"Ain't Nothing Like the Great Outdoors to Ease your Soul..."

So Kyle and I miss the mountains. That's probably the thing we both miss the most, being away from Utah. We were dying to go on a camping trip so we blocked out a weekend and took a trip up into the Shenandoah Valley. It wasn't Utah, but it was beautiful and almost looked more rainforest than anything else. We went with our good friends, the Lloyds and got our outdoor fix (for now at least).

Kyle and I had bought a tent at the beginning of the year and were so excited to set it up. Ours is the little green on the left. Also, this particular camping site was more like setting up in a park than the forest, but we take what we can get! 

It was beautiful with the rolling 'mountains' (more like hills) and the fog hanging low. 

The next day we hiked 'Old Rag' which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The first bit was a normal hike starting out a little steep. Then, the path turned into boulders everywhere! It just felt like we were bouldering the whole time rather than hiking. It was neat to get all the way up to the top and look at the view. 

This should be on the cover of National Park Service Magazine. 

My love. 

Like a rainforest, no?

How we felt reaching the top. 

The rest of the gang. 

Everyone, including other hikers near us, were super grateful when I caught this falling boulder before it tumbled down on top of us all. 

We had a lot o' fun. Once we got in our tent for the night and during most of the hike, Kyle would sigh and express his love for the outdoors and nature. And I agree with him. It's pretty amazing. 

Bastille Family Night

One reason I love being married to Kyle is that he loves history and every now and then, lends some of his knowledge to me. I loved it even more when he announced for family night that we would be honoring Bastille Day by going to get French pastries. We found La Madeleine, a cute French cafe with a few people in it and got in right before they closed. Kyle got a berry filled croissant while I got the classic Napoleon. He told me about Bastille Day, history and all, as we ate our yummies. 

Even French desserts look so refined and European. 

The 'B' on Kyle's hat stands for Bastille. Or Boston. But for this activity, Bastille. 

Bastille Day! Also known as La Fete Nationale. Anyways, I love Bastille Day! 

The Temple and Peach Ice Cream

In our temple sealing, Kyle and I were given the wonderful counsel to attend the temple once a week. I thought at the time it would be a cinch since we would just have to coordinate our schedules and go after work/school. I’ve actually been amazed at how we are able to find time to fit it in even though it’s hard when we have a lot going on. And I’ve also been amazed at what Satan does to work hard at getting us not to go. There were times where if we missed a week because of vacation or other events my stalwart husband would say we should go twice the next week to make up for what we lost. I’m usually more of a spirit of the law kind of person but loved to strive alongside him to keep this goal. Although we haven’t been perfect, we have definitely seen the blessings that come from regular temple attendance. Even if I am bad-tempered or stressed, once we go and I step outside again, I feel the renewed strength of the spirit and testimony that comes from being in the house of the Lord. And last night, we did just that. Kyle picked me up from the metro and we drove half an hour north to our beautiful Washington D.C. temple. We grabbed some dinner really quick and then headed in. Aside from serving and feeling the spirit, I love the one on one time I get with Kyle, technology and other distractions set aside. Love the temple. LOVE it.

Throwback to dating days and our first time going to the D.C. temple. 

(Kyle is making Chocolate Ice Cream in the photo above, but I couldn't resist sharing the Booster's involvement)

