Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Say "No" to Business Trips

This week has been an interesting one. The worst part was sending Libby home Saturday night. I didn't like that...not one bit. I keep thinking that there are millions of people that go on business trips every week. I bet a lot of them are married. But I doubt that very many of them are newlyweds.

Newlyweds shouldn't go on business trips. Newlyweds shouldn't be apart for more than a couple hours at a time. It's not that I'm super lovey dovey, I just miss my wife!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School

At the end of the Summer, I am normally itching to go back to school.
I think this is because being in Ohio for 4 months is a sufficient break to allow me to forget the bad memories and miss the good ones.
This Summer has been WAY different that the rest.
(Seeing as I'm married and spend oodles of time with my best friend)
School now means less time with Paul.
Me no likely.

I have decided that this school year is going to be different.
Instead of focusing on getting good grades I am going to focus on being a good nurse.
I already know this is going to be very difficult for me.
I get caught up over points and grades.
I HATE it!
So I decided I am done with it.
It is more important for me to feel that I am doing the best I can so I can effectively care for others.
It's going to take some effort... but I think this will make for the best semester yet.
Here's to focusing on what really matters!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Connecticut...and Natural Disasters

Well, I can't say that my business trip to Connecticut has been worry free, but I can say that it has been interesting, to say the least.

An early flight from Utah lands you on the East Coast in the late afternoon.  At least traveling is tiring, so we didn't have to worry too much about jet lag.  After a detour on the freeways around here (we were actually a little lost) we got to the hotel.  Luckily, the hotel is close to a mall, so finding food wasn't difficult.

At work on Tuesday, things were moving along just as if I were in Provo, which I thought I was for a minute.  There is a lot of construction going on on BYU campus, and because I work so close to campus, I get to feel the vibrations of jackhammers and other construction equipment everyday.  Well, while at my computer (in CT) the floor started vibrating.  I didn't think too much of it because I am used to these good vibrations.  Then I realized I wasn't in Utah anymore.  I got worried.  My boss, sitting behind me, said, "Is anybody else's computer moving?"  Looking up at the ceiling, the light fixtures were swaying and the ground started moving.  I received a text from Libby: "The room is shaking?"  Then we all had to evacuate the building.  Welcome to Connecticut.

Libby and I decided that we would try to make this trip interesting.  So, every night after work we tried to go some place with the few hours of daylight that are left.  On Tuesday we went to Wickham Park (I think Libby wanted to go there because she loves Pride and Prejudice).  It was a beautiful place that had an aviary and big lawns with big trees and some cute little gardens.  Here's a taste:

This one is us...not really of the park.
Cool gate at a garden entrance
I love trees like this
Sunset on the hilltop
A neat bridge in the Chinese Garden

On Thursday we decided to visit Mark Twain's house in Hartford.  It was surprisingly very big.

 I didn't think that authors made very much money.  Well, I guess he didn't when the house was built; it was mostly paid for by his wife because she came from a pretty well-to-do family.  Sadly, we couldn't take any pictures inside.  But our tour guide did tell us that Mark Twain loved playing billiards and loved cats.  He tried to teach his cats to stay in the pockets of the pool table and hit the balls back to him, so that he didn't have to later fetch them himself.

After the tour, we tried our hand at being Mark Twain.  I tried to mix a little Einstein in there too.

Libby might make a good looking grandpa
Then we heard that there was a hurricane that was going to hit over the weekend.  That was the worst news that we could've heard.  We were planning on going to Boston on Saturday.  We thought maybe we could sneak it in early in the morning, but the forecast was just getting worse and worse.

In order for Libby to get back to school on Monday, we decided that she should change her flight to Saturday.  We couldn't get through to the airline for a couple hours.  Everyone was trying to get out of the state.  Even when she was on the plane (Saturday evening) they were trying to hurry everyone on so in order to beat the onslaught.  The flight actually took off early!  I can't remember that ever happening in history.  I bet the Wright Brothers didn't even take off on time...and they were the first ones to do it.

Anyway, so I was left to myself for the storm.  It was weird being in my hotel room by myself.  I felt bad for Libby because I left her here everyday while I went to work.  But, I guess it isn't so bad.  And I started to realize just how stupid some tv shows are.  So I watched football and periodically got updates on the hurricane.

Apparently the term for "waiting out a storm" in Connecticut is "hunker down".  Every news reporter said that word at least every 5 minutes while reporting on the hurricane.

As of 8 am Sunday morning, the eye of Hurricane Irene hadn't even reached NYC and was already being downgraded to a strong Tropical Storm.  That made me (and Libby) worry a lot less, even though there is still be flooding all over the state.

Sitting, lonely, on a Sunday morning, it just seemed like a long rain storm.  There was some pretty heavy wind earlier, but that has mostly calmed down. So, the weather is similar to the rain in Oregon.  Nothing too bad, but I was told that there was still a lot of storm to come.

