Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vancouver-BC That Is-The Other Vancouver

Christopher has been in Bellingham for two years and hadn't been to Vancouver, BC yet.  It has been a really long time since Bill and I have been there.  We went to Vancouver a couple of times while we were dating.  We got engaged there 29 1/2 years ago when Expo was there in 1986.  Besides Expo, we had gone up to Grouse Mountain on the Skyride, Stanley Park, and the Aquarium in the past.  We were having a hard time deciding what we wanted to do.  We just wanted to go to Vancouver.

We arrived on Friday night by plane to Bellingham.  It was IFR the whole way so no pretty views.  Christopher picked us up and we had dinner at Boundary Bay Brewery before heading to bed to rest up for our adventure into Canada.

So off we went Saturday morning bright and early to get through the border crossing without too much waiting.  Once you get to Vancouver, there are no freeways which is kind of strange.  It is such a big city.  It takes awhile to get through it.  We were looking for someplace to have breakfast and tried to find some place but realized we had no Canadian money to put in the meter.  So that was a little stressful trying to find a place to eat, trying to find nearby parking and finding someplace to get change before we got a parking ticket.  After eating a fast food breakfast at Tim Horton's, we decided to get out of downtown and head to North Vancouver.

We saw advertisements and signs for Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and thought it looked interesting.  So decided to stop.  It was pretty expensive--$37 per person Canadian.  But it was kind of a cool park.  The original suspension bridge was built in 1889.  It has since been replaced with a newer one.  So many people there and on it at the same time.  It sways a lot as you cross it--very disorienting.  Chris and I did okay but Bill didn't like it at all.  Gave him motion sickness.  After getting across, he wasn't looking forward to going back.

In addition to the suspension bridge there were some newer "attractions".  The Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk.  The Treetops Adventure had bridges suspended between trees to walk above the ground and look down.  The Cliffwalk was built along the cliff on the other side of the river and part of it curved away from the cliff all together. They also had a raptor exhibit with an owl, raven and hawk.  It was pretty neat to get up so close to them.

Grouse Mountain was nearby and Bill and I remember being impressed with the views so we decided to do it again.  It was pretty expensive as well.  Around $50 per person Canadian.  We went up on the Skyride which was pretty cool.  Takes just 5 minutes to get to the mountain plateau.  We had lunch on the patio looking at the view of Mount Baker and the North Cascades, the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island off in the distance.  I had poutine for the first time for lunch.  It is a Canadian dish that originated in Quebec--french fries, cheese curds and brown gravy.  It was actually pretty good.  Chris says that they serve it in Bellingham too being so close to Canada and I did see it at a food cart there at the brewery we went to after we got back.  The rest of the time we just walked around the plateau a bit to look at the wood carved sculptures, the views from various locations and tried to see if we could spot the bears in their enclosure but we think they were sleeping for the day.  They have lumberjack demonstrations and other things at various times but not while we were there.  By that time, we were tired and ready to head back to Bellingham.

After winding our way back through Vancouver for an hour, we made it back to the border after about another half hour drive.  We didn't stop at Peace Arch Park but Chris took a picture of the arch for me as we waited in line to go through U.S. Customs.

Bill wanted to go to Wander Brewery for some beer.  Luckily they had some cider on tap.  No beer for this girl.  I had some black currant cider which was quite yummy.  It was early but we were all pretty tired.  Chris took us back to his apartment to show us as we hadn't been there yet to see the inside.  I haven't met his roommate yet either.  But Luke and his girlfriend were leaving as we arrived so I didn't get to meet him this time either.

Had a yummy breakfast at Mount Bakery then back to the airport to fly home.  I was thinking as we were driving back to Bellingham yesterday that it would have been the perfect day to go up to Mount Baker and it would have been a great day to take pictures from the air.  Today was pretty good but I usually am disappointed by my pictures--not the same as what my eyes see.  But here they are.  We truly live in a beautiful state.

 Mount Baker
 San Juan Islands
 I think this is Lopez Island but not sure.
 Mount Olympus has some snow on it but not many of the other Olympic Mountains yet.
 Mount Rainier
Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams behind it.

So we had some nice family time, got to get out of the country for part of a day and see some pretty beautiful country from our plane.  Great weekend!

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Dramatic Birthday

Bill and I discovered that "Guys and Dolls" was going to be performed at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland this year.  I love a good musical and "Guys and Dolls" is one of my favorites.  So we made plans to fly there for my birthday weekend.

