Friday, August 27, 2010

"Team Building"

Each and every Wednesday night you can usually find Chris and I heading out to NewChurch for band practice. I really do look forward to it. It's not only time out of the house, but I LOVE the people that are on our ministry team. They are like family to us. This past Wednesday was quite fun and different. We skipped practice and did some Team Building. We headed out to Hill's Cafe in South Austin for dinner, and then went outside to listen to Austin's own Band of Heathens. If you've not heard of this band before and you like Southern Rock, then you will love these guys. They were just as good live as they were on their cd. And that's really hard to do when you are playing outside. We really enjoyed our time together!
BOH jamming!

Marrissa, Me, Angie, and Faith

View of the stage. This was a super neat concert venue. I look forward to going back sometime.

Greg, Chris, Glenn, and Josh

Chris and I really feel blessed to be able to serve along side these guys!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Newest Kindergartener on the Block.

Well, the "S" word has finally arrived. We went and met Mrs. Hale, Aby's teacher last week. Aby immediately felt at ease. She also has a few buddies in her class that she already knew, and she was overjoyed about that. The morning started off early, but very smooth. She was very impatient about leaving the house and wanted to be sure she was on time. But, I had to snag a few shots of her before we left the house.

Here we are trekking across the field. It definitely was a million times hotter in the afternoon than morning.

McKinley had a blast. She walked into this place like she owned it.

She's a part of Mrs. Hale's Herd!

Here Mrs. Hale is "branding" Aby with her name tag.

Excited about getting to do a color page. One of her favorite past times!! This was Momma's cue to leave. Aby was making this way too easy! I however needed some fresh air.

I was really proud of myself. I waiting until we got to the back of the building before I started crying. I don't even know why I did. I wasn't sad. I guess I was proud of her. I was really nervous that she was going to have a hard time with us leaving. And she embraced her new adventure with such enthusiasm. I hope this is always the case for her.
Aby came home talking a million miles a minute. I learned so much about her whirlwind of a day. She told me all about her friends, but couldn't remember any of their names. She really enjoyed P.E., and told me rather emphatically that she is buying her lunch from the cafeteria because she gets to use a cool tray. She enjoyed rest time because they didn't have to sleep and could read books. I think it was a successful day for her. She is more than ready to go back.
She came home with green on her folder. Green is the best, but Blue means you were exceptionally good. She was very disappointed she wasn't on Blue, but then said she would work her way up! =) She is such a hoot.

Here is her first teacher's note.

And her first Kindergarten work of art.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Colorado or Bust!

This summer Chris put together a spectacular family vacation to Carlsbad Cavern and Colorado. We spread it out over almost two weeks and we had a wonderful time. This blog is rather long, so if you prefer to just look at the pictures I completely understand. However, I will go into detail about some of our adventures.

This was our view for the most of our drive. I must admit that I am not a huge fan of New Mexico. I much prefer colors other than brown, tan, taupe, or cinnamon. And I like buildings to be made out of something other than adobe. But that's just a personal preference. I mostly kid, however some of our view was breathtaking as well.
These Wind Turbines were abundant out in West Texas and New Mexico. There were hundreds in the same vicinity. These reminded me of the 3 crosses on Calvary.

We searched and took pictures of most every windmill we could find. This one was my favorite picture that Chris captured.

Once in Carlsbad Chris took us to this yummy bakery. I so wish someone in Georgetown would open something like this up, and it be quality so it would stick around. They had breakfast burritos, huge cinnamon rolls, speciality coffee, and much more. We sat outside in their little garden. The girls had lots of fun playing amongst the vines.
Here they are on the front stoop. Is it just me or do they look like they might be up to something??

The night we rolled into Carlsbad, we checked into our hotel and then headed over to catch the Bat Flight. If you've not been to Carlsbad you must put it on your Bucket List and make time for the Bat Flight. It was incredible. It's amazing to me how animals that do not see well at all don't run into each other. They swirled around high above us in the same pattern and then spread out to find their dinner. The next morning we geared up and headed into the cave.

Park Ranger Aby

Park Ranger McKinley

Here we are at the entrance of the cave.

My little Miner

Breathtakingly Beautiful

Both girls did a wonderful job while in the cave. It was a bit of a challenge keeping them quiet in the cave, but they did well. I was really impressed with Aby, she walked the whole thing. It was about 2 miles. McKinley didn't quite make it that long. She fell asleep the last hour or so.

Our next stop was the Rio Grand Gorge. We stopped along a bridge and walked across so we could get a better look at the gorge and river. Chris and Aby really didn't want to get too close to the edge railing, Miss Mac on the other hand was practically begging to lean over the side to see. This of course made her Daddy a little nervous. =)

Once we made it into Colorado we stopped in Pagosa Springs to eat lunch and then headed on over towards South Fork, Colorado. In between the two is a waterfall and trail that we stopped at. The trail was closed, but we walked over to the waterfall and had a great time taking pictures and throwing rocks in the water. This is something the girls did whenever we were around water.

Our next stop was Big Meadows Campground. This is the spot where Chris' family has been going for years. It is closed down for renovations so we couldn't go in, but we got a picture by the sign and a few other favorite spots. We have not been to Big Meadows since the summer before McKinley was born, so it was nice to spend a little time there.

