Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wild Wild West

So, it would be impossible for me to post everything about our trip out west, so I will just try to sum it up as best I can.

Day One: A long drive ending in Rapid City, SD and seeing the lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore. We also got to see the world's largest peanut butter cup, but that only resulted in plots to make our own bigger peanut butter cup.

Day Two: First up to the reptile museum where we saw giant turtles and Komodo Dragons. We also saw a billion snakes, each more poisonous than the last and the crocodile that starred in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. Then a drive to Cody, WY.

Day Three: The large museum in Cody was our first stop, it has 5 sections: Old West Art, Wildlife & Nature, Plains Indians, Buffalo Bill tribute, and Firearms. (Guess where Captain spent all his time lol) After a visit to the old trail town, the others decided to partake in the classic rodeo while I rested up for the days to come.

Day Four: Off to the parks today, we left for our final campground, got set up in the Teton Resort park and had dinner at the Jenny Lake Lodge. First bear sighting as we drove in and elk sighting as we left the lodge.

Day Five: A long tour of Yellowstone National Park took all of this amazing day. We began at Old Faithful and hiked to a secluded area where we could see the entire geyser, also managed to see the other geyser which only goes off every 12 hours, so it's much harder to catch. We stopped at the Grand Prismatic Pools which were absolutely gorgeous. From there we headed to Yellowstone Falls (For anyone who doesn't know, I am a LUNATIC for waterfalls ). Then we went to Mammoth Springs and crossed into Montana for dinner (the first time in the state for 3 of us). More elk, some buffalo, a moose and an adorable baby bear sighted throughout the day.

Day Six: This day began with a trail on horseback (my first time on a horse ) and a visit to Jenny Lake where Captain's dad worked as a cowboy during his younger years. A long hike took us to what is aptly named "Hidden Falls" which was without a doubt my favorite part of the trip. This waterfall was smaller than Yellowstone falls, but you could get up close enough to feel the spray on your face. LOVE LOVE LOVE They had to drag me away from it!! This evening concluded with a wagon ride to a cook out cowboy style, hosted by the most adorable old couple ever!!

Day Seven: This was the fourth of July and began with the kids and I going White Water Rafting (a close #2 on the fav list). We toured Jackson Hole and then headed over the Wilson pass to Idaho, another first for the same 3. Then we watched fireworks over the mountains to conclude our amazing time in Wyoming.

Day Eight: We headed down through Nebraska, staying at the Cabela's in Sidney, NE.

Day Nine: We all got up bright and early, ready to get home. A great trip with great people!!

Other highlights:
-A billion signs for Wall Drug all across SD
-Our nephew convincing a couple of cowboys and Captain to do the hokey pokey!!
-Guys commenting on Niece's hotness, not realizing we were with her, lol.
-Forging through rivers on horseback
-Purple Mountain's Majesty
-Running the heater in the camper over July 4th weekend
-Nephew being the snake whisperer
-The girls whooping the guys at cards several nights in a row
-The AMAZING food, never ate a bad meal the entire trip!!

So many great memories were made on this trip!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

From the depths of despair

So, I know you've all heard by now that Grandma McCartie passed away this week. As I sit here the night before the service, I have so much on my mind, I thought I'd share some of it.

- My mother is quite possibly the most amazing woman in the world. I did something very difficult this week, and she was right there by my side, helping me through every second. I hope that someday I can be half the mother that she is!

- My husband is in constant pain from his back, but I have never seen him in this kind of pain, and I hope I never have to see it again.

- When you wait a week for a phone call to say someone has passed, it's still not any easier when the call comes.

- It is so surreal to go about daily business, now. It's like normal, and yet everything has changed.

- I will be by my husband's side every moment I am able, to help him through this time. It appalls me that a husband would even consider not being there for a MIL's service to support his wife, it seems selfish.

- On that note, I know that everyone deals with grief differently, but I can't help but think it poor form to pretend nothing happened. If you're not taking it badly, at least let up on those that may be struggling. People deal with death in different ways, especially younger people.

- More positively, it warms my heart to see a family that's not super close come together in a time of loss. G'ma was no doubt the glue, but these three grandkids have really stuck together to be there for each other and their mom. It's nice to see.

