Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Memorable Memorial Day

First, a short but truly heart-felt THANK YOU to our troops, past and present for their sacrifices made in protecting our country and our freedom. A special shout-out to Adam, my sweet friend BA's fiance, who is currently serving in Iraq. I'm praying that you may all come home soon. Another special shout-out to my Grannie, who served in the Coast Guard during WWII. I also lovingly remember my Grandad and Pappaw who both served in WWII. I wish I would have heard more of your stories. I love all of our troops and thank you for your service.

This past weekend, we took a fabulous 4-day vacation to visit our dear friends, WOW Addict, Skinny Minny, and Sweet Lab in Colorado. We had such a wonderful time with them. We flew in on Friday morning and headed out to the mountains to go camping. It actually snowed on us while we set up camp. Our camp site was beautiful, nestled right next to a creek with the mountains directly behind us. This was a forest area, so you can put your tent anywhere. We enjoyed a short hike that evening before retiring to our mummy bags to get warm. We dug the "biffy" up on the side of the mountain behind the tents, which was an experience! Mountain Man and I both got altitude sickness (although his was much worse) and WOW Addict and Skinny Minny were so cold they couldn't sleep, so we wound up packing everything up that next morning at 4:40am and going back to their house. The rest of the weekend was fun and included playing board games, shopping (for the gals), shooting (for the gents), a fun time around a fire in their backyard, lots of snuggling and playing with Sweet Lab, watching movies, going on a nice walk through a forest near their house, and just enjoying each other's company. We wish they lived here and they wish we lived there, but I'm thinking we'll have to be satisfied with vacations for now! We were sad to leave them but excited to get back to Bexar, so the separation was bitter sweet. Another fabulous weekend!

For a more detailed version of the trip, visit Skinny Minny's blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Time to reflect

Mountain Man watched a 3-hour Samurai movie last night, which translates as "BORING" to me, so I entered the stamp studio. I have several brand new sets that have yet to be inked, so I sat down and got to work. I wasn't feeling very creative and after this project I realized that I'm definitely NOT the collage stamper! I gave it my best shot and since it's been a while, I thought I'd upload it.

Stamps: CHF Time to Stamp
Ink: Versafine Black
Paper: Miscellaneous dp that I received from sweet Julie Koerber
Accessories: Amuse bling, black ribbon, jewelry essentials corsage pins

That's it - sweet and simple!

Happy stamping!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Spring Flowers

This Spring, it has been so fun to see what flowers come up, as this is our first Spring in our house. Last winter, I was so excited to get some tulips in, I just a picked a bed that looked empty and started planting! I planted them in the middle of December, right before we left for Christmas vacation. Well, it's Spring and the tulips have bloomed, but they're quickly fading. I enjoyed them while they were out, but I think I'll move some of them for next year, as I have learned about the bleeding hearts and can't bear to rip them out of the bed, as I had intentioned before seeing them bloom. :) Take a look-see at all the color blooming around the house.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Double Dog Dare Ya

This weekend was gorgeous and incredibly hot, at least down in the Columbia River Gorge. Our adventure began Friday afternoon at 3pm, when Bexar and I headed into town to get gas, maps, ice, and pick up Mountain Man (MM). We left Bellevue at around 4:15 and headed south for a weekend of fun in the sun. Because Friday traffic is always terrible, I thought it would be nice to take the back roads. What am I saying? I ALWAYS love to take the back roads and can come up with any excuse to do so. :-) MM said he didn't care, so I went the way I wanted to go...which may have been the wrong move this time. The pass that we needed to cross ended up being closed because of snow, so we had to turn around. As we were coming back down the mountain, we got this fabulous view of Mt. Ranier at sunset.SO, we ended up having to go east to I-5 and down and around to Carson, where we camped. We finally made it there at around 12:30 and were in the tent by about 1:30. It was a LONG day.

We got up fairly early the next morning and headed out to hike Dog Mountain. We knew there would be lots of people because this trail is fairly popular in the spring when the wildflowers are abundant.

Interesting tid-bits about our day:
  • We took the more difficult trail to the summit to avoid the crowds, and I think we avoided the majority of the people.
  • There was no water on this trail, so we pretty much ran out at the top; saved the remaining 1.5 cups for Bex on the way down.
  • Fantastic views of Mt. St. Helen's, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge!
  • It was HOT HOT HOT!
  • Pretty wildflowers, but not as fantastic as I had dreamed. Expectations are sometimes difficult to fulfill.
  • Bexar jumped a tree and broke a different strap on his pack. Thankfully this was during the descent, so it managed to stay on the rest of the way with some minor adjustments.
  • I got a workout but Mountain Main barely broke a sweat.
  • I got a blister on the bottom of my big toe that was painful and need I say gross?!
  • During our descent, we met a woman who proudly exclaimed that she was on her last leg of a "double dog" that day, and I commend her for it! I was doing good to make one round!
  • For a good portion of our descent, MM carried 4 packs! He had his on his back, his fanny pack on the front around his waist, the camera case off his side, and my pack on his front. This was him being a knight in shining armor for me, as my knee was in so much pain that I felt it might buckle at any moment, and it almost did. He even gave me his hiking poles and refused to use them himself. He's a gentleman through and through!
  • Bex just wanted shade...and we had a tough time moving him from the truck shade after we finally got down.
  • After we descended, Bex swam in the icy water of the Columbia to cool off, while MM and I could barely wade in it for 10 seconds.
  • Bex hurt his right front paw, we're guessing on the rocky parts of the trail (which he is still favoring).
  • Had some nasty Mexican food at El Rio for dinner.
  • No problems finding a camping spot at Beaver Creek.
  • Bexar was SO good this whole trip - just love that dog!
  • Round trip: 7.4 miles
(Click on photo for trip photos.)
Although the drive down was frustrating and caused a little bit of tension, we wound up laughing about it and having a good time anyway. Mountain Man said that 5 hours out of the way and about $30 in gas was a pretty good price for me admitting that the back roads aren't about the same length or time than the interstates or big highways. :-) So all in all, it was a fun weekend, but I think we're all glad to be back home, for the week anyway.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Gray Fox

