Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Visit to Colorado

We just got home from a visit to Colorado to see Dan's family and some friends. We had a wonderful time in Longmont with Dan's Mom and also snuck away a few times to hang out with friends.

We met up with Alicia and Gavin in Golden. It was great to see them and meet Gavin!

Alicia and Gavin doing some climbing.

Gavin, Alicia and Dan at the park
 We also spent some time in Boulder - Dan met up with his old advisor for a coffee and chat then we met up with Adrienne and Dora for a hike and dinner in downtown Boulder.

Mary, Adrienne and Dora in the mountains
 We took a bunch of walks around Longmont with the dogs, Cody and Annie,

Mom, Dan, Cody and Annie at the Park
Other highlights included a trip in to Denver for a Rockies game with Dan's siblings and their families and a trip in to Denver to see Brian and go to the Modern Museum of Art followed by dinner with him and friends.

Lindsay and Noah at the ballpark - Go Rockies!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Making glass paperweights

Last weekend I was treated to an extremely special adventure. I took a paperweight making class at the glass studio in Springfield. This is something I have wanted to do for years and years - I was thrilled to finally be in a hot glass studio creating beautiful pieces of art!

Terry Bloodworth, Springfield Hot Glass Studio owner / instructor, and Mary
I was the only student signed up which was nice to have the one-on-one attention. Terry was a fantastic teacher - he demoed each type of paperweight then guided and coached me as I made my own pieces.

Glory Hole on left, rod being heated in the flame in the middle and the glass melting crucible on the right
The rods are heated before going to the vat of melted glass then we dip the rod in the glass to gather up the molten glass. After gathering the glass on the end of the rod you have to "rotate, rotate, rotate" the rod so that the glass doesn't drop off it. Then you can do cool things like dip it in colored glass and roll it against the marver to swirl the colors or twist and twirl the glass to make a knot or dip it in soda ash to create bubbles.

My paperweights in the oven cooking after being created
It was such a thrill working with Terry in the studio and creating these pieces - I am so lucky to have had this unique opportunity!

Mosaic I designed to be put in paperweight


Didactic Paperweight
Bubble Swirl

Two color swirl

Coral Reef
Endless Knot









Monday, May 11, 2015

Nathaniel Greene Botanical Gardens

Today Annie was begging us for a walk at the botanical garden so we acquiesced and were treated to a floral feast for the eyes

Dan and Annie in front of the Columbine garden

Mary and Annie enjoying a Japanese Bearded Iris

Peonies were on full display

Peonies as far as the eye could see


Annie stops to smell the flowers

Beautiful Irises


Annie happily poses in front of more irises
Annie truly enjoyed our garden stroll and only barked at one other dog throughout the trails.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Race and Spring Flowers

For my birthday Dan got my spiffy new running shoes:

New Birthday Shoes
 This past weekend I put them to good use in the One Sole Purpose 5k which I finished in 27:45 - thanks to my speedy new shoes and my fans along the race course.

Craig, Mary and Heather at the finish line
Annie, the outdoor lover, has been enjoying all the spring flowers:

Annie and Irises

Annie in front of some Columbines

Annie stops to admire the Azaleas

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Celebrations

This past week we celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary on the 19th and my birthday on the 23rd. On our anniversary we went to the Springfield Dance Alliance's Spring Bloom dance concert. It was a beautiful concert - Kerry and all did a great job organizing, dancing and choreographing!

Kerry and Mary at the Springfield Dance Alliance Concert
 After the show we went out for a delicious Italian meal at Avanzare.

Mary and Dan out for dinner
 We declined dessert at the restaurant in favor of home made creme brulees back at the house.

Mary bruleeing her creme
As an early birthday gathering I met up with Kerry, Elaine, their mothers and their boys for lunch at Tea Bar and Bites!

Kerry, Avery and Mary
 On my birthday Annie and Dan woke me up with a bouquet of flowers then we took a walk downtown where we ate breakfast at Gaileys afterwards we went to the European Cafe where we shared a decadent chocolate mousse cake with our lattes.

Mary and Annie enjoying the flowers
 The Drury Theatre department was putting on a performance of Tartuffe by Moliere this past week so Dan and I enjoyed the show together then went out afterwards for drinks and (more) dessert!

