Allergic / Not Allergic

So, our trip to Anchorage wasn’t just about a safari to the zoo (Although, that part was totally great).

The purpose of the trip was to determine if Lucy is allergic to strawberries.   The booming metropolis of Fairbanks isn’t home to many medical specialists, so if you have medical needs requiring a specialized doctor,  the Army funds your trip to the big city.

We were allocated two nights down South for one morning spent visiting with an allergist.

The allergist did a skin test on little Lu and confirmed that she isn’t allergic to strawberries.  Then, when we got home to Fairbanks, she ate a strawberry — and she is definitely allergic to strawberries!

So was that whole trip all for not?!  NOT!  Because she definitely isn’t allergic to…

swimmin!

Jumpin’ on the bed!

Taking in the spectacular Southern Alaska mountain-scapes from Alyeska Resort’s spectacular mountain-top!

Target!

floatin’ in the hot tub!

Chillaxin while waiting on room service…

Livin’ large!

Yes, she could definately get used to this.

It was the most ridiculous – and ridiculously fun – trip to the doctor I’ve ever been a part of.

So, who wants to go down to Anchorage to get tested to find out they don’t have an allergy to something they may actually be allergic to next?!

Me too!

I think I’m allergic to interior Alaska, we better get back down to Anchorage to get that checked out!, stat!

“No” to strawberries; “Yes” to everything in and about Anchorage,

Meet me in Southern  Alaska,*

Rella

(* I’ll be right here as soon as I’m finished with my dr apt.)

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Alaska Animal Sightings!

We just got back from a little trip to Alaska’s Big Apple!  Anchorage!  It is a 400 mile drive and took us aprox 9 hours – each way. Small bladder + fragile digestive system + potty trained toddler + car sick prone 5 yr old  = many squatty stops along the grassy highway (there aren’t any towns / rest stops in between the two towns) … We decided to call our journey a “squat-afari” and earnestly looked for wildlife at all times.  What did we see?!

Do you know who this foot belongs to? (Yes, I did take this photo and all the rest in this post. Just saying.)

I see a brown bear looking at me (gulp).

kind of a mangey one.

Hard to believe these guys stalk people!  We did not want to wake it up!

Do snow leopards live in Alaska?!  Um, are you on to me yet?

All but one of these photos were taken at the ZOO! After two days in the car driving through Denali and across the great vast land with nothing but wild in between two forlorn towns  … I’ve decided that whole Alaska = wild bears and big animals thing is a giant marketing ploy.

If you’re planning to see bears and wildlife in Alaska, you better make sure to stop at the zoo.  Just sayin.’

We bought a zoo (the movie, it was much more entertaining car ride material),

Alaskarella

Major News!

Attention!

See that tiny little square patch in my hands?  It’s kind of a big deal.

1 June 2012 at 11 hundred hours; after kind words were said and official statements were read …

Captain Marzo became Major Marzo.

Three “Hooahs!” for Major Marzo! I’ve been following him around trying to whistle marching songs and playing the theme song from “Major Dad.”

Because, (no patch necessary) as anyone can plainly see, I am one majorly proud major dork.

Congrats Mitch!  You are so Major!

At ease,

Major Dork

This photo is from the major party we had at our house last Friday Night.  It was majorly crazy like bourbon shots and broken couches crazy.  Can you tell by this rowdy crowd?  Thank you SO much to the kind woman in the “AK” hat for taking these photos of the ceremony for us!

PS – If you’d like to use any of these photos in the Wellsboro Gazette / The Wall Street Journal / your desktop or blow it up to poster size for your dorm room or what have you … I think you can click on the photo and then drag it to your desktop and save it there, I think.  I tried to email them to all interested parties, but the files are too big for our slooow connection. If the download from the blog doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll figure something else out.

A Read for Arm Chair (Or Real) Travelers …

When we first arrived in Alaska by ferry all those days ago; our ferry docked in Haines. It was sort of exactly what I pictured when I pictured “Alaska.”

With bald eagles flying over the bay; hanging flower baskets exploding over the streets; patagonia clad people living in colorful clapboard houses with wild iris gardens mowing over and through their picket fences … We ate ice cream from a coffee hut while sitting in lounge chairs and looking over the bay.

It’s a post card town where I imagined my post card life in Alaska.

Turns out Fairbanks is a little different than Haines.

When ever I visit or pass though one of these tiny little towns, I wonder, “What would my life be like here?” Do you do that?  Well, thanks to a sweet little recent read, now I have an idea of exactly what life is like in Haines.

It’s a great book if you’re gearing up for a trip to Alaska and a great book if you’re not.   It’s a great book if you didn’t end up living in Haines and sort of wondered about it.

It’s written by a local Haines woman, a mom, a newspaper obituary writer – and it’s about a few of her adventures and experiences living in this little town.  It’s well done, and it was a delightful “trip” for my imagination.

As the author writes, “A good novel is like going on a vacation without ever having to pass through airport security.”

Just thought I’d share in case you’re looking for a fun summer read!

And now, I’m looking for a good book!  Have you read anything good lately?

A-Krella

Adventures Ahead!

Happy June!

