Monday, May 19, 2014

Nats and Boston... oh and I passed my CPT exam too!!!

Two resent weekends have been a lot of fun! Spring has finally come and I took a break from studying to get out and enjoy a baseball game and go to Boston to see my nieces/celebrate my dad's birthday!

The game was INCREDIBLE! Perfect day for a baseball game, and basically we had the perfect set-up. My boss gave me his tickets so we were four rows behind the Nats dugout AND we also had access to all the free food at the diamond club! Yes - doesn't get much better than that. I asked Mer tom come with me and then she asked Joe and Marc to come with us. It was a REALLY good mix and we had fun chatting. The Nats ended up winning too!
 The next weekend I headed up to Boston. It was their first weekend where the signs of spring were starting to show as well. I walked over to my brother's office and he showed me the view.

Pretty Impressive!
 I was also very impressed with their cafeteria and free frozen yogurt with toppings. That would be a danger for me if I worked there!

Madison drove in to the city to meet us and we all went to the park. It was a lot of fun! The girls had a great time playing on all the contraptions and I had fun watching them smile and laugh :)
 Holland is such a social little girl. She made friends with these girls who are at least twice her age, but she is so friendly and sweet - everyone loves her!

We also walked around Boston Commons and threw stones in the water. Holland is currently obsessed with rocks :)
 I love this picture of Mary!!
 Evan and Madison lucked out and won tickets to the Red Sox game that night. I stayed home to babysit the girls. It was a win/win situation.
 One of my favorite events that weekend was going on a REALLY long run along Storrow Drive. Something I had NEVER done while there (I am such a treadmill girl!). But it was gorgeous! I could have stopped and taken a ton of pictures, but these were my highlights :)

 Holland loves this hat so we had to take a picture before heading to the store. It was May. She didn't need a winter hat, but she wore it anyway!
 When my dad came we went to the park again. Holland loves riding backwards in the stroller. She wants to know where she's going and not see what's behind her. I can understand that! We had a great time celebrating my dad and eating the usual yummy Chinese food :) We also got him an ice cream cake! Yum!!
 I did a quick stop by my old homes. It brought back so many memories to see Charnwood and Hancock Streets again. Oh my goodness. SO SO SO many memories. Mostly happy ones :)
 Places still looks the same though :)

And finally - I PASSED!!!!!!! Wow. Honestly -  until I was finished taking the exam I had not realized how much of my time, thoughts and energy were put in to studying for this crazy test! I am truly so glad I did it and I am going to wait until I move to see how I am going to incorporate it in to my life, BUT, if anything, I learned a lot for my own personal knowledge and for that I am grateful.

However, it was very time consuming and since I don't do well on standardized tests, I was REALLY nervous! I didn't do anything this past week but study, sleep, eat and work :) But, I PASSED!! I passed! And since yesterday I have not done much of consequence :) I'll start again tomorrow but I was burned out. I did spend some time with friends and that was very nice! I just hope that I can use my knowledge to help others reach their goals. That is what I love most about it!
Many changes are coming my way over the next few months. I am going to enjoy the road, but continue to try and do/be my best. I am grateful for a healthy body... and after studying for this exam I have yet again realized how AMAZING and incredible our bodies really are!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cherry Blossoms and DC

 This post is VERY overdue, but I couldn't resist posting a few of the pictures from April's Cherry Blossom Bloom in DC! It had been quite a winter and we weren't sure it was ever going to warm up, but it finally did and the long wait surely paid off! The blooms were incredible.

One Saturday morning, Amanda Telford and I braved the massive crowds and ran across the 14th street bridge and around the monuments. It was an incredible day and an experience I won't forget any time soon.... esp as I get ready to move from the area! One thing I will miss is the history and culture of this area. Our nation wasn't born in DC, but many, many great historical events have happened here over the years and many great leaders have lived and worked in this area so that I could enjoy the freedoms I currently have. I am so grateful for that and grateful for the beauty of the earth!

