Friday, July 30, 2010

Only Two Weeks!

These two are getting married in only two weeks.

 Eek! Are we ready?

 I am definitely excited for the two of them, but anxious about all the preparations.

The invitations are done and sent despite our printer COMPLETELY breaking down and becoming irreparable after printing only 24 envelopes.

Our deck is freshly stained. It took a reception at our home to motivate us to get the task done--we've put it off for several years. The job was undoubtedly a family affair (of the HOT and LONG variety).

I must admit it is great fun gathering glassware for the dessert buffet. Perhaps I have a new found passion (and a reason to scour thrift and antique stores.)

Family starts coming into town this weekend. Happy Busy Good Times.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mother's Green Thumb

My mom has graciously and eagerly taken on the assignment of helping me get our yard in tip-top shape for the upcoming wedding reception.

Her landscape in lush Virginia was the pride of the neighborhood, however it is a real challenge keeping plants blooming until August 13 (the wedding day) in our thirsty desert. Mom tirelessly makes the half hour drive from her place to ours almost daily to water, prune, and fertilize.

She was anxious to see how mandavilla grew in Utah so she planted two of these tropical plants. They certainly don't do as well as they do in Virginia, but the blooms are still impressive.

At first I was a bit skeptical when Mom pulled these blond baskets out of the back seat of her car, but they prove to be ideal containers for colorful impatiens. I love how they look nestled in amongst the bishop's weed and aspen trees.

We dragged this galvanized steel barrel and old wooden boxes out from under our deck--surprisingly perfect vessels for more Summer blooms.

Thanks so much Mom!

I am trying something new and linking to Bloomin' Tuesday today.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Bride

Three weeks until the wedding. Am I really the mother-of-the-bride? Wasn't I just one myself? Wasn't she just here beside me collecting buttons, picking flowers, walking around in dress-up shoes, building Legos, concocting in the kitchen?

My sweet little girl is all grown up.

(Photos by Haley Ann Warner Photography)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weeding Surprise

Yesterday evening I spied a weed in one of the flower beds close to the house. It was unexpectedly tall so I began to tug. I was completely taken by surprise to discover that I had unearthed a baby walnut tree!  

How in the world did THAT happen? We are devoid of walnut trees in our neighborhood.

I smiled and called the kids. Together we "oohed" and "awed" and paused at the tiny miracle.

Then . . . I tossed it in the yard waste bin.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mesa Verde

On Brian's birthday we spent the day at Mesa Verde, home to Ancestral Puebloans (formerly referred to as Anasazi). After snaking our way to the top of the mesa our first stop was the ancient farming community of Far View. The site below is called Coyote Village (A.D. 800-1000s).

Abby was excited to actually see a Kiva--something she had studied in 3rd grade. Kivas were important gathering places and were especially used for ceremonial purposes. (Yes, I loved the purple wild flowers.)

Eventually the Ancestral Puebloans moved off the tops of the mesas down into the cliffs. The first cliff dwelling we toured was Spruce Tree House (A.D. 1200s). The sticks below are actually ladders poking out of kivas. Notice the soot stained "roof" from centuries of fires.

Abby climbing out of a Kiva.

This is House of Many Windows. The people used toe and hand-holds to climb up and down the cliffs. Incredible. Imagine that instead of teaching your toddler how to descend stairs, you would teach her how to scale a vertical rock! Women did this with baby boards, while carrying pottery, and while toting gathered crops from the mesa tops. Whoa!

Our last stop of the day was Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling.

Artwork remains untouched. (Picture taken when looking skyward inside a tower.)

Up and out involved climbing ladders and stone stairs. This modern route paralleled the hand and toe-hold path of the Ancestral Puebloans. Can you see the lone figure of the woman almost to the top? (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

We arrived back at our hotel in Moab close to midnight, but that did not deter the kids from insisting we find an open grocery store and buy their dad a proper birthday cake.

Happy 48th, Brian!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Here are some pictures I took of the red rock formations in Arches National Park.
What would YOU have called them?

Three Gossips

Balanced Rock

Turret Arch

Double Arch

I used to think nature had to be green to be beautiful, but I must admit, beauty can be found everywhere.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just a Pile of Rocks

I have new found gratitude for rock piles.

The hike to Delicate Arch became daunting at one point when all I could see was an expanse of stone. This, of course, came right after we passed a disgruntled family telling us it was "too far". They had given up and turned back. Just around the corner another exhausted woman complained about how lengthy and arduous the trek was.

I looked forward and saw only an ominous boulder.

I continued onward, searching for "the path of least resistance." I am sure I passed several of these rock piles (cairns) before I actually noticed them. When I did finally associate them as "leading the way", I was almost giddy. I had seen such before, but only in wooded areas and definitely not so elaborate. I was grateful to the dear Park Ranger who blazed the trail and rekindled my optimism.

Lessons can be learned from a mere pile of rocks. Stop focusing on the sun blazing down, the parched throat, the precarious knee. Look ahead. Search for The Way. Find joy in the rock piles and smile.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh So Delicate

I hiked to Delicate Arch this week--Utah's unofficial state symbol.

Of course we picked a day in midsummer, mid afternoon, and mid nineties. 

We were told to take as much water as we could carry.

It was HOT. It was long. It was more vertical than I wanted. It was 3 miles round trip.

But. . . we finally reached the top.

Travis and Kellie are those red clad human specks beneath the arch in the photo below. They beat us there by climbing up the vertical back face. Good thing I had no idea.

I didn't expect to see so many crows in Arches. This one was not a bit shy.

It was interesting to watch him hop sideways down the slope until he took off.

Travis wanted to claim this formation as his own.

On the return trip Kellie hesitated a few minutes as she contemplated how to scale the wall. (Again, she and Travis took the route less traveled.)

I am so grateful my knee worked--so grateful for modern medicine. It was a good day!