Wednesday, July 21, 2010

America, America!

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. I love everything about it--the food, the family get-togethers, the friends, the fireworks, the parties, and just the overall feeling of happiness and gratitude that I have throughout the entire day. I am so grateful that I am an American and that I live in such a wonderful place.

I have always thought that my favorite part of the 4th was being at home in Washington with my own family. Fort Vancouver claims to have the best fireworks show west of the Mississippi and I love going every year. However, when I found out Carrie Underwood was coming to Provo for the Stadium of Fire this year, there was no question that I would be staying here. She is pretty much my favorite person in the world and the only celebrity that I care anything about. She is my idol. (Please excuse the cliche.)

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I have a pretty sweet job with some awesome benefits. One of those happens to be that Fillmore Spencer is the legal counsel to the Freedom Festival so they have access to pre-order seats at the Stadium of Fire and they get really good seats. Ours were in row 2. They were worth every penny I paid!

Waiting for the show to start

Not the most flattering shot, it's just to show how close we were.

Jacob was excited too! He LOVED the flyover.

Carrie came out to sing the National Anthem! It gave me the chills. Seriously. It was absolutely amazing.

And this was me when she finally came out for the concert. Like I said, she's my idol. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning! :)

She is gorgeous. I want to meet her. She's coming to the Rose Garden in Portland in September. Only $1,800 for the meet-and-greet. Daddy? Pleeeeease???? :)
When she sang "Temporary Home" I teared up during the last verse where she sings about the old man in the hospital room, thinking about my grandpa. She is a very spiritual person and I could feel of her goodness throughout her performance. Someone needs to share the Gospel with that girl!

The other parts of the show were pretty amazing too!

Surprisingly, I have to say, I am a Provo 4th of July convert! Their fireworks were so awesome! Except for maybe the rogue ones that shot straight into the crowd. One of them burned Jenny Oaks Baker. Oops.

In my opinion, they'll never top Carrie Underwood, but I'm sure I'll return to the Stadium of Fire again next year.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Narrows

Last weekend Eric and I went down to St. George/Zion National Park. My boss has a condo in St. George that he so graciously allowed us to use for the weekend (thanks Randy!!) We invited our good friends Doug and Kelly to join us for the trip. They just got married in May and are living in Cedar City while Doug finishes up at SUU.

Our plan for Saturday was to get up early, go on a hike, come back around 1, hang out at the pool, play some tennis, eat some sourdough pancakes for dinner, and then go see Toy Story 3. We may have been a little ambitious in these plans, but we accomplished all but one of the activities listed.

Doug wanted to take Eric and I to hike the Narrows at Zion's. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, this hike is up a river bed. You walk in the water pretty much the whole way. It is gorgeous, but rather treacherous for someone as uncoordinated as myself. I was pretty nervous about it, but I have to admit that it turned out to be probably my favorite hike of all time!

Here are some pictures from the beautiful slot canyon:

Check out that gorgeous scenery!

I think I made that face because Eric was pulling his shorts up... ?

Eric was being a good boy and holding my hand across the river. It's kinda hard to see where you're stepping and there are some pretty dang slippery rocks down there. (I have some SWEET bruises from falling)

Check out dem baby blues! Mm hmm!

Me and Eric. We do fun things.


"The Boulder." This is where we stopped and turned around. We had already gone 7 miles up the river and hadn't been in the sun at all yet. Plus, we'd been wading/swimming through dang cold water. So cold in fact, that I couldn't feel that my feet had bad blisters ALL over them. So by this point, I was not a very happy camper hiker. Hence why I didn't notice the massive boulder hanging above our heads in mid-air until I saw these pictures.

What this picture doesn't show you is how we got UP that waterfall. It was tricky. I wouldn't have made it without the rope that the nice hikers coming down lent us, and Doug. At one point, I was dangling from the rope on one arm and Doug on the other. Pretty scary. After warming up and eating lunch, the only way down was to jump. And yes, I did plug my nose, thank you very much. After jumping, I was happy again and had a blast going back the last 7 miles, just in case you were worried about me. (This can mostly be attributed to the fact that the sun was directly above us in the sky, keeping the canyon and water nice and warm.)

At any point where the river was deep enough, we floated. We filled our reservoirs with air and our packs made for very nice flotation devices. Everyone we passed said things like, "Let's do that when we go back down," and "Wow, that looks fun!" I can't take credit for the idea though... It was Doug and Kelly's. If any of you hike the narrows, please steal this idea. It will make your adventure a million times better! (Just watch out for the rocks below the surface... Tailbones don't like them very much.)

The four of us at the END of our hike: Eric, me, Kelly, and Doug

Like I said earlier, there were other activities as well, but they just didn't get photographed.

All four of us LOVED Toy Story 3. I think it's mine and Eric's new favorite movie!

Thanks Doug and Kelly for the AWESOME weekend! We love you guys!