Monday, June 24, 2013

Kicking off Summer Right: Yosemite National Park

If you know me, there are two words that are not often used to describe me: spontaneous and outdoorsy.

I wouldn't say they are never used, but definitely not often.
However, in recent years, I've tried to be a bit more of both.

Friday, I earned those adjectives.

So when, my fun, adventurous and extremely outdoorsy friend Wendy invited me to take a day trip with her to Yosemite National Park, I was VERY tempted to make it happen.
She even sent me Facebook messages with pictures Half Dome calling my name.

I knew I had to go.
So I scrambled to get as much work done as possible, so I could take Friday off.
God is good, and made a miracle happen.

So at 6:30am, on the first day of Summer, and longest day of the year, Wendy picked me up for the 3 1/2 hour drive into Yosemite.


We had a great time catching up, chatting, enjoying the drive, and eventually listening to a book on CD. (Oh yes, we did).

Soon enough we were driving into the ranger station at Yosemite, where Wendy is a passholder (oh, hey now) and then it was about a half hour drive into the valley. We were talking, and as we rounded one of the bends, I literally gasped, as Half Dome and El Cap snuck up on me, towering in the distance.
It was spectacular.

Wendy was thrilled to see that, despite the peak season, it wasn't as crowded as she had expected. We were able to find parking easily, and set off on foot!

Our first stop, was hiking to the top of Vernal Falls. I was super excited about this, as I had gone one time w/ a summer camp in Jr High, and had a slightly odd experience here as well - which is another story for another time. It was really good to do this again, and enjoy it.


I just want to say, this pic of us is my favorite picture of the day, but then I love them all. But really, this is a framer.

But then, I mean, look at these...



Thankfully Wendy is one of the most patient friends I know, and didn't complain ONCE about my slow pace. By the top my legs were shaking pretty good from all the muscles getting used, but it was totally and completely worth it.

It's not exactly Half Dome, but it was my Half Dome, and getting to the top was a real victory.
 I was so happy. 


After a few snacks, and shooing squirrels out of my backpack, we made our descent, back to the valley floor where we had more exploring to do.


And on our way down, the most exciting thing of my life happened. (Slight over-exaggeration, but just slight).
We saw a bear.
In nature.
Like, the real deal.

Two separate kids who passed us were asking their parents questions about bears, which seemed weird to me. And then I saw a crowd up ahead. I knew we were in for a treat. Just below us, was cute little bear, eating something. He was very occupied with whatever it was and could care less about the visitors above spying on him.


Bear & bear hat!

We hiked from the base of Vernal Falls to Mirror Lake. The sign said one mile. And then about one mile later the sign said one mile again. I'm pretty sure whoever made those signs is a LIAR.
However, it was almost completely flat, and in the shade of the trees, so aside from the horse poop along the trail, it was actually rather enjoyable.

We took off our shoes and crossed the lake on foot, and enjoyed our lunch right underneath Half Dome.


I mean, it doesn't get much better than that.



Wendy had taken a dip in the lake - like I said, she's the adventurous one.
And laid out to dry and read a book.


While I sat in the shade and took selfies with and panoramas of H-Dizzle.



After our break, we headed back towards the middle of the valley, and on our way to the shuttle bus, we saw another bear! He was a little guy, crossing the street. I didn't get a pic, but I was seriously going to keel over with happiness. Once on the shuttle, we passed a huge buck with velvet antlers grazing in the valley! Again with the overflow of happy!

I had told Wendy I really wanted pictures of Halfy from the valley, so she made sure we made that happen.


Photography dreams coming true right here.


And we strolled around a bit more, and found ourselves a nice shady spot along the river, right in line with the view of Yosemite Falls. (Someday I will get to the top of that...maybe.)


And eventually it was time to pack up. We headed back to the car, and saw another buck, and then a doe.

And as we cruised out of the valley, we got up close and personal with Yosemite Falls.


