Thursday, July 24, 2008

Drums Along the Rockies - 7.12.08

Click to play Drums Along the Rockies
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One of the first things we took Daphne to do was to see a Drum & Bugle Corps Competition hosted by the Blue Knights -- Denver's own D&BC. How much more "American" can you get? It was held at Invesco Field, and since it isn't football season, this was one of the only ways to see the stadium while Daphne was with us. These are some hard core marching machines. Talk about precision! WOW! It sure did bring back memories for me of my days in the high school marching band. But I would not have been able to try out for these, as they only include brass and percussion instruments and color guard. I guess I could have learned another instrument or been in the guard, but I probably would not have been up to par having started so late. In addition, at least two of the corps at this competition (there were 9 total) are still all male, so they would have been out for me too! These kids work HARD all summer long, and end up sleeping in High School gyms and getting ready in the locker rooms. That's a rough summer, but 99.9% of them would not trade the experience for anything!

White Water Rafting - July 20, 2008

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Here are a few photos from our rafting trip this past weekend. We did a half day trip down the Arkansas River through Brown's Canyon. Our trip was with Highside Adventure Tours just north of Buena Vista, Colorado. We took Daphne for her last day with us, and also picked up another of the IFYE students - Souzanna - also from Greece, to take with us. We asked Phil & Ellen and Chad to go along, but none of them could, so we thought we'd ask our friends, Brenda and Andrew. Brenda said she has lived in Colorado all of her life and has never gone, so I'm glad we asked. We all had a blast! I don't think Daphne or Souzanna had any idea what they were getting themselves into, but I'm 100% positive they had fun. They were a little bummed that they had to wear life jacket (required) and I also made them wear helmets. I know they weren't the most fashionable, but they are not my kids, so SAFETY first! :-) After rafting, we met Daphne & Souzanna's next host family at K's Burger Stand and ate lunch in the park before we all headed for home. Buena Vista was about halfway, as their next hosts live in Alamosa. All in all it was a great day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alaska Photos - Flightseeing

Click to play Flying in AK - May, '08
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With this great new slideshow program I found on the internet, I'm loving making slideshows of our photos to post. Check this one out -- it is just a few of our flightseeing photos.

Photos - RMNP

Click to play RMNP - 7.13.08
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I found this cool new way to make slideshows of our photos that is so much easier than trying to post them, so I'm trying it out with our photos from our hike last Sunday to Rocky Mountain National Park. If you like it, let me know.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

Well, yesterday we went up to Rocky Mountain National Park and took a 4 and a half mile (round trip) hike up to Cub Lake. It was covered with Lily Pads and flowers. It really was a beautiful day. We spent some time at the lake eating our lunch and watching the wildlife -- especially the crazy duck who was not afraid of us AT ALL! She just came right up to us -- we assume others had fed her in the past (a No! No! of course), so she wasn't afraid to come looking for food. We also saw some great flowers and critters. This picture is one of the more unique flowers -- have no idea what it is, but it was pretty cool, and the only one we saw. The critters were a little more difficult to catch on film. We saw plenty of little chimpmunks, a weasel looking animal and a woodchuck of some sort. We also saw a grouse and a small herd of elk playing in the mud off in the distance. Of course we saw the duck and her little ducklings as well as lots of dragonflys and several little mini eel-looking things in the water. They were about 2-3 inches long and spotted.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Welcome Daphne!

Our campsite at the Family Campout.

Holli shooting shotgun.

Chris shooting .22 rifle.

I can't believe it has been so long since I last blogged -- well really, yes I can. I am just not very good at it, I guess. I've never really kept a journal, so it takes some getting used to. Plus, we don't take a whole lot of photos, so our blog might be kinda boring -- just reading.

I guess I'll start with the most recent -- for the next week or so, we are hosting an exchange student from Greece. Her name is Daphne Prassa and she is from Greece. She is 17 years old and is here on the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) program. She is one of 4 IFYE students here in Colorado. She is here for about 3 months. We picked her up on Thursday night and will take her to meet her next family on the 20th. We hope to give her several "Colorado" and "American" experiences while she is with us. We went bowling last night and will go to a Drum & Bugle Corps Competition tonight. Tomorrow, we are going to go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Forest. Although Chris and I have to work this week, I might take a day off to take her shopping. We also have tickets to sit in the Rockpile (cheap seats) for a Rockies Baseball game this week, and then next weekend, we have plans to go rafting on the Arkansas. We might go camping too, but haven't decided yet.