- It's nice to know that my husband and I each have a best friend we can count on in times like these.

- My parents should never be allowed to go to a Nascar race again. Last time they went, my grandma Davis passed the week before, and this time G'ma Mc passed the week before. My conclusion? Nascar is the cause of all grief and misery.

I've talked enough for now. Hope no one is offended by my revelations.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine El Salvador

So, my hubby and I decided to do Valentine's Day early this year. For anyone who doesn't know, we have a little tradition that we go to a restaurant we've never been to before for every Valentine's day.

This year I found a little place in Ottumwa that serves authentic cuisine from El Salvador. My husband spent several months in El Salvador while he was in the military. They were providing relief from hurricane Mitch. So I thought this would be a good place to do our Valentine's Day.

We had a little trouble finding the place, they have apparently changed their name since google was last there, but we eventually got there. It's Restaurant La Bendicion or Juanita's, we're not sure which is the official name. Anyway, it's a tiny little place with about 6 tables and a long counter. We were the only customers, and were a little perplexed by the fact that no one in the place spoke English at all. We used the little spanish we know to get menu's and place our order.

Captain enjoyed the atmosphere which was many posters about El Salvador and a large map. The food came, there was a lot of it. It was close to what I would consider typical mexican fair, but the options were fairly limited. I had stuffed pepper and Capt had tenderized meat (the actual name of the dish ).
The refried beans were cooked differently and I enjoyed them a lot. The pepper was not a bell pepper (I should have considered that a possibility, but I didn't) so was a little to hot for me. It was decent, a little greasy, but overall an okay dinner.

We watched as several people came in to pick up orders, all looking at us in wonderment. We suspect it's the first time they've seen white people eating there. I actually began to enjoy the look of surprise and confusion that hit the people's faces as they saw us.

Anyway, it was alright, we probably won't be making a trip back to Ottumwa to go there again, but it was a neat experience anyway. Then we headed to the theater to watch Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. A very good movie, I would recommend, we both enjoyed it alot. We shared a bag of Reese's Pieces and a large Diet Coke (hooray for holiday no calorie rules )

So that was our Valentine's Day in a nutshell. It was not exceptionally romantic, but we had a good time none the less, and created a memory. In my opinion, a much better after effect than dead flowers or candy wrappers.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

So another year begins. It is this weekend that I sit and reflect over all that has happened this year.

January saw our first black president take office. A proud day for tolerance, which is my creed. Also Captain and I made a new year’s resolution of “less talk, more action.” I kept writing for the IPAN newsletter. February brought a surprise party for my brother and a strange obsession with making my own cheese. This was a total homemade month as we made our own noodles, bread, cheese & bologna/summer sausage.

March brought my 29th birthday and a great trip to Florida for my cousin T's wedding where I was the officiate. It was wonderful to see the FL gang again, I miss them a lot. I also found time to teach myself to knit this month, as well as begin my diet regimen. April marked our 7th wedding anniversary. So far I think we're surviving the 7 year itch just fine. This is also when we finally took our little niece to Build-A-Bear (our xmas present to her). A fun day spent with just the three of us.

May saw my diet finally drop me below the 200 mark. It also marked the official opening of my business, EcoSage Solutions. June was full of camping, book clubs, D&D and many outside activities. July brought Capt's 31st birthday which was spent camping. That has become a tradition for 5 years now.

August came a big change for our family. Captain got his new job working for the Mahaska County Career Academy teaching college material to high schoolers. He absolutely loves it. September was the performance of the only OCT show I participated in this year. I’m so glad I did, it was one I’ll never forget (even if I wanted too ;D) after all, Trav and Case in drag burns itself into the memory.

November saw another big change for us, I started school again. This time to get a Master’s in Psychology. I also took on and won NANOWRIMO, see recent blog entries for explanation. December came and went in a flash, like always. We had our annual shopping day with Dad and a fun Yule celebration with friends.

This year was full of ups and downs for us, so I chose to highlight the goods. Obviously the family we planned is still in the planning stages. I lost 35 lbs. for the year. I’m sure I’ve left a few things out, but this is what I thought of while sitting here.

Thanks to all who have been a part of my life, here’s hoping for a great 2010!!