Monday, December 30, 2013

Fun in Denver

We had a gorgeous flight to Denver for Christmas.  With a perfectly clear sky, we had a good view of the Mogollon Rim on our way north.  

The trees ended and we continued over the desert in northeast Arizona.  Then we were over the San Juan mountains with a view of the San Luis valley in Colorado.  

And soon we saw Pikes Peak in the distance.
Of course the pictures look terrible, so you'll just have to trust me that it was spectacular.

Finally Ron was reunited with grandson Harper.

And all his direct descendants.  Cookie decorating is an annual tradition.

We joined little Harper and his parents for a trip to the mall.  We were hoping for a visit with Santa, but the wait time was about two hours.  Harper probably enjoyed visiting the cars more anyway.

Christmas Eve is a big event usually hosted by Ron's brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  Unfortunately, Peg was in the hospital.  How sad is that?  Even with about 35 people there, Peg and Harry were very missed.  Here is the younger generation opening their present from Peg.  It's really very organized.

There's always one present that makes me ask, "What the heck is that?"
(There's a very pretty girl under that thing.)

Then it was Christmas morning.  There's nothing like the wonder of a small child.  Harper spotted his plasma car immediately.

It was a big hit.

He is such a typical boy - loves cars, trucks, trains, planes, actually anything with wheels.  I laughed at how he carries them.

Shannon, who is now 12, was always a beautiful girl, but is now a charming young lady.

And Adam, at 15, generously gave up his room and slept on the floor while we were all there.  He's all set for snow boarding with his new jacket.

But I have to tell you about the cutest thing that Harper does.  You might remember last year when he cried on Santa's lap.

And Diana changed that frown upside down.

Well I made a two-sided ornament out of the pictures and now when Harper see the happy side, he does this.

And when he sees the crying side, he does this.

Actually his pout is usually better, but I distracted him by laughing hysterically.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

For a fantastic free display of Christmas lights, you can't beat the LDS Mesa Temple Garden.  Beginning October 1st, thousands of volunteers hang an uncountable number of lights.  During December, visitors come from all around to enjoy the display and the nightly choir entertainment.

Of course pictures can't do it justice, but I'm going to post some anyway.

There is a nearly full-sized nativity scene to remind us of the reason for the season.

The star over the stable has 10,000 lights.

I particularly liked this little shepherd boy.

The Wise Men came from afar.

There were unusual flowers in the garden.  I believe these are rare multicolored hydrangeas.

And how about these red-eyed susans?

The Temple was the first built in Arizona and was dedicated in 1927.

When you go, don't miss the wonderful display in the visitors center featuring nativity sets from around the world.

They were all wonderful.  Here's one from Mexico.

I think we had something like this German nativity pyramid when I was little.  Is that right, Diana?  Candles are placed in the holders and, when lit, the heat causes the tiers of the pyramid to turn.

I think this one was my very favorite.  It was marked USA, but was obviously a very specific part of our country.

Ron and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season 

and the happiest of New Years.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Massacre?

One of the houses in our area is really into the airblown inflatable yard decorations.  It just makes me smile every time I pass by.

But today I was shocked and appalled to see the unspeakable carnage.  The horror!  What could have happened?  Who is responsible for this outrage?

(Okay, Ron says this isn't funny, but I just have a weird sense of humor.)

And a bit of nostalgia.  My father uses old stamps that he collected over the years on his mailings.  It's a real adventure to receive a letter from him.  I love seeing all the old stamps.  On his Christmas card to me, one of the four stamps was really cool.

From the Santa depiction, I would have thought the stamp was about 60 years old, but I checked and the postage was 20 cents in the early 80s.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Christmas Present

So Ron and I bought ourselves a very practical Christmas present with a fun twist.  And, okay, maybe this is another example of us being easily entertained, but we are now the proud owners of a magic toilet!  Of course it's a low water usage which is enough to make us happy, but it has something extra.  Click on the video and see what it does.

Not only does the lid do this, but also the seat and both together.  We had long ago and independently gotten in the habit of closing the lid in our respective RVs.  You never knew what would come flying out of the cabinet and into the toilet.  I wonder if they make them for RVs.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Birding with Friends

One day (alright, it was almost two weeks ago now), we met our friends John and Carol for a walk around Gilbert Riparian Preserve.  This place is a real unknown treasure that they had discovered last year.  We were happy they invited us to share it with them.

The preserve is really a birder's paradise.  This 'wild' ring-necked duck was thinking we were good for a handout.  Obviously he doesn't know me very well.

John, Ron, and I came prepared with binoculars to observe the shyer wildlife.  Carol brought her camera with the monster telephoto lens.

I had my point-and-shoot camera so it was just luck if it happened to focus correctly.  We got a kick out of the great blue heron and great egret standoff.  The egret was obviously intimidated, but tried to stand his ground.

The two ducks on the right must be mixtures.  I'm guessing the white Pekin duck is the mother and a mallard was the father.

Well, that's it for acceptable pictures from me.  Carol has lots more on her blog.  Click here to see them.