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Old 02-04-2013, 04:13 AM   #46
Luisa
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Great pictures, but I'm dying to know if you solved the ninja mystery!
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:03 AM   #47
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Gorgeous pictures of the animals. Nice that Dumbo even got a look-in.

Sorry that you didn't get quality sleep that night. Hope you made up for it the next day.
Glad you liked the zoo animals (and Dumbo of course).

I remember we were pretty exhausted that first night back from the Springs and slept like logs. And we weren't even awakened by ninja fights once!

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Great pictures, but I'm dying to know if you solved the ninja mystery!
We never did, though I don't think we've talked to Barb since that weekend, so she may have. Maybe Tracy can e-mail her and find out if the mystery was ever solved. Inquiring minds all over the world want to know, after all!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:09 AM   #48
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Chapter 7
Wake Up, September’s Ending


There were very few things that I expected to miss about New York after we left, but one thing I knew I WOULD miss were the autumn leaves. New York has gorgeous autumns, and Tracy and I would actively look forward to October and November in New York when it was clear that fall had arrived and Central Park would become a literal world of color. Then the weather would turn, and New York’s terrible winters would arrive, and we would hate everything about going outdoors in the city. But for that period of a few weeks each year, we sure loved the foliage.

I never really remember Colorado having pretty autumn leaves while I was growing up. Fall would so often only last a few days before the first snowfall would come and send us into winter. But I swear, this fall was the exception in Colorado. The leaves actually started changing earlier than anyone could remember them usually doing. By late August, it seemed that very little green was left, having been replaced by glorious yellows and reds.

Right as the leaves were starting to change, we took Stupey Doodle out for a walk on one of the trails a short drive from Tracy’s parents’ house.







I enjoyed walking the little monster!







As September wore on, things started to change more thoroughly, but this autumn was unusual because there were very few windy days. This meant that the leaves that usually blew off within days of turning were allowed to stay on the trees for almost the whole month. We took advantage of this extended season to take another trip up to Nederland (though no license plate game this time) and check out the leaves at a higher elevation.

The trees were really pretty up there.







There was also a nice mix of wildflowers still being in full bloom while the leaves were changing around them.





I just love aspens.



I found this butterfly perching on one of them!





Tracy’s parents were into building these little rock towers along the banks of the creek, and they actually built them up quite high.



Tracy joined in too, but I was content being the photographer.



A pinecone got in on the action in this one.





Without much more fanfare than the colorful changing of the seasons, September came to an end. It was the first month we spent entirely in Colorado, and we’d made quite a few strides toward continuing on our journey. But we weren’t there yet, and October would be full of more fun, some more challenges, and a whole lot of planning because once November came, we knew we wanted to be on our way to CA.

Overview of September 2012

Best Disney-Related Purchases
Tracy got this awesome Orange Bird necklace from the Etsy seller Migoto Chou



Most Random Picture
This nasal-douching system was for sale at Vitamin Cottage. I can’t get over her look of contentment while she does it.



Books I Read
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Favorite Guilty-Pleasure TV Show
Snooki and JWoww

Food of the Month
Buffalo Chicken Wings from Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery in Nederland, CO


Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:29 AM   #49
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I love the colour of the foliage in your pictures. And I just realised that Stupey Doodle has the initials of SD. Scooby Doo.

Much. more. appropriate.

ps. I think my plans for Durango for September this year are really starting to firm up. So, I'm really excited to see your scenic shots.

pps. Ignoring the random nasal douching picture.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:39 AM   #50
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I love the colour of the foliage in your pictures. And I just realised that Stupey Doodle has the initials of SD. Scooby Doo.

Much. more. appropriate.

ps. I think my plans for Durango for September this year are really starting to firm up. So, I'm really excited to see your scenic shots.

pps. Ignoring the random nasal douching picture.

Glad you like the pictures. And feel free to come up with as many new nicknames for our little Stewy Monster as you wish. As you'll see, ours are never ending...

Your trip out to CO in September sounds so exciting! Hopefully your foliage is as great as ours was last year.

