Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mike’s Birthday plus Kayaking...

One year previously, we were sitting in the LAUB studying for Chudoba’s test. I was clueless it was his birthday. Fortunately for me, I had brought Sour Patch Kids and flavor changing gum to share. It definitely made a good impression. But this year I was prepared. I carried on the tradition by providing him with similar treats. They would have been the exact same, except for the fact that flavor changing gum no longer exists. It was kind of a flop. I also gave him gift certificates for some paddles for his raft. To our surprise, his friend Arnie just gave him a few paddles. So, yes, I still owe him a birthday gift. Nevertheless, I had a fun filled day planned out in advance. The morning started out right with waffles, whip cream, and syrup. It was a discovery we made on our cruise and has withstood the test of time. After a lovely breakfast, I sent him off to work with a lunch filled with some of his favorite foods. After work we were going to brave the storm and go kayaking. It was going to be my first real kayaking adventure. I had tried once in a river before, however, it was on smooth water with no rapids. Therefore, it doesn’t count. This was the true test. I passed! I made it through the entire section without rolling over, rapids and all. I was pretty proud of myself. The next time it was not quite as successful but we will get to that later.

After a successful and exciting river adventure, we tried a local Chinese restaurant on Main Street in Logan. I had gotten a gift certificate there, so it worked out nicely. It was really good food. Mike discovered Walnut Shrimp and has been hooked ever since. He literally will lick the plate clean, because he says it is that good! After dinner, I surprised him with an ice cream party with his pals. It is very difficult to surprise Mike because I am a terrible liar. As I was preparing for his surprise party, I had to sneak away for a while to text his friends and get their numbers out of his phone. Well he noticed I was gone for awhile while we were at his parent’s house. He asked where I was and I came up with some poor excuse. He wanted details and I couldn’t provide them because it didn’t really happen. Needless to say, he was a little irritated. It was ok though because he would be thanking me later. Several of his friends showed up and we had a great time. Chance’s entrance may have been the most eventful. As he came in the door, he kicked off his shoe and hit Mike where it counts. We all had a good laugh at Mike’s expense, poor guy. But to our defense he was laughing as well. It was a great birthday.

A couple weeks later we set out to reattempt our kayaking success of the past. We went back to the same spot to put in. For some reason I was much more nervous this time. I would later find out why. Let me tell you my crazy adventure. The CFS level was much higher this time around, meaning the river was much quicker. I was already much more nervous which didn’t make it any easier. I finally got going down the river but it was short lived. I ran right into a tree. I was hanging on for dear life. Mike was trying to tell me how to get out of the situation, but I was just not experienced enough. As I tried to follow his advice, I flipped. Luckily Mike was there to help me out. I pulled the emergency strap and came up panicking. I grabbed onto his boat while holding on to mine as well. He told me to let go of the boat. I did not know which one he was talking about. I didn’t want mine to go flying down the river and I didn’t want to let go of his. He told me to let go of mine and then he led me to safety. Now he had the task of getting out of the river and finding my boat as well. Fortunately, for him an old lady saw him struggling to get out of his boat while still holding on to mine. She helped him out, while I was trying to catch up with him on foot. To add to the stress, my finger had been sliced earlier in the week and was bleeding everywhere. By the time I caught up to Mike he was safely out of the river. The nice lady drove us to our final destination where we concluded our not-so-successful, but exciting, kayaking adventure.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tennis season comes to a close….

Before ending my college tennis career, Mike and I took a short getaway to St. George for the weekend. He was about to introduce me to one of his sports, kayaking. So we threw the Kayak in Lil’ Red and headed down south. It was warm enough in St. George that we could play in the pool again. It was a perfect opportunity to learn how to roll. Well, kind of. In kayaking, rolling is your ticket out of a sticky situation. When you roll over, you are laying face down in the water strapped into a boat. If you can’t roll it makes kayaking interesting. You have one of two options, either you drown or you pull the emergency strap, drag the kayak to shore, empty it out, and then start over again. You can see why it is one of the first things you would want to learn. Unfortunately, I found rolling is a little tricky to learn and I didn’t master the technique. No need to worry however for more kayaking opportunities would shortly present themselves. But until then we stuck to more traditional activities like climbing Angel’s landing in Zion’s Park with the family. Yes, we broke some rules. Mike didn’t use the chain, we fed squirrels, and Mike went after a water bottle that fell about 20 feet down. You can always count on our family bending the rules.

