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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

And as promised, here are photos from the production...

Alice with her Tutor, Mrs. Talon

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

The Hall of Doors


"The table is too tall!"

The Wet Creatures... building the puppets was one of my favorite parts of this production!

"The floor is open for suggestions!" "Ahh!!"

Alice, huge in the White Rabbit's House

After she's returned to "normal" size

The other three puppets (Noodle, Spike and Bill)

The Cheshire Cat, The Duchess, Alice and The cook

The two "stars" of the show... Tater as Pig Baby

The Cheshire Cat under her blacklight

Mad Hatter and the Dormouse

The Tea Party scene

Alice with the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle

The Queen, King and White Rabbit at Court

The Court Scene... unfortunately to get everyone it had to be a wide shot. There are 23 actors and seven puppets on stage.
And there you have it... Adams State College's production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as seen through photos.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sneak Peak...

Here is a sneak peak at a few of the costumes from the show. Tater and I posed with these cast members on Sunday at the Alumni matinee. The Alumni office sets up a picture taking/reception area in our X-Box theatre where the children who come can get their picture taken with the cast. There was time at the end so Tater and I snuck into a picture too!

We are taking our archive photos this afternoon so I should hopefully be able to post more once I get those from the photographer.

And in other news... in just four days there will be exactly two months until Mr. Wesley's due date! That seems like almost no time and also like an eternity! In the last week or so I have started to feel pregnant. By that I mean the pregnant that people talk about... it's harder to get up and down from the sofa. It's almost impossible to bend at the waist. It's a little bit of a challenge to get my shoes tied, etc... I look forward to seeing my belly (and therefore my baby) grow over the next two months!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Opening Night!

I know I haven't blogged much about Alice (or anything for that matter). I have been pretty darn ill and that coupled with rehearsals that make getting home before 11pm (and a few nights midnight) impossible this last week blogging has been low on the priority list.

But... It's OPENING NIGHT! We are ready. The students are ready for a receptive audience and I'm ready to have a rest! :) I'll hopefully get some photos soon (if nothing else I'll have them from our archive session mid-week next week) that I can post. The show looks great. We have ten performances over the next 10 days so the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland race isn't over... but at least we can see the finish line! And after all, if it is a "caucus" race, well then all have already won!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving bloggy-land and blog readers! Reid and I are staying here in Colorado for the holiday. That is in part because I only have Wednesday-Friday off of school which would make for a really hurried trip back to Indiana and also because I need to spend most of Friday and Saturday in the costume shop working on costumes (there is still MUCH to be done). Then Sunday is our cue-to-cue and tech rehearsals for Alice.

Today Reid and I spent a good portion of the day cleaning our downstairs (the upstairs will have to be another day... or probably another weekend!). It has been so long that I forgot how much more comforting a clean house is than a messy one. Of course, we only cleaned because we have people coming over tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes giving ourselves outside motivators really does help!

Our pumpkin pies are currently baking. Tomorrow I have put Reid in charge of the turkey and mashed potatoes. I'm tackling the easy stuffing and gravy! And then tomorrow evening it will be time to put up our Christmas tree! Hooray! This will be Winston's first Christmas with us... so we will definitely be watching him like a hawk with the tree.

In other news, I have been battling (unsuccessfully) a cold/cough for almost two weeks now. I finally broke down and called my midwife on Monday who kindly called me in a prescription (after hours!) for a cough medicine with codeine in it. I still am coughing badly throughout the day but at least I'm getting good sleep at night. I still wake up many times to pee or change positions but with the codeine haze I can get back to sleep pretty quickly (as opposed to without it where I laid awake for two separate hours Sunday into Monday night coughing). If it hasn't lessened by Friday morning (and honestly I see no reason why it will) I'll be calling to see if my midwife is in the office as I think it might have moved from just a cough to a respiratory infection... and goodness knows with Alice opening in a week and a half there is no time for one of those!

Anyway, happy gobble day everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Few Things...

A quick post with a few things about pregnancy that I don't want to forget.

