Friday, July 24, 2015

Arizona Vacation: Baseball Game

On our final night in Phoenix, we took in a Diamondbacks-Dodgers game and enjoyed getting to add another Major League Baseball stadium to each of our lists.

For the record, I've been to six stadiums: Yankees, Mets, Braves, Brewers, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Daniel has been to seven: Braves, Mets, Rangers, Reds, Cardinals, Orioles, Diamondbacks

Getting to the Chase Field in downtown Phoenix was pretty easy. Our hotel shuttle dropped us off at the light rail station that was close to the hotel and we rode downtown with a throng of people. It was great to not have to find our way by car or have to find parking. After the game was over, the light rail stop was just outside the stadium gate and we only had to wait a little while for the train.

In thinking about what to wear to the game, knowing that the outside temperature was still going to be over 100 degrees for most of the evening (think: oven), I opted to leave my jacket in the hotel room. What we didn't think about was that the roof of the stadium might remain closed and a bunch of frigid air would be pumped in for nine innings! I was basically feeling like an ice cube for most of the game and was actually happy to get back outside after the game was over!

We had great seats, right over home plate. Even though we were three tiers up, we could see every play and hardly had to move our head very much! We were routing for the D-backs since one season in Daniel's baseball career his team had been the Diamondbacks. He even brought his hat to wear and we joked that it was now "vintage" since the D-backs' logo has changed. Unfortunately, the Dodgers won the game, but it was still fun to see them all play.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Arizona Vacation: Sedona

On our way back from the Grand Canyon, we took a side trip to see Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. The views were gorgeous and we got to see a little bit more of the beautiful state of Arizona.

I don't know what I expected Sedona to be like, but when we got into the town limits, it reminded me of other mountain tourist towns, like Gatlinburg, with its shops and restaurants on a main strip. There is a lot of the area that we didn't get to explore this time, but maybe there will be an opportunity for a return trip someday (after I finish seeing all of the other places I want to see!).

Daniel had found a southwestern restaurant that had a good rating, but we weren't hungry for lunch yet, so we parked and walked up and down the main strip for a little while. It was very hot and many stores had mister fans blowing, which was nice. It still wasn't too pleasant to spend a lot of time outside. There were the typical souvenir/gift shops and Daniel found a t-shirt to take home.

There were also some interactive musical displays scattered along that area, so Daniel tried them out.

After walking around for a little while, we got back in the car and drove to find the restaurant, Javelinas, which boasted having scenic views from the dining room. That was a stretch, but the food was pretty good and we did get to see some of the red rocks from the parking lot.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a scenic area to snap a few more pictures of the beautiful red rock formations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Arizona Vacation: Road-tripping

While the idea of getting on Interstate 40 and driving due West sounds fun and appealing on some levels, since we didn't have unlimited time off for our vacation, we flew to Phoenix and rented a car to drive to see the Grand Canyon. I had to do all of the driving, but Daniel was a great navigator and (sometimes reluctant) passenger-seat photographer.

The thing about being a photographer who can't take the pictures while driving is that you become grateful for the pictures you get AND you realize that memories still stay in your mind even without photo documentation.

On the drive up to the Grand Canyon, we saw lots of Saguaro cacti along the side of the road and lots of rocky desert. We also could tell that we were getting into a higher elevation (and not only because of the signs that would say "Elevation: xxxx feet") and started seeing more mountains in the landscape.

One of the coolest views was as we ascended up a mountain range and then could see down in the valley . . . the Verde Valley . . . and it was so green down there (hence, the name). I don't know if it was the way the sun was shining on the valley or if my sunglasses were making the color pop, but it was a beautiful sight (and I wish I had a picture, but there wasn't a good place to stop).

We made it to Flagstaff and found our chosen restaurant on Historic Route 66 for lunch (more about that in another post) and then continued on our way up to the Canyon. The road between Williams, AZ, and the Grand Canyon National Park was pretty flat, although it probably had a gradual change in elevation. There were roads that went off of the main road, but for the most part, you couldn't see where those roads led to or whether people lived in those remote areas. Once we got closer to the park, we saw a little more commercial property and a small airport.

