Friday, October 24, 2014

My sleeping dog.

Like all mammals, my dog sleeps.

Like many (weird) dog owners, I take pictures of my dog sleeping because it amuses me.

Observe:
(Sorry in advance for the crotch shots. But hey- she doesn't care, so why should we?)



(Awwwwww.)


(Yes, I know she's not sleeping. But she's cute.)



Let's get a close-up, shall we?

Also, for you non-dog lovers: a non-dog picture.

Fresh raspberries from my garden. Yum.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ketchum, etc., Idaho. And my new-found skillz.

Can we all just acknowledge the fact that I suck at blogging regularly? The sooner we accept that, the lower our expectations will be, and life will just be all-around better for everyone. K? K.

A few months ago (see? I'm not even going to hide the fact that I'm posting about something so far after the event), Casey and I went away for a weekend trip with our good friend, Ian (who was also our wedding officiant!). We packed up our camping/outdoor gear, grabbed our dawg, and headed on up for a 5 hour drive to the beautiful Ketchum, Idaho.  

You would think that the drive through Northern Utah/Southern Idaho would be quite bland (shhhh- don't be negative). On the contrary, I saw some scenery that was so picturesque, I actually found it worthy of being captured by my iPhone camera.  
Pretty, huh? 

We happened to be driving during a crazy thunderstorm that evening, which made the sky look absolutely stunning. There were massive bolts of lightning all over the sky- it was SO cool! I love lightning/thunder storms.

During the month of August, the weather is always warm, sunny, and just perfect, right?
False. Very false.
Apparently this particular weekend, August decided to be stupid and give us freezing, wet, cloudy, 30 degree weather.
It was cold. Ugh.
But we braved it, anyway, and set up camp in the cold. Hi Ian!

Here's our gigantic 9-person tent we received for our wedding. It is almost as cool as those Harry Potter tents. Almost. Ok, not really. But it's still cool.

I never see this dog so happy as when she's outside playing.

The next morning, we drove through the gorgeous canyon with this guy:

and saw some super cool wildlife, such as this:

We drove to Stanley Lake (in Stanley, Idaho) to get our fishin' on. It was cold. 

You guys, this place is gorgeous. Right??
(I want to frame this.)

Aw, we're cute.

Aw, they're cute.

We fished pretty much all day. Maddie couldn't seem to control herself near a lake, and kept scaring all the fishes away by romping carelessly through the water, so we had to tie her to this big log. (It's our fault for bringing a golden retriever near water and forbidding her from going in it.) Sorry.

Total loot= 4 fish caught, but one was a super-fish and wriggled his way off the stick and back into the safety the water, so... we had 3 to take home. (Please note, I caught zero of them.)

GAH! The beauty is just too much. I can't handle it.

Sigh.

Ok. A photography lesson on lighting...because even though I really don't know much about photography, my mom does, and I like pictures, and that's pretty much the same thing.

Lesson: lighting matters.

These two pictures were taken in basically the same place, about 10 minutes apart (no photo editing on either of them):
6:50 pm

7:00 pm
See the difference? WOW, right? Perfect example of how much lighting can change a picture.

You are welcome for your photography lesson of the day. Stay tuned if you want to read more of my ignorant and unsolicited BS.

After fishing, we went to eat at a nearby restaurant. I took more scenic pictures. Because now that I'm a photographer, that's what I do.

 When we got back to camp, we (ok, not me. But the boys) cooked up the fish for an evening snack.

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads...

Bon app├ętit! 

Before we braved the 5 hour drive back home the next day, Ian let us play with his crossbow.
So guess what, guys. Not only am I now a professional photographer, I'm also the next Katniss Everdeen. So don't worry- I got your back.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The other half of our Honeymoon adventure.

Generally speaking, the point of a honeymoon is to get away with just the two of you, to enjoy each other's company and relish in the fact that you are now married. (Emphasis on "just the two of you.")
So imagine my surprise when, after Casey's sister (Emily) had asked us where we were honeymooning, and we told her we were going to Cancun, she exclaimed: "No way!! We are going there that exact same week!" ... 

...

Haha! Luckily, I absolutely love and adore her. AND her sweet husband and their darling children. We were actually super excited to spend a day or two with them. 

Casey and Emily have an old friend who lives in Cancun, and he was happy to pick us up from our hotel and drive us down to visit Emily. (They were actually staying about 45 minutes south of Cancun.)  We spent our entire Thursday down at their hotel, Sandos, in Playa del Carmen. It was a great hotel for families, with monkeys scampering around, the pathways surrounded by jungle, and fun entertainment all day long.  We played and relaxed  at the pool and the beach most of the day.

The little ones were exhausted from the sun. (Oh, those lips!! And those cheeks!!)

