Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Love Garden Phase Two!!

Here's more pics of turning the dirt area in our backyard into a full blown, fenced in garden part 2! We are going to be so self sufficient in a few months when it comes to veggies and fruit! Thanks Carin and Wayne for your help!

Gotta have the mulch. Enough mulch to last a lifetime!

The tomatoes have been hibernating in our mudroom. Time to plant outside!

Wayne and Grant building a "Keep Sage Out" fence.

All my onions!! We won't have to buy onions for the rest of the year!

Beauties. And sweet too. Austin checked em out for us - ate them from the stem like a carrot. 

Sage snuck an onion. She approves of the taste. 

Hooray for a finished phase two of the love garden!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Usrys Come to Visit!

I'm quite behind on my blogging due to all the family issues this week! (Thank you Joplin tornado). But I think the Usry rents coming to town fully deserves a post!

Wayne and Carin came to visit last weekend and we had a blast! It was so great to get to show off our new lives and home to family members. Friday night we took them down Tennyson street to Hops and Pie for dinner, one of our favorite pizza places just blocks from our house. We learned Friday that Hops and Pie also has gluten free crust and wheat free beer! What a great find to help us with Grant's new food allergy diagnosis! I guess I haven't mentioned it before in blogging, but Grant has been having some issues with feeling like food was stuck in his throat after eating, coughing, etc. and we finally got him looked at. They diagnosed him with class 4 wheat, peanut, oats, and soy allergies! No wonder we've been having issues with eating lately! So - we've decided to change our ways and go food allergy free! Good for us, Denver is very accommodating to that being so "green" and all AND I also have a mother in law who happens to be passionate for organic, healthy cooking! More adventures of the new and improved allergy free family to come....

Saturday, we rode bikes down to Tennyson for more fun restaurant eating at our favorite breakfast spot, the Cozy Cottage. It was a bit cold but thanks to the sunniness of Denver we got to sit outside on the patio and then tour the strip and shop afterward! We then headed up to Boulder for a hike. It was a bit too cold for Carin and I, so we went up a ways and then headed back to the main drag, Pearl street for more exploring. We found one of the best things yet I've found in Boulder! The amazing Boulder Farmer's Market! Apparently it's every Saturday until 2pm and is full of tons of organic, gluten and allergy free foods! I found a whole list of great brands that Grant can eat and Carin and I had a great time exploring! I've been to Pearl street several times now, but never on a Saturday afternoon. It is a mad house and quite interesting! "Entertainers" and "artists" on every corner, a circus show, and people everywhere. Fun! We spent the afternoon touring the main drag, shopping, hitting up the sales, and enjoying the entertainers amongst the strip! The boys met up with us after their major hike and we had a drink and dinner at a brewery in town. Then we went and relaxed to watch the Mavs game at the house.

Sunday we took a trip to church, then Wayne and Carin helped us finish our garden! Wayne and Grant built a fence for our tomatoes and strawberries so Sager wouldn't break in and get them, while Carin and I pulled the onions and cut them up for eating! My first accomplished gardening! Tons of onions!

We had such a great time and were sad it was so short! So glad they came!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OKLAHOMA! Where the wind comes rolling down the plain...

And oh how it did! OKC is a windy place! I don't think I fully understood that song until we went to OKC to visit little Jon (my younger brother) and venture over to Chad Palm's wedding.

What a great weekend it was! Sad that it wasn't the warmth I was craving for due to those crazy cold winds, but it was so wonderful to spend time with family and friends. I have never really been to Oklahoma City. It's surprisingly cool! I'd put it on a list of potentials to live in even. Never thought I'd say anywhere in the state of Oklahoma would be a potential! I must admit though, Bricktown makes that city. My brother lives downtown in a really sweet industrial looking loft, the perfect bachelor pad. It was walking distance to Bricktown, the newer development (only 10 years old I'm learning!) of refurbished old brick warehouses into shops, restaurants, bars, and hangouts. This area had it all, complete with a man made river canal, outdoor parks and sitting areas, and of course the very popular basketball arena where the playoffs were held on Sunday! Right on the other side of the highway was the newly developed rowing facility and park area, a training facility for olympic and paraolympic athletes on the river. It was gorgeous and an outdoor lovers dream. The river had places to rent canoes and kayaks, biking trails that ran along it, and lots of fun sitting and walking areas. Grant and I will have to hit that up again sometime!

Jon took us to all the hotspots and gave us a full tour. We went to the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial on Saturday - a gorgeous and breathtaking display in remembrance of the victims of the bombing. It was an architect's dream so my dad didn't mind going back an admiring it although they had been many times before. It was constructed in such a cool way - a statue of Jesus with the verse "Jesus wept" out in front, the two big walls saying 9:01 (when all was right in the world of OKC) and 9:03 (when their world would never be the same) with a shallow water feature aligning the two. And in the grass where the building used to stand, hundreds of chairs, each with a victims name on it. They are aligned by floors and the smaller chairs were the children. These light up at night so you can see their names from far away. So cool. They also had a wall of tiles that children (from Texas!!) had painted in elementary schools and sent right after the bombing, and a little sitting area full of inspirational quotes around the 100 year old tree that survived the bombing and stands alone. If you ever go to OKC - you must go see the memorial! It will seriously impact you.

