Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 3 - June 16th CABO!

The weather cleared up for a beautiful day in Cabo, although the temperatures only stayed in the 70's. Even the locals mentioned that the weather was unusual for them this time of year. I was not complaining, it was finally warm, but not sweltering heat. Our ship anchored out in the bay, since Cabo doesn't have a port that can handle such a large vessel. We boarded tender boats that took us to the pier, where we were immediately greeted by swarms of the local merchants offering to sell us all sorts of souvenirs, or to take us on rides in their glass bottom boats. 
Tricia, Linda & I were able to share an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to swim & interact & play with a dolphin. We were divided into small groups in a large pool that was the home to 5 or 6 dolphins. Each group had their own dolphin that entertained them with all sorts of flips & tricks. I believe there were 3 or 4 other groups in the pool at the same time. I had a blast with our dolphin, Jenny. Personally, I think we got the better end of the deal. You see, Jenny was 4 months pregnant and not quite in the mood to do flips and acrobatics. Instead, she interacted much more with us.
She reminded me of my cats at home. She'd weave herself in and out around our legs like cats do as they're attempting to see if they can trip you, then she'd nuzzle up to us then flip over on her back so we could rub her belly. I'd rather have a more personal dolphin than one that is doing lots of tricks. I guess I like more personal interaction. :)

I think the best part was when Jenny gave us all rides! She took us all around twice, once with us holding on her dorsal fin, and again on her back with us on her belly holding her side fins. I am so thrilled that I had that opportunity, especially happy that I got to share it with my sisters. :)

After the dolphin play time, while I was exploring the water front side of Cabo, I found a booth looking for donations to help build an animal conservancy. As a thanks for a donation, they had a cute little lion cub that was available for cuddles. I couldn't pass that one up. I had her in my arms for only a minute or two and she fell asleep! It was so stinkin adorable! Needless to say, I believe I had two once in a lifetime opportunities in Cabo that day. Very grateful for the experience.

As we were leaving Cabo, we passed by the very southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, appropriately called "Land's End." It was an absolutely beautiful arrangement of majestic boulders jetting up out of the water. There were so many of them, that different ones were visible from different vantage points as the boat was sailing down and around to head back to the Pacific. At one angle, one of the formations looks like a llama! It's great!

Not too long after we passed around Land's End, back onto the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez, the clouds and fog rolled back in, and our day of blue skies was over.  Aaaah, such beauty I saw that day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 2 - June 15th

This was our first full day at sea. The weather was still pretty cold and cloudy, so there wasn't much motivation to hang out on the sun deck, except in the over-populated hot tubs, of course. :) Yeah, Nolan wasn't too happy that he didn't pack his hoodie. At least he has long pants & shoes. I didn't even pack any of those. Just capri's & flip flops.

I was relieved to find that my motion sickness was starting to ease up, the medication was starting to work, and also being outside actually helped. It really affected me much more being in the inclosed areas, but something about being outside helped quite a bit. Interesting how that works.

We held a small Sunday service in my parent's state room. It was neat to hear my family sing hymns a cappella. It was even more touching when we all paid heartfelt thanks to our parents for everything they are, and everything they've done to help us be who we are today. I am forever indebted to them.

This night was also the Captains Dinner, where the idea is to dress as nice & elegant as possible to pay respect to the Captain. Some people didn't quite understand that concept and took it as a "dress as skanky as possible" night. One woman's "dress" dipped down so low in the back that it was a few inches below her bra, and was so short that if not careful we could also see if her bra & panties were a matched set! Aaaah! Thank goodness for LDS modesty guidelines! Nolan was looking good though...

One of my goals with the cruise was to watch (& photograph) the sun setting over the Pacific. Sadly due to the cloud layers hanging around the ocean, I was only able to capture one sunset. It was breathtaking. I was once again awe struck and amazed at the beauty that the Lord has created. I am saddened that so many people take for granted or don't appreciate the raw beauty of nature.

