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Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving + Our Search for Fall

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be grateful for. I love that we have a holiday specifically centered on gratitude. I hope that I can maintain that grateful feeling throughout the holiday season this year. I am truly thankful for the life that I have been blessed with. Kelson started Thanksgiving by playing the ward Turkey Bowl, and then we headed to his grandparents' house in Escondido for the rest of the day.  We had a fun day and a delicious dinner.

This year's dessert masterpiece was a toffee cheesecake covered with a layer of pumpkin pie filling. It was delicious! I got the recipe over at Our Best Bites. Definitely a keeper. Kelson made a pineapple sour cream pie, and it was great too!
 We spent some time exploring the orchard with Kelson's grandpa in the afternoon. It still fascinates me to see oranges and grapefruits growing on trees in the back yard, especially in the winter.

I love the beautiful weather here, but I recently started getting a little bit jealous of all of my friends who were gushing about their fall weather on facebook, especially our friends from New England. Kelson and I set out one Saturday to find Fall. We drove up into the mountains to Julian.
We found it! Julian had Fall colors. It made me happy. 
 Kelson and I enjoy exploring old cemeteries. Julian had a fun one, and Fall was there!
 The next weekend, we wanted to go for a hike, so we went to Cowle's Mountain, one of the most popular hiking spots in San Diego. There were hundreds of people there. Being from the mountains, I was a little confused why so many people wanted to climb up a hot, dusty hill. However, the view from the top was spectacular. You could see all of San Diego, clear out to the ocean. It was worth it.
 A couple of days ago, we decided to explore the Filipino grocery store, and we found some very interesting surprises. Some were more appetizing than others. In case you can't read the lids, Kelson is holding beef bile and pork blood. I really hope I have never unknowingly eaten beef bile in an Asian restaurant. That just sounds really unpleasant.
 We may not have Fall or a white Christmas here in San Diego, but I'm not going to complain. I can be at the beach in 20 minutes, and this is the view from my balcony every evening.
I would say I am pretty blessed.
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Now, it is time for my favorite season-Christmas!
Bring on the holiday cheer!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween! Of course, it isn't quite as exciting as when you we used to go trick or treating and get absurd amounts of candy. I can't wait to have kids to celebrate this fun holiday with.  Our chance to dress up this year was for our church Halloween party. I'm pretty sure I was a princess almost every year as a kid, so I decided it was time to get back to my roots.  This was the first time that Kelson and I have been able to dress up together for Halloween, and we had fun with our fairytale.

 The princess & the pea!  Get it? Only 2 people at the party got it without us having to explain. Even then, I was amazed at how many people have never heard this fairytale. I think Kelson liked it because he didn't really have to do anything.

Kelson's favorite Halloween activity was carving our pumpkin, which he did while I turned myself into a princess. He carved a skeleton, and I thought it was pretty spooky.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before it got a little wrinkly.  Now it looks a little bit like a grandpa skeleton.

 There are way too many fun ideas for Halloween crafts out there. I had a blast decorating my entryway, and I think it turned out great! I picked up the chair for free on craigslist. It is in line to be refinished, but it looked so much like it belonged in a haunted house that I left it "as is" for the Halloween season.
 Cute, little, paper pumpkins. They are going to stick around for my Thanksgiving entryway.
 Fun Halloween banner!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Perfect Escape from the City

We recently got back from a wonderful vacation in Oregon with my family. We got to see everyone, and it was delightfully relaxing. I love being at home! The first day we were there, we overlapped with my brother, Jeremy, and his family.  It was so fun to play with everyone!

 We got to have a little fun with nail art with Anne the manicurist. She loved getting to paint our nails, and she sat perfectly still for me to paint hers. Unfortunately, we discovered that the lime green nail polish was almost impossible to remove, so Mom and I both looked like our fingers and toes were moldy for a week.  Oops. At least Anne had fun.

 Kelson won Anne's heart by making her a glass of chocolate milk at dinner. 
Chocolate is definitely the way to this girl's heart.
 I finally got to meet my new nephew, Will. Isn't he sweet? There is nothing better than snuggling a squishy, sleeping baby.  Love it!
 When I asked Kelson what he wanted to do for vacation, he said that all he wanted was to be outside. What better place to do that than home in Baker? Our first adventure was a little exploring near Elk Creek. I love the mountains.
 All Kelson wanted was to get in a river, so I stopped off by the road and let him climb in.
 The top layer of our wedding cake was still in my mom's freezer, so we followed tradition and ate some to celebrate our first year of marriage.  It was pretty stale, but we did each try at least one bite.
 Dad has been really excited to have Kelson and I come so that we could all go hiking and fishing and do manly stuff like that. Our first hike was on the Elkhorn crest trail above Anthony Lakes...or at least that was the idea.

 This is Dad and Kelson attempting to read the map and figure out which trail we should take.  I'm not sure about the skills of these two boy scouts.
 We ended up on the trail going to the peak of the mountain instead of the one going around.  It got a little bit steep, but the view from the top was beautiful.
 People ask me if I am from the "ugly side" of Oregon. I think not.
 Dad and I quit a few hundred yards below the top, and Kelson climbed all the way up.  See the little dot up on top of the peak? That would be Kelson. I almost had a heart attack when he started climbing and hopping down the cliff face. Crazy boy.
 From there, the boys decided it would be best to leave the trail (which I was under the impression was against one of the cardinal rules of hiking) and bushwhack our way down the mountain until we found the right trail. That was an adventure. I wasn't sure if we were ever going to find this elusive trail.
 Apparently I should have had more faith in my men, because we finally ended up where we wanted to be, and we finished up a great hike.
 The next day, it was time for another great Baker summer pastime-floating down the Provo river. Perfect way to cool off in the hot weather!
 We packed up the camper, and the whole family headed up to Wallowa Lake for a few days of rest and relaxation. Our first morning, I hiked up to the waterfalls with Dad and Kelson.
 On the way back, we had to cross the river, which didn't have a bridge where we were. Instead of walking down to the bridge, of course the boys chose to make use of a series of logs. What's the fun in a bridge?