As for the nasal-doucher, I think it's best if we all ignore her. Judging by her look of joy in the picture, I'm pretty sure she's a lunatic.
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:44 AM   #51
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Chapter 8
Elk in the Field, Book in the Freezer


October has always been a big month for me, mostly because my birthday is at the end of it. I was excited for October to come to Colorado, but also found myself getting increasingly nervous. I think Tracy and I both started feeling like it was time for another big change to start rolling around. We loved staying at her parents’ house, but eventually you start to miss having a place of your own and feeling independent. I think we knew October would be our last full month in CO even if we didn’t have the car registration deadline looming over us. We were starting to get anxious for the rest of the adventure.

Of course, that didn’t mean we weren’t going to live up another month of relatively carefree life here in CO. We started off the month going for a day-trip up to one of our favorite places in the world, let alone the state.

The little town of Estes Park has always had a special place in Tracy and my relationship. It’s one of the first places we ever went together, and we’ve celebrated a lot of milestones there since then. About an hour northwest of Boulder, it’s a beautiful drive through the mountains to get up there, and it’s a wonderfully quaint town to walk around and explore.





The end of September/beginning of October is one of the best times to head up to the mountains in Colorado in general, but specifically to head to Estes because it’s elk-bugling season. What? You say you’ve never heard of elk-bugling season? Well, what happens is this: when it’s mating season for the elk, the herds will all flood into the town. Usually it’s rare to see elk in Estes Park itself, and you have to go to the neighboring Rocky Mountain National Park to see them, but during this month or so each year, they’re all over the golf courses, playgrounds, soccer fields, etc. There’s usually one bull elk and his harem of females.





He will chase all these females around despite the fact that they are almost always entirely disinterested.



Then the action will pick up for a while when another male will come along and a fight will ensue.



Both during these fights and when trying to attract the females, the male elk will make a “bugling” noise, which is high-pitched and anything but masculine, though very cool to hear up close. One of the males will win out, and chase the other one away into the next field.



Then the winning male will go back to looking tough, but generally being unable to attract the attention of any of the females who usually look like they hate him.



And the losing male will sit around and sulk.



Somewhere in the midst of all of that, the elk mating does actually take place as proven by the new elk born each year, but we luckily rarely had to witness that part.

Here we are with the loser of the day.





After our run-in with the elk for this afternoon, we decided to drive up a little further to the Stanley Hotel. In case you haven’t noticed, Colorado has a lot of these historic hotels, and they all have a lot in common: most people just go to visit for the afternoon but don’t actually stay there, they’re all extremely stately, and they’re all supposed to be very haunted.



The Stanley actually provided Stephen King with the inspiration for the hotel in The Shining. Apparently, he got most of his ideas for the framework of the novel while he and his wife were staying there and enjoying the slightly-creepy ambience. Tracy and I just like to go up there occasionally to enjoy the well-manicured grounds and the beautiful views.





Behind the hotel is a great statue garden.





And inside, the lobby is kept looking relatively historic.







We moved outside and just enjoyed sitting in these rocking chairs for a few minutes, admiring the columns around us and the mountains in front of us.







When we were done exploring, we left The Stanley. After all, as Joey Tribbiani points out, “All blank and no blank make blank a blank blank.” We drove down to the main part of town and parked.



We started walking and quickly had to pass through this tunnel. If ever I expect to get attacked by a dementor in life, it is in this tunnel. It looks EXACTLY like the one they filmed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.



Expecto Patronum!!!



Anyway, we came out the other end, and we rewarded our hard work saving our souls by heading in the direction of our favorite Estes Park establishment for a delicious afternoon beverage.

Continued in Next Post
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1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 02-12-2013, 03:15 AM   #52
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Those pictures of Stupey Doodle are just too adorable!!! I can't even...

It looks so beautiful there! All the colours are gorgeous!

I love Tracys necklace!! Some of the handmade Disney stuff on etsy is just unbelievable!!

