Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grand Canyon and Dam pictures

On Monday we went on the Dam tour (Hoover Dam). The Dam is definitely a remarkable architechural marvel. It dams water from the Colorado River and on the opposite side lies beautiful, huge, man-made Lake Mead.
We only had an hour here, so we were unable to see the inner workings of Hoover Dam. We chose to walk around the top of the dam and look out from the observation deck instead. Notice the cars driving on top of the dam. In about 2 years, the new road across the canyon over the Colorado River should be finished. Then no vehicles will be allowed across the Dam. The building of the road began after 9/11.

Lake Mead is surrounded by mountains and canyons that are amazing. After the Dam tour, we went on a lunch cruise on a paddleboat around Lake Mead. Notice the white ring at the bottom of the mountains, this is where the water level has dropped about 100 ft. over the past few years. Lake Mead is about 500 ft deep and 550 miles. It provides drinking water for surrounding states, as well as providing a place for recreation. Serving as a place to get away from the heat of the desert. This area only averages 2-3 inches of rain a year.

On Tuesday, we went to the Grand Canyon (the West Side). It was about a 3 hour ride on a bus. Notice the Joshua trees that were along the road on the way in some areas. Joshua trees are a very ancient breed, some being as old as 900 years old. Some are really scraggly and half dead looking, others are kind of cool looking. When you see the trees in large groups like in this photo, there is said to be water in this area of the desert.
This side of the canyon is owned by Hualapai tribe of Native Americans because it lies on their Indian Reservation in northwestern Arizona. This is also the area where the new Skywalk is located. I ventured out on the Skywalk which is a glass bridge 4,000 ft above the Colorado River overlooking the canyon. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to go out on it because I have a little bit of a fear of heights. But it was pretty cool, the bridge overlooked Eagle Point. You can no l onger take cameras or cell phones out on the overlook because stupid people were dropping them on the glass and damaging it or dropping things off the bridge. So the only way to get your picture made out there is to buy the picture they take. Too commercial for me, so I didn't buy a pic. We took our own pictures off the Skywalk.

This is Eagle Point, notice the lower point in the canyon that resembles an eagle with spread wings.
At this point was also a little replica of an Indian village and Ben got a few pictures of a Hualapai dancing.

The most breathtaking sites were from Guano Point. It was unbelivable and the camera doesn't do justice to the color of the canyons. At some points you could also see the Colorado River snaking down below.

Guano Point, notice the river way down in the canyon.

In this photo, I just took off and flew around the canyon. It was great!

This was a cool looking cactus outside a ranch where we ate lunch.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Well we made it here to Sin City. This is one bizarre city indeed. It is amazing, unbelievable, gorgeous, flashy, revolting, dirty, rich, and mind boggling all rolled into one crazy city. There are so many things to look at and see when you walk down the streets that it is overwhelming. Some of the casinos and hotels are just so glitzy and glamorous, then there are others that are cool. We are staying at Ballys. It is really nice, but not outstanding. It is an awesome location though and connected to Paris, which is gorgeous. I love the wonderful restaurants, shoppes, and decor there.

A stained glass ceiling in Paris.

Here is a fabulous berry crepe that I had for breakfast yesterday! Mmmm!

We had a wonderful day yesterday. We explored the strip a little bit in the morning. That afternoon we went on a beautiful tour of Red Rock Canyon.

This is Calico Mountain. Our tour guide brought us to an area to hike and climb around a little bit. Ben and I hiked all the way down into the bottom of the canyon and climbed around some on rocks. It kind of reminded me of climbing on the rocks at Garden of the Gods, only you are surrounded by mountains. Looking over the edge takes your breath away, but the view is outstanding. Would have made us a nervous wreck to have the boys there! We saw some families with their small children and I was nervous watching them. The mountains were red, gray, and white from all the years of change and oxidation. The air was so fresh and light. It was gorgeous.

Some beauty in the desert...blooming cactus and desert flowers.

Last night we went to a Cirque de Soleil show called Mystere. It was fantastic. Full of acrobatics, strength and endurance, comedy, and amazing acts. Walking through the streets at night is quite different than during the day. There are certainly no rules here...people walking down the street with alcohol and scantly dressed girls with cleavage everywhere.

Here is a shot of the strip looking at MGM Grand and New York, New York. The lions at MGM Grand were nawing on rawhides while tourists viewed from underneath the tunnel. Caleb and Cody would have loved watching them.

I forget where we saw this unusual pretty chandelier made from flower print umbrellas.

Today was a long conference day for Ben. I have been exploring a little bit and shopping. We have some tours planned for later in the week to Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam around Ben's busy schedule. Can't wait for those!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Headed for Vegas!

Headed for Vegas in the morning (Friday). Send us good vibes for our trip. We are not gamblers, but maybe we will get lucky on the couple of slot machines that we toss some coins in. I am excited about seeing the sites. The overexuberant casinos and hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. We may see a show or two. Best of all Ben booked tours to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Red Rock Canyon for the extra days that we are staying beyond his conference. Stay tuned for some awesome pictures...

Also pray for the poor grandparents staying here with the boys all week. ;) Kidding, I know you guys will probably have a wonderful time with the boys. Thanks so much!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cody can finally play sports!

Look at the walruses!

