Saturday - July 30

Chilly, windy and very overcast when we walked to Holy Family Cathedral for 9:00 Mass.   We had a very young, vibrant priest.    Had breakfast with Ryan at the Solstice Café.  
We rode in the caravan (Ryan drove) with Jack ad Regina to air show.   I had 5 layers on (4 yesterday) - really windy and cool.    Big crowd and so much fun with family members and friends of Philip and Annette's friends - the Thompson clan.
  Renee, Karen, Jim, Julie, Ryan, Jim, Emily, Lee

Regina and Jack - #2 Matt's parents from Honolulu. 
We missed Regina yesterday who has been really sick with nasty sore throat, congestion, achiness, etc.   She went to the doctor (viral thing)....doing much better today!

Jack and Regina took us to the airport and we were so lucky to get on the 8:05 flight to Seattle (6
standbys ahead of us, but we made it)!!!    With the 3-hour flight, 1-hour time change and then getting to hotel, it was 1:15 when we finally crawled into bed!
We nomads are not going to be "Sleepless in Seattle" that's for sure!    Ha...
Gorgeous hanging baskets all around Anchorage

One of the big Air Force jets at air show

The 5 jets all lined up

White water rafting on the Nenana River (from train trip)
We did this in 2009 and Ryan and friends, this past Monday.
FUN memory...
Luke and "Pa" building a colorful tower
Nana and Pa went home today - sad time to leave the little ones.    Philip, Annette, Luke and Maeve are settling in.....we'll be there in another week!

Friday - July 29

A gloomy, windy, cool start to the day.    Met Ryan and walked to the Dark Horse Café for breakfast which was very good in this cute little building with lots of pretty flowers.

Just down the street from the Marriott
Flowers, flowers everywhere!
Just relaxed in our room until it was time to leave at 1:30 for the practice at Elmendorf Joint Base.
Low show today with all the cloud cover - we rode with Jack (#2's Dad) and Susan
(wife of Doc - flight surgeon).    

Here come the pilots in their yellow garb they wear on special occasions
70th Anniversary
After the show...
Fun day and then topped off with a phenomenal dinner at the Crows Nest on 20th floor of the
Captain Hook Hotel.
This was one of those memorable meals we will never forget
My scallops - outstanding!
Mark had salmon!

Butternut cheesecake with crunchy crust caramel corn and salted caramel (Pat)
Fancy chocolate cake and other yummy stuff (Mark)
Few more pics from train trip...
My very delicious spinach/salmon salad
Fireweed is everywhere along the road - blurry as we were moving along


Front of our train as we come around a bend 

Miss Blair and family were off this morning for a little getaway to Atlanta for a weekend reunion with Brooke's kin.    She is all set with her Pink (blankie), BeBe (baby), passy (usually only at nap and bed time) and of course, her stylish shades.
Provided we get out of here tomorrow night and are heading to Seattle, this is our last night in Alaska!

Thursday - July 28

Up at 5 AM this morning, took taxi/shuttle (actually taxi that hotel pays for), had light breakfast at Starbucks and off to Anchorage.    Yesterday we spent 12 hours on the train; today a 48-minute flight!!!    Once again we were able to check into our room early (9ish) and got settled.   Looking forward to 3 nights here and not on the move every day!     Walking to the elevator, we ran into Ryan who was just getting back from his run.
So many logistics for this trip - hotels, car rentals, flights, train tickets, etc.     BIG hats off to Mark for dealing with all this stuff AND, Philip who is always there for advice and input on
Plan A, B, C, D.....etc.
We walked about a mile to do laundry......didn't bring enough long pants, socks, etc.    This is NOT shorts/T-shirts/flip flop weather!    As we walked back to hotel, the Blues were practicing!
We ate lunch at the hotel.....Mark and Jack (#2 Dad) took a taxi to the airport for rental car we plan to share.    They are in very short supply and very $$$.    We really don't need one - just to get back 'n forth to Elmendorf AFB for air shows, but there's not much other choice (no Uber here)!
Here are some pics from yesterday
The Alaska Railroad - our transportation on Tuesday
Blue Angel colors
Pretty sites along the way...
Chalky grey color of the Nenana River where Ryan went white water rafting Monday
Bubbling brook

Over 7,000 acres destroyed by fire 2 years ago when campers left a campfire unattended!

