Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally Europe!

So I'm finally updating our blog... I think I've been putting it off for so long because it's seemed just a little daunting. I didn't know how to write about my experience in Europe without it being way too long to keep anyone's attention. So, I finally decided to just sit down and do it. I think the best way to do it though is to just put the best pictures on here with captions that can be read if you have the time, or if you don't, just enjoy the pretty pictures. Let me just start out by saying that it was one of the best experiences ever, though. The only bad thing, of course, was not having TJ there to share it with me. My biggest wish now is to go back some day with him! Anyway, here it is!!

So this is the place where I spent probably half of my time in Europe. We initially flew into Rome but then rode on this wonderful bus between each amazing place we visited. At first, it was a little uncomfortable, but we all figured out how to fall asleep after not to long. Our bus driver, Pader, tried his best to be entertaining, but we usually tuned him out. It gave us all some great bonding time though!!

So this was the AMAZING view from the top of
St. Peter's Basilica inside the Vatican in Rome. The vatican, and especially St. Peter's was one of my favorite places on the trip. It was beautiful and had so much history! This view is a pretty famous on of the Colonnade which was designed by Bernini. I had to work hard for this view, though! I think is was around 600 stairs to the top... I'm glad I was still breathing when I got there!

This is a picture of the inside of St. Peter's. I know you probably can't tell from this picture, but it was amazing on the inside. I can't even explain it... And it was massive!! The gold lettering near the top of the picture is 7 feet tall and the altar in the middle is about 3 stories tall.




This is an illegal picture I took in the Sistine Chapel. I could have spent hours in here, except that every 30 second, the quiet was interrupted by a guard yelling "QUIET!" and "NO PHOTO!" I obviously didn't follow all of their advice. I just had to get one picture of this masterpiece.


This was Venice! It was a gorgeous place. We did all the musts - a gondola ride, a visit to St. Mark's cathedral, and a trip to the glass factory. It was great. The people there weren't as nice as other places in Italy, but I think they were used to dealing with a higher class of tourists, not humble students like us.


This is outside the gazebo from the Sound of Music! We went on a tour of all the sites from the movie while we were in Saltzburg, Austria. It was so much fun! My friend in this picture had basically the entire movie memorized, so of course we reenacted as much as we could!


This is a kind of sad picture... It's from the concentration camp we visited called Mauthausen. It was a depressing, but powerful. It was something I was really glad I got to see.



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This band was SO COOL. They were performing on the Charles Bridge in Prague. They made me miss TJ even more... oh, and watch the singer's eyes. He's hilarious!

These are the doors in Wittenburg, Germany where Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis. A lot of what we learned about on this trip had to do with the protestant reformation and so this site was especially important. It was so cool to go to a place where something so important happened. It really helped my testimony grow. I realized that God really does guide people to do things in their life that will help the gospel grow, even if they don't realize it.


This was a wonderous place in Munich called the Haufbraghaus. It's the largest beer hall in the world, and highly recommended by the trip director (a religion teacher) who eats there every year at least once. It was the place where I first experiences Wiener Schnitzel, and had my largest glass of Fanta. It was great! They had an umpa-band and people in the traditional german get-up. It was quite the experience...


This was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life. It was a lake below Neuschwanstein Castle (the disney castle). The fall colors were amazing and this man decided to take a nice little spin in his canoe just in time for a Photo opp. The whole area was breathtaking, but this picture captured it the best, I think.


This is, well, THE EIFFEL TOWER!!! I really didn't think I would be as excited to see it as I was. On our first night in Paris, though, as we walked around the corner and I saw it, I might admit I screamed a little... It was amazing. The ride to the top was also phenomenal. I don't this TJ would have liked the glass elevator, but I thought it was great! You could see all of Paris from the top, and I'm so glad I experienced it.

This was the place I was probably the most excited to see going into this tour. The Louvre was overwhelming, but had some things in it that I always wanted to see. After we were done at the Louvre (where I could probably spend a week without seeing everything) we headed over to the Musee d'Orsay where most of the impressionist art is. Though there wasn't as much to see, I was just as blown away. This was basically one of the best days of my life :)


So this is the Tower Bridge outside of the tower of London. This was something else I was really excited for. I've always had this strange obsession with English history, especially Henry the Eighth and the Elizabethan era. So, the tower of London was kind of a jack-pot. This was where Ann Boleyn (Henry's second wife) was executed, where the crowned jewels are kept, and lots of other awesome history took place. I could have spent all day there, but unfortunately, I got about 2 hours.


