The Great Falls off of the Potomac River

Kyle planned a little outing for us and it was wonderful. We had never been to what people called 'The Great Falls' and decided to check it out. Kyle packed a cooler full of snacks and we drove about 15 minutes north of our house and hit the trail. 

Notice how there are signs pointing which way to go? This would have come in handy if we had read them. More to come on this later. 

It was the perfect temperature and a perfect evening despite the bugs that naturally show up when in nature. 

We walked on a path along a crystal clear river that broke off from the Potomac. 

AND...we give you...GREAT FALLS!! But not really...Kyle and I would later find out that we had hiked nearly a mile north of the actual falls. It was just fine though because this provided the perfect backdrop to our snack between the hike up and the hike down to the actual falls. 

We searched for the perfect place to eat our snacks. 

Kyle had gone and bought some nice meats and cheeses to pair with crackers and a variety of sauces. 

After our food break, we hiked back down and found this cool sign showing where the flood levels have been over the years. It's such a nice park now that I don't know what they would do if the water rose again. In the thirties, Great Falls park used to have a carousel but as it shows, it was flooded in '36 beyond repair. 

And here....we have...............drum roll...............the actual Great Falls! 

Doesn't it look like it's coming straight from a painting? It was incredible and beautiful. 

I would absolutely LOVE to see Great falls again. The rushing sound of the falls combined with the cool breeze of the night made for a calm and perfect evening. Thank you Kyle! 

A Visit From Kimmy and Eric

My wonderful sister Kimmy and her amazing husband Eric are living in the cold Northwest country of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is going to dental school. I was beyond excited when they said they decided to take a road trip before their baby arrives and had put Washington D.C. as one of their pit stops. Even though Kyle and I had to work/school during the day, we were able to meet up with them at night and stop by a few places we hadn't seen yet. Plus, I got to feel Kimmy's little one kick which made me so happy.

I took them on a U.S. Capitol Tour and we were lucky to snag the front balcony for a picture.

We went to Arlington National Cemetery which was beautiful and moving. There are a lot of memorable people buried there including past presidents and war heroes. 

We stopped by the  President Kennedy and Family grave site and then made our way over to the Tom of the Unknown Soldier. This is a well known memorial in honor of those who have died in fighting for our country. The neatest thing about the tomb is that 24-hours-a-day and 365-days-a-year, rain or shine, it is guarded with every guard being rotated on the hour or half hour during the summer months.

This is one of my FAVORITE quotes of all time from a President. 

"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

The first guard walks back in forth in a very sacred and respectful way.

The ceremony of the changing of the guards was really humbling.

Another great memorial in honor. 

We took them to a lot of our favorite eats including Cafe Rio (when you live away from Utah, you tend to miss this one...luckily there is one 5 minutes from our home), Good Stuff Eatery, District Taco and Thomas Sweet Ice Cream. 

I had to include this picture. Boo loved Eric (or maybe his toothbrush) even though Eric isn't too fond of cats himself. 

It was so nice to spend a couple of days with these guys! I need to remember how much 'closer' they are in comparison to Utah. Kyle and I are excited to visit them in Milwaukee, take a trip to Chicago while we are there and enjoy Wisconsin cheese curds and custard!

Beehive State Visit - Part 2

I should have the titled this post "The Beaver State" because we drove down to Farmington Monday night and early the next morning, took off for Kyle's childhood vacation spot, Catherine Creek, near La Grande, Oregon. Kyle said to just expect it to look like Idaho, which at first it did, but once we got to Catherine Creek, it was beautiful with tall pine trees, a flowing river to float down, huckleberries all around and wonderful Wyatt side family.

Nell's :) I had heard about Nells-N-Out while Kyle and I were dating. It's the tiniest little drive up spot but has custom named drinks (ex. Polar Bear, White Ghost, Cowboy) and shakes. Here, I'm holding a 'Scottie'. Yes, Nell's lived up to it's name.

