Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Summer Fun

Since the days of summer are fast coming to an end, I've been reminiscing about the fun we've had this summer...

attending the weddings of three of my dear friends

finding our inner artist

making some noise

making even more noise

picking blackberries

and more importantly eating blackberries

learning to drive at the lake

communing with nature

whipping up dinner for our friends and family

and of course sleeping at the end of a long day (or in the middle of it).

Yes, I enjoyed my summer. It was filled with family, friends, and adventure. But I'm not sad to see it go. Autumn is my favorite season, and I look forward to it every year. Bring on the cool weather, corn mazes, colorful leaves, and pumpkin pie - I've had my summer fun and I'm ready for what autumn has in store.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So it's been awhile....

I did not realize that I have not blogged since July! Where does the time go? First, I guess I'll fill you in about what I have decided in regards to my previous post. I decided not to go for the job because I don't think I would have been happy working those hours. Also, we are planning on getting pregnant soon, and I really don't think I could work those kind of hours pregnant. It's probably a good thing I didn't go for the job at Magpies because I would want to eat everything n sight! I also decided against the cross country road trip. I really want to see my friends who are scattered everywhere, but I just don't think Finn would enjoy being on the road and away from his dad for a month or more. I am still going to Dallas to see Laura (yay!), but Finn will only make it to Mississippi where he will stay with Daniel's family. Although I will miss Finn and Daniel, I'm excited to spend a week with my friend and not have to worry about changing diapers and nap times. Since I last wrote, I've been to Nashville for my friend Whitney's bridal shower, spent time with my family at Weiss Lake in Alabama, and spent time with Daniel's family here when they came for a visit. I'm heading to Nashville again this weekend for Whitney's wedding. It's been a busy summer. My guitar lessons are going well. Maybe in a few months I'll be decent enough to post a video for ya'll. Also, for any of you out there in Knoxville, this past Thursday was the first Books and Blooms program at the UT Gardens. Finn and I went and had lots of fun. Last week someone from the zoo was there and she read stories to the kids and had animals for them to see and touch. Finn loved the animals. He petted each one - the rabbit, the rooster, and the huge skink. So, you should check it out if you have nothing else to do on a Thursday morning. Finn and I will be there, and we would love to see you! Now, I've got to start reading everyone else's blogs and catching up on what you guys have been doing. Hope you've had a wonderful summer! I'm so excited for fall!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One fun weekend and two crazy ideas

I had a lot of fun this weekend in Memphis. My old high school choir teacher and some alumni arranged a choir reunion and I loved it! I got to see some old friends and just had a great time hanging out with them and reconnecting. I also got to sing with a big choir again which was great. I really miss singing with an 8 part choir. The money for our performance is going to a scholarship for seniors from our high school who want to major in music. I look forward to next year's reunion and concert!

Now for my crazy ideas on which I would like input from all of you. Idea #1 : A cross country road trip with just Finn and I. While I was pregnant with Finn I had grand plans to visit friends and family I rarely get to see once Finn was born since I wouldn't be working (at a 9 to 5 job that is) anymore. However, that hasn't really happened. So, I thought it's now or never because we want to get pregnant again soon and I really don't want to go on a trip by myself across country with two kids under the age of 5. My question to you: any ideas on how to keep Finn occupied and make the trip the most enjoyable it can be for the both of us? I plan on going to Texas, Colorado, Utah, possibly Idaho, and then back to Tennessee. Is this feasible or am I crazy?

Idea # 2: Getting a part time job at my favorite bakery. The catch? My hours would be 1am - 9am on Thursday and Friday and 1am to 5am on Saturday. Has anyone worked these kind of crazy hours before? I haven't and have no idea what to expect. The extra cash would be nice and I've been wanting to work there. And honestly what other time am I going to work if I don't want to send Finn to daycare?

