Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Celestial Spa

Yesterday, while Matthew was hiking Mount Timpanogos his mom invited me to a Relief Society Meeting that her ward was having. The theme was "A Celestial Spa." We got to learn a few fun things, like how to make homemade lip balm and bath salts, a little about reflexology and were given a few home decor tips, but the best part of the whole morning to me was our first guest lecturer. The speaker is a musician and he spoke about spiritual connects and how they influence our lives. He spoke about how spiritual connections are like a spider web; in our meetings and through music we build connections with those around us. These connections are especially important in times of trial because they are like a web of testimony and support that gives us faith to continue on. He then spoke of music and how a certain combination of notes can bring a flood of memories and emotions to us. He played a few songs like “Happy Birthday” and the theme song from Jaws and let us experience our feelings. He then played a chord that didn't sound so good and spoke of how sometimes we try and make spiritual connections (through visiting teaching, or home teaching or bringing cookies to a neighbor etc.) and it doesn't go quite like we would have hoped or we have a bad experience in life. He then explained that these experiences are also very important. They are not always pleasant to go through, but they help us to become who the Lord wants us to be if we turn to Him. If we have the right perspective those bad chords/notes can help our song of life become more beautiful than it would have been if we hadn't had the trial. He then played a line of a song without the chords and then added the chords in to illustrate his point. The music was indeed more beautiful with the "bad" chord. I felt the spirit very strongly and I know that as we go through trials we can become stronger, more valiant servants of the Lord and if we trust in Him, He will help us to reach our full potential and when we will look back and listen to the song of our life, it will be beautiful.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

This week was the first week of school and it came with mixed emotions. I was very excited to be starting my very last first week of PT school, but it came with a full plate and I was already overwhelmed. Almost everyday this past week I was at the school from 7 am to 5 pm. School for me this semester is definitely a full time job.

This past week Matthew and I still had some plans to meet up with friends we hadn't seen all summer, so on Tuesday we went out to West Valley to meet with the Fellows (Rory, Dorthy and Rowan). We met at no other place than Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Matthew and I have been meaning to go and try this new burger dive since hearing amazing reviews from almost everyone, so we were excited for the new experience. Immediately when we walked in, Matthew and I loved the ambiance; we thought it was cool idea to have a big stack of potato bags as a line partition and an even cooler idea to have free peanuts. After enjoying a delicious meal we headed over to the Fellow's home to play some games. We played "Ripple" and to all of our befuddlement Rory won game after game.

Friday evening Matthew went to the temple with his mother while I had Tiffany, Emily, Ashley, Trina and their babies over for a girls night. We all enjoyed catching up while making pizza and smoothies. At the end of the night I met up with Matthew at his parents' house where we stayed the night anticipating a long day of hiking for Matthew and Steve and a day at the spa for me and Cynda.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Bars

As you might have already noticed, since being home from PA, Matthew and I have been out spending time with friends and family even more often than usual. What can I say, we are so blessed to have so many people around us that we care about and that care for us too. It has been so much fun to spend so much time with everyone. This is one reason I am not looking forward to starting back up at school on impedes on the rest of my life! I know it is so important and is the thing I should be doing at this time in my life, but it is hard...I guess that is a sign that it will be worth it in the end though.

So, today we spent more time with family. I picked up Matthew from work and we headed towards Millcreek Canyon for a family weenie roast! The trouble was, neither Matthew nor I had ever been up Millcreek Canyon and I thought I understood the directions, but I was mistaken. After about 5 to 10 minutes of driving around, I stopped and asked for some directions. I was happy that I was going in the relatively right direction, it was just that Mandy (the GPS) put us on the wrong side of the freeway, but soon we were up the canyon with the fam (The Taylors, Pete, Steph, Steve and Cynda) playing games and enjoying the company.

Soon after everyone arrived we all felt the grumble of our tummies and decided that roasting some dogs would be a good fix. Maddy (our niece) and the nephews loved the "Pink Drink" that we brought, James kept promising to only eat one more marshmallow and everyone couldn't help but eat several of the peanut butter bars that Pete and Steph brought to share. After dinner we continued to enjoy dessert while playing "Pig Mania" aka "Pass the Pig". Even Maddy and James played and for awhile James was whooping us. At the end of the night we all had full tummies and a good memory.