It has been a really long time since we had been to Ashland.  We went when the boys were really young and Bill had taken his dad there several years before he died.  So that gives you a little bit of an idea of how long it has been. I knew that they obviously did Shakespeare at the Elizabethan outdoor theater as well as the indoor theaters and I have been to a more modern (17th or 18th century) play.  But I had no idea that they did musicals there so I was pleasantly surprised.

Bill loves Shakespeare so he bought tickets to see "Antony and Cleopatra" on Saturday night.  It was in the outdoor theater and from past experience, we knew that it would be cold so we came prepared with winter coats and blankets.  As with most Shakespeare plays staged these days, the costuming was fairly modern.  The Egyptian costuming was probably the closest to ancient Egyptian but the Romans had a kind of science fiction like costume design (no togas) and the soldiers had modern fatigues and rifles.  They certainly didn't look much like Roman soldiers.  The production was top notch as one would expect from the Ashland Shakespeare Festival.  We went to "Guys and Dolls" on Sunday afternoon and that was so much fun!

Ashland is definitely a tourist town.  It is very easy to spend a lot of money there.  We did it as cost effectively as we could.  We stayed in an old 1930 era motel which was fairly inexpensive.  I had read some reviews on the internet so I didn't have any high expectations--and no surprises from some of the less than satisfactory parts about staying there.  We found some relatively reasonable restaurants to eat at amongst the really expensive eateries. They weren't out of this world wonderful but they were adequate.  Going to the play and musical were our splurges.

I always tend to celebrate over a number of days.  Thursday I went to the hospital to see my friend, Denise, since were didn't do our usual celebration of our birthdays together by going out to dinner before going to the September AORN meeting.  We had lunch together in the cafeteria instead.  On Friday--I spent the afternoon with my friend, Colleen, going out to lunch, shopping and to see "A Walk in the Woods" starring Nick Nolte and Robert Redford.  It was an okay movie and had its funny moments.  Then while we were in Ashland, the Packers were playing the Seahawks so I insisted on watching the game for my birthday.  The TV in our room wasn't very good so we went out to a sports bar to watch the game and cheer the Packers onto victory.

All in all it was a great birthday festival.  I got to spend time with some friends.  I got to go on a flying adventure with my sweetheart and be entertained by some first class entertainers.  What more could a woman ask for!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Air Force Ball

It was such a nice surprise to find a picture of Tom and Maddy heading to the Air Force Ball last night.  They looked fantastic all glammed up for the event.  It is the first time Tom wore his mess dress uniform.  And Maddy had a great glittery dress.  So fun!

Brought back great memories of military balls that Bill and I went to before Tom was born.  This wasn't the first one we went to together.  For some reason, I can't find a picture of it in my albums.  But it was the Christmas Ball at Fort Lewis in 1985--just before Bill left to go to Fort Benning.  Hard to believe that 30 years later--our "little guy" is now going to these kind of events.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our Busy Summer: Catching Up on My Blogging

Hi!  Using this weekend to catch up on the goings on this summer.  It has been a busy one--mostly with work.  But we and maybe more so my family have been doing a few other things.  After I finished Tom and Maddy's album, I started working on other photos from the summer.

My nephew, Graham, graduated from high school in Ohio on May 30th.  So proud of him and his accomplishments.  He is at the Air Force Academy now.  In fact, Sherrill and her family are visiting him this weekend.

We were so thrilled to have Tom, Chris and Maddy with us for Father's Day.  I got a lot of one-on-one time with Tom and Maddy so it was like having Mother's Day for me too.  I took them wine tasting at a couple of our favorite spots which was a lot of fun.  That evening, we took Bill to the Kennedy School for dinner.  I thought Maddy would get a kick out of eating dinner there with her being a teacher and all.

Meanwhile back in Tomah, Darren and Dane were helping Dad celebrate Father's Day.

Tom and Maddy actually spent most of their time in Washington in either Seattle or Winthrop getting ready for the wedding but they did go on this tour of Safeco Field with Maddy's dad.

And they took a trip out to Ellensburg to pick up Maddy's wedding ring and visit their old haunts there.

Right after the wedding, Tom and Maddy went to the Bahamas for their honeymoon and had a wonderful time at the beach, snorkeling, and touring Nassau.

 Lots of time at the beach.  Both on Paradise Island.

And Blue Lagoon Island.

And they thought swimming with the dolphins was such a blast.  Especially when the dolphins pushed them under their feet at 15 miles an hour.

Tom got back home in time for his 26th birthday.  

Tom and Maddy adopted a new dog from the animal shelter.  Her name is Sadie and she and Ariel seem to be getting along very well with each other.

