Monday, October 22, 2007

Iris' Baptism & 1st Birthday

On October 21, we were honored to attend Iris' baptism at the Lutheran church in Garden Grove near Rick & Valerie's home. It was a very windy day, the beginning of the Santa Ana winds that sparked all of the fires in SoCal.

But the baptism went perfectly. The minister was very good, and Iris was even better. She smiled and never made any noise, unlike her cousin Matthew.

Here's a happy Mom as the ceremony ended. It was a very special day!

After church was over, we all went over to Rick & Valerie's house to have a big party to celebrate Iris' birthday. It was a great gathering, with lots of kids, presents, pinatas, great food and good beverages. At the end of the party we had a huge surprise. Rick announced that the Perez's were expecting another child! What a way to cap off a great day. It's a day we'll all will remember as very special.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Matt & Luann's Wedding 10/14

We were honored to be invited to Matt & Luann Ross's wedding on 10/14. Matt is the son of our good friends Paul & Kathy Ross from Albany, OR. On October 13 we flew out of LAX to Austin, TX. We arrived in time to attend the gala rehearsal dinner at a genuine Texas Bar-B-Que "joint". It was out in the middle nowhere, but very crowded. It was a covered patio, with a tin roof, and giant fans to keep everything cool. There was large tables where everyone sat, and the meal was served family style with as much ribs, chicken, sausage, and beef brisket as anyone would want. Everything was delicious!

On Saturday, it was time for the big event. It was an afternoon wedding, held at the home of bride's parents. They had a beautiful home on a large lake. The weather was perfect. And here comes the Ross family down the aisle as the wedding begins!

The setting was on a patio overlooking a large lake. The bride & groom wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and heart felt.

After the wedding, everyone posed for pictures. Here's the new expanded Ross Family.

After the pictures, the celebration moved into high gear. There was a very nice buffet, beer, wine, and champagne. And of course, wedding cake. Everything was delicious. There were toasts, hugs, and happy smiles. As the day turned into night, a karaoke team showed up and everyone had a turn at the mike. A new group was formed, The Ross Boys, with a stirring rendition of that Frank Sinatra classic "That's Life".

It was a great day, and we're sure it's the first day of a fabulous married life for Matt & Luann. We were so glad we could be part of the celebration.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Iris' 1st Birthday-10/10

John & Linda have a tradition with our children's 1st birthdays. We spread out a towel or a sheet on the floor, place a small cake in the middle, and then place the child next to the cake. What happens next can be exploration or chaos!

We decided that it would be a good experience for Iris' birthday. Since it was a Wednesday night the parents had not planned a lot, since the birthday party would be the following weekend. We purchased a small chocolate cake and headed for Garden Grove and some fun.

Iris at first didn't seem to know what she was allowed to do. But it didn't take long for her to place her hands in the cake.

She seemed to enjoy it, but she didn't get real messy like Matt did. Later when we talked to Rick, he said that he didn't like chocolate, so maybe that was inherited by Iris. It could have diminished her enthusiasm.

She still seemed to have a good time! Next time, we'll get her a vanilla cake.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Death Valley, CA

On Friday, 10-5, we decided to visit Death Valley National Park. The wind was slowing down, and we wanted to visit the park before we left Pahrump. Death Valley is about an 11/2 hour drive from the resort. We headed for Furnace Creek and the visitor center to orient ourselves and decide on a plan for our visit. It was a bright & sunny day, but the wind was still blowing hard.

John wanted to have lunch at the Furnace Creek Inn, but it wasn't possible. The Inn was still closed for the summer, and wouldn't open until 10-16. It looked nice, thought. After the visitor center, we stopped at Furnace Creek Ranch store for some snacks. When we came out of the store, the weather had turned into an overcast day. After further investigation, we determined that it wasn't clouds, but blowing sand in the sky! We changed our plans and headed south towards Badwater to avoid the sandstorm. As you can see by this picture, we're trying to outrun the storm.

Looking behind us, it's a great cloud of gray sand. This is the view back toward Furnace Creek.

We did have time to stop at the Devil's Golf Course. It's an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind & rain into jagged spires and crusty rounds. It got it's name because"only the devil could play golf on such rough links".

Further south, we stopped at Badwater, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. It's a surreal landscape of vast salt flats, and a small pond of water that comes up from a spring. It got it's name from a prospector who tried to get his mule to drink, but the mule refused, thus the name Badwater. However the water is fine, it's just very salty. In fact some plant live there in the winter and there's an endangered snail in the springs.

Way up on the cliff is a picture of where sea level is. It's a long way up. The air felt heavier here, and I understand that golf balls don't fly very far at the Furnace Creek golf course. Our campground is at 2700' altitude, and we passed over a 3200' pass to get to this spot, all in about 60 miles.
We were sorry our visit was cut short by the wind, but maybe we'll be back someday. After UT, and now NV, we're a little tired of the desert. We miss the green of the Northwest. If you want to see more pictures, please click on the link:
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pahrump, NV

In case you're wondering what's going on with us, on Tuesday we drove south on I-15 from UT into NV. We're staying at one of our membership RV resorts, Charleston Peak, in Pahrump, NV. It's about 50 miles SW of Las Vegas on the way to Death Valley. It also has a winery/restaurant as part of the resort. I know, how good can a winery be in the desert? I intend to find out later is our stay. Here's the view from our front windshield. Pretty neat!
Yesterday, Wed., we drove into Las Vegas to kind of check things out. It's been a couple of years since John has been here, but it hasn't changed that much. Lot's of traffic, new hotels being built, very expensive entertainment, etc. As you can tell we're not big fans of Las Vegas. But being in SD, WY, and UT has caused us to miss some of the good things about a big city. So we went to Costco, some outlet stores, and ended the day at Trader Joes. We also had lunch at Panera Bread, so it was a good day.

Last night a strong wind came up. We ran outside to secure some of the stuff we had on our patio, and then listened to the wind howl and the motorhome rock all night. The wind has died down some. but it's still blowing about 20MPH. So, instead of going to Death Valley today, we hanging out in the resort. Linda did some crafts, and now is reading a book(Pandemic, by
Daniel Kalla), while John is watching the baseball playoffs and drinking some good Cabernet. It's hard being retired.

We still hope to get to Death Valley this week. If not, we'll just have to come back. Check back to find out if we make it to the lowest spot in the U.S., or if the wine here is any good.