January 23, 2012

Boardin' in a Winter Wonderland

Jason and I finally did something exciting! On Saturday morning Jason literally woke up and said, “Let’s go snowboarding.” Uhh okay. Because it was already 10:30, we frantically ran around getting our stuff together so we could make it to the mountain to have at least a half day.

We drove about an hour to get to Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Alta, Wyoming. Since this part of Idaho has yet to get its big snow, the roads were really clear. It only got scary as soon as we hit Wyoming and had to drive up the hill to get to the resort – Jason gets a little impatient with me when I tell him to drive slower.

When we finally made it up the hill, it took us some time to find a parking spot, but we got lucky and snagged a good one. Jason has his own gear so we rented a board and boots for me and we bought our lift tickets. Then, it was time to hit the slopes. Oh man, I was a little rustier than I thought. I went two feet and fell, went two more feet and fell again. I took a few more runs down the baby hill before when went to the next hill (still considered a bunny hill, which I found out later).
You can't tell, but I'm super stoked!
Ski lifts scare me. Can’t they make it any easier to get on and off? I always fall getting off those dumb things. Anyway, I kind of felt like the kid whose parent just throws them in a pool so they can learn to swim because I did not feel ready for that hill. I fell a lot. I got really impatient because there were so many different ways to go and I didn’t understand where Jason was telling me to go.
Before frustrated Danielle

Jason is the little guy on the lift by himself 

He's a pro!
I eventually made it down the hill after a couple of good wipe outs with powder spraying in my face, falling forward and backward. I wanted to take a break before going down again, but the lift was going to stop running in 15 minutes. Oye, here we go again.

My second run was better, even though it still hurt at times. But I kept getting up and going because I just wanted to get down that dumb hill. I was really having trouble deciding which foot felt better in front. (I later found out that I was “goofy” – right foot forward – which meant my board was wrong) I didn’t even really know how to control my board – I thought you were just supposed to go straight down with one foot in front of the other – but Jason taught me how to zigzag down the mountain going “heel side”, “toe side” and I felt better toward the bottom of the hill.

Looking at the map of the mountain
Those few hours were just enough for me for my first time in over two years. We returned my gear and scraped off our snow-covered car and headed back down the slick mountain. Once we made it to Driggs, Idaho the streets were clear and we stopped for a bite to eat. We were so happy to find Tony’s Italian Restaurant after passing two Thai places, a Vietnamese place, and a Chinese Place. At Tony’s, I ordered creamy macaroni and cheese and Jason got, what else, pizza. After trying my mac’; however, he wished he had ordered that instead.
We WILL be going here again.
I was happy to get home, take off my damp clothes, and take a hot shower. I’ll be sore for a little while. I look forward to going back and getting more practice, but next time, I’d like to take the shuttle up to the resort instead of our little Honda.

January 10, 2012

Christmas in the Sunshine? (Pt. 2)

For Christmas Eve, we as a family were invited to a party at a Church member’s home with a few other families. Yay! I love parties! We sat around a chatted for a little while before we all sat down to dinner. I enjoyed getting to know more people that Jason has grown up around. We were also given the pleasure to listen to a Christmas story. Before we all went to bed that night, mom gave us all Christmas PJ’s! This is a tradition I had heard of people doing and I love it and I plan on doing in the future.

Christmas morning was so much fun! I felt a little spoiled by the Cowles family. I was so excited to give Jason his gift! (and I was excited to receive his). It’s funny that we both knew what we were getting each other. He got me a pink iPod nano! I got him Beats by Dr. Dre headphones – he loved them! When we were finished, we headed to Grandpa Bob and Grandma Peggy’s house to visit mom’s family. Jason and I were excited to try out our new toys on the car ride there. We had fun catching up with everyone at Grandpa’s and eating a wonderful ham dinner.
Just woke up in our Christmas PJ's
Stockings! Even Sandy had one! (on the left)
She's so spoiled.
Yeah, she's adorable.
My iPod!
I don't know who was more excited.
We think we're cool.
The day after Christmas we went to Temecula to visit dad’s brother and family. We loved seeing KC and Brookie and their adorable kids and also Kerri and Ryan and their fun kids. I really enjoyed talking with everyone and getting to know them better. It’s funny being around a bunch of young kids since I don’t really have the chance to be unless I’m babysitting back home. I forget how worn out I get, yet how entertaining they can be. I loved holding little Jack and making him smile, playing marbles and tennis with Ethan, and of course watching Owen sing and play the guitar.
The view of Elsinore, CA on the way to Temecula
I was dying in this sweater the day after Christmas. . .
On Tuesday, Jason, Ryan, and I went to LA. We ate lunch at a really great Pizza place called Johnnie’s NY Pizzeria (my suggestion). After awesome pizza and bread, we went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). I love modern art, although some of it is really weird and not what I would consider art at all . . . My favorite piece was the giant, blue balloon dog made of stainless steel! There was also art from well-known artists such as Picasso, which I loved since I just did a project on him. After spending a few hours there visiting each of the buildings and looking at countless paintings and displays, we went to Venice Beach . . . don’t go there at night. It was a huge strip of tattoo parlors, hookah things, and places to get a medical marijuana card. There were also people lined up selling their art or handmade jewelry. I just felt really out of place. The only time I felt safe was when we were walking behind one of three police cars telling the people to close up their stands. I was happy to go back to the car. Driving through the city, however; I think I would’ve liked the other parts of the city – those shops had clothes and normal things.


