Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming Full Circle

After all the presidents day festivities I jumped in the Matrix and headed back to San Diego. This morning I woke up to warm sunshine and headed to the backyard. I picked and orange off our tree and ate it in the sun. Life is good!

I should have spent the day unpacking but it was way too nice outside so I headed to the beach. It is so good to be back here. I feel really good about it. Besides how amazing it is here, it will be nice to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.
I am so grateful that I got to go to London. I had incredible experiences, learned a ton, met amazing people and got to see some incredible parts of the world. I feel like I learned a lot about myself as well.
Here are some of the things I am taking away from my time abroad:
-Family is extremely important to me and being near them makes me happy.
-The world is full of best friends just waiting for the right opportunity to be discovered.
-I like sunshine!
-My "list" will only get longer the more I travel.
-A good book can be great company.
-The "pride cycle" is real and very easy to fall into.
-Be grateful for freedom - it's something we take for granted but that people through the ages have spent and given their lives fighting for.
-Seeing something amazing ( i.e. the Berlin wall) can be just as cool as meeting someone famous.
-One of the great parts of traveling is coming home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day

This morning all the college kids took off....boo.... so I spent all day hanging with the kiddies. Pretty glad I am not stuffed in a suburban driving 12 hours back to home work and class. We went this morning to play ultimate frisbee, which is one of my favorite things every! So good to be out and active in the sunshine!

The rest of the day we spent riding bikes to the beach with my parents and sitting around on the beach at campus point and just enjoying time with them. It is so good to be back with familiarity and particularly family. I think that is what I longed for more than anything while I was away.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!!! Jackson is dating this girl Sarah and she brought him cookies while we were away at church....cool but then he was sweating it all day because of course he hadn't planned anything for her. Haha!

Instead of having Sunday dinner at home we decided to head to the beach and have a BBQ to make the most of the beautiful day. Fajitas...yummy!
The sunset was amazing as usual.

And it seems that great sunsets on the beach inspire jumping pictures...???

The boys were getting pretty crazy!

Then we headed back to paradise (Preston and Debbie's house) for some Smores...so tasty!

Jackson came up with a great idea of what to do for Sara (his girlfriend) for Valentines day, so 15 of us piled into the van and headed to her house.

We all secretly decorated her driveway with sidewalk chalk and snuck away. Then Jackson ding-dong ditched her..... he didn't anticipate how long it would take 15 people to get into the van so we were pulling the rest of our limbs in and pulling away as she ran down the street after us. Not exactly romantic but perfect for high school. So much fun!

I included this picture not because it is good, but it does show how voraciously we devoured the cake the Regan made for us, no plates, just forks and I literally had to push my way in to get one bite at the end. The whole cake lasted about 2 minutes. Fred's face also rocks in this pic!!!
My Mom and Dad also came down and Aunt Michelle and Jesse came up so it was great to see them as well. There was a whole lot of love going around this Valentines day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Santa Barbara Beach Day

California Rocks! (And particularly Santa Barbara) There is a bit of a warm streak going on right now and we were determined to take full advantage of it. Beach Day!

The plan wasn't to swim since the water is anything but warm, but there were some really big swells coming in and they needed to be played in, so we did some body surfing and played in the waves. Once my feet were numb it was pretty comfortable....hehe. What's with the boys side/girls side???

Then we had to warm up and do some hard core sun bathing.

On the way home we dropped into In-N-Out for some excellent hamburgers.

We hung around at home for a while then headed back to the beach to catch the sunset. Is this place for real? I have been coming to this beach since I was a little kid and I am still completely captivated by how beautiful it is!

Got all the ladies together on the lifeguard tower. Regan's sisters Bryan and Leigh came down with her to experience SB charm.....we were all amazed.

As if it could get any dreamier....we walked out on the pier and saw dolphins jumping out on the water, I caught this ones tail as he jumped. Incredible!

After some serious eating we headed to the church where we played dodge ball for a while. We only had tennis balls so the boys had to throw left handed, which leveled the playing field, prevented any bruising and was absolutely hilarious! Go get 'em Bryan.
Pretty much the best day ever! It was just what this sun/family/California deprived girl needed.


After we dropped off my stuff in San Diego and slept a few hours we headed to meet up with the family at Disneyland. Truly one of the happiest places on earth!

Kelly and I met Pluto...what a dream!

Most of the happiness of Disneyland is just being with family and being able to feel like a kid all day long.

One of the first things we did was visit the Beast's library where you can take a short personality test and learn what Disney character you are most like. Uncle Preston turned out to be most like the Queen of Hearts.....maybe not completely accurate...haha!

