Back To School 2018

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Wow! This Summer Break went by quick. But it was also two weeks shorter than normal. And Katelynn is back in Band Camp for the last two weeks. It’s hard to believe, I have a Freshman and the 3rd-Grader in the house, now. Where did time go? My girls grow up so quick. But I have to admit, it is nice to have the house to myself again.

Happy First Day of School!

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Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part II): Arches National Park ~ Red Rock Wonderland

June 19, 2018

If Arches National Park is the famous park of Utah could be argued. But back in the day living in Germany, when someone mentioned Utah, the first picture coming into my head was the Delicate Arch. Therefore, the park was the one that stuck in my head. I didn’t know that Utah had many more National Parks, State Parks, Monuments, etc., until I moved to the United States. Since years, seeing the Delicate Arch was on my bucket list. On this trip, I’ve finally got to see it. We looked at it from the Lower Viewpoint, and we hiked all the way up the hill to the Upper Viewpoint. I scratched the Delicate Arch very lightly out on my list. Because I still want to hike all the way up to it and touch it.

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Arches National Park Sign at the Visitor Center at the entrance

But the Arches National Park has more to offer than just the Delicate Arch itself. There are many view points of interesting stone formation. Sometimes I think, these places are Mother Natures playgrounds. If she doesn’t want to play in this “sandbox”, she’ll play in another.

We didn’t make all the way back to the “Devils Garden”. There were just too many places to see along the road. And I’m not gonna post all the photos I’ve captured. Here are the 36 best photos I’ve shot in Arches National Park:

When we left Arches National Park, we drove to Cortez in Colorado, to rest for the night there.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 3 (Part II): German Foods & A Relaxing Afternoon At Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

June 18, 2018

Prior to find our resort on Sunday, we went through a small town named Kanab. There was a sign stating, that there is a German bakery in Orderville, which is right around the corner from the resort. Coming into Orderville, we had to get to the other end of the town and a couple of miles further to arrive at the BΓ€ckerei Forscher. When I looked at the yummy food at the display counter, my mouth became watery. Oh my, it looked so good. Katelynn, Sara and Kevin ate Salami-Arugula Sandwiches with a side of potato salad and a pickle. I had a Black Forest Ham-Gouda Sandwich with a side of potato salad and a pickle, and as desert I had Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake). I loved it so much, biting into a real crunchy bread roll again. Well, I definitely can’t deny my German roots, when it comes to food. πŸ˜€ While we were waiting for our order, Kevin purchased a German Rye Bread for me. We ate that on our way back home to Texas. The food is pricey, because the sausages, hams, cheeses … etc. are imported from Germany. But it was so worth it. The only thing that could have been better was the Bienenstich. It was a bit on the dry end. I’m not sure, if they import the cakes or bake them on side. If it is a couple of days old, the freshness is unfortunately not there anymore.

For Monday afternoon, we decided we relax at the resort. Katelynn and Sara wanted to go to the pool. And Kevin wanted to recover from the long ride. So, Kevin and I just hung out on the porch. In the late afternoon, the girls came back to rest from the pool. Right in time for eating dinner at the resort. When we came back to the cabin, Katelynn and Sara were ready to go back to the pool. In the meantime, Kevin and I watched some Mountain Bluebirds, a few American Robins and a Black-billed Magpie roaming our campgrounds. There are always some berries and human foods laying around on the ground. It was dinner time for them as well.

Because we wanted to start early on Tuesday morning, we went to bed early on Monday evening. Unfortunately short before midnight, I had another episode with my Anemia. My pulse was racing and I felt nauseaous. I woke up Kevin, and we sat on the porch for a while. I took my medication, which takes the edge away of feeling nauseaous. When I felt comfortable enough, I told Kevin it was okay for him to lay back down. Poor guy, every so often I have to wake him up in the middle of the night for the last four weeks. But I’m in good doctor’s care, eat healthier and take my meds. So, I hope it will resolve soon. Anyway … while I got some fresh air on the porch, Kevin grabbed the camera for me. I looked at the Milky Way. And it looked so stunning, I had to photograph it for the second night in the row. Since it was later in the evening, the Milky Way was much higher in the sky. And it was bright. Something, what I don’t see in the light polluted DFW Metroplex. After focusing on the neighbor’s fire in the firepit for little bit longer, my mind relaxed and I was able to go back to bed, again.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part II): From Page, Arizona To Utah

June 17, 2018

When we left Page in Arizona, we still had two to two and a half hours, before we arrived at the resort east of Zion National Park. Southern Utah has the same landscape as Northern Arizona.

Kevin, the girls and I finally made it to our destination, the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, in the early evening. After we checked in, we went to our cabin to get our luggage in and have a sandwich for dinner. Sara wanted to go for a swim, so we’ve got her ready and walked down to the pool. While Kevin kept an eye on her, Katelynn and I walked around to check out the area. They have quite a bit of activities for children and teens at the resort. There’s ping-pong, wall climbing, mini golf, a pool … just to name a hand full of activities.

