30 April 2016

Idaho Hikes

Yesterday my sister-in-love went with me to Idaho falls. We were supposed to go to a museum but it was field trip day, so we turned right back around and went to the car when we saw how many kids there were! She took me to go walk around this little area near the temple, and then we went to the furniture store and tested out some of the massage chairs haha.

Probably my biggest pet peeve about Idaho so far is that nobody sells California King bed sheets! At least the Walmart in Rexburg and the Target and Furniture store in Idaho Falls don't - if anybody can suggest somewhere else I should try, that would be great. 

I wouldn't have considered the little walk we took in Idaho Falls a "hike" but when I searched for local hikes it is actually one of the ideas that popped up. The one I went on TODAY however was definitely a hike, and it was the craziest hike I have ever been on!

First of all, I'm just glad I found it! It was kinda in the middle of nowhere but I made it there okay with the one exception where I almost got stuck in the mud. Driving up to it, I thought "Huh. There's snow on those mountains. I wonder if I'll pass by some snow while I'm hiking?"

To answer that question, yes. Yes Laynah, you will be trudging through muddy, snowy, slush for the next two hours. When I pulled up and saw a little bit of snow I thought it would be fun to see snow up close for the first time in years haha. The more I hiked though, the more snow there was, and before I even realized it I was literally trudging through the snow being passed by snow mobiles. 

AND I WASNT EVEN THE ONLY HIKER. I couldn not beliiiieve that I was seeing other people hike that snowy trail. I wish I could say that I made it all the way to the end of the hike but two miles in, the snow would come up to my shins with every step and I was just not dressed for that. On the way back I stopped to take this picture of the melted snow making its way down the mountain and called it a day.

I can't wait to go back and actually see the lake once the snow is gone!!

24 April 2016

Rexburg Idaho!

On Friday, My two bald loves and I made it to the 'burg. The 13 hour drive was wonderful, kitty was amazing and cuddly with no potty accidents, and since Matthew and I love road trips so much it almost seemed like it was over too soon! Especially since I knew he would be leaving as soon as we got here. So on Friday, we moved my brother-in-love and his wife out of their apartment and moved ourselves right in! I am absolutely in love with the apartment. The storage space is satisfactory, and since I got rid of so many things I am literally surrounded by only the things that bring me the most joy or are complete essentials (isn't that the konjari method or something like that?). For the past two years I have been struggling to furnish and decorate a house that felt way too big for us, but here I have enough to make it beautiful and comfortable so it finally feels like I can cross that off my list.

Matthew left for California first thing on Saturday morning because he had to be back at work on Monday, and since then I have just been unpacking and organizing. I sold a bunch of stuff on the local buy/sell/trade page yesterday and it was so nice not being scared of being murdered after giving strangers my address to come pick stuff up haha! 

Rexburg really reminds me of our last area with the rolling green hills and small town feel. The 25 mph speed limit is going to KILL US though. I have been warned so many times that I will get pulled over and I will get a speeding ticket even if I am going a few mph over...but driving that slow makes me want to pull my hair out. Walmart is only like 5 miles away and it would take me two minutes to get there in California, but here it takes 500 hours.

I don't know where anything is, but I know exactly where my apartment is in relation to the temple. Many times I have searched the skyline for guidance, and day or night that golden Moroni is right there helping me find my way. I feel like I truly understand now when Gary E. Stevenson said "You are never lost if you can see the temple." Every time I look at it I feel like I am home. 

I have noticed a couple quirky Rexburg things so far:
  • The Walmart is eerily clean and quiet. 
  • The dollar movies had some kind of ad for a Christian movie (most likely LDS but I didn't read it) and there was a huge picture of Christ looking down at the audience.
  • It's rained 2/3 days I've been here, off and on.
  • THERE WAS A WOMAN WALKING TO CHURCH IN 40 DEGREE/RAINY WEATHER. She did not have a maxi skirt. She did not have a coat. Many people walked but I was baffled that they didn't have dang coats on!! 
That's about it so far! I'm supposed to stay here for a month then go back to live with Matt in California (if he is still there) until our house sells - but by the end of Saturday I was already getting "I can't take it, just come back at the end of this week!" texts so we will see. I hope our house sells ASAP because I just want to start our life in Idaho already! 

