July 31, 2014

July in Review

-4th of July celebration at our house with my cousins+family - 14 people in the pool at once and Matt made a wonderful brisket on the smoker, fun times!
-Summer school teaching started for Matt, and a few professional development days for me
-Lots of reading and relaxing at home, on the square, and with friends (Theta Chi fajita night!) and family
-And the big news: I got a new job. I applied on a Monday, interviewed Wednesday, and was hired Thursday, crazy fast but I guess that's normal for late summer hires. I wasn't seriously looking for a new job right away after our move to McKinney but a position at a very nice school happened to have a summer opening. Library jobs are a little different here (media resource specialist=librarian+IT guy+textbook tracker+computer teacher+etc.) so it will be an adjustment. I'm excited to get started, and to not have a 30+ minute commute for the first time ever! I already miss my Frisco friends, especially the sweet students and parents at Purefoy.

Around the House
-Added plants to bed by the driveway - a gardenia, 4 japanese aralia bushes, 6 variegated liriope and mulch
-Bought 2 tabletop tiki torches for mosquitos
-Bought/assembled patio bistro set
-Bought new bathroom towels and master bedroom pillows
-Updated empty front left bed - 4 chinese fringe flower bushes, a chinese privet bush, 10 aztec grass plants for border, fresh mulch, and moved stones for when it rains
-Updated front right bed/side - removed 3 overgrown privet bushes, pruned back large holly, removed overgrown grass (this phase took about 4 hours), then added 17 atzec grass plants, 22 dwarf mondo grass plants, 3 large chinese fringe bushes, 5 small chinese fringe bushes, 4 bush germander shrubs, 1 large japanese aralia bush, and lots of mulch (about 6 more hours) - this bed is actually the biggest one we’ve redone and kind of happened on a whim, we love how both the front beds all turned out with purple bushes and contrasting light and dark greens
-Added a toilet paper holder to the upstairs bathroom (since there wasn't one for some reason)
-Bought new master bath medicine cabinets, those will be going up soon when we paint the bathroom and bedroom


July 3, 2014

Four Corners Road Trip

Summer road trip time has arrived again! We headed west in June to Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico for hiking and scenic views at 5 fabulous national parks. The driving was relaxing and scenic and the weather was lovely, minus hot hiking a few days.
  • Beautiful blue skies all across Texas and New Mexico
  • Sand hiking at Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • New explorations in Denver and Boulder with friends Cassie & Joe
  • Driving the gorgeous Grand Army of the Republic Highway west out of Colorado, complete with a bear sighting
  • Capitol Reef National Park for hiking, camping and marmot-sightings
  • Beautiful views and SO MUCH HIKING at Zion National Park - walking The Narrows (hiking directly in a cold river in a canyon) will not be forgotten
  • Exploring the cute tourist town of Springdale, Utah and a great stay and killer breakfasts at the Harvest House B&B
  • Great food and drinks at the Zion Brewery, Zion Pizza & Noodle, Whiptail Grill, and Oscar's Cafe (murder burger!) in Utah
  • Fun walks and hoodoo views at Bryce Canyon National Park
  • A strange trip to the cute Dixie National Forest where we were supposed to stay in an old forest guard station for 3 nights - only to find the entrance closed for road maintenance! This is after driving 16 miles on a gravel road, stopping for cowboys driving cattle, and making the reservations 3 months prior. Luckily we were ready to head home anyway and made an easy switch to our plans, otherwise we would have been in trouble.
  • A repeat trip to the Grand Canyon - this time to the more remote North Rim, complete with amazing views and a nighttime star party on the lodge porch
  • 3,400 miles of fun (and lots of podcasts and audiobooks)
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Downtown Denver & Daytrip to Boulder
 Capitol Reef National Park
Zion National Park
A/C Break - Riding the Park Shuttle:
Bryce Canyon National Park
 Grand Canyon National Park North Rim
Trip Treks
Animal Sightings
Black bear!
Prairie dogs
TONS of lizards
TONS of hummingbirds - very cool!
TONS of squirrels