Trek and First Year Anniversary

Earlier in the year, our bishop asked if we would be the couple from the Arlington 1st Ward to be a ‘Ma and Pa’ in our stake’s youth pioneer trek. We jumped at the idea and looked forward to being in the outdoors and having a testimony building experience UNTIL… day we were sitting in sacrament when the Bishop announced a few items on trek. “The youth will have their stake trek from June 26 to June 28.” I froze and slowly turned to Kyle. “The 28th is our anniversary! Our first anniversary!” I couldn’t believe it. Even to the point where I made Kyle double check and ask if we were the only ones for the job. To be honest, it made me angry for a while because it was not only the time to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but it would be the ONLY 'first' one. We had made it through our first year of marriage and would wake up the morning of that happy day...dirty, on a hard ground, underneath a tarp and next to 8 teenagers. My sweetheart of a husband explained to me that this was a sacrifice we would have to make, just like the pioneers, who had to give up possessions and even relationships with friends or family to journey to Zion. It still irked me up until the day we left but it was nice to know we would be done a bit early on the 28th and could still go somewhere. Trek was challenging and tiring, but a really good experience regardless. In the end, my favorite part was hearing the testimonies of the youth and how strong they were in their resolve to follow Jesus Christ. And it was beautiful to sleep out under the stars and have a good meal after a long day of walking (as Ma and Pa, you aren’t supposed to pull the handcarts but let your ‘kids’ do the work…..which we didn’t complain about). And…Kyle got to grow out an awesome beard for almost 5 months in preparation.

This was the finishing point with doughnuts upon doughnuts in the background.

We went up to a Marriott ranch in Virginia, about an hour and half west of Arlington and although it wasn't wide open Wyoming-like plains, it was still beautiful with green rolling hills and cows to moo a hello as we made our journey.

We had an amazing group of youth in our 'family'. Although they were still teenagers and complained occasionally, I was amazed at their ability and willingness to step in whenever needed. We had a group of three guys that at first, Kyle thought were going to be hard to deal with but they ended up being stalwart! They were actually enlisted to help pull a cart with a handicapped boy and we had to share them from time to time which was hard because they helped us so much.

Not all of us were troopers the whole time hence the little one on the far left just trying to keep up.

I found Kyle pitching in all the time and being a great motivator. I loved this action shot and wish we had gotten one right before this one was taken. They had started pushing the cart through this river and it got stuck so Kyle came over and started motivating them and helping them move up and out of the sand. And I loved him for it.

We hiked most of the first day and the second day they had found an area by a river where we set up camp around noon. The rest of the second day we had lunch and played pioneer games. I quite enjoyed the log saw.

By the time we got back to our car on the third day, we were so exhausted and in dire need of showers. Kyle, the lucky guy, managed to find eight ticks either on his skin or clothes during the time we were there and I couldn't wait to make sure I was tick-free.

We made it home, cleaned up (I watched Kyle shave off four months of hard work) and we packed up and headed to Annapolis, a cute harbor city in Maryland. It's only a 40 minute drive from our house so it made for the perfect overnight getaway.
After (I think I cried more than he did....I mean...if he did cry....).

We had yummy food at Maggianos including free anniversary lemon cookie bars (devoured) and Champagne (untouched) by the time we left.

After dinner, we went out to explore the town. While deciding what to do, I found a boat tour and jumped on that idea. It took us out to the channel where million dollar homes were built. They would just keep their kayaks out on the lawn at a moment's notice and their boats in water garages. It was beautiful! I loved the attention to detail in the gardens and how communal and friendly it seemed. After our tour, we snacked on salt water taffy and homemade ice cream at a local place.
 Just walking down the streets of Annapolis. Also...cute bum...where ya from?

Trees showing the street who's boss.
On the water. Well. In a boat. On the water.
Beautiful sunset from the water.
These are some of the homes we saw with beautiful gardens and outdoor eating. Our tour guide said that in the olden days only the poor would live down by the water where the rich would live on top of the hill, as it was a sign of superiority.
Neat little condos with boats for everyone!
More colorful sailboats with expensive homes in the background.
This was a neat restaurant right on the edge of the water.

I found a fun deal online for an anniversary overnighter including chocolates, champagne (in our case sparkling cider) and breakfast the next morning. It was a really nice hotel for what we paid. It was so nice to sleep in and eat breakfast in bed next to my best friend.