Those elk photos are great! Their little ritual is hilarious!! Poor sulking loser elk!!

Geez... so much haunting in Colorado!
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:11 AM   #53
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Those pictures of Stupey Doodle are just too adorable!!! I can't even...

It looks so beautiful there! All the colours are gorgeous!

I love Tracys necklace!! Some of the handmade Disney stuff on etsy is just unbelievable!!

Those elk photos are great! Their little ritual is hilarious!! Poor sulking loser elk!!

Geez... so much haunting in Colorado!
We just love our little Stewpot. She used to be even more photogenic, smiling for the camera whenever we wanted to take pictures of her. Recently, however, she must have decided she doesn't like the flash, so she always looks away at the last minute. Luckily, I've still been able to wrangle a few good pictures out of her.

All the fall color was so great this year to totally surpass anything I ever remember Colorado having before. I guess it was a good autumn for us to crash there.

I really like the couple Disney things we've gotten from Etsy. You'll see in later updates some of the other awesome finds.

I wish I could post a good video of the whole elk experience, bugling included, because it's so funny to watch. It's also crazy being within about ten feet of it all and having them pay you absolutely no mind.

And yes, lots of haunting, and it isn't even close to over yet...
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:17 AM   #54
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Chapter 9
True Love Week


We went into our favorite little coffee joint in Estes Park, Kind Coffee, and Tracy found this raccoon finger puppet of which she was a big fan.



We ordered one of the most delicious coffee drinks in existence, the Kind Shake. It’s basically a Frappucino but with ice cream instead of ice.



We enjoyed our drink along the creek.



After we finished eating, we walked along the water through the length of the little downtown strip.





We cut through one of the shops at one point and enjoyed the downtown area and all the great little shops. We know them all pretty well at this point because very little ever changes here, but that’s certainly part of the charm of the place.





Once we got to the end of the short stretch that comprises the main street, we took a few pictures with some foliage.









Finally, we started making our way back to the car.



On the way back from Estes, we had to stop at the same slow-vehicle pull-off that we always pull over at—in fact, we’ve been pulling over here for almost eight years.



A couple of Tracy and my first dates involved driving up to Estes and just walking around enjoying getting to know each other. On one of these occasions, we pulled over at one of the slow-vehicle pull-offs that dot the road on the way up and down the mountain.



It was in this spot that we had our first kiss in 2005. It’s also to this spot that I brought Tracy in 2009 to propose.





We always make it a point on every trip up to Estes to stop here. About seven years ago, we brought some house paint up with us and painted our initials on the rock there.



It’s faded now, and we need to touch up the paint next time we go up, but it’s still holding up quite well considering all the snow it goes through each year.



Another day in October, we decided to go back up to our wedding location. First we took a stop at Chautauqua Park to walk around and enjoy the views.



Next, we took the drive up Flagstaff Mountain.



We arrived at the Sunrise Circle Amphitheater, where we had our wedding ceremony.



Here was the view of the amphitheater itself.





And here’s the view of the city below that was the backdrop for our wedding.



One of the great things about being back in Boulder for a while was getting to go to some of the places that have meant the most to Tracy and I over the years that we lived there. And now, it’s been fun to revisit them again through pictures as we approach Valentine’s Day. I'm so grateful for Tracy each and every day!

Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 02-13-2013, 04:53 AM   #55
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Colorado is beautiful! I have never been there, but your gorgeous photo's are inspiring me!

I just finished reading "At Home" by Bill Bryson, as it is our book club book this month. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but found I had to concentrate quite a bit, as he tended to go off on tangents!

Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

Hope your job hunting in Anaheim is going well.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:16 AM   #56
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Colorado is beautiful! I have never been there, but your gorgeous photo's are inspiring me!

I just finished reading "At Home" by Bill Bryson, as it is our book club book this month. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but found I had to concentrate quite a bit, as he tended to go off on tangents!

Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

Hope your job hunting in Anaheim is going well.
It really is beautiful! I highly recommend taking a trip there sometime, and I'm sure you'd love it!