Darren does a lot of fishing.  And sometimes Tess goes along.  They had a great night of fishing on this particular night catching muskies.

They go to a cabin up north every summer so these are the pictures from that trip.

This summer was a big one for the Packers.  Brett Favre returned to be inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired on the same day.  That has never happened before.  It was pretty special.  A sold out crowd at Lambeau Field just to see Brett Favre--no game.  Just see him.  Darren drove over to Green Bay a few weeks later to tour the stadium and watch a practice although he said it was so crowded, he couldn't really see much.  Here is hoping to a fabulous season for Green Bay this year.  GO PACK GO!

Bill and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.  We went to Roots on Friday night and got this nice surprise when we got our dessert.  On Saturday (our actual anniversary), we went out to Black Angus for a prime rib fix.

Chris is home for a couple of weeks so that he could spend some quality time with Mom and Dad before starting school again.  He got home in time for his birthday and we took him out to Beaches that night.  He was treated like a king getting his crown and carmel corn.  He is trying to learn to cook and eat less meat.  He isn't trying to be a strict vegetarian but trying to figure out how to eat more healthy with less meat so he has been trying a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes this summer.  He asked for a cookbook and some items for his kitchen so I happily obliged.

Labor Day weekend so far is consisting of hiking.  We took Chris out to the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail yesterday.  I let them to the whole trail (or most of it anyway--they turned around at the tunnels).  I took my time and hiked about 4 miles of it and took a few pictures.  I like seeing the remnants of the old highway like the barriers along side the highway and the mile marker in the pictures above.  After we went hiking, we drove to Stevenson for lunch and to pick up some beer at a brewery there.  Today--Bill and Chris went hiking in town--in the rain.  But happy to have it since we have been in such a drought this summer.  It has been so disconcerting to see the trees so stressed that they are changing colors already.  But it isn't in a good or beautiful way.  I don't think we are going to get the beautiful fall colors this year if early signs are any indication.  So hoping for more rain and snowpack this winter so we can get back to more normal Pacific Northwest weather.

So that is what we have been doing besides going to the wedding.  Hard to believe summer is almost over.  

Tom and Maddy's Wedding Album

I have been spending almost two months working on a wedding album of Tom and Maddy's pictures.  I have been thrilled to work with so many wonderful photos of that beautiful day back in June.  I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed making the album.  Photo Credit:  Some of the photos were mine but most of the photos were taken by Teri Pieper and her husband--photographers in the Methow Valley.  They did a great job of capturing the day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wedding Reunion

I got the professional photographs from the wedding about a week and a half ago.  I have started to work on scrapbooking the pictures.  These are my favorite non-Tom and Maddy photos.  When I found out that both Sherrill and Chuck would be with us at the wedding, I decided I wanted to get our picture taken together.  This was the first time (and probably the last) that we all were together since Bill and I had our wedding in December of 1986.  They were our best man and maid of honor.  So it was such a treat to have us together for our own little wedding reunion.  I asked the photographer to make sure that we got pictures taken.  Her husband had a little fun with us and had us "reenact" our wedding.  I had a hard time getting Bill to kiss me long enough for the photographer to get a picture of us kissing but he managed to catch us anyway.  They turned out pretty well.  I'll probably share more wedding layouts as I get more done.  Work has been crazy so I am not getting to spend as much time scrapping as I would like but it will get done eventually.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tom and Maddy's Big Day

The big day finally arrived.  This wedding has been in the planning stages for a year--actually longer than that since Maddy had decided she wanted to get married in the Methow Valley even before she and Tom were engaged--maybe even dating.  Maddy picked Brown's Farm to have the wedding last July during the height of the fires in the valley last year.  There was no water, no electricity, etc. but she fell in love with the place to have the wedding immediately.

Sherrill had alerted me to the fact that the temperatures during the ceremony would be 104 degrees about a week ahead of time so while I was looking forward to the wedding, I certainly wasn't looking forward to melting in that heat.  But the wedding was beautiful and wonderful.  As Bill says--"it is the best wedding I have ever attended".  And I have to agree that it was truly wonderful and so much fun.

 Maddy did a lot of searching on Pinterest to get decoration ideas for the wedding.

I took this picture before they put the flowers on the arbor.  They waited until the very last minute so they wouldn't wilt in the heat.

 The wedding party table all had bows on the back of their chairs.

 And there were some cute signs around the venue.

 Slight error on this sign--the first "I love you" was actually 6-6-2009.

 These windows with photos turned out so great!

 Mr. and Mrs. signs above their heads at the table.