More Alaska beauty coming tomorrow....
Monday night we had drinks with Regina (Mom of #2) and Katie (Fat Albert Pilot) 
Mommy cuddling her new baby girl

Cool-hand Luke 
The writing on the plane we flew in this morning from Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines...
Reverse Blue Angel colors....
Mark was thrilled to hear the old engines are out of Catrina,'s hoping they get to the installation of the new ones soon !     Our friends in Annapolis, Doug and Charlotte are keeping us posted on the goings on at the boatyard!
Whoaaa....these look ominous!
This afternoon we enjoyed watching the Blues 2nd practice from our 14th floor Marriott window!  After a light shower, the sun came out and it warmed up to 73!   Nice!!!
We walked to McGinley's Irish Pub for light supper and then walked around downtown Anchorage - happening place for a Thursday night.   Met Ryan and several of the team and spouses at the Glacier Brewhouse.   Fun catching up with everyone!


Wednesday - July 27

We checked out of the Hilton at 7 AM and walked down E Street to the train station.    Bought some coffees and chatted with a nice couple from Cleveland.    Boarded the train at 7:45 and at 8:20 were off on our Alaska Railroad adventure to Fairbanks (357 miles).    What a treat to see the sun today and pretty blue sky along with puffy clouds.  The train is really nice with reclining seats and plenty of leg room.   Our car is close to the upper deck with bigger windows where we can observe for 20 minutes or so as there are only 20 seats.    Stops along the way were in Wasilla (Sarah Palin’s home), Talkeetna, Denali and finally Fairbanks.
We ate lunch with 2 guys from Tempe, AZ..    Lunch was a real treat… spinach salmon salad was excellent as was Mark’s pot roast sliders.    We spent the day reading, playing solitaire on the I-pad, writing this blog and occasionally little cat naps.   But big majority of the time we were soaking up all the beauty.   At every twist and turn, WOW!!!!   Trees, trees, so many trees along with rivers, streams and clear, clear bubbling brooks.   We saw 4 black bears swimming and several moose.    The mountains were magnificent as our train just chugged along (later this afternoon we were between 2 mountain ranges - the Alaskan Range to our left and the Talkeetna Range on our right.
We had a delicious dinner (salmon chowder for me; Mark had Alaskan cod.)   We really enjoyed the food and service.
Our train pulled into Fairbanks at 8:00 – it was beautiful when we stepped outdoors – bright and sunny and 75 degrees   Yeah…   Took a shuttle/taxi to the Pioneer Village Inn and we are ready to hunker down!    This was a really fun, relaxing day filled with sooo much incredible scenery!
We took lots of pictures but slow internet here, so.....the beauty of Alaska coming soon!
Nighty night!

