Friday, August 31, 2012

Life is an Adventure

Life is either a great adventure or nothing.

Our summer vacation was not only about seeing new places but having new adventures. 

Here's some of the adventures we enjoyed.

Exploring a Gold Mine in Jackson Hole

Trying our luck at mining for gold.  Found 3 small gold flakes.

First time horseback riding for the boys

Getting soaked by a geyser (picture below).

This is the Geyser when it first started erupting. It lasted for about 10 minutes.

Alpine Slide.  The boys first time on a chair lift.

First time at a rodeo.

Hummer ride into the canyons around Moab Utah.

Hiking the Fire Furnace Trail in Arches National Park. Amazing Hike!!

 Fishing on Yellowstone Lake.  This was the boys first time on a speed boat and fishing.

Whitewater rafting on the Colorado River

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank you Teddy!

Theodore Roosevelt was a major player in creating our wonderful national parks. During his presidency he set aside almost 200 million acres for national forests, reserves and wildlife refuges. Thanks to his love of nature and his determination to protect our lands for future generations, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting 10 National Park and Memorials.

Our first visit was to the Badlands National Park. We enjoy the beautiful weather and the stunning views. We took a few short hikes and visited the prairie dog village.

On our way to Custer State Park we stopped by to see a few famous faces.

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse

We went inside one of the largest cave systems, Jewel Cave. The map we are looking at is what they have discovered so far inside the cave.

On the way to our next big stop we stopped to hike around Devils Tower.

The highlight of our vacation was Yellowstone.

Old Faithful
Yellowstone's Grand Canyon
Hot Springs
For the ride home we stopped at the Grand Teton, Canyonlands and Arches National Park.

Grand Teton
Arches National Park
The last photo I want to share with you is not a National Park, but it was so beautiful I just had to include it in this post.  This photo was taken at the Red Cliff Lodge in Moab, Utah.

So I leave you with some wise words of Theodore Roosevelt and hope that his wisdom continues on so that my great grandchild will some day be able to see such beauty with their own eyes.

"Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the 'the game belongs to the people.' So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The 'greatest good for the greatest number' applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method."  Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This trip was wild

I didn't forget about posting about our summer trip. I've been swamped with getting back into the grove of my school and the work that comes along with my classes and getting ready for my boys to get back to school. (One more week!)   So, sorry for the delay.

I'm a big nature lover. I enjoy seeing the landscape, hearing the birds and exploring what mother nature has to offer. One thing I really loving seeing are animals in their nature habitat. I knew that our trip out west would come with many opportunities to see wildlife.

I was surprised that our boys seemed to enjoy animals like the prairie dog or a lizard

more than they did a bear. 

I'm sure it was because the safe distance involved with the different animals. But give me a bear any day over a lizard.

Buffalo were by far the easiest to spot. They were stopping traffic all over the place.

We were lucky to spot some other animals from our car, such as big horn sheep

a family of deer

and an antelope.

We also had some mule just come up to the car looking for snacks.

 A few animals we had to get out of the car and walk through a field to get a good picture.  I was told that there were some Elk in the back of a field. Many people we taking the walk to get a peek, so I figured I would join in.  I like to play it safe around animals so I was keeping my eyes open to make sure I did surprise anything or get too close.  When I came around a bend, I think my heart stopped for a second. Not out of fear, but our of amazement.  Two big, beautiful Elk were grazing. The size of these animals was just breath taking and I still can not figure out how they can lift their heads with the size of their horns.

When we left the parks I was disappointed because I didn't get to see the animal I really had my heart set on seeing - a Moose.  I knew it would be a long shot to see one but that was the cherry on top for me.  Then one morning as we were driving, there it was.  It was walking right through someone's yard and across the highway. 

We got a few photos before it ambled into the bushes.  Talk about huge!! This animal was mammoth, but just strolled along so gentle and without a care.  I was glad we were all in the car and I was so excited that I got to see my Moose.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Vacation

Our travel binders
I've been struggling with how I wanted to blog about our summer vacation. I don't want to bore everyone with a "first we did this and then we did that" narrative.  So over the last week I've been trying to figure out a good way of documenting our time.  And I'm still thinking and thinking and then I realized I was letting the perfectionist in me freeze my movement forward. That happens more often then I like to admit.  So I'm forcing myself to just go with the flow and to stop waiting for the "perfect" way.

I figure the best place to start is the beginning.  Getting ready for a 16 day road trip with 3 boys ages 10 and under is no small task. My husband took care of making the vacation plans, but it's my job to get everything ready and to try to keep everyone happy and comfortable in the car.

Our list of items included cases of water, snacks, hand held video games, books and lots of DVDs.

I also decided to make a binder for the boys to help entertain them but also teach them and help them document our vacation.  The first item I included in the binder was a map with our route drawn on the map.  Each apple represents a stay over point on the trip.  I also typed up our agenda for each day so there would be less surprises for the boys each day.

Page 1 of travel binder - Our driving route

 I also found many wonderful sites that had Road Trip game printable.  Check out my travel pinterest board to get copies of these wonderful games.  The boys favorite pages were the Road Trip Bingo and the License Plate Game.

I also went through many of our unfinished workbooks.  I put a random selection of dot-to-dot, cross words and coloring pages in each binder and because the pages were in a different format they seemed like new items to the boys and they were excited about doing the pages.

