9.26.2014

Ten Years

September 18, 2004
September 18, 2014
The doors we walked out of! They were roped off so we did the best we could :)
It has been an amazing ten years to be married to Brad. I still remember our wedding day like it was yesterday. Which sounds really cliche, but hey, it's true. We had a few hiccups on our wedding day (Brad couldn't find his recommend- which ended up being in his temple pants from us being at the temple the week before, we couldn't find my wedding dress in the bridal room, and the temple workers basically forgot us and finally fetched us for the sealing). But it didn't matter. I could care less if we started on time. It was happening- we were finally going to be married for time and all eternity. I remember Brad just grinning the entire time, certain I looked just as giddy. And then it was done- we were Mr. and Mrs.! I know we loved each other that day, but after ten years together the definition of love certainly has changed. We've changed. We've grown, and thankfully, together. All that we've been through (and there's been pleeeeenty) has only deepened our love and commitment. It's remarkable how there truly is no end to how much you can love someone. Or how you find new ways to love and respect one another. Truly a wonderful thing. 

I'm so grateful things aligned where we could actually be in California and be able to visit the Oakland LDS temple on the day we were married, ten years ago on the dot. Life isn't perfect and I never want it to be. Where is the fun in that?? BUT our life is happy and good and we couldn't ask for more. 

9.10.2014

It's School Time

I remember after James being born and thinking, "This little guy will be going to school one day. That's so crazy to think about! He's just this sweet and innocent baby- it feels like that will never happen!" Alas, it has. Mister James is now in school... a kindergartner. 

Here he is on his first day. He loved it!
 This face says it all. So very James
 On our way to school!
 This little brother really wanted his pic taken too. Seriously such a cutie
 At school
 My sis came down the night before for wedding stuff and stayed so she could see James on his first day
 James sat right down in his chair and immediately wrote his name on the paper
This week is his first full week of school. James is already insisting he can walk to his classroom all by himself. "I know how to get there, Mom." So we wait with him outside the doors and watch him go in, all by his lonesome (aka surrounded by a bunch of other kindergartners heading in the same direction). I'm so proud of him, wanting to do things on his own. When we pick him up, we all immediately get and give hugs- we miss our James :) 

9.04.2014

Early Getaway

It is amazing how fast time goes by. It certainly doesn't feel like it when it's happening, and then you look back and years have literally flown by. Certainly you must have miscounted somewhere, right? It could not have been this long! But, in reflecting and remembering all that has transpired- trials and triumphs alike- the number doesn't lie. In this case, ten years is our number of amazement. We are a mere few weeks away from being ten years married. Of being sealed together for time and all eternity. Of being a Mr. and Mrs. Like every other year, we are baffled at how this has happened. Baffled and sincerely grateful for one another. Since it was the big 1-0, we needed something more than a regular date night (because that happens so often around here... or doesn't...). Enter awesome grandparents who came up for a few nights to take care of some cute and rowdy grandboys. That's right- we got our FIRST nights (oh yeah- plural!!) away from the boys together. Cue angel chorus!! It was awesome!!

Originally, we had planned the coast. Nothing was working out though. All ridiculously priced (at least to me) or just not quite the right fit. We then started exploring other options. News flash- Oregon is incredible. There is so much to do here, it's overwhelming! I found this one website, Travel Oregon, and it opened my eyes to all we could do. We finally decided on staying at a hotel in Vancouver, WA, and exploring a bit of the Colombia River Gorge

