Saturday, August 30, 2008

I lost a few pounds. . . of HAIR!

I've been thinking a lot lately about getting my haircut, but hadn't had the guts to go through with it. Now, I know this sounds weird, but I've only gone to one lady my whole life to get my hair cut. She's in Kansas City - a little far, but she manages to get me in when I'm in town. She always does a fabulous job, and I just didn't want to trust anyone else. (Or pay the price of a good Atlanta haircut)
But, with a trip to Kansas City not coming until the holidays, and picture day next week, I went ahead found a place. And, I love my "new hair"!! :o) She did a great job, so I'll go to her again in the future. Yay!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy birthday, Andrew!

Happy birthday!! We celebrated Andrew's birthday on August 6 (yes, I know I'm a bit behind). I'm not going to say how old he is, but you can see on the cake for yourself.
We headed to Edo, a Japanese Hibachi around the corner. We went for my birthday in May and had such a great time we went back. The cook had a great personality. He even had a shrimp sing happy birthday to him. It was cute. The people we sat with were also very friendly. It was a great birthday dining experience. I tried to get a picture of the onion flame, but was a little late.
We came home and Andrew talked to many people who were calling to wish him a happy birthday. Afterwards we had cake. I made him a strawberry cake with cream cheese icing - very yum!! I was quite proud. Then he opened his present. I got him SNL season 3 DVD. He was pretty excited!
It was a low-key celebration, which is exactly what he wanted. :o)

(Yes, I know there's not the right # of candles. . .)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Santa Fe

Ok, so I'll of my favorite movies growing up was Newsies. And every time I think of Santa Fe I think of my favorite actor singing about this city. Enjoy! Santa Fe ~ Newsies Now that we have that taken care of.. :o) Santa Fe, NM - it was our last day of vacation. Boo. Andrew and I headed out from Taos house a little after 10:00. We hadn't taken the opportunity to head to the square so we stopped there on our way out of town. We stopped and got a few post cards. We also found a nice spoon rest with chilies on it. It's cute and matches our red kitchen. Then we headed over to a quaint little book shop. I, of course, headed straight to the children's books. I can't resist. I got the book about needing a rock that I mentioned earlier in the week. I also got a few for my classroom. We study Indian legends, so I got one that had the Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. I was excited!! And, now ready to head to Santa Fe. We opted not to take the high road. We had seen most of it on our way up to Taos through Las Vegas. The road ran along the river for a while and had some beautiful views too. Andrew took some while I drove (thanks babe!) We ate sandwiches in the car, so when we arrived in Santa Fe we headed straight to the square. We found a parking spot close to the capital, so stopped to wander around. Not too impressed with the building, but good to see another state capital...We found that the square was being set up so a festival so it wasn't as pretty to look at. I remember it having a very open area, and it wasn't that way. We found another store that had water - very thirsty! The awesome thing is that we found a coffee cup to match the spoon rest from earlier. Same pattern and larger than your standard mug, so I was pretty excited. We continued to mosey around the stores. It was nice to just browse. Many things out of the price range, but it's fun to look. :o) One funny (annoying at the time) story was the lady in front of us at the ATM who thought there was something wrong with the machine when she couldn't pull cash out with her credit card. Duh!!! Not the brightest person we'd come across. Andrew and I found a tasty chocolate shop. We shared 3 chocolates including a tasty peanut butter, caramel cup. Then we found a bead shop. Jennifer and I had talked about wanting to find beads. The store I found wanted $2 for a tiny bead, so I opted for the $6 bag of mixed for me, one for Jen. Nothing done with them yet, but maybe soon. (Heck, I'm just now finishing the blog...) Andrew and I met up with Jennifer, Jeff and kids, Matt & Brandy and Mom at the Loretta Chapel. That's when we found out dad wasn't feeling well. :o( We entered the chapel and looked at the staircase. Andrew and I had been into 2 other chapels in Santa Fe, and to be honest, liked those a little better. We had both seen the staircase before. Pretty miraculous though... Headed to the hotel and rested up before dinner at Maria's at 6:30. We got there and poor dad and Jeff weren't feeling well. It wasn't a fun way for them to end the trip. No dinner, and an early exit from the restaurant to go rest. Many of us weren't particularly impressed with the food, and after our waitress about lost mom's credit card the last batch of us headed back. I will say they had very tasty sopapillas and I got a very cute picture of JC. After getting back, most of us called it an early night with so many not feeling well or just tuckered out. We had one last meal together in the morning - hotel continental breakfast. It was time to part ways :o( I didn't want to leave...Mom & Dad and Andrew and I were the last to leave. It was a great trip. Thanks mom & dad!!! You guys are the best...we'll have to do it again soon! More pretty views on the way home...I love the mountains! They are so beautiful and when you drive, it's fun to see how the view changes every 5 minutes. :o) We stopped in Tucumcarri to visit the dinosaur museum. Andrew's request, but I had fun too. It was good to have a break from driving. Another stop in Amarillo for a late lunch with Andrew's Aunt Cathy at Joe Taco - yummy! Then we stopped for the night in Wichita Falls, TX. Horribly confusing highway overpasses made it difficult to get going the next morning, but we did. Back to Waco about 3:00 on Sunday. We traded out cars...I don't think I mentioned that we used Brenda's new car - Toyota Prius to help aid with gas mileage and $. We figured we saved enough to make it worth it. Thanks Brenda! We also got to meet their new cat, Lily. Back in the car Monday mid-morning. Sooo tired of the car, but we have to make it home. Here I am about to go crazy. We stopped in Shreveport to get Cold Stone smoothies and walk around. They have a very nice shopping center by the river. Then stopped again in Monroe at Olive Garden. Did some more shopping. I got a few back to school outfits, so I was pleased. Finally back to Atlanta on Tuesday. Whew! We were pretty exhausted. I'm very lucky that Andrew takes care of me and unloads the car after a trip. I don't how that worked out, but I'm not going to complain!! All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Very good to get together as a family for an extended period of time. I have a feeling we'll do it again in another few years.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This IS Vacation After All. . .

