Thursday, August 27, 2009

three months of summer in 7 days

Who ever said summer had to be three months? Due to my taking of "summer" classes during June, July, and August (the months typically considered summer), Brad and I were unable to enjoy the fun of summer we've participated in in the past. 
But as soon as finals were over we raced off to Zion National Park in southern Utah. Coincidentally, all the national parks across the country were waiving admission fees that weekend, so instead of paying the $25 just to enter the park we got in for free! We played around the first day we were there and had a wonderful tin foil dinner in the car. We cooked it in our campfire that Brad had to start without the convenience of lighter fluid since we forgot that at home. He's such a good boyscout! As we set down at our not so clean picnic table the bees started swarming. But, I honestly can't blame them. We had a good dinner! So, we ran for the cover of the car. We luckily managed to eat without getting stung.
When we checked into our campsite the park ranger told us to make sure we put our food in our car at night where no squirrels could get to it. Squirrels? Yes, squirrels. Apparently, Zion's has a big squirrel problem. If they smell food in tents they will actually chew through the tent to get to the food causing lots of damage to campers' usually pretty expensive tents. So, after we ate we took that advice and put our food in the car, played a few card games, and went to bed only to wake up about 2 hours later to howling wind that viciously shook our little shelter.The wind blew and blew ferociously all night leaving us with a grand total of maybe three hours of sleep. 
As soon as the sun was up we got out of our windblown tent and hurriedly put it up before it got blown away since we weren't inside anymore.We then hopped on a park shuttle which took us to Angel's Landing, a 5 mile round trip hike that is completely uphill with 41 switchbacks (we counted).
Here I am on the way the up to the top.

Here's Brad. We're almost there.

 After our long uphill journey, we finally made it to the top!

Once we hiked back down, we ate lunch, and took a little break. Then we jumped back on the bus to go to the narrows, hikes through the river. The curvy hike down Angel's Landing was completely unshaded since the sun had reached its high place in the sky, so the cold river water was so nice.

Turns out that the squirrel problem is a REAL problem. On our way to the narrows we stopped to sit on a bench and eat some trial mix. A squirrel showed up and decided he wanted some too. He started inching toward us and then broke out in a full-out sprint, running towards Brad's leg realizing that was the quickest way to get to the food. We jumped up and Brad tried to kick dirt on it but accidentally kicked its face, and it still kept coming! It really wanted some of our treat.

Here's the little thief. 

Here's the trial mix we now affectionately refer to as "squirrel bait".

We had a great time at Zion's.

Three days later we left for Colorado. To get there we had to drive through Wyoming, and I've never been there! I think I was a little too excited though.
Colorado was so fabulous, especially because we got to sleep in every day! Lori was so a great hostess and kept us entertained all the time. We got to see Neil, Valeri, Chloe, and Ryan which is always fun! We went tubing down the river (without receiving citations for not wearing life jackets) and got super sunburned, but still had a blast!
Next, we went to Jared's house where he tried to convert us to pinball.
Here's the master at work... 

...and his lovely lady who tilted the game so much that it quit.

While Jared was at work on Monday Lori took Brad and I to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was gorgeous!
This next picture is for Chloe. She told Brad that her birthday was coming up soon, and she wanted a brown duck. A big brown duck, not a baby brown duck. So, I found one at the park.
That night we had a wonderful dinner at our favorite Mongolian Barbecue in downtown Denver and went to a Rockies game. Brad and I were super excited to be at Coors Field!

 While watching the game a photographer came to take our picture. This is what he got...
 You can only buy these pictures online and the prices ranged from $18 to $250! Neither of these wonderful shots was worth $18 to me, so I copied them, which is probably illegal, but I figured they might get a good laugh out of someone.
We definitely had a very busy 7 days, but we loved every minute of our jam-packed "summer" vacation! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy late late Birthday Valeri!!

Happy two days late birthday Valeri!!

We love Valeri so much! She is such an inspiration to us both, and me especially. I couldn't find any pictures of Valeri by herself because she is always the one behind the camera taking wonderful photographs (check out her photography blog
HERE). Nor could I come across many pictures in which she did not have her two adorable children close by.

Happy Birthday Valeri! We hope Monday was absolutely fantastic!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

out with the old, in with the slightly newer

We finally got rid of our terribly ugly 70s couch which we picked up from the roadside a couple days after we moved into our new little house.

A couple in our ward manages an apartment complex that was getting new couches. This wonderful couple kindly informed the ward members that if we wanted different couches now was the time since the apartment complex was just giving their old ones away. Here are our slightly newer than the 1970s couches:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a much needed trim

We've been bugging our landlords for about 2 months to come cut back brush behind our house. It was so ridiculously overgrown that I usually walked a different way just to avoid having to walk through weeds and thorns. After lots of prodding, phone calls, and letters they finally came to cut it!





Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Susie!

Happy Birthday Susie!!

We love you and miss you so much! We wish we could be back home sharing your special day with you! Hopefully that will happen next year (fingers crossed we move to Georgia)!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the end is near

The semester is coming to its end (I'll be done Thursday, hooray!), so that means I'm incredibly busy with projects, papers, and finals. Brad, however, isn't taking any classes this semester, so while I've been completely immersed in getting this semester over, he and Blake made dinner for me one night.

yum. tamales.
And while I'm hard at work...

Brad has had to find other ways to entertain himself... licking my highlighter.

