Saturday, August 22, 2009

First of all, I would like to thank my incredible husband for the most thoughtful and touching gift I could have ever received! I cried when I read it and keep crying as I read it again and again. His gifted writing ability, as well as all of your comments made me speechless - and that's hard to do!
It's also hard to leave it up, as there are several hugely exaggerated parts, but Trey made me promise, before telling me what my gift was, that I wouldn't change it. There are definitely many things I would change, but for the most part, he's right on (; Haha. See, I'm laughing at my own joke again!
Well, we are home now and here is a map of our summer travels!

View Larger Map
It is not totally accurate as it would only let me add something like 27 destinations, but it works!
Over 14000 miles traveled, 13 states, a province and a district!
It is HEAVEN being back with Trey full time and being in our own home. As we drove into Valparaiso, (5 pages from finishing "A River Runs Through It" and Incredibly well written book...) We gave each other high fives for making the very best of Summer 2009. Glad to be home though.

As for our last leg of the journey, Our week at Dana and Glen's was AWESOME!

They were the best hosts. Brooklyn got to play most days with her newest buddy, their neighbor - the cutest little boy, we made another road trip over to Huntington Beach to see my long lost roomies from BYU Katie Rose and Rhyll, we went to pool day with some of Dee's friends and crashed for a couple days as well. Brooklyn was happy as could be with the dog, a big yard to play in, a playmate and some legos!

Our full-day plane trip from Dana's house to Atlanta was pretty uneventful - BLESSINGS! Trey was there to pick us up and it was SOOO good to see him! I went over and over with Brooklyn how when she saw Daddy she would RUN into his arms and give him a big HuG and Kiss and say "Daddy!!". She hesitated for about 2 seconds and then did it! Trey was thrilled and amazed at how much she knows and says now.
We drove straight down to Ddaddy and Nana's house where we were so happy and spoiled rotten like always!

Trey had another Quiddler victory (not to be repeated),
we ate non-stop as always, we (as in DDaddy and I and not Trey, no matter how much we tried to get him out there) Gardened, Brooklyn died and went to heaven with 2 dogs, 2 cat's and 2 great grandparents that are crazy about her!

Trey took off for a day to help his Mom in

Chattanooga finish packing up their house. They sold it and are moving to Memphis! The next day, for our anniversary, we did a road trip 5 hours to the south of Georgia (each way) to visit Ddaddy's home town and the place where Trey's Father is Buried. It was a really important trip for both of us and incredible traveling without Brooklyn in the back demanding attention and a good time for us to have some undisturbed time together to catch up.

One more day at Ddaddy and Nana's after that and we were off again, for the final leg of the journey! The three of us drove up to Chattanooga where we met Judy for a little rest, then continued up to Nashville where Judy generously got a hotel room for us all to stay in! It broke up our trip home perfectly and Brooklyn LOVES her Nai Nai and got spoiled and loved all over by her. We also went swimming at the pool both days and Trey and I got to SLEEP IN while Nai Nai took Brooklyn in the morning which was Incredible! I wish I took photos of this leg, but you get the gist - Brooklyn smiling with her arms around Nai Nai as happy as she can be.
We were home at 8pm tonight to our clean, wonderful home. The renters were great.
So many wonderful blessings - including you, our friends! Thanks to everyone that was a part of our Summer Adventure 2009!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our Fourth Anniversary!!!!

This is Trey- covertly, under the cover of night, sneaking onto Paige's blog to write a few things about her to celebrate our 4 years of marriage! (I must credit Noelle's husband for the idea and my mom for reminding me of Bruce's wonderful technique- well played and thank you both!!)

So I figure Paige won't check the blog for a few days, so hopefully you will all have a chance to read this before Paige finds out, gets embarrassed and takes it down!

I'm not one that typically wears his heart on his sleeve and I keep a lot of my emotional cards pretty close to the chest, but I feel that it's alright in this situation for you all to catch a glimpse of the Paige I have the pleasure of enjoying every day.

1. Paige's 1000 megawatt smile and amazing laugh:
Paige's smile lights up the room and illuminates my soul. If by some cosmic happenstance and a dose of good luck, I am the catalyst for Paige's smile/ infectious laugh, then I am the happiest man on the earth, because as you all know, once Paige gets tickled about something, she'll laugh about it for quite some time! What I really love about Paige's sense of humor, is that she'll oftentimes start laughing at one of her own jokes (usually at the elementary school standard mind you) before she even gets to the punch line. She's so adorable when she gets tickled at her self and can't complete the joke or story! I don't know what people think about that the first time they meet her, but to me, I eat it up! I love just sitting back and watching her lose control and maybe even throw a couple "Steve Irkle snorts" in for good measure. She has the laughter and smile of a child- a beautiful and endearing quality that every one who knows Paige has come to appreciate! I'm so lucky I get to see it on display nearly everyday of our marriage!

