Sunday, August 29, 2010

Markets and festivals

Well, one thing we certainly like around this part of the country is that their farmer's markets go way later than back in CO. The main one in Durham goes until Thanksgiving, the main one in Raleigh is so big it's indoors and year-round, and there's a lot more than that. It's great! :)

Yesterday we ventured to the Durham Farmer's Market to check it out, and we were impressed. Just to name a few things that we got while at the market: buffalo soup bone (super cheap too, and I can't wait to make some soup with it!!), pecan chewy (to eat while looking at vendors), peppers, fresh edamame and basil. I had a list of things I wanted to get, but then once we were there it morphed a bit because of good deals on certain things like the soup bone. :) Also on the way home, we stopped at a grocery store to get tomatoes, fruit and a few other things to round out of the finds. Overall a successful market, and a good time! :) Did I mention it was SUPER hot out though? We melted a bit with every step... We stayed hydrated though and still had a fabulous time!
The Durham Farmer's Market takes place at this beautiful park.... (Notice it was only established in 2001.)

Then after the market we drove down to Cary, and went to their annual "Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival". It was f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. too. Let me tell you!!!! Even though it was super hot and I don't think I have ever had that much water to drink in my life (at least in that short of a period of time) it was great! It was also huge! Truth be told, we probably didn't even get to half of the vendors and we were there over 2 hours. But once we'd found something for the rocket scientist, something for me and some Christmas presents ... we decided to head back to the ranch. :)

Anyway, this Festival was HUGE! They had expected 50,000 people to be there, and I bet there probably were at least that many. 10 Charter buses were running as shuttles from where you could park at the local mall to the festival. Those buses were running constantly with huge lines of people waiting for them at any given moment. We're not huge fans of crowds...but for something like this we don't mind them so much. And we were so glad that we went to this! There were vendors from Florida to Maine to just about everywhere else in this country there. (As well as local vendors.)

The Arts and Crafts Festival...and a beautiful Church. :)

Anyway, we had a great day spending time outside, around this beautiful part of North Carolina we live in and with each other. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Take me out to the ball game

Last night we had the opportunity to go to a Durham Bull's game in Durham, NC. They are a Minor League Baseball team, and actually were the 2009 National Champs. It was both of our first times at a Minor League Baseball, although we've been to Major League Baseball games before! (Colorado Rockies of course!)

We went with a group from J's new job and we got to eat dinner in one of the "party zones" before the game. We only had to pay $8 (not each, but all together) and that gave us a great dinner (complete with hotdogs, hamburgers, potato salad, salad, beans, mac n' cheese and all the pop we'd like!) and entry to the game. Steal of a deal right?!?! We're thinking we may try to go to another game this season, even though I don't think we'll get that great of a deal if we go by ourselves.

We had a lot of fun and got to mingle with some of J's co-workers. Here are some pics I took of the game...
The field as they were grooming it. (While we were busy eating dinner.)

So cute. :) We didn't see any balls actually hit this billboard, but it would have been sweet. There was one ball that went out of the park...but it miss this by about a mile.

The rival pitcher. He was good, but fierce. Lots of low pitches.

Panoramic view of the stadium/field.

Durham Bull's pitcher. He was great!

We did have a great time, but we of course were disappointed that the Bulls lost 2-6. :( But, it was a great game still!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in Colorado for a Wedding!

We had a very quick trip back to Colorado for my hubby's sister's wedding!! We left NC around 7pm on a flight and there were a lot of delays and didn't end up making it into Denver In
ternational Airport until around 1:30am...So that was a late night to say the least. It was all good though.

We got up Saturday and got to help with last minute details of the big day. (We stayed at my in-laws house near Denver, which was also where the ceremony took place.) My parents also came to the wedding, so it was so great to be able to see so much family even though we were only in Colorado for about 36 hours!

These pics are courtesy of my mom. (And since I don't like showing faces on here, I have done some editing to ensure that...) :)

The girls~The beautiful bride surrounded by her 4 bridesmaids, then the two junior bridesmaids and flower girl.

After the wedding we all headed over to the reception which was at the University of Denver campus. Here J and I are gazing at the pretty buildings on campus.

The happy couple's first dance! Congrats you two!!!! Such a cute couple. :)

The cake.

It was a beautiful wedding and reception. We were so happy that we could go to their wedding, and even more so happy that we could be in their wedding! J was a groomsmen and I got to be a bridesmaid. :) It was great to be able to go back to CO so soon after we moved to NC to visit and spend time with some of our family.

