Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Anniversary Cruise

We've been home less than a month, so I feel like I am doing really well posting this now. :^D

For our tenth, we celebrated on the Carnival Paradise. It was my very first cruise, and thanks to many family members (that means you too, Lindsay!), we were able to go without the kids.

Monday we left from Long Beach and got to know the ship and our tablemates, who were all couples close to our age, including another couple from Utah.

Tuesday morning we woke up early enough to watch the ship pull into Catalina Island. This was my favorite day of the trip. We took a tender out to Avalon and first went on a glass bottom boat. We were able to see some of the fish in the cove and the kelp beds without having to get into the freezing cold water.

Then we rented a tandem bicycle. Both Nate and I have decided that they are harder to operate than they look but still a lot of fun. We rode from Lovers Cove to the Casino, which is an iconic picture spot in Avalon that happens to be undergoing renovation and was completely draped in black. I wanted to see inside because in the '30s and '40s, it was where all the big bands came and performed, but they only had one tour inside and it was kind of pricey.

Instead, we rode up the canyon to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, named after the Wrigley of chewing gum and Chicago Cubs fame. It started raining as soon as we got there, but we still hike up and around it.

After getting a flat on the way down the canyon, we waited in line for almost a half hour to get on a tender back to the ship and saw a baby sea lion wandering up onto the pier.

Wednesday we went to Ensenada, Mexico. We dis a tour that took us to La Bufadora, one of three natural blowholes in the world. While there we bought fish and carne asada tacos and churros. The food was awesome!! I love comida autentico de Mexico, real Mezican food.

We also toured the convention center, which was a hotel/casino built by Capone. The painted murals and ceilings were still pretty much in tact.

Thursday, our actual anniversary, we spent at sea. We read our books (not on the deck because of the rain and rough seas), played some trivia games, watched an ice carving demonstration, and learned how to fold towels into animals. At lunch we were seated with another couple that was also celebrating their tenth anniversary that day.

Overall, there were a lot of things I loved about the cruise. The food was amazing; I could seriously go on and on about it. They had an excellent sushi station (my favorite) and amazing dishes like mango cream soup and chocolate melting cake. The service was also wonderful, and we felt like the people in the dining room were old friends by the end of the cruise.

And our room was fabulous! We were right off the central atrium, close to the theater and the dining, but from inside the room it was so quiet you would never know it was all a few steps away. And we had a window. I loved being able to look out when the sun was coming out to see our next port.

I also just loved being able to walk along the decks and watch the sea. It was hard to sit still for very long though because the rocking often put me to sleep.

My complaints are few. Some had nothing to do with the ship like missing the kids terribly or waking up ridiculously early (4:30 one morning). But Thursday I was really feeling the ship rocking a lot. Not so much too make me throw up, like one of our dinner companions, but enough that I didn't feel entirely comfortable. And the day we got off the ship, my sea legs were so bad when we were at Disneyland, I would start to tip over while waiting in line. That night I dreamed I was on a little boat and rocked all night long, and Saturday was the worst. Just sitting still made me feel like I was rocking all over.

But we had a great time and lots of great memories!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Best Ten Years

All right, after months and months of making my friends and family all look good because I never write a blog, I'm done! Time to take my place in the blogosphere again.

This week we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary on Earth Day. It's a happy coincidence to have it on the same day. To celebrate, we are taking a short cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico, and then spending a day a Disneyland and one at Magic Mountain. We are so grateful to the friends and family that are watching the kids for us, so we can spend some time alone.

To celebrate the last ten years, I thought I'd list my top ten favorite things about being married to Nate.
1. He loves me absolutely and completely and is more patient with me than I sometimes deserve.
2. He brings out the best in me and makes me a better person: I have learned to not get so stressed out and I know I have his absolute support so I am willing to try new things.
3. He works hard and plays hard, and he has taught me that it is important to do both.
4. I almost never have to do dishes. :)
5. He knows how to make the whole family's boo-boos go away.
6. There is never a day that goes by where he doesn't make me laugh . . . a lot.
7. He always puts our family first, and I always know that we are his top priority.
8. I can talk to him about everything; he is my therapist, spiritual advisor, and best friend.
9. He is loyal to his friends and family and stands by them no matter what.
10. He is open-minded and fair with everyone he meets.

