Sunday, July 24, 2011

Climbing and birds

You know, about two years (or maybe three) ago we joined a local gym.  We had to do a membership for a year, and the reason we chose the gym we did was because we could do a rock climbing package with it.  They had an extensive rock climbing wall equipped for lead rope climbing, top rope climbing and even lots of bouldering options.  We loved that gym and the membership...except not the cost so much.  So after that year was up we moved on without renewing it.

I don't think it was until last night that we realized just how much we missed that though.  Not the expense or the gym itself, but the quality time we'd get together working out and also climbing.  So, when I found a climbing gym in the area (there are actually quite a few in the area) we decided to try it out.  After I got off work last night we went over and did some climbing.  The place we went was good sized with lots of options for all those types of climbing.  We just did bouldering last night though, but had a blast!  Although...I did rip some skin (luckily not enough to bleed or anything) off my hand and both of us are sore today.  Totally worth it though!  Can't wait to go back!  :)

So, it turns out even though it's been ridiculously hot all week with extreme heat warnings everyday, we wanted to do another picnic lunch today after Church.  So, since last week was so pleasant at Duke gardens we ventured back.  I think we both had sorta forgotten that it was only about 85 last week when we were there...and it was around 100 or so today...but we did it.

We had a nice picnic lunch in the shade, by the lake again.  :)  We sort of melted...but it was totally worth it!  We got to see ducks, a swan and a cardinal!!!  We've seen plenty of cardinals since we moved here, but never close enough (or long enough) to be able to actually photograph one!!!!  So, this was a super exciting part of our little {HOT!} outing!  :)  I also got some pretty sweet pics of other stuff...check them out!  :)  Happy Sunday!

Black-necked Swan

Black-necked Swan again.  Pretty huh?

Muscovy Duck preening...

Close up of muscovy duck face.

Muscovy duck foot.  Crazy claws huh?



Muscovy duck swimming.  Don't they look a little silly when they swim?

Cardy the Cardinal!  :)

These were so interesting that I had to search to find what they were.  They are Sacred lotus or just lotus.  Here's a link... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelumbo_nucifera So interesting...
Maybe my favorite flower now....So textured....so pink and pretty in pink. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We love picnics!

As you probably already know, we love picnics!  :)  So, today after Church we took a picnic lunch over to the Duke Gardens.  We hadn't visited in July yet, so it was fun to see what was in bloom.  (Although it's always just beautiful there anyways...I love that place! :)  

They are {apparently} doing some construction in the gardens, so we were unable to walk done the main path (as you can tell from the photo) but they did have a temporary path next to it to go down.  
My favorite trees are in bloom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 A view of the terraced garden.  Notice anything different or off in the pic?!?
 A better view of the terraces.  You can still see what I was talking about in the above photo.  It's the pots of plants in the pond!  LOL  I thought they were funny....because in the other ponds the lily pads just grow in the ground...not in pots...  :)
 And I had some fun with my {still rather new} camera!  :)  Proof that you don't need a DSLR to get pics like this!  (I still want one, and am currently accepting donations though!)
 We saw some flutterbys...
 Some of my favorite flowers...  I didn't realize they sometimes hang upside down...
 More of my fav flowers.  Too bad the path went along their backside though.  Oh well, I hadn't really seen them from this angle before.  :)
 We saw some little frogs that made silly noises like rubber band guitars.
 And we even saw some tadpoles (that I couldn't get a pic of because they were too deep) and some tadpoles like this (pic below) undergoing metamorphosis.  Cool huh?!?!?!
We had a great picnic and time exploring more of the gardens and its creatures!!  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A trip to the mall

Today was my day off and I had a few errands to run.  While I was out and about I decided to stop at the mall and look for a few things I have been needing/wanting.  (Need: more shirts and another pair of comfy shoes for work.  Want: a new tankini top)  So, I went to a few stores and tried on a few tankini tops without much luck.  I'd like the style and they wouldn't have my size, or vice versa....  I didn't manage to find any good deals on shirts or shoes for work at all though.  But at my last stop (JCPenney's) I found more options there than anywhere else for swimwear.  Plus they had the best deals!  So, I got a tankini top like this:  
I think my favorite part is that it can go with my black or coral skirted bottoms!  Well, that and the fact that I think it's cute!  Plus, it's a Liz Claiborne and originally like $50 and I got it for like $15!  That's Wally world prices for a brand name suit!!  :)

I also had a first today.  I ate lunch out by myself.  I have heard that it's something you're supposed to do at least once before you die.  And I never had...because it's kind of scary...  But today I ate lunch at the mall by myself.  I didn't exactly mean to do it either.  I just kind of got carried away runnign errands and shopping and before I knew it, it was 1pm and I was starving...and at the mall....and still not done looking around.  So, I did it.