Aren't weddings just great too? I just love them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Move to North Carolina: Sightseeing II

So on Saturday my parents and I did some sightseeing around central North Carolina! We had a great time and got to see some great places. (Since we didn't have internet yet, and J was starting his new job on Monday he spent most of the day at a coffee shop.)
Here's the main house at historic "Stagville". It is an antebellum plantation and still has about 70 of the hundreds of acres it used to cover. We learned a lot from a video presentation. We had planned on taking the actual tour, but they were waiting to start it till a group showed up...but they never showed up. So we went on the self guided tour of the grounds.
A storage barn at the plantation. I just love all the green in this pic...
Side of the house at Stagville. Take note of the two chimneys. Also, notice the side closer to us has 1.5 stories and the rest is 2 stories. The 1.5 story portion was how the house was originally built and then they later added the 2 story section. Even though this is nothing like "Tara" or other antebellum plantations that come to mind, this sure was beautiful to go see. :)
Here's one of the two-story houses that slaves lived in at Stagville. Looks pretty but it's such a reminder of the not so pretty history of parts of the south.

After we visited Stagville we ventured on to the "Duke Homestead". There was a tobacco museum there too, which was interesting. Still makes me wonder who thought of smoking/chewing/etc. tobacco so many years ago.... (And why they thought it...and how it became one of America's most deadly past-times.)

Here's a Liberty Bell recreated out of tobacco leaves. Pretty cool huh?!?!
After we went through the museum we got to walk around the grounds on a self guided tour of the Duke homestead. We saw lots of buildings they used for tobacco production. Here's one of them below. Notice the sweet moss on the roof. My mom pointed that out to me while I was photographing something else, and I had to post it here because it looks so cool. :)
The house on the Duke homestead. Smaller than the one at the plantation, but still a very charming house.
Oil lamp that I captured through a window. :) Reminds me of home...
They even still had some tobacco growing at the homestead, so we could actually see what the live plant looks like. Although, I think they typically look better than they did that day at the homestead... Here's a tobacco plant below.
We really did have a great day visiting these historic places. :) We topped it off by having a late lunch at Char-Grill, which was a cute burger joint. Then we went back to our apartment to rest/make some progress on the place and meet up with J.

J and I took my parents out to dinner to "Maggiano's Little Italy" and wow, it was great! Have you ever been there?!?! They have this thing where you can get a meal to eat there, and literally one to take home. So, we have already gotten 3 more meals out of the leftovers from there and still have more in the freezer! And the food was F.a.N.t.A.s.T.i.C!!!! We all really enjoyed the food. The ambiance. The EVERYTHING! (Not yelling, just emphasizing!) :) We'll definitely be back...

Anyway, Saturday night was the last night my parents were with us. :( We so appreciated all of their help moving us across the country, and were sad to see them go. They left early Sunday morning to head up to visit with my sis (and her fam) in KY before flying back to CO.

Still can't believe we are in NC right now....happy and sad at the same time.

If today was your last day...

Interesting words to think about huh? Just how different would we live if today truly was our last day? Many songs have been written on this subject, but this one has recently struck a chord with me. I don't really agreed with the theology in it, but overall it's a great song. It makes you think too. Plus, there's just something about Chad Kroeger's vocals that make it resonate within.

Here's some of the lyrics to the song and the player should be below! :)

"My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Move to North Carolina: Part V

So, we got to our apartment on Tuesday August 3rd. We saw some of the sights around town, ate some great pizza at Enzo's and then made a trip to Target to pick up a few things. Since it was around 9pm when we all (my parents, my hubby and me) got back to our apartment...we decided to sleep on the floor on towels, instead of digging out the mattresses from the moving truck. (Even though they were at the back of the truck, it would have been hard to get them out especially without waking all the neighbors.) So we all got to see just how comfy the carpet was in our place. And we all faired quite well I'd say. :)

So, Wednesday was spent unloading the truck into our apartment. I must admit that more things came out of the truck than we loaded in there....just kidding. ;) We got most of the truck unloaded and even some things put away (like setting up beds, and getting smaller things in order) by Wednesday evening. We finally came to a stopping point though, when there was basically no where else to set things inside our apartment. So we went out to a cute Italian restaurant for dinner on the North side of town (which is rather scary at night...).

