Sunday, October 24, 2010

How I missed you, San Diego - July 16-18, 2010

Justin got tired of hearing me complain about the cold, rainy weather here in Oregon, so he finally decided it was time to take me back to sunny Southern California. The down side - it finally warmed up in Oregon, and we're leaving. Haha so ironic. But, the last thing I was going to do was complain. So we headed out. I had arranged to stay with Sterling and Renee Johnson in Carlsbad. He was my Bishop in the single's ward there and the two of them became like second parents to me. It was so great to see them and visit with them. They were so generous to let us stay with them.

We stopped off at the temple on our way up to Carlsbad and went through a session for old time sakes. I worked in the temple for a few months before I moved up to Oregon and they were some of the most spiritual experiences of my life. It was great to be back and remember some of the wonderful experiences I had. Justin and I have had a few special moments of our own there as well.

Later that day we met up with Stewart and Rachel Heaton and Melissa Hoy. Rachel was my old roommate and Melissa was my best friend in California and one of my councilors in the Relief Society Presidency when I was there. They had both just had babies two months prior so I got to see them for the first time. We all went to lunch out on Ruby's on the pier in Oceanside. It was delicious as always! (Note: obviously this picture isn't from our meeting them for lunch since it's dark, but I wanted to give an idea of what the pier scene is like.)

That Friday night, we headed down to San Diego to catch a Padres game. I have always loved Petco Park. It's right in the middle of the city, and actually has old buildings incorporated into the Park walls. The greatest part about it, was the free tickets we got. We were standing in the ticket line and a man walked up to us asking if there were only two of us that needed tickets. When we confirmed that, he handed us a couple of tickets and told us he worked for a local TV station and wasn't going to be able to use them that night. They were season tickets right behind home plate..perfect!!! We had such a great time...for free!

Saturday, we spent the day at Sea World. I hadn't been for a couple of years and Justin hadn't been since he was in San Diego back in High School.

We planned out the day so we could see all the main shows and be able to walk around to see the tanks and other animals too. We caught the day shows and the night shows. It's so amazing how they train those animals. We loved the dolphin show and the Shamu shows of course. Luckily none of the trainers got hurt while we were there. :)

We stopped at the arctic exhibit to see the polar bears and the walruses. We got a very close encounter with the walrus. We thought maybe he could see his reflection in the window and thought it was another walrus because he kept ramming his head into the glass and getting all agitated. Or maybe it's because we are all a lot scarier looking that we think. Either way, it was a little intimidating seeing him so close and aggressive with only the glass separating us. We got some cool pics of him with my phone though.

Sea World was everything we hoped it would be! We had a great time and the weather was perfect!

We got to visit one of the Carlsbad wards on Sunday to catch up with a few more old friends. After visiting with the Johnsons for a while after church, we headed to the airport. It was a great trip and we had so much fun seeing old friends and enjoying the beautiful weather. Of course we enjoyed our awesome rental car as always...a bright blue Chevy Aveo with a two missing hubcaps. Pretty amazing!!! I'm just sad I missed getting a picture of that one. It was a gem.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big Sky for the 4th of July

We went to visit Justin's dad, Tom, and his wife Judy in Twin Bridges, Montana for the 4th of July this year. We opted to fly up this time since we didn't have a lot of time off work. We got picked up at the Bozeman airport and headed straight for McKenzie River Pizza because we were starving. Justin's friend Jaren met us there and the two of them shared a big plate of loaded nachos, since apparently that's what they always do when they get together. Hmm...

Oh and I should probably say that we got new phones this week...Verizon Droids. We got a killer deal (buy one get one free) so we had to get them. This is Justin's first Smart Phone experience, so life is pretty entertaining for him now. He can check baseball scores every minute if he wants. It's like Heaven. Anyway, my "Incredible" has a pretty incredible camera on it so I was playing around with it most of the weekend, which is why I feel I have to explain myself.

When we got to Twin Bridges, Justin was put to work mowing the lawn. Was he upset about it?...absolutely not! I think the thing that excites him the most about owning a home is also owning a lawn tractor to take care of the grass. He was in heaven...obviously!

We took a tour of the house and the property so I could gain an appreciation for the "toys" that are there. There are all kinds of tractors and attachments to them in a large garage built specifically for that purpose. Justin pointed out the corals that he and Jason pounded poles for. We checked out the 4 horses and made plans to ride the next day. I got to see the shed full of Justin's Tonka trucks and loaders that he took such great care of because they "might come in handy some day." I also got to see the books and books of baseball and basketball cards that he collected when he was little. It was incredible! That night we just took it easy at the house. It was so great to be able to just sit around and talk and relax. I forget how beautiful it is here!

Happy 4th of July! When we woke up this morning, Judy asked what we wanted for breakfast. She showed me her pantry and gave some options. I noticed an Ebleskiver mix and asked if she had a pan. I explained that mom used to make them for us for every birthday, so I thought this day would be fitting. We broke out the pan and mixed up a batch. They were as delicious as always!

We went to church today with Tom and Judy in the Sheridan ward and then took off to celebrate the 4th in Virginia City.