The last ten years have been amazing, and I suspect the next ten will be even more so!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Ryan turned four this year, and to celebrate being such a big boy, he planned his whole day himself. First, we went to story time at the Bean Museum. Then Ryan got to choose where we ate our weekly lunch with Nate (El Pollo Loco-"the tortilla place").

Ryan helped plan and decorate his Scooby-Doo cake. He was so excited! We got some Papa John's pizza and then went to Fat Cats for bowling.

We all had a great time, and he's already making plans for next year!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sofie!

It's a couple of days late, but I thought I'd share some highlights from her second birthday.

The kids and I went to Hogle Zoo with Warren, Lindsay, Megan, and Peter. The kids loved the train.

We loved all the baby animals, especially the baby elephant, Zuri. She was adorable and such an entertainer. We also watched baby monkeys, baby cats, baby snow leopard, and the baby giraffe.

The kids also enjoyed the carousel (who doesn't love riding on a tiger or a panda?).

Sofie loved opening her presents and was so excited for each one that she wouldn't pit any down and we had to encourage her to open more. Among her presents was a Minnie Mouse purse with a gigantic lipstick.

Her cake was pink with pink frosting and Disney princesses dancing around a castle.

I love my independent little chatterbox with a heart of gold!

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Fall!

This is always my favorite season of the year: crunchy colorful leaves, apple and pumpkin pie, crisp breezes, warm sweaters, corn mazes. . .

This year, I'm loving it even more. It's so fun getting ready for the kids' birthdays just a week apart (Sofie wants a pink bunny cake, and Ryan wants an Oreo train).

We've been out enjoying the beautiful weather. This is Ryan on a walk around Cascade Springs. The fall color was wonderful (see the leaves above), but I also loved how his red jacket stood out.

We also took the kids to the Tracy Aviary. Sofie wore this sweater-hoodie and the pigtails to match!

And though I'm still in the middle of making applesauce (with no more mishaps, I hope), I am already pleased with my progress. So here's to a glorious fall!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


With the summer (and two weeks in California) behind me, I've been learning how to can and use what I've started harvesting. A big shout out to Machelle and her sisters for teaching me the wonders of canned peaches (see below) and to Lindsay for letting me help make applesauce.

I've been gathering tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and the occasional pepper or strawberry. I have also kept some basil, rosemary, and dill alive; there's nothing better than thinking an herb would be perfect and then using a sprig I just cut.

And I just discovered a quince tree hidden behind our roses. I had no idea there was anything there until I cut the roses way back this year and the twigs behind it started producing squat apple-like fruit. Apparently, they were really popular when our house was built. So I'm going to learn how to make quince jelly!

Though many have learned the joys of planting, harvesting, and storing from their own garden, this is a new discovery for me and I'm loving it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Memoriam: Arlene Mickelsen Waters 1936-2009

(Thanks to Lauren for the picture.)
My dear Aunt Arlene died yesterday after a short battle with cancer (she was diagnosed just over a month ago). I haven't yet written my post about my anchors in Christ, but Arlene was one of them. She is one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. She had the patience of Job in caring for my grandmother. Her marriage was long, deep, and truly unifying. Her love for her family and for the Savior was evident in everything she did. Nate and I have often said that Arlene and Ted are who we want to be like when we grow up. She blessed us with her hospitality, generosity, care, and devotion.

For her sake, I am glad that she did not have to suffer long and that she has returned to her Savior and loved ones. For myself, I am grateful to have had her in my life, and especially to have gotten to know her much better in the last few years. I will sorely miss her, but I hope to eventually become the kind of person that she was.