Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Get out your map.
(I was a good navigator. Darn good.)

It's roadtrip time.
So we drove back from Utah on a Sunday. It was about a 20 hour trip and we got in around 7 in the morning. On Monday we did some laundry and Brennan worked. On Tuesday we both worked and we packed yet again. We left Tuesday night for a 24 hour car ride to North Carolina. Talk about back to back trips. I wondered if we'd survive...but we did, and had a mighty fine time along the way. We counted how many states we hit between the two trips, I can't remember now, hang on I'll ask Brennan...11 for me, but Brennan got 12. In just one week we got to be in 11 different states, kinda crazy but it was pretty cool.

Originally I wanted to get pictures of all the state signs, but unfortunately I slept through half of them and far too many were in unsafe locations so we couldn't stop and get out. Here are a few we did capture though.
3 out of 12? Wow, kind of pitiful.

We got of a random exit, I'm not even sure what state we were in, but it just happened to be Harding St. It may have been because it was in the middle of the night, but we thought it was pretty exciting.
The really great thing about this road trip was that we weren't in too big of a hurry. We had to pick Grant up in Raleigh and we were ahead of schedule so we got to keep stopping at places that might be cool. Usually we ended up driving around until we decided we weren't going to find whatever we happened to be looking for, but even that was fun. One stop that was kind of a flop was at super old tobacco plantation. It probably would have been neat if we had enough time to do the tour, but we were absolutely NO good at the self-guided tour.
But we still got a picture. :)

By far the best stop was in a town called Mt. Airy. My dad texted me after we left and told me this town was on our route and it was the filming location of The Andy Griffith Show. It's the real life Mayberry!!! I was pretty excited about stopping. It was so much fun to see all the places I could recognize from the show.
Andy's house. You couldn't look around inside without making reservations to stay the night there.
The courthouse.
So there's a funny story about this picture. Brennan was asked to take a picture of a couple at sitting at the sheriff's desk, so he did. Well then the woman saw him doing this pose and thought it was just the greatest and made a comment about it. Then a few minutes later we see her run over and do the same thing and make her husband take a picture. I thought that was pretty amusing.
We even got to meet Andy and Opie. :)
This was really the farthest I've ever been out east excluding New York. It was beautiful. We tried to capture it from the car as well as we could, but it doesn't do it justice. Especially when an incredibly dirty windshield gets in the way. :)
We decided to take a different route back home and went through Tennessee. I am so glad we decided to do that. We got to go through the Great Smoky Mountains which were incredible. I would love to go back someday and really enjoy them. It was just good to see as much of this country as we possibly could.

Brennan has been a huge fan of a band called Ingram Hill for years now. He found out that they were doing a free outdoor concert in Louisville, Kentucky on the day we were headed home. Pretty lucky for us. It wasn't exactly the environment that we imagined, or one we would hope for but the music was really good and we were glad we got the opportunity to see them live.
Brennan even got to meet the lead singer.
There we are in Louisville.

It really was a fun trip. Exhausting. But so great to be able to spend so much time together and do as many fun things as possible. It was a perfect way to end our summer.

Monday, August 30, 2010


After we got back from Utah, Brennan and I got to drive to North Carolina for a wedding. I went to school with Liz Tepper from grade school through high school. We really started to become good friends in middle school during band. But 8th grade math and all of our high school math, science, and English classes really sealed the deal on our friendship. :) She has been a great friend for years and it was an honor to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. Liz and Chris (the really amazing guy she chose to marry) decided to get married on the beach in North Carolina. Liz has always dreamed of a beach wedding, at least as long as I can remember. They rented a beach house for the entire wedding party to stay in for the week leading up to the wedding. It was tons of fun!
Here's the beach house we stayed in. It was great!! There was even an elevator. And the very tall man in the picture is my friend and old neighbor, Grant Freeman. We picked him up at the Raleigh airport on the way to the wedding. It was great to see him again. We have been friends since we were 3.
That's the view from the deck. I love the ocean!
Some beautiful beach shots. If you look closely you can see a bunch of little specks, which are actually heads. One of them is Brennan's. :)
After playing in the waves. I looked at this picture later and asked Brennan, "Why didn't you tell me my hair was out of control so I could fix it? How embarrassing." He responds with, "I didn't know it was." Are you kidding me??? Is he blind? Haha. Oh well.
We braved the incredible heat and humidity and walked to a homemade ice cream shop one night. We took the beach on the way back.

