Monday, July 17, 2017

New River Gorge, West Virginia

My husband was born and raised here in West Virginia but he went away when he joined  the military.  He spent most of his 20 years of service  overseas so he never really got the chance to see much of his home state.  When we came back here in the US and settled down for good after he retired from the Navy, I wanted to explore the  beautiful mountain state. 

 The New River Gorge is one of the many attractions here in WV but we have never been there because it is a 4 hour drive from our city.  In fact my husband  have never seen it  even though he was  born here.  But as a treat to our daughter's  12th birthday, we finally went and see it last Sunday.  I can tell my husband was dreading the  long hours of drive but he was glad we did it when he saw how beautiful it was down state.  It was worth it.
To be able to see the New River Gorge Bridge, we went to Hawks Nest State Park.  They offer jet boats ride  tour in the river.   We rode  a tram going down and there was a one hour wait  before the next  jet boat ride  so we had the chance to  explore the place.  Nature has always been my favorite spot of relaxation so it was a treat for me.  There was so many butterflies  in that place.  
I love  the set up of the state park.  If you want the jet boat tour, you have to  ride the tram also so it was kind of a package.  However, you can go down and see the  river without riding the tram, you can  walk down the Lovers Leap trail which I wanted to do but we had limited time so we didn't get to do that.
Hawks Nest State Park is located in Ansted West Virginia.  We drove 320 miles from our place and back.
We had a great time riding the  jet boat as the captain was very funny.  He was an older witty man who told us a lot of jokes
The captain took us upstream  to see the famous New River Gorge bridge.  The ride is 6 miles long and it takes approximately 25-30 minutes.  
It was a very relaxing  tour, my husband was all smiles.  We all enjoyed the  ride especially  with a captain that made the  ride very entertaining.
According to the captain of the boat, the New River Gorge bridge was completed  in 1977.  It is the longest  single span steel arch  bridge in the Western Hemisphere.   Spanning the  picturesque New River at 876 feet high.  The bridge is a spectacular site  and has become a nationally recognized  icon for Southern West Virginia.  
 Locals   just calls it "The Bridge" according to the captain.  We couldn't advanced the boat due to the  rough water flowing through.  This is the place where  they do  white water rafting.  We passed by  a lot of folks that does that.  I want to do white water rafting, maybe when the kids are old enough to do that, we will come back there and do it.
So after a 30 minute minute of relaxing tour, it's time to head up and ride the tram again.
Folks downstate are so friendly.   They make  every visitor feel so welcome.  The old lady that was  receiving the tickets  before the jet boat ride was originally from England.  My husband talked to her and we  just love hearing her talk because of her English accent.
If you want to connect with nature and have an invigorating  experience of natural beauty, West Virginia has it.  Take a deep breath and head downstate, you'll find national and state parks  that offers some of the most breath taking  natural settings in the world.  
Southern West Virginia is blessed  with ten spectacular state parks that offers breath taking scenery.  There's a lot of historical sites, fabulous golf, hunting and fishing, resort style lodges, and  wonderful camping sites.
My husband  wants to return there  where we can  stay for a couple of days and  fully explore the  place.  I told him we can  go back  and celebrate our wedding anniversary there, that would be romantic.  There's nothing  like bonding with nature.  At least for me because I love  outdoors.  There's more  pics to come in the  next  post or two so tune in.
Here's some clips of the tour.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Road Trip to Indiana PA, The Christmas Tree Capital of the World

