Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cards from Jesus

When my mom first moved to Portland, she began getting cards from Jesus. These letters came from all over the country and were a source of encouragement for my mom as she transitioned to a new place. When I was home, I scrapbooked the cards into frames. These frames will be hung by ribbon in her hallway as a reminder.
It was a fun project, and I was VERY pleased with the way they turned out! :) I cannot wait to see them hanging on the wall!

Monday, July 20, 2009

California Adventure

Although my time in California was rejuvenating, it wasn't exactly... restful. Here are some of my adventures...although they don't include California Adventure (the theme park) they do include disneyland!

I spent a day with my grandparents (mom's side). I hadn't seen them in a year and a half since I didn't go to California last Christmas. It was a great chance to visit and catch up. They are neat people and I'm so grateful for them. And they think I'm pretty great too...I mean, I am the first and favorite grandchild. ;)
I then spent a day with my dad. We visited the casino where he works, watched a movie, and had dinner at In-N-Out (yumm!). It was nice to see my dad, however brief it was.
From there, I went down to SoCal. Arriving on Monday night, and greeted by my former roommie, we headed to Victorville. Here are the highlights...

Tuesday: Kristel was offered a 3rd grade teaching position, woohoo! We headed to Vegas, both in celebration of her job AND for her birthday
Wednesday: Spent the day in Vegas (partly at the pool :)) and drove home in the evening
Thursday: Headed to UCLA to visit with Tiffani. I was also able to wander the campus, meet her faculty advisor, and partake in some fabulous weather (sitting on a grassy null, while the cool ocean breezed).
Friday: Disneyland in celebration of Jenny's birthday!
Saturday: Breakfast with Kristin. Lunch with Jenny. Dinner in Orange at Ryan and Jenny's...watched all sorts of mixed martial arts fighters beat the snot out of one another (UFC)... it was... educational :/. Laughed and cringed a lot. Stayed up late.
Sunday: Slept in. Went to church. I ate at In-N-Out for the third time on this trip (gotta get my fill). Boarded a red eye flight back to Waco.

Although I could go into far more detail, I will save you the ramblings. :) Additionally, I don't have as many pictures as I though I would have taken. Meaning...I normally take oodles of pictures. But many of these memories will have to remain just that...memories.
Kristel and I sitting out at the pool, it was obviously bright :)
In Vegas. Unfortunately, we had been up and ready to go at 7:30 in the morning an by 10:30pm we were pooped. So we headed back to our hotel room to catch a snooze. We then woke up at 1:30 in the morning and gambled for a bit. It was actually great...not many people choose to gamble at 1:30am. We headed back to bed at 3:30 proud of ourselves for .. living it up. Ha. :) This picture was proof we were up at 1:30, only I wish I had taken one at 3:30. But imagine if we look this tired at 1:3o what we looked like at 3:30.
This is a sign on the way to/from Vegas. It cracks me up every time. So this time, I finally got a picture of it! Success!
I met up with Jenny and Eric, and Ryan and Megan (and Aubrey) for some Disneyland birthday celebration. Here's a picture of me, Jenny (birthday girl), and Ryan waiting in line for the matterhorn. We had one car in front of us and the ride decided to have 'technical difficuties'. So I decided it was time to bust out my camera for a quick pick.
Megan and I. :) Random sidenote: 1. Don't straighten your hair the day you to go Disneyland if you decide to ride splash mountain. 2. When they say a child cannot ride in the front for splash mountain, they just mean the very first seat. So don't get tricked into riding in the front. Okay, so maybe that's not exactly how it happened. But Jenny and I did misunderstand the woman who was saying adults had to ride in the front so I ended up in the very first seat on the boat. Both Ryan and I were soaked. But oh how I love splash mountain!
Ryan and Meg have Aubrey. Jenny and Eric's neice (Kaitlyn) and nephew (Taylor) met up with us for part of the day in Disney. Isn't this picture of Aubrey and Kaitlyn holding hands too precious?!Space mountain has been redone and it's better than ever! :) We had to do this one twice!
Jenny and I waiting for the start of the parade, only, the parade wasn't happening. They did, however, have a large fireworks display above the princes castle. Let's just say it was probably the best display of fireworks I've ever seen...music...tinkerbell and dumbo flew through the air...if I ever work at disneyland someday, I want to be the flying singing tinkerbell in the fireworks show. :)

I had a blast and miss my California friends! The community I built there was probably the first time I had what I would deem as 'true' community. So as I mentioned earlier, it may not have been restful, it was definitely good for my soul!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 4th

I enjoy fourth of July. And I love fireworks.