We also hit up Jon's favorite restaurant and bar - Bolero (where he is quite the popular guy with all the ladies I must say!) and later, G headed to the wedding and the Martin's headed to a OKC Redhawks (the AAA baseball team) game. Sunday, my parents drove back to the Big D and Grant, Jon, his friend Chance, and I hit up a sports bar down the street from the stadium to watch the final playoff game between OKC and Memphis.  I was so glad the Thunder won - it sure did make downtown on Sunday a fun place to be! We enjoyed the live bands up and down Bricktown and the massive amount of blue shirts cheering and running all over the place after the game! On a side note - I'm interested to see what this upcoming series between Dallas and OKC does to my family's moral! My younger brother Jay is a die hard Mavs fan - biggest fan you'll ever meet. He and Jon (the baby bro) are going to game 4 together. I hope they come back from the game still speaking to each other!

We are so blessed to have found those cheap last minute tickets for the weekend. Grant got to spend much needed time with his buddies Austin, Blake, and Zach at Chad's wedding (which was lots of fun I hear!) and we got to spend much needed time with my fam as well! Thank you Frontier airlines!! Thank you Chad for the wedding invite!! And thank you mom and dad for driving up!!

Here's some pics from the time in OKC:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hiking Hiatus

This weekend was so perfect we just couldn't let the beauty pass. So we planned an excursion.

After church at Watermark Denver - Alex, Catherine, Nate, Eva, Grant, me, Sage and Murphy all headed up to Boulder for a 5 mile hike in the flat irons. It was a great time. Sage and Murphy (Murphy is Nate and Eva's dog) are new best buds. They spent the entire hike side by side and I'm sorry to say, my dog was the bad influence always leading Murphy astray off trail, up steep rocks and into caves. But neither dog got hurt so we are all good! We are totally in love with Boulder hiking because you can hike with your dogs "off leash" in most areas. It's perfect for our wild pup who needs her freedom. And she is really good about staying right with us...in eye view at least.

This hike proved a few things to me -

1. I am not in shape like I was in college.
My legs were pretty sore and I just kept thinking..."what happened to the days when I could kill a series of stadiums at UofA football stadium, complete with one and two legged hops to the top?". I was shaking by the end and inspired to start running again.....maybe....

2. The altitude really does make a difference.
Hello asthma! Haven't seen you since college either. Pretty sure I scared our new friends a little with my incredibly loud and annoying wheeziness.

3. Dogs are in such better shape than humans.
Sage and Murphy had endless energy! They were running around, up and down, hopping off rocks, putting us to shame.

4. Boulder is beautiful.
The pics at the top will show you that! It will take your breath away and remind you of God's glory all at the same time.

We had a blast and I can't wait to make that a frequent event. Catherine and I decided we need to do a hike every few weeks after church on Sundays so we can be in sick shape. :) So be prepared everyone. By the end of the summer I'll have my track body back with massively strong lungs! I hope!

The Crew!

Murphy and Sager - best buds

The arch at the top of our Hike.

Party on the Platte!

Finally! A perfect weather weekend that everyone keeps saying Colorado is known for! So perfect that it deserves two seperate posts! One for Saturday and one for Sunday! I was beginning to doubt the talk of the beautiful summers here and today doesn't hold that claim very well - it's 50 degrees and threatening rain, BUT all the Coloradans kept promising me that Mother's Day weekend is always the shift for the weather from unpredictable to perfect. This weekend proved that to be true!

Grant and I took advantage of the 80 degrees Saturday and Sunday and filled them with fun outdoorsy activities that wore us out! Sage was pretty worn out as well! Saturday was a day for remembering. We took a trip to downtown's Platte River and Confluence park, the very place we fell in love with the idea of moving to Colorado. Well, maybe I fell in love with it. Grant has been in love with that idea longer than he has been in love with me. :) We spent the entire day around that park Saturday, reading, talking, dreaming, basking in the sun, watching the bikers go by and kids play in the swimming hole, and Sage's favorite activity of the day - playing fetch in the Platte river! Grant wore that pup out - throwing the ball to her for an hour straight. She was so tired from swimming and running that her legs were physically shaking, yet she was relentless, nudging the ball to him over and over until he'd throw it again.  In the afternoon we walked into downtown and met our new dear friends from church, Alex and Catherine, for drinks and derby watching. Then headed ourselves right back over to the park that evening, for dinner and a few more swims for Sager. It was a perfect day.

I love that park. It reminds me of when we were newly dating, when we came to CO to ski and Grant brought me to Denver for the first time on a whim and an intentionally missed flight. We wandered through the park dreaming of living near it someday as the snow was falling around us. Reminds me of the a visit to Brittany in the Springs, when she had to work on our last day there so we spent the afternoon in Denver and decided randomly to tour an apartment complex that sits on the Platte. We ate pizza at a restaurant by the river and dreamed about getting to do that weekly someday. It reminds me of August, when we came up from the big D to see Ray Lamontagne at Red Rocks and spent the whole day in that park together, playing frisbee and throwing the ball around. It reminds me of why I wanted to marry Grant. Why I wanted to move here with him. So thank God for good weather and good reminders!

And thank God for new friends, sunny weather, and fun places like Confluence park! Here's a few pics from our perfect Saturday!

Platte River here we come!

Sager wanting to play fetch already. 

Don't be deceived. The weather was 80 but the water was COLD!

Here's the "swimming hole" with a few brave kiddos already swimming!

The pedestrian bridge into downtown. 

Only in CO would they think to make bike ramps up and down the bridges.
LOVE the amount of bikers here! We will be super "green" before you know it!

My favorite biker of the day. 
And check it out - in full blown pearl izumi gear and all!