And finally, El Capitan.
I craned my neck out the window, and I might have been gasping and wowing the whole time. It was a majestic, granite wonder.


As we spent the day in the shadows and coolness of the create, I envisioned the way the Lord pieced together this masterpiece. How he likely moved glaciers to cut through the granite, how he placed rainbows under waterfalls, reminding us of the flood that once filled even this place, and his promise not to do so again.

My heart sang and cried out for the creator, for the day when we will finally sit and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.

Yosemite is great, but heaven, it's going to be something else. I can't wait. 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1, ESV)



Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Weekendlies

I'm tired. My hands are sunburned. So, I'm just gonna call in that pictures are worth a thousand words thing and let them do the talking...


Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Pintertest Kitchen for Skinny Dippers

Oh yes.
You read that right.
This month's Pintertest Kitchen is in fact, a Skinny Dip.

Originally found here.

Three ingredients. Zero baking.


Two Cups Light Cool Whip
Two Cups Nonfat Plain Yogurt (not greek)
One Box Brownie Mix


Combine, and mix.


Also, the mixing part was definitely the hardest. My large pyrex bowl was put to the test, as brownie mix puffed over the sides.

Thankfully, it all blended together well, and even better it tastes really good.

Original recipe recommends Nilla Wafers, Teddy Grahams, and Graham Crackers, I'm going to throw it out there and suggest strawberries too.
Trust me on this one.
Skinny chocolate dipped strawberries.
To. Die. For.



And like the original poster said, eating this dip won't make you skinny, it's just a skinny version of those not-so-skinny dips. I love that you don't feel like you just ate a block of cream cheese. And as tough as it may be, keep all things in moderation.

Except chocolate chips....go crazy with those.
Just kidding.
Restrain yourself.

And maybe if you do, you'll end up actually skinny dipping this summer.
Not that I'd condone that.

Linking up with Jessica over here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life on the Daily.

Aside from yesterday's post, I haven't really posted in 2 weeks! The adventuring has been at a minimum, but don't worry. Summer Vacations are around the corner and there are gonna be some adventures to share. 

So for now, here is a bit of life on the reg:

A lot of front lawn time with Smiles. She loves it. I love it. The neighbors...well...

I graduated from the 30 Day Shred.
That is 30 days. In a row. The shred itself is fine. The hard part was the commitment, getting up early if I knew I wouldn't have time to shred later in the day. I've moved onto Ripped in 30. Jillian really is trying to ruin my life with that one. Thankfully, I'm not doing it every day. But then again, maybe I should be.

I also graduated the C25k program for the first time. I am a two time drop out over the last 3 years. And finally, FINALLY, I pushed through to the 8th week. I can run for 30 minutes non-stop. Which isn't exactly 3.1 miles (yet) but we're getting there. 
I don't exactly love it. And I hate it while doing it. But the smile below is brought to you by endorphins. Right?

There has been a good amount of healthy eating going on too. Results are minimal. (Because, you know, unhealthy eating sometimes creeps in).But really, summertime produce is the best.

Summertime also means long days. And heading downtown in the evenings means I'm usually greeted to views like this:
And this:

With warm days here, the pool in my building has been turned on. The kids usually claim it all weekend long. But I managed to sneak an hour in on a Sunday afternoon while things were quiet. There may have been two very olllld men there with me, but they didn't splash, so I was content. 

My mom ended her 35ish year career as an ICU nurse. Probably the most badass RN you'll meet. And to celebrate we took her on a family day to Sausalito. 
It was gorgeous at home and gorgeous there, but slightly foggy along the way. Just slightly. 

Mylie has been as cute as ever:

There have been a couple new snuggle bugs introduced into my world lately.
Zachariah Owen:

And Lincoln the Goldendoodle:

And, well, the fun fact is I just blogged this whole thing from my phone! I'm gonna be so thrilled if this works. And so bummed if it doesn't.

And there ya have it, in between moments can be just as lovely as the adventurous ones.