The next week, I would slowly be experiencing my last with college tennis. On the 25th of April, we had our last home match. Coach must have wanted us to end on a good note because we played Idaho State University, again. Well, it worked we won 6-1. I was able to win my last home match and celebrate with the ladies. Taylor and I were the lone seniors which explains the pretty flowers and the basket of candy. The following day, I attended my fourth and final Whiteside’s ceremony. It is a ceremony to award student athletes and teams for good grades. I was privileged to be named the “Whiteside’s Scholar Athlete of the Year”. It was quite an honor. I had to give a speech and everything. I was really nervous but it was kind of fun. I was in the newspapers and the radio even interviewed me. I felt like a celebrity!!

On the 27th we were in Boise for my last WAC tournament. We went in as the 9th seed, the worst our team had ever been seeded since I was there. Unfortunately, we lived up to the seed. We lost first round to San Jose, 3-4. We won the doubles point giving us the first point of the match. I rushed through my match hoping to beat my teammates of the court; I won my match 6-0, 6-0 in about an hour. To my disappointment, I raced off the court to find that three of my teammates were down in their matches. I couldn't believe my eyes, we ALWAYS beat San Jose. Though, I still thought my team was going to come through. Unfortunately, it came down to the final singles match and we lost 4-3. We went out first round.

At the WAC banquet, I was going to receive an honor which I had been working towards ever since I found out it existed. I was put on the Second-Team for All-WAC Singles honors. Although, I must admit I was hoping to get on the First-Team. I still was extremely pumped. I had written for my goals every year to be a part of the All-WAC singles team and it had finally come true. I believe my win over Boise State earlier in the season had a lot to do with it. It was my best match of the year. I came back from being down 1-7 in a 10 point tiebreaker to win 11-9. I had a pretty lucky stab volley to stop her from match point. To top it off, Boise was a ranked team and they blew me off when I was looking for a college. It was a tennis moment worth celebrating. It was a big year for awards and recognition. I was a finalist at the Robins Awards for “Female Athlete of the Year” for my third year in a row. I was voted MVP all four years. I was also voted hardest worker for the second time. I was named to be on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District VIII first team. I was also nominated as Utah State’s “NCAA Woman of the Year”. Then to top it off, I learned with 25 single wins that I had set a single-season school record. It wasn’t a bad way to end my tennis college career.

After finishing up the WAC tournament in Boise, Mike and I decided to go on a little adventure on a little adventure of our own. We decided it would be fun to try a random place on the way back from Boise. We had never been to Twin Falls and we were about to make it happen. Mike saw a sign for Shoshone Falls on his drive up to Boise which had sparked his interest. We began first stopped at the Snake River Canyon. We snapped a few pictures and enjoyed the scenery. We thought about the first people that encountered the gorge. What a shock that would be, eh? After, we observed the magnificence we ventured onward to Shoshone Falls. It is definitely a sight worth seeing. It is huge! It's funny though because when you are driving there it is through random fields. Then you go down a driveway into this little place and BAM there it is. It is really pretty. They also have a little park and swimming hole by the falls. We had fun checking out random people. Some people are so interesting to say the least. We tried to sneak pictures of some of them but we were unable to catch them in time and then the camera died. Don’t worry we ate away our grief at Jack in the Box. Not really, but seriously.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Antsy for Spring...

The heavy snow season, consequently led to a flooded spring season. Houses, roads, fields, and rivers were overflowing with excess water. Mike especially liked checking on the water levels of the river. On several different occasions, Mike took me on road trips up the Canyon and down into the island to see the changes. It was crazy to see so much water in a little river. Families near the river were sweating it because there houses were in danger. Sand bagging was not uncommon that spring. Nevertheless, the weather was warming up and we thought it was time to enjoy spring activities. We learned our lessons through experience.

One day on the news, they were reporting on the flooded rivers in Logan and Ogden. They reported on the dangers of getting in the water. Mike’s parents had seen the news. If you know anything about Mike, you would know his parents were concerned. They called Mike later that night and told him they hoped there son wasn't stupid enough to be playing in the rivers. Well, to his parents dismay Mike had already been kayaking in the rivers on a couple different occasions. Yup, strike one.

