Monday, October 28, 2013

We are not old fuddy duds!

We were face-timing with our kids when they were carving pumpkins, and Isaac asked us if we were going to  to be be fun or be fuddy duds since we no longer had kids at home to make us carve pumpkins. Well, I went right out (the next day) and bought some pumpkins and we carved them up!

Happy birthday Eric!

October 27-
Happy birthday to my sweet husband. Birthdays that fall on Sundays are not very exciting. He spent the morning in meetings, then church, then home teaching, and then choir practice. Finally at 9:00 pm we got to have a birthday cream with home-made chocolate fudge sauce.  Here is the birthday boy with the new tie that Miranda sent him from Japan.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Trying to Catch Up!

I have been meaning to update the blog for quite some time now, but it just keeps getting pushed to the back burner. Today I was headed upstairs to the treadmill, but found myself being pulled to the computer room instead.

Where to start?
Back in August all of our kids (minus the missionary) came to Texas for a visit. We had a great time! We swam at the neighborhood pools, went to the gulf coast, zoo, downtown Houston, Museums. With everyone here we always had to take three vehicles everywhere. That was fun trying to make sure everyone was navigating to the same place. How did we ever survive without smart phones?
Here are some pictures of the fun we had.
We finally got to use our big dinning room table and everyone fit!

What a sweet face!

Playing at the playground on our walk around the neighborhood. It was Hot!

Leslie liked playing in the sand at the beach.

Our beach setup

Looking at the big fish at the Houston Zoo!

Isaac and Kandace hanging out with the Hippo.

Riding the carrousel at the Houston Zoo
The Gulf at sunset

The Cummings Family

The Clark Family

Grandpa and Grandma with three very cute kids!

At the Sugarland Skeeters baseball rain and rained.

Houston as seen from the 60th floor of the Chase building

Holocaust museum..standing in a railcar that was used to transport Jews to the concentration camps.

After everyone left, Abby and I had a few days to do some shopping for college stuff and then we packed her up and hit the road. It is a long way from Texas to Wyoming! We drove to Amarillo the first day and then on to Laramie the second day. It was a pretty good trip except for the car overheating. This is late August and Abby and I are driving with the heat on and the windows down to cool the engine. Luckily we made it with no major problems. Abby got moved into her dorm. I found it amazing and a lot disturbing that the dorms have not changed in 28 years. Abby's dorm was a mess. Needless to say I did some complaining and at least it got cleaned up some. (That's a whole other story for a different day).

Moving her stuff in

She is a county 5er.

After getting Abby settled, I drove my parents back to Evanston. They were there visiting my Aunt Lucy. I spent a week in Evanston helping them get their house ready to put on the market. They have decided to downsize. When the week was over, my sister, Susan, drove me to Salt Lake City to catch a plane back to Texas. And That begins a new phase in life for Eric and me...We are Empty Nesters!!

Things I am learning about being an empty nester....
1. There is no longer a need for a sock box.
2. It is ok to run the dishwasher even if it is not completely full.
3. The washing machine setting for small loads works.
4. Facetime and Google hangouts are brilliant technology advances.

Now that I am no longer teaching and have tons of time on my hands I am finally able to travel with Eric when he goes on business trips. Recently he had an SPE meeting in New Orleans. It is only about 5 hours from Houston so we (Shell) rented a car and we drove to the meeting. It was a lovely drive. It is always fun to see scenery that is new. There is a lot of water in Louisiana!! Eric had to be in meetings Sunday through Thursday so I booked myself on a bunch of tours. Here are some pictures of my adventures. (I didn't tour on Sunday..I went to the New Orleans 1st ward).
Driving into NOLA and there is the Superdome

A little rush hour traffic and the skyline as seen from I-10.

Alligator sausage Po' Boy sandwich..Eric said it was delicious!

Sorry about the glaring lights. This was the Expo at the SPE convention. I had to take a picture of all that engineering madness. The room just reeked of nerdy science people. (That's a joke)

This is the paddle boat I jumped on and toured the Mississippi River.

The NOLA skyline as seen from the back of a paddle boat cruising down the Mississippi.

Very large boats owned by the US Navy.

Large home on the site of the Chalmette Battlefield. This is the place the Battle of New Orleans was fought.

Guess park rangers to lead the tour..hmmm. I took this picture so I could remember the name.

The Goodyear Blimp was flying in for the Saints Game. NOLA is crazy enough but then you add a Saints Game and things really get crazy!! I wonder if the captains know they have a cannon aimed at them?

The Blimp flew right over my head.

As my little tour was ending some lucky folks were just beginning a Carnival Cruise. (Maybe they are lucky, we will have to see if they make it back in a functional boat.)

Tuesday I headed to the Swamps to take a boat tour. I loved this tour. The Alligators would swim right up to the boat. They were hoping we would feed them marshmallows or small children. Both of which are now illegal.

On Wednesday I visited a couple of plantations. This is the view from the second story balcony of Oak Alley Plantation. These Live Oaks are about 300 years old. If you think you recognize this place, you have probably seen it in a movie.

One evening Eric and I strolled along the river walk. It was a beautiful evening overlooking the Mississippi.

What a hunk!

While walking down Canal Street (the border of the French Quarters) we heard drums and music. We were able to snap few pictures of a wedding. We couldn't figure out the nationality of the couple, but their family sure looked to be having fun. The horses didn't like the drums.

The women were dressed in very colorful dresses. They followed the carriage and the men lead the carriage while chanting and playing drums. It was all quite a spectacle.

Such a fun tour!

We saw a lot of gators! and the swamps are actually very pretty.

A little cabin built on the swamp. No one lives there now.

The guide told us that this part of the swamp has been filmed in a few movies. I just can't remember which movies he said. There is a cabin off to the right that a movie crew built.

One of the larger Gators to visit the boat.

Me holding a two year old gator. I was happy the guide taped his mouth shut!

Back at the boat dock a gator decided to sun himself on the bank. That is until we all started taking pictures.

Oak trees at the back of Oak Alley plantation. These trees are only about 100 years old.

Ceiling fan and fly shooer. It must have taken on talented slave boy  to keep the people cool, the flies at bay and not put out the candles on the table.

This is Creole plantation house. Creole plantations were much different than American plantations. These houses were not used for parties or show. This is where you came to do business. You knew it was Creole because it is colorful. American plantation houses were white.

The first owners of the Creole Plantation house. He died quite young and she had to run the place for 48 years. She ended up an old bitter, mean woman. Probably because she had violent sons. Women ran this plantation until the 1920's.

I liked this handy little liquid dispenser. When you want your glass refilled just open the spout at your spot!

Slave cabin at the Creole plantation.  Decedents of the slaves actually continued to live in these cabins until 1977. This is two separate residences.

I didn't go into this plantation. I believe it is called Evergreen. The tour bus just stopped here to pick up some people so I snapped a picture. It is an American plantation house, hence the color white.

While I was off having fun in LA. Isaac called to tell us that he proposed to his girlfriend, Kandace. Yea! we are so happy for them. It is looking like a January wedding. Also, the same week Bailey found out they are having another boy and Paige announced that she is also having a baby. Families are the best!

I guess I had better quit putting off the need to hit the treadmill......