July 29, 2011

jason's graduation from byui.

So proud of my future husband
     Jason did it! He graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho in English with a minor in French and he graduated Cum Laude! I’ve always been proud of Jason and proud to show him off, but I don’t think I've ever been as proud as I was when Jason graduated.

     Our last week of school was crazy— finals week is always stressful. Of course, on top of finals, we had cleaning and packing to do and I ended up getting sick (possibly from heat exhaustion). I also knew that Jason’s family was coming to town for his graduation, so I wanted to try to get everything done beforehand so I could spend time with them. Luckily, by the end of the week I was able to find time to relax and hang out with them.
Class of 2011
     Jason’s actual graduation was really great.  His graduating class count was about 1500 students. When all of the graduates walked into the auditorium, it was impossible to find him. For the convocation, Jason was selected to read a poem that he wrote (yet, another reason for me to be proud) and he felt especially honored to be able to share it. The poem he chose was Ariel Perspective, which was about our hot air balloon ride on our engagement day— a personal favorite of mine, of course. After he read it, a woman behind me asked, "Is that your boyfriend?" and I answered, "He’s my fiancĂ©" (cue big smile).
Everyone wants a picture with the recent graduate
      Now that Jason has graduated, our plans are for me to finish my last three semesters (one full year) at BYU-I while Jason is studying for the GRE and applying to graduate school.
Jason reciting his poem
     Our wedding is in about two weeks! Oh my goodness, I’m so excited! What am I most excited about? Yes, I look forward to the big party, the beautiful dress, and for my friends and family to be there, but what I’m most excited for is just knowing that Jason and I will be together for eternity. I couldn’t imagine my life without him, I mean, even spending these three weeks apart is pretty tough. I always wondered when I did eventually "fall in love," if I would know that I was truly in love. Seriously, how could I not know? Each day that I see Jason’s adorable freckled nose, I still get butterflies, even after almost two years of being together. And his smile just melts my heart.
Photo ops with Jason's friends and professors
Looks like I'm next
     Anyway, enough with the mushy stuff. Jase and I are so excited to move into our new apartment. It is still being built, but it should be finished (at the latest) by September 1st. I just love organizing and decorating and I’m even excited about cleaning our new apartment and making it ours. I’ve even scheduled Saturday mornings as my cleaning day. Now I’m just nervous about cooking for someone other than myself. I guess I can’t have macaroni and cheese as often anymore. 
Our new apartment complex

July 15, 2011

hiking in the heat of moab.

Corona Arch
     For the second part of our Utah trip this past 4th of July weekend, Jason and I went back to Moab. We also took our friend Ryan, whom we picked up in Provo on our way. Like before, we woke up and left early in the morning to get started for our 3 hour drive. The drive to Moab is just gorgeous. I’m from Michigan so I absolutely love driving next to the mountains because we don’t have any where I live.

     The arch that the 3 of us decided to go to this time was Corona Arch which isn’t in the actual National Park, but just a little outside the city of Moab. The hike to Corona Arch was definitely more difficult than our previous hike to Delicate Arch. The paths weren’t as clearly marked, so we struggled to get where we were supposed to go. The hike is about 1 ½ miles long and 3 miles round trip. Normally, I would say that this isn’t too bad of a hike, but when we went, it was 104 degrees out and there weren’t many shaded areas. It made me feel like I was really out of shape.

     The hike physically wasn’t too bad, but there were parts that had guides such as wire ropes to grasp for safety and a metal ladder to climb to the next layer of rock. Along the path we saw Bowtie Arch, a railroad through giant rocks below, and petroglyphs— engravings of motifs that Anasazi Indians etched into rock hundreds of years ago.
Hiking to Corona Arch
     After taking a break beneath an overhanging rock to sit in the shade and apply more sunscreen, we made it to Corona Arch. This arch is really beautiful and an impressive 110 feet tall. We read on some websites that people can actually (and do) repel from the top of this arch. While we were there, we only passed maybe two other small groups of people. It was really nice compared to Delicate Arch where it was much more crowded. Jason tested the echo of the canyon by yelling to the world: “I love Danie Garber!” It was incredible how long it lasted.
View of Corona while taking a break in the shade
     We spent some time sitting under the arch, taking pictures, and climbing around. I was so hot and worn out that I couldn’t even eat my sandwich I had packed. Jason had no desire to eat his either. The hike back was a little more difficult because we had been in the heat for too long. I had hoped for the wind to pick up the way it had when we went to Delicate Arch, but there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky. I had to take frequent breaks just to breathe. Is it possible to drink too much water? It was hard to stop drinking it because of how much I was sweating, but I could feel it sitting in my stomach. I got to a point where I thought I was going to throw it up. I just wanted to cry, but I was too exhausted. Ryan didn't have as much trouble with the hike, well, at least as far as I could tell, but Jase and I were struggling.

     The worst part is we kind of got lost. Ryan hiked ahead to figure out wrong turn we made and what to do to fix it. Our hike back was about 30 minutes longer than it should’ve been, but what a relief it was to see a large rock that looked familiar from the beginning of the trail. When we finally got back to the car, we drove into the city of Moab. It was a cute little town that I would’ve liked to have spent more time in, but we just wanted to get to our next destination— Mill Creek. Before we left, Jason got me ice cream like he promised me when I finished the hike. None of us had an appetite for anything heavier.
No place to hide from the sun
     Our next adventure was to drive to another part of Moab where there was a waterfall. We thought we made it when we parked where all the other cars were, but Jason didn’t think the waterfall was supposed to be man-made. So he and Ryan asked around and found out we had to walk further to get to it. The first waterfall we were at was way too crowded anyway and it smelled like beer.