We drove in to Catherine Creek and threw our bags into a giant log cabin where we'd be sleeping. Next, for the first time ever, I was able to go 'fishing' with Kyle. It wasn't really full on fishing but I was able to see a little bit of his love for the sport. 

I love how he was super excited to catch what was tugging...a little baby minnow.
Another great plus to this visit was all the little babies ready to cuddle at hand.

And plenty of lollipops to go around.

Love this little nugget. 

The days were filled with early morning runs, lots of crafts
and an awesome water balloon launching fight.

I knew that I would eventually do this...but didn't realize how cold the water would be. There were moments where the girls would get water thrown on them as they passed by which luckily never happened to me. River floating was a good thing. 

Oh of my FAVORITE things about Catherine Creek was that the owners had a mamma cat who had given birth to five little kittens. I had to work hard at keeping myself from walking up to check on them every day we were there. 

Grace and Millie had the exact same idea. This was checking on the kitties after a harsh rain storm. 

One night we drove into La Grande and visited Kyle's Grandparents' graves.
I married into the best family.

I introduced Kyle and brothers-in-law to NERTs, a game my family plays far too often.

I loved Catherine Creek in the morning, with a misty river and bright sky. 

'Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.'
(Line taken from my love's favorite book)

My love on the bridge. One morning we came out to see huge Chinook Salmon swimming around. Kyle said they will travel all around and after mating and spawning, they
come back to where they were born, right before they die.

Gustopher. The loyal pup. 

I was so sad to leave. I LOVED Catherine Creek and am excited to bring our littles there someday.

We made the eight hour trek back to Farmington and went over to Margaret's for a movie night. Kyle's sister Becca introduced us to McConnell's Fine Ice Cream and I'm afraid
we have found a new splurge for our times home in Utah (not sold back east at all!).

Kyle can't contain his happiness. 

Kyle's family surprised me the next day with Cutler's Cookies (another Utah splurge)
for my birthday and it was the best surprise ever!

This cheeser again. 

Oh how I love and miss little Luke. 

Uncle and Aunt Selfie Time. 

With the women I look up to and adore. I can't believe I married into such an amazing family. 

We were spoiled during our summer trip out to Utah and it went by far too quickly. We will have to wait until Christmas, which isn't too far away, to see everyone again. Catherine Creek was good to us  and I look forward to picking more huckleberries and taking the river float plunge again.

LOVE this family and am so happy I am a part of it!

Beehive State Visit - Part 1

I felt like it had been so long since we were in Utah. This time it would be an entirely different season with a lot of changes. I was excited to see my family and to be with Kyle’s family, especially in his childhood vacation spot, Catherine Creek, Oregon. The night before as we were packing, we could tell Boo knew something was up. He kept jumping in our suitcase (he was probably just playing but I like to think he wanted to come with us). 

Not this time Boo....probably not any time, in fact. It costs $150 to take a pet on a plane with you. Yes....I've checked. 

We landed in Utah and I could immediately tell a difference in the air (lack of humidity). As we were coming down the escalator, I pulled a “You Know you’re In Utah When…” and took a picture of all of these families welcoming home missionaries. It was quite a sight to see.

Missionaries right behind us!

That night we went out with Liv and Carl to Red Iguana because I’ve never been and it’s amazing Mexican food. Yum yum. It was so fun walking into my home in Pleasant View and feeling the spirit through the service of 3 missionaries out. You can read about them here. Great food and treats everywhere along with the warmth of family nearby…there is something so special about coming home. 

Utah....Sweet, Utah. 

Peach Tree! Be still my heart!

Scott's famous waffles with peaches from their peach tree! 

I was in heaven with two peach trees out in my parent's garden to have every morning. 

I had made a dental appointment cleaning at our family place in Ogden so I grudgingly went the next morning and met my family and Kyle at the Ogden temple open house. This is the temple I went to beginning with my days as a beehive and all the way to pre-mission days. It was a little hard to see it redone because I remembered it how I always saw it…but at the same time it was gorgeous inside! It had followed the art deco style seen in a lot of old buildings around Ogden. I’m hoping it really gives Ogden a much needed lift.