So, Thursday my mom and I were organizing things and unpacking, while the guys unloaded the rest of the truck. I have to be honest here though. I worked that whole day, but not much of anything really got done by me. But my Mom managed to set up, arrange and unpack virtually EVERYTHING in our guest/my craft room! Thanks again Mom! It's been so nice to have at least one room in our place that looks like "home" and doesn't have boxes everywhere!! :)

Move to North Carolina: Sightseeing

So, after all that moving, unloading and unpacking my parents joined us on a day trip out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I say they joined us, but really we joined them... :) They rented a car for the day--which was nice because it gave us more comfort and visibility than we would have had in our Jeep. We were told it was about a 2.5 hour drive from our place to the beach. Maybe that is true...but it took us almost 4 hours to get to the Outer think maybe someone pulled our leg. None the less, we started early and had a great day seeing the sights! :)

On Roanoke Island at the Visitor's Center for the Outer Banks. Super friendly people there...with cute southern accents. :)

We ate lunch at this AMAZING sandwich shop in Manteo on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks. (The locals pronouce it "man-ee-oh" weird...) Anyway, J got a wonderful sandwich on rye bread called the "Sailor" with tons of meat including salami, some sort of bratwurst and something else I can't recall. My Mom and I each got a sandwich and then split them so we could try different things. My mom got a tuna salad sandwich and I got a Ruben on rye (of course). Both sandwiches were very good, but the Ruben was the best I think both of us had EVER had!! Nice rye bread, lots of corned beef and loaded with sauerkraut!! Yummy!! I can't wait to have another the next time we make it out there! :) Oh and my dad also got a tuna salad sandwich and enjoyed it too.

Do you know why Kitty Hawk is so famous? I know, you probably already know, but it's where the famous Wright brothers took their first successful flight in 1903!! So here's their memorial. I know, I'm putting quite a few pics, but it was really cool. (That and we had to pay to get in, so I feel like it's my duty to educate you all now...hehehe) :)

Wright Brothers Memorial on top of Kill Devil Hills in Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks of NC.

Did I also mention it was a beautiful day?!?!?! Those skies were so pretty they almost made me think I was in Colorado. ;) Even though this has a beautiful spiral staircase inside, no one is allowed to go into it. I guess they built it as a fire lookout tower, in addition to the memorial, but then never used it as such.

Statues of Orville and Wilbur.

What their famous bi-plane looked like...

After visiting the memorial and getting some souvenirs from the Outer Banks, we ventured to the ocean. You can see my Rocket Scientist getting very wet in his regular shorts in the Atlantic ocean. We did bring suits along, but didn't change into them. I guess I thought we would just wade and not get wet...but it turned out my mom, J and I all got rather wet. :) I guess we all just love the ocean too much! Totally worth every ounce of being wet from ocean water though!

We were by the Avalon Fishing Pier (as you can see pictured above) and this was a great beach. Not too many people and just perfect water. :) Although...there were jellyfish. Lucky for us all, there were a couple of boys--maybe 7 and 10?--who were catching them and putting them in a bucket by their dad. My mom asked the dad what they were planning on doing with them, but he just said something like "fry them up for dinner" and then laughed. We don't think he was serious....but who knows....maybe he was! ;) I know they like their fried food down here.

Anyway, we had a great time at the beach and got to collect some sand and seashells. Then we had to head back to town for the night, but we first got to stop at a pretty sweet Antique Mall. It was large, but didn't quite have the nautical themed things my mom had hoped for. So we went on our merry way back to the mainland.

It was quickly approaching dinner time on our way back and we all were discussing where to stop to eat. We needed a quick dinner, on the road, in order to get the car back on time. So, that narrowed the options....then we just kept seeing (literally at every exited on the interstate) Bojangles. Inevitably we gave in to their "famous chicken and biscuits". I must say it was rather good too. :) I do love biscuits though...and chicken. Although their chicken strips were good, their coleslaw was quite a disappointment. Overall we had a great meal on the go though! And, we did make it back in time to return the car on time and all was good in the world.

We really did have a great day exploring the Outer Banks with my parents! Thanks for taking us with you!!! :) Next time, we'll have to spend the night though.

Move to North Carolina: Part IV

So after our great day spent with family (and nice break from driving long days), we left really early on Tuesday 8/3 so we could make it to the leasing office in time to get keys that day. The drive through Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina was beautiful. And hilly. In fact, a lot hillier than we thought it would be. Everything went smoothly though and we made it in time to sign the lease and get the keys to our new home.

