Monday, July 23, 2012

5th of July

What is the fourth of July without a picnic in the park? Jeff's home ward was hosting one in a park near their home. Things just taste better outside, don't you think? They had an awesome playground for the kids, and us bigger kids played a little frisbee.

Pen and Jonah, just hanging out in the field.

An attempt at an awkward family photo.

Penny loves Jason so much.

A dramatic photo of Ryan and Gaylynn

And we're back!

That was a whirlwind of a week!  We had such a exciting week packed with adventures and non-stop action.  I think there wasn't a down moment while we were there!  We were very sad to leave, but real life was calling.

I was trying to remember exactly what we did all the days.

Tuesday the 3rd-
Our flight was delayed several hours, but we finally made it in the early hours of the next morning.

Wednesday the 4th
-We had a BBQ today, and had fun with fireworks (see previous post). 
-We also played Minute to Win It! games.

Thursday the 5th
-Janna, Rosie and I took a little trip to the mall while Jeff got some work done.
-We attended a ward picnic in the park and enjoyed delicious hamburgers and other treats.

Friday the 6th
-We went to Buffalo Exchange, my favorite Buy-Sell-Trade store located in Berkley (which I just discovered they opened one in DC!) and of course I was successful.

-We had an international cuisine night, complete with foods from several different continents, internships and missions.  Jeff made fatteh, Ryan made some food from Ganah including Fufu and red red and Jason made a Chinese mango tapioca soup drink.

Saturday the 7th
-San Fransisco /Exploritorium

Sunday the 8th
-We went to Church
-Beautiful 6 mile hike over a mountain to the beautiful to Coast Camp just around the corner from the beach.

Monday the 9th
-After a surprisingly restful night camping, Poppa, Janna and Pen met us for some fun at the beach.
-A very relaxing evening of hot tubbing and movie watching.

Tuesday the 10th
-We went boating! We did wake surfing, tubing, wakeboarding and swimming.
-Mom and dad happened to be in town!  They parked their Tab out front of Jeff's house, and we headed to Fenton's and toured around Piedmont where mum used to live.

Wednesday the 11th
- We ate breakfast at Doug's Place with both families!  I can't believe I didn't get a picture of this.
-A very uneventful flight home

Now that I have the basic framework, I'll do posts for each of these things!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

We made it!

Well, here we are in a very, very lovely California. I'm LOVING this 70 degree no-humidity weather. (For all those back home, be safe! I saw that Saturday is going to be 103! Stay inside!!) The flight here was... not fun. I won't delve too deeply about it, but let's just say it involved a 3 hour delay turning our evening flight into a red eye, an extremely over tired, sick 2 year old, the only two people on the plane who refused to turn off their overhead lights sitting in front and in back, an unexpected plane change in Phoenix, and the airline keeping us in the dark the entire trip about times and delays. Penny basically pulled an all nighter, sleeping only about 45 minutes of the entire cross-country flight. BUT, that's all over with, and the flight home will be so much better! And it was all worth it for the fun times that Penny has been having. She woke up the next morning, so excited to play with aunts and uncles and cousins, and of course Grandma and Poppa.

The hot tub is turned down to a lower temp. so it is more like a pool.  Penny and Grandma played in here for hours yesterday.
Of course these two became fast friends.  It is very nice to have a friend here for Penny to play with.

Lots of ping pong.  Don't worry, Jeff remembered to bring his very special paddle.
Baby Brooke is not so little anymore!  She is so very adorable, and does cute little waves and smiles.

We played some "Minute to Win It!" games.  Our team, Team Voldemort, dominated.
The Black Manta, Shadow Ninja and Emerald Tiger were practicing their juggling.
We may or may not have done some very contained, safe fireworks in the backyard.

We also tried out drawing with sparklers.  Unfortunately we did this with our last set of sparklers, so we didn't get too creative.  Also, Ryan accidentally did his "J" backwards.  Happy Luly!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Adventure is Out There!

I married a very adventuresome man.  Jeff has always had a passion for traveling, different cultures and languages, geography in general.  (Often times I feel like such a fool as I am not so savvy to countries, capitols or landmarks as he is, but I'm learning.)  Jeff served his mission in Siberia and also spent a semester in Israel studying abroad (which I'm sure most of you reading this surely remember...well, you probably remember me whining about it), traveling to Jordan, Egypt and lots of other historical places.  As for myself, the furthest I have been was England, which was awesome.

After we got married, we decided that one of our goals would be to travel as often as possible (within reason).  It was a little scary at first, because I tend to be a worrier and penny pincher, which isn't accommodating to travel.  But since I met Jeff, I have surely some to discover my adventurous self, and have let go of reservations that have hindered me in the past. Which is great, because Jeff has hopes of living abroad at some point in our life, and I feel a lot more mentally prepared for that.

So far we have had lots of adventures together! Here are some of our trips we have taken:

Carmel-by-the-Sea May 2008
Oregon June 2008

San Fran Dec 2008

We have been to Moab a few times, this was May 2009.

Disneyland May 2009
San Fran and Yosemite Sept 2009
San Fran Nov 2009
Northern CA May 2010
Hawaii May 2010
Oregon June 2010

Disneyland Aug 2010

Walt Disney World June 2011
San Fran and Monterey Dec 2011

Ocean City March 2012

(From this small sampling of pictures, it can be assumed most of our vacations have been spent kissing or up in the air... Those assumptions are correct.)

Tomorrow we hop on an airplane to visit San Fran again!  Penny absolutely cannot stop talking about it (I'm a big peeved at her sudden contraction of a cough and runny nose.  She's perfectly healthy for months until the day before we get on a plane... grumble grumble...)  We will surely have an awesome time, and I'm looking forward to getting back on a wake board for the second time in my life! The last 5 or 6 times we have been boating, I was with child. No precious cargo to protect this time!

In August I'm heading to Utah by myself to visit my family and friends that I have missed ever so. I'm really looking forward to a little break, though I know I will miss my family every second.

But the BIG fun that we have been planning on this year is our most grandiose trip yet!

Jeff often sends me deals from our favorite travel site,, mostly as wishful thinking, but when he sent me a deal for a 7 night Mediterranean cruise, there was no going back.  Like most people, I have always dreamed of going to Italy.  Combining that with all you can eat food made my head explode.

I mentioned the deal for others on Facebook, and Julie expressed some serious interest in the cruise.  So we looked into this amazing deal, and unfortunately the good deal was gone... I thought perhaps it wasn't meant to be, and tried not to be too sad.

Fortunately, Jeff continued his research into cruises, and found an arguably better deal!  We called up Drew, and before you knew it, we were all booked up on a 7 Day Mediterranean cruise!!!

We fly out of NYC to Barcelona, and spend the night in a fancy hotel, then report to our boat the next afternoon.  We then sail the Mediterranean, with ports in:

Barcelona, Spain
Naples, Italy
Nice (Villefranche), France
Provence (Toulon), France
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

I can hardly contain my excitement! It all seems like a magical dream.  I am as equally torn thinking about not seeing Pen for that long, but I know she is going to have an awesome time with Jeff's mom. 

It is going to be insanely more awesome to have the companionship of Drew and Julie, which will make the trip that much more epic!  To channel my excitement, I made this travel poster:

I'm counting down the minutes until I can enjoy this...