And this is inside WICKED!!! It was the second time I'd seen it, but just as amazing. It was kinda fun too because all the actors had english accents. I think that was one of the parts that was the most fun about London... the accents :) The play made me miss TJ even more though. I'm glad this was our last stop...



And last of all, here is some of the food that saved my life on this trip...




Starbucks saved my life when I needed some good comfort food






And these are Kabobs. Yum. That's all I have to say

Last of all, but most importantly would be gilatto, but I don't have a picture of that....


Well, that's it! I know it was a lot, but believe me, this is after taking lots out. I hope you liked it! I hope you can all have an experience like this some day if you haven't already :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Quickwater Camp


So Julia finally got home from two weeks at a camp for girls called Quickwater! She was a mentor there, in charge of five girls. It was so much fun, but she missed TJ SO MUCH and is so happy to be home. Quickwater Ranch is an amazing place in the Teton valley owned by Dick and Sue Jacobsen. They opened the ranch as a place for girls age 13-17 to come and spend two weeks in nature for free! The Jacobsen's provide food, activities, hikes, and a good place to grow (which is the theme of Quickwater). It's an amazing experience for these girls, and for the mentors too! Julia learned to make picture frames and lots of other crafty stuff. Now she might even fit in with her crafty Sisters and Sisters-in law. :) It was a very spiritual experience too. Even though it's not run by the church, the Jacobsen's are members as are almost all of the people who come there so the gospel is incorprated in much of what they do there. Some of Julia's favorite times there were the meetings in a medow above the ranch and in a grove where the spirit was so strong! It was just an awesome experience overall and Julia was sad to leave because she learned to love all the girls there so much! She's happy to be home though...
While she was gone, TJ was pretty bored at home all alone. Because it's the break, all of his friends are gone and so he didn't have a lot of people to hang out with. He kept himself busy by working out every day and keeping the apartment so wonderfully clean! He also spent a lot of time practicing all sorts of music stuff. He practiced four mallet marimba, drumset, intervals, and different scales and modes. He also spent a lot of time brushing up on his spanish speaking skills to prepare himself for a possible job opportunity at a call center for a company called Melaleuca. He turned in an applicationg for this place at the beginning of the break and just finally on wednesday had an interview there (which he forgot to tell Julia about until Saturday...typical TJ forgetfullness) which went well he thinks. He should be hearing from them on whether or not he got the job by next wednesday. We both hope he gets it!
So that's an update on the last two weeks! They've been pretty busy and have gone by so fast!

The amazing view of the Tetons on Julia's sunrise hike


Some picture from Julia's overnight hike to Green Lakes - it was AMAZING


Shots from Julia's group's awesome skit and all the campers and leaders


Some of the awesome people Julia met :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July Weekend

So we had a 3 day weekend over the 4th of July and it was so much fun! The first activity was the Rexburg 4th of July parade that TJ marched in. He was so good! Julia sat out in the sun all by herself waiting for him....and he finally came!!

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As you can see, Julia has some pretty mad camera skills. Anyway, after the parade was over, we met up with our friends Kate and Jeff and headed to Idaho Falls to watch the fireworks and BBQ. Granted, this was at about 4 in the afternoon so we only had to wait about 6 hours for the fireworks, but we kept ourselves pretty entertained. We played some games, taught Jeff and Kate the amazing card game called Hand and Foot, ate some amazing stake (after the Men assembled our new high-tech $10 grill), and had a riveting watermelon seed spitting contest.

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Julia doesn't like watermelon, but she still got to be in one of the pictures

On Saturday, TJ had to practice for a little while, but after he was done, we left for Yellowstone! It was TJ's first time! Our goal was to see a bear. We'll see if that happened....
It didn't take us very long to see wildlife. We saw TONS of bison and elk. After stopping to take pictures a few times, we stopped to go on a little hike. Even though it was only 5 miles roundtrip, we were both pretty tired by the time we got to our destination of Fairy Falls. It was pretty and we had fun speculating why it was named Fairy Falls. Did a fairy discover it? Is it whimpy and so people rudely called it Fairy Falls? Is it so small that it's only a waterfall to a fairy? These were just a few of our brilliant ideas. Probably the most exciting thing about Fairy falls, however, was the yellow bellied marmot! It was a friendly little guy and came pretty close to us. We named him Fred.