Outside of La Brea Tar Pits
Corn Flakes!
I know, right??

Biggest elevator I've ever been in.
There were toy cars going around and around this thing. Like, a ton. It was pretty awesome.
I giant comb! 
Jason really liked this picture.
Ryan! in front of the museum.

Parts of the Berlin Wall outside of another museum.

Venice Beach (at least the sunset was pretty)

Our last day we just chilled, took one last trip to the mall, played apples to apples with Ryan and mom, and went to Panera - the best place for soup and sandwiches and my favorite bagel (they don’t have Panera in Idaho). We hated packing up to go home and thinking about going back to work and school, but enjoyed thinking back to everything we did in those ten days visiting with family and friends. 

January 9, 2012

Christmas in the Sunshine? (Pt. 1)

During our two week break between semesters, Jason and I were able to take a trip to California to visit the Cowles family. I must say it was really nice being in 70 degree weather and quite odd not to be surrounded by snow, although; we currently don’t have much more snow here in Idaho.

Our first official night in California, Jason, Jessica (sister), and I went to Newport to watch the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade - only in California. We didn’t realize until an hour of waiting that we were at the end of the parade. While waiting, we had the chance to spend time together and cuddle with our hot chocolate. There were different kinds of boats in the parade including sail boats, pontoons, speed boats, and the larger boats that people have dinner on. The boats were all lit up with Christmas lights – some more extreme than others. My favorite was the one that looked like a pirate ship with a crocodile following it. Another fun one was the SpongeBob Square Pants themed boat. There were also boats just full of lights or a large Santa Claus. I felt like the boat parade made it a very Californian Christmas.
Jessica and Jason
Pirate Ship :)
Crocodile (I know it's poor quality)
American Pride?
Monday we took a family trip to South Coast Plaza where Jason and I split up to shop for each other’s gifts. Do you know how hard it is to buy a gift for a 24-year-old guy?? After stressing over what I wanted to get Jay and finally purchasing his present and hiding it in the car, we met up together and stood in line for an hour and a half to see Santa. We were definitely the oldest ones there. When it was finally our turn, I sat next to Santa, but he told me I could sit on his lap and then he had Jason sit on his lap too. I tried to not put a lot of weight on him. It was quite a funny experience, but it got us in the Christmas mood. Later Jason showed me a picture of the same Santa he visited when he was just eight years old – I was more interested in how adorable Jason was than the fact that St. Nick hasn’t changed.

Waiting for Santa
Santa Claus!
Tuesday Jase, Jess, Dad, and I went to Disneyland and California Adventure! It was a little crowed since it was Christmas break and all, but it was still a lot of fun. We started on the Tower of Terror – I wasn’t too excited about that. I can’t start on a ride that I’m going to scream my head off. The closer we got to going on, the more freaked out I became. Jason and Jessica kept teasing their dad that he was going to have a heart attack on the ride. Pretty sure I was closer to having a heart attack than he was. If you don’t know which ride this is it’s the one that takes you super high in the air and drops you down, down, down. You’re inside, but don’t worry, they open a “window” before they drop you so you can see how high up you are. My stomach is flipping just thinking about it. I screamed a lot and Jason laughed at me a lot. I was a little shaky after that one.

Don’t make fun of me, but the first Disney characters we saw were Phinias and Ferb! They were dancing and singing in the middle of the park (yes, I sang along). After embarrassing myself in front of Jason’s family, we went on a water ride. We didn’t get too wet, but I did feel bad for this little girl and her mom who got soaked. We also went on the Haunted Mansion ride that was decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas stuff and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride: both classics. Walking around, we saw a lot of characters including Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto, but the lines were so long! I tried to stand in line for Minnie, but the dumb lady told me Minnie was leaving – they always do that to me because I’m old. Jason got his picture with Captain Hook – he’s mean.
Phinias and Ferb

I was excited :)
Not too wet after the water ride

Haunted Mansion
We just wanted to try them on

Queen of Hearts
Jase and Captain Hook
Thursday Jason’ mom and sister and I had a girl’s day while Jay and his dad spent time together. We went to get our hair cut, our nails done, eat at CafĂ© Rio, and get tinsel in our hair. We had fun spending time together and I had fun doing girl things – Jase always makes me do boy things.
Mom made us waffles
Jason made his smile
I just wanted to eat mine, not play with it
She wuvs me :)
She sits like a bunny.
It's kinda hard to see my tinsel, but it's purple and there.  
Playing Christmas tic-tac-toe
           Friday we went to Orange where we went to Watson’s Diner. This is where the movie That Thing You Do with Tom Hanks was filmed. I haven’t seen this movie, but I definitely plan to. I just think it’s really cool to go places where movies were filmed. The food at Watson’s was really good, especially my thick, creamy strawberry shake. We then walked around a little bit and made a visit to Chapman University’s campus. On our way home, we drove through Newport and stopped by the Newport LDS Temple. We were sure to get out of the car and take a lot of pictures. It was such a beautiful day. 

My Strawberry shake and ham and swiss melt. MMM...
Newport Temple

Stay tuned . . .