And finally I present pictures from the beautiful wedding. It poured all afternoon. I think we were all worried Liz wasn't going to get her wedding on the beach, but it cleared just in time. It actually ended up being hugely beneficial. It stayed overcast, so there was no sun to bake us and the sand was wet and heavy so it didn't get whipped up to sting our legs by the wind. I would say the weather was a downright miracle, really.
The setting.
Walking down the walkway and then the aisle. I was a little worried about not being able to walk very smoothly on the sand, but I managed to not fall on my face. Success!
The happy couple. What a beautiful bride!!
The entire wedding party.
Good friends. (Major squinting going on on my part)
Each bridesmaid had to do one cute/serious picture as well as one funny picture with the bride. I hate coming up with funny pictures!! I'm NOT funny. So that is what we came up with...hilarious...
Grant's tie was having issues and he informed us that he doesn't know how to tie it, he just leaves it tied for years at a time. So Brennan tried to help him. Couldn't let that Kodak moment pass without capturing it.
Me and Grant. I look like a midget next to him!
Brennan was acting like a professional photographer. I felt like I was in a photo shoot, he wouldn't stop! You can see in this one that I am doing my best to not smile, but it was hard. I was feeling pretty silly.

It was such a fun trip and I am so glad we could be there for Liz and Chris's big day. Thanks for letting us share it guys! We are so happy for you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Hi Rachel..."

I miss this girl.

She called me yesterday. Just those first two words make me smile and her phone calls make my day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I love to be amused

After the reunion most of the family got to go to Lagoon, an amusement park in Utah. (For Iowa readers (I know, huge assumption for me to think I have any readers at all, but just in case...) it is about the same size as Adventureland. Sadly, Mara and Ben had to get back to work in Arizona so they weren't able to join us. I'm sure that at 8 months pregnant Mara wasn't going to be super excited about riding the rides anyway. Caleb was able to come with his boys and Nathan and Stacy and their bunch, as well as us, Crystal and Rich and Mom and Dad. It was a blast!! I didn't get any pictures of Wicked, by far the best ride there, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It was awesome. Here are the photos I did get:
Brennan and Mia on the swings.
Me and Caden on Dino Drop. This one takes you up to the top and then drops you, over and over. It is technically for kids, but I loved it. :)
Much of the gang on the little kids pirate ship. Henry would scream (a good scream) the whole time on this one. It was hilarious.
A cute picture of Kelbie and Brennan on the train.
Me and Henry on Ody-Sea. I was not a very good driver on this one and ended up soaked because of it. Henry was a good sport and put up with my pathetic skills.

Next up are some fun pictures on the trampoline at Nathan and Stacy's house. These kids sure are lucky to have such fun grandparents. I'd venture a guess that not too many kids have memories of jumping on the tramp with grandma and grandpa, but lots of these kids will. It was fun to watch.
Papa wreaking havoc while he is the log in "Dodge the Log".
Grandma's turn to be the log. Too funny. We had to start a chant to get her to get on the tramp. She caves pretty easily haha.
Who doesn't love to just sit down and be bounced?? Well...I don't, but I'm probably kind of weird. They certainly enjoyed it though.

Gotta love family. Our trip to Utah was tons of fun. It is hard to be so far away from so many loved ones, but we are grateful for the time we do get to spend with them and for the relationships we have with them even from so far away. They are such a blessing in our lives. Love you all!

Monday, August 16, 2010

reunions, auctions, family, and fun

Our lives have been crazy for the last few weeks!! And that trend looks to continue for the next little bit. Between a trip to Utah and a trip to North Carolina, we made it to 12 states in less than a week. We are finally home now, only to be met with a big interview for Rachel, a big move into our new house later this week (pictures to come), and Brennan's classes starting next week. Jikes! I'm excited for when we can get into a normal life routine and maybe relax a little. I think I have been sleep-deprived for about a month now. But it has been well worth it. We have had a blast and are excited for what the future holds for us!

First up was the trip to Utah for the Cardon family reunion and to visit Brennan's side of the family. The reunion was a riot! My parents rented a big house by the Jordanelle, a lake near Park City. There was plenty of room for everyone and a great view from the back deck. Grandma did treasure hunts for the kids, we all took a little hike, there were bikes to ride, lots of games to play, and besides sacrament meeting we even had our own family church. It was pretty awesome.
The house we stayed in.
The view from a bike ride we took very close to where we were staying.
A beautiful sunset. They are impossible to truly capture. Cameras don't do it justice, especially not our low-end one. But trust me. It was beautiful.

