Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Celebrations

(Not the best picture of me)

This year, Christmas was wonderful!!! I really just love being around family. On Christmas Eve, Jeff and I went to my uncle's house where other family members gathered. We ate, laughed, told stories, joked around, took pictures and just before we left, Jeff even sang a song. I was quite impressed.

We then headed to Jeff's parents' house. His sister was coming home that night from Utah. So once they got there, we ate a late dinner by candlelight, laughed and joked and sang and had a Christmas lesson and opened one present (an ornament- the tree of life- I love it!) Well, by the time that was all done, it was 11:30 and Jeff and I decided to just stay the night. So, we brought a mattress into the family room and slept there for the night... sorta- there was a clock that went off EVERY hour... and since I've been having a hard time sleeping lately anyway, it definitely woke me up every hour.

The missionaries came over for breakfast and we enjoyed a yummy Christmas breakfast with the missionaries and families... then we opened presents, sang more songs, laughed more and took more pictures.

Finally, Jeff and I left and went by my parents house briefly- to wish everyone there a merry Christmas. Then we hurried home, where I made a hashbrown casserole for Christmas dinner at my aunts house and Jeff and I exchanged gifts with each other. Funny thing- Jeff and I gave each other one of the same gifts- Five Crowns- my new favorite game! We got to my aunts and had a wonderful dinner, opened presents, and took pictures and just enjoyed the company of all those that were there.

Lastly, Jeff and I went to see my mom and then finally, we went home, packed up and headed over to some friends house that we're house sitting for (though I'd gone over a couple of times during the week, that was the first time we stayed the night). We enjoyed the snow, watched a movie and went to bed. The next morning, since church was canceled because of the snow, we just played games and ate a lunch that we packed and headed home about dinner time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life is Good... for now (jk... sorta) :)

Look.... I really am getting better at this whole blogging thing. :) Well, I don't really have much to say on here tonight... just wanted to say that life is good... now I want to say this now because starting Jan. 3rd, I go back to work after having a two-week long break and then soon after that, I start one class and then not much longer after that, my other three classes start... and well, I might forget that life is good.

I just have to get through the first week in May. I can do this. This will likely be one of the hardest semesters of my school career... but then my coursework will be done and I will just need to do my externship in the fall- which will be wonderful! I am really looking forward to finishing school. One more year! Wahoo! And then... well, and then... oh you'll see. There are big plans in my future. Well, maybe not that big. But life is moving on, before my eyes. It's kind of crazy how fast time goes these days. So I am sure that before I even know it another year will have gone by and I'll have to ask myself if I am better this year than I was last. That's usually my ultimate goal- you know, my resolution each year- be better this year than the year before. Ambitious? Nah! It's a worthy goal. I do include little goals to help me along my journey and I also include other random goals, like visit at least 2 other states this year, something like that. Anyway, I am just sort of rambling and I didn't want this to be a new year post because I want to enjoy the rest of this year, what's left of it. So, I'd better stop here. Again, Life is GOOD!! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Time is Here!!! (cue music)

So I am sooo excited for Christmas. We finally put up and decorated our tree, put up a few decorations... I think I should add a couple each year as they are kind of meagre. One of these days, I'd like to get a nativity. My Christmas tree is blue and silver, not really by choice. See, last year, we also waited until the last minute to put up our Christmas tree and there just weren't many Christmas tree decorations to choose from... and well, I couldn't justify buying more this year, when I already had some. Ah well. It's not too bad, right? I had fun putting up and decorating the tree with Jeff.

We also reorganized things a little and we were able to reorganize our food storage and put it in a much better location, I think. Jeff is obsessed, as anyone who knows him can tell... and he just had a great time organizing and reorganizing the food storage. I had to leave him to it, because I couldn't really take his "skills" anymore.

I can't wait to get the rest of the house organized and the way I'd like it... I wish I was bold enough to paint more, but I'm just not that brave, so I have to come up with other ways to decorate.

I just had to get a picture of myself. :)
Oh, one last thing! Jeff and I sang last weekend with the Richmond Mormon Chorale at the Washington DC visitors center. I think it went really well!! It was also great to see some friends there. The lights were beautiful and it was just a wonderful evening. We got to ride up with Kristen and Amanda and had a great time there and back, though we were exhausted by the time we finally got home.