However, this first strike did not deter us from our next soon to be strike. On April 7th, we were determined to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather. This too may not have been the wisest choice, but it was something we will never forget. During conference there was a talk about the Crimson Trail. I told Mike we should go climb it. He was game. It started out pretty good. However, the further we got up the worse the conditions became. Ice, snow, and mud were all factors. In some places the trail was also very thin adding to the scary factor. To top it off, we were not the best dressed. Mike was in shorts and sandals, no surprise. Mike later said it was the closest he has ever been to hypothermia and frost bite. After about an hour or an hour and a half we were ready to tap out. But it just kept going and going. Fortunately, we found a way to get down pretty quick. We found a wide open, downhill patch. You better believe we slid down on our butts! We hurried as fast as we could through the final stretch and were relieved once we made it to the car. Don’t worry, we learned you have to wait till it's actually spring to do spring activities.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

March Madness!!

March was a crazy month for us. It started with the birth of my first official nephew on March 2nd. Although I already had 12 nieces and nephews, he was the first one born when I was a part of the Hill crew. It was fun to go see the little guy. At the time we went to go see him, he still was unnamed. I remember telling Mike I wish he had a name so I could talk to him. For some reason, I thought it strange to talk to an unnamed baby. To my relief, a few days later he was named Matthew.

Shortly thereafter, Mike and I were going to be separated for 10 days.
I had been on some weekend tennis trips, but nothing this long since we were married. It was sad to be leaving, but it was a great opportunity. I was able to go to China with some fellow MBA students. It was a requirement for our graduation to go on an international trip. We could either go to Japan, China, Italy, or England. My family has talked about going to Italy for a while and I was lucky enough to go to England when I was younger. Thus, it came down to China or Japan. I chose China because I thought it was an opportunity that would not present itself to me again. It was a really neat trip and I was glad I was able to go. The best part is that it was covered by my tennis scholarship. What a blessing, eh? The only downfall is Mike was unable to go with me.

In China, we were able to do a lot of sightseeing. Fortunately, our group leaders and chaperons were more interested in sightseeing than the business aspects. Good for me, bad for the “school aspect”. We first flew into Hong Kong which is much more city like than I expected. It was very crowded, people trying to sell you items, weird smells, big buildings, and a nice subway system. In Hong Kong we went to the temple grounds, Disneyland, the markets, and saw the big sights. Disneyland was fun and really tiny compared to Disneyland in America. The rides were smaller and there were not as many attractions but the lines were way shorter which meant more rides! Even though I couldn’t shoot the space aliens, like Buzz Lightyear, it was a lot of fun.

Our next stop was in Guangzhou in mainland China. Here we did more business stops than usual. We went to Hino Motors and the Toyota factory. Toyota is very efficient and it was cool to see the cars come together so quickly. However, we spent most of our time in the city of Beijing. Here we had a few business stops as well. However, the highlights of Beijing were the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, The Silk Market, Olympic Bird’s nest, and my surprise at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

I was just sitting in the classroom and a boy I didn’t even know brought me a bouquet of flowers because he said I was pretty. It probably helps that I was the only girl in the group, but I felt like a superstar! My favorite was the silk market though. It was so fun to bargain with the Chinese and get some really good deals. I got Mike some fun things. His favorite was a Gortex jacket. I got ripped off, yet I still got it for hundreds of dollars cheaper there than in America. Yes, it does work just as well. The last city we visited was Xian. We took a sleeper train on our journey to the ancient capital. It is here they have the Terracotta Warriors. They were a sight to see. Many of them are still being discovered and put together. There are thousands of them. Much work is still to be done.

Mike and I were able to talk through emails and occasionally through Skype when our schedules and internet connection would line up. Mike was able to join his friends on a trip to St. George over Spring Break. They had a good time doing outdoor activities, like slot canyons and biking. So as you could probably guess we didn’t get to talk too often. However, my favorite email was when Mike told me of his own Mickey Mouse adventure. Here is the story in his words. “As I opened the passenger side door the floor lights came on as usually and I thought I saw a mouse run up under the dashboard. I was pretty surprised but not certain I had seen one. I looked around and checked a small bag of trail mix I had left in the car but there was no chewing on the bag. So I figured I was just seeing shadows. I told Danny and Haley at DQ and they came and searched the car with me. Danny left two peanuts on the floor just to check. After DQs I drove home to our wonderful place and left those peanuts on the floor. And, as sure as I am writing you today, the peanuts were gone the next morning.”

