Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Skagway, AK & Victoria, BC

Catch the first part of our trip here and the second part here.
On Wednesday we had the chance to explore a cute little town called Skagway. With only 900 permanent residents, most of the hustle and bustle of the town comes from tourists. Okay, all of the activity comes from tourists. Ha. We checked out a small Alaska museum/gift shop and a few other shops before deciding to ditch "downtown" and just walk around the town. As we were out and about walking, we ran into some missionaries! (We didn't take our cameras out since it was raining when we got off the boat and all I have are camera photos unfortunately.)
^^We found the local LDS church. So small, and so different from any other I've ever seen!^^

Thursday was another day at sea. At this point I had caught some kind of nasty cold, so my day was full of lounging in heated chairs at the spa reading The Help (Side story: Possibly one of my most favorite books I've ever read. Everyone should read it!), eating all of the pre-cut fruit I could find on the ship, and religiously taking DayQuil and vitamins. Fortunately I was able to curtail my cold and my energy came back just in time to explore Victoria Island on Friday!
I had been to Victoria before, but all I remembered was the condo we stayed in and touring some old castle. So between that and just being older on this trip, I felt like I was discovering a new city. Our first stop was Chinatown; honestly, it wasn't as cool as the Chinatown in San Francisco or New York, but it was still fun to walk around and see something different for a change. 
We stumbled across a small outdoor market and a bunch of really cute restaurants on our way back downtown. 
My second favorite thing to see on the island was the gigantic parliament building. It was absolutely beautiful and impressive in every way possible.
^^The famous Empress Hotel - built between 1904 and 1908.^^
After hanging around downtown for a little bit my mom, grandma, and I took a taxi to Butchart Gardens. This was definitely my favorite thing we saw/explored on the island - the weather was perfect for walking through acres of flowers! And now for too many pictures of flowers. . .
To kick off our week of cruising with a bang! we spent our evening watching one last cruise ship show, stuffing our faces with one last fancy dinner we didn't have to prepare ourselves, some reading, and a cheesecake run at 1 am. It was the best and definitely one of my most favorite trips ever, and I'm dying to go back already!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I learned how to use tools and i didn't even hurt myself.

One of my coworkers has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for over a year now and she's been telling me for months that I should come check it out. This weekend I jumped at the chance since I had some free time and learned quite a bit from it all - how to use a saw, how to measure and cut baseboards, how to cope baseboards, and how to use a nail gun. After adding baseboards to four bedrooms and the living room/kitchen, I'm feeling just a little bit like a pro. Let me come fix/install your baseboards. :)

The coolest part was working right alongside the woman who is buying the Habitat home. She's a first generation home buyer and her whole extended family has been coming and putting in sweat hours to help her meet her quota. (Every HFH home buyer has to put in 350 hours of work on the house they're purchasing. After they hit a certain amount, they can have friends and family members come and count their time towards those 350 required hours.) 

Find out where your closest Habitat for Humanity building site is and take a few hours out of your day to volunteer!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Japanese Festival in the gardens.

Every year the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts a Japanese Festival with various activities all weekend long. Ben's sister was interested in checking out the festival while she was visiting, so we grabbed our cameras, purchased some tickets, and made our way through it all. It started raining as soon as we got there, but it made for some pretty pictures the rest of the time. Believe it or not, none of these photos have been edited - everything was so bright!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

picking up on some things.

I think it's nearly impossible to spend a great deal of time with someone without picking up some of their habits, likes, and even quirks. After almost 2.5 years of marriage, I can clearly see how living with Ben has changed me for better or for worse. ;)

1. Ordering the $0.99 guacamole on the side at Qdoba or Chipotle is routine now.
2. I'm convinced that buying a movie is better than paying to see it once in theaters.
3. I've actually seen an entire football game.
4. All of our shirts get folded the "fancy" way.
5. Our shirts actually get folded.
6. Wearing blue on a day that BYU plays is a necessity.
7. Star Wars gets referenced regularly in our household.
8. Flossers are better than dental floss.
9. We have pizza frequently - but mostly Little Caesars.
10. Macs, iPhones, iPads. Apple everything.
How has marriage changed you? :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Juneau, AK & Glacier

Catch the first part of our trip here.
Juneau was definitely nothing what I expected! Besides an occasional tall government building here or there, it was mostly rows of shops (for tourists), small businesses/restaurants, and houses. I was also surprised to find that the Capitol building doesn't look like your typical Capitol building with a dome and granite, but is really just a simple, old building. We ended up taking a tour of it and learned quite a bit about Alaska's history, but my favorite thing was hearing the tour guide refer to the rest of the US (minus Hawaii) as the "lower 48." I can't wait to start using the term any chance I get. ;)
^^The Capitol. With 4 fancy pillars.^^
The cruise ship wasn't docked in Juneau for very long and because of the weather we didn't plan to head out on any excursions, so we spent a few hours walking around the "city." We found quite a few jewelry stores, lots of animal furs, and millions of Alaska sweatshirts (can't wait for the weather to cool down a bit so I can wear mine everyday. ;)) Juneau was definitely the most gorgeous mix of vibrant greens I've ever seen and I hope I get to go back someday!
That afternoon the cruise ship headed towards a glacier a few hours outside of Juneau. I wish I had a video of how anxious and excited people were after the captain announced that we were a minute or two away from the glacier. Herds of people flooded the decks and I've never seen so many cameras and video recorders in one place before. People were taking selfies with the glacier, climbing on the shoulders of family/friends to get better views, and pushing their way to the front of the balconies. It was hilarious to watch and slightly ridiculous. I've now learned that 1) this glacier was a whole lot smaller than I thought it would be, and 2) it was a much brighter blue than I imagined. Now you know what a glacier looks like. :)