-Yesterday morning I laid in bed awake for half an hour. Wesley moved about once every two minutes for the entire time. Sometimes it was a slow roll and sometimes a quick jab outwards. He was laying across me so I had movement mainly in my lower left abdomen and in my upper right side (just below my ribs). And of course, as soon as I grabbed Reid's hand and placed it there Wesley stopped... and didn't kick/move again for the next ten minutes. We have a stubborn son already.

-No one prepares you for just how much you can feel the stretching/growing of your body. I literally feel my pelvis muscles stretching with every step I take. Sometimes, especially after I've eaten or when I'm driving in the car and therefore forced into a specific space, I feel the skin and muscles over the top of my stomach stretching. Sometimes it makes me feel like there is simply no room for my lungs in there, I assume when he is riding really high. Then a minute later I can breath just fine... and the stretching down below sets in again (as he moves back down). And yes, I know... it's only going to get worse but that doesn't really matter right now... right now it can be pretty intense.

-As of tomorrow I am officially in my third trimester. I have to admit, I get teary just thinking about meeting my son... boy am I going to be a mess by February!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bad Blogger

So... I realize that I have been a really horribly blogger the last month or two. Quite frankly I'm just too busy during the day... and the evenings to do much blogging. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland started rehearsals three weeks ago. We have one more full week of rehearsals. Then a couple of days until Thanksgiving Break.... we come back from break with two tech rehearsals on the sunday after Thanksgiving and then it is tech and dress rehearsals all the way through to the performances. We have ten performances in ten days. It should be a hectic time and there is a LOT of tech to plug in between now and when we open. But it will all get done.

On the baby front, I had my 27 week appointment this past Thursday. As of this coming thursday I will be officially in my third trimester. This trimester has gone really well and it has gone by really quickly. With luck that is how the third trimester will go as well. At my appointment my blood pressure was still in an acceptable range. I gained four pounds this past month, also acceptable. I did have protein in my urine for the second consecutive appointment (sorry if that is TMI but I have to put it here or I may not remember it later!). But since my blood pressure was okay she is going to let it go and we'll check again next appointment. My next appointment will be in three weeks, the day before Alice opens!

Wesley has been verily active. He kicks/pushes/head butts a fair amount. His two favorite spots to do so are on my right side just below my rib cage and straight downward onto my cervix (again, too much info?? sorry). We have a phrase in my family when you go over a bump in the car that makes your stomach lurch. We call it a "wee daddy bump." Well... when Wes kicks downwards like that it is the strongest wee daddy bump I've ever fellt... and unlike when I'm in the car I have no advanced warning as to when it is coming. Certainly a strange sensation, especially when I'm teaching or in a meeting!

Otherwise, life is good. Reid is plugging away at work. He just had their tax lien sale this past week so hopefully life will settle down for them for a little while. Our pets are fine... And I'm looking forward to the holidays!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hiccups or Kicks

Yesterday while sitting at my desk between work study and rehearsal I was (literally) struck by a strange sensation. It felt a little like my breastbone was jumping, once every couple of seconds. It went on for about fifteen/twenty times and then stopped.

After the third or fourth I realized that it was obviously not me but somebody inside of me. I am still not sure whether it was kicking or hiccups. Everyone says that hiccups are light tickling. This was definitely not that. It was like someone was knocking for admittance on my sternum. But he has never kicked that many times in one place either.

So, the jury is still out. I'm betting kicks. But I'll just have to wait and see (assuming of course that there will be more hiccuping instances to compare to). What do you think? Hiccups or kicks?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It has started. I cast the show two Sundays ago. We had our read-through on Monday and have spent the last two afternoons blocking act one. By the end of this week we will have blocked the whole show. The cast is doing well... my Alice is doing great (especially as she is currently in the student shows that opened last night and thus is doing my rehearsals in the afternoon, the other play in the evening and somehow still managing her classes and a little bit of work study!)...

And I tossed and turned for most of last night. If I can get through costuming Alice AND directing it... I will deserve to sit and do nothing over the holiday break!