Dan and Mary enjoying a late night treat at Flame
 Today as a belated birthday celebration Madison, Heather and I met up for brunch at the Aviary where Heather gifted me with adorable mini-cupcakes - so artistic (and delicious).

Funfetti cupcakes
It was a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

This was my first time to Mexico - what a beautiful country it is filled with wonderful people, terrific food and gorgeous sights!

On the night before the wedding we went out salsa dancing to a Cuban restaurant with some of Alex & Aline's friends - the band was terrific as were the mojitos.
Paola, Mary, Alex, Aline and Pablo at La Bodeguita Del Medio
The day of the wedding we took the bus into town where we met up with Colleen, Peter, Nancy and Chris and did some exploring.

Mom, Ellen and baby Julian in the backpack with the Mountains in the distance
Audrey enjoying a swim in the river with Nancy and Chris
 The Malecon is the main boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta and it is covered with bronze statues along the way. We enjoyed a self-guided art tour of the sculptures.

Dancing Statues on the Malecon
 We also visited the most photographed church of Puerto Vallarta - it has an ornate crown on top. The original crown fell off in 1995 and was destroyed by an earthquake.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
 Below is one of the more peculiar statues "The Boy on the Seahorse" by Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda who was only 18 when he sculpted this work.
The Dans in front of their favorite statue
 We also enjoyed a sand carving competition:
An Ornate Sand Sculpture 
We decided that one church visit was not enough:

The Dans and Erin climbing the steps to Our Lady of Refuge Church
 After the wedding we had fantastic days of exploring the beaches, waterfall hikes, dolphin spotting, snorkeling, para-sailing (for Alex and Aline) and boat rides through the ocean with our boat captains Alberto and Mariachi Mario.

We went to Los Arcos - a natural outcropping with several caves and reefs - while we were snorkeling around Aline spotted a twenty dollar bill on the ocean floor and Alex swam down and retrieved it! Who says there's not buried treasure? The snorkeling here was spectacular - all varieties and colors of fish. Luckily we didn't spot any sharks, although Durango Dan did spot a whale tail as we were zipping around in our boat.
Los Arcos
 We did two excellent waterfall hikes - Mom and Audrey had the good fun of riding a horse up to the falls. At the first waterfall we explored Erin went in first to tell us how the temperature of the water was and she took a mis-step and fell right in to the waterfall pool - quite the explorer she is!
Waterfall 
SO MUCH FUN - when are we going back?!?!

Puerto Vallarta

Last month we traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for Alex and Aline's wedding. The wedding day was spectacular - we had picture perfect weather, a beautiful ceremony, terrific music, delicious food and a night filled with dancing.
Mary and Dan enjoying a drink before the ceremony

View of the reception area

Alex and Mom before the ceremony
  The ceremony was incredibly sweet we heard about how Alex and Aline met for the first time and their personal vows were incredibly thoughtful and touching. Alex's friend Ivan translated the ceremony into English and Alex said his vows in English while Aline did hers in Spanish.

Alex and Aline Exchanging Vows
 After the bride and groom kissed in marched a 9 piece mariachi band! They were fantastic - incredible musicians.
Mariachi Band

The Newlyweds dancing to the Mariachi music

El Senor belting out a solo
Family

Alex's New Family
Dan and Chris shooting the breeze

Audrey was happy to find some stray roses from the bouquet Aunt Nancy caught

Julian observing the wedding festivities
 The food at the wedding was outstanding we had appetizers of all variety, ceviche, a Costa Rican tangerine salad and fish as our main course. The desserts were apple pie or Mexican wedding cake - a corn cake.
Aline and Alex cutting the special Mexican corn wedding cake
 Alex and Aline kicked off the night of dancing by performing their choreographed barchata wedding dance - their instructor was at the wedding and he agreed that their dance was awesome!
Alex and Aline dancing their bachata dance 
The newlywed also ended the night of partying and dancing by taking a leap into the pool! Poor Nelson, Aline's brother, was pushed in as he was trying to get a photo of them - he had two smart phones ruined . . . all part of the show!
Nelson, Alex and Aline ended up in the pool
What an amazing day it was - Felicidades a Aline y Alex!

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