Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Parents Come for a Visit (Part 1)

November was filled with many visitors - something we love! My mom was in town the first weekend and we had Andrew's parents in town for Thanksgiving.
Part 1 is about mom's visit:
I worked 1/2 day on Friday, grabbed some lunch at our favorite noodle house, Doc Cheys, and then we hit Atlantic Station for some shopping. We found some good deals and were definitely worn out by dinner time. So we picked up California Pizza Kitchen and headed home.
Saturday we had a lazy morning before heading to the Botannical Gardens. I'll try not to bore you with too many pictures, but it was a beautiful afternoon and for the time of year, we were surprised how many flowers were still in bloom. There was a bride getting ready for her wedding wondering through the garden taking pictures. Beautiful setting!

Mom & I in front of the entrance

Pretty blue glass sculpture/fountain in the middle of the garden

The garden was featuring sculptures by Henry Moore. We know him from the sculptures there are of his in Kansas City. A common theme of his is with a mother and child. I liked this one the best of those.
I thought the pink of the blooming roses were beautifully contrasted against the orange of the fall colors on the tree in the background.

Me with one of the several frog sculptures througout the garden.

Orchids that were in the orchid room. I loved the beautiful colors. There were so many unique types!

Green leaves are pretty too - especially when bordered with pretty purple!

Mom snaps our picture while we try to take one of our own.

Mom & I by another fountain.

The kid in me wanted to go down the slide. . . ha ha! :o)

We ended the weekend by going to church. Mom got to see what we do when we help with Children's Worship & Wonder. It was nice to have another set of hands to help us out. I was sad to see her go so quickly - weekend visits are never long enough but definitely better than no visit.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Treat

Living in Atlanta, Andrew and I love to take advantage of being so close to the mountains in the fall. We were ready to get away from the city for a weekend, and chose a get-away to see the fall foliage.
We started out Saturday morning (after getting my H1N1 flu vaccine), heading north up 400. We've gone this way before, but made a turn we hadn't made before - toward Dawsonville & Amicalola Falls. I've always wanted to go, but thought it was a lot farther away. Not a bad drive, but we did have some bad weather. It spit rain on us all the way up. We decided to pull in anyway for a picnic. After finding a covered shelter, we unloaded and started making our sandwhiches. A quick glance over to Andrew had me looking at a daddy long legs on his neck waaay too close to his face. Eeeeek! Back to the car to eat there. Perfect timing too, because the rain stopped while we ate. We drove on up to the bottom of the trail up to the falls. We weren't in the right shoes, but managed to get far enough along to get a beautiful view.

The stream at the bottom of the trail up to the falls.

Amicalola Falls

After finishing up at the falls, we found a cute little pumpkin patch. It was Halloween - we HAD to stop! :o)

Holding our baby pumpkin

After the pumpkin patch, we drove about 10 miles. We saw many signs for apple orchards. I love apples! Andrew was concerned we were stopping too frequently (3 stops in about 15 miles), but it ended up being our last for a while. They weren't letting anyone pick apples because of the weather, but we did pick some out from the baskets - Pink Lady for me and Granny Smith for Andrew. Very crisp and delicious. We headed back to their parlor where we saw they were selling apple fritters. It was the best apple fritter either of us had ever eaten.

Warm apple fritter with vanilla ice cream - perfect!!

Back on the road - at the top of a mountain on the Appalachian Trail. A 3rd grade teacher from South Carolina was nice enough to take our picture. The sun came out long enough for a picture that really shows all the colors!
We stopped in Clayton at the downtown there - it was quaint and not as touristy as some of the other towns we'd driven through, so we spent some time there stretching our legs. We ended up finding a few good Christmas presents and decided it was a small town we'd like to spend more time in later. Maybe a cabin rental up there next fall?? On to South Carolina - we drove through Clemson. They had just finished Homecoming football game, so we didn't see much of the campus. What we did see was enough to say that yes, it was a place I'd live. Andrew likes to look at all the universities we drive by to see if it's a place we could live. It looked like a good size college town. Advantage - distance to Greenville (our stop for the night.) Disadvantage - they're school colors are ORANGE (ick) and purple. We drove straight to the hotel - it was dark, rainy, and we weren't familiar with where we were going. Got in, watched some college football, and called it an early night. Perfect! The next morning, waking up refreshed after the extra hour of sleep, we had a delicious breakfast buffet. Andrew navigated us back to downtown and we found Falls Park. It was a beautiful day, so we took many pictures before walking around some of the shops. Cute place! We needed to get back to Atlanta for my pregnancy yoga class, so we didn't get to see as much as we'd like. Another place to put on our "let's come back" list! :o) It was a great weekend vacation and we both returned refreshed; ready to face the week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Most Beautiful Sound in the World!