And mom... I do still need fur...

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It snowed yesterday... almost all day. We had about four inches of snow by the time it was all said and done. It's still on the ground today, only because the sun hasn't managed to break through the clouds yet.... but this weekend is supposed to be in the upper fifties to lower sixties so it will all be gone by then.

It's a good reminder that the holidays are on their way!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Midwife Update

I had my 22 week check up this week and overall things are going very well. In bullet format:
  • My blood pressure is still behaving itself. Hooray!
  • I have gained a bit more weight than perhaps I should have by this point. Jayne didn't exactly put it like that but she did say "8 pounds since your last appointment? That's kind of a lot, don't you think?" Couldn't have anything to do with the incredibly yummy cake and dips I ate all weekend long or my recent propensity for brownie sundaes could it? Ah well... I guess I have to give up having ice cream EVERY night for awhile.
  • At my next appointment (which will be 26 weeks) I get to take the oh-so-fun glucose test. Let's hope, hope, hope that comes back fine. Gestational diabetes is not something I want to deal with...
  • Everything on our ultrasound came back normal. He's growing and measuring the way he's supposed to and all of his organs are developing correctly. I had assumed that was the case as no one had called us to schedule more test... but it's still nice to officially hear.
  • The ultrasound measurements put our due date at 2/09... for those who aren't keeping track, we've now had Feb. 3, 9 and 13 as due dates. Or as Jayne put it, we're just "all over the map." Since the 10 week ultrasound is supposed to be the most accurate in terms of measurement we're officially sticking with 2/13. However, Jayne agreed that he could really come any time after Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/18/2010 and thus one month prior to the latest possible due date) and that would be fine. Do you hear that Wesley? You must stay baking until at least 1/18/2010!
  • I am quickly nearing less than a hundred days left (to the last possible due date)... got to admit I'm getting excited!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back Into the Groove

I'm back in Colorado. The trip back on Sunday was long... I took the really early flight as a means of getting back home at a decent hour. It was good except that I didn't make the connection that by having to get up at 4:30am Indiana time to make it to the airport, that was 2:30am Colorado time. So by 7pm I was exhausted! But I did manage to stop on the front range at both JoAnn Fabric and Babies R' US on the way home, two stores I don't get to visit often.

My shower was lovely. I took all of two pictures, both of which were of the cake before the party started. It was an adorable cake but I hope that my mom or my mother in law, both of whom had cameras, might be willing to post their pictures at flicker or somewhere so that I can see them! :) I got to see lots of people I haven't seen in a long time (living this far away makes it hard to keep up with family and friends) but of course it all went by much too quickly. Thank you again to Jamie and Karen and the grandmas for making such a warm and fun afternoon!

And now I'm back and getting into the groove of things once again. I have several student rehearsals to go to this week in the evenings. I have organized a field trip for about 20 theatre majors to a theatre production in Santa Fe this coming Saturday. And then of course my auditions for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are on Sunday! Busy, busy week...

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm here!

After a longish day of travel and a fear that I was going to be bumped from my flight (note to self- that check in at home BEFORE you leave for the airport is apparently now a requirement), I am in Indy. My parents' house (which is currently on the market) looks great! And in just a few minutes friends are coming over and my mother, friends and I are going to go do some retail therapy!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...

Tomorrow morning I will rise and shine bright and early so as to drive myself the 4 hours to Denver International Airport, where I will climb on a plane and fly to Indy! I've decided to take Wesley along with me... and guess what? He gets to fly for free! Hooray.

My very generous good friend Jamie is hosting a baby shower for me on Saturday which means I'll get to see lots of extended family from both Reid and I's sides, some of whom I haven't seen in quite awhile.

Friday is my day to buy some of the maternity stuff that I need that I can't buy in the Valley (yey for having three clothing retailers in the whole Valley!) and hopefully checking out a fabric store or two for costume preparation for Alice (I plan to stock up on dye since there again is limited selection here in the Valley and possibly fake fur as that is non-exsistent in the Valley). Then Friday afternoon/evening is hanging out with family and friends.