A Wild Goose Chase

Friday night Elisa and Alex came down from Ogden for what Matthew and I like to call a “married persons date”. To start off the evening we made some homemade bacon cheeseburgers. It was a new recipe that turned out wonderfully and while eating Elisa got on my laptop and got into Photo Booth. After a few minutes of coaxing, se got Alex to take some pictures with her. After the burgers and booth we planned on going geocaching. We had never tried this before, but it sounded like lots of fun. Alex picked out a few sites that seemed interesting and that were relatively close, we plugged the coordinates into Mandy (our GPS) and we were off!

We discovered many interesting sites as we began our hike to the first cache. First, we discovered that there was a concert at Red Butte Gardens and that if you want to hear the concert, but don’t have money, you can just hike up one of the many small hills right outside the gardens, set up a camping chair and enjoy the fresh air and somegood music! We all took mental note and Elisa and I enjoyed dancing to a few of the songs while Matthew and Alex looked embarrassed, because there were people watching. Our second discovery along the trail was a tarantula…

creepy little fella if you ask me, but Matthew and Alex got close enough to get a picture. As per usual, it is hard to see how big it really is because there is nothing to compare it to, but it is interesting looking anyway. The last thing we discovered on this first cache is that Matthew and Alex will try anything to make themselves look good…even take a picture of a box that isn’t a cache to say they found one! Let me explain this last one…

So we were walking along the road, headed towards the coordinates on the GPS when suddenly we found a fence in the way. Elisa and I determined that the cache was somewhere within this restricted area and decided that it was not worth trekking through the tarantula filled brush to “maybe, but probably not” find a cache, but that we should move on to cache #2 instead. Well the boys decided that they were up to the challenge, so as Elisa and I headed back towards the car, the boys ran into the brush.

About 5 to 10 minutes after Elisa and I got back to the car the boys arrived. I thought they got back way too fast to have found the cache, and was surprised when they said they had found it. Elisa and I asked to see a picture and sure enough they had a picture of a green looking box. We were disappointed in the box because we thought it would be more exciting and we wanted a picture of the boys with the log they signed (signing the log proves you found the cache). A few minutes later, the boys admitted that they indeed had not found the cache, but soon after wading through high brush realized that finding the cache was a lost cause.

Even after the let down of our first cache we were enthusiastically hopeful that we would find one. So we continued forward. The second cache was somewhere close to Rice Eccles Stadium and had to do with the Olympics, but alas, we did not find it. Instead we made another discovery, which we should have realized sooner, but nevertheless were too excited and in a sense jumped the gun. We soon realized that we in fact did not have the proper equipment…our GPS is not a handheld GPS, but a car GPS. We decided that one day we would make another go of geocaching, but for tonight, the only place Mandy could take us to was Cold Stone. Lucky for us we had a gift card and each of us got a scrumptious desert for free!

After Cold Stone we headed back to the apartment to play some card games. We stayed up so late that Alex and Elisa chose to sleep on our living room floor rather than chance falling asleep while driving back up to Ogden. All in all it was a wonderful evening filled with great food and a fun adventure!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Wednesday night Matthew and I spent some time with our good friends Cory and Danielle Anderson. We planned to go to this wonderful little Thai place called Chanon Thai, but when we walked up to the door one of the employees walked out and informed us that they just returned from Thailand that afternoon and would not be opened until Thursday. Needless to say we were disappointed and still hungry. After great debate, we decided to go to Curry in a Hurry, not exactly the curry I was aching for, but it turned out to be pretty scrumptious nonetheless.