This is the waterfall in the campground. My favorite spot is the bridge that runs over the top of it.

Looking out over the main lake.

Here the girls are finding rocks and throwing them off the bridge into the waterfall.

Once we were finished reminiscing here, we went into the town of South Fork. We stopped off at the Rainbow Gas/Grocery Store so Chris could get his fishing gear. Then we headed over to a favorite Burger place called...

We had already eaten lunch, but we made room for shakes.

We continued our drive and went over, up and around many mountains to make it to Lake San Cristobal. Here we stayed at a bed and breakfast type place called The Inn at the Lake. It was beautiful. The girls were definitely ready to get out of the car and do some adventuring.

The Inn at the Lake

The first morning here we did some fishing. Aby had picked out a super cute Hannah Montana fishing pole. Chris got her all set up and cast the line. Within 30 seconds Aby had a bite. She reeled it in and pulled in a great fish. She was very excited. She was really spoiled by that first catch and wasn't very patient for the next few casts. Aby ended up catching the most fish. She even helped Chris clean them. She thought that was great fun. We were all very proud of her.

McKinley was not much impressed with the fish. She enjoyed playing with sticks, rocks, and dirt!
This turned out to be my favorite picture of the trip. Such innocence right here.
Waiting on a bite.

Kinley also enjoyed trying to get the lid on and off the bait bottle!
She caught another one!!

After lunch I took Mac back to the hotel for a nap and Chris took Aby out and tried to fish some more. They ended up not catching anything, so they
went exploring instead. I have a love/hate relationship with this next picture. You see I love it because my husband took an amazing picture of my first born and the beautiful flowing river. But do you see my first born? Does she look 5 to you in that picture? See to me she looks verging on the tween years. Yes, she is a beautiful little girl inside and out, but I don't like it when we capture her outward beauty so well that she doesn't look 5!!! =)

This poor little guy. We stalked him for quite awhile before we finally got a great shot of him. Now, we weren't quite sure what he was. He looked like a beaver, but didn't have the beaver tail. We did find out the next day that he is a Marmot. Marmots are a large ground squirrel. We saw lots of these running around.
Next we traveled on to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This blew my mind. I had never seen anything like this Canyon before. It was so gorgeous. Right when we pulled into the park it was raining, so we didn't get to stay long. We did drive all the way down into it and stopped to throw rocks in the river.

A few stolen kisses

On our way around the mountain we headed towards Ouray. This is prounounced Ur-Ray. We were quickly corrected at the Inn at th Lake. We stayed at the Box Canyon Lodge. It was built near the Box Canyon Waterfall, and was backed up to a hill. On the hill were 8 hot tubs that were natural spring hot tubs. Each were different temperatures. That was super relaxing.

We were here over the 4th of July weekend. It was fun being in a small mountain town for this holiday. It was very patriotic. The morning of we went to the parade. Tons of people showed up for this festivity. I've been to parades before like this, but this seemed a bit more exciting. It was probably because it was just different AND they didn't dress up trash trucks. =) They actually had floats and people throwing candy out to the kids. That afternoon we went to a swim park that was also a hot spring swim park. There were 6 pools and a few slides. It was so nice and comfortable. Each pool was set at a different temperature. After we finished there we went to the center of town where the firemen have their annual water fight. They've been doing this since the early 1900's. They basically have teams, square off in the middle of town, and spray eachother with water hoping the other team falls or drops their hose. Hundereds of people show up for this. They are all decked out in their bathing suits and umberellas. We unfortunatley left our camera in the car, so we didn't get a picture. But it was a good thing cause we got wet. It was quite a fun and exciting time.

This was McKinley's first year to actually see fireworks. Her first year she was in my tummy still, and then last year I only took Aby to see them. So, I was very curious to see how she would react. She wasn't really all that impressed. It was cold from having rained in the evening, and she eventually fell asleep.

Aby on the other hand liked them, but they were quite loud bouncing off the sides of the mountains.

My favorite part of our trip was when we took a Polaris Ranger up the mountain for the morning. We went up a trail called Yankee Boy Basin. Again I was stunned by the beauty. You may think this was my first time in the mountains by how amazed I was, but it wasn't. I just experienced it differently this time. Here we are getting so high where trees don't grow. It was a beautiful day. It wasn't too hot, and the flowers were just starting to bloom.

Another treat was this waterfall. We enjoyed walking up along side it and you guessed it, throwing rocks into it =)

This was a highlight of the trip for sure. We will come back here for more adventures at some point.
Here we are by an old Mine.
The city of Ouray by night.

On our way out we took the Million Dollar Highway. Ya, I wasn't a huge fan. I'm not usually scared of heights, but if we're going to fall off the side of the mountain, I'd like to have some trees to land on first before we hit the bottom. Not so much on this highway. =) We did stop off to look at our last waterfall.

Yet again another picture I have a love/hate relationship with. But Chris did capture her beautifully.

Chris has planned our last two vacations that we've taken. Last fall we went to Nashville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg TN. If you've not been to any of those I highly recommend them. I had never been to the Smokey Mountains before and they are beautiful. Completely different from the Rocky Mountains. Both of these were super fun and exciting. I wonder where he'll take us next =)