Photo(s) of the Day: Nature Sanctuary

One of the aspects I love about where I live is that despite the size (pop. ~30,000), and the location (the Midwest), there are still fun things to do. The Matha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. We’ve taken a picnic and gone on a few hikes there twice now, but this was the first time with Baby K. Saturday felt like a nice day, until we started hiking in the sun. It was hot. We saw a lot of small wildlife though, and it was so nice to have a laid back Saturday afternoon – the first one in months! If only we had Labor Day once a week instead of once a year!

These flowers attracted a lot of bees. (What kind of flower is it?)
Along the Rush Creek trail. The water was too high to cross and continue the hike.
Can you spot the frog?
Baby K taking a breather after being in the hot Ergo carrier.
Baby K observing a caterpillar. She loves The Hungry Caterpillar book!



Photo of the Day: Tornado Destruction

As you all know, a devastating tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. And two years ago yesterday, a horrific tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri. I have lots of friends and family in Oklahoma, brother-in-law lives in Joplin and I went to college about 30 minutes from there, so hearing about tornado destruction always strikes home. Even though I’ve lived in tornado alley my entire life and spent many occasions in basements during tornado warnings, I’ve never personally seen one. But I have seen the aftermath. I cannot pretend to understand what the people of Oklahoma are going through right now. There are tons of great organizations out there if you choose to make a donation, but two of the most reputable in my opinion are the Red Cross and UMCOR. UMCOR spends 100 percent of designated donations on the projects donors specify.

Gazing at a destroyed house during a mission trip to Joplin, Missouri in August 2011

Photo of the Day: Far From Spring

They’re calling it “Snowmageddon” – the largest snowstorm my part of the Midwest has seen in two years. Everyone in my apartment complex had quite a time trying to dig out their cars with brooms this afternoon.

People who had never met before helped each other dig out their cars after a winter snowstorm.

Photo of the Day: Wind Farm

The last time I took a road trip in January was two years ago … with my parents … for a funeral. Below is a photo of a wind farm we passed in Iowa on that trip. I’m lucky my parents were willing to make the stop, because I got some pretty cool photos, most of which have never been published before.

Today I’m leaving on another road trip, but this time it’s a girls’ weekend at a spa in the Lake of the Ozarks! I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll have some fun pictures to share when I return.

An Iowa wind farm, taken January 2011

Project 52 Week 31: We party with balloons in the Midwest

This weekend my husband and I went to the Great Midwest Balloon Fest with our families. I went to the balloon fest a couple of years ago, but it’s gotten huge with 50+ competing hot air balloons, many thousands of attendees, and a Clay Walker concert. it’s no big surprise I couldn’t pick a favorite photo. Can you?

Three paratroopers dropped from the sky at the beginning of the festival – this one carrying the American flag.
We had a great spot to see the hot air balloons taking off right above us.
All the balloons lit up at dusk for a balloon glow. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite dark yet.
Clay Walker put on a great concert! I knew way more songs than I thought I would.
The crowd went crazy for Clay Walker’s interactive concert with streamers, confetti, beach balls, and flying guitar picks.





Days 217-219: Sleepless in the Midwest

This weekend left no room for sleep. Friday night, despite all of Jerod’s homework, we made time to go to the {free!} Gladstone, Mo. Theatre in the Park to watch Thoroughly Modern Millie. We had never seen that show before, or been to the Gladstone amphitheater, so it was a fun new experience. Jerod had to work Saturday morning at 6 a.m., and I got up shortly after him to get stuff done around the house. When I woke up, I saw just one baby barn swallow left on our patio. He flew away later that morning. I hope the little guys are doing ok out on their own now. Later in the day we drove down to my parents’ to stay with them for a night. Sunday morning we were up at 5:30 for the Cider Mill Century bicycle ride. Since we’ve been training for runs lately, this is probably the only organized bike ride we’ll do all season. We averaged about 14.5 mph for 50 miles, which wasn’t too bad considering our lack of time on the bike this summer.

A cute young couple cuddles up to each other at the Gladstone Theatre in the Park.
One lone baby barn swallow remained near his nest Saturday morning, but he managed to find a companion.
Early morning light and unique clouds make for a picturesque corn field. Amazingly, this photo was taken on my point-and-shoot camera while riding down the rode on a bicycle. (Notice the shadow in the corner.)

Day 87: Snowy Spring Sunrise

When it’s springtime and there’s snow on the ground, us Midwesterners like to whine and moan about it. But how can I complain when the is one of the first sights I see in the morning?

Canon 60d
1/250 sec., f/8.0, ISO 800

Day 82: Ready to Ride (my bicycle)

Yesterday I picked up our bikes from their annual tune-ups. I know most hardcore cyclists have already logged many miles on the road this year, but I have yet to ride. I’m getting antsy for a warm(ish) day with wind gusts below 30 mph. I know, I know … it’s a lot to ask for in the Midwest.

Canon 60d
1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 400
18-200 mm lens (50 mm), natural light