Friday, August 16, 2013


Okay, I told you in my last post that technically my summer is over. And that is true. Once I set foot in my school, summer is done (for me). However, I am feeling nostalgic this week FOR my summer, so I am going to post a little more before I move on to some real life not as fun posts.

I have been thinking about the "poems" my kids have written over the years focusing on a topic and the senses used to explore that topic. So that will be my post today.

by Reba

Summer looks like...
   green grass
      the ocean blue
            brilliant sunsets as the day ends
                  lightning bugs flashing in the night

Summer sounds like...
      silence (no alarm clocks!)
            children laughing
                 waves crashing against the shore
                        crickets chirping through the night

Summer feels like...
              warm sand between my toes
                      a sunny day shining upon my arms
                            the cool pool water lapping at my legs
                                  ice cream dripping down my chin

Summer smells like...
           freshly cut grass
                 the salt water of the ocean
                       food cooking on the grill
                            basil growing outside my window

Summer tastes like...
             Gooey smores, hot off the grill
                     ice cold lemonade
                            Grilled shrimp
                                 shaved ice

Summer is...
                                time to reflect.

I love summer.

More soon,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The End of the Summer Bucket List...

for now.

My summer is over.

I know, technically summer doesn't end until September.

But for me, once I start back to school, my summer is over.

Ironically, it doesn't even feel like summer right now.  We have had more rain in August than I ever remember having for the whole summer most years.  And the temperatures are not even that warm (or at least not hot).

Anyway, here is the list one last time with the final tally...

My summer bucket list:
  • to say "yes" more than I say "no" to my kids. You have NO idea how hard this is for me!  I can honestly say I did this.  I said yes a LOT more than I said no.  And I feel good about that.
  • to nap anytime I want (every day if I want to) without feeling guilty about it  I did this as much as was possible with volleyball practices, appointments, and such.  I am already missing those naps...
  • to go on a float trip (this one may be happening soon!)  Did that in late June.  Loved it.  I would kind of like to try it with kids.  It is looking like that might be a good possibility with all of the rain we have had!
  • to eat lobster and shrimp ravioli and Joe's incredible rolls without an ounce of guilt or regret  I did that in early summer but I think I may have to add that to my fall bucket list. :)  Yum, yum.
  • to dance in the rain with my daughter  We did that not long ago (it has been easier with all of the rain).  The funny thing was it was on her bucket list too. So we went outside and once out there, she said, "Now what do we do?" 
  • to spend just one day ALL day on my computer whether it is playing games, cleaning out my cache, or organizing my bookmarks  That did not happen.  I did work on cleaning out some e-mails and such but I actually ended up spending LESS time on my computer. Oh well. 
  • to read at least one (if not more) book just for fun...not for parenting or teaching!  I did get a couple read.  One of my goals for fall is to do more reading, sometimes fun, sometimes practical.  To do that, I will have to continue to limit my computer time...there just isn't enough time for both!
  • to wear eye shadow (a little odd but I just don't do that typically)  I have done that quite a bit this summer.  And I think I will continue to do so though not every day.
  • to get a new camera  I got one for my birthday!  I love my new camera though I have a lot to learn with it.  I know it is capable of doing more than I know how to do with it.  So a goal this coming year will be to learn more about it and its capabilities. 
  • to go to the farmer's market at least once (if not more)  We did and enjoyed it.  I don't think it will be a regular thing for us but once in a while, it is nice to be out. I did buy a beautiful basil plant that has been thriving in all of this rain.  If I could just find a cilantro plant (my attempts to grow plants failed...), I would be in good shape.
  • to slow dance with my husband (love to but it is rare)  Didn't happen.  We have mentioned it a few times but haven't actually done so.  Maybe this fall...
  • to make homemade ice cream (no, don't have a maker...)  Didn't happen.  :(  I still want to do this at some point.  Maybe I will just get a maker on clearance or something...
  • to do a random act of kindness  We have done a few of these, though it isn't completely random.  One that comes to mind lately involved paying a toll for someone else. They did know about it so it wasn't anonymous but it was random. 
  • to find a shark tooth on the beach (but not IN the shark's mouth)  Woohoo!  Did that!
  • to watch a meteor shower with my husband...even better, outside of the city limits/lights!  We did watch the meteor shower though it wasn't out of the city limits.  These showers always happen when I am returning to school and of course are late at night, so leaving the city to watch is difficult...
  • to see a waterfall that takes my breath away  I am pretty sure Niagara counts for this one.  There really are no words to describe that one!
  • to watch the sun rise at least once (I am usually snoozing)  I managed a couple times on our beach trip. Otherwise, I have slept right through them... :)
  • to visit some local "swimming holes" with the kids  We did visit a couple.  I had hoped and planned to visit more but our summer has been a little odd. 
  • to not set my alarm clock as much as possible  I did this any day possible until this week. And this week, I am NOT liking the sound of that alarm...
  • to make smores with the kids   We did this a couple times. I enjoyed each and every bite...
  • to visit with know, the ones we always say we need to get together with but don't!  I did do this with one friend. I am still working on setting up a time meet with another...
  • to ride a bike trail  Didn't happen. :( But maybe in the fall...
  • to learn how to grill  I am not ready to grill steaks or anything but I can muddle through it...
  • to visit a state park I visited two though neither were Arkansas State Parks...
  • to pay off something I have wanted paid off for a long time  Didn't happen. :( I am still hoping for a surprise check or to stumble on some cash to get this done.
  • to buy a pair of fun summer time pajamas Done. Just wore them last night.
  • to eat a Chicago pizza Done and enjoyed EVERY bite. I am already ready for another...
  • to feel God's presence in a MIGHTY way, something that can only be experienced, not explained Okay, that didn't happen. But this is God I am talking about. Ultimately He is in charge of those moments. And they won't happen before then, bucket list or not. 
  • to go to the zoo 

I can also cross off one of my "unspoken ones". :)

I didn't even have visit another country on my list and I can cross that off. :)

All in all, it was a good summer. I enjoyed these moments as well as many more.

