Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Parks (continued)

I just added to my bucket list that I want to visit all the National Parks in the U.S. before I die.
There are 58 of them and we've been to 22 already, so we're off to a good start.

Of course, there are at least 5 in Alaska, so we're going to need to take a long trip ...or several trips "North to the Future" (their state motto). I've always thought it would be fun to rent an RV up there and just hit the road. I think that might make things a little easier since hotels and restaurants are few and far between. Anyone want to join us?

Here's a picture that I took just this week when we were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with our friends, Cathy & Marshall. It was just perfect up there. Gorgeous weather, great friends, fall colors and amazing beauty.

This is Terry and I at Angel's Window. If you click to enlarge, you'll see people standing on top of that formation and you may also be able to see the Colorado River at the base of the canyon thru the window.

We are very blessed to have so many National Parks in relatively close proximity to us. Can you believe that there are still a few in Arizona that we haven't visited yet?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The National Parks - America's Best Idea

Have you been watching this new mini-series on PBS ?

We just watched the first episode and it brought tears to my eyes several times. There's just something about the majesty of the nature in our National Parks that makes me so thankful that these pieces of earth were set aside and preserved for us and future generations.

I'm so glad that we've had a chance to visit many of these parks and to take our children there. I look forward to someday being able to share them with our grandkids as well.

Did you realize that there are almost 400 National Parks and Monuments? Wow! Here are a few of the parks that we've visited that will be covered in the series, with links to more info about each one:

Acadia (Maine)
Denali (Alaska)
Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Yellowstone (Wyoming)
Yosemite (California)

And here's a link to a list of all of them. See how many you've visited. What's your favorite? I know it's hard to choose.

One of mine is probably Yellowstone because of the wide variety of things to see and the sheer size of the park.

I also love the rustic architecture in the parks. Someday, I'd love to be abel to stay at all the different lodges in the parks.

I hope you've had a chance to visit the National Parks in your area and beyond...if not, please make a point to go and take your family. You won't regret it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth with my favorite people on earth!

O.k. this may sound ridiculous, but sometimes I think that I posted news on my blog only to find out that I just posted it on Facebook. So those few who aren't on FB, but check my blog are missing out on the news. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better in the future.

First off, for those who don't know; Terry and I drove to Los Angeles on Saturday to spend a couple of days with Amy, Andrew and Kevin! Yes, Kevin flew in from Omaha to spend a little time with us before he moves to Meridian, Mississippi for his new job at the end of the month.

We arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon and...
  • Drove to LAX to pick Kevin up from the airport
  • Stopped to see the studio where Andrew works
  • Stopped to see Amy & Andrew's apartment
  • Went to visit Terry's brother, Ted, his wife Kristi and 2 of their kids, Spencer and Lucas
  • Sunday we went to Disneyland and California Adventure with the 3 "kids" all day
  • Monday morning we had breakfast together at CiCi's Cafe on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana
  • then drove back to Phoenix with Kevin.
  • On Tuesday morning I'll take Kev to the airport to head back to Omaha, then on to Mississippi very soon.
It's been so much fun to be with all the kids together. Not sure when we'll all be together again, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for sometime around Christmas. We'll see how things go with travel and time off work and all...

So as you can imagine, there's a lot of fun to post about, but I won't get there tonight. Here are a few fun ones to give you a glimpse of our time together.

I also have a confession to make. Do you remember the gorgeous blue Mickey scarf that Amy was wearing when she was in London (same scarf pictured here - this photo wasn't taken by me). Well I liked it so much that I bought the same one for myself and can't wait to wear it. I actually checked to see if they had a green one so I wouldn't copy her EXACTLY, but they didn't and I didn't like any of the other colors nearly as much, so I got the same color as hers. I figure since we're in different states, it won't be a big deal, right? Of course you may look at both of our blogs and see pictures of us wearing them, but oh well. I'll live with that, and hopefully Amy won't mind too much.