On Saturday, we went to Hananoki to celebrate 2 things. Kelly's sister Micky got a job and starts next week. This is her first interview and job since she moved to Paducah last year. The other celebration was Kelly and Mark bought a new house. It is downtown on Fountain Ave. We are excited for them. They are downsizing majorly, but the house is a really cool older two story home. They used to live downtown and have missed living in the area. The only bad part is that they will be farther from us! :(
The boys have it already planned out that we will move downtown too and that it has to be close enough for them to walk or ride bikes to each others houses.
Sorry about the eyes closed with Micky, but Ben tried taking several pictures and she blinked every time.

Cody has been waiting for this moment for a long time! He is finally old enough to play a sport! He has waited and sat along the sidelines of plenty of Caleb's sporting events (soccer, t-ball, basketball, TaeKwonDo) and has cried, begged, snuck onto fields wanting to play so badly. Now it is finally his turn. He has been so excited. He will have soccer on Sundays from 2p-4p for the next 6 weeks. At his first practice he was so cute in his little soccer outfit and shin guards. He ran around kicking that soccer ball. Of course he also did cartwheels, flips, and rolled in the grass a lot. He is just so full of energy. All of the little kids on his team were so funny to watch. They would kick the ball into the net, then run straight into the net and climb around or crawl through it to the other side. This season is with the Parks Dept and they have teenage soccer kids coach the teams. Cody's coach did a pretty good job of keeping their interest and corraling them when they got distracted playing with the cones or the net.

We were excited to find out that Cody ended up on the same team as our friends, the Kahre's, Ayden and Eli. They will have a blast together the next few weeks.

At one point, we looked across the field and noticed Cody in this pose. He stayed like this for several minutes. Don't you wish you could do this? Ben said he might try at his next soccer game.

After soccer, we headed to a birthday party of one of Caleb's friends from school. It was a skating party. Caleb is getting much better at skating, still fell about every 10 minutes, but no major injuries. I brought Cody's beginner skates with the locks on the wheels, so his feet don't fly out from under him. He had a lot of fun too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake hits the Midwest!

Did you feel the Earthquake early this morning? I am sure you did if you live in the Midwest. It was 5.2 magnitude, with the epicenter near West Salem, Illinois. What did you think when you felt it? It started quaking around 4:33am and we were sleeping of course. When it first started to tremor, I thought it was Jasmine locked in a room or closet. She does that a couple times a month and wakes me up in the middle of the night rattling a door. She stands up on her hind legs and paws at the door, which makes it rattle and we hear her padding. So I get up in a stuper and search to find which room or closet she is in to let her race out to the litter box or water bowl. So this morning when I heard the first of the tremoring, the doors were rattling and I thought in a stuper, "Stupid cat! She's done it again!" Then I felt the bed shaking and I thought Ben was nudging me to go get the cat. I then realized the vibrating of the bed was not Ben and he woke up and said, "We're having an earthquake," as I was coming to the same realization. It lasted around 20 seconds or more, easing back down to just the doors and windows rattling. Pretty wild!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fun with family and turkeys!

This weekend we went to Henderson to see Mom, Bill, and Kevin. It was the weekend before KK's birthday, so we celebrated early.

Their cousin, Paige came over for a little while to play. They had fun jumping on the trampoline and running all over the house like little maniacs.

We had planned on a camping trip at the lake this weekend, but when the forecast took a turn for wintery weather, we quickly changed our plans. Good thing we did, it ended up being 40's all weekend with lows in the 30's!

Notice Mom's lovely cherry tree. It was in full bloom and was gorgeous.

Saturday we got stir crazy, so Mom, Kevin, me, and the boys went to Audubon Park to hike and let the boys run around outside. Ben and Bill had gotten up early in the morning to go turkey hunting. It was opening weekend.

I love the old tower of the John James Audubon Museum. The boys wanted to climb up there so bad.

We went hiking in the park and there were lots of flower blooming along the trail.

Cody is checking out some Blue Bells.

My little monkey found a vine to swing on.

Mayapples covered the forest floor in this section of the park.

Then we went down to the Riverfront downtown to see how high the Ohio River had gotten. There is a nice playground there, so the boys played for a few minutes. It was bitterly cold and blustery there. The wind was blowing off the river and we decided we'd had enough and packed the kids back into the car.

Shortly after we arrived back at Mom's, Ben and Bill got back home from turkey hunting. Ben had shot his first turkey. He was so excited and so were the boys!

Caleb wanted to see how heavy the turkey was.
Cody thought it was so cool and had to watch Daddy field dress the turkey too. He had fun running around the yard with turkey feathers and the turkey claw. Looks like we will be having a turkey dinner sometime soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy Spring!

The boys went out and picked some flowers for their Mama today. (Usually it is dandelions). Then Caleb said he needed to make a note to place beside the vases. Too sweet!

Got my haircut this weekend. How do you like the new do? It is pretty short, but you know how quick my hair grows. It was getting so long and on my nerves. I was ready for a new do. They straightened it out at the salon (took them 30 min), but my hair is so wavy that there is no way I can do that every day.

Aren't they precious when they sleep.

Don't you just love lightening ball lamps! Check out the one the boy's use as a nightlight. I thought I would see how it turned out when I took a picture of it. Cool, huh!

Yes, I was a bit bored this weekend with Ben off fishing with Paul! I studied for my exam, played outside with the boys, took the dog for a long walk, cleaned the house, did laundry and dishes, and took crazy photos like the ones above. He had fun and they caught several fish. We had a nice crappie dinner tonight. Mmmm, good! That is crappie the fish, not crappy like the dinner was bad, for you non-fish entrepreneurs.