Monday, April 27, 2009

Backyard Fun

On a sunny day today in Raleigh Dominic had a little fun with Mommy. It was approx 90 degrees out, so he got to take his "bath" with the hose. He really loves the water, and almost didn't want to go inside afterwards.

I also included some photos of my birthday gifts from Kirsten and Ginger. Kirsten knew I was mesmerized by the Topsy Turvy tomato planter on TV, and found a website with how to make one from local materials. We put together two of these, one with red tomatoes and one with yellow varieties. I also planted cilantro and green onions on the exposed soil. Ginger's present was along the same vein, but is called a "Salad Ball." Somewhere between a disco ball and a lettuce pinata, it's a cool way to have salad greens up and out of the reach of dogs and rabbits. Likewise for the tomatoes, hopefully we can have a long summer of fresh vegetables.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yosemite Part 2 and Hetch Hetchy

After hiking in the Valley, Mike really wanted to go up and see Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It's pretty famous as the site of an environmental battle between San Francisco Water Dept folks and John Muir, and supposed to be as beautiful as the Yosemite Valley. The difference is that 97% of the park's visitors go to the Yosemite Valley, and only 1% go to Hetch Hetchy. As you can see, this was an amazing part of the trip, and we both decided it would be the place we'd revisit when we go back. Almost no people, beautiful scenic trails, and little waterfalls everywhere (where we filled up our water bottles from snowmelt right above us). It didn't hurt that we were there at sunset, either. We hiked up near the Wapama Falls, but then had to go back before the park closed. We went back down towards our camp at Hogdon Meadows, but stopped at Evergreen Campground's restaurant midway to have dinner and a beer. What a great day.

Here's a small video of the Upper Yosemite Falls taken in the valley, too.

Yosemite Part 1

Before we start the Yosemite photos, we have to share the funny ones from the flight to California. Dominic was really great on the flight, and had an easy time sitting up on the tray table to eat. Our guess is he won't be that size for long! He also "partook" in the in-flight movies and enjoyed some tunage while we slept!
We left Dommy with Grandma&Grandpa Cassingham on Friday, and drove 4 hours up to Yosemite from San Jose. Beautiful scenery, and we arrived in the park to see the snowfall that had arrived that day. We got there in the dark and set up our tent in the light snow at Hogdon Meadows, where we had reserved a site. It wasn't our first pick, but had tent sites available for cheap. Here is a picture of Kirsten in our site, then the sun heating up the roadbed and making an incredible sight wherever it warmed the snow. Everything was steaming from the sun by 8am--it was amazing.

On our way down to the Yosemite Valley (where El Capitán and Half Dome are), we passed the Tuolomne Grove of sequoias and hiked in to see them. There are only about 20 individual trees in this grove, but they're amazing. One of them is the Dead Giant (see below), which they carved so carriages could go through in the 1930's as a marketing tool to bring visitors to the park. Amazing carved graffiti inside this stump. At the little interpretive center they had a sequoia "cookie" that marked out history during the lifetime of one of these trees (they grow to an absurd age, like 1200 years old). Amazing that the outermost little note is for the building of the Golden Gate Bridge (not pictured), the next one up is for the Taj Mahal, etc.
Then we went down to the valley and saw Half Dome and El Capitán. Really breathtaking stuff. El Cap is way bigger than we imagined. Just a huge granite façade going straight up. We hiked to Upper Yosemite Falls, with a great vantage point over the entire valley. It was 3.5 miles each way, but well worth the hike.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter at the Cassinghams

We spent last week in San Jose with the Cassinghams, and got to see lots of family in a very short time. Aunt Marsha came down from Portland, Aunt Nicole came in from L.A., and we got to see Michelle, Sixto, Aunt Linda, Jo & J.D., and lots of friends. Dominic seemed to love having a bath in the Cassinghams' kitchen sink, as evidenced by his smiles and giggles. He also did really well in the 100+ year-old high chair/stroller that he ate in each day.
We got to dye Easter eggs on Holy Thursday and the Easter Bunny hid them around the backyard on Easter Sunday. It was great, and the Easter Bunny knows how to hide 'em! Somehow Shelley and Kirsten knew just where to look...hmmm...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Springtime in the South

The last few weeks have been typical of Raleigh's spring--from seventy-five degrees one day to 40 the next. We still haven't put our plants outside, but have started the lettuce and peas in the garden. The pines have really had their pollen flight this week, covering everything in their path in a yellow haze. Follow the yellow brick road! (photo of sidewalk behind Mike's office)

Dominic's been eating small pieces by himself now, including sweet potatoes!

We took a leisurely walk through Pullen Park near NCSU with Tom and Erin and children last weekend. These photos of the pond turned out really well. What a nice day.

Lastly is our street as of Sunday, April 5th. The dogwoods are going crazy right now, so it looks almost like snow in the trees and on the ground some days.