I love these people. These two little girls have my heart, for sure.

We had dinner at one of their restaurants before we finally had to leave for the night. 

She's officially my sister!!

We had such a fun time with them! I'm glad we spent the day down there. As we were leaving, our sweet little niece (Julietta) was sobbing and trying to chase after me while crying "Ashee!! Ashee!!"  Awwww. I sure love her.

While we were sad to say goodbye, we were not too sad to get back to our hotel that night. It was so quiet. And fancy. And quiet. And free of children. And quiet.

The next morning, we had more massages at the spa (it's a rough life) and spent at the rest of the day at pool and at the beach.

*Sigh. Paradise. 

We hung out at the pool for a while, ate some food, drank some drinks, played some volleyball, read a book, took a nap... it was an exhausting day.

After that, we then went to our romantic honeymoon Italian dinner.

We even had a personalized menu. (Mrs. Price!!) The food was fantastic- so was the service.

We romantic mood was enhanced by the serenade of the beautiful sound of the accordion, again. Magical.

When we returned to our room, we found that rose petals had been scattered along the floor and on the bed. This hotel just kept getting better and better.

Saturday was a lazy day (because apparently we hadn't been "lazy" enough). Breakfast, room, movies, pool (met our friends there and played more volleyball), food, room. That evening we had dinner at their yummy steakhouse.

After dinner, we went to the lounge with our friends for some karaoke.

(Mister Jones a-and me...)

Cheese!

On Sunday, we decided to go on an excursion to the Tulum ruins and to Xel-Ha.
The ruins were fascinating. It was fun to hear about the history behind them.

Since one can only spend so much time walking through an old, rotting, abandoned stone city, pretty soon we were off to play in the water and sand at Xel-ha.

We ate yummy food, saw cool animals, and snorkeled down the river and into the lagoon.

Oh hey there.

I got a case/holder for my phone which allowed me to take pictures in the water. It didn't take the BEST pictures, but it was certainly useful.

We saw some really cool fish! The most AMAZING thing we saw, however, was this huge, colorful, beautiful, magnificent 4-foot fish (my picture doesn't do it justice, sorry):
It's called a Rainbow Parrotfish, and is apparently the largest herbivore in the Atlantic. We snorkeled next to it for about 15 minutes while it was eating some coral and not paying any attention to us - and no one else was around, even though we kept trying to call people over to us. Super cool (and kind of scary) experience. When we got out of the water, we told one of the workers that we had seen it and he said "Wow, really?? You are lucky! I know there is one out there, but it's very rare that people find it!" 
So, yeah. We're pretty awesome. It's a honeymoon miracle!

I also jumped off a cliff! Don't worry. I survived. 

Back at the hotel, we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant (yum). (Again, amazing service.)

After dinner, we hung out with our new honeymooner friends. We look happy, don't we? Do you know why we look so happy? (More than usual.)  It's because we were just about to go see BABY SEA TURTLES get released into the ocean!! [Squeal!]

What we didn't know, however, was that we weren't just going to witness this incredible event. We were also going to be able to HOLD these turtles! Ohmygosh I almost died. We each got to hold our own little baby turtle. GAH!

It was so adorable!! Do you just see how cute and tiny they are? I fell in love. And named him Sammy. Sammy the sea turtle.

I went through scenarios in which I could smuggle him home with me, but each scenario ended poorly (with either me in prison or Sammy dead), so I eventually gave up. We took Sammy and his siblings out to the ocean, set them on the sand, and watched/helped them bravely make their way into the scary deep blue water. Goodbye Sammy! Thank you for the memories!

Monday. Our last day. *Sniff.
We ate our delicious breakfast in the morning, and then said our goodbyes.

Goodbye delicious breakfast overlooking the ocean.

Goodbye beautiful beach (I know, I look too happy to be going home. But I can't NOT be happy at the beach). And goodbye Sammy- I know you're out there thinking of me.

Goodbye balcony!

Goodbye kissing on the balcony.

Goodbye neverending delicious fruity drinks.

Hello airport. Goodbye Cancun.

Hello First Class.
Wait, what?! Ahhhh yeah.
We had no idea we had been upgraded to first class until we were boarding the plane. Happy honeymoon to us!! I guess if you're going to leave paradise, you'd better do it in style.

To sum it up:  Our honeymoon was the absolute best honeymoon I could have ever imagined. And more. Beautiful hotel with amazing service? Seeing momma sea turtles dig their holes? Hold sea turtle eggs? See a super rare and gorgeous gigantic fish?? HOLD A BABY SEA TURTLE and release him into the ocean?? And to top it all off, sit in first class?? Yeah. Not bad. Not bad at all.