After a disappointing car hunting trip but later  turned to a fun road trip to Columbiana Ohio, we headed to Indiana, PA the next day.  Driving  to Pennsylvania, I feel so  different whenever we drive  to Ohio.  For some reason, I feel relax with our  road trips in Ohio than PA.  I think it has something to do with  the roads we  take.  In Ohio, we usually  go on  mostly farm area roads while when we go to PA,  it is always on the highway.  I think it all depends on the places we go but that is just how I feel.  I still enjoy  any road trips though.
 We left  around 11 in the morning, right  after my daughter's piano lesson.  I had the time to prepare some fruit snack.  I  scooped  some watermelon balls and brought  some trail mix to nibble on our way.  It took us almost 2 hours to reach our destination driving 94.2 miles from our city.
Although there are farm lands in PA, I still favored  going on road trips in Ohio side, I just love the relaxing  scenery there compared to PA.  Again, that's just my personal opinion.
Anyway, here are some of the photos I took during the trip.
According to Wikipedia, "Indiana is a borough and the principal city of the Indiana, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.  The borough and the region as a whole promotes itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" because the national Christmas Tree Grower's Association was founded there. There are still a large number of Christmas tree farms in the area." We have seen  some  Pine tree farms  on our way there and hubby and I wondered if  they grow it to sell on Christmas or  what.  That's why  searched on it online when we arrived home.
We didn't really have time to explore  because there was a time crunch but we enjoyed the ride.
Indiana is another  quaint  city.  It seems like   people there are so friendly.  We ate at their Eat 'n Park restaurant and everybody  greet you with a smile.  I opened a door for an old woman and she  gave me the sweetest smile and thank me for  being "kind".
We passed by this big  ranch or mansion  and the kids were inspired.  They dream of  getting a good job when they grow up and getting them a big house.  I told them that  a big house is not really necessary  that they should focus on having a comfortable life and healthy lifestyle and not bury themselves in debt just to have nice things.  They got the point but they still  dream of  having a mansion lol.  Well, it is good to have dreams so I will let them dream about stuff.  I also told them that if they put their mind to  becoming successful, anything can happen and  anything is possible.  That's one good thing about road trips too, the conversation you make with your family is  precious.
The kids  got excited when we  drove by Punxsutawney, they remembered the  famous ground hog, Punxsutawney Phil.  Ground hog is one of their favorite  wild animals.  We  are always on the look out for them  when we  drive as they are  fun to watch when they eat and do their stuff.
I am not sure what kind of industrial  establishment is this but they are huge.
Seeing farm animals along the way is always a great bonus for us.
When we do road trips, I feel bad for my husband because we all  get tired and wants to fall asleep but he can't take a rest because he  is the  official driver.  He doesn't complain at all, he loves being on the road, in fact almost every time, he wants to go constantly.  For me, I am good  staying at home or  go somewhere, I am a good sports as long as I won't drive lol.

While the guys inspect and ponder upon whether or not  they get the this Saturn Sky or not, my daughter and I spent our time having fun outside enjoying the view and  taking pictures. 
  The reason why my husband wants this sports car  because  he said it can be a collectible someday since they stopped  making it.  I can see how in-love he  is on this car so I gave him the go to  get it.
 Oh did I tell you that my son is as obsessed as his Dad with this car is?  Yep, they do share the same passion on cars,.  The way they  describe  car sometimes, you would think they are talking about a hot lady model.   I could care less of how car looks like, as long as  it takes you from Point A to Point B without problem, that's what matters.  For men, it's a different  case lol.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Columbiana Ohio, The City with a Small Town Heart

I love spontaneous road tripping with  my family.  Last Friday, my husband texted me around 2 pm   from work  and asked if  we would like to  drive down Columbiana Ohio to look at  the Saturn Sky that he likes.  I am always for a good adventure so I immediately texted him back and said "YES".  Since it was kind of rushed and unplanned, I got out the door without taking my camera with which I regret immensely because I can only take pictures with my phone through Instagram and the photos aren't really of good quality.  But anyway, here are some snap shots of our trip through my phone.  Passing by  Stratton, Ohio, it's always beautiful and relaxing to travel  by the river.  We can see West Virginia on the other side.
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This photo isn't mine

Columbiana, according to their website is the City with a small town heart.  The city is formerly known as the Village of Columbiana.  It is conveniently located 17 miles from Youngstown, 78 from Cleveland, 58 miles from Pittsburgh, 165 miles from Columbus and 55 miles from Akron, Columbiana offers commercial areas, an Industrial Park, manufacturing and foundries.  