It never came.  It started to dry out before it hit.  Some rain fell in the early afternoon and the wind was blowing the other direction (a sign that it was passing).  I'm now looking forward to driving slowly down all the roads tomorrow, avoiding fallen trees and power lines, on my way to work.  I hope it'll all work out, because I'd rather be there than spend another day doing nothing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bad Luck

What are the chances that we would be in Connecticut during an earthquake AND a hurricane?
I suppose natural disasters just love us.
. . . Hoping I still make my flight on Sunday.

Portland, OR

 As previously mentioned, Paul and I decided to road trip up to Oregon.
This was our last chance to make it up there before his parents leave on their mission to Ukraine!
The drive went without a hitch.
We arrived safe & sound and spent the rest of the evening with family.

On Friday morning, we woke up early and went to the Portland Temple.
There were beautiful flowers EVERYWHERE. 
Who is this boy?
Following our Temple trip, we went to lunch at Chang's. It's a restaurant very similar to Blue Pacific Grill. You pick everything you want and then it gets grilled up in front of you.
Seeing as it was a buffet, I tried my best to refrain from over stuffing myself.
I wanted to save room for the family bbq we had in the backyard later that evening.
The weather, food and company were wonderful.
I wish we had taken more pictures, but we did get a few good shots of the little ones.
Darling Miss Macie
Miss Marion in Mr. Potato Head glasses
Eddie with the biggest smile in the world
Saturday morning was spent playing Taboo. 
(Bryce and Sierra smoked us all)
Then we piled into the car and drove to the middle of nowhere to eat at Helvatia's Tavern.
Paul has been talking about this place for a while, so I had high expectations.
I'm happy to report that my expectations were met! 
The Burgers were divine.
Following lunch, we drove to downtown Portland.
We went to Saturday Market-- where you can buy anything and everything useless.
(Except for their awesome soap. That stuff is not useless.)
Sierra & Bryce. Looking good, as usual.

Saturday night was spent shopping for black flats.
I destroyed my last pair and have been trying to find a replacement.
We searched and searched and searched . . . 
And I walked away with a pair of completely unnecessary, but oh-so-awesome, high heels.
You don't even know how much my husband loves me.

Later that evening we sorted through Paul's old stuff.
I always enjoy hearing those random, once forgotten stories.
We got a few zzzz's and then woke up early on Sunday so we could head home.
However, we weren't able to leave the house without partaking of the Brallier's generosity.
Paul's parents sent us home with delicious jam, a beautiful rug and other goodies.

Kathryn & Ron saying goodbye as we drove away.
The drive home felt longer than the drive to Portland.
Probably because you lose an hour when you travel East.
However, this trip had a few fun surprises.
I find joy in standing in new states and sticking my finger in bodies of water.
(Click here to see us touching the Mississippi River)
Now get this, when you drive on I-84 through Oregon, the state of Washington is staring you in the face across from the Columbia River.
I was itching inside to drive across a bridge, stand in Washington and stick my finger in the river.
Unfortunately, we got off to a late start on Sunday and I told Paul we didn't have time.
I promptly fell asleep and Paul's sneaky side devised a plan.
When he woke me up, I looked out a window to discover that we were driving across a bridge
 . . . to Washington!
Seriously people, you wouldn't believe how frequently Paul goes out of his way to make me happy.
Picking blackberries in Washington. (You can kinda see the tip of Mt. Hood behind the bushes)
We drove back to Oregon and found a good spot to touch the water.
Paul's turn!
Oh yeah, and then he picked me more wildflowers.
So, as you can see, we had a lovely trip.
Getting home and immediately packing for our Connecticut trip was a bit stressful. . . 
But I'm glad we made time to squeeze Portland into our Summer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pumping Gas

I have been pumping gas for quite some time. 
Before I could even drive, I would fill up my mom's car.
The first time I discovered that some people don't know how to pump gas
 was during my sophomore year in college.
My hilarious roommate, Hilary, got a car and admitted that she didn't know how.
I was absolutely STUNNED.
This past weekend, during our Portland trip, I got to witness this first hand.
We pulled up to a gas station and there was an attendant running around filling up the tanks.
Perhaps they were shorthanded. . . but he started asking the drivers for help.
Slowly, people stepped out of their cars and began staring at the pumps.
The attendant was shouting out directions at everyone because they had no clue how to do it.
I couldn't help but laugh and think of Hilly.
Life is so great.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Last Hurrah

It feels like everyone is talk about school starting.
Don't they know I'm not ready yet?
This summer has flown by; I can hardly believe my last day of work is tomorrow.
(I am extremely sad to say goodbye to my job. But that topic will get an entire post of its own.) 
However, I am excited to announce that my summer isn't over quite yet!
Paul and I have one last summer hurrah during the final week and a half before school starts.
On Thursday, we'll be taking off to Oregon.
We return on Sunday.
Then, we promptly board a plane on Monday morning and head east to Connecticut!
(Paul has a business trip. Cool, right?)
I'll be flying back solo on Sunday.
. . . Just in time to start classes on Monday.
Paul will head home later that week.
 So you see. . . Summer really ISN'T over yet. 

