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Favorite Photographs of 2011

My awesome sis, April Schultz, enticed me to try out Flickr this year. I am not the most up to date with technology or new websites but after looking over her shoulder at pics online for quite awhile she was able to convince me to give it a try. Since signing up about 8 months ago I have had over 4000 views of just over 200 photo’s posted. That is a ton! I get a huge kick out of when people comment on my photo’s or mark them as favorites.

Here are a few of my favorite 2011 photos from my Flickr photostream:

I took this picture while on my first backpacking trip ever. Mike and I did the Mt. Diablo to Morgan Territory hike in 2 1/2 days on a group hike through my work.

Same hike as the picture before, different part of the trail.

I grew this Calendula in my garden last winter. It looked so pretty with the fresh raindrops on it.

Sunset in Maui. Just beautiful. So many of these I could post 🙂

 

This was one of my favorite hikes while in Maui. I love the thick jungle vegitation. Overgrown houseplants are just everywhere!

One of my favorite pictures of Zoie this year, also in Hawaii, but on Kauai this time.

 

I love the way this picture seems to grasp the feeling of how far out in the wilderness we were on this camping trip with Rob Peterson.

My loves on our last night in Kauai.

A self portrait taken on my mom’s birthday weekend. April and I took her on a weekend trip as her present.

This picture was snapped while on a canoe trip at MLK Shoreline. Pretty cool sunken houseboat.

Our cute pup Samora on Christmas morning. She was content to lay on all of our shredded wrapping paper!

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy and photo filled New Year!

Planning for Adventures

For the past couple of weeks I have been feverishly planning for our family’s next big adventure. We will be heading out for Maui and Kauai soon. We are going as a large family and friend group to celebrate and remember my husband’s wonderful sister, Becki Sanders, who passed away suddenly last July. Her death was extremely painful and hard to accept for all of us, and while we visit the places that she loved we hope to find a sense of peace. We will be spreading her ashes off the coast and I hope that it goes smoothly and without any painful mishaps. Becki – you are loved and missed by so many.

While in Maui we hope to hike the Waihee Valley trail where there are two suspension bridges crossing a creek. It seems like just the kind of adventure that I want go on. We also hope to see and possibly swim with some dolphins like Becki did on her last trip to Maui. Other than that we will probably try to teach the girls to snorkel and ease into relaxation mode!

Now while we are in Kauai we have quite a few activities planned. I think our most anticipated day for me is the full-day Zip Line Safari where we will get to kayak, go hiking, ride zip lines and visit a swimming hole with a zip line similar to a rope swing! I’m very excited to see the kids zip lining. I think Zoie is going to love it, and Lexie will be a bit scared… but we’ll have to wait and see.

I have been getting tons of tips and suggestions from my friend John Bouyea at work. His family goes to Kauai often and I’m looking forward to trying out his favorite beaches including Tunnel Beach, Hanalei Bay and Ke’e Beach. I think the hardest part of all, will be just fitting all of the great activities and places that we want to go! Well… and paying for it all. Ha! I can’t wait to share my newest adventures with you soon.

Adventures in Crocheting

Last year in May I asked my friend Linda Wu to give me lessons in crocheting. It was surprisingly easy for me to pick-up! After a quick tutorial on a lunch session I was crocheting away. Since then I have worked on almost 40 projects and log most of them on www.ravelry.com. Ravelry is a great crochet and knitting site that let’s you find patterns, join groups and swaps.

My first big project was a granny square blanket for my Lexie Lou. When she saw that I was going to make a practice blanket she demanded, in her oh so cute voice, that it be for her. How could I say no? Here is a picture of it finished.

Next up was a blanket for my Zoie. After learning some valuable lessons on Lexie’s blanket, I chose a much larger yarn and a nice airy pattern for this blanket. I love how it worked up and it’s very comfy to lay under.