A couple of these pictures I snagged from friends... the ones in the sunshine mid-morning are mine, but I couldn't resist posting the others!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Past couple of months

Well, the first quarter of 2014 is over. It's been an interesting one. One filled with many good things and fun times, one filled with lots of cold weather and snow (but snow days too!), and one amazing trip out to UT for a week. Here are the highlights!

I had the privilege of taking one of my most favorite people out to lunch on her birthday! Miriam is one of the kindest, thoughtful and fun people I know. An angel on earth. I hope this neat year for her is filled with happiness and joy!!

Our waiter took this picture... I think he was a little nervous and shaky b/c we were just so beautiful to look at! (that's why it was blurry) ha ha :)
 One of my goals was to run the DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon in March. I had never run on any of the downtown trails, through Rock Creek park, or over any of the bridges before... and now I can say that I have! It was a beautiful morning. We really lucked out because two days later it was snowing! There were a gazillion people there, my phone died on my 30 minutes in to the race, I wasn't feeling my strongest and was just praying that I didn't injure my foot again... but given all that I finished 2 minutes slower than I would have hoped!
 It was fun to have bands playing at most mile markers and the crowds were great too! It was a well organized and fun race! We got there about 30 min early though and were freezing!!
 I have run the past two races with Amanda by my side and I am so grateful for her calmness, clear head and race strategies/suggestions! She is amazing and such a great athlete and friend! Lindy was also there and she is a great example to me of someone who puts her whole heart in what she's doing and goes forward despite trials, etc. She is amazing!
 I had to stop and take this picture as we crossed one of the bridges. The sunrise was beautiful!
 A week later, I headed to UT!! This trip started out as something completely different and transformed itself many times the two or three weeks before I went. Then, on the day of departure, I lost my license and missed my flight because of traffic. It was NUTS. But, I felt peaceful about lessons learned and trued HF had a plan for me! I went to the DMV Sat am, got a new license and then just as I was leaving for my flight that day, I found my old one. What?!

Anyway, UT was amazing. As soon as I landed I felt like I was home. The mountains, the sunshine, the clear skies where I could see parts of the valley... loved it all.

I had a LOT of fun reconnecting with Boston, BYU, Philly and DC friends. Literally seeing people from all ages of my life. It was such a great reunion time for me and helped me remember how truly blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life.

One of my favorite spots is BYU where I went twice last week. Many changes to the buildings and structures, but the same Cougar pride, beauty and peace exist on campus!
 This was a rainbow I saw on my evening drive down to BYU on Thursday. It gave me hope and brightened my spirits as I have also been contemplating a lot of major decisions and "next steps" in my life. Just a gentle reminder that I am a daughter of God... that he knows me... and that he is in the details of my life. Trust.
 This is Cosmo and I. It was love at first sight!! BYU has this new student lounge area (kind of looks like a bar scene!) But, Cosmo is there too and I had to get my picture taken! Of course the BYU Grounds truck is in the back... ha ha... so perfect. Those trucks seem to be everywhere, but that's what helps keep BYU's campus looking so great!
 And of course a highlight of the trip, seeing Erica, Emma and Julie. Wow - these girls got me through middle and high school! Such a great reunion!!
I had a wonderful trip. 
We'll see what the future brings!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Route 1 (aka... Pacific Coast Highway... or maybe also called one of the most beautiful places on the earth!)

The night before I had driven from the airport to Stanford (beautiful campus) and then to Santa Cruz where I spent the night. Then, in the morning I drove down to Monterey and started my drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. Yet again, a GORGEOUS day!

I started at 17 mile drive, which is also known as Pebble Beach. Wow. Wow. People actually live in there. I could handle that! I would stop at basically every turnoff and just get out and take pictures. So pretty!
These aren't all in order of how I took them, but it gives the gist.
 One gorgeous view after another!
I went from 17 mile drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea and walked around the cute, historic town. Definitely a beach town, but the shops were fun to browse.

Form there I drove down an area called "The Big Sur". Not sure exactly where it starts or where it specifically ends. But, there some really pretty places to stop and take pictures. One place had a little hike you could take to see a view. There were tiny, tiny towns to stop (literally just one of two buildings and places to camp). Mostly you just followed the winding road!

