Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation to New Mexico

Daniel, Jackson, and I took a road trip to New Mexico a few weeks ago for some much needed "family" time. We packed our camping gear, bought a few more things we needed for rock climbing, and took Jack some treats and we were on our way. I don't remember much of the drive over as I had my nose in a Francine Rivers' book. Jack did great in the back of the car, finding his spot behind my seat so Daniel couldn't throw him around on the slippery backseat while driving.

During the 10 hour drive, Jack was either doing this:

Or this:

I don't think Daniel or I realized how beautiful New Mexico is. The scenery from Fort Worth to Santa Fe just got better and better as we got closer to the mountains. We had a few encounters with rain storms, but overall the drive was incredibly beautiful even with some dark clouds along the way.

We made it to Santa Fe Saturday afternoon and got a book on local rock climbing and bought some dinner at Cowgirls. The restaurant had a patio, but they weren't too dog friendly so we took it to go and sat at a picnic table near the train station.

Downtown Santa Fe was incredible, and everyone loved Jack. We even found an REI in downtown and got Daniel a pair of climbing shoes. I also forgot to mention that it was drizzling most of the afternoon. Thank goodness for rain jackets! Before it got dark, we made our way to Santa Fe National Park to set up our accommodations for the night. We found a nice little patch of dirt by a creek that was away from the other campers so Jack wouldn't disturb the peace. It was raining by the time we started setting up the tent. We took Jack a "pop-up" kennel that we found at Walmart so he had his very own camping tent. I think he appreciated being out of the rain, and he slept all night without making a sound.

Daniel and I were not prepared for how cold it was in NM. Our nights in FW are like our days. Hot. Not so in NM. We both woke up numerous times throughout the night shivering. I thankfully took 1 long sleeve shirt and 2 pairs of pants, but Daniel brought neither. We had two fleece sleeping bags and a sheet that I had used in the car. Not very warm to say the least.

After a restless night, we packed up and hit the road to to some site-seeing in the mountains and find some rocks to climb.

There is one big loop through the mountains and it was beautiful. It was drizzling again that morning so we held of on trying to find the rock climbing until the afternoon. Once the sun came out we made our way to an overlook near the rocks we were planning to climb. We dried out the tent and other camping gear and enjoyed the view.

To get to the rocks we had to go into a residential area, walk between two houses with a viscious dog in one of the backyard and climb down a large cliff. Jack needed quite a bit of encouragement, he wasn't too sure about the small steps down the side of the cliff. But in the end he made it, and had a great time running around on the rocks.

We spent about an hour and a half climbing before the sky opened up and we were soaked. We had planned to drive to a different campsite for the night, but in the end decided to go back to the place we knew, but we picked a different patch of dirt this time. Jack didn't care for his kennel as much the second night, but he was barking at everything when we left him chained up so we literally had to wrestle him into the kennel. We all got really dirty.

After another cold we night, we woke up to a bright sun-shiny day! We headed to the overlook again, had lunch, dried our gear, and walked down the overlook for some other places to climb. Jack again needed encouragement but he did great once we got going. The overlook area was incredible.
Sorry no pictures of Daniel climbing, just me. It's hard to take pictures while belaying someone on the rope.

After climbing for a while, we took a break and just laid on a rock enjoying the view.
I really like this picture.

We finished climbing and drove a few hours to another campsite near Toas. Our plan was to make it to Toas for camping, but it got dark too soon, so we took a detour to another national park nearby (and by nearby I mean an hour and a half off the highway). Again, we wrestled Jack into his kennel and we all passed out for the night. We drove into Toas the next day to find some good food, and ended up a very good local Tex-Mex restaurant. We then stopped by a juice bar so we could get some WiFi and find a place to stay for the night. We decided to pick a park with some showers. We couldn't have asked for a better campsite. There were quite a few people there, most in campers, but the views were awesome.
Our tent and the view.

We took a short hike to the top of one of the nearby mesas. You could see for miles. Gorgeous. I really wish our cameras hadn't died. I just can't even explain how awesome it was. We woke up at midnight to nearby lightning and thunder. When we peaked out the tent to see how close the storm was, it looked pretty viscous and close, so we decided to go sleep with Jack. We had decided not to fight Jack into the kennel for the last night and we just let him sleep in the car with the sunroof open. (It was also cougar and bear country and we really didn't want Jacked eaten on our last night camping.) The storm missed us so we went back to the tent around 1am, but then our neighbors decided to go the bathroom across from our site, and then two crazy guys were cursing at the top of their lungs at each other, which all sent Jack into fits of barking. So, I got the pleasure of sleeping in the car with him overnight to keep him calm. I'm pretty sure it was warmer than the tent. We headed out early in the morning after making a stop at the showers. It's really nice to shower after 4 days of only using baby wipes to try and get clean. Another 10 hours and we were home, in our own soft comfy bed, and we finally got a good nights rest. We can't wait to go back to the beautiful mountains of NM! Who wants to join us?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

$$ I Love Saving Money! $$

My latest big-savings trip to my local Kroger!

Total before sales and coupons: $123.70
Total spent: $43.86!!!