It's going to be a quick blur of a trip but it will be nice to see everyone and a great break from school... then I get back and have one week until I plunge into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland auditions! Yikes... where is this fall going?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And the name is...

After much talk and hashing (and rehashing), Reid and I have settled on a name... our son will be known as:

Wesley Isaiah (and probably called Wes by most people)

It's oldey-timey without being totally out of fashion. It has been on the top 100 boy's baby name list for years but it has not broken the top 50 in all of the time I looked. It is not what we started with but I definitely like it. It's so exciting to call him by a name. Just 19 more weeks until our due date!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My "Boys"

Lest you think this blog has turned exclusively baby and my other "children" have been forgotten, here's a cute picture of our boys taken just this morning.

(Tater on the left, Winston on the right)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Day After...

Well, Dad asked in the comments how this is all feeling now that we are 24 hours out from our ultrasound. I would say that it is just beginning to sink in that I am going to have a son (the word still seems a little odd having been raised with only a sister). I am now catching myself before I add the "or she" to "he or she" since now we know...

Reid and I worked on baby names, narrowing our list tonight. We'll let you know when we make a decision! :)

And I am amazed at how quickly I have gone from thinking that maybe I am feeling the baby move to being certain of the movement. I am now feeling two distinct types of baby. The first is what I would call the "baby constant." This is when, I'm assuming, he is stretching those long legs out like he was in the photo below and I have a sensation along one side or the other that last anywhere from a second to five or six. The second is the "baby sporatic." These are all of the other tiny little movements that are there and then gone almost before I notice them...

And I am definitely feeling a little bit bigger each day! I'll have Reid take a picture tomorrow and I'll do an updated belly post (anybody know how to permanently embed a post along the side so that I could update it periodically and there would always be a link there? Let me know if you know, would ya?).

In other news, I have a lot of grading to do this weekend. I put it off this week but don't think I can any longer. Blick! Grading is by far the worst part of teaching... Also, I travel back to Indy in just two weeks time! Hooray!

Sandy and Oz (Reid's surrogate aunt and uncle) have been so generous with baby gifts already (your thank you card and more is coming!) and today we received a humongous box with our crib, changing table and dresser in it! The box is so big that we can't actually carry it in from the garage... so, we'll be assembling some furniture in the next few days to get the box out of the garage (aka Reid's workshop)... and because I'm impatient now that I have it! It seems a little early to be doing so, but then it will be done, right? :-) Thank you Sandy and Oz!!

Alright, this post has rambled on for long enough. If you followed it, congratulations! It's time for bed...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello World! says the newest Neilsen

We had our 20 week ultrasound this morning! And though the tech could not officially tell us that everything is fine (the doctor has to look at the measurements and interpret the pictures for that) she seemed to think that off the record everything is exactly as it should be. What a relief! And yes, we did find out the gender... so, I'll turn it over to the baby for introductions...

The littlest Mr. Neilsen wanted to say hello... but he was too busy sucking on his thumb! I might be a little biased but I think his profile is down right adorable.

The ornery little guy had his legs straight out (rather than folded in) almost the entire time... news flash to him, he's going to keep getting bigger and the room is going to feel like it's getting much smaller! At some point, those knees are going to have to bend! (the feet are to the right, knees in the middle)

And this picture is proof positive... there is a little boy in there! Won't he love that I posted this picture when he's twelve? :)

Oh look! He is waving hello after all! We're halfway there (20 out of the 40 weeks)... so it won't be too long until we get to see those little fingers in person!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, I am now 19 weeks pregnant and according to BabyCenter he or she is roughly the size of an heirloom tomato (or 6" head to rump) and weighs about 8 1/2 oz (slowly approaching the poud mark... slowly).

