Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Just a few pics from our Anniversary day. This window scene was from the front of a shop in Carefree. Looks like it should be on the front of a notecard.

Terry and I had dinner at Cartwright’s in Cave Creek. They have great fireplaces everywhere. These candles were right next to our table too. I’ll post more pics of the room soon. We had an excellent meal and topped it off with this creme brule! mmmmm…delicious! What a wonderful husband I’ve been blessed with. He’s always looking for ways to treat me special and dinner out is just one of those.

More anniversary details to come.

Christmas tree shopping and gelato

I know that I’m really behind on blogging and there are things that have happened before this, but I decided that this is what I want to blog right now. I’ll go back and do other things, like our anniversary trip and other recent activities later.
Tuesday, Dec 12, Terry, Kevin, Erin and I finally found time in our busy schedules to go Christmas tree shopping. Since we’ve only been in the house for 2 Christmases we don’t really have a favorite spot to buy trees. We visited a few places and finally ended up at the Home Depot tree lot. Since it was only 13 days before Christmas, the trees were pretty picked over. A lady at the lot told us that they were out of Noble firs and weren’t expected to get more in at all…disappointing. We’ve bought Douglas and other types of trees in the past, but do like the look of the Noble, if the price is within reason.
We were persistent and stayed at the lot anyway, spread out and started to look at the trees. We checked out a few Douglas firs, all of which were very flat on at least one side and hard to picture what they would look like IF the branches fell back in place. Erin was poked in the eye by one of the needles, which REALLY hurts! You’ll notice in the picture of the three of them that it made her eyes water until the lot guy gave her some eye drops.
After some searching, Terry saw what looked like a beautiful Noble fir! How could that be? Well, upon further examination we realized that it was TOPLESS! You can see from the picture that the top foot or 18 inches was chopped off. Besides that glaring flaw, it was fresh and beautiful. So we gathered around and laughed at it. For anyone who knows Kevin, you know that he has a tender heart for the underdogs and the helpless, hopeless ones of the world and this was no exception. Somewhat joking and somewhat serious we all stood there wondering how we could top it off and give this headless tree a home. Several ideas surfaced, but we were still laughing about it when the lot guy joined us.
Lot guy: “So you’re looking at my topless tree huh?”
Us: “Yeah” (laughs all around)
Lot guy: “How about if I make you a deal? That tree would normally be $58. How about if I give it to you for $20.”
Terry: (more laughs, but considering the money he’d save) “Hmmm…I don’t know…it doesn’t have a top. What do you think guys?”
Kevin & Erin: “I’m sure we could figure out something for the top. How about a bird and nest or something?”
Nancy: Are you kidding?
Lot Guy: “O.k. how about if I give it to you for FREE?”
Now he’s talking Terry’s language!
Terry’s sold on the price, Kevin and Erin are sold on the Charlie Brown factor, so everyone looks at me…they know I get the final say because, after all, I’m in charge of the decorating and I’m not sure this tree is really salvageable.
Imagine the look your kids gave you the first time they asked for a kitten…
Long pause…
“…O.K. fine. We can get it. It’ll make a great story for my blog and besides if it really doesn’t work, we’re not losing anything but our time.”
So once we had our “special” tree secure in the car, we decided to head for The Gelato Spot, (the dessert lounge of Italy) my new favorite place, to celebrate our great find.
If you haven’t been to one fo these places, you HAVE to go! It’s amazing stuff! Much better than ice cream!
The funny thing is that when we were there, I was taking pictures and the girl behind the counter asked, “Are you from out of town?”
It was then that Kevin decided I should be called the “Tourist of Life”. Blogging and Scrap-booking will do that to you. It’s amazing how you look at things differently when your’re thinking with the perspective of capturing memories. What fun!
So after we enjoyed our gelato, we headed home to set up the tree.

Check out the picture of Terry when we were decorating the tree. We don’t remember what was wrong but there was obviously something that he didn’t like. He got over it though.

Erin had a great idea to put silk poinsettias at the top of the tree to hide the missing piece. We also interspersed some others throughout to balance it out and I must say, with the lights and decorations, it looks beautiful! What an awesome find and fun, creative solution!

Forever Friends Gathering

We just found out that our gathering of “forever friends” is going to be held this year at the Mozingo’s and we’re really excited!

The Mozingo’s house is way out west of Phoenix in Waddell. They built the adobe home themselves, brick by brick and its loaded with character. This is their front door and one of the doorknobs in their house. Aren’t they awesome! The two outdoor shots give you an idea of what their backyard and the firepit looks like. We love going there because it feels like we’re in another world far beyond the city.

