Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's 2014

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words awaits another voice.”
- T.S. Eliot

For my family New Year's ever consists of gathering around a warm fire, enjoying finger food, and watching a movie. Then at 9pm I'll watch the ball drop in New York on an east coast television station and most likely go to bed. I'll be sound asleep as 2014 rolls in and a new year officially begins.

But before I headed to bed I wanted to take a short little look back at 2013.

The year started out with an amazing trip to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong. I'm so thankful that Alexis was willing to travel with me and that could make the whole trip happen! Who knows, maybe in 2014 we will get to travel somewhere else exciting. (I hope so!)

I shoveled a lot of snow. And skied.

I traveled to Albany for the Northwest Horse Fair and Expo. That's where we Mark and I met someone from "The Horse Show with Rick Lamb." Little did we know that later this would land us a spot on TV. (It just aired Dec. 31st 2013!)  I'm so glad that Jane and Diana came to Cornucopia Lodge - they are amazing. Want to watch our episode? Check it out:

I took a side trip to The Painted Hills of Oregon.

I spent time with my grandma in La Grande and later in Salem. I am so glad that I got to see her a lot in 2013 and I hope that I will get to see her a lot in 2014! I love my family.

I also got to see my friends, which is pretty amazing considering we aren't close (distance-wise).

I went to a competitive trail horse challenge where I once again discovered that my horse is amazing and I have the best dog ever.  I also met new friends. And rode someplace different.

Heidi and her family came to visit. We drove up to Summit Point and the view was incredible. I'll never tire of standing on top of a mountain. I also got to see the Dempsey's before Christmas. Best present ever! It was really fun to spend time with everyone and it was especially fun to take a little mini-trip to Atalanta with Heidi.

I spent another summer riding horses in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. It is my favorite thing to do! I love my horses more than words can describe.

I learned how to oil paint. Thank you Kay Marie! My first old painting was of a large flower. It won first place in the local county fair. I'm currently working on several other paintings… maybe when they are finished I'll do a blog post about them.

I carved a pumpkin and was a scarecrow for Halloween. You are never too old to dress up when there is a horse involved.

I acquired Kiwi - my little filly from the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

I traveled to Multnomah Falls and the Oregon Coast. I also went to Seattle and Boise for snowmobile expos with a booth for the lodge and Baker County Tourism.

Now winter is here and 2014 is almost here also! I'm sure I forgot things that happened in 2013, but that's a pretty good recap.  Happy New Year's to everyone! Be safe and have fun!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Snow Day at the Lodge

It's almost Christmas time and we've got the snow to prove it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Georgia Bound

One of my favorite things to do with my sister is go on little mini-trips. Last time I visited Heidi we headed up to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, so it was only fitting that this time we went to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.  (This was also a great excuse to play with my new DSLR.)

We got to the aquarium about noon and spent the rest of the day roaming around the exhibits.  They had really neat exhibits such as: Cold Water Quest, Georgia Explorer, Ocean Voyager, River Scout, and Tropcial Diver. The Georgia Aquarium houses 12,000 animals representing 500 species and is the world's largest aquarium, opened in 2005. Here are just a small sample of the photos I took while at the aquarium!

Heidi in the Tunnel

Whale Shark

Sea Stars and Fish



Beluga whales playing with a training hoop.
They kept moving it around the tank!

In Front of the Corral Reef Exhibit

Fish (I can't remember the name of this guy…)

Amazon Piranha! 

Lion Fish 

Huge Lobster

Heidi also bought us tickets to watch the dolphin show, appropriately named "Dolphin Tales." The plot line was a little cheesy but it was incredible to watch the dolphins and their trainers perform! We didn't get to take photos of the performance, but after the show we got to see the dolphins in their tanks. They are such playful creatures and I am always amazed at how smart they are.

A Dolphin Playing with a Football

We also got to see a special exhibit the aquarium had, entitled "Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies." Basically the exhibit allowed us to see both outside and inside the bodies of the most amazing sea creatures. Among the exhibits we saw a 6-food-wide devil ray, a 15-foot-long shark and a 18-foot-long 3,000 pound whale shark.  We also saw a dissected shark that had seven babies inside it crazy!

Such neat dissections!
After we finished at the aquarium we walked around downtown Atlanta and stumbled upon a ferris wheel. It was pretty expensive but I'm super glad we did it! (Plus it went around a lot more times than I thought I would.) The views of downtown Atlanta were amazing and we even got to see the aquarium from above.

