Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Honeymoon Scrapbook - Pandemic Project Part 2

As I shared in my last post I've been making a scrapbook of our wedding and honeymoon. The last post covered the wedding. Now we are on to the honeymoon!

The first stage of our honeymoon was at St Botolph Inn, a beautiful Victorian style bed and breakfast in Weatherford, Texas, not far from Dallas. (Sadly, it is no longer in operation.) But when we were married 24 years ago it was very much there and owned and run by a sweet Christian couple.


We arrived around 10:30 that night. They kindly waited up for us. I finally got to eat something thanks to our friend Jodi who thoughtfully packed some food for us from the wedding.  (See this link for my Google album for higher res versions of all the photos if these are not clear enough.)

The first day there we were surprised and delighted by one of those perfect snows we rarely get in Dallas that is thick enough to make everything look like a wonderland but not too cold and no ice to cause trouble when you want to go somewhere. 

After two nights we headed back to Dallas. We quickly re-packed, picked up the snapshots of the wedding to show John's family that our good friend Tony got developed for us, packed the wedding dress and "hoop skirt" all by themselves in one large suitcase and headed to DFW for our trip "Down Under."

The first stop: Auckland, New Zealand. John wanted us to have a "proper honeymoon" before we went on to Melbourne, Australia to meet his family and friends.


We stayed at "The Garden Room" a bed and breakfast in the nearby suburb of Devonport. One of the highlights was being half a minute from the gorgeous, pristine Cheltenham beach. The first morning due to the time difference we woke up early enough to go for a 6:00 a.m. swim. I still remember the sensations of the deliciously warm water and the soft thick perfectly squidgy sand and the delight of having the place all to ourselves. Then we went back to our room for a shower and a breakfast feast. By the next morning jet lag had caught up with me and I couldn't get out of bed before 10:00 a.m. so I'm glad we made the most of the early wake-up that first morning.

Other highlights were eating dinner one evening at a Lebanese restaurant with a glorious view of the ocean. Their hummus was the best I have ever eaten. I could've made a meal of it.

Kayaking in Devonport harbour was another highlight. Unfortunately, walking around in damp clothes afterwards may be what triggered several months of terrible infections. (My IgA deficiency problem makes me more susceptible to infections. But we didn't know about that then. There were likely other factors too. If you want to know more send me your email address in the comments and I'll write you directly.)

One of the must-see sights near Auckland is the volcanic island of, Rangitoto (left page). We caught a ferry to it. I think we actually climbed to the summit up some stairs that I had a picture of but did not include here. John took this picture of me with the "summit train" because I thought it was cute.
The right page is of our visit to Waitomo caves. The one I remember best was the glowworm cave. We went through it in a boat. It was pitch dark except for the faint green lights emitted by all the tiny little glowworms. It was too dark for us to take any photos. In the above page if you zoom in there is a tiny picture of it in the center of the page that I cut out from a brochure.

After a few days in Devonport, we rented a car and drove south to Rotorua where we stayed for a couple of nights at a small sheep farm. I got to "make friends" with some cute and cuddly lambs. Another highlight there was visiting the fascinating and beautiful Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. We took dozens of photos. It was a challenge to edit them down for the scrapbook.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (left and top right). While in Rotorua we also went to a traditional Maori dinner and cultural show (bottom right).
Meeting the cute and cuddly sheep and lambs

Then it was on to Melbourne, Australia. I'll save that for the next blog post.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Wedding scrapbook pandemic project

I did it! I finished my primary "pandemic project" -- a scrapbook of our wedding and honeymoon! (24 1/2 years after the event!)

I started it last year. At first I mainly made progress when I went to my friend Susan's house to work on it. That was before "shelter at home" for Covid 19 began.

Then a few weeks ago I started on it again here at home and have been flying through it ever since. Now I'm done! At least with the wedding and honeymoon portion. Since there are 17 pages left in the book (that is 8.5 sheets) I plan to keep going and add the first year of marriage. I had quite a few photos from that time in another album and various cards and mementos in some files so it was a good way to downsize and consolidate those.