Getting back from China did not slow things done one bit. Tennis season was in full swing and I left shortly thereafter to San Jose and San Francisco. Too bad we didn’t even play any matches due to heavy rain. The team also traveled to Moscow, Idaho. Nevertheless, Mike and I made good use of our time we did have together. We were able to go to the Willow Park Zoo and Backcountry sledding! We saw lots of fun animals at the Zoo including eagles, birds, an albino porcupine, game animals, and even pet rocks. It was fun to go exploring around and see the different animals. At a later date, we were also able to go backcountry sledding. It was my first time. Mike truly does make my life more adventurous. We went up Logan Canyon and found a good spot with lots of snow. We put on our snowshoes and hiked up the mountain. Once you got to the top, you got to cruise down huge hills of untouched snow. You said it, we are pretty adventurous.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 21st….Mike’s famous! Plus, Vegas trip.

Mike was asked by ICON if he would show the world how to fix treadmills on YouTube. He got a new outfit and rocked it. My husband was made world famous! So it was only suiting that we would return to Las Vegas. Before leaving for the weekend, I was able to meet Jon the unknown brother. You see the whole time Mike and I were getting to know each other, Jon was on his mission. It is a little strange that he was my same age, but I guess that’s what happens in a big family. In fact, Danny, Joe, and Jon are all closer to my age than Mike. Too bad! Anyways, it was fun to meet him even though he was a little out of it and in awe. We would return after Vegas to hear his homecoming speech, which was on the Living Christ. He did a great job.

My whole family came down to Vegas again and like last time it was a lot of fun. We went paintballing, attended the temple, ate at an all day buffet at the Excalibur, and we went to a comedian Magic show by Nathan Burton. Paintballing was really fun and really scary. The guy running the place didn’t like us too much because we weren’t very good at following the safety rules, especially at keeping our masks on while we were in the arena.

I could see why he was concerned though, because it hurt whenever you got hit. It would not be pretty if you were shot in the face without a mask. My mom was the funniest when she got hit, she would yell for everyone to hear, “I’m hit and injured!” We all got some good shots off; my best shot was when I got my dad good in the butt. Everybody had a few good welts by the end except for Mike. So Mike let Levi shoot him to see how it felt. He got a little mark on his shoulder. Mike is just too dang good at everything!

Nathan Burton was also very entertaining as well. My only complaint was he focused way too much on the showgirls. Nevertheless, his magic was fun and very fast paced. I have no idea how he was able to complete some of his tricks. He would transport huge items into the room and do all sorts of mind blowing stunts. What the heck? I wish I could do that. His co-star was good as well. He did a comedy thing with four guys in masks. The Asian man (with a woman mask) was hilarious. He had to wave and blow kisses. His moves were so big and exaggerated making it all the better. It was hilarious. Then the four guys in masks had a contest to blow up balloons and try to pop them by sitting on them. We all got a good laugh out of that. It was another fun family trip.

Valentine’s Day!!

Mike and I went to dinner at Hamilton’s tonight. Why? Because we won a gift card there! How you may ask? Well we won the couples contest at the Sports Academy Saturday night. We were paired up with another couple for the night to compete with them in a series of challenges. The totals were added and the winner was awarded a $50 gift card to Hamilton’s restaurant. The challenges were ping pong, tennis, racquetball, soccer, basketball, and a compatibility quiz. Early in the night, Mike was trying to make friendly conversation with our competitors by saying, “It would be fun to mix it up with other couples, not that we don’t like you guys but it would just suck if you got stuck with someone that just kept kicking your trash all night.” Mike didn’t know it at the time but that was exactly what we were going to do. We made a real good time. Mike surprised me with his skills. He blocked some hard soccer shots and he pulled through on the basketball making all five of his shots. I only made two. He wasn’t bad at tennis either, I was quite impressed.

We had a great Valentine’s Day meal and then they even gave us a $20 gift card as part of our meal package. Bonus! That morning I gave him three shirts from his favorite store, the DI. It’s nice because they are already washed so he doesn’t have to worry about them fitting weird later on. We also started a Valentine’s Day tradition of writing a little love letter each year. I’m quite happy about that tradition. My gift came later upon my return from Texas. He picked me up from the airport and surprised me with roses. When I got home, he had written me a letter and got me a Nike shirt that was just my style. He nailed it. It was a great Valentine’s Day!

