Friday, September 10, 2010

Delaney won the National Book Festival Official Bookmark Contest Sponsored by Borders!

Delaney loves to read, and she also likes to draw... what a perfect combination for her to enter a Bookmark Contest sponsored by Borders. During the summer, she designed and created her bookmark and took it into our local Borders store at the mall to enter the contest.

There were three levels to get through to try to win! First, you had to win at the local store level; then, you had to win at the state level; finally, all the state winners were competing for the top three spots. What a tough process to get through, so imagine Delaney's surprise as she kept getting calls from Borders that her bookmark kept winning! Then she received the major call that her bookmark was the Grand Prize winner -- she was beside herself with excitement!

Borders just released a press announcement. It’s weird -- if you put “sixth grader from Indiana wins” in Google – Delaney shows up everywhere!!! :-)

Here is the winning bookmark:

Her bookmark is the official bookmark of the National Book Festival this year. Her bookmark will be "distributed to tens of thousands of book lovers when they descend on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the Festival Sept. 25". How neat is that?

What did she win? Well, at the store level she was awarded with a certificate showing that she was the local winner; then at the state level she was awarded with a certificate and a $25 Borders gift card; then at the grand prize level she was awarded with a $500 Borders gift card as well as a $500 Borders gift card for her school library. Simply amazing!

Way to go, Delaney! We are all so excited and proud for your accomplishment!

Dad, Mom & Bro


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Palm Springs 15th Wedding Anniversary Trip!

We had purchased some raffle tickets for a fundraiser with the LAM Foundation, and somehow we won one of the trips to Palm Springs! The prize package included staying at the Hilton Palm Springs (right at the bottom of the mountains), a gift certificate to their spa, free breakfasts at the hotel, a gift certificate for lunch for two at Sherman's Deli & Bakery, a gift certificate to Riccio's Steak & Seafood (we couldn't even use it all!), as well as a gift certificate to The Wardrobe (ladies apparel). How fun is that?

We flew into the Palm Springs International Airport, which is the prettiest airport I think we've ever seen. It has an open air concept, so we were immediately enjoying the lovely sunny weather right when we arrived.

This was the view almost everywhere, palm trees all over with the mountains in the background. Absolutely gorgeous! It was so weird to think that we were basically in the middle of the desert.

We were able to check in right away, and we had a small beautiful suite. We remembered to take pictures of the room before we messed it up this time! Wasn't it lovely?

And here was the view outside our balcony, we had a beautiful scene of the outdoor pool. We decided it was a good thing we had kiddos at home, or we could have easily just never come home!!!

We were hungry from our four hour, non-stop flight (long time to be in an airplane, especially if you need oxygen to fly - UGH!). So we quickly redeemed our first gift certificate at the deli and had a wonderful lunch, actually there was too much food!

Kenny was brave and tried something brand new -- their chef's specialty, beef 'n latkas. While I went for the basic turkey melt -- I'm not all that adventurous when it comes to new foods, and I was hungry! I didn't want something I couldn't eat. :-)

We went to bed super late the night before, trying to make sure we covered all the bases with the kids -- their school, soccer, and everything that needed packed for them -- as well as trying to finish up our packing. So I was pretty tired, and I think I could have easily just called it a day and gone to bed early. However, Kenny was ready to go sightsee and talked me into just driving around and checking Palm Springs out. It did wake me up a bit. It was so beautiful out, we got to do some shopping, and we even watched a movie at the Imax - Inception. It was a very unique, complex movie -- you really have to pay attention or you'll easily get lost. It definitely kept me awake to the end! I was also able to redeem the gift certificate for a beautiful dress at The Wardrobe too. Definitely had fun with that, now I just need my husband to plan more date nights!!!

Basically, every morning we just put on our swimsuits and headed down to the pool. I was able to read several books, including a great trilogy by Matthew Reilly: Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, and The Five Greatest Warriors. If you are a fan of James Rollins, Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, Steve Berry, etc. -- you will definitely enjoy this series.

Kenny apparently took more pictures than I was even aware of, while I was enjoying the sun in my bikini -- I'll spare you from seeing those!!! Our breakfast coupons only lasted until 11:00am, which I think was the only thing that got us up and moving from the pool. We had a delicious brunch late every morning, and either got ready or went back to the pool to hang out some more. It's so nice not being on a schedule sometimes. LOL

Kenny redeemed the spa gift certificate for a massage this morning, and then we dressed up and headed out to Riccio's Steak and Seafood for a nice evening meal. We sat out on their patio seating and just enjoyed the beautiful view and weather.

The next day we took a scenic trip through the mountains (at times a little harrowing, my passenger brake pedal just wasn't working properly!), as well as taking a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

This is a shot of the other car on their way down, as we were on our way up! The floor inside rotates 360 degrees the entire time you are riding, so you can see from every viewpoint. It is a 10 minute trip, 2-1/2 miles long starting you at elevation 2,643 feet and ending at elevation 8,516 feet!

Kenny isn't a big fan of these cable rides, so it was a big concession for him to ride one. :-) Although, I must admit that I wasn't all that thrilled when we had to go over a tower and the entire car rocked back and forth for a while.

But the views from above were simply breathtaking! There are a variety of activities available there, including nature walks and hiking trails (which I don't even think I could do with oxygen now) -- so we just did their Ride n' Dine option. We had a nice meal and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery.

Then somehow after another lazy morning at the pool, it was time to get ready to head back home. It was a wonderful trip, celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary just a bit early (September 2nd). Back to reality!!!

Ken & Dani