Thursday July 24, 2008
Ahhh...this was the last day in Taos. A sad idea, because I felt like we had barely scratched the surface of things to be done. That being said, Andrew and I were both pretty wiped after the week's activities. We decided to sleep in and stay out of the way while everyone else got ready. Mom & Dad were headed to Red River Ski Valley to pick up the family photos we'd taken, Matt & Brandy & the Hughes family to the ski valley. We played the Wii and enjoyed our coffee. Jennifer came back and we decided to head into Arroyo Secco. They had some cute shops there we wanted to check out. We headed to the Mercantile first and spotted some pretty bead necklaces. They had a lot of interesting things in a wide variety. Soaps, jewelry, t-shirts, antiques, books, you name it...they probably had it. Jennifer bought me the brown beaded necklace for me as my birthday present. (Here I am wearing it on Friday) She also got one for her in blue, white, and amber beads.
After the Mercantile we headed to the Taos Cow. Andrew was waiting for us, and he's already sampled some of the ice cream - blueberry. He really enjoyed it. Jen and I got there and I ordered some raspberry dark chocolate ice cream; Jennifer just got a grapefruit soda. I thought it was pretty good. The flavors were yummy, but the consistency of the ice cream wasn't the best I'd had. We wandered around a few more shops. There was a really cool photography shop that was way out of price range, but I really enjoyed seeing some local artwork.
We headed back and had turkey sandwhiches at home. Mom was a bit concerned that we had all the groceries purchased on Sunday still at the house. After lunch and a bit more Wii, many people headed for naps. Seems a bit lazy, but we were tired and it IS vacation after all, right? :o)
I felt bad because we had talked about going to the Taos square, and ended up sleeping through our opportunity to go. Sorry, Jen!
Matt & Brandy and Jennifer & Jeff decided to head to dinner in town for date night. Andrew and I talked about it, but decided to save a few bucks and eat with Mom & Dad and the kids. It was left over pork steak and hash browns. Very yummy! After dinner we loaded up the kids and headed back to the pool. Similar to the night before. Again, an enjoyable evening. This day felt most like "vacation"....No schedule, naps, and some quality pool time.
After everyone got back and we got the kids to bed we headed out to the porch. We noticed a glorious sunset in the works...As the sun continue to set, we had a sliver of light from the west and storms all around us. We got quite the picture show; lightning but no thunder. It was a wonderful way to spend our last night. Together on the porch talking and watching a beautiful sky show.
But then, it was time for another competition!This one pitted each couple against the others. Time for the newlywed game. Let's just say many memories were taken from this game. You can't play the newlywed game (especially with your parents) without having everyone blush at some point. And did we! :o) It was & dad won, but I guess they have just a few years advantage on all of us, huh? Early to bed, because we'd be up early in the morning packing up and heading to Santa Fe. Goodbye Taos...sure will miss this view in the morning...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Choo Choo! "All Aboard!"