Ogden did a project a while back where they placed painted horse statues all over the city. This one reminded me of Mary Poppins.

We had a great lunch at Five Guys followed by a Junction movie showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn’t think I would like it but ended up loving it! We came home where I asked my mom if I could make bread and cinnamon rolls with her. Whenever I try to make them out in Virginia, I feel like they never turn out. It could be the change in elevation as well as the humidity, but I just wanted to watch step by step with her. I think they were the best batch of cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had by her. Magic. We ended the night by playing cards which is always a must in my family.

The next day, Kyle and I decided to go to the Golden Spike National Monument since we hadn’t been before. It was hilarious watching these older folks from around the area dress up and reenact the day the Union and Pacific Railroads finally met up in good ol’ Northwest Utah. 

The meeting of the trains...and awesome period clothing.

The husband. 

Will you smile for me in front of the train, please? 

A plaque to commemorate...

After the monument, we drove 15 minutes to the west to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. This was actually really neat. This man in the 70’s went out to the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake and formed rocks into a spiral formation. While we were out there, it seemed like we were in a totally different area. The area where the water receded left little formations of salt crystals.

In all her glory on the edge of the wilderness...

Such photo skillz...

The water had receded and the salt just stayed glued to this rock. 


I call this 'Man Wandering to Nowhere'.

I wrote out this cute message only to discover a mean 3-degree burn an hour later (yes…the sand felt hot…but not that hot! Or so I thought...) 

We didn't realize how long we had been out without sunscreen. Kyle got the worst of it. 

This wasn't as bad as the doosey he got on our honeymoon. He woke up one night and was heating up and sticking to our sheets from his sunburn.

We went back to swim with my family and checked out the Weber County Fair afterwards, full of good food and cute animals. 

Cute little doughnut pushes out the dough into the oil and travels down a little chute where metal wires flip them over once one side has been cooked. Kyle and I will own one someday.

Needed to buy the homemade rootbeer, obviously. 

Fluffy cloud of dissolvable sugar. My favorite.

I love how all the pens of animals have homemade posters with quirky themes for each animal owner.

Big Bertha....actually I really didn't know her name. That just sounds like a good one. 

I wanted a picture with the cow...who wanted a piece of my shorts. 

All the animals loved Kyle. And this one was hungry for paper.

Growing up, I always begged to have a rabbit. My mom would call everyone she knew who had rabbits and make me talk to them until I was "convinced" they were hard to take care of. This didn't stop me from buying my rabbit fur every year in West Yellowstone. I still have a hard time leaving the bunny exhibit. 

Hey little dude...

Since we were in Virginia over our first anniversary we had to wait until we were in Utah to have a piece of our wedding cake. And it was actually still really good. Lemon with raspberry. 

Kyle was a gem on our wedding day and didn't smash the cake into my face. I knew I wasn't going to be that lucky this time. 

We went to church the next morning with my family and came home to a yummy treat of Scott's homemade salsa...we sent this picture to him of the boys feasting since he wasn't there at the moment. I love Kyle's face. 

A chorus of angels sing whenever I take a bite of homemade peach pie. 

My mom was wonderful and invited whoever could come from the extended family up to see us. It was so nice to be with everyone for a brief moment. 

My cousin Torrey's little Lu (my middle namesake!).

The next morning, we went down to play tennis at Weber High School, walked straight up our mile long hill home and cooled off in the pool. We played the 'hit the cup off of Kyle's head with a ball' game.

Trying to get a nice picture of the both of us... in vain. 

And again...


We attempted a jump in the pool picture but of us was a little off. Still, this is pretty epic. 

We made this little girl swim in the pool too....and she HATED it.

Oh Utah at are beautiful. Such a great weekend with the fam! Next...our trip up with Kyle's family to...get this...The Beaver State. Yes, Oregon, My Oregon.