I am definitely feeling rounder than I was last week though I'm not sure a picture would back that up. It's a little bit harder to bend forward at the waist and my abdomen feels firmer. The big development of the week though is that I "think" I am starting to feel movement. There is definitely something happening in very brief spurts that is not the unpleasant or sharp stabbing of ligament pain (which I have had for the last couple of weeks at odd intervals) and I suppose it could possibly feel like the fluttering that the nurse and the books have described. Most of the time by the time I register that it is happening and turn my attention to it, it is gone. I'm assuming that over the next few weeks if these sensations are indeed the baby they will become more and more pronounced and thus easier for me to identify as him/her and not me! Apparently movement has been on my mind because in the middle of the night I woke up from a dream where I was certain I felt the baby move and it really did take me a moment to distinguish dream from reality.

And one week from yesterday I'll (hopefully) be able to quit referring to the baby as him/her (it is getting old much too quickly) and will be able to use the one appropriate pronoun.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekend Update

Today Reid and I went to a joint birthday party for a one year old and a three year old of some of my colleagues. We took the dogs along and they had a good time getting lots of pets from the children and eating all of the dropped fruit from the fruit basket!

Tomorrow I will be attending the first Adams State theatre auditions of the season. I'm the senior thesis advisor for the student shows that are auditioning tomorrow. I am excited for them and excited to see our freshman audition! I know I haven't really mentioned school here lately (my how times change hunh?) but we are three weeks into our fall schedule and school is going well. I love our students and love my job. This semester has definitely been a little easier than the last two years in that I'm teaching all classes that I've taught before (except one special topics improv class). That means a lot less stressful final moments when I'm trying to figure out what should and shouldn't be included in a lesson plan. Of course I tweak and revise classes every semester, but that is not nearly the work of creating a new course from scratch... which is good because I do have to admit that I'm a little distracted lately! Baby is definitely taking a fair share of my attention (and he or she is not here yet!). I am also gearing up for Alice in Wonderland which I am directing and costume designing at the end of the semester. I know that it will be a crazy rat race to the end... so I'm enjoying the down time now... and building puppets that will be in the show! I built the head of the first one on Friday. As we get them completed I will definitely take pictures to share.

And this weekend I am also working on my retention folder (blick) which has to be turned in Tuesday. It is never a fun job to reflect on the past year, what went well and what didn't. I feel with the retention folders you have to walk the tight rope of "I'm such a great teacher you really can't afford not to have me" and "I'm humble and still have a lot to learn." To say that I will be glad when it is turned in and done is an understatement! And I'm going to try really hard in January to write mine for next year then... so I won't have to write it next fall!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

18 weeks...

And all is well (says the town crier).

I had my 18 week check up this morning. My blood pressure is still behaving itself (hooray! The biggest worry of the pregnancy so far). So, at this point I will continue to be the "salt nazi" and the dogs will continue to enjoy their at least one, usually two, walk(s) each day.

Otherwise, my weight gain is fine. I've been okayed for the plane ride back to Indy the second weekend of October. And the baby's heartbeat is thumping away! Two weeks (from today!) we find out the gender of the baby (hopefully... if the baby is cooperating).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I just added a poll over on the right side... boy or girl?? Our anatomy ultrasound is schedule for September 24. We will hopefully find out then! So... the poll is opening until the morning of 9/24.

Baby update

I haven't been very good about writing down my pregnancy experiences. I guess the reality of it being every day has set in and a little bit (just a little bit) of the novelty has worn off. I think I was also a little worried about writing too much or getting too excited early on... but as we are nearing the halfway point (only a month to go) the reality and excitement of what is happening is starting to set in.

I am now in my 16th week of pregnancy. The baby is approximately the size of an avocado (4 1/2 inches head to rump and weighs about 3 1/2 oz). However, by the time I get to 20 weeks... he or she will double in size! Which most likely means that the stage I'm in right now with my clothes (where I need to wear maternity pants 'cause all of my pants aren't comfortable but the maternity shirts seem premature) will be over soon and hopefully my "little bump" will be apparent to all.

All of my students know... because quite frankly the only thing more gossipy than theatre students is theatre faculty! Just kidding... they have all been really great. What a fabulous place for me to work.