21 March 2016

California Series: Cherry Orchards

Something about having my desert photo shoot and paying homage to my mother land in my last blog post gave me closure. My thoughts belong to Idaho now, and soon I hope my heart will too. We're moving there in the early summer (I think other states refer to this as "spring") which will give me plenty of time to fall in love with it before the icy grip of winter comes clawing at my door.


This also means that I am saying goodbye to California while in it's most beautiful state. The poppies are popping, blossoms are blooming on trees everywhere, and it is officially windows-down weather. Just how I'd like to remember it.

I can't help but think what a perfect time this is for selling too! Right before summer, hills alive with the color green and sound of bumblebees, and ample rain making the lake more than just the teasing thought of "one day it will fill up again". Per usual, all my worrying was for nothing and everything is coming together exactly as it should.

Next week we'll be loading up all our things and giving away the things we didn't manage to sell. The week after that, the house is going up on the market (and we will start living out of suitcases with family), the week after THAT we will be moving to Idaho, and I'm fairly confident that by the week after that one, we will get some good news about an interested buyer. 

Bye Felicia! And by Felicia, I mean: you beautiful valley where I spent the last two years of my life.

17 March 2016

Leaving my Desert

Okay so yeah, like I mentioned in my last post - WE ARE MOVING! This was a total surprise and I have no idea how I'm going to handle leaving California behind! Truth be told we are quite comfortable here, and 5 months ago when my dad was telling me that Matthew needed to go back to school, I was patiently trying to explain that there was no way we were moving haha!

I can't tell this story without bringing up our beliefs because that is the only reason we are going. We pray often, and all of the sudden (at the end of December) our prayers were answered quickly and clearly that we needed to move. To Idaho. So Matthew can go to school. Now, we weren't even praying specifically about this, haha, that's just the answer we got. So that's what we're doing!

Everything has worked out really nicely, and I know it will continue to work out nicely as long as we go this direction, because this is the path we are meant to take right now. SO! April 18 is our move date and until then we will be selling furniture on craigslist to try to squeeze into an apartment, selling our extra vehicle, cleaning, packing, and working on selling our house.

The first thought that came to my mind after deciding to move was that I should have done more to document our life in California. I want more pictures of the beach, I want more pictures of the mountains, and most importantly, I want more pictures of my desert! 

So I ventured out last weekend with my tripod and my self timer remote, and took some pictures of myself amongst the Joshua trees that mean so much to me.

Every single morning when I was little, as far back as I can remember, I would wake up excited about the day ahead. I would or would not change out of my pajamas, depending on my mood. Putting on shoes never crossed my mind. Then I ran to my neighbors house - separated from mine by my grandparents' home - and would arrive breathlessly at my destination, pounding on the door. Sometimes it would take a while for me to hear stirring inside (the sun hadn't been up for very long, after all) and a sleepy, sometimes grumpy face would appear. "Can little Jay play?" 

In the desert, little Jay and I were more than just two dirty little kids. We were adventurers, observers, and students. I did not know how to count to ten, but I knew to keep a five foot radius around all cacti because their spikes will jump in the wind. I knew that my feet were made for walking and running and they did their job magnificently. I knew that worms were fun to hold but they must be returned the moist Earth to live - same with flowers - they had to be appreciated from where they were. I learned SO much about life and myself and God by observing the Earth this way. I could see His hand in every stink beetle, cacti, rock, and bunny disappearing into a hole.

Everyday I explored the same 7 acres of desert, but everyday it was different and I never got bored. Sometimes you would find me hurdling bushes and racing barefoot after little Jay on his bike, sometimes I would be silent for a (seemingly) long stretch of time to observe a newly blossomed flower no bigger than one of my fingernails. After storms, we would look for puddles and fallen Joshua trees to climb on. In the spring we would capture ladybugs for hours, and store them in my grandmothers abused Tupperware. Sometimes we would carve stairs into the large mound of dirt referred to as "The Hill" and pretend it was our castle. 

I later learned that most people find my desert ugly, but this just made me identify with it even more. We were both misunderstood, me and my desert. I remember dreading kindergarten and the significant amount of freedom I would lose to class time. School is no place for a wild child who hates shoes, constantly has dirt under her fingernails, and never brushes her hair, haha! I lashed out in kindergarten, and the fact that my teacher wasn't very nice didn't help. I got sent to the principals office five or six times that year, but he would just smile gently at me from behind his desk while talking to me about subjects that were seemingly unrelated to what I did wrong. I think he understood how hard kindergarten was for a girl like me.