Over the 4th, we had our friends DaNell and Keegan and their 5-week old son Ethan over for a cookout and watching the fireworks. We saw some great fireworks on TV, and then went out on the deck and were able to watch the Westminster fireworks right from our deck. Although I love going to the park, it is also nice to just stay home too. We ended up re-arranging the furniture in our family room on Saturday -- moving the recliner to the corner closer to the fireplace and putting our computer desk between the basement stairs and the bathroom. I've suggested that we build-in a desk and cabinet there, but we are trying it our for a bit before we make a final decision.

The weekend of June 27/28/29 we spent time with our friends Brenda & Andrew and Lauren & Truett. We went to dinner Friday night and then went shooting skeet and .22 with them on Saturday.

Over Father's Day weekend, we went to the Colorado 4-H Shooting Sports Family Campout. There were over 200 people at the campout, which was held on a private ranch outside of Victor, Colorado. It sure was beautiful there. We borrowed Phil & Ellen's pop-up and actually went camping for two nights. This was highly out of my comfort zone, as I really like to have a bathroom, but there were port-o-potties and we bought a little solar shower, so could at least wash my hair. We also did the "sponge-bath" thing each morning. It wasn't so bad, but the first thing I did when we got home was take a shower. I could probably handle a weekend trip every once in a while, but probably not much longer than that without a shower available.

That's about it. Not too much excitement, but a few things here and there.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Marjorie Glacier

Dall's Porposie

Bald Eagles
Bear in Pursuit of the goat in the next photo. (He didn't get him.)

Mountain Goat on a cliff
Orca Whales

Mendenhall Glacier

Us in front of Mendenhall Glacier

Winter Wonderland from the White Pass Railroad Train

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ketchikan -- Monday, May 11

The Rain Forest

We finally hit land today and had a little scare -- yesterday we got a message from the tour desk that our shore excursion had been cancelled. We were the only ones to sign up for that particular tour, but luckily, there were other ones to choose from and we still got to go ZIP LINING. I had been looking forward to this since we picked it out in January.

It was cold and rainy all day, but we were prepared! We brought all the right warm rain gear to have a great time. The only thing we didn't have were good waterproof gloves, so we stopped at one of the stores right at the docks and picked up a really good pair for each of us -- they were great! And we were glad to have them.

Then, we were off. We travelled to the location where we got all geared up and then had a little test of the braking system (our hands) we were off. We had a great time, got soaking wet and left with smiles on our faces.

Probably the worst part of the day was the fact that we had to wait in a HUGE line, in the rain to get back on the ship. Luckily, we were ready for it. We had our rain gear on and had an umbrella to hover under. I felt a little sorry for some of the people who were definitely not prepared for the rain.

When we got back on board, we went to the room to dry out and get ready to have some fun that evening. We went to a lecture by the ship's Naturalist about whales and then got dinner and went to another show in the theater. This show was not quite as good as the night before. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sailing -- Sunday, May 10

Happy Mother's Day!

We both felt so bad that we had no way of reaching our Moms today. We sent off a quick email and promised ourselves we'd call as soon as we hit land. Today was spent cruising as well. We did a lot more exploring of the ship today, and also had fun doing a few of the things the ship's crew had planned. We went to an Art Auction and actually bought something. We purchased a small Tigger & Pooh piece that we hope use in a future nursery. It was our first formal night of the cruise, and we got all dressed up and enjoyed dinner in the Savoy Dining Room, then went to the ship's show -- Do You Wanna Dance?

Boarding -- Saturday, May 9

Saturday, May 9, 2008
Today, we got up and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. We had wanted to go to a crepe place we saw around the corner the day before, but they were closed on the weekends. We both had french toast, and boy was it good! Then we went and packed up our bags, put them in storage and headed over to the cruise ship docks to see what we were getting ourselves into. It was still too early to board. We found our ship and saw that people were starting to board, so we decided to head back, grab the bags and a taxi and get in line. We sure were glad we did, because it was a long wait. (2-1/2 hours) Luckily, only two ships were leaving that day. They can have up to five leaving at the same time! And everyone goes through the same processing line. Talk about hearding cattle. Customs was the hold-up from what we could tell. We were happy we were US citizens. Some of the non-US and non-Canadian citizens were waiting for HOURS and HOURS. You know, we sure were glad we brought our passports. We had heard that we wouldn't need them because the date for needing them to enter Canada and Mexico had changed, but we did need them. Thank goodness.
Once we got on board, we decided that we needed to figure out where to eat. Our luggage had not been delivered yet, so why not? We couldn't really unpack without our luggage. We found the infamous buffet and had a bite -- we had skipped lunch, thinking we'd eat soon enough. It wouldn't take too long in line. HA! In our ship exploring, we found the pizza station, so we had some pizza too. Then, we decided that we needed to go back to the buffet again. As we were finishing up our 3rd "meal" between 2:30 and 7:30, we agreed that we would do better to stay on a normal schedule for eating. But, that doesn't mean we stayed on a normal calorie count. That night was just cruising and settling in.

