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Monday, November 2, 2020

October 2020


October was a great month for a birthday, a trip, and lots of hiking.

David and I took a few days and headed to central Kentucky to hike at Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge, and the Daniel Boone National Forest.  We stayed in a great two story cabin with a hot tub and balconies overlooking the gorge.  



Here is the view from the bathroom window!


We went on 5 hikes total and enjoyed the quiet.  There weren't that many hikers out although we did see a few people each day.  Here is the view from the restaurant at the lodge at Natural Bridge.



And Natural Bridge - it was worth the hike!


Someone was doing yoga on top of the bridge.  Pretty great to see.


We did another hike to Balancing Rock in the Natural Bridge area.


The landscapes and features were really very interesting!



One night we had to order from Miguel's Pizza which is very popular in the area with rock climbers and hikers and those camping.  We found the second week of October was the perfect time for hiking in this area!


Another hike to a waterfall and cave.





We really had fun and it was nice to get away.  I slept 10.5 hours the first night.  It's been a LONG year and I work 7 days/week.  It was nice to get away.


The dogs had fun with their babysitter Lisa.  


Bailey helped me vote by mail one day.  We all 4 voted this year -the first time for Brennan!


Remy and Dad after a daily walk.


And we celebrated David's birthday.  We had one hour when all 4 of us was available! 
Thomas came down and we had tiramisu and Dad got to open presents while we Zoomed with Brennan.




Mississippi State cheese from Grandma and Grandpa is always a hit!

And I got a new bike!  I love her and have named her Olivia (since this series is called "Liv").  She's soooo much better than the bike I've been riding the past 15 years.  I can't wait for some warmer weather this week to get out and ride.



I went on a masked excursion with Cindy, Laura, Ginger, and Violet one Saturday to celebrate Violet's birthday.  Stream Cliff had a holiday craft fair.  It was so much fun to walk around and purchase a couple of things, and then have lunch together at the outdoor cafĂ©.  A perfect morning for an outing.

And Glow Yoga was so much fun on Halloween!  We wore dark clothes and taped on glow sticks for a fantastic workout!  


And now I'm ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!






Thursday, October 15, 2020

September 2020

September has come and gone and this year is just marching towards the end.  While it's been an ugly year, every time I create a monthly update, I'm reminded of all we have to be grateful for.  

This month was quieter with no travel except to visit the boys at school.  Work has dominated my life in a whole new way (thanks COVID!) but David and I are spending a lot of time together working from home and it's pretty rewarding.  We also get to spend more time with Bailey and Remy, so all is good.

Here we are on an adventure.  Walgreens?  Drop off at the library?  I don't recall, but I take them when I can.  Obviously they are hoping for Starbucks or Chic-fil-A.



Here is Remy, hoping I'm taking him as I head out the door. 

Our Wine Club got together outdoors for a socially distant party at Mike and Mary's farmhouse.  The theme was "Costco" and all the food came from there and it was all delicious!

The renovated farmhouse


The Beer Cart!


The Beer Cart girl

Socially distant dinner set up

Our wonderful hosts


Mary, Bob, and Bonnie

We did a lot of hiking in September.  Bailey got a new backpack since he only makes it about a mile.  Remy can last 2 or 3.  We also did some longer hikes without the dogs (shhh don't tell them).





I love it that Thomas drove up to Purdue to visit Brennan a couple of times.  David has made regular trips to Purdue to take Brennan to lunch and the dogs and I went up too one weekend when David was in Mississippi.  Except for how COVID has altered the college experience, he's doing well.


The dogs go to the dog sitter's, Lisa, once a week or so.  They have a ball at her house while we work all day.  They come home exhausted so it's good for everyone.  They love that Lisa's neighbor has chickens that wander into her yard.  They could watch them for hours.  When they go outside with the chickens, they completely ignore them.  Strange.


And that's it!  Looking forward to this year finishing in a very positive way.  Already looking forward to holidays with the family and having Brennan home for 2 months as he finishes his freshman semester online after Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 18, 2020

August 2020

August was a whirlwind of a month that included a big trip, moving our freshman to college, a couple of awesome theme parties and lots of outdoor adventures.

We had fun taking the boys out to our friends' Bob and Karen's home one evening.  The dogs loved exploring their property, and playing hide and seek with kitty Sly.




This is very much their personalities!

Lots of hiking

And "adventures", which means running to the store with Mom.