Highlights of the deals:
Cottonelle 12 pack double rolls - $3.99 (I have more coupons, and I will definitely go back and stock up on this! - that's cheap for good TP!)
Tombstone Pizzas - $0.49
Philladelphia Cream Cheese - FREE!
Suave Deo - FREE
Rolaids - FREE
Smart Balance Milk - $0.99
Wishbone Dressing - $0.74
Whole Wheat Pasta - $0.50 (actually from last week's deals, but I added it in too)
Hunts Tomatoes - $0.45
Pepsi Products - $0.79
Rice-A/Pasta Roni- $0.79

Plus a few of the other staples such as bread, milk, and ice cream.

Plus I got a RedBox coupon good for one free night!
I think I see a date night with a frozen pizza, bottle of Pepsi, and a RedBox movie coming up! :)

Thanks to Couponing 101 for helping me find my deals!

More from the much needed vacation

Another relaxing beach picture for your enjoyment.

Mom and I ended up buying a beach umbrella at Walmart so I could at least go out on the beach and sit in the shade. (renting a chair and umbrella on the beach from the resort was like $30/day! Ridiculous! We spent $30 at Walmart on a chair and umbrella.) I did get to tan a little more, just very carefully and covered in SPF50. I just enjoyed the beach too much to not at least to sit out there, listening to the waves, having sand between my toes, and reading a really good Francine Rivers book. On a side note, if you're looking for a good book to finish out the summer with, I highly recomend any of her books. I've only read 4, but I can't wait to start some more! Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series are amazing! Those are her most popular. All 4 of these books are very challenging and make me realize how little faith I have at times, and they remind me how great our Father's love is for us. She is an amazing author and her words have ways of drawing you into the story and turning your heart. (Praise! A friend of mine's mother read Redeeming Love and gave her heart to the Lord after talking with her daughter-in-law about the story and it's meaning about God's redeeming love for His children!)
Back to the beach: Mom and I spent a lot a time being lazy, watching movies, eating, eating more, shopping, and laying on the beach being lazy again. I at 16 cupcakes in 5 days. That's pretty gross now that I think about it. But they sure were good at the time. My dad came down on Wednesday before I flew back to TX, and I was glad to be able to spend some time with him.

Had to get some palm tree pictures.

How cute is my mom with her pose? Haha.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The 4 S's: Sun, Sand, Shopping & Sunburns :)

I just love this view, don't you?

Mom and I have made it to PCB, Florida. I left Dallas on Thursday, after working Wednesday night. My flight was supposed to leave at 3pm, but after boarding, our plane was delayed for about 2 hours and we just sat there on the tarmac waiting until the storms passed. We finally arrived in Birmingham at 6:30pm. Funny side note of the trip: one of my next door neighbors from my childhood was on the same flight. We had a good time catching up. Friday morning mom and I hit the road headed toward Florida. After a stop in Chilton County for peaches and a stop at a gas station for some snacks, we arrived at the hotel, where mom realized she had lost her credit card at the gas station. They eventually found it so I drove 2 hours back to Ozark, AL to get her credit card. We got to our condo on Saturday afternoon and went out to the beach for a few hours. The condo is nice, across the road from the beach, and that have an awesome lagoon pool on the beach. We're loving it here!

What our villa looks like. There are lakes all over the resort and there is a golf course.

We spent Sunday morning/early afternoon on the beach and I enjoyed taking some pictures of the sand and water. I guess we spent a little too much time because I've got a nice sunburn on my shoulders. :)

We found a part of the beach that wasn't so crowded.

Beautiful. And hardly a cloud in the sky and not a tar ball in the water.

The bird looking for some minnows on the shore.

The kids next to us were making a sand castle.

I took my ring off to put sunscreen on and I thought it was a pretty picture.

And here is my mom getting attacked by a wave. :)

While I've been here, Daniel and Jackson took our friends Bobby and Vanessa to a state park in Texas for a camping trip. I only get to talk to Daniel every so often due to lack of service in the park, but they've been having fun in the water and sun as well thanks to a river that runs through the park. They've been hiking, swimming, and exploring. Daniel said that Jackson kept them up all night last night with his barking at various sounds that he's not used to. The last time we went hiking with Jackson, he was a puppy and was staying in his kennel or in our tent, plus he didn't know how to bark at that point. Hopefully they will have a better night tonight.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thinking, And Procrastinating. :-)

Since I never really posted anything about the Expo while we were in China, here is a link to my facebook album if you would like to see pictures. I tried to narrow it down to the most interesting - but all the buildings were interesting! Haha.

Daniel and I at the Seed Cathedral (UK's Pavilion)

I have had a fantastic 4 days off from work and I've loved being able to spend some time with Daniel. I have one more night off, then I go back for 4 nights in a row, then I'm flying home to head to Panama City Beach with my sweet mom who has planned a get-a-way trip for the two of us! I'll fly back to TX after a week, and the day I get home, I work again for 3 nights. Yes, I know I'm crazy. Poor Daniel is going to have almost 2 weeks without really being able to spend time with me. He said I deserve a vacation with my mom though. I love my husband. :) Everyone (at least those who have had a happy, Christ-centered marriage) told me before our wedding over a year ago, that if I thought I loved him now, just wait 30 years and then I'll know what real love is. They said that the love grows deeper with each day you spend together, and every day you pray together, and they couldn't have been more right! I look at my patients who tell me they've been married for 30, 40, 50, and sometimes even 60 years, and I tell them I look forward to being with my husband for that long. Old people in love are just so cute!

So, since I'll be away for a week, and unavailable due to my work schedule for another 7 days, it's time to clean the house and make sure I don't have a disaster of a house to come home to. I'm slightly lacking motivation at this point.

PCB in 6 days! Yay!