Vancouver -- Friday, May 9, 2008

Our trip started out very early (left the house at 6:15 AM) on Friday, May 9. We were picked up by a limo and taken to the airport. That was pretty cool -- yes quite the extravagance, but you only go on a honeymoon once, right? Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures of Chris' first time in a limo.

We flew from Denver to Vancouver. On the way from the airport to the hotel, it was very evident that Vancouver gets a lot more rain than we do in Denver. Everything was in bloom, and it was all very beautiful. We stopped by our hotel to get checked in and then we headed out to explore. We walked all around. We went to Stanley Park for most of the afternoon. We walked through the garden areas and then along the waterfront. We also walked through the center of the park, which was mostly natural -- with lots of tall trees.

Chris found this gas station in the middle of the harbor quite interesting. It was mainly for the float planes and tug boats, from what we could tell. This photo was taken from our hotel window. We stayed at the Marriott on the 28th floor. We had a great view, and luckily, we had some good days to enjoy it. Friday was a beautiful day to walk around.

Photos -- Finally

Well, since I can't figure out how to post photos from beginning to end (new photos post at the top of each entry), I'm going to work on this little by little -- day by day of our trip. Check back often. I hope to get a few days done each day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We are sailing! :-)

Well my family & friends -- bad news. No way to post photos from the ship. The computers are for internet only -- can't access the USB ports to plug in the card reader, so hopefully once we get to one of the ports, or when we are done with the cruise, we'll get to put some photos up for you. In addition, we are being charged by the minute for using the internet ($.75/min) -- so, I'll keep a written diary, and then enter it all in when we get somewhere a bit less expensive.

Love you all lots!
Holli & Chris

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ho hum

That's about it -- life is ho hum right now. I've (Holli) been working a lot -- Chris asked me the other day if "they" (whoever they is) have ever thought about making the schedule of an Extension Agent Tuesday through Saturday. I guess I've been working a lot of Saturdays. It really has only been the last two in a row. We had our Earth Day for Kids event on April 19, and then yesterday we did two events -- A garden fair at a new home development in the morning and a floral design class in the afternoon. I couldn't have done it all without help from Chris, since I really have not figured out how to be two places at once yet. I sure was wiped out by the end! It was a long day. We went out for dinner last night, and I can't believe that I was able to keep my eyes open long enough to watch a movie when we got home.

Our trees seem to be doing ok -- that seems to be the big excitement lately. The serviceberry is in bloom and the oak looks to be on the verge of budding. We are holding off on other gardening until we get back from the BIG TRIP. We leave in less than two weeks for our Alaska Honeymoon Cruise and then off to Michigan for our party with Amber over Memorial Day. Should be fun. We have been trying to think about the trip details now so we are not taken off guard when it comes time to pack, and don't have to do any mid-night Wal-Mart runs. One thing that is still up in the air is how we are going to get to the airport. If any of you have any influence over Chris -- let him know that a LIMO would be very appropriate for our HONEYMOON. :-)

Well, we're off for now.
Love & hugs to all!

Holli & Chris

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Computer Arrives!

Wow, this thing has a big screen! Even bigger than my one at work. I'm not used to that -- I just assume that work stuff is going to be bigger, better and faster than home stuff, but not this time around. We got a Dell -- it has Windows Vista on it. Who knows if that will be good or not. I've heard there's a few glitches and problems with it, but let's hope they worked them out before our version.

We thought it wouldn't be here until next week, but I got a call yesterday that the FedEx guy was waiting at the door -- we had left a note to call me at work if he absolutely needed a signature, and he did so I raced home. It is nice to work so close. That was right at lunch-time. So, I brought it in and there it sat until after 9:00 last night. We had 4-H Archery practice last night (we are the coaches) so we couldn't play with it. I know Chris was chomping at the bit to get it set up. He actually ended up staying up until MIDNIGHT getting it all set up and getting the programs loaded. That's REALLY late for Chris to stay up, so he must have been excited!

Have to go now -- we have our Earth Day celebration with 50+ kids today for work, so I need to get mentally prepared to deal with that.

Talk soon,
Holli & Chris

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When All Else Fails...

