September 30, 2014

Climbing Spencer's Butte

On Saturday July 19th we climbed to the top of Spencer's Butte (aka Spencer's Butt...haha...yeah we call it that sometimes). There are a few different trails that you can take to reach the summit one is short and very steep and the other is significantly longer with more of a gradual climb. Andy and I decided to take the longer route (it was just over 5 miles round trip).

The hike started out with us walking through a grassy area before the trail lead us into the woods. Most of our hike was spent in the woods before we emerged on the top of the butte. The view from the top was AMAZING! We could see so far.

Me on the trail.
Looking up at a pretty tree.
Me & Andy.
On the summit.

The view from the top.
As we were sitting on top we decided to snack on some dried apricots. Before too long I looked up to see a fat squirrel headed our way and I kind of freaked out (rodents may be cute but they can have rabies). Andy started feeding Fatso (yes, I named him). Fatso would take an apricot, run away, dig a hole, and bury said apricot, and run back to us for more. Fatso was so tame he would take the apricot right out of Andy's hand.

Our favorite squirrel, Fatso doing his hero pose.
Surprise! I'm here.
Andy told me I needed to face my fear of rodents and feed Fatso. I couldn't really argue with him since we made a goal to face our fears this year. So, I fed Fatso.

Fatso had a hole in his ear like he had been tagged before, maybe that is why he was friendly. Or, maybe he was just a pirate in another life.

Spencer's Butte was an awesome hike! I plan on doing this one again. 

September 18, 2014

A Life Goal: Whitewater Rafting

Recently as I was rummaging through an old journal from high school, I came across a piece of paper was labeled "Life Goals". One of the things listed on this piece of paper was to go whitewater rafting. On July 12th, I checked white water rafting off of my list.

Rewind: One summer when I was in high school my friend Jenn called me up and asked if I wanted to go rafting with her, her mom (Julie), and her mom's friend Sue. I had always wanted to rafting and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. We all met up and I quickly learned that we weren't going to be rafting but we were going to be floating in inner tubes down the Puyallup River.

Jenn and I shared a double tube and we both wore life jackets. Julie and Sue were in single tubes and they did not have life jackets on. Sue had floated the river before, so we felt pretty comfortable and safe having her as our guide.

We hadn't floated very far when the water suddenly became very fast moving. As we came around a bend in the river, we couldn't help but notice a fallen tree blocking most of the river. Somehow unbeknownst to me, Jenn ended up in the water headed straight for the tree. Her mom freaked out and jumped in after her. As Julie was swimming toward her daughter she yelled at me to get out of the double tube. Why? I don't know but I did what I was told. 

I watched my friend and her mom both get sucked underneath the water and tree and pop up on the other side. They continued on down the river a ways without their tubes.

I recall watching Sue still sitting in her tube go right over the top of the downed tree, how she managed to do that is beyond me.

Before I knew it I had reached the tree. I grabbed onto the tree and held on for dear life but my strength was no match for the force of the current. I was quickly pulled under. It felt like I was under the water forever. Eventually though my life jacket pulled me to the surface, my lungs very much welcomed the air.

I floated down the river for awhile (without a tube) before catching up to Sue. She had me grab on to her tube and we found a place that we could exit the river. Before too long we met back up with Jenn and her mom. Jenn and I both lost our right flip flop. We hopped back up the trail on one foot-- there were rusty cans and blackberry bushes growing everywhere.

Eventually we found a place that was shallow enough for us to wade to the other side of the river (this was a scary things to do after almost drowning). Once we reached the other side of the river we headed toward the road and hitch hiked to get a ride back to our car.

Fast Forward: As you can probably imagine my goal of whitewater rafting was kind of put on hold for many years due to my fear of drowning. Since this year has been focused on overcoming fears I decided that it was time to go whitewater rafting, accomplish a goal and overcome a fear.

I was very scared to go whitewater rafting. In fact I was so scared I hardly slept the night before, I kept dreaming of drowning.

As we were driving to go whitewater rafting I called to tell my family what we were doing. Most of my family members have been whitewater rafting before and they tried to reassure me that everything would be okay.

Andy & I

I was SO scared climbing into that raft. Before too long though I found myself laughing and having a great time. I was even brave enough to try riding the bull. Riding the bull is when you sit on the front of the raft and try to stay sitting up as you go over some very large rapid. I was pounded with about 100 gallons of water. As you may have guessed, the bull won.

Would I go rafting again? You bet!

** We rafted class 1-3 rapids**

September 17, 2014

Standing For Something

I recently finished reading Standing For Something by Gordon B. Hinckley. I absolutely loved this book! I borrowed my Dad's copy and now I think I need to go buy myself a copy. Yeah, it was that good! In his book President Hinckley talked a lot about virtue and specific virtues that we need more of in this world, it was a very thought provoking read.

I don't have a lot of time to read during the day so I typically read on my lunch break at work. One day as I was reading on my break a particular passage really struck me. President Hinckley explained that Christ was often outcast. He was betrayed by his "friends". He was spit on and mocked. He was ridiculed. He was beaten. People hated Him so much that they crucified Him. Everything He went through and everything He did was out of love for us. I imagine that often times he felt very alone because of the things He was going through.

As I read this section, I was overcome with chills (that's how I feel the Holy Ghost). During this moment I felt so strongly that Christ really understands what I'm going through and he has felt what I feel. I think this was the first time in my life that I really felt like Christ knows exactly what I am feeling.

A few years ago Andy and I made a decision to change. This change was much needed we prayed about this decision A LOT. We knew what we needed to do and we did it-- this wasn't easy. I guess you could say that one of the consequences of this "change" is that we have become outcast by people that we once thought were our friends. We have definitely had our days where we feel alone and like people don't really care. It is so comforting to me to know that my Savior is there. That He cares and knows what I am going through. I know that I am not alone and that He is right there with me.