A recent favorite that I made was a granny square apron. This was kind of a test run for me, as I’m organizing a crochet blanket charity raffle at my work. I needed to do some sample squares, and after I was done with those I decided to put them to work in this funky apron. I just love it! I found the pattern at http://tangledhappy.blogspot.com/. There are some really fun patterns there.

Maybe I’ll show some more pictures of my projects soon. I wanted to share my new favorite hobby.

 

Peace (A Poem by Me)

So, I’m taking an English class to cover one of my last two undergrad classes before I get my AA (so excited to be almost done!), and I had to write a poem tonight for homework. At first I thought it was a stupid exercise, then well, I kind of got into it. I haven’t done a blog in forever, but I wanted to share this. The goal of the assignment was to use an abstract idea, mine was peace, and explain it without using the word. Here is my interpretation of peace.

Peace

 Simply sitting

Amongst

The trees

 Bees buzzing

Gathering

Sweet nectar

 Dragonflies diving

Skimming

Across water

 Sun slipping

Below

The hills

 Stars appearing

Twinkling

So faintly

 Crickets chirping

Loud

But unseen

 Laying back

Eyes

Closing softly

Adventures in the Garden

My garden is a place of peace and joy and discovery for me. There are so many things to discover – a new flower bud, preying mantis’ eating bees (saw that one just the other day!), baby pumpkins growing, you get the picture. The other day I was out looking at all my pretty flowers and decided I needed to take some photos of my gorgeous plants.

I recently discovered a photo software called Picasa, which is by Google, and it has some very fun features allowing for awesome colleges and othe effects. It’s super fun to play with and kind of addicting if you let it take control.

Here’s a few more shots including one of my newest plants, Echinacea – the pretty purple/pink flower.

Hugs ~ Amanda Sanders

Hair Adventures #2

This is a continuation of yesterdays post Adventures With Hair Dye. So today I went and saw my hair dresser, Cindy Miller, to try and come up with a fix for my crazy red hair. Looking at it together we decided that my new hair color would have to be pretty dark to cover up the loud red that was currently screaming from my head. I picked a dark blonde auburn color. The result was quite a bit darker than I expected, in fact I think it is the darkest my hair color has ever been. But strangely, I find myself liking the change in a weird, that’s not me in the mirror, sort of way. It’s kind of like when all the girls get makeovers on America’s Next Top Model, sometimes it’s a pretty dramatic change, but it looks good – you think!

Initial response from the kiddo’s and Mike has been good. My friend Julia told me she liked the haircut, but likes me better as a blonde – maybe she just hasn’t had enough time to get used to the new color yet. Let me know what you think. Though I think I’m going to decide I like it, since I spent lots of money on it and heck it’s better to be happy with what you have!

Adventures With Hair Dye

My hair and I have been having a hate-hate relationship lately. It’s been boring me, doesn’t inspire me, and sometimes I downright dislike it. I’m not sure if it’s the hair cut I’m sporting, long with wavy long layers, or if it’s the color which has been kind of dirty blonde on the bottom and a light brown towards the top. Whichever it is, I just haven’t been loving the way I look in the mirror lately. 

I chatted with my sister April and Mike about my boring blah hair and they both suggested I color it. So I thought good idea! 

Mike and I were in Target the other night having a mini date without the kids (I know, but shopping anywhere without the kids is almost blissful!) and he picked out a box hair color for my hair. It was Clairol #16 – Spiced Tea which is billed as a light auburn color. It looks quite gorgeous on the box…  Well last night Mike did my hair. I would like to say that the hair color jobs that Mike has done in the past for me have turned out very nice. Unfortunately that was not the case yesterday! I’m sure it was Clairol’s fault, not Mike’s. For one thing the instructions said to wet hair and apply the dye to towel dampened hair, we haven’t done that before so it was kind of strange. My hair turned out a rather bright-colored red. My first thought was that it was so vivid that it practically glowed! 