2. Bundles of Fun:
Paige has an insatiable appetite for fun, adventure, travel, new experiences and new friends. I can't even hold a candle to her in these departments, in fact, compared to her, I'm quite mundane, run of the mill, ho-hum, what have you done for me lately, joe six-pack...a dud. She blows me out of the water with her energy, fervor, vigor, and spontaneity! Even though I'm ten years her junior, I can't even keep up. Paige has altered my entire world view and helped me branch out! She's transformed me from being a good ol' chattanooga boy that had never eaten, Thai, Middle Eastern, or Indian food, to the Curry King of Northwestern Indiana! She's transformed the unsophisticated movie-goer that would only watch a movie if Vin Diesel was in it, to a natural Broadway Joe that sings "Defying Gravity" from Wicked both in the shower and in the car! She's helped me realize my potential and always encouraged me to try new things and challenge myself with my studies and my career. She's always encouraged me to chase after my hair-brained dreams and shoot for the stars, and I can't thank her enough for expanding my horizons and helping me see the world in an entirely new light!

3. Her Kindness:
Paige is genuinely invested in all of her relationships with all of her family and friends. I know I can only speak for myself, but from what I've observed over the years- I always see Paige going the extra mile to visit, call, send packages to friends and family. Her relationship with those she loves is number one on her priority list and she always seems to have the time. It seems like every other week Paige is in some crazy part of the world visiting friends or family, and I know when she's home, she's constantly thinking about some nice things she could do to make everyone feel like a million bucks. I know for me, she makes me an amazing book every year for father's day with pictures and stories, no easy task! Despite all of my weaknesses and short-comings, she's always forgiven me, accepted me and never judged me. I always feel completely secure, safe and loved when I'm in her arms. Speaking completely objectively, Paige is the most kind-hearted individual I have ever had the pleasure of knowing- I'm sure many of us feel the same way.

4. Motherhood:
Paige is a natural, graceful, beautiful mother. Every aspect of motherhood becomes her- she moved seamlessly into the role and fell absolutely, positively in love with our beautiful daughter. Watching Paige be a mother is like watching Tiger Woods swing a golf club, or Micheal Jordan shoot a game winning jump shot. She's so flawless and talented and beautiful when she interacts with our baby that it is actually hard to describe and needs to be seen to be believed- it's breath taking and eye watering at the same time. I've never witnessed a love or seen a bond like the one that exists between Paige and Brooklyn. Natural, Graceful, Beautiful Motherhood thy name is Paige!
5. She's my home :
We didn't have the best start to our marriage. As some of you may or may not know, our first year of marriage was plagued by illness and injury. For the first 6 months after our wedding, I had a serious bout with Mono, which rendered me completely not cool. Once I started feeling better however, Paige and I hit the ski hill and on our first run, she blew out her ACL and required surgery. Needless to say, because we started on such a low note, everything else has felt like living in crescendo in comparison. But we've truly enjoyed such a wonderful connection ever since. Sure there have been bumps and sometimes mountains in the road here and there, but I really feel like we're 2 good-lookin' peas in a pod, and that's a great feeling! She brings out the best in me. She always makes me laugh. She always makes me feel comfortable. She always lets me know that I'm truly loved. Wherever I go, as long as she's with me, it always feels like home.

My Love would be meaningless without her.
My Life would be tasteless without her.

I'm completely indebted and devoted to her. I will never leave her, I will always love and be true to her.

Here's to you Paige and our 4 great years! You're the one, you're the best.



(Compliments are like candy to a person's soul. I would love it if you could leave a thought or two about Paige- I know it would mean the world to her! Thanks so much.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Road Trip!

I have officially been on the road for 3 months and 2 days now. 15 states and provinces, a almost 2300 mile road trip, all with an almost 2 year old, a 3 year old Labrador dog and my sister who is pregnant - due the same time as me!!! Yes, I am definitely ready to get back to my husband, my bed and home!!
I can't say it hasn't been an absolute blast though! Brooklyn has been as much of an angel as humanly possible for a 20-23 month old - well, more like a nymph, but I'll take it.