For Brennan's graduation celebration we had a great, and socially safe trip to Colorado.  We visited 3 national parks.  We originally intended to spend our time in Estes Park and hike Rocky Mountain National Park, but it had limits in the numbers they were allowing in.  So we changed our trip and headed south from Denver instead.  Flying was a breeze - we had direct flights that were in no way full, very clean and safe, and no issues.

We left Denver and headed south to Colorado Springs.  The Air Force Academy was closed to guests because of the pandemic, but we were able to do some hiking at Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the Gods, which was a highlight for David.

Kissing camels.  The rocks against the blue skies were incredible!




 Our college students!

Balancing Rock

After Colorado Springs we headed south to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  We stopped in Pueblo for lunch and discovered they have a beautiful downtown riverwalk.  


And then we made it to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  What we loved was how different each national park was that we visited.  So very different.  Great Sand Dunes was pretty incredible.  We weren't dressed to surf the dunes as others were doing (jeans and long sleeves recommended!), we did some exploring.

This is an untouched, no filter photo of the dunes I took with my iPhone.  It looks like a painting.  It looked like this in person too.

The guys hiked toward the dunes.  I hiked some of it and then circled back to get Brennan a cap and drove to meet the guys.  It was a HOT day in the Dunes!

The next day we went to Mesa Verde National Park.  Thomas had to take a final so he missed this portion of the day, but enjoyed seeing the native American cliff dwellings and the entire mountain where Mesa Verde is located.  What a drive to the top!

This photo is zoomed from where we were at the entrance.  It's a long drive up, but beautiful!

We were able to view Cliff Dwellings in a couple of locations.  We drove to the other lookouts and sites too to see as much as we could in this park!


We spent some time in Durango and rode the steam and diesel trains from Durango to Silverton.  This is a really popular thing to do and it was a beautiful morning for it!  Get your tickets online ahead of time.  It's worth it!  The views are spectacular.







The drive from Durango to Ouray is like nothing else.  The mountain drives are breathtaking, and not only because there are no guardrails part of the way!  We stopped along the way and did a waterfall hike, and stopped at several overlooks at little towns.



We visited our 3rd national park in Colorado - Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Again, just beautiful and very different from Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes.  


What I loved about Black Canyon of the Gunnison was all of the hikes to overlooks as you follow the main road in the park.  Some of the hikes were strenuous and some were just challenging.  But we loved stopping and doing them.  I believe we did them all.  I understand this is a rarely-visited national park and so we saw very few people.  We had a great half-day exploring this park.



On our final full day we visited Vail, Breckenridge, and Boulder before returning to Denver.  I really liked Boulder when I had been there for work trips years ago.  I also have been to Vail, but not to Breckenridge.  The setting is gorgeous, and we enjoyed seeing all the bicyclists on the trails between Vail and Breckenridge.  We also had our only rain at Vail and it was rather short-lived.  No crowds and relaxing visits.

Vail

David and Thomas in Vail

Breckenridge.  We had the BEST brunch there.  So beautiful!


In Boulder we just drove around to see the sites, including Mindy's house from "Mork and Mindy".


But also the University of Colorado, their picturesque downtown, and the famous Flatirons.

It was a great trip with the boys before school started.  I was so happy to take a trip!


Just a couple of days later we moved Brennan to Purdue!  We had time to walk the campus and see where his classes would be, the dining options, have dinner, and get him situated.  We spent the night since our move-in time included the next morning, but he was pretty well set!  He is doing well and studying a lot!





Before the set up!


Saying good-bye! 



During a quick girls day out in July, Laura reminded Violet and me that the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment was taking place in August and there was no talk about a celebration in the US!  With everything happening in the US, we certainly understand but at the same time - we needed to celebrate this momentous event.



These cookies were fantastic and so yummy!  Everyone brought great food to share as we socially distanced in the backyard.  We also had trivia, lots of fellowship, and some meaningful conversations.  It was a wonderful night!


We had a big group.  We suggested Suffragist Whites or wear whatever you want!  We had to get a few shots with those who wanted photos.




The Party Planning Committee!


Thomas has driven up to Purdue to see Brennan a couple of times.  I love it that they get together and send me photos!


They also sent me first day of school photos, which I love!



And finally, our wine club got together for a tailgate!  Scott and Kelly threw a fantastic backyard party with lots of delicious food, music, games, and a competition.  John and Ginger won the coveted Cheesehead award as Kelly is a Packers fan!  It's always great to get together with our crew!



Our hosts





Loving this cooler weather and loving that it's still summer, my favorite season.

Hope you're all doing well!!