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Family Adventures

Christmas
Bishop, CA
21-31 December, 2006
1-3 January, 2007

Molly and Brian in the Owens River Gorge

We had a wonderful trip to California this Christmas. Spending the first couple of days in LA (Los Angeles, not lower Alabama), we got to visit with lots of Brian's extended family! We had a blast eating pizza with the Cook family and a bunch of other folks. I got to practice my drumming a bit more and Brian played with all of the kids like one of the kids, which was absolutely a blast for them, even though the adults had to work a bit to make sure Brian was behaving.

After leaving LA, we headed to Bishop where we enjoyed hanging out with Ron, Tracy, and Pinyon. In addition to running in the desert, we became completely addicted to the amazing climbing in the Owens River Gorge. If only we lived in Bishop! The climbs were monstrous (typically between 90' and 125') compared to those we've done on the east coast and the exposure was much more noticeable since there were no tall trees to give you a sense that there's something more than rock, air, and ground surrounding you. We climbed every day except for one and loved every second of it. We'll definitely be headed back in the near future.

Climbing Photos || Map


Mandy's Wedding
Saratoga Springs, New York
14-17 October, 2005

The Gang: Moreau State Park

It was great to have all of the Sieber family together in one place for Mandy’s wedding in the fall! It had been quite some time since I’d seen a lot of my cousins and Brian had only met Mandy and Brett, so it was nice that everyone could attend. The wedding was top-notch, located in beautiful Saratoga Springs when all the leaves were changing color. On top of this, the historic casino, flowers, bridesmaids dresses, wedding cake, and reception hall were all beautiful. Having never attended a Jewish wedding it was also fun to experience a wedding much different than those we’ve attended in the past. In addition to the wedding, we also enjoyed visiting a state park in the area (Moreau State Park) and hiking through the vibrantly colorful forest. We also made it up to Lake George for a quick hike before our flight left on Monday.

Photos || Map


Christmas
Bishop, CA
18-31 December, 2004

Jared, Blake and Luke

Our trip to California for Christmas 2004 was absolutely wonderful! From great company to perfect weather, and from tons of delicious food to many awesome excursions, our visit was a blast and a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of our life in Georgia.

One of the greatest parts of the trip was the perfect timing of how the details worked out. The night before we left, we received a call at 11 pm from US Airways saying our 6 am flight out of Athens would depart 290 minutes late (try doing the math on that one). Actually, this change worked out quite nicely. Since we were all packed we slept in, cooked breakfast, and arrived at the airport at about 10 am (rather than 5 am ) to find that we'd been upgraded to first class on the Charlotte - LA leg of the flight. Although first class certainly isn't worth the cost difference you'd usually pay, it was certainly nice to receive a "free" meal, hot, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, and cashews instead of pretzels. The complimentary headphones were also nice, meaning we could watch the movie on the return trip without buying any headphones.

Full Story || Map


Melinda's College Graduation
Charleston, IL
7-9 May, 2004

All of Us

Attending graduation (which should more fittingly be called the mini-reunion) in Charleston a few weekends ago was a great time, especially considering we didn't even go to the graduation ceremony! Grandma Ware, Grandpa and June Sieber, Aunt Sue, Brian, and the Ware's were all together in the same place for the first time since our wedding in 2000. What a great opportunity to enjoy everyone's company.

During the get together we enjoyed some amazing food (Sue's homemade pizza, Dad's amazing mashed potatoes and roast beef, and strawberry shortcake with 2 gallons of Georgia hand-picked strawberries), went on a beautiful walk at Fox Ridge, and, most importantly, laughed and enjoyed each other. We look forward to seeing everyone again in the near future. Enjoy the pictures! :-)

Photos


Christmas
Bishop, CA
19-31 December, 2003
1-4 January, 2004

Molly on ATV

Our Christmas in California was filled with wonderful family outings as well as adventures of every sort. We enjoyed cross country skiing, down hill skiing, exploring the valley on four-wheelers, walks with the dog, playing cards, watching movies, eating at our favorite Mexican joint (Amigo's), and catching up with family. In addition, we got a taste of what it's like to live in a small town where the only major grocery store (Vons) is on strike, which meant we either had to cross the picket line or venture into the local hometown market to buy groceries.

