Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacuum Cleaners and True Joy

Much to Valiant's chagrin, we purchased a new vacuum cleaner yesterday. Our previous "terrifying" cleaner (as Valiant would concur) finally bit the dust. I keep wondering which appliance is next. First it was the dryer, then my curling iron, then the vacuum. We've been giving our washing machine a lot of compliments lately, in hopes that it will be motivated to keep on spinning into the year 2008. They just don't make things like they used to... I remember my parents saying that 15 years ago. What does that say for us now?

I am ashamed to have to confess how much joy this new cleaner has brought me (and Kim, not just because it has such a dramatic affect on our "fearless" puppy). When I vacuumed yesterday, I was astounded to discover that vacuum cleaners actually do pick up dirt! Sweet! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Our carpet was purring by the time I was done.

The really embarrasing confession, however, is that I woke up this morning thinking, "I can't wait to vacuum!" Man, I need a job (yeah, and keep praying for that too)!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Floating Fairy Lovers

We went for a marvelous hike this weekend - 6 girls- so much fun!!! We woke up early (well 7:00 is early on the weekend, right?) and headed for Barton Creek. We ended up hiking 7.5 miles along the creek. The creek was so full, and we "had" to cross it several times. In some parts it was well over our waists (though the water line went a little higher on those shorter members of our party).

At one crossing, the water was a little above my knees and I was ambling forward, about 1/3 of the way across when I glanced down only to see Madison and Val floating past me. It hadn't dawned on me that they wouldn't be able to touch the ground at that crossing and so would invariably be forced to swim. They weren't concerned at all as they swam along, but it became quickly apparent that they would soon be swept down the stream, as they were defintely floating faster than I was walking and they were riding the current rather effectively. I rushed after them, grabbed the harness of Madison who was closer to peril and then Val who was a scottie length behind Madison. They were frustrated that their progress had been thwarted (it's not very often those little legs whisk past the "big people" with such ease), but were willing to let me drag them to the bank, nevertheless.

Hiking is just way too much fun, especially in such a beautiful place. Makes me crave the outdoors!

Friday, June 08, 2007

This vacation's Top 11 - Caution, Long Read

1. Sonic Music Marathon

How do you know you live in a small town? When the highest form of entertainment is the music blaring through your speakers as you careen around the corner at the Sonic drive-in. Whoo Hoo! Whilst stopped for 10 minutes to get a healthy, fresh Coney dog in Fort Stockton, we had the pleasure of observing 14 low-riders cruise past us with their windows down and their volume up. Makes you wanna’ live in a small town again (not so much)!

2. 4 frappucinos and your disgusting head

“Your Disgusting Head”… yeah, that’s the title. As Jessica brilliantly observed, perhaps the best way to truly appreciate the book is to drink 4 frappucinos first (note: recommendation based on personal experience). Nevertheless, Jess and I managed to thoroughly entertain our disgusting little heads with the book for over an hour, minus the 4 frappucinos.

3. Rental Car Ridicul(ousness) - Coming soon to a YouTube near you!

How long does it take one blond, one mom and two “Lizzies” (ever seen Pride and Prejudice?) to pick out a rental car? Well, we set out to break any previously known record while finding a car to drive for our entire 12 hours in Denver:

Scene 1: Mom scans the horizon of available mobiles, only to happily settle on the most obnoxiously ugly one on the lot, which we now lovingly refer to as the “Roach”. Once all luggage is satisfactorily loaded into the vehicle all three daughters whine miserably enough to cajole mom into settling on vehicle option #2, which we now lovingly refer to as the “Red Baron”.

Scene 2: All 4 women clamor around the new prize vehicle, only to discover that opening the trunk poses are formidable task. After pressing every visible button to no avail, one said “Lizzie” considers the “remote” possibility and pronto! the trunk opens. All luggage is again satisfactorily loaded and off we go… but wait a minute… so far only mom is seated in the vehicle and all doors are soundly locked. After considerable counsel amongst those still remaining on the outside, mom is successfully advised on how to open the remaining doors and everyone is belted and ready to go… or are they?