My early pregnancy symptoms have all dissappeared. No more nauseau. I'm still more tired than pre-pregnancy but definitely not as tired as I was for most of the summer (thank goodness!). I am hungry all of the time! But after a recent scare with my blood pressure being too high (which luckily the most recent time tested back in the levels it should be) I have been eating very healthily, and watching my sodium intake like a hawk. The dogs also like mommy's BP being high because it means at least one if not two walks a day for them!

I have gained somewhere between 7 and 10 lbs (since I'm not exactly sure what I weighed pre-pregnancy) which is right in line with what I should have gained by now (according to the "authorities" on such matters). Hopefully, I'll be able to stay comfortably within that range.

I borrowed a home doppler from my sister while I was in LA and I have to admit it has been wonderful! Reid might classify me as a doppler abuser... I listen to the "whish-whish" of his/her heartbeat every other to every third day or so. It is so reassuring and quite frankly I'm in love with the noise. I'm sure that in another few weeks when I start to feel the baby moving I'll need less and less auditory assurance. But for now it has been really nice.

And finally... in case anyone is wondering whether or not the "baby pouch" has grown... let these pictures put you at ease. Oh yes, it has.

This was the day that we found out... 6/06/09. We thought I was five weeks along, but was probably more like three... so the little bit of belly there is just that, good old fashioned Jenna belly fat!

This was after I had gotten back from Indy by a few weeks... around the end of June and week six or seven. I thought there was such a difference! Then we forgot/didn't get around to taking pictures for a long time...

But this was last night... 8/31/09 at 16 1/2 weeks. Yep, there is a baby bump there...
Exciting, hunh?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Garden Overfloweth...

With some items. This has definitely been a learning year for me. Perhaps the biggest lesson... don't plant when you're angry. I got mad that most of the plants I transplanted this past spring from inside the house to outside died. So one rainy cold afternoon I went out and mounded a whole bunch of dirt and stuck in a whole bunch of zucchini and squash seeds. Oh yes I did. And everyone of them thrived. Meaning we have SO MANY ZUCCHINIS AND SQUASH that we could never possibly use them all/save them all/give them all away. But we're trying our hardest.

I've also learned to plant my rows of root vegetables (carrots and beets) thinner. I pulled so many seedlings out because they were just too close together and am still having carrots growing interwined with one another. Also, one packag of carrot seeds is probably more than enough for us (I planted two). Ditto with the beets (though at least beets are easy to pickle and save for later).

My cucumber plants did nothing. They definitely did not thrive.

The pumpkins are doing well and so long as there isn't a terrible frost in the next few weeks, we should have five or six pumpkins off two plants.

Our tomato plants have many fruits... and all of them are still green. Some have been like that for a month now. We think it gets too cold at night for them to ripen. Same thing with our pepper plants (they are supposed to be yellow and red peppers... and they're all still green). And you can only make so many fried green tomatoes.

And finally our snow peas were doing really well for a little while... and have now mostly shrivelled and gone to seed. Our lettuce and spinach did very well... and those are both seeding now as well.

And that's our garden! Live and learn (and be thankful I'm not actually trying to support my family on this 25 square foot space).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Last Leg...

Mesa Verde!

I had been to Mesa Verde once when I was little but honestly besides the ladders I didn't remember much... and WOW! Is there a lot to remember!

These are the ladders I remembered!

We got up early Saturday morning and were at the park shortly after it opened. We first went to the Visitors Center (like the newspaper guide they give you told us to) and there we booked tickets for two tours. The first was Balcony House and the second was Cliff Palace. We drove to the head of the first and waited for our guide.

Balcony House is definitely a smaller site than Cliff Palace but you go inside the dwellings a little bit which is pretty fantastic (considering they were built 800 years ago)! Our tour guide was alright on the Balcony House but not great... but the pictures were definitely worth it.

The balconies that "Balcony House" is named for...

This is a Kiva, an underground spiritual/ceremonial room that also perhaps functioned as a living area during the cold months. Complete with some great areas of engineering.