After dinner we headed back to the Anderson's home with the intentions of playing a game and making some smoothies. We got to talking and somehow the movie "Singing in the Rain" was put in as "background music", but turned into our entertainment for the night. I have to say that I thought at first it was going to be a silly, weird old movie, but it was quite good and the dancing was pretty cool. It was great to catch up with Cory and Danielle. When school is in session we don't see our friends as often, so it is always fun to see them. Cory is just starting a Master's program in Business and Danielle is working as a CNA while taking classes to become a nurse. They work so hard and of course play extra hard. They are a really fun couple that always keep us laughing. I am definitely grateful that they called to carpool with us to Moab shortly after we began attending the 11th ward, otherwise we would be missing out on some great friends.


Monday Night we got a call from our dear friend Anthony Woolf. He called to tell us that he and his fiancé Laura had two extra tickets to the Dave Mathews Band concert the next night and wanted to know if Matthew and I would like to join them. We were just in the middle of making other plans, but rescheduled those and took the free tickets. I am not a huge fan of this band, but Matthew and I like a couple of their songs and more importantly, we wanted to spend some time with Anthony and Laura. On Tuesday Anthony and Laura came over and we ate pizza and headed out. The concert was fun and it was a beautiful night out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Little Family Time

Friday morning I had the opportunity to spend the morning with the Taylors at Hoogle Zoo. As always it was fun to see the kids enjoying themselves. I had never been to any of the shows at the zoo before, but this time we went to the bird show and habitat show. They were both very good. The bird show was quite amazing. I still don’t know how they manage to keep the birds coming back, because they could easily fly the coupe! Many times the birds fly right over our heads and I am positive that many of the audience members, including James (nephew) had their hair ruffled. The habitat show taught about all the different types of habitats that animals live in and at the end of the show everyone got to go up and pet the armadillo and possum. Other things we saw besides the shows included: the baby elephant, turtles, the big porcupines, fruit bats (not behind a cage), rhinos and vultures. After seeing all the animals we spent a little while in the play area and then headed home.

Later that night we went out for a late night snack at The Village Inn with Matthew’s parents and then up Immigration Canyon to watch the meteor shower. Right before we went out I started to not feel so well, but I chalked it up to my allergies. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I realized that I had a fever. I spent the rest of the weekend on the couch and in bed. I still saw a couple of good shooting stars (when my eyes weren’t closed) and Matthew enjoyed spending time talking with his parents. We always have a good time with our family. I think that is one thing we are both very grateful for.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 15: Home at Last!!!!

I woke up knowing I would finally make it back home today, but I couldn't leave Grand Junction or AmAsie without having an enormous, good old fashion breakfast first!

The majority of our drive home today was very familiar territory to me, yet I couldn't help taking pictures of some of the scenery. And get more and more excited as we inched closer to home!

I know our place isn't much (I mean I do call it "the crap hole," although it really isn't all that bad) but it is really nice to be back home!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 14: Denver/Grand Junction

Friday morning we had a yummy waffle breakfast with Jen and the kids then headed to see my friend AmAsie and her hubby Pete, in Grand Junction, CO.

Matthew and I met AmAsie at the salon she works at and I was her last client for the day. I miss having Ams close by for several reasons: 1) for some reason she thinks I am funny, 2) she makes me laugh (cause I think she's funny), 3) she is a great hair stylist and always makes me feel pretty and 4) she takes me for who I am, good and bad.

After getting my new do, Ams took us over to her new house. The plan was to stay in the guest bedroom, but a week or two before we arrived their house experienced a flood and the water damage had Ams and Pete living in a trailer in their drive way. I could tell that their house was beautiful despite the awful circumstances and it gave us all an opportunity to be close to one another, as Matthew and I bunked in the trailer too!

The gorgeous Ams and the chic Pete!

When Pete got home we went to dinner and then Ams and Pete split a pair of free movie tickets with us and we watched the best movie I have seen in a really long time, "Inception." It was mind blowing! I am so glad we saw it in theaters! I even would have paid full price, and that is saying a lot because these days I don't believe that many movies are worth me shelling out the cash to see it in theaters. Thanks Pete and Ams for your hospitality!! We Love you!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 12 and 13: Denver

We arrived to the Otteson Homestead not too long before it was time to go pick Isabel and Zen from school, so Matthew and I hopped in the car with Jen and headed towards the school. On the way home from school we went to the park and played for a little while, then we went back to the house and played some more! We played Candy Land with Porter and the winner got to wear Matt's cool red hat whereas the looser had to wear the "net of shame." Can you tell who won? Yeah, he was really good! For dinner, Chris and Jen took all the kids (including us) out to a burger joint close to their house called Goodtimes and enjoyed ourselves some burgers and frozen custard.