     Although I was not looking forward to another hike, this one was actually amazing! It was totally on flat ground and through shady trees. It felt like we were walking through a rainforest (minus the rain). Truthfully, I’ve never been in a rainforest, but it looked like what I would imagine one to be like. We had to cross the river a couple times. The pointy rocks on the bottom hurt, but the water felt so nice on my hot and tired feet. Along this path we saw more petroglyphs. Oh! And Ryan and I even saw a small green snake! Good thing Jason didn’t see it because he is terrified of snakes.

     When we made it to Shangri-La (the nickname given to the waterfall by the locals) we knew we were in the right place. It was pretty great. The waterfall wasn’t too high up. You actually had to climb up it to jump off. The funniest thing was at the top of the falls there was this group of people that looked like some kind of waterfall cult or something. They were banging bongos in a tribal Indian rhythm and at the climax of their banging someone would jump off the waterfall into the water below. I thought the bongos kind of added to the experience, so I liked it. We were also happy that they were there because one of them showed the boys how to climb up the waterfall (which required a certain footing to get up) and where to jump in the deeper water.  
Mill Creek
     I think the boys had a blast jumping into the water. I just hung out in the pool below. I have a fear of the water that I’m working on getting over. It was just really nice to be able to cool off in the water. While Jason and Ryan were on top of the waterfall, they noticed some darker clouds coming in and decided we should get going in case it rained.

     Overall, this was such a great trip! I really enjoyed getting to know Ryan better and it was fun watching Jason and him catch up. There were some difficult things to get past, but it was worth it. Like Jase and I always say, “It just adds to the adventure.”
We had so much with Ryan

July 11, 2011

trekking the great salt lake.

Spiral Jetty
     For the 4th of July  Jason and I had another four day weekend, which you know what that means— more adventures. You can’t really go too far with less than four whole days, so of course, we took another trip to Utah. There always seems to be something new to do there. Saturday was Salt Lake day.
At the beginning of the spiral
     Jason had read about something called the Spiral Jetty made by artist Robert Smithson. It is a rock formation of a giant swirl in the Great Salt Lake. I thought it sounded pretty awesome and I love art, so off we went. This piece of art was created in 1970. When it was first formed, the rocks were all above the water. When we visited, most of it was underwater, but still close enough to the surface that you can see it from higher ground and you can walk around the entire spiral without the water passing your waist.
And that is exactly what Jason did. 

     We walked out to where it started to curve into the spiral and I asked, “How far are you going?” and Jason replied, “Oh, I’m going all the way!” A bit of information you may want to know if you’re wanting to walk the spiral: wear shoes. The first part of the path has a lot of sand to walk on, but the rest is mostly pointy basalt rock.
At the end of the spiral
     It was pretty neat for me to visit the lake because I had just learned about it in my Geography class last semester. I learned that the only thing that can live in the lake is Brine Shrimp. Along the pathway of the Jetty, we saw tons of shrimp just gliding across the water. No big deal.
Brine Shrimp
     When Jason finally reached the end of the spiral, he felt very accomplished. Then...he cut across to where I was standing instead of going around again. I don’t think his feet could take much more of the rocks. After we dried our feet, we climbed up a big hill to get a better full view of the Jetty. It was really beautiful.
Longview of Spiral Jetty
     Next we headed to Antelope Island. I don’t think we really knew what to expect on Antelope Island and we weren’t prepared for the worst. First, when we received a brochure, (after paying $9 to get on the island) I realized that the gift shop was going to close at 6 and it was already 5:50! So the first thing we did was hurry to the shop to get a postcard to add to our collection. Also, while driving to get on the island, there were two distinct smells that were just awful! – One was the smell of algae and the other was rotten eggs. I hoped the whole island didn’t smell this way.

     We were kind of running out of time because it was getting late so we hiked to Buffalo Point, the highest point on the island (.5 miles). Jason had been warned about the bugs, but we kind of forgot until we encountered them ourselves. There were so many little gnats flying around that would land on you and buzz in your ears. The higher up we went on the mountain, the worse they got. The view from the top was really beautiful, but the gnats just made it unbearable. I felt like someone on Meth that thought there were bugs crawling under my skin because I was just twitching and smacking myself. I swear, I almost cried. When Jason and I were silent, you could hear the gnats humming. They sounded like an orchestra tuning its instruments. Also, there were supposed to be a bunch of different animals roaming around , but we didn’t see anything.

     When we had enough, we quickly left the mountain and the island and went home. While driving, I noticed a red spot on my neck and then looked at Jason’s arms, those darn gnats were biting us! We found spots on our arms, necks, legs, ears, and my scalp. When we got home, I had the best shower of my life. I washed and scrubbed my hair. Ugh! So gross! Was Antelope Island worth it? Probably not. Although the views were nice, I can't see myself going back.

July 6, 2011

engagement pictures.

Wardrobe change #1
     So, I promised a while ago that I would post mine and Jason's engagement photos— sorry it has taken me so long, but here they are! We took our photos in Idaho Falls with Brittany Hambrick of Vintage Road Photographers. We had so much fun taking them even though it was quite windy and I may or may not have stepped in mud with my cutest sandals. Feel free to notice the awesome outfits that I took time to coordinate. Enjoy!
Some kissing pictures for Dad
Wardrobe change #2
Among these railroad pictures are our favorites
Wardrobe change #3 
We had fun being photographed