I'm thrilled to have the main part done! I wish I could invite you to come and see it. But since that isn't possible, I'll do the next best thing and show you pictures.

First I got organized:
The album on the right has the professional pictures. The one on the left is full of snapshots. The purple accordion file was where I was keeping the cards and misc. This picture is after I started combining cards with the snapshots to get them into chronological order before beginning the scrapbook
We had two large photo albums and an accordion file full of cards and letters.

The two albums were because John's parents couldn't come to the wedding due to health problems so they paid for us to go see them in Australia after the wedding. We had friends take snapshots of the day, and events leading up to it, with disposable cameras. Then we put those in an album to show John's parents. Later we added our honeymoon photos to the same album. The other album had the professional photos of the wedding that we got later.

There was a lot of overlap between the two photo albums. So I figured with a lot of editing and adding snippets from the cards and other mementos I could make one nice scrapbook. It seemed a great way to downsize it all. It was also a fun way to relive such happy memories!

In process here at home:
I was using our dining table that we recently moved into the living room. (We bought a smaller table for the kitchen.). We moved the big dining table into the living room so we could more easily do puzzles and projects and entertain guests. We did manage to have people over one time before the pandemic hit. Some day we will again. In the meantime it is a great place to scrapbook. 



The finished result:

The complete scrapbook in front. The empty albums and the leftover scraps behind. It is fun to see how much downsizing I did. I do wish the finished album was a little lighter weight though. It feels like I need a wheelbarrow to carry it!

And now the moment you were waiting for ;-). The inside. After putting all the photos in this blog post I discovered that Blogger doesn't give a high enough resolution for you to see much detail. So if you want to see a clearer version follow this link to my Google album:




Celebrating our engagement!

Wedding preparations and more greetings and congratulations.


Bridal shower

Wedding invitation. Bachelor Party on the right.

The Rehearsal and dinner on the Left. Bride and groom's breakfasts on right.

Getting ready. Lots of help from many dear friends!

Our wedding party - waiting for the big event to begin

A special moment with my Mom and brother on the left - And other special people on the right. The lady in turquoise on the right is my Mom's eldest sister, Carolyn. The man in light blue is her husband.


And so it began. The lady pictured coming in at the top left was my dear friend and supervisor, the late Diana Lewis. When people at work asked her if I was her daughter since we had the same last name, she always said she was my "other mother." She was very motherly and a great supervisor.

Bride's maids and Mom coming in. I wish you could hear the music. We were very blessed to have lots of gorgeous music throughout played and sung be several dear friends.

My brother walked me down the isle. John had his eyes closed in this shot of him watching me come down the isle. He said it was because he was crying so much. I was too nervous to cry, unfortunately.

This was our attempt to include an Aussie tradition, the signing of the marriage license. But we apparently didn't do it right because all our Aussie friends who saw the video thought it was the American way of doing it! 





I was planning to put snippets from cards around some of the pictures but in the end I liked the uncluttered look better.



The top two photos on the left are my friends and family from California. The third photo down is our singles pastor and his family who were also John's housemates and long time friends.
On the right page our friend Mike is reading greetings from Australia. He did a good job coming up with funny "messages" from the airline and bed and breakfast too!


I put most of the cards at the end of the honeymoon. After all we didn't actually read any cards until we got back from the honeymoon! This page of cards was primarily people who helped or were in the wedding. I wanted the honeymoon portion to start on the next two page spread.

I think I will stop here and save the honeymoon for next week.







Monday, April 20, 2020

Photos from last blog post fixed

My husband discovered this morning that three of my photos from the last blog post were not working.

When I went into the post I noticed that the html for each of the three seemed to be sort of duplicated with slight differences. So instead of the usual chunk of a few lines of html for one photo it was two chunks of html for each of those three. Their html was also mostly underlined in red. I don't think that is normal. It was certainly different from the html for all the other photos.

I don't know for sure why. But I wonder if it was because I may have moved them around while I was creating the post. I know I did a few photos and those may be the ones. I've done that before without any trouble though and these worked at first so it doesn't make sense. But I've always felt that computers are not really always logical whatever my computer whiz husband and friends say!