 Finally, I enclosed some blank paper and some photo sleeves.  At each stop along the way we had the boys pick out a post card to add to their binder.  I encouraged them to write something about the place on the back of the cards so they would remember what they liked.  This idea didn't always work, but the thought was there. :)

The binders were a big success and I'm sure we will do it again in the future.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Vacation by the Numbers

I was inspired by the monthly layouts that Melissa over at Daily Life - Bits & Pieces does every month. I think it's such a fun way to capture the month.  I know myself pretty well and knew I would never keep up with the monthly numbers, but I knew it would be perfect for our summer trip.

We had a grand adventure in July. A car trip out west. We were able to see so many wonderful places that this great land offers and do many new activities.

First Photo from Trip
I will be posting more about our trip, but for now here are the numbers:

Days on Vacation : 16
States we were in during our Vacation: 13
National Parks and Monuments experienced: 9
Miles Traveled: 4,886
Hottest Day during Vacation: 104
Highest Point we crossed: 10,603 Vail Pass
Times we ate fast food: 7
Books Read by me: 7.5
Magazines Read by me: 2
U.S. License Plates spotted: 37 out of 50
Different animals seen: 13
Photos Taken: 1,712

Last Photo from Trip

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monthly Recap

I'm a little late on my round-up for the month and it's going to be a quick one. Most of the month we were on vacation. We took a long road trip out west. I'm not going to say much about it here in the round-up, but I will have more post about the trip coming up once I get the photos uploaded which should be this weekend.

So on with the round up!

1. What types of media did I enjoy this month?

 Watched the movie Brave and Avengers at the drive-in.

 Re-read Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows

Read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion, Mindset for Moms by Jamie Martin, Switched, Torn and Ascend (Trylee Trilogy) by Amanda Hocking Most of these books were read on the car ride.

P.S. Thank to everyone that gave me book suggestions. I've added them to my list of need to read. You might notice that none of the books I read were on my list that I posted. I decided I need to read books that I already have that were waiting for me to pick them up.

2. What did my kids do/learn this month?

The boys had some play dates this month and they all continued their swimming lessons. My two youngest are still taking music lesson but we had a few weeks off for our vacation.

 3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

We celebrated 4th of July with three other families and had a wonderful time watching all the wonderful fireworks. The laws in Michigan changed regarding the purchase of fireworks, so everyone went crazy this year. The street firework shows were much bigger and louder.

We also had a lovely time at one of our friends homes. They invited us and two other families over for drinks and to let the kids to play. It so comforting to have friends that our family friends. Everyone gets along great - the moms, dads and kids.

 I also got to enjoy a nice dinner with my friends from high school. Our get together are always something I look forward to doing.

Our big fun this month was our trip out west.

4. What creative things have I done this month? I did five layouts, lots of cards and some Harry Potter posters. Here's a few of the layouts I finished:

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

My big purchase this month was my classes for the Fall semester. I'm registered for two classes: Advanced Photoshop and After Effects. Really looking forward to learning more about Photoshop and learning what after effects is all about.

 6. What were my fitness/health accomplishments this month?

My fitness was good and bad this month. It started our strong with me going to boot camp, running a little again and playing soccer. On our vacation, I didn't do any "exercise" but we did lots of walking, hiking and swimming.

7. What were my accomplishments this month?

My biggest accomplishment this month was surviving being in the car for days. I have a hard time sitting still for a long time so it was hard especially on the way home.

8. What were my disappointments this month?

When we got back from our vacation my husband went in the basement to make sure everything was fine. He noticed that the freezer door was opening a little. We lost everything in that freezer. I guess it was fates way of telling me I procrastinated too long about cleaning that freezer out.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

 Finish brochure for office. –Final got information about what is needed. Will start work on it when we return from vacation.

Try to get Illustrator project done before new term starts. –Talked with professor via email to get help with project. I still have lots to do to get it right. I don’t think I will get this done anytime soon. But will keep working on it when I have time.

Go through last years school papers and scan in the ones I want to keep and recycle everything else. - Finished

10. Anything else noteworthy to include?
We found out we will be getting a new principal at the boys school this year. I'm excited for the change but I'm a little nervous too, because I don't know how she handles food allergies and I will not know until I met with her right before school starts.

Goals for August (in no particular order): Get School Shopping done. Clean and Purge Closet Downstairs. Look into new budget software.

I hope your month was happy and healthy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One Little Word Blog Hop

It's that time again for the One Little Word Blog Hop.  Welcome back!

This months prompt is always fun - the music of your life.  I usually only listen to music when I'm driving or running.  I like it quiet when I work or I'll have classical music - nothing with words.  I find it distracting when I'm trying to think.  Even though I don't listen to it much, I do love music.  I really should have it on more because it does life my spirits.

Last year when I did this prompt the lyrics came easy to me.  This year I really had to think about the songs I listen to lately.  After listen and reading the lyrics to many of the songs I listen to lately, I realized that many of them were negative. But I kept listen to my play list and was really happy with the lyrics that spoke to me.

I keep the design of my cards very simple. Black background. White text. Two fonts. Some swirls. A little glitter spray.  Here's the cards before I cut them out.

I case this is hard to read here are the songs that I picked.

John Lennon - Image: You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one

Katy Perry - Wide Awake: I wish I knew then what I know now. Wouldn't dive in. Wouldn't bow down.

Muse - Survival: Race, life's a race and I am gonna win. Yes, I am gonna win.

Robbie Schaefer - Fits Right In: She said...I like to be myself.

Coldplay - Yellow: Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you.

Blue October - Jump Rope: You gotta hold your head up high and watch all the negative go by.

Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe: I threw a wish in the well.

Katy Perry - Part of Me: Now look at me I'm sparkling.

Kelly Clarkson - Stronger: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Thanks for stopping by....  The next stop on the blog hop is over atRuth's

If you get lost Margie has the blog hop list posted here.