During the day, we took off for the slopes. While Brian and Tracy flew down the mountain, I took lessons where I initially learned to snow plow and eventually to parallel. By the third day, with Tracy gone to Tahoe, Brian and I skied together. He was an ever-patient teacher and I tried to be an equally good student, although I can't say that I succeeded for the entire day. However, I made it down a powdery, quasi-mogul covered black diamond run (once :-), and by the end of the day I began to feel like I might be a pretty decent skier next time we make a trip to the mountains. One side note which I must include is how fun it was to ski at June Mountain rather than the more resortified Mammoth Mountain. June was less expensive, had very convenient parking, numerous long runs, and offered somewhat private skiing. We even found a run or two with no other skiers. Compared to the hustle and bustle of Mammoth, where you worry a three year old might plow you over, June was certainly a nice contrast.

In addition to our adventures on the slopes, Brian decided he would like to rent quads (aka four-wheelers) for the day. We were both blown away by the number of trails in the Owens Valley which are available to off-road vehicles. We managed to explore 45 miles worth of trails.and we left several hundred or thousand more for our next visit. Even more impressive than the expanse of land we raced across was the agility and power of the quads. Riding up an extremely long, practically vertical hill was no problem for them; neither was driving with two wheels off the ground on a snowy, slanted dead-end road. Brian absolutely LOVED the experience and now insists on going into every dirt bike and four-wheeling shop we encounter. I enjoyed it as well, and discovered that it was a fair workout to ride all day.

At the conclusion of our trip, we returned to Los Angeles to stay with Brian's grandma. We decided to check out the La Brea tar pits. What an awesome place! Not only was it quite shocking to see pits of tarry, black water in a park in the middle of the city, it was even more incredulous to imagine the animals that once resided there. Millions of Ice Age fossils have been recovered from the tar pits, ranging from Columbian Mammoths and dire wolves, to ground sloths and saber-toothed cats. Scientists are still excavating Pit 91 today. Each summer they manage to dig up approximately 3 squares (3 X 3 X 3), which they investigate and catalogue during the winter months. Surprisingly, paleontologists not only search for and catalogue the large bones, they also painstakingly analyze every square inch of the matrix (muddy-tarry soil), looking for mouse toe bones and ancient bacteria. What a job!

We had a wonderful trip and Christmas holiday!

Christmas Photos! || La Brea Tar Pit Photos! || Map


Thanksgiving
Charleston, IL
27-30 November, 2003

Brian, Alex, Molly, Joan, Buddy, & Melinda

Fun times with family, fantastic food, and frequent fat-burning walks were the theme of our Thanksgiving trip to Charleston to visit the Ware's. We left Thursday morning at 4:00 a.m. to avoid Atlanta traffic, a decision which ended up paying off. We made great time on the way up and were early for our Thanksgiving feast.

After seeing all the renovations my parents had done on their house, we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. Afterwards we drove out to their land in the country for a much needed hike. The weather was still fairly balmy, but the strong winds were in the process of delivering cold temperatures and snow flurries, a rare treat for us Georgia folk. After our walk, we came home and were able to convince Brian to try playing cards. He is not typically the biggest game fanatic, but during our visit, I think he'd admit to enjoying cards, at least a little. He was certainly a good sport, and willingly played cards all three nights.

On Friday morning, we woke up to a sprinkling of snow on the ground and the scent of waffles for brunch. Since the family was all together, we decided to celebrate Christmas early rather than shipping our gifts and not getting to share them in person. After opening all of our beautiful gifts, we went on a hike at Fox Ridge State Park and then returned home to play cards. Saturday morning we loaded into the Corolla (Joan, Alex, Molly, Brian, Melinda, and, of course, Buddy - my parents' West Highland White Terrier) to head to Turkey Run State Park just over the border in Indiana. We hiked through the sandstone canyons surrounded by hemlock groves and enjoyed Buddy's limitless energy and enthusiasm for running, sniffing, and getting wet and muddy. On the way home we pigged out at Outback and then drove home with Buddy in the back window of the car, a perfect sized kennel for the white rabbit. :-) We truly had a great time; it was great to see my parents again and to enjoy being with family for the holidays.

Photos!

 
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