Monday, August 18, 2014

OFF TO COLLEGE...

Well it seems surreal, but the baby has left the nest!  We helped him move in Saturday.

 Not the best pose, but it was the best he would do for me...

Like I said, they aren't thrilled about having a picture taken.  

 Guys really care about coordinating their stuff.  :)
 This is the other half of their room, and even better...one of our old couches, along with a found couch and carpet remnants - all three boys collaborated on this!
 We celebrated our new status as empty nesters by going out to Bricktown!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE VALUE OF CONVERSATION...

Recently I've gotten some gems from conversations with others!  These quotes were meaningful to me; maybe they will mean something to you.  I have a friend who collects quotes and sayings and I think that is a good thing to do, so I'm starting today!

"No one cares about it as much as you do..." (from my son, about his snow cone business and the work ethic of his employees)

"Don't lose your fire..." (from my friend Johanna, in our conversation about being an empty nester and fall projects)

"That is the hardest thing about aging - realizing things you used to do you can't do anymore..."(from a woman I was exercising with recently, after talking with her about all the tree work the hubs and I just did, and how we will never do it ourselves again!)

I also had an interesting experience which brought me to a realization that my behavior has been influenced by technology.  My nephew got married in Tennessee and we were unable to go to the wedding.  So I was anxiously awaiting pictures and details on Facebook.  Only a few pictures appeared, so I assumed others were waiting for them to return from their honeymoon to let them post them.  In the meantime I was really curious because I love events and wanted to know more about it.  I actually called, like made a phone call, to my mother-in-law, and we had a conversation and she sent me eight pictures of the wedding immediately afterwards.  I don't have a problem with my mother-in-law, I really love her, but the last few years my phone calls to her have lessened and I have relied on Facebook and our monthly family email newsletter to get news about the family. We do have a lot of family so she's not neglected, but that is beside the point.  This made me sad and I am a little bit, no, a lot, ashamed of my behavior.  I had let busyness get in the way and relied on technology to keep me in the know.  So there you go, I learned the value of conversation.

"Conversation is about building relationships.  Have some today!"
(from me)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ANSWERED PRAYER...

Sometimes we wonder...sometimes we pray for a long time with no real answer.  Sometimes we figure God said "no" or "later".  But sometimes it's very clear. 

 I've been praying for a couple of years, actually, I started when my youngest was in 11th grade, for what I might do with my time after he graduated.  I've volunteered at school and at church in the same tasks for many years and it was starting to feel like a burden.  No kids in school anymore so that's ending, but should I make a change?  Should I start thinking about returning to work?  Get more education?  Volunteer somewhere else? It's a great blessing to have options, but I was really wanting to let God direct my decision...

Our women's ministry director at church felt the need for a change, so she resigned this summer.  It was a surprise to me.  I was asked to step into her role.  Not feeling totally qualified, but confident that God can provide what I need to do this task, I accepted.  It's a ministry that I love and have helped with in a number of different ways through the years.  It will be a new challenge in some ways and stretch me a bit!  Looking forward to it and loving how clearly my prayer has been answered!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

FROM THE DESERT TO THE FORESTS...

It only takes a couple of hours to go from the deserts of Utah to the lush green mountains of Colorado!  We spent a few days in Colorado to cap off our family vacation.
We stopped and ate a picnic by Rifle Falls - just a little jaunt off the highway.
Lots of cool caves there - unfortunately they stunk - maybe like bat droppings? Not sure.
Another hike to Hanging Lake - gorgeous area near Glenwood Springs!
My girl's the one who suggested both of these hikes - she's got the trip planner gene...
It was a long, steep hike that followed this stream.  
We were rewarded with this view!

Up above Hanging Lake was this waterfall they call Spouting Rock.  Pretty cool.

We also went to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and rode some scary rides!
I think I lost my voice screaming on this Canyon Swing....
Glenwood Caverns also had several cave tours, so that was nice and cool - literally.  

One night we actually dressed up for dinner...but this was as fancy as it got!



Supposedly this mountain pizza is the best in Colorado...

When we got back to Denver, we paid a visit to the Denver Botanical Garden, to see the Chihuly exhibit!  Chihuly is pretty awesome, but when you add it to the outside, it's fantastic.  I loved it but I think I prefer the Seattle one.



Finally, we ate in Denver at this purple restaurant because it is the business of a friend...and it was really good despite the decor.
Dessert was an adventure in itself...at VooDoo Donuts.  Something new here in Denver.

We had a great time with our kiddos and are so glad they still enjoy spending time with us!  Thank goodness for Tripadvisor, I didn't get any surprises but was prepared for almost everything we did.  Good times!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

MORE MOAB...

Moab, Utah,  has a lot of offer in the way of adventure besides the National Park!  You can take Hummer tours, rent ATV's, go canyoneering, whitewater rafting, etc.  Big kid paradise!

 We went on a Hummer Sunset tour which was basically rock crawling over petrified dunes, in a big Hummer.  
 He stopped a couple of times to let us get out and check out dinosaur footprints, take pictures, and just enjoy the view.

 We didn't really see the sunset but got a good view of the rain in the distance.

The kids' favorite thing we did was rent these ATV's for 2 hours - I felt like I had been on a roller coaster the whole time.  Pretty intense!

 Dad trying to keep up with the boys!
 Get me outta this helmet!
 We stayed in a condo we rented through vrbo since there aren't any Marriotts nearby.  Loved it! We ate two dinners and made picnic lunches here which really isn't my idea of vacation, but I have to say for the kind of activities we had planned, it was best.  It was nice to not have to get cleaned up to go back out to a restaurant.

We also drove over to Canyonlands National Park, about 30 min. away.  It's basically like the Grand Canyon with no hotels and a lot less people.  Our kids loved it because it was after a rainstorm and we had the place to ourselves!

 So many fantastic picture opportunities!  The boys up high and me down low...

 In our Moab t-shirts...

We took a 1 mile rim walk which as you can see could be pretty scary
 since there aren't many barriers....


I loved this area and would go back in a heartbeat and spend more time in both parks!  Moab itself is very small with a few restaurants and motels and that's what made it charming to me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK...

We chose Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, for our vacation this year for two reasons:  One, our daughter in Denver suggested it after a weekend there (only 6 hours from Denver).  Two, Momma loves rocks!  Long ago I fell in love with the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, and Momma does most of the vacation planning in our family.  :)

Arches has over 2,000 natural rock arches and has the largest concentration of arches in the world.  Some are huge and some small and there's no way to see them all!  There's also many other rock formations, some with names.  Here's just a few we got to see:
 Balanced Rock
 Another angle

 The Three Sisters
 Sheep Rock
 Delicate Arch - there was a long line to get under the arch to snap a picture so we didn't do that. Besides it looked pretty scary!


 Part of the hike to Delicate Arch was across this slick rock and the trail was marked with cairns.
It took about 3 hours roundtrip and had about 1,000 feet elevation gain.  It was hot!

Windows Arch - if you zoom in you can see people there, just to get an idea of how massive this is! This is one arch area where we just drove through due to the amount of cars and no parking spaces available.  We were also pretty hot and tired after the hike to Delicate Arch.  :(


Another day we took the Fiery Furnace Tour with the National Park Service. I had reserved tickets 6months earlier, since they only take a limited amount of people each day.  It was great!  


 The tour was 3 hours long, so we stopped frequently for breaks and some education from the park ranger.  She was excellent!
 Skull Rock (look upside down) in the Fiery Furnace.

 You could easily get lost in here!
One of my favorites of our whole vacation!  

Sorry so long - I told you I loved rocks!!!