On the way back to Phoenix, we took a different route so that we could go through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. The road to Sedona (through the mountains and canyon) got very winding at some points, with hairpin turns that we had to take at slow speeds. I had to really pay attention to the road that part of the drive, but at one point we were stopped for a construction site and I was able to snap a couple of shots.

Stay tuned for more about Sedona and the rest of our trip to Arizona!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Bucket List: Update #2

Well, it's time for another update on my Summer Bucket List (I'll bet you've been waiting on pins and needles for this, right?). As I looked over my list to see what I can cross off, I realized that I neglected to take pictures of some of the things I've done. You'll have to take my word for it, I guess!
  1. Go on a vacation with Daniel (this is a easy one, since our trip is planned)
  2. Create scrapbook layouts for the first six months of 2015 using the Project Life app
  3. Get together with some friends to get some other scrapbooking done
  4. Make cards (either alone or with a friend)
  5. Create monthly/seasonal "vingette" on top of my entertainment center
  6. Do a DIY project for my home
  7. Have a cook-out
  8. Try a new recipe
  9. Cook at home at least once a week
  10. Write a note to someone every week
  11. Read for at least an hour a day
  12. Watch the fireworks on 4th of July
  13. Go to the Farmer's Market
  14. Attend a local festival
  15. Go on a day-trip
Get together with some friends to get some other scrapbooking done. (CHECK)
I was able to spend an entire Saturday with two of my scrapping buddies, Kelly and Barbara, and Katie was there for a part of the day. I can't say that I have a lot of layouts, but we did have some great talks and had fun documenting memories together.

Make cards (either alone or with a friend). (CHECK)
My friend Janine invited me over for dinner and since we often make cards together, I asked her if she'd help me to make some invitations for a bridal shower that I'm helping to host. She graciously helped me put together 28 invitations and we had a great time talking while we worked. And while I wish I had taken a picture of the wonderful meal she cooked or of us sitting on her deck or crafting, I did remember to take a picture of the finished product!

Have a cook out. (CHECK)
My community group planned some dates to get together throughout the summer and for the night we met at my house, we had a cookout. I grilled burgers and hot dogs and everyone brought yummy side items. We ate outside, but couldn't handle the heat/humidity or the bugs too long, so we came back inside to hear about our friends' trip to Rwanda. Again, no pictures of that night, but I have witnesses that it happened!

Try a new recipe. (CHECK)
I think I counted this as checked off in my first update, but I made another new-to-me recipe on a whim last night. I had bought the ingredients for a tomato tart and had a pie crust leftover in the package (forgot to only thaw one crust). I didn't want to waste the crust, so I got out actual cook books and searched for a pie that I could make with ingredients I had on hand (which is not always an easy task at my house). Thankfully, my sister had gifted me with some chocolate chips and pecans (I think those came from her pantry) and I had eggs, flour and butter to make a chocolate chip pie that was in our church cookbook from many years ago. I don't even know the person who entered it, but it sure made a good pie to go with vanilla ice cream! And . . . I took a picture of both the tomato tart and the dessert!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Bucket List: Update #1

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my Summer Bucket List. I am happy to report that there has been some progress made on checking things off of my list!

  1. Go on a vacation with Daniel (this is a easy one, since our trip is planned)
  2. Create scrapbook layouts for the first six months of 2015 using the Project Life app
  3. Get together with some friends to get some other scrapbooking done
  4. Make cards (either alone or with a friend)
  5. Create monthly/seasonal "vingette" on top of my entertainment center
  6. Do a DIY project for my home
  7. Have a cook-out
  8. Try a new recipe
  9. Cook at home at least once a week
  10. Write a note to someone every week
  11. Read for at least an hour a day
  12. Watch the fireworks on 4th of July
  13. Go to the Farmer's Market
  14. Attend a local festival
  15. Go on a day-trip
Go on a vacation with Daniel (CHECK)
As I said when I wrote the bucket list, number one on the list was going to be easy to cross off, since our trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon had already been planned. I think I can safely speak for Daniel and myself when I say that our trip was awesome in every way. I'll be posting about different places we saw, starting with The Grand Canyon!