Perhaps the greatest delight (aside from seeing my parents and friends) of my Texas trip was seeing this gray fox, up close and personal. I was shaking with excitement while trying to photograph this beauty! It also should be noted that I was without a tripod for my zoom lens, so camera shake was definitely an issue. In any case, I thought he/she(?) was gorgeous!

Remember the turkeys from last post? Well, two of them had been pecking around for a few minutes, when all of a sudden they start clucking back and forth. One clucked and then the other. This went on for a short minute, when this gray fox came right out of the brush and slinks in between the two of them, which are now frozen with fear. He must have been really thirsty because he stayed at the watering hole for a few minutes, while cautiously scanning the area.
All photos were taken at the South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas and all are the sole property of Melinda Bell.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doe a deer, a female deer

Today, I'm featuring more posts from my fabulous trip to Texas! You can't visit the Texas Hill Country and not see deer! As my dad and I were sitting at a bird blind, this pretty girl poked her head around some brush.She cautiously approached us, making her way to the watering hole. As she inched closer, three turkeys made their way to the water, as well.
Although she was so close, this sweet-looking gal never made it to the water hole while we were there; she was spooked when we left. We had an enjoyable time at this wildlife blind, but we needed to get back to Kathy and dinner. On our way out, we passed this little beauty, just sitting chewing her cud. I guess she was having dinner, too. She looked so peaceful.Stay tuned for more photos from the Texas Hill Country.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I just love hummingbirds and I saw quite a few while camping at South Llano River State Park. We set up a bird feeder and a hummer feeder on the metal post at our camp site and there were times when we had 6-8 fighting for their share of sweet water! It was so fun to just sit and watch them. Here are some of my favorite pictures of them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing every mother a very happy mother's day. I hope you feel loved and appreciated for all you do. (Especially my Momma.)

I know that my momma deserves an extra-special dose of love this day. She sacrificially gave so much time and other interests to make sure I felt loved...and I did! She gave up teaching in my early years to stay home with me, she sewed most of my clothes, and encouraged me and allowed me to follow my dreams. She taught me to sew and played games with me. When I sat on the toilet, I always wanted her to stay and talk to me. Just as she would walk away to go do something, I would call her back to tell her one other thing or ask her a question. This continued for about 30 minutes (and sometimes more)!! She continuously came back at my request (sometimes a little agitated). She washed my clothes, cooked our meals, and bussed me around here and there. When I was in elementary and middle school, she was at every band concert and every livestock show. When I was older and in band and sports, she was my number one fan (along with my dad). I don't think she missed a game or concert - whether band, show choir, volleyball, basketball, or tennis! She consistently gave up clothes and material possessions for herself to make sure I had that fabulous purple Liz Claiborne purse, or all of the adorable Mickey Mouse stuff I just HAD to have! I am forever grateful to her for the love she showed me, constantly hugging me, kissing me, and telling me so. I have wonderful memories of growing up and am blessed to call her Momma.

I love you, Momma. Thank you for being a wonderful mom.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm Home!

HOWDY! I'm home from Texas and have a little bit of a twang! :-) I'm working on uploading the 1000+ photos that I took. (Nope, I'm not exaggerating!) It will take me a couple of days to go through them and pick out the best ones, but I think I got some pretty good pictures. I had a good time shopping and spending a day with my sweet mother-in-law. Many thanks to her for taking off work and spending the day with me! I had had a wonderful time visiting and hanging out with my Momma, who also took a day off to hang out. We spent a lot of Saturday helping my Grannie get organized in her new place, which was (as always) an adventure! Dad and Kathy whisked me away to Junction to camp at the South Llano River State Park. It was so fun to be out in the country with them, the dogs, and the wildlife! It was also wonderful to see Wendy, Beth Ann, and Codie, if only for a couple of hours! AND, I got to meet sweet baby Taylor, who was only 17 days old! My time was short, but I missed my "boys" terribly! I'm glad to be back home with my husby and Bex. Pictures to come hopefully sometime tomorrow! For now, I'm off to enjoy the sunshine and my boys!