Alaskarella

Photo of the Year

Isn’t this the most gorgeous brain you’ve ever seen!?!   I’ve never been happier to see this than I was on Memorial Day (or night, or maybe it was the wee hours of the next day for us ) … and every day since then, I can’t stop staring at it and thinking, “Thank you, God.” Memorial day was no BBQ in the sunshine for us! Nonetheless, it ended with more gratitude than I ever thought possible.

Our morning started with a “sore” red area behind Zoey’s ear. This photo was taken in the ER after lunch, by which time it was swollen like a lumpy thumb under her skin. I knew it was serious when Mitch said, “Let’s go to the ER.” In true “Dr.” form, he once told me as I laid on the floor, certain I had appendicitis, “I see people come in with stupid things all day long. Unless you are dying, I am not taking you to the hospital.” I proceeded to call an ambulance (not really, but you know I pretended to) … Anyway, no joke, he sped to the hospital and tried (unsuccessfully, have I told you about cell reception here?) to call all these specialist people along the way.  It was unnerving.

The ER doctor saw us right away. She was concerned, guessed it was a skin infection of some sort, prescribed some antibiotics, and advised that we “monitor it closely.” We left thinking, “Phew, that was easy and all taken care of.”

Not so.  By dinner time the swollen, red beast was still growing.  At this point it reached into her hairline and had overtaken her ear.  No photo, because it was not the time to mess around.

Mitch ran over all the plants we had just purchased as he rushed her back to the ER.  Lucy and I stayed behind because after various calls to dermatologist, ENT, and other physician friends; Mitch anticipated he and Zoey would be spending the night at the hospital.   What?!  As I packed her overnight bag I tried not to cry.

Once they were gone I opened the internet history and found all kinds of photos on Mitch’s go-to medical research site (UpToDate) accompanying threats like,  “hearing loss, cerebral deterioration…” I closed the computer and did the only thing I could think to do, call my mom.  It was late there, she didn’t mind.  While sharing all this news did nothing to help the situation, I felt a little better by the time we hung up with everything crossed until further notice.

Holding Still.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, they were doing CT scans to determine the spread of the infection and determine if it was inside her brain.  Mitch sent me this photo via text message captioned, “She is being so brave.”

I stared at the sunset (it was midnight) and prayed to the illuminated, pink clouds.  Please, please let her be ok.  Hours later this photo came via text and the caption said, “We’re fine.  Her brain is clean.”  I exhaled and realized I’d been holding my breath for a long, long time. “Thank you, God!”

After a slew of various antibiotic shots (the worst part for her, which rendered her sore for the last few days) they were back home in the wee hours of the morning; Zoey in tears.  She was exhausted, in pain, and angry because her Denver doctor told her she didn’t need any more shots until she was six (how could anyone have known?).

Now, days later, we’re recovering from the infection; the aches and pains; the fevers; and the exhaustion of it all … there have been many tears, sleepless nights, and a  whole lot of whining … and I’ve never felt more blessed.

Funny how something “bad” helped me realize how very lucky I am.

To your health,

Alaskarella

The (Off, Off, Off, Way Off Broadway) Big Show!

It is so fun to be part of the town ballet.   “We are billed as “The Weekend’s BEST BET!”  announced the dance director as she waved the town paper over her head and fist pumped, “YES!”   The dancers shrieked in glee and jumped up and down amidst the hair and makeup frenzy of OPENING NIGHT!

After months of Peter Pan rehearsals it was finally time for the cast to circle up in the green room for a pre-show pep talk. Eeeps!

There’s no business, like …

Show Business!  These little stars are ready for a GREAT show!

These “London Stars”

are ready to SHINE!

Updating their facebook statuses to, “Wish me luck!,” and, “Just waiting for my curtain call!”

Ballet Buddies

Flitting the time away!

This little pixie is so darn cute.

Finally! London Stars! It’s go time! “We totally got this!”

I think we’re ready! SHOW TIME! (Glasses + Missing Teeth = killer combo).

And, off they marched silently towards stardom.  I slipped into the dark auditorium where I found Mitch with mesmerized Lucy sitting on his lap.  Lucy was in awe as Peter Pan summer-salted over his shadow.

Mitch rolled his eyes, but he was also smiling.

And then, Peter and Wendy slipped out the window and began to fly through the night.  Twinkling, familiar music filled the auditorium and …. all the little stars filled the stage.

Twinkling, twirling, and a face full of concentration — there was our little star!  Mitch squeezed my hand, Lucy yelled, “GO ZOEY!,” and for the next 33 seconds (and the rest of the evening), my smile almost cracked my face.

I couldn’t help but think that six years ago, to the weekend, I married Mitch with hopeful anticipation of moments exactly like this.   Our little star was beaming; so were her three biggest (and littlest) fans.

“We did it!” Shooting stars on stellar delight poured out of the stage door apres – uproarious – applause into a lobby full of cheers. (Small towns + parents make for the best audience!)

My little star on cloud 9. “Can we do this again sometime?” She asked. “I hope so.” I said. And we all smiled all the way home.

To my Northern Star and a lifetime of moments.

Shine On,

Alaskarella