I have nothing against red hair, so maybe if it was just the brightness I could deal with it. But again, unfortunately that wasn’t the only bad thing. The hair color took mostly on the bottom half of my hair, leaving the top slightly reddish, but the bottom a screaming red color. Here is a picture of my hair up in a bun. I was told that it looked like I put on a hairpiece in a different hair color! 

The red "hair piece"

 

Reactions from family, coworkers and friends has been interesting to say the least. My daughter Lexie looked at me and said “Mom, your hair is bright red!” when she saw me this morning. Co-workers had things to say such as “Oh… oh my” and “Wow, you died your hair last night”. Though some people have said they like it and suggested that I “Let down my hair tonight, put on some lingerie and let out my inner diva”. The last suggestion made me turn bright red and kind of run away as it was broadcast to the entire 4th floor of my building! 

I have made an appointment tomorrow to fix what I consider a rather disastrous dye job. I’ve now learned why they suggest you do a test swatch 48 hours before you dye the whole thing. It’s because if it turns out as a crazy color, at least it’s a small easily hide able piece of hair! I’ll post an update with my new, hopefully better, hair color and style tomorrow. To tell the truth, I’m kind of afraid I’ll end up with pink hair like Becki did when she was a teen and had a similar coloring situation. Mike said Becki tried to fix her color by bleaching it, but her hair ended up turning bright pink! I remember how upset she was until Ann took her to have it fixed professionally. I’m trying to avoid damaging my hair, so I’m going to go straight to a pro! 

Notice how the bright red is only on the bottom of my hair?

Peace Via Adventures

What is peace? www.dictionary.com defines peace as “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.” or “a state of tranquillity or serenity”.  To me peace is a feeling of complete contentment with the world and myself. Peace is a fleeting thing for me. I often find myself to tied up in the distractions of the day-to-day grind of life. There are a couple of ways that I carve out situations that bring peacefulness into my life. One is by removing myself from my daily activities and going out into nature. I have often told my friends and family that I feel the happiest, most carefree, and at peace with myself when I am in the great outdoors. The second way I find peace is by attending church. I too often allow myself to be distracted by duties and chores to make it to church on Sunday morning. This is a fact that I realize and need to work towards breaking. The truth came to me at a recent church service at the park, listening to my Pastor give the benediction, I felt renewed, refreshed and simply at peace.  

 My most recent adventure with my hubby Mike, and two daughters Zoie and Lexie was to Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is an absolutely beautiful park, with snow still on the mountains in the middle of August. While we were there camping we took many hikes throughout the park. By far the longest and most strenuous hike was up to the top of Lassen Peak. It was 5 miles long round trip, with an elevation climb of 2,000 feet. We were about 2/3 of the way to the top of the volcano when we stopped to take a break on some rocks. I was sitting on a good-sized chunk of rock, breathing heavily, sipping some water from our camelbak and looking out at the view in front of us.  

Peace Inspiring View

 

There were three crows that were flying together past the trail, swooping, cawing and cavorting with each other. They kept circling back around and passing us again. As I sat there, exhausted from the trek up the hill, listening to my girls beg for food, looking at the gorgeous Lake Helen in the distance, a profound feeling of peace came over me. There was nowhere else, with no one else that I would rather be than sitting on the side of that mountain with the love of my life, our beautiful daughters and the rambunctious crows circling our route. It pained me to get up after a few minutes to continue our climb to the top as my mind was the happiest and calmest that it had been in over a month.

New To Blogging

So I decided I needed a place to write down my feelings, thoughts, and express myself. Seemed like blogging was a good place to start. I haven’t done this before and feel a bit apprehensive about putting who I am out in the big bad world, but also kind of excited at the same time. I think my posts will be based loosely around the theme of adventures through life, because really all of life is one big adventure. So, I hope you like what you read, but actually this is more for me than for you. Think of it as cheap therapy. It only costs my time to sit and write the thoughts in my head. 

The Creek and I

Gorgeous creek near Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park