Our little Miracle on February 11th…

Last night Mike and I saw the hand of God in our lives. A few weeks ago, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond to use one of our gift cards from our wedding. We took all of our gift cards with us in a bag and apparently left it at the store. When we went to use our cards last night we could not find them. We searched everywhere in my car but they were nowhere to be found. We came back to the house, a little frantic, and looked everywhere. Nothing. We checked in Mike’s car. No luck. I had a feeling to call Bed, Bath, and Beyond. To our amazement, all of our cards were there. The bag contained 100’s of dollars worth of gift cards. We were very fortunate and very blessed. God does look out for us and He does answer our prayers.

Winter Adventures…

In between school and tennis, Mike continued to show me how to enjoy the gloomy winter months. We went night skiing, took Sunday snowshoeing strolls, had a “Man Dinner”, saw Megamind, went on a winter campout, experimented with ice climbing, and even went to a murder mystery dinner (more up my alley). The weekend after Brianhead, ICON fitness, aka a terrible place to work, was throwing a ski night for its employees. Mike and I decided to hit the slopes again. It was fun to go skiing more often. We took Ryan and Kenzie along with us for Ryan’s birthday. Arnie, also an ICON employee, his wife Sarah and several other friends were also able to join us. We had a great time racing down the mountain. I was able to practice my carving so one day maybe I will be able to keep up with Mike.

Mike stepped up the snow activities to hard core status with winter campouts and ice climbing. We made our way back to our engagement spot in Logan Canyon and had my first winter bonfire. Ryan, Kenzie, Amy, and “the boys” (her dogs) also were able to join us. Who knew you could make a fire in the snow!? I didn’t. But it was really fun. We roasted hot dogs and had a grand old time. The others left after the bonfire, while Mike and I decided to camp out in a cave that was made into a cabin (made by Mr. Devin Jones). Mike got a nice fire going, we set up our sleeping bags, and we slept nice and toasty all through the night.

The next day, February 1st, we joined Devin and his friend on an ice climbing adventure. Ice Climbing is just what it sounds like. You climb up ice, or better yet a frozen waterfall. Yes, it can be a little scary and dangerous. But we were prepared and I knew I was surrounded by the right people so it wasn’t too scary. They were all experienced ice climbers all made it up to the top of the waterfall; I got close but didn’t quite make it. I was proud of myself for my first attempt.

Let me tell you of my adventure. I was hacking away at the ice with my ice picks making pretty good time. However, I went too far to the left when the rope was attached at the top right. Mike called up to me to be careful not to swing. I said ok, but I was too late. I tried moving over to the right and swung probably 10 feet right into the wall. Luckily, I didn’t get hurt because coach would not have been happy. After my eventful swing, I decided it was my time to come down. The crazy thing about ice climbing is once you are done all the blood rushes back into your hands and it is extremely painful. In fact, they have a name for it; it’s called the screamy barfys. Yup, that is exactly what you feel like doing.

After I became hard core status, we attended what some may consider a wimpy activity. We went to our first Murder Mystery Dinner! It was really fun even though our group didn’t really seem to know how these things worked. Nevertheless, we had a great time. I thought I was the murder the whole time, even at the end. Turns out I was innocent and so was Mike. But we weren’t too innocent, we did take something. We took the prize for the best costumes of the night. Yup, we were winners!!

January 16th…Trip to Brianhead!

Brianhead was a blast. We went snowmobiling for seven hours on Saturday and then went skiing later that night. We drove through some beautiful scenes and really deep snow. While we were riding around Michelle found a huge jump. The first time she hit it fast, not knowing it was there. Once it was discovered, we returned for some more fun. Mike hit it so hard; he bailed off to remain safe. The rest of us took turns trying to catch some “big” air. It is always an adventure with the Swenson’s though. My dad was in his element flying around on the snowmobile. Mac almost flipped my mom, Michelle flew off the back, and Mike introduced us to hooky bobbin on the snowmobiles. I loved being the spotter (lets the driver know when they fall off). Mac pulled the best faces and I could not stop laughing. Mike was very skilled in this area making it very difficult to throw him off the sled. After hooky bobbin, we took off on our last snowmobile adventure for the day. We hid the sled and we were off. After coming back, we went to get the sled and it was gone. A group of kids had taken our sled! We sent Mike and Mac after them. Yes, they were able to retrieve it back without too much effort. They just strutted up to the group of kids, asked where they got the sled, and took it. The kids had a dumbfounded face, Mac and Mike busted them.