Wednesday July 23, 2008
Good morning everyone! Are you ready for Train Day?? We all got up this morning excited. Going on the Cumbres & Toltec train was the activity we planned to do altogether as a family.
So, 11 people up, fed, dressed, and out the door a little after 8:00. Whew! We piled in the cars. JC and mom rode with Andrew and I. Quick stop for gas and directions, then onward to Antonito, Colorado. There was a pretty view of the mountains around Taos. It was cool because it appeared the clouds were sitting on the mountains. Then you can see the bright blue sky above. We arrived a little after 9:00, so had plenty of time to see the train, the gift shop, and take plenty of pictures. The Hughes kids were very excited and looked so cute in the conductor hats grandpa bought them. We all took many pictures of the engine getting ready for the journey!
The train left the station promptly at 10:00. The whistle blew and we were off! Our destination was Osier for lunch. Then we'd take the same train back. That would be ok, because as we found,everyone's favorite part were the tunnels. So now, instead of having 2 tunnels to go through, we would get 4! :o) Yay!
Everyone found their way to the observation car pretty early into the journey. I was with JC most of the time who wanted up, but clung very tightly so as not to fall over! He had a great time looking at everything around him. And boy, did he love that whistle. His eyes got real big every time it went off...but he always had his hands on his ears. Very cute! We arrived in Osier. On the menu for lunch was turkey with potatoes (that were very bland!), rolls, and green beans; all served cafeteria style. We snagged a table big enough to sit all of us. There was a high chair for Jetta, but no way to secure her in. So, dad took off his belt and we belted her in. It worked very well, and we were all glad that dad's pants didn't fall off during the process! Yummy dessert-chocolate cake-and then back on the train. The whistle blew again and we were off.
One thing Jennifer and I wanted to make sure of was to get a good shot of the view before the first tunnel. We didn't get a good look the first time because everyone had already crowded. So, we knew it was coming and got there early. It was a spectacular view of the gorge-600 feet down!
Then Andrew and I headed to see the view from the very back of the train. It was nice because there weren't people shoving elbows around to get a better view. It was kind of nice to see "where we had just been." It was a different perspective of the journey. Towards the end of the trip, it started to rain. Glad that it was so close to the end. It was pretty to see all the clouds roll in, and the storms around the mountains we were traveling in. There were some great shots of the scenery we saw...those are all below. Enjoy! Dad and Julia rode with us on the way back to Taos. It didn't take Julia very long to fall asleep. The train ride and all the excitement wore her out! We had a nice trip back. Dad decided that Julia would be more comfortable sleeping in his lap, so that was sweet to see, and I think Dad was right.
We got back home and decided that a swim would be a perfect way to wash all the cinders off our bodies and out of our hair. So everyone except Jeff got their swim gear together and headed for the pool. Jeff went and got pizza for dinner while we swam. The pool in the community was nice. The one complaint was that the room it was in was freezing! It made it very hard to get out of the pool - or even keep your head abouve the water for any amount of time. JC held onto whoever was holding him like a little monkey. He had fun squirting water guns. I had fun bouncing/jumping with him. Julia has turned into a good little swimmer! And Jetta did a good job of letting someone put her on her back to swim. It was a fun evening.
We headed back and had dinner, put the kids to bed, then busted out Battle of the Sexes. It was a re-match of the game at Christmas. The guys won then, and unfortunately, won again in Taos. I think the questions are easier for the guys. What do you think ladies - 3rd time's a charm??
This might've been my favorite day because it really was everything done as a whole group.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Llama Mama

