Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life Happens or WHAT A WEEK

I started writing a new post and it began like this…

What a weekend!
Thursday marked four years of marriage for me and Phil which is pretty awesome to me.  We met at the end of 2004.  We were just acquaintances then but still that means we have known each other for 7 years which is pretty unbelievable to us when we think about it.  We have lived a lot of life together in those 7 years and I am so thankful and blessed to have Phil walking beside me through it all. 

Our trip to Colorado was pretty much our anniversary celebration/present to one another.  But the rafting part of the trip really got our outdoorsy sides going and we wanted to continue the adventures once we returned to Dallas.  So we thought renting kayaks for the weekend would be a good way to spend time together and enjoy our anniversary weekend. (We kinda like to celebrate things… if you haven’t yet learned that about us. Celebrate the big, celebrate the little.)
…. That’s where it ended… last Monday.

The new post is now WHAT A WEEK!

The rest of the post from earlier and what I really wanted to share was what a wonderful weekend Phil and I had together.  We enjoyed time together, just us, celebrating 4 years of marriage and that is special because it is pretty much a variety over the last 3 years with studying and school being the number 1 priority. Saturday morning we kayaked on Lake Lewisville which was really fun to me.  We found a cove near a little golf course where we collected about 55 lost golf balls it was pretty fun to find little treasures.  Then we headed home for the afternoon (Phil and sun don’t really agree).  And while relaxing at home Phil found a deal he just COULD NOT pass up J  You may have guessed… a jeep!  So while I was completely unwilling to spend my Saturday in the dealership haggling Phil said he would take care of all that and I could just sign the papers at the end… haha (he can’t buy a car without me right now since I’m his sugar mama – being in school and all ;).  Anyway, he made the deal and we are the proud new owners of a 2008 GREEN!!!! Jeep Wrangler.  I have to admit I’m a bit sad because it is a manual but I hope to grow my confidence in driving it so I can drive it too sometimes. 
Happiest boy EVER!
Well after the Jeep was home we loaded up again and headed to Ft. Worth where we were going to meet the Dallas Downriver Club for some moonlight kayaking on the Trinity River.  Pretty Fun seeing all the lights of downtown while kayaking.  We also saw beavers swimming along and tons of birds.  The river is so low right now but we were still entertained for 2 hours enjoying a warm summer night on the water.

Sunday we ran errands in the Jeep and just hung out which was nice, Monday was a busy day at work as usual and we enjoyed dinner at home together after we went to the gym that evening together… which is VERY rare so I was so happy!

Then Tuesday morning at 2:30am Phil woke me up telling me he was in the worst pain ever in his stomach.  In my grogginess I begin offering Tums and Maalox or whatever other over the counter meds I could think help stomach pain but Phil kept pacing the house and wouldn’t have any conversation with me.  He finally left for longer than he had the previous times so I decided I should get up and go look for him… I found him on the floor of the office groaning in pain.  So I then offered the ER!  I have never seen someone in so much pain just out of nowhere and boy is it scary.  The ER ran tests and gave him good meds.  He had a CT SCAN which I got to watch it run and see all his organs which I thought was pretty cool.   Turns out he probably had a kidney stone or one trying to form.  He is okay now but boy what a night.  We didn’t get back home until 6:45 and then I had to go get all his meds so I took at sick day to catch up on rest but wasn’t too thrilled since we were in the process of launching a new website at work and it was just being delayed further.  

Oh well life happens!

The website is launched now and if you are interested in seeing it click here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


The part you have all been waiting for....

Saturday we headed down to Salida,CO for out rafting adventure! 
We went on an overnight white water rafting trip!  Heck yeah, it rocked.  Phil had been on a few trips before and thought it would be awesome to go over his 2 week summer break from school.  So he researched the trip and we found out to do the overnight trip we needed four people minimum.  So we roped our new friends from church into going with us (they are from Colorado so it wasn't too hard to get them to go back while it's 100+ here in Texas). 
Our bag on the left, the Craven's bag on the right - also containing our shoes.  heehe
Our outfitter was Canyon Marine which Phil had rafted with before and really trusts the guides there as they actually train guides not just hire guides. We arrived Saturday afternoon about 2:00pm and packed out gear up got sized for out helmets, PFD (personal floatation device), and wet suits and we headed out.  We actually didn't have far down the river to raft before we got to our camp site just a little taste of the freezing cold water.  At the camp site out guides made us appetizers, dinner and dessert while we hung out, played washers and got acquainted with the outdoor.  

