Sunday, September 28, 2014

What HAVE we been doing?

What have we been up to lately?  Well, I'm not so sure.  I know there have been a lot of appointments with the treadmill and walks at night.  I have worked like CRAZY these last few weeks trying to get ready for Parent/Teacher conferences in about two weeks.  They are about a month earlier then they have been in the past so it is something new.  Here are a few random pictures from the last few weeks.

Jeff got a new computer so he can work from home every now and then.

My sister's son was given a special blessing so we got together and had some good old family time.  I got to snuggle the munchkin!

We went out to dinner to an organic restaurant.  I had the back bean quesadilla and it was delicious!

We went to the Mount Timpanogos temple.  Jeff wanted a picture of me with the pretty flowers.

Sometimes I have no idea why Jeff does the things he does.

Jeff got the new iPhone 6.  He was due for an upgrade so he was excited to get a nice phone.

Comparing his old phone to the new one.

Yup, that's my husband.  I think he is cute...weird...but cute!

That is about it.  I'm sure we have done more then that but it is mostly our daily routine.  Cleaning, dishes, work, work, work and a little play.  Now that I am back in school we don't have as many things going on each week.  I'm sort of glad too.  It is nice to be back to the regular day in and day out activities.  Though something tells me that it won't stay that way for long.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The New Home Office

When Robyn and I were married, I told her that in my line of work I was likely going to need to purchase a new computer every 2-3 years.  My laptop is several years old, so we've been talking for several months about the possibility of me getting a new desktop.

I love my laptop because it's portable, but I really wanted a dual monitor setup.  I also wanted to have a Windows 8 machine because I'm interested in doing some Windows 8 development.

After talking about it for several months, we finally pulled the trigger.  Behold my sweet new setup!

I had an old monitor from a desktop that died a few years ago.  I also had a set of speakers.  I bought a new touchscreen monitor to be the main monitor and used the old ghetto one for the second screen.

I'm totally loving it!  Windows 8 definitely takes some getting used to, but I actually really like the live tiles.  I have it setup to have the weather on my main screen, both locally as well as a few different cities (Clovis, CA where Robyn's parents live, and Minot, ND which is the coldest place I've ever lived.)  I also have facebook on my live tiles.  It's kind of cool because it shows a small stream of recent updates from my friends.

I also figured out how to make Windows boot into normal desktop mode, so I can feel warm and fuzzy in normal windows unless I choose to move to the tiled mode.

This setup will be much better for when I need to work from home.  The small screen of my laptop is painful when I do work on it.  This setup will probably get me writing more code at home.  And if I'm being honest, I should probably admit that this setup might revive some of my gaming that has been lying dormant for a while.

It's also really crazy to think that this computer was one third of the price of the 486 my dad bought when I was a preteen, and it's about 600 times as powerful.

Technology is cool.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Red Pine Lake

I recently wrote about our newly acquired backpacking gear.  Eager to use it in the real world, we asked around for good places to go backpacking.  We got lots of good ideas from friends and family that we will be using in the future.  My BFF Jared volunteered to go with us to one of his favorite places, which meant that the first place we officially went backpacking was Red Pine Lake.

It's a beautiful lake, and the trail head is up Little Cottonwood Canyon, so it's less than 45 minutes from our house which works perfectly for a Friday night hike after work.

The hike is about 3.5 miles and climbs a little over 2000 feet.  I have a few little stories and adventures to share so I've broken them into headings.  (Don't you just feel more comfortable knowing that all of the information falls into an organized structure?)

Cute Little Hikers
The hike starts out fairly easy.  It's not very steep at first.  This is the part where we looked vibrant, cute and precious, because we hadn't got all sweaty yet.
Look at those three precious hikers

Sometimes we pose with a mountain.

So much preciousness!

As we hiked further the sun began to set.  (It turns out it does that every evening, who knew?)  We stopped to snap some pics of the sunset looking down on the valley.

Regretting Squats
As we got further along on the hike, it started to get steeper.  This hike gets progressively steeper until you arrive at the lake where it flattens out.  As the hike got steeper, I began to regret that earlier that day had been leg day at the gym.  I was particularly regretting that I had done squats, so my legs were already sore and tired.  I'm not gonna lie.  I was a sad boy on the last half mile.

"Why is it always my bum?"
By the time we reached the lake, it was pretty late.  The sun had been down for a couple hours, so it was dark and cold.  We cooked our dinner and ate it looking out over the lake with its beautiful reflection of the moon.  (Alas, the iphone camera is pretty good, but it can't capture things like that.)  After dinner we got in our tent and went to bed pretty quickly.  We hadn't been laying in bed very long when suddenly Robyn yelled, "WHY IS IT ALWAYS MY BUM?!?!?".