I think everyone that reads my blog has heard the news that Andrew and I are expecting our first baby in March. Needless to say, we are very excited!
There have been countless times when I've stopped to think about the miracle of life, and the amazing process it takes to "build" a baby. We love to read about what's happening each week. This week's big thing is building their layers of fat. It's also about the length of your palm (5 inches) and weighs 5 ounces. Teeny!
I'm especially excited about the next few weeks. We are going to find out if we're having a baby boy or girl. Yes, we've had people tell us that's cheating, and no we don't agree. It'll be nice to start getting more prepared with nursery items that coordinate with baby boy or girl. Also, in the next few weeks, we should be able to start feeling the baby move. Neat-o!
Today was doctor visit #3. This was the least exciting of them all, but that's ok. The doctor just answered my questions and they took blood for more testing. But, one thing that I will never get tired of is listening to baby's heartbeat. The doctor had a device that we were able to hear it on. And it truly is the most beautiful sound in the world. I could sit and listen all day. . . :o)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What a View!!

On our trip to Kansas City a few weeks ago, we decided to go to the Liberty Memorial. It is also home to the only World War I museum in America. It's something Andrew had been wanting to see for a while, but we finally found time for it on this trip. Now, I'm not much of a museum person. I like the idea in theory, but usually get bored pretty quickly. This was not the case at this awesome museum. They had movies, artifacts, and many interactive displays. The first display had pictures that had 2 pictures on one frame...you could see one, then you'd walk 1-2 steps and see a completely different picture. This was the kind of quality that was in every piece in the museum. It's easiest to show the museum in pictures, so here they are:

Propaganda designed to appeal to women

They had models of the trenches - for the countries of Britain, Germany, & France. It was neat to see the differences between them. Germany's were the best designed and kept.

The timeline that spanned the room - it had all the major events of the war as well as things that were happening back in the United States.

This one speaks for itself - sad.

Andrew and I with a real WWI TANK!! Cool! There was a spot on the side where there was still damage from the war.

My favorite part of the museum was the listening room. They had a cubicle that you could sit in and listen to music, poems, & speeches from the war. I enjoyed hearing "In Flander's Field" and listening to speeches given by Lenin and the Kaiser. There was also the big band marches from Sousa that were becoming big. And of course, Over There sung by Nora Bayes. They also had active boards in the middle where you could play games (WWI related), find out more about ammunition, or even design your own WWI memorial. Very cool. It was definitely the best museum I've been too. I was engaged for the whole 4-5 hours we were there. And we didn't see it all. We'd like to go back at some point and finish looking at all we didn't see.

After the museum, we headed up into the tower. Good thing they had an elevator to assist in the journey to the top. It was the best view of Kansas City's downtown I've ever seen. I could've spent all day up there - especially if we'd brought our binonculars!

The buidling in the foreground is Union Station

Andrew and I with the beautiful city!

With mom & dad

I loved everything about the day. It's fun exploring new parts of my hometown. And really, What a view!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jetta the Bean Snapper

During our trip to Waco earlier in the summer, we spent the evening with Jetta while the other Hughes were at Vacation Bible School. Andrew has been producing a lot of veggies from our garden, and we brought some green beans with us. We thought it would be fun for Jetta to help us snap the beans to get them ready to eat. Good thing she thought so too. She had trouble with some of them and kept saying "Can't do it." We'd reassure her that she could, then she would and she'd shout "I did it!" It was cute. video The weird thing is that when we tried to put some on her plate at dinner, she threw a fit. Oh well, it was entertaining while we snapped.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation Days 3 & 4

Part 2 of our vacation to Florida.
Our main purpose for choosing the destination of Tampa for 3 years in a row is, duh, the Royals play there! We were planning on making it to Tuesday's game, but our time at the space center went longer than anticipated. This turned out to be ok, as the Royals lost game #1. We listened to the game on the way to the hotel, checked in, and headed to bed.
Up and at 'em on Wednesday for a trip to the beach. We were afraid weather would spoil our time, but the storms stayed north of us all day. Yippee! We go to the same beach and love it. It's not crowded at all.
Perfect for splashing in the waves, catching up on reading, and celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe it's already been 3 years. It seems like just yesterday that we were in Waco for our wedding. And yet, Andrew is my best friend and I feel I've known much longer than the 5 years we've been together.

Happy anniversary, Andrew!

When we realized we were pretty pink (Andrew worse than me), we headed to our local favorite, The Hurricane, for our routine grouper sandwhich. Still good!

We rested up at the hotel for a bit before heading to game 2 of the Royals / Rays series. Too bad the Royals lost. It wasn't pretty either...they lost pretty bad. 9-0. Boo. The next day's game was scheduled for the afternoon, so we stuck around for another. Crossing our fingers that we could see them pull one out... We had to check out of the hotel, so caught a movie while we waited; Night at the Museum 2. It was good, not great. Amy Adams was cute. At the game, the Royals went ahead early...hooray! We led the game 2-1 until the bottom of the 8th. Then, the Rays scored 2 and ended up winning the game. I was not a happy camper! I know that the Rays were in the world series last year, but they are not that same team, and I couldn't believe we got swept by them....again (we saw them get swept last year). Andrew's theory is they spend too much time at the beach and leave their heads there when they come to the game. Whatever it is, they need to pull it together and start HITTING!!