Tuesday - July 26

Chilly, dreary start to the day, but had a mission so we were up and going, checked out of the Alyeska Resort and headed back to Anchorage to...tah dah...... our 1st cinnamon roll this trip! 
Our beautiful resort as seen from the tram with all the rain drops last night
View from dining at Seven Glaciers last night
  Found this cute coffee shop yesterday and all their pastries are made on site.   We so remember from our 2009 visit, the many, many cute, tiny coffee shops everywhere and mostly drive-up   This one was larger and could sit and have most anything for breakfast/lunch.   Big ole cinnamon roll (only $3) was excellent - everyone boasts that "their" cinnamon roll is thee best!!   We shared.
Delish start to the day at "Coffee and Communitas"
We drove to the train station and got the info for tomorrow's trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks (12-hour scenic ride).    Checked into the Hilton Anchorage and able to get into our room at 9:00 AM.    Nice view of the water...
Returned our rental car to airport and took taxi back to Hilton.   Walked around downtown and just once in a very short while, we would see a tiny bit of sunshine, but mostly cloudy and dreary all day.  
The Ancorage Mall is in the heatr of downtown - 5 floors of the usual mall shops, but it was warmer inside, so just walked around browsing.    And then....time for lunch, so we took Philip's advice and ate at "Humpy's  Alehouse"- and it was soooo good.    Mark had the halibut and chips and I had a crab salad roll (Anchorage version of lobster roll) on grilled egg bread.    Both were delicious.    Settled back in our room in the afternoon.    Nice to have some downtime as we're still getting adjusted too this 4-hour time change!
Meant to mention that Sunday night when we arrived in Anchorage at 11:30 PM, the airport was absolutely packed.....lots of red eye flights leaving including flight to Chicago on our plane.
More beauty in Anchorage today...

 and then this street vendor...
 And sooo many RV's along the way - its a great way to see Alaska and glad we got to experience this beautiful state with Daisy 7 years ago

Miss these dudes.....enjoying Dippin' Dots at the Wisconsin Dells
We went out this evening and walked (got in my 10,000 steps today - yeah).   Not hungry after our big lunch.   We walked around downtown - love that it stays light so much later up here in north country.    Stopped at Bruins here in hotel and had a drink AND they had chocolate lava cake on the menu, so....
here he is...digging in and lovin' every bite

Ryan and the Blues arrived in Anchorage last evening.....glad he and the team could get out and enjoy a bit of Alaska today!     We met him and Matt (#2) and his parents (Jack and Regina) from Honolulu + Katie Higgins,  one of the Fat Albert pilots for drinks at the Marriott    Sooo fun to be together.    9 of the team including Becca (wife of #1 Boss Ryan)  and Susan (wife of  Doc, flight surgeon) enjoyed a fun day white water rafting outside Denali  
Tomorrow we are taking a 12-hour scenic train trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks, spend the night and fly back on Thursday...
We are off to dreamland - it is 12:15 AM......

Monday - July 25

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!!!!!
We arrived late last evening in Anchorage and the rain was coming down.   Whew...what a shock to step outside and temps in the 50's, chilly and damp!
When we were here in 2009, Anchorage had record-breaking temps in the mid 80's.    Oh well, we will take what we get and not going to let this wet, chilly stuff get us down!   Unfortunately, all week long, the forecast is for rain and the 50's.
So, 4 hour time difference will take a bit to get used to...but after a good night's sleep, we had breakfast at the hotel, packed up our stuff and took shuttle back to airport to pick up rental car.   I got a manicure/pedicure and Mark hung out at a café and then took a nap in the car.   
We are staying at the beautiful Alyeska Resort southeast of Anchorage. about 50 miles and in the Chugach State Park.    This is big ski country!   Philip and Annette were here last September and highly recommended it.    It is very nice and we walked around (mostly indoors) and had a light lunch at the Aurora Bar and Grille.   
This was our view at lunch - the tram to top of mountain.
Patrick and boys are on a "guy trip" in their RV to the Wisconsin Dells.    Anne is in training, so couldn't make the trip.    Having lots of fun and saw the Tommy Bartlett water show tonight.
Precious Maeve

Sweet in aqua and lime

Daddy and his little girl
 The senseless killings continue around America and the world.......just today, the police officer in Texas in his own backyard, Fort Myers (teens having a good time) and
Japan  (innocent disabled people).

When is all this violence going to end?

Tonight we took the tram to the top of the mountain and had dinner at 7 Glaciers.    This ski resort is supposedly the finest in Alaska (may be the only one)!    We took a 2,000' vertical climb and wow, the views just blew us away.   Lots of heavy clouds hanging over the mountain with drizzle, but still....very awe inspiring!