I purchased some yummy pizza and a drink.

And sat down.

And ate.

And people watched.

And ate some more.

And before I knew it, I was done and ready for more shopping.  :)  The only think I regret is that I could have gotten Dippin' Dots (because I was shopping at Southspoint mall for once!) as a snack instead of eating lunch then...but didn't think of it until I'd already sat down with my pizza....  :(  Oh well, there is always next time!  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Great deals!

So, we recently visited A Southern Season for some shopping because it's their big inventory sale.  This year's theme is "the greatest sale on earth" and wow, it's great!  Everything in the entire store is on sale!  I think things are like 10-90% off too!  So there are really some great deals!  :) I found a few things that I couldn't seem to live without.
  
Like these adorable retro lanterns.  They had been $11 each originally but I got them for $2.75 each.  I just need to find a great spot for them.  I am thinking somewhere inside for most of the time and then we can take them outside if we're hanging out, out there.  :)
And we found this bottle sleeve by Built.  It was 1/2 price!  We'd been thinking of getting at least one of these (or something like it) because it'd some in handy for our stainless steel water bottles on hikes and stuff.  So, when I saw this half price we just had to get it!  Can't wait to get a chance to use it.  :)

Everything is going well here on our end.  J is busy as usual and still enjoying his research, and I'm still enjoying my --not so new anymore-- job!  Today, we're also reminded of how thankful we are for our Church home here in NC! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A day trip to the beach!

You know, one of the coolest (and I mean coolest!) things about living in North Carolina, and specifically the Research Triangle, is that it's within a few hours of the beach.  And by beach, I mean the real kind of beaches -- the ocean beaches!!!!!!!  :)  So yeah.  It's pretty sweet.  So when I had to work almost the entire Holiday weekend of the 4th, it was handy that we live SO close to the beach, because we could just go there for a day! :)

We left around 6:30 in the morning on Sunday July 3rd and headed out to the Wilmington area of NC.  There are several beaches in that area and we found that Kure Beach is our personal fave!  (and one of the least busy!!:)  We had a great time at the beach and at lunch in a forested area of Pleasure Island (where Carolina, Kure and Fort Fisher beaches are all located).  Hope y'all had a great 4th too!  Here are some pics of our time at the beach!  :)

Our lunch spot at Carolina Beach State Park.

A boardwalk up to Kure Beach.
J placing our umbrella in the ground.


First dip.  The water was super warm and delightful!  :)

A little blurry...but it still shows some really tiny seashells kinda.

Does this ring any bells for anyone??!!??!!  Yep, it's the kite that J used to propose to me 4 years ago! :)  So naturally, we had to take it (and fly it) on our day at the beach! :)

Panoramic view from our spot on the beach.  Not too crowded.  And there was a pier pretty close that sold ice cream cones.  So, we got some cones later in the afternoon to help us cool off!  :)  

Pretty sand.  Pretty ocean.  Random people. Birdie flying. And a lifeguard. :)

Sea Oats.  You know, these are endangered.  I just found that out before we left...

We parked off of J Ave.   Quite fitting huh?  :)
 We had a great time and barely got sunburned!  :) We headed home around 6:30pm and rolled in about 10pm--but it wouldn't have taken that long had we not stopped for gas once and also some grub at Cook-Out.  :)  Overall, it's about a 2.75 hr. drive to Kure Beach from the Research Triangle and totally worth it.  I hope the word doesn't get out too much though...I like the fact that it wasn't too crowded!  :)

So, even though we couldn't spend the 4th with our family we had a nice time at the beach, and celebrated the birth of our Nation with some sparklers after we got home too!  :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

It's my sweet parents' 38th Wedding Anniversary today!!!!  I hope you two have a great day and another great year!  Thanks for being a great example of commitment, loyalty, love and respect!  We love you!!!  :)