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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our First Trip to the Laie Temple

We had a great day on Saturday. It all started with some very successful yard saling in our new neighborhood. Then we drove up to Laie for our first visit to the temple there. Like everything else in Hawaii, it is gorgeous.

We had a wonderful experience at the temple and then went snorkeling in Shark's Cove on the north shore. We finished up our Saturday with some delicious shrimp near one of the shrimp farms. Yum!

Looking for the Perfect Hawaiian Sunset

We have taken a couple of chances lately to drive out to the west shore of the island to watch the sun set. It is so beautiful here in Hawaii!
 This was at Ka'aena Point on our first Sunday here. We got there just at the perfect time.

 For date night last week, we went for  a walk at Ko'Olina and then went out for fancy dessert. 
Kelson is a great date planner!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beautiful Hanauma Bay

By the time we made it to our first Saturday day in Hawaii, it had been five whole days since we had been snorkeling, so we figured we were due. After our disappointment on our first trip, we wanted somewhere really spectacular. We read that Hanauma Bay was as good as it gets, so we got up early on Saturday morning to beat the crowds. We were not disappointed.
 The view from the top was spectacular, and the view in the water was even better. We saw thousands of colorful fish and even two sea turtles. It was so much fun! Needless to say, we will be back here.
 Not even the flat tire on the way home could dampen our spirits. We love Hawaii!

Aloha! We made it to Hawaii!

My parents were kind enough to take us to the airport in Boise for our very early morning flight to Honolulu. It was very weird to spend 8 hours traveling and still get to Hawaii by 10 in the morning because of the 4 hour time difference. I was very glad to have the flight over. Long plane rides are a little less than comfortable when you are 7 months pregnant. What was the first thing we did when we arrived in Honolulu? Head straight for the beach, of course!
 We drove up to the north shore and went to Turtle Bay, which we had heard was a great snorkeling beach. It was hot and humid, and the water felt amazing. Unfortunately, snorkeling conditions weren't great there that day and we didn't see much. It was still a fun introduction to the island, though.
 We drove around the north and east sides of the island to get back home. This was at a point on the shore near Laie, although I can't remember what it was called. It was gorgeous. Try to ignore the fact that I pretty much look like a whale in my swimsuit right now.
 We checked into a hotel on base that afternoon, and Kelson reported to his new ship, the Port Royal, the next morning. There are lots of new things to get used to, but he is really enjoying his new job. Our big task for the week was finding a place to live. We were fortunate to get a great place in military housing on base, and we are really excited. We are living on Ford Island, which is right in the middle of Pearl Harbor, so Kelson is close enough to ride his bike to work. We moved in last week, and we already love it here. We have 3 bedrooms, air conditioning, and a garage. I am in heaven. Now I just need my furniture to get here!
We went out to dinner at a delicious seafood restaurant overlooking the harbor to celebrate. We watched the sun set over the water while we ate amazing food. We need to celebrate more often!

There are some things that will take a little getting used to here in Hawaii, but we are loving it. It is going to be a grand adventure. We have just a couple of months to settle in, and then we will embark on the greatest adventure of all: parenthood!

One More Visit with Family Before our Move

Since we needed a place to leave my car, we had the perfect opportunity to spend a few days with my family before taking off for Hawaii. We had a wonderful week. Again, most of my pictures got deleted, but I have a few.
 Jeremy & his family came over on our first night there for my baby shower. It was a great chance to take family photos. Don't we have a beautiful family?
 My brother, sister, and I
 After photos and dinner, we kicked the boys out to go bowling while us ladies had an awesome party. Mom and Katy did so much amazing work! The theme was pink, and all of the pink treats were delicious. So many people came out to support me. I felt so loved!
 My niece, Anne, was excited to get to stay for the party with the big girls. She was a big helper, so she got to take home a princess cup of her own.
 Dad & Grandpa had a great time taking Kelson on adventures around the valley. Grandpa gave us a great tour of the museum, where he has been doing all kinds of work, and Dad took Kelson on a 10-mile hike in the mountains. I went shopping with Mom & Katy. It was a great day for all involved. Another night, we went to Union and my aunts threw me another beautiful baby shower. I received some very special gifts there, including a number of outfits from when I was a baby accompanied by pictures of me. My mom also made me gifts that she said my two grandmothers would have made if they were alive to be there for me.
 For my Grandma Baxter, Mom made the baby this beautiful crocheted dress.
From Grammy, mom recreated the quilt that Grammy made for me as a baby. Mine was lost when I was little, but Mom & Katy recreated it from Katy's baby quilt. They worked so hard, and I love it!
 Our last day there, Jeremy & his family came over from Fruitland again, and we all went to the Oregon trail interpretive center. They had a live team of oxen there, and we were all amazed by just how huge they were. They made me a little nervous.
We had so much fun spending time with the family. It may be a little while until we are home again, so I am glad we had a chance to spend so much time together.

