Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alaska Memories

Dusty and I noticed that we didn't add pictures from our Alaska trip in our pictures from last summer. I would guess this is because I was thinking of all the warm memories from our summers past. So now as it is snowing again in Pullman, I have come to the fact that winter is here to stay. Here are some photos that look a bit like winter time but they are actually from our cruise to Alaska last June.

We had some time to kill while we were waiting for the ship to leave port in Seattle. The first thing we did once we were on board was go and find somewhere to eat. Then we went made our way on a little self-guided tour around the ship while we waited for our stateroom to be ready. Then after we set sail, we got to settle into our room. We went back on deck to watch as the pretty Seattle skyline faded away. Can you guess what we did next? You got it, back to the dining hall for more food. So what if it was just shy of four hours from our last meal, we were just trying to get into the cruise spirit!
Our second day, (the first full day) on the ship was spent at sea. It was nice because we had lots of time to wander around and get to know the layout of the boat. We found one of our favorite places on this day. On one of the top floors they have a big lounge area with odd shaped, peacock blue couches and floor to ceiling windows. It was a neat place to just sit and watch the world go by. We did just that quite often, despite the fierce competition for a couch.

Monday evening we went to an early dinner and then a dance show in the theater. When we came out of the theater we were surprised to see an amazing sunset. It was quite a shock because we had assumed it would be dark out already. What I had forgotten to consider was that our ship was traveling north. Every day we moved north we gained a few minutes on our total daylight hours. Our trip was the middle of June so I was used to long summer evenings but Alaska took it to a whole new level. It was so strange to wake up early to see bright daylight, and stay up late but still make it to bed before the sky was totally black. Just think of how much you could get done outside in an Alaska summer! We are dressed up because it was formal night.

The next day, Tuesday, we made it into Juneau. It was a very neat town. While we were there we wandered through the shops. We hadn’t planned an “excursion” in Juneau. However we came across a tram that looked like fun. It went straight up the side of Mt. Roberts. From the top there was a little walk to a viewing platform. We almost didn’t take the short ½ mile hike because the trail was so muddy. I was very glad we did though! From the platform we could see the town and our ship docked down below. It was absolutely gorgeous. Here are a couple pictures of us at the top and our photo tip of day: look around to find the person with the nicest camera then ask them to take a picture with yours. Chances are it will turn out pretty good. As you can see it worked well for us on this day.

Wednesday, we stopped at Skagway. Literally, our boat dock was practically on the main street of town. When we stood on the deck in the front of the boat, you could actually see people walking in and out of the shops. I felt like I was watching an ant farm. You can see in some of the pictures here it is really close. We had signed up for a great excursion in Skagway on White Pass Rail Way. The train ride was awesome. It took us up the same path as the miners took in the gold rush. Except they did the treacherous trip without a train. Parts of the original path were still visible from the train. Dusty and I couldn’t believe how rough the land looked. I couldn’t imagine walking a short distance on the uneven terrain, not to mention the trek it would be from the town of Skagway to miles beyond the Canadian border. It was very interesting to see a bit of history first hand.

Our next stop, on Thursday, was Glacier Bay. When we first got into the area we had a few park rangers join our boat. They made regular announcements over the intercom system about our gorgeous surroundings. There were more glaciers than I could count but the main glacier we stopped at was so blue and the air was so cold. The rangers also told us there was a chance we could see sea lions lounging on the ice. We did see a couple swimming in the water but they never stayed on the surface long enough to catch a picture. The ice fields, while still moving, made it much easier to get a picture.

On Friday we went to our favorite place in Alaska, Ketchikan. We went on an awesome excursion; it was on a crab fishing boat. Although it meant we had just a little time to run around town it was totally worth the time and money. I would highly recommend it to anyone taking a cruise. The now retired, crab fishing boat that we were on was called the Aleutian Ballad. It was briefly seen on the TV show Deadliest Catch. Our guides were so amazing. They made our tour really feel like we were on the Bering Sea, minus the gigantic waves and freezing ocean spray. They made it feel real with their stories of adventure from years on the ocean.On our tour we got to see a humpback whale, three types of crabs, an enormous octopus and bald EAGLES! There were so many eagles. We were told that there were somewhere between 35 and 50 eagles swooping around our boat. Our guides provided fish for the little kids to throw off the edge of the boat. Between the eagles’ competitive natures and the kids’ short tosses we had birds flying right over to our boat. It was the coolest thing we have ever seen! I can’t even begin to describe how great it was, so take a look below and see for yourself! Oh yeah, and we got to sit in the captain’s chair.


The last day of our trip we stopped at Victoria, British Columbia. It was a warm sunny day as we sailed south. Dusty took advantage of the nice weather and tried the climbing wall onboard our cruise ship. It was really fun to watch him. Dusty did so well on the medium difficulty wall that the cruise staff manning the climbing wall “made” Dusty climb again on the most difficult. The worker, with his strong Caribbean accent, encouraged Dusty all the way up the second wall “Go Spider Man, go!” It was seriously funny. I almost didn’t get a good picture of Dusty ringing the bell because I was laughing.