Virginia City is an old mining town an hour away from Twin that has been refurbished into Museums and shops. There is an old steam train that takes passengers for rides up the valley. There are old fire wagons that they use to take people on driving tours around the town. We walked up and down the main street, stopping in all of the little shops and historical sites along the way.

We got some delicious home made ice cream and ate it while we watched a man turning the big handle that churns the cream. It was really fun!

We headed back to the house to relax for a few hours before returning to Virginia City to watch the fireworks. Justin took me out in the big black and red Ford truck that they drove in high school. We drove all over town and he relived some old memories. We drove down some back roads to look for deer. It was so amazingly green and beautiful there.

While we were driving, we saw close to 100 bucks out in a field. They were pretty close but we didn't get a good picture of them all. As we drove off, two of them on the other side of the road from the rest of the herd started running along side us. We figured they were trying to outrun us to get across the road. They aren't the smartest animals because one of them jumped the fence, got is antlers stuck in the fence, and got whipped around and slammed into the ground right in front of our truck. He jumped up and ran off pretty quickly but it was intense.

That night we saw the fireworks from the steps of the courthouse in Virginia City. There were a few drinkers out so it provided some nice entertainment as they yelled at the fireworks. They were pretty neat for a small town.

We headed home the next day and had a flight through Seattle. As we made our way from Seattle to Portland, the pilot got on the PA and informed us we had a few extra minutes so he wanted to take us on a detour. We ended up flying around the rim of Mount St Helen's. I was so excited about the picture I got from my cell phone from the airplane window. It was really cool to see it that close.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

June 26, 2010 - Cannon Beach

Obviously, we don't really stay put very much. Yes, there are times I just want to stay home, but we have so much fun and are enjoying it as much as we can, while we can. This weekend's destination is another of Oregon's beauties - Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is north of Newport, west of Portland. This beach is most well know for it's appearance in the movie Goonies. yes, that ups it's coolness factor significantly!

The beach is beautiful and lots of people come here to sun bathe and play on the sand. This sand is softer and warmer than the sand in Newport, just west of Corvallis. We walked around and played in the sand for a bit. Kite flying is huge here as the ocean breeze provides the constant wind necessary. There was a couple who brought dish soap in huge tubs with long PVC pipes connected with string to make gigantic bubbles. You could fit a person inside these bubbles they were so big. They would pop over people's heads and soak them with soap.

There was a wedding taking place in a tent that they had set up on the beach. As a prop, they had set up this boat with actual plants buried in the sand around it. I didn't know they were using it for the wedding initially. I was so confused as to how this boat got washed up the shore this far and why it was still there. Also, why were these the only plants growing on the entire beach. Seemed like a crazy coincidence. Turns out it was!

We also made our way to Seaside, the neighboring town, where the Lewis and Clark trail ends. We got our picture taken at the monument that's there. Pretty cool I guess. Just another thing to cross off the list of "to do's."

As we were walking down the street in Seaside, we smelled smoke and looked over and saw a Corvette on fire in the street. People were just standing around watching. Genius, considering the thing could explode at any moment. It was intoxicating smoke. It smelled like burnt plastic and rubber.

We walked around downtown, stopping in a few of the little shops that were appealing. We got some carmel corn and some taffy. Justin got a piece of pizza to tie him over until dinner. The town was so charming and cute! It helped that it was such a perfect day.

We went back to Cannon Beach that evening and Justin started a fire. We had made tinfoil dinners in advance and kept them in a cooler. We waited for the perfect coals and cooked them to perfection. People were so jealous as they walked by smelling our delicious meals. We roasted a couple of marshmallows for s'mores too. The sunset was incredible and to share this all with my best friend and love of my life was perfect! Oh how I am grateful for him. Another perfect day!

June 12, 2010 - Silver Falls Oregon

I've been here in Oregon now for almost 6 months and have barely scratched the surface of all the beautiful sights there are to see here. One of those sights, I can now cross off the list...Silver Falls. They are so close so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit!

Silver Falls are a series of 5 waterfalls between Salem and Portland, just north of where we live. We didn't have tons of time today for it, but there is a trail that you can hike that takes you to all the different falls. We just made it to the main one that everyone wants to see. It was a beautiful day and we weren't disappointed with the falls.

My husband is so strong!!! What a goof!

We taught a teenage boy how to use a camera for the first time so we could get a picture together. I'm pretty sure he belonged to the mennonites or some religious group that doesn't use modern technology and suggests wearing homemade clothing (girls wear dresses.) When we asked him to take a picture, he looked at us like we had asked him to fly a spaceship to the moon. Justin showed him how to center us in the display box and push the button on the top of the camera to take the picture. The picture didn't turn out so well, but we were glad to have given him the opportunity because he was very excited about having done it when he gave the camera back.

We found a giant ant pile while we were walking down a path. I'm pretty sure everyone's first instinct is to throw something at an ant pile. Well, you need not be disappointed because that's exactly what Justin did. We even got it on video. Brutal? Maybe. But it was amusing...more so watching the person doing the throwing than the actual ant pile. ;)

On our way home, I made Justin stop several times so I could pick some wild flowers. He regretfully obliged me. I got a beautiful bouquet, but we both suffered the consequences. All of the fields are pollenating right now and we both have allergies.