But, luckily, we've managed to still have fun by going on a hike

and attending a wedding reception.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week. Have lots of fun for me until Thursday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

tubing down the river is fun, except when...

A couple days before my friend Sara left to go back to California we decided we would go tubing down the Provo river. Brad and I have done this every summer since we met, and we always have so much fun!
The first time we went we took 2 of my roommates who didn't really know how to swim. Needless to say, it was a disaster. After only about 5 minutes of the 2 hour journey they both fell off their tubes and started freaking out (if I hadn't known how to swim and was getting swept away by a river rapid I would have freaked out too), but luckily Brad saved them. But now we only had 2 tubes for 4 people. Brad and I gave up our tubes to my roommates since we knew how to swim (but honestly the river isn't really that deep and we just ended up walking anyways). About half an hour later we saw some people who had fished one of our lost tubes out of the river. It took a while, but Brad finally convinced them to hand it over. I let him have that tube since he had worked so hard to get it back, plus I was enjoying just hanging onto someone else's tube and floating along. About halfway through the river it got really shallow really suddenly. I ended up hitting my foot on a rock, since I didn't have a tube or any shoes, and breaking my toe. But the water was so cold and my feet were already numb and my broken toe didn't swell hardly at all. When we finally got to the end we still hadn't found our lost tube, but a couple days later the company who rented us the tubes called Brad and said they had found it at the end of the river caught in some debris. This was good news, because we didn't end up having to pay for the lost tube.
The second time we went tubing down the Provo river we went with Brad's cousin Blake. Without the craziness of two non-swimmers to keep us busy, we had a delightful and relaxing time soaking up the sun while floating down.
The third time was just last week with Sara, Steve, my sister Brittney, Steve's sister Jessica, Brad, and me. Every year the tube-renting company ups their prices, and this year it was $10 per person. We all thought that was a little much to rent a tube for 2 hours, so Sara, Steve, and Jessica borrowed tubes from their neighbor. We started out at the top of the river so excited to tube down!
Brad and I usually go tubing at the end of August, and the water is always cold but we manage and get use to it after a while. I doubt we'll be in Provo next summer, but if we are we are definitely not going to be tubing down the river in July! The water was FREEZING! I have never been in water so cold, and I never got use to it. In fact, the longer we were in there the more my teeth chattered, the bigger my goosebumps got, and the more I shivered uncontrollably. After about an hour and a half I was ready to climb out of the river and walk the rest of the way back to the car, but Brad convinced me that we were really close and I should hang in there a little longer. To make matters worse, the river rapids were incredibly fast since the water was so high (not the usual occurrence at the end of the summer). We went under a bridge which me and my tube got pushed into, I fell off, got dunked, and was now colder than ever. I also hit my knee on a huge rock underneath the bridge (I tried to take a picture of the resulting bruise, but it never turned out well). Finally, we made it to the end. We climbed out of the river and could hardly walk because our legs were so cold. After reaching the parking lot and rejoicing in the fact that we were done, we were confronted by a police officer who told us we needed to follow him. Incredibly confused, we obeyed. After reaching his patrol car we were informed that it was against the law to tube down the Provo river without a life jacket on. (Refer to the above picture to see our lackage of life jackets.) Sara pleaded our case by telling him there weren't any signs posted and how were we suppossed to know? He then not so politely let us know that it was like driving a car. If you have a driver's liscense it's your responsiblily to know the rules of the road. We were not too happy about this. We asked if we could just receive warnings, but NO! We all got citations!
We were so mad! As one cop was finishing up with the last of our group the other cop caught some more kids coming out of the river. A boy who was in that group called the cop a not-so-nice word and received a second ticket for disorderly conduct. At least we weren't him! The older policeman told us that "you wouldn't believe how many dead bodies I've pulled out of this river." We wanted to ask him to verify that number, but decided against it. And since when do policemen pull dead bodies out of rivers? Isn't that a firefighter's or search and rescue job? After writing us all tickets, they kindly informed us that this wasn't about money and city revenue, it was about the citizens' safety. Then why couldn't we just get warnings instead of citations?! Brad told them that if they really cared so much they'd be at the top of river stopping people from getting in rather than at the bottom giving tickets. "Unfortunately", said one officer, the top of the river is in a different county and, therefore, not in their jurisdiction.
I called this afternoon to inquire about the price of unknowingly breaking the law. Our tickets will be $115 per person!!

Here's us girls feeling sorry for ourselves.

Here's me and Brad, still in shock that we got cited for not wearing life jackets. (P.S. every other time we've tubed down the river no one has worn life jackets, and no one has ever gotten in trouble.)

At least some one had fun...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

congratulations all around

Congratulations Spencer and Kelsey!

On July 17th one of our dear friends Spencer got married in Oregon. Last week we were finally able to meet his beautiful wife at their open house here in Utah

We are so happy for them!

Congratulations Amanda!

Last week I got to attend a bridal shower for my good friend Amanda. I was also in charge of the games.

This was the reaction to a question I asked her about her fiance.

Amanda had a hard time guessing how Dan, her fiance, had responded to questions I had asked him earlier in the week. If she got the answer wrong she had to put a piece of gum in her mouth. This was the ending result.

I had everyone at the shower draw a picture of Dan in his underwear, and Amanda got to pick her favorite.

The classic shower game of the toilet paper wedding gown.

Here we are afterwards.