Definitely agree about "At Home." It was a totally worthwhile read and I found parts of it fascinating, but he loves to wander off topic a lot. I think this one took me about three months of putting it down for a while and coming back to it on and off before I finally finished.

Hope you keep enjoying hearing about all of our shenanigans!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:26 AM   #57
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Chapter 10
Decisions


In a lot of ways, it felt like October really flew by. Partly, this was because I really wasn’t feeling well for almost the whole month, so rather than our impending move feeling like an exciting prospect for the future, it loomed ahead as a deadline we were marching toward but weren’t at all prepared for. That feeling wasn’t entirely unwarranted. We really didn’t have very concrete of plans. First of all, we were still thinking we would move to L.A., though we didn’t know much about what we planned to do when we got there. We had vague notions of living in the Valley—likely in Burbank or Glendale—and trying to get some sorts of jobs with one of the studios there with the hopes of eventually working for Walt Disney Studios or Imagineering. This plan would have looked a lot rosier if I were in a state in which I could really hope to work, but in October that didn’t seem like even a remote possibility. I would have attacks of pretty severe dizziness at least twice a day, and it honestly felt like every one of the medicines I tried was only making it all worse.

We seriously contemplated just staying put in Colorado on several occasions. It would have been so easy. We knew that we couldn’t exactly remain permanent houseguests with Tracy’s parents forever, but it wouldn’t have been that hard for Tracy to find a decent job in Boulder. We would likely have been able to get on our feet and find a cheap apartment close to our families. I would try to find some sort of work I could do from home, and eventually we would carve out a niche for ourselves in our hometown. But no matter how many times we tried to picture that life, it just seemed incomplete. You’ll note from Tracy and my track record that we rarely play things safe in life. We’re no strangers to throwing ourselves behind some new idea and sticking it out until things eventually go our way or fall apart. We’ve had our fair share of both outcomes. Our New York adventure didn’t end up being the perfect adventure for us, but that’s not to say we didn’t have some fantastic times while we were there and have several unique experiences simply by putting ourselves out there. We weren’t ready to give up on adventure just because things weren’t going perfectly, and staying put in Colorado just felt like we would be settling. That’s not to say there’s absolutely anything wrong with Colorado. As you can tell from the way I talk about it, I revere the place; it was simply that if we were going to end up in Colorado, we would have wanted it to be because that’s where we wanted to live, not because we felt like we didn’t have any other choice.

California still felt so very far away, but it had a couple things we were longing for. Disney was, of course, the main attraction for us. So finally Tracy just threw it out there: why were we planning on moving an hour away from Disneyland when we didn’t actually have any solid prospects in L.A.? Working at Disneyland had never struck us as the smartest decision financially. We knew they paid terribly and it would be hard to match up with the cost of living in Orange County. But we also knew that we couldn’t imagine a place we would be happier to work than Disneyland. Tracy, especially, who has never been passionate about a job before, was able to see herself really enjoying working for Disney, so that was huge. The signs were all starting to point toward Orange County as the place where we should actually be moving.

So we officially decided to change our plan. We began researching where to live in the Anaheim area. We knew Anaheim itself wasn’t supposed to be the nicest place to live, but we were intrigued by Fullerton and Brea, both of which are about 10-20 minutes north of Disneyland. We actually took the most significant step yet toward moving in mid-October. We called UHaul and had them send our UBox from the warehouse in which it was sitting in New Jersey out to California. Somewhat arbitrarily and somewhat because we thought we might end up there, we had it sent to the UHaul location in Fullerton. That step was actually quite huge for us. We no longer were able to view California as a nonspecific entity where we hoped to move—we had just spent thousands of dollars to ship all our worldly possessions out here, so we had no choice but to follow through.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, we were still doing as many fun things in Boulder as we could afford as well as just enjoying our now limited time left with zero responsibility. Tracy’s mom bought a new outdoor fire pit that she had been eyeing for months, so we christened it with a weenie roast on the deck.