 I can't believe I have been married to Kyle McOmber for a year! At first, I couldn't believe we had hit a month or two, and then we hit 2014 and I knew it was coming. To be completely honest, I was scared to be done with our first year and out of the 'newlywed' stage. I guess it's being a romantic, but Kyle has helped me learn that every stage is amazing and each part of life gives us new adventures to look forward to. There have been challenging and defining moments so far, but I wouldn't trade any of it because it's made us stronger and has helped us to get to know each other better. My love for Kyle has only grown stronger and I love all the little quirks that define him. I love that he is passionate for life. I love that he is sentimental and will tell me stories from his past and I let him even though I've heard them more than once. I love whenever we are out somewhere and a historical reference comes up, that he jumps on it and teaches me. I love that he is dedicated to anything he does and that he does it 100%. I love how he motivates me to be a better person, to be more understanding and to see the good in others. I love that he still finds ways to show his love for me and still tells me he loves me when we are almost done talking on the phone. He is working so hard in graduate school to provide for our family and I can't imagine being with anyone else. Here's to one year down and many more amazing years to come! I love you Kyle!

A Night at the Symphony

Kyle and I got free tickets to a symphony at the Kennedy Center. I was really excited because I had never been but heard it was really neat inside. We enjoyed the evening despite having the people beside us block us from exiting once the symphony was over (I guess it's not proper to leave until the applause is all the way finished...even if that applause has already lasted for ten minutes). 

The Kennedy Center is really only a hop and skip from where we live (including a 10 minute metro ride and 5 minute walk from Foggy Bottom Metro). A MUST in D.C. is going to BTS (Burger Tap & Shake). The BEST chocolate shake I have EVER had. Definitely worth going to, which we did, right before the symphony. 

I approve of date nights. I know it will be harder when we have kids to be able to go out as often, but for now, I love having one on one time with Kyle. 

And I love that I can completely and utterly be myself with him. 

The center is located right along the Potomac and we arrived just in time to see the sunset and a couple of loud booze cruises passing by. 

And just for good measure, because we don't take enough pictures. 

The inside was beautiful with the hanging chandeliers and deep red carpet. 

A big bust, er, head bust of John F. Kennedy. 

In the lobby, they had little kiosks where you could pick different parts of Kennedy's life and presidency to watch/listen to. Here, Kyle is demonstrating the proper way of holding the earphone and loves that it is being documented.  

One section of the lobby had flags hanging from all over the world. 

The symphony was wonderful...but a bit long... (an hour and a half!). It was neat to listen to the music and be with my best friend. And a good night to experience the Kennedy Center for the first time. 

Rock On

One thing Kyle and I miss about Utah are the mountains. Oh those mountains. A sight to look at but also a chance to break away from life and enjoy nature. Luckily, our friends also from Utah brought out their rock climbing gear and invited us to climb with them. We only drove about 20 minutes out of Arlington until we got to Carderock Park in Maryland, full of trees, a hiking trail and a shear drop rock perfect for climbing. It was nice to get away and into nature again. Kyle did great and was able to climb twice where I wasn't so fortunate and will need more training before my little arms can handle it again.

We tend to match much more often than we mean or want to...but it does make for a good photo.

With our rock climbing experts, Jacki and Tyson Lloyd. 

Me and my claws attempting to grab hold of something...let's just say some of us are better at rock climbing than others (cough..kyle..cough). I probably yelled down every 5 seconds, "Kyle, are you holding me?!" where he would calmly say, "Yes, babe, I've got you." Clearly, there may be some trust issues there...ha ha or it's just scary being 10 feet in the air and not realizing you can let go and the rope will hold you. Maybe rock climbing should be a trust date every couple should embark on at least once.

My coach and belayer/encourager....probably telling me all the good foods I get to eat if I get to the top. 

Getting suited up!

Look at him go!

Taking a breather on the ledge. Good form! Bravo!

Afterwards, Kyle took me to a charming Argentine Gelato Cafe, Dolcezza. Kyle beat me to glance at the flavors and pose without posing for my picture. 

Kyle took the usual route with a chocolate hazelnut combined with another flavor I can't remember right now...while I got a Thai Coconut Milk and a Pineapple Honey Lime. Good thing we went running that morning and rock climbing later on in the afternoon! Not as much guilt...more enjoying the flavors. A grand day overall.