Dinner was spectacular (halibut for me; king crab for Mark) .    This was a fabulous experience including the 3 little beignets with gelato and chocolate sauce for a grand finale.
As we were riding back down to the resort, a mama moose and 2 smaller moose strolled right behind the tram!!!   Our first moose sighting!

Several people walking the many trails, but oh my..............they are up there sooo high!    Not our thing!    Our tram driver said to be careful if any of us were hiking since the rain makes the paths slippery!   No thanks!

Nighty night from way up north!


Sunday - July 24

 Hello from San Francisco as I write this on Sunday afternoon.   We were up and checked out of our hotel by 4:30 AM and flew from DC (Dulles) to San Fran.    When flying stand by, we weren't sure which city would work best and have seats available but originally had 3 options (Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle)?     We have a flight tonight to Anchorage, but by the time we land and with all the time changes, it will feel like 3:30 AM (barring no delays, etc.)......tomorrow....a day of rest!
When we landed in San Fran, got this picture from Annette.....made my day!
All snuggled up and 4 days old!
And while we are so thankful for our healthy new grandbaby, we grieve for Michael and Brooke's long-time friends and neighbors whose 16-year old daughter died suddenly early Wednesday morning of a pulmonary embolism.   I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child.....our hearts are breaking for them.    Sally was a classmate of Drew's (grade ad high school).   Today is her funeral.
There are nice work stations here at the airport, so Mark and I have a little area set up with our laptops and can charge them, phones, fitbit, I-pad, etc.    It was a 5-hour trip from DC and another 5-hours going to Anchorage!    We are 3,000 miles away!
View from where we are sitting - pretty mountains in the distance and clear blue skies

That's the latest for now - off to Alaska we go!


Saturday - July 23

Just realized I did not post this last night?   Oops!!!

I was up early to finish packing and get Daisy ready for Philip to move next week.     Spent a few hours with sweet Maeve, and also went to Target for some baby items.   Philip took me to the airport (Fort Lauderdale) for my 3:30 flight to Baltimore.    Mark met  me and we were off to DC where we're spending the night near Dulles Airport.    Tomorrow, we are heading...
North to Alaska
Maeve had a little photo shoot at the hospital and here's one of my favorites:
Sleeping beauty
Big brother and little scholar

Friday - July 22

I was up early this morning and did some packing and straightening up Daisy.    Went to the hospital and spent the morning with Philip, Annette and Maeve.    Waiting and waiting - one more final check on Mommy and baby, get all the paper work filled out, wait some more and finally discharged at noon.  
  I went to Target and got some was thundering BIG time all the way with a light shower.    I barely got inside and the heavens opened up - oh my!   It poured cats and dogs and I just casually did my shopping waiting for it to end (this was not a little afternoon shower in FL).   I was relieved to hear that Maeve arrived home with Mommy and Daddy just before the storm hit, too.
Ready to go home....
Maeve weighed 6-14 when she left the hospital - she seems soo tiny.   She is the smallest of our grandchildren

....we had a contest within the family to see who could correctly guess her birth weight!    Tah Dah....Anne was the big winner at 7-5.   The prize is still to be determined but will be presented when we're all together in Pensacola in November!

Mark was up early this morning and underway as the tow boat folks moved Catrina to Annapolis (2-hour trip).    The plan is that the mechanics will start working and installing the new engines next week.   Mark is happy to be back on his boat; I'm happy to be helping with Maeve!   
We are happy campers!!!
Tomorrow I'm flying to Baltimore to join Mark - Annette's parents will be staying to help out.
Above Maeve's crib in her sweet aqua/pink nursery
Several took naps in this household on a rainy Friday afternoon!  
Luke is still undecided about his sister?  
Luke and "Pa" (his other grandpa) built this!    And Pa made all these awesome blocks and painted them!
 Philip grilled burgers along with sweet corn for dinner.   I came back to Daisy around 7 (more rain tonight)!    Hope you all have a great weekend!