Christmas ornament Jeff's grandmother made for us this year.
The finished tree! :)
Tomorrow night, we're singing at the Monument (LDS church) building at 7pm. I hope lots of people come. I think it will be a great performance. I am so happy to be a part of the choir. Thanks Kristen for asking us to sign up with you! There have been a couple of times where I didn't feel like going to practice, but really, I have learned a lot and it's been fun doing something like this with my husband. So glad we did it.

Well, have a happy Saturday!! And Merry Christmas!! :)

More of Alaska, Finally

Okay, so lets see... where did I leave off?

(I don't know why there are two pictures... I can't get the other one off... oops... and notice how tired we look, it's because there is a four hour time difference from Virginia, and so... 8 pm is really like midnight back at home. We had a hard time adjusting. )
After we went ATVing, we went to a dinner theatre... it wasn't the best food, but it was good and the show was mighty entertaining, at least I thought so. It was interesting to learn that in Alaska in the state parks, they celebrate Christmas on August 25th because they were snowed in and sang Christmas carols by the fire the night before... they just felt the Christmas spirit and the next day shared gifts. So, as we walked around Denali, we noticed that there were Christmas decorations and Christmas sales. I mean how could we not notice... this is in one of the shops. :)

The next day, we left Denali (after we did some shopping, ate a terrible breakfast for $28 dollars- it was buffet style, but they didn't offer too much, and had lunch and ice cream at two different shops. The food was sooo expensive there!) Oh no! I almost forgot... before all of the stuff that we went white water rafting!!

I can't believe I nearly forgot that... it was the first time that I had gone and it was so much fun! Jeff and I got to be the people in the front. I was kind of scared but Jeff is all about adventure- so I went with it. Our guide was really nice and funny and we had a blast. At one point, I nearly fell out of the raft, but luckily I didn't. At one point, we were able to get out so Jeff and I got out and into the water. It was freezing!! It's a glacier fed river, so you can probably imagine how cold it was. When I put my hands in, they seized up it was so cold. I didn't put my head in, but Jeff did. He's crazy! We were on the raft with a bunch of older people from Australia. They were hil-ar-ious!!! I loved being on there with them and was convinced that we were with the best group. We told them how lucky they were because they had us, lucky charms, on the raft with them. Why were we lucky charms, well because... I guess I forgot to mention this, too... but we went on a bus tour, which was great. We were hoping to see more animals closer up, but we did see some bears, golden brown bear and a brown brown bear, lots of dall sheep, rams, and we saw a linx and two of her little kittens- which is a very, very rare sight. They are the biggest cat that they have in Alaska and they are very shy, but they walked right in front of our bus. They were really cute. We were lucky because we got to see them. We were also lucky because apparently only about ten people who come to Alaska get to see the top of Mount Mckinley because it's usually clouded over... but we got to see it. It was perfectly clear and beautiful. Again, we were lucky charms.

So back to the white water trip. Someone mentioned how lucky the group was that went on the bus tour the day before was because they got to see a linx. And we explained to them that we were on that trip and that they were lucky to have us with them. They all agreed, of course. They loved having us as well... we were young, still newly-weds. :)

Okay, so then we headed back to Talkeetna and decided to stay at the Blue Moon Cabin again because we loved it so. We just walked around town, tried some herbal tea for the first time (Blach!) and enjoyed staying there. We went to Sky High Pizza and Jeff got a pizza with Caribou sausage. I just got a tomato basil pizza which was yummy.

The next day we headed to Anchorage. We first went on a horse-back ride that was 2-hours long through the woods and hills. It was beautiful and so fun! I loved my horse, Doc. It kept trying to eat, haha... and then would have to trot a little to catch up, which I didn't mind. It was very particular horse. Jeff's horse, which was in front of mine, was very easily agitated by Doc. He kept putting his head back and sort of grunting at my horse or would stomp his feet. He would not let Doc get in front of him... the horses knew which order they should be in. It was neat to watch their interactions with each other.
After horse back riding, we went to our hotel, showered and got read to go to the temple, which was beautiful. The stake center was right by the temple (they shared a parking lot) and it was bigger than the temple. Can you believe that? The temple really was beautiful and I was so glad that we got to go. The flowers there were gorgeous. Seriously, Alaska has some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. The colors are just so vibrant and gorgeous.

The next day, we went to Whittier to take a day cruise and see some glaciers. The little town only has about 350 people. They all live in that little town in one sort of hotel building and work there. There is a one way 2 mile tunnel to get in and out and runs on a schedule. We got there earlier, so we were able to walk around and check out the shops and such. One lady explained how she's been there for something like 20 years. I asked if she ever got bored, but she seemed to love living in that secluded environment. She said that usually if there was anybody that she didn't like, they didn't stay too long, so she didn't have to worry about it much.

