Friday, April 12, 2013

A-Z: K


From November of 2004 to July 2012 I worked for the Kaibab Paiute Indian Tribe as their Water Quality Specialist.  It seems like a lot of time in the US that the Indian Tribes got some of the most useless land when it came to establishing reservations, but not in the case of Kaibab.  They have over 120,000 acres of beautiful land in northern Arizona.  I feel very fortunate that I got to work there, and had the opportunity to see the areas that some tribal members haven't even been to.  To learn more about the Kaibab Paiute Tribe visit their website.

Me teaching a water quality lesson to the Paiute youth.
My Dad at the Kaibab Fishing Pond
My nephew at the Kaibab Fishing Pond

Every year they host a powwow the third weekend of August that is free to the public.

Thursday, April 11, 2013



For our honeymoon we went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico which is in the Mexican state of Jalisco.  We stayed at the Riu Jalisco Resort.  I did a post all about our trip last year in the A-Z Challenge for V, you can find the link V is for.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A-Z: I


I am from Colorado, but my four siblings were born in Iowa as well as my Mom.  My Dad was born in West Virginia, but moved to Iowa when he was young.  My husband was born and grew up in Iowa.  When we were in college we hung out among mutual friends, but when we finally had a personal conversation he told me he was from Iowa and I asked where.  He said "oh, south central Iowa" just kind of shrugging it off since usually when you tell someone a small town in Iowa they glaze over and are like "yeah, that's nice" and have no idea where it is.  I asked him where since my family was from south eastern Iowa and we drove through all of southern Iowa to get there.  He told me Centerville and I said "oh, that is on Highway 2 right?"  His eyes got all big and asked how I knew that.  I explained that we would often stop there for breakfast since it was a couple hours away from our relatives in the Fort Madison area.  He was totally impressed that I had been there and actually knew his home turf.

I have been to Iowa numerous times to visit family.  The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school I spent a month in Iowa with my cousins in the Montrose/Argyle area.  The whole month was about fishing, swimming, and demolition derbies.  Life is slower there, but definitely in a good and wholesome way.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A-Z: Hawaii


I went to Maui, Hawaii in 1997 with my oldest brother as his gift for my high school graduation.  We of course didn't have digital photos back then, and I didn't want to take my photos out of the scrapbook, so I just took photos of the pages to share.

Beautiful sunset over Kaanapali Beach.

The first photo is my brother, the second is me at the luau we went to and the third was at dinner the first night we were there, we watched whales breaching in the bay while we ate.  

The top photo is some of my souvenirs, the second is from one day it poured rain so we found an arcade and played all afternoon.  We won a bunch of drinking glasses, then had to figure out how to pack them to get them home.

We went to the luau and as we were sitting there waiting for it to start I was eavesdropping on the conversation at the table behind us.  I came into when a woman asked a man ", so what line of work are you in?"  He said with a bit of a southern draw "I'm in the music business."  She asked "Have you won any awards or anything?"  He said "Well I was the 1992 new country male vocalist of the year."  My head flipped around and I stared at him trying to figure out who he was.  Tracy Lawrence just cut his mullet hairstyle, shaved and was not wearing a cowboy hat so I could not recognize him.  When we went to get in the food line I asked the lady from his table what his name was and she said "I think his name was Tracy Lawrence or something, but his wife is a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader."

My brother went up and told him I was a big fan and asked if I could get my photo taken with him and he was very nice and allowed it.  Everybody always said I should have gotten his wife in the photo as well.

Me, my brother and his friend at the luau and the flowers and trees at our condo.

The first one was heading into the luau and the second was looking back at Maui as we went out on a whale watching cruise.
I wanted to go to a black sand beach, but found out that the sand wasn't very soft.
The first two are whale watching and the third is watching the sunrise over the clouds from Mount Haleakala.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A-Z: G


We just moved from northern Arizona and lived pretty close to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We visited numerous times over the 8 years that we lived there and enjoyed sharing the experience with our guests.  The Grand Canyon is amazing and we observed that it seems the first time someone experiences it, it is so overwhelming that you really have to visit a second time to really be able to take it in and appreciate the magnificence.  That is unless you are my Dad, his response after visiting was "well, it was something to see... but I would have rather gone fishing" 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A-Z: Florida


Florida is a fun state that I have been to twice besides a layover once in Miami. The first time was when I was 14 and it was the summer before my freshman year of high school. My oldest brother Doug took me and we spent a week together doing all the Orlando attractions- Disney, Epcot, Universal Studios, NASA, Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach. It was the first time I ever flew and I remember it was a 4 hour flight. We stayed in Lakeland with our Aunt and Uncle. When the end of the week came my Aunt invited me to stay three more weeks so I could spend the fourth week with my cousins who were coming from Georgia to spend a week at Cocoa Beach. I accepted and stayed the rest of the month.

