Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 Baseball Tour

We hit a few baseball games this year... visiting two of the newest ballparks in the country, along with one of the oldest.

Yankee Stadium
A game at Yankee Stadium is always special.  They call it the "Cathedral of Baseball." Unfortunately the stadium feels too much like a cathedral - a bit sterile, overdone, and uninviting.

Citi Field
I think we both agree that the Mets game at Citi Field was our favorite this year.  We had great seats, the fans were top notch, and they have the best mascot in baseball - Mr. Met. I've now been to two games at Citi Field.  For me, Citi Field is everything that Yankee Stadium is not. The fan experience is warm and the park is inviting.

Wrigley Field
Attending a game at Wrigley Field should be on everybody's bucket list.  The product on the field is not much to speak of, but the stadium itself - and even the surrounding city streets - are unique and memorable.  The simple grandstands, the astonishingly understated corporate sponsorships, and the signature ivy wall all hint at a former golden age of baseball in America - an era when baseball truly was America's past time, an era when men wore three-piece suites and hats to the ball park, an era when names such as Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio, Mays, Maris, Gehrig, and others filled lineups. 

A bit of advise: if you ever attend a game at Wrigley, go for the outfield bleacher General Admission seats.  The fans out there are the most well-behaved, fun, drunk, enjoyable group I've ever watched a games with.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Catching Up...

We haven't posted for a while.  Here's just a brief run-down of what we've been up to for the past several months:

1. June: Phoenix - Kade going (went) on a mission

We were able to spend a weekend in June with the Barney's before they left for Provo to drop nephew Kade off at the MTC.  By now Kade is in New Zealand, speaking Chinese, and hangin' with the Kiwi's.

Of course, we took the opportunity while in town to catch a ball game at Chase Field.  Jan and Travis joined us this time.  Check another ballpark off the list. 

2.  July: Camping near Bryce Canyon National Park

We stayed at a campground near Pine Lake, about 45 minutes north of Bryce Canyon. 

It was our first-ever visit to Bryce.  I've seen pictures of it all my life.  To see it first-hand was spectacular.

The Amphitheater

3.  August: Hobble Creek Half Marathon - and weekend in Salt Lake

Back in April we began training for a half marathon.  Finally, in August, we made our way to Salt Lake City to run with Trent and Amy in the Hobble Creek half marathon.

The Starting Line - of course this was the last we saw of Trent until we crossed the finish line.
Congrats to both Candice and Amy - it was their first-ever half marathon.  You did awesome!

While in Salt Lake City, we went to see niece Carissa play Tracy in Hairspray at the Sandy Amphitheater. She did an amazing job.  The talent of live performers always impresses me.

I guess Carissa wasn't the only one in costume...

4 - September: Southern Cal

The Utes inaugural PAC-12 game enticed us to LA for a weekend.  We met up with Mom, Dad, Brooke, and Jenny to enjoy some So Cal chillin'.  I don't have photos, but one of my favorite parts of the trip were my morning runs along Newport and Huntington Beach - MUCH more scenic than the cookie-cutter neighborhoods and white desert of Las Vegas.

Balboa Ferry
Once again, we ventured to the local ballpark to catch a game.  Candice claims Angel Stadium has the best food of any ballpark she has been to yet.  It is tough to argue - she bought a KC hotdog topped with BBQ brisket!  After the game, the Angels treated us to a nice firework show.  We enjoyed the game along with Dad and Brooke - her first MLB game (I hope she wasn't too bored).

Sweet shirt!!!
We concluded the trip with a game at the LA Memorial Coliseum.  The Utes played a tough game against USC, but they came up just a bit short.

Candice was a good sport to attend the game with us (even as we Ute fans constantly watched the BYU vs. Texas score,  hoping the Longhorns would get the W. - fortunately they did).

5 - October: Carolina Coast

This trip is worthy of its own post.  However, considering my poor record of timely updates, I'll just include some snippets here.