Our chefs!  Making crab and wasabi stuffed sweet peas.  yumm

_______ For those who don't like potty talk/humor you might want to skip this paragraph! _______

By acquainted I mean we had to pee in the river and poo in something called a groover.  Now I'm not really one to be worried about having to pop-a-squat outside but being near a river and civilization verse backpacking in the wilderness call for different protocols.  You can't just bury your waste you have to carry it out...thus the groover, it's a plastic seat with a bag attached.  It's a bag that you poo in... not a bag per person.  One bag!  Are you tracking with me here?  I wasn't too thrilled with pooing on top of someone else's poo.  And you better believe I wasn't going first.  LOL.  Sorry it was really funny to me. And excuse me but peeing into the river isn't exactly as simple a task for the girls as it is for the boys.  I mean not fair.  I have seven splinters in my finger to prove this... I'm just glad they are only in my finger! :)

_____  okay safe to read again ______

The next morning we awoke to percolating coffee and bagels with cream cheese and lox for breakfast.  So good!
Then we set out for the wild river extravaganza!  The Arkansas River was what we were rafting and it was the highest it has been in 15 years!  And when I say high that also means FAST!  That sucker was movin'!  We were going to be rafting class 3 and 4 rapids.  I was a little nervous to say the least.  We got all geared up about 11 (the entire campsite was packed up and had it's own raft). 

Kevin and Andrea Cravens
We went on a little hike before we left.

Fletch out guide gave us the pre talks about how to get someone back into the raft if they fall out, how to paddle, how to swim strong if you fall out of the raft, and NEVER to stand up in the river!

This is "Fletch" our Guide
All aboard we began, as we approach our first rapid a class 3 Fletch told us it was called the Door and the first part was called the Threshold.  He told us to paddle hard and duck into the wall of water coming at us because it would feel like a big burly man kicking us in the chest.  ... ummmm ok....  So we went straight into the first rapid and as soon as we hit it Kevin and Phil flew out of the raft.  Time for our first rescue... but we weren't out of The Door yet we had more rapids up ahead!  With Fletch yelling commands we managed to get both guys back in the raft with only causality to Phil's sunglasses.  Now the protocol for getting someone larger (a husband) back into the boat by someone smaller (a wife) is to grab the top of their PFD with both hands dunk them back into the river and use the momentum the PFD provides in popping them back up to pull them up and onto of you as you fall back into the raft.  While it is humorous to dunk them back into the water it was very affective as Andrea pulled Kevin straight back into the boat... I was quite impressed!  Phil ended up a ways back from the boat and had to swim hard to catch up and Fletch yanked him back in.  Thank goodness because right as Phil jumped into his position we hit the next wall of water in The Door.  This time everyone stayed in!  Whoa hearts were pumping for sure!

This is the calm part of the river.
By the time everyone's adrenaline slowed down it was about time for our second rapid, this time a class four rapid.  Super, we weren't worried at all.  I don't even remember the name of this rapid!  All I know is we were going down the river with another raft and they were ahead of us.  Half way through they lost 3 of their passengers and almost the Guide.  They managed to recover two of the passengers but it was now our job to make it through the rapid while recovering their lost passenger.  Fletch was yelling commands to grab her grab her but I couldn't see anyone, next thing I new she had gone under out boat and popped up on my side.  I quickly grabbed her but as I did she spun around and I was cross armed.  Phil grabbed her too and together we hoisted her in... mostly.  I don't mean to be rude by my next comments, they are just facts.  We hoisted her half way in but we she a larger lady probably in her mid 60's.  Phil grabbed her rear and pushed her in as best he could but we just couldn't get her in anymore and we were out of time we had to paddle hard and fast.  Unfortunately she was laying on Phil's ankle and she was in such a state of adrenaline overload she was basically frozen.  So Phil sitting backwards had to row backwards while we all paddled forward.  After we made it out of the rapids we pulled off into the eddy to go ashore and check on our rescued passenger.  It took her awhile as she was pretty shaken but she came back around and got safely back into her own boat unharmed just stunned.

Ever need a reality check?  We are really small! 
Click on any image to enlarge!

Paddling with all out might!
Umm where's the boat?

After all that the rest of the rafting seemed pretty uneventful.  We totaled going through 3 class four rapids which I thought was pretty good for my first rafting trip.  The river was so high, averaging at a rate of about 44,000cfs (cubic feet per second), that at one point we had to lay down into the raft just to make it underneath a bridge.

It was a good ol' time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Colorado or Bust!

For the sake of your time I am splitting this vacation into two posts:

Summer 2011 Vacation:

Tuesday evening we set out toward Colorado but made a stop for the night in Amarillo and spend the night with very sweet and accommodating friends (we didn't arrive until midnight). The drive to Amarillo was uneventful thankfully. 

