Monday, August 29, 2011

Utah vacation travelogue

It's kind of a bummer that so many people we love live so far away from us. It does make for a wonderful trip to Utah, though. We got to see lots of siblings, aunts/uncles/cousins, grandparents, and my darling niece. Love.

--A few memories--

*A little hike with Ian, Beth, Adam, and Emma. Complete with: throwing rocks in the river, "Run! They're coming!", tag, "Will you hold me now?", a rollie-pollie, shade and snacks, cooling off in the river, and skipping.

*Some quality time with Grandpa and Grandma Walker. I was so glad we got to go back and be there when Grandma was home for a bit! I have missed those two so much. There's no picture but Burke also learned to pan for sapphires while we were there! It was nice timing that our visit coincided with Uncle Dale's, and we got to see Uncle Rick and Paul too.

*A lovely visit at Ian's consisting of a very short swim interrupted by a poorly timed thunderstorm, a pizza party, dancing to "toddler radio," a sweet little girl asking "Are you going to sleep here tonight?", and getting all ready for church. ("I wish I had a skirt like yours!")

*Being in American Fork for cousin Sean's missionary farewell. Seeing aunts and uncles and cousins. Feeling as if time stood still and the last year had never happened when we got back to Aunt Janeen's house. The cousins had definitely grown up a year's worth, but you'd never know it by how they welcomed us. Watching Burke play with the boys and write number 4 in the series of "Sammy the Potato" books. (And playing with Emma again some too.)

*Shooting Adam's handgun at the range in Provo Canyon. This was a first for me! So I won't say it's my thing really, but it was lots of fun and super cool. Thanks hermano!

*An afternoon in Roy with all of Burke's siblings, his parents, his grandparents, aunt, cousins, and their 2 babies. It was way fun to be all together with all of them! Followed by a trip to Burger Bar, the tradition every time they come to Roy.

*A couple of days in Provo with Burke's family. It was fun getting Bonnie moved into the dorms and all ready for school. I liked getting back to BYU campus. I miss that place. We had a family photo shoot, went swimming, and ate at J Dawgs. We also had a get together at Burke's great aunt's house with aunts/uncles/cousins on Burke's mom's side. It was really nice to see them all again! AND we saw a double rainbow by the mountain.
*Visits with some of our BYU friends. It was lovely to catch up a little. I miss so so many people from that time of life! You guys are wonderful and I hope we can continue to keep in touch. Even if most of us will never live near each other again, old friends are so important and we love you. (Sorry I failed at taking pictures.)

*And, courtesy of hurricane Irene, we got to go back up to visit with both sets of grandparents again. So nice. Plus we got to go a Friday night "concert in the park" in Bountiful. And we wore matching shirts.

Can't wait to go back!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The dramatic hurricane scare

So there we were, enjoying a lovely week in Utah with some of the people we love the most, when we started hearing about Hurricane Irene. (Actually, I can't remember if we heard about that first or the earthquake that happened near Richmond. Really? We missed The Great Virginia Earthquake?) But anyway, the news of Irene kept coming, little by little. We were curious about it's path. Would it hit Norfolk? At first we thought it would come before our trip back. Our thoughts were, "Well, looks like we picked a great week to be gone! We missed the earthquake, and the hurricane too!"

By Thursday we were starting to get nervous. It was now predicted to hit our home on Saturday, the day of our return flight. The navy ships were escaping way out into the ocean--the storm was definitely coming. We live on the beach. In a first floor apartment. And we've seen this city flood with much less rain than was predicted to fall. We got a hold of our airline and rescheduled our flight for Friday. The plan: fly in, get home, make a few preparations in our apartment, and evacuate to my parents' house in NC. Our neighborhood had a mandatory evacuation after all!

Well of course, Friday morning our flight was cancelled. Several phone calls later, a family in our ward had gone to get an apartment key from our landlord, pick up some things from our apartment, and move our car to higher ground. And our flight was rescheduled for Sunday. We were riding this one out from 2000 miles away! (The McMurdies helped us so much! I think we were worried about our car most of all!)

We spent much of Saturday anxiously watching The Weather Channel. Let me tell you those people can scare you into anything! They showed images of Virginia Beach houses with serious damage and talked about the surge they were predicting to happen at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay as the storm kept moving north--isn't that right where our house is? Not to mention the YouTube video we saw of the storm going on from our beach!

I didn't sleep too well last night. We barely got on the packed plane to Norfolk today, but we did. The city is strewn with tree branches and leaves. Our street definitely flooded, and some below-ground-level garages were majorly flooded. But our car and apartment survived just fine. We even had power, which I was definitely not expecting!

Nor was I expecting this today! Look at the beautiful day, the beautiful beach, and the people out enjoying it!
(And my shadow...)

Thanks for all the prayers our way. I know a lot people did not get off so lucky. There certainly has been a lot of destruction in other places. We're just counting our blessings today.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Survived again

We did it! I made it! Another semester completed!!

(I'm actually celebrating early. I still have one more exam tomorrow at 8am. But mentally? I'm pretty much DONE.)

Burke went home to Wisconsin last week to be there when his brother Clark came home from his mission. I hated missing it, but I had 2 exams and it was right before finals and... I really couldn't leave. Burke went to work while he was there, so it wasn't quite a vacation. He said the first day his groove was kind of thrown off... he's gotten used to doing his thing at home. He enjoyed welcoming Clark and being with his family. (And seeing lots of friends at church. We miss you!!!)

Meanwhile, my mama came to stay with me for a couple of days so I wouldn't be alone for so long! And because she wanted to see me. :) It worked out great because I didn't have class in the morning on Thursday so we got to go for a run and then sit on the beach (I studied, of course!). Mama even painted my toenails Thursday night while I crammed for my exam. Can you believe that? She kept herself busy while I was at school and we had fun together when we could. Friday we went out to dinner and then saw "The Help," and Saturday morning we enjoyed a glorious beach run, made breakfast, and again, sat and swam at the beach. I realized it had been a long time since just the two of us had gone and done something fun together, and we both really loved having some girl time. This woman is amazing, and her company is just what I needed.

...Proof being that after she left I kind of started to fall apart. My stress really started to get to me and Burke was still gone. Thankfully, he came home Sunday night just in time to hold me together for finals week. And here we are, almost ready for a real vacation, together. I couldn't be more excited!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blackberry pie and dating

I do not have a lot of pie-baking experience. I've made an apple pie and a few pumpkin pies, and one of them turned out bad, so I'm especially afraid of screwing up. But a couple of weeks ago I decided to make a blackberry pie and we invited over our new neighbors, the Rigbys, to share it with us. I was pretty nervous it wouldn't turn out and we'd have no dessert for dessert night! But, it turned out amazing! Ask Burke.

I still haven't figured out how to crinkle the edges right, but I'm a work in progress.

A few weeks ago Burke went camping with the young men and I studied all Friday and Saturday. Our initial date night plans for Saturday night had fallen through, and we hadn't decided what to do instead, but we just knew we really needed a date. Last minute we decided to go out to dinner at a teeny cafe not too far away, take a walk on the beach, and make smoothies. I just have to say, it was one of the most needed and best date nights ever. Simple things.

I think maybe now we've learned to make dates a priority. We hadn't been doing too well with them the last few months and we could tell. Regardless of what we do, deciding to go on a date and making it a date just makes things better. So Redbox could count. But grocery shopping doesn't. Usually. It just takes a conscious effort to make the evening "you and me time."

Oh yes, and I got a hair cut. A big one. I donated the minimum of 8 inches. Umhmm. Still getting used to the shortness.