So much more to come, so stay tuned. The easiest way to keep up on my posts is to click the "Follow" button on the right side of the page and you'll be notified each time there's a new post. See you soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Love the message in this art!
Check out this awesome art work that I saw when we were at the Second Saturday Coffee House last week downtown at St. George's !

This is done by Derrick Kempf a local Phoenix artist.

Sometimes I have to admit that I don't get some artwork. Sure, the colors and designs can be lovely or shocking or surprising, but it's hard to get into the head of the artist to see where it all came from. I love this collage because it is so fun to look at and actually provides a positive message to everyone who sees it. These positive reinforcements would be a treasure to have in any room and I love the cottage/beachy casual feel of the piece. Be sure to click the pictures to enlarge so you can see the detail.

I would love to have a collage like this one for my family room wall. The promises and identity statements that it conveys are excellent reminders of how God sees us all the time.

Here's another shot of some of his other work that was there. It was so nice to have all this great artwork to look at while the music was going on. Thanks Derrick, for sharing it with us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sorry to be MIA -

We had a busy weekend that I need to post about later, plus I seem to have a lot of odd tasks that need to be taken care of right now. Researching some upcoming travel, and so much more.

Here's a link to some photos I took this weekend when Terry played with Bob Ryan, a friend of ours, for a new Coffee House that's meeting at St. George's Church in downtown Phoenix. There's way too many photos (I need to cut them down) but I told them I'd take a bunch so they could use some for their future promos. This was the first time they did it and they're hoping to meet on the Second Saturday of each month, which is why it's called "Second Saturdays". I think I got a few good photos, but it's always hard to shoot musicians in low light because they're always moving...and I hate the washed out look of my flash. I need to start using my bigger flash for these kinds of things.

There was a great turnout, especially for the first time and the guys, as well as Amber Hunter, the opening act, did an outstanding job. This was only the 2nd time that Terry and Bob had played together, but things went very smoothly and they had a really nice sound. I know Terry had a good time and it would be great if they have a chance to play together more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coastal Living
Have I told you lately that I love Coastal Living Magazine? (o.k., maybe so.) But have you seen the September issue?

As always, it's packed with great decorating, travel and food tips. Three of those things that I love most.

The piece that caught my attention was about Venice Beach, California. Having lived for 18 years in So Cal, this brought back some great memories. Venice is one of the places that we used to take our out-of-town visitors to experience what was uniquely Los Angeles. Based on the article, it sounds like it's an even more fun, eclectic and refreshing place to visit than when we were there years ago. I can't wait to stop by again when I'm in town to visit Amy & Andrew.

I also loved the article about Key West, Florida. This is a destination that we haven't had the privilege of visiting yet, but is definitely big on our list. We'll hold onto this info in our travel folder to refer to when we get the chance to visit that part of the country.

I love the anticipation of visiting new places!

...Are we there yet?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Day 8 - Rocky Mountain National Park

On Friday we drove about an hour and a half to the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, near Grand Lake.

If you've never been there, it's a gorgeous huge (415 square mile) park with Trail Ridge road slicing thru it's mid-section. Trail Ridge is the highest continuous paved road in the U.S. climbing to over 12,000 feet in elevation. That's above the tree line, which could explain why we saw snow in August.
While at the park we were so excited to see lots of wildlife! A herd of elk, a couple of deer, a coyote, and even an adorable chipmunk.
After we stopped for a quick lunch in Estes Park,
we took a drive to one of our favorite spots - Bear Lake. We followed the path around the lake and stopped for a few photo ops. (I'm not sure what was going on with my hair. I don't remember it being windy. Oh well.)

That noisy little Chickaree (squirrel) wasn't too happy that we were in his space and thought he might be able to chase us away. It was so cute.

Bear Lake is such a gorgeous peaceful place. We make a point to go there every time we visit the park.

Afterward we discovered a sweet lake nearby called Sprague Lake. We also came upon a family of (what I think was) Mallard ducks. Check out all the ducklings!