These pictures are going to be all out of order. But on Sunday we played some Minute to Win It games. If you've never seen the TV show, basically you have a minute to complete random challenges and the more you complete, the more money you win. No money was involved here, just the pride of knowing you were the best. :) The following are pictures of the M&M challenge. We had to pick up 3 M&Ms (one at a time) with a straw in our mouth (no using hands) and balance them on other straws that were standing up in a wooden block.
Stacy was the first to give it a whirl.
Super pregnant Mara trying to do it. Probably a little hard to bend over with that big belly. ;) And for the record she got slobber everywhere and I had to go right after her. Nice. Thank you.
Brennan decided it was all about the stance, and wide stance was the way to go in his opinion.

Next up was the Marble Tape challenge. We put double sided type part way down the table and then had to roll marbles down the table and try to get them to stick to the tape. I might have actually gotten the most on this one. And I think I might have had the fastest time on the M&M challenge. Hmmmmm.....
And last but not least was the Cookie Challenge. We had to put a cookie on our forehead and then using our face muscles we had to try to move the cookie into our mouths. I did not hold the record on this one. Didn't even complete it in fact. It was probably the most entertaining to watch.
Check out that look on his face. He is pretty proud of himself.

Back to Saturday...some of the group ran Utah's toughest 10k that morning. Caleb, Nathan, Brennan, and Crystal were the lucky ones who got to get up early and practically kill themselves on the run. I think eventually they were all happy that they had done it.
The happy group.

Later that morning we took a hike down to the lake. The kids loved skipping rocks and dipping their feet in the water.
Even though we don't look incredibly thrilled in this picture, I'm pretty sure we can count this as one of our bonding moments. Actually we have to, because I didn't get any other pictures of the two of us. Ben was a good sport and got his feet in the water just because I asked. I'm probably just like his favorite sister-in-law or something.

After our hike we packed sack lunches and headed to the park.
Even the BIG kids had fun on the playground. haha. Actually this piece of playground equipment provided a lot of entertainment.
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Not sure how well you can see their faces in this picture, but it was the best. Kids are so carefree. I loved watching their complete happiness on this little toy.

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I got to ride a road bike for my first time. It was a little scary at first but once I got the hang of it it was a lot of fun. I just might have to buy myself a road bike eventually.

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Stacy got a try one too. I think it might have been a little too big for her though. :)Rich decided to try out the padded bikers. Just had to grab a picture. Rich is the greatest.

We had our first ever family auction at this reunion. We all had to make something homemade to sell at the auction. Then we could earn fake money by eating all of our dinner or helping in the kitchen. We weren't sure how well it would work or how much the kids would really get it, but it ended up being a huge success. It was hilarious to watch the kids. They loved it! And Rich was a great auctioneer.
Everyone waiting to bid.
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Gavin holding up his number to place a bid.

I learned out to crochet for the auction. Once I finally got the hang of it it was a lot of fun. But it took me awhile to really learn. I made three little stuffed animals to sell. A duck, a dog, and a bear. I only managed to get a picture of one of them.

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There was a hot tub on the back deck of this house, so one night Brennan and I got in it with most of the kids. They are so easy to please. I mean there was hardly any room to move at all and it wasn't cold, so it wasn't like it felt real great, but they couldn't have been happier. It was great.

On Saturday afternoon we went to the Olympic Park in Park City. There was a ski jump event going on. Despite the incredible heat, it was a lot of fun to watch. They were jumping into a pool with skis on...I'd never seen anything like it.
Me and most of the kids watching the ski jumpers.

Some of the best things about the reunions are new babies. Somehow I didn't get any pictures with Marci and Caleb's new baby, Wyatt. He was very new, very tiny, and very cute. We also got plenty of baby time with Jaren. He's got quite a smile.
I think that about covers it for the family reunion. A nice short post, right? :) The bottom line is that our family is great, I love them all, our reunion was awesome and full of a lot of fun. Thank you mom and dad for the time, money, effort, and love you put into it!! We love you for planning these for us!

Up next: our trip to Lagoon. :)