Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas to Me

I have had a wonderful little Nikon Coolpix S3000 camera for a couple of years now, and I loved it.   Unfortunately it did not survive a trip to Paris, France with my daughter over Thanksgiving.

Here are the Christmas Eve pictures that we took with my phone:

Then my husband got me the best Christmas gift ever - a Nikon DSLR camera - and I have been having lots of fun with it today.

Here are some day after Christmas pictures.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Visitor

Funny thing happened to me yesterday.  I think if I post the email threads, it will tell the story best.

Here is the subject line:

Quick Question

"I cannot remember if anyone is taking Sunshine over Christmas. Ryder has begged me to let him but I wanted to check with you first. If you would like for him to watch our class pet over the Christmas break please let me know. Thanks so much!"

Mrs. Kimberly Burch
3rd Grade Teacher

And my foolish reply:

"Sure we can.  Is Sunshine a hamster?  I ask because I had a pet hamster 36 years ago, and I named it Sunshine :)

I will be at the party tomorrow. Can we just take him/her/it home then?  Do we need to purchase any supplies ahead of time?

Thanks for letting us have this "privilege" ;)

Just kidding. Thank you. Ryder will be in heaven!"


And her answer back:

THANK YOU! He is actually a parakeet! Very sweet and bright yellow. I have everything you will need.

Mrs. Kimberly Burch
3rd Grade Teacher

And my reply after I had already committed - not knowing really what I was committing to:

LOL - a PARAKEET?!?!?!?!

Totally didn't see that one coming :)

I guess the blessing in disguise is that I am ever so lucky that Sunshine isn't a python or boa constrictor!  And the real blessing is Ryder is so happy to have a friend staying with us for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carlsbad Caverns

This summer we took a 3+ week long family vactation.  It was a classic road trip.  We rented a mini van to hold all of our stuff, and off we went.  The first of our many stops was a long anticipated by me (35 years:)  visit to Carlsbad Caverns.  I have been fascinated by caves and cave formations since I was a child, and have always wanted to visit Carlsbad.  I was worried that after wanting to see it for so long, it might be impossible for the actual experience to live up to my expectations.

The week before we went there were massive "forest" fires (I put forest in quotes, because does New Mexico really have forests?) that burned the entire Carlsbad area.  The park was actually closed for several days, and they had fire patrols surrounding the visitors center to protect it from the flames.  Fortunately it had reopened by the time we arrived and amazingly enough nothing smelled like smoke.  Here is Harrison standing where you can see the terrain surrounding the Visitors Center.

C'mon now, was that really ever a forest?

You can see how it burned right up to the edges.

We decided to walk down into the caves via the natural entry.

Just before you walk down there are multiple signs reminding you to not touch any of the cave formations. Finger oils contaminate and prevent them from continuing to form.  The Park Rangers are smart and know that everyone will want to touch one to see how they feel, so they placed one outside the entrance and encourage you to touch all you want - and LEAVE THE REST ALONE! So we touched it.

Here are some pictures as we were hiking down.

It was incredible - and a waaaaaaaaaaaaay better experience than just taking the elevator down.  We saw so much and it was neat to feel the change in temperature and atmosphere as we descended.

Once we got to the bottom we were able to wander through the enormous rooms of the caverns.  We had rented wands that provided us with a self guided tour.  Before we left, our Bishop had told Ryder about the "Bottomless Pit" where there was a huge drop off in the caves.  Ryder anticipated seeing the bottomless pit for weeks. Here he is when he finally got to check it out.

Nice face!
Darren had been to visit Carlsbad Caverns as a child, which made me jealous.  However, when he recreated his ONLY memory of the experience, I was no longer jealous.

Somehow as a child, he got his head jammed in the revolving doors by the elevator.  I will now try and refrain from making comments like, "Well that explains alot."  Because that would be cruel ;)

Here are a few more pictures from the caves.

Whale's Mouth formation - can you see it?  One of my favorites.

OK, I'm laughing right now as I realize why Ryder has such a "crazy cave face" in all of his pictures.  The first couple of pictures we took of him he blinked because the flash is so bright in the caves.  So his eyes were closed in the pictures.  I asked him to try and keep his eyes open when I took the pictures.  Aparently, he listened and made a real concerted effort!

Park Ranger Harrison
It was an amazing day, and it FAR EXCEEDED my expectations.  I loved it.  Can't wait to go back.  Words just can't describe the majesty and enormous volume of the caves.  They should be included as one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Back

Oh my goodness, I haven't blogged in FOR.EV.ER!!!!  Just one of those things where life has been so very, very busy and there just hasn't been time.  I've discovered that once too much time passes, then I don't know where to start.  Do I try and backtrack and write about all of the things that happened this summer (because we had a really great summer!)? Or do I just start with today?  And while I debate with myself, neither one gets done.  So I'm trying something new for a bit.  I'll be sitting down to blog a few days a week and blogging about whatever comes to mind for 15 minutes.  I can find 15 minutes, right?!?!?!  There may not be much rhyme or reason to it, but at least I can get it recorded.

So, what I'm thinking about right now is our annual Christmas letter.  Needless to say, this is a task that I DREAD each year.  I am always happy when it's done. Figuring out how to summarize a year of our life in a few words is tough!  A whole year.  Summarized.  On one interesting to read sheet of paper.  I'm shaking my head just thinking about it.

Here is a picture of my all time favorite Romney Christmas letter.  I found the "Wanted Poster" idea on the internet somewhere.

Last year I used this blog for our Christmas letter (click here).  We sent out an insert in our Christmas cards with the URL so people could look it up.  Here is the insert:

I'm really drawing a blank this year.  I need to sit down and figure it out.  Soon.  (Repeating to self, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . .").

Sheesh, it's been WAAAAAAAAY more than 15 minutes.

Signing off.


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