Once we got docked in Victoria, Dusty and I took a pedal cab tour. It was a nice pace to see a lot of the town but not so fast that you would miss things like if you drove around in a car. Since it was just the two of us we got to pick what we wanted to see, which made it very personal. When our tour was over we walked around downtown and visited a local street fair on the pier. There must have been some sort of special demonstration going on earlier in the day because there were old fashion pirate boats docked in the harbor. Just before dark we headed back to our cruise boat and got to look at the well known Empress Hotel and the capitol building with their lights on. Both looked beautiful all lit up.

As we boarded our ship for the last time, I couldn’t believe our cruise was almost over. The cruise was so luxurious and relaxing but if, no, when we go back to Alaska I think I would like to fly in and to have more time to explore. We had a great time, and are sure we want to go back someday!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Business

This is Dusty's first blog, so go easy on him, please.

Hello, so it's been awhile since we started this blog, and I haven't made a post yet, so here it goes. We've been really busy the past few weeks and have much to share with you. Look for another post by my beautiful wife later in the week.

I was lucky enough to be able to get the whole week of Thanksgiving off from school and research, except for giving a short presentation Monday morning. It worked out really well because I had a big project to get done back home on the farm.

My high school 4-H project cow herd has gotten a little out of hand over the years and has grown from 7 head to 20 cow-calf pairs, a bull, and 8 steers, that's 49 animals all together. As anyone who has dealt with cows knows, their destructive capacity is unrivaled except by a bulldozer. Lately the cows have been taking their aggression out on my feeders, which means I needed to build another feeder for winter.

Tuesday Erin and I picked up steel in town then Dad and I started construction. With all the other activities around Thanksgiving we had to be quick at building the feeder. We made pretty good progress by Wednesday night we had the frame together and painted. Then Erin and I went out to dinner with friends and played games.
Thanksgiving day was a great day of good smells, good tastes, and good times. Erin cooked a great turkey and some awesome pies, and we had both of our families over to the farm for dinner. It was really great to get everybody together.
Friday was back to the feeder and we got all the wood in the feeder and attached it to the barn.

Said and done the feeder has 24 head stalls, is 16' x 5', and weighs in at 1,400lbs. The outside frame is made of 2"x3"x1/4" angle iron. The head dividers are made of 2"x2"x1/4" angle iron. Hopefully it will keep the bulldoze... I mean bovines, at bay for awhile.

Saturday night we went out to dinner with Erin's family to celebrate Kim's birthday at Prospector's. It is always fun to have dinner with my new sisters.Then on Sunday, Erin and I helped my grandparents decorate their house for Christmas. Christmas is my grandma Lois' favorite time of the year and it is always great to see her light up when we decorate for the holidays. Once the tree was trimmed and the stockings hung it was back to Pullman to decorate our own house, but I'll save that for Erin.

Overall it was a very productive break filled with lots of time with friends and family, and for that I am Thankful.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reminiscent of Sunny Summer Days

This weekend Dusty and I went to the Cougar football game. It was a fun game to go to because of the memories we have at the stadium and the lively environment. However, the game was a bit more depressing than some we have seen in the past and more importantly we were absolutely freezing sitting on the bleachers. The weather was a bitter cold reminder that summer is long gone and winter is almost here. So even though the warm days may be gone for a while, Dusty and I thought we would share some of our favorite "summer" pictures. This is also great because we can share some of our pictures from events prior to when we started our blog.

Before you look at the next pictures you have to promise not to laugh at how pale Dusty's legs look in shorts, he is very sensitive about this topic. Come on stop giggling, you have to admit it is hard for a farmer to get a tan! The pictures here are both of Dusty and me at my parents' cabin on Lake Coeur d'Alene. The picture taken inside is from two summers ago 2008 and the other, on the dock, was from the end of this last summer 2009. It is great to have a place where we can go when we want to relax and get out of town but only have a day or two. My parents' cabin is on the far side of the lake so it is much quieter than the area around the resort.

The next couple of pictures are from another place we love to visit when we have a little time off. They were taken while we were camping on Dusty's Great Aunt and Uncle's property in Sandpoint. It is a great place to visit when you want to go for a hike. It is quite the trek, but as you can see below, the awesome waterfall makes it all worthwhile. Dusty's dog Coby is in the first picture with us. He loves to go camping too. Just see how happy he looks. Oh, and we can't forget the huckleberries. They are the plumpest huckleberries I have seen anywhere. Apparently we are not the only ones that think the berries are tasty. There is a picture here of a young moose we spotted just outside of our camp site early last summer.