Allergies + Pollen in visible clouds rising up from the grass fields = MISERY

This area of Oregon is the #1 grass seed producing area in the world! Ugh!!!

June 3 - June 6, 2010 - Keri's Wedding

I know this is disgustingly sappy, but it was so tough to be away from Justin for a weekend. I told you, we love each other! I left for my friend Keri Watts' wedding in Utah on Thursday morning, June 3rd, and returned on Sunday, June 6th. I don't know many people still in Utah, so after I saw all of them, and saw Keri married off, I got lonely...thus I missed my hunny! It didn't help that Shannon was down in St. George for the weekend. What are the chances?! Thanks for not planning your schedule around me Shannon!!! :)

Keri is one of my best friends in the world, and will be forever. It was so great to be there for her beautiful wedding. Her family, especially her parents, are some of my favorite people in the world! She looked so gorgeous and was so radiantly happy. I'm so glad I was able to make it!

Her bouquet was so beautiful!!! Since I left mine in the temple and didn't get many pictures of it, I decided to take a couple of hers. The memory of my bouquet will live vicariously through the picture of hers.

Look at this crazy truck I saw on I-15! Yes I took out my camera, while driving, and slowed down enough to let this truck come alongside of me so I could take a picture. It has three doors on each side!!! It's like a Suburban truck! CRAZY!!! Only a rancher/farmer in Utah (with a bazillion kids) would need this!

I was walking up to my sister's apartment in Pleasant Grove and this little baby bird hopped up to my shoe and started attacking it. No kidding!!! Poor little thing was starving I guess, but my shoe? Wasn't exactly sure what to do. It was cute, but man that little guy was aggressive!

May 8, 2010 - Seattle's Snoqualmie Falls

Fast forward one month and we're in Seattle visiting Tammy and Steve and their family as well as Brent and Allison. My nephew Steven had the lead in his school play and we wanted to come support him. He played Apollo, the Greek god of light and sun. We were really impressed with his acting abilities. He had to sing, dance, fight, play the handsome heart throb, and everything else acting in a play entails. Look out Broadway...

The next day we decided to take a trip to Snoqualmie Falls located just outside of Seattle. We hiked up there with Steve, Tammy, and all the kids.

Sophie got a little tired and opted to be carried most of the time. Smart girl!!! I don't think Justin will forget his hat next time. Or maybe he will?...

I love my sister!

We take advantage of any opportunity we have for someone to take a picture for us. We usually settle for the self portraits that are fun but usually only show our two ginormous heads and nothing in the background.

It's amazing how much easier the hike down was than the hike back up the hill back to the cars. What goes down, must come back up...if you want to go home. :) It was worth it though - so beautiful! And who says the weather in Seattle can't be nice? Yeah, we got lucky!

April 8 and 9, 2010- Our First Visitors

Yes, it is only a week after we were married, but why should that stop people from visiting us?! We actually have had two visitors this first weekend we were home as a married couple. My sister, Shannon, came to help out with the reception we had this weekend and my friend, Leslie from California (but living in New York now) who came for a friend's wedding.

It is so fun playing tour guide, but unfortunately I still don't know where anything is so I'm not the most qualified entertainer. We went to the coast, to the town of Newport to begin our fun. We stopped at the beach first. The beaches here are a little chilly and the sand is usually always wet. The water is apparently really cold, but I'm too chicken to try it out!

We planned to have some delicious chowder at the renowned "Mo's" but it closed before we got to it. Sad! So we settled for the local salt water taffy and chocolates. We also stopped by the lighthouse and toured around the small building. Shannon and I entertained ourselves with the upstairs window as you can see. My sister is so sexy!

That afternoon we went to American Dreams Pizza for the best pie in town! Obama ate there when he came so you know it must be good. Haha! (It is very delicious though despite the Obama stamp of approval.)

Later, Leslie left to be with the wedding party, so I was left to entertain Shannon. We went to downtown Corvallis - such a thriving metropolis I assure you - and walked around the cute shops. My favorite is the home furnishing store that has very tempting items available for purchase...imagine that! Justin and I decided to take her to a Beaver Baseball game that evening. Her friend Jake - who is going to school at OU - came up and went with us. It was a chilly evening but we had a blast...obviously!

The next day we got up early to go to the temple. It was such a beautiful spring day. We got some fun pics by the flowers at the temple in Portland.

We had a fabulous open house at Justin's uncle Dave's and aunt Jeri's house in Portland. They have a beautiful home with a gorgeous backyard so it wasn't crowded. We showed our wedding video and had food catered by Whole Foods, which was incredible! Brent and Allison came from Seattle and many of Justin's friends and co-workers came from the Portland area to show support. It was fun to meet all of them. A huge thank you to Dave and Jeri for the use of their home and to everyone who came! (I have already thanked them by the way, this is just a more public way of doing it.)

Side note...we found another amazing mullet!

Thanks for being our first visitors, Leslie and Shannon! We love you guys and you are always welcome.