Tuesday July 22, 2008
Today was the day we had planned for the Llama hike. Going on the trek was Jennifer, Julia, JC, Mom, Andrew and myself. We headed to Questa - about a 45 minute drive north to Columbine Canyon in the Carson National Forest. JC rode in the car with Andrew and I. It was fun to play peek-a-boo and make silly faces at him from the front seat. He seemed to have a good time with it as well. :o) We arrived and met Andrew, our guide, and the 5 llamas that would be journeying with us. 3 were loaded with supplies for lunch and the journey and 2 were ready with llama saddles for the kiddos to hop on and go for a ride. The 3 with supplies were Mateo, Dakota, and Andalito. JC rode Rudy, and Julia rode Vato. It was cute to get JC to pet Rudy and here him say "Giddyup Rooody." They both took a little bit of time to warm up to the llamas, but were eager to ride a few minutes in. JC had a hard time deciding if he wanted to ride or walk. He actually wanted someone to hold him, and Andrew did well to wear the backpack. After 2 trips in and out we said "enough". It was either walk or ride. He bounced between the two for most of the journey up the mountain. Which, yeah, I was under the impression that it wasn't going to be such a hike. But boy, was it! I was definitely out of breath several times. I guess that should've been expected. We were in the mountains; thinner air, harder to breathe. Needless to say, we were all ready for a break when we came to the open pasture where lunch would be. Lunch was provided by the llama hike service and it was gourmet turkey sandwhiches (very yummy!), chips/salsa, carrots, and a delicious coconut chocolate chip bar. It energized us all for the return trip...but let's be honest, it's easier to hike downhill than uphill! One interesting thing that we found out aboult llamas, and in particular these llamas, was they had very specific places to use the restroom. They only went there. Which I guess was nice because you knew when to move out of the way! It was a fun hike, but after horseback riding the day before Andrew and I were pretty sore. Ready for another trip to the hottub when we returned. This time - no rain pellets attacking my neck. Yay! After a few hours of relaxation time, we got ready for our Campbell Family Photo session. We headed to Overland Sheep Trading Co. It was a little plaza with colorful flowers-there were many artists in there drawing, painting, taking pictures. And I can say that if I lived in Taos, I would definitely make this a location for doing artwork. It made me want to ask one of the artists for a piece of paper and the use of her pastels...very inspiring. The sky was also the perfect shade of bluish/gray- it was about to rain which made the sky in all our pictures look like a background. Taos Mountain was in many of our pictures, and I don't think you could've asked for a prettier setting. We had fun making faces at the people getting pictures taken. Brandy has a funny one of me where I'm trying to get JC and Jetta to look at me and smile. Thanks, Brandy! It did start to rain which was a bummer. We had to rush through pictures to get all the ones we wanted. But, they turned out well. It'll be good to have those pictures to look at and remember the trip. Andrew and I hosted dinner at Orlando's that night. Unfortunately, they didn't take reservations and could only get us at 2 separate tables. Andrew and I ordered the fish tacos. I thought they were delicious, Andrew thought they were a too much on the spicy side. Jennifer suggested putting sugar on them to help take away some of the spice. Then I said I could call him Sugar Lips. Funny, right Jennifer? :o) I'll let the rest of that story stay at that little corner table!
We headed back and no game tonight...we were pretty tired. Andrew, myself, Jennifer, and Jeff headed to bed while Mom, Matt, & Brandy went to check out the pool. Hmmm, what did Dad do? Drink coffee? I'm not sure. Early night for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow is train day!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Monday July 21, 2008
...Ok, so I really can't say "again", because I'd never been horse-back riding in my life. But, today was the day!! I was very excited, and kind of nervous. Andrew was too. It didn't help when we had to sign a release that says the horse acts on it's own sometimes and could throw the rider. Eek! I just stopped reading, signed the form, and picked out a helmet. Bring on the horsey! Going horseback riding was Dad, Matt, Brandy, Andrew and myself. Our guide led us over to the "mounting stump" and tried to match our riding skills with the horses. Dad rode General Custer, Matt rode Manny, Brandy on Lil Red, Andrew on Hannibal Hank and I was on Pearl. We rode on an uphill trail that followed a small river in the ski valley. There were some beautiful views of the mountains around us. Brandy, mom and I the night before were trying to figure out where Julia Roberts' house was (we heard she had a house in Taos), and we passed right by it on our trail ride! :o) Onward and upward to the mid-way point - the small waterfall where the picture was taken. We stopped for a short rest and then headed back down. Ouch! That's a hard ride - downhill on a horse. "Lean back!" We arrived back down at the bottom of the trail, and headed to Tim's Stray Dog Cantina to meet the rest of the gang for lunch. The weather was perfect for an outside table. Andrew and I ordered tuna melts. I wasn't a huge fan, but I was so hungry after the ride that it was sufficient.
After lunch, the group split up - some headed to Taos, while the others headed for the ski lift. From 9,207 feet up to 11,819 feet...quite a ride! Mom, Jeff and Julia headed up before us. Then Andrew, dad and I headed up. It was about a 10 minute ride to the top. Once at the top it seemed we were at eye level with many mountains around us! We had a great view of Wheeler Peak - the tallest point in New Mexico. There was even still snow on the top! We heard during our horseback ride that there was 8 inches of snow that fell on Memorial Day weekend.
After taking many pictures, we headed back down. This trip was a bit more queasy on some stomachs. Not me! I've never had much of an issue with heights, but Andrew kept his eyes on the book he brought with him. I took it all in. Pretty view of the Ski Valley down below us.
After spending some time in the ski valley, we headed back to the house. Andrew and I were pretty sore, so we decided to give the hot tub a try. It was pretty cold and rainy, but hey, it's a hot tub, right? We got in and it did feel pretty good on our sore muscles, but after about 10 minutes, I'd had enough. The rain drops were starting to feel more like little icy pellets! Ouch! It also wasn't very fun trying to get out with the cold wind blowing-but the hot/cold was kind of refreshing on my skin. Back inside we took it easy. I think I finally made my Wii me and took a gander at some tennis. Fun times. Matt & Brandy provided dinner-chicken, steaks, squash, potato wedges-yum! Again, it was good to sit as a family to a home cooked meal. Afterwards, we had cupcakes and ice cream to celebrate mom & dad's 33rd anniversary. 33 years - that's a good while :o) It was fun to celebrate together, even if it was a few weeks late (their anniversary is July 12).
After the kids went to bed, the adults headed to the table for a game of Songburst. It was a bit harder than I think we expected. Andrew had a good rule for next time - don't pick the card if no one knew the song...It took us a while to go even halfway around the game board. The boys ended up winning. boo.
Time for bed ... see you tomorrow! Oh yeah, and one of my favorite pics of the trip...Jetta, Jennifer, me, and mom.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Getting to the Taos House

Saturday we started our journey to Taos. We headed north to Fort Worth, and then west to Amarillo. This was our destination for the night. We stopped in Fort Worth to sell some books at half price books. We had a great result getting $27 for our old books and magazines! Woo! Half a tank of gas :o) That would be important with all the driving we were going to be doing in the next week and a half. We arrived in Amarillo just fine, but were ready for dinner and a good night's sleep. We walked over to Outback, got a to-go order, and then headed back to the hotel. We found the Royals' game on TV, so we got to watch them beat the White Sox 9-1.
Up and at 'em the next morning - final destination for today was Taos!! The transition of scenery between west Texas and north New Mexico was pretty amazing. Flat, plains with wind turbines to spectacular mountains was a fun one to drive. The views definitely improved once off the interstate. Slower driving, but well worth it.
We arrived in Taos around 4:00 and found that Mom & Dad, and Matt & Brandy had arrived. We unpacked the car, and had a few minutes to visit. But it wasn't long before mom, Brandy and I headed to the grocery store for the week's food. When we got back to the house, the Hughes had arrived! I wasn't surprised to find the kids already in the back yard - JC and Julia were hunting for bunny rabbits with Andrew and Jetta was playing with a pile of rocks. Finding, looking at, and sometimes throwing rocks would be a favorite pasttime of the kids. At the end of the week I got them a book called "Everybody Needs A Rock" by Byrd Baylor. It's one that I had heard before and really liked. It's 10 rules for finding the perfect "pet rock." I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.
That night we had pork steaks, orange fluff, tomatos, and other great food. It was so fun to sit down as a family to our first meal that week. That's one of my favorite memories as a kid. I loved our family dinners every night. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip, too.
The rest of the night found everyone just getting settled and enjoying the family. It was good that everyone arrived at the Taos House, and were off to a good week of vacation.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wacky in Waco

Hey! Well here I am to tell all about our vacation. . .
We headed out from Atlanta on Sunday and got to Waco on Monday. We spent some time with Andrew's family. It's always good to go back to Waco. Something in me feels like it's coming home whenever we visit there. It's such a great little town. It was nice to have some down time. We slept in, relaxed, and had Jerry's famous breakfast rolls. There were two days that Jetta was sick so we got some quality time with her. She's a lot of fun. She definitely let's you know what she wants and when! :o) The highlight of our time with her was a walk around Baylor's campus. We walked past the bears at the perfect time - they were getting fed, so we got to see them eat their oranges. Did you know that bears can peel their own oranges? I was surprised that they didn't just gobble the whole thing...It was fun to watch. We then headed over to the Baylor Spirit shop where I got a few new shirts. (see picture!)
One afternoon Andrew and I took Jetta and met my sister and Brenda for lunch at Cafe Cappacinno - yum! I had a nice chicken salad wrap. It was fun to meet them for a lunch date.

That night we took all three kids back to the Kirkpatrick's house for pancakes. This helped my sister have some time to get ready for the big trip to New Mexico, and spend quality time with all of them. They enjoyed eating their yummy blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes. Then had fun playing with trains and exploring the backyard. They even found some tomatoes to pick. :o) It was good to play Aunt and Uncle to the Hughes chillins.

We also had a good visit with our friends the Towers. It was fun to meet Max and watch Ann & Sha with their acrobatics trying to calm him down. I'm sure it wasn't fun for them, though! It's hard to believe how fast Carter is growing. I remember being with him in the baby room at Lakewood. Time flies. . . . Then it was time to head to Taos...more on that to come!