Thursday morning we got a wake up call by some monkeys jumping on our bed. After two of the monkeys headed to school Matthew and Porter spent the morning attempting to build a lego tower that reached the ceiling. Chris came home early to join us for lunch and a small hike before picking up Isabel and Zen from school. That evening we all tried to help build a tower to the ceiling and after giving up played the Wii. After the kids went to bed we watched the movie The Ghost Writer with Chris and Jen.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 11: All over Missouri and Salina, Kansas

This was the part of our journey that I didn't have completely mapped out. There were some many little places to visit, yet things weren't as close together as they seemed when we were in New York. I wasn't really sure how to go about our adventures for the day, so Matthew suggested that we start at the visitor's center and get some suggestions as to how to best manage what little time we had.

As we walked up the steps to the visitor's center I thought I saw a familiar face through the glass, but I couldn't get myself to really believe that I was seeing Brooke Walters, a girl that was in the singles ward that Matthew and I attended right before getting married. I knew that she was serving a mission, but I had forgotten where she was serving. We only spoke for a few moments, but it was nice to have a brief encounter with home.

We took a tour of the visitor's center and got a picture of the Christus. I love that each location has it's own background.

The missionaries told us that the spiral building kiddie corner to us was the Community of Christ's Temple and that we could go and take a tour and maybe even meet their prophet. They also told us about The Liberty Jail visitor's center, the Far West grounds and Adam-omdi-Ahman. I was kind of intrigued about the Temple, but Matthew really want to visit Adam-omdi-Ahman and we realized that if we were going to make the trip up to visit it we didn't have much time to stick around Independence. We made a quick stop to the land dedicated to aTemple which is again, just kiddie corner to the Visitor's center and the Community of Christ's Temple.

After snapping a quick picture, Matthew and I headed towards Adam-omdi-Ahman. It wasn't very far away mileage wise, yet as we got closer the roads were smaller and the speed limits were likewise. This place is important to us because it is a place that we believe Christ will teach to many after His Second Coming. It was beautiful and very peaceful. Just like when we visited the Sacred Grove, we were some of the only people there, so it was nice to be able to think about what will happen there.

We then made our way to Far West where there is a memorial of the cornerstones of a Temple that was planned to be built in the earlier days of the church. As we were traveling to this site we passed a little shop and because we were close to the end of our visit in Missouri, I was a little worried we wouldn't find a magnet. So, Matthew and I decided to give it a shot, and we went back to the store and were lucky enough to find a package of four small magnets that named each place that we were visiting. They weren't much, just simple magnets with a little saying for each location, but they are some of the strongest magnets we bought.

Our last stop in the Missouri tour was to Liberty Jail. It was a cool display where the experiences of the men who were in the jail were told. It was also interesting because the display gave me an understanding of how the jail was fortified by several different layers of material in order to not only make it difficult to escape but also for it to be attacked.

After our visit to Missouri we headed toward Colorado. The plan was to drive as far as we could so that we could get to Denver sooner the next day, but we were tired and because we hadn't made specific plans for Missouri I knew of several KOAs we could stop at. We decided to stop in Salina, Kansas. We got there early enough that we were even able to use our swimsuits before going to bed, but we didn't sleep too well that night because we were in Kansas and if you don't recall, Dorothy lived in Kansas.

Luckily we weren't swept away by a tornado, but the wind howled and shook our tent all night. At one point I recalled that we had left our swimsuits out on the picnic table to dry and made Matthew go get them so they wouldn't blow away. He wasn't too excited about it, but what can I say I have a great husband!

Oh and Although I know this is embarrassing, for me more than anyone else. I wanted to share a video of one of the many random things Matthew and I did along our journeys. And don't ask why because I have no idea why I was talking the way I was, but I know we were having fun!