I hope that you have enjoyed these pictures. I know they warmed me up a little bit, at least on the inside. I guess we can't complain too much, as these pictures show, we had a great couple of summers. I just can't believe it is almost winter again! I am very excited for the holidays to get here but I could do without such cold weather. Although without the cold I know we wouldn't have any snow and I do love waking up to fresh white snow on the ground. So here's to the promise of fun in the snow!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Erin's Birthday and other gifts! AKA, longest blog post ever

Whoops looks like I forgot to make a post in the last month or so... But we have been very busy! Would you like to know what we have been up to? Ok, here it is:

The weekend before my birthday we went to Spokane. I was a sub in Pullman on Friday so we got a bit of a late start hitting the road. When we finally got to Spokane we went straight to Prospectors where we had dinner with my parents and Grandma. It was really good food and my mom gave me bunches of cute decorations for Halloween! On Saturday, we got up and went to Green Bluff with some of Dusty's family. As always, Dusty had a good time harassing his cousins and juggling apples. Yes, actually juggling, this is not a metaphor. Then we went back to the farm and had lunch and I got to open some more presents. I got some neat supplies for stamping (cards/scrapbooks) and other great cooking goodies. Last but certainly not least, Dusty and I helped out with his parents Fall Hay Ride and Bonfire. It got a bit soggy with all the rain, but I think everyone still had fun. Sunday we had a relaxing morning and then went back to Pullman. Here are a few picture from the weekend.

Now the real craziness begins! Even though my actual birthday was on Tuesday, we decided to go out to dinner Monday. We went to Sangria in Moscow. I thought it was amazing, unfortunatley Dusty really didn't... but it was my birthday dinner after all. Our friends CJ and Libby went with us too. Libby surprised me with a present of more scrapbook goodies and some of the cutest papers I have ever seen. She knows my taste very well, and I can't wait to use them. Tuesday I spent the whole day fine-tuning my lesson plans. These were not just ordinary lesson plans. I had to have them perfect for a working interview. They turned out great. I was very pleased with them even if they made it so I didn't get to do anything super on my birthday. That brings us Wednesday. This was the day of my interview, eeek! (For those of you that I didn't already tell, I applied for a long term sub job starting in November and going to the end of the year.) The day itself was very stressful. I worked in the morning. I started with a working interview, which I taught a lesson in front of 25 little second graders and the interview committee. Next, I went and worked on a 30 minute timed write. Last, I had a formal interview with committee. Then I waited. ... oh and Dusty got me an ice cream cake to eat with our small group.

On Friday morning I found out that that I was picked for the job!!!!!!!! Dusty and I both did happy dances all over our apartment. I am pretty sure we woke up our neighbors with our squeals of joy. This means a couple of really good things for us. First off, I have a job for the rest of the year. I have a contract, which will help me get a permanent job someday. And financially we feel really blessed because this will help us get closer to having a house sometime in the future. Monday, I started observing the class and meeting parents at conferences. It was great to have time with Kelly to see how she worked with the kids, and understand different routines the class has had.

In addition to going to class during the day, Dusty and I were feverishly getting ready for our Halloween party. Now, to give you a bit a perspective I want to remind everyone that when we planned our party I had absolutley nothing else to do or get ready. So, suddenly we were crazy busy between preparing for the party and spending long hours at school. In the week prior to Halloween (I have lost track of days at this point) we made carmel corn, muddy buddies, sugar cookies, cupcakes, dirt and worms, Jello jigglers, pumpkin spice cake, two kinds of chili, three kinds of punch/drinks, and hung spooky decorations all over our apartment. Oh, and we carved pumpkins with our Pullman friends. Dusty was a huge help in all of the preparations. In the end our party was a blast. We ate a ton, had a costume contest and a scavenger hunt too. Check out the pictures below to see some of the silliness.

Now, I have just finished my first full week with my very own class of second graders. It was a great time and they are a bunch of adorable kids. Here are some highlights from my first week. There was no hitting or biting and only a few tears. Somebody barfed in class. Thankfully it was in a garbage can. Throughout the week, the class has noticed some of my facial clues which tend to let students know if they are on task. You would think this is a good thing, but I will tell you it is really hard to keep a straight face when someone pipes up over the chatter “SHHH you guys she is making the ‘I am waaaiiiting’ face again!” I was told by a seven year old "Mrs. Walsh you look like a bat! Ya know your shirt looks like you have wings" And no that was not on Halloween.. When I informed the class that their previous teacher had delivered her baby, one of the little boys actually jumped up out of his chair and yelled "Praise God!" It was really cute to see how excited they all were. Last but certainly not least, I had two different kids tell me it was their birthday this week and it wasn't. I should have known when they did not bring in any goodies. It appears as though they might be testing me. All in all, it was a great week and I look forward to many more.