Our new state! :)

What all the highways look like in NC. Notice all the tall trees on each side that are literally SO dense that you can't see anything beyond them. For example, this was taken in the middle of a pretty large city...and you certainly can't tell!

Our home. Not the best pic ever...but at least you can see it. It's a two story townhouse style apartment and we love it! :)
Some of the locals just saying "hi". :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Move to North Carolina: Part III

On Monday my parents, my hubby and I got to spend the day with my sis and her kids. We started the day out taking the tour of the famous Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory! We weren't allowed to take pics on the tour, but I will forever have those images in my head anyway! It was great!

We got to see just how they used to make bats for each player by hand on lathes and now the machines that do it. Awesome stuff! We all learned a lot and had a lot of fun. :) One of the best parts was probably the souvenir bats they give out after the tour that you get to take home! What a cute way to remember our time there!

Outside the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory.

A Rose of Sharon bloom at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. Love these...

My cute mom walking down to get a better view of the Falls.

A lower view of the Falls of the Ohio, with the Louisville skyline behind. Beautiful huh?! One of our favorite places to visit while visiting my sis.

My favorite type of tree! My mom pointed them out to me a few years ago (Because they are SO pretty!), and we saw them everywhere from KY to NC on our trip. In fact they are literally EVERYWHERE in North Carolina. I want to ask someone what they are...but fear the people thinking I'm crazy or them just not knowing either.... So I will probably just keep googling around to find out what it is! Do you know?

Anyway, we all had a great day visiting places in Louisville. In addition to the Slugger Museum and Falls of the Ohio, we visited Churchill Downs. We didn't have time to take the tour, but we still got to walk around and see the famous place where the Kentucky Derby happens. My sweet hubs had never been to Louisville before, so it was great for him to see some of the sights! :)

After a fun filled day the kiddos took a nap and my mom, sis and I got to go to a couple shops not too far from my sister's home. So that was nice too. :) (My dad and hubby stayed at home while the kiddos slept.)

Then, we all went to dinner at Mark's Feed Store. Amazing food there! We all just love it! Our brother-in-law got to join us for the evening too. After a fantastic dinner, we took a stroll around Crescent Reservoir. Such beauty....

Here's my dad, our brother-in-law, my hubby and our niece L walking around the reservoir. (Nephew N was in the stroll that our brother-in-law was pushing in the pic.)

It was such a great day to spend with family. :) And now since we are living in North Carolina we'll be able to see my sis (and fam) in Kentucky more often! Although, since we're in NC we'll see the rest of our fam in CO less....I guess there's always a trade off. At least we are still within a days drive of fam though! :)

Move to North Carolina: Part II

Alright, I must have been tired last night when I was blogging because I didn't even get through the second day of our trip...weird.

Anyway, on 8/1/10 we start out in Kansas City, MO and made it to Louisville, KY by about 7:30pm! Making pretty good time. We got to pick up a late dinner to eat with my sis and her family there. They were also sweet enough to let us all stay there for a couple nights! Thanks sis! It was so great seeing you all! :)

Louisville was a great stopping place for our second day, as well as a great time to visit with family a long the way. So, we did stay there two nights and get to spend a whole day with them on Monday 8/2/10. I'll talk more about what we did on Monday in a little bit though.

Here's a couple pics of her sweet kiddos....

L at about 3 and 1/2 years old.

N at 1 year old.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Move to North Carolina: Part I

With the help of a few friends and both of our sets of parents, we loaded up our 26' Penske moving truck on Friday July 30th. Once we were finished cleaning up our apartment in Laporte, J and I headed over to my parents' house to spend the night before the first day of our trek across the country!
Here's a pic of our Penske on the road. Cute huh? I know. I'm a nerd. But, it was cute to see my parents drive that truck in front of us. That truck containing virtually everything that J and I own in the world.

Did I mention how we are forever indebted to my parents for not only taking time off work and life to help us load up the truck, but also to help us move and drive the truck across the country as well as unload that monster of a truck into our 2 story townhouse! Thank you two!!! :) We really couldn't have done it without you!
A rather sad sign to see when you're not just going on a vacation....but, at least we hope to move back someday.... I guess we'll have to see what God has planned for us though. :)

Anyway, our first day (7/31) we left around 7:30am from Northern Colorado and made it all the way through Kansas City, MO to Lee's Summit. I think we got into our hotel around 9:30 or so, but now I can't quite remember. We ate sandwiches at a rest area in western Kansas for lunch, and then stopped for dinner at Spangles. (My parents and I have loved that place since we move my sis out to KY.)

