Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Adventures of Aaron and Jenny: Alaska Edition!

I have a little bit of time to write an update, so I thought i'd loop everyone in! Aaron and I have been in Eagle River, Alaska (which is just outside of Anchorage) for about a week now. I hadn't mentioned anything about this trip before because it was a surprise for Aaron's mom :)

We flew military space available and it was quite the experience. You really learn to be flexible. We made it to Travis AFB in Sacramento, but it took us 5 days to finally get a flight from there to Elmendorf here in AK! We can't complain too much, though. Flying this way is FREE. But, it wasn't easy because it was a bit of a let-down each time we showed up for a flight and discovered that we couldn't get on. Fortunately, my very best friend in the world, Bre, lives in Sac so we got to spend time with her! Aaron's best friend, Matt, is also in the area. He flies c-17's out of Travis, so he kindly carted us back and fourth multimple times to the terminal and then picked us up again when we couldn't make the flight. Thanks to Matt for giving us a place to shower and lay our heads!

We did end up sleeping in the terminal at Travis for one night. Thankfully the military flight terminals have showers!

Finally, we caught a kc-35 (refueler jet) to Eilson AFB in Fairbanks (6 hours from where we needed to be) but we were just happy to finally be in Alaska! Our flight there was really exciting because we got to go down in the belly of the plane to watch them refuel two Navy f-18 jets (very similar to AF fighter jets.) It was amazing to see all of the ground below and it felt like we were hanging off a cliff with the big windows in front of us! Refueling from this type of jet is done maunually, so we could see every move they made and it was strange that we could look at the face of the other jet pilots. So fun!!

Once we arrived, we thought we would rent a car and drive down, but we discovered that it would cost us $1200. Are you kidding me?!? That was out of the question. So shortly after we arrived at Eilson, we heard that Fort Wainwright, the army base just down the road, had a small leer jet leaving for Elmendorf later that day. Praise the Lord!! So we hopped in a taxi with a retiree who was on our first flight and trying to get back home to Anchorage and the 3 of us hopped a plane at 4 p.m. It was just a small 6 passenger and a really exciting experience! The flight was only 45 minutes and we got to see all the beauty of Alaska from the air. We like to think of it as our personal rock-star jet. It kinda felt like that! Ha!

So our time in Alaska has been wonderful and almost indescribable! I've seen moose, a bear down on the Kenai, TONS of bald eagles, dall sheep, Alaskan husky puppies (used for the iditarod) and I caught my first Sockeye salmon! Actually, I caught 4 and they are huge! Let me just tell you all, God really took his time working on Alaska. It is breath-taking! Aaron and I climbed Mt. Baldy which is basically in his parent's backyard. It was a humbling hike. Just when you think you're in shape, you trek a hike like this one! Once up at the top, we could see over Anchorage. Aaron also took me float-tube fishing (the link gives you an idea of what it looks like)! All of these experiences I won't soon forget!

We are loving our time with Aaron's parents and his brother Sam. We also finally got to meet Sam's lovely girlfriend, Marilyn! Our conversations together as a family are a gift to us. Time spent with family is so precious!

It's soon time for us to head back and we hope to be back in VA this Sunday. I'll be sure to post pictures of our many adventures when we return! Please pray for our safe travels and a speedy return - at least speedier than our trip out as I have a really important Dr. appointment I need to be back for on Monday. More updates soon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hello, New England Adventure!

