Friday, October 30, 2009

Willis Campout 2009

So every summer my family gets together for a family campout.  Since Nate and I have been married they've been rough.  The first summer was the year of the bees.  We spent the whole time in a screen tent playing games... they were really that bad.  Pretty sure that we all got stung at least once.  That same year we also saw a rattlesnake and fresh bear poop in our camp.

Then there was summer number 2.  Nate came down with something right before we left, but we decided to go anyway.  Not only did our campsite (plus our tent) flood, but Nate became so ill (we're talking sweating through a sweatshirt AND sleeping bag) that we decided to head back after the first night.  Good thing, too, because Nate had a really serious bacterial infection.

That brings us to this summer.  By far the best.  We did run into some illness.  I'm not sure anyone was immune to it.  I was feeling pretty good while camping, but it hit me pretty hard the next day.  And it also rained pretty hard one day.  Overall I think it was a success and we had a blast.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  (I love the ones of the boys catching the football.  Jaycie's kids have the best looks on their face.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanks Brayden.

My brother Brayden called me this morning to let me know that one of my photographs was published in BYU's Daily Universe.  He said he walked by the newspaper stand and did a double take because he recognized the photo.  I have to admit I'm a little annoyed that I wasn't given credit, but I still thought it was cool.

Here's the link to the article online:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oregon Coast 2009

The next week after we got back from Italy Nate had to train state employees on a new computer system in Astoria.  We stayed in this really nice hotel in Seaside, OR.  On Friday, while Nate was at work, I stayed in the hotel to finished up some photographs for a client.  Once Nate was finished, we were finally able to go to the beach.  It was beautiful and the weather was perfect.  We just relaxed there for awhile and did some wading.  

Saturday we got up and hit the beach again.  We got ice cream (which was a huge disappointment after gelato), found this amazing candy store with about every candy from your childhood.  We bought tons of saltwater taffy in flavors like raspberry lemonade, cinnamon roll, key lime pie, etc. and a bunch of Tootsie Roll brand Frooties (I was so excited... they're my favorite.  I used to go to Frank's in Moses (you're right Jaycie, I knew Bob's didn't sound quite right) and buy them for a penny each, but I can never seem to find them anymore.)  We had the most delicious fresh fish.  It was just the perfect weekend.

Before we left we drove down the coastal highway and went to Canon Beach (the stores and shops there are amazing... cute little boutiques and a dozen kite shops... I told Nate that the next time we go to the coast we definitely have to buy and fly a kite) and this less popular, but in my opinion prettier beach, where we ended up swimming.  

Freeze action fun.  How is it that it never gets old?

I'm thinking I should've been a gymnast.

Nate excited to be having to answer work emails while on the beach.

I love reflection photos.
Man, my legs are so white.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Nate ever.

It was so cold early Saturday morning.
There is nothing that Nate loves more than the ocean... except for me, of course.
Nate trying his hand at some freeze action jumping.
Getting some serious air.  Gotta love that face!

Saturday morning the clouds broke, the wind died down... so we went swimming.  It was so cold, but definitely worth it.  We have the most amazing luck whenever we go to the coast.  The weather is always beautiful.

And for you, Amy and Cara, these are just some pictures of the loot we ended up with from Italy.

Murano glass.  The guy who sold us the blue one was the sweetest guy.  He told us all about how you could distinguish Venetian glass from impostor glass.  Probably one of the nicest people that we met.

Some small watercolors.  Loved this artist.  He was adorable.