I'd be perfectly content and entertained to stand out on deck for hours and watch the clouds cross the sky, or watch for flying fish launching themselves from the wake of the boat, or watch the sun set and the moon rise, or spotting pods of whales off in the distance, or watching the dolphins swimming along with the boat. Why stay inside and watch a racy Vegas style show, or hang in the casino when you have all that outside? People just don't know what they're missing. I guess at the same time though, I was grateful for the solitude I was offered on the deck of the boat. Gave me lots of pondering time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 1 - June 14th

This day happened to be our 15th year anniversary! But that wasn't the occasion for the cruise. The cruise celebration was actually for my parent's 50th anniversary. My dad opted to go on a cruise for the milestone celebration instead of having a reception, because "receptions are for old people," as my dad said. No complaints here! I'm thinking that's a wonderful idea! Nolan & I are already planning our 50th celebration. We're liking the idea of Alaska. Of course, we'll have to go between now and then to scout it out. ;)

We arrived at the harbor in San Diego around noon, and a little surprised at the fog lingering in the air. I had hoped it would clear up to give us a picturesque experience, but no, the fog persisted and only thickened the further we were out to sea. It was still beautiful though. Passing by the lighthouse in the fog only added to the experience. Unfortunately I left my camera in my stateroom when we passed by that. :(

We didn't waste time, and immediately gathered for our first night of festivities. Appropriately entertained by Reed, and had Mom & Dad laughing to tears as we were going over our own version of sign language, since we all can't seem to talk without using our hands. :)

Yes, a great start to our trip together. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Almost home!

Nolan & I are sitting here in the airport in San Diego waiting for our flight home! I have literally HUNDREDS of pictures that I took while on our little trip that I am eager to share, but I promise I'll only pick a few of the best ones. Unfortunately, my power cord for my MacBook was stolen while on my cruise, and my battery is all but dead, and that's where my pictures are stored. So when I get home, and am able to conjure up a new power supply, I will post pictures. :)

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week! And a HUGE THANK YOU to Lori-ann & Tyffanie for your help with my kids. You two are wonderful, and I am ever so grateful. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Currently on the cruise...

I don't have much time to get on, partly because we are crazy busy with family get togethers and other events, but also because internet isn't as readily available as I originally thought. Here is a very quick update for now, and I'll post a nice loooong story when I get home, I promise.

I was surprised to find that the motion of the boat really affected me. I spent all day Saturday feeling like I was standing on top of a roller coaster, incredibly dizzy, a bit nauseated & flushed, and all over wondering if this was going to be the longest most miserable week of my life. Aaah, but dramamine to the rescue, and now I'm feeling great. Now to get the weather to cooperate. It's been cold, windy, and very foggy. Not exactly ideal cruise weather. But it makes the hot tubs more desirable. :)

Today we spent the day in Cabo San Lucas. While there, I was given two once in a lifetime opportunities, swimming with a pregnant dolphin, and holding a baby lion cub. The weather cleared up just for the afternoon, and I am officially sunburnt on my face. And here I thought my skin would see no sun on this cruise. The landscape in Cabo (once you get away from the ghetto) is absolutely beautiful. Especially land's end. Reminds me of Cannon Beach in Oregon.

Tomorrow is another full day at sea, and is already full of planned activities with the fam. Wednesday is a day on shore at Ensanada, and my only desire is to be able to play frisbee on the beach with somebody. Yes, I'm a simpleton.

I'm having a blast here, and am incredibly grateful for this experience. Okay, I'm off, but I'll post more later in the week, including pictures! :)


Monday, June 9, 2008

End of the School Year festivities :)

Here's a little taste of what I was doing with the kids during the last few weeks of school. Enjoy! :)

7th & 8th grade field trip to Promontory Point 
(Golden Spike Historical Monument)

Britty & Morgan walking along the tracks

Just a cool perspective, I think.

Sequoia, Morgan & Britty

An old beat up caboose I found.

I got a kick out of how tiny and dwarfed my rather large car looked beside the HUGE bus!

Back at the school, Morgan's waiting for her ride. What a nice pillow.

Wasatch Elementary traditional "End of Year Dance Festival"

Here come the stylin' 1st grade surfin' beach bums!

Forrest and the entire 1st grade doing a 'booty shake'! Too cute!

At this point they were plugging their noses and slowly sinking! Hilarious!!!

Forrest & Mrs. Ord, the sweetest teacher EVER!

5th Grade production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Emma's "makeover" before the play consisted in lavender & pink eyeshadow, lots of blush, and LOTS of glitter!

Emma was cast as the faerie "Cobweb"

Emma (oh, I mean Cobweb) & the other faeries

Britty's guitar recital

This was the view from my seat! Nice, yeah?