I would love to hear your thoughts and any experiences you've had that might help me decide what to do with my crazy ideas. Thanks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Odds and ends

June has just flown past. It was a huge month for Finn - he started walking all on his own! I was so happy. I really don't know why I was so impatient about it. I mean, it only took him 20 months to do it. Although, I still have to carry him most of the time while we are in public because he seems to think that anyone who looks at him or talks to him is going to run off with him. That's good I guess. I've also learned that I say the phrases "Oh boy!" (as in "Oh boy that's a lot of yogurt on your shirt") and "There you go" (which I seem to say every time I give him something) a lot. I know I say these a lot because Finn says them now, and it's really cute. However, I'm learning a huge lesson right now - I have to watch everything I say now because he will repeat it. I'm not too worried because I don't think I say anything objectionable. Guess I'll find out if that's true.

I also took some trips in June. I went on a three day backpacking trip with some old friends of mine the Hydes and had a wonderful time. We went along the Noland Creek Trail in the Smoky Mountains. We started at Clingman's Dome and went to Bryson City, NC. We got rained on some but fortunately not while we were hiking, just while we were at camp. I couldn't have gone on this trip, though, if it weren't for my wonderful friend Ashlee who volunteered to watch Finn. Thanks Ashlee! I also went to Memphis for my friend Amber's wedding. I have known her for a long time - probably longer than anyone that I still keep in touch with. Her wedding was beautiful and simple - it was just a few friends and family in the backyard of the house she just bought a few months ago. I loved it. I also got to spend time with my family and see a friend come home from his mission.
We also spent a day at Ijams hiking. It was the first time we had gone with Finn in one of those kid backpacks. He cried when we first put him in there, but then he enjoyed it. After hiking, we ate our picnic lunch and watched Finn venture out walking on his own for the first time. Daniel and I enjoyed it also. We hope to go again soon.

So what else...I've also been doing some sewing and have started taking guitar lessons. I really enjoy the guitar lessons. I'm taking them from the very talented Jill Andrews (check out her website) . If any of you in the Knoxville area want to take guitar lessons, I would highly recommend her. I've also picked out the book I'm going to read for the summer (or what's left of it). I'm going to read The Grapes of Wrath. I've been wanting to read it for a long time. If any of you would like to join me, I was thinking about getting together the last Thursday in August to discuss it. Just let me know if that works for you. Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer reading and free floats

Last year a few friends and I tried to get a book club going. We met once and had a wonderful time, but soon after the holidays came and well we haven't gotten together since. I'd like to pick a book to read that others would also like to read this summer so we can all meet for refreshments and discuss the book. I'm not sure what to read. There are lots of books I want to read that I haven't gotten around to yet. Some I'm considering are Grapes of Wrath, Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I'm open to anything. Is there anyone else interested in doing this? If so, let me know and give me your book suggestions. Maybe there is one we can all agree on. I'd like us to meet sometime near the end of July.

Also, Sonic is giving away FREE rootbeer floats from 8pm to midnight tomorrow, June 3, or at least they are in Fountain City.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Appalachian Trail Part 2

Yesterday's post told the story of our adventure in the Smokies. Today I just wanted to share some more of the photos we took because I just think nature is beautiful and thought you might enjoy them. So here they are.
On the parkway heading to Gatlinburg.
Between Clingman's Dome and the Siler's Bald Shelter.

The two pics above were taken near the Spence Field Shelter where we stayed on the 3rd night. It was my favorite shelter and one of the prettiest parts of the trail.
Fontana Lake

We saw lots of wildflowers, especially on the Eagle Creek Trail.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Appalachian Trail

Last Monday, Daniel and I started our "vacation" together. I put that word in quotations because, although we had a lot of fun, it was a lot of work! We spent 5 days backpacking in the Smokies. We were supposed to stay along the AT the whole time, but Daniel hurt his knee Wednesday and we thought it would be easier on him to take an alternate route on Thursday. We started at Clingman's Dome and ended at Fontana Dam. It was 32 miles overall. We hiked the AT until we got to the Eagle Creek Trail. On Thursday we hiked all the way down the Eagle Creek Trail to Fontana Lake. Friday, we took the Lakeshore Trail (which, despite its name, does not offer views of the lake) around the lake to the dam.
This is me on the AT near the beginning of our journey in the higher elevations. There were some beautiful views from the ridge up there.

