2008 - Year in Review

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello All!
Nothing much changed in 2008; it was just another year of family and fun for us.
We started the year out right with a trip to beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  We enjoyed 4 days on the beach.  While we were there we ventured out into the ocean for some snorkeling and met a nice family of jellyfish. (Ouch!)   It was a lot of fun and a great excuse to get away from the Minnesota winter!
In April, Kim was invited on a holiday to London with her friend Mary Linda.  And if you know Kim, you know she would never turn down a trip to London.  She had the opportunity to stay at a nice posh hotel in Trafalgar Square where a bottle of water was $10!  She saw all the sites of London and spent an afternoon in Greenwich; home of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Mean Time Clock and Greenwich Market.
After Kim recovered from pancreatitis and surgery in June we attended the Stai Family Reunion (Kim’s Mom) in  Rice Lake, WI.  Afterwards we were off to New York City for a week with Kim’s Mom, sister, nephew and niece.   We visited all 5 boroughs and saw a ton of sites, including the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium (old and new), Shea Stadium (old and new), Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty.  Kim and her Mom watched “Hairspray” on Broadway staring Norm from Cheers as Edna Turnblad (the mom) while Eric, Nancy, Dylan and Danielle went to a Mets game.
Over the 4th of July weekend we toured the North Shore of Lake Superior with Greg and Celeste Stayer and Celeste’s cousin Joanna.  During the trip we visited the few remaining state parks we had left to complete our goal of visiting all 71 state parks of Minnesota.  It took us exactly 2 years to complete. 
Also in July, we traveled to Omaha for the Williams Family Reunion.  Mom and Dad, all 15 kids and all 30 grandkids were there.  We had pictures taken of the whole group.  The large family picture turned out very nice considering there were 60 people in the photo! It was great to see everybody in Eric’s family again.
August was a very busy month for us.  We went on a long weekend trip to Michigan to see Mackinac Island with Kim’s Mom, Nancy, Dylan and Danielle (again).  We managed to see 3 out of the 5 great lakes on the trip (Michigan, Huron, and Superior).
Finally, to celebrate our 5th Anniversary, we took a 10-day road trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and the Mesa Valley of Idaho.  It was beautiful!  All the thermal areas and waterfalls were amazing, especially the Lower Falls  of the Yellowstone River.  We also went on a whitewater rafting trip down the Yellowstone River!  We stopped in  Rapid City for a few days to see Eric’s family and to tube down Rapid Creek in the hills near Hisega.  On the ride  home we stopped in Gettysburg, SD to see Grandma Kate (and Molly and Harry).
The fall season was great! The weather was warm and sunny and we had many visitors.  Kim is back at St. Kate’s for Weekend College and Eric is enjoying his free time on the weekends to work on all the various jigsaw puzzles he collected from our trips.
As far as Swirl, he is still a very naughty cat, but we love him anyways!  He “punishes” us for leaving him so often, but fortunately he has great caregivers (Greg and Celeste)! 
This was a year for family, travel and fun.  We look forward to 2009 and have a few things already planned, including a trip to Houston, TX over the Christmas/New Year to visit Kim’s friend Mary Linda and to see all the sites of the Houston and Galveston area (or what’s left of them after Ike).
We hope you had a prosperous 2008 and wish you the very best in 2009.
Love,  Kim, Eric & Swirl
Visit us at www.kim-eric.com for all the latest updates and photos.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Eric and I decided to check out the 2008 Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium. It was between Rice (which is basically across the street from the stadium) and Western Michigan.  It was interesting being at a bowl game even though it was a minor bowl.  Below is the halftime show where they played...fittingly...Deep in the Heart of Texas.  Very cool!  Overall we had a fun trip to Houston visiting my friend Mary Linda.  :-)

Stubborn White Tiger at the Houston Aquarium

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A video from the Houston Aquarium...a very stubborn tiger.

Last night of milking cows with Dylan

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My nephew, Dylan's last night milking cows on the farm. Circa 1992 :-)

Yellowstone is cold in August

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh my gosh it was cold. When we got everything packed up, the car said it was 31 degrees. We made our way out of the park today. We left the East Entrance and drove to Cody, WY. It was a nice drive, we got to see some of the wild fires outside of Cody and we got to see the helicopters with the water buckets at Buffalo Bill state Park. Out of Cody we took Hwy 14-Alt. What a road. The views were amazing and it seemed like all we did was climb up. We made a quick stop at Devils Tower Monument in Sundance, WY. We rolled into Eric's parents house in Rapid City at 6:30. I went to Judy's garden and got some final peas of the season and some sweet corn. Yum!

Grand Tetons

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a busy day. We started in the Grand Teton and worked our way north to Canyon Village Area of Yellowstone. At Grand Teton we took a shuttle boat across Jenny Lake to the trail head for Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Once on the other side of the lake it was a mile hike to Inspiration Point uphill on very rocky terrain. But it was well worth it. The view was amazing. I would love to hike on further, but we didn't have much time and I didn't have the proper shoes. Silly Kim! We continued up the Teton Rd. to Jackson Lake Area. We saw VP Dick Cheney's Secret Service Detail. Apparently he was in town. After a quick lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge and we made our way up the south entrance of Yellowstone. We went past the Lake Area. Not that exciting...Yellowstone lake is pretty and huge, but its a lake. We saw some more stinky caldrons of hot springs and then a herd of bison trying to cross the Yellowstone River and the road. Of course it caused a major traffic jam but eventually we got through and went to one thing I was waiting the most for...the Lower Falls of Yellowstone River. It was great! We hiked down the 330 steps to the bottom of the Lower Falls...then climbed back up them. This was the only night that we are camping...hopefully it won't be too cold...it only got up 55 degrees today.

