Monday, October 3, 2011

The Great Painting Adventure

Jacob invited us to New York to help him paint his apartment. We surprised him by taking him up on his offer! Getting there was quite an experience. Our plane sat on the tarmac in Chicago for over half an hour before we were able to disembark. We raced to make our connection which ended up being delayed. The New York LaGuardia airport was closed as a result of a severe thunderstorm! The bad news: We had to wait for four hours before getting seated on a plane. The good news: We were among the few from our flight that got out that day. The remaining passengers didn't depart until the next morning!

We arrived at our lodgings only to discover that there was no one there to let us in. It was dark and we were in Harlem...a little unsettling. Remembering that we were supposed to get an email with late arrival instructions, Jim pulled out his laptop and accessed the information. We had to use the light from the laptop to locate the lock box and input the access code. Thankfully, we found the key and got in! However our room was locked. After a few more harrowing moments, Jim was able to get in touch with the manager and discover that we were trying to get into the wrong room. We located the correct room and soon welcomed Jacob and the meal he had picked up for us. What a welcome sight!

After a leisurely morning the next day, we met Jacob for brunch at a French restaurant near his work. The mashed potatoes were heavenly! Jacob took us on a tour of a few of his favorite shops. This "Jetson" chair in a unique, upscale home furnishings store caught my eye. I sat in it before realizing that it matched my top! We also found the perfect couch for Jacob's apartment in the same store. Unfortunately the $10,000 price tag put it a bit out of the budget.

We visited the small, friendly ceramics studio where Jacob spends most of his free time creating beautiful works of art.

A frozen yogurt sundae was a most welcome treat before we headed to Jacob's apartment to assess the painting project.

After a trip to Home Depot for supplies and a fantastic dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant (the key lime pie was amazing!), we got to work.

By 10:00 pm the following day, we had painted the whole apartment! Words can't express the incredible joy we felt as we completed that project. We felt Jacob's love and appreciation for our help through his constant expressions of gratitude. At the same time, our love and appreciation for Jacob and his many wonderful qualities was strengthened. What a blessed experience!
Jacob, you are a kind, hard working and fantastically creative son. Thanks for the best New York trip ever!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fantastic Friday

Friday, August 5, found me at a kid's fun center with Elly, Nathan, Matthew, Maggie, Becca and some friends to celebrate Maggie's sixth birthday. Most of the celebration took place at the small, kid-friendly water park on the premises.

Nathan immediately tried out the big slides. He loved them! He tried talking Matthew into joining him but Matthew fearfully refused. They played together on the shark slide for a while but Nathan soon made his way back to the big slide for the big thrills.

The smaller whale slide was just right for Becca, Maggie and friends.

Becca joined the dance competition in her swim vest. She could not be persuaded to take it off! Eventually, Maggie was rocking away, too.

After much cajoling, Matthew finally got brave enough to try the big slide. One run and he was hooked! Soon Maggie and her friends were hitching rides with Nathan to careen down the slide as well.
Becca was perfectly happy to flit back and forth between kiddie pool and whale slide.

Party time! Who could resist the smiley-face-with-sunglasses cake (made by Elly)....

...or the shark's teeth, ice cream and lemonade or root beer provided by the fun center.

After the party and as part of the entertainment, we watched Maggie catch handfuls of real money in the wind tube and then "fish" for a prize. She caught a colorful light rod.

The planned two hour party turned into a four hour one, The kids were having too much fun. What a wonderful birthday party for Maggie! I'm so glad I got to help out.

I left the party at the originally scheduled departing time so that Jim and I could make the drive to Morgan to join some of my family for dinner and the rodeo.

We enjoyed having the chance to spend time with family! The rodeo was an interesting cultural experience. It was especially fun watching the kids chase after the bunnies and ride the frisky sheep.

What a super fantastic Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The End of July Found Us In Adventure Mode

Last Friday night we were in the mood for a date night adventure. We considered going on a bicycle ride but decided hiking to Doughnut Falls would be the perfect activity for a hot summer day. As we drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon, we were struck by the beauty of the towering cliffs and the lush green vegetation. The well-traveled trail to the falls meandered through meadows covered with wild flowers, quaking aspen groves....

...and evergreen forests alongside a turbulent stream.

Because of the excess amounts of water cascading down Doughnut Falls, getting close was almost impossible. Jim bravely clambered over some rocks, soaking his feet in the process, to get a better view and a photo or two.

After several attempts, we finally got some pretty good photos of ourselves.
Meadows filled with yellow wild flowers caught our eye as we drove from the trailhead parking lot. What beauty and serenity!

We continued the drive up the canyon to the ski resort Solitude, hoping to find a place to have dinner. The first restaurant we encountered was packed. Even the appetizers at the second were out of our budget. We explored Solitude for a few minutes, in spite of our rumbling tummies, and found ourselves enchanted by the place. It's already on Jim's list of favorite places to ski! We ended up stopping at our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner as we made our way home.

Early the next morning, we loaded our bicycles in the truck and drove to the Jordan River Parkway for a bicycle ride along the river trail. We rode for about eleven miles along a paved trail through cow pastures, natural areas and developed parks. The sights and smells brought back memories of my childhood and the farm, located in an area a few miles north, where I spent about nine years of my youth. It was a fantastic ride!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What We Loved About Watchman Campground In Zion Park--Spring Vacation Continued

Our campsites with the electrical hookups and stunning views.

Bicycling on the beautiful Pa'rus Trail at 7 am. The scenery was spectacular!

The evening ranger programs were fascinating! We learned about mountain lions the first night and natural arches the next.

The tent caterpillars which were everywhere. Actually, it was the kids who liked these little critters. In fact, they made a huge collection of them on the last evening as we were eating dinner.