Sunday, April 4, 2010

Valentines, Snowboarding like the "Flying Tomato", Snow Camping in the Grand Canyon, Spring Break Visitors, and a Wedding...

So I know the teaser post was not nice..but I needed a few days (as we all know that turned into a month) to unpack, dry out, and make my way though the many many pictures from what has turned into our trips, visitors, and adventures! So picture overload get to make them bigger!

Rewind to Feb please - Valentines Day was a low key event with dinner at home a chance to relax! Daniel got me a new snowboard setup and some super cute earrings made locally. I got him a few snowboarding accessories as well as a t-shirt from his girlfriend Chelsey Handler! HA! We had a great evening and were so excited to go snowboarding again!

We headed to the mountain on Tuesday so I could try out my new board and I love it!! We had another great day together and as I said in the title....just like the Flying Tomato..hahahah NOT! When we officially decided to head to the Grand Canyon for a few days..I checked the weather and it did call for a slight chance of snow with cooler temperatures. I say this so you can understand what was to come... When we left Santa Fe the temperature was 3 degrees..that should have been our first hint. However, the Canyon is 5-6 hours from us so we both knew the weather would be different! We stopped at the Continental Divide along the way for a few photo oportunities. We arrived at the park with only an idea of what was to come and no snow in sight. As we entered into the park all this snow appeared- and not just a little 18 inches! We found the camp ground and couldn't believe how much snow was on the actual ground. We kept driving around almost expecting to find a cleared area - but alas nothing appeared before us. We were both in complete shock but decided we had no choice but to set up on top of the deep snow. The temperature was at freezing while setting up camp and again I was excited to be at the Grand Canyon. Dinner was the gourmet consistency of turkey dogs and nothing else- it was too cold to actually cook! We headed over to the Canyon to watch the sunset and it became something I can only describe as breath taking! It was gorgeous. We stayed until it got dark and then headed back to camp where I made a fire. Daniel weenied out and got in the tent early!! I realized at this moment I maybe a stronger woman than he is! HA! All he kept saying is that he was freezing. I tried to convince Daniel that growing up tent camping that body heat would keep us warm during the night and we really needed to zip our -20 degree sleeping bags together. He didn't agree and realized I was right as we both hardly slept from being so cold! We heard the next day it was into the single digits that night.

We awoke early the next morning to crows calling us to get outside and play. It started snowing shortly after we got up and cooked a quick breakfast. We decided to head to the quarter showers and it quickly became the best shower of my entire life. We made the decision that since we were in the Grand Canyon we were not going to let the weather get us down. We bundled up more than normal- packed our backpacks for hiking down into the canyon and headed out for a day of hiking. We started at the far end of the Canyon and worked our way to the plaza. We kept the dogs with us for half of the day and then headed down into the canyon just the two of us. We got a kick out of asking everyone day if the snow was supposed to stop. The Forest Rangers kept telling us the snow wasn't going to stick..hmm really because it clearly was! It snowed all day and added at least another 6 inches to the 18 on the ground! We actually had a lot of fun hiking in the snow - although it was not easy and certainly tiring. Thankfully I had packed for extreme weather camping and hiking. We used our hot hands and every bit of warm items we had on that hike. The Canyon was difficult to see on the way out so we decided to get hot chocolate and warm up. We were so cold we even participated in the night events and attended a yodeling and cowboy rope twirling demonstration. Hey..I know you are laughing..but it was warm! It was still snowing that night and had no signs of letting up so we slept in the back of the Sequoia- mainly just so Daniel would not freeze to death! ;) I knew it was going to be warmer and also talked D into zipping the sleeping bags together. He listened and we both slept better.
The next morning we woke up at sunrise to see the Canyon in a different light. It was amazing as well! I completely agree with what people say - you must see the Canyon at sunrise, during the day, and sunset. All three times have a different but amazing look, color, etc. It is even beautiful at night. We packed up our things - which was an adventure in itself as everything we took as frozen and/or covered with snow. Our wet clothes were frozen..lovely! A bird flew away my new pairing knife, drank a coke, and the dogs loved burring the balls in the snow. HA! We laughed as we packed our things. We decided to do a little more hiking and sightseeing before we left. This day the weather was absolutely clear and perfect for viewing the Canyon. We had a great trip and are making plans to try and go back before we leave this part of the country. I truly believe the Grand Canyon is a must take trip and see for anyone. FYI -they have cabins and many free planned activities as well as restaurants ranging from fine dining to buffet and guided hikes. The website is an amazing tool for anyone planning a trip although they need a better weather section! HA! We always like to do things on the adventurous side but could be a great family trip with kids as well!