On the cruise, we were able to see tons of birds (ha!), sea otters (which are the cutest creatures alive) and some other animal, right now I can't remember. :( The glaciers were beautiful!!! Absolutely beautiful. It's amazing to me that there can be colors that I had never seen before. That blue, I don't even know what to call it, except for "glacier blue" is just phenominally beautiful. What a treat.

We had king crab cakes and rolls and veggies for lunch and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was freezing outside!! This was the only day that we were there (our last day) that it started raining... but they said that's the best time to see the glaciers in all their glory. See? Another perfect part of our trip. We truly were blessed to have such a perfect trip.
Well, folks that's pretty much it! It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. I'd highly recommend it. The people are nice, the scenery is beautiful, it's just amazing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So... so... much!

Okay, so I figured it's about time to update my blog some... Well, let's see... where to even start, that's the question.

Well, I guess I'll start with Alaska. At the end of August, Jeff and I went to Alaska. It was an awesome, awesome trip! We had such a blast and I r
eally enjoyed the company of my husband. We got there around 4pm on Sat. afternoon. We rented our sweet car (If we ever buy a car again, it's the car I'd choose). We drove to our hotel... We were on the ninth floor and had an awesome view. I was already tired from traveling for so long, plus it was already after 8 Virginia time, so I didn't feel much like venturing out. However, we figured we should go get something to eat. So we walked over to this little grocery store (little, but so expensive). We bought cereal and milk for breakfast the next morning and peanut butter and jelly and bread and a couple of apples, and crackers- triscuits actually and they were sooo good!.

We went back to the hotel and I pretty much fell asleep right away. I was exhausted. The next morning we got up and got ready and went to church. The ward members were so friendly! We stayed for all three meetings. When church was over we started on our 3 hour long journey from Anchorage to Talkeetna. Once we got into the tiny town... and I mean tiny, you could literally spit across town... we had a little difficulty finding our cabin. We came to these cabins (trying to follow the obscure instructions we were given). I immediately fell in love. How cute these are!! But then... I realized that there were names on the cabins and ours wasn't one of them.

We went back out to the main road and tried again to find the cabin. We finally found it and immediately started laughing. Is this really the cabin?

The Blue Moon Cabin, it was called. We went inside and I just loved this cabin. It was so cute and so full of character. I referred to it as the hippy cabin.

It was Sunday, so we didn't really do too much. We did go on a walk around town, but that was all. The next morning we got up and headed to the little Talkeetna Air Taxi place, which is where we were going to do our flightseeing tour!! I was so excited. We had a full day planned. We were to immediately leave after finishing up the flight to head to Denali for our next adventure. However, when we got to the Air Taxi place, they told us that there was too much fog and we wouldn't be able to leave for another hour or so. So we went back to our cabin (we didn't need to leave until 11 anyway) and hung out until it was ready to go... and Jeff made a phone call to see if we could push our next adventure back, which we did. It all worked out beautifully. The flightseeing tour was awesome. It was beautiful!! We learned that some people live in the middle of no-where, where there are no roads and they can only get there by plane or ATV... I couldn't imagine living that far from civilization.

Here are a couple of pictures from the tour.

We even got to get land on a glacier for a little bit. How awesome is that! This really was one incredible experience and I would have been pretty set if that's all I did.

After our tour, we headed up the 3 hours to Denali. We checked into our hotel (Denali Bluffs) and then immediately got picked up for our ATV tour. It was about 2 hours long through some mountains in Heely. It wasn't a bad ride, though Jeff and I agreed that we would have liked to have gone a little faster. We would each slow down as the guide went ahead and then speed up to catch up to the guide. We got to stop at some pretty sites and learned more about Alaska... like how they have the second largest natural gravel deposit in the world (but you're not allowed to take gravel from there because the land is considered sacred- because they found some artifacts there... but my guide did let me take one rock).

Once we finished with our ATV tour, we headed back to the hotel, cleaned up and got ready to head out for dinner... the Cabin Nite Dinner Theater. Jeff says the dinner wasn't all that impressive, but I had a great time. We had fresh salmon, bbq ribs, veggies, yummy bread and berry cobbler. Then we watched a show they put on. The show was entertaining, indeed... dancing, singing, etc.

Okay, well I know I always say I'll come back and I really don't ever find the time to come back and continue my story... but I am really gonna try this time. Stay tuned for Part II of our trip and for more exciting adventures. :)