My Aunt and Uncle owned a print shop at the time so I would go to work with them and learned about the business. During that time my Aunt asked why I had never had my ears pierced and I explained that my Mom didn't really want me to have it done until I was at least 12, and then I just hadn't done it. One day I was helping her employee and she came in and goes "Sarah, I need to run an errand, want to come with me?" I said I wanted to stay and help with the project and she insisted that I come with her. We walked down the shopping center their store was in to a jewelry store that was one of her clients. We went in and I was thinking we were taking an order or something and she asked the lady how much it was to pierce ears and could she do mine right then. I had no time to think about it, we just did it.

The second trip was with my brother Doug again the summer after I graduated from high school. He has a friend who was an actor and he was performing at a theater on Sanibel Island so we flew to Fort Myers and traveled to Sanibel to see Forever Plaid. Sanibel was wonderful, and I would absolutely love to go back there some day. The house we stayed at was right on a bay and my brother's friend said the day before we got there dolphins swam right up to the deck. Sanibel is a shell beach and you can find all shapes and sizes. The best time to get them is after midnight since the sun bleaches the shells. We went out at about 1:00am with flashlights looking for shells of all colors.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A-Z: Estes Park


I'm sticking with Colorado for one more day, I'll head to somewhere else tomorrow, I promise!

Once again I have been to Estes Park numerous times so it's almost hard to capture it all in a short post.  My first three visits there involved staying at the YMCA of the Rockies which is a neat place that accommodates groups.  The first trip was for my Mom to attend a PTA type conference.  The other two were school outdoor ed trips.  The first was for all sixth graders from my school and the second was a special trip my high school science teachers developed to honor the top science students and was by invite only.  It's such a great area and allows easy access to Rocky Mountain National Park.

In middle and high school I took several trips to Estes for school sports events.  In high school I was a football manager and remember that the field there often had elk droppings on it because herds would come down and bed on the football field at night.  I remember playing basketball there my eighth grade year which ended up being the reason I ended up quitting basketball.  I was never a great athlete because I was in a car accident when I was 11 that damaged my right leg. The night of the Estes game my coach benched me the whole game until the last 10 seconds, then put me in just to be able to say he played me.  I was already mad afterwards when we got on the bus for the long ride home, and the coach had the nerve to come to me and say he was sorry he didn't play me longer, but if my older brother ever came to watch me play to let him know (my brother was a stud and played for basically all the same coaches who adored him) and he would play me more so "Georgy" could watch me.

The week before our wedding we traveled from Arizona where we lived to Denver to make all the final preparations.  We decided to take one day that week as a break and not do anything wedding related to keep our sanity.  We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park with my Mom and Sister and did some serious hiking.  I remember that we came upon a herd of elk who were bugling and it was incredible to just listen.

Dustin and I decided to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in Estes Park so we could stay at the Stanley Hotel.  Dustin is interested in ghosts and haunted places and of course loves The Shining.  We didn't see or experience any ghosts, but had a nice time anyway.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A-Z: The Big D


I'm a day behind, but still here.  Hopefully my A-Z monitor hasn't taken me off the list!

I was trying to decide on D, and was leaning toward not doing Denver since I just did Casa Bonita, but alas Denver is where I was born to this world and it just wouldn't be right to not pay tribute.  I was born in Denver at the former Mercy Medical Center on a sunny Sunday morning in October.  My Mom and Dad lived about 30 miles from the hospital and my Mom heard that doctors in Colorado at the time did not like to wait for natural childbirth and preferred to do c-sections, so she was in no big hurry to get to the hospital.  When they did go my Dad was driving fast trying to get there and attracted the attention of a guy who was trying to drag race him down Colorado Boulevard.  That is until he got to a red stop light, checked both ways and when it was clear ran the red.  It was a good thing too because I was born 10 minutes after they arrived at the hospital.  It happened to be a Bronco Sunday when they were playing the San Diego Chargers that afternoon and the doctor jokingly told my Mom that she was just in a hurry to she could still watch the game that afternoon.