Anyway, I think I fixed them. I deleted the broken ones and reinserted them. You can of course go back to that post or just look at them here:

They were the ones about Broken Bow Lake:





Friday, April 17, 2020

Beavers Bend State Park - Virtual vacation part 2


Broken Bow Lake at Beavers Bend State Park, Oct 2019

I thought it would be fun this week, in lieu of week two of our 2020 vacation, to  play catch up and finally post about the last part of our Sept/October 2019 vacation. (See the end for links to posts about the first part.)

Beavers Bend State Park, along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River in Southeastern Oklahoma, was the third park we went to. Since our first two weeks of vacation were more stressful than restful, I was--to be perfectly honest--wanting to go home by the time we got to Beavers Bend. When I told John, he said we could leave if I really wanted to but that of the three parks Beavers Bend was the one he was most looking forward to.

So I decided we should stay and I would make the best of it and enjoy it for his sake. I did enjoy it, mostly. It helped that the weather cooled down eventually and it started to feel like Fall at last. I was also thankful when some of the plethora of people cleared out after a couple of days and it was more peaceful.

At least it was peaceful when the sirens weren't going off.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon. On Monday, the next day, a loud siren went off several times. John said it was to warn everyone that the hydroelectric power plant on the river, near our camp site, was about to release additional water into the river to generate more power.

I wanted to see it. So, we jumped into the car and went looking. When we couldn’t find the place, John asked at the office. The lady told him where to go but said, "it isn’t very exciting.” I wanted to see it anyway--after all what is vacation for if not to be whimsical?

By the time we got there the water was already being released. We were surprised how little water they seemed to be releasing given how loud the siren was and how many times it went off to warn everyone.

But we enjoyed it anyway. It was a beautiful day and the river was stunning. Here are a few pictures.





I also took this little video:



After that first day the sirens got annoying. John said it was like being in a horror movie. Thankfully they never did it at night! Given all the fences, warning signs,  and rules to not ever swim or boat in that stretch of river, it seemed like overkill to have such a loud siren going off for such a small amount of water being released. I wondered what they would do in case of a real emergency--like the large dam on Broken Bow lake giving way for example. I'm glad we never had to find out!

The next day we took our inflatable canoe out on part of the river where they do allow boating.  Being Fall it was the off season so the canoe and kayak rental office was closed. But since we have our own canoe that wasn't a problem.


A weir and bridge where people were fishing in the background. We didn't get very close as it didn't look like there was a safe way through








Broken Bow Lake was also really pretty. We intended to go out on it in our canoe sometime but ran out of time (and energy to be honest).



The water really did look this blue. The other two photos above were with John's camera. It doesn't always capture the colors quite the way mine does.

On the other hand this photo is one John took and it is much better than I got despite several attempts!

We only saw a few of these amazing little flowers in one spot near the river. I don't know what they are called. 

John also caught this deer peering between the trees

John enjoyed several hikes. I think I only managed once but it was really fun and pretty.







There were many stunning sights. Maybe that's partly why it is such a popular park.



Another weir. The river was full of them. I loved the fall colors reflected on the water.




They have a small but impressive nature center. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

I was surprised to learn that there are actually alligators in that corner of Oklahoma. We didn't see any. I think they were only in the more remote areas.

We ate dinner one night at the camp restaurant. The meal was delicious and the atmosphere charming.

We celebrated the first really cool fall-like morning by wearing flannel shirts and taking photos of these fun decorations. A nice couple offered to take our photo.

A cute little fungi because I can't resist cute fungi :-)

Thanks for coming along on this "virtual" vacation.


To see posts about the first part of the trip go to:

https://ashighastheheavens.blogspot.com/2019/11/vacation-2019-week-one-robbers-cave.html

https://ashighastheheavens.blogspot.com/2019/11/vacation-2019-week-one-post-script.html

This next one is a compilation of things from the year that I was thankful for. The part about our vacation is near the end.
https://ashighastheheavens.blogspot.com/2019/11/some-things-im-thankful-for-in-2019.html