Me in Balcony House!

This is the tight tunnel you had to go through to get out of Balcony House. Reid and I half jokingly said they should have a mock up at the start of the tour like they do at airports ("you can not go on this tour if you do not fit in this box"). It was pretty tight.

Cliff Palace is simply visually amazing. I can't imagine being one of the two cowboys who found the site in the 1880s when they were simply riding up the canyon below. Can you imagine?? Just riding along, look up to your right and you see this! Incredible...

"Look Bob! Where do you expect that came from?"

I liked our Cliff Palace guide quite a bit. One of the great things he did was that he regularly made comparisons between the people living in the dwellings we were investigating and Europeans of the same time period. He commented that their average life expectancies and infant mortality rates were about the same. I think that's important as the native people of America tend to be labeled "primitive." But looking at the dwellings that they built, there was obviously nothing primitive besides them (besides not having the knowledge of steel). The guide also stressed that immense dwellings such as these, built with materials from many miles away, were not the dwellings of those who were struggling hand to mouth to survive. They were doing well for themselves agriculturally speaking which allowed them the time (and energy) to build these truly amazing homes. Yeah... I was impressed. And Reid and I will definitely be back.

Reid and I in front of Cliff Palace.

Three story towers! Kivas that stayed between 40 & 50 degrees all winter long!

Can you see the thousands of hand carved squared off stone bricks? Primitive... I think not!

We ate lunch and left the park about 2pm. We drove home. We got home about 6pm and though we had a really great time, both of us were grateful to be home... and our pets were happy to see us as well!

The best spot to end a long vacation!

I hope you've enjoyed our travelogue of what will probably be our last big vacation as a "couple." The next one... will most likely be a "family" vacation! Baby and garden updates to come...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Third Leg...

We got up Thursday, packed up our campsite and "got on the road." We drove from the middle of the Grand Canyon National Park to the east end and stopped to have breakfast at the little cafe near the Watchtower before we drove into the wilds of the south west. It is amazing how long the Grand Canyon is... even after leaving the park you drive for miles before you can turn north.

And turn north we did. We got to Page, AZ (where Lake Powell and a whole bunch of other stuff is) about 1pm. I desperately wanted to take a shower and lay down for just a little bit, but alas our hotel wouldn't let us check in until the designated 3pm check-in time. So... we drove over to the strip mall where the visitor's center is located, ate a quick lunch and got information about several things to do. The coolest looking thing to do (Antelope Canyon... they are amazing, well photographed slot canyons in a nearby mesa) cost over thirty dollars a person because they are on Navajo land and you have to be escorted by a guide... yeah, we weren't digging paying that much this far along in our trip.

So, we chose to drive back south just a few miles from town to go the Horseshoe Bend look-out. It's a place in the Colorado River that literally does a horseshoe bend on itself... over 1000 feet below you. And there are no rails or fences to keep you from seeing the horseshoe bend up close and personal. I snuck as far out as I dared, took one picture and then went and sat in what little shade I could find. Reid wandered around it a little bit, took some more pictures and then proved that being thirty is not too old to be a "little boy" at heart....

Isn't the bend amazing? It certainly made my palms sweat a little standing that close to the edge though...

A raven who was also hot...

Me in the tiny bit of shade I could find... the Grand Canyon had worn me out!

Reid... standing on the shady spot. And yes, of course, it was the highest point around.

The gorge of the Colorado River behind us.

By the time we got done at the look-out it was 3pm. We picked up our room key. I showered and then enjoyed laying around watching tv for a few hours. As we don't have any television reception at our house, even just watching mindless tv can seem like a vacation!

We finished the evening off at a restaurant called the "Blue Buddha," a Japanese sushi restaurant in the middle of the desert! It had a nice trendy but friendly vibe and we had a delicious meal.
The next day we got up late (yey for 11am check outs!) and drove slowly (at one point very slowly as the traffic had been closed to one lane and we sat in stopped traffic for almost an hour) to Cortez, CO. We checked into our hotel, lounged around for awhile and then had dinner at Koko's, a sports bar/grill right across from our hotel. Next stop before our return home... Mesa Verde!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Second Leg...