 And Maddy made the cork bar sign and Pete made the wood slices.  I didn't get the centerpiece photos come to think of it but there were wood slices at each table which the flower arrangements were placed on top of.
We got ready at the cabin we were staying in which was right next door to Pete and Marian's cabin.  That was so convenient and of course had a wonderful view of the valley as well.

 Marian and me before the wedding.

 Tom and his attendants before the wedding.  Almost showtime.  Avery, Zach, Tom and Chris.

 Anna helped Pete with his boutineer.

I didn't see Maddy at all before the wedding but this picture was posted on Facebook.  They did her hair and then realized that they needed to cut her t-shirt off so they wouldn't mess it up.

Chris took Anika and Rose up the aisle during the processional.
 Pete and Maddy danced up the aisle to "Good Day for Marrying You".

 Tom's attendants--Zach, Chris and Avery.

The Ceremony.

 Bridesmaids-Allie, Tristen, Anika, Rose and Anna.  The flowergirls are Tristen's daughers.

 The Kiss.

Most of the photos taken by the photographers were candid shots.  But we did pose for a few posed pictures immediately after the ceremony.

 The poor flowergirls did not want their pictures taken.  It was too hot and they were too tired.

 Tristen, Chris, Allie, Anna, Tom, Maddy, Rose, Anika, Zach and Avery.

 Let's show off those boots!

 Those boots were made for walking.

 The wild card Zach gives Tom a kiss much to our surprise.

 Chris, Tom, Maddy, Zach and Avery.

 The Speer-Osborne Family--Anna, Marian, Tom, Maddy and Pete.

 Our family-Bill, Shannon, Tom, Maddy and Chris.

 Tom and Chris with Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Chuck.

 All the Rollers at the wedding.

 Jeff and Jeff both had cowboy Hawaiian shirts on.  I had to get a picture of that.

My best friend, Suzi, from when I was in the Army.  Hard to believe we have been friends for 30 plus years.
So happy she was able to come.

 Tom sharing a moment with his mother-in-law, Marian.

Suzi and Terry.  I also worked with Terry at the same time that Suzi and I met.  In fact, I probably knew him before they met since I arrived a month before she did.

 Dad and Tom.

 Me with my sissy, Sherrill.
Rhys and Jeff.

The cutting of the cake had a little bit of a mishap.  They didn't practice that obviously and half the cake fell off.  Too funny trying to see them figure out how to fix it and get it back up.

Tom says "Ahh!" and Maddy says, "Am I going to get this in the face or my mouth?"

 The cake was made at the Mazama Store and it was so yummy!

Tom and Maddy chose "Crazy Girl" as their first dance together.  They had a choreographer in Wichita that helped them with their dance and they have been practicing it for months. Link to their first dance.  They did such a beautiful job!

A side note--Maddy actually wore her Great Grandmother Madeline's cowboy boots for the wedding.  How cool is that?

Tom and I chose "My Wish" as our first dance.  The words of that song are definitely my wish for Tom and Maddy as they live their life together.  We didn't really get much of a chance to practice but we did pretty good considering.

Pete spent a few days in Wichita just before the wedding so he and Maddy had a bit of a chance to work with the choreographer to put their dance together.  They chose "Just Fishin'" as their daughter-father dance and it was also really beautiful.  It was the perfect song for this dad and daughter.  Pete is quite the avid fisherman and Maddy goes fishing with him. Link to the Father-Daughter dance.

 I love the look between them in this picture.

As a surprise to Tom (we didn't dare surprise the bride), Pete and Bill did a Blues Fathers routine and sang "Sweet Home Chicago".  Bill has his Blues Brothers schtick that he does with Jim West on occasion for fundraising type events.  Bill got this call several months before the wedding from Pete and Marian that they wanted to do this for the wedding.  So once they got Maddy's blessing--they moved forward on it.  And it was a fun addition to the wedding dance.  Link to a little bit of Blues Father's Video.

 Pete and Marian.

 Tom asked his mother-in-law to dance.

 Maddy dancing with father-in-law, Bill.

 Chris, Tom, Maddy and Anika cutting it up on the dance floor.

 Not quite sure what these girls were dancing to but it is such a cool picture.

Suzi and Terry out on the dance floor. 
 Tom dancing with a flower girl.

Time for the garter toss.  All the single guys lining up to catch it.

 Chris dove for it and came up with it.

 Bouquet toss.

 Sister Anna came up with it.

 As the sun was setting on the evening's festivities.

We had such a good time.  It was a beautiful wedding and so much fun.  Tom and Maddy are now off on their honeymoon and our wish it that they are having a fantastic time and that they have many happy years together.