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They have really neat things out there but it was raining so we couldn't really go out the car and explore.  I wanted to see their antique, craft and gift shops but the rain hindered us from doing it.  Back to the main reason why we went to Columbiana, my husband was  very disappointed because  a mile before we reached the garage, the salesman  called him and said that the  car was sold.  It was kind of annoying because we drove 43.6 miles just to look at the car and here it was sold already.  We thought that was kind of shady but I told my husband that it is not meant to be.  Since we were already down there, we took some time to drive around.  
My husband  said that there was a nearby car garage in Carrolton so we thought of driving down there as well so our trip won't be wasted.  We passed by Lisbon Ohio, it was another really  quaint  town.  The house are super nice, some are old style and we enjoyed   seeing them.  According to Wikipedia, Lisbon is a village in Center Township, Columbiana County, Ohio,  The population was 2,821 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Columbiana County.  If it wasn't late, we would have stopped there and  looked around because the rain have stopped at this time.
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It's nice   driving around the farm side of Ohio.  It was  peaceful but at the same time makes us worry if we are heading the right direction.  We were driving like in the middle of nowhere lol.  When we reached Carrolton, we decided to grab a little bite at their local  Dairy Queen.  The people out there are so  friendly and we found that when you order a small  cone of ice cream, it was like the medium size here in our town.  The kids were like "Oh my!"
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Even though we didn't accomplish the main reason why we went there, we had fun with this unplanned trip.  We dropped by at the  Guess Car Garage  after looking at the cars at the other auto place that we originally planned to  look at.  My husband attentiong was caught when he saw a corvette but my son talked him into looking at the  Mustang GT.  They test drove it while my daughter and I waited in the car.  They took so long and I was getting worried that my husband  bought it out of frustration lol.  Glad he did not!
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A heavy rain poured down on us as we were heading home.  As we are  passing by Salem Ohio, we can't help but notice all the pretty house in there too.  Road trip is such a fun thing to do for   families.  You get to see places that are different and unique.

Preparing for Back & Neck Surgery

You’ve made the decision, with plenty of input from your medical team and doctor. It’s time for back or neck surgery, but chances are that you may be worried. It’s only natural to be concerned, especially if you don’t have a history of surgery. While this is natural, there’s no reason for you to stay that way. The best thing you can do to alleviate your fears is start preparing now, both physically and mentally, for your surgery. In addition to making you feel better, proper preparation is an important part of ensuring a smooth recovery. Breaking the process down into different sections will help make things easier.


Preparing Mentally

Your best weapon when it comes to fighting fear about back, neck, or any other surgery is education. For example, when it comes to treating cervical nerve compression, there are two main surgical options: traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive procedures. These minimal procedures generally are performed through a small incision, with no muscle disruption. This is only one condition out of the many that can affect the back and neck, so it’s important to know what is going on.

Interestingly enough, though, this doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, some people, known as “blunters” may actually do worse with an overabundance of information. For people like these, it may be important to put together a support network of friends and family to help handle some of the information and logistics of preparing for surgery (more on this later). In fact, some level of support is a good idea, no matter how you are approaching the surgery.

The good news, if you want as much information as possible, is that we live in a time where there is more accessible information than ever. The bad news is that it can be difficult to tell what is applicable to your situation. To circumvent this, be sure to choose your sources wisely when it comes to incorporate tips into your preparation. Good places to start are from formal medical sources or reputable industry organizations like Back Pain Centers. When in doubt, run the advice you read by your medical professional of choice to get their input.


Preparing Physically

Depending on your own health, the nature of your condition, and the procedure that you go through, you will likely have a limited capacity of motion and energy following your surgery. This is often especially the case with surgery on the neck and the back. As a result, you want to be prepared physically and logistically for your recovery before you go under the knife.