This year, I spent the fourth of July in downtown Portland. I met up with Drew and Hugh (his Australian friend) and headed downtown for dinner before meeting up with my mom and sister for fireworks.
Unfortunately, my mom and sister got down to the waterfront right when the fireworks started. So they found whatever spot they could and we all met up after the show.
Below are my sad attempts at the fireworks shots. I have a special feature on my camera that is suppose to allow me to take fabulous firework photos, only, I guess I didn't do something completely correct.
Still, I love a good fireworks display! :)
After the fireworks, my mom, sister, and I had dessert with Drew, Hugh, and Dave (Drew's colleague) at Henry's. Too bad Papa Haydn's was far away. :( I can't wait to visit their desserts again ;)
From there, my mom, sister, and I headed back to Beaverton so that I could pack and get ready for the next half of my vacation.

California...here I come!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Walking through Nature!

When I arrived in Portland, I created a list of things I wanted to see/do. Not having done many touristy things in Portland, the Rose Garden was on the list. The Garden overlooks downtown Portland and is filled with ... roses. ;) It's beautiful, especially March through June.
There are rows and rows and rows of flowers, it's amazing! It was a beautiful day as well, a nice 87 degrees with a cool breeze.
Leaving my mom to wander in the Rose Garden, my sister and I headed to Forest Park. I found this cute little trail I wanted to explore. The trail followed a creek/river through the park. It was a nice hike. And when I say hike, a more accurate statement would be a walk through nature...yet still something I enjoy!
Right or left, which way to choose?
On the 4th we headed to Multnomah Falls. Back in March, Matt, Sarah, and I tried to hike it. However, with the freezing water, it would have been nearly impossible to get to the top. Going back in July, I realized just how difficult it would have been. The hike is a mile and a half, almost straight up hill (switchbacks). With the icy conditions in March, it would have been disastrous. With great weather, my sister and I made it to the top. It was somewhat disappointing, however, because the view from the bottom and bridge is better than the one at the top. But, now I can say I've done it! :)
We found this fun branch on a tree. It was begging to be swung from...only it was a bit out of reach. But it makes for a fun picture! :)
Here's a picture from the middle of the hike. The river in the background is the Columbia, and the land on the other side...Washington state.

I would include pictures from the top, but like I mentioned earlier, it was sadly disappointing. The time with my sister was, however, enjoyable and we have many fun memories from the hike(s).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Fondu
On Wednesday night we celebrated my mom's birthday in downtown Portland. After walking around for awhile (and taking some touristy photos) we headed to the Melting Pot for dinner. It was a new experience for all three of us. After choosing a type of cheese, they bring out apples, bread, chips, and veggies for dipping. We choose a fiesta dip and a spinach artichoke dip. From there we headed to see a movie of my mom's choosing. It was a fun time celebrating my mom's birthday!
Doing the touristy thing in downtown. This sign is so fun! It shows you all sorts of places and how far away they are from where you are. :)
Bagby Hot Springs
On Thursday, my sister and I headed out to Mt. Hood and toward Bagby Hot Springs. After a small 1.5 mile hike, you arrive at the hot springs. What the park has done is found a way to funnel the hot springs into tubs (both private and corporate). What we didn't expect was ... quite so many nudies. Yep, that's right...there were all sorts of nude people in the hot springs. We had looked the place up online and there was a 'clothing optional' information section, however, neither of us expected people to take that too seriously. We were wrong. So after our 1.5 mile hike, we kept hiking, in hopes that upon our return back to the hot springs, the nudies would be gone. And we were right...we found ourselves a group tub that was unoccupied. However, after a 2 + mile hike, 97 degree weather, and in a tub that had questionable contents...we only got in up to our knees.
Here's a picture of Mt. Hood, it's not very clear, but the mountain is gorgeous.
My sister and I woke up early to take my mom to work in order to have use of her car. When we went to pick her up, we were pooped, so we took naps in the car. Oh, I forgot to mention, we took a little nap before we hiked as well. ;)
So this tree was neat. I thought, 'how fun, I can get inside it.' As I begin to pose for the picture by putting my hands on the inside of the tree, I hear a noise...oh yes, the tree was already occupied by hundreds if not thousands of some sort of large ugly insects. I jumped, let out a noise that could have resembled a scream, and ran from the tree. It was a close call. My sister rolled in laughter.
The actual hot spring that gets funneled to the tubs.
video
It was a fun experience and a great little hike. Still, I'd like to go back in the winter when I would actually enjoy the 137 degree water. :)

Columbia

The last few days have been fun filled in PDX. On Tuesday, I met up with Drew and his Australian friend Hugh (who he met in Alaska when he was climbing Denali) and we visited the Columbia Employee Store. For those of you who don't know, my sister works for Columbia and they have an employee store where you can purchase retail at cost plus 10%. I know, be jealous. Every time I'm up here, I make a special visit to this special store! :) This time, however, I also got a tour of Columbia. She works in their market research...and she is 50% of the department. I know, crazy. But she loves her job, and she's really good at it!
Here's a picture of me and my sister on the 'tour'. I had to check in with a guard, wear a name tag, be escorted at all times, and sign my life away that I wouldn't steal, replicate (etc, etc, etc) any of their products. It was neat to see the development, testing, and of course...my sisters cubicle.