I actually wasn't aware that it was always about her bum.  Despite that, I actually knew what she was talking about.  Her bum is always the first thing to get cold.  She was warm and snug in her sleeping bag, but her bum was still somehow managing to feel cold.  Naturally, that question became the theme for the rest of the trip.

Walking around the lake
The next morning I woke up early and both Robyn and Jared were still sleeping and looking precious.  I decided to do a little exploring and see what I could see.  I ended up walking all the way around the lake.  I loved how beautiful it was, and how it was such a perfect reflecting pool.

Hanging with the Pika
While I was walking around the lake, I came upon a pika.  I didn't actually know what a pika was before this trip, but I googled the animal I had seen when I got home and was able to figure it out.  They make a really loud chirping noise and they build huge nests with leaves.  I sat and watched this little guy scurry into the bushes and then come back with a branch or a leaf in his mouth, only to deposit it on his mound and repeat the process.  I watched him do this 3 or 4 times before continuing on my way.
Here he is on his mighty mound of leaves.

Fearless Chipmunk
When I got back to camp, we made breakfast and hung out for a while.  There was a chipmunk who must have smelled our food because he kept sneaking up and trying to check out everything.  He tried to crawl into my backpack, then he tried to crawl into my tent.  He also tried to crawl on Jared's face while he was laying in his sleeping bag.  (We don't actually know if he was going for the face.  But he got about 3 inches away before Jared yelled at it, "Hey chipmunk!  I'm right here!")  I didn't get a picture of the chipmunk because I was too busy trying to convince it that I'm so scary that it shouldn't chew through all of my new gear in search of food.

Chilling at a beautiful lake
After breakfast we spent a few hours just enjoying the beautiful nature all around us.
Just a couple of BFFs in nature.

And this is what we look like from the front.

Going home and walking like an old man
Finally it came time to go home.  We took a few precious pics on the way back.
I told her to pose with the changing leaves.

Just hanging out with the trees and the valley.

Once I got home and sat down for a bit, my body realized that I just carried a big backpack up and down a mountain.  My thighs, my calves and my hips all suddenly decided to be sore.  I'm pretty sure I'll be walking like an old man for a few days, but I guess that just means we need to do this more often so that I can handle it better.

New Backpackers in Town

Robyn and I have always loved nature.  (Though Robyn doesn't always like nature to touch her.)  We've loved nature but we've primarily only experienced nature that could be reached in a car.  The main reason for this was that we were much too fat to carry ourselves very far into the wilderness, not to mention carrying the gear and food we would need to survive.

Our attempts to be more active and healthy have included such things as biking, hiking and even scuba diving.  With our recent trip to Havasupai, we added backpacking to that list.  We had a great experience on that trip and wanted to do much more backpacking.  My BFF Jared W loaned us all the gear we needed so that we could have a great backpacking adventure.  Unfortunately, Jared is like 15 feet tall and I am like a third of that.  That means that a backpack frame that fits Jared fits me terribly.   Clearly we decided we needed to get our own.  (Not to mention that, while Jared is always willing to loan us his stuff, it's much easier to use it more often if we have our own.)

This past weekend, REI was having a Labor Day sale on all sorts of gear.  Clearly that meant we went shopping.  Let me reiterate, I WENT SHOPPING!  You know that if I was willing to go shopping, I must be excited.  We were shopping for approximately 500 years.  We were trying on backpacks and walking around the store.  I've used up my ability to shop for the next century or so, but it was totally worth it.

Look at that cutie with her cute new backpack.

Robyn was very concerned that she wouldn't be able to buy a backpack that was properly cute.  I honestly didn't know that backpacks could be cute.  But she tells me that hers is, so I'm happy for her.

Neither my backpack nor its wearer are anywhere near as cute.  But I'm excited about my purchase as well.
We selected the backpacks we wanted, and then noticed the tents were on sale as well.  We debated that we might be spending too much money, but we figured that we were going to buy a good backpacking tent at some point anyway, so we may as well get it while it's on sale.

When we got home, it became important to setup the tent in our front room.  Robyn assured me that having a tent in the front room was fun.  I wasn't entirely convinced, but despite my skepticism, this cute girl in a tent in the front room did turn out to be pretty fun.

Tents are like blanket forts, with the added benefit that they don't fall apart.

So now that we have all this gear, we need to go on a backpacking trip before it gets too cold to use our gear.  If you have any good suggestions for places to go let us know.