The Grand Canyon! This was my first trip to the Canyon. Reid had been there before but he hadn't ever hiked down into it.

We left Vegas late-ish in the morning, drove the four and a half hours to Camp Mather Campground (which is within the Grand Canyon National Park on the southern rim), crossing over the Hoover Dam to do so.

The Hoover Dam... there is a lot of construction all around.

We checked into our campsite, pitched our tent, bought some firewood and some more ice and enjoyed sitting next to a campfire (complete with a s'more!)... We were able to swap some of our favorite camping memories and campfire stories.

Reid setting up our domicile.

With a s'more in your hand this is perfect! Yeah... Reid and I are definitely more Grand Canyon people than we are Vegas people!

To say that sleeping in a tent at three months pregnant was comfortable was a stretch. But I slept alright. The worst part really was that we had brought our mummy bags which were too warm to zip up... but if I left it unzipped I couldn't sleep on my side with my supportive pillows without either my butt or my knees hanging out and getting cold. Luckily the second night we grabbed some of the polar fleece that I had bought in the fabric district... and that problem was remedied!

Tuesday morning we got up, ate breakfast and were on the tram bus by 8:30. We took the bus out to the farthest east you can go (Yaki Point) and then walked a little trail along the rim back west to the South Kaibab Trail.

Our first view of the Canyon... it was hazy in the morning, apparently because of several fires on the North Rim. Luckily it cleared up as the day went on.

I love this picture... Look how tiny Reid is... and how big the hole in the ground is!
There are two main trails on the south rim that go all the way from the top of the canyon to the river. Kaibab is the shorter but steeper of the two. I chose it because I figured it would be a little less busy than the other trail and I think I was probably right!

The top of the South Kaibab Trail... not too many people braving it!
We passed many people but there were no crowds or constant rush of people.There are signs everywhere warning you not to try and make it to the river and back in one day and we certainly didn't! I went about a mile and a quarter.

Where Reid left me... not a bad view to stare at for a little while!

Reid went the full 1.8 miles to the first major lookout (Ooh Ah Point! What a great name).

Reid when he came back and met me... five points to anyone who can tell us what the crazy green plant growing in the background is...

Then he hiked back up to me and we hiked back up together.

Two successful hikers back at the top! I know... the camelback strap is not terribly flattering... but these waterfilled backpacks are awesome for hiking!

By then it was time for lunch so we headed back to the campsite. After eating I was feeling quite warm (though thankfully the day was partly overcast and the temps hovered in the mid-eighties) so we went to one of the many museums for a short cool off and then finally drove out to the "Watchtower" which is in the Desert View, the eastern most point in the park.

I would say the tower was one of the highlights of the trip. I loved the artwork inside and the views are truly breathtaking up above.

Some of the artwork...

The view from the top of the tower

We stopped on one more trailhead (the name escapes me at the moment) and snapped a few more pictures...

Then we headed back to our campsite, made dinner, enjoyed the fire for awhile and then retired to our tent. Unfortunately I woke up at 1:30, asked Reid what time it was and when he told me I started to bolt for the tent door. He asked if I was alright and I said something along the lines of "No, I'm going to be sick." I somehow managed to bolt the hundred yards to the bathroom and did indeed break my "haven't thrown up during this pregnancy" streak. Though of course the pregnancy did contribute, I think it had more to do with the food and the physical exertion of the day before (coupled with the pregnancy)... but the reason I tell you all of this (besides so when I go back and read this blog in the future I'll remember?)... because when I opened the bathroom door, standing there waiting was my sweet husband. He had followed me to the bathroom and waited outside while I puked. Now that is love.

The next morning we woke up and packed up our campsite (but not before seeing a female elk grazing in the campsite across from ours)...

Hello Ms. Elk!

Next on our trip, a quick trip to Page, AZ and Lake Powell...