Forced smile after the game

We headed back and one of my favorite parts of the trip was getting off the interstate for a while. Andrew and I have different styles of driving - I like to get there, and he likes to stop and enjoy the journey. This has caused a few disagreements when we're on the road, but I was tired of the boring road, so agreed to hop off for a while. It added time to our trip but was nice to see some of the small towns that get passed by.

Very old house near Chula, GA

Methodist church

Cute little train depot in Cordele, GA

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vacation Days 1 & 2

One of the many beauties about both working in academics is having summers off. We have a lot of time to travel, and we have taken that opportunity for each of our anniversaries. Andrew and I have made it a tradition to follow the Royals wherever they are. In Tampa 2 years ago and this year, Chicago last year. We'll see where to next year. . . .but for now, here are highlights from this year's trip.
Day 1: Driving
We got up and took off on Monday morning. We would be driving most of the day. This year we decided to go to the Kennedy Space Center. One nice thing about this was a different road for driving. We drove over to Savannah and then headed down I95. It was still interstate, but new roads are always a little more interesting. We stopped for a break at an outlet mall where we found some shirts for a good deal, and a ice cream shop...yum! Back on the road and there by 9:00. Jacksonville, Florida - thought the structure in the water was interesting. Day 2: Kennedy Space Center A new fascination of mine is space travel, exploration, etc. I was very interested in the last mission (STS-125; the last to repair the Hubble). Andrew suggested we go to the space center to explore it more and I was on board! We arrived shortly after they opened at 9:00 and started at the Rocket Garden and Early Explorations. . . a good place to start! We learned about the Gemini and Mercury expeditions. It was neat to see the early rockets, space capsules, and control rooms. Models of the first rockets to get to space...look at how they changed in size over just a few dozen years. Cool! Gemini capsule that was actually in space - you can see how the heat affected the "United States" on re-entry. One of the earliest control rooms! Look at how many buttons and knobs it has. After the room on "Early Space" we headed over to see the IMAX movie about the International Space Station. It was Andrew's favorite part of the day, and I can see why. It was informative, and cool to see in IMAX. It was like we were really in space! (as a bonus, it was narrated by Tom Cruise). There was a room about the Hubble right next to the theater, so we mozied through there. They had information about the last mission to repair it...and I also found out there that they have coffee in space! So, yes Houston, I am ready for lift-off! :o) Here I am with a model of the Atlantis with the Hubble in the payload bay. . .ready for servicing! Next stop, Shuttle Launch Experience. It was a simulator that made it feel like you were taking off in a real space shuttle. I was very nervous, but it turned out to be very fun. There at the beginning I thought my head was going to rattle right off, but when the rocket boosters dropped off, it was much smoother. Even though I know it wasn't the exact same (no adult diapers on this ride), it was neat to get a small taste of what a lift-off is like.

A model of one of the orbiters that we could walk in and see the payload bay. The last thing we did was hop on the bus for a tour of some of the space center buildings. First stop was the viewing station. This is where people can go and see the space shuttles launch. It's about 5 miles away, but you have a great view. The Endeavor was on the launch pad ready for the June 13 take-off, so that was neat to see. One thing we learned was about the special gravel they have on the road that the shuttle moves along when they transport it. It doesn't allow any friction, which is important because of all the fuel in the rockets. One spark could mean very bad things!Space shuttle Endeavor. The special gravel road is on the far left of the picture next to the main road. The second stop on the bus tour was to see the Saturn V - the rocket that did all the Apollo missions. It was HUGE - slightly longer than a professional football field. No way could we get it in one picture. It was interesting to read about all the Apollo missions in the room around the rocket. The tip of the Saturn V rocket and the command module under it. The last stop was to the room where they are working on parts for the International Space Station. There was an observation deck overlooking the room where they work on parts that are going to be installed. There were even some that are going up next week - cooool! It also explained future plans for the ISS. Andrew was interested in the window going in that looks like on in Star Wars - called the Cupola. It will be installed in the fall. . . we'll keep up with the mission that includes that. :o) It also had an area that had modules of some of the segments where the astronauts work and live. The part in the front, right part of the picture is going up next week (I'm pretty sure that's the one the lady was talking about). Strap yourself in - it's time for bed! I can stop working for a quick pose (p.s. I have no idea what those buttons are for...maybe it's a good thing there was a panel there....haha)

We had a great day! We were planning on getting over to Tampa in time for the first Royals game, but the Space Center was an all day event. And that ended up being ok. We had more fun than we would've watching the Royals lose (more on that later...) We listened to the game and arrived in St. Petersburg that night.