Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our cruise to Alaska

(by Jeff)

Last week we spent a wonderful and relaxing week in Alaska. Below are short posts and some pictures from each day of our cruise. We took hundreds of pictures during our cruise, but unfortunately we can't put all of them on here. We tried to pick out a few that we liked, but the pictures don't do justice to the beauty and majesty of Alaska.

Our cruise was with Princess cruiselines. We cruised with Princess on our honeymoon to the Caribbean and we had a great experience, so we went with Princess again. This time, we were on the Golden Princess. The boat is huge! It weighs 109,000 tons and carries 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew members. It was built in 2001 and cost $450 million.

We had a lot of fun visiting the different cities, viewing wildlife, hiking, and seeing glaciers. We also had a lot of fun on the boat. There were lots of activities, great entertainment, and good food--lots and lots of food.

Overall, it was a great week, and we were sad that it had to come to an end.

The Golden Princess

This is another Princess ship that we passed during our cruise, but it looks exactly like the ship that we were on.

Inside the Golden Princess

Day 1: Seattle

(by Jeff)

Although our cruise didn't leave until Saturday, we went up to Seattle a day early to spend some time with our friend John and Emily Burnette. (John was one of my mission companions in Spain.) For dinner, John and Emily took us to a Vietnamese restaurant for pho, which is a Vietnamese soup. Aubree really enjoyed pho--in fact, one of the first things she did when we got home was to look up pho restaurants in Utah.

We enjoyed spending time with the Burnettes, and we are especially grateful for John picking us up at the airport and dropping us off at our boat.

Day 2: Leaving Seattle

(by Jeff)

On day 2, we boarded our boat in Seattle and headed out to sea.

Day 3: At sea

(by Jeff)

All of day 3 was spent at sea. For most of the day, it was extremely foggy. The first picture below is taken from the front of the boat, and you couldn't see very far out because of all the fog. We spent the day doing several activities on the boat, including playing a round of miniature golf, playing Pictionary, watching "The Office," and listening to a comedian. It was also formal night on the boat, which means we had to get fancied up for dinner. (I hate wearing a suit when I eat!)

In the evening, the weather cleared up a bit and we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Day 4: Juneau

(by Jeff)

On day 4, we docked in Juneau, Alaska.

We first went to Mendenhall Glacier, which is just outside Juneau. While we were at the glacier, we saw a black bear. The bear came down a hill and went right under where we were standing on a bridge. It was so close that we could have reached down and touched it!

We next took a tour of a salmon hatchery. It was pretty interesting, but the best part was that there were several seals hanging around in the water just outside the hatchery. These seals were apparently smart enough to figure out that it's easy to catch fish right next to a hatchery. They were fun to watch as they caught several salmon.

Finally, we went to a salmon bake in the forest. We had a great meal of salmon, ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, and cornbread. After we ate, we took a short hike to a nearby waterfall.

Day 5: Skagway

(by Jeff)

On day 5, we docked in Skagway, Alaska. We went on (what they called) an evening wildlife expedition. We took a 45-minute boat ride to Haines, Alaska, and then took a bus ride up into the mountains. We went to the Chilkoot River, where we were able to see several bald eagles and other wildlife. But we were most excited to see the grizzly bears. We stopped by the river and watched as an older bear and an older cub fished for salmon in the river. It was amazing to watch!

We then went to Chilkoot Lake, a beautiful glacier-fed lake. We took a hike through the forest and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

On our bus ride back down to the ferry, we saw two different grizzlies fishing in the river, but we didn't have time to stop and take more pictures because we had to get back to our boat.

The older bear

The cub

Chilkoot Lake

Day 6: Tracy Arm Fjord

(by Jeff)

On day 6, our cruise ship took a scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord. The fjord is quite narrow with steep mountains rising up thousands of feet on both sides. There are countless waterfalls all along the fjord. There are also two glaciers at the head of the fjord that have pieces break off and become small icebergs. There were a couple icebergs that were an amazing color of blue. We were told that these icebergs come from the middle of the glacier (instead of the edges) and are hundreds of years old. Although the weather was a bit cold and there was occasional rain, we really enjoyed the cruise through the fjord.

Day 7: Ketchikan

(by Jeff)

On day 7, we docked in Ketchikan, Alaska.

We first went to Totem Bight State Historical Park, a state park with lots of totem poles. It was really interesting to learn more about the different kinds of totem poles and what they mean.

After that, we went to a lumberjack show. Two teams of lumberjacks competing in different lumberjack contests, like axe throwing, sawing, chopping, pole climbing, log rolling, and more. It was really entertaining!


Totem Bight State Historical Park

Lumberjack Show

Day 8: Victoria, Canada (Butchart Gardens)

(by Jeff)

On day 8, we docked in Victoria, Canada. We took a bus out to Butchart Gardens. Aubree has been to Butchart Gardens before, and it is one of her favorite places in the world. We didn't arrive in Victoria until almost 7:00 pm, so we had to take the night tour of the Gardens. Although not as spectacular at night, the Gardens were still amazing! There are 55 acres with hundreds of different kinds of flowers. Aubree had a great time taking tons of pictures of all of the different flowers. Here are a few:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baby News!!!

(By Aubree)

budum budum budum budum
(drum role!)

It's a girl! We went to the hospital to have my complete ultrasound done this morning. Everything looks great as far as the ultrasound tech could tell. She has a long femur bone, so she's tall already (volleyball/basketball playa!). She was making sucking motions like she was sucking in the amniotic fluid, and she had her hands over her eyes a lot like she was playing peek-a-boo! So cute!

I know it's weird, but everything hasn't felt very real until today. I know you'd think that my growing belly, the kicking, the heart beat and the other ultrasounds would make it real too, but today I just started to feel a whole new round of emotions. It's so exciting, and I love her so much already!