Sunday, October 18, 2009

a day away...

During the school year, Sundays can tend to get a little depressing. They start off great: sleeping past 5:30, church with Beau, a cup of hot tea or great coffee. Then, as lunch ends and Beau settles in on the basement couch for some football, I settle in my chair for a long afternoon of school work: grading papers, writing lesson plans, planning presentations, completing homework for my masters classes...the list goes on and on. It's usually this time each week that I long for an 8-5 job, one that ends the minute the work day is over; one that allows me a life on the weekends.

Today, was definitely not one of those Sundays. Since the Bears played the night game tonight, Beau and I decided to take off on a road trip to Northeast Iowa. As a little girl, my family would take these day trips once a year to see the leaves. We'd drive through small towns, take walks and pictures at Pike's Peak, pack a picnic lunch, and stop at the Cannery and Starks in Prairie Du Chene. Even as a little girl, I remember really embracing these days. I remember sitting in the back seat of the gray van with little Taylor, playing little 'car games' on the 'long' car ride. I remember running and kicking through the crispy leaves at Pike's Peak, piling up leaves and throwing the football with Dad (or I guess I should say watching Dad throw the football to Jordan). I remember tasting the different slices of apples at the orchard, sipping the samples of apple cider and begging Mom to buy some of the different apple goodies. Although it was a small venture, it was a exciting getaway for me...a vacation and an opportunity to explore and embrace the changing seasons.

Today was exactly what I needed. We had no agenda; in fact, we didn't enter directions into Sir TomTom until we got in the car. It was a gorgeous day, 60s and sunny, and the leaves were supposed to be at 75% peak. When we got to McGregor, we decided to stop at Eagles' Landing Winery. Not only were they doing free wine tasting, but they had a German buffet of samples to try after trying the wine. Blueberry and Mr. Sippi wine, hot German potato salad, slow-cooked pork, and homemade pretzels were the perfect start to our day.

Later, we met up with Mom and Dad and 'explored' with them for awhile. We ate at the marina's 'brats and beer' joint, bought some pumpkins and apples at Shihata's Apple Orchard, and browsed through the pretty Cannery store. Our last stop included a stroll through Pikes Peak. It was gorgeous! The sun was shining through the trees, adding a dimension of color to the bright golds, reds, and greens of the leaves. It was perfect therapy for a Sunday afternoon.

Other highlights of the day...

-stopping at the fish 'log' house that Jordan and Kelli RAVED about! The smoked salmon and 'tits' on a spritz may have been good, but the smell was TERRIBLE!
-finding my favorite wine (among other things) at Starks for about HALF the price I can get it in CF
-finding a pretty valance at the Cannery (and mom got a clock for her living room)
-pretty leaf pictures at Pikes Peak
-just having a car ride to talk with Beau...this doesn't happen as much as it should :)

Here are some pictures to highlight the day...

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