Try a new recipe (CHECK)
Maybe I need to do this one again with a recipe for something that I've never cooked before, but I did use a different cobbler recipe and also added the blueberries as my own special flair.

Watch the fireworks on the 4th of July (CHECK-ish)
I went to a Nashville Sounds baseball game on the 3rd of July and saw their live fireworks show after the game. But then it rained a lot on the 4th of July, so I watched the highly-acclaimed Nashville fireworks show on my phone from the comfort of my bed (and stayed nice and dry).

Friday at the Sounds game

Saturday from my screen

Go to the Farmer's Market (CHECK-ish)
OK, maybe this doesn't really count, but on Friday before the baseball game, we ate dinner at the food court at the Nashville Farmer's Market. I probably will try and go again for the purpose of buying some produce. Oh, but I did buy some peaches from a stand on Thursday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

She's Five!

Sweet, funny, silly, snuggly, smart. Those are five words to decscribe the newest five-year-old in our family: 

Mary Lane!

Here's a look at her day of birth and four other birthdays:


Five (almost)!

We love you, Mary Lane! Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday to YOU!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2015


It's hard to believe that this is true, but as of last Thursday, I no longer have a teen-ager! That's right, Daniel turned twenty years old! Crazy, but it's true!

Our trip to Arizona was a big part of our celebration, but we got back in town on his birthday, in time for Daniel to get to celebrate with his dad and step-mom. Then on Friday, we went to brunch with Grandma at Noshville in Green Hills, and then went back to her apartment so she could give him his gifts. And as an added bonus, we got to FaceTime with the Masseys!

I am really and truly excited to have a twenty-year-old son. He is fun to hang out with, gives good insight on lots of different topics, and is very fun to watch as he lives life as a young adult. He was a great travel companion, too, and I'm glad that we were able to take a trip together for his "big" birthday this year.

Some people might gloss over turning twenty, since twenty-one is such a milestone birthday. But I wanted to make a big deal over Daniel moving into a new decade and celebrate the man he is becoming. But of course, I had to do some reminiscing as well!

Daniel's BIRTH day

Birthday #1

Birthday #2

Birthday #3
Birthday #4
Birthday #5

Arizona Vacation: The Grand Canyon

First look

Grand Canyon Selfie




Grand Canyon Sunset with a Storm Brewing

Grand Canyon Sunrise

Sunday, July 5, 2015

New Baseball Stadium

This Spring, a new baseball stadium opened in Nashville. At first, I wasn't sure where it was and if it would be as fun to go to as the old Greer Stadium. But from the first time I walked through the gates of First Tennessee Park, I was smitten!

The first game I attended was in May with my sister and family. We had seats at the top of the lower section, out past the third base line. With the exception of having people standing over us at the counters right behind the top row of seats, I liked our location. We could easily get out of our row and walk a few yards to the concesssion stands and restrooms. Some foul balls may have come close to us, but mainly when over our heads and I didn't feel too threatened. It was a fun evening that ended with fireworks and we created a fun memory together.

The second game I attended was in early June, and my mom invited me to go with a group from her church choir. We were able to park at First Baptist Church and take a shuttle to the stadium, which was nice. Parking at the new stadium hasn't been as bad has I originally thought, either, since there is lots of free public parking at the nearby Farmer's Market and Bicentennial Mall. Our seats for that game were also out past third base, but this time we sat on the third row. Great view, but had to really pay attention and watch for foul balls. Daniel was also at that game and we met up with him to say hi.

The third game I've gone to so far this summer was on July 3rd with some friends from church. This time we were on the first base line and my seat was on the second row. I decided that I like the third base line better because you can see the big guitar-shaped scoreboard better when you're watching the game.

Now that I've been to three games, one a month, I am determined to go see one in August and in September to round out my experience.  We'll see how that goes!