Scene 3: “This car sits too low and is a safety hazard to any God-fearing SUV driver." Exit all four women + luggage. The Roach again becons Mom. All luggage is satisfactorily loaded into said Roach and off we go… or… “did someone die in this car?” Everyone gasps for air, grabs their nose and with all remaining hands, exit people + luggage from said vehicle.

Scene 4: Is it possible? Indeed… 20 minutes have passed, but the four said females have securely landed themselves in a large, black, gas-sucking sedan that sits high enough off the ground to satisfy the SUV snobs and is new enough to satisfy the olfactory sensitivity of certain un-named.

4. Denver Train to Nowhere

Okay, we’re good on time, going to make it to the wedding with minutes to spare, but isn’t that a train ahead? Well, like we said before, we have minutes to spare, so we won’t sweat it… we’ll just sit here patiently like all the other civilized folks around us… and we’ll wait, and we’ll wait… is that train actually moving? and we’ll wait… is that train going backwards? and we’ll wait… is that train going forwards? Okay, alternate road must be found because the train is making no progress in either direction. Alternate road leads to beautiful office park with no outlets. Now, we’re not just racing time, but we're back to the train… wait, it’s moving… or is it? Yeah, but now it’s moving the other direction… Alternate route #2 here we come! Sweet success! We’ve outsmarted the directionally challenged, road-blocking train and we’re very possibly going to make the wedding on time despite our best efforts!

5. 11 mile hike up West Fork

See photos on Krista’s blog - need we say more?

6. 500+ photos to show for it

We’re out to prove the digital rocks! Well, we've certainly proven that this new digital camera was worth every penny! Think of the memories we’ve preserved for all of history!

7. Mountain Elevation Nearly Kills Hikers

We love to hike – it’s true. But, we realized on this trip how much our love for hiking is not equivalent to our body’s ability to fulfill our dreams of mountain conquering. Of course, it was just the altitude, we shamelessly assured ourselves. At least we were in it together… walk for 2 minutes, stop for 3 minutes to breathe, walk for 2 minutes, stop for 3 minutes to breathe and so on so forth. It was invigorating!

8. Long-lost cousins

It was amazing to see our cousins again, after a nearly 6 year absence from one another. The wonder of re-kindled relationships cannot be overestimated! We love you cousins!

9. Hot chocolate by the campfire

Mmmm… good. Wake up on cold morning after a restful night sleeping under the stars and fill up tummies with warm, dark hot chocolate and marshmallows on top = recipe for contentment.

10. Nose-barking at the coyotes

Valiant will tell you that if you bark through your nose (think, “Oof”, whispered) it doesn’t count as a bark. Thus, you can’t technically get in trouble if you “oof” (whispered) all night.

11. Topless guys in London, Texas

No shoes, no shirts allowed in London, Texas. All men in London, Texas, were topless as we meandered through on our way home from this scintillating vacation. So, if you’re out for some sightseeing, we recommend starting at the West side of town until you reach the east side of town. There will be plenty to see, but you can bet shirts won’t be top on the list.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Graduation et all...

Krista and I just returned from a trip to AZ to see Jess graduate from high school. It's hard to believe that our little baby sister is now a 'dult (as she used to call us). It was so wonderful to be there to celebrate with her and to see a glimpse of what she has been about these past four years. She has touched so many lives in her short time at her school and I am very proud of her. What lies ahead for this marvelous young woman? I can't wait to see!

We topped off our time in AZ with a great hike in Oak Creek and two nights on the "Mountain" as we lovingly refer to it. I have attached some photos of our canyon hike to give you a taste of it's beauty. Madison and Val were such troopers. what can I say... Scotties RULE!

On the way back to Texas Krista and I listened to a biography of John Adams, which was totally inspiring. I was reminded that our "forefathers" were people just like us, but they were thinkers who aspired to understand more, to always be growing in knowledge and understanding, to defend man's inaliable rights and to live according to their understanding of God and who He had created all men to be. So, onward...