This annual gathering started around 20 years ago after Terry, the kids and I moved to California. We started coming back to Phoenix to visit family and friends during the week between Christmas and New Year’s and started a tradition of setting aside one night to gather with some of the families that we were closest with when we lived here. When we started this tradition, all of our kids were very young and now almost all of them are college age, married or out of the house. I don’t think we’ve missed a year since we started, a couple of decades ago and now that we’ve moved back to Phoenix, the tradition continues. The core group has always remained the same: Haugens, Hanns, Thrushes and Thompsons. The Rolfes have joined us off and on and the Mozingos have joined the clan regularly in the past several years.

Every year, usually sometime around New Year’s weekend all of the families gather at one of our homes and have great food, fellowship, fun and often a fire either inside or out. The parents hang out and catch up on the latest family news and the “kids” hang out and do what kids do. Often times there will be story telling, playing of instruments, singing, etc. usually by the kids as they’ve grown older and joined the parents in their respective musical talents.

We cherish this get-together every year and can’t wait for another one. Over the last few years boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances and now spouses have joined the group, so our numbers have grown to nearly 30 and will continue to grow as more mates come along and when the grandkids start showing up. How cool! In the past few years Nicole, Jed, Andrew and Erin have joined the group. We’re so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends that have stayed close even though we lived in two different states for 18 years. What a testimony to God’s love and grace in our lives. We’ve all stuck together through thick and thin, laughter and tears, pain and sorrow and we’re so thankful for each one of them in our lives. Our kids have often shared about their hope of keeping the same kind of friendships as they move into adulthood. What a precious treasure we have been given!!!

First Artful Souls Tour 2006

I’m not going to write much on this since I’ve been on the computer too long already today. I’m posting some of the highlights of our scrapping tour yesterday. We had a blast and after hitting 5 stores, 1 coffee shop and Wildflower Bread Company,

we came home tired, happy and satisfied that we had found lots of treasures!

We started in Tempe, drove to Phoenix, then the East Valley and visited Lucky 15
Annalis Scraptique
Scrapbooks Etc,

Mystic Paper.

Linda did an amazing job on all the planning, research and prep and she even greeted us in the morning with hot coffee, orange juice and fresh baked muffins along with a fun gift to start the day! We’re already talking about the next one. Hopefully this time Beckie will get to go too.

Phoenix Storm

We had an incredible storm today! It even took the weathermen by surprise. We don’t normally have storms in the morning during monsoon season, but this was right around 9 a.m. and it was totally amazing.

Take a look at this tree! I’m not sure the exact cause, but it was in our office parking lot and was either struck by lightening or blown apart by the wind. Either way it was quite twisted and damaged. Apparently there was a car parked under it when it happened. The rain was coming down in buckets and several people were also stranded in their cars because they tried to cross washes that were too deep…stupid people. Someone’s home was struck by lightening in the east valley and caught on fire…very sad. I immediately thought that if our house caught on fire I’d probably lose all my pictures. That would be REALLY sad for me…all those fun pictures of family and friends gone… Well, I’d better get busy getting copies to Amy so she has my backups and vice versa.

Speaking of preserving pictures, my brother Pat has been here several times over the last few weeks bringing all of his pictures so we can store them for him while he goes on his next adventure. He plans to ride his bike along the gulf coast from Corpus Cristi, TX to Fort Meyers, FL. Yes, he’s really gonna do it!

He leaves 1 week from today. Oh my brother, Pat…that’s a very long story…maybe I’ll get into it another day…I’m too tired now. I’m going to relax a little…

Arizona Summer Clouds

So it’s Saturday and I have a bazillion things to do, but am deciding to do this. I’m feeling creative today and don’t feel like cleaning or organizing. I may go to the Arizona Home and Building Expo later to get some inspiration for the house and the landscaping, but Terry’s working in the yard now so hopefully we’ll go later.

One of the things that I’ve grown to love about Arizona is the monsoon season. Sounds crazy, but it’s one of the few times that we get to see any reasonable amount of clouds.

It’s also one of the few times of the year where we have any consistent potential for rain with some great thunder and lightening in the storms. Although they’re different, they remind me of the storms in Ohio. Maybe I’ll have a chance to get some storm photos soon. I’ve been admiring the clouds every night on my way home from work, but never had my camera with me. I finally took these pictures the other night from the car on our way from north Phoenix to Tempe.

I really love the clouds that we get to see this time of year!

I remember when I was young…11 or 12, when I had a pony named Midget (yeah I know) …anyway, my friend Nyoka (she was part American Indian from Oklahoma) and I would ride our horses without saddles out through the fields. We would lay back and look up at the clouds trying to imagine shapes like animals, people, objects.

We had so much fun letting our imaginations go wild for what seemed like hours…What a great way to enjoy the lazy days of summer as a kid! Maybe that’s why I like clouds so much.