*I need to read 4 more books by the end of the year. 

September 16, 2014

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Andy shared the following story with me after we got home from Washington and it's too cute to not share.

Andy was using the backroom one day and this is what happened.

Someone knocks on the bathroom door.
Andy: I'm in here.
Knock, knock, knock.
Andy: I'm in here.
Russell: *Sings*
                          Do you wanna build a snowman?
                          Come on lets go and play
                          I never see you anymore
                          Come out the door
                          It's like you've gone away-
                          We used to be best buddies
                          And now we're not
                          I wish you would tell me why!-
                          Do you wanna build a snowman?
                          It doesn't have to be a snowman.

I think someone has been watching too much Frozen or maybe he just really missed Andy. I sure love Russell, he is such a funny boy. You never know what he will do next.

September 15, 2014

4th Of July Weekend Part 2 of 2

The day after 4th of July the boys (Dad, Jake, Andy, Russell, and Mike) went fishing at a high mountain lake. Andy said the hike in was really steep. They caught  a lot of fish (Andy caught 16 by himself) but the fish were small so they let most of them go.

Isn't it just beautiful?

Andy, Russell, Mike, & Jake.
Jake doing his thing.
For lunch the boys ate chilli dog, this is kind of tradition.

Isn't he just cute?
Isn't he cute too? Love them both!
Russell spent the majority of the day teaching himself how to cast. I can't say I know any other 5 year olds who know how to cast, this boy is impressive! He caught two small fish and was very proud of himself. Naturally, they had to keep his fish.

Andy with Russell in the background learning to cast.
He caught not only 1 but 2.

So proud of his fish.
It has teeth.
Doing what fisherman do best.

So focused.
While the boys were out fishing I went thrift shopping up in Ballard with my Mom and sisters, we got some awesome deals! I managed to snag a brand new pair of $100+ shoes for $20.00 for Andy. The shoes fit his feet perfectly and he loves them. Brendan kept trying to convince him to let him have them instead. I guess I have good taste.

After we got done thrifting we decided to get some lunch at a small hole in the wall Mexican joint called Senor Moose Cafe. The food was pretty good. Mostly though I just enjoyed spending time with the girls.

Our next stop was Alki Beach. Somehow despite growing up in Washington I had never been to Alki Beach before. I know what's wrong with me, right?

Sadie & Megan.
Megan & Sadie.
Me-- Looking for crabs and beach glass.

I think I have the prettiest sisters.

We walked down the beach for a little while and helped my Mom collect driftwood for one of her projects.

On our way home I really needed to use the bathroom so we stopped at a Burger King. As I walked into the stall I couldn't help but notice that someone had pooped on the floor. I was disgusted! I always knew there was a reason I didn't like public bathrooms.

The next day we went to church before heading home. As we were getting ready for church Russell came out wearing socks, a tie and underwear. I took a photo of him and he told me to send it to Jacob, Sadie, and Megan. He was very proud of his picture. I'm pretty sure his picture made all of us laugh. I'm going to spare him this time by not putting that photo up.

September 14, 2014

4th Of July Weekend Part 1 of 2

We spent the 4th of July up in Washington with my family and we had a great time! We got up in the morning,went to the ward breakfast,  packed a picnic lunch, and then headed to the waterfront in Tacoma for the Freedom Festival.

We watched the air show while we ate our lunch and then went down to Ruston Way to see everything that was going on. There was a lot of different things to see and do including: concerts, bounce houses, a pole vaulting meet, bmx bike show, car show, food, vendors, etc.

The boys were able to meet Darth Vader and a storm trooper-- they thought this was awesome!

Russell with Darth Vader.
Nathan with Darth Vader.

 We went out onto the dock to enjoy to the view. Washington really is beautiful!

Me, Sadie, Dad, & Megan.
I love this photo!
Andy & I.
Yeah, we got caught smooching <3

Mt. Rainier

There was a guy riding a BMX and doing tricks. The boys loved watching the BMX biker, we took a picture of them with him but I can't find it.

We went hunting for crabs on the beach and managed to find a few.

Me, Sadie, Megan, & Russell--hunting for crabs.
Me, Sadie, Megan, & Nathan.
We found a semi large one.
This little guy was tiny!
Andy helping Russell hold a little crab.

Sadie with a crab.
Russell heard that they were doing remote control car races and he really wanted to see them. We walked all the way to the end of the Freedom Festival (1 1/2 miles) and didn't see any remote control car races-- he was really disappointed. Luckily I spotted some military vehicles and the military personal were kind enough to let him get in them, this cheered him right up. Before too long he was asking each officer what their job was, they seemed to like that.

Russell & Andy.
Russell & Andy.
He was really excited to climb into the driver seat!
On the way back down the strip we stopped to watch a pole vaulting meet. I wanted to pole vault in high school but I didn't have the upper body strength to get up. Russell, Andy, and I sure enjoyed watching the pole vaulters. I was amazed by how high up they could get.

While we were watching the pole vaulters, Russell put Andy's hat on a random girl's white husky. It was really funny to watch him interact with the dog. I wish we had gotten him on video.

One of the pole vaulters gave Russell a free adult sized medium long, he thought this was great! He put the shirt on and started running down the street with the sleeves dragging behind him. Everyone he passed started to laugh. I love this little boy, he is so funny!

After the Freedom Festival we headed over to the reservation to get some fireworks (you get the best deals if you go right before they close their stands down). We lit off our big illegal fireworks at the reservation and watched the show on the waterfront before heading home for the night.

I'm so grateful for the freedoms we have and the men and women who fight to protect us. Happy Birthday America!