One of my favorite parts of the day, however, was the snowmobile races. You know whenever the Swenson’s are around it is going to turn into a competition. On the last race, I took off and tried to take a corner too sharp. I flew off the side of the snowmobile. Meanwhile, the snowmobile was still going. Levi was behind me and stopped to make sure I was fine. I was, of course. Then I hoped back on and tried to play catch up. I was cruising so fast. To add to the excitement, a big dip came up on me. I gave a lil squeal but there was no avoiding it. I flew into it and my snowmobile felt like, maybe even was, air born! I was pretty scared; needless to say the rest of the race for me was a little slower. I came in 4th, but it was definitely the most memorable race.

Saturday night we went skiing. We rocked that little bunny hill. Our favorite part was flying through a patch of trees with two little jumps catching a little air. Sunday we had another devotional, with topics of our choice this time. It was good discussion. To top it off, we went on a little snowshoeing stroll behind our place. It was my first time snowshoeing. It was a lot of fun AND a good workout. My dad, Levi, and Michelle all tapped out pretty early. But the rest of us had a good time tackling each other, doing summersaults over big banks of snow, and doing belly slides down the mountain. Mike is showing me that snow activities can in fact be a really good time!


The car was a disaster, glitter, toilet paper, balloons, and cookies everywhere. More was to come. The alarm would not turn off and the switch was not working. All of Farmington probably heard our car alarm. We had to stop at a church just off 2nd East in Farmington. Mike disconnected the battery and plugged it back in. It was being stubborn and still would not turn off. Mike went to desperate measures and ripped out his car alarm. We also had to wait in the parking lot for my make up bag which had some pretty important things in it, if you know what I mean. After a few delays, by 9:45 we were finally on our way to Park City.

Two nights we stayed in Park City. We used our free dinner from my bet with my dad at the Loco Lizard. The next two nights were spent at our parent’s houses; the first night with his parents and the next night with mine. It was weird to share a room. The first night we watched part of two movies. Marty couldn’t believe I stayed awake. I told him it’s because I am a Hill now. The next morning my mom and Mac met us out at the Hills. We opened all of our gifts and donations. We were very blessed and well loved. It was about an hour and half to two hours before we opened everything. It was very nice. Once the gifts were opened, we booked it to St. George for a relaxing time before the big adventure began!

We awoke bright and early Christmas morning to head off for our Mexican Riviera Cruise. It was a wonderful honeymoon. We stopped in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. The last stop was my favorite. The first day on the cruise we got on early, giving us time to get acquainted with the ship. In Cabo we rented a sea kayak. We paddled across the Sea of Cortez and went snorkeling at Pelican Rock. Mike said it was the best snorkeling he has ever done. Then we paddled around the tip of Baja California and looked at the arches. It was a little scary over there because of the size of the waves. We then went back to Lover’s Beach. Mike played in the ocean for a long time. I wanted to get in so bad, but I was freezing cold. I was shivering and my lips were turning blue. As we were paddling back, we saw a Sea Lion (we think!) But it kept popping up and it was just looking at us. It even posed for us. It was definitely worth it

Mazatlan the next day. We hired a taxi driver for the day to take us around on an oversized golf cart. We tried bargaining for the rockin’ deals we had heard about, but were not too successful. Though, it was still pretty cheap. He gave us a tour of the city taking us to all the hot spots. We got to see some cool statues, lookouts, and the historic city. On the way into town, we saw a drunken man stagger around yelling at everybody, poor guy.

He dropped us off at the Golden Zone to go exploring. We saw some cliff divers. They are insane! They are so high up diving into shallow water. However, it looks like they got it down because no one was hurt. We also tried some Marlin tacos which were not too good. After filling our tummies, we played in the water. This time I got in the water, it was warmer and I was not going to miss a good beach day! While we were walking around the beach, a guy wanted us to take a picture of him. We did and then he just walked away. I guess he just wanted to be remembered. It was a lot of fun. On the way back to the ship we tried round two for some authentic tacos. Unfortunately, they were as bad as the first ones.

Day three in Mexico was in the best stop, Puerto Vallarta. This was the prettiest city. There were green plants growing and it had more of the tropical feel. It was also much better maintained than Mazatlan. This was my favorite day. One it was warmer. Two the zip lines across the gorge were amazing. Three, we got excellent fish and shrimp tacos thanks to J.J. Barbosa our taxi Driver. Four, we were able to do a little more snorkeling and we saw a sting ray!