 After our hike, we threw on our suits and hopped into the freezing cold lake. It was a bit chilly for swimming.
 We played three rounds of mini golf. I will take it any day over the real thing.  Way more fun.
 Paddling around the lake in a paddle boat. We got around much better once I let Kelson steer. Apparently he really has learned some important skills in the Navy.
Dad and Kelson spent lots of time fishing, and they were so proud when they finally brought home a trout. There was just enough for each of us to have a taste.

 Saturday, Kelson had to fly home so he could go back to work, and I stayed in Oregon for an extra week with my parents. Mom and I started off our mother-daughter week with some delicious frozen yogurt.
Mom and I wanted to do a craft one day, so we followed some instructions we found online for how to make your own chalkboard paint with non-sanded grout. We decided to make a magnetic chalkboard. It worked great, except that we mixed the whole can up at once, which was apparently a mistake. Grout has cement in it. Oops. Within a couple of hours, our can of paint was the consistency of warm tar, so we had to use it up fast. We started painting everything we could find, including a metal bowl, a plastic bucket, some beadboard, and a couple pieces of styrofoam. We are now the proud owners of lots of chalkboards.  Take home lesson: only mix up a little bit of chalkboard paint at a time.

Mom is such a good shop partner!

 We had a great vacation. Thanks for all the fun, Mom & Dad!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Update: Our first garden, lots of exploring, and the most awesome summer job ever!

Time for a summer update.  We have been very busy for the last couple of months having all kinds of adventures. To start with, I made a big career change this summer and took a job as a camp nurse at Camp Able, a summer camp for people with disabilities. I got to spend my days at the beach playing with awesome campers. I hope it works out so I can go back next summer.

We get a little goofy and dress up for song time on Friday.
All of the camp able one extra

Kelson came out to volunteer at camp one day. He looked pretty funny in the too-small wetsuit.

On the last day of camp, we had a big staff party. I brought strawberry lemonade cupcakes, a recipe of my own design.  They were a big hit. I love lemony things!

My last evening on Silver Strand state beach. Aren't I lucky to get to work somewhere so beautiful?

We tried our hand at container gardening this summer. I found an idea online to plant a garden in a shoe organizer, and we figured we would give it a try on our balcony. This was the night we planted everything.

A couple of months later. Success!

Eating peas right on our balcony is so fun!

We grew onions, lettuce, basil, peas, green beans, rosemary, and flowers.  It isn't exactly a high-yield garden, but it would be really fun to do with kids, since you can watch everything grow. Extra bonus-no weeds!

I took care of Sophie, my friend's adorable daughter, the other day, and she absolutely loved our little garden.  Isn't she cute?

One weekend, Kelson and I volunteered at a camp up in the mountains for the Sports for Exceptional Athletes program, which is similar to Special Olympics. This is Kelson and I with Deb, who was also one of our campers out at Camp Able. We are buds.

When my boss called and asked if I could be the nurse for a camping trip in the mountains, I was expecting to spend the weekend camping in the dirt. Much to my surprise, this was my home for the weekend.

It was nicer than our apartment, complete with beautiful furniture, a queen size bed, and a full kitchen. I thought about moving in for good. The bunny that came in and hid under the couch was pretty fun too.

I saw my first wild tarantulas on that camping trip.  I have held a pet one before, but seeing them crawling around outside was a little bit freaky. Someone caught one and put it in an empty flashlight so that he could scare everyone at breakfast. It doesn't look very big, but it was large.

Another weekend, we went for a hike in some hills near our house. We were only a couple miles from home, but we couldn't see the city at all.  It was awesome.

The area was full of ground owl nests. They were fun to watch.

One Saturday, we went for a bike ride around a nearby lake. The path went through a bunch of swamps on narrow, rickety, wooden bridges. I lost my balance and fell off of one, landing up to my ankle in disgusting swamp mud and then fell right on my bottom. Kelson took plenty of time to laugh at me before he pulled me out.

Gross. My shoe took a long bath after that bike ride.

Later that day, after we cleaned off the swamp mud, we took a trip to Balboa park and explored the Museum of Man. This is Kelson with a giant, prehistoric orangutan.

After the museum, we walked through the gardens. The desert garden had some crazy plants. This is definitely one of the weirdest trees I have ever seen.

Their rose garden is gorgeous. Almost as good looking as that boy sitting on the wall.

On July 15th, we celebrated Kelson's 29th birthday. He has decided that this is the last year that he will grow older. Since most people think he looks about 20 at the oldest, I don't think he has too much to worry about.

He got a bbq for his birthday and has been having a great time playing with it.

He requested soul food for his birthday, which is something I have never made before. My attempt actually turned out pretty good.  We had breaded fish, greens, jambalaya, and corn bread.

Kelson's birthday wouldn't be complete without a strawberry pie of some sort. Yum! Kelson had a very happy birthday.
Well, that is a quick summary of the fun things we have been doing this summer. Today, we are flying to Oregon to spend some time with family and spend as much time as possible in the mountains.  It should be a great vacation.