No matter where I live, I hope to teach my children that there is beauty to be found in even the most unlovable places. I will have framed pictures of my desert in every house I live in. I want my children to know that this is a special place to me. I hope to take them camping in Joshua Tree National Park and watch their eyes light up the same way mine did while exploring this small, unique part of the Earth so many years ago.

10 March 2016

The Whiskayyy

If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you know that my Mattie is in a little band...although I have never actually said the band's name on any of my posts because I do not like it at all lol! It's called F n' Son (or F "N" Son on Facebook which pretty much makes zero sense) and was so named because the drummer and guitarist are a father and son duo, and they are the ones who started the band. 

Silly name aside, they are all great people and get along really well, and Matthew LOVES being able to blow off some steam with them - oh and they actually sound pretty good (I'll put a link to listen at the bottom of this post!). I grew up on Metallica and other heavy 80's rock so I really do enjoy their music even though my music preference is country. Some of their songs even get stuck in my head and I find myself listening to them at work haha. 

But we get so many awkward questions about Matthew being in a band! I guess we have more time to pursue our hobbies since it's taking forever for us to get pregnant and for some reason thats strange? Photography has become my baby and music is Matthew's, haha. NO he's not going to quit his job and try to "make it big" in the music industry. NO this doesn't mean that he will be a bad father or that he's not ready to be a father. YES you can have a hobby and still be responsible adult too lol. I absolutely love that he is doing something that he loves and that I finally have a chance to support him like he supported me when I said I wanted to be a birth photographer. 

So this last weekend they played a show at the Whisky a Go Go, which is really freakin' incredible. Van Halen, Motley Crue, Metallica, and Alice Cooper have all played at this venue. It was only their second show ever and they did amaaaazing! They did so good that two days later they were asked to open for Black Stone Cherry!! Here are a few pictures from the event.

I thought it was ironic that on the way there we took a back road instead of the freeway, so it was a gorgeous drive with fresh, green views...but we were on our way to a gritty little club in Hollywood haha.

Experiences like this help me see the silver lining in the never-ending black storm cloud that is infertility. This is something that Matthew has always dreamed of doing, and not many people are lucky enough to able to do what they truly love like this. Babies will come eventually, but memories like this can not be re-made. And if you're dying to hear what my husband sounds like...do NOT go find their Facebook page and watch an iPhone video of the show haha - those are literally the worst quality and it makes them sound sooo much worse than they do in real life! Click here for their soundcloud account - my favorite song of theirs is Mental Hostage but most of my friends love Fade because it is their slow song. 

Oh and about opening for Black Stone Cherry...that gig would have been on April 22nd but we are MOVING TO IDAHO on Monday the 18th!! My heart broke for my sweet, responsible husband when he called and told me that he had to say no to that amazing experience, but life goes on. Moving to Idaho is a story for a different day!

04 January 2016

The Chill

Every year my company has an extravagant Christmas party to finish the year off with a bang. Last year every employee got two tickets to Disneyland, hotel rooms for the night before, and breakfast with Minnie before the park even officially opened. I took my brothers and it. was. magical!!

This year I took my brothers again and we all went to The Chill at Queen Mary, got a "haunted tour" of the boat, and ate a steak dinner. Delish. 

I dressed for 7 degrees Fahrenheit and my husband was legitimately embarrassed to be seen with a woman dressed for the cold in the 80 degree so cal temperatures haha! Turns out everyone else just wore their normal clothes and rented out "public parkas" to go see the ice sculpures. Once inside the Ice Kingdom, I breathed a sigh of relief while my brothers and husband shivered in their parkas haha. 

K so lets talk about ice. As we walked through the maze that is the Ice Kingdom, extravagant sculptures carved out of colored ice told the story of A Christmas Carol. They were magnificent! You gotta hand it to the artists, like cake decorators and ice sculptors, who are okay with their work only existing for a brief moment in time.

The grand finale of the whole thing was an ice slide and tunnel, and even though we were all shivering at this point, Matthew took off his parka (voluntarily!) to take a picture with me in the tunnel. This guy...

Before dinner we worked up our appetites exploring the boat. 

Oh, and let it be known that the "haunted tour" was...cheesy.

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