We spent the next week getting ready for our Spring Break visitors. We decided one of the days Daniel was off to check out Los Alamos where we discovered the Los Alamos National Scientific Laboratory (national security focus), historic land marks, and another place to snowboard. The drive was gorgeous but made us miss trees! Its amazing how they look when you have been away from them! We also took a day and headed to famous Santaurio de Chimayo a place where thousands of people make the annual pilgrimage to this church on Good Friday. People go to give thanks to prayers answered or to ask for them to be answered. The dirt is also thought to be healing and can solve problems from financial to health. Chimayo is also home to several famous weaving families, shops, and galleries. Side note- The past few days have been amazing to see people walking for days. The park we are staying at is directly along the route from Santa Fe and anywhere in southern or central New Mexico. I heard on the news a couple walked from Las Cruces, NM around 300miles!
On an exciting note...As we are so close to Albuquerque I have had the opportunity to spend some time with my sweet friend Laura. Laura and I became friends while in Austin and she is so much fun! We have similar backgrounds, worked for the same gym, and have kept in touch over the years. We saw Laura and Anthony last September when Hershey jumped in the New Mexico state fair. After our visit Laura and Anthony learned they were expecting a bundle of joy! I was so honored when she asked me to attend her shower. She has some great friends in the Albuquerque area and they welcomed me with open arms. Laura received super cute "little man" things and she is set up! Laura you are a great person and I know are going to be an outstanding mama! I had so much fun at your shower and can't wait to get back so see you again. The little man will be here before you know it. I am sad to say I forgot my camera ;( So here is a pic from last summer!
We were were more than excited when Daniel's mother Mary, sister Melissa, husband Ryan, kids Gage and Little D came into town for spring break. We immediately started searching for things to do, places to go, and fun times to experience. We ultimately settled on snowboarding, sledding, and playing in the vast outdoor areas surrounding Santa Fe. They arrived on Sunday just in time for the big snow! They were so lucky while in town it snowed the day they arrived and we got almost 8 inches. They were so excited to see that much snow. The first day we kept things a little low key as we got them settled in and ready for the week ahead. Monday we headed up the mountain into the Santa Fe National Forest for their first ever sledding experience. I know they really enjoyed playing in the deep snow , sledding, and making snow angles. It snowed while we were on the mountain and later learned the area had about a 12ft base of snow! WOW!! After- we headed to the Santa Fe Plaza that is lined with museums, churches, and all things artistic and Santa Fe-ish (is that a word) to see. We went the Loretto Chapel known for the miraculous staircase that is suspended from the ceiling to the floor. It has no support beams and is architecturally a masterpiece. We walked around the art district admiring all the jewelry and pottery. Dinner was at the always yummy Tortilla Flats.
The next morning we started off with a breakfast made for snowboarders. HA! We headed to the mountain this time to teach Gage how to ski. He and his daddy Ryan were so excited. Every time Daniel and I have been to this particular mountain it has not been packed, well on this day, it was - it was spring break in TX. So many TX folks that I may or may not have downed the horns..Ok I did! Anyway, we had the best time teaching Gage how to ski. He did really good considering it was his first time to ever put on skis! It took a few tries for him to understand to pizza his feet and that you must angle your legs to turn not just your arms. He was so cute and wanted to keep trying again and again!
By the end of the day he was confident enough to ski down a little without anyone below to catch him. So cute!
We had a great day snowboarding as well and I got more adventurous and tried more blacks. Daniel was successful in completing the jump he had been trying the last several times. Look at the AIR!
We know Ryan had fun skiing for the first time in I believe 8 yrs. I hope Melissa, Little D, and Mary had fun watching all of us and were able to relax and play in the snow. The lodge was packed but I think we all had fun! Gage we enjoyed teaching you to ski and someday will teach you to snowboard!

