Monday, March 29, 2010

Erin's New Hobby

Erin dove head first into the world of photography last week when she bought herself a fancy camera. She's been telling me for a long time she wanted to get into photography but I wasn't sure it would happen. Finally, she took the plunge and now owns the necessary equipment.

Evie and I have been her "test subjects" over the last week. It turns out photography is much more than auto focus and a flash. Erin is learning quickly.

On Saturday Evie participated in her first Easter Egg hunt. Like her good ol' dad she loves the candy but is terrified of the big scary bunny.

We aren't taking the nice weather for granted. As soon as it hit 50 degrees with a little sun we've been spending as many evenings walking and finding parks nearby.

Lately Evie has become a huge fan of reading, and not just to stall before bedtime. Erin reads her 30+ books every day and Evie reads her dolls even more. Many nights Evie tells me to "sheesh (sit)" right here (pointing adamantly (always on the ground)) and read to her dolls. She stacks the books up for me and continues to organize the room as I read to miss 9.99, bea (bear), or goggie. Tonight she sat down and read a different book (out loud) as I was reading the book she chose for me. It was fun and turned into a good candid photo shoot for Erin.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Denver Weekend

To celebrate the end of Reuben's bachelorhood I spent a weekend with Rob, Reuben, and Eric in Denver.

Our first tourist item was the Coors-Miller brewery. I enjoyed the chemical engineer's perspective and we all enjoyed the free samples afterward.

On Sunday we checked out Red Rocks Amphitheater and hiked a nearby trail.

Although I am a novice skier I have always wanted to ski in the Rockies. On Monday I experienced a Colorado skiing experience and I was not disappointed. We had a beautiful, sunny, 40 degree day at Copper Mountain Ski Resort.
The skiing was fantastic but I especially enjoyed the awesome views.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Canton Weekend

We had a nice weekend in Canton with Gumpa and Grandma.

We went to a farm for Evie to see some animals. The farm wasn't open but a nice worker let us walk around anyway.

Evie has strong motherly instincts. She is helpful in many ways and loves to take care of her baby. On Saturday night she spent a long time reading to her baby.
She also had to show her baby what an elephant looks like. Evie doesn't quite have the impression down but it is great either way.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

South America Trip - Lima, Peru

The final stop of our trip was one day in Lima. During the previous week everyone we talked to about Lima had something bad to say about it. So we were a little nervous about where we went in Lima, but we still wanted to see as much of the city as we could.

We grabbed a cab at the airport and drove to our hostel which was in one of the more popular parts of town. We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the city, and the weather really lifted our spirits - 80 and sunny!

So we put on our swimming suits and started walking around. We reached the coastline cliffs and walked to a big shopping district on top of the cliffs.

Still in high spirits we decided to go lay out on the beach as a last hurrah. Beach access was tough because few roads descended down the cliffs to the beach. After about 15 minutes of walking we found an access road so down we went. As we were getting close to the beach there were quite a few locals walking back (it was 4:00 pm). The sidewalk was reasonably narrow and we approached a group of 10-15 people, including a group of about 5 teenage guys. When the got close one of them looked at me and said ¨Big Pappi.¨ I recognized the reference but ignored him. Right then he and one of his friends both bumped into my shoulders. Initially I figured the big group just got scrunched for a minute and everyone accidentally bumped into each other. Erin was slightly ahead and had gotten out of the crowd. However, as soon as they bumped into me I felt the friend´s hand going into my right pocket where my camera was. Then the first guy tried to put his hand into my other pocket where my money was. Out of instinct I swiped down toward my pockets and hit their hands away. My camera was big enough that after I hit their hands away I could feel it was still in my pocket and I was pretty sure the other guy didn´t get his hand far enough into my money pocket to grab anything. I jerked myself away from the crowd pretty deliberately and shook the teenagers off. It seemed like they wanted to keep going after me but we were on a busy street and I was firm enough that they didn´t. Suddenly I realized what happened and I was ticked. So I turned back toward them and lurched at them. They were considerably smaller than me and cowered a little. I thought better than going after them and Erin and I quickly walked away. She hadn´t realized what they did until I told her and we both felt really uneasy. We passed several other groups of guys on our way to the beach and stayed as far away as possible. When we got to the beach we decided to just walk down the beach back towards the mall instead of sitting or swimming.

At night we took a bus tour of the city. We stopped at a fountain park that had a few amazing displays.

The bus tour also took us downtown to see some of the old colonial buildings. They were impressive but very spread out. We were glad we hadn't tried to see them on our own.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

South America Trip - Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was the highlight of our South American trip. It was incredible. The Incas built this city deep in the jungle on the top of a ridge high up in the Andes. The scenery was the most spectacular we saw and the city itself was a masterpiece.

The peak in the background is Huayna Picchu and there is a trail that goes to the top of it. We wanted to climb it but they limit the number of tourists and we would have had to get up at 3:00 am to have a chance. We decided not to ruin our day and just enjoy Machu Picchu instead.

All week we were worried about the weather. Since it is the rainy season we could have had rain all day. We lucked out! We had a couple hours of sunshine in the morning and no rain until mid afternoon when we were ready to leave anyway. 2 weeks later the region had record flooding and the entire area is going to be closed for months.

The Incas built a trail along the backside of the mountain that threads along a cliff. Walking next to a 1000' drop off made our hearts skip a few beats.

The original entrance to Machu Picchu is through the Sun Gate via the Inca trail. We hiked up the Inca trail to get a view of the city from the Sun Gate.
Just as we sat down to enjoy the view the rain moved in telling us it was time to go.
We descended almost straight down 2500 feet to the river below.

Machu Picchu is a place I'll never forget. The Inca really showed their skills in building that city. Lucky for us the Spanish Conquistadors never found it, so it was never compromised.