I wish I was a skier

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We left our Idaho cabin heading east back to Yellowstone. Today we ventured down to Old Faithful and then on to Grand Teton. There are many Geyser Basins on the way to Old Faithful and beyond. You could spend a whole day walking around them. We did quite a few, but we were pressed for time so we kept our hikes to under 2 miles. We got to Old Faithful in time to see it blow, it really is an anti-climatic experience but at least I can say I saw it. It goes off about every 90 minutes. After Old Faithful we drive down to West Thumb Geyser Basin. Some of these geysers are actually in Yellowstone Lake so that was cool. Tonight we are staying in Teton Village. It is so cool. I could get used to this comfort. I bet this place is hoping in the winter. Our balcony has views of the mountain and the ski runs.

We be rafting

 Today was the day for whitewater rafting the Yellowstone River. Wow it was so much fun. I want to do more challenging rapids next. We did mostly Class III. I even jumped in and swam down a feel of the rapids (yes on purpose, I wasn't throwing in like the one girl). The water wasn't that bad. Eric and I, along with the girl that was thrown in earlier, went swimming...the others were to wimpy! After that we ventured back into Yellowstone's North Entrance.
Whitewater rafting

We stopped and had a quick lunch at Mammoth and they drove on down to Norris. Along the way stopped at Rustic Falls and Sheepeater cliff. At Norris, we walked the Porcelain Trail around various geysers in the basin. Very cool but also very smelly...rotten eggs. The colors of the pools are amazing. You just want to jump right in. After that we went down to Madison Junction and out the West Entrance of Yellowstone. We ventured 20 miles into Idaho to Henry's Lake State Park. I figured we are so close to Idaho, we had to explore it. And I'm SO HAPPY we did. Our camp host at Henry's Lake gave us info on the area and there was a scenic drive (about 75 miles round trip) called the Mesa Falls Byway. We got to see two water falls, Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, 114 and 65 feet, respectively and we also got to view the Grand Tetons on the west side. I'm so excited because we will be on the east side of the Grand Tetons tomorrow! The sunset was amazing and we got to see a Momma Moose and her babies (Mini Moose?) feeding about 100 yards from our cabin. So cool!

Beartooth Hwy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eric's head ache is cured...YEA! The resort is really nice but the Rock Creek outside of room is LOUD! Today we took the Beartooth Hwy (US 212) into Yellowstone. We walked out to one of the glaciers along the way, not to far from the summit at 10,947 feet. After that we had a nice down hill ride into the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone.
Along the Beartooth Hwy.
Along the way to our first stop, Tower Falls, we saw a bison walking down the center of the road and then of course the whole herd. I'm sick of Bison. I want to see other animals. I know they were almost extinct at one point, but there are plenty of them now! After Tower Falls, which was way cool, we drove down the Dunraven Pass to Canyon Village for lunch. We didn't explore too much around Canyon as we are staying here the last night of our days in Yellowstone. After lunch we venture back up Dunraven Pass and on to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Tonight we are staying in Gardiner, MT. Not really much here except for some hotels and very expensive gas stations. $4.15 here, $4.40 in the park itself. I'm afraid to admit this but I was really craving pizza for dinner. Gardiner had a pizza place outside our hotel but I checked online reviews and nobody liked it. I looked online for pizza places that were close to Gardiner and the closest one was in Livingstone...a Pizza Hut. Ok, not what I was expecting but none the less it was pizza. So we ventured up to Livingstone about a 50 mile drive for Pizza Hut. When we get there it is only a carryout/deliver place. So we order our pizza and ate it in the car on the drive back to Gardiner...how lame. But on a positive note, we only paid $3.85 for gas. Much better than $4.15 50 miles down the road. Do we actually make out better on the deal, I don't know.

Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We have been married 5 years! Amazing isn't it. Well today we drove from Jamestown, ND to Red Lodge, MT. It was a long drive, but we made a stop at Teddy Roosevelt's national park. Now we are relaxing at the Rock Creek Resort. Eric has a major head ache so my anniversary dinner consisted of a turkey sandwich and chips we picked up at the local grocery store while he got his Tylenol...how romantic, eh?

North Dakota is boring

What a day. We left Eric's work place and after a nice 10 mile traffic jam outside of the Twin Cities area we were on our way to Yellowstone! I'm so excited. We finally got Jamestown about 10pm. WOW is it windy in North Dakota! My car was going all over the place and the semis were weaving all over the place. And my gosh do the North Dakotans drive slow! I was passing like they were standing still and I was actually going the speed limit (I know hard to believe)! Looking forward to tomorrow and our drive to Montana.

Swirl vs. the Dalek

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"This mouse is tasty" - Swirl

Lazy Swirl

Swirl and his blanket

Jellyfish ATTACK!!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

While Snorkeling at Majahuitas we got attacked by some jellyfish.   Overall the trip Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was awesome.  It was nice to get away from the cold of Minnesota.