Road Trip 2013: Oregon or Bust!

Since the Navy only shipped one of our cars to Hawaii, we drove my car up to Oregon to leave it with my family while we are gone. We drove about 1400 miles in 4 days, and it was a great trip. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all of the pictures from the second half of the trip, so I will just have to write about that part.  The first night, we drove through San Diego County, up past LA, stopped for dinner in Bakersfield, and then spent the night in Visalia, about 45 minutes outside Sequoia National Park. The next morning, we drove up to the park, picked up our free national parks pass (I love military discounts!) and started up the mountain for an adventure. It was so beautiful!
 Massive trees and beautiful mountains
 We walked around a corner on one of the paths and realized that this guy was about 50 feet away. I had never seen a bear in the wild before. It was a little scary but so cool! He walked around for a few minutes and then got spooked by some other people and ran off. Awesome!

 I don't know how you can help but feel God's love walking around a place like this. It was so majestic and peaceful. I'm grateful we have national parks to save some of our most beautiful places.
 After our drive through Sequoia, we ventured into California's beautiful central valley. I have never seen so many different things being grown in one place. It was fascinating. We stopped at a fruit stand and bought some of the most beautiful peaches and nectarines I have ever seen. I had to take advantage of the "washing well" because it was just so charming.
That is the last picture before my tragic picture transferring fiasco. We spent that night in Chico with Kelson's brother, David. We hadn't seen him since our wedding, and it was great to catch up. The next morning, we went to church in Redding and then drove over the border into the great state of Oregon and went to Crater Lake. That was our 2nd national park for the trip. Again, the beauty was breathtaking. It was also freezing. We went from 90 degrees earlier in the day to probably around 40 at the lake. Brrr! It was worth it though. I borrowed this picture from
     From Crater Lake, we drove through more beautiful countryside to Bend to spend the night there. We had plans to go to Sisters the next morning, but we hit a little bump in the road when I got sick and my doctor told me I needed to go to urgent care. It fortunately didn't take too long, and we were out of Bend by early afternoon.
     We skipped our detour to Sisters and made time to stop at the John Day Fossil Beds instead. We were too late to stop at the part with the most fossils, but we got to see the painted hills. The geology there was fascinating, especially for a rock nerd like Kelson.  I borrowed this photo too.
We enjoyed the rest of the beautiful drive home to Baker, arriving a little later than scheduled, but it was a great trip. I love being from such a beautiful part of the country!

Goodbye San Diego!

The big day finally arrived. The movers came and packed up our apartment. In just a few hours, everything was gone. I was very grateful to have the military take care of our move. It made things so much easier. It's amazing how our apartment no longer felt like home once everything was gone. It was just a place to stay after that. That made it easier to leave and get started on our new adventure.  A friend was kind enough to lend us an air mattress and some bedding so that we would have a place to sleep for the two days before we left town.
We spent one more night at the church before it was time to leave. I am seriously going to miss my girls. I have loved working with them. That night, Nicole was in charge, and she taught us how to make corn dog muffins and thin mint puppy chow. It was delicious!
We will miss San Diego a lot. It has been a wonderful place to live for the last two years, and we have had the chance to know many wonderful people. San Diego will always be a special place for us.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Fun Visit With Katy

My wonderful sister, Katy, was getting bored at home this summer, so she came to San Diego and stayed with us for 3 weeks. We had such a great time! Here are a few of the adventures we had while she was here:
 Katy happened to come during the few weeks of the year that I was working, so she got to spend her days out at Camp Able with me. It is the same camp I worked for last summer. It is an aquatics camp for people with special needs. We both had a lot of very rewarding experiences, and it was really fun having Katy at work with me every day.
 Our first Saturday with Katy, we started the day out at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It was my first time there too, and I loved it. We got to see lots of animals in different situations than you can see them in at the regular zoo.