More later,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wrapping It Up...

Saturday evening, after a long day of hiking and exploring, we went to a restaurant/grill for dinner. It was labeled as "Italian" though our bed and breakfast owner let us know it wasn't true Italian. That was okay. I had a delicious dinner of seafood pasta, real Italian or not. I enjoyed every bite. After that, we walked through Clifton Hill (the tourist spot) to visit the Falls one more time. Oh my. Clifton Hill was TOO much for me. I am just not a "touristy" type. That was the moment I was even more thankful for our bed and breakfast off the beaten path.

Our visit to the Falls, the last for the trip, was short and sweet. Apparently it was a three day weekend for Canadians. There were people EVERYWHERE. It was almost suffocating. So I just snapped a few pictures then we walked back to the bed and breakfast to pack our things. (We walked probably 10 miles in all that day)

One last look at the American and Bridal Veil Falls...
The only time I really enjoyed the lights was when they lit up the American Falls with red, white, and blue; otherwise, I preferred the natural white.
And one last look at the Horseshoe Falls...
The next day, we got up early and left Canada.  By the way, that is the time to leave. We returned to the US via the Rainbow Bridge with virtually no wait.  A few hours later, the traffic would have been back up on the bridge. 

We drove through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky to our last destination of the getaway...Cumberland Falls State Park.

Sidenote:  Along the way, we needed to stop for lunch.  I searched my app "iWant" and found a burger joint in a little town in Ohio.  It was a little off our path and added a little time to an already long day but it was worth it.  I ate all but one bite of one of the best burgers I have ever had.  I don't even want to know how many calories I consumed.  It is probably a good thing that I had NO desire to even have any dinner or food the rest of the day...

Anyway, after we got to the park and got the keys to our room, we drove (still sore from our walk the day before) to the Falls.  Cumberland Falls is called the Niagara of the South. After seeing it, I understand. It really is like a miniature Niagara...
One of my friends had said it would be a letdown after seeing Niagara.  I will admit, it looked really small. But I still loved it. I love waterfalls.

I also love butterflies. I loved having the opportunity to try out the zoom on my camera...

This really reminded me of Niagara...the water often looked just like this as it fell over the Falls.

After seeing the waterfall from a few different spots, we walked along the Cumberland River and came upon this bridge. It was just a neat setting. 

This picture pretty much sums up our trip...loved every minute with this man.

The next day, we again got up early and hit the road (thankfully gaining an hour along the way).  About 12 hours later (after driving across Kentucky, hitting a small part of Illinois, driving through part of Missouri, and along some of Arkansas, we returned home. 

And just like that, the adventure was over. But the memories will remain with me for days and years to come...

More later,

Friday, August 9, 2013

State Parkin' It

After our hike, we hopped on the trolley and rode back to the main part of the Niagara Falls State Park which is the oldest state park in New York and the one with the most visitors each year. That was pretty obvious from our short time there...LOTS of people!

While we loved the view of the Falls from the Canadian side, seeing them from the American side was just as spectacular.
That green structure is an overlook; we later walked out on it after our ride on the Maid of the Mist...
If you know me at all, I LOVE rainbows, so seeing a rainbow as I looked down at the American Falls was a treat.
Another rainbow...Rainbow Bridge. :)
Here is Bridal Veil Falls, the Falls just to the right of the American Falls.  There is actually a tour to the base of them called "Cave of the Winds".  We were told it is a "must do" (and that we would get VERY wet...disposable shoes are included as part of the tour).  However, after we saw the line for it, we decided it was a "must don't".

See those yellow dots below? Those are people in ponchos at the base of the Falls!
We loved seeing the river from so many angles.
There is our restaurant from Friday night, across the river.
These birds have it made. With so many people, there was bound to be food.  They enjoyed every bite!
A view of the American Falls from near the Horseshoe Falls

Another Maid of the Mist tour
Excuse the was a bit misty
Horseshoe Falls
As we continued to explore the park, we happened upon this little fellow eating his lunch.  Okay, I really just wanted to try out the zoom on my camera. But he really was a cute little guy.
Walking along the river
Niagara Falls wanna-be's...
Looking toward Canada
With all of the rapid waters, these birds tickled me...
Another view looking toward Canada
Resting and taking it all in
 Preparing to ride Maid of the Mist

Sorry for the water was a bit misty out on the water

 Another rainbow at the base of the Falls
 A together shot which would have been great if we could have kept the water off the camera lens. (I did use my older camera since we were right on the water)

 Another rainbow pic
 He's the king of the world... :)
 A view from the overlook

You have NO idea how difficult it was to get this picture.  There were TONS of tourists (besides us) on that overlook, hogging the rail.  And very few spoke English.  (And yes, we were still in NY)  So we had to do a lot of waiting just to jump in and snap a few...

We walked around just a little bit more before heading back to Canada for the evening...

All in all, it is a wonderful park. We only paid 2 bucks to ride the trolley (hop on and off at our convenience) plus a little for the Maid of the Mist ride and refreshments. Otherwise, our adventures were free for the taking.  We loved staying on the Canadian side but I am so thankful we hopped over to the New York side for a different view of the Falls!
I had to take this for my daughter. I stood with each foot in a different country. :)

More later,