The amazing thing about this park is that there is always something new to explore. It's so immense that you could spend weeks there exploring and enjoying God's awesome creation.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Day 7 - Mad Creek Trail
Thursday we found another trail close by and since it was Mad "Creek" trail we were hoping for a shady walk near a cool stream. Unfortunately, we discovered that for the most part, the trail "overlooked" the stream at quite a distance, so we could see it, but not enjoy it up close and personal until near the end of the trail.

We were pleasantly surprised when the path headed down closer to the stream and I was thrilled to be able to take my shoes off and slip my feet into the cool refreshing water. My dusty hot toes felt so much better after a good soak. It was like God's little spa treatment for me.
After we left the creek we continued on to Mad Creek Barn. It was this awesome restored barn that you could just walk inside and explore. As soon as I saw it, I thought about how much Amy would love it for a photo shoot. Imagine what it would be like in every season! Amazing! I did realize that I'd love to go back to that area in the Fall especially.
The first thing Kevin did was climb up in the hay loft and sit in the open loft window. I got a few good shots but could have stayed around there for hours taking pictures. There was so much texture and character inside and out.

Soon we had to head back toward the car. We managed to make one more quick stop by the creek, then hit the road. What a precious afternoon with two of my favorite guys.
Another diversion before I post the rest of vacation:

Next Saturday, September 12th, Terry will be playing at a coffeehouse downtown with a friend of ours, Bob Ryan. See more about Bob & his music here.

The evening is called

Second Saturday @ St. George’s:

Coffee House Night

You can find more info and a map to the location here. I think the times are wrong though. I think the guys start at 8:45, so be sure to get there early to get a seat. You won't want to miss a single song. It's expected to be just a relaxing night of music and coffee. The guys are billed as "The Catfish Hunters". Bob picked the name, but I'm sure Terry's just fine with it. (It's a baseball reference and we all know Terry's a baseball fan. Do you get it?)

The photo above is Terry, Bob and Amy (another friend) playing at Bob's CD release party a couple of years ago. They had talked then about getting together to play again sometime and are just now getting around to making it happen. Bob writes all his own songs and plays guitar. Terry will be embellishing with mandolin, bass, banjo, and harmonica.

Should be fun! Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Back to Day 6 - Weds - Fish Creek Falls
O.k., I realize that I've been sidetracked a bit from vacation for the last few posts, so now I'll try to get focused and cover Days 6, 7 and 8 over the next few days, hopefully.

On Weds of our vacation week we went to Fish Creek Falls. It's a short drive just outside of Steamboat Springs, so we decided to check it out. After the quick jaunt in the car, we had a short easy walk to the bridge at the base of the falls and decided it was a great spot for a photo op. Of course, Kevin hammed it up as usual.

You can see the beautiful falls in the background. Interestingly, when I was looking online for info about the falls, I came across a photo that was probably taken in the spring when the water flow is at it's peak. Take a look at the difference between what we saw and what it would look like with full flow.

Soon after we arrived Kevin and Randy decided to do some rock climbing up to the base of the falls. They wouldn't have been able to do it if the falls were full, but in late summer it was very manageable. Since Kevin just had flip flops on, he ended up going barefoot for his excursion. To give some perspective on the height of the falls, if you enlarge the 5th photo from the top you can see Randy and Kevin in the lower left corner of the picture. In the next photo you see Kev jumping from one rock to another (one of his favorite things to do).

Then back at the bridge I noticed this set of miniature clothes laying out on the rocks. Oops! Someone must have wandered a little too far into the creek...and here is the guilty party. Isn't he cute and not phased a bit.

After our hike, I asked Kevin to hold the camera. Guess which pictures he took? Linda and I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine.

Then just before we left Randy, Linda, Kevin and Terry started playing a game that Linda called "Water Bottle Smack Down". She explains the game on her blog post here. You have to enlarge the pic to see the water bottles flying thru the air.

Sadly this was our last full day with Randy & Linda. They left early Thursday morning to do the 14 hour drive all the way to Phoenix in one day. We had a great time with them! What a blessing to have friends that we've known for over 30 years and have so much in common with. We hope to do it again soon.

You can visit Linda's blog to see more about their trip too.