This was also when the weather started taking a turn for the cold. Tracy’s parents’ house has a sunroom in the back, and the heat it produces actually heats the whole upstairs of the house pretty well, so they rarely run the heat, even in the winter. There were a couple problems with this, however, because Tracy and my room was in the basement, which did not enjoy any of the heat from the sunroom. On one of the first really cold days, we went downstairs at the end of the night to find the room at a brisk 60 degrees. We put on a space heater and huddled for warmth until it heated up, and that became part of our nightly routine for the remainder of our time in CO. The other problem with the sunroom is that it only heated up when it was actually sunny out. Now, Boulder has a reputation for the sun shining 300 days out of the year. Still, on those rare cloudy days, the sunroom didn’t heat up and the whole house was cold until we ran the heat for a while. But poor Stewy Monster, who (I repeat) is not very bright, would still insist on laying out in the sunroom—where she was used to staying warm—even when it was freezing out there. We’d often come out to find her shivering, so we had to start draping one of her jackets over her when she would lie out there.



On some of the warmer days, we would still go for walks at various scenic locales in the Boulder area, and continued to take lots of good autumn pictures.







Some of my favorites were at Golden Pond in Longmont where the trees were a perfect canopy.





Meanwhile, October’s progression also meant that Halloween was getting nearer. We really enjoy Halloween, as you can see from my Disneyland Halloween trip report, so we were excited! Among the fun things we did to prepare for one of our favorite holidays was bake some cookies. We made the slice-and-bake type at home.



And then we went to our friend Lainey’s new apartment for a Halloween cookie-decorating get-together, where we frosted these.



Here was my attempt at a Mickey pumpkin.



We also bought a deal through one of the local Groupon-type sites for a small farm in Boulder where you could go pick out pumpkins. As a bonus, it was a real, working farm, so they had animals you could pet as well. We were excited for the llamas they had, though none of them were too friendly.



This goat, on the other hand, really enjoyed being pet and didn’t want us to leave.



We went through quite the process carving the pumpkins we got. For the first one, we bought a kit from Target that was almost like a Lite Brite for jack-o’-lanterns.





Stupey was really helpful with the whole pumpkin-carving experience.







After gutting the pumpkin, it was time to insert the colored pegs according to the design.





Once all the pegs were in, there were other little plastic doo-dads to hang on it as we wished.





For the other pumpkin, I decided to try to make a Duffy design. First I drew our favorite bear onto the pumpkin.



Next I carefully scraped off a layer of pumpkin to make a nice Duffy face. It was a huge pain, but it was worth it in the end!



Ta-da!





I was proud of our pumpkins overall!!

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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 02-17-2013, 02:53 AM   #58
PrincessInOz
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Catching up on your amazing pictures.

Firstly, I love that special spot for you and Tracy at Estes Park. That's so nice to have a spot to come back to for all your momentous moments in your relationship. Kudos to you both.

Your pictures of the Aspens are making me really excited about my trip in September. We'll be in the Durango area in the last week of September and I'm really hoping to see wonderful colours like what you've gotten. I know it can be hit and miss depending on the weather....but I'm hoping.

Love the pumpkin Duffy!! Great job!
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:18 AM   #59
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Can I just say, I am loving your life updates!

I read your trip reports, and now am hooked, hooked, on your life updates

I am rooting for you two kids (I say that cause I am way older then you, not because you are kids, you are adults lol )

I hope you continue to post about your adventures, and also, you two seem to be very much each other's best friend, and it really shows.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:40 AM   #60
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Quote:
Recently, however, she must have decided she doesn't like the flash, so she always looks away at the last minute.
This made me laugh pretty hard! Sounds like she has such a personality!!

Awh you guys are such a cute couple! I love how much these spots mean to you both and how much history is there!

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Quote:
You’ll note from Tracy and my track record that we rarely play things safe in life. We’re no strangers to throwing ourselves behind some new idea and sticking it out until things eventually go our way or fall apart.
I think that is the best way to live, otherwise you spend you life wondering...

That picture of the canopy of trees is amazing! It just looks so lovely there!
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