As we drove home, Kyle asked if he could grab some ingredients at the store for peach ice cream. Our wonderful upstairs neighbor Martina came back from South Carolina with some real Southern peaches and asked Kyle to make them into some ice cream (a whole separate post will be dedicated to the story of Kyle McOmber and his Ice Cream Lab soon). We pulled up at 10:15 and Kyle proceeded to pull ingredients out for this special treat. When it comes to Kyle making HIS ice cream, I ask if I can help but end up just sitting beside him on the counter admiring his skills. Last night was no different as he pulled the pre-peeled and pre-sliced peaches out of the fridge that had been ‘macerating’ (yes, it’s a real cooking term) in lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar. Boo even wanted in on the action and attempted several times to claw his way up our legs (we’re working on discipline right now). Kyle threw it in the mixer and pretty soon, it started to form. I decided I would test it out for him to make sure the ingredients all came together right….and I was glued to that Cuisinart for the rest of the night! It was AMAZING! Up until this, my favorites were Kyle’s Strawberry or his Chocolate with Salted Caramel flavors, but this takes the cake! (my favorite fruit is peaches however…I could live off of peaches all summer…especially if it’s Utah peaches) After I had stuffed myself with peach ice cream and we had gone to bed, Kyle pulled me close as we talked about our day. Hugging me tight, he said, “I want you to smile more. You’re so pretty when you smile.” How often do we forget to smile? Life can be hard but it doesn’t have to bring us down. Life is far too short not to smile more often. I love Kyle for this reason. He is always optimistic and works so hard to help me see the bright side of things. I tend to be a worrier and he reminds me of what really matters. And yes, I should smile more. Love you Kyle for making me a better person. Love the temple,  peach ice cream, being happy…and Kyle. 

(Boo's not too bad either. Here he is licking his chops after getting a sample of ice cream.)

Oh Say, Can You See...

Oh boy, oh boy did we have a wonderful time on the 4th of July. Our All-American week started out on Tuesday, the 1st when we went to see the Washington Nationals play! This was my first time in the stadium and first baseball game of the season. Kyle’s work got us tickets and we enjoyed ourselves. The Nationals creamed the Colorado Rockies (7-1) so not so much an eventful game but still fun!

National’s stadium had big giant metal baseballs hanging around the parking garages. So cool! 

Entering the stadium! 

I miss baseball. I played softball for a little bit so I think it’s always been my favorite sport…also because of the warm weather and summertime. 

Kyle is wearing his U.S. soccer team shirt in honor of the World Cup Game that we watched earlier. A bit of a blow but the U.S. fought hard!

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…so funny story on this one. The guys selling treats up and down the aisles kept calling out ‘Get Yer Popcorn!’ or ‘Get Yer Cracker Jacks!’. I turned to Kyle and asked what Cracker Jacks really were because I had never had them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more shocked look come over Kyle’s face than I did right then. “You’ve NEVER had Cracker Jacks?! Did you even have a childhood?” ha ha ha we laughed and I said I honestly had never tried them (I knew it was a type of caramel corn with peanuts and that it included a treat but that’s about it). Kyle’s boss overheard us talking about it and said, “Well, looks like you are buying her some Cracker Jacks!” We called over the guy, paid our whole $5 for the tiny bag and I had my first taste of Cracker Jacks. Verdict? Yummy, especially without dinner beforehand. Would I spend $5 to get a bag of Cracker Jacks again? Debatable. I do agree however that it’s the perfect summer treat especially at a baseball game and that every child should have Cracker Jacks in the summertime, accompanied by the toy (mine was a sports tattoo). 

The rest of the week was spent in preparation for a 4th of July BBQ we were having. We got some good beef and pork for hamburgers from the butcher along with bratwurst for Kyle and I began to decide what nummy Americana desserts I would make. The morning of the big day, our church had a flag raising ceremony and pancake breakfast right at 8 a.m. (with a speech by former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett). After that, we had friends and the missionaries over for the BBQ.

THE Food Table

Razzleberry (also known as three berry) pie!

The classic American flag cake.

Oh Razzleberry Pie (made me miss Utah and my mom – she is queen at making this one).

 After the BBQ and a good nap, we headed over to our friends Tyson and Jacki’s to get suited up for a bike ride into the city. We decided to take bikes in the end because we had heard horror stories on how crowded the metro can get after the fireworks. The way in was not too bad, but very true to their warning, the way back was pretty hard. Mostly uphill all the way and I had a difficult time figuring out my bike gears and how hard to pedal heading up, all while wearing a skirt.

It was such a beautiful day though and actually cooled off at nightfall. We found a good spot at the base of the Lincoln Memorial (which was already pretty crowded when we got there). While we waited, we played cards and ate our weight in chips J Right after dusk the first of the fireworks went off and continued for a good 20 minutes. It was so cool to be able to watch them in the nation’s capital, with the Washington Memorial in the background! Overall, a great day and Happy 4th of July.