Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School

It's the first day of school for a few members of our family, and I thought it would be a good idea to document that!
Wyatt starts kindergarten!
Jeff starts his doctorate program (physical therapy at University of Florida)!
Alicia starts 4th grade for the 4th time. Her students are so lucky!
Today's also the first day of seminary! This will be my second year teaching an online class and we're going to have a great year.

Brad actually started teaching last week, at the Georgia Tech Lorraine campus in Metz, France. That fun adventure deserves its own post sometime!
Finally, next week our BYU students will start a new school year. In this picture from high school, Steven was the senior and Michelle the junior. This year they're switching spots!
Note: I won't complain if you take and send me a new first day of school photo!!

We're looking forward to a wonderful year filled of the adventures of learning!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Tale of Our Wedding

I realized that I never followed through with my idea to share stories of our wedding originally mentioned on our anniversary last year. Oops! Finishing things is something I'm still working on, but even if I only remember for a month or two once a year, that's better than nothing, right?
In honor of our anniversary, today you get the story of the actual wedding, which took place in the Oakland Temple. I'm not sure what time I was supposed to arrive, but it's supposed to take two hours to drive from Hollister to Oakland, my parents and I left at 6 AM, and due to heavy traffic we made it just in time. However, I didn't have time to eat breakfast. That must have made an impression because in my journal I noted that on my wedding day I ate exactly five soda crackers (that must have been breakfast), a ham sandwich, some grapes and half a can of soda (lunch in the temple parking lot) and one bite of cake and a glass of punch at the reception (what a nutritious dinner). Note to future brides - keep some granola bars handy!

Although others tried to tell me it would make for a long day (and they were right, it does) I wanted to receive my endowment and get married on the same day. For some reason I felt that would make it more special, and I'm glad I did. It was a wonderful day. I felt prepared, everything felt natural and made sense, and I felt that I had come home. I hope everyone feels that way in the temple. It was an absolutely beautiful day in every way.

We were sealed by the temple president, R. Don Smith, who counseled us to keep a sense of humor, watch out for pride and selfishness, return to the temple often and always remember our prayers. That's good advice, and I think we've done pretty good with following it.

Afterwards we spent time taking pictures on the temple grounds (and eating that picnic lunch) before heading back to Hollister for the reception that evening, but that's a story for another day.
Exiting the temple
Greeting those who waited outside
With our parents and siblings
With both sets of my grandparents

I still love to see the temple, and I'm grateful I can go inside. I'm thankful for covenants and eternal families. The temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Anniversary Staycation

The next activity (as opposed to park or beach or cultural event) on our list of things to do in Palm Beach County was to visit the Palm Beach International Raceway, so off we went. I'll admit it wouldn't have been my first choice for our anniversary celebration, but it turned out to be enjoyable.
Instead of sitting down for a nice steak or Italian dinner, we had traditional fair fare at the Quarter Mile Grill. Fortunately there was a picnic table available, so we didn't have to have greasy food on our laps.
We were able to watch drag racing on the 1/4 mile track, which I guess is the normal Friday night activity. These were just ordinary cars although I imagine some of the participants made improvements. I'm not an expert so I couldn't even begin to guess what modifications are possible.

It was an enjoyable activity, although if we ever go again we'll have to remember to bring our stadium bleacher seats, along with mosquito repellent, sunscreen, binoculars, and maybe even ear plugs.
One of the cars got up to 119.4 mph, and we saw a few go over 150 mph. 
Another thing we learned is that just like in an ice rink, every so often they shut the track down so it can be resurfaced or something. It was kind of cool watching the zamboni, or whatever they call it.
We didn't know everything would be outdoors, but because it was we saw a beautiful sunset.

The view from the top of the bleachers down into the drivers' parking lot.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Juno Beach. It was nice to be able to look out over the ocean from our balcony, but unfortunately it was a block away from the shore and the wires in the way didn't allow us to get great pictures. That's okay, though, because we have plenty of pictures without wires.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jonathan Dickinson Park - August Visit

Saturday we went back to Jonathan Dickinson State Park and enjoyed a lovely, pleasant day. First up on the itinerary was the next hike on the list - the 4.9 mile Green Loop. This started in the parking lot by the entrance, and for a couple of miles we followed the same path we took on our first hike in January.
We must have been the first ones to use the trail in a while, however, because we kept running into spider webs! The horse flies were out as well. However, the company and the scenery made up for those little annoyances.
This is a good trail to take to practice reading blaze markings, just in case you ever need to do so.
We were able to see the observation tower in the distance; that's still on the list to explore another time.
We also passed a nice-sized turtle, which actually moved quite quickly.
For the final leg of the trail, we passed along the same little lake we walked by in January.
We cooled off (it is August in Florida) by going to the visitor's center and watching the first of five films.
Then it was time for a barbecue in the picnic area. The new shrimp salad recipe we tried was delicious!
Once again our mini Florida stay-cation did not disappoint, and we're looking forward to our next visit to this beautiful state park.

Monday, August 3, 2015


We're keeping up with our normal Saturday traditions and activities. Last week while I attended a seminary in-service meeting in the morning, Wayne took a long walk and tried a new recipe. Then we went back to Village Park to check out the "skate park" area and have a quick picnic (grateful that there was a nice-sized picnic shelter to mostly protect us from the pouring down rain) before returning home to prepare for dinner guests. We had a very nice visit with our friends, and then finished the evening flipping between two movies on tv that we'd already seen before. It all might seem kind of boring, but it was a very nice day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Dyer Park - The Third Visit

Visiting Dyer Park on New Year's Day was quite delightful (see here). Our February visit was just as nice (see here). When we weren't able to finish the hikes on the list in the spring, I was disappointed. I really had no desire to go back in the summer. However, I lucked out and last Saturday was a nice, cloudy day, and we were able to enjoy our day in the park before the afternoon thundershowers came.
This multi-use trail took us from the parking lot, along the lake, and through the playground to reach the main entrance.
Then we walked around the basketball, baseball, and soccer fields.
We finished our walk by taking the 1.5 mile loop around a giant, open field.
Then it was back to the playground area where we had a nice quick lunch of Jalapeno Cheese Sausages. You'll notice we even got a bit of blue skies before the gray ones returned. There's still one more hike. I wonder what the weather will be like our next available Saturday!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sunrise - Post #50

It's been a few months, but we finally had a free Saturday morning to head over to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful, calm day (which meant the no-see-ums were out and about) and we had a nice time. As we arrived we noticed the turtle tracks, and later we were surprised that some volunteer came and drove over them. I guess they don't want people and other animals knowing where the nests are.
We had fishermen, boaters and dog walkers for company, but no one else was just sitting and watching! I guess we're different.
Isn't that gorgeous, though?

We had a nice time at post #50 and afterwards we enjoyed our breakfast at Duke's Lazy Loggerhead Cafe. It's a fun tradition!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's a Beautiful World

One of the things I love about our backyard is watching the wildlife, as long as the alligators stay away. This month I actually saw the otter that occasionally drops by. Normally he dives too quickly for me to catch a glimpse of him.
One day we were able to watch a bird catch, and then eat, a fish. That was pretty fascinating.
It's also fun watching the afternoon storm roll in.
And catching the sunset after it leaves!