We left the next morning (8/1) around 7:30am and had a nice drive overall. When we got to Saint Louis we went down by the river to get a better view of the Arch (as my parents and I always like to do when we go through, and my hubby hadn't really seen it up close before) but the river was really high and was flooding the street. So, we tried to drive around to see if we could get to it another way, but it was a no go (especially with the Penske) so, we went on with our day. Maybe next time. Interesting thing, we got to see the flood gates down in the city. Kind of creepy to be below them and them be closed though...
On the way to the Arch....
Flooded street in front of the Arch.
My Rocket Scientist pointing out the high, high river in Saint Louis.

Visiting Churches

Well, today we visited our first Church here in N.C. We would have visited one last Sunday, but it's kind of hard to find out service times when you don't have internet... Anyway, we tried a Baptist one that's just over a mile from our home. (We'd really like to go to a Church that's super close like that, but we above all want to go where we feel lead to serve and will be able to grow.)

Anyway, this one is much smaller than the Church we went to back in Colorado, but it was great. The people were nice, friendly and seemed happy to have us there. We actually met quite a few people and already started building relationships. J and I would still like to visit a few more Churches in the area to see where God wants us, but this is definitely a great start! :)

We're encouraged to find that people were so welcoming to us, because finding a Church home is an important and necessary thing for us while we are here! Praise the Lord! More details to come about our search of a Church home for us in North Carolina.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We're not in Colorado anymore...

So, as soon as we found out we were going to move to North Carolina, it seemed like everyone had something to say about it. Some were SO happy for us and our new adventure. Some were sad about us leaving. Some warned about the heat and humidity. Some told us about the cool things there were to see...and some said things about the bugs.

Now, just so you all have some background on us and where we are coming from. We were both born and raised in Colorado. But my husband has some family in Tennessee, so his family used to take trips to visit them. As for me, I have a sister who has lived in Kentucky for five years. I got to help my parents move her and her hubby out there 5 years ago and also have been to Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina (etc....) in addition to visiting my sis in KY. So my hubby and I were quite familiar with the climate in this region of the country before we moved here anyway. But people's info was still appreciated, just sometimes already previsouly known.... Anyway moving on...

Just as expected it's hot and humid here. In fact, according to the locals at least, this is the hottest summer on record! So wow! That's hot! The upside is that everything, I mean EVERYTHING has Air Conditioning here though. So it's really not so bad. Most days have been right around 98-100 degrees in actual temperature but with the humidity the heat index has been around 110 degrees. In other words, it's so hot and humid you sweat a lot when you're outside even just for a couple moments. Thankfully it's a cooler weekend though. It was only around 82 today and we had a nice time at the pool. :)

Ok, back to the bugs part. For the most part they don't seem to be all that different than back in Colorado. There are loud ones at night in the trees around our apartment, but I'm actually beginning to feel at home with their music. The mosquitoes are black here and possibly a little smaller than in Colorado. But there are a couple of things you really don't ever see in Colorado here. Well, I guess I should rephrase that, I had never seen either of these bugs in Colorado before.

1. Gigantor Dragon Fly (I've seen similar ones in other parts of the country but this one just kept hanging around so I had to take a pic.)

2. House Centipede. Creepy I know. But kind of cool too. I don't think we've seen one of these in our apartment, or else I would be COMPLETELY freaked out. But we've seen them outside a few times and I guess they are pretty common here. They actually feed on spiders and cockroaches, so they are a good things to have around! (Just as long as I don't find one in here...they are still welcome outside though!) that I have posted this I have the creepy I think this maybe my last post of the evening. I will write more tomorrow, and it won't be nearly as creepy. I promise. :)


Ok, I have been honestly dreading blogging this week...not because I don't want to, or because I don't have anything to write about...just because I am so overwhelmed by it all. SO much has happened in our lives in the last two weeks, that I can hardly start writing about it. I had intended to journal along the way so I would just have to cut and paste it once we had internet in our apartment...but what can I say?!?! Life happened, and writing didn't... So, here I am. At a loss for words to some of the most exciting days of our lives.

Anyway, I am taking my husband's advice and first writing down these thoughts. Then I will slowly blog about what's happened in our lives recently. I think that sounds like a good plan too. :) So, till then...