Monday, September 24, 2012

Hanging with Aunt Bina and Uncle Arty, Part 1

 This weekend Jason, Claire and I drove up to Vancouver, Canada to hang out with Aunt Bina and Uncle Arty. They are going on a cruise this week that departs from Vancouver and invited us up to spend a day with them before they left.
The drive is about 3 hours--that's child's play for us seasoned roadtrippers!
Saturday we headed over to Stanley Park and spent the afternoon at the Aquarium. This aquarium is much better than the one in Seattle. They had harbor seals, dolphins and a beluga whale. We saw the dolphin show and watched a 4D video about the salmon run, which fascinated me. But then again, I'm a sucker for natural history/nature documentaries. I LOVE them!

We went back to their hotel to put our feet up for a bit and relax before heading out on the town for a fun evening.  We walked around downtown, window shopped and enjoyed some of the best Chinese food I've ever had in my life!

We left that night, after a little more chillin' time in the hotel.

The best part of all of this is that I will get to see them again on Friday!
Coming Up: Aunt Bina and Uncle Arty, Part 2!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I am really looking forward to fall this year. I usually bemoan the fact that the days are getting shorter and the weather is decidely cooler. I  get a little sad inside when I see the leaves changing colors and I know that my blessed summer is about to leave me. I am a summer girl at heart. Heat, sun and pool are my life. Fall means good-bye to all that and it always gets me a little down.
But not this year.
I am excited to see the leaves changing and the weather cooling. Even the days getting shorter isn't bothering me ( too much). It means cozying up with yummy foods like butternut squash soup, chili and banana nut bread. It means dressing Claire up in cute little fall outfits with cute little sweaters. I'm even excited about the rain coming because that means I get to buy her cute little galoshes. It means putting her in her oh-so-cute elephant costume that I bought her for Halloween. And it means candy for mommy! yay!
I'm excited to take her on walks and show her the different colored leaves. I'm excited to see her start walking, which I think will happen at the end of this season. I guess I'm looking forward to fall because I know that even though I won't have my hot sun and pool, my little girl is still going to be happy and find things that make her happy.
And that makes me happy. Very happy.
On a side note, I'm excited to get crafty again. I have a few quilts and hats in the works and in the planning stages. Here are a few things that I have done so far:
A baby boy quilt

A baby boy hat
And a baby girl hat
This is the other side

Monday, September 10, 2012

Youth Conference 2012

 This weekend the youth of the Bellevue 7th Ward went up to Snow Lake for their ward youth conference. The theme of Youth Conference was "The Climb," using the scripture D&C 100:12
We started off the weekend by singing at an assisted living home. Our youth are so talented! They played the guitar, drums, saxophone and bass all while singing with beautiful voices. The old folks loved them and asked for an encore when they were done. One old lady got up and led everyone in "It's a Grand Ol' Flag."

After that we grabbed all of our stuff at the Blakely's home and headed up to Alpental, a beautiful ski resort up in the Cascades about 45 minutes away. Some gracious friends of the Blakelys allowed us to use their cabin, which fit all 15 of us comfortably. That night we played some fun games and had an evening devotional. We each shared our favorite scriptures about Christ. On a small poster with a picture of Christ we each wrote a few words that we felt described our Savior.

The next morning we were awakened to the song, "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus and a big yummy breakfast prepared by the Blakelys. We had fruit, yogurt, sausages, eggs and big Costco muffins. Yum yum!! Bishop Hansen from the Issaquah 2nd ward joined us and after breakfast gave us a fascinating presentation about mountain climbing. He tied in his experiences as a mountaineer to the experiences and challenges we face in life. He explained that not only do we need to be prepared, but we need to practice what we've learned, so when obstacles arise in life we will be ready and know how to go forward.

Then began our hike! We loaded up and drove over to the trailhead, which was only a minute away. The hike itself proved fairly challenging at points but also provided beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains and forests.


We stopped twice along the way. I gave a spiritual thought at our first resting point, using excerpts from President Monson's talk, Finding Joy in the Journey. He explains that rahter than always just looking forward to tomorrow, we should give thanks for our blessings today and allow those blessings to give us joy now. Brother Daniels gave a spiritual thought at the second resting point. He spoke about greatness and how it isn't through wishful thinking that we can become great at something. Great athletes, musicians, writers and artists generally put in an average of 10,000 hours of work and practice into their skill. The same applies to the gospel. If we want a strong testimony, we need to work at it. Using a story of a wounded marathon runner who finished his race at the 1968 Olympics, Brother Daniels explained that we are here to "finish the race," not just begin it.

Finally we reached the summit of our climb and from it had a spectacular view of Snow Lake. Here Bishop Rice spoke to us about vantage points and what things in life will help give us a better perspective on life. Some of the answers the youth gave were teachings of the gospel, parents, good friends and seminary. He shared a personal story about how, as a young pilot, the control tower gave him directions and, although he couldn't see a problem, had he not followed their orders he may have crashed into another plane. The youth were then handed letters that their parents had written them and they took a few minutes to read the words of encouragement, advice and love from them.

Our AWESOME young women! I LOVE these girls!
Then we hiked the half mile down to Snow Lake! Snow Lake is a pristine pool surrounded by tall trees and jagged mountains still covered in patches of snow. The view was breathtaking! We spent some time down there and a few of us brave souls even dared to put our feet in the glacial water. A few young men even jumped in! What a bunch of crazies!!!

Finally, we hiked back up to the summit and then began the 3mile trek back down the side of the mountain, which proved to be more painful than coming up! But we finally reached the bottom and, although tired, sore, and extremely dirty, we were happy and proud to have hiked such a beautiful trail. The Blakely's fed us a great lunch and gave each of the kids a picture frame with a picture of Christ and a reminder of the goal to reach the "summit" as they contined they climb through life.
The boys taking a much needed rest after the hike

Proof of how dirty we got! That is NOT a tan line!

The girls were pooped by the end :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Road Trip!

The starts were aligned. The timing just right. It was time for a road trip! There were a couple of factors that made the setting ideal:
1) It was Labor Day weekend, so Jason had an extra day.
2) This would be the only free weekend we had in September and the first half of October.
3) It was only a 8.5 hour drive--not too long, but definitely long enough to feel like a real road trip, and
4) We bought a car.

Yes, we bought a new car. We had juggled the idea of getting some newer vehicle for awhile seeing as the corolla was not cutting it anymore for us. We still have our corolla; it is now the car Jason will drive to and from work. But we wanted something newer and safer for Claire. We ended up getting a 2013 Acura RDX which is a crossover and a great car. It is definitely an upgrade--we now have power locks and power windows. Woohoo! Plus we are planning a road trip on a much larger scale in November, so we wanted something that could handle the wear and tear.

But I digress.

Jason and I have been wanting to go see the Redwoods for some time now and we just figured that there was no better time than this weekend. So we packed Claire up with lots of snacks, toys and diapers and started heading down I-5. This, we felt, would also be a good indicator of how she would handle a longer roadtrip. We definitely came away from this weekend with a few lessons learned and feeling better prepared for November.

The Redwoods were beautiful! I'm so glad we went.
Fact: Redwoods can grow up to 380 ft. tall and 22 ft. wide. Sequoias, on the other hand, can grow up to 320 ft. tall and 44 ft. wide! The Sequoia National Park will have to be another trip. :)

We also got some gorgeous views of the Pacific ocean. It's so different from the Atlantic ocean. It's much more tumultuous and yet so awe-inspiring.

And the award for the best road-tripper goes to Little Miss Claire! She was a champ through it all! She took lots of long naps and played with her toys happily in the back while we drove. Claire is the best!