Tag Archives: 2015

Best of 2015

‘Tis the season for “best of” lists, posts and look backs, so here’s one more! Below are my favorites from my 2015 archives. It’s been a year of big changes in our family, and the amount of posts that did (and didn’t!) make it up on the blog tells me how much things have shifted. The images below were chosen for their quality, but as tends to happen, they also represent several highlights of 2015: A spring trip out West, birding at Tawas Point, fall apple picking and our many trips to Meijer Gardens.

Life Changes

It’s not over yet, and already it’s been a big year in our house. In early 2015 we found out I was pregnant with our first child and this fall, husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world. She arrived almost two weeks early – no doubt the first of many surprises she has in store for us.

Little One

As we move towards the end of 2015, it’s amazing to think how much our lives have changed during this year. Welcome to our world little one. We’re completely in love with you and so excited you’re part of our family. xo

Opening of the Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens

After trying to peek past the fencing surrounding the construction of the Japanese Garden on numerous trips to Meijer Gardens, the new space opened to members last Thursday before the public unveiling on Saturday. Besides lots of beautiful trees and plants, there are numerous paths, waterfalls and sculptures surrounding large ponds. It’s a big, beautiful and tranquil space I can’t wait to spend more time in. And with all that water, I’m really curious to see what Michigan waterfowl finds its way to the ponds.

A Little Upgrade to the Herb Garden

Last summer, after a little Pinterest inspiration, my herb garden underwent a makeover. I was excited to discover this spring that all but two herbs and the tomato plant survived the Michigan winter. After planting replacement rosemary, cilantro and tomato plants, I decided the plants needed prettier labels and found these stainless steel labels on Amazon. They make a nice addition, don’t you think?

A Different View of Spring Butterflies

The surest sign of spring in Grand Rapids is the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit at Frederik Meijer Gardens. Despite the chilly temps outside and snow still on the ground, every March and April the hot and humid Meijer Gardens Conservatory fills with tropical butterflies and thousands of visitors.

We live in a world where it seems everyone has a camera, so my goal when photographing butterflies at the Gardens is to find a different angle. I have lots of the typical side-profile-of-pretty-butterflies shots, but here are some images from this year’s exhibit that aren’t the usual.

Spring Break in the Southwest

Amazing how time gets away from us. I swear we just came back from vacation but it turns out two months have gone by and I’m just now getting around to posting the photos.

I love vacation – a chance to get away from home, gain new experiences and have some fun. Our vacations usually involve visiting family and/or returning to our favorite places. This spring husband and I decided to do vacation a little differently, and go to a place where we wouldn’t know anyone and where neither one of us had ever been.

I’ve wanted to go to Las Vegas for years, but have consistently been told “you only need a day or two in Vegas.” That’s a pricey plane ticket for a day or two, so on the suggestion of a good friend, we took a look at the national parks in the area and were amazed to discover how many were withing driving distance of Las Vegas. Husband had been to Vegas for work, but hadn’t had the opportunity to venture outside of the city. So in March, for the first time since our honeymoon 10 years ago, we headed off on a vacation with no one to act as tour guide and only each other for company.

Our original plan was to fly into Vegas, rent a car, and then head to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion Park and back to Vegas for a day on the Strip. In reality, we had missed two big details: (1) neither one of us is big on heights – I am particularly terrified – and (2) while it may be 70+ degrees in Vegas, when you get into the upper elevations in early March it’s still winter and there’s a lot of snow on the ground. And so we improvised, spending less time in a couple of the parks and adding in a couple of others at the recommendation of some very helpful park rangers.

Here’s the map of our trip. We put 1,800 miles on the rental car:

For more on each leg of our trip, click on the images below for photos and details of our adventures at each location: