Sunday, December 6, 2015

Jared got married!

We were so excited to spend the weekend celebrating out friend Jared and his new wife Breanna!  It was a beautiful day full of love.  Here are some of the precious moments from that day.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Colonists, Pirates and Murder

Robyn and I recently had the opportunity to solve a murder.

It wasn't a real murder.  It was just a pretend murder.  Pretending that people were murdered is fun.  You should try it some time.

Anyway, our friend Jackie and her husband Giuseppe hosted a murder mystery party.  It took place at a tavern in colonial times where colonists and pirates come to drink their cares away.  Naturally, I was the governor of the colony and Robyn was a pirate wench.  We had to be mortal enemies for the night, but she was sure a cute pirate.
Do you see the preciousness?  I especially appreciate that this tavern had the Proclamation to the Family on the wall.
It was super fun.  Each character had secrets that they knew and could trade those secrets for other information.  Throughout the night the story unfolds and different character's motivations are revealed.  I did solve the mystery.  It was my BFF Jared W.  I always knew he was a murderer.

Jared is the sailor in the lower right.  His fiance, Breanna was the Governor's daughter, so he was begging for my blessing the whole night.  I finally told him it was okay to marry her even though he was a murderer.
I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have solved the mystery if Giuseppe hadn't shared some clues that helped me put the pieces together.  So, though I was one of 3 people to solve it, Giuseppe should really get the award.

But there was an even more important award available.  We all voted on the best costume, and Robyn won for her excellent pirate attire.
Aren't you so proud of her?

So if you need a mystery solved, I'm your guy.  If you need a good dresser, Robyn is your go to girl.  (Clearly that title would never go to me.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Seventh Anniversary Trip

Every year during fall break, Robyn and I take a short trip to celebrate our anniversary.  We take turns planning the trip, and this year I was in charge.

We decided to head into southern Utah for some outdoor festivities.  Our first stop on the way down was to Pando Forest near Fish Lake.

Pando Forest happens to be the oldest and largest living organism on the entire planet.  The entire forest consists of one Aspen tree that has spread its roots far and wide and sprouted other trees from that same root system.  Which means that every tree in the entire forest is part of one vast living organism.
We did the Doctor Creek Trail which goes right through the forest.

Sometimes I have to hug the oldest living organism on the planet.
The forest was really pretty.

Standing among the trees with the slowly falling leaves was super relaxing.  Robyn needed to do her zen pose.
After Pando Forest, the plan was to continue south and head to our cabin.  Unfortunately, we had no signal so the GPS on our phones wasn't working.  We figured we'd just start driving around the lake and hopefully find some place with a signal.  It was a super scenic drive and it was really pretty.  But it was also in the wrong direction, so we added a good hour to our drive.  Oh well, it was fun.

We got a picture of the lake out of our little drive.
Eventually, despite our detour we made it to the cabin.  It was a super cute little cabin in Duck Creek Village, Utah.
Doesn't it look so fun?
The next day we went to Zion National Park to do some hiking.

The drippy, mossy walls at Lower Emerald Pools

The waterfall coming off of the middle Emerald Pool (onto the Lower Emerald Pool)

Robyn at the Middle Emerald Pool

Posing with the mountains

It was very important for Robyn to take lots of pictures.

It was also important to do the signature Robyn pose.

As we were walking back to the car, this deer was just chilling and didn't care that we were there.  I've never been that close to a deer before.
The plan for day 3 was to go to Bryce Canyon National Park.  Unfortunately, it rained all day long.  We decided that hiking through mud didn't sound very fun.  And we thought the flash flood warnings sounded even less fun.  So we had to find things to entertain ourselves.
We found a German Bakery with delicious pastries.  It also had a carving of the Bread Spirit.  I've never heard of a bread spirit, but that sounds like the coolest ghost ever.
We did do some walking in Duck Creek Village.  It was wildernessy enough to at least feel like we got some nature in.

We did lots of reading.  Doesn't she look so smart with her reading glasses?
That evening I had planned to have hot dogs roasted over the fire for dinner.  The vision in my head was that I would make a camp fire, we would sit around it and chat while it got dark.  We'd eat our hot dogs outside and have a grand old time.

That's not quite what happened.  In the true story, I went out in the rain and built a fire.  Robyn stayed inside and yelled that it was cold.  When the fire was big enough to roast hot dogs over, she ran outside to participate in the roasting.  She roasted hers as quickly as she could and then ran back inside.
Isn't she a cute little hot dog roaster?
You should know that even though it was raining, it wasn't nearly as cold as her attire would have you believe.
This was the actual proper attire for hot dog roasting.

Despite the rain changing our plans, it was really quite a successful trip.  The most exciting part was that my sister totally made a person while we were gone.  (Well, it was really a project that she'd been working on for 9 months or so.  It wasn't all done while we were gone, but she completed the project during our trip.)

On the way back, we stopped off at the hospital to meet our new niece, Adalyn.
Do you see the preciousness?

So with plenty of nature, plenty of time with my love and a precious new niece, it was a fantastic weekend.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Needles are Terrifying

Every year my sister brings home flu shots for my family.  We all go to my Mom's house and she stabs us all with a needle.  It's kind of the coolest thing ever.  I get to avoid the flu, and I don't even have to go to a scary doctor's office.

The only problem is that, while I do get to avoid the office, the scariest part of a flu shot is that it is administered with a scary needle.

Look how scary it is.

She kept telling me to relax.  She didn't understand that she had a scary needle in her hand.
 Robyn was less terrified.  She just closes her eyes, and as long as she doesn't see the needle she's good.
But don't worry, I made sure to be terrified on Robyn's behalf.

This is what I looked like while I was taking the picture of Robyn above.
The moral of the story is that needles are terrifying.  But if you're not properly terrified, I will be terrified for you.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another Bear Lake Adventure

You may or may not remember that we have some good friends who owned a house at Bear Lake.  You also may or may not remember how sad we were when they sold it.  Well, I have some good news.  We have a different friend that has a house at Bear Lake, so our Bear Lake adventures can continue.

This past weekend, we were invited up for a weekend of adventuring.  The old house was in Laketown, Utah on the south side of the lake.  This house is in rural Idaho on the north side of the lake.  We drove up after work on Friday, and by the time we got there it was very dark.  We were not expecting it to be quite as rural as it was.  On the way, we saw deer, rabbits, skunks and many a cow.  When we pulled up to the house, there were no street lights so it was very, very dark.  We arrived before the others, so we had to wait for them in the car.  Waiting in the car in the dark reminded me somewhat of the beginning of a horror movie.  When I told Robyn that, she was very unhappy with me.  It turns out that if I mention anything like that, she thinks she's going to be murdered, and then she's cranky at me for frightening her.

This is the cranky face she made.

Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for the others to arrive.  Once we all went inside, it was like a sleepover when we were kids.  We were all hanging out and chatting.  The only difference is that when I was a little kid I stayed up all night at sleepovers.  At this one, Robyn informed me that we needed sleep around 11 PM and we promptly went to bed.

I was super excited about our stay in this new area that I had never explored.  As I always do, I took my Saturday morning walk around the area to see what I could see.  Here are a few of the things from my exploration.
The horses thought I was a pretty big deal.  I pulled grass out of the ground and they thought it was amazing.

They were all begging to take a picture with me.

I found the last merry-go-round on Earth.  I even played on it for a minute.

I even met an Ent.

This emu also thought I was a pretty big deal.  He kept following me as I walked by his fence.
I didn't get to explore too far because breakfast time was quickly approaching.  But that was okay, because I knew that after breakfast it would be time to go to the lake and have more fun there!

Once we got to the lake, it was time for all sorts of festivities to begin.



Dancing (I think she was actually demonstrating how she paddled on the kayak)

Paddle boarding (P.S. doesn't it look like she's in the Caribbean?)
Yoga  (Because why would you do yoga on land when you could do it in the middle of a lake?)

Whatever this is.

I think one of the activities I enjoyed most was the conversation.  I sometimes forget what a well read group these particular friends are.  We discussed literature, politics, philosophy and all sorts of other things.  I've taken the liberty of making a professional quality artist's rendition of the conversation.

All in all, it was a great weekend.  When are we going to do it again?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spokane Tourism

Did I mention I went to World Con?

It was a super fun adventure, and it was way cool to meet some authors whose work I've been reading since I was a teenager.  But every time I go anywhere new, it's important to discover some of the things that are available to see locally.  So here are a few of the things I had a chance to enjoy while I was in Spokane.

Coeur d'Alene
When my plane first landed I had a few hours before the convention started.  I had heard that Coeur d'Alene, Idaho was very pretty, and since it was only 45 minutes away, I decided to go see what I could see.

There's a big hill that juts out into Lake Coeur d'Alene.  It's called Tubbs Hill and it has a trail that wraps all the way around.  I decided that should be my exercise for the day.  It has some super pretty views of the lake, and it is a heavily wooded area with plenty of wilderness feel.
Looking out at the lake

Walking through the woods
The trail wraps around the hill, but there are lots of side trails that climb the hill.  Clearly, I wasn't satisfied just walking around it and I had to climb to the top.  I was really glad I did because there was a little fawn just a few feet off the trail.  I stopped and watched him for a few minutes.  He just looked at me and I looked back at him.  I like to think we shared a moment.

I'm pretty sure he wrote on his blog about how close he stood to a Jeff.  After I took his picture, he took a picture of me for his instagram account.

After seeing the deer, I saw some more wildlife.  I saw a flyboarder in his natural habitat.
I didn't get too close, because you know how dangerous this species can be.
After exploring nature, I made sure to head over to Hudson's to get a burger.  I'm offended at myself that I didn't get a picture, but I have to admit that it was one of the better burgers I've had in my life.  Here's the crazy thing.  Hudson's is known for not putting lots of stuff on the burger.  They just put ketchup, pickles and mustard.  But somehow, even without all the fixins, it was an amazing burger.


One of the evenings, I wanted to go visit the campus of Gonzaga University.  I always enjoy seeing different campuses, and Gonzaga was no exception.

St. Ignatius in front of College Hall.

A shot of college hall, standing right behind the statue.  (and made fancy with the help of Google.)

The campus sits right on the river and has lots of pretty green space.
One thing i thought was super cool was they had this area called the Gonzaga Grotto, which was an area where students could go and worship or sit quietly and reflect.  There was this statue of Mary surrounded by candles that had places where you could kneel.  I really wanted to get a picture of it, but there was a guy there praying and I didn't want to disrespect him.  I walked behind this tree so that I could put him behind the tree and still get a picture.

Of course, I couldn't go to Gonzaga without getting a picture of a bulldog.

River Walk
My hotel was across the river from the convention center.  It was about a ten minute walk to get there, but the walk was along walking paths that followed the river.  I had a car, but the river walk was so enjoyable and so easy that I preferred to walk rather than drive.

A picture I took from one of the bridges on the river.
A little bit past the convention center was Spokane Falls.  I made Mom walk there with me.  She was a little trooper, especially during the parts where we went up hill.
Mom standing on the bridge overlooking the falls

Mom diving into the falls

Selfies are important
Mom wanted to climb onto that rock.

The smoke was so thick from the nearby fires that you could stare directly at the sun.  (Though you still shouldn't.)  Naturally, I took a picture of the red sun.
I had to get a picture of me at the base of the clock tower.   Because every time I looked at it I kept yelling, "Save the clock tower!"  If you don't know why I was yelling that you clearly have no soul.  Your soul can be repaired by watching Back to the Future. (To see the top of the clock tower, refer to the black and white picture featured as the first picture of the river walk.)

Save the clock tower!
Giant Milk Jug
I totally ate inside a giant milk jug.  They had delicious milk shakes and delicious burgers.  Mom and I had to take turns running across the street to get pictures of each other.  That's how dedicated we are to making photographic records of our adventures.
Me and a milk jug

Mom and a milk jug
Spokane Temple
Whenever I go to a new city, if it has a temple, you know I'm going to visit it.  Mom and I really enjoyed doing a session in the Spokane Temple.
Moroni and freedom and stuff

I always get a picture in front of the sign
The madre and the temple

Flowers and the temple
All in all, it was super fun exploring.  I spent the majority of my time at the convention, but considering how little time I spent exploring, I think I got to see a lot of things.