The ship days were chilly but not lacking in adventure. We did some karaoke, went to several different shows, including: a magician, a hypnotist, a polish circus/balancing act, Second City (a hilarious comedic group), a 60s show, a combination show, and a Mod Musical). The hypnotist was my favorite.
T-9 was chosen to go up on the stage. He was hilarious; the hypnotist told him he lost his butt, and when asked what it looked like he said it was dark, hairless, and smooth. One girl danced like Beyoncé. It was a great show, and surprisingly family friendly. The mod musical was awful lacking both flow and story. On the other hand, the polish guy was funny, because he was so ripped and then he had this little high pitched voice. Nevertheless, he and his wife were very talented.

We also had a lot of good food. We had about four entrees AND four appetizers AND two desserts every night. Not to mention, unlimited food and ice cream throughout the day. We watched some movies, learned how to play rook, played shuffleboard, ping pong, basketball, and dodge ball. The first game of dodge ball Mike got out the very first ball. He redeemed himself the next game. I didn’t really do much. We also made some friends- Kindle girl, Henry and Michelle (they were cruisers and were very large), the Swenson’s, who Mike had known their daughter from Logan years ago, the Lady who won $1 off of her lottery tickets, and our favorite Cru. Cru was a very large six year old boy. One day as he ran past us we heard him say, “If you get a cup you can have three scoops, if you have a cone you can only have two.” Later we saw him rocking to “Survivor” at Karaoke night all by himself. Yes, Mike and I did karoke. We sang to “Friends in Low Places”. Mike was the superstar! It was a great honeymoon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wedding Review….

Our wedding was perfect! Everything was so beautiful and it came together so well. We could not have done it without the help of all of our friends and family. It was such a great day. The morning of the wedding Mike came to pick me up. He looked as good as ever. We drove down to the luncheon to greet our family and closest friends. It was great food and great company. It was weird to be at the center of everything.

When they rang the cups, I was able to kiss my boy!This time I was part of the action. During my little speech, my dad bet me to say, starting quiet, then gradually getting louder, “Tank you all friends and family for coming to MY WEDDING!” It’s a modification of a line off of 30 Rock. Some thought it was hilarious, others were clueless, and then there were those that thought I was crazy. But it was totally worth it. Our dads were also able to say a word or two. Everybody introduced themselves, Hayden (my cousin’s son) started singing a school song and my grandma introduced herself as “Happy Koleen”. It was great. Then each table offered some words of wisdom.

After the luncheon, we all headed over to the temple. This was the moment we had all been anticipating for months. Mike was very emotional during the sealing. He has waited a long time for this moment. Hopefully, his waiting wasn’t in vain. I was wondering if I should be crying, but I didn’t. As Marty put it, “I looked kind of smug, like I had won, but not in a bad way.” He could tell I was very happy. Papa Hill knows how to read people. I did feel like I had won. I had won an internal battle. It was such a struggle for me to get past the feeling that I wasn’t worthy enough. I hadn’t done anything that would keep me from going to the temple. But Satan was working overtime on me. He had got me thinking and believing that I was not good enough. There were moments of peace, but it was a struggle. However, that day in the sealing room those feelings began to leave. The time had come to let those things go and have an increase of faith and peace.

As I sat staring across at Mike, I couldn’t have been happier. I wasn’t expecting to be married when I was, but how could you pass a guy like that up? He is amazing in every way. He is smart, funny, good looking, and very spiritual. You could say he is the whole package. I know I broke many girls’ hearts that day when I took him off the market. Sorry ladies, but he is mine!

We were able to snap a few more pictures after the wedding as Mike’s brothers were having a snow ball fight. Mike secretly wished he could be a part of it. Once we had thoroughly captured the moment we got ready for the reception. The family hung out at Shonnie’s house for about an hour before the big event began. The reception was really pretty. Shonnie had decorated her house beautifully.

My mom and Tammy had put pretty accessories around the house. The cake was amazing. The ice cream and eclairs, which were made by Cindy, were delectable. Everything was perfect. It was fun to see friends and family and share that moment with them. Lauren and Janice made several rounds through the line. Mike’s parents stayed in the line with us, where my parents just wondered around the house. Other than that it was pretty traditional, cutting the cake (yup, we were wimps and fed it to each other nicely), and throwing the bouquet. After we gave our time there, it was time to drive off on our own. We were officially newlywed status!