Well, I've resorted to talking about the weather -- that's pretty bad! But, when we go from 85+ degrees one day to snow the next, it deserves at least a mention. That's Colorado!

Last weekend we planted two trees in our yard -- a little early for Earth Day, but since I (Holli) have an event to run this weekend for Earth Day, we figured we'd best get a head start on the celebration. Phil helped us pick them up from the nursery with his truck, and by mid-afternoon, they were both cozy in their new home. We have a Serviceberry and an English Spire Oak. One for each of us -- Chris likes the Oak and I like the Serviceberry. If you plan to plant a tree this year for Earth Day, check out the CSU Garden Notes on tree planting. The techniques have changed over the years. Here's a link to the on-line version.

Here's our new Serviceberry tree with yesterday's snow.
Here's our poor hyacinths and daffodils trying to withstand the snow.
It got worse overnight!

We also built a raised garden bed and we'll try our hand at a few veggies this summer. And, we needed someplace to put the extra soil from digging the holes for the trees, so it worked out well. Hopefully the computer will be here soon, so we'll post after that.

Holli & Chris

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Going, Going...

Our computer is going... We have been using Chris' laptop as our main computer at home and the screen is about to go. Staying on too long gives one a migrane, so I won't say too much today. We've got a new one ordered, but it probably won't be here until next week. It should be fun to get to use it, as the screen will be much larger. Well, the migrane is setting in...

Until next time,
Holli & Chris

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bad Bloggers

Well, life has taken hold and blogging just hasn't been on the TO DO list lately. Honestly, we really don't feel like we have very much to say -- we are just living life -- any enjoying it along the way. We are getting ready for our big trip to Alaska to celebrate our marriage in a BIG way -- 2 whole weeks in Alaska cruising and touring. After our time in Alaska, we head straight to Michigan for Amber's High School Graduation Ceremony, Carrie's GVSU Graduation Party and our joint Wedding/Graduation celebration with Amber.

Let's see -- what's been going on? Well, we bought some trees for our yard last weekend and have plans to plant them this weekend. That will be a job! Our bulbs are all popping up. That's fun to watch. We both helped clean up the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden a couple of weeks back. And, we are getting ready to start up 4-H Archery in a couple of weeks. That should be interesting and fun all at the same time.

There's really not a whole lot to say. Chris is enjoying the new job -- back to doing what he loves -- design work. I continue to find challenges that energize me in my job, so I'll stick to it for a while longer.

Hope all is well with you. Take care -- our love...
Holli & Chris

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Job

We've been remiss in posting to the blog -- sorry about that, but there really hasn't been all that much to tell about. We're in the middle of the winter and things just really aren't all that exciting.

One exciting thing is that Chris started a new job this past week. He is now with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. It is basically the same as Xcel or Detroit Edison. The only difference is that they don't distribute power to individual households -- they just run the operations to make and supply the power. He got a raise to take the job, but the best part is that he's now less than 5 miles from the house. We can have lunch together now if we want.

For Valentine's we were pretty low key. Chris brought me flowers and chocolate personally on the day before (I was out of the office the day of) and I got him gift certificates to one of his favorite little restaurants -- Great Scott's. It is a little 50's style restaurant that I'm not too terribly fond of, but I told him I'd go with him without complaint until the gift certificates are gone. We also went out to dinner the night before and went to see Stars on Ice -- got tickets for $12.50 each -- what a steal!

Last weekend, we had Chris' friends Paul and Diane and their kids here for dinner. They come out from Chicago every year to ski at Winter Park. We were supposed to ski with them on Sunday, but the weather was really bad driving up, so we turned around. They had taken the Ski Train up that day, so they missed out on the weather problems.

We went to the Garden & Home show this past week and found a few options for re-doing some of the surfaces in our kitchen. We found a counter top and cabinet re-finisher and are hoping to get an estimate. But who knows when we'll get the chance to get the work done.

Other than that, we've just been hangin' out. Pretty boring, but we have fun and laugh a lot. We're enjoying being married!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

National Western Stock Show

Although I've spent a lot of time at the National Western Stock Show over the past two weeks helping out with the 4-H School Tours Educational program, Chris and I got to go this weekend to enjoy it. I guess we don't realize what a huge show it is for the Western US, as it is in our own back yard. We had tickets to the rodeo and saw a beautiful 6-horse Percheron hitch with a tremendously talented driver. He was amazing with what he could get those horses to do. For me, that was the best part.

Here's the Draft Horse hitch. They were beautiful.

The cutest part was the Mutton Bustin' -- 5 & 6 year old kids attempting to stay on a sheep while it runs full speed across the arena. I couldn't stop laughing!