The cow purse.  The woman who sold me this purse was one of my other favorite people that we met in Italy.  And she was so kind to remind me multiple times that I'd better not use this purse until the summer because it's not a winter season purse.  She was so funny.
This leather purse is soooo soft.
The two glass rings, three glass necklaces and two scarves I bought.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Our last stop was Venice.  I was so happy that this was our last city.  Not only was it my favorite, but it was the most relaxing part of our trip.  There's not a whole lot of sites to see, so we just did a lot of strolling around.  
A few cute parts of Venice.  I wish this was our hotel... ours reminded me of my 3rd grade classroom.
Everyone that we talked to that had been to Venice told us that it smells really bad.  But it wasn't a problem at all.  Florence was WAY more smelly than Venice.  In Florence, Nate and I would actually cross the street to avoid the sewer vents that were everywhere.  Not sure if we just went to Venice at the right time of the year, or what, but I thought it smelled just fine.
And it was beautiful!
Nate in the Piazza San Marco.
One thing Venice is known for is it's glass.  Murano Island has a glass blowing facility where many artists create amazing glass pieces.  They're really expensive, but we were able to afford 2 glass vases.  When I asked Nate what he really wanted to buy while we were in Italy, this was his only request.  I also bought a few Venetian glass necklaces and rings that I absolutely love.
On the balcony of our hotel.  It was fun in the morning to come out here and watch all the restaurant employees get ready for their day.
The Rialto Bridge.
A view of the Grand Canal.  I'm not sure why anyone would choose to have a gondola ride here.  I personally prefer the smaller waterways, but that's just me.
We walked around all day.  One day we heard a lady saying that the last time she was in Venice a friend of hers had told her that she would pay her $200 if she could find this shoe store that they had earlier stopped by in Venice, because she was regretting not buying a pair of shoes.  They were never able to find the store.  It made me laugh.  The walk ways and store fronts all blended into each other that you could spend days trying to find a certain store or area.  We spent hours searching for this scarf store that was in the vicinity of our hotel before we were able to find it again.  If you plan to go back to a store, you'd better mark it on your map.  The great part about Venice though is that it's an island, so you can never really get lost. 
There are hundreds of bridges in Venice.
Man, I loved this place.
4 Euro gelato... strawberry, pistachio and chocolate hazelnut...yum.
Loved the vines that grew everywhere.
Almost finished with my gelato.
Looking across the Grand Canal.
If I ever get to build my own home, it's definitely going to be Italy-inspired.
Love, love, love this home.   Isn't the door amazing?
My crazy burgundy and aqua eyeglasses were so normal for Italy.  People there wear the funkiest glasses I've ever seen.  Next time we go to Italy I think we'll have to hit up an optometrist.

I loved Venice at night.
Our retro hairdryer in our retro hotel.  (I figured retro sounded better than outdated.)
St. Mark's Basilica.

Some of the craziest masks we'd seen.
Me with the awesome hippo mask.
Love this one... especially the little girl on the scooter.  The Italians have the most beautiful children.  I never even saw an average-looking kid there. 

I love this picture that Nate took.
Venice is known for it's masks.  In some shops they can sell for 500+ Euro each... crazy.  This one's only 15ish.
Right after this picture we got chewed out by the vendor for taking pictures.  Man, we are so rebellious.  
These masks for men are kind of funny.  The longer the nose, the more luck you'll have.  Must be a "guy thing."  Wink. Wink.
Love this house... probably my favorite that we saw.
On our 70 Euro, 45 minute gondola ride.  We rowed past homes that Vivaldi and Casa Nova lived in, and the place where Marco Polo was buried.  The water in these waterways are about 2 meters deep (6 feet) and sometimes flood up to 3 meters.
More pictures from the gondola ride.

Love this one.
Nate and I and our gondolier.
Nate chillin' on the waterfront watching sailboats and cruise ships.
The store fronts in Venice were amazing.  Nate and I did a lot of window shopping.  This one is a bakery/candy store.  The fruits and veggies are actually candies.  Love the bananas.
Venice at night.  I sat on a bench while Nate laid on my lap for an hour or so just enjoying this view.

Waiting at the airport.  Our last gelato.  :(
Yay!  My last bottle of San Benedetto water.  This stuff was so bad... but there were times it was all we could find.  Nate was gone for 20 minutes just trying to find some other brand of water for me.  

Some videos... again, sorry about the smooching.

Piazza San Marco.  This was upon first arriving in Venice.

Love this video of the gondola ride.

Venice at night.  I loved this.  We came into the square after walking around Venice and there was this HUGE crowd of people in front of this restaurant just listening to this band... or orchestra... whatever you would call it.  After each song the crowd would go wild cheering and the band was really getting into it.  After a few songs they went to take a break and the crowd shifted to the next restaurant's band.  It was so funny.

Our last morning in Venice, and yes, I did buy the purse.  A cute yellow patent leather one that still smells just like cow... not leather, but full-on dairy farm.  Didn't realize that until I got it home, but it is beautiful.  Hopefully the smell goes away soon.

This was on our way to the airport.  It was kind of perfect that we left when we did (although I wish we could have stayed at least another 2 days.)  By the time we got to the airport it down-poured.

Our trip ended with a 2 hour flight to Germany (and another stamp in our passport, although we never got to leave the airport), then a 15 hour flight to San Francisco, and finally an hour flight to Portland.  We arrived in Portland at about midnight and were wide awake enough to make the 4 hour drive home.  It was such an awesome trip, but so good to be home.  Hopefully someday we'll get a chance to go back.