When Katelynn and I came back, Kevin went with Katelynn to the Recreation Center on the property. Katelynn went sip lining, and Kevin informed himself what we could do with the rest of the evening at the resort. He found out, that Zion Ponderosa has a Sunset Jeep Ride, which takes the guests up to a mountain. The area is hard to reach with a regular car. The best way to get up there is in a Jeep or with an ATV. I was definitely in for that. At 8 PM local time, we went with three Jeeps up to this mountain. On top of it, our guide/driver explained to us how this mountain range formed and that the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument doesn’t end in so-called park. It reaches all the way from Salt Lake City to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. Standing on that mountain, it can be seen perfectly as a staircase. It was very beautiful up there. We watched the sunset, while standing on the roof of Zion National Park. The guide showed us, where the Narrows begin in that valley in front of us. Looking on the other side of the hill, we could see our resort. Shortly after the sunset, we made our way back to Zion Ponderosa. Getting up was the easy part, getting down was a little more adventurous. The trail is much narrower. Sometimes we’ve got a little smack across the face from nature. πŸ˜€

Coming back, we walked to our cabin. Katelynn and Sara tumbled on top of the bunk bed, while Kevin and I enjoyed the view on the cabin’s porch. I’ve got my camera set up to capture several photos of the Milky Way. That Sunday night, I was too tired to get a perfect shot. But it was fun seeing so many stars in the sky.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part I): From New Mexico To Page, Arizona

June 17, 2018

After a good night rest, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I had a nice breakfast at the Motel on Father’s Day. The sky didn’t look promising, outside. I was worried, it would rain when we arrive at the Four Corners. We still had a few sprinkles. But when we arrived at the corner of all four states, it was surprisingly nice. The sun came out and the ground dried up for Sara putting her hands and feet in each state. Since we arrived early, it wasn’t so busy at the Four Corner Monument. A bus full of British tourists, and a few couples and families were there. I guess, the early hours are the best to go and see it. If you decide to go there, be prepared for a steep entry price. We paid $30 for the vehicle to enter. Since we were four, it was $7.50 per person. And we stayed maybe for about 30 minutes. Looking at it that way, it’s still a decent price.

Kevin and I decided to take Highway 160 and Highway 98 to get to Page, Arizona. This seemed to be the most efficient way to get to Zion National Park. While Kevin looked at the route, I looked at the map and said: “I have an idea. Since the Horseshoe Bend is only a couple of miles outside from Page, I really would like to see it this time.” In 2008, we were rafting in the Horseshoe Bend. And when we came back to Page, it was getting too dark to walk all the way down the trail and see it from above. Now ten years later, I really wanted to see it. When we arrived there, it was a long way to get to the bend. There were long stretches walking through red sand and down hill. But the hardest part was hiking back up. It was in the afternoon, and the sun was beating down. But I was determined. And therefore, I’ve finally got to see it and can scratch it off my bucket list.

Before we entered Utah, we made a stop at the local Walmart to refill on food and water. At the Glen Canyon Dam, I asked Kevin to let me out so I could see the dam better. Kevin drove across the bridge, while I crossed it by foot. Katelynn came halfway on the bridge, because she wanted to see the dam. I asked her, if she can remember the Glen Canyon Dam from riding on the raft boat in the canyon. She said, she has only a vague memory of it, because she was only four. “… But I remember, you showing me pictures of it, Mom!” Across the bridge, we went into the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Katelynn was hoping to see more dinosaurs. But she was happy with the foot prints outside the entrance of the center. Once cooled off and refreshed, we all were ready to get to Utah.

… to be continued …

Father’s Day 2018

Happy Father’s Day

Daddy, I love you for all that you do.
I’ll kiss you and hug you. β€˜Cause you love me, too.
You feed me and need me to teach you to play.
So smile ’cause I love you, on this Father’s Day.

Author: Unknown

The Colony Community Garden In May 2018

Kevin and Sara came with me to the Community Garden, this evening. I wanted to check on the crop. And since it is warm, we have to water more frequently. Kevin’s mouth was watering, looking all the tomatoes growing on the vines. Sara wanted to catch and play with a ladybug. I had to advise her to be careful, and make sure it is a ladybug, not an Asian Lady Beetle. These beetles look almost the same as a ladybug, but they are mean and bite. Everything looks great in the garden. I can’t wait for the tomatoes turn red for harvest. I’m still stoked, I’m finally growing tomatoes in Texas. Wally, one of the Church Gardeners, taught me well. I listened, and put it into practice.Β A lot of the tomatoes will go to the NTX Community Food Pantry; and some I’ll take home. They will be the fruits of my and the other gardeners’ labor. Sara likes the onion, we harvested this evening: “Wow, this onion is big! I can’t wait to eat it. Yummy, yummy!”