January 3, 2009

The BIG Surprise Visit

Fairbanks, Alaska

     20 degrees below zero here I come!

12 09 08_3262

I took this picture at 12:00 noon when the sun is at it BRIGHTEST.  It's about as bright as our light in AZ around sunset.  It gets light at about 10 am and gets dark around 4 pm. The weirdest thing is that the sun never comes "overhead", it just comes up in the east and kind of slides south. 


A few months ago, my brother-in-law Mark called me with a proposal.  He wanted to know if I would be game for flying up to Fairbanks to surprise my baby sis Cort with a visit.  She would be 8 months pregnant when I got there and I would be there for the baby shower.  I told him of course...as long as I could arrange babysitting for Hayes and Chase.  My mom and Trish agreed to watch the kids, so Mark got the tickets and the plan started to take shape. 

Mark was convinced the whole time that I was not going to be able to keep the secret and I was sure he wouldn't be able to, but somehow, I arrived in Fairbanks, AK airport at 11:00 pm on December 3rd, with Cort none the wiser.  Mark told Cort he wanted to go rent some movies and came to pick me up and take me back to their apartment on the UAA campus.  When we got there, he left me out in the parking lot to freeze (just kidding, he had brought Cort's cold weather gear to the airport for me to wear) while he went inside.  I was supposed to call Cortney on my cell phone and talk to her until Mark said the code word in the background and then come inside.  As soon as I heard Mark loudly asking about Hayes, I knew it was my cue and Cortney was wondering why Mark was talking so loud in her ear.  So I snuck in the door and up the stairs where Cortney was snuggled into bed to chat with me on the phone.  When she saw me all she could say was "What are you doing in my room?"  She was confused as much as surprised...we'll blame it on the pregnancy.  She couldn't believe that I had just shown up in her house from AZ.  It was a great surprise!!


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I have to admit, for the first 3 or 4 days, I was COLD.  Even in their apartment I was cold.  I wore Cortney's thermal gear to bed I was so cold.  But I finally acclimated...just in time to come back to Arizona. 

Cort and I set up her enormous tree.

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I just had to take a picture of Mark doing the dishes to show Spence. 

12 04 08_3393 

Mark is a flight instructor and he took me flying. (Cort didn't go due to her delicate condition) While we were up in the air, he offered to let me do some of the flying.  I was a little reluctant, but ended up trying my hand at it after Mark so tactfully put it to me like this: "Do you want to just be a tourist, or take advantage of this opportunity and do some flying?!?" (OR something close to that) I told Cort later he had bullied me :), but I'm glad he did.  He even gave me a flight book with my first flight logged in.  You never know, I may become a pilot someday. 

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Looking back down at the airport

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University of Alaska - Fairbanks (where Cort and Mark live)

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That wide, white road that runs through town is not actually a road, but the Chena River. (I think)

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My co-pilot Mark

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The Alaska Pipeline.  You know, the one that's ruining the environment. :)

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Apparently Alaska doesn't have any trees to spare.

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This was my attempt at taking a picture of another plane while we were in the air. Can you see it?

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Safely back on the ground...and yes Mark, your landing was smooth...I returned my puke bag to Mark empty.  I'm going to have to try a boat next.

The Skolnicks. You can't even tell Cortney is pregnant.

12 05 08_3347


We also went to watch Mark in court. He's a

.................I'm going to post this now......I'll finish it later! (sad I know)


Michelle Ashton said...

What a fun surprise! I love the pictures, but it looks too damn cold! Quinn has big dreams of living in Alaska someday. Maybe we'll just settle for a trip sometime..... Like our 15th Anniversary or something. That's only 2 years away.

Michelle Ashton said...

And Courtny SUCKS! Can't believe she looks like that 8 months pregnant. ;p Lucky girl!

Scarbrough Family said...

cute pics and all that. I am glad you let me stalk you. I think your fam is so cute. I also am glad that you married Spen. Scott has such good things to say about him from HS>