View from the Ferris Wheel

Heidi and I on the Ferris Wheel 

Carriage Cars on the Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel with a Tree

We also walked through the Centennial Olympic Park, part of the 1996 Summer Olympics. They had the fountains running and everything was decorated for Christmas.

And then there was the Coca-Cola Museum… With it's gain ornaments you could sit in! We didn't go into the museum but we walked by it a couple times.

By the end of the day we decided to stop and eat. Thanks to good ol' Google we found Max's Pizza, a great little pizzeria a couple blocks from the aquarium. It was amazing pizza. Really amazing. Made with coal fire. I could eat there everyday, because what is better than pizza and bottled root beer?  

I also snagged a beautiful photo of the ferris wheel.

I had a great time with Heidi in Atlanta and a fun time with the family in Alabama.  I'm really sad that I have to go home, but I am glad I get to see Scout (my dog).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Alabama Adventures

The days have flown by here in Alabama! I got to try out my camera by taking some photos at JSU (in the president's house), which was also the location of Erin and Daniel's piano recital. The photos turned out really good and it was fun to practice focusing and playing with lighting.  I also got to wear my new blue dress. I had to sew down the slit because it was just a tad high, but I love wearing that dress!

While we listened to Erin and Daniel play I devoured cookies. Gingerbread cookies are my absolute favorite winter/Christmas cookie so whenever they are around I gobble them up.

The recital went well and I was glad I got to hear Erin and Daniel play. They are a super talented family!
Heidi, David, Daniel and Erin + Kira and Sandy (Exchange Students)

It was such a gorgeous tree!
On of the other days we went to the Berman Museum in Anniston for Christmas in the Gardens. The botanical gardens were all alight and beautiful but the best part of the night was organ! David was invited to play the organ which actually has to be operated two people, the player and the person operating the two bellows; without the bellows the organ will not produced sound.

One of the nights, we celebrated Christmas early. I wanted to do that so I could give out gifts to everyone and watch them open their presents. It's far more fun to see people opening their gifts in person.

The snowman stocking was mine!

Sandy and Kira opening the kitty litter box to reveal pop tarts! 

Daniel examining the bow present.


Erin and her new sweater.

Heidi gave me the most beautiful earrings! I LOVE them!

Erin's awesome print!
We spent a lot of time playing games too. I love games, but there are never enough people/friends around the lodge to play with. Heidi also loves board games and has a huge collection so I was really excited to learn some new ones. We played Pirates Cove, in which you battle to become the best pirate. We also played Ticket to Ride Netherlands, a new TTR map the family just got. I love Ticket to Ride so it was really fun to learn a new map.  I also discovered my new favorite board game: 7 Wonders. It is such a fun game and I had everyone playing it a lot!

7 Wonders… I won!

Ticket to Ride Netherlands!

It's been really fun to be at Heidi's house and I don't want think about going home!

Christmas lights outside of the Dempsey household.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Visiting Alabama

This week I am in Alabama visiting my sister and her family! It's nicer weather in Alabama than in Oregon, although there has been a fair amount of rain here.  I'm really glad to be visiting family during the holiday season and I am glad that my sister is done teaching college so we have time to hang out.

With my Mom Pre-Airport Flight
(When she dropped me off.)
So far it has been a busy couple of days here. I got here late Saturday night on a delayed flight because they had to de-ice our plane. (That was after we switched to a smaller plane because there were only 28 people on the flight.)  The next day, Sunday, I sang with the choir in church. We get to wear fun little robes and sit in front of the congregation.

Dressed up to Sing
 I also bought myself an early Christmas present…

New Nikon
It is a Nikon D7000. It has all the fancy features and trimming, so I have a feeling it will take me a while to figure it all out. I've been taking a lot of photos around the house and different places we go - but I really want to go take some outdoor photos and see if they are any different/better.

My Awesome Christmas Wrapping Skills

Erin and Daniel Playing in the High School Band Concert

I'm not sure what the rest of the week will hold but I have no doubt that it will be fun and nice to be with family.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter is Here

The other day I managed to put up a fair number of Christmas decorations at the lodge. I also picked out a tree and bought a snowmobile.  Wait, what? Yes. I bought a snowmobile.  It's a RMK Polaris 700 and it only has 950 miles on it!

New Snowmobile
 Now as much as I want snow - I really don't want snow and freezing cold weather. Temperatures at the lodge have been down in the single digits and negatives. Brr!  Let's hope everyone can keep warm when it is so chilly outside!

Scout Napping on my Lap

Christmas Tree 2013

Lights around the Lodge

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas List

It's officially December 1st, which means I can post my Christmas "to do" list (things I want to do this Christmas). Think I can make it all happen?