P.S. Stay tuned for updates about our trip. 
It's gonna be good!

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

This lucky young man just married this beautiful lady.
(Kaitlin truly was the most beautiful bride)
Aren't they precious?

Paul and I were happy for multiple reasons:

1. Kait and Garen are our "married" friends... and now they're actually married!
2. It had been ages since we last saw all of the Stead Clan. Talk about a wonderful family.
3. We got to eat Cafe Rio. YUM.
4. We were able to attend our first Temple Wedding since our own in May.
5. Last but not least, there is nothing more exciting than knowing that families are forever.

Congrats, Kait and Garen, on your Temple Marriage!
We lurrrrve you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

But I Can't See It...

Sometimes, Libby talks in her sleep.  Sometimes she is really funny in the morning.  This morning was one of those days.

She had a late night watching a movie with me, and an early shift at the library.  Those two things don't mix very well.  There wasn't anything unusually funny that happened at home before we left the house, but she was just being silly all morning.  We were a little late, so I drove her to work.  While getting out of the car, Libby hit her head on the car ceiling.

I said, "Watch your head!", to which she said, right on cue, "But I can't see it!"

A tired wife will always come up with wonderful excuses.  :)

Monday, August 8, 2011


Some people might say I have a problem with being overly prepared.
For example, when I was a Freshman, I used my extra meal plan money for food storage to give me a head start for Sophomore year when I would actually have to cook for myself.
Lucky for me, this isn't a terrible problem to have 
(unless I were to start hoarding or something...but were not to that point yet).
Unfortunately for Paul, I couldn't help myself during Macey's Case Lot Sale.
Good thing he was there to keep me from going too crazy.

Part of our loot

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Walking in the Desert

I've been in Utah a lot longer than most college students.  One of the first things that most outdoorsy people do is head down to Moab for some hiking, camping, river rafting, mountain biking, etc.  So why haven't I been there after living here for almost 5 full years?  I don't know.  I guess I just loved the mountains that are accessible to me only 5 minutes from my apartment.
Me, almost to the top of Mt. Timpanogos
But Libby decided that it was time to take her husband on a trip down to the red rocks.  How could I say no to a face like this?!
She is such a sweetheart!  I've got one too...don't worry.
It was so funny!   We started out our trip by going to a restaurant where they gave us some tokens to buy shirts with.  I think it is inevitable that any token will somehow find its way into someone's eye.  These were just so dang funny.

I think this was my scary face
After stuffing ourselves silly, we went into Arches National Park to finally start our hiking adventures.  Libby wanted to go out to the Devils Garden, because she missed that one last time she was there.  Landscape Arch is just a quick hike...not even a mile.  That was our first stop.  It is a huge arch, as long as football field, and super narrow.
Apparently, in 1992 (I think), there were some campers that were hanging out underneath the arch.  They heard some cracking, looked up and got outta there.  The right side of the arch was breaking away and almost fell on them.  All the crumbled rock from that collapse is still sitting under the arch.

After Landscape Arch, we continued our hike out to Double O Arch.  Not much to talk about.  Just some pictures.
These little guys were all over the place
I love it!
After a 2 mile hike in super hot desert temperatures we finally arrived at Double O Arch.  I really liked this one because you could get up in it and take victory pose pictures.
This was just cool.  There was some crazy German guy that wanted to climb up to the top one, but he realized halfway up that it was a bad idea, and almost killed himself on the way down.  Crazy Europeans!!

We saw a trail marker that said we could go further out to Dark Angel.  It wasn't worth it.  We could see it just fine from the Double O Arch, but we didn't know.  So here is a picture of a big rock sticking way out of the ground.
I guess the silhouette makes for a nice picture. 
We got back to the car and it was already dark.  We set up the tent and looked up at the stars.  They were beautiful.  And there were so many!  There was even a spot where you could see the cloudiness of the Milky Way.  Libby had never seen anything like that.  Too bad normal person cameras can't take good pictures of that kind of stuff.

After about 3 hours of sleep, we woke up and drove to the Delicate Arch trail head.  A suggestion from a friend made us want to get up to the arch for sunrise.  This was well worth it, as this trail has no shade the whole way out.  We got a little confused trying to find the trail in the darkness, but there were some gung-ho photographers who knew where to go.  So we followed their lights for a bit before it was light enough to see without a headlamp.  

We got some good shots.  Libby showed some very promising photography skills, and I just sat there.  Anyway, here's Delicate Arch at sunrise.

Dawn, looking out from Delicate Arch

Crazy Photographers!

It's big...
...really big!
And that was my trip out to Arches.  We had a great time and were really gross and hungry when we got home.  My wife has great adventure ideas.  I love her.