Monday, June 27, 2011

A Few Random Memories

I've neglected my blog in the last few months, and now that I have time, I've realized that I meant to blog about several things, but I never quite got around to it. So this post will be a brief mishmash of a few fun activities we've done during the first half of 2011.

In January, I found out that each winter in Midway, Utah, there is a man who builds ice castles in the town square. It sounded like a unique idea, so Graham and I drove up one night to go look. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was impressed by the 20+ foot castles that greeted me. You could actually walk through the middle of them (no thrones, though). Sadly, my camera ran out of battery about three minutes after we got there, so I only got a couple of pictures. Oops.

During Graham's busy season at work, I kept myself busy with numerous projects while waiting for him to come home. :) This is a quilt I made for my college roommate Kristy's baby girl. I didn't want to post the picture until after I gave her the quilt, and then I forgot. Oops again.

For my first week of summer vacation, Graham and I drove to California. He had to work in San Jose, so I went with him and split my days between Ann and Teanca, and Kristy. It was so nice to see them all and have a fun way to kick off the summer. One day, Ann, Teanca, and I decided to go to the Villa Montalvo for a picnic and a walk around the grounds (you can see the villa in the distance through the gates).

Here are a few shots from our nature-loving excursion.

Now, off to have some more adventures!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Slowing Down

This video totally inspired me this morning. It's a great reminder to slow down and not get caught up in the craziness of life, and to put down our distractions and look at the life and beauty around us.

I (as I think many people do) have a tendency to rush around and feel like I have to be productive all the time. I have been training myself over the last year to allow myself leisure time and to focus on the moment more. I'm trying to get away from the idea of just "getting through today" or this week, or this month, or this summer, or whatever. I'm trying to enjoy each stage of life, bit by bit, because I only get one life. This summer, as I have a lot more time to slow down, I'm making a goal to enjoy the time, use it well, and not rush myself through it! We'll see how it goes.

So, slow down for three minutes and eleven seconds, watch the video, and see what you think.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How I Defied Death and Became an Angel (of sorts)

Note: This post is a little belated because it took awhile to get the pictures in, but I'm posting it anyway. :)


What is a girl to do when her husband has been working long hours, they both finally have a long weekend, and the weather is supposed to be warmer 300 miles away? Take off on a road trip, of course!

Graham and I have been wanting to get away for awhile, but our work schedules hadn't allowed it...until Memorial Day weekend. We decided last minute to take off and go reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in Zion National Park. I have lived in Utah for almost 9 years and I had never been to one of the most popular vacation spots in the state.

We drove down to Cedar city on Friday and relaxed at a hotel there. The next morning, the hotel served a great hot breakfast (YUM!), and then we were off to Zion! We had both been a bit sick, but that didn't stop us from choosing to embark on one of the most strenuous hikes: Angel's Landing. It's 5+ miles of steep switchbacks, a nice walk back into the canyon, more (awful) switchbacks that are named "Walter's Wiggles" to deceptively make them sound fun, and finally, a stroll along a narrow ridge that has HUGE drop-offs on both sides.

But after all the breathless steps and the encouragement from Graham that I wouldn't die, we got our reward: a BEAUTIFUL view of the park, and the knowledge that we had beaten the mountain. Or, better, we had worked with the mountain and ascended to the peak that was seen as unreachable when explorers first came to the area. The name "Angel's Landing" was actually given to the peak because it was thought that only an angel could reach the peak; it was untouchable by man...or so they thought.

(This shot is us on top of the peak in the top picture.)

Of course we didn't stop there. After we got down from the peak, we did two more hikes (MUCH easier ones). By then, we decided that we were sufficiently exhausted and headed home. It was a short trip, but SO much fun. I highly recommend it. But, if you can't go that far, definitely find some mountains to commune with closer to home. It's amazing what they'll say to you when you listen. :)
(Graham poking through a hole in the rock. Erosion and time do cool things to sandstone.)

(Pretty trees in the canyon. I took a lot more pictures in this part of the hike. It was pretty flat and I didn't have to worry as much about dying.)

(Cactus Flower. Who'd have thought that a prickly plant could produce something so beautiful?)