We flew into Norfolk, VA, then drove the Atlantic coast to Savannah, GA.  Major stops along the way included: Elizabeth City, NC (I'm sure glad we didn't miss that!); Outer Banks, NC; New Bern, NC; Wilmington, NC; Myrtle Beach, SC; Charleston, SC; and Savannah, GA.

Mom was a great travel companion.  She was willing to try new things all week...

Calamari anyone?
Our hotel in Charleston was particularly fun.  You'd think we planned our outfits according to our room assignments...

Our room

Mom's room
Candice's favorite part of the trip was Magnolia Plantation... she's a country girl. She needs her space.

6. October: Las Vegas Ragnar

Back in June we put a Ragnar team together.  The idea of running the Las Vegas Ragnar was suggested in an e-mail and within one day we had filled all 12 spots (and we even had a waiting list).  Over the ensuing weeks we came up with a name - BONK!  And Cam designed a sweet logo for our team shirts:

 Van 1 began the race at 8:30 a.m.

Chris, Cam, Blake, Kristen, Amy, and Kim
I was in Van 2, along with:

Heidi, Trent, Brooke
Larry and Brad
 We had a great cheering and support crew as well.  Jenny served as the team volunteer.  Candice, Mom, Jamie, Jill, Mike, Brad and kids all showed up to cheer us along the way.

I have such a good-looking wife!
Team BONK!
Team BONK! is already set for round 2.  We have registered for the SoCal Ragnar in April.  We have six months to get ready!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My "Fresh Air" Vacation

I recently returned from a trip to Idaho for my nieces wedding. I called it my "fresh air" vacation. I love Idaho! It may be because I live in the ugliest place on earth, but my visit home made me realize just how beautiful and wonderful of a place it is. It appeals to ALL of my senses. Here are some of my favorites...

When I was growing up, every morning during the summer I would wake up and go and lay in our hammock that was on our patio. This was my view.


This is my Grandma and Grandpa Williams' barn. I love the look of this old barn.


This is my brother's backyard. Seriously, how would it be to look out at this view everyday. I'm so jealous!
There are definitely sounds that remind me of home. Falling asleep to the sprinklers in the fields...(close your eyes and click here to hear my summer time lullaby)

And waking up to the sound of the crop dusters. (click here to hear my summer time alarm clock)

There is nothing like the cool, crisp air of the country, but something even better is the smell of fresh cut hay! I seriously wish I could bottle it up! SO GOOD!

There is nothing better than fresh picked raspberry's...

...and peas from the garden. They taste SO much better than the stuff you buy in the store.

And who can forget a good old summertime BBQ. mmmm

The feel of cool grass on your bare feet is magical.

And I absolutely love the heart felt conversations...

...and hugs from these girls. I LOVE my sisters!

 So, as you can see, what's not to love about this place I call home?!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Midwest Travels

Jake and I were able to spend our Memorial Day weekend in Nauvoo and St. Louis. My parents are serving their mission in Nauvoo so we decided to pay them a visit. You can read more about their adventures here.We flew into St. Louis on Thursday evening where we spent the night. We awoke on Friday morning and drove to Nauvoo.

Elder and Sister Williams in front of their humble home.
 Our first stop was at the Seventies Hall where my mom was working. The Seventies Hall was like the MTC back in Old Nauvoo days; those who were going out on missions would come here to prepare for their mission.

 Next stop was to see my dad. He was out with the horses doing wagon rides, so we went on a wagon ride around Nauvoo and got an overview of what there was to see. For anyone planning a trip to Nauvoo, we  recommend doing this the first day to get a feel of the town.

Dad taking the horses back to the barn after a long days work.
On Saturday they were having a local BBQ cook-off in the city park. Each competitor would enter their secret recipe for a BBQ chicken, pork, and beef dish. We got to go around and sample them and then vote for our favorite.

Mom and Jake decided on which dish to vote on.
One of our favorite things to see was the "Trail of Hope". This "Trail" was the route the saints followed when they evacuated Nauvoo to head west.  Walking down this path you can read journal entries of the pioneers as they prepared for their journey west. Some of their stories are heartbreaking. I can't imagine having to pack up your lives, in the middle of winter, and head toward the unknown.