It's hard to write a short post about Denver as I have spent a LOT of time there and love so much about it.  The museums are all fabulous- The Denver Art Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The Colorado History Museum are my favorites.  The zoo is great and so is the aquarium.  There are so many fabulous restaurants that I wouldn't even know where to begin!  My most recent trip there was in February when I visited the Pepsi center to watch my oldest nephew compete in the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament where he placed 5th in his weight category.

Denver is special to me because it makes me think of my Dad.  He was a construction worker and helped build many of the buildings in Denver.  He worked on several of the skyscrapers.  He worker on Denver International Airport in several different phases of construction.  Towards the end of construction he had a security clearance pass and took me to see it a couple of weeks before it opened.  We rode around in a golf cart underneath the whole airport and rode out into the taxi ways between the concourses.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A-Z: C


I grew up in the Denver area of Colorado and one of my favorite restaurants was Casa Bonita in Denver.  Not at all for the food because it is terrible, but because of the atmosphere and fun activities.  The inside of the restaurant is like a Mexican rain forest, and for entertainment they have cliff divers who perform as you eat your meal.  There are also Mariachis who perform and other entertainment.  They have a courtyard area where they do pinatas and a cave that goes behind the waterfall that is filled with scary things.

Casa Bonita was featured in an episode of Comedy Central show South Park.  In the episode Kyle gets to have his birthday party at Casa Bonita and does not invite Cartman who then schemes and figures out how to take Butters' spot at the party.

A few years ago Dustin and I decided to go to take Austin while we were visiting my Mom and Sister in Colorado.  Dustin was interested in it after seeing the South Park episode.  I was pregnant with Katy at the time and got the worst heart burn after eating their food, but it was fun to take Austin and see his reactions to a place that I loved as a kid.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A-Z: Bryce Canyon


We love the US National Park Service system and have visited many National Parks and Monuments.  Our Arizona home was in close proximity to several units including Bryce Canyon National Park.

According to Wikipedia:

"Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks."

The area was established as a Monument by President Warren G. Harding on June 8, 1923 at the recommendation of Park Director Stephen Mather.  The U.S. Congress worked to upgrade the Monument and it was deemed a National Park on February 25, 1928.

The first time Dustin and I visited the park we fortunately stopped first at Sunset Point, which in my opinion is the most spectacular viewpoint.  We were drawn to hike down in the the hoodoos and enjoyed the hike very much.  

If you visit Bryce Canyon keep in mind that you enter at the top and have to hike down if you choose to do so, and must be able to physically be able to make it back up.  There is a nice rim overlook trail that is easy that connects Sunrise and Sunset Points if you are not up for a strenuous hike up from the bottom.

Do you know the difference between a National Park and National Monument in the United States?  Generally Parks are designated by Congress and Monuments are designated by the President.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blessed Easter

We had a fun and busy Easter weekend.  My Mom and Sister drove up Friday night and stayed until after lunch on Sunday.  Saturday morning we took Austin to participate in the downtown scavenger hunt.  They had some players from the Wyoming Cavalry indoor football team in businesses in downtown signing autographs for kids and passing out candy.  If the kids filled in their whole sheet with autographs they got a free ticket to the Cavalry game next Friday. They were also selling adult tickets discounted to $8, so we got enough for the whole family.  We went ahead and did our Easter dinner Saturday night since my Mom and Sis had to get an early start on Sunday.  We were also able to play in the back yard since the weather was nice.

After we got the kids down for the night Dustin and I went on a date and got to see G.I. Joe Retaliation.

Sunday morning we went to church and they had an Easter egg hunt for the kids afterwards.  We went to lunch before they headed back.  We played in the back yard and had a nice afternoon.

A-Z: Arizona


I'm going to start this off with the state that I just moved from in January.  I lived in Fredonia, Arizona for 8 years before moving to Wyoming.  Arizona is a wild state with every kind of climate you can imagine.  Fredonia is right on the northern border with Utah, and is higher elevation, so we had four seasons and even got snow.

We lived near the north rim of the Grand Canyon and enjoyed taking our guests there.

We loved going hiking and there was no shortage of unique and interesting places to see.  This photo was taken at a rock formation known as White Pockets.  You can see the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in the background. 

My first trip to Arizona was when I was in high school and I went to Tucson with my oldest brother to see a rodeo.  I loved the saguaro cactus.  He later moved to Phoenix where I would often visit while in college.  For my work I got to see many other parts of the state- many parts of Navajo Nation, Flagstaff, Prescott, Parker, and the Hualapai Reservation.  My son was born in Page, Arizona.  We met my brother and his family in Sedona for 4th of July several years ago.