Ryan departed from his command in Bremerton, Wa. and we enjoyed a cold opening game at Safeco. Tons of fun for us... yet very cold. So cold that it did in fact snow... I was not prepared for this by the way. Luckily we had some pretty good seats that where well covered.
The next day we headed out with all of our bags packed and our car loaded... kitty and all. We arrived to my dads house in Moses Lake just in time for dinner.
I always love spending time with my dad... so refreshing to be around someone that loves me so unconditionally and actually laughs at my jokes. I am pretty certain that he is the only one, besides my husband that is, who thinks I am funny. Being around the two of them together is torture though... constant 'pick on Danielle' time. BLEH!!! At least I know they love me, right?!
After spending some quality time with my dad I had to do the same with the rest of my family in Washington so we headed on down to the Tri-Cities. What a treat! It is always comforting being back in my old stomping grounds. We stayed with my grandma and grandpa in Pasco and visited with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends... last but not least my mom.
My visits with my mom went rather well and she even brought over her boyfriend of many many years to visit. It is good to see that she is doing well in her life, finally. One of the highlights however was visiting with my aunt Debbie and my cousins. She has been so amazing to me in my life and I am so grateful to have someone in my life that can be so caring and selfless.
After hitting up the good ol TC we headed down to Sacramento to visit with Ryan's oober wealthy aunt. She lives in a gated community and rubs elbows with her good friend... Mitt Romney on a regular basis. Yes... she is in fact friends with the infamous Mitt Romney!
We headed on down to San Diego where preparations for mine and Ryan's temple sealing and reception began almost immediately.
We went on a mad hunt for a modest dress and finally found one, with a miracle from heaven, the day before. For a meager 250.00 it was altered, steamed and placed in my hands did I mention that it was perfect and fit like a charm?!
After our long day of errands Ryan and I went to our hotel room to get a good nights rest so we could prepare for an early morning endowment session and the sealing of our marriage for all time and eternity.
The endowment session we came in time for was in ... Spanish. I don't know if you all know this about me... I don't speak Spanish, I have a hard enough time speaking English. We decided to partake in other ordinances and the experience was amazing. To hear those blessings again was so uplifting that it put me in the frame of mind that I was praying so hard to be in.
Our sealing was perfect and so emotional... I have to admit though... I held out longer than Ryan did with tearing up. He looked so amazing dressed in all white so clean and pure. I loved the look my father gave me that said, "I am so proud of you and who you have become".
Our reception was wonderful! I had a great time and enjoyed having some of my family there and seeing all those people fawn all over my husband and brag about how great he is was an added bonus. The set up time for our reception however was... well... colorful to say the least. Lets just leave it at... a mini nuclear bomb going off... and I was the calm one!
On our last day in California our cat Ferrari was now MIA. We thought she was coyote food but a phone call from Ryan's dad the day after we left proved that we were wrong. So she has been camping out there since then. Stupid cat.
We took a lovely journey through the great Death Valley and Mojave Desert... with no air conditioning!!! Even in April it is sweltering hot! Cars were parked on the side of the freeway with steam pouring out from under their hoods as we fly past with all our windows rolled down and limbs hanging out! BLEH! Unbearable I tell you.
Finally arriving in St. George we got our AC fixed and recharged. You never realize how glorious things like your AC are until you loose them and have to drive through the Mojave Desert... I now appreciate the awe inspiring technology of air conditioning.
St. George was so wonderful. We spent time with Ryan's best friend Rusty and his wife Crystal... always a pleasure. Our first night in St. George we went to dinner with Rusty and Crystal and Ryan got a phone call from his brother Corey telling him that he was in town and had a friend with him. We did the obvious and invited them as well.
Ryan was dropping off something at his grandmothers house when Corey and his friend Ashley showed up at the restaurant and we chatted while waiting for Ryan to return. As he approaches the table Ashley becomes unglued and blurts out, "Oh My Gosh! Ryan?! I had no idea you where Corey's brother!" Then turns to me and says "I had the biggest crush on your husband when he was in the singles ward in Washington!!!! Did you know that?!?!" I so casually smiled and gave Ryan the... 'Hahaha... sucks to be you' look.
The rest of the evening Ryan, who was sitting across from Ashley and farthest away from me, kept looking at me giving me the 'please save me look' while I just laughed and teased him. It was fun watching him squirm through such an awkward moment. lol.