For starters, if you know your mobility will be hindered for a while, there are several things you can buy to help out, such as toilet risers or grabbers so you won’t have to bend over. It may also be a good idea to rearrange certain items in your home to minimize the amount of reaching or waist movement you have to do. Some call it “recover-proofing.” Another good idea is prepping meals in advance and freezing them. This means you don’t have to cook or over rely on junk food or delivery, if you don’t have someone available to cook for you. Of course, there is the logistical piece of recovery as well. Be sure to give your workplace and other commitments plenty of advance notice, so both of you can make this time as peaceful and smooth as possible. Being stressed about work does not make for good habits during your recovery.


What To Do Afterwards

After surgery, if you have prepared well, you won’t have too many surprises to worry about, but there are some things you can implement to make things a bit easier for you. A lot of this is just keeping to the instructions your medical professional gives you and keeping to good lifestyle habits. These include getting regular adequate sleep, keeping hydrated, and holding back on refined sugars. In addition, some may recommend that you consume higher levels of protein, as the body needs it to heal.

Back and neck surgery has a wide variance of procedures, from duration to invasiveness to potential aftereffects. Knowing what to do and setting up your body for the smoothest recovery possible doesn’t just mean that you get back to work or your regular life quicker. It can also mean a better quality of life, considering how important back and neck health are. Be sure to use some of the tips here and not be afraid to ask questions to put yourself at ease before and after your procedure.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tappan Lake - Ohio: Part 2

I love spontaneous trips because we get to do whatever pleases us unlike  scheduled ones where you have to be   at the place at a certain time  for some scheduled activities.  This trip we took to the little Switzerland in Ohio is  awesome.  Every time we  go there, the kids  always had a great time as they  are able to see the vast  beauty of nature including this lake.  We didn't stay very much on this  lake but it was enough to enjoy a short break of sitting in the car and enjoy what nature has to offer.  
If  it weren't for the fact that we are trying to finish our fence project, we would have went on another road trip  this weekend but we just did not have time.  When we are done with this, we will surely go on another  one  so that the kids can enjoy their summer break seeing other places.
Tappan Lake is such a relaxing place, you get to watch  people enjoying their boat rides.  I love listening to the  water, it is soothing to me.  The gentle waves kissing the  rocks  reminds me of the calm sea that I used to listen to growing up in a coastal region of  the country I was born and raised.  I miss the place.
Hubby and I  said that  these people that lives nearby the lake are so lucky  because they can just  go on the water with no problem.  For us, we have to drive a long way to be able to enjoy it.
If I live near a lake like this, I would probably buy a boat so  that  we can all have a relaxing time  during the weekend or invite friends over and have a tour around the  lake.
These minions are  always looking for some interesting things no matter where we go.  My son always pick up a rock or a shell or whatever that interests him and bring it at home.  He loves collecting stuff, small things  that will remind  him of our trip.

This quote by Diane Ackerman is what's in my mind when looking around the lake.  The only difference is, I am thinking of the ocean during my childhood.
"Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. " 

I hope that my kids will be able to tell their own children these fun trips that we make when they are  these ages.  I never had any experience such as road trips but I sure enjoyed my childhood with just appreciating what nature has to offer for us.  We didn't have to go anywhere to enjoy our summer, just swimming in the ocean was  a great memory for me.
That's why no matter how far am place can be, hubby and I try to  take them so they would experience and see things that we don't have around here in our small  city.
I am  fortunate that my husband  loves to  be outdoors as well.  He never have any   problem driving all the time.  In fact, he gets bored at home when he is off lol.
So if you are driving around  Ohio, try to  check out  Tappan Lake, it is a beautiful body of water.  They have a park which was on the other side of this  rest stop and they have  a lot of things to do there.  

New River Gorge, West Virginia

My husband was born and raised here in West Virginia but he went away when he joined  the military.  He spent most of his 20 years of servi...

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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