Daniel is holding a MRE (meal ready-to-eat). These are what we ate for lunch and dinner everyday. Soldiers eat these when they are in the field. They are actually pretty tasty. We wouldn't have chosen to take them because they are kind of heavy for backpacking purposes, but they were free and saved us from spending a lot of money on dehydrated meals.

This is me on the top of Rocky Top on Wednesday. And, yes, we did sing Rocky Top while we were there. Go Vols!
This is what a shelter on the AT looks like. Nothing fancy but they keep you out of the wind and rain (Fortunately, we did not have any rain the whole trip. The weather was quite perfect.). We stayed in these the first 3 nights.

Inside the shelter.

Every shelter had bear cables where you could hang your bags away from the shelters and out of reach of the bears. We saw one bear on the trail on the second day. Fortunately, he ran the other direction as soon as he heard us. That's my kind of bear. We also saw deer, wild turkeys, a red squirrel, lots of cute chipmunks, millipedes and various other insects, butterflies, and a few birds.

This is me on the fourth day in Eagle Creek. The decision to take this trail instead of continuing on the AT turned out to be a good decision - Daniel's knee didn't bother him at all on this trail. When the trail was actually on land, it was quite easy - gradual downhill for the first 4 miles and pretty flat for the last 4 miles. The only catch was you had to cross the creek 21 times. It had been raining a lot the week before, so there was a lot of water and some fast currents. Some of the crossings were a little scary for me. Only the last crossing had a bridge.

At our campsite on the fourth night trying to dry out our stuff that got wet during the creek crossings.

Overall, we had a wonderful time and hope to take more extended hiking trips in the future. It's nice to really get away from it all sometimes. It was really peaceful and quiet. There were no cell phones, no cars, and very few people. The people we did meet were very friendly and I enjoyed talking to them over the campfires at night. I also have a greater respect for the people who spend 4 - 5 months hiking the whole trail. That is quite an accomplishment. I hope to hike the whole trail, but in bits and pieces over the years. The hard work is worth the beauty and peace you can find on the trail.

Monday, May 25, 2009

South American Adventure - Part 5

On our last day in South America, Desi and I went to the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires while we waited for our 8:00pm flight. We spent most of our time in the cemetery there where everyone who was anyone (and Catholic) is buried. I guess buried is not the right word - there are no tombstones anywhere or grass for that matter. Everyone here is housed in a mausoleum.
It really seems like a city for the dead. There are cobblestone pathways not grass and the mausoleums all next to each other look like a bunch of houses in a zero lot neighborhood.
The mausoleums themselves are works of art. They are by no means plain. Each one is unique. I loved all the statues. The one above was my favorite.
A lot of them had windows, whether plain or stained glass. Although overall they were well maintained and beautiful, some of them seemed to lack care - caskets would be partially hanging out or a door would be gone and you could just walk inside (we did not walk inside any of them for the record).

This is where Evita was buried. It was the only one covered in flowers.

These two pics are Desi and I enjoying our last bit of Argentinian gelato. So delicious. I fell in love with everything made with dulce de leche, whether it was gelato or the all too wonderful alfajores that I'm so glad they do not sell in the U.S. (or at least not in Knoxville). Soon after these pics, we were on our way to the airport, and I was already beginning to plan my next trip to Argentina.

Friday, May 15, 2009

South American Adventure Part 4 - Colonia, Uruguay

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Colonia, Uruguay. It is a small town on the Uruguayan coast across from Argentina. It was were we got to relax. We never needed a map and it was so beautiful just to stroll around the old city and to look out over the water. We enjoyed the slower pace and were glad to spend 2 days here.

On the coast at sunset.

A lot of the houses here had flowering trees and shrubs like these around the doorways. I wish I could do this around my door. Most of this post will be just pictures. We basically walked and ate all day (and shopped some too).

This is the building for the small branch in Colonia and where we went to church on Sunday. Everyone was so friendly - maybe it was because they thought we were sister missionaries! All the women came and kissed us on the cheek and they tried to talk to us even if they knew very little English. It would be nice to serve a mission in this area. I would love to get to spend a few months in Colonia. The Branch President and his wife were actually missionaries from Utah or Idaho, I forget. Maybe Daniel and I can serve here someday...