We spent time with Stephanie and her kids Christopher and Breanna out at the lake and had a great time. St. George is so pretty with all of the colors and the general layout of the land. Ryand and I got so sun burnt though, I mean we were fried! This is what happens when people from the Pudget Sound think that they can be out in the sun for too long. I was only out for an hour and half!!! Yikes I would have hated to see what it would have looked like if I was out there for much longer.
Finally finding time, we attended a session at the St. George temple. What an amazing temple! Such magnitude and symbolism. I loved seeing the history and workmanship behind all of the architecture. We where able to attend with Ryan's sister Stephanie and her husband Steve.
On the Road again... We headed out to Payson to visit with Ryan's Uncle Steve and Aunt Ruberta. What a wonderful asset to have to ones family. They where so sweet and loved asking me questions about me and my family. I was so honored that they wanted to get to know me and bring me into their family. It is so nice feeling wanted!
From there we headed to Provo to stay with his grandma who is a huge inspiration to me! At 90 years old she still volunteers her time as a receptionist at the local art museum and goes for walks on a daily basis.
We attended a session at the Jordan River temple with Aunt Reberta. I am a little bias because I used to live about five blocks and it always held a special place in my heart. I really truly think that seeing that temple everyday is what kept me pushing forward in the gospel in such a hard time in my life. I am so glad that I didn't give up.
We finally made our way to Salt Lake and spent some quality time with our good friends. I spent time with my friends Lani and Cameron as well as my best friend Jessie. isn't it great having friends all over the place... when ever you come back it feels like you never left.
Now this day was my favorite, right behind my temple sealing. We attended a session in the Salt Lake temple and had the most amazing experience ever. We were given a personal tour of the temple by the temple president himself where he showed Ryan and I the room where my ancestor James E Talmage wrote one of the most pinnacle books in LDS history, Jesus The Christ. I was able to touch the desk that he wrote on, stand in the room that he stayed in and stare into the portrait of him that hangs on the wall.
Most importantly... my prayers of seeing that very room where answered by my Father in Heaven. How amazing is it that out of all the things to do He took time for me to help strengthen my testimony of the gospel and enlighten my knowledge of my heritage. I will always remember that moment of my life.
Denver Here we come! A days drive through some amazing landscapes and we were in Golden Colorado. I finally met Ryan's aunt Coleen and her husband. We spent a few days there just hanging out and soaking up much needed R & R. Coleen is a photographer and was the one who touched up all of our pictures from the Sealing... so talented!
We headed on out to Nauvoo and stayed the night in Iowa. The drive was long and I was more than ready to meet the bed I was going to be sleeping in for the night. We pulled up to our hotel, payed for our room, poured ourselves into the room and passed out. I think it is safe to say that they used plywood for their mattresses, got to love hotels!
City Of Joseph, City Beautiful... City of Joesph, Nauvoo!
I love visiting Nauvoo. It is so beautiful and rich in not only church history but American history as well. We spent the day visiting the historical area of Nauvoo. Visited with the blacksmiths and got our prairie diamonds, went to the brickyard and was given a City of Nauvoo brick, walked through Lucy Mack Smiths home and admired Brigham Young's house.
I really enjoyed our day in Nauvoo but was rather sad to find out that they no longer have the City of Joseph pageant... they have a new pageant and it wasn't going to be preformed for another week. Although I was bummed out about the pageant we did end it with something better. A session in the temple. The temple was amazing and so peaceful. Ryan and I where asked to be the witness couple and it was such a blessing for us.
Off to Pennsylvania! Ryan and I headed out to good old Amish country and boy I felt like we were out in the sticks! We stayed with my very well to do aunt Kathy and uncle Tim on their massive piece of property (or would this be considered an estate?!) for a few days.
We rode horses, went 4 wheeling, flew kites, went to the Zippo museum and had a really good time in a place called Rock City. No it might not be what you are thinking... not rock music but actual rocks... from the ground. They are these huge rock formations and the owners of the property have turned it into a park and have named a few of the formations some rather funny names. We had a lot of fun spending time with my aunt and uncle and they loved Ryan so much that they wanted to keep him there!
New York here we come! We finally made it to our destination. We closed on our house the next day and spent the night sleeping on the floor but now as proud home owners.
It was a great adventure for Ryan and I and we loved every second of it... being in the car for that long was well worth all of the memories and the mass amount of quality time I was able to spend with my wonderful husband. What a crazy trip it was... we did everything from temple hopping to crashing 4-wheelers.
I hope I didn't bore any of you... sorry it was so long. Thanks for listening!