New Baby

No, we are not pregnant! But Chris did get a new car. We went shopping last Monday and after going back and forth between the Toyota and Honda dealers two times each, he ended up going with the Honda Civic. Its our new baby (for now).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jamaica, Mon...

Yes, we spent this past weekend in Jamaica. Although it was a very short trip, we did quite a bit. Thursday was mostly travel, but we did get to enjoy a the resort a bit by having dinner in the "fancy" restaurant. On Friday, we headed out to the beach for the day. It was a great beach with many trees to hang out under to avoid the sun -- something both of us needed to do. In the afternoon, we headed out on a large catamaran for a sunset cruise with everyone who was there for the wedding -- about 30 in all. We were able to go snorkeling and cliff jumping while on the cruise. Yes, I (Holli) was crazy enough to try the cliff jumping -- much to Chris' dismay -- but he didn't let me know this until AFTER I did it. Saturday was the wedding in the afternoon, but we got up "early" to get out to the beach by 9:00 AM -- that's early in Jamaica -- to go parasailing. WHAT A BLAST! That was one of the best parts of the trip. The ocean was clear and beautiful. The landscape was beautiful. I would do that every day if I could. After that, we just hung out on the beach all day -- rough -- until we had to get ready for the wedding. Sunday was pretty much just another travel day.

This is us parasailing -- it was great!

The sunset from the cruise.

Chris on the boat during the sunset cruise. It rained a bit, but no big deal.

Here's Holli's cliff jump.

This is our "hut". The building had two rooms that shared a central stairway. Each room had a balcony on each end of the hut.

The Bride & Groom, Kelly & Sean, during their vows.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sad Sunday

Well, Chris is still in shock -- his beloved Colts lost their chance to play in the Superbowl today. He has been moping around all afternoon, but I think he'll survive. He's been sanding on his nightstand to take out his frustration. Our week has been pretty status quo. Go to work, come home. Nothing really all that exciting.

The National Western Stock Show started on Saturday. That means I'll be there for the next two weeks helping with the School Tours Educational Program. One of my 4-H members showed in the Catch-A-Calf show yesterday, and I was there to watch her. She did a great job, placing thrid in her market class and making the finals in showmanship. She also placed second overall in the sponsor relationships area -- sending all eight of her monthly letters in on time. She did a great job! I was so proud of her. This is the first time she has ever shown a market steer. The Catch-A-Calf program has the kids catch a small calf in the rodeo arena one year, and then show the calf the next year. They don't actually keep the calf they catch, but they receive the calf in May at about 600 pounds. About 40 kids take part in the program.

We leave on Thursday morning for Jamaica for Chris' brother Sean's wedding. Although we are gone for 4 days, we really only get two days in Jamaica because of the travel time involved. It should be a fun trip, but I'm sure it will be far too short. I just hope the weather is nice while we are there so we can enjoy the few days we have. We'll post some pictures when we get back.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Hunt...

As most of you know, we have plans to re-do our powder room this year. We have used many of the Home Depot and Lowes gift cards you all gave us to purchase supplies we will need for the re-do, but one thing we did not want to purchase new was our vanity table.

So... the hunt began. It started last weekend at one of the Antique Malls in the area -- wow, some of these places are HUGE! We went up and down the aisles in a very methodical manner -- we wouldn't want to miss anything. We found a couple of things that we liked, but they just wouldn't fit in the space. So, we kept looking. On New Year's Day, we went to an auction. Boy, did that bring back memories for Holli -- times spent at the livestock auction as a kid. There were a couple of cool things -- just not for the bathroom. They started with the little items and we didn't want to stick around, so we came home.

Today, we headed out on a mission to find something. We started out at a show that was somewhat of a disappointment. Many of the dealers had the small stuff -- dishes, jewelry and other small collectibles. Not much furniture. We looked around a bit, but only stayed for an hour.

Then, we headed to preview an auction for tomorrow -- what a joke! They didn't have antiques -- it was just a bunch of junk with a handful of antiques mixed in so they could advertise that they had antiques. We didn't stay there long, and needless to say -- we won't be going to that auction tomorrow. After that, we headed to a few more antique malls that we picked up flyers for at the show. We did our best to plan our route so we didn't double back too much.

Eventually, we had to stop for nourishment, so we grabbed a quick lunch and then went to a mall that we figure was in an old motel building. We found it -- an old cabinet with 3 drawers and a door. It is painted white right now, but we have talked about painting it another color and doing a bit of distressing on it. It will work perfect -- the fit is perfect and the style is right for the rustic look we are going for. So, here it is...