That is about it for us right now. Now here is hoping that it won't be a whole month before we do another blog post. Maybe if Dusty is not too sick of writing, I will see if he wants to type up the next one.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall is here!

We are loving fall. I have been having a great time getting things ready for Halloween. We pulled out some of Dustys old clothes and stuffed them with straw to make a scarecrow. This is how it turned out.

 Last weekend we a great time at Silverwood. Except, in October they change everything to "Scarywood" and decorate for Halloween. We went with our friends Craig and Michelle; they are who told us about it too. And we are very glad they did because it was so much fun. I do think that they would have liked the haunted train ride and the maze to be a bit more frightful but it was plenty scary for us. Dusty and I are big wimps when it comes to haunted house and such so we liked the slightly more kid friendly version. We went on rides roller coasters during the day and that was plenty of excitement for us. Here are a few pictures of the fun we all had on rides. Thanks again to Craig and Michelle for letting us tag along!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Update

We had a great weekend with our couple friends CJ and Libby. Friday night we all went out to dinner at Wingers. It was really good, especially since we havent been there in a while because of their kitchen fire. It definatly hit the spot after a  few overly busy days. After dinner we went back to our apartment for ice cream and a movie.
Saturday, Dusty and I had a relaxing morning at home. Then we picked up CJ and Libby and drove to Garfield to press cider. Dusty and I have done this for 3 years now, and we are never disappointed. This time we got some very tart apples so the cider turned out quite strong, but I like it that way. The apples were Macintosh. They look like this.

It is crazy how much the grinder and press can make from the apples. We were at the orchard for a little under an hour, and the four of us made almost eight gallons of cider. I was quite impressed with our efficiency. Here are some pictures of what the grinder/press look like... no hydraulics here. All our cider was pressed the old fashion way, by hand!

We were having so much fun with CJ and Libby that we all got together for a delicious dinner (made by Libby and CJ) and games. Of course we had to play settlers :) but Dusty and I also tried a new game, Scategories. It was a lot of fun because we had never played it before. Dusty started out doing very well, but then hit his sleepy-time wall,  right about when I started to warm up and do better.

Sunday we got up and went to church. At church we saw our friend Lindy. She is getting married soon so it is always fun to hear about how that is going. We also saw our friends Alex and Carissa. We were quite glad to see them there since their new little boy, Landon is just a week old. All three of the Little family looked amazing. I couldnt believe that Landon looks bigger already. We visited him right after he was born and that was just a week before. They do grow fast, and even faster when they arent yours because you dont see them everyday. LOL. After church, Dusty and I went home and he helped me try to catch up on my scrapbooking. We were very productive. I think we got about eight pages done, but look at the mess I made of our kitchen table. It is in the living room so we could watch a movie while we worked. You can tell by Dustys pose he is really happy about the situation. Ha ha just kidding, the table was actually his idea. I typically work on the little coffee table/floor. However, I do like this new system; I have soooo much space to work/make a mess.

All in all, it was a great weekend! Now here it is Monday again, funny how it always sneaks up on you when you are having a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


  Last Thursday, way too early in the morning, we left for Wyoming. Dusty and I decided to take a quick trip out of town for his birthday weekend. After 12 hours of driving we made it to the Tetons. It is one of the most gorgeous places on earth.

While we were in Grand Teton National Park we had the most amazing weather, considering it was the end of September. We had sunny skies every day. So sunny, we both got a little pink on our checks on Friday while we canoed around Jackson Lake. The sunshine looked incredible on the fall colors of the trees.

It was a good thing it was Dusty’s birthday weekend. Otherwise, there would have been no way he could have talked me into getting up before sunrise to go take pictures of a mountain. I am glad it was his birthday though, because the pictures turned out amazing. Take a look at the reflection pictures below, and I am sure you will agree.

Later that same day we drove into town to visit Jackson Hole. In the Teton Village we took a tram 10,400 feet up Rendezvous Mountain. I really felt like I was on top of the world, even though Grand Teton is another 3300 feet higher. Next, we went to the town square area and did some serious window shopping, and a little real shopping too!


Sunday, Dusty’s actual birthday and our last full day in Wyoming, we had a most relaxing morning at the Lodge. In the afternoon, we had lunch at the Colter Bay Ranch house then went on the hunt for a Moose. We got really lucky and spotted three near the Oxbow Bend overlook

We ended the day back at the lodge with a glorious sunset. A sunset, only second from the top to one we saw on our honeymoon from the exact same spot. After such a beautiful sight we wanted to linger a little bit longer, however, our stomachs were begging for dinner. So in the spirit of everything Birthday we splurged and had dinner at the Pioneer Grill in the Lodge before heading back to our campsite for the night..                                                                                                                                                                

We got up early again Monday morning to make the long drive back to Pullman but it was worth the three full days we got to spend camping in Jackson. And I didn’t get attacked by any bears!