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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Now -- August 10

I have so many Happy Now moments to catch up on from the past few weeks!  Here are the top 10:

1.  Millrace Roommate Reunion:  I was blessed to get to live with three amazing women in the Millrace Apartments in Provo from 2009-2010: Katie, Melissa, and Tessa.  That year in our lives saw us starting our careers as three teachers and a social worker.  It was with these three during that time that I also checked a major trip off of my bucket list and traveled to Prince Edward Island.  I hold those memories and the friendships I have with these ladies dear.  We were able to reunite in Utah in July, and it was a blast!  Katie did a fantastic job of covering all of the details from the reunion on her blog (mshouston.blogspot.com), so I'm just going to hit some of my favorite highlights.  One of the first highlights was throwing a surprise baby shower for Tessa, who is due with her second little girl in December.  Thanks to Katie's parents for letting us use their beautiful condo (and to Katie who took all of these pictures)!

Katie and Melissa added another surprise by supplying materials to make adorable baby mobiles!

2.  Olympic Park--After spending the first night in Provo, we headed up to Park City for the rest of our reunion.  One of our first stops was Olympic Park.  I had never been there and was surprised by how many neat things were on display! It was amazing!

Gold metals and props from the Opening Ceremonies
The Millrace 3 Bobsled Team
Ski boots from the 30s and virtual ski flying!

Ski suits from the 80s, in case you couldn't guess. ;)

3.  Flying Aces--We returned to Olympic Park the next day to catch the Flying Aces show.  The Flying Aces are a team of ski jumpers who use these ramps and pool for their summer training.  It was incredible.  At one point, they showed the progression of how one becomes a ski jumper starting with a trampoline and young kids on short ramps.  If Darren and I are anywhere near Park City when we have kids, I might have to sign them up!


Lined up and ready to fly into the pool!
video

First dive of the show!  Thanks for the video, Many!

They had quite a crowd!  Before the Aces landed in the pool, bubbles were created to help them spot the water and break up the surface tension.

4.  Cow's Ice Cream--We had great meals and stopped in several jewelry shops along Main St. in Park City, but finding Cow's Ice Cream at the top of the street was just plain serendipitous.  As roommates on our PEI trip, we visited the original Cow's Ice Cream and took a picture on the cow (top right picture below).  Now, five years later, we attempted to recreate the picture (bottom right picture).  As someone pointed out during this attempt, however, it seemed a larger feat and we lacked some of the original grace now that we're in our 30s and one of us is pregnant. ;)

Flying Aces wrist bands


I love these ladies so much.  I was so lucky not only to be able to live with them five years ago, but to still be able to see them occasionally, though not often enough!  Can't wait for the next reunion!

5.  Room with a View--At the end of July/beginning of August, Darren and I were able to join my parents on a trip to Kauai.  I loved every minute.  My only regret was that Chris and Christiane couldn't join us as they were busy taking and studying for the bar and medical boards.  We sure missed them!  As with the roommate reunion above, I'll limit my description of the trip to just a few highlights, though all of it was wonderful.  After more than 11 hours of traveling (not a big fan of layovers), Darren and I arrived at the Lihue Airport.  I was anxious to get settled in to where we were staying, stretch my legs, and start the vacation.  How lucky were we with this room assignment?  I think it took me all of .01 seconds to enter vacation-mode. ;)


(On a total side-note, spotting Phillip Phillips of American Idol fame on the last leg of our journey to Kauai was definitely exciting!  My mom and I both love his music!  I tried to subtly snap a picture to text my mom as we prepared to board. ;) 



6.  Hyatt Hike--Though we weren't staying there, we visited the Hyatt hotel on Kauai a few times for hikes and a dinner.  At one point, we decided to hike to a cave about two miles along the coastline from the Hyatt that we had read about in some brochures.  Well, not being appropriately dressed for a hike and without water on a warm, humid day can make 2 miles feel like 20.  I don't know what I was thinking.  We eventually reached the cave only to discover the hours had not been listed on the brochure and the cave was already closed to visitors.  In an attempt to find a shortcut back along a dirt road, we promptly got lost.  At one point as we were walking along this road a jeep drove past.  We flagged the jeep down and asked the family inside if they knew if the road we were on led back to the Hyatt.  The father said he thought it did.  They drove away and we trudged on.  About 15 minutes later, we saw the jeep speeding back toward us from the other direction.  That kind man, who will forever be one of my favorite people, had dropped off his family and had come back to give us a lift the last mile and a half or so to the hotel.  I haven't felt that grateful for a random act of kindness in a long time!

Views from our hike--it was long and hot but definitely beautiful!


A later visit to the Hyatt for dinner

7.  Ride 'N Glide--As an early birthday present from my parents, Darren and I were treated to an activity of my choice on the island.  I had just read about the Princeville Adventure's Ride 'N Glide that involved riding horses out to three zip lines, riding the zip lines, and then riding the horses home.  I had never done a zip line, and frankly the thought terrified me, but the idea of riding horses in that beautiful setting won me over.  I rode "Blueberry" and Darren rode "Mikey" along a huge family-owned ranch to the zip lines.  The approaches Darren and I took to each of the zip lines cracked me up and seemed so indicative of our personalities.  The men always had to go first incase some of the lighter visitors didn't have enough momentum to make it all the way to the other end of the zip line and the tour guide needed help pulling us in (gulp!).  Darren always went either first or second and took a flying leap off of the ramp each time, whooping it up all the way to the other side.  We were told we needed to keep at least one hand on our harness at all times to keep us upright.  To Darren, that meant he could use the other hand to take pictures or simply wind surf.  When it was my turn to go, I tip-toed down the ramp until there was nowhere else for me to go and I had to start to gliding.  I kept both hands securely wrapped around the top of my harness.  After the first zip line, though, I really started to enjoy myself!  We were quite high, and as soon as I realized I was secure and safe I really began to enjoy the views.  It was beautiful!

Blueberry and Mikey--I obviously should have followed Darren's example and worn sunglasses! :)






video
My final ride!

8.  Lappert's Ice Cream--Ice cream is apparently a common highlight on trips I take.  We visited Lappert's ice cream almost every day we were in Kauai.  I think it's simply the best!

Coconut, Caramel, Macadamia Nut Ice Cream--Need I say more?
9.  Waimea Canyon Bike Ride--On one of our last days in Kauai, Darren, Mom, and I took a bike ride down Waimea Canyon.  Again, the views were amazing.  We went early in the morning so it was relatively calm and quiet, and the air was filled with so many sweet smells.  There was one point on the ride when I passed under some eucalyptus trees on a shaded part of the road (we had a guide that named trees and plants on our ride and told us stories from the local history).  The temperature on the part of the road was cool, it was quiet and smelled delicious, I could see Mom and Darren riding in front of me, and I remember thinking that nothing could improve that moment.  I was completely content.  I felt so fortunate for the opportunity to be there with my family at that time.  I soaked in that moment and just felt so grateful.  Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Darren for an amazing trip!


10.  Mini-Reunion with Katie and Shelley--After returning back to Utah and before driving back to Wyoming, I was able to have a one-night reunion with Katie and Shelley.  Katie and Shelley were roommates on my freshman dorm floor at BYU, and Shelley and I lived together our sophomore and junior years.  Shelley was visiting Utah from Texas, and I am so happy our paths overlapped long enough for us to get together.  I loved getting to know Shelley's kids better and staying up late talking to these two women who know me so well.  Shelley and I realized after Katie left that we hadn't snapped a single photo of the three of us together.  That just means that we will have to do it again soon!
 
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