Monday, August 28, 2006

Happy 16th to Jasmine!!!

Today is the 16th birthday of my niece, Jasmine! Here are pictures of her the day she was born - August 28, 1990... and 5 days later. For probably the first six weeks of her life, I went to see her nearly every day at least once! Today, she drove herself to see US! Doesn't seem possible... she is really growing up fast! Happy Birthday, Sweetie... we are very proud of you and who you are becoming!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

32 and Counting!

August 16 was our 32nd wedding anniversary. It was the first anniversary since 1977 that one of us, at least, wasn't working... first Greg with the Corps of Engineers, and then both of us at Workamper News. Our anniversary always fell one day after magazine deadline day, so we were up to our ears in production!

To celebrate the anniversary and our new-found freedom, we went to Mtn. View! We figured it was probably one of the cooler spots in Arkansas on August 16, and was it ever! A mild "cold front" pushed through the state a day prior, and temps that had soared to 109 the previous week only got to upper 80's on the 16th. We started our day with a breakfast at Joshua's, a popular Mtn. View diner, then headed for Blanchard Caverns, some 15 miles north of Mtn. View.

We discovered that the cave tour we wanted to take was a couple of ours away, so we toured the visitor center, visited the springs below, and drove around Sylamore Campground nearby. The water that springs from Blanchard Caverns is very cold, and the path to the opening where the spring emerges is shaded to the point of being almost dark... you truly are deep in forest. It is cool, serene, and very inviting on a hot summer day! Greg is sitting on a rock out in the creek just below the spring.

Then... and now... here we are in 1974, and 2006!

Here we are leaving the church after our wedding in 1974... and sitting near the spring at Blanchard Caverns in 2006!!!

This is the bride on the bluffs near the Robus family home in 1974 (and about a block from where we now reside), and at the Springs in 2006!

The cave tour was amazing... having taken the first-level Dripstone tour several times, we opted for the 2nd-level Discovery tour. It doesn't have quite as many stalactites and stalagmites as the first level, because it is farther into the cave and younger, but what is there is truly awesome. And... we got to see evidence of early cavers... many from the 1960's and 70's, who helped to discover this section and the 3rd level, which is a "crawl-on-your belly" tour by reservation only, and not for me!! We also saw the only natural opening to the cave (other than the spring entrance, which is not navigable) -- a 70 foot drop that is slick and treacherous, but for early cavers the only way in and out! I had seen it from the outside as a child, but certainly not from the inside!

We polished off our 2-hour cave tour with some relaxing time in Sylamore creek, wading in the cool water and relaxing on the rocky beach, made up of limestone and sandstone deposits, mostly.
I love to sit and look for fossils... and I am never disappointed. After our creek visit and a brief stop at a natural cave in the campground's group camping area, we went downtown to the soda fountain (still in a drugstore, just like when we were kids), and then toured some antique malls/flea markets before heading home.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Time to Bore You With New Pictures!

Our nephew John's wife sent photos today from the 80th birthday party for Greg's mother, Elaine Robus, held July 2. I thought I'd share a few good ones here...

This is us with Jasmine and Greg's mother, Elaine... the "birthday girl!"

The next picture is Caitlyn -- our great-niece.

Here's our little "Chaser" - actually, it's Chase! He's all boy!

This is Olivia, my cousin... she was a guest at the party...