats.  I totally wanted one for Marin....but yah, $22.  Not so much.

These kind crab legs we had for lunch were so delicious with the caramelized lemon and the clarified butter....oh, I could have eaten them all day.
Haha, walking down to the pier, I looked to my right and saw these random goats underneath the freeway overpass!  Then I remembered they use the goats as weed and bramble control...particularly for the blackberries up there.  The blackberries are considered such a nuisance because the spread everywhere...and the goats will actually eat them.
Mmmm, first breakfast on the cruise.  With the butter....the best butter ever.  Something I remember from our honeymoon cruise.

One of our favorite spots was on the back of the ship with our chairs pulled up the rail.  We would sit and watch the wake and hear the peaceful.
Misty and gorgeous.

Before the cruise, I had NEVER had a pedicure.  Ever.  It's not something I really think of, and I'm not that high maintenance anyway.  I had my first ever pedicure on the cruise ship, and it was fabulous!
My feet have never felt so healthy!
View from the spa.

In Juneau, our first port, we had a quick visit at the Mendenhall glacier.  What an amazing sight!  These glaciers are so massive, and it's crazy to think that it's really just an 'ice river'/

After the glacier, we took a whale watching expedition.  What a trip, I'll tell ya!!
So.  So.  Peaceful.
I was just hoping to see some whale fins......
...and some whale tails, which I did.
But we also got to see whales bubble feed.  This is where a group of whales circle around a school of fish below water and drive them to the surface.  On the lead whale's signal, they all feed simultaneously and their mouths emerge from the water.  This is incredibly special, because whales are not born knowing how to do this...they have to learn how to do it from another whale who knows, so it's not overly common to see.  We saw this group of whales bubble feed quite a few times, and it was so spectacular.
Look at that, a whale tail and a rainbow!
Are you ready for this?  Ok, so when a whale jumps into the air, it is called a breach.  We were nearing the end of our excursion, when behind us, not just one whale breaches...but THREE whales the SAME TIME!  It was the most incredulous thing I have ever seen in my life.  Completely amazing!!!  I didn't catch it on camera, but one of the ladies on our excursion caught the very last whale in the air before it dropped into the water.  She was so sweet to send it to Kris, and here it is.  The giant splashing to right of the whale is from the other two whales that had just barely landed in the water  And yeah, that rainbow is still there.  I just need a unicorn, right?!  This excursion was so amazing.  Our guide has lived in Alaska his whole life and has never seen what we saw on our little excursion.
Whale Tail!
AND, on our way back, we saw an Orca!  Also a little more uncommon, so our group was absolutely blown away with this whole experience.
Seals, haha!
Look at that Bald Eagle!  He was sitting in the pine tree as we were walking up the dock.  One of the ladies on our boat pointed it out to us, so Kris whips out his phone and starts taking pictures...then he looks at me and whispers..."Where is it., I can't find it!".  So funny.
Dinner on the pier that night.

Fish and Chips, to share.  SO GOOD.

Cute little towel animals in our room.
Watching the Princess Ship pulling out.  It was a perfect evening.

Second Port, Skagway!  Skagway is absolutely TINY.  When the ships dock, the tourists absolutely FLOOD this tiny little street (which is kind of
We booked our excursion, and then had some time to walk around the town that morning.

Purple house.

Aaaand we bought some real deal fudge.  It was delish.
My husband likes to tease me every time he find a stuffed raccoon.  It's a long story.
I could have eaten so much.

Absolutely serene and beautiful.
That day was the 17th, our anniversary!!!  We booked a ziplining excursion, and it did not disappoint.  I had a raging headache that morning, so I downed some Tylenol and Diet Coke right before the bus left to take us up the mountain and my sweet hubby rubbed my head.  I was A-OK by the time we got suited up.  God thing, too....I would have missed so much awesomeness!

The first zipline, you ran right off of a dirt ledge/overhang, which was awesome.  After that, you were on these platforms built around the trees.
I've taught this guy how to be goofy.  It's so wonderful he's finally caught on after ten years!
Oh the wooden rope bridge.  Let's just say it's a good thing they clip you in to cross it.
Our two guides taught us how to do some cool tricks on the lines, like flipping upside down.  This is my new fave picture of Kris.
One of our guides.  They were so hilarious.  He told me he was going to take our picture for us....aaaaand the selfies were free, evidently :)
They were the best.
Luckily, we didn't get rained on!

Such a great excursion for our anniversary.

Dinner was off the beaten path at this red restaurant.  SO good!

The old Pappy Frost we saw walking back from the restaurant.
Ummm, yeah, beautiful!
The next day was a day at sea, but we were sailing through Glacier Bay.  It was the ONLY rainy day we had on our cruise, and I'm glad it was that day.

Inside the lounge watching the rain and the glaciers.

Next up, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada!

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