We also went and learned how to draw Pooh Bear at their character studio. Amazing how if you just know a few basic principles it can be really simple.

We also went to see the Bugs Life 3D movie - man we look good!

I had to get a shot with the Matterhorn since I had been to the real one so recently. Disneyland is the reason that mountain is so famous in the states. There was no abominable snow monster this time though since it was closed....

I had to include this picture, not because it is good. I look totally awkward....for a good reason. Just before I took this picture a big group of BYU Lacrosse players walked by and of course we gave them a shout out.....but just as I was taking the picture my mom started telling me I should go over and talk to them and that I was missing an opportunity!!! I had to run away before she started handing out my phone number! Haha!

Once we were all Disneylanded out (not possible) we headed to get some good Mexican food which I haven't had in ages! Thank you Mexican people!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hanging out at Home

I spent my first week back in the states hanging out with friends and family, catching up on life and getting over jet lag. I get tired at about 4pm (12am in London). Andrea went out with me for some carmel apple cider and a Target run to help me stay awake.

I got to see my best friend, Amanda and hang with her little ladies. Number 3 was being shy at this point.

Amanda took me to the new class she is teaching at the gym, R.I.P.P.E.D.

I haven't done anything more than walk for the last 6 months, so I was pretty ripped up after. We also did half a Zumba class, which was really fun.

Thursday night we packed up the suburban and trailer and bike rack with all my stuff and headed south. Dad was very impressed with his the hauling capacity of his trailer as usual. You will also notice the little noodles used to separate my bikes on his bike rack...very creative! So he was great and we drove all the way down to San Diego to dump off my stuff. Well, I drove an hour and then passed out. Not much has changed since I was a kid...
It was really nice to be at home and do familiar things. Work out with my mom, play with patches and just drive around and see familiar things and places that hold all my childhood memories.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sierra Summit

Since I have still not made it full circle back to San Diego, the adventure continues. Today we went to Sierra Summit for some snowboarding. It has been raining a lot here so the snow was perfect, the sun was out, it wasn't too cold. I have been coming here to ski since I was a little girl and these were the best conditions I have ever seen.

Andrea and I snowboarded.

Mom and Dad skiied.

The day really could not have been more beautiful.

You can see mom here tearing up China Bowl, a black diamond. This is the second time this season I have been and I noticed a big difference. It was much easier the second time around which of course made it more fun. I need to start going more regularly. Such a fantastic day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


After all last nights festivities Charlotte drove me to James' house at 4am, then James took me to the airport at 5am, I got on a plane at 9am and said goodbye to England....

19 hours later.....I said hello to LA - could they be more dramatically different??? It was so nice to fly over LA and see familiar stores and people driving in their cars and houses instead of flats, all things that are familiar to me. But there are so many things that have become familiar to me about London. I saw a big Target and thought, "I am really going to miss Tesco". I also saw a big parking lot and thought, I am really excited to drive my car to the grocery store and not have to walk 15 minutes home with heavy bags. Bittersweet...

Dad picked me up at the airport....heaven.....and helped me acclimatize with some In-N-Out. Excellent!
When we got home I met this little lady and newest addition to the family. Patches. So precious!

Mom had of course made me a welcome home sign. I can always count on that. It was so nice to just sit around the living room and be at home with my family. Andrea is super cute as usual and way energetic and it was great to see mom and catch up on the news. Nothing interesting to report about the night, it was perfect!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Can't think of a better way to end an epic adventure than to be with those who made it epic. I gave Lauren a Michael Buble (our obsession) cd for her birthday tomorrow and she gave me a book with all her favorite British recipes and some rocky road...yum.

We all met up at the chapel at they Hyde Park YSA dance. Here is Felicity, Charlotte and James (is that really a smile James??)

Josh, Emily, Loren and Charly.

These are "my ladies". Could not have asked for a better group of friends. I am really sad to leave them. They were not just friends I happend to make because I had no other friends.... well I didn't have any other friends, but I would have picked them even if the circumstances were different. Amazing girls.
After Hyde park we drove into town to Leichester Square (which was not an easy thing even at 2am....the city was just getting going) and wandered around and got some ice cream.

As mentioned, it is Lauren's 26th tomorrow, so James gave her this button which she sported all night and told everyone that it was her very first YSA dance....hehe.

What an fantastic way to spend my last night. With these great people just wandering around the heart of this great city, couldn't have been better.

Special thanks goes out to James, (another failed attempt at a smile, it must be too cloudy for people in Leeds to smile...) if it weren't for him I wouldn't know any of these amazing people.