On the return trip, we had some fun fighting off gnats. TJ's head ended up with little red dots all over it :( Julia's probably did too, but they were a little harder to see.
Next we headed to Old Faithful. We didn't feel like waiting around for it to errupt, so we left a little dissapointed. We did, however, sight some awesome hippies. They all had dreadlocks (even the 10-year-old daughter) and TJ was pretty grossed out by the never-been-shaved legs the females were sporting.
We stopped a few more times to take pictures and then headed out of Yellowstone into Teton National Park. We saw more bison and elk and had a beautiful view of the Teton mountains. The most exciting part, however, was our sighting of none other than a BEAR. It was pretty much amazing. There were two of them and when we both got out of the car to try and get a good look at them, one started crossing the road in front of us and we were told very firmly to get back in our car by the ranger. TJ was more than happy to comply.

We saw some more animals after that, including a bison pooping, but unfortunately it was to dark and none of the pictures or videos turned out very well. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good trip!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Married Life...

So now that you guys have seen all of our wedding pictures, you know that we're married but might be wondering, "What's next?" Well let me tell you!
After our little accident and hour from home because the U-Haul trailer (totaling the truck and damaging a lot of our stuff in the process), we bought plane tickets, packed as much of our stuff as we could, and headed back to Idaho. Our first day back we thought it might be fun to have a bed to sleep on, so having no luck with Craig's List, we bought the cheapest one we could find from The Mattress Place (they sell mostly mattresses there, in case you were wondering) here in town. The mattress was all the furniture we had for a while and so we were forced to spend all our time in the bedroom (because it was the only place to sit! come on guys...)
Once we finally got our love sac that we'd been waiting for since thanksgiving, we were grateful to have somewhere else to hang out. The bed was a little awkward when we had friends over. After that, things really got rolling and after getting some unexpected extra money, we decided to buy a couch and a kitchen table. This place started actually feeling like a home!
Over their spring break, Julia's family came out to visit and brought a lot of the stuff that we'd had to leave home, including a bed frame, a coffee table, and TJ's drum set. We're now on the brink of have to much stuff!
We just recently went up to the Seattle area to visit Julia's sister Hillary and her family and TJ's sister Katy and her family. The trip was amazing and we got some nice weather (TJ ended up with a pretty bad sunburn), though the day we left, it was actually snowing! The snow didn't last to long once we got past snoqualmie pass, which was lucky. That luck didn't last long though... Right past Couer d'Alene we ran into a blizzard. After it got so bad that we were driving around 10 mph or less, we tried to stop at a hotel, but they were all full! We tried to keep going but didn't make it very far before we just pulled off some remote exit and tried to get some sleep. That was only semi-successful since we had to wake up every half-hour or so to heat the car back up. After about 3 hours, we started on the road again. We made it about 45 mins away from home, and then....got a flat tire. After a good samaritan stopped to help us get one of the bolts off, we finally got on our way an made it safely home! After this little adventure along with all our other, we've come to the conclusion we should always fly from now on.
So now the summer semester has started and we're both in school. It's pretty stressful and we don't see each other half as much as we would like, but we're dealing. We've finally gotten most of our apartment decorated, excluding our wedding pictures (Julia's in the process of staining the frames), and it looks great, we think. :) Most of the decorations we got at Ikea while we were in Firth visiting Katy. She's basically our hero now for introducing us to this blessed store. So here it is! We hope you like it....

Here's TJ sleeping on the job, as usual...


Here's our pretty table... and Julia posing like a dork

Here's one view of our kitchen (which TJ cleaned just for you!), hallway, bathroom (door on the left) and bedroom (door on the right)

And here's a final view of our kitchen.

We love you all! We're going to be lots better about writing on here. We've decided since neither of us are very good about writing in our journals, this is the next best thing! :) Remember, patience is a virtue....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008