I just realized after uploading photos that they are up backwards! So the beginning of our trip actually starts with the pictures at the bottom. But don't be fooled, you're only seeing about half of our trip in pictures! We did SO MUCH. We experienced so much history that my brain was exhausted by the end of our trip. Really and truly, if I post everything we did, i'd have to publish a large book, so i'm just going with bullet-points in this one. I'm sure y'all understand :)

Starting from the beginning:
  • drove up to CT and stayed the night with the Nonz, aunt, uncle and cousins. The kids are big goofs! We will miss spending Turkey day with them in beautiful Old Greenwich!
  • found our way up to Rhode Island and saw the mansions and coast and then had my birthday dinner in town.
  • Finished in Rhode Island and drove up to Boston, checked in at Hanscom AFB and went out to Cambridge to celebrate over a nice birthday dessert - Aaron's buddies ditched us...i'm not bitter! ;)
  • Spent the sabbath with the Lord at Fenway Park! GO SOX! (only because we just can't possibly be NY fans.) It POURED when the game first started. I mean POURED! We, along with everyone else, were drenched. See pictures below! The sox ended up killing the Mets. It was a great game.
  • Saw Park Street church which was a dream come true for me. My grandparents were married there about 60 years ago, and we're all so thankful they did! There was a church service going on, so we worshiped with them for a little bit and then headed out to walk to Freedom trail; saw Paul Revere's house and ate lunch at the Green Dragon pub. They have so many great pubs out there!!
  • Next day, climbed the tower at Bunker Hill and got an amazing view of Boston
  • Drove out to see Ticonderoga...also met a bull dog puppy there. She was cute! (just had to mention that.)
  • Had a tour in Portsmouth at the Red Hook brewery. I'm not much of a beer my gluten-free diet doesn't support it either! But the boys loved it and it was a fun time!
  • Drove out to Maine and had fresh lobster. AMAZING. Enough said. And Maine is gorgeous! Stayed the night at a camp ground at lake...something....started with an S. There's so much to remember!
  • We also hiked in the White Mountains (New Hampshire) hence the pictures of the enormous waterfall. It was such a true taste of New England!
  • Next stop was the BEN AND JERRY'S ICE CREAM FACTORY!!! Heaven. YES.
  • Then the most peaceful stay at a campground in Vermont. We were one of two groups there and had pretty much the entire place to ourselves! We went for a long run, made a camp fire, enjoyed the beauty of silence and slept like babies - Until it rained early the next morning! Oh well.
  • Left that morning and drove out to Cooperstown, NY to see the Baseball Hall of Fame. Aaron and Jesse were in heaven! It's definitely worth making a specific trip to see.
  • Later that day, tried to find another national park campground, but couldn't. Had to stay at a DIVE motel. Seriously....New York dive hotel. We slept in our sleeping bags on top of the bed. HA!!
  • Drove back to NY City to stay at Jesse's place and Aaron took me to see South Pacific on Broadway!! I AM IN LOVE!
  • Left the next day and stopped in Philly to see Sarah Wiele, had really great conversation with her about her life in the inner-city (I love Sarah!) and visited the Liberty Bell
  • Then drove out to Lancaster PA. to Amish town (neat history there) and stayed with Julie and Jeremy. Julie and I lived together our last semester at Azusa and I adore her! I wish we took pictures with them because we had such a blast. Slept under the stars in her parent's backyard - after having a camp fire, woke up and spent most of the day on the river with Julie, Jeremy and Julie's parents. The two boys wakeboarded...Julie and I tanned in the front of the boat. SO MUCH FUN!
  • Visted Gettysburg on our way home.
  • Lastly, I had to add a picture of Aaron's promotion to Captain ceremony. My camera died right after this picture, so it's all I have :( It was the day after we returnded from our trip. I am SO PROUD of him!
Aaron's Colonel swearing he and Jon in as Captains


Liberty Bell with Sarah in Philly!

The "Flavor Graveyard" at Ben and Jerry's. RIP, Vermonty Python. Cry, cry, cry.

MMMMMMmmm hmmmmm!

White Mt. hike in New Hampshire - Probably my most favorite scenery in New England

White Mts. with the boys. No, Jesse and I aren't really twins. We're in-laws, actually.

View of Boston from Bunker Hill

Birthday shots. The boys got me to drink Whisky!

Paul Revere's house

Our new digs in Rhode Island ;)

Aaron and I at Park Street Church. If it wasn't for that man, this would look professional!

Getting SOAKED!

We love Fenway!

The fam in Old Greenwich! Silly kids