The two below are some of my favorites. 
The bright colors were captured so well!

One of my favorite sounds is hearing the waves crash against the shore and I definitely got to hear plenty of that on my trip!
The one below was a picture from one of the "short hikes" I went on from the road. The waterfall made it worth it!
It was a fantastic drive and I would recommend it to anyone. It would be a romantic drive too... if you could do it with someone special. :) A great way to end my trip and left me with a strong desire to return soon!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

And another BEAUTIFUL day :)

SF was so wonderful!!! And, the fun just continued :)

Saturday we had a slow morning since we were out late on Friday at the game. We walked up to see the view from our roof. Pretty nice! So many places have these rooftop views from SF. It's so hilly that almost everyone has a view in one direction or another.
We headed downtown to walk the Piers. There were lots of fun places to stop and look around. One of them was Pier 39, I believe, where we saw the Sea Lions. If I remember correctly, they all just started to appear after the earthquake in October 1989 and haven't really left! The Bay provides plenty of food and is a protected area, so they are quite happy to stay. They started with around 300 sea lions, but grew to an all-time high of 1701 in 2009. Some do migrate, but most stay there. AND, they are SUPER loud. Crazy loud. Barking at each other and protecting their spots on the K-Docks they live on.
They were SO loud!
It was fun to watch them "fight" each other!
We did a lot of walking around. We went to this arcade where they had vintage arcade games and had fun playing! We also went to Boudin Bread Factory and watched them make HUGE batches of bread! We even got to taste some too and tour the little museum they had on the history of sourdough.
They had this class earlier in the morning where people had made unique creations with the dough. Pretty awesome! Not sure what this one is supposed to be, but it was really cute!
We walked over to Giardhelli Square and were SO sad to find out they didn't have a factory you could tour. We then did MORE walking UP and Down streets to get back to where we boarded the boat for our evening tour of Alcatraz. On the way back we made our way to the famous "Crooked Street". So many tourists and so many cars. I couldn't believe people actually lived on the street. I would HATE to have to wait in a traffic line to access my street!
A view from the top... and then from the bottom
Becca and the boys being silly... but some of the streets were really super steep you truly could fall over if you didn't watch yourself.
I love their smiles
We made our way to the boat that would take us to Alcatraz. 
It was a beautiful sunset!

Once there we were given a short lecture/explanation of its history, etc. Then we had an audio tour of it. WOWZERS. Truly an experience in the dark and they do a fantastic job! I would HATE to be on that island by myself at night! But, I found it really interesting that many family members of the guards actually LIVED on the island as well! They had their own community there! It wasn't that big of an island... and I don't know how I would feel being SO secluded from the main land and being stuck there with some of our nations WORST and most deadly criminals!
This is the view from the prison to SF
and below is the main entrance. 
Eek... even touring a prison is enough to have me have NO desire to EVER commit a crime that would possibly get me to spend even a night in such a place!

The next morning we had most of the day before I had to drop them off at the airport, so we went back to Golden Gate Park and let the boys go to the actual "park" in the park! I saw the sign below and understand why its there (no child predators, etc) but I also thought it was kind of funny! What if I was a child at heart and just wanted to swing! But, how sad that out country has to post things like this and the innocence of just playing and having fun is gone.
After the park we walked over to this arboretum and I was LOVING it because outside there were beautiful palm trees.... something I rarely get to see. Picture time for sure!
Jace and I loved watching the fish swim in the pond inside.
I LOVE palm trees :)
And this was one of the many pretty flowers we saw inside. 
It was so peaceful!
We then headed back over to the Piers to find a place to get a late lunch. We ended up eating at this fantastic Thai/Asian cuisine place and walked around a bit more before heading to the airport. It was SO sad for me to say goodbye to them. I had such a great time and it was just one more reminder for me... or two really... I need to move closer to family... and I need to get married so I don't have to do everything ALONE. :( 

BUT, I was so grateful for the time I had with them and it just makes me look forward to our next time together!