 We went on the tram ride around the part of the zoo where the animals are roaming free. We saw giraffes, rhinos, and lots of other animals. It was so cool!
We got to see the elephants super close playing in the water. It was way cooler than seeing them far away at the zoo.
 After the Safari Park, we introduced Katy to the carne asada burrito, one of the best things about San Diego. After lunch, we drove up to Lake Elsinore and watched a Storm game. It was my first minor league game too, and we all thought it was great.
 The next Saturday, we took Katy up to LA to do some touristy stuff there. Kelson & I hadn't braved the traffic to go there yet, so it was a first for all of us. We started with Graumann's Chinese Theater and the walk of fame. So many people everywhere!

 Fred Astaire's handprints
 Julie Andrews's star
 From there, we battled traffic down to the LA Temple. It was beautiful! After that, we drove around Bel Air and Beverly Hills and looked at some the amazing houses. It is crazy how some people live.
 Our last stop was the Santa Monica Pier. I definitely felt like I was in Southern California. 
It was a great day.

 On Katy's last night we went for a walk around Coronado and watched a beautiful sunset.
 Before taking Katy to the airport on Saturday, we took a tour of the Olympic Training Center, which was just a few miles from our apartment. The facilities there were amazing. We are so grateful that we got to spend so much time with Katy this summer. We are both blessed with awesome sisters. Kelson's sister, Pam, and her family also got to spend about a week with us while they were waiting to move into their house in San Diego. Unfortunately, I somehow have no pictures with them. We loved getting to visit with them too. Our family is wonderful!

Fireworks, Hot Dogs, & Baseball: We love America!

What can I say? We love America. We are so blessed to live in this country and to have the privilege of contributing to its defense by serving in the military. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. This year, we celebrated by spending the day at the beach and then finishing up with a San Diego Symphony concert overlooking the bay. The concert was great, although it was a little lacking in Sousa marches. (It just isn't the 4th of July without the Stars & Stripes Forever!) The end concert ended just in time to watch the city fireworks over the bay. We could see fireworks in 3 different locations from where we were sitting. It was awesome! The final adventure of the evening was making our way home. We had ridden the trolley downtown to avoid the traffic, but we forgot to take into account the fact that thousands of people would be trying to ride the trolley out of downtown at the end of the fireworks. We got stuck at a transfer station downtown for over an hour with a couple thousand other people, and Kelson almost had to call the police when a brawl broke out on the trolley tracks. We finally got home about 11:30 that night. What an adventure!

The one thing our 4th of July was lacking in was a proper barbecue, so we broke out the grill and made hotdogs a couple of days later. Kelson introduced me to the Brazilian hot dog. The hot dogs are topped with mayo, cheese, mustard, pickles, and chips. They were pretty good.
Being the great Americans that we are, we of course love baseball too! Kelson has been working hard on turning me into a Padres fan. We had a chance to go to our first Padres game of the season when our college friends, Courtney & Andrew Thorup, were in town visiting. Kelson & Andrew had a great time watching & analyzing the game while Courtney & I swapped pregnancy stories. We are both excitedly looking forward to having little girls this fall.
 It was so much fun to spend the evening with them!
 We had the chance to go to one last Padres game on our last weekend in San Diego. It was Mormon night at the Padres. They recognized all of the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers from the community, which was really cool.
Baby bump! Kelson already has plans to train our little lady to be a Padres fan.
Watching the sun set behind Petco Park & the San Diego skyline. We have loved living here!