Sunday, July 29, 2007


Russ found a passion in Mountain Biking. In it, he found exercise. He found the thrill of being a kid on his bike again- with more gadgets, tricks and trails this time around. He also found friendship. All of this took him to Downieville the weekend of July 21st-22nd with two friends, Eric and Shane. This is in the Sierra Mountains, and a shuttle took them to the top of the mountain to descend 4500 feet- almost paradise for mountain bikers! The first day was awesome, surprisingly tiring after only one run down, and ended with good food, a fire, friends, and Jamison Whiskey. Sunday morning, they geared up and got ready to go again. However, Russ hit some soft dirt shortly after starting and has a wonderful stump impression on his back from the spill. This forced an early ending for Russ and Shane, but after Eric unselfishly made a FAST, steep ascent 1000 feet to catch the shuttle and get them to pick Russ up, he rewardingly got to go down again. So, when Russ arrived home barely walking, we called Amy to sit in the house with the sleeping kids and headed to the ER. Thankfully, there were no broken ribs, just ones that were severely bruised and with muscles in spasm. This was a relief, but the pain was incredible for Russ. (which made for some good laughs, unfortunately, as he tried to move) Another thanks was the Vicodin! Anyway, after a week at home doped up on painkillers and sitting/resting solely on the couch, Russ is walking and can chuckle without wanting to scream. No belly laughing yet, but he's out of that Butthead sounding laugh! Anyway, he gave in and got upper body armor this week, and he hopes to be back on the trails in a couple of weeks. We are thrilled that he found an exercise he loves, that he now is almost covered head to toe in armor, and that we will soon get to wrestle with him! (and that he will soon be able to change dirty diapers again) :) What a stud!
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Jac and I spent the weekend of July 14th-16th in New Orleans!!! We stayed at the Bienville House in the French Quarter, and we had SUCH a great time! Our heals showed the wounds of much walking, and our bank statements MIGHT reflect a bit of a wound from shopping? Not too bad, though. However, after making reservations to the Commander's Palace for brunch, we realized we HAD to buy some nicer clothes! The following pictures are from the Garden District near where we ate brunch on Saturday- after some Cafe Du Monde, of course! There, I naturally befriended the Mat re Di and we ended up with VIP reservations at Vizard's on the Green. VERY NICE! We dare say it was better than Commander's Palace. Well, a thunderstorm later- SO NICE, we took some pictures of my and Russ' new house- the pink one. The other home is Archie Manning's. Jac was impressed by his lawn.

Sunday we had a good chunk of time before leaving that evening, so we shopped some more and took at THREE hour tour of the French Quarter, Garden District and Hurricane Katrina devastated areas via bus. It was so interesting to see at eye level what we saw via TV about the aftermath. As you saw the rising waterline still visible on buildings downtown, you understood why people chose to get up on the overpasses and not SWIM to the Superdome. They had just gotten electricity, the week we were there, in the area where you may remember the barge washing into the community where the levee was breached. SO, two years later they finally have the means to rebuild. This picture is of four houses that just kind of floated and got jammed together. The third house from the left is crooked since it landed on an upside down car... you may barely see the wheels poking up in the picture. Behind me taking this picture is a house whose second floor collapsed in the front onto the lower. It was torn down and reconstructed EXACTLY the same way. Hollywood is making a movie there about the hurricane and it's aftermath. There are cars with small writing on the windows that says, "For Movie- Do Not Tow." Security sits there 24/7 insuring no one messes with their scene and no one is harmed. It was sad and surreal to see so many places still uninhabitable and all of the FEMA trailers or private ones in parking lots or lawns. So, GO TO NEW ORLEANS!!! Enjoy their seafood, their shopping, their incredible hospitality, and help them rebuild their city!
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Gilroy Gardens

Chas and Anthony with some friends at an amusement park that is more of a place to admire the gardens than to showcase the rides. The rides are fun, but they are not the focal point. We love going with our friends and have been to Gilroy Gardens three times this summer. The only downside is that the water play areas are suffering from a change in code that forced upgrades and or redesigns. SO, there's not the usual respite from heat that we love in the water play areas- especially since what IS operating doesn't let anyone in swimming diapers. BUMMER! However, we still enjoy playing with our friends, and we just have an excuse to get ice cream or frozen lemonades on the way home!
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