The weekend was finally here! My parents came up Thursday night and we left Friday morning. First stop was the Portland LDS temple. We were only there for about an hour, but it was enough. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it- there is nothing like being at the temple. I felt like I would burst, the peace and happiness was so tangible. We then headed to IKEA... and spent some mula :) 
After our shopping spree, I got to do a first- enter Washington! Yup, I had never been to Washington. Now I have! 
We checked into our hotel and got ready to head back to downtown Portland for dinner. We stayed at the Heathman Lodge- they literally have birds chirping and other nature sounds in the hallways. It was pretty neat. Funny story- the last night we were there, Saturday, we had had a late dinner and therefore, got back late. Our elevator got to our floor and there were rose petals. White rose petals to the room right next to the elevator, bags and everything waiting for the occupants. I burst out laughing. Let's not announce how we're hoping the night will be going, right. Anyways...
 Loved the rustic, lodge feel
Friday night dinner was introducing Brad to the find from my Portland trip from last year- Kell's Irish Pub. It did not disappoint :)
My goodness, I love him
And my goodness, I love THESE- Irish Potato Nachos!
Couple selfie! 
The next day (after sleeping in and waking up on our time) we got ready to head out to the Colombia River Gorge. I had looked up some hikes and found two (actually turned out to be three), and they both had waterfalls. Score. First hike we did was Triple Falls. It was a great hike. There was this one section that had a few people scared to go up. It was raining/drizzling off and on and the trail had gotten slippery on these huge steps with not a lot of room to go up. It was a tad treacherous. But well worth it. Just adding in adventure! Triple Falls was, of course, beautiful. The trail kept going, so we followed it for a bit, but ended up turning around because it wasn't going anywhere we wanted to go.
Gorgeous drive
 Waiting in traffic and excited to get hiking
 I will never get tired of all the beauty this earth has to offer
Beautiful Triple Falls
On the way to Triple Falls there had been a fork to go to Horsetail Falls, which had been the other hike we had wanted to do but hadn't planned on doing. Going back the way we came was around 1.1 miles, while taking the Horsetail Falls loop was 1.5 So that's the way we went!
There was an overlook that Brad found of the Gorge. Man... breathtaking!
After running for a cover a bit after some real rain, we got to Horsetail Falls. The trail takes you right behind the falls, so cool. At the end of the trail, right by the freeway, is its lower falls.
I was disappointed because I could not figure out where the hike I wanted to do most was, the Oneonta Gorge. It starts literally going up the creek bed to the Lower Oneonta Falls. It's a small hike, only like a mile round trip. Walking back from the second hike, we had to go over a bridge (which we had gone over earlier in our car) and we found some stairs leading down. Success! It was so awesome! We had to traverse a huge pile of fallen logs (seriously, it was an art finding our way through it all).
The bridge for the Gorge was just past this tunnel. People had actually carved their names way up on the beam. I have NO idea how they achieved that
 Being goofy/weird in the tunnel. Because... why not
Various websites said the water usually was ankle to knee deep, maybe waist deep. We thought we'd totally be fine. Yeeeaaaah... we got chest deep water. And I'm 5'8". It was only for a few yards, so not that bad. But it was cold. Brad was being Mr. I-Can-Do-Anything and the first time through just stayed on the slippery rocks on the side, only getting wet up to his knees. I knew I'd fail (he wore his waterproof hiking boots and I was just wearing my good water shoes) so I just went through the water. Didn't get pictures of that part because we were already damp and didn't want our phones slipping out of our hands at that part. So take our word for it :)
We then went through the gorge and came to the Lower Oneonta Falls. Because Brad is Brad, he jumped in the water and swam over right next to the falls. We got to have the falls all to ourselves, and considering how busy this hike was, we were lucky. Back at the logs, we had to find a new way to get back. A bunch of people were slowly trying to pick their way back and we didn't want to (or need to) wait. The hike was short, but it was fantastic. A definite experience.
Wading in to swim and success!
On Brad's phone, we had the pedometer on and we hiked about 8-9 miles in about four hours. We hadn't planned on doing all those hikes, but we were so glad we did. There's nothing like being in nature and experiencing it.

I had wanted to go see the Crown Point Vista House, which happened to be on the way back, but I was cold and needed to get back to the hotel. We got back and I ditched Brad and raced up to our room. I could not get in a hot shower fast enough. That night for dinner we tried to go eat at a food cart, Viking Soul Food, but they were closed. Next time, for sure. We then ended up at a legit Italian place (English was definitely most of their second language. love that!) Piazza Italia. Great Italian food. Small place, but they make it work and are amazing.
Chillaxin' in our bed, trying to figure out where to eat. Took us (aka- me) far too long to decide
Sunday was our last day. We drove around Vancouver a bit. We had planned on going to Jonsruds Viewpoint on our way south, but the day was cloudy. The viewpoint is of the valley and Mount Hood and we were pretty sure we weren't going to get a good view that day. Next time :) We had one last stop before we went home- Burgerville. It's no In-n-Out, but it is definitely a good burger and fries.
This getaway was sorely needed. I don't think either of us truly realized how much we needed to just be around each other. I feel so lucky to be married to Brad. That's all I kept thinking about when we were together. We love our kids, but there's a reason we've been advised to keep dating after you are married. You need to remember why you are with your spouse. That you work together, even without your kids. You chose them (and vice versa) for a reason. I seriously felt like we were ten years younger and newly married. I'm so grateful for Brad and all that he is. I'm even more grateful that he chose me and puts up with all my imperfections.

A special thank you to my parents for making this possible- you guys rock. The boys had a blast and didn't even miss us and I know it's because Nana and Papa are so much fun. We love you guys!