We made our way to the banks of the Mississippi River. We decided to re-enact our engagement picture, except this time the ring is a "prairie diamond". (a horseshoe nail in the shape of a ring.)

We also got to attend an endowment session in the beautiful Nauvoo Temple. This temple is amazing. I was lucky enough to attend the open house of this temple right after it was built, so it was nice to go back and attend a session.

 Before we headed out of town on Sunday we stopped and said goodbye to mom and dad at the Riser Cheap Boot and Shoemaker house. Dad taught us all about making shoes. It is so impressive how industrious the pioneers were back in those days. They thought of everything.

On our way back to St. Louis we stopped at Carthage Jail. We also made a stop at one of our favorite places to eat, "Fast Eddies". (sorry no pics)

 Monday morning we got up and headed to Forest Park for our run. It was incredibly HOT and HUMID, but the scenery was amazing! After living in Las Vegas for almost 2 years, we really appreciate grass and trees. :)

 That afternoon we headed to Busch Stadium to watch a Cardinals game. It was so fun!!

 What a wonderful way to spend Memorial Day, afterall, what's more American than baseball?!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Free money, free travel, freedom, etc.

  • Every spring we look forward to our annual REI dividend.  By simply using our REI credit card all year, we accrue a substantial shopping spree every March.  This year we had $370 in free money to spend.  It's awesome to walk out of REI with bags full of clothes without having spent a single dime of our own money. We better enjoy it this year.  We have decided to start using the Delta Skymiles card for the coming year.  We love to travel.  So we figured we would take advantage one year fee-free from Delta American Express to build up our miles for an upcoming trip.
  • Remember the bushes we moved in our yard... from a our last post?  They're dead.
  • I spent last week in Washington D.C. for work.  I had a few extra hours on Friday afternoon between meetings and my flight home.  I took a stroll around the White House to pass some time.  As we approached the South Lawn, we were stopped by a security guard and told to wait where we were.  A few moments later, the presidential motorcade exited the compound.  Those limousines are built like tanks! I am always fascinated by the life of the president.
  • Speaking of the president, I just finished George W. Bush's autobiography, Decision Points. I know he wasn't a popular president, but I really do respect him.  He was president during a very difficult time in the history of America.  I think we were fortunate to have a man leading the nation who was not afraid to make difficult and unpopular decisions.
  • My next book... Long Walk to Freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela.  I began reading it on my flight home from D.C.  Seriously, the book reads more like a suspense novel than an autobiography.  It is full of African tribal life, government corruption, sabotage, wrongful convictions, and prisoner abuse - and I am only a third of the way through the book.  
  • Favorite talk of General Conference... President Eyring's from Priesthood Session.
  • Baseball season is underway!  I can't wait to go to a game.  We already have plans to attend two games - one in St. Louis and another in Phoenix.  If we're lucky, perhaps we can make our way to SoCal to catch an Angels or Padres game as well. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Projects...

As homeowners it seems as though the projects never seem to end. Two weekends ago, Jake and I headed out to enjoy the beautiful weather and get a little yard work done. Well, one thing led to another, and before we knew it, what started out being "a little" yard work, ended up being A LOT of yard work.

Along with picking weeds and trimming trees, we decided to move around some bushes... which in turn led to some serious sprinkler renovations.

But after about 7 hours of work, and 4 trips to Lowes we finally got the bushes moved and the yard put back together. 

Then, this past weekend we went to the nursery to look at some different plant options for more yard projects, but the weather wasn't cooperating with us, so we decided to tackle another project of refinishing the coffee and end table that we are lucky enough to inherit for the time being.

 I mean, who wouldn't want to spend their day stripping stain off and sanding a table.

Now, although I will admit Jacob does most of the work, I always try to help where needed, even if it is just giving moral support! :)

Stay tuned for the finished projects...