St Patricks day fell during spring break so we headed to see Taos, Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and to the Village of Eagles Nest, NM. We made a day of it. We started the day in Taos an headed to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. We walked across the bridge... 650 feet above the Rio Grande that's winding through the rough rock gorge on each side. The bridge was built in the cantilever truss style and is the second highest bridge of its construction in the country.
Next we headed to the Village of Eagles Nest known was the "Gateway to the Enchanted Circle of Northern New Mexico." Part of the town is an old western area with shops and restaurants. The other big attraction to the area is the lake. In the winter it is known for ice fishing. We walked out on the lake and talked to a few fisherman. We learned from the locals that the village is situated in a way so it stays cool all year even in the summer. That conversation lead us to finding a shop that sells wood burning stoves and furnaces from the 1800s and apparently we will own one when we settle and build a home. :) Eagles Nest is so close to 2 ski resorts...I know we will be back!
We had a great time with our Spring Breakers. We hope this becomes a tradition and get to see you guys again soon. You are welcome anytime! The afternoon our visitors left, Daniel and I headed to the Jackalope for some shopping fun. I had been asking Daniel to go with me for 2 months but it just didn't happen. We enjoyed the cool afternoon walking around, watching glass blowing, seeing the animals, and shopping surrounded by (as they say here) New Mexican made things!
We also recently took a fantastic trip to FL for Jill and Jason's wedding in Clearwater Beach. We had a blast and the weather could not be more perfect. They are great friends, are the cutest couple, and are so excited to be married! Friday was full of meeting new people and relaxing. It started by breakfast with the couple and the day perfectly relaxing by the pool and on the beach.
The beach rehearsal:
Friday night, after the rehearsal the couple hosted a get-together at a local restaurant- complete with a trombonist DJ, who was fantastic.Saturday the weather was gorgeous for a wedding and the girls spent the day relaxing in the hotel and getting ready for the events. We enjoyed a day of doing "girl stuff!" You all know what I mean, movies, mimosas, snacks, stories, laughing..lots of fun!
The wedding was on the beach and could not have more perfect! The bride looked stunning and the reception was a blast!
Jill and Jason we are so honored you asked us to be part of your special day. We enjoyed so much getting to see you both so happy and in love! You both looked amazing, we had a weekend of memories, and made some great new friends. Remember *Hope your road goes on forever and your party never ends!* We love you both and hope to see you again soon!

Sunday we got together will Sue and her husband and some of their Tampa friends for lunch and then headed to a museum to view an exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci
and the Mona Lisa. It was a great exhibit and we learned so much. We had a low key evening and relaxed from all the events of our trip. Monday we met up with Sue again and she took us all over the city- touring the port of Tampa, Landing Area, Yabor City, Harbour Island, and Davis Island. We got to see their place and it is super cute (yes it is!) as well as just spend some good quality time together. D and Sue had not seen each other since our wedding. I had the opportunity last year to go to Sue's Law School graduation but had not seen her since. Sue is one of those friends that you can just pick up with like you saw her yesterday. I love you pretty lady and am so glad we were able to see you and spend some great time together. Hopefully it will be sooner than later!
We got home late on Monday night and on Tuesday I believe the babies are happy to have us home...

Daniel has been very busy with work before our trip to Fl and after as well. We have 2-3 weeks left on this rotation and are currently in the process of either extending our contract or looking for a new rotation. Only time will tell!

Happy Easter everyone! Just this morning...a reality of how lucky we really are and how life will stop you in your tracks. While walking the dogs this morning, in the park, I saw a mother hiding rocks. After we exchanged a quick friendly hello in passing, she started talking to her kids and said the Easter bunny didn't have any money this year. I noticed she was literally hiding large rocks for her 2 young kids to find. I brought the dogs home, got in my car and stopped to talk to her again. With tears filling her eyes she told me they barely had enough fuel to get to the next job that hopefully would last for a few days, and I told her not to worry. The Easter Bunny did come bringing cookies, candy, dyed eggs, and lots of food. It was a touching moment with the parents when I handed over the Easter goodness. An Easter to remember!

We miss each and everyone of you and hope we can see you soon! Much much love and many hugs! Now its your turn..what is going on with you?
Daniel and Melissa