Britty & Shelly doing a duet of "Move Along" 

Britty & Morgan 'celebrating' their success. 
Nathan is simply trying to pass out to get their attention.

Last but not least, Britty's 8th Grade Graduation!
Officially moving on to High School now...

Britty, sporting her collar, gave a great speech on achieving dreams through education.

Tyler, Whitney & Britty are very relieved to have their talks done and over with.

I just love that smile!

Yes, that's Heidi.

Even Gram made it! That meant so much to her!

And we end our long couple of weeks by celebrating everyone's success at our favorite restaurant. Mmmm!

And now I sleep...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How did I get so lucky?

Back on Memorial Day, I went on a hike with my sweet friend Jessica. We hiked up to the hot springs in Diamond Fork Canyon. It happened to be raining that afternoon, which made the colors so vibrant in all the moisture & filtered light. The dirt and rocks down there were a deep terra-cotta red, in which the depth of color was only intensified while wet. The foliage is still the brighter spring green, which made the scenery absolutely stunning. Because we've actually had some good snowpack this past winter, the river was also swollen & rapid, which only added to the awe at the beauty. 

There were many many times along the trail that I would just stop and take in everything around me and express how beautiful and breathtaking it was. Surprised at the nature I've been missing all this time, so close to home, and at the same time regretting not discovering it earlier.

Of course, my first impression of this canyon was in the rain, so now hiking in the rain holds a special place for me, and I truly believe that everyone should discover somewhere in the rain. It's enchanting. It's breathtaking. It's inspiring. It's cold. ;)

After all my stopping and admiring and gawking and such, we finally reached the hot springs which were tucked up against the side of the canyon wall, right next to a waterfall. Now I thought the scenery along the hike was breathtaking, but I was awe struck seeing the pool next to the waterfall.

I don't think I could create a more serene atmosphere if I tried. The Lord's talent and creativity is sure evident here. Now I want to know what else I'm missing.

Sorry, back to my story. I was telling Lori-ann how beautiful the hike was, and told her "You've got to hike there in the rain if you ever get a chance!" Well, a few weeks later, I planned a day to go hiking up there with Lori-ann & Becky, fully expecting a sunny day, and a new perspective of the canyon. Well, we woke up Wednesday morning to... RAIN!!! How perfect that worked out! I was given the opportunity to experience the beauty in that element again. And how perfect it was that Lori-ann got to experience it in the rain too! This was Becky's second time up, but since her first time up was in the dark and everything was covered in snow, this was like a new experience for her too. I couldn't have planned it better. 

I feel like I'm stumbling over what to say, all I can muster up in "It's just beautiful." Well, it is! But it's more than that. It's something that in my thoughts right now, words can not express. I am just amazed at what is right by my home, and am realizing that there is so much more beauty out there waiting for me to discover, and I can't wait!
I am so thankful to have friends that love and appreciate nature, and am so excited to have somebody excited to explore with me, and not laugh at me when I see something stunning and take in an audible gasp! LOL! Yes, I'm pathetic, I know. But I'm also addicted to this, so there's my excuse. :)

Sooo, for those of you in the Provo area, I highly recommend you take this hike. It's not too hard. It's about 2-2 1/2 miles up to the springs, and the trail is up and down, which gives it some good variety. Plan on about 4 hours for the round trip. 

For those who also have a myspace account, take a look at my hot springs & spring in Utah albums, I have a lot of pictures of my hikes uploaded there.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Many beautiful sunsets!

A beautiful sunset never ceases to amaze me and take my breath away. For as long as I can remember, I have been almost touched and moved by the setting of the sun. I'm sure if I did some research, I'd find that it has some psychological connection somehow. I'm sure if I figured it out, I'd have quite an "a-ha!" moment because it would all make sense. But for now, I'll continue to go out of my way to watch the setting sun, and continue to wonder why the beauty of it captures my attention time and time again as though it was my first time witnessing it. 

Well, it's starting to become somewhat obsessive, this sun watching ritual of mine. Especially now that I have a good camera. I'm determined to capture every event I see. Of course, none of these pictures will ever do the true sunset justice, but the imagery as the next best thing to being there. Here are a few of my favorite images I've captured recently. Enjoy!

Emma while waiting for the sun to set
And still waiting
I love how each cloud seems to be glowing!
 It's almost like the birds are basking in the warmth of a fire.
There are no words for this. 
I love seeing the sun peek through little patches in the clouds.