We decided to take the Fiesta - that's right; party on wheels!!! This is the Fiesta's longest trip so we are raking up the miles breaking her in. While the sun was still up I read - on my brand new Kindle! It was super! Just change pages at the click of button. And I always new exactly how far along in the book I was. I started reading in the car at 5% and stopped at 23%... who need to dog ear pages when I know an exact percentage read! So normally I probably wouldn't document me reading in the car while blogging about my vacation but this is a pretty big deal for me because in general I get motion sick pretty easily. My theory is that because the words on my Kindle were just on "one" page and didn't require such a wide eye span and my head didn't need to move back and forth ever so slightly I was less likely to notice the moving scenery outside the car.  Yay for technology!  For all you Kindle skeptics out there another thing I love about the Kindle is that if I am not familiar with a word I simply move the cursor up to the word and it is instantly defined!  Also, the "words on the page" are in fact made up of ink (yeah kinda like an Etch A Sketch) and so it is VERY similar look to an actual book page.  And you can fit a ton of booiks into one little space about the size of a small notebook - very travel friendly. So that's 4 points for the Kindle in my book.  heehee.

Anyway, back to the trip Wednesday morning we continued out toward Denver.  We decided since we were arriving a bit earlier than expected we would make a stop at Pikes Peak!  I was super excited!  Pikes Peak is one of the 14ers in Colorado and I figure why not go to the top...even if you aren't hiking it, the view will still be spectacular.  So we paid our steep $24 fee to drive to the top and began the hour jaunt up the mountain.  When we started at the base it was 97 degrees and when we reached the top it was a shocking 42 degrees.

Yup we called these the boobies!

Things I didn't expect to see:

  • Directly off the side of the road...I mean seriously where were the guard rails.  
  • Road construction at 11,000 feet.  Craziest thing you ever did see really.  Very small road, very large machines.


Once in Denver we arrived at our hotel... maybe a little under dressed.  Phil had booked us at the new Four Seasons in downtown and we rolled up in the Fiesta surrounded by Cadillacs, Audis, Range Rovers etc.  Phil hops out in his t-shirt and cut off khaki shorts while everyone else has on a jacket and tie.  Very interesting.  We checked in and headed up to our room... but don't you worry we didn't have to push the elevator button, someone did that for us.  It pretty much took every ounce within us not to seriously laugh.  We got to our room and the bathroom sinks were aglow, there was a TV in the bathroom mirror and on top of that we had a doorbell. I thought I was in Colorado... I packed Chacos! 

We were within walking distance of the 6th Street mall so we headed down there for dinner where our friend and wedding officiant Jarrod Joplin met us for dinner and drinks.  He wanted to show us the ropes and took us to this uppity dive or speak easy for some old fashion drinks.  So upon recommendation we decided to try absinthe. Ummm don't do this if you don't like licorice.  Oops, it was gross! Cool experience though.

The next day we made a stop by New Belgium brewery, being Independence Day weekend it was super busy and all the tours were full so we just were able to walk around and do a mini self tour.  Jarrod and his oldest daughter Olivia accompanied us on the excursion and after we got back we joined them in helping load up a truck for some friends who were moving.... a little service project while on vacation never hurt anyone.

That night Phil and I dined at another yuppy restaurant in the downtown area and sort of used it as our 4 year anniversary celebration dinner.  Since our anniversary is the 14th and everything is so busy once we get back this worked out pretty nicely. The Italian restaurant we ate at makes their own cheeses in house so we had a wonderful sampling of very unique cheese.

So on the same subject of our anniversary, Colorado is where Phil proposed to mean four and half years ago.  We went to the Mother Cabrini Shrine and I wanted to revisit it.  So on Friday we stopped by to do a little reminiscing.  We revisited the prayer garden where he actually proposed and this time since it was July instead of March we were able to walk up the 200ish steps which have the stages of the cross up the mountain that lead to a large statue of Jesus.  In March when we were there the steps were still covered in ice and closed to visitors so I was glad to be able to see it this time.

4.5 years later!

After that we headed up to Winter Park to brave the Alpine Slide.  The longest Alpine slide in Colorado.  It was an absolute beautiful day 72 degrees and sunny and we felt like kids racing down the mountain on a slide!  Then of course we followed it up with an ice cream cone :)

We headed up to Black Hawk, CO which is a town of Casinos and our new hotel for the night.  I was pleasantly surprised that all the casinos were smoke free!  Much more inviting and fun.  

But as you know... the house always wins.