View Larger Map
We did the first part in early July, but the part from Osoyoos to San Jacinto just ended yesterday and lasted 10 days! What made this road trip the best was seeing all our incredible friends, all of whom were incredibly wonderful Hosts! Dinners, breakfasts, even foot rubs! Here are some of my Favorite things:

Stop #1, MOSCOW, ID

Favorite Things:
That I didn't have to say goodbye to Mom, Dad, Dana, Brooke or Hannah yet!
Walking down to the Farmers Market
Touring the University of Idaho
Seeing Brooke and Mikes' new, amazing home!
Hiking to the waterfall
Brooklyn LOVING on Uncle Mike. (She was crazy about him!)
Bath Time with Hannah
Yogurt Popsicles made by Brookie!
Biking through Moscow - though it was cut short due to crying babies
Spending some good, quality time with my best friend and sister, Brookie!

Next, Portland, OR

Favorite Things:
Visiting my good friend Brennan and his wonderful Family.
Eating a meal fresh from the garden and BBQ chicken that was to die for - and then Strawberry and blueberry shortcake to top it off - yes, it was divine!
Watching Brooklyn run around with their two adorable kids and Baily of course
Then seeing our childhood friend BD, husband Kurt and their 1 month old BABY!
The fact that they had a MaoMao (Cat) Brooklyn was in HEAVEN again.
Ooh! I can't forget! Freshly, homemade wild-berry PIE! The best EVER!

Next, Eugene, OR

Children's Museum

Favorite Things:
Ok, First of all, I have to say that my friend Shauna is a saint! She is taking care of 3 of her sister's kids, while she has two of her own to take care of, and the same week welcomes us (Dog, another 2 year old, and 2 girls) to stay the night at her house! On top of which she went to the children's museum with us, gave us foot massages (which we reciprocated- just so you don't think we are total leaches) and made an incredible Crepe breakfast for us in the morning! ON top of all that she gave us a loaf of HOME-MADE bread with HOME MADE Raspberry Jam! (that fed us for most of our trip Shauna! Thank you!)
I was inspired by how she kept such an orderly house, road biked 3-5 times a week and kept incredibly fit other ways as well on top of everything!
As with all the friends we met, I learned a lot and was, well, inspired!

NEXT, Great Cats World Park

This is a must see when you come through this area! It was one of the coolest animal exhibits I've seen. We were just feet from these beautiful creatures. We have about 100 photos of this place! It was incredible and we were only 4 feet away from them!

The Redwood Forests!

I think we came here as children, but I haven't been since and I was blown away! These trees are unlike any I've ever seen. I tried to capture their sheer size on film, but you'll just have to go...
The Ocean! From Moscow to Trinidad!
We stayed just north of Trinidad, Ca one night and spent the whole morning on this incredible beach!

This was Brooklyn's first time on the beach! Notice the succession of events. Above: when we first got there.

Within 5 minutes (Left) within 6 minutes (Right). She thinks that if there is any water nearby, she has to be naked. Well, I kind of agree, but it's going to get tricky when we have to go to public swimming pools again!

Palo Alto, CA

My MTC Roommate, and later BYU roommate Adrienne lives right near Palo Alto, Ca now and it was SO FUN visiting her there! We walked around Stanford together, ate delicious food and caught up - never enough time. Brooklyn is still best friends with the Dog

These are the homes my Grandpa(Left) and Mom (Right) grew up in!


Next stop was just a few miles down the road in Monteray where our childhood friend, Darin lives with his family! We only called them less than an hour before we showed up on their doorstep and said we just watned to stop in for half hour to meet his wife and kids and then we'd be on our way again. Well, we did that, having a wonderful visit. He said we were welcome to stay the night, but we assured him we were going to get a place down the road a bit, then get a hotel. Well, after we left, it was just getting dark and as we called around to hotels, we realized, it's tourist season in Monteray and we weren't going to find any accomodations - so we called Darin back and with our tails between our legs, asked if we could take him up on his offer. Him and his wife were incredible and the stay was perfect! We woke up to Pancakes, strawberries and even Whip Cream, and Brooklyn got to play a little more with their adorable kids! Thanks Howell family!

HIGHWAY #1 Baby!

We were so glad we stayed the night in Monteray because we would have not wanted to miss THIS by driving it at night!

A major Highlight was seeing the Elephant Seals!

Oh, and just so you know, Brooklyn talks every day to her Daddy! She is very proficient with the phone, even holding it between her ear and shoulder so she can use her hands to play sometimes!

(From an early part of my posting: I haven't slept more than a couple of hours the past 5 nights because Brooklyn insists in getting in bed with me at about 2 or 3 am every night and not just sleeping next to me, but sleeping DIRECTLY on TOP of my - so as not to touch the bed!! She has to stay this way until she's alseep, at which point I slide her down onto the bed, but if I move my arm out from under her, she wakes up and we have to start all over, so thus